Reuters World News Summary

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

Australia leader seeks greater federal powers in emergencies: media

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants greater federal powers during natural disasters, local media reported on Wednesday, as authorities warned that bushfires ravaging the country for months were now sweeping through a national park outside the capital. In prepared remarks, reported by local newspapers ahead of a speech later in the day, Morrison responded to criticism he was too slow to act when the seriousness of the country's worst bushfire season in a generation became apparent late last year.

Major quake shakes Miami and the Caribbean, tsunami threat passes

A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck the western Caribbean on Tuesday, triggering evacuations as buildings shook across the Cayman Islands, in Jamaica, and in downtown Miami, but with no initial reports of significant damage. The epicenter of the quake was in the sea between Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba, at a shallow depth of 6.2 miles (10 km).

U.S. House committee says Pompeo agrees to testify on Iran, Iraq policy

A Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives committee said on Tuesday it had reached an agreement with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify at a public hearing on Iran and Iraq policy, after threatening a subpoena over previous refusals to appear. Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he spoke to Pompeo on Tuesday and he had agreed to appear at a hearing separate from the committee's annual budget hearing.

Peru judge orders Keiko Fujimori to return to jail for 15 months

A Peruvian judge on Tuesday ordered that opposition leader Keiko Fujimori return to jail for 15 months as prosecutors continue a money laundering investigation against her, part of a corruption case surrounding the financing of her presidential campaigns. Fujimori, the daughter of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori, had already spent 13 months in jail, but Peru's top constitutional court ordered her release in November. Prosecutors appealed that decision.

U.S. backs program to help Venezuelan migrants settle in Brazil

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.N. International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a program on Tuesday to help tens of thousands of Venezuelan migrants settle for the long-term in Brazil. USAID officials said the agency will provide $4 million to fund the program that will facilitate access to employment, business training and language courses to aid the economic and social integration of Venezuelan émigrés.

U.S. military recovers remains from Afghanistan plane crash

The United States on Tuesday recovered the remains of two personnel from a U.S. military aircraft that crashed in Afghanistan, American and Afghan officials told Reuters. On Monday, the U.S. military said an E-11A aircraft had crashed in the province of Ghazni, but disputed claims by the Taliban militant group that they had brought it down.

China's Hubei province, center of virus outbreak, confirms 25 new deaths

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 131 as health authorities at the epicentre of the epidemic reported another 840 confirmed cases, even as Beijing reiterated its confidence in containing the disease. Fears of the spreading virus led airlines to reduce flights to China and global companies to restrict employee travel to the country. CNBC reported that the White House had told U.S. airlines it may suspend all China-U.S. flights due to the outbreak.

Hostel at North Korea's Berlin embassy must close, German court rules

A German court ruled on Tuesday that a hostel situated on the grounds of the North Korean embassy in Berlin must close as its operation breaches sanctions aimed at stopping the flow of hard currency to Pyongyang. The embassy, a Cold War legacy of North Korea's diplomatic relations with Communist East Germany, has continued to operate since German reunification in 1990, with one of its buildings turned into a low-cost hostel popular with backpackers.

Trump leaps into Middle East fray with plan that favors Israel, upsets Palestinians

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed creating a Palestinian state as part of a Middle East peace plan, drawing Palestinian condemnation for imposing strict conditions and for agreeing to let Israel maintain control of long-contested West Bank settlements. Trump announced his plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace at a White House event with embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing at his side. It includes what Trump called a four-year freeze by Israel on new settlement activity.

Newly discovered photos of Nazi death camp may show guard Demjanjuk: historians

Historians in Germany have released previously unseen photos of the Nazi Sobibor death camp, including what they believe are images of John Demjanjuk, who was sentenced in 2011 for his role in the killing of about 28,000 people there. Ukraine-born Demjanjuk, who had been No. 1 on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of "Most Wanted Nazi War Criminals", was deported to Germany from the United States in 2009, where he had spent much of his life as a car worker, to face trial.