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World in brief: April 20, 2022

JAPAN: Parliament formally revoked Russia’s “most favoured nation” trade status today over its invasion of Ukraine and widespread atrocities against civilians.

The revocation applies to tariffs on all Russian imports, allowing Tokyo to impose higher duties on such products. The move was part of a list of sanctions measures Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced last month.

Moscow recently suspended peace talks with Tokyo that included negotiations over Russian-held islands that the former Soviet Union claimed from Japan at the end of World War II.

MEXICO: The senate passed a Bill on Tuesday to nationalise lithium mining and extraction. The Bill was submitted by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is expected to sign it into law.

The law says a state-run company will have exclusive rights to mine lithium, a mineral used in electric car batteries and other devices, though such a company does not yet exist.

The Bill passed in the lower house of congress on Monday, marking a near-record speed of approval in both houses.

EAST TIMOR: Former independence fighter and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta is set to win the presidential runoff election, defeating incumbent Francisco Guterres.

Official results are not expected until next week, but Mr Ramos-Horta, who led resistance during Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, had 61.72 per cent of the votes counted so far. Mr Guterres was trailing with 38.28 per cent.

Mr Ramos-Horta has pledged to reduce poverty, improve health services for mothers and children, create more jobs, and vowed to restore political stability.

POLAND: Methane explosions at a coal mine in the south killed four people and injured 19 today, authorities said. Seven others were missing.

The blasts took place at 12:15 am local time about 3,000 feet under the surface at the Pniowek mine in Pawlowicey.

The immediate rescue operation by 13 units of rescuers had to be suspended because of a fire and the need to protect the rescuers.

Contact with seven of the rescuers has been lost during the operation, mine authorities said.

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