World News in Brief: January 12

Wednesday, 2022-01-12 18:16:09
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Thailand is planning to collect a 300 baht (9 USD) fee from foreign tourist from April to develop attractions and cover accident insurance for foreigners unable to pay costs themselves, senior officials said on Wednesday.
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The Bank of Japan offered its most optimistic view of the country's regional economy in more than eight years, in a sign of its confidence that a recent resurgence in infections would not derail the country's fragile recovery.

* China's cabinet issued a plan on Wednesday for the development of the country's digital economy, aiming to increase this sector's share of national GDP by pushing technologies like 6G and big data centers.

* Britain's trade minister arrived in India on Wednesday to begin talks as part of its efforts to sign its own trade deals following its departure from the European Union.

* Russia is not making ultimatums in its negotiations with the West but needs concrete answers regarding its security concerns, the Kremlin said on Wednesday as talks took place with NATO in Brussels.

* Oil hit its highest since the Omicron outbreak, world stocks rose to one-week peaks and the dollar plumbed six-week lows on Wednesday after US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell sounded less bullish on rates than expected in testimony to Congress.

* The Central American Bank for Economic Integration said it would give Cuba a loan of 53.1 million USD to help bolster its vaccine program as it seeks to ramp up production for both domestic use and export.

* Thailand's cabinet has backed a plan to buy four fighter jets starting in the next fiscal year, an air force spokesman said on Wednesday, with a budget of 13.8 billion baht (413.67 million USD) set aside for the procurement.

* Iran and world powers are still far from any agreement to revive their 2015 nuclear deal despite making some progress at the end of December, France's foreign minister said on Tuesday. Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed on Jan. 3.

* France's foreign minister said on Tuesday the United Arab Emirates would join a Saudi-French fund that aimed to provide support to the Lebanese people.

* The US Food and Drug Administration amended the fact sheet for Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine to include a rare risk of immune thrombocytopenia, a bleeding disorder.

* China's northeast city of Tianjin said on Wednesday it will postpone its annual parliamentary sessions due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

* Russia has recorded nearly 700 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant and will prepare new measures to combat the rise in cases by the end of the week, its deputy prime minister said.

* India reported 194,720 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the most since late May, health ministry data showed.

* The Biden administration announced a new set of measures to keep US schools open, including increasing access to COVID-19 tests.

* Japan recorded a surge in new coronavirus cases, with infections reaching four-month highs in the major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Osaka as the Omicron variant spreads.

* Germany reported 80,430 new infections on Wednesday, the highest recorded in a single day since the pandemic began, while Bulgaria also saw record daily cases.

* Mexico posted a record 33,626 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, while Brazil reported 70,765 new cases.

* Colombia will let people get their booster vaccines four months after completing their initial vaccination course.

* Republic of Korea is turning to additional pharmaceutical tools, authorising the use of Novavax's vaccine and preparing to distribute the first of Pfizer's antiviral pills.

* Central Asian neighbours Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan reported jumps in new cases as both countries said the Omicron variant was now spreading on their territories.

* Saudi Arabia has registered its highest daily number of new infections so far, breaking through 5,000 cases on Wednesday.

* A car bomb exploded on a road leading to the airport in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, killing at least eight people, the head of the city's ambulance services said.