China launched its first freight service to the United Kingdom on New Year's day, according to the China Railway Corporation. The service runs from the Chinese city of Yiwu, in the country's eastern Zhejiang province, to Barking in London. The journey lasts for an average of 18 days and more than 12,000 kilometers, according to a Chinese government website.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth has given an honor to a member of her staff in a private ceremony, resuming official duties as she continued to recover from a heavy cold that forced her to miss Christmas and New Year church services, a spokeswoman said.
Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a senior career diplomat as envoy to the European Union on Wednesday to replace an ambassador who quit with a scathing resignation letter that exposed frustration among officials over her strategy. . Tim Barrow, political director at the Foreign Office, will take up the post next week following the abrupt departure of Ivan Rogers, who told staff in his resignation letter they should speak the truth to those in power.
Brazil saw a record number of international tourists in 2016, boosted by the first Olympic Games held in South America, official data showed on Wednesday. A total 6.6 million international travelers visited Brazil last year, the tourism ministry said, 4.8% higher than the year before.
President-elect Donald Trump said on Wednesday he plans to nominate Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates financial markets in the U.S. Clayton currently works as a partner with the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell where he specializes in public and private mergers and has worked on several high-profile initial public offerings.
Front National leader Marine Le Pen has called for a new French currency and pledged to hold a referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union if she is elected French President later this year.
The founder of whistle blowing website WikiLeaks has said that even a teenager would have had the technical skills needed to break into the personal email inbox of John Podesta, a close aide to Hillary Clinton who was recently targeted by hackers with suspected links to Russia.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday shuffled his cabinet by naming a new economy czar to oversee the OPEC country's decaying populist system and a new oil minister to confront the economic difficulties caused by low oil prices. He also appointed a new vice-president, state governor Tarek El Aissami, a hard liner that could replace Maduro if he is forced to step down.
On Wednesday, Beijing was under a red alert for smog, the highest of four levels, and a yellow alert for fog. Other areas, particularly in northern China were still under red alert as of Wednesday for both fog and smog. The high pollution has been going on for a number of weeks, causing flight delays, and leading to traffic bans, as part of what is called smog season or airpocalypse.
The new direct flight London-Santiago de Chile inaugurated on Wednesday should help increase the number of visitors from Britain and Europe, said Chilean authorities when they received the British Airways flight at the Chilean capital airport.