World News in Brief: January 26

World stocks edged up and the dollar was flat ahead of the outcome of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting on Wednesday, while oil rose towards recent seven-year highs on tension between Russia and Ukraine.

The Thai Government has extended the state of emergency until March 31 following the resurgence of COVID-19 outbreak. (Representative Image/Photo: Reuters)
The Thai Government has extended the state of emergency until March 31 following the resurgence of COVID-19 outbreak. (Representative Image/Photo: Reuters)

* Germany will host the main finance meeting of its presidency of the Group of Seven economic powers from May 18-20, the Rheinische Post newspaper reported on Wednesday.

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow did not want talks over Ukraine and its own security concerns to be made longer by including the European Union or the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe in them.

* Four-way talks between Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France in Paris are a strong signal towards achieving peace in eastern Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to Ukraine's president, said on arrival in Paris.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of ties between Russia's energy industry and Italy as he addressed Italian business leaders in a video-conference on Wednesday despite rising tensions over Ukraine.

* French President Emmanuel Macron said he will speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone on Friday and that he wanted clarification on Moscow's intentions over Ukraine.

* Italy's political parties will hold a third round of voting on Wednesday to elect a new head of state, but with the parties at loggerheads over a mutually acceptable candidate it is almost certain to be inconclusive.

* Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologised on Wednesday for the state's unpreparedness to deal with the impact of a severe snowstorm that brought transport in Athens to a halt and left thousands of drivers stranded on a main city motorway this week.

* Spain's sea rescue service on Wednesday picked up more than 300 migrants trying to reach the Canary Islands in rickety boats, with nine of them clinging to a semi-sunken dinghy.

* The Omicron variant appears to result in less severe COVID than seen during previous periods of high coronavirus transmission including the Delta wave, with shorter hospital stays, less need for intensive care and fewer deaths, according to a new US study.

* Beijing reported 14 local confirmed cases, the highest daily count in its current outbreak, less than two weeks before the Winter Olympic.

* Russia and Romania also reported new records in daily cases.

* Denmark aims to scrap all remaining domestic restrictions next week despite high numbers of Omicron infections in Europe.

* Austria's lockdown for people not fully vaccinated will end on Monday because the pressure on hospitals has eased, the government said.

* Poland reported a record number of new cases, with the daily count rising above 50,000 and expected to climb in coming days, deputy health minister said.

* Hungary's daily tally of new infections jumped to a record 20,174, but the number of patients treated in hospital has remained at a relatively low level.

* The Republic of Korea's daily new cases exceeded 13,000 for the first time, as the government seeks to revise its anti-virus response scheme to focus on Omicron.

* Swiss drug contract manufacturer Lonza is on track to start new production lines for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine this quarter, Lonza's chief executive said.

* Uganda wants to curb its borrowing and boost exports in sectors such as meat and dairy as the East African country lifts restrictions triggered by the pandemic, President Yoweri Museveni and government officials told Reuters.