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Russia missile launch; Athens blash; and Indonesia volcano fears: Five stories to know about today

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Russia missile launch; Athens blash; and Indonesia volcano fears: Five stories to know about today
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Reuters
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1. White House considers Huawei, ZTE ban

US President Donald Trump is reportedly considering an executive order to ban purchases of phones made by Huawei and ZTE over fears they are being used by China to spy on Americans.

The order would declare a national emergency barring US companies from buying telecommunications equipment from foreign companies deemed a significant national security risk, according to telecoms and US government sources.

It comes four months after the US administration prohibited itself from using Huawei and ZTE equipment.

Huawei and ZTE are yet to comment on the reported development.

2. Putin hails hypersonic missile launch

It is highly manoeuvrable and impossible to intercept, according to the Russian President, and will guarantee the country’s future security for decades.

Watching a live feed of its launch from the defence ministry's control room, Vladimir Putin described it as a "great success" and an "excellent New Year's gift to the nation".

The missile was announced in March alongside a raft of new weapons to be used by the Russian military.

In a bellicose speech, Putin declared it could hit almost any point in the world and even evade a US-built missile shield.

REUTERS

3. Indonesians fear returning to their homes as tsunami concerns loom

As of Thursday, all flights in Indonesia are being rerouted around the Anak Krakatau volcano between the Java and Sumatra islands as it spews columns of ash into the air.

Activity at the volcano is believed to have caused Saturday's tsunami that left more than 400 people dead.

It's feared there could be a repeat.

Authorities have imposed a five-kilometre exclusion zone around the volcano and raised its alert level to the second-highest position.

Aid agencies have been focusing on providing food, water and blankets to Indonesians affected by the tsunami. Many fear returning to their homes due with the volcano's threat level so high.

REUTERS

4. Anger in Tunisia after journalist is set alight and dies

Clashes between security forces and protesters have been spreading in Tunisia after a journalist was set alight over the country’s economic woes.

Abderrazk Zorgui, 32, reportedly set himself ablaze in the western city of Kasserine after lamenting on video his struggles on to find meaningful work in Tunisia for eight years.

His act sparked anger in the city, where protesters blocked roads and set tyres on fire, prompting a string of arrests by police.

In the video, which was shared online, Zorgui declared: “for the sons of Kasserine who have no means of subsistence, today I start a revolution”.

REUTERS

5. Explosive device wounds police officer in Athens

A police officer has been hospitalised in Athens after inspecting a suspect device outside a church on Thursday morning.

The officer was inspecting a metal box with a clock mechanism at Saint Dionysios church in the Kolonaki district when it detonated, injuring his hands and face.

Another man was also hurt in the blast, which occurred at 5 am local time, state TV ERT reported.

The improvised explosive device consisted of two containers of flammable liquid, wires and a watch, according to police sources.

The area has since been cordoned off.

As it happened on Thursday, December 27

This is how we covered key developments this morning: