United States: President Donald Trump has paid a visit to the Martin Luther King memorial in Washington on the holiday honouring the civil rights leader. Trump arrived shortly after 11am local time to pay his respects on a frigid and windy day. He was joined by Vice-President Mike Pence, who accompanied Trump in laying a wreath at the foot of the memorial statue. Trump told reporters it was a "great day" and a "beautiful day." He did not respond to questions about the government shutdown during the short appearance.

Syria: An Isis (Islamic State) suicide bomber targeted a joint convoy of US and allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria, marking the second attack against US troops in less than a week and further highlighting the dangers surrounding US plans to withdraw forces after a declaration that the extremist group had been defeated. The attack happened on a checkpoint on the edge of the town of Shaddadeh in the Hassakeh province, on a road used by local Kurdish fighters and the US-led coalition. US military Colonel Sean Ryan said there were no casualties among the coalition members.

Venezuela: Venezuela plunged deeper into turmoilas security forces put down a pre-dawn uprising by national guardsmen that triggered violent street protests and the Supreme Court outlawed the opposition-controlled congress' defiant new leadership. Socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello said 27 guardsmen were arrested. The mutiny triggered protests in a poor neighbourhood just a few kilometres from Venezuela's presidential palace. It was dispersed with tear gas.

Egypt: An Egyptian court has sentenced a TV presenter to a year in prison for interviewing a gay sex worker on his show. Mohammed el-Gheiti was found guilty of encouraging immorality over an August 2018 segment in which the guest described his profession. El-Gheiti, who can appeal the ruling, was fined around US$170 and is free pending a final verdict. The charges stem from a complaint filed by a private lawyer. Egypt has waged a crackdown on perceived homosexuality in recent years, imprisoning people on vague charges of "debauchery." Homosexuality is not a crime in Egypt, but is widely seen as taboo in the conservative, Muslim-majority country. Prostitution is illegal.


Zimbabwe: The Government intensified its crackdown on dissent by charging the leader of the country's largest labour organisation with subversion, as the courts ruled that the shutdown of the internet was illegal. Zimbabwe police arrested Japhet Moyo, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, and charged him with subversion for his role in organising last week's national strike. During the strike, some people went onto the streets to protest against the Government's drastic increase in fuel prices. The Government launched a sweeping clampdown in which 12 people were killed, according to human rights organisations. Security forces opened fire on crowd and went house to house in some neighbourhoods, beating up many men, according to witnesses. More than 600 people were arrested.

Pakistan: A Pakistani official says a bus has collided with an oil tanker, killing 13 passengers and leaving another 16 with severe burns. Local administrator Shabbir Mengal says the crash happened in the southwestern Baluchistan province bordering Iran. Witnesses say the bus was carrying fuel smuggled from Iran in plastic containers.
India: At least eight people drowned when their boat capsized in a river in southern India as they were returning home from a religious festival on a nearby island. Police officer Patil Vinayak said 18 people were rescued from the river in Karwar area in Karnataka state.

Russia: Two Tanzanian-flagged commercial vessels caught fire in the Black Sea, leaving at least 10 sailors dead, Russian officials said. Seven sailors were still missing. The Federal Agency for the Sea and River Transport said the blaze erupted while fuel was being pumped from one vessel to another. The fire spread from one ship to the other, prompting their crews to jump overboard, according to Russian news agencies.
Northern Ireland: Army bomb-disposal experts in Northern Ireland carried out a controlled explosion on a hijacked vehicle amid heightened tensions in Londonderry following a weekend explosion outside a courthouse. Police suspect Irish Republican Army dissidents were behind the explosion on Sunday in the city that took place after attackers hijacked a pizza delivery vehicle. Five men have been arrested. Even as that investigation continued, police investigated two vehicle hijackings. One of the two vehicles was later blown up.

United States: Falling temperatures replaced the weekend's falling snow as bitter cold and gusty winds swept across the eastern US. The National Weather Service had forecast that temperatures would be more than 20 degrees below normal across the Northeast, with wind gusts up to 50km/h and wind chills approaching -4C in northern New York and Vermont.

Middle East: Israel claimed responsibility for a series of airstrikes on Iranian military targets in Syria, drifting further away from its longstanding policy of playing down or covering up its military activities in the war-torn country. This policy appears to be aimed at sending a message to key players in Syria, including President Bashar al-Assad and Russia, that Iran's continued presence there risks triggering even tougher and potentially destabilising Israeli action.

Yemen: Five foreign demining specialists were killed in an accidental explosion in Yemen while transporting mines and explosives to be destroyed, their employer said. The MASAM Demining Project said the two South Africans, a Croatian, a Bosnian and a Kosovar were killed while transporting the material in the central Marib province to a remote location where it could be safely detonated. It said a British national was wounded. The project, part of the Saudi King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, began last year and seeks to remove unexploded ordnance from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been at war with Iran-aligned Houthi rebels since 2015.

- AP