World News in Brief: May 26
Workers spray sanitizer at a commercial hub of Guwahati, India, May 25, 2021. India's COVID-19 tally crossed 27 million on Wednesday, reaching 27,157,795 with 208,921 new confirmed cases recorded in the past 24 hours, said the federal health ministry. (Str: Xinhua)
Russia is firmly committed to developing the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with China at a high level and is willing to strengthen strategic coordination between the two countries, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden will hold their first in-person meeting in Geneva on June 16, the Kremlin announced Tuesday.
* Belarus called on Wednesday for talks with the West over a plane incident that has sparked outcry and said that Minsk could restrict imports as well as cross-country transit in response to Western punitive measures, Russia's RIA news agency reported.
* Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday he reiterated Britain's commitment to a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict during a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi.
* US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Cairo on Wednesday, part of a Middle East tour aimed at shoring up a ceasefire that ended the worst fighting in years between Israel and Palestinian militants.
* West African mediators were due to meet on Wednesday with Mali's interim president and prime minister, who are both detained by the military, in a bid to resolve a political crisis that has threatened to derail a transition back to democracy.
* Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Tuesday he is not confident that the negotiations could conclude in a new round of talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but there is a possibility.
* Syria's presidential election began on Wednesday in government-controlled areas across Syria. Polling stations opened in the morning and the voting is expected to last the whole day.
* More than 546.71 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered across China as of Tuesday, the National Health Commission said Wednesday.
* More than half of all adults in the United States have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the White House said on Tuesday.
* European countries are still deciding if and when to inoculate children amid questions around safety, supply and the desperate call for more vaccines from hard-hit regions around the world.
* Brazil reported on Tuesday 2,173 more deaths from COVID-19, raising the national count to 452,031, the country's Ministry of Health said. A total of 73,453 more infections were detected, raising the nationwide tally to 16,194,209, the ministry said.
* The coronavirus infection rate in Germany has fallen below 50 per 100,000 people for the first time since October, data showed on Wednesday, and the health minister said the country can have a summer of peace from the virus if it keeps pushing it down.
* The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has reached 4,769,373 as of Tuesday evening, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Egypt are the countries with the most cases on the continent.
* Over 1.7 million people displaced due to conflict in northern Ethiopia are in need of urgent assistance, a United Nations agency said Tuesday.
* A Japanese fishing boat collided with a Russian vessel off Hokkaido prefecture, leaving three unconscious, local media reported on Wednesday.
* A total of 62 hostages including 36 security personnel have been set free after the Afghan Special Forces stormed a Taliban detention center in northern Baghlan province on Wednesday, an army statement said.
* Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his Argentine counterpart Alberto Fernandez on Tuesday affirmed their commitment to supplying Latin America with vaccines against the novel coronavirus disease, with both having contracts with international pharmaceutical firms to produce domestically.
* The Maldives will restrict movement from Wednesday to curb a surge in coronavirus infections that is putting pressure on the island's healthcare facilities, officials said.
* The number of new cases, patients and deaths in France continued on a downward trend as the gradual further unwinding of France's third nationwide lockdown showed no signs of leading to a resurgence of the pandemic.
* US airlines and agencies are preparing for increased domestic air travel this summer even as the government continues to debate whether to allow more foreign travellers to visit.
* Argentine port workers said they would hold a 48-hour strike over demands of getting vaccinated.
* Canada's pandemic hotspot Manitoba said it was planning to fly more critically ill COVID-19 patients to other provinces, as infections multiply.
* Republic of Korea has said masks will no longer be required outdoors from July for those vaccinated with at least one shot.
* The Australian state of Victoria said a fresh cluster of cases had grown to 15 in three days and that the next 24 hours were particularly critical as some of those infected had visited crowded venues.
* The US Food and Drug Administration said it may decline to review and process new emergency use authorization requests for vaccines for the rest of the pandemic.
* A total of 467 million Chinese read online literature in 2020, according to an industry report released by the China Writers Association on Wednesday.
* New Zealand's central bank left its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low in a widely expected decision on Wednesday but projected a rate hike by September next year.
* Portugal received on Tuesday over EUR2.41 billion (US$2.96 billion) from the European Union (EU)'s SURE program, a temporary support to mitigate unemployment risks in an emergency following the COVID-19 outbreak.
* The tourism industry of Switzerland lost 9 million overnight stays in the 2020 summer season, a 40 percent drop year on year, the Swiss Economic Institute (KOF) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) announced on Tuesday.
* Continuing the recovery initiated in the third quarter of 2020, international merchandise trade for the Group of Twenty (G20) reached record levels in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday. Compared with the previous quarter, exports and imports for the G20 increased by 8.0 percent and 8.1 percent respectively, said the OECD.
* China's Shenzhen Kangtai Biological Products has reached an agreement with Chilean partners to run a Phase-3 clinical trial for its vaccine in the Latin American country, state media Xinhua said.
* Chile's telecommunications ministry on Tuesday announced the installation of a new submarine cable to boost connectivity among Latin America's Pacific coast countries, with mooring points in Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Guatemala.
* The United Arab Emirates said vaccinations against will be mandatory for people attending all "live events" from June 6.
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