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World in brief December 8 2018

PORTUGAL: A 24-hour strike at state-owned rail company Comboios de Portugal caused major disruption to services yesterday.

Workers want a pay rise, higher staffing levels and modernisation of the rolling stock.

Consecutive governments have slashed public spending since the 2011 eurozone debt crisis, triggering strikes by nurses, court clerks, teachers and now rail workers.

 

EUROPEAN UNION: Aid groups Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee say they have been forced to end refugee rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Their vessel Aquarius has been docked in the French port of Marseille since October after Panama revoked its flag.

Italian prosecutors have ordered the seizure of the ship, accusing MSF of illegally dumping 24 metric tons of medical and contaminated waste accumulated during rescues.

 

CAMBODIA: Prime Minister Hun Sen declared that his government will not allow any foreign military bases in its territory, dubbing a media report that China is seeking a naval base there “fake news.”

Hun Sen, who is on a three-day visit to Vietnam, told his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc that his country’s constitution does not permit foreign military bases.

Asia Times, which carried the report, said the supposed naval base is part of a £3 billion tourism development named Dara Sakor Beachside Resort led by a Chinese company.

 

AFGHANISTAN: Fourteen soldiers were killed during co-ordinated overnight Taliban attacks on two army outposts in western Herat, provincial council member Najibullah Mohebi confirmed yesterday.  

He said that the assault began late on Thursday in Shindand district and lasted for six hours before reinforcements arrived to repulse the insurgents, who captured 21 troops.

Shindand district head Hekmatullah Hekmat estimated that 200 Taliban fighters took part in the attack, using rocket-propelled grenade launchers and automatic machine guns.

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