World News in Brief: February 8

Syria has requested assistance from the European Union, two days after a massive earthquake hit it and neighbouring Turkey , the European Commission said on Wednesday.
The Indian government Tuesday said it has received the highest ever foreign inward remittances in the fiscal year 2021-22.
The Indian government Tuesday said it has received the highest ever foreign inward remittances in the fiscal year 2021-22.

* UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, said Tuesday that it is working with national and local authorities to scale up emergency response to reach women and girls impacted by two powerful earthquakes that struck south-eastern Türkiye near the Syrian border on Monday.

* The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Tuesday expressed concerns over damage to Syrian and Turkish heritage sites, and vowed support for the two earthquake-devastated countries.

* The ruling Workers' Party of Korea of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) convened an enlarged meeting on Monday to discuss this year's military and political tasks, the country's official news agency reported Tuesday.

* The Republic of Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol urged on Wednesday a posture of readiness to respond to any possible dangers in the face of a "rapidly changing security situation".

* President Joe Biden challenged Republicans to lift the US debt ceiling and support tax policies that were friendlier to middle class Americans on Tuesday in a State of the Union speech that served as a blueprint for his 2024 re-election campaign.

* The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday extended the current martial law in the country till May 20, the government-run Ukrinform news agency reported.

* Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that European Union moves to add what he called "exemptions" to its price cap on oil products showed that Russian oil was still in demand.

* German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is flying to Paris to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and French President Emmanuel Macron, according to German government sources.

* Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Britain on Wednesday to drum up aid, winning a pledge to train Ukrainian pilots on advanced NATO fighter jets, a big symbolic step up in Western military support.

* Britain and Italy on Wednesday signed an export and investment partnership, Britain's first with a European Union member since it left the bloc, aimed at boosting the countries' bilateral trading relationship.

* Swedish police said on Wednesday recent developments with threats directed at Sweden and Swedish interests were serious and affected the country's security.

* Colombia will meet the Republic of Korea and Japan in international friendlies next month, the South American country's football federation said on Monday.

* Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday issued an order for implementing the law on Iran's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

* Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Tuesday underlined the importance of stopping foreign interference in Libya's political process.

* Egyptian foreign minister and European Union (EU) envoy discussed in Cairo on Tuesday the developments of the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the escalating violence.

* India's central banking institution, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Wednesday announced a 25 basis points hike in repo rate to 6.5 percent.

* US stocks rallied on Tuesday as Wall Street digested Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's latest comments on inflation.

* The unemployment rate in the Philippines reached 4.3 percent in December 2022, 0.1 percentage point higher than the performance in November but the second lowest since April 2005, said Wednesday the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

* Myanmar exported more than 1.18 million tons of rice in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2022-23 starting in April last year, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) on Wednesday.

* Malaysia's wholesale and Retail trade rose 19.6 percent year on year to 1.6 trillion ringgit in 2022, official data showed Wednesday.

* Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday expressed confidence that his country will recover from bankruptcy by 2026.

* Uzbekistan's foreign trade turnover increased 18.6 percent year-on-year to 50 billion USD in 2022, the country's Statistics Agency said Wednesday.

* Immigration authorities across China on Monday handled 676,000 exits and entries, hitting a record high since the COVID-19 outbreak, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) said Tuesday.

* People in Spain will no longer have to wear face masks on public transport from Feb. 8 after the decision was taken to end their obligatory use as a protection against COVID-19 during Tuesday's cabinet meeting.

* Australia will roll out a fifth dose of COVID-19 vaccine later this month to all citizens aged 18 and above who have not contracted coronavirus or been vaccinated in the past six months, Health Minister Mark Butler said on Wednesday.

* The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has reiterated its ambition of manufacturing 60 percent of the vaccine doses required on the continent by 2040.

* Pakistan's navy said on Wednesday it will host 50 countries for regular maritime exercises that are held every two years involving ships, aircraft and special operation forces from Feb. 10-14.

* An estimated 757,000 people took to the streets across France on Tuesday to demand government to drop its proposed pension reforms, the ministry of interior said on Tuesday.

* More than 8.3 million people require humanitarian assistance in Somalia where significant segments of the population are on the brink of famine, the United Nations relief agency said Wednesday.

* Unemployment is the leading factor driving people in sub-Saharan Africa to join violent extremist groups, according to a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report released Tuesday.

* Libya's "5+5" military committee of officers from both main sides of the civil war has agreed on a coordination mechanism for the withdrawal of foreign forces in liaison with neighbouring Sudan and Niger, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

* Mount Sakurajima, a volcano in southwestern Japan's Kagoshima prefecture, erupted on Wednesday, the weather agency in Tokyo said. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued a level-2 warning on its five-tier scale, and will raise it to level 3 if volcanic activity increases.

* The death toll from a massive landslide that struck southern Peru rose to at least 15 on Tuesday, according to a government tally, after dozens of homes were swallowed up by dirt and mud following heavy rainfall last weekend.