World News in Brief: November 23

Tuesday, 2021-11-23 17:33:46
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Slovakia's PM Eduard Heger is intensively considering a possible three-week lockdown, after Austria became on Monday the first country in western Europe to reimpose a lockdown since vaccines were rolled out.
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India reported 7,579 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the smallest rise in one-and-a-half-years despite huge festival gatherings in recent weeks, thanks to rising vaccinations and antibodies from prior infections.

* The Kremlin on Tuesday said new sanctions imposed by the United States in connection with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline were illegal and wrong, especially at a time when Moscow and Washington are attempting to rebuild dialogue.

* Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid has been reappointed prime minister, state media said on Tuesday, and tasked with forming a cabinet that would be the Gulf OPEC oil producer's third this year in a domestic political standoff.

* U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi said on Tuesday that he wanted to deepen cooperation with Iran in his talks in Tehran, days before resumption of negotiations between the Islamic Republic and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal.

* Prime Minister Naftali Bennett signalled readiness on Tuesday to step up Israel's confrontation with Iran and reiterated that his country would not be bound by any new Iranian nuclear deal with world powers.

* US health officials are not currently recommending lockdowns or economic restrictions to curb rising COVID-19 cases, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

* Health Minister Roberto Speranza said it will be possible for Italians to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster five months after completing the first vaccination cycle.

* The European Union's drug regulator said it was evaluating data on booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson and a decision could come "within weeks" under a speedy review.

* Britain will review its COVID-19 travel rules in January and is looking at reforming its airport slots system as part of a wider new aviation strategy, minister Robert Courts said.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department advised against travel to Germany and Denmark because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in those countries.

* Germany's health minister called on Tuesday for further restrictions to contain a "dramatic" surge in coronavirus cases as the country's infection rate hit a record high and the United States advised against travel there.

* Asia stocks were mostly lower, tracking a retreat on Wall Street after President Joe Biden picked Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to lead the central bank for a second term, reinforcing expectations the US will taper its stimulus soon.

* European stocks slumped to a three-week low on Tuesday and were set for their worst session in nearly two months as a risk-off mood deepened amid a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and rate hike concerns.

* Lawmakers who helped broker a deal with governments on reforms to the European Union's huge farming subsidy programme urged the European Parliament to give it the final green light on Tuesday.

* The International Monetary Fund said the Algerian economy is gradually recovering from COVID-19 and oil shocks in 2020, after its executive board concluded the 2021 Article IV consultations with the North African country.

* Australia's weather bureau said on Tuesday a La Nina weather phenomenon had developed in the Pacific Ocean for the second year in a row that could bring above average rainfall across the country's centre, north and east.

* At least 45 people were killed after a bus with North Macedonian plates caught fire on a highway in western Bulgaria early on Tuesday, a senior interior ministry official said.

* Pfizer said its vaccine provided strong long-term protection against the virus in a late-stage study conducted among adolescents aged 12 to 15 years.

* The Saudi-led military alliance in Yemen said on Tuesday it had destroyed a ballistic missile launch site in overnight air strikes in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa, where residents reported big explosions.