World breaking news today (December 29): Russia admits to world's third-worst Covid-19 death toll

World breaking news today (December 29): Russia admits to world's third-worst Covid-19 death toll. Meanwhile, Biden accuses Trump’s Pentagon and OMB of obstruction, U.S. urges China to release 12 Hong Kong fugitives, Thai Deputy PM undergoes home quarantine and gold price also make headlines today.
December 29, 2020 | 10:04
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Russia's actual death toll is tripled than previous announcement (Photo: Malaysian Now)
Russia's actual death toll is tripled than previous announcement (Photo: Malaysian Now)

Russia admits to the world's third-worst Covid-19 death toll

Russia said on Monday that its coronavirus death toll was more than three times higher than it had previously reported, making it the country with the third-largest number of fatalities, Guardian reported.

For months, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has boasted about Russia’s low fatality rate from the virus. But since early in the pandemic, some Russian experts have said the government was playing down the country’s outbreak.

On Monday, Russian officials admitted that was true. The Rosstat statistics agency said that the number of deaths from all causes recorded between January and November had risen by 229,700 compared with the previous year.

“More than 81% of this increase in mortality over this period is due to Covid,” said the deputy prime minister, Tatiana Golikova, meaning that more than 186,000 Russians have died from Covid-19.

Russian health officials have registered more than 3m infections since the start of the pandemic, putting the country’s caseload at fourth-highest in the world.

But they have only reported 55,265 deaths – a much lower fatality rate than in other badly hit countries.

Russia has been criticized for only listing Covid deaths where an autopsy confirms the virus was the main cause.

Biden accuses Trump’s Pentagon and OMB of obstruction, demands cooperation with the transition team

President-elect Joe Biden said Monday his transition team has run into “roadblocks” and “obstruction” from Trump administration leaders at key agencies, hindering the incoming administration’s efforts to prepare for the presidency.

But one of those agency chiefs, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, pushed back on Biden’s critique, marking the latest row between President Donald Trump’s Pentagon and the president-elect, according to CNBC.

Biden, who is set to take office in less than a month, singled out the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget in his speech.

“From some agencies, our team has received exemplary cooperation,” Biden said. “From others, most notably the Department of Defense, we’ve encountered obstruction from the political leadership of that department.”

He later added: “We’ve encountered roadblocks from the political leadership in the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and Budget. Right now, we just aren’t getting all the information that we need from the outgoing administration in key national security areas.”

President-Elect Joe Biden (Photo: CNBC)
President-Elect Joe Biden (Photo: CNBC)

In a statement later Monday, acting Defense chief Miller defended his agency’s coordination with Biden’s team.

Included in that statement is a bulleted list of “transition facts,” which notes that all interviews with the transition team are, for the first time, being conducted virtually in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The agency’s efforts “already surpass those of recent administrations with over three weeks to go,” Miller said, “and we continue to schedule additional meetings for the remainder of the transition and answer any and all requests for information in our purview.”

The Office of Management and Budget did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

U.S. embassy urges China to release 12 Hong Kong fugitives

The U.S. embassy in China has called upon Chinese authorities to immediately release 12 fugitives from Hong Kong and permit them to depart the country on Monday, according to a statement released on Monday.

Ten of the twelve Hong Kongers, who were detained in Chinese waters while fleeing to Taiwan, will go on trial at the Yantian District People’s Court in Shenzhen on Monday afternoon, as reported by Reuters.

World breaking news today (December 29): Russia admits to world's third worst Covid-19 death toll
(Photo: Gulf Daily News)

Thai Deputy PM undergoes home quarantine

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul is undergoing home quarantine for 14 days because he attended a meeting with a provincial governor who later tested positive for Covid-19.

According to The Edge Markets, Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Thaweesilp Wissanuyothin confirmed that the Governor of Samut Sakhon, Weerasak Wijitsaengsri, had tested positive for the deadly virus Monday.

Deputy Public Health Minister Satit Pitutacha said Anutin’s Covid-19 swab test result came back negative.

“However, he will undergo self-quarantine for 14 days starting today. Another Covid-19 test will be conducted in the next three days,” he said at a press conference here today.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul (Photo: bernama)
Thai Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul (Photo: Bernama)

Meanwhile, Disease Control Department director-general Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said all senior officials who attended the meeting and visited Samut Sakhon with Anutin, also tested negative for Covid-19.

He said the authorities have stepped up contact tracing, after the governor of Samut Sakhon tested positive.

Gold price forecast - gold markets bounce from 50 day EMA

Gold initially gapped higher to kick off the week, only to turn around and fill that gap before bouncing yet again. $1900 level will attract interest.

Gold markets have gapped higher to kick off the trading session on Monday, before turning around and falling towards the 50 days EMA and filling the gap. By turning things around in the manner we have, we have slammed into the $1900 level. If we can break above the $1900 level, then the market could go looking towards the $1950 level. In that area, we have seen a lot of selling, as you can see by the huge red candle from that level. All things have been equal though, it looks as if we are trying to form some type of bottoming pattern and I think at this point we are simply trying to build up enough momentum to continue the longer-term uptrend.

World breaking news today (December 29): Russia admits to world's third worst Covid-19 death toll
(Photo: Economic Times)

The 200 day EMA sits at the $1811 level, so I think that is going to offer a little bit of a “floor the market”, and therefore it would define the overall trend. That being said, the market I think eventually goes looking towards the $2100 level above, which is something that I anticipate we will see during the year 2021. I do not think it is necessarily going to be easy to get there, but I do think that the longer-term traders are trying to take advantage of a “buy-and-hold” type of strategy, as there are a lot of reasons to think that perhaps there should be not only a “safety trade” in the gold market, but there is also the massive amounts of stimulus out there that could continue to push gold higher as well.

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Jasmine Le

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