Reuters World News Summary

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

Coronavirus deaths in China top 1,000 as investors seek safety in gold, dollars

The death toll in China climbed above 1,000, as the World Health Organization (WHO) cautioned that the spread of cases outside of China could be "the spark that becomes a bigger fire" and said the human race must not let the epidemic get out of control. Hubei province, the epicenter out the outbreak, reported 103 deaths on Monday - the most in any single day - after 91 deaths on Sunday. But the 2,097 new cases was down from the previous day, when there were 2,618.

More than 100 U.S. troops diagnosed with brain injuries from Iran attack

The U.S. military on Monday disclosed a more than 50% jump in cases of traumatic brain injury stemming from Iran's missile attack on a base in Iraq last month, with the number of service members diagnosed climbing to over 100. No U.S. troops were killed or faced immediate bodily injury when Iran fired missiles at the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at the Baghdad airport on Jan. 3.

Trump will visit India on Feb. 24-25: White House

U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump will visit India on Feb. 24-25, the White House said in a statement on Monday. The trip will be Trump's first to the world's largest democracy since he took office. Trump will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the visit, a White House spokesman said.

British man guilty of plotting Islamist attack on London sights

A British Uber driver, previously cleared of a sword attack on police outside Buckingham Palace, was convicted on Monday of a plot to kill people in the name of Islam at London tourist destinations including Madame Tussauds and the Gay Pride parade. Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 28, from Luton, north of London, boasted to undercover detectives about having deceived the jury after being acquitted of wounding police officers outside Queen Elizabeth's London home in 2017.

Exclusive: Justice Department anti-human trafficking grants prompt whistleblower complaint

A U.S. Justice Department anti-human trafficking grant program is facing internal complaints, after two nonprofits were denied funding in favor of two less established groups whose applications were not recommended by career DOJ officials. The awarding of more than $1 million total to the two groups, Hookers for Jesus in Nevada and the Lincoln Tubman Foundation in South Carolina, has triggered a whistleblower complaint filed by the Justice Department’s employee union to the department’s Inspector General.

Exclusive: North Korea enhanced nuclear, missile programs in 2019 in breach of sanctions - U.N. report

North Korea continued to enhance its nuclear and ballistic missile programs last year in breach of United Nations sanctions, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Monday. The country also illicitly imported refined petroleum and exported some $370 million worth of coal with the help of Chinese barges, the report added.

Countries rush to build diagnostic capacity as coronavirus spreads

A week ago, only two laboratories in Africa could diagnose the novel coronavirus that originated in China and is rapidly spreading around the world. As of Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) expected every nation in Africa to be able to diagnose the disease. The rush reflects a global push for diagnostic capabilities, particularly in developing countries, in hopes of averting a global pandemic. But it is being slowed by a desperate need for virus samples necessary to validate the tests.

Sinn Fein eyes government, Irish unity poll after election surge

Sinn Fein on Monday said it wanted a major role in Ireland's next government after a record election showing, a move that would raise its central goal of reunification with Northern Ireland near the top of the agenda in Dublin for the first time. The left-wing Irish nationalist party stunned the establishment by beating the two center-right parties that have led every government in the country's history, almost doubling its vote share from the last election to 24%.

El Salvador president's power play stokes democracy concerns

President Nayib Bukele's use of armed soldiers in El Salvador's parliament over the weekend has alarmed political foes and rights groups, with growing fears about democratic backsliding in the crime-ravaged Central American nation. Bukele, 38, on Sunday showed up in the National Assembly with a group of uniformed soldiers wielding automatic weapons for a special session he convened, amid attempts to pressure parliamentarians to pass his crime-fighting plan. He also warned lawmakers that the people have a right to "insurrection."

Algerian military court upholds jail sentences for former intelligence chiefs

A military appeals court in Algeria on Monday confirmed 15-year jail sentences against two former intelligence chiefs and a brother of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for "conspiring against the army and the state authority," state media reported. Mohamed Mediene and Athmane Tartag, along with Said Bouteflika, have been in detention since May, weeks after mass protests broke out demanding the departure of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people involved in corruption.