US coalition bombs pro-Assad forces in Syria +++ South Korean President to meet Kim Jong Un's sister

US coalition bombs pro-Assad forces in Syria +++ South Korean President to meet Kim Jong Un's sister +++ Dozens still missing after Taiwan earthquake +++ France to boost its military spending +++ Venezuela’s presidential poll set for 22nd April +++ Austrian-led Mars project begins in Oman +++ The weather

News | 8 February 2018

Gennie Johnson

US coalition bombs pro-Assad forces in Syria

A US official says US-led coalition air and artillery strikes in Syria have killed about 100 pro-Assad troops in the east of the country. The coalition said the attacks were in response to what it called an "unprovoked" assault by pro-government fighters on the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces which are mainly Kurdish. Analyst Shashank Joshi says it's quite rare for the US to target forces aligned with Assad: "it's very unusual. Last year the US did shoot down a Syrian jet that was attacking pro-US Kurdish fighters. They have also occasionally attacked ground forces on the Syrian side if they've got too close to the Kurds. But it's happened on a handful of occasions".

South Korean President to meet Kim Jong Un's sister

The South Korean President Moon Jae-in is planning to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister and other senior North Korean officials who are coming to the South for the Winter Olympics. A spokesman for President Moon says the North Korean delegates will attend tomorrow's opening ceremony. There are no planned meetings between US and North Korean officials.

Dozens still missing after Taiwan earthquake

In Taiwan, nearly 60 people are still missing after Tuesday's earthquake. Rescue efforts have been hampered by scores of aftershocks and over 800 people are in community shelters. 10 people have been confirmed dead.

France to boost its military spending

The French government is to boost its military spending by 1.7 billion Euros a year from 2019 to 2022. The move comes amid demands from NATO and President Donald Trump for European countries to increase their defence spending. The extra funding will be spent on modernising equipment.

Venezuela’s presidential poll set for 22nd April

The electoral authorities in Venezuela have announced that presidential elections will take place on 22nd of April. The opposition has demanded guarantees that the electoral process will be transparent.

Austrian-led Mars project begins in Oman

A project led by the Austrian Space Forum aimed at simulating the exploration of the surface of Mars begins in a desert in Oman today. An international team will work in complete isolation using robotic rovers, a drone and an inflatable greenhouse in a series of experiments. Reinhard Tlustos is one of the flight directors with the Austrian Space Forum: "we have human factor experiments that focus on physical and psychological factors. We also have lot of geo-physical experiments that look at the properties of the landscape there and then compare it with what we might find on Mars. But we would also like to try out different experiments that look for life."

The weather

Cloudy with just a bit of snow or sleet in the East with a lively wind. Some sunshine forecast, especially in Tyrol and Carinthia. Highs ranging between minus 2 and plus 4 degrees, where the sun's out up to 6.

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  • Gennie Johnson

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