World briefs: ‘Serious divergence’ between Britain, EU, World News & Top Stories

‘Serious divergence’ between Britain, EU

BRUSSELS • There is “serious divergence” between Britain and the European Union on their future relationship, the bloc’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said yesterday, after the first round of talks between the two sides on a new deal after Brexit.

The differences include robust provisions on the so-called “level playing field” which guarantees fair competition between the EU and British companies after Brexit, he said.

He added that London was seeking a series of separate deals, while the bloc wanted one overarching agreement.

Mr Barnier, however, told reporters that an agreement is possible, even if it was difficult.


Ex-United Nations chief dies, aged 100

LIMA • Former United Nations chief Javier Perez de Cuellar, who was known for his peace-making efforts including brokering a ceasefire in the Iran-Iraq war, died on Wednesday in his native Peru, aged 100, his son said.

Mr Perez de Cuellar served as UN secretary-general from 1981 to 1991.

Lauded by his countrymen as one of the most illustrious Peruvians of his era, Mr Perez de Cuellar led the UN through a period marked by the fight against world hunger; the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq; as well as the civil war in US-supported El Salvador that led to UN-mediated peace talks.

“My dad died after a complicated week. He died at 8.09pm tonight and is resting in peace,” his son Francisco Perez de Cuellar told RPP radio.

Current UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was “profoundly saddened” at the passing of his predecessor.


Indonesia detains crew of five Viet fishing boats

JAKARTA • Indonesia said it has detained dozens of crew from Vietnamese boats fishing illegally in waters that were the scene of a diplomatic spat with China earlier this year.

The Maritime Ministry said five fishing boats were seized and 68 crew members detained after being intercepted on Sunday near Indonesia’s Natuna Islands, which border the South China Sea, most of which is claimed by Beijing.

Indonesia, the world’s biggest archipelago nation, has been trying to stop foreign vessels from fishing in its territory, saying it costs its economy billions of dollars annually.

In January, Indonesia deployed fighter jets and warships to patrol the Natuna Islands in a spat with Beijing over Chinese vessels entering the area.

Jakarta claims the area in the southernmost reaches of the South China Sea as its exclusive economic zone.


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