Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Italy's Salvini pulls plug on government, calls for elections
The leader of Italy's ruling League party, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, declared the governing coalition to be unworkable on Thursday after months of internal bickering and said the only way forward was to hold fresh elections. The shock announcement follows a period of intense public feuding between the right-wing League and its coalition partner, the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, and it throws the euro zone's third-largest economy into deeper political uncertainty.
Syrian government gains ground from rebels in northwest
Syrian government forces seized ground from insurgents in northwestern Syria on Thursday, sources on both sides said, building on advances since the military declared an end to a brief ceasefire earlier this week. The humanitarian adviser to the U.N. Special Envoy for Syria said the new upsurge in violence in the northwest threatened the lives of millions after more than 500 civilians were killed since late April.
Trump accuses France's Macron of sending 'mixed signals' to Iran
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said no one is authorized to speak to Iran on behalf of the United States, and he accused French President Emmanuel Macron of sending "mixed signals" to Tehran over possible talks. "I know Emmanuel means well, as do all others, but nobody speaks for the United States but the United States itself," Trump said in a series of tweets.
Two dead in Russian rocket engine explosion; radiation spikes, shipping shut
Two people were killed and a nearby city reported a rise in radiation levels when a rocket engine blew up at a testing site in northern Russia on Thursday, forcing authorities to shut down part of a bay in the White Sea to shipping. The brief spike in radiation was reported by authorities in the nearby city of Severodvinsk, which has a population of 185,000. This apparently contradicted the defense ministry, which was quoted earlier by state media as saying radiation was normal.
Norway in contact with Venezuelan parties on talks after Maduro suspends meeting
The Norwegian government said on Thursday it remains in touch with Venezuela's government and opposition about continuing talks to resolve the country's political crisis after President Nicolas Maduro called off this week's round of Oslo-mediated discussions. Maduro on Wednesday said his government would not attend talks set for Thursday and Friday, in a protest over a new set of U.S. sanctions meant to force him from power. Maduro accused opposition leader Juan Guaido of celebrating the measures, which froze all Venezuelan government assets in the United States.
Brazil's Bolsonaro extols convicted torturer as a 'national hero'
Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that an Army officer who was convicted of torture during the country's 1964-1985 military dictatorship was a "national hero." Colonel Carlos Alberto Ustra, who died in 2015, headed the Army's notorious DOI-CODI intelligence unit that was responsible for repressing leftist political opponents. During his 2008 trial, witnesses said he personally oversaw torture sessions.
U.S. raises travel warning for Hong Kong over growing civil unrest
The United States raised its travel warning for Hong Kong, urging travelers to exercise increased caution in the Chinese territory due to what it termed civil unrest after months of sometimes violent street protests. The protests in the Asian financial hub began with opposition to a now-suspended extradition law and have evolved into a direct challenge to the government and calls for full democracy.
UK must leave EU on Oct. 31, PM Johnson says when asked about prospect of resigning
Parliament should honor the 2016 Brexit referendum and leave the European Union on Oct. 31, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday when asked if he would resign if his government lost a vote of no-confidence. Johnson has pledged to take Britain out of the EU at the end of October, with or without a deal, setting himself up for a clash with lawmakers who have vowed to try and stop a no-deal Brexit, including by trying to collapse the government.
At least 300 Kashmiri politicians detained to quell protests over status
Indian authorities have detained at least 300 politicians and separatists to quell protests in Kashmir over the withdrawal of its special status, a police officer, local leaders and media said on Thursday, in one of the biggest crackdowns in years. Since Sunday, the government has shut down mobile networks, the internet and banned public gatherings in the largest city Srinagar after stripping the Muslim majority region of the right to make its own laws and lifting a decades-old ban on people from outside the state from buying property there.
Rivals keep fighting in Yemen's Aden, bystander killed
Southern separatists and presidential guards fought for a second day on Thursday in Aden, the seat of Yemen's government, with at least one person killed, residents said. That followed three deaths and nine injuries when gunfire erupted between the rivals on Wednesday, complicating efforts to end a more than four-year war that has killed tens of thousands and pushed Yemen towards famine.