World News in Brief: December 30

Indonesia pledged to make ASEAN a motor of peace and stability, and also an epicenter of economic growth, said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi when meeting with her Malaysian counterpart Zambry Abdul Kadir in Jakarta on Thursday.
The Republic of Korea's headline inflation hit the highest in 24 years this year due to higher global energy prices, statistical office data showed Friday.
The Republic of Korea's headline inflation hit the highest in 24 years this year due to higher global energy prices, statistical office data showed Friday.

* The death toll has risen to 25 after a massive fire engulfed a hotel-casino in northwest Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province, officials said on Friday.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he was expecting Chinese President Xi Jinping to make a state visit to Russia in spring 2023.

* The Indian economy presents a picture of resilience amid global shocks and challenges, as the country's financial stability has been maintained and domestic financial markets have remained "stable and fully functional", the central bank has said.

* Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest-serving Israeli leader, returned to power on Thursday as the country's prime minister at the helm of an extreme-right coalition.

* Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Thursday unveiled the final 16 appointments to his 37-member cabinet in the lead-up to his inauguration on Sunday.

* Cyprus and India on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defense and military cooperation and stressed their close ties for over 60 years, the two countries said in an official statement.

* Iran held joint naval, air, and ground exercises in the Gulf on Friday near the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway, state media reported.

* U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths will visit Afghanistan in the coming weeks and seek to meet the highest possible officials within the Taliban-led administration after it banned female aid workers, a senior U.N. official said on Thursday.

* Türkiye has beefed up nationwide security measures on land and in the sea ahead of the New Year, the Interior Ministry revealed on Thursday.

* Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija Province agreed to start removing road barricades, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced to media after meeting their representatives in the town of Raska on Wednesday evening.

* Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that the next contact with the Syrian government as part of a road map for dialogue between the two countries will be between the foreign ministers.

* President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a $1.66 trillion bill funding the US government for fiscal year 2023, the White House said in a statement.

* Myanmar's exports rose by 15.09 percent year on year to 11,755.81 million USD in over eight months of the 2022-23 fiscal year beginning in April, official data showed Wednesday.

* Hungary's government has raised its 2023 budget deficit goal to 3.9% of gross domestic product from 3.5% targeted previously due to surging energy prices and the costs of shielding some households and companies from higher utility bills.

* Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has on Friday projected the crude palm oil (CPO) prices to average at 5,100 ringgit (1,157 USD) per tonne this year.

* Indonesia on Friday removed all remaining measures to control the spread of COVID-19 effective immediately, since most of the country's population already has antibodies against the disease, President Joko Widodo said.

* The Republic of Korea said on Friday it will impose mandatory COVID-19 tests on travellers from China, joining the United States, Japan and other countries in taking new border measures after Beijing's decision to lift stringent zero-COVID policies.

* The death toll from heavy rain and floods triggered by shear line in the Philippines has climbed to 44, said the government's disaster agency on Friday.

* At least 10 workers were killed and four others wounded in an attack on three vehicles near an oil field in Syria's Deir Ezzour, the oil minister told state media on Friday.

* A group of terrorists attacked a police picket in Dera Ismail Khan district of Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, injuring three policemen, a senior government official said on Friday.

* The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Thursday said an estimated 30,000 people have been displaced following skirmishes in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

* About 7 million children under five years of age have been vaccinated against polio or poliomyelitis this year in Mozambique, with at least 31 million doses of the vaccine made available, the country's largest daily paper Jornal Noticias reported Thursday.