World News in Brief: January 21

Avoiding a recession and building a solid growth agenda will be critical to preventing the fragmentation of the global economy, World Economic Forum (WEF) President Borge Brende said on Friday.
Sri Lanka has made 327 billion rupees (900 million USD) last year by exporting rubber products, the Rubber Development Department said on Saturday.
Sri Lanka has made 327 billion rupees (900 million USD) last year by exporting rubber products, the Rubber Development Department said on Saturday.

* Chris Hipkins is set to replace Jacinda Ardern as leader of the Labour party and New Zealand's prime minister after being the only candidate to be nominated for the role, the Labour Party said in a statement on Saturday.

* Group of Seven officials have agreed to review the level of the price cap on exports of Russian oil in March, later than originally planned in order to give time to assess the market after more caps are placed on oil products from Russia, the US Treasury said on Friday.

* Sri Lanka's national election commission on Saturday announced that local council polls will be held on March 9.

* Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday assessed the Ukrainian crisis as developing in an upward spiral.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday urged defense leaders attending a meeting at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany to speed up the supply of weapons to Ukraine, the presidential press service reported.

* Germany has yet to decide whether it will send German-made Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine.

* Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday that a planned visit next week by his Swedish counterpart to Ankara has been cancelled after Swedish authorities granted permission for protests in Stockholm.

* The government of Cameroon and some separatist factions in the English-speaking regions of the country have agreed to enter into a process aimed at resolving a conflict that has killed over 6,000 people, Canada's foreign ministry said.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the continuation and expansion of the Black Sea Grain Deal on exporting foodstuffs from Ukraine, Zelensky's press service reported Friday.

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that Western nations have been openly trying to restrain the development of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

* France's Ministry of the Interior said that an estimated 1.12 million French people took to the streets across the country on Thursday to protest against the government's controversial pension reform plan.

* Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and France's President Emmanuel Macron signed the first Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between their countries in Barcelona on Thursday.

* The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) warned on Friday against conducting any works or activities that could lead to tension near the Lebanese-Israeli borders, the National News Agency reported.

* At least 32 UN peacekeeping personnel were slain in deliberate attacks last year, with the Mali mission suffering the most, the UN Staff Union said Friday.

* The African Union (AU), the continent's eight regional economic blocs, and development partners, including UN agencies, ended a three-day meeting in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Thursday to review ways to boost intra-Africa trade.

* Experts have underscored the importance of meeting the goals and targets of a landmark biodiversity agreement on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2023.

* A Palestinian was killed on Saturday by Israeli soldiers after he tried to stab an Israeli security guard near the West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.

* The Burkina Faso army on Friday freed 66 women and children abducted earlier January in the Sahel region, local media has reported.

* An avalanche that hit the city of Nyingchi in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has killed 28 people. The search and rescue operation came to an end at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

* Alphabet, the parent company of search giant Google, announced on Friday mass layoffs of 12,000 roles, about 6 percent of its workforce globally.

* Mexico's economy may follow its biggest trading partner, the United States, into recession this year, with the former's trade and remittances impacted, the Bank of America (BofA) said Friday.

* Producer prices in Slovenia increased by 19.3 percent in 2022, the highest annual growth in over 20 years, the country's statistical office said on Friday.

* More than 17,000 weapons were surrendered in the first year of Australia's permanent national firearms amnesty.

* Canadian Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra on Friday announced the government's intention to support commercial space launch activities in Canada.

* Zambian security agencies said on Friday that they arrested 33 illegal immigrants suspected to be Ethiopians in the capital Lusaka.

* Health authorities in the eastern Bolivian department of Santa Cruz on Thursday declared a "red alert" for dengue fever due to an alarming rise in cases and four deaths from the disease this year.