World News in Brief: February 6

Dozens of governments and international organisations have responded with offers of support after an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck central Turkey and northwest Syria. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that 45 countries had offered help with search and rescue efforts.
The death toll in a powerful earthquake in southern Turkey on Monday has risen to 1,014, with some 2,824 buildings destroyed, the head of the disaster and emergencies management agency (AFAD) Yunus Sezer said.
The death toll in a powerful earthquake in southern Turkey on Monday has risen to 1,014, with some 2,824 buildings destroyed, the head of the disaster and emergencies management agency (AFAD) Yunus Sezer said.

* US President Biden directed USAID and other federal government partners to assess response options to the most affected areas in the Turkey and Syria earthquake, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement on Sunday.

* More than 10 search and rescue teams from the EU have been mobilised in the wake of the major earthquake that has hit Turkey, a spokesperson for the European Commission told reporters on Monday.

* President Vladimir Putin offered Russian assistance on Monday to Syria and Turkey after a major earthquake of magnitude 7.8 killed more than 500 people and injured thousands in the two countries.

* Former Cypriot foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides took the lead in Cyprus' presidential election on Sunday, and will face off with Andreas Mavroyiannis, who came second, in a runoff on Feb. 12.

* China on Monday urged the United States to not escalate tension or take further action to harm China's interests in response to the shooting down of a Chinese unmanned airship that it said was civilian in nature and entered US airspace by accident.

* Iraq will discuss with Washington this week how to pay dues owed to Russian oil companies despite sanctions, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said on Monday.

* The European Union is planning for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to attend a summit of its leaders this week, the Financial Times reported on Monday citing people briefed on the plans.

* It is "time" that Sweden and Finland were accepted into the NATO military alliance, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana told a security conference in Oslo on Monday.

* The Kremlin said on Monday that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi would not meet Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Moscow this week.

* The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Sunday that Tehran had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its decision to start enriching uranium to the purity level of 60 percent at Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) in November 2022.

* OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais said on Monday the collective decision to cut output in October was the right move and added that credit should be given to the OPEC+ alliance for its constructive role in supporting global market stability.

* Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that the decisions of the Palestinian leadership will continue to be implemented, including halting security coordination with Israel.

* The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya Abdoulaye Bathily on Sunday stressed the importance of the fair distribution of the country's wealth to the Libyans.

* Japan will postpone the launch of its new flagship rocket carrying a ground monitoring satellite due to a problem with its flight system, the country's space agency announced Monday.

* China's consumption sector posted a strong recovery in early 2023, with the high-end and mid to high-end discretionary service sectors performing impressively, according to a report from Fitch Ratings.

* Laos' inflation rate climbed to 40.3 percent year-on-year in January 2023, the highest in 23 years, with a surge in energy and consumer goods prices.

* India's wheat plantings remained steady despite a rally in price of the staple to a record as farmers in a key producing central state shifted to rapeseed to take advantage of even higher prices for the oilseed, farm ministry data showed on Monday.

* Three years after the pandemic, the first tour groups from China arrived Monday in the Thai capital of Bangkok, greeted by flowers and a warm welcome from the Southeast Asian country betting on tourists' return to boost the recovery of its vital tourism sector.

* The Republic of Korea's international flights returned to about 60 percent of the pre-pandemic level in January due to growing travels to Japan and other Southeast Asian countries, the transport ministry said Monday.

* Norway's prime minister proposed on Monday that his country, a major petroleum exporter, should provide some 75 billion Norwegian crowns ($7.3 billion) in aid to Ukraine over five years.

* Bangladesh's per capita income reached 2,793 USD in the fiscal year 2021-22 (July 2021-June 2022), a 1.10 percent drop from the provisional figure of 2,824 dollars, as stated in the report by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

* Central banks of the Republic of Korea and Australia agreed to renew their bilateral currency swap deal for five more years, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said Monday.

* The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on Sunday condemned deadly violence in Kajo-Keji County in South Sudan's Central Equatoria State that left at least 27 dead and several others injured on Feb. 2.

* The Ethiopian government said that it will send 5 billion birrs (about 93 million USD) to Mekele, the capital of Ethiopia's Tigray region, as it has begun restoring banking services to the conflict-affected region.

* Iraq's Kurdish region temporarily halted on the flow of its oil through the Turkish port of Ceyhan port after a major earthquake hit Turkey and Syria, the region's ministry of natural resources said on Monday.

* Residents in the Iraqi provinces of Dohuk and Mosul and the Kurdish capital Erbil reported feeling a light tremor, state media reported on Monday, following an earthquake in Syria.

* Firefighters battled dozens of raging wildfires in Chile on Sunday, seeking to gain control of one of the country's worst natural disasters in years as the death toll rose to at least 24 with nearly 1,000 more injured.

* Heavy snowfall and plummeting temperatures shut schools and shops in the Greek capital on Monday, with many public services and businesses switching to remote working.

* About 70 percent of the Mongolian territory has been covered with snow of up to 60 cm thick, local media reported on Monday.