World News in Brief: September 23

The United States, Japan and Italy have pledged more shots to the rest of the world after leaders from developing nations warned that vaccine hoarding could lead to the emergence of more coronavirus variants.

Russia on Thursday reported 820 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, matching an all-time one-day high that it last reached on Aug. 26.
Russia on Thursday reported 820 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, matching an all-time one-day high that it last reached on Aug. 26.

* Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Wednesday told the United Nations General Assembly that his government worked with OPEC+ and its allies to stabilise the oil market.

* There will be no banquet in Stockholm this year and laureates will receive their Nobel Prize medals and diplomas in their home countries, the Nobel Foundation said on Thursday. The traditional festivities were replaced last year as well with a mainly digital celebration as the pandemic raged Europe and the rest of the world.

* The US Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday finalized a rule that will slash the use of a potent climate-warming gas commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners by 85% over the next 15 years, a move that will help halve greenhouse gas emissions this decade.

* Russia's navy practised firing at targets in the Black Sea off the coast of annexed Crimea using its Bastion coastal missile defence system, Russia's Defence Ministry said on Thursday as Ukraine held joint military drills with the United States.

* The US and French presidents moved to mend ties on Wednesday, with France agreeing to send its ambassador back to Washington and the White House acknowledging it erred in brokering a deal for Australia to buy US instead of French submarines without consulting Paris.

* The Republic of Korea Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said he would meet his Japanese counterpart on Thursday and hoped for progress to end a dispute that has led to tit-for-tat trade restrictions.

* Australia denied on Thursday an assertion by France that Canberra had re-committed to a US$60 billion contract to buy French submarines in a letter sent just before it announced it was buying subs from the United States and Britain instead.

* Asian shares moved higher on Thursday, supported by some positive news from struggling developer China Evergrande Group, while the dollar held near a one-month top after the US Federal Reserve took a hawkish tilt overnight.

* The Federal Reserve said it will likely begin reducing its monthly bond purchases as soon as November and signalled interest rate increases may follow more quickly than expected.

* Thailand's disease control committee has proposed a halving of a two-week hotel isolation requirement for vaccinated arrivals, amid delays in plans to waive quarantine and reopen Bangkok and tourist destinations from next month.

* Norway's centre-left election winners were meeting on Thursday for three-way talks to determine whether they can form a majority coalition government, with oil, taxes and EU relations among the sticking points.

* The United States is giving US$247 million in humanitarian aid and US$89 million in economic and development aid to Venezuelans, State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on Wednesday.

* Spain will donate 7.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Latin America and the Caribbean and a further 7.5 million to sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Europe, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday.

* Algeria's supreme security council decided on Wednesday to close the country's airspace to all Moroccan civil and military aircraft, the Algerian presidency said, less than a month after it cut diplomatic relations with the Kingdom.

* Tunisian President Kais Saied has put in place special measures for wielding legislative and executive power, the presidency said on Wednesday, without elaborating.

* The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech vaccine for those 65 and older, all people at high risk of severe disease, and others regularly exposed to the virus.

* Russia will resume passenger flights with Denmark, South Africa, New Zealand, Peru and Djibouti from Oct. 5, the government said on Wednesday.

* England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said COVID-19 transmission was currently highest in 12- to 15-year-olds, and that almost all unvaccinated children would get infected at some point.

* New Zealand's prime minister said the country should aim for a 90%-plus rate of inoculation, and could drop strict lockdown measures once enough people were vaccinated.

* Police in Australia's Melbourne prepared for the fourth day of anti-lockdown protests on Thursday, and a vaccination hub in the city closed after protesters allegedly abused staff.

* Republic of Korean authorities warned people returning from a holiday to get tested even for the mildest COVID-19 type symptoms, especially before clocking in for work.

* Ukraine is planning compulsory vaccinations for some jobs including teachers and employees of state institutions and local governments.

* Syria is facing a new surge in infections in both government-held areas and territory outside state control that could overwhelm the war-ravaged country's fragile health system.

* Uganda's president has eased restrictions, allowing the resumption of education for universities and other post-secondary institutions, citing a decline in infections.