World News in Brief: December 15

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday reiterated his commitment to strengthening multilateralism, and expressed his belief in UN's role in brokering solutions to global challenges.
The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday he hopes that COVID-19 will no longer be a global health emergency sometime next year.
The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday he hopes that COVID-19 will no longer be a global health emergency sometime next year.

* The European Union (EU) has pledged to mobilize 10 billion euros (10.6 billion USD) by 2027 to accelerate infrastructure investments in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

* Indonesia's parliament passed into law a bilateral extradition agreement with Singapore on Thursday, in a move Jakarta expects to help authorities bring to justice people accused of stashing offshore billions of dollars of state money in the city-state.

* The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a 50 million USD loan to Cambodia to support its energy transition program, the lender said in a news release on Thursday.

* A U.N. senior official on Thursday voiced optimism that there would be a breakthrough in negotiations to ease exports of Russian fertilisers.

* The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People's Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) called for solidarity and international cooperation in a final declaration at its 22nd summit in Havana, Cuba, on Wednesday.

* The Kremlin said on Thursday that President Vladimir Putin planned to sign a decree this week outlining Russia's response to the West's price cap on Russian oil exports.

* European Union member states failed to agree on a ninth package of Russia sanctions in talks late on Wednesday, diplomats said as EU leaders gathered in Brussels on Thursday for their last summit of the year.

* The Ukrainian parliament has adopted all laws needed for launching membership talks with the European Union, Parliament Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk said on Wednesday.

* Sweden said on Wednesday that security, resilience, prosperity, democratic values and the rule of law will be the priorities of the forthcoming Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).

* Lebanese caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi on Wednesday vowed to tighten security measures during the holidays of Christmas and New Year.

* The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Wednesday rejected some draft resolutions of the Israeli Knesset, or parliament, calling them a political decision to fully annex most of the West Bank territories.

* An Irish soldier was shot and killed on a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Lebanon and a second was in a critical condition after a "hostile" crowd surrounded their armoured vehicle, Ireland's defence minister said on Thursday.

* The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Wednesday adopted a resolution on the removal of Iran's membership in the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

* Peru declared a nationwide 30-day state of emergency on Wednesday in a bid to quash sometimes violent protests in various regions, Defense Minister Alberto Otarola said.

* At least 115 media workers have been killed in 29 countries around the world this year, a 45 percent increase compared to last year, the Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) said Wednesday.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday hiked interest rates to their highest point in 15 years, signaling that the central bank's battle against inflation is far from finished.

* Japan logged a 2.03 trillion yen (14.95 billion USD) trade deficit in November, a record for the month and marking the 16th straight month of red ink, amid higher energy prices and a weaker yen, the government said in a report Thursday.

* The Malaysian economy will moderate in 2023 amid challenging external conditions and slowing domestic demand, economists said.

* Indonesia recorded a trade balance surplus of 5.16 billion USD in November, the Statistics Indonesia (BPS) said on Thursday.

* Norway's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 2.75% on Thursday, as expected by economists surveyed by Reuters, and said it will likely hike again as inflation remains above its targets.

* Pakistan has signed a $475 million loan agreement for flood relief with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the country's economic affairs minister said on Thursday, taking the total for the year to $2.7 billion with the agency.

* Poland was on Thursday holding up the European Union's formal adoption of a minimum corporate tax for large companies and, by extension, also blocking a whole package of other deals, including financing for Ukraine in 2023, diplomats said.

* In 2022, the inflation in Slovenia has reached the highest level in over 20 years, standing at 10 percent year-on-year in October, up from 3.5 percent a year ago.

* The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has promised to work with Nigerian political actors and stakeholders to make sure the general elections in February 2023 are peaceful and fair.

* South Africa's annual consumer price inflation dropped to 7.4 percent in November, down from 7.6 percent in October, with food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing and utilities, transport, and miscellaneous goods and services being the main contributors, official data showed on Wednesday.

* Heavy snow hit the Republic of Korea's central regions on Thursday as heavy snow advisories were issued for the regions.

* A previously-planned spacewalk by Russian cosmonauts outside the International Space Station (ISS) was canceled for technical reasons, Russia's state space corporation Roscosmos said Thursday.

VNA, Reuters, Xinhua