* Philippine and US soldiers will conduct a two-week joint military exercise from Monday, resuming the annual training event after last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic, the Philippine military chief said on Sunday.
* The funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh will be held at Windsor on April 17, with no public access nor public procession beforehand, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said Saturday. The event is to be a “ceremonial royal funeral”, rather than a state funeral, which “very much reflects the duke’s wishes”, a palace spokesman said.
* China has administered 164.47 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Saturday, the National Health Commission said on Sunday. This represents around 24.5 million doses in the past six days, as the country’s vaccine rollout continues to accelerate.
* Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll has risen to 351,334 after 2,616 new deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health reported on Saturday. Meanwhile, the country registered 71,832 new cases, bringing the national tally to 13,445,006, the ministry said.
* Russia reported on Sunday 8,702 new COVID-19 cases, including 2,090 in Moscow, taking the national infection tally to 4,641,390 since the pandemic began. The government coronavirus taskforce reported 337 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the total death toll to 102,986.
* Thailand on Sunday reported 967 new COVID-19 cases, its biggest daily jump, but no new deaths as the country deals with a third wave of infections and a highly contagious variant. Of the infections, 964 were domestic transmissions, including 236 in the capital Bangkok, the epicentre of an outbreak that has spread to most of Thailand’s 77 provinces.
* Malaysia reported 1,739 new COVID-19 infections, the Health Ministry said on Sunday, bringing the national total to 360,856. Health Ministry Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a press statement that eight of the new cases are imported and with 1,731 being local transmissions. Eight more deaths have been reported, bringing the death toll to 1,329.
* Israel views the United States as a “full partner” and will work closely with its ally to ensure any new diplomatic accord with Iran does not compromise regional security, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz told his US counterpart on Sunday.
* French lawmakers voted late on Saturday to abolish domestic flights on routes than can be covered by train in under two-and-a-half hours, as the government seeks to lower carbon emissions even as the air travel industry reels from the global pandemic.
* Israel’s defence minister pledged on Sunday to cooperate with the United States on Iran, voicing hope that Israeli security would be safeguarded under any renewed Iranian nuclear deal that Washington reaches.
* Voting began in Benin’s presidential election on Sunday following a week of violent protests against incumbent Patrice Talon, who is heavily favoured to win a second term.
* The Republic of Korea authorities said on Sunday they will move ahead with a coronavirus vaccination drive this week, after deciding to continue using AstraZeneca PLC’s vaccine for all eligible people 30 years old or over. The ROK on Wednesday suspended providing the AstraZeneca shot to people under 60 as Europe reviewed cases of blood clotting in adults.
* Peruvians were preparing to head to the polls on Sunday in a presidential election marked by uncertainty due to widespread public apathy following decades of graft and mismanagement and a possible low turnout because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 17,855 to 2,998,268, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by 104 to 78,353.
* Tropical cyclone Seroja strenthened off Western Australia on Sunday, with emergency services opening shelters in preparation for high winds and coastal flooding later in the evening.
* People arriving in Ireland from the United States and 15 other countries and regions will have to complete a 14-day mandatory quarantine at a government-designated facility starting from 4 a.m. (Irish time) on April 15, according to a latest decision of the Irish government.
* Munir Akram, the president of United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Pakistan’s UN ambassador, on Friday called on the global community to address the crisis of inequality and mobilize financing for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
* The United Arab Emirates has selected the first Arab woman to train as an astronaut, as the Gulf country rapidly expands into the space sector to diversify its economy.
* The Saudi-led military coalition battling Yemen’s Houthi movement intercepted and destroyed drones launched by the Iran-aligned group towards Khamis Mushait and Jazan in southern Saudi Arabia, state media said on Sunday. The coalition said it would take “necessary operational measures” to protect civilians in line with international law.
* The occupancy rate of Egypt’s hotels, which are running at half capacity due to COVID-19 regulations, was between 40% and 45% in the first quarter, an official from the tourism ministry told Reuters on Sunday. This amounts to an occupancy rate of nearly 25% if hotels were running at full capacity, according to Reuters calculations.