World News in Brief: July 15

Wednesday, 2020-07-15 14:10:08
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Officers evacuate victims in Radda Village, following flash floods that left several dead and dozens remain missing, in North Luwu in Sulawesi, Indonesia July 14, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
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The death toll from flash floods in Indonesia's South Sulawesi province rose to 16 on Wednesday (July 15) with 23 people missing, local media reported. Rescuers were still searching for the missing people in the district.

* Cambodia received 1.17 million foreign visitors during the first five months of 2020, down 59 percent from 2.88 million over the same period last year, said a report released by the Ministry of Tourism on Wednesday. China, Vietnam, Thailand, the United States and Republic of Korea were the biggest sources of foreign tourists to the Southeast Asian country during the January-May period this year, the report said.

* A Thai army officer was on Tuesday killed in a bomb blast in Thailand's restive southern province of Pattani, said Maj-General Piyapong Wongchan, Commander of Pattani Special Task Force. Piyapong also ordered road blocks and passages sealed to prevent another incident.

* The Security Council held an in-person meeting on Tuesday (July 14) at UN Headquarters in New York, the first of its kind since mid-March when COVID-19 forced the council to convene virtually. Tuesday's meeting agenda was a heavy one. The council first adopted its annual report to the UN General Assembly before the adoption of two resolutions: one on the UN Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement, the other on youth and peace and security. The council then heard a briefing on the peace process in Colombia.

* Chinese health authority said Wednesday that it received reports of six new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Tuesday, and all of them were imported. As of Tuesday, the overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 83,611, including 284 patients who were still being treated, with three in severe condition. Altogether 78,693 people had been discharged after recovery, and 4,634 had died of the disease, the commission said.

* The total number of COVID-19 cases in India surpassed the 900,000-mark on Tuesday, reaching 906,752, with the total deaths standing at 23,727, said the latest data issued by the federal health ministry. The ministry said 553 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides fresh 28,498 positive cases, were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 23,727 and total cases to 906,752.

* US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday urged all Americans to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. CDC's appeal came days after US President Donald Trump wore a mask publicly for the first time when visiting a hospital in Maryland.

* Brazil on Tuesday reported 1,300 deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in a single day, taking its death toll to 74,133. In the past 24 hours, tests detected 41,857 new cases of infection, taking the total to 1,926,824, the Health Ministry said. Brazil has the world's second-largest outbreak after the United States, in both numbers of deaths and infections.

* Russia on Wednesday reported 6,422 new coronavirus cases, pushing its confirmed national tally to 746,369, the fourth highest in the world. Officials said 156 people had died of the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 11,770.

* The Mexican Health Ministry on Tuesday reported 7,051 new coronavirus infections and 836 more fatalities, with both being among the highest figures the country has registered. The recent increasing trend following gradual and partial resumptions have halted the government's plan to announce weekly updates of reopening in economy and social life. The country so far has accumulated a total of 311,486 confirmed cases and 36,327 deaths. It sought to extend restrictions on non-essential border travel with the United States for an additional 30 days.

* Health experts put Tokyo on the highest alert for coronavirus infections on Wednesday, alarmed by a recent spike in cases to record levels, while the governor of the Japanese capital said the situation was "rather severe". The resurgence of the virus in Tokyo could add to the growing pressure on policymakers to shore up the world's No.3 economy, which analysts say is set to shrink at its fastest pace in decades this fiscal year due to the pandemic.

* Republic of Korea reported 39 more cases of COVID-19 as of 0:00 a.m. Wednesday local time compared to 24 hours ago, raising the total number of infections to 13,551. The daily caseload stayed below 40 for two straight days due to the continued small cluster infections and imported cases. No more death was confirmed, leaving the death toll at 289. The total fatality rate stood at 2.13 percent.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 351 to 199,726, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday. The reported death toll rose by three to 9,071, the tally showed.

* Venezuela's government on Tuesday decided to reimpose strict lockdown measures in the capital Caracas and the central state of Miranda, after a recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. Venezuela has so far reported 9,707 people have contracted the disease, with 2,671 recoveries.

* Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong on Tuesday called for all-out efforts in flood prevention, relief, and rescue work to ensure the safety of people's lives and property. At a video conference on Tuesday, Wang, also head of the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, called on relevant authorities to enhance coordination and strengthen monitoring and early-warning systems for heavy rainfall, typhoons, and other severe weather events.

* An Indonesian naval ship named KRI Teluk Jakarta-541 carrying out logistical duties sank to a depth of about 90 meters in East Java province's Masalembo waters on Tuesday at about 8:30 a.m. The Indonesian Navy said that the ship sank due to several leaks at thru-hulls of the vessel in a statement on Wednesday. No casualties were reported in the accident. All the 55 crewmen have been rescued by two civilian ships nearby.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that Germany is willing to compromise on the European recovery fund at the upcoming summit of the European Union (EU) leaders. Back in May, the European Commission proposed a EUR750-billion (US$852 billion) recovery fund to help the bloc emerge from the pandemic-triggered economic crisis. This fund will be the focus of the special EU summit on July 17 and 18 in Brussels.

* In his first Bastille Day interview, President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday promised that France is ready for a second epidemic wave and his team will follow a "new path" based on social dialogue to address the challenges triggered by the coronavirus crisis that has claimed over 30,000 lives and plunged the growth of the euro zone's second largest economy. Macron also confirmed that France would be among the first countries to get access to a potential vaccine being developed by French drugmaker Sanofi.

* The United States has withdrawn its troops from five bases in Afghanistan and maintains its force level in the country at mid-8,000s, fulfilling its obligation under the US-Taliban deal signed in late February, the US Department of Defense said Tuesday. According to the agreement signed on Feb. 29 between the United States and the Afghan Taliban, the United States would reduce its forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 within 135 days till July 13.

* Record month-on-month increases in total industrial production in both the European Union (EU) and the eurozone have been attributed by the EU's statistics office Eurostat to "member states easing COVID-19 containment measures."

* Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Tuesday that the Palestinians are ready to resume the stalled peace talks if Israel stops its plan to annex parts of the West Bank. Abbas made his remarks in a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday night, reported the official Palestinian news agency WAFA.

* Turkish and US presidents on Tuesday held talks over the phone about the developments in Libya and bilateral economic ties, Turkey's Communications Directorate said. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump agreed to keep coordination for reaching a lasting peace and stability in war-torn Libya, as well as achieving the trade target, it said.

* Tunisia said on Tuesday that 1,200 passengers arriving by a French ship from the port of Marseille will be placed in quarantine after eight cases of COVID-19 infection were found among its crew. As of Tuesday, Tunisia reported four new COVID-19 cases, including one local case, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 1,306.

Xinhua, Reuters