Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Palestinian rocket fire draws Israeli air strikes in Gaza
Palestinian militants fired a rocket into Israel, drawing Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said on Sunday. There were no casualties reported on either side of the border. Israeli police said the Gaza rocket fired on Saturday night damaged a factory in the southern city of Ashkelon.
Australia defense chief pledges changes after damning Afghanistan report
Australia's top military official said on Sunday the country's defense force must 'own' a recent report on soldiers committing crimes in Afghanistan and pledged changes to ensure that atrocities do not happen again. The report, published on Thursday after an inquiry into the conduct of special forces personnel in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016, found that senior commandos forced junior soldiers to kill defenseless captives in order to "blood" them for combat..
Iran vows to crush any Israeli attempt to hit its 'advisory' role in Syria
Iran on Sunday vowed to defeat any Israeli attempt to harm its role in Syria, saying the era of "hit and run" attacks by Israel there was over, days after Israel carried out air strikes on Syrian army and Iranian paramilitary targets in the country. Israel, which views Tehran as its biggest security threat, has repeatedly attacked Iranian targets and those of allied militia in Syria, where Tehran has backed President Bashar al-Assad and his forces against rebels and militants since 2012.
Myanmar's ruling party denounces post-poll violence after MP-elect shot dead
A newly elected MP for Myanmar's ruling party has been shot dead by an unidentified gunman in northern Shan state and the party on Sunday urged a quick investigation, denouncing political violence in the aftermath of elections this month. Htike Zaw was shot at the shop he ran at his house in the town of Kyaukme on Saturday, said party spokesman Myo Nyunt.
Dozens detained in Belarus protests: rights group
Belarus police detained dozens of people in Minsk on Sunday during the latest in months of anti-government protests since a disputed presidential election in August, human rights activists reported. Thousands of people took to the streets of Belarusian capital and police used stun grenades to disperse the crowd, several Belarus media outlets reported.
Taiwan says unnamed U.S. official is visiting, cannot give details
A U.S. official has arrived in Taiwan, the island's foreign ministry said on Sunday, adding that it could not provide details as the trip has not been made public, though it did deny a media report that the CIA chief was in town. China, which claims democratically-run Taiwan as its own territory, reacted with fury when the U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar came to Taipei in August, followed by U.S. Undersecretary of State Keith Krach in September, sending fighter jets near the island each time.
Afghanistan conference to set aid cuts, conditions amid war, pandemic
Afghanistan faces funding cuts and tighter restrictions on vital aid from an international donor conference this week, marking further challenges for a nation torn by two decades of war and now ravaged by COVID-19. Ministers from about 70 countries and officials of humanitarian organisations, at the virtual conference hosted in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday, are expected to pledge billions of dollars to safeguard development projects, with talks between the Afghan government and Taliban rebels stalled and President Trump sharply reducing U.S. forces in the country.
Thousands join Taiwan protest, anger focused on U.S. pork
Thousands of people took to Taipei's streets on Sunday for the annual "Autumn Struggle" protest march organised by labour groups, with much of the anger focused on the government's decision to ease restrictions on imports of U.S. pork. Taiwan's main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), rallied its supporters to join the march for the first time, having mounted an increasingly strident campaign against the pork decision, which it says threatens food safety.
'Save yourselves', Ethiopia tells Tigrayans in push on rebel capital
Advancing Ethiopian troops plan to surround the Tigray region's rebel-held capital with tanks and may shell the city to force surrender, a military spokesman said on Sunday, urging civilians to save themselves. The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which is refusing to surrender its rule of the northern region, said its forces were digging trenches and standing firm.
UK's Sunak: no return to austerity in new spending plan
British finance minister Rishi Sunak said there would be no return to austerity in a spending plan he will announce on Wednesday, even as the coronavirus crisis pushes the country's debt further above 2 trillion pounds ($2.7 trillion). Sunak, who has rushed out massive government spending increases and tax cuts equating to about 10% of economic output, said he would announce "quite a significant" increase in funding for public services.