World News in Brief: June 19

Sunday, 2022-06-19 16:31:26
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A wildfire continues to burn out of control in northwest Spain, destroying more than 19,000 hectares of land, amid an intense heatwave, the regional government of Castile and Leon has tweeted.
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday warned against the stigma and discrimination fanned by the Internet and social media.

* President Joe Biden said on Saturday he was in the process of making up his mind on easing US tariffs on China and planned to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping soon.

* South African Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel on Saturday welcomed the World Trade Organization (WTO)'s agreement to waive COVID-19 vaccine patents, 20 months after the African nation proposed a broad waiver to combat the pandemic.

* The post-pandemic world should focus on "respect, cooperation and equal humanity," Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Saturday, after returning from a visit to six countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he had traveled to Lysychansk and Soledar, two cities very close to some of the most intense fighting around the city of Sievierodonetsk, in visits to the front lines.

* Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin warned Britain on Sunday it would be "very serious" if it enacted a new law to unilaterally change part of a Brexit deal to try to ease trade with Northern Ireland, and urged the government to resume talks.

* Iran on Saturday told the United Arab Emirates that Tehran gave a high priority to improving ties with its neighbours, Iranian state media reported, a day after the UAE voiced concern over Tehran's nuclear programme.

* Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Egypt on June 20 as part of a regional tour that includes stops in Jordan and Turkey, two diplomatic sources said on Saturday.

* Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso has declared a state of exception in three of the Andean country's provinces, in a bid to calm protests called by indigenous groups in rejection of the government's economic policies.

* Russian gas giant Gazprom announced Saturday that it will stop gas delivery via both strings of the Turkish Stream pipeline from June 21 to June 28 due to scheduled annual maintenance.

* Sri Lanka's Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera told reporters on Sunday that they have reached out to several Russian crude oil suppliers for the country's energy solution, according to the Russian embassy in Colombo.

* British transport secretary Grant Shapps said on Sunday strike action by rail workers this week was a "huge mistake", warning that people will not be able to attend hospital appointments, school exams or get to work.

* The Changjiang Water Resources Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources has launched a level-IV emergency response for flood control starting Saturday noon to cope with rain-triggered flooding in China's longest river, the Yangtze.

* Floods in two northeastern states of India, Assam and Meghalaya, have killed 32 people in the past two days, officials said Saturday.

* Mainland China reported 159 new coronavirus cases for June 18, of which 36 were symptomatic and 123 were asymptomatic, the National Health Commission said on Sunday.

* Malaysia reported 2,127 new COVID-19 infections as of midnight Saturday, bringing the national total to 4,538,922, according to the health ministry.

* The number of COVID-19 cases in Morocco soars again with 1,956 new cases recorded on Saturday.

* An attack claimed by Islamic State on a Sikh temple in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday killed at least two people and injured seven, officials said, another deadly incident in a spate of violence targeting minorities and places of worship.

* Qantas Airways QAN.AX and Airbus AIR.PA said on Sunday they would invest up to $200 million to accelerate the development of a sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) industry in Australia to help meet the airline's goal of lowering carbon emissions.

* An F-14 fighter jet crashed on Saturday in Iran's central Isfahan province with the pilots safely ejected, the official news agency IRNA reported.