News In Brief
Russian, US to hold Venezuela talks this week
United States Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov are due to meet in Rome this week to discuss the situation in Venezuela, diplomats from the two countries said. Venezuela, a close ally of Moscow, is in political turmoil.
The United States and many other Western countries back Juan Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who invoked the constitution in January to assume an interim presidency, while Russia says President Nicolas Maduro remains the country's only legitimate leader.
NZ mosque gunman visited Israel in 2016
The main suspect in New Zealand's mosque attacks made a brief visit to Israel in late 2016, Israeli officials said on Sunday.
Brenton Tarrant, an Australian national, entered Israel in October 2016 on a three-month tourist visa and stayed for nine days, an official with Israel's Population and Immigration Authority told Reuters. Tarrant is the suspected gunman in Friday's attacks in the city of Christchurch in which 50 people were killed in New Zealand's worst peacetime mass shooting.
Two Iraqi soldiers killed in clashes with PKK
Clashes between the Iraqi army and Kurdish PKK militia killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded five of the militants on Sunday, the Iraqi military said in a statement.
The clashes took place in Sinjar in northwestern Iraq after the PKK fighters were denied passage through an army checkpoint, the statement said, adding that the militants drove a vehicle into one soldier and attacked the checkpoint.
Putin to mark five years of annexation in Crimea
Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Crimea on Monday to mark the fifth anniversary of Moscow's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine, condemned by the West but celebrated by most Russians.
A Kremlin statement on Sunday said Putin would visit the peninsula and its largest city Sevastopol to attend celebrations marking five years since Crimea "rejoined" Russia.
Taliban captures 50 Afghan
At least 50 members of the Afghan security forces have surrendered to the Taliban in a fight for control of Afghanistan's western province of Badghis that has created heavy casualties, officials said.
Fighting in Afghanistan has intensified even as Taliban and U.S. officials finished the latest round of peace talks on Tuesday, with both sides citing progress.Afghanistan usually sees a marked increase in violence in spring.