World News in Brief: August 4

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called for taxation on windfall profits of oil and gas companies to ease the impact of the energy crisis on the most vulnerable people.

Cambodia's famed Angkor Archeological Park attracted 83,854 foreign tourists in the first seven months of 2022, up 13.5 times compared to the same period last year, said a press statement on Thursday.
Cambodia's famed Angkor Archeological Park attracted 83,854 foreign tourists in the first seven months of 2022, up 13.5 times compared to the same period last year, said a press statement on Thursday.

* China's ports posted smooth operation in July with steady throughput growths, industrial data showed Thursday.

* Cambodia has some 17.8 million internet subscribers, exceeding the country's total population of 16 million because many people have subscribed to more than one internet service, Minister of Post and Telecommunications Chea Vandeth said on Thursday.

* Azerbaijan and Armenia on Wednesday traded accusations of violating their ceasefire agreement and launching provocation in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

* France's gas reserves are 80 percent full in preparation for possible shortages this winter, the country's minister for energy transition Agnes Pannier-Runacher announced on Wednesday.

* A bill to enshrine the Australian government's new emissions reduction target in law has passed the lower house of Parliament.

* Top Iranian and US officials will resume talks in Vienna this week on reviving the 2015 nuclear pact, officials from both countries said on Wednesday, though they played down chances of a breakthrough and placed the onus on each other to compromise.

* Ukraine isto start the pullout of its peacekeepers from the NATO-led mission in Kosovo, the RBK-Ukraine news portal reported on Wednesday, citing sources from Ukraine's military command.

* The Taliban are investigating a US "claim" that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul, a Taliban official said on Thursday, indicating the group's leadership were not aware of his presence there.

* OPEC+ is set to raise its oil output goal by 100,000 barrels per day, an amount analysts said was a setback to US President Joe Biden after his trip to Saudi Arabia to ask the producer group's leader to pump more to help the United States and the global economy.

* Venezuela reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening the cooperation mechanisms of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+), Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami said Wednesday.

* Italy plans to approve on Thursday a new aid package worth around 14.3 billion euros (14.5 billion USD) to help shield firms and families from surging energy costs and consumer prices, government officials said.

* Canadian, EU and UK sanctions make delivery of a Siemens SIEGn.DE turbine to the Nord Stream 1 pipeline's Portovaya compressor station impossible, Russia's Gazprom GAZP.MM said on Wednesday.

* Asian stocks rose on Thursday, taking cues from a strong rally on Wall Street after robust economic data and upbeat corporate guidance boosted investor appetite.

* The pace of job creation is slowing in Canada, hammered by the sharp rise in interest rates, but that is yet to hold back companies from hiring as they face a tight labour market that has pushed the unemployment rate to a record low.

* Growth in Ireland's services sector accelerated for the first time in four months in July, a survey showed on Thursday, bucking the deteriorating trend seen across the euro zone as a whole and in neighbouring Britain.

* Bangladesh inflation decreased to 7.48 percent in July from 7.56 percent in June, according to the latest data.

* The Albanian central bank has raised its interest rate by 0.5 percent amid heightened inflationary pressures, Governor of the central bank Gent Sejko said on Wednesday.

* The southern Chinese city of Sanya, a tourism hotspot, imposed lockdown measures from Thursday in most parts of the city, ordering residents to reduce their trips outside to shop for daily necessities to once every two days and confining some strictly to their homes.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to ease its guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19, including in schools as soon as this week, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the plan.

* Australia's COVID-19 winter outbreak fuelled by the new Omicron sub-variants BA.4/5 may have peaked early, Health Minister Mark Butler said on Thursday, as hospitals reported a steady fall in admissions over the past week.

* New Zealand's health ministry sees strong signs that the country's latest COVID-19 wave has peaked, as new cases continue to trend lower. The number of people in hospitals with COVID is also down on late July.

* Sweden is bringing back its mask mandate in hospitals and nursing homes as surging COVID-19 infections have led to a significant rise in critical cases and deaths over the past week.

* The European Medicines Agency is recommending Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine carry a warning of the possibility of two types of heart inflammation, an added burden for a shot that has so far failed to win wide uptake.

* At least three people were missing and thousands in northern Japan were ordered to evacuate on Thursday after torrential rains pounded the area, flooding roads and causing rivers to burst their banks in some regions.

* Two-thirds of Australia's Great Barrier Reef showed the largest amount of coral cover in 36 years, but the reef remains vulnerable to increasingly frequent mass bleaching, an official long term monitoring programme reported on Thursday.

* A volcano has erupted on a mountain near Iceland's capital Reykjavik after days of rising earthquake activity in the area, the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO) said on Wednesday.

* A woman of foreign origin tested positive for Monkeypox in New Delhi on Wednesday evening, confirmed a health department official on Thursday. This is the first woman Monkeypox case in the country, overall fourth in Delhi and ninth in the country.