World News in Brief: December 2

Russian President Vladimir Putin is " open to negotiations " on Ukraine but the West must accept Moscow's demands, the Kremlin said on Friday, a day after US President Joe Biden said he was willing to talk if Putin were looking for a way to end the war.
French government spokesperson Olivier Veran on Thursday called on high-risk groups to get another booster shot against COVID-19 ahead of the holiday season.
French government spokesperson Olivier Veran on Thursday called on high-risk groups to get another booster shot against COVID-19 ahead of the holiday season.

* Finland has defined Brazil, India, Vietnam and Turkey as four special target countries, from which it could attract immigrants, according to the ministry of economic affairs and labor.

* Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday welcomed foreign companies to continue investing in China as he met with President of the European Council Charles Michel in Beijing.

* Venezuela's National Assembly, or Congress, on Thursday approved a second partial agreement for releasing blocked resources after a standoff that lasted over a year.

* The Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) on Thursday elected Denis Zvizdic speaker of the country's House of Representatives.

* Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua on Friday co-chaired the 26th session of the committee for regular meetings between Chinese and Russian heads of government, together with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko via video link.

* The German government is not in talks with Ukraine about the transfer or deployment of Patriot air defence systems there, said a German government spokesperson on Friday.

* The International Atomic Energy Agency hopes to reach an agreement with Russia and Ukraine to create a protection zone at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by the end of the year, the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog was quoted as saying.

* US Trade Representative Katherine Tai met Mexican Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro and stressed the need to make progress in talks over Mexico's energy measures and its fisheries-related environmental laws, the USTR office said.

* Hungary remains opposed to a global minimum corporate tax rate, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public radio on Friday, citing concern over jobs in the central European country, which has used its low-tax regime to attract investment.

* Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday condemned what he said in a Twitter post was an assassination attempt on his country's head of mission in neighbouring Afghanistan's capital Kabul.

* Cambodia's famed Angkor Archaeological Park received 225,191 foreign tourists in the first 11 months of this year, earning 9 million USD from ticket sales, the state-owned Angkor Enterprise said on Friday.

* Switzerland has frozen some 7.5 billion Swiss francs (CHF, 7.9 billion USD) in Russian assets as of Nov. 25, the country's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said on Thursday.

* Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar called on the United States on Thursday to show understanding for a possible new Turkish ground operation in northern Syria.

* The United Nations should help Lebanese authorities secure a safe return for Syrian refugees to their homeland, Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Thursday.

* The World Bank has approved 250 million USD in financing to help Bangladesh strengthen environmental management and promote private sector participation in green investment.

* More than 1,000 people need to be evacuated from a landslide-stricken town on the Italian island of Ischia where more heavy rains are expected, a government official said on Friday.

* Germany has pledged 82 million euros ($86 million) to Ghana in grants to support renewable energy and financial sector development, Ghana's finance ministry said in a statement late on Thursday.

* US employers hired more workers than expected in November and raised wages despite mounting worries of a recession, which could complicate the Federal Reserve's intention to start slowing the pace of its interest rate hikes this month.

* The Philippine central bank on Thursday underscored the resilience of the country's economy after its gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.6 percent during the third quarter of 2022.

* Colombia, Eswatini and Malawi on Thursday pitched nearly 600 million USD' worth of high-impact, investment-ready projects in sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture and digital connectivity at the 7th edition of the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Investment Fair.

* Mexico's economy will maintain a slight growth trend at the end of 2022, largely supported by the service sector, according to leading indicators from the Mexican Institute of Finance Executives (IMEF) released Thursday.

* France may go through a period of reduced power given the weather and lower production capacity of the French nuclear giant EDF, warned Xavier Piechaczyk, president of the managing board of France's electricity transmission system operator RTE, on Thursday.

* Moldova's parliament decided on Thursday to extend a state of emergency by another 60 days starting from Dec. 6.

* European health leaders on Thursday voiced their concern over a potential surge in respiratory virus infections across the region this winter, and called for better protection of the population, especially the most vulnerable.

* Cyprus' gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 5.5 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, the country's Statistical Service (Cystat) said in a statement issued on Thursday.

* The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday it has in partnership with Somalia managed to keep the HIV/Aids prevalence in the country on a steady decline from above 1 percent in 2013 to 0.10 percent in 2022.

* At least 11 extremist militants were killed in operations by Nigerian government forces in the country's northeastern region in the past two weeks, a military spokesperson said Thursday.

* Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the government is trying hard to eradicate polio from the South Asian country, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

* Uganda has discharged its last known Ebola patient from hospital, a senior health official said on Friday, raising hopes that an outbreak which has killed at least 56 people could be coming to an end.

* Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Thursday called on stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS to renew efforts aimed at preventing new infections.

* Peru entered into its fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic after an increase of infectious cases in most regions in the past three weeks, Peruvian Health Minister Kelly Portalatino said on Thursday.

* Pfizer Inc PFE.N is investing more than $2.5 billion at its drug making plants in Belgium and Ireland, gearing up to launch new products it hopes can replace lost revenue as patents expire and COVID-19 vaccine sales decline.

VNA, Reuters, Xinhua