World News in Brief: June 23

The Philippine central bank on Thursday decided to hike the interest rate on the overnight reverse repurchase facility by 25 basis points to 2.5 percent effective Friday to curb inflation.

Aid began arriving on Thursday in a remote part of Afghanistan where an earthquake killed 1,000 people, with Taliban officials saying the rescue operation was almost complete.
Aid began arriving on Thursday in a remote part of Afghanistan where an earthquake killed 1,000 people, with Taliban officials saying the rescue operation was almost complete.

* Malaysia's leading index (LI), a predictive tool used to anticipate economic upturns and downturns in an average of four to six months ahead, eased to negative annual growth of 0.5 percent in April, from negative annual growth of 1.4 percent in March, signifying better economic recovery ahead, official data showed Thursday.

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi shortly after arriving in Tehran on an official visit, Iranian state IRIB TV reported.

* French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday night he could not ignore the deep political divisions in the country as shown by the results of the legislative elections.

* Bulgaria's coalition government led by Kiril Petkov was ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament in Sofia on Wednesday.

* The European Union is set to invest 890 million euros (940 million USD) in vaccine and drug production in Latin America and Caribbean countries, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

* Qatar's ruler will visit Egypt on Friday, his first trip to the country since Egypt and Qatar agreed last year to end a long-running regional feud, diplomatic sources said.

* Floods in India's northeastern state of Assam have affected over 5.45 million people and killed 101 people, officials said Thursday. Apart from inundating several areas, the rains have triggered landslides.

* Lebanon's Najib Mikati was named prime minister on Thursday, urging fractious politicians to set aside differences to secure an IMF deal which he said was the only chance to save the country from financial collapse.

* The three parties in Germany's ruling coalition agreed on Thursday to ratify the European Union's free trade deal with Canada, a senior Social Democrats official said on Thursday.

* Turkey and Israel have begun work on restoring their mutual diplomatic representation to ambassador level, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday as the two countries seek an end to more than a decade of strained ties.

* The European Union and Norway agreed on Thursday to cooperate to bring more gas from western Europe's biggest producer to the EU's 27 countries, nearly half of which are now grappling with cuts to Russian gas supplies.

* France aims to fill its gas storage facilities by early autumn from 59% full now, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Thursday, as reduced Russian deliveries shake up the European market.

* Romania will introduce a rebate of 0.50 lei ($0.1064) per litre of transport fuel to help drivers cope with soaring pump prices, Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca said on Thursday.

* Uganda's president has lifted a ban on a European-backed rights group, his office said, almost 18 months after he suspended the organisation and accused its funders of meddling in politics ahead of elections.

* A total of 13,313 new COVID-19 cases were recorded from across India over the past 24 hours, taking the total tally to 43,344,958, revealed the data released by the federal health ministry on Thursday.

* COVID-19 cases are again surging in Italy, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, fueling fears of a fresh wave of the pandemic during the summer tourist season.

* The United States has already delivered more than 4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years old to sites that will administer the shots, a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spokesperson said on Thursday.

* Austria is dropping compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for adults saying it is unlikely that the measure, suspended since March, would raise one of western Europe's lowest vaccination rates, Health Minister Johannes Rauch said on Thursday.

* Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are meeting on Thursday to decide on the use of Moderna Inc's MRNA.O COVID-19 vaccine for children and adolescents aged 6 to 17, after months of delay in that age group due to safety concerns.

* Bulgaria's health ministry reported the country's first confirmed cases of monkeypox virus on Thursday, saying the cases included two men who were in stable condition in Sofia hospitals.