World News in Brief: January 29

The ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) concluded its extraordinary congress on Sunday, voicing its full support for the candidacy of incumbent Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen to run for a new five-year term in the July general election.
South Sudan, the World Bank, and two UN agencies on Saturday kicked off a COVID-19 vaccine campaign following the arrival of 3.9 million vaccine doses into the country. (Representative Image)
South Sudan, the World Bank, and two UN agencies on Saturday kicked off a COVID-19 vaccine campaign following the arrival of 3.9 million vaccine doses into the country. (Representative Image)

* The second round of the Czech presidential election concluded Saturday, with retired general Petr Pavel winning over former prime minister Andrej Babis, according to official results.

* Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party's (MDP) presidential primary election, the first time an incumbent has faced a primary challenge, according to preliminary results on Sunday.

* Tunisians on Sunday started voting in the second round of legislative elections, the Tunisian Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) said.

* British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday fired chair of the ruling Conservative Party Nadhim Zahawi from the government after an investigation into his tax affairs found "a serious breach" of the ministerial code.

* China has resumed the issuance of ordinary visas for Japanese citizens travelling to the country, the Chinese embassy in Japan said on Sunday, in a move that could ease a diplomatic row.

* Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos has approved a value-added tax refund programme for foreign tourists by 2024 to attract more visitors, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said on Sunday.

* Russia said on Sunday it will not hold annual talks with Japan on renewing a pact that allows Japanese fishermen to operate near disputed islands, saying Japan has taken anti-Russian measures.

* Ukraine imposed sanctions against 182 Russian and Belarusian companies, and three individuals, in the latest of a series of steps by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to block Moscow's and Minsk's connections to his country.

* NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived in the Republic of Korea on Sunday, the first stop on a trip that will include Japan and is aimed at strengthening ties with the US allies in the face of the conflict in Ukraine and the regional competion.

* Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said on Saturday that the country's North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) process has paused, local media reported.

* US foreign arms sales grew significantly in fiscal year 2022, according to data released by the Department of State, which attributed the increase mainly to US military support for Ukraine during the latter's conflict with Russia.

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday punitive measures against the Palestinians, including strengthening the West Bank settlements, in response to the two shooting attacks since Friday evening.

* Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police erupted in Jerusalem Saturday night in the wake of two anti-Israeli attacks in the disputed holy city.

* Palestine on Saturday blamed Israel for the current "serious" tension in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which has left dozens of people dead this month.

* A senior Iranian lawmaker said on Saturday the country's parliament has drafted a plan for retaliating in the "harshest possible way" against Europe's "meddlesome" behaviors.

* Azerbaijan will evacuate embassy staff and family members from Iran on Sunday, the foreign ministry said, two days after a gunman shot dead a security guard and wounded two other people in an attack Baku branded an "act of terrorism".

* German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday urged a swift conclusion to talks on a free trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur South American trade bloc, on the first stop in Buenos Aires of his inaugural tour of the region.

* Qatar signed an agreement with Lebanon on Sunday to join the consortium of France's TotalEnergies and Italy's ENI for oil and gas exploration in two blocks in the Lebanese territorial waters, state-owned TV channel Tele Liban reported.

* The 7th Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), which was held Tuesday in Buenos Aires, demonstrated the will of the regional countries to strengthen solidarity, promote integration, oppose foreign interference, and enhance cooperation, analysts said.

* Protesters hit the streets in some US cities following the release of footage Friday night showing a deadly police beating of an African American man.

* A total of 4,100 kilometers of new railway lines were put into operation across China in 2022, including 2,082 km of high-speed tracks, data from the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. showed.

* Tunisia can be a platform for exporting energy to Europe due to its advantage in location, Tunisian-African Business Council (TABC) President Anis Jaziri said on Saturday.

* Remittance-reliant Bangladesh witnessed a big boom in overseas employment last year amid growing demand of huge workforce particularly in the Middle East and Asian countries, a senior official said Sunday.

* China has approved two domestically developed oral medicines for COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms, the National Medical Products Administration said on Sunday.

* At least three people were killed and four others were wounded early Saturday morning in a shooting in a neighborhood in Los Angeles, reported local media, citing police.

* At least 40 people were killed and four others injured after a passenger bus fell on Sunday morning in a ditch in the Lasbela district of Pakistan's southwestern Balochistan province, government authorities said.

* At least 24 people were killed early on Saturday in a traffic accident in the northwestern Peruvian department of Piura, according to the local press.

* Heavy snowfall and chilly weather have claimed 170 lives including children and women in Afghanistan over the past three weeks, spokesman for the Ministry of Natural Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs Shafiullah Rahimi said on Sunday.

* At least two people were killed and 664 others injured in a 5.9-magnitude earthquake that jolted West Azarbaijan province in northwestern Iran on Saturday night, local media reported.

* New Zealand's death toll from heavy rain rose to four on Sunday as flash floods and landslides on the north island continued for a third day.