World News in Brief: August 16

The UN Security Council has a joint responsibility to help Yemen take necessary and decisive steps towards peace, Hans Grundberg, the UN Special Envoy to Yemen said on Monday.

Britain, the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine in late 2020, has now also given the first green light to a variant-adapted shot that targets both the original and Omicron version of the virus.
Britain, the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine in late 2020, has now also given the first green light to a variant-adapted shot that targets both the original and Omicron version of the virus.

* Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday called for efforts in the country's economic powerhouses to take their due responsibilities in consolidating economic recovery.

* Russia and Turkey have signed a contract to ship Ankara a second batch of S-400 air defence systems, Russian state-owned news agency TASS cited the head of Russia's military cooperation service as saying on Tuesday.

* The European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell admitted recently that the EU has applied double standards on the Ukraine crisis, as opposed to the situation in Gaza.

* Finland is to reduce the availability of tourist visas to Russians to a tenth of the current numbers, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting. Under the new approach, visas granted for family reasons, work, and studies will be given priority.

* Turkish troops and US-backed Kurdish fighters exchanged heavy shellfire on Tuesday in the northern Syrian border town of Kobane, leaving one civilian dead as the conflict escalated.

* India's wholesale price index (WPI) eased to 13.93 percent in July, data released by the federal ministry of commerce and industry Tuesday showed.

* The American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday reported a decrease of 0.448 million barrels of crude oil in US inventories for the week ending Aug. 12.

* A sharp rebound in Israel's economic activity and a jump in annual inflation have made a 0.75-point interest rate increase more likely next week, analysts said on Tuesday.

* The central bank of Sri Lanka on Tuesday announced that it has withdrawn the mandatory requirement to convert service export receipts/proceeds into rupees.

* Energy-starved Bangladesh indicated on Tuesday its plan to import crude oil from Russia amid price concerns.

* Slovenia's economic growth reached 8.2 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2022, down from 9.6 percent in the previous quarter and 16.1 percent in the second quarter of the previous year, the country's statistical office said on Tuesday.

* Uganda said on Tuesday a hydropower plant representing some 15% of its electricity generating capacity had been put under an emergency shutdown due to "operational challenges", cutting the supply of power to the country's grid.

* Greenhouse gas emissions across the European Union rose in the first quarter from a year earlier, but remained just below pre-pandemic levels, the bloc's statistics office said on Tuesday.

* Nepal's economy expanded 5.84% in the financial year through mid-July, helped partly by a pickup in tourist inflows, the central bank said on Tuesday, while cautioning over inflation and pressure on foreign exchange reserves.

* Fiji is expected to receive at least 500,000 foreign tourists this year, said a Fijian official on Tuesday.

* Sri Lanka's state of emergency imposed in the middle of last month will not be extended when it lapses this week, the president's media office said on Tuesday.

* Myanmar reported the second death from COVID-19 in more than four months, bringing the death toll in the country to 19,436, according to the Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

* Nearly 14.3 million children in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, according to the latest report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association.

* Mexico has registered a five-week decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths, Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion Hugo Lopez-Gatell said Tuesday.

* Britain recorded its biggest rise in foreign workers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the year to June, driven overwhelmingly by workers from outside the European Union, official figures showed on Tuesday.

* Over 430 people have died of COVID-19 in Croatia in the last six weeks, up from 74 in the same period last year, the country's Morning Paper reported on Tuesday.

* A fiery crash between an oil tanker and a passenger bus killed at least 20 people in Pakistan, a police spokesperson and media said on Tuesday.

* Bolivia has confirmed a total of 15 monkeypox cases, all in the eastern city of Santa Cruz, Minister of Health and Sports Jeyson Auza said on Monday.