World News in Brief: May 31

India will host a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in a virtual format in July, the external affairs ministry said on Tuesday, adding that heads of state of all members, including Russia, China and Pakistan were invited.
Myanmar has decided to extend COVID-19 preventive measures until June 30, according to the Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19.
Myanmar has decided to extend COVID-19 preventive measures until June 30, according to the Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19.

* It was "regrettable" that a possible meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese defense minister Li Shangfu did not go ahead, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

* The launch of a military reconnaissance satellite conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Wednesday suffered an accident, with the carrier rocket falling into the western waters, the country's state news agency reported.

* Latvian lawmakers at an extraordinary parliament session on Wednesday elected Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics the new president of the country.

* Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced August 23 for the country's next elections, setting a campaign season among political parties and aspiring candidates in motion.

* Leaders of the South American countries reached the Brasilia Consensus on Tuesday at the regional summit here convened by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, seeking to facilitate regional integration.

* Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez will visit Brazil on June 26, the Brazilian government announced in a statement on Tuesday, following a bilateral meeting between the Argentine leader and his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

* Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday highlighted a "sense of urgency" among South American leaders to strengthen regional integration.

* Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the leader of Spanish conservative People's Party, said on Wednesday he would reduce government debt if his party wins the snap elections held on July 23.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a phone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday, and the two discussed the further strengthening of Ukraine's defense capabilities.

* The Japanese parliament on Wednesday enacted legislation to allow nuclear reactors in the country to be operated beyond the current limit of 60 years in a push to cut carbon emissions and ensure stable electricity supplies.

* The presidents of Germany and Lithuania on Tuesday held talks on bilateral cooperation on defense, and on preparations for the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius in July.

* Sweden should become a full member of the NATO military alliance as soon as possible and before the NATO Vilnius summit in July, Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said on Wednesday.

* The United Arab Emirates withdrew from a U.S.-led Middle East maritime security coalition two months ago after evaluating its security relationships, the Gulf state said early on Wednesday.

* The Sudanese army delegation suspended on Wednesday its participation in ongoing negotiations with the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah, a senior military source said.

* The Danish government on Tuesday proposed a defense settlement worth 143 billion Danish kroner (21.7 billion USD) over the next 10 years, in an unprecedented strategic move.

* The Qatari prime minister held secret talks with the supreme leader of the Taliban this month on resolving tension with the international community, a source briefed on the meeting said, signaling a new willingness by Afghanistan's rulers to discuss ways to end their isolation.

* The chairwoman of the Dutch parliament on Wednesday called on Twitter to act to stop threats being broadcast on the social media platform against the country's lawmakers.

* The Indonesia Carbon Capture and Storage Center (ICCSC) was established on Tuesday with hopes to help push the country's agenda to become a regional hub for carbon capture storage (CCS) solution.

* Kyrgyzstan will host the second European Union-Central Asia Summit on Friday, head of the foreign policy department of the presidential administration of Kyrgyzstan Muratbek Azymbakiev said Tuesday.

* Indian mills have shipped out the entire 6.1 million tonnes of sugar allowed for exports, industry officials told Reuters, cashing in on multi-year high prices in the world market and robust demand.

* French inflation cooled more than expected in May to its lowest level in a year as energy and food price increases moderated, according to preliminary official data on Wednesday.

* U.S. holiday air passenger travel topped 2019 pre-COVID levels over the Memorial Day weekend, which typically marks the start of the busy U.S. summer air travel season, figures from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) showed on Tuesday.

* India unveiled guidelines on Wednesday requiring streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to display prominent warnings about smoking and other forms of tobacco use while airing shows with such scenes.

* Oman will establish an investment fund with capital of 2 billion Omani rials ($5.2 billion), the state news agency reported on Wednesday, citing a decree by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq al-Said.

* The population of Saudi Arabia has reached 32.2 million, 42% of whom are foreign nationals with 63% of Saudis under age 30, the country's general authority for statistics said on Wednesday.

* Italian wages have recorded some of the weakest growth in Europe over the past 25 years in real terms, the head of the central bank said on Wednesday, backing the introduction of a minimum wage to address social inequalities.

* Five members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant group were killed in an overnight explosion near Lebanon's border with Syria, security sources told Reuters on Wednesday, with the group blaming Israeli air strikes.

* The Czech parliament's upper house approved a bill on Wednesday that will set the state's minimum defence spending at 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) from next year, matching its commitment to the NATO military alliance.

* Pakistan's seafood exports surged by over 16 percent in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, starting from July 2022 to June 2023, compared to the same period of the last fiscal year, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said on Wednesday.

* Crude oil futures prices tanked on Tuesday amid uncertainties over the upcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners (OPEC+), as well as the fate of the U.S. debt ceiling deal in Congress.

* Cyprus' Energy Minister Giorgos Papanastasiou said on Wednesday that several energy companies are interested in building a natural gas pipeline between Israeli gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus.