World news in Brief: December 16

A landslide killed at least 16 people, among them children, as they slept in their tents at a campsite in Malaysia on Friday, officials said, as search teams scoured thick mud and downed trees for more than 20 people still missing.
People traveling through major Australian airports have been warned to expect longer waiting times and possible delays, as millions are forecast to flood airports this holiday season.
People traveling through major Australian airports have been warned to expect longer waiting times and possible delays, as millions are forecast to flood airports this holiday season.

* Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the world to take action on preventing nature loss in a video message to ministers from more than 120 countries assembled in Montreal for the U.N. biodiversity summit, of which China holds the presidency.

* European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to make Bosnia and Herzegovina a formal candidate to join the bloc of 27 nations.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday urged the European Union (EU) to assist Ukraine in purchasing gas and electricity needed to run through the cold season, the presidential press service reported.

* European leaders on Thursday gave their seal of approval to the ninth package of sanctions against Russia following a summit in Brussels.

* The Venezuelan government assumed on Thursday the pro tempore presidency of the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), which will be headed by the country's Oil Minister Tareck El Aissami.

* UN Undersecretary-General Vladimir Voronkov said on Thursday that addressing the complex conditions driving terrorism requires multi-faceted and integrated responses.

* Palestine hailed a UN resolution passed by a wide margin in favor of sovereignty over its natural resources.

* Iran's foreign ministry spokesman condemned on Thursday US "interventionist" policies concerning Iranian women's rights as "hypocritical," official IRNA news agency reported.

* The East African Business Council (EABC) on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) of Nigeria to strengthen trade cooperation between east and west of Africa, the EABC said in a statement.

* Israeli settler violence and excessive use of force by Israeli forces against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have made 2022 the deadliest in this area since the United Nations started systematically documenting fatalities in 2005, a group of UN experts said Thursday.

* Sri Lankan Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said on Thursday that the South Asian country is discussing nuclear energy cooperation with Russia.

* Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif agreed to further deepen the bilateral relationship between the two countries and raise it to strategic cooperation for the mutual benefit of their peoples, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

* Fiji's military chief said his forces will not intervene over a national election that took place on Wednesday, after opposition leaders wrote to him raising concerns over vote-counting.

* The US Senate passed legislation on Thursday authorizing a record $858 billion in annual defense spending, $45 billion more than proposed by President Joe Biden, and rescinding the military's COVID vaccine mandate.

* During their visit to Hungary's southern border with Serbia on Thursday, presidents Katalin Novak of Hungary and Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia, accompanied by former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, agreed on the need to tighten the protection of borders to prevent illegal migration.

* British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met with the main political parties in Northern Ireland on Thursday in his first visit to the region since taking office in October.

* The US military announced on Thursday it will expand wartime training in Germany of Ukrainian military personnel fighting Russia's conflict with a focus on joint maneuver and combined arms operations.

* China had approved 106 major projects with a total investment of about 1.5 trillion yuan (about 214.9 billion USD) by the end of November 2022, in its bid to expand effective investment, China's top economic planner said on Friday.

* The ocean economy in the Philippines grew by 6.7 percent in 2021, posting a gross value added (GVA) of 707.80 billion pesos (roughly 12.70 billion USD) from 663.06 billion pesos (approximately 11.89 billion USD) in 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Friday.

* The European Central Bank eased the pace of its interest rate hikes on Thursday but stressed significant tightening remained ahead and laid out plans to drain cash from the financial system as part of a dogged fight against runaway inflation.

* Portugal's electricity regulator ERSE approved on Thursday an average increase of 3.3% in regulated tariffs next year to be paid by around one million households and small businesses, shielding them from soaring wholesale prices.

* Republic of Korea's monthly economic report on Friday warned of an economic slump for the seventh successive month with high inflation and sluggish export, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

* The central bank of Mexico (Banxico) raised the key interest rate once again on Thursday to counter domestic inflationary pressure and the impact of a flagging global economy.

* The Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) said on Thursday that it expects the country's economy to stagnate next year amid the ongoing energy crisis and the global economic downturn.

* The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Thursday urged Finland to increase productivity and the rate of employment to close the gap in living standards with other Nordic countries.

* The Hungarian government projected that the country's budget deficit would be 3.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2023 and that GDP would grow by 1.5 percent, Economic Development Minister Marton Nagy said here on Thursday.

* Britain's central bank, the Bank of England (BoE) on Thursday raised its benchmark interest rate, Bank Rate, by 0.5 percentage points, to 3.5 percent, the highest since October 2008, to tackle high inflation.

* Uzbekistan's Central Bank on Thursday said it has decided to keep its main interest rate unchanged at 15 percent annually as the pressure on domestic market prices continues.

* Israel's year-on-year inflation rose to 5.3 percent in November, the highest since October 2008, according to figures issued by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.

* The Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) has protested to FIFA over the performance of the Mexican referee, Cesar Arturo Ramos Palazuelos, during Wednesday's World Cup semifinal between Morocco and France.

* A SpaceX rocket was due for launch from California early on Friday carrying a US-French satellite designed to conduct the first global survey of Earth's surface waters, shedding new light on the mechanics and consequences of climate change.

* Three ministers from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's new right-wing government have publicly criticised the European Central Bank (ECB) for raising interest rates despite a looming recession in the euro zone.

* Bangladesh's first-ever metro will begin commercial operations on Dec. 28, easing gridlock in capital city Dhaka, an official said Thursday.

* Lebanon on Thursday received more than 900,000 doses of the cholera vaccine from the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Coordination Group (ICG), the United Nations Information Center in Beirut said in a statement.

* The death toll in the suspected toxic liquor consumption in the eastern Indian state of Bihar Thursday has risen to 37, state-run broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) said.

* Nine police officers were injured in an attack on a shuttle bus carrying riot police in southeastern Diyarbakir province of Türkiye on Friday, the state-run TRT broadcaster reported.

VNA, Reuters, Xinhua