Eight things you need to know right now

Police secure an area in Brussels during an anti-terror raid linked to last year's Paris attacks. Photo / AP
Police secure an area in Brussels during an anti-terror raid linked to last year's Paris attacks. Photo / AP

Your wrap of the world stories that broke overnight.

1. Armed Belgian police, with French support, have surrounded a house after one or more gunmen wounded three officers during a raid in Brussels linked to the investigation of November's Islamist attacks in Paris. Belgium's federal prosecutor said one or more people had barricaded themselves into an apartment after police had come under fire through a door when carrying out a raid.

2. The killer of a Melbourne gangland lawyer who was executed outside his ice cream parlour is still on the run. Joseph "Pino" Acquaro's body was found on a footpath in East Brunswick by a rubbish-truck driver about 2.30am local time on Tuesday. The 55-year-old was gunned down in an apparent professional hit as he walked to his car after closing the Gelobar about 12.40am, police say. Police told reporters that Acquaro appeared to have been the subject of a targeted attack.

3. US Secretary of State John Kerry says he will travel to Moscow next week to discuss Russia's withdrawal of forces from Syria and the political transition process in the war-torn country.

Kerry said he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin with an eye toward pushing peace talks forward in light of the new development, saying "we have reached a very important phase in this process". Last night, warplanes and troops stationed at Russia's air base in Syria started leaving for home after a partial pullout order from Putin.

4. Burma's Parliament elected Htin Kyaw as the country's new President in a watershed moment that ushers the longtime opposition party of Aung San Suu Kyi into government after 54 years of direct or indirect military rule. The 70-year-old Htin Kyaw, a longtime confidant of Suu Kyi, will take office on April 1 but questions remain about his position and power. Rightfully, the job belonged to Suu Kyi but a constitutional provision barred her from becoming president, and she made it clear that whoever was chosen would be her proxy.

5. Mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has claimed in court that Norway is violating his human rights by keeping him in isolation for murdering 77 people in 2011, but irritated the judge with a Nazi salute at the start of proceedings. His lawyer said Breivik considers himself a national socialist, or Nazi, and that the gesture was "the worst thing you can do in a courtroom". Breivik later suggested it was an old Norse gesture, he said. Judge Helen Andenaes Sekulic told Breivik not to repeat the salute when court proceedings resume tonight NZT.

6. Former US vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin says her husband is still in the intensive care unit of an Alaska hospital with multiple injuries, including broken bones and a collapsed lung, two days after a serious snowmobile accident. Todd Palin, 51, suffered multiple broken ribs, a broken shoulder blade and clavicle, as well as knee and leg injuries. He was back in surgery to repair several fractures, Sarah Palin said.

7. Female politicians in Italy have expressed outrage after a Rome mayoral candidate advised a challenger not to join the fray because of her pregnancy. Guido Bertolaso says possible challenger Giorgia Meloni "should be a mum" and not join the "fierce electoral campaign," which would require her to take care of "potholes and dirtiness while she nurses". Lower House Speaker Laura Boldrini called the remark "unacceptable misogyny". A former Education Minister, Maristella Gelmini, recalled an editorial in the Italian bishops' conference newspaper, Avvenire, advising her to spend more time at home after she gave birth while in office.

8. The Obama Administration said it will bar oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, a move cheered by environmentalists and consistent with the President's aggressive steps to combat climate change. The decision reverses a January 2015 proposal that would have opened up sites more than 80km off Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia to oil drilling no earlier than 2021.

- agencies

- NZ Herald

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