World News in Brief: January 31

The UN Security Council on Monday condemned in the strongest terms the suicide terrorist attack at a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, which left at least 90 people dead and 150 others injured.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday projected China's economy will grow by 5.2 percent in 2023, 0.8 percentage point higher than October 2022 forecast. (Source: Xinhua)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday projected China's economy will grow by 5.2 percent in 2023, 0.8 percentage point higher than October 2022 forecast. (Source: Xinhua)

* The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday raised its 2023 global growth outlook slightly due to "surprisingly resilient" demand in the United States and Europe, an easing of energy costs and the reopening of China's economy after Beijing abandoned its strict COVID-19 restrictions.

* India on Tuesday forecast its economy would grow 6% to 6.8% in the coming financial year, slower than the projected pace for 2022/23 because of likely damage to exports from a global slowdown.

* NATO will continue to strengthen its partnership with Japan amid the ongoing Ukraine conflict, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday during a visit to Japan, where he will meet with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

* Russia and Belarus have started a week-long session of staff training for the joint command of their regional grouping of forces, the Belarusian defence ministry said on Tuesday.

* China's new foreign minister Qin Gang wants to build stronger ties with Saudi Arabia and set up a China-Gulf free trade zone "as soon as possible", according to a ministry statement published late on Monday.

* The defence chiefs of the United States and the Republic of Korea vowed on Tuesday to expand military drills and boost nuclear deterrence planning to counter the nuclear threats from the Korean Peninsula.

* US President Joe Biden said on Monday that he won't approve sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

* The trade ministers of Australia and China will hold a virtual meeting next week, Australia's trade minister, Don Farrell, told broadcaster ABC in an interview on Tuesday.

* Migration was a key focus of talks between Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and European Council President Charles Michel in Roma on Monday. The leaders discussed key areas where Brussels and Rome are at odds, issues likely to be on the agenda at the upcoming Special European Council meeting.

* Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov on Monday met with new US Ambassador to Russia Lynne Tracy, who presented copies of her credentials.

* Türkiye has raised its security measures to highest level against possible Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaida retaliation on Western targets in the country, the Turkish interior ministry said Monday.

* New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next Tuesday for an in-person meeting day trip with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

* Colombia's ceasefire with four armed groups has led to significant reductions in violence during its first month, Interior Minister Alfonso Prada said on Monday, with fewer murders and attacks on armed forces.

* New Zealand's new Cabinet will be focused on "core bread and butter issues" like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Tuesday while announcing his new Cabinet lineup.

* The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved loans of $4.7 billion to Bangladesh for disbursal starting immediately, making it the first to secure such funds out of three South Asian countries that applied last year amid economic trouble.

* European coal-fuelled power generation climbed last year as countries scrambled to replace Russian gas, but the increase was smaller than feared as renewable energy helped to plug the gap, researchers said on Tuesday.

* Peru's Congress on Monday postponed a debate to bring forward elections, currently scheduled to be held in 2026. The debate, needed to pass a proposed reform to move up elections to later this year, will now be held Tuesday.

* Britain is the only Group of Seven nation to have suffered a cut to its 2023 economic growth outlook in International Monetary Fund forecasts published on Tuesday, adding to pressure on finance minister Jeremy Hunt to come up with a growth plan.

* Russia's Gazprom's gas exports to the European Union via Ukraine reached a record low of 951.4 million cubic metres in the first 30 days of January, Russian business newspaper Vedomosti reported on Tuesday, citing Gazprom figures.

* President Joe Biden's administration on Monday said it will end COVID-19 emergency declarations on May 11, nearly three years after the United States imposed sweeping pandemic measures to curb the spread of the illness.

* The Republic of Korea's prime minister suggested on Tuesday that COVID visa restrictions on travellers from China could be lifted earlier than scheduled if infections ease, as the travel and tourism sectors hope for a rebound in visitors.

* A second nationwide strike disrupted French electricity production, public transport and schools on Tuesday, as workers protested against the government's plans to make people work longer before retirement.

* Poland's plan to spend 4 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense in 2023 may be the most ambitious among all member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the country's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday.

* German retail sales unexpectedly fell in December as a Christmas shopping period weighed down by high inflation and the energy crisis revived fears of a more marked slowdown in Europe's largest economy, data showed on Tuesday.

* India is likely to produce 34 million tonnes of sugar in 2022/23, down 7% from the previous forecast, as sugar cane yields in key producing states fell due to weather conditions, a leading trade body said in a statement on Tuesday.

* Myanmar exported more than 1.35 million tons of beans and pulses in nearly 10 months of the 2022-23 fiscal year beginning in April last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday.

* British grocery inflation hit a record 16.7% in the four weeks to Jan. 22, dealing another blow to consumers battling an escalating cost-of-living crisis, industry data showed on Tuesday.

* Russia's Gazprom said it will ship 24.5 million cubic metres (mcm) of gas to Europe via Ukraine on Tuesday, a volume in line with recent days.

* Germany on Monday pledged 200 million euros ($217 million) to help Brazil defend the Amazon rainforest, a global ecosystem devastated during years of rule under former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

* Canada has renewed its number of total COVID-19 cases and deaths to 4,550,256 and 50,380 respectively, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said on Monday.

* At least 28 people, including soldiers and civilians, were killed in two attacks by armed assailants on Sunday and Monday in Burkina Faso, a regional governor and the army said in separate statements on Monday.