World News in Brief: December 1

Tuesday, 2020-12-01 16:05:20
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A mural painting as part of a campaign to raise awareness of COVID-19 prevention is seen in Jakarta, Indonesia, Dec. 1, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
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New Zealand kicked off its APEC host year on Tuesday (December 1), with a welcome ceremony taking place on Wellington's waterfront. APEC 2021 will be one of the largest ongoing virtual events in the world, with more than 300 meetings conducted across New Zealand.

* China hopes NATO will adopt the correct outlook toward the country and stands ready to engage in dialogue with the group, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a regular briefing on Tuesday.

* Brexit trade talks are stuck on fishing, governance rules and dispute resolution because the European Union is asking too much of Britain, a senior member of the British government said on Tuesday. Just 30 days before Britain leaves the EU's orbit following a transition period since it formally quit the bloc, the sides are trying to agree a trade deal to avoid a turbulent rupture that could snarl almost US$1 trillion in annual trade.

* The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday said it has approved US$400 million in loan to support Sri Lanka's government in reforming its education system to meet the demand for highly skilled workers.

* China's National Health Commission said Tuesday that it received reports of 12 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Monday, including four domestically transmitted cases and eight imported ones. All the domestically transmitted cases were reported in Inner Mongolia, the commission said in its daily report. No new suspected cases or new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported Monday, the commission said.

* A new stay-at-home order took effect Monday in Los Angeles as confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the most populous county in the United States exceeded 400,000.

* Cases of COVID-19 have been rising again in Brazil, pushing the country's most populous state, Sao Paulo State, to resume tougher measures. Brazil registered 21,138 new infections and 287 new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, raising its national caseload to 6,335,878 and death toll to 173,120, the Health Ministry reported Monday.

* Russia reported a record 569 deaths linked to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the official death toll to 40,464. Authorities also reported 26,402 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, including 6,524 in the capital Moscow, bringing the national cumulative tally to 2,322,056.

* Mexico's Health Ministry reported 6,472 more COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the national count to 1,113,543. The ministry said that 285 additional deaths were reported, raising the nationwide tally to 105,940, while 823,586 patients have recovered.

* Norway's oil output curbs, in place since June, are set to end on Dec. 31, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said on Tuesday. Following a sharp drop in crude prices in early 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit demand, Norway in April announced it would slash output for the final seven months of the year. The move supported deep cuts by the OPEC+ group, which comprises the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and several other countries, but not Norway.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 13,604 to 1,067,473, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Tuesday. The reported death toll rose by 388 to 16,636.

* The number of foreign tourist visits to Indonesia reached 158,190 in October, a drastic drop by 88.25 percent compared to the same month last year, according to the Central Agency of Statistics. However, the number in October increased by 4.57 percent compared to that in September, the agency's Deputy of the Distribution and Services Statistics Setianto told a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

* The Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines on Tuesday reported 1,298 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the country's total tally to 432,925. The DOH said that 135 more patients recovered, raising the total number of recoveries to 398,782. The death toll climbed to 8,418 after 27 more patients died from the coronavirus epidemic.

* The Australian city of Sydney has lifted restrictions on water usage, which remained in place since May 2019 to cope with a historic drought. Higher levels of rainfall since earlier this year brought an end to the drought and saw dam levels rise across the State of New South Wales (NSW) including Sydney.

* The Argentine Ministry of Health on Monday reported 5,726 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, taking the national count to 1,424,533. The ministry said 257 more patients died from the disease, bringing the nationwide death toll to 38,730, and meanwhile, a total of 1,257,227 people have recovered from the disease so far in the country.

* As November nears its end, Canada reported a total of 374,051 COVID-19 cases and 12,076 deaths as of Monday afternoon, according to CTV. Canada has been well into the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and new case numbers grow by thousands each day.

* The European Union (EU) Monday launched a forum devoted to exchanging ideas on how to build a stronger and more resilient Schengen area, which saw itself breaking down during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the Black Sea region is of high importance to the Alliance, and they will cooperate with Ukraine to monitor the security situation, Ukrinform news agency reported on Monday.

* British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Monday that coronavirus is "back under control" in Britain as the month-long national lockdown is due to end on Wednesday. According to the latest official figures, Britain's coronavirus reproduction number, known as the R number, has fallen to between 0.9 and 1. If the R number is above one, it means the number of cases will increase exponentially.

* The European Union (EU) announced on Monday that it will contribute about US$10.8 million to support the Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem.

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said that he opposes attempts to call for new elections and urged his coalition partners to keep the current power-sharing government.

* The Palestinian Authority and Switzerland on Monday agreed to establish a joint business council in order to enhance the economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

* Naval forces from Egypt and Greece conducted joint military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt's armed forces said in a statement on Monday. The exercises covered activities of sailing formation, transportation and training, aiming to enhance maritime security measures in the Mediterranean.