Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
China facing global isolation as virus toll rises
China faced mounting isolation in the face of increasing international travel curbs and flight suspensions on Saturday, as the death toll from a spreading coronavirus outbreak rose to 259. The epidemic has led to mass evacuations of foreign citizens as world airlines halt flights, and risks exacerbating a slowdown in growth in the world's second-largest economy.
'A good firefighting day': Crews hold blazes back from Australia's capital
Firefighters kept wild blazes fueled by strong winds and soaring temperatures from reaching suburban areas of Australia's capital, Canberra, using airdrops of fire retardant to create a 2.5-kilometre (1.55-mile) long defensive line late on Saturday. Three drops of the pink retardant created the line along the bottom of a mountain south of Canberra, authorities said, with further drops planned for Sunday.
Brexit at last: Britain leaves the EU as champagne corks fly
The United Kingdom finally cast off from the European Union on Friday for an uncertain future, with Brexiteers claiming victory and popping champagne corks for an "independence day" they said marked a new era for the country. In its biggest shift since losing its global empire, the United Kingdom slipped away at 2300 GMT, turning its back after 47 years on the post-World War Two project that sought to build the ruined nations of Europe into a global power.
Palestinian Authority says it cuts security ties with Israel, U.S.
The Palestinian Authority has cut all ties with the United States and Israel including security relations after rejecting a Middle East peace plan presented this week by U.S. President Donald Trump, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Saturday. At a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo, Abbas reiterated his "complete" rejection of Trump's peace plan, which calls for creating a demilitarized Palestinian state with borders drawn to meet Israeli security needs.
U.S. pressure on Iran to continue despite lifting sanctions on China's COSCO unit, official says
A decision by the United States to lift sanctions on one of two units of the Chinese tanker company COSCO was not a sign that the Trump administration was letting up on its "maximum pressure" against Iran, a senior U.S. official said on Saturday. The lifting of sanctions on Friday by the U.S. Treasury Department partially reversed its punishment on the company for transporting Iranian oil after China complained about the measure in trade talks with Washington.
Malaysia probes allegations that Airbus bribed AirAsia bosses
Malaysia's anti-graft agency is investigating allegations by Britain's Serious Fraud Office that Airbus paid a bribe of $50 million to win plane orders from Asia’s largest budget airline group, Malaysia-based AirAsia, it said on Saturday. The SFO said on Friday that Airbus had failed to prevent individuals associated with it bribing executives linked to AirAsia Group and its long-haul arm, AirAsia X.
Jihadist car bomb attacks target Syrian pro-government forces in Aleppo
Syrian insurgents carried out two suicide car bomb attacks in an assault on pro-government forces in Aleppo on Saturday and opened a new front northeast of the city, an attempted fightback after territorial gains for President Bashar al-Assad. Backed by Russian air power, Syrian government forces had made a significant advance into the rebel-held northwest this week, seizing the town of Maarat al-Numan, part of an offensive to secure the main highway between Damascus and Aleppo.
In Mexico, "El Chapo's" daughter ties knot in state cathedral
The daughter of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman married another offspring of a drug empire in a lavish ceremony held in the cathedral of Sinaloa's state capital Culiacan, Mexican media reported, in a new display of her family's prominence. Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman married Edgar Cazares, the nephew of Blanca Margarita Cazares, Mexican newspaper Reforma reported on Saturday, in the heartland of Mexico's powerful Sinaloa Cartel.
Pompeo visits Belarus as Minsk's ties with Moscow fray
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Belarus on Saturday, seeking to "normalize" ties at a time when relations between Minsk and its traditional ally Russia are under strain. The United States and the European Union have been frequent critics of authoritarian rule and the human rights record in Belarus, where President Alexander Lukashenko has been in office since 1994.
Trump's expanded travel ban targets Nigeria, five other countries
U.S. President Donald Trump issued an expanded version of his travel ban on Friday that targets prospective immigrants from Nigeria and five other countries, a move that could affect thousands of people and reignite debate on whether the policy is discriminatory. Of the six countries added to the ban, four are African nations and three have Muslim-majority populations. Democrats and immigration advocates accuse the Trump administration of seeking to expand its original 2017 ban that targeted Muslim-majority countries and of disproportionately focusing on African countries.