World News in Brief: June 18

Saturday, 2022-06-18 19:04:06
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The Iraqi health ministry on Friday warned of the possibility of new COVID-19 spread in the country, calling on the public to follow health measures and receive vaccines, official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
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Monsoon rains caused widespread flooding in northeastern Bangladesh and India, stranding nearly 6 million people and killing at least 19 people in Bangladesh, authorities said on Saturday, warning the situation could worsen.

* China's civil aviation authority said Friday that it is discussing with its counterparts in certain countries the possibility of gradually increasing international passenger flights in and out of the country.

* The European Union and India on Friday relaunched negotiations to forge a free trade agreement, with the aim of completing talks by the end of 2023.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday welcomed the positive assessment of the European Commission on granting Ukraine European Union (EU) candidate status.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday to discuss defense and security issues, the presidential press service said.

* The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is casting a shadow over Finland's economic outlook, the country's ministry of finance has said. The possibility that Finland will enter a recession, where the country's gross domestic product (GDP) declines for two consecutive quarters, will increase, the ministry added.

* Uzbekistan has made the first safe cargo transit from Pakistani port via Afghanistan in a week-long route, Uzbekistan's Transport Ministry said Friday.

* Russia's 2022 coal production could fall 17% to 365.1 million tonnes and exports could decrease 30% to 156 million tonnes, the Russian news agency Interfax reported, citing the energy ministry.

* Italy may declare a heightened "state of alert" on gas next week if Russia continues to curb its supplies, two government sources said on Friday after energy company Eni ENI.MI reported a shortfall in flows from Moscow for the third day in a row.

* The African Union (AU) said its Specialized Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Interregional Infrastructure and Energy (STC-TTIIE) has approved urgent measures to tackle the impacts of the Ukraine crisis on the African continent.

* The Sri Lankan government on Friday announced that public sector employees will work from home for two weeks starting from Monday. The government took this decision taking into consideration the impact of fuel shortages on public and private transport.

* Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked all concerned to take necessary measures to shut down shops, shopping malls, markets and kitchen markets across the country after 8 p.m. every day, according to Bangladesh national news agency BSS. The notification aims at saving power and energy against the backdrop of worldwide continued price hike in power and energy price.

* The leaders of Cyprus and Greece said on Friday that "international law, our strong alliances and our membership in the European family" are their shield against the strong rhetoric from the leaders of Turkey, who dispute the sovereignty of Greek islands in the eastern Aegean.

* Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Friday called on all political parties to expedite the selection of a new prime minister who can form a new cabinet capable of dealing with Lebanon's steep crisis.

* UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for actions to reverse the downward spiral of land degradation which results in drought and other nature disasters.

* Malta saw a decrease of 63.3 percent in the number of people brought to shore while attempting to enter Europe by sea in 2021, according to figures from the National Statistics Office released on Friday.

* Firefighters battled to bring raging wildfires under control in several parts of Spain on Saturday amid dry and windy conditions, as a heatwave pushed temperatures close to record highs.

* Severe drought has caused 7.4 million people to be food insecure in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.

* The number of new COVID-19 cases registered per day in India continues to rise steeply, with the figure surpassing the 13,000-mark on Saturday.

* Italy's coronavirus infection rate has been climbing for two weeks in a row after a period of decline, according to data released Friday by the country's High Institute of Health.

* Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam confirmed a total of 168 cases of monkeypox in the country as of Friday.

* The Ministry of Health on Friday confirmed Chile's first case of monkeypox in a young adult who had been to Europe.