Reuters World News Summary

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

Iraqi cleric Sadr tells followers to clear sit-ins after PM appointed

Populist Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr urged his followers on Sunday to help security forces clear roads blocked during months of sit-in protests, calling for a return to normal life after the designation of a new prime minister. Sadr, who had alternately sided with the anti-government protesters and the Iran-backed political groups they reject, urged his unarmed supporters known as "blue hats" to work with authorities to ensure schools and businesses can operate normally again.

Ahead of polls, New Zealand's opposition party rules out deal with kingmaker Peters

New Zealand's opposition party has ruled out a post-election deal with the party of Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, setting the stage for a close contest at the polls this year as both major parties may struggle to form a government. Peters, a seasoned politician and leader of New Zealand First party, has often played the role of kingmaker in the country's German-style proportional representation electoral system.

'Britain will prosper': PM Johnson sets out tough terms for EU talks

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lay out his negotiating terms for talks with the European Union on Monday, saying Britain will prosper even if he cannot strike his preferred trade deal. After marking Britain's departure from the EU at a party in his Downing Street residence on Friday, Johnson will use a speech to ram home his message that Brexit, for him, means that sovereignty trumps the economy.

Head of Sudan's sovereign council invited to visit Washington

The United States on Sunday invited General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of Sudan's sovereign council, to visit Washington, the council said, highlighting warmer bilateral ties since the army toppled President Omar al-Bashir last year. U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who invited Burhan for the visit during a phone call, said in December that the two countries planned to begin exchanging ambassadors after a 23-year hiatus.

Days after Brexit, Macron visits Poland amid frosty ties

French President Emmanuel Macron visits Poland on Monday and Tuesday in an effort to reset frosty ties at a time when the departure of Britain from the European Union is reshaping political alliances in the 27-member bloc. Arriving in Warsaw days after Brexit, Macron is signaling the importance of one of the EU's biggest members, despite a relationship marked by clashes over issues ranging from climate change policy, NATO and Poland's adherence to the rule of law.

China seeks to boost economy as first virus death reported outside its borders

The first death from the coronavirus outside of China was reported on Sunday and the Beijing government took steps to shore up an economy hit by travel curbs and business shut-downs because of the epidemic. A 44-year-old Chinese man from the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicenter of the epidemic, traveled to the Philippines and died there on Saturday, the Philippines' Department of Health said.

Ukraine wants larger compensation for its citizens killed in plane shootdown in Iran

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that Kiev was not satisfied with a size of compensation Iran had offered to families of Ukrainians killed in the downing of a plane near Tehran last month and would seek larger payments. "As for the Iranian side, they immediately offered us $80,000 for each family… It is too small. We will press for a larger amount," Zelenskiy told Ukrainian "1+1" TV.

Saudi Arabia blocks Iran from Islamic grouping's meeting: Tehran

Saudi Arabia has barred an Iranian delegation from an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Jeddah on Monday where U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan will be discussed, the Iranian foreign ministry said. Saudi authorities have not issued visas for the Iranian participants, ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

Police shoot man dead in London after stabbing described as terrorism

Police shot dead a man who stabbed two people on a busy street in south London on Sunday in what officials described as a terrorist incident believed to be related to Islamist militancy. Police said in a statement that a hoax device was found strapped to the body of the man killed by armed officers.

Paris asks Iran to free two detained French citizens said to be unwell

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has urged Iran to free two French nationals held in prison since last June, who he said were both unwell. Roland Marchal is a senior researcher at the Sciences Po university in Paris and Fariba Adelkhah, a Franco-Iranian dual national, is also an academic there.