Louvre attack: Suspect refuses to speak
PARIS • French investigators yesterday began questioning a suspect about the attack on soldiers at the Louvre museum in Paris, but the man refused to speak, a judicial source said.
The suspect, believed to be an Egyptian national named Abdallah El-Hamahmy, 29, was shot in the abdomen and seriously wounded after lunging at the soldiers with two machetes last Friday. Investigators decided to question him at his hospital bed after his condition improved, the source said.
The man "is refusing to speak to investigators for now", the source said, adding that investigators planned to question him again.
Moscow backs Syria talks under UN process
MOSCOW • Russia supports the continuation of talks on the Syrian crisis under United Nations auspices, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
In an interview published on the ministry's website yesterday, Mr Lavrov said international talks on Syria that took place in Kazakhstan's capital Astana last month were a "breakthrough step" in efforts to resolve the crisis.
The format of the Astana talks between representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups, however, should not replace the Geneva negotiations led by UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura, Mr Lavrov added.
The next round of Geneva talks have been scheduled for Feb 20, diplomats have said.
Qatar launches world's longest passenger flight
DOHA • Qatar Airways launched the world's longest scheduled commercial service with its inaugural flight from Doha to Auckland yesterday, a company spokesman said.
Flight QR920 left the Qatari capital at just after 10am Singapore time yesterday and was set to land in New Zealand at 2.30am today Singapore time.
The Boeing 777 flight will take 16hr 20min, pass over 10 time zones and five countries, and travel 14,535km before reaching Auckland.
The return flight will take 17hr 30min because of high-altitude winds, according to the company's website.
US still vetting offshore asylum seekers: Canberra
SYDNEY • Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says United States officials are continuing to interview asylum seekers on the Pacific island of Nauru, and she expects that a deal with the US to resettle the refugees will be honoured.
Ms Bishop told Australian media that the government remains "in contact with the Trump administration". She said: "Our embassy in Washington is also working with US officials and we expect that vetting process would be as tough as Australia's... in terms of health and security checks."
Under the deal agreed with the Obama administration, the US will take in more than 1,000 asylum seekers held by Australia offshore in return for Australia accepting refugees from Central America.