Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Iran says calm has been restored after fuel price hike unrest
Protests in Iran triggered by petrol price hikes last week have subsided, an Iranian judiciary spokesman said on Tuesday, a day after the elite Revolutionary Guards warned of "decisive" action if anti-government protests do not cease. Social media videos posted in defiance of an Internet block showed protests continued in several cities on Monday night, however, and a heavy presence of security forces in streets. The images posted on social media could not be verified by Reuters.
Trump shift on Israeli settlements fulfills wish list of evangelical base
A U.S. decision effectively backing Israel's building of settlements in the occupied West Bank, long a cherished item on conservative Christians' wish list, is expected to strengthen evangelicals' support for Donald Trump as he seeks re-election in 2020, according to a leader of the president's evangelical advisory group. While Palestinians and Arab governments condemned the Trump administration’s declaration on Monday that Jewish settlements in occupied territory are not “inconsistent with international law,” the reversal of four decades of U.S. policy drew praise from evangelicals, an important part of his base.
Sweden drops Assange rape investigation after nearly 10 years
A Swedish prosecutor dropped a rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, ending the near decade-old case that had sent the anti-secrecy campaigner into hiding in London's Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition. Although the prosecutor's decision can be appealed, it probably closes the case, which was launched in 2010. The accuser's lawyer said she was studying whether to appeal it.
UK's Corbyn: Serious questions to be answered about Prince Andrew
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Tuesday there were questions to be answered after a televised interview in which Prince Andrew denied accusations he had sex with a teenage girl. Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's second son, has faced a backlash for his explanation of his relationship with late U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein and a denial of ever having sex with one of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Giuffre.
U.S. Senate unanimously passes Hong Kong rights bill
The U.S. Senate, in a unanimous vote, passed legislation on Tuesday aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong amid China's crackdown on a pro-democracy protest movement in that vital financial center. With the voice vote by senators, the "Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act" now goes to the House of Representatives, which earlier approved its own version of the measure. The two chambers will have to work out the differences before any legislation can be sent to President Donald Trump for his consideration.
Rights violations in Nicaragua upset 'constitutional order': OAS
The Organization of American States (OAS) said in a statement on Tuesday that human rights violations and the overall situation in Nicaragua since April 2018 have upset the "constitutional order" in the Central American country.
South Korean nationals, vessels released by Yemen's Houthis: South Korea Foreign Ministry
Three vessels and 16 people, including two South Korean nationals, who had been seized by Yemen's Houthi movement have been released on Tuesday, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. The freed vessels consisted of two South Korean vessels and one Saudi Arabia-flagged vessel, and the families of the South Korean nationals have been notified, the ministry said in a statement.
U.S. support for Israeli settlements renews focus on core issue in Mideast conflict
Israel's ruling right-wing government on Tuesday moved swiftly to embrace Washington's backing for Israeli settlements, even as Palestinians and Arab leaders said it was a threat to the international rule of law. Monday's announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abandoned the position that settlements in Israeli-occupied territory were "inconsistent with international law", reversing a stand taken under President Jimmy Carter in 1978.
British PM Johnson will probably win this uninspiring election, Farage says
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will probably win the Dec. 12 election with a small majority but the campaign has so far been uninspiring with a host of unrealistic promises on both sides, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said on Tuesday. "The one prediction I am going to make is that it is going to be a low turnout unless parties like us can inspire people to go out and vote for change," Farage told supporters in Peterborough, a cathedral city in eastern England.
Syrian air defenses thwart hostile targets in the capital Damascus: state media
Syrian air defenses thwarted hostile targets on Wednesday above the capital Damascus and downed several missiles, state media reported. No further details were available