World News in Brief: May 5

Thursday, 2022-05-05 19:33:51
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Bangladesh has got about 75 percent of its total population vaccinated against the COVID-19 pandemic, local media have reported.
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The World Bank expects to support 11 projects in Laos at a cost of about 395 million USD from 2022 to 2026, the Vientiane Times said on Thursday.

* The United Nations launched its Energy Plan of Action on Wednesday to gain clean, affordable energy for all by 2030, a UN spokesman said.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Kiev will not agree to any deal that would lead to a "frozen conflict" with Russia, the Ukrinform news agency reported on Wednesday.

* The Russian military announced on Wednesday that it will open a humanitarian corridor from Thursday to Saturday for the evacuation of civilians from the blocked Azovstal plant in Ukraine's Mariupol.

* The leaders of Italy and Japan on Wednesday said they would push for a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine conflict.

* Finland is prepared for the possibility of its eastern neighbour Russia cutting off its gas deliveries, a government minister told Reuters, ahead of the Nordic country's decision on whether to join NATO.

* Ukraine and the United Kingdom have signed an agreement on the abolition of import duties and tariff quotas, the Ukrinform news agency said on Wednesday, citing the Ukrainian Economy Ministry.

* Indonesia's annual economic growth likely remained steady in the first quarter as commodities exports partly offset weak consumer spending due to mobility curbs imposed to stop the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, a Reuters poll found.

* Thailand's headline consumer inflation rose at a lower-than-expected pace of 4.65 percent in April, official data showed Thursday.

* Headline inflation in the Philippines accelerated to 4.9 percent year-on-year in April from 4 percent in March, mainly due to higher prices of food, utilities and transport, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Thursday.

* The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by a half percentage point, marking the sharpest rate hike since 2000, as it takes more aggressive steps to rein in the highest inflation in four decades.

* Oil prices rose sharply on Wednesday after the European Union (EU) unveiled a plan to phase out Russian oil, triggering concerns over tight supplies.

* Turkey's annual inflation jumped to 69.97 percent in April, reaching a two-decade high, the Turkish Statistical Institute announced Thursday. The country's consumer prices rose 7.25 percent month on month in April, according to data released by the institute.

* Sri Lanka is facing a shortage of diesel as a foreign exchange crisis worsens in the South Asian country, said Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera on Thursday.

* Abdulla Shahid, president of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), on Wednesday highlighted the need to build a more sustainable, resilient, and responsible global tourism sector as part of the "long journey" to recover from COVID-19.

* US President Joe Biden on Wednesday declared wildfires lasting for weeks in the southwestern state of New Mexico "a major disaster," unlocking millions of dollars in relief for affected individuals and local recovery efforts.

* Heavy rain and flooding has killed 22 people, destroyed hundreds of homes and damaged crops in Afghanistan, which is already facing a humanitarian crisis, a disaster management official said on Thursday.

* An offshore earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 rattled Davao Oriental province in the southern Philippines on Thursday afternoon, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

* The Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus is intrinsically as severe as previous variants, unlike assumptions made in previous studies that it was more transmissible but less severe, a large study in the United States has found.

* China’s Beijing will cut the time that people have to stay in quarantine facilities when they arrive in the city from overseas to 10 days, a city official said on Wednesday, according to state media.

* The COVID-19 pandemic severed the tourism lifeline of Sri Lanka, already short of revenue in the wake of steep tax cuts by the government.

* Africa's top public health body urged all those purchasing COVID-19 vaccines for the continent to place orders with South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare APNJ.J, saying the market was key to developing vaccine manufacturing on the continent.

* Novavax Inc NVAX.O said it had filed an application with Britain's drugs regulator for the authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine among adolescents aged 12 and older.

* French drugmaker Valneva VLS.PA said it will conduct a trial about the use of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate VLA2001 as a booster jab following a mRNA vaccination or natural infection.