World News in Brief: August 4

Tuesday, 2020-08-04 15:38:32
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Passengers line up to have COVID-19 tests at Cologne-Bonn Airport in Cologne, Germany, on Aug. 3, 2020. Germany's COVID-19 cases rose by 509 within one day to 210,402, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said on Monday. (Photo: Xinhua)
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The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption to education in history and prolonged school closures could further entrench inequalities in access to learning, UN chief Antonio Guterres said Tuesday (August 4), underlining the need for "bold steps" to address the crisis. Describing education as "the key to personal development and the future of societies," the secretary-general issued recommendations to resume classes in a policy brief launched alongside a new global campaign called "Save our Future."

* Cambodia attracted 1.18 million international visitors during the first half of 2020, down 64.6 percent from 3.33 million over the same period last year, said the latest report released by the Ministry of Tourism on Tuesday. The Southeast Asian nation has recorded a total of 241 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, with 200 patients cured and 41 remained in hospital, according to the Ministry of Health.

* Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday formally declared her intention to seek a second term in an election in November that is seen as a test of the Southeast Asian nation's tentative democratic reforms.

* The number of COVID-19 cases rose to 1,855,745 in India as 52,050 new cases and 803 deaths were registered during the past 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 38,938, showed the data released by the health ministry. Tuesday was the sixth consecutive day when over 50,000 fresh cases were detected across the country in a single day. There are a total of 586,298 active COVID-19 cases in the country. So far 1,230,509 people have been cured and discharged from hospitals, said the health ministry.

* Brazil on Monday (August 3) recorded 561 new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the national death toll to 94,665, according to the country's health ministry. Meanwhile, tests have detected 16,641 new infections, taking the total caseload to 2,750,318, said the ministry. Brazil has become the hardest hit country in Latin America and the second-worst hit worldwide, second only to the United States in deaths and the total number of COVID-19 infections.

* The Tokyo metropolitan government confirmed 309 new daily COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, according to preliminary figures as of 3:00 p.m. local time, with the figure marking the eighth straight day cases have topped 200 in the capital. Tokyo has remained the epicenter of the outbreak in Japan with cases in July alone totaling 6,466, the highest figure for any month.

* The French authorities have ordered people to wear face masks in outdoor public places in many major cities as the COVID-19 spread faster and the admission to intensive care units increased again after month-long decline. Amidst fears of a second pandemic wave, France has made wearing mask compulsory in busy pedestrians streets and uncovered markets in addition to tourists spots in many cities, including Lille, Nice and La Mayenne. Any person who refuses to apply to the rule will pay a fine of EUR135 (US$158.7).

* Myanmar's foreign trade recorded a deficit of over US$1.7 billion in first 10 months of present fiscal year (FY) 2019-2020, according to the figures released by the Commerce Ministry on Tuesday. The trade deficit increased by more than US$718.3 million, compared to the corresponding period of last FY 2018-2019 when it registered over US$983.9 million. The authorities have been making efforts to boost the country's exports and reduce the import of luxury commodities to decrease the trade deficit.

* Republic of Korea's heavy rain, which lasted for four straight days, has left 13 people dead and 13 others missing as of Tuesday, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters.

* Authorities in the Indian city of Mumbai issued a red alert on Tuesday and warned people not to venture out after heavy overnight rain in the financial hub brought flooding and travel chaos. Some suburbs have seen more than 300 mm of rain in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning and more heavy rain is expected over the next two days, said India Meteorological Department (IMD) official K.S. Hosalikar.

* Isaias weakened into a tropical storm over eastern North Carolina, the US National Hurricane Center said on Tuesday. Isaias, packing maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph), is located about 35 miles (55 km) west southwest of Greenville, North Carolina, the Miami-based forecaster said.

* Uzbekistan has extended visas for all stranded foreign nationals until Nov. 1, the Uzbek state tourism committee said Monday. All air and rail links in and out of Uzbekistan have been canceled since March 16 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the country has since extended visas for foreigners several times.

* The Colombian Ministry of Health on Monday raised the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 327,850, with 11,017 deaths. According to the authorities, tests detected 10,199 new infections and 367 more patients died in the past 24 hours. Currently, 142,430 cases are considered active in Colombia, while 173,727 people have recovered.

* The novel coronavirus pandemic could raise the level of poverty in Peru by 10 percent, President of the Council of Ministers Pedro Cateriano warned on Monday. Lockdown measures designed to control the spread of the virus and save thousands of lives, have also led to unemployment and a rise in poverty, he noted. To tackle the crisis, the government plans to spend some US$2.285 billion on welfare programs to help these families, he added.

* Turkey reported 995 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, raising the total diagnosed cases to 233,851, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. Meanwhile, 19 people died in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 5,747, Koca tweeted. Turkish health professionals conducted 41,301 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests to 4,927,217, he said.

* Italy's new Genoa Saint George Bridge, which replaces the viaduct that collapsed two years ago and killed 43 people, was inaugurated in the northwestern port city of Genoa on Monday. Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, along with other officials attended the ceremony, which was televised live by RAI national public broadcaster.

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that his plan to annex portions of the Israeli-occupied West Bank "isn't off the table" yet. The Palestinians and most of the international community have condemned the plan and consider it a violation of international law.

* Trade between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) states has seen a 14-percent increase in the past seven months, a senior Iranian official was quoted on Monday by Press TV. Since January, Iran has traded with the five-member bloc slightly less than 7 million tons of commodities, worth about US$2.5 billion, said Hamid Zadboum, head of Iran's Trade Promotion Organization.

* A mobile phone application aimed to help trace possible coronavirus infections will be launched in the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, the first of Spain's 17 autonomous communities to launch such an app, Spain's Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence Carme Artigas confirmed on Monday. The Radar COVID application will be made available in both iOS and Android versions to residents and tourists in the two islands regions, which are popular with foreign tourists.

* A total of 15 pro-government fighters were killed by airstrikes in eastern Syria on Monday, a war monitor reported Tuesday. The airstrikes targeted the positions of Iranian-backed Iraqi fighters in the al-Bukamal area in the countryside of the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

* Iran on Tuesday recorded 2,751 new COVID-19 cases during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 314,786, Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for the health ministry, announced during her daily update. According to the official IRNA news agency, Lari said that the death toll from the virus in the country rose to 17,617 after 212 new deaths were added.

* Israel said on Monday its air force held a joint military exercise with the United States Air Forces Central Command for the second time in 2020. The so-called "Enduring Lightning 2" exercise took place in southern Israel on Sunday. The US and the Israeli air forces maintain close cooperation, including in training and mutual learning.

* The Pentagon said on Monday that the United States and Poland had completed negotiations on the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which would enable increased US military presence in the central European country. Poland, which joined NATO in 1999, has long sought the deployment of a permanent US military force on its territory.

* The Interior Ministry of Libya's UN-backed government on Monday said it arrested 57 illegal immigrants in the city of Zuwara, some 90 km west of the capital Tripoli.

* The Colombian Ministry of Health on Monday raised the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 327,850, with 11,017 deaths. According to the authorities, tests detected 10,199 new infections and 367 more patients died in the past 24 hours. Currently, 142,430 cases are considered active in Colombia, while 173,727 people have recovered.

* Mexico's Navy seized 2.2 tons of cocaine after chasing down a boat of drug traffickers off the coast of Acapulco, a tourist resort in southern Guerrero state, the Naval Ministry said on Monday. The boat's four-member crew threw 112 sacks of cocaine overboard before landing their vessel on a beach 59 kilometers from Acapulco, and escaping on foot, the ministry said.

* Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune Monday announced that his country "is reviewing the possibility to reopen mosques for the public," the official APS news agency reported. The president made the remarks during a meeting of the High Security Council attended by top military and security officials as well as cabinet members to assess the COVID-19 epidemic inside the country.

* Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia on Monday resumed a new round of talks on filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), according to Sudan's Irrigation and Water Resources Ministry. Yasir Abbas, Sudanese Irrigation and Water Resources Minister, said in a statement that it is important to sign an agreement among the three countries regarding the Nile Dam.