* The "strengthening relationship" between the Philippines and China "can only smooth the way to a greater, deeper and stronger partnership," Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. said on Thursday. Marcos made the remarks after returning to Manila after a three-day "fruitful" state visit to China.
* Russia's defence ministry said on Friday its troops were observing a 36-hour ceasefire ordered by President Vladimir Putin to mark Orthodox Christmas, and accused Ukraine of shelling its military positions.
* Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Thursday that Kiev will agree on a ceasefire with Russia only after Russian troops are withdrawn from Ukraine.
* The US House of Representatives voted to adjourn until noon on Friday with no speaker elected on Thursday after 11 rounds of voting. US Congressman Kevin McCarthy from California, the House Republican leader, fell short of the necessary votes to take the gavel in five more rounds of voting Thursday afternoon.
* Brazil on Thursday informed member countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) of its "full and immediate" reincorporation into the regional bloc.
* Argentina will host the 7th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Foreign Affairs Ministry announced Thursday.
* Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the development of energy cooperation and the situation in Ukraine during a telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.
* Germany said on Friday it wants to deliver around 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine before the end of March, and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said Berlin could ultimately send its entire functioning fleet of the weapons.
* There is no alternative to dialogue and negotiation in resolving the Syrian chemical weapons issue, said a Chinese envoy on Thursday.
* A senior UN official on Thursday called for de-escalation of tensions following Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem.
* Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday said the Palestinians would continue to take legal measures with international legitimacy to respond to the Israeli government's violations.
* Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Thursday discussed with his Arab counterparts the latest tensions in Jerusalem after the Israeli national security minister's controversial visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
* Russia will not engage itself in monthly UN Security Council discussions over the chemical weapons issue of Syria due to the lack of substance in the topic, said a Russian envoy on Thursday.
* China released its 10th edition of the diagnosis and treatment protocol for COVID-19 on Friday. The new protocol, jointly issued by the National Health Commission and the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, changed the Chinese term for COVID-19 from "novel coronavirus pneumonia" to "novel coronavirus infection."
* The US economy maintained a strong pace of job growth in December, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.5%, but higher borrowing costs as the Federal Reserve fights inflation could see the labor market momentum slowing significantly by mid-year.
* India's government expects economic growth to slow in the financial year ending March, as pandemic-related distortions ease and pent-up demand for goods levels out going into 2023.
* Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that he might meet his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad as part of the new normalization process between the two countries.
* South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has resolved to change some of its policies to grow the economy at a faster pace and create jobs, the party's Secretary General Fikile Mbalula said Friday.
* Morocco and the European Union (EU) vowed on Thursday to deepen their strategic partnership. This came as Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita held talks with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell in the Moroccan capital of Rabat.
* Some 8 million people remain "acutely displaced" after last summer's floods in Pakistan, since waters still have not receded in some areas, the country's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva said Thursday.
* Mongolia will exempt citizens of 34 countries from visa requirements for up to 30 days until the end of 2025, as part of its efforts to promote the pandemic-hit tourism sector, the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday.
* The Moroccan navy rescued 270 Spain-bound migrants in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic from Dec. 24, 2022 to Jan. 4, official news agency MAP reported on Thursday.
* British government plans to scale back energy subsidies for businesses will see the cost of support fall by 85% during the next financial year, limiting the cost to 5 billion pounds ($6 billion), the Daily Telegraph reported on Friday.
* The struggles of France's health system will probably get worse before things improve, President Emmanuel Macron acknowledged on Friday, as he pledged to improve working conditions and hire more medical assistants for administrative tasks.
* British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Friday he was hoping for constructive talks with trade union leaders next week, as thousands of workers in industries from rail to healthcare take strike action in disputes over pay.
* Ukraine's GDP declined by a record 30.4 percent last year due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the country's Economy Ministry said Thursday, citing preliminary estimates.
* The wave of price increases in stores across Croatia following the country's adoption of the euro as its currency on Jan. 1 was "completely unjustified," Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
* The managing director of Iran's Infrastructure Communication Company said on Friday that a "massive cyberattack" on the Central Bank of Iran has been defeated, Tasnim News Agency reported.
* More than 60,000 homes and businesses were still without power in California early Friday, according to data from PowerOutage.us, after a massive Pacific storm unleashed high winds, torrential rains and heavy snow across the state.
* Health authority in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) on Friday urged local communities to stay alert to signs and symptoms of invasive bacterial infections, as related cases recently increased across the state.
* At least 22 people died from heart attacks in one single day amid cold wave conditions in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, officials said Friday.
* Insufficient rainfall has caused severe drought throughout Türkiye, especially in the highly populated western and northwestern regions, according to data released Thursday.