World News in Brief: January 24

Cambodia has planned to upgrade its existing northern Phnom Penh-Poipet railway to become the kingdom's first high-speed rail, which is expected to cost more than 4 billion USD, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said in a news release on Tuesday.
The Lao government hopes to attract 1.4 million domestic and foreign visitors this year, which is expected to generate more than 340 million USD.
The Lao government hopes to attract 1.4 million domestic and foreign visitors this year, which is expected to generate more than 340 million USD.

* China's raw coal output posted stable expansion in December 2022, official data showed. The country produced 400 million tonnes of raw coal in December, up 2.4 percent year on year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

* Thailand's exports declined for the third month in a row in December 2022 as the economic slowdown continued to impact its trading partners, data showed Tuesday.

* Brazil's financial market raised its inflation forecast for both this year and the next, from 5.39 percent to 5.48 percent in 2023 and from 3.7 percent to 3.84 percent in 2024, the Central Bank of Brazil said Monday.

* Czech interest rates should rise further "in the short term" to tame inflation and avoid more painful hikes later, the International Monetary Fund has said in the conclusions of its 2022 report on the country.

* South Africa will host the naval forces from China and Russia during the multilateral maritime exercise scheduled to take place next month in Durban and Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, according to the country's Ministry of Defense and Military Veterans.

* Ukraine has enough coal and gas reserves for the remaining months of winter despite repeated Russian attacks on its energy system, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Tuesday.

* UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was shocked and saddened by the mass shooting in Monterey Park in the US state of California, his spokesman said on Monday.

* Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said Tuesday that Finland might have to reconsider promoting a joint, simultaneous entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO if Sweden's application is delayed much longer.

* European Union (EU) military assistance to Ukraine will be topped up by a further 500 million euros (543 million USD), foreign ministers agreed on Monday.

* Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi begins a visit to India on Wednesday where he will meet business leaders and be a guest of honour at India's Jan. 26 Republic Day.

* Russia said on Tuesday it was working hard to resolve a dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Lachin corridor, the sole road linking Armenia to the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

* Jacinda Ardern made a de facto farewell speech as New Zealand prime minister on Tuesday with the presence of her successor Chris Hipkins.

* The third and last attempt to form a new government within Bulgaria's current legislature failed on Tuesday, and the country is facing another snap election in spring.

* Tunisia will hold the second round of legislative elections on Jan. 29, the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) said on Monday.

* Turkey summoned the Netherlands ambassador in Ankara on Tuesday over a protest on Sunday in The Hague that included the tearing apart of a copy of the Muslim holy book Koran, the foreign ministry said.

* Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday warned Sweden that it should not expect Türkiye's backing to join the NATO following the burning of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.

* Iran on Tuesday strongly condemned new sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) and Britain and vowed to take retaliatory measures.

* Kuwait cabinet resigned on Monday after disputes with opposition-led parliament.

* The Iranian parliament speaker on Monday called for expanding cooperation with Russia, as both countries face "cruel" US sanctions, Iranian Students' News Agency reported.

* The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has deployed its permanent monitoring mission at Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant in western Ukraine, thus completing the establishment of its representation in the country, Ukrainian authorities said Tuesday.

* 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 displacement of Syrians has cost Lebanon more than 40 billion USD since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said on Monday.

* The Somali National Army on Monday killed 39 al-Shabab militants after heavy fighting near the central town of Harardhere, said a military official.

* Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on Monday held talks with visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on wide-ranging issues, including the debt restructuring process.

* Nigeria's emergency management agency said Monday that 662 people were killed and more than 2.4 million others were displaced by floods in different parts of the country in 2022.

* Pakistani President Arif Alvi said on Tuesday that Pakistan will make efforts to raise literacy rate in the country in compliance with the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

* Uganda will commission on Tuesday the first of its four planned oil drilling rigs and start drilling the first production well, its petroleum agency said, a key milestone as the country races to meet its target of first oil output in 2025.

* At least one person died and more than two dozen houses were damaged in a remote Nepalese district after an earthquake of magnitude 5.6 struck the Himalayan nation on Tuesday, officials said, as tremors were felt as far as India's capital New Delhi.