World News in Brief: September 1

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday warned of challenges for peacekeeping operations, while calling for increased capabilities to meet global policing needs.
India's Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh on Thursday announced the launch of the country's first indigenously developed vaccine "Cervavac" for the prevention of cervical cancer.
India's Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh on Thursday announced the launch of the country's first indigenously developed vaccine "Cervavac" for the prevention of cervical cancer.

* Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev plans to call an early election in coming months and seek a second term, he told the former Soviet republic's parliament in an annual address.

* The US-based credit rating agency Moody's on Thursday slashed India's economic growth projection for the year 2022 to 7.7 percent, from its earlier estimate of 8.8 percent.

* Malaysia's retail industry recorded an all-time high growth rate of 62.5 percent in retail sales in the second quarter, as compared to the same period in 2021, said Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) on Thursday.

* Indonesia's inflation was lower in August as prices of some foods fell, but the authorities remain wary of uncertainties in global supply chains.

* A team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has reached the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (NPP) in southern Ukraine, the country's state-run nuclear energy operator Energoatom said Thursday.

* Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has recently said his country's cooperation with members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is "very important."

* Two Palestinians were killed in separate incidents in the West Bank on Thursday, with one of them shot by Palestinian gunmen apparently after being misidentified following an Israeli security operation, local authorities said.

* The Italian government is preparing a new multi-billion euro package to help shield firms and families from surging energy costs and rising consumer prices, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Thursday.

* Finland on Thursday slashed value-added tax on electricity to 10% from 24% over the winter and said it would pay more subsidies to those struggling with rising bills and inflation, as Europe struggles with soaring electricity costs.

* Manufacturing activity across the euro zone declined again last month as consumers feeling the pinch from a deepening cost of living crisis cut spending, a survey showed on Thursday, providing more evidence of the growing risk of recession.

* Outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that Britain will invest 700 million pounds (809.13 million USD) in EDF's EDF.PA planned Sizewell C nuclear plant, his last major policy announcement before stepping down from the role next week.

* Romania's government will extend a support scheme to shield households and small businesses from soaring energy bills until end-August 2023, and will apply a solidarity tax across the energy supply chain, a draft decree showed on Thursday.

* The Spanish government will cut value-added tax (VAT) on gas to 5% from 21% from October to reduce the impact of rising gas prices on household utility bills, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday.

* Cyprus reported a 5.8 percent year-on-year growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) during the second quarter of this year, the country's statistical service Cystat said in a statement on Thursday.

* Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Wednesday urged the European Union (EU) to take responsibility to manage the skyrocketing energy prices that had reached an unsustainable level in recent weeks.

* Russia and Iran are finalizing a comprehensive document on cooperation between the two countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

* The supply of gas to France this winter "will not be a problem," the president of the country's Energy Regulatory Commission Emmanuelle Wargon told French news channel LCI on Wednesday.

* Inflation in the Netherlands hit a new high of 13.6 percent in August, compared to 11.6 percent in July, according to preliminary figures released by the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) on Wednesday.

* Typhoon Hinnamnor, the 11th of this year, is gaining strength and will bring strong wind and rainstorms to coastal regions in east China, the national observatory said Thursday.

* The European Union's drug regulator on Thursday backed two separate COVID-19 vaccine boosters updated to target the Omicron variant, ahead of an anticipated rise in infections this winter.

* Japan's daily COVID-19-related deaths surpassed 300 for the third consecutive day, amid a strain on the country's medical system fueled by the seventh wave of infections.

* Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has established eight task forces consisting of heads of public and private institutions to improve the investment environment.

* The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said on Thursday that 1.5 million people in Sri Lanka were in need of emergency food assistance amid a food shortage in the country.

* Nigeria expects to produce 23 million metric tonnes of maize this year, a 12% rise from last year, thanks to cheaper credit from the central bank, which has helped blunt the high costs of fertiliser and diesel, the maize growers association said.

* More than 90 countries where monkeypox is not endemic have reported outbreaks of the viral disease, which the World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency, as confirmed cases crossed 52,000 and non-endemic countries reported their first related deaths.

* Clashes among rival Shi'ite Muslim militants in the Iraqi city of Basra have killed at least four people, security officials said on Thursday, as violence from a worsening political crisis hit the south of the country.

VNA, Reuters, Xinhua