World News in Brief: September 16

Thursday, 2021-09-16 21:25:50
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Italy is poised to become the first country in Europe to make it obligatory for all workers to have a COVID-19 "Green Pass", with the cabinet due to approve the measure at a meeting later on Thursday, officials said.
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China has filed an application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the country's commerce ministry said on Thursday. The regional trade pact was signed by 11 nations including Australia in 2018.

* Several Asian nations are quickly ramping up vaccination campaigns from shaky starts, as supply shipments roll in and people overcome hesitancy in hopes of easing curbs.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would have to spend "a few days" in self-isolation after dozens of people in his entourage fell ill with COVID-19, the TASS news agency reported.

* The pace of climate change has not been slowed by the global pandemic and the world remains behind in its battle to cut carbon emissions, the United Nations said.

* US Food and Drug Administration scientists said on Wednesday booster doses of Pfizer's vaccine may not be needed, even though the third shot generates a higher immune response in recipients.

* New data from Moderna's large vaccine trial shows the protection it offers wanes over time, supporting the case for booster doses, the company said on Wednesday.

* China has completed vaccinating over 70% of its 1.4 billion people against COVID-19 with full doses, data from health authorities showed.

* The cost of insuring against European corporate debt defaults fell to the lowest since late February 2020, before the pandemic rattled financial markets.

* About 3,000 health workers who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 have been suspended in France, the health minister said.

* The number of daily coronavirus-related deaths in Ukraine exceeded 100 over the past 24 hours for the first time since early June, health ministry data showed.

* In Australia, Victoria reported its biggest one-day rise in cases of the year while a surge in vaccinations raised hope for easing restrictions. Along with New South Wales, the state is testing facial recognition software that lets police check if people are at home during quarantine.

* Infections have risen by a third in North America over the past week, due to surges in the United States and Canada, the PAHO said on Wednesday.

* The Canadian province of Alberta introduced a vaccine passport system on Wednesday, as Premier Jason Kenney apologised for mishandling the pandemic.

* The International Monetary Fund approved US$67 million emergency support for Equatorial Guinea to help it deal with the pandemic and an explosion at a military base that destroyed much of the port city of Bata in March.

* European shares opened higher, though market participants were still cautious after Asian equities fell for a fourth consecutive day, and as focus turns to key US data due later in the session.

* Sweden will offer vaccine to children aged 12 to 15 years later this autumn, Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said on Thursday.

* Foreign investors are growing more worried that Canada's federal election on Monday could result in a deadlock that hampers Ottawa's response to the pandemic.

* Argentina's economy is predicted to grow 4% in 2022, while inflation is expected to hit 33%, according to a draft budget released just before midnight on Wednesday that lays out the embattled government's economic roadmap for next year.

* Iran’s new government has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US firm Johnson & Johnson , a senior official said on Thursday, as the Islamic Republic faces a fifth wave of infections.

* Tunisia's President Kais Saied on Thursday ordered the border with Libya, which had been closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, to reopen on Friday after meetings between health teams from the two countries, his office said on Twitter.

* Saudi Arabia has signed a memoranda of understanding with Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.