World News in Brief: July 5

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, held a video conversation with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at the latter's request on Tuesday morning.

Ireland should set aside some of the budget surplus it expects to post this year to fund future pensions or to start refilling its currently empty contingency reserve fund, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday.
Ireland should set aside some of the budget surplus it expects to post this year to fund future pensions or to start refilling its currently empty contingency reserve fund, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday.

* Celebrating US Independence Day, President Joe Biden on Monday said freedoms in America were under assault and urged citizens to engage in "principled patriotism" while the country faced economic challenges and national divisions.

* The EU's plan to label investments in gas and nuclear power plants as climate-friendly faces a final vote on Wednesday when European lawmakers decide whether to accept or reject proposals that have divided governments and investors.

* The Republic of Korea's industry ministry announced on Tuesday it will increase the contribution of nuclear power in the country's power mix to 30% or more by 2030.

* NATO's 30 allies signed an accession protocol for Finland and Sweden on Tuesday to allow them to join the nuclear-armed alliance once allied parliaments ratify the decision, the most significant expansion of the alliance since the mid-1990s.

* Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid left on Tuesday for Paris for his first trip abroad after assuming office, where he is expected to ask for French intervention in Israel's escalating tensions with Lebanon's Hezbollah.

* Cyprus will hold presidential elections on Feb. 5 next year, the island's interior ministry said on Tuesday, with a runoff a week later if necessary.

* Mongolian Foreign Minister Batmunkh Battsetseg and visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed in Ulan Bator on Tuesday to further expand bilateral ties and cooperation in various fields during their talks.

* Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday said recent discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to seek economic assistance for the country had been successful.

* Thailand's consumer inflation rose to a 14-year high in June, with the central bank under mounting pressure to normalize its monetary policy, official data showed on Tuesday.

* Egypt targets real GDP growth of 5.5% in fiscal year 2022/2023, which started July 1, state news agency MENA reported on Tuesday.

* Flows of Russian gas to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline and deliveries through Ukraine edged lower on Tuesday while eastbound gas flows via the Yamal pipeline to Poland from Germany stopped, operator data showed.

* Britain's Foreign Office said on Tuesday it was now advising against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka due to the impact of the country's economic crisis.

* Heatwaves are predicted to sweep through northern China in the next two weeks, with more than 250 million people expected to grapple with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some regions.

* The Italian government on Monday declared a state of emergency related to the prolonged heatwave and drought conditions that have badly hit the country, particularly its north.

* Search for the missing in a massive landslide in India's northeastern state of Manipur entered the sixth day Tuesday as the death toll has risen to 48, officials said.

* Torrential rains kept battering Australia's east coast on Tuesday, intensifying the floods crisis in Sydney as thousands more residents were ordered to leave their homes overnight after rivers swiftly rose past danger levels.

* Turkey banned entry to all the forests of its largest city Istanbul on Tuesday until the end of July over fire concerns, according to local officials.

* The city of Shanghai (China) on Tuesday announced two new rounds of mass COVID-19 testing of most of its 25 million residents over a three-day period, citing the need to trace infections linked to an outbreak at a karaoke lounge.

* Russia will lift COVID-19 restrictions on entry into the country starting on July 15, the government's coronavirus task force said on Monday.

* The number of new COVID-19 infections in Romania nearly doubled over the last week, with a peak of 10,000 daily cases expected in mid-August, Health Minister Alexandru Rafila said on Monday.

* Fiji on Tuesday stressed the importance of bringing back many of COVID-19 safety measures as the island nation has reported more cases recently.

* Ireland expects to run an extensive vaccine drive against COVID-19 and flu ahead of a potentially worrying winter surge that could lead to the reimposition of mask wearing in certain settings, Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Tuesday.