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Condition for opening Ukraine ports

The Kremlin says the removal of Western sanctions against Russia must be considered in order for Moscow to heed an appeal by the United Nations for access to Ukraine’s ports to help ease a global food crisis. Moscow believes the sanctions play a key part in the current food crisis as the bans interfere with normal free trade and target food products. This is after the UN secretary general said he is in contact with various international players in an effort to restore exports of Ukrainian grain and Russian food and fertilizers under the current circumstances. The war in Ukraine and economic sanctions on Russia have pushed up global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizers. Russia and Ukraine together account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies.

China-US tensions over Taiwan

China has slammed the United States for advocating Taiwan’s participation in the WHO’s annual assembly, reiterating its sovereignty over the self-ruled island. Zhao's remarks come in response to comments by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Taiwan attending the World Health Assembly as an observer. Blinken criticized Taiwan’s exclusion as "unwarranted". Since 1971, Taiwan has not been a UN member state and therefore does not have access to special UN agencies including the WHO. The island has only been granted non-voting observer status in the past between 2009 and 2016. China considers the island as its territory, and views US support for Taiwan as hostility against Chinese rule.

Monkeypox in US, Europe

Health authorities in some countries in Europe and North America are on alert for the spread of the rare monkeypox viral disease after the emergence of new cases. Portugal reported five cases and Spain said nearly two dozen cases were being tested. Britain has now detected seven infections after it announced its first case earlier this month. The United States and Canada have also identified infections. Authorities are working with the World Health Organization to investigate the spread of the virus. Early symptoms of monkeypox include those similar to flu as well as swelling of the lymph nodes followed by a rash. The first case of monkeypox was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s.

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