Reuters World News Summary

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

'We owe it to them': Bahamian ships prepare for relief missions

As a humanitarian crisis unfolded in the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, a flotilla of ships and boats was preparing on Wednesday to begin ferrying relief supplies to areas of the island-nation hardest hit by the Category 5 storm. Tens of thousands of people on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco need food, water and medical supplies after Dorian pulverized their homes and sent storm waves crashing through communities.

Pope calls U.S. conservative attacks an 'honor'

Pope Francis said on Wednesday it was an "honor" to be attacked by U.S. Church conservatives and their Catholic media allies, who have criticized him on issues from theology to climate change and even called for his resignation. The pope's response to his American critics came on a flight to Mozambique, for a three-nation tour of sub-Saharan Africa, while chatting with French journalist Nicholas Seneze, author of a new book "How America Wants to Change Popes."

British PM Johnson bids for election as opponents seek to stop no-deal Brexit

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will try to call a snap election on Wednesday after lawmakers seeking to prevent him taking Britain out of the European Union without a divorce deal dealt him a humbling parliamentary defeat. Parliament's move leaves Brexit up in the air, with possible outcomes ranging from a turbulent no-deal exit to abandoning the whole endeavor - both outcomes would be unacceptable to swathes of the United Kingdom's voters.

North Korean foreign minister will not attend U.N. gathering of world leaders

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho will not attend the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations later this month "due to his schedule," the country's mission to the U.N. told Reuters on Wednesday. Ri has attended the high-level meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York for the past three years. North Korea was initially listed on a tentative speaking schedule - dated July 10 - to again be represented at ministerial level, but a revised agenda issued on Friday downgraded Pyongyang's representation.

Hong Kong leader pulls extradition bill, but too little too late, say some

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Wednesday withdrew an extradition bill that triggered months of often violent protests so the Chinese-ruled city can move forward from a "highly vulnerable and dangerous" place and find solutions. Her televised announcement came after Reuters reports on Friday and Monday revealing Beijing thwarted an earlier proposal from Lam to withdraw the bill and she had said privately that she would resign if she could.

Erdogan says it's unacceptable that Turkey can't have nuclear weapons

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday it was unacceptable for nuclear-armed states to forbid Ankara from obtaining its own nuclear weapons, but did not say whether Turkey had plans to obtain them. "Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads, not one or two. But (they tell us) we can't have them. This, I cannot accept," he told his ruling AK Party members in the eastern city of Sivas.

Iran has released seven crew members of seized tanker Stena Impero: Sweden foreign minister

Iran has released seven of the 23 crew members of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero that was seized earlier this summer, Sweden's foreign minister said on Wednesday. The Swedish-owned Stena Impero was detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations, two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. That vessel was released in August.

Yemen's govt starts indirect talks with southern separatists in Saudi Arabia: officials

Yemen's government officials have started indirect talks with United Arab Emirates-backed southern separatists in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah to end fighting in Aden and other southern provinces, a Yemeni official said on Wednesday. A senior Emirati official said earlier that the Gulf state was confident that the Jeddah meeting will succeed in uniting the two sides against what he called the "Houthi coup".

Iran to develop centrifuges for faster uranium enrichment

Iran on Wednesday said it would take another step away from a 2015 nuclear deal by starting to develop centrifuges to speed up its uranium enrichment but it also gave European powers two more months to try to save the multilateral pact. Separately, the United States refused to ease its economic sanctions on Iran, imposed fresh ones designed to choke off the smuggling of Iranian oil and rebuffed, but did not rule out, a French plan to give Tehran a $15 billion credit line.

Brazil 'Car Wash' corruption probe facing 'worst moment' as establishment fights back

Brazil's biggest-ever corruption investigation, which jailed dozens including a former president, has been threatened over the past week by a Supreme Court ruling and push back from politicians seeking to curb investigative powers. For the first time, justices of the top court have annulled a corruption conviction by the judge who oversaw the probe, current Justice Minister Sergio Moro, setting a precedent that prosecutors fear could undo up to 143 other convictions.