World News in Brief: January 30

China's immigration authorities announced on Sunday the resumption of the issuance of port visas and the 72/144-hour visa-free transit policy for Japanese citizens.
Up to 20.6 million international tourists flocked to Mexico by air in 2022, up 46.3 percent from the previous year, the Ministry of Tourism said on Sunday.
Up to 20.6 million international tourists flocked to Mexico by air in 2022, up 46.3 percent from the previous year, the Ministry of Tourism said on Sunday.

* The preliminary turnout of Tunisia's second round of legislative elections was 11.3 percent, the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) said on Sunday.

* With the United States having decided to supply tanks to Ukraine, it makes no sense for Russia to talk to Kyiv or its Western "puppet masters", the RIA news agency quoted Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Monday.

* Russia's deputy foreign minister said in an interview published on Monday that it was "quite possible" the New START nuclear arms control treaty with the United States would end after 2026.

* Russia and United States will continue talks on prisoner exchange but it is unlikely they will end with an all-for-all swap, RIA Novosti news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Monday.

* The Palestinian Authority on Sunday condemned new Israeli punitive measures against Palestinians, mainly in East Jerusalem, saying the measures would spark further tension and violence.

* US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday during a three-day visit to the Middle East that comes during a flare-up of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged senior Palestinian and Israeli diplomats by phone on Sunday to do their utmost to avoid escalating a surge in violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, his ministry said.

* The US embassy in Turkey warned Americans on Monday of possible attacks against churches, synagogues, and diplomatic missions in Istanbul, marking its second such notice in four days, following Koran-burning incidents in Europe.

* German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a new, expanded commodities partnership with Chile on Sunday during a tour of South America that Berlin hopes will help secure more access to critical minerals key to the transition to a green economy.

* Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Türkiye may respond "differently" to Finland's NATO bid in a way that would "shock" Sweden, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

* The Iranian top banker said on Sunday that a direct connection has been established between the banks of Iran and Russia, reported the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

* The Iranian foreign minister said on Sunday that Iran and Saudi Arabia are expected to resume talks on normalizing ties soon, the official news agency IRNA reported.

* The Iranian foreign minister said on Sunday that Iran has received messages through Qatar from the parties to a 2015 nuclear deal, including the United States.

* Russia's emergencies ministry said on Monday that a pipeline leak near the Siberian city of Omsk caused an oil spill spanning 200 square metres last week.

* Turkey will hold a natural gas summit on Feb. 14-15 to bring together gas supplier countries and Europe's consumer countries, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Monday.

* The Republic of Korea's automotive export hit a fresh record high last year due to robust demand for eco-friendly vehicles, government data showed on Monday. Car shipment advanced 16.4 percent over the year to 54.1 billion USD in 2022, topping 50 billion USD for the first time, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

* New Zealand's total exports saw a growth of 14 percent to 72.2 billion NZ dollars (46.92 billion USD) in the year ended December 2022 compared with 2021, mainly driven by price inflation, the statistics department Stats NZ said on Monday.

* Russia's Gazprom GAZP.MM said it will ship 24.2 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas to Europe via Ukraine on Monday.

* The Republic of Korea on Monday scrapped a face mask mandate for most indoor public places in a major step to loosen COVID-19 rules, but many residents opted to keep wearing coverings due to lingering concerns over infections.

* South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday that the electricity crisis in the country continues to undermine economic growth and investment.

* Somali security forces killed 136 al-Shabab militants, including three senior commanders, in a special operation conducted in southern Somalia on Saturday night, a government official confirmed on Sunday.

* A 6.1-magnitude earthquake jolted Shaya County of Aksu Prefecture in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, at 7:49 a.m. Monday Beijing Time, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC).

* Mayor of New Zealand's largest city Auckland Wayne Brown warned "more dangerous" severe weather is ahead after heavy rainfalls and floods have claimed four people's lives since Friday.