World News in Brief: June 26

Friday, 2020-06-26 14:31:54
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The IMF warns markets at risk of correction after run-up.
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Markets for stocks and other risky assets could suffer a second swoon if the coronavirus spreads more widely, lockdowns are reimposed or trade tensions surge again, the International Monetary Fund warned on Thursday (June 25).

* It is not certain that scientists will be able to create an effective vaccine against the coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic, but it could take a year before one were to be invented, the head of the World Health Organisation said. Speaking by video-conference to deputies from the European Parliament's health committee, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that if such a vaccine became a reality, it should become a public good available to all.

* A Group of 20 debt service suspension initiative agreed in April has received 41 applications from the 73 poor countries eligible for the official bilateral debt relief initiative, Saudi Arabia's G20 Secretariat said on Thursday. Following a G20 debt working group meeting, the Secretariat said in a statement that 26 of the countries applying for debt relief through the end of 2020 were from Africa, and implementation of the program had accelerated in June.

* A delay to a decision on whether the European Union can impose tariffs against the United States over subsidies for Boeing is unjustified and harms the bloc's right to retaliate, the European Commission said on Thursday.

* An agreement between the European Union member states over a coronavirus recovery fund is possible and desirable in July, Spain's Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez said on Thursday after meeting with her Dutch counterpart Stef Blok. The EU has proposed a EUR750 billion (US$841.73 billion) aid package to help countries deal with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis. Spain would be one of the main beneficiaries of the funds which would be financed by the European bloc.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday reported 2,374,282 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 37,667 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 692 to 121,809.

* Brazil recorded 39,483 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours as well as 1,141 deaths, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. Brazil has registered more than 1.2 million cases since the pandemic began, while cumulative deaths total 54,971, according to the ministry.

* Mexico's healthy ministry on Thursday reported 6,104 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 736 deaths, bringing the nation's total known infections to 202,951 and 25,060 deaths.

* Russia on Friday (June 26) reported 6,800 new coronavirus cases, the first daily rise below 7,000 since late April, taking its nationwide tally to 620,794. The country's coronavirus response centre said 176 people had died of the virus in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 8,781.

* The number of deaths in France from the new coronavirus has risen by 21 from the previous day to stand at 29,752, the country's health department said on Thursday. France has the fifth-highest coronavirus death toll in the world, although the number of casualties has steadily decreased from peaks reached in March and April, which has allowed the government to gradually re-open businesses and some schools.

* Spain is set to extend until Sept. 30 national furlough schemes aimed at mitigating the effect of the coronavirus lockdown under a government agreement with labour unions and the main employers' association, the labour ministry said on Thursday. Spain's economy is reeling from the pandemic, and the country has recorded more than 28,000 confirmed deaths and nearly 250,000 cases of the virus.

* Britain is working on a plan to relax its quarantine for international travellers with some countries where there is a lower risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, Environment Secretary George Eustice said on Friday.

* Japan's COVID-19 contact-tracing app has been downloaded more than 4 million times since its launch a week ago as the government seeks to head off a second wave of infections now that businesses and schools have reopened. Health ministry official Yasuyuki Sahara said while there was no target number for downloads, "we want to make as many people as possible to use this app". Apps such as this may be able to halt an epidemic if usage reaches 60% of the population, according to an Oxford University study.

* Australia will stick with plans to further ease coronavirus curbs, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, despite a spike in infections in the second most populous state of Victoria. On Friday, the state reported its tenth straight day of new cases in double digits.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 477 to 192,556, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday. The reported death toll rose by 21 to 8,948, the tally showed.

* France, Germany and Italy on Thursday called on forces in Libya to cease fighting and for outside parties to stop any interference in a bid to try and get political talks back on track. Ties between NATO allies France and Turkey have soured in recent weeks over the Libyan conflict.

* A shallow earthquake of magnitude 6.4 struck 279 km (173.36 miles) southeast of Hotan in China on Friday, the US Geological Survey said. The quake was at a depth of 10 km, USGS added.

* Israel and the United Arab Emirates will cooperate in the fight against the coronavirus, the two countries said on Thursday, a possible boost to Israeli efforts to normalise relations with Gulf Arab countries.

* Ireland plans to lift from July 9 a 14-day quarantine for people arriving from countries that have also suppressed the coronavirus, acting prime minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday. So far, 1,727 people have died in Ireland from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

* People in several parts of Greater Lisbon will have to go back to staying at home from next week as Portuguese authorities deal with a worrying wave of coronavirus on the city's outskirts, the government announced on Thursday.

* Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel and the United Arab Emirates would cooperate in the fight against the coronavirus - a possible boost to Israeli efforts to normalise relations with Gulf Arab countries.

* Iraqi security forces raided a headquarters belonging to a powerful Iran-backed militia in southern Baghdad late on Thursday and detained more than a dozen members of the group, government officials and paramilitary sources said. The raid was the most brazen action by Iraqi forces against a major Iran-backed militia group in years and targeted the Kataib Hezbollah faction, which US officials have accused of firing rockets at bases hosting US troops and other facilities in Iraq.

* Two private companies from the United Arab Emirates will work with two Israeli companies on medical projects, including those to combat the new coronavirus, the UAE's state-run news agency WAM said on Thursday. Earlier on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel and the UAE would cooperate in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.