World News in Brief: January 14

Ex-premier Andrej Babis held a narrowing lead in the first round of the Czech presidential election on Saturday ahead of retired general Petr Pavel, putting the two in a second round runoff in two weeks, results from over 90% of districts showed.
OPEC+ is facing "volatile prospects" in oil markets both in supply and demand, UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei told Asharq TV on Saturday.
OPEC+ is facing "volatile prospects" in oil markets both in supply and demand, UAE energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei told Asharq TV on Saturday.

* Peruvian President Dina Boluarte apologized for dozens of deaths caused in protests across the country in recent weeks, speaking to the nation in a late-night transmission on Friday.

* Turkey is running out of time to ratify NATO membership bids by Sweden and Finland before it holds elections expected in May, a Turkish presidential spokesman said on Saturday.

* The French Foreign Ministry summoned Iran's charge d'affaires in Paris on Saturday over the execution of a British-Iranian national accused of spying, the ministry said in a statement, expressing its indignation about the case.

* The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Friday that it would step up its presence in Ukraine to help prevent a nuclear accident during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

* Strong explosions rocked the Ukrainian capital on Saturday morning due to an apparent missile strike by Russian forces, authorities said. Several blasts occurred in the eastern Dniprovskiy district, and emergency crews rushed to the scene, Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on Telegram.

* Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos has ordered government agencies to step up the fight against "rampant smuggling" in the country, the presidential communications office (PCO) said Saturday.

* Cambodia is expected to attract 4.6 million air passengers in 2023 after China's optimization of its pandemic control policies on Jan. 8, a spokesman said on Saturday.

* Oil prices, boosted by improved demand outlook in China, rose on Friday, bringing both the US and the global crude benchmarks to gain more than 8 percent for the week.

* The world will need natural gas for a long time and more investment is required to ensure supply security and affordable prices during the global energy transition, the energy ministers of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates said on Saturday.

* Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly is among 36 British citizens that have been recently barred from entering Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

* US President Joe Biden will deliver his State of the Union address to the divided Congress next month, the White House said on Friday.

* Protesters pushed through police barricades as they demonstrated against Tunisian President Kais Saied's seizure of near total power in central Tunis on Saturday, the anniversary of a key date in the 2011 revolution that brought democracy.

* Russia's Gazprom GAZP.MM said it would ship 35.4 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas to Europe via Ukraine on Saturday, in line with similar levels reported in January 2023, but about 15% lower than seen on daily shipments in the final months of 2022.

* Consumer prices rose by an average of 7.1 percent in Finland in 2022, the highest increase in 40 years, Statistics Finland said on Friday.

* A total of 59,938 deaths related to COVID-19 occurred in medical institutions nationwide from Dec. 8, 2022 to Jan. 12, 2023, a Chinese health official said on Saturday.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Friday that their surveillance system flagged a possible link between the new Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine and strokes in people aged 65 and older.