World News in Brief: August 18

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid had a phone conversation on Wednesday after the two countries announced a decision to mutually reinstate ambassadors for the first time since 2018.

The operator of Dubai International Airport said on Wednesday the Middle East hub could see monthly passenger traffic return to pre-pandemic levels in the latter half of next year.
The operator of Dubai International Airport said on Wednesday the Middle East hub could see monthly passenger traffic return to pre-pandemic levels in the latter half of next year.

* The United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer met with Myanmar's State Administration Council (SAC) Chairman Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin in Myanmar's capital city of Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday.

* Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded 17.3 percent year on year to 798.33 billion yuan in the first seven months of the year, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

* India's federal telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday asked telecom operators to prepare for the launch of 5G in the South Asian country.

* Vanuatu's president dissolved the Pacific island nation's parliament on Thursday, state broadcaster VBTC reported, after an attempt by some politicians to oust the prime minister.

* Three more ships with exports left Ukraine's Black Sea ports on Wednesday, a monitoring group said, bringing the number of vessels to leave Ukraine under a U.N.-brokered grain export deal to 24.

* Ukraine set up a crisis center to deal with any possible emergency situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (NPP) in southern Ukraine, the government-run Ukrinform news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the country's Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko.

* The foreign ministers of Finland and Estonia met in Helsinki on Wednesday to discuss restrictions on visas for Russian citizens.

* Angola and the European Union are set to start talks for a trade deal this year after EU and African partners approved a request from the oil-producing nation to join a regional trade bloc, according to an EU document and an official.

* The German military resumed flights to Mali on Thursday after Berlin suspended most of its operations in the West African country in a spat with local authorities over flight clearances.

* The Dutch economy grew by 2.6 percent in the second quarter, an unexpectedly strong growth from the previous three months despite soaring inflation and declining consumer confidence, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) announced on Wednesday.

* The gross domestic product (GDP) of Belarus contracted 5.2 percent during the first seven months of 2022 from the same period of 2021 in comparable prices, according to the initial estimates of the National Statistical Committee of Belarus.

* Norway's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points (bps) on Thursday, as expected by most economists and said it will likely hike again in September after inflation soared well above forecast.

* The Swedish government on Wednesday unveiled a plan to subsidize electricity bills for households and businesses to ease the pain of soaring electricity costs.

* Measures introduced by the Spanish government a week ago to save energy have already led to a 3.7 percent fall in the demand for electricity, the country's Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge Teresa Ribera said on Wednesday.

* Portugal recorded an excess mortality rate of 23.9 percent in June, almost four times the European Union's (EU) average of 6.2 percent, also the highest in the EU, the EU's statistics office Eurostat reported on Wednesday.

* The World Food Programme (WFP) said Wednesday it has received two donations worth 9 million USD to help tackle food insecurity in South Sudan amid deepening hunger.

* Two Russian astronauts ended their spacewalk earlier than planned on Wednesday as one of them had a battery issue with his spacesuit, Russia's state space corporation Roscosmos said.

* China's July air passenger traffic rebounded to 57.3% of the 2019 level, the country's aviation regulator said, as the airline industry slowly recovers from widespread COVID-19 lockdowns that paralysed travel demand.

* Russia reported 33,106 new daily coronavirus cases on Wednesday, authorities said, the highest figure since mid-March this year.

* India's daily COVID-19 caseload on Thursday increased to 12,608, officials said.

* Brazil's National Health Regulatory Agency (Anvisa) on Wednesday lifted the mandatory use of face masks in Brazilian airports and on flights, due to the current COVID-19 epidemiological situation.

* Flooding caused by heavy rainfall in the western Chinese province of Qinghai has killed 16 people, state media reported on Thursday, with an additional 36 missing.

* Local authorities in Yemen have reported 77 people killed, including children, in flooding from mid-July to mid-August that affects more than 200,000 people, UN humanitarians said on Wednesday.

* Torrential rain slammed the west and north of New Zealand's South Island for a third straight day on Thursday, forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes and triggering road and school closures and land slips.

* The number of victims of wildfires in Algeria has risen to 26 from eight reported earlier, the interior minister said. The wildfires are burning in mountainous areas east of Algeria, and the victims were from the provinces of Al Taref, and Setif.

* A blast that tore through a Kabul mosque during evening prayers on Wednesday killed 21 people, Kabul police said on Thursday.

* Ecuador has detected three new cases of monkeypox, bringing the total number of national cases to 19, Minister of Public Health Jose Ruales said Tuesday.