World News in Brief: September 22

Wednesday, 2021-09-22 15:56:14
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The first world fair to be held in the Middle East, Expo 2020 Dubai, opens its doors to exhibitors from almost 200 countries on Oct. 1 after being delayed for a year by the pandemic.
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Chinese leader Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that China would not build new coal-fired power projects abroad, using his address at the United Nations General Assembly to add to pledges to deal with climate change.

* US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday discussed the dangers of climate change and bantered about the joys of rail travel during an Oval Office meeting aimed at underscoring the US-British alliance.

* France on Wednesday flatly denied a report published on Wednesday in Britain's Daily Telegraph saying President Emmanuel Macron was willing to give up France's permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council in exchange for the formation of a European Union army.

* World stock markets edged back on Tuesday while the US dollar held relatively steady a day after heavy selling in equities, as investors assessed the level of contagion stemming from the distress of debt-saddled developer China Evergrande.

* Thailand will speed up vaccinations and introduce urgent stimulus measures to mitigate the impact of its most severe coronavirus outbreak, its prime minister said on Wednesday.

* An Australian-EU trade deal would be mutually beneficial and allow EU members a greater presence in the Indo-Pacific, said Australia's trade minister, as Canberra tries to repair ties with Paris after the scrapping of a US$40 billion submarine deal.

* Chinese leader Xi Jinping reiterated China aims to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world by the end of the year.

* Manila mayor, Francisco Domagoso, said on Wednesday he will run for the Philippine presidency in the 2022 election.

* Colombian President Ivan Duque told the United Nations General Assembly the international community must equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines to avoid the creation of new, more fearsome variants of the coronavirus.

* Energy ministers from European Union countries will on Wednesday discuss the soaring price of gas and electricity across Europe, as some governments draw up measures to protect their consumers.

* Shots were fired at a car carrying Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's principal aide on Wednesday morning, wounding the driver, Ukrainian police said.

* A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck near Melbourne on Wednesday, Geoscience Australia said, one of the country's biggest quakes on record, causing damage to buildings in the country's second-largest city and sending tremors throughout neighbouring states.

* Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) will invest INR50 million (US$68 million) in Oxford Biomedica to help fund the development of a plant that manufactures COVID-19 shots, the British company said on Wednesday.

* The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has selected two biomedical centers in Argentina and Brazil as regional hubs to develop and produce mRNA-based vaccines to fight COVID-19 in Latin America, the regional health agency said on Tuesday.

* Haiti has recorded its first outbreak of the fatal pig virus African swine fever in 37 years, the World Organisation for Animal Health said, fueling concerns about the disease's spread in the Americas.

* Britain and the Republic of Korea have agreed to swap over 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses with each other, with the UK sending a first batch of Pfizer shots in the coming weeks and the ROK returning the same volume by the end of the year.

* Police fanned out on Wednesday across the centre of Australia's second-largest city of Melbourne, to keep a lid on a third successive day of protests over COVID-19 lockdown curbs, as the state of Victoria saw another rise in infections.

* Canada is extending restrictions on all direct commercial and private passenger flights from India until Sept. 26, the federal transport ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

* Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday a second shot of its COVID-19 vaccine given about two months after the first increased its effectiveness to 94% in the United States against moderate to severe forms of the disease.

* The European Commission has signed a joint procurement contract with US drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co for the supply of a monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, the EU executive arm said in a statement.

* Poland will recommend a booster dose of the vaccine for people over 50 as well as for healthcare workers, a deputy health minister said.

* Ukraine will tighten lockdown restrictions from Sept. 23 as the number of new infections has increased sharply, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said.

* Argentina unveiled plans to ease coronavirus pandemic restrictions, including loosening strict border controls, allowing more commercial activities and getting rid of the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors.

* Lava poured from an erupting volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma for a fourth day on Wednesday, blanketing houses and fields, a day after people with homes on the path of the molten rock were allowed back briefly to recover belongings.

* NASA is splitting its human spaceflight department into two separate bodies - one centered on big, future-oriented missions to the moon and Mars, the other on the International Space Station and other operations closer to Earth.

Reuters