World News in Brief: January 21

Tuesday, 2020-01-21 10:41:37
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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut global growth projections on Monday (January 20), citing negative surprises in a few emerging markets and increased social unrest, but added that "global growth may be bottoming out." Global economic growth is now projected to rise from an estimated 2.9 percent in 2019 to 3.3 percent in 2020 and 3.4 percent for 2021 -- a downward revision of 0.1 percentage point for 2019 and 2020, and 0.2 percentage point for 2021, compared to those published in the IMF's October "World Economic Outlook."

* Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered resolute efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that caused cases of pneumonia. Instructing on the work related to the pneumonia situation, Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, stressed putting people's safety and health as the top priority.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced a draft law on amending the constitution for consideration by the State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, the Kremlin said in a statement Monday. The draft law is aimed at improving the regulation of certain aspects of public government organization, said the statement.

* US President Donald Trump's lawyers on Monday argued that Trump had done nothing wrong, urging the Senate to reject the impeachment articles approved by Democratic-led House of Representatives last month and acquit the president speedily.

* The governments of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal have pledged their political support for the creation of a European-led maritime surveillance mission in the Strait of Hormuz, according to a joint statement released Monday on the website of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

* The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2020 is scheduled to take place on January 21-24 in Davos Klosters in Switzerland. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the WEF.

* China is willing to work with the United States to build and advance bilateral ties featuring coordination, cooperation and stability, on the basis of mutual respect, equal dialogue, and managing differences while seeking common ground. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks in Beijing on Monday at the 2020 New Year reception hosted by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

* Moscow hopes that Iran will not withdraw from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying Monday.

* Uzbekistan's newly-formed Senate, the upper chamber of the parliament, has approved Tanzila Narbayeva as chairwoman and accepted the government's resignation. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev attended the Senate's first session following the election of the deputies of the upper chamber early in January.

* As dry weather continues in New Zealand, many regions are facing drought with water restrictions in place, said the weather watch organization on Tuesday. According to New Zealand Climate, Freshwater and Ocean Science research institute NIWA, there are widespread, extremely dry conditions for Auckland, Northland and upper Waikato.

Xinhua