World News in Brief: May 15

A nationwide curfew was fully lifted on Sunday to allow Sri Lankans to celebrate the Buddhist festival of Vesak, while new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe assembled a cabinet to resolve the island nation's economic and political crisis.

Australia's peak health body has warned that coronavirus cases will continue to rise due to community complacency.
Australia's peak health body has warned that coronavirus cases will continue to rise due to community complacency.

* China's financial hub Shanghai will gradually reopen businesses such as shopping malls, vegetable markets and hair salons from Monday after weeks of closed-off management to ward off COVID-19, the city's vice mayor told a media briefing Sunday.

* Russia's ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said the country's diplomats in Washington were being threatened with violence, Tass reported.

* Finland's president and the government's foreign policy committee on Sunday took the official decision to start the process of the country's application to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

* NATO's deputy secretary general expressed confidence Turkey's concerns over Finland and Sweden joining NATO could be addressed, after Turkey said it had not shut the door to their entry.

* G7 foreign ministers vowed to reinforce Russia's economic and political isolation, continue supplying weapons to Ukraine and work to ease global food shortages stemming from the war.

* BRICS countries renewed their joint commitment to tackling climate change and explored approaches to accelerating the low-carbon transition at a meeting on Friday.

* The International Monetary Fund announced Saturday an increase in the weighting of the Chinese renminbi and USD in the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency basket after completing a quinquennial review.

* Ireland's foreign minister Simon Coveney urged British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday not to introduce new post-Brexit trade laws in the coming the days that he said could undermine the peace process in Northern Ireland.

* Incessant rainfall followed by flash floods wreaked havoc in India's northeastern state of Assam inundating low-lying areas and washing away roads, officials said Sunday. The floods hit six districts, killing three people and affecting around 25,000 people in the affected areas.

* Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Center (DMC) announced on Sunday that over 600 families have been affected by floods and landslides as the rainy weather prevails in the country.

* An 18-year-old white gunman shot 10 people to death and wounded three on Saturday at a grocery store in a Black neighborhood of upstate New York, the United States, before surrendering after what authorities called an act of "racially motivated violent extremism."

* Africa's economic recovery from the combined brunt of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis took center stage at ongoing Africa's flagship economic development conference.

* Palestine on Saturday warned of the consequences of allowing Israeli settlers to visit the compound of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the old city of Jerusalem during the "Second Jewish Passover" on Sunday.

* Iran's chief nuclear negotiator stressed on Sunday that although the Islamic republic is serious in the Vienna talks, it is determined not to trust "the enemy," according to Iran's Foreign Ministry.

* Somali parliamentarians met on Sunday in a heavily-fortified airport hangar to choose a new president in a vote required to keep foreign aid coming to the impoverished nation tortured by three decades of civil war.

* India's COVID-19 tally rose to 43,121,599 on Sunday with 2,487 new cases registered during the past 24 hours, showed the health ministry's latest data.

* Malaysia reported 2,373 new COVID-19 infections as of midnight Saturday, bringing the national total to 4,475,873, according to the health ministry.