World News in Brief: May 21

Saturday, 2022-05-21 18:14:51
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The Philippines has detected Omicron sub-variant BA.4 from a Filipino citizen who flew in from the Middle East early this month, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Saturday.
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The World Health Organization was holding an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the recent outbreak of monkeypox, a viral infection more common to west and central Africa, after over 100 cases were confirmed or suspected in Europe.

* The Republic of Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Saturday appointed Han Duck-soo as the prime minister of his government that was inaugurated on May 10.

* French President Emmanuel Macron appointed on Friday ministers for the new government of the country. In total the new government has 27 members with 17 ministries, six ministries delegates and four secretaries of state.

* Voting opened in Australia's general election on Saturday morning. Polling booths across the country opened to millions of Australians at 8:00 a.m. local time and will remain open until 6:00 p.m. local time when vote counting will start.

* The Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol and US President Joe Biden on Saturday held their first summit talks in Seoul. According to a joint statement, the two presidents shared the view that the alliance has matured into a deep and comprehensive strategic relationship.

* Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Friday that Russia would create 12 new military units in its Western Military District in response to increased military activity of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the potential accession of Finland and Sweden.

* India received the highest ever foreign direct investment (FDI) worth 83.57 billion USD during the financial year 2021-22 (April 2021-March 2022), the federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry said Friday.

* Russia's Gazprom halted gas exports to neighbouring Finland, the Finnish gas system operator said, the latest escalation of an energy payments dispute with Western nations.

* Germany and Italy told companies they could open rouble accounts to keep buying Russian gas without breaching sanctions against Moscow following discussions with the European Union, sources said.

* Italy is importing three times more of oil from Russia than it did before the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, according to news reports on Friday.

* Cyprus will introduce a series of measures to counter the spike in fuel and commodity prices caused by the crisis in Ukraine, a Cypriot government spokesman announced on Friday.

* Colombia's presidential race is likely to head to a runoff between progressive candidate Gustavo Petro and his conservative rival Federico Gutierrez, according to a poll published on Friday.

* Global equity markets rebounded after the S&P 500 pared losses that briefly took it into bear market territory, and the dollar gained on Friday, as investor unease about Federal Reserve policy tightening to curb inflation kindled fears of a recession.

* Infection with adenovirus, a common childhood virus, is the leading hypothesis for recent cases of severe hepatitis of unknown origin in children that have led to at least six deaths, US health officials said on Friday.

* Health authorities in Spain reported on Friday 23 new confirmed cases of monkeypox, mainly in the Madrid region where the regional government closed a sauna linked to the majority of infections.

* Beijing reported 63 new domestically transmitted COVID-19 infections during the 24 hours to 3 p.m. (0700 GMT) on Saturday, a disease control official at the Chinese capital said.

* India's COVID-19 tally rose to 43,134,145 on Saturday, as 2,323 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry's latest data.

* Cambodia will start offering a fifth dose of COVID-19 vaccines to priority groups from June 9 onwards, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said on Friday.

* Malaysia reported 2,063 new COVID-19 infections as of midnight Friday, bringing the national total to 4,487,482, according to the health ministry.

* The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea reported more than 200,000 new patients suffering from fever for a fifth consecutive day as the country fights its first confirmed coronavirus outbreak, the Republic of Korea's Yonhap news agency said, citing the DPRK's state broadcaster.

* Britain reduced its COVID-19 alert level from four to three, saying the Omicron-variant wave of the virus was subsiding and healthcare pressures continued to decrease in all nations.

* Switzerland said it signed a contract to buy Pfizer's anti-viral drug Paxlovid.

* Belgium's Consultative Committee (Codeco), made up of representatives of the country's federal, regional and language community governments, decided on Friday to end the face mask mandate on all forms of public transportation effective May 23.

* Argentina has applied more than 101 million vaccine shots against COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

* Equatorial Guinea's ailing economy has been dented by the pandemic and a series of deadly dynamite explosions in 2021 despite government efforts to mitigate the impact of these shocks on the oil-producing nation, the International Monetary Fund said.

* A magnitude 6 earthquake struck north of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard on Saturday, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.