Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter on the 120th anniversary of the discovery and research of oracle bone inscriptions.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, stressed enhancing cultural confidence and promoting exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations in the letter.
Former U.S. congressman Beto O'Rourke announced on Friday that he is dropping out of the presidential race.
"Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully," the Texas Democrat said in a statement. "My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee."
O'Rourke, 47, served in the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019.
A local from the Texan border city of El Paso, O'Rourke ran unsuccessfully for Senate in the 2018 midterm elections against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz, in a competitive campaign that had elevated the challenger's national profile.
But O'Rourke's presidential campaign, which kicked off in March with much fanfare, has recently struggled to gain traction in a crowded Democratic field, amid fundraising woes. Poll numbers have also put him well behind top-tier contenders.
O'Rourke mounted an effort in August to reboot his candidacy after a deadly mass shooting in El Paso killed 22 people by making progressive gun control measures a campaign signature but was called out by conservatives, including President Donald Trump.
O'Rourke was the latest Democratic hopeful to end a presidential campaign, leaving 17 others still in the race.
According to a RealClearPolitics average of recent polling, former Vice President Joe Biden is currently leading at 26.7 percent, trailed by Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, with 21.3 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively.
The latest New York Times-Siena College poll released on Friday showed that Warren is currently leading in Iowa, an early voting state, and is holding a slim lead over Sanders.
Biden has fallen to the fourth place behind Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who ranks third at 18 percent, according to this poll.
The Federal Police of Brazil Friday announced the launch of Operation Taint to investigate a Greek-flagged ship suspected of spilling oil along the country's northeast coast.
"The Greek-flagged ship is initially linked to a Greek company, but there is still no data on who owned the oil being shipped, which means that investigations must continue," the federal police said in a statement.
The Greek-flagged tanker docked in Venezuela for three days in mid-July before continuing its voyage to Singapore via South Africa.
The 14th Federal Court in the country's northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte issued two search warrants on the offices of a company linked to the ship's owners, the federal police said.
The oil spill was first detected in early September. Brazil has so far collected over 2,000 tons of thick sludge from its beaches in continued cleanup efforts.
The Italian government's 2020 budget plan was formally expanded Friday to include provisions for new taxes on single-use plastic packaging and sugar.
The new taxes are estimated to add 1.3 billion euros (1.45 billion U.S. dollars) to the Italian treasury, helping create incentives that will curb the use of single-use plastic packaging while reducing obesity and improving health outcomes for Italians by reducing sugar use.
The plastic tax will add one euro in fees to every kilogram of single-use plastic packaging produced. The cost will be passed on to consumers, but the supporters of the initiative say they hope it will convince producers of products to use less packaging or to package their products in bioplastics, reusable containers, or non-plastic containers.
The initiative is part of a wider European Union plan to recycle or reuse at least 10 million tons of plastic packaging per year.
Environmental and health advocacy groups push for the inclusion of the new taxes but some industry groups say the measures will hurt industrial production.
The makers of Coca-Cola soft drinks on the southern Italian island of Sicily, for example, will be hit with both taxes: for the drink itself as well as for the bottles.
Some Italian regions, led by the southern region of Apulia, have already begun the process of phasing out single-use plastic on their own.
The 2020 budget plan is expected to be finalized before the end of the year.
The UN-backed Libyan government on Friday condemned an attack on the headquarters of the Interior Ministry in south of the capital Tripoli, which is witnessing a violent war between the UN-backed government and the eastern-based army.
"The Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist bombing carried out by the air force of Haftar (eastern-based army) that targeted the headquarters of the Interior Ministry yesterday," the UN-backed government said in a statement.
"This cowardly attack is part of a series of attacks targeting civilian airports, government buildings, schools, hospitals, and residential neighborhoods that killed civilians, including women and children," the statement added.
The UN-backed government demanded the UN Mission in Libya to call the UN Security Council to "take urgent measures to stop these criminal attacks and not just issue statements of condemnation."
The eastern-based army's information office said on Thursday that its fighter jets have targeted positions of the UN-backed government forces in southern Tripoli, where the ministry is located, destroying operation chambers and weapon stores.
The eastern-based army, led by Khalifa Haftar, has been waging a vicious war against the rival UN-backed government since early April, attempting to take over the capital Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.
The armed conflicts have injured and killed thousands of people, and displaced nearly 120,000 civilians.