World News in Brief: December 23

Chile plans to open an embassy in the Palestinian territories, President Gabriel Boric said late on Wednesday, which could make the Andean country one of only a handful to have an embassy-level office in the territories that are contested with Israel.
Türkiye has decided to raise the minimum wage by 55 percent from the beginning of 2023, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Thursday, as part of efforts to ease the burden of rising living costs on Turkish citizens.
Türkiye has decided to raise the minimum wage by 55 percent from the beginning of 2023, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Thursday, as part of efforts to ease the burden of rising living costs on Turkish citizens.

* Russia's ambassador to the United States on Friday compared the state of US-Russia relations to an "ice age", and said that the risk of a clash between the two countries was "high", Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.

* Japan decided Thursday to allow nuclear reactors to operate beyond their current limit of 60 years and replace aging facilities with new advanced ones, signaling a major change in the county's nuclear policy.

* India's federal government approved on Friday the use of intranasal COVID-19 vaccine iNCOVACC, officials said. The nasal vaccine, manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Ltd., will be used as a heterologous booster.

* Russian officials and a delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held a new round of consultations in Moscow on Thursday on cooperation in ensuring the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (NPP).

* A senior Russian diplomat said on Friday that talks on security guarantees for Russia cannot take place while NATO instructors and "mercenaries" remain in Ukraine, and while Western arms supplies to the country continue.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday met his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda for nearly two hours of talks during his trip home from the United States.

* The Netherlands will provide Ukraine with up to 2.5 billion euros ($2.65 billion) in aid in 2023, the Dutch government said on Friday. The money is earmarked for military assistance, work to recover critical infrastructure and to help investigations into possible war crimes, the government said.

* Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and visiting President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev have signed agreements on union (allied) relations and the demarcation of the Uzbek-Kazakh border, the Uzbek president's press service said Thursday.

* Sweden has not taken enough "concrete steps" to extradite people that Ankara sees as terrorists and freeze their assets, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday, as Sweden tries to convince Türkiye to ratify its bid to join NATO.

* Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced Thursday another 16 ministers who will make up his new government as of Jan. 1, 2023, in addition to five others named earlier.

* The chief of the Arab League said on Thursday that the Arab bloc is fully prepared to facilitate dialogue among different Lebanese parties to end the political deadlock in the country, the National News Agency reported.

* Israel's Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to annex the occupied West Bank in a coalition deal that was made public on Thursday.

* A new gas field and a new pipeline section were connected on Wednesday to Russia's Power of Siberia pipeline, indicating full completion of the major gas route.

* The European Union (EU) will have to re-examine its commitment to cut the use of fossil fuels by 30 percent and reach a target of producing 40 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2030, Charles Ellinas, an energy expert with a long international experience in hydrocarbons, said.

* Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, expanded 9.9 percent year on year to nearly 1.16 trillion yuan in the first 11 months of the year, the Ministry of Commerce said Friday.

* The US economy grew by 3.2 percent on an annualized basis in the third quarter, according to government data released Thursday.

* Pakistani President Arif Alvi has stressed the need to start more development projects in the country's southwest Balochistan province by prioritizing investment in human resource development for the prosperity of the local people, the president's office said Friday.

* Greece will increase subsidies on energy bills to 840 million euros ($892.08 million) in January to continue supporting households and businesses against soaring energy prices, Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said on Friday.

* The Republic of Korea's central bank said on Friday that it will focus on stable inflation in setting interest rates next year, indicating a further rate hike.

* The supply situation in the German retail sector has improved slightly but still remained tight, with two in three companies complaining of bottlenecks just before the important Christmas season in December, according to a survey published by the ifo Institute on Thursday.

* Sweden will enter a recession next year that is expected to last until 2025, the government said here on Thursday.

* The Slovenian government on Thursday capped electricity and gas prices for public institutions for the whole year of 2023, to ease the burden of the energy crisis on the country.

* Egypt announced on Thursday to raise the interest rate by 300 basis points to contain soaring inflation.

* Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Thursday that sweeping reforms remain vital to rescue the stricken economy, despite the modest growth this year after two straight years of severe recession.

* The population of the United States accelerated in 2022 from its slowest rate on record, driven by net international immigration, as growth began to recover from a slowdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Census Bureau said on Thursday.

* Germany's state-owned KfW Development Bank on Thursday signed a deal to loan Morocco 32 million euros (33.9 million USD) for sanitation projects in its rural communes, official news agency MAP reported.

* The UN Security Council on Thursday adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights for six months, until June 30, 2023.

* The World Bank's executive board has approved $500 million in development financing for Egypt to expand its social safety net and protection programme in the face of global economic pressures filtering through to the country's economy, the international cooperation minister said on Friday.

* The World Bank´s board of directors approved late on Thursday a $500 million project in Brazil to expand sustainability-linked finance and strengthen the private sector’s capacity to access carbon credit markets and help the country curb deforestation.

* UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths released 14 million USD from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) on Thursday, for direct assistance to 262,521 South Sudanese affected by increased violence and severe flooding.