World News in Brief: October 13

Wednesday, 2021-10-13 18:06:30
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Oil prices, which hit their highest in years recently, are unlikely to rise further, Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told an energy conference in Moscow on Wednesday.
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Asia-Pacific airlines are ramping up flights and ticket offers as some of the world's strictest pandemic-related travel rules begin to ease.

* Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Tuesday the launch of a CNY1.5 billion (US$232.47 million) fund to support biodiversity protection efforts in developing countries.

* The Philippines has ordered tech giants Facebook, Alibaba Lazada and Sea's Shopee to stop allowing sales of cellular equipment used for emergency messaging, after "text blasts" were used to promote a presidential election candidate.

* Russia will test a nasal spray form of its Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 among adult volunteers, according to a state document published on Tuesday, as the country struggles to rein in rising numbers of infections and deaths.

* The United States will lift restrictions at its land borders with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in early November, ending historic curbs on non-essential travellers in place since March 2020 to address the pandemic.

* China's President Xi Jinping spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a video meeting on Wednesday, state television reported. Xi and Merkel exchanged views on the development of Sino-Europe and China-Germany relations in a friendly manner, it added.

* Russia and the EU will discuss terms for the mutual recognition of vaccine certificates for their respective shots at talks, the Interfax news agency cited Russia's health ministry as saying.

* Hungary will help Romania treat 50 COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Wednesday.

* The leader of Poland's ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) will resign from his government post at the beginning of 2022, state-run news agency PAP reported on Wednesday.

* Asian shares were on edge on Wednesday as worries about soaring power prices fuelling inflation weighed on sentiment and drove expectations the United States would taper its emergency bond buying programme.

* The Republic of Korea established a panel on Wednesday to debate a strategy on how to "live with COVID-19" in the long-term, as the country seeks to phase out coronavirus restrictions and reopen the economy amid rising vaccination levels.

* Britain said that people should buy normally for Christmas and that there would be no shortage of gifts after shipping containers carrying toys and electrical goods were diverted from the country's biggest port because it was full.

* Panama has approved a booster dose of Pfizer's vaccine for high-risk people, including healthcare workers, bedridden patients, nursing home residents and people over 55.

* New South Wales could ease more restrictions in Sydney a week earlier than planned on Oct. 18 as Australia's most populous state races towards its 80% double-dose vaccination target.

* The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen has destroyed two explosive-laden boats used in an attempted attack by the Iran-aligned group in the south of the Red Sea, Saudi state TV said on Wednesday.

* Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday Turkey would "do what is necessary for its security" after what it said was a rise in cross-border attacks by Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.

* Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa could be potential locations for Moderna's planned vaccine factory in Africa, the US drugmaker's co-founder and chairman said as it steps up its search for a site on the continent.

* People who received Johnson & Johnson's vaccine will have a stronger neutralizing antibody response if they get an mRNA shot as the second dose, Axios reported on Tuesday, citing a person who has seen data collected by the US National Institutes of Health.

Reuters