Reuters World News Summary

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

U.S. warships sail in disputed South China Sea amid tensions

U.S. Navy warships, on two occasions in the past few days, have sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea, the U.S. military told Reuters on Thursday, at a time of tension between the world's two largest economies. The busy waterway is one of a number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which include a trade war, U.S. sanctions, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

'Too scared to escape': Isolated protesters hold out on trashed Hong Kong campus

Inside the increasingly empty and trashed campus of a Hong Kong university only a handful of activists held out on Thursday as they desperately searched for ways to escape or hide while squads of police encircled the grounds. Hong Kong's Polytechnic University is the last campus still occupied after a week that has seen the most intense violence since anti-government protests escalated more than five months ago.

Labour unveils 'radical' plan to remake Britain

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn unveiled his party's election manifesto on Thursday, setting out radical plans to transform Britain with public sector pay rises, higher taxes on companies and a sweeping nationalisation of infrastructure. Voters face a stark choice at the country's Dec. 12 election: opposition leader Corbyn's socialist vision, including widespread nationalisation and free public services, or Prime Minister Boris Johnson's drive to deliver Brexit within months and build a "dynamic market economy".

Russian parliament backs law to label individuals foreign agents

Russia's lower house of parliament passed legislation on Thursday that will allow individual journalists to be labeled foreign agents, a move that critics say will tighten curbs on the media. Russia adopted an initial foreign agent law in 2012 which gave the authorities the power to label non-governmental organizations and human rights groups foreign agents.

Italy's 5-Star rejects leader's call to snub upcoming elections

Member of Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement on Thursday rejected a call from party chief Luigi Di Maio to pull out of upcoming regional elections, in a surprise move that underlines Di Maio's difficulties as leader. 5-Star has lost a stream of local elections and slumped in opinion polls since it stormed to power at parliamentary elections in March last year when it won 33% of the vote, doubling its nearest rival.

Shifting asylum 'burden': U.S. sends Guatemala first Honduran migrant

The first foreign asylum-seeker arrived in Guatemala on Thursday from El Paso, Texas, under a U.S. agreement that establishes it as a so-called safe third country to process people fleeing persecution in their homelands. The program, similar to European ones that push asylum seekers to Turkey, is a policy achievement for U.S. President Donald Trump. He has made cracking down on immigration a central plank of his 2020 re-election campaign.

Britain urges Israel to halt settlement expansion, in contrast to U.S.

Britain urged Israel to halt its "counterproductive" settlement expansion on Thursday, saying it was illegal under international law. The Foreign Office reiterated its position on the settlements after the United States on Monday effectively backed Israel's right to build Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Chinese national indicted in U.S. on economic espionage charges: Justice Dept

A Chinese national who worked for Monsanto before it was purchased by Bayer AG was indicted on Thursday on charges of stealing trade secrets, the U.S. Justice Department said. Haitao Xiang, 42, who was employed by Monsanto from 2008 to 2017, was stopped by federal officials at a U.S. airport before he could board a flight to China carrying proprietary farming software, the department said in a statement.

Netanyahu charged with corruption, says he won't resign

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he would not resign despite being charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a corruption scandal that he denounced as an "attempted coup". The charges announced by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit were the first of their kind against a serving Israeli prime minister and represented the gravest crisis in the political career of Israel's longest-serving leader.

Amazon tribe demands Bolsonaro stop mining on reservations, hydro dams

Munduruku indigenous people led by 15 tribal chiefs blamed Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday for increased illegal mining on their reservation lands in the Amazon rainforest. They also urged his government not to restart plans to build hydroelectric dams on the Tapajos river that runs through their ancestral lands and is one of the largest clearwater tributaries of the Amazon.