Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Exclusive: Son of producer who worked with Ukraine's president gets senior government job
The son of a film producer who helped President Volodymyr Zelenskiy become a household name as an actor has been appointed the Ukrainian government's chief economic adviser, a senior government official said on Thursday. A former comedian and actor, Zelenskiy swept to power casting himself as a political outsider who would clean up Ukrainian politics and bring in new faces, but he has faced scrutiny over his appointments since taking office in May.
Pence backs Hong Kong protests in China speech, slams NBA and Nike
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday accused China of curtailing "rights and liberties" in Hong Kong and blasted U.S. company Nike and the National Basketball Association for falling in line with Beijing in a disagreement over free speech. In a major policy speech on China that touched on an array of disputes ahead of talks with Beijing to ease a trade war, Pence said the United States does not seek confrontation or to "de-couple" from its main economic rival.
British PM Johnson calls for December 12 election to break Brexit deadlock
Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Thursday for a general election on Dec. 12 to break Britain's Brexit impasse, conceding for the first time he will not meet his "do or die" deadline to leave the European Union next week. Johnson said in a letter to opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn he would give parliament more time to approve his Brexit deal but lawmakers must back a December election, Johnson's third attempt to try to force a snap vote.
Russia's Lavrov says Norwegian spy could return home at 'any moment'
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that a Norwegian man jailed for spying could return home at "any moment". Lavrov spoke briefly to Norwegian media when he arrived in the Arctic town of Kirkenes in Norway on the 75th anniversary of its liberation by the Red Army, according to video posted on Friday on the Russian foreign ministry's Telegram channel.
Police say 39 dead in truck near London believed to be Chinese
Police were given more time on Thursday to question a driver arrested on suspicion of murder after 39 people, believed to be Chinese nationals, were found dead in a refrigerated truck near London, with the investigation focusing on human trafficking. Officers searched three properties in the County Armagh area of Northern Ireland. The driver has not been formally identified but a source familiar with the investigation said he was Mo Robinson from the Portadown area of the British province.
Tourists line up to scale Australia's Uluru hours ahead of climb ban
Hundreds of tourists formed long queues to climb Australia's Uluru soon after dawn on Friday, the day before a permanent ban on the climb takes effect following a decades-long fight by indigenous people to close the trek. Blustery conditions meant visitors were stopped from making an early morning climb and authorities said they will reassess during the day whether or not to reopen.
Syrian Kurds accuse Turkey of violations, Russia says peace plan on track
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) accused Turkey on Thursday of launching a large land offensive targeting three villages in northeast Syria despite a truce, but Russia said a peace plan hammered out this week was going ahead smoothly. Under the plan, agreed by Presidents Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, Syrian Kurdish forces are to withdraw more than 30 km (19 miles) from the Turkish border, a goal Russia's RIA news agency, quoting an SDF official, said was already achieved.
Iraqi PM warns against violence on eve on planned anti-government protests
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Thursday people would be free to exercise their right to demonstrate at imminent anti-government protests, but warned violence would not be tolerated. Protesters had begun to gather in public squares in Baghdad and southern provinces as Abdul Mahdi made his televised address, ahead of officially sanctioned protests on Friday.
Lebanon's Aoun invites protesters to talk, hints at government reshuffle
Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Thursday he was ready for a dialogue with protesters to help save the country from collapse after days of demonstrations against the ruling elite, and he suggested a government reshuffle was possible. Protests fueled by worsening economic conditions have paralyzed the country and kept banks shut. Lebanon's banking association said it would keep lenders closed on Friday for a seventh consecutive working day, citing safety concerns.
Chile says 'no chance' of riots derailing APEC, U.N. climate meet in Santiago
Chile, grappling with violent protests that rocked the capital Santiago for days, will not let the riots derail plans to host two major global meetings in coming months, Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera said on Thursday. He said that there was "no chance" of calling off the Nov. 16-17 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit or the United Nations climate change conference COP25 in December.