World News in Brief: May 9

Sunday, 2021-05-09 14:44:40
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A staff member of a restaurant prepares for the reopening in Brussels, Belgium, May 8, 2021. With the infection rate showing gradual signs of decline, the Belgian government allowed the reopening of the terraces of restaurants starting from May 8 and the night curfew will also be lifted, allowing people to stay out after 10 p.m. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Pakistani President Arif Alvi Saturday promulgated an ordinance to allow the use of electronic voting machines in general elections as well as permission to Pakistani expatriates to cast their votes in the country's elections, a statement from the president's office said.

* Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a decree allowing the transfer of presidential power to the security council if he is murdered or otherwise unable to perform his duties, state Belta news agency reported on Saturday.

* Israel will sign a free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea this week, marking the first such arrangement with an Asian market, Israel's economy ministry said on Sunday. More than 95% of Israeli exports to the ROK will be customs-free, the ministry said.

* Latvian President Egils Levits and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday signed a joint declaration on Ukraine's further integration with the European Union (EU), the Latvian president's spokeswoman Justine Deicmane informed.

* Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday he was optimistic over talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and suggested a deal had been reached to lift the main sanctions on Tehran, state media reported.

* At least 64 Palestinians were injured in demonstrations and violent clashes near Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem on Saturday night, local media reported.

* Syrian authorities are working on extinguishing a fire that erupted in its main Homs refinery in the west of the nation, state media said on Sunday. The fire had erupted in a distillation unit due to a leak in a pumping station, it said without elaborating.

* China reported 12 new COVID-19 cases in the mainland on May 8, up from seven a day earlier, the country's national health authority said on Sunday. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in mainland China now stands at 90,758, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,636.

* Brazil recorded 63,430 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 2,202 fatalities from COVID-19, the Health Ministry said on Saturday. That raised the total number of confirmed cases in Latin America's largest country to 15,145,879, and the official death toll to 421,316.

* Thailand on Sunday reported 2,101 new coronavirus cases and 17 new deaths, as the country struggles with a third wave of infections. The new cases took the total number of infections to 83,375 and total fatalities to 399 since the pandemic started last year.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 12,656 to 3,520,329, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by 127 to 84,775, the tally showed.

* Australia's most populous state recorded no new COVID-19 infections for a third straight day on Sunday but extended raised social distancing and mask-wearing rules by a week as the authorities hunted for the source of a small outbreak.

* France reported 176 new coronavirus deaths in hospital on Saturday, down from 226 the previous day. The number of new cases of COVID-19 rose to 20,745 from 19,124 the previous day, the health ministry said.

* Argentina on Saturday reported 170 more deaths from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, raising the nationwide tally to 67,042, the health ministry said. Meanwhile, 18,024 new infections were reported, bringing the national count to 3,136,158, the ministry said.

* Turkey's daily COVID-19 cases fell below 20,000 for the first time since March 17 on Saturday, with 18,052 infections over the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed. Last week, President Tayyip Erdogan announced what he called a "full lockdown" until May 17 to curb a surge in infections and deaths after the country eased restrictions in early March.

* Bangladesh has detected its first case of a highly infectious coronavirus variant first identified in India, the country's health directorate said on Saturday, prompting the government to keep its border sealed for another two weeks.