World News in Brief: January 23

Thursday, 2020-01-23 16:25:07
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A boat carrying 20 people sank in waters off Indonesia's western Riau province, leaving ten people missing, a rescuer said on Thursday (January 23). The boat carrying Indonesian workers to Malaysia went down after leaving Rupat Island on Wednesday (January 23), Head of the Provincial Search and Rescue Office Ishak Tahir said, adding that ten workers survived the accident after being rescued by local sailors.

* Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has stressed solving problems facing people's livelihood through development, and continuously improving the living standards of people of all ethnic groups. Li, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks during his inspection tour in northwest China's Qinghai Province from January 21-22.

* A group of experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) visited Wuhan on January 20-21 to inspect work related to the pneumonia epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), according to the National Health Commission (NHC). The WHO said it will continue stepping up cooperation with China and provide relevant technical support, according to the NHC.

* Russia's lower house of parliament on Thursday approved constitutional reform legislation submitted by President Vladimir Putin in the first reading, the Interfax news agency reported.

* China has donated CNY1 million (around US$144,000) to support communities affected by the eruption of Taal volcano, the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said on Thursday.

* Flights have been canceled at Canberra's airport for much of Thursday as bushfire posed threat to the east of the Australian capital. The blaze, started Wednesday afternoon in Redwood Forest of Pialligo, was fanned up by strong wind on Thursday morning and merged with a second fire.

* The European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday decided to leave key interest rates for the euro area unchanged and to launch a review of its monetary policy strategy. The ECB Governing Council said in a statement that the eurozone base interest rate will remain at 0.00 percent, with the marginal lending rate and deposit rate remaining at 0.25 percent and minus 0.50 percent, respectively.

* Afghan security forces have recaptured 78 villages from the armed insurgents in the western Ghor and neighboring Herat province and extended government control over the past couple of weeks amid increasing crackdowns on the armed groups, Fawad Aman, deputy spokesman for Defense Ministry said Thursday.

* A 6.2-magnitude earthquake jolted 22km E of Tanaga Volcano, Alaska at 0553 GMT on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The epicenter, with a depth of 10.0 km, was initially determined to be at 51.9196 degrees north latitude and 177.8269 degrees west longitude.

* The World Bank on Wednesday urged African countries to embrace global value chains in order to boost their national incomes.

* Egyptian Ministry of Interior on Wednesday announced the aborting of a scheme to destabilize the country on the anniversary of the January 25 uprising.

* Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda on Wednesday said the country is on high alert as locusts draw close to the common border with Kenya. All nine ministries have been instructed to work together to collectively heighten the country's preparedness to prevent or handle the invasion, said Rugunda in a statement issued in Kampala.