World News in Brief: April 10

Saturday, 2021-04-10 16:49:07
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Medical workers analyze samples collected for COVID-19 tests at a laboratory in Rabat, Morocco, on April 9, 2021. Morocco's COVID-19 tally rose to 500,948 on Friday as 625 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours. (Photo: Reuters)
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A 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted East Java, a province in west Indonesia, on Saturday, but did not potentially trigger a tsunami, the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said. The agency initially released a report that the quake had a magnitude of 6.7, but updated it to 6.1 minutes later, the agency said.

* A total of 110 business cooperation and 150 cross-border financing projects have been inked within the framework of a China-Singapore connectivity initiative, as of the end of March, according to a report released Friday.

* Western claims that Russia and China are waging a hybrid "vaccine war" or that they are exploiting vaccines as a geopolitical tool are regrettable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

* Britain was mourning Prince Philip who died on Friday but people were asked not to gather in crowds or to lay flowers at royal palaces due to distancing guidelines imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus.

* China's will likely have produced 3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the year, a National Health Commission official said on Saturday.

* The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday that Ukraine's possible accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine and cause "irreversible consequences."

* Iran will not stop parts of its current nuclear activities until the United States lifts anti-Iran sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal, commonly known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Friday.

* A senior US official said Friday that the Vienna talks over the Iran nuclear deal were productive, and hoped that Tehran would show a more constructive attitude in talks scheduled next week.

* The Council of the European Union (EU) on Friday approved additional funding of EUR121.5 million (US$144.6 million) from the bloc's budget to address urgent needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Brazil reported another 93,317 infections and 3,693 deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, raising the national tallies to 348,718 and 13,373,174, respectively, the Ministry of Health said Friday. Hospitals in 19 states and the capital Brasilia are collapsing under the weight of rising infections, as more than 90 percent of intensive care beds have been occupied.

* India reported another record number of new infections and daily deaths hit their highest in more than five months.

* Japan placed Tokyo under a new, month-long state of "quasi-emergency" to combat surging infections.

* Russia reported 8,704 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, including 2,006 in Moscow, taking the national infection tally to 4,632,688 since the start of the pandemic. The coronavirus crisis center said 402 deaths of coronavirus patients had been confirmed in the last 24 hours, which brought the overall death toll to 102,649.

* The European Commission is seeking governments' approval to launch talks with Pfizer and BioNTech to buy up to 1.8 billion doses to be delivered in 2022 and 2023, an EU official said.

* German exports rose in February, boosted by surging trade with China in a fresh sign that factories are busy in Europe's largest economy despite a sharp drop in trade with the United Kingdom after Brexit.

* Lockdown measures will be eased from Monday in six Italian regions, the health ministry ruled on Friday, even as the nationwide daily death toll remains well above 400.

* Johnson & Johnson will ship relatively few shots around the US until it receives regulatory clearance for a plant in Baltimore, a top White House Health official said.

* Brazil's Sao Paulo state will begin easing restrictions from Monday, vice governor Rodrigo Garcia said, after the country set on Thursday a daily record of 4,249 deaths.

* Europe's drug regulator said it is reviewing rare blood clots in four people in the United States who received Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine.

* The S&P 500 and the Dow notched record closing highs on Friday after solid US inflation data and an uptick in Treasury yields suggested the economic recovery from the pandemic-related recession was gaining momentum.

* Canada added far more jobs than expected in March, bringing employment to within 1.5% of pre-pandemic levels, though economists warned fresh lockdowns imposed this month would temporarily undo some gains.

* US Washington state Governor Jay Inslee on Friday updated the criteria for counties to stay in Phase 3 of the state's Healthy Washington pandemic reopening plan.

* Germany would amend its infection protection act to "regulate on a nationwide basis" what restrictions would apply when local seven-day COVID-19 incidence exceeded 100 per 100,000 citizens, deputy government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer said Friday.

* Mexico will expand vaccinations to adults over 50 at the end of April, its president said.

* Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE on Friday asked US regulators to allow the emergency use of their vaccine in adolescents aged 12 to 15.

* Chilean Health Minister Enrique Paris called for national unity on Friday after 9,171 new COVID-19 cases were registered in the last 24 hours, a record number and the first time the country exceeded 9,000 daily cases.

* Aiming to revive its tourism industry and get ahead of rival destinations, Malta plans to offer foreign visitors a handout of up to EUR200 (US$238.10) each if they stay at least three days on the Mediterranean island this summer.

* Tunisia's government will review the curfew it has brought in to slow infections, after the president and a powerful labour union said it would hit shops, cafes and restaurants in the month of Ramadan that starts next week.

* Russian spaceship Soyuz MS-18 in a scheduled flight successfully sent two Russian and one US astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, Russia's state space corporation Roscosmos said.

* Ninety-two people have been killed in insurgency and war in Afghanistan since Friday morning, an independent local war monitoring group said on Saturday.