World News in Brief: September 21

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced commitments totaling 200 million USD to advance the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
The U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Wednesday but stiffened a hawkish monetary policy stance that its officials increasingly believe can succeed in lowering inflation without wrecking the economy or leading to large job losses.
The U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Wednesday but stiffened a hawkish monetary policy stance that its officials increasingly believe can succeed in lowering inflation without wrecking the economy or leading to large job losses.

* Latvian lawmakers on Wednesday elected Daiga Mierina of the Union of Greens and Farmers as the new parliament speaker. Mierina, a former long-standing mayor of the Latvian municipality of Carnikava, was elected by 55 votes to 34.

* Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said on Thursday he will instruct his government to pull together the pillars of an economic package early next week under his new cabinet.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said his country is willing to cooperate with China to resist unipolar hegemony and bloc confrontation, and safeguard international fairness and justice.

* Cuba's Special Development Zone at Mariel Port (ZEDM) has attracted more than 3.3 million USD in the past decade despite the U.S. embargo on the island, said a director general of the zone, on Wednesday.

* Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Wednesday that his country will return to its climate ambition at the Paris Agreement level after his predecessor back-peddled.

* The 10th China-European Union High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue will be held in Beijing on Sept. 25, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday.

* India has suspended visa services for Canadian citizens from Thursday, visa consultancy service provider BLS International said on its website, citing a notice from the Indian mission.

* Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met on Wednesday for more than an hour with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy and discussed ways to achieve a peaceful end to the conflict in Ukraine.

* Roughly 4,000 migrants on Wednesday moved into Eagle Pass, a border city in the U.S. state of Texas, prompting Texas Governor Greg Abbott to declare "an invasion" at the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday evening.

* Britain's King Charles III on Wednesday evening called on Britain and France to "reinvigorate" their friendship to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

* Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has arrived in China's eastern city of Hangzhou, kicking off his first visit to the Asian nation since 2004 as he makes further strides to end more than a decade of diplomatic isolation amid Western sanctions.

* Iran's Defense Minister Mohammadreza Ashtiani met with his visiting Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu here in the Iranian capital to discuss bilateral defense and military cooperation and issues of common interest, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency.

* Talks between Azerbaijan and an Armenian delegation from Karabakh have started in the Azerbaijani town of Yevlakh, Russia's TASS news agency cited local media as saying on Thursday.

* Poland is no longer arming Ukraine as it is focusing on building up its own stocks of weapons, the prime minister said on Wednesday.

* Belgium is considering whether to supply its F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said.

* Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi said a meeting of the Iranian and Egyptian foreign ministers in New York could pave the way for a restoration of ties.

* Haiti and Kenya established diplomatic relations on Wednesday, according to a statement on social media platform X by Ariel Henry, prime minister of the Caribbean nation.

* Iran has no issue with the U.N. nuclear watchdog's inspection of its nuclear sites, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Wednesday, days after Tehran barred multiple inspectors assigned to the country.

* The Pacific Islands nation of Fiji will send a delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Villiame Gavoka to Israel this month before opening an embassy in Jerusalem in 2024, Fiji officials said, fulfilling an election promise by Gavoka's political party.

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced optimism that a "historic" deal to establish diplomatic ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia could be "within reach."

* A new U.N. treaty to protect the world's oceans was signed by 67 countries on Wednesday, another step in efforts to reverse the damage done to fragile marine environments by overfishing and other human activities.

* A senior UN official on Wednesday called on factions involved in clashes in the Ain Al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon to honor the truce and allow residents to access humanitarian aid.

* The United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg on Wednesday welcomed the Houthi delegation's recent visit to the Saudi capital of Riyadh, saying it is an important step to revive the stalled Yemeni peace process.

* The UN relief chief warned on Wednesday that allowing the conflict in Sudan to descend into a full-blown civil war could be a human tragedy.

* Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has asked his government to fast track the withdrawal of a United Nations peacekeeping mission to ensure it begins at the end of the year, he said at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.

* The Indonesian government has set to explore oil and gas resources in Warim block, Papua province, a minister said on Wednesday.

* The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday an investment of 600 million USD in the manufacture of new at-home COVID-19 tests and will deliver the tests for free to households across the country.

* Pakistani caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said on Wednesday that vaccines should be treated as global goods and available to all countries and companies, the Prime Minister's office said in a statement in Islamabad.

* China's logistics networks for international trade have maintained sound operation this year and provided strong guarantees for the stability of industrial and supply chains, an official said Thursday.

* South Korea's daily plastic card spending rose in the first half due to the post-pandemic consumption recovery, central bank data showed Thursday.

* Sweden's central bank said on Thursday it would hedge part of its foreign exchange reserves by selling $8 billion and 2 billion euros ($2.1 bln) for Swedish crowns over the coming months.

* London stocks opened lower on Thursday as U.S. Treasury yields climbed after the Federal Reserve signalled elevated interest rates for longer, while investors braced for the Bank of England's key monetary policy decision due later in the day.

* Malaysia's gross value-added tourism industries recorded 251.5 billion ringgit (53.67 billion USD) in 2022, contributing 14 percent to its gross domestic product (GDP) of the year, official data showed on Wednesday.

* The Swedish government's 2024 budget, unveiled on Wednesday, aims to combat high inflation, bolster defense, and improve the judicial system.

* Panama's economy is now set to grow "at least" 6% this year, up from the 5% previously forecast, the country's economy and finance ministry said on Wednesday.

* Mongolia's economy will keep recovery and growth in 2023 and beyond, said the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday. The country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth will be maintained in the near term, the ADB said in a report.

* Greece's Development Minister Kostas Skrekas announced a set of measures on Wednesday aimed at combating "greedflation," the practice of exploiting inflation to generate excessive profits, the Greek national news agency AMNA reported.