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World News Briefs -- February 19, 2020

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party during a meeting at the Parliament in Ankara, Turkey, February 19, 2020. Turkish Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

Reuters: Turkey edges towards direct conflict with Russian-backed Syria

ANKARA/AMMAN (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday a military operation by his forces to push back a Syrian government offensive against rebels in northwest Syria was now “a matter of time” after talks with Russia failed to halt the assault.

Turkish troops have already massed inside the Idlib region and more were heading to the border area, bringing NATO member Turkey and Russian-backed Syria close to the brink of direct confrontation.

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Iraq PM-designate calls for confidence vote Monday.

Erdogan threatens 'imminent' Turkish operation in Syria.

Erdogan: It's only 'matter of time' before Turkish forces fight in Idlib.

Pompeo warns Iran must be held accountable for Baghdad attacks.

Iran reports two coronavirus deaths, becoming 28th country or territory to report infections.

US sanctions ‘targeting’ patients, say doctors at Iranian cancer hospital.

Apathy runs high in Tehran as Iran gears up for parliament vote.

Turkey ramps up Gulen crackdown with nearly 700 arrests.

Egypt building new wall along Gaza border.

UAE loads fuel rods at Arab world's first nuclear plant.


U.S. special envoy discusses Taliban deal with re-elected Afghan president.

Afghan warlord denounces Ghani vote 'coup' but streets calm.

China's Hubei reports 349 new coronavirus cases, lowest since Jan. 25.

Coronavirus: China receives protective gear from US as death toll passes 2,000.

Coronavirus: Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers disembark as deaths hit 2,000.

South Korea confirms record number of COVID-19 patients.

Afghan election challenger Abdullah declares himself president, announces parallel government.

Indonesian military say Papuan separatist killed in shootout.

North Korea slams Japan for U.S. drills.

India is now the world’s 5th largest economy.


Five dead hostages found after eastern DR Congo massacre.

Coronavirus study pinpoints African nations' vulnerabilities.

WHO sends coronavirus test kits to African nations after first coronavirus case confirmed.

Egypt, Algeria, South Africa at 'high risk' for coronavirus, analysis finds.

East Africa braces for more locusts. Desert locust plague spreads across East Africa. Locusts swarm into crisis-hit South Sudan as plague spreads across east Africa.

Libya government, Haftar's forces dim hopes of salvaging U.N. ceasefire talks. UN-backed govt in Libya suspends talks after Haftar forces attack Tripoli port.

Libya: LNA says Tripoli port attack targeted Turkish weapons.

CAR says 12 rebels killed in clash with UN troops.

Longtime leader Gnassingbe seeks fourth term in Togo's election.

US warns South Africa over land seizures.


Julian Assange offered presidential pardon from Donald Trump to say Russia not involved in Democrats hack, court hears.

Uighur persecution: German politicians condemn China's 'modern slave exploitation machine'.

Elgin Marbles, other treasures to become tense point in Brexit negotiations.

Brexit deal 'a different ball game' to Canada agreement, warns EU.

Emmanuel Macron vows to 'win the battle' against Muslims creating separate communities in France. Macron unveils curbs on foreign imams in France to combat ‘separatism’.

Angela Merkel says she won't interfere in search for CDU successor.

Britain to close borders to unskilled, non-English speakers.

UK cash economy close to collapse, campaigners tell chancellor.

Westminster Abbey bells sound to mark Prince Andrew's 60th birthday.

Reports: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle may be ordered to give up 'Sussex' brand.


Poll: Sanders now leading 2020 Democrats by 15 points.

Senate Health Committee announces hearing on U.S. coronavirus response.

SPECIAL REPORT-Convicted criminals are among the special police terrorizing Venezuela.

Mexican national held in Florida, accused of spying on US for Russia.

More protesters block train tracks in Wet'suwet'en pipeline fight.

EU puts Cayman Islands on tax haven blacklist.

Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy in step towards sexual abuse compensation fund.


Somalia: Al-Shabab fighters attack military bases.

Judge weighs how to keep Guantánamo’s 9/11 trial on track.

Caliphate wives share their stories year after ISIS defeat: Reporter's Notebook.


S&P 500, Nasdaq hit record closing highs, lifted by China stimulus hopes.

World Bank aid 'leakage' may flow to tax havens: study.

Coronavirus 'could cost global economy $1.1tn in lost income'.

Facebook expresses 'deep concern' after Singapore orders page block.

Boeing finds debris in fuel tanks of grounded 737 MAX aircraft.

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