World news roundup: Taiwanese opposition defends ‘brave’ approach to China after controversial visit; Popes who resign are humble, Francis says on visit to central Italy and more

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Here is a summary of current global news briefs.

Taiwan opposition defends ‘brave’ approach to China after controversial visit

The leader of Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), on Sunday defended his “courageous” rapprochement with Beijing after a senior official visited China on a trip condemned by the Taipei government and which upset even some party members. Chinese military exercises near the democratically ruled island this month in response to a visit to Taipei by US President Nancy Pelosi have been widely condemned in Taiwan, including by the KMT.

Popes who resign are humble, Francis says on visit to central Italy

Pope Francis, who has often said he could step down in the future if poor health prevents him from leading the Catholic Church, praised Sunday the humility of one of the few popes in history to step down voluntarily instead of reigning for life. L’Aquila, a town in central Italy that Francis visited briefly, is the burial place of Celestine V, who resigned as pope in 1294 after just five months to resume his life as a hermit, establishing a prerogative papal.

US warships transit through Taiwan Strait, first since Pelosi’s visit

On Sunday, two US Navy warships sailed through international waters in the Taiwan Strait, the first such operation since US President Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which angered China, which considers the island as its territory. The US Navy, confirming a Reuters report, said the cruisers Chancellorsville and Antietam were conducting the ongoing operation. Such operations usually take eight to 12 hours and are closely monitored by the Chinese military.

Power cuts melt Gaza’s ice cream stocks as heatwave boosts demand

Long power cuts in the Gaza Strip have depleted ice cream stocks, forcing stores to stop selling just as a heat wave has boosted demand. With summer temperatures reaching 34 degrees Celsius (93 Fahrenheit), ice cream is a popular and relatively inexpensive treat in Gaza, home to 2.3 million people stuck in a narrow coastal strip between Israel and Egypt.

Libyan Tripoli calm after worst fighting in two years

The Libyan capital was quiet early on Sunday, a day after the worst fighting in two years left 32 dead and 159 injured as forces aligned with a parliament-backed administration failed to dislodge the Tripoli-based government.

City roads were packed with motorists, shops were open and people were cleaning up broken glass and other debris from Saturday’s violence, with burnt-out vehicles lining some streets in central Tripoli.

US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces act to end ‘brutal torture’ in IS camp

US-backed Syrian Kurdish security forces have launched a new operation targeting Islamic State sleeper cells in a large northeast detention camp where violence has reached record levels. At least 44 people including 14 women have been killed this year in al-Hol camp, which houses internal refugees and families of suspected IS fighters.

Taliban accuse Pakistan of allowing US drones to use its airspace

The Taliban’s acting defense minister said on Sunday that Pakistan had allowed US drones to use its airspace to access Afghanistan, a charge Pakistan recently denied following a US airstrike in Kabul. Acting Defense Minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob told reporters at a news conference in Kabul that US drones entered Afghanistan via Pakistan.

Angola holds funeral of ex-leader Dos Santos amid row over vote

Amid post-election tensions, Angola on Sunday held the funeral of longtime former leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who died in Spain in July but whose burial was delayed by a request for an autopsy from the family. Dos Santos died in a clinic in Barcelona on July 8 at the age of 79. His funeral took place a few days after an election which appeared to have brought his MPLA party back to power but whose results were disputed by the opposition.

Plumes of dust as India demolishes illegal skyscrapers

Indian authorities demolished two illegally built skyscrapers in a large plume of dust debris near the capital New Delhi on Sunday, leveling the tallest structures ever torn down in the country in less than 10 seconds. Crowds watching the roofs of nearby high-rise buildings collapse cheered and cheered as the 103-metre (338ft) tall towers crumbled following controlled demolition and dust enveloped the neighborhood residential.

Ukraine on edge as Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and nearby towns are bombed

Russian artillery fired at Ukrainian towns across the river from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant overnight, local officials said on Sunday, adding to residents’ anguish as reports of shelling around of the plant fueled fears of a radioactive catastrophe. Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday there had been more Ukrainian bombings of the plant in the past 24 hours, just a day after Moscow and Kyiv swapped accusations of targeting Russia’s biggest nuclear power plant. Europe, which has raised serious international concerns.

(With agency contributions.)

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