World News in Brief: January 28

Singapore's manpower ministry said it expects the country's jobless rate to fall to pre-pandemic levels in the months ahead as the unemployment situation continues to improve, with borders slowly reopening and retrenchments declining.

The Philippines will grant entry to visitors vaccinated against COVID-19 from Feb. 10, its government said on Friday, in an effort to boost a tourism sector decimated by the pandemic.
The Philippines will grant entry to visitors vaccinated against COVID-19 from Feb. 10, its government said on Friday, in an effort to boost a tourism sector decimated by the pandemic.

* The Kremlin said on Friday that President Vladimir Putin's talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping would mostly focus on European security and Russia's dialogue with NATO and the United States, amid heightened tensions over Ukraine.

* Russia and Cuba will continue developing their cooperation in the technical military sphere, the RIA news agency cited Moscow's ambassador in Havana as saying on Friday.

* Italy’s parliament will hold two votes per day starting on Friday for the election of the head of state, the lower house chief said.

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow did not want war with Ukraine and spoke positively about security proposals received from the United States.

* Kazakhstan's ruling Nur Otan party elected President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as its chairman on Friday, his office said in a tweet, finalising the transfer of political power from his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev.

* The Kremlin said on Friday that President Vladimir Putin was preparing to hold a meeting with German business people and that a date would be announced in due course.

* Persistently high inflation will haunt the world economy this year, according to a Reuters poll of economists who trimmed their global growth outlook on worries of slowing demand and the risk interest rates would rise faster than assumed so far.

* Germany's lower house suspended constitutional limits on new borrowing for another year and approved a supplementary budget to fund investments needed to transition the economy toward carbon neutrality. The conservatives say the funds were earmarked to support the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

* The Ukrainian central bank does not plan to impose any restrictions and has enough foreign exchange reserves to maintain a floating exchange rate policy, central bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko said on Friday in an online forum.

* Booster shots could reduce future hospitalisations in Europe by at least half a million, the EU's public health agency said.

* Pakistan's upper house of parliament put the seal on Friday on a law backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to give the central bank more independence in decision-making.

* Spain's economy expanded at its fastest pace in two decades last year but slowed down in the fourth quarter as public and private spending slipped amid soaring inflation.

* France posted its strongest growth in over five decades last year, hitting 7% as the euro zone's second-biggest economy bounced back from the COVID-19 crisis faster than expected, data showed on Friday.

* China's Walvax Biotechnology has recruited most of the 28,000 participants needed for a large clinical trial of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a senior company official said.

* Russia's daily COVID-19 cases surged to 98,040 on Friday, a new record high for the eighth consecutive day as the Omicron variant continued to spread, the government's coronavirus task force said.

* Brazil reported 228,954 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 672 COVID-19 deaths, the health ministry said.

* Australia suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic on Friday with nearly 100 deaths, but several large states said they expect hospital admissions to fall amid hopes that the latest wave would begin to subside.

* The Republic of Korea reported 16,096 new coronavirus cases for Thursday, another daily record after posting 14,518 a day before, amid the spread of the Omicron variant, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said.

* Australia's drug regulator approved the use of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for 16- and 17-year-olds as authorities urge people to get their third doses soon to mitigate the threat from the Omicron variant.

* Canadian truck drivers determined to shut down central Ottawa over a federal government vaccine mandate rolled across the country toward the capital, boosted by praise from Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk.

* Hungary will seek to increase the amount of gas supplies from Russia brokered under a new long-term agreement at talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public radio on Friday.

* Israel has signed a deal to buy 5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from Novavax, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

* Morocco will reopen its airspace for international flights starting Feb. 7, the state news agency reported.

* A United Arab Emirates medical convoy of one million COVID-19 vaccines reached the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing, state news agency WAM said.