World News in Brief: September 14

Monday, 2020-09-14 15:28:29
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Global coronavirus cases marked a record one-day increase, with many countries facing a second wave of infections.
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Japan's Suga Yoshihide, a long-time ally of outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, won a ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leadership election on Monday (September 14), paving the way for him to become prime minister in a parliamentary vote this week. Suga, 71, who served in the powerful post of chief cabinet secretary during Abe's nearly eight-year tenure, has said he will pursue his predecessor's "Abenomics" recipe of hyper-easy monetary policy, government spending and reform and follow a diplomatic line centred on the US-Japan security alliance.

* The European Union and China signed a deal on Monday to protect each other's exported food and drinks items from feta cheese to Pixian bean paste ahead of challenging discussions on bilateral issues at an online summit. China was the third-largest destination for EU agricultural and food products in 2019, worth EUR14.5 billion (US$17.2 billion).

* President Donald Trump signed a new executive order on Sunday (September 13) aimed at lowering drug prices in the United States by linking them to those of other nations and expanding the scope of a July action. The new order extends the mandate to prescription drugs available at a pharmacy, which are covered under Medicare Part D. The July version focused on drugs typically administered in doctors' offices and health clinics, covered by Medicare Part B.

* French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday the French economy was on the right track, reiterating economic growth could do better than the 11 percent contraction currently forecast for 2020. Le Maire made the comments in an interview with France 2 television.

* Turkey does not expect to face European Union sanctions over a dispute with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday, a day after a Turkish survey ship pulled out of contested waters. The EU says it fully supports member states Greece and Cyprus in their dispute with Turkey and has said it is drawing up potential sanctions if dialogue does not begin. The bloc's leaders could make a decision at a summit on Sept. 24-25.

* Bahrain's industry and trade minister and Israel's regional cooperation minister discussed trade, industry and tourism cooperation between the two countries who announced on Friday they would normalise relations, state news agency BNA said. Bahrain's Zayed bin Rashid Al Zayani and Israeli's Ofir Akunis spoke by phone. Normalization will "positively impact both countries' economies", the BNA statement said.

* Tropical depression Twenty is forecast to strengthen into a "powerful hurricane" over the central Atlantic by the latter part of the week, US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Sunday. The system is located about 1,025 miles (1,645 kilometers) west of Cape Verde Islands, packing maximum winds of 35 miles per hour (55 km/h), and is moving west-northwest, the NHC said.

* Shares of AstraZeneca rose 1% to 8,516 pence on Monday after the British drugmaker received the go-ahead from safety watchdogs over the weekend to resume clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the United Kingdom. The resumption of the trials for the vaccine, one of the most advanced in development and regarded by governments and financial markets as one of the best bets to tackle the health crisis in the months ahead, buoyed stock markets around the world.

* Amazon.com Inc on Monday said it is recruiting 100,000 more workers - the fourth hiring spree it has announced for the United States this year - to keep pace with e-commerce demand that jumped during the pandemic. The world's biggest online retailer said the positions are for full and part-time work in its home country and Canada, and these will include roles at 100 new warehouse and operations sites it is opening this month. The Seattle-based company employed 876,800 people as of June 30, excluding contractors and temporary personnel.

* China on Monday reported 10 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for Sept. 13, the same as a day earlier, the health authority said. All of the new infections were imported, the National Health Commission said in a statement. There were no new deaths. As of Sunday, mainland China had a total of 85,194 confirmed infections of the coronavirus, it said. The COVID-19 death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday reported 6,467,481 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 40,423 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 807 to 193,195.

* Mexico reported 4,408 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and 217 additional fatalities on Sunday, bringing its totals to 668,381 infections and 70,821 deaths, according to updated Health Ministry data. The government has said the real number of infected people is likely to be significantly higher than the confirmed cases

* India said it was considering granting an emergency authorisation for a COVID-19 vaccine, particularly for the elderly and people in high-risk workplaces, as the country's number of reported infections passed 4.75 million.

* Indonesia on Sunday reported its sixth consecutive day of over 3,000 new cases, just as its capital city prepares to re-impose social distancing restrictions.

* Singapore is battling new clusters of infections in migrant dormitories that had won the all-clear from authorities.

* Australia's second-most populous state, the epicentre of the country's coronavirus second wave, on Monday reported its lowest single-day rise in new infections in nearly three months.

* New Zealand will lift restrictions across the country on Sept. 21, except in its biggest city, Auckland, which is the epicentre of a second wave of infections. New Zealand on Monday reported one new case of coronavirus in the community, taking the total number of cases to 1,447 and 24 deaths.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 927 to 260,355, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday. The reported death toll rose by one to 9,350, the tally showed.

* The Czech Republic reported its biggest one-day increase in new infections for a third straight day on Sunday, recording 1,541 cases.

* Ireland plans to replace its current system of travel quarantines with the European Union's proposed coordinated system as soon as it is ready, Prime Minister Micheal Martin told RTE television on Saturday.

* Israel will enter a three-week nationwide lockdown starting on Friday after a second- wave surge of new cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

* Saudi Arabia will partially lift its suspension of international flights as of Sept. 15 to allow "exceptional categories" of citizens and residents to travel, the state news agency SPA said.

* The Czech Republic recorded 792 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, a drop after five consecutive days with more than 1,000 cases each, Health Ministry's data showed on Monday. The overall number of confirmed cases rose to 36,188 in the country of 10.7 million.

* The death toll in Turkey due to the novel coronavirus reached 7,056 on Sunday, rising by 57 people in the last 24 hours, data from the Health Ministry showed. The total number of cases in the country rose by 1,527 on Sunday, for a total of 291,162 cases, the data showed, with 258,833 people recovered from COVID-19.

Reuters