World News in Brief: August 3

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will start his Asian trip that will bring him to Japan, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea, said his spokesman on Tuesday.

The Republic of Korea's daily new COVID-19 cases hit the highest in 110 days, bringing the total number of infections to over 20 million, official data showed Wednesday.
The Republic of Korea's daily new COVID-19 cases hit the highest in 110 days, bringing the total number of infections to over 20 million, official data showed Wednesday.

* China on Monday assumed the rotating presidency of the Security Council for August with the priorities of facilitating dialogue and cooperation for common security and supporting Africa's capacity-building for sustaining peace.

* Italy's Democratic Party (PD) formed an alliance with a smaller centrist group on Tuesday in a move seen as boosting the centre-left's chances of preventing a right-wing triumph in an election next month.

* The Bulgarian caretaker government headed by Galab Donev took office on Tuesday, with key tasks such as organizing the parliamentary elections on Oct. 2.

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that the United States had made no approaches to resume talks on a new strategic nuclear arms reduction treaty to replace the so called 2011 "New START" deal.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday held a phone conversation with Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Jens Stoltenberg to discuss assistance for Kiev, the presidential press service reported.

* Ukraine has started a mandatory evacuation of people living in parts of eastern Donetsk, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Tuesday.

* Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday urged political parties to join him in establishing an all-party government that can lead Sri Lanka out of the economic crisis.

* Israel has approved a plan to allow Palestinian passengers to use Ramon International Airport in southern Israel, local news site Ynet reported Tuesday.

* The first grain-laden cargo ship leaving the Ukrainian port under a UN-brokered deal anchors off Istanbul on the Black Sea on Tuesday, waiting to be inspected by the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) before it resumes the voyage to Lebanon.

* OPEC+ meets on Wednesday amid market expectations for a steady or a slight increase of oil output as most of its members are already pumping near capacity and are unable to meet US calls for bigger production to help address soaring prices.

* India has increased the export tax on petroleum crude and cut the tax on jet fuel and diesel, according to a government notification on Tuesday.

* Sri Lanka will restart bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in August, its new president said on Wednesday, while calling on lawmakers to form an all-party government to resolve a crippling economic crisis.

* Yemen's warring sides agreed to renew a two-month truce expiring on Tuesday, the United Nations envoy said, despite international pressure for an extended and expanded deal that would build on the longest stretch of relative calm in over seven years.

* US job openings fell by the most in just over two years in June as demand for workers eased in the retail and wholesale trade industries, but overall the labour market remains tight, allowing the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates.

* Almost one in two companies in Germany were affected by a shortage of skilled workers, the highest level ever recorded, according to a company survey published by the Munich-based ifo Institute on Tuesday.

* The Republic of Korea's residential property prices are likely to drop by up to 2.8% in two years with a full percentage point hike in policy interest rate, according to a research paper by the central bank on Wednesday.

* New Zealand launched its first National Adaptation Plan on Wednesday, which will ensure communities have the information and support they need to prepare for the impacts of the rising seas, increasing heat and extreme weather that are predicted to come with a changing climate.

* Mainland China reported 436 new coronavirus cases for Aug. 2, of which 101 were symptomatic and 335 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Wednesday.

* India reported 17,135 new cases of COVID-19 during the past 24 hours, taking the total tally to 44,067,144 in the country, according to federal health ministry data released on Wednesday morning.

* The European Commission said it had signed a joint procurement contract with Spanish pharmaceutical firm HIPRA for the supply of its protein COVID-19 vaccine, which will be available if approved by the European Medicines Agency.

* New Zealand's unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in the June 2022 quarter, much lower than other developed countries, the statistics department Stats NZ said on Wednesday.

* More than twice as many tourists visited Spain in June than in the same month last year, spending almost three times as much during their stay, official data showed.

* More than 450 monkeypox cases have been confirmed as of Tuesday in Texas, the second most populous state in the United States, according to the state's health department.

* Türkiye has confirmed five monkeypox cases, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Tuesday.

* Japan's health ministry has approved the use of a smallpox vaccine believed to be effective against monkeypox.

* A total of 2,171 people have been infected with monkeypox in France, health minister Francois Braun said on Tuesday

* Cyprus has recorded its first case of monkeypox, the island's health ministry said on Tuesday.

* Uruguay will begin a vaccination campaign against monkeypox aimed "specifically" at those who have been exposed to the virus, Minister of Public Health Daniel Salinas said Monday.

* More than 1,400 bus drivers in north London employed by bus operator Arriva will be balloted for strike action in a dispute over pay, the Unite union said on Tuesday, in Britain's latest industrial dispute.

* Researchers from Australia's national science agency have warned warm waters are posing a major threat to the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS).

* Separatist insurgents in Pakistan's resource-rich Balochistan province said they shot down a military helicopter that went down during a flood relief operation on Monday, killing all six on board including a top army commander.