World News in Brief: December 17

The Indonesia Logistics Bureau (Bulog) received on Friday 5,000 tons of rice imported from Vietnam at the Tanjung Priok Port, the agency said. The import is part of the 200,000 tons of rice that the country has targeted to import by the end of 2022. In total, it has planned to import 500,000 tons up to February 2023.
People spend time at the seaside of the Mediterranean Sea in Sliema, Malta, on Dec. 16, 2022. The maximum temperature reached 24 degrees Celsius in Malta on Friday, the warmest December day in almost 60 years, according to the country's meteorological office. (Photo: Xinhua)
People spend time at the seaside of the Mediterranean Sea in Sliema, Malta, on Dec. 16, 2022. The maximum temperature reached 24 degrees Celsius in Malta on Friday, the warmest December day in almost 60 years, according to the country's meteorological office. (Photo: Xinhua)

* UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack against a police patrol of the UN mission in Mali on Friday, which killed two Nigerian peacekeepers and injured four others.

* China will provide a more market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment for foreign companies, and remain a promising investment destination for businesses from Germany, Australia and the rest of the world, a foreign ministry spokesperson said Friday.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday discussed prospects for practical cooperation in mutual investment, energy, agriculture, transport and logistics in a phone conversation, the Kremlin said.

* The Russian government will allocate 4.5 billion rubles (69.4 million USD) to the state-owned Russian Railways in 2023 and 2024 to expand its quantum communication network, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported on Saturday.

* Mexico and the United States aim to reach agreement in January over a dispute concerning corn, the Mexican foreign ministry said on Friday, after officials from the two countries held talks in Washington.

* Brunei launched a one-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) fiber broadband proof of concept by the telco industry, aiming to transform the country into a smart nation, local media reported on Friday.

* South Africa's governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), started its 55th national conference in Johannesburg on Friday. More than 4,000 delegates from across the country are attending the conference, which is scheduled to end on Tuesday and expected to elect the party's top leadership for the next five years.

* Peru's Congress on Friday rejected a bill to bring forward general elections from 2026 to December 2023, as protests continued across the country.

* King Abdullah II of Jordan on Friday reaffirmed that violence against the state, vandalism of public property, and violation of Jordanians' rights will be dealt with firmly.

* France has restored "normal consular activity" with Morocco following a year-long visa dispute, French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna announced Friday.

* An estimated 16,500 people took to the streets in the capital of Belgium on Friday to demand higher wages to cope with rising energy costs. They also denounced the 1996 Wage Margin Act that establishes a strict procedure to negotiate a maximum average wage increase.

* More than a quarter of the world's biodiversity will be wiped out by the year 2100 as a result of climate and land use changes, Australian researchers have found.

* Rescue teams searching for survivors from a landslide that tore though a campsite in Malaysia recovered the bodies of a woman and two children on Saturday, officials said, raising the death toll to 24.

* The death toll in the suspected toxic liquor consumption in the eastern Indian state of Bihar Saturday has risen to 81, state-run broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) said.

* The World Bank Group approved a 246 million-USD financing package to protect the coastline in Ghana, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, the group told media Friday.

* Wall Street's major averages fell on Friday as market participants remain concerned about the economic and profits landscape.

* India's trade exhibited an impressive performance during November, as the country's overall exports (merchandise and services combined) rose to 58.22 billion USD in the month, showed the data released by the federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

* Russia's central bank decided on Friday to keep its key interest rate unchanged at 7.5 percent per annum.

* The deficit of Ukraine's foreign trade in goods amounted to about 7.050 billion USD from January to October this year, more than double compared with that of the same period last year, official data showed on Thursday. Ukraine recorded trade in goods deficit of 2.691 billion dollars from January to October last year.

* The new International Monetary Fund (IMF) $3 billion financial support package for Egypt aims to reduce government debt to less than 80% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the medium term, a cabinet report released on Saturday said.

* The Finnish economy is expected to fall into a mild recession in 2023, although it will grow by 1.9 percent over the entire year of 2022, the Bank of Finland forecast on Friday.

* The Bank of Slovenia on Friday slashed its forecast for gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2023 to 0.8 percent, from a 2.4 percent forecast in June.

* Türkiye is working toward becoming a global energy hub, which sets the benchmark price of natural gas, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Friday.

* The United Nations on Friday launched the International Decade of Indigenous Languages to help them survive, and protect them from extinction.

* The UN Security Council on Friday decided to extend the mandate of the team monitoring sanctions against Taliban-linked entities in Afghanistan.

* China's meteorological authority on Saturday renewed its blue alert for a cold wave.

* Vaccine misinformation is among the biggest threats to public health, Director of the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle Walensky told NBC News in a recent interview.

* Heavy rains and flooding across West and Central Africa have killed 1,400 people and displaced another 2.9 million, UN humanitarians said on Friday.

* At least 20 people were killed and several others injured in intense clashes between Yemen's government forces and tribal fighters in the country's oil-rich province of Marib, a security official told Xinhua on Friday.

VNA, Reuters, Xinhua