The United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus on Thursday, marking a diplomatic boost for President Bashar al-Assad from a U.S.-allied Arab state that once backed rebels fighting him. “The UAE decision … came after a conviction that the next stage requires the Arab presence and communication in the Syrian file,” tweeted Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs.
A partial government shutdown caused by an impasse over Donald Trump’s proposed wall on the Mexican border will continue into 2019 after both chambers of Congress adjourned on Thursday without acting to end the closure. The president accused the Democrats on Thursday morning of “obstruction” for failing to go along with his wall idea and asserted that Democrats “know it [the wall] is really needed”.
Almost 1,000 North Korean defectors have had their personal data leaked after a computer at a South Korean resettlement center was hacked, the unification ministry said. The ministry said this is thought to be the first large-scale information leak involving North Korean defectors. The North Gyeongsang resettlement center is among 25 institutes the ministry runs to help an estimated 32,000 defectors adjust to life in South Korea.
On Thursday, Indonesia’s National Board for Disaster Management raised the warning level for Anak Krakatau to 3, the second-highest rank. It earlier appeared to be calming down following Saturday’s eruption, which caused a 3-meter (10 foot) high tsunami to sweep through the Sunda Strait, killing more than 430 people and displacing tens of thousands.
Elon Musk has asked a US judge to dismiss a lawsuit by a British diver who helped rescue a boys soccer team trapped in a Thailand cave and said Musk defamed him by calling him a pedophile and child rapist. These statements were “just imaginative attacks; even if offensive, such speculative insults are by their nature opinion and protected by the first amendment,” Musk’s lawyers said.