World News Briefs — September 22, 2020

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SCMP: Coronavirus: nations scramble to halt outbreaks as world sees record weekly number of cases

* Pandemic shows no signs of slowing down – over 31 million infections have been detected worldwide with the US and Brazil reporting most deaths
* The UK tightened Covid-19 restrictions on Tuesday, ordering pubs to close early, as PM Boris Johnson said ‘this is the moment we must act’

The coronavirus pandemic
appears to be accelerating worldwide, with new cases soaring last week to a new seven-day high of almost two million, even as new deaths decreased, WHO statistics showed.

In a fresh global update, the World Health Organization said that during the week ending on September 20, 1,998,897 new cases of the novel coronavirus were registered around the world.

That marks a 6 per cent increase over a week earlier and “the highest number of reported cases in a single week since the beginning of the epidemic,” the UN health agency said.

Since the novel coronavirus was first detected in China, it has infected more than 31 million people around the globe and has killed more than 965,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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Iran says ‘internal agents’ may be responsible for Natanz blast.

Iran says it is ready to swap all prisoners with U.S..

Iran nuclear deal: US unveils new sanctions targeting arms sales.

As US election nears, Iran tones down its posture in Iraq, officials say.

Iran sends message of resistance to US at UNGA.

Rouhani says next US leader must cede to Iran demands.

Lebanon’s Shiites stall formation of new government.

Lebanon is hit by ANOTHER explosion: Hezbollah arms depot destroyed after massive blast caused by ‘technical error’ weeks after Beirut disaster.

Palestinians quit Arab League role over UAE-Bahrain-Israel deal.

Bahrain, Israel leaders in post-accord telephone talks.

Turkey and Greece agree to resume talks on Mediterranean dispute.

As Afghanistan peace talks stutter, U.S. says violence levels too high.

Freed Taliban have returned to battlefield: top Afghan negotiator.

China and India agree not to send more troops to border, says Chinese defence ministry.

Taiwan warns China to ‘back off’.

Japan PM Suga, China’s Xi to hold phone talks Friday: Kyodo.

Trump: North Korea denuclearization efforts should continue.

Boat intercepted in 2018 carried would-be Kim Jong Un assassins, ex-official says.

Tycoon Ren Zhiqiang, who criticised Chinese President Xi Jinping’s response to COVID-19, jailed for 18 years.

China and Vatican prepare to renew historic deal that allows Chinese Communist Party to appoint Catholic bishops in the country.

Sri Lanka: Bill granting more powers to president tabled.

As rich nations struggle, Africa’s virus response is praised.

Mali military leader asks for end to ECOWAS economic sanctions.

‘No dictatorship considers protests legal,’ Cameroon’s opposition politician says.

Turkey slams ‘biased’ EU sanctions over Libya arms embargo.

Egypt reaches out to Greece amid tension with Turkey.

S.Africa seeks greater African role in UN Security Council.

Soaring food prices hit Sudanese as floods ravage the country.

Trial of Sudan’s Bashir adjourned to October 6.

EU leaders’ summit postponed as guard tests positive for Covid-19.

Boris Johnson announces new restrictions in UK amid second wave of coronavirus infections. Coronavirus: New Covid restrictions could last six months, says Boris Johnson.

Italians back referendum to reduce size of Parliament by a third.

‘We raised £2m in days’: the donations helping protesters in Belarus.

No Belarus sanctions by EU despite Tikhanovskaya plea.

Washington using Navalny situation as excuse to block Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Russian intelligence chief says.

Ginsburg Supreme Court: Republicans secure vote for replacement.

Louisville declares state of emergency as city braces for Breonna Taylor decision.

Poll: Two-thirds believe US cities ‘under siege’ by protesters.

First presidential debate to cover coronavirus, Supreme Court.

Facebook warns of restrictions in case of US post-election turmoil.

Wealth of US households rebounds last quarter to pre-coronavirus levels but gains flow mainly to most affluent households even as tens of millions endure job losses.

Mexico’s drug war leaves 39,000 unidentified bodies in its morgues.

Bogota: Clashes over police brutality continue in Colombia.

Venezuela, Cuba denounce US ‘hegemony’ in UNGA speeches.

Canada’s COVID-19 recovery plan to dominate Trudeau throne speech.

Hurricane Teddy heads for Atlantic Canada.

Nasa unveils US$28 billion plan to put first woman on the moon in 2024.


FinCEN Files: UK bank may have moved money ‘linked to terror activity’.

Trump’s ex-national security adviser H.R. McMaster warns Afghan peace talks will fail, leave US vulnerable.

Mali coup leader was US-trained, but AFRICOM says counterterrorism training still vital.


Wall Street closes higher on Amazon boost, despite economic worries.

Facebook says it may quit Europe over ban on sharing data with US.

UN warns of lost decade without Covid economic recovery plan.

Chinese leaders split over releasing blacklist of U.S. companies – WSJ.