World News in Brief: July 21

Tuesday, 2020-07-21 10:57:32
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European Union leaders reached a deal on a massive stimulus plan for their coronavirus-blighted economies at a pre-dawn meeting on Tuesday (July 21) after a fractious summit that went through the night and into its fifth day. Summit chairman Charles Michel tweeted "Deal" shortly after the 27 leaders reached agreement at a 5.15 a.m. (0315 GMT) plenary session.

* Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 123 new COVID-19 cases on Monday (July 20), bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 48,035. Of the new cases, two are imported cases, 11 are community cases and the rest are linked with the dormitories of foreign workers. Of the new cases, 93 percent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing.

* Myanmar’s trade with foreign countries through border gates reached over US$8.6 billion as of July 10 in present fiscal year (FY) 2019-2020 which started in October, according to figures released by the Commerce Ministry on Monday. During the period, the country's export via border gates earned over US$5.8 billion while its import shared over US$2.7 billion.

* Japan confirmed 419 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, with 168 new cases reported in Tokyo and the nation's death toll from the virus crossed 1,000, including cases related to a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama in February. Japan's cumulative number of COVID-19 cases now stands at more than 25,000, with the death toll including those from the cruise ship totaling 1,001, and 998 not including those connected to the quarantined cruise liner.

* Two members of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's cabinet said they had contracted the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Monday. Minister of Education Milton Ribeiro and Minister of Citizenship Onyx Lorenzoni announced that their tests came back positive. They began treatment immediately and would continue to work from home. Brazil has the world's second-largest COVID-19 outbreak after the United States, with about 2.1 million cases of infection and 80,000 deaths.

* US President Donald Trump's re-election campaign ramped up spending in June as the presidential race intensified, outlaying more than US$50 million - about twice what Trump spent the month before. Trump ended the month with US$113 million in cash, according to a disclosure filed on Monday with the Federal Election Commission.

* Mexico's Health Ministry on Monday reported 5,172 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 301 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 349,396 cases and 39,485 deaths.

* The share of modern warships in the Russian navy should exceed 70 percent by 2027, President Vladimir Putin said Monday. Putin said the construction of six new warships started at the same time on Monday at three leading shipyards, with two universal amphibious assault ships in Kerch, two frigates in St. Petersburg, and two nuclear submarines in Severodvinsk.

* The northern Italian region of Lombardy, the one-time epicenter of the country's coronavirus pandemic, has seen notable improvement in its COVID-19 data recently. The region that includes the Italian financial center of Milan, is home to around one-sixth of Italy's population of more than 60 million. It reached a positive milestone on Sunday: no single death from the COVID-19 in the region and just 33 new infections.

* France on Monday joined the ranks of European countries which have mandated the use of face masks in all indoor public places, in another sign that the face mask is playing big in Europe's post-lockdown measures to limit COVID-19 transmission. Before France, multiple governments - from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Romania to Slovenia, Albania, and Serbia - have already obliged their citizens to cover their mouth and nose in indoor public spaces.

* Turnover of the German hotel and restaurant industry started to recover in May and grew by around 45 percent compared with the previous month, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) announced on Monday. The "relaxation of coronavirus protection measures" in Germany had an impact on the country's hotel and restaurant sector, Destatis noted.

* Colombia's confirmed cases of coronavirus topped 200,000 on Monday, the health ministry said, while deaths from the disease reached 6,929 as the Andean country continues a months-long lockdown meant to stem infections. Colombia now has a total of 204,005 cases, still well behind other Latin American countries like Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Chile, which are among the 10 countries worldwide with the most infections.

* The Nepali government on Monday decided to resume operation of both domestic and international flights starting from August 17, nearly four months after their suspension, a cabinet minister said. The Nepali government had suspended both domestic and international flights on March 22 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the country. During the months, only chartered flights for humanitarian purpose or delivery of medical goods were allowed.

* The New Development Bank (NDB) will lend Brazil US$1 billion to neutralize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing total loans to Brazil to US$4 billion, the institution said on Monday. The funds will be given to the Brazilian government's emergency aid payment program, designed to help millions of low-income people.

* The Russian government has approved talks between Russia and India on the terms of sending military to each other, according to an order published Monday. The order signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin instructed the Russian Defense Ministry to conduct negotiations with the Indian side with the participation of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 522 to 202,345, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The reported death toll rose by four to 9,090, the tally showed.

* The Albanian government has decided to re-impose the closure of all night clubs, pubs, discos and lounge bars, as coronavirus cases in the country continue increasing, Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu told a press conference on Monday. Albania continues to record increases in COVID-19 cases. On Monday, health authorities reported 81 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 4,171.

* Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and his US counterpart Donald Trump discussed during a phone conversation on Monday the recent developments in the war-torn Libya, Egyptian Presidential Spokesman Bassam Rady said in a statement. The spokesman added that both leaders agreed to enforce a cease-fire and de-escalation in Libya to pave the way for reactivating dialogue and political solutions.

* The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Monday that more than 240 illegal immigrants were rescued off the Libyan coast in the past week. The IOM mentioned that a total of 6,119 illegal immigrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast and returned to Libya since 2020, while 9,225 illegal immigrants were rescued and returned to Libya last year.

* Egypt reported on Monday 627 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total infections in the country since mid-February to 88,402, said the Egyptian Health Ministry. It is the 12th consecutive day for Egypt's daily COVID-19 infections to be below 1,000, with record 1,774 daily infections seen on June 19. Meanwhile, Egypt confirmed 50 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the death toll to 4,352, the ministry's spokesman Khaled Megahed said in a statement.

* Tunisian Interior Ministry on Monday said that security forces have thwarted a "terrorist plan" and arrested an "extremist element loyal to the Islamic State (IS) group." The suspect was planning an attack targeting a security unit deployed in one of the southern governorates with an explosive device, it added. The ministry said this extremist who has no criminal record was arrested in an ambush.

* Morocco registered 326 new coronavirus cases on Monday, raising the tally in the North African country to 17,562, the health ministry said. The number of the cured patients has increased to 15,132 with 211 new recoveries, while the death toll from the virus stood at 276, said Mouad Mrabet, coordinator of the Moroccan Center for Public Health Operations at the Ministry of Health, at a press briefing. The COVID-19 death rate in Morocco stabilizes at 1.6 percent, with the recovery rate at 86.2 percent, he noted.

* The Israeli Ministry of Health reported 1,714 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the total to 52,003. The number of death cases rose from 409 to 415, while the number of patients in serious condition rose from 252 to 264, out of 664 patients currently hospitalized. The number of recoveries rose to 22,154, with 479 new recoveries, while the number of active cases reached a record high of 29,434.

* Palestine recorded on Monday 468 new COVID-19 cases in its territories, raising the total number to 10,520, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

* The Kazakhstan National Bank or central bank Monday cut the key interest rate from 9.5 percent to 9 percent and narrowed the corridor from plus or minus 2 percentage point to 1.5 around the benchmark. According to a central bank statement, the Kazakh economy has seen a decrease of pro-inflationary risks and a stronger recession than expected in the first half of the year. Quarantine measures taken in the second lockdown will have an additional disinflationary effect. All have contributed to the rate cut.

* Eight soldiers were killed and nine others injured as a lorry bomb targeted a military convoy in Sayed Abad district of Afghansitan's eastern Wardak province on Monday, Defense Ministry confirmed in a statement. Nine more soldiers were injured in the blast, the statement added. The statement didn't accuse any group for the attack.

Reuters, Xinhua