World News in Brief: August 11

Tuesday, 2020-08-11 15:52:08
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People wearing face shields and masks are seen at a market in Manila, the Philippines on Aug. 11, 2020. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines surged to 139,538 after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,987 new daily cases on Tuesday. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has lauded Russia's efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine and is willing to participate in trials, as he welcomed a supply offer from Moscow that he expects will be free of charge. Russia expects regulatory approval for a potential COVID-19 vaccine this month and is ready to provide it to the Philippines, or team up with a local firm to mass produce it.

* Cambodia on Tuesday (August 11) confirmed 15 new imported COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 266, said a health ministry's statement. The Southeast Asian country has recorded a total of 266 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, with 220 patients cured and 46 remaining in hospital.

* Indonesia reported 1,693 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the country's total tally of infections to 128,776, data from the country's health ministry website showed. The data also showed an additional 59 deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 5,824, the highest COVID-19 death toll in Southeast Asia.

* Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) announced on Tuesday that it narrowed the gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for 2020 to "-7 to -5 percent" from "-7 to -4 percent." The ministry said that it considered the global and domestic economic environment, as well as the performance of the Singaporean economy in the first half of the year, before adjusting the GDP growth forecast.

* Chinese health authority said Tuesday that it received reports of 44 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Monday, including 31 imported cases and 13 locally-transmitted ones. No deaths related to the disease were reported Monday.

* Brazil on Monday registered 22,048 new cases of coronavirus and 703 deaths, the health ministry said. Overall, Brazil now has 3,057,470 confirmed cases, while the death toll has risen to 101,752.

* Russian registered 4,945 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, pushing its national case tally to 897,599, the fourth largest in the world. The official death toll rose to 15,131 after authorities said in their daily coronavirus report that 130 people had died in the previous 24 hours.

* Mexico's health ministry on Monday reported 5,558 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 705 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 485,836 cases and 53,003 deaths. The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

* Australia's second-most populous state reported only a small rise in new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, boosting hopes that case numbers are stabilising after a second wave forced authorities to put the city of Melbourne back into lockdown. Daily infections in Victoria peaked at 725 on Aug. 5 and have been trending lower in recent days, following the imposition of a hard lockdown in Melbourne on July 19.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 966 to 217,293, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The reported death toll rose by four to 9,201, the tally showed.

* China on Monday announced sanctions against 11 US officials with egregious records on Hong Kong affairs, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a press briefing. Zhao made the announcement in response to a request for comment on the so-called sanctions by the US government against 11 officials of the Chinese central government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government.

* US President Donald Trump said on Monday he is interested in hosting a Group of Seven summit in a "calmer atmosphere" after the November presidential election, and that he has not decided whether to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin. In May as the coronavirus pandemic was spreading, Trump postponed a G7 summit he had hoped to hold in June until September or later, and said he hoped to expand the list of invitees to include Australia, Russia, Republic of Korea and India. Trump gave no specific date and said no invitations had been sent out.

* India's agricultural ministry said on Monday that it had carried out locust control operations on 522,897 hectares of land in 10 states from April to August this year. The ministry said control operations were carried out during day and night time on Sunday at 46 places in seven districts of Rajasthan and in Kutch district of Gujarat. The ministry said drones and a Bell helicopter have been deployed. Indian Air Force also conducted trials in anti-locust operation by using a Mi-17 helicopter.

* Bhutan ordered its first nationwide lockdown on Tuesday after a returning resident tested positive for coronavirus after being discharged from quarantine and coming into close contact with people in the capital Thimphu. The case took the total in the tiny Himalayan kingdom to 113, still the lowest in South Asia, and it has yet to record a fatality.

* The number of people in employment in Britain fell by 220,000 in the three months to June, the most since 2009, as the coronavirus crisis hit the labour market, Office for National Statistics said. The unemployment rate held at 3.9% but that reflected an increase in people who had given up looking for work and who were therefore not consider to be unemployed.

* Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape is pressing ahead with plans to lift lockdown measures in the Pacific nation this week, even as a recent sharp spike in coronavirus infections worries health officials. Marape said a two-week lockdown in the capital of Port Moresby would be lifted from Wednesday, despite the country's reported cases of COVID-19 doubling over the past week. PNG had a total of 214 cases and three deaths as of Sunday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported, up from 104 cases and one death the previous week.

* A report by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released on Tuesday said the World Food Programme would be sending 50,000 tonnes of wheat flour to Beirut to stabilise Lebanon's wheat supply.

* The US Secret Service abruptly escorted President Donald Trump out of the White House press room in the middle of a briefing on Monday because of a shooting outside the White House. Trump returned to the media room several minutes later and said a person had been shot by law enforcement and taken to the hospital. He said he understood the suspect had been armed.

* German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday that he had complained to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the threat of sanctions against a German port company due to the Nord Stream 2 project. Maas said he spoke with Pompeo over phone on Sunday to complain about the decision by three US senators who threatened the German port operator Faehrhafen Sassnitz with sanctions over its support of the Russia-Germany gas pipeline project.

* A Russian Su-27 fighter jet has intercepted a US Navy P-8A and a US Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane over the Black Sea, the Russian Defense Ministry said Monday.

* At least 64 people were killed, and dozens of others were injured in heavy monsoon rain-triggered flash floods and different rain-related incidents, during the last three days in different regions of Pakistan, said a report from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Sunday evening.

* Sri Lanka is in talks with Myanmar Airways International (MAI), a private carrier based in Myanmar, to establish direct air connectivity between the two countries, local media reported on Tuesday. Ambassador-designate of Sri Lanka to Myanmar Nalin de Silva stressed the importance of cultural and historical ties between Sri Lanka and Myanmar in a meeting held with the top management of MAI.

* Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani issued a decree on Monday to pardon and release about 400 controversial Taliban inmates, the Presidential Palace confirmed. The palace tweeted that Ghani signed the decree late Monday evening for pardon of punishment of convicted Taliban prisoners, who are included in the 5,000 prisoners listed by the Taliban group. The move came one day after participants of a 3,400-member Loya Jirga, or the Grand Assembly, voted for the release of 400 hardcore Taliban inmates.

Xinhua,Reuters