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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a press conference, on May 2, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Sanctions won't be lifted until Russia signs peace deal with Ukraine: Scholz

The sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of its invasion of Ukraine will not be lifted until Moscow reaches a peace agreement with Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, adding that it was for Ukraine to decide what peace it wanted.

Interviewed on ZDF public television, Scholz said Putin had miscalculated if he had anticipated that he might be able to gain territory from Ukraine, declare an end to hostilities and see Western countries drop sanctions.

"He didn't think his entire Ukraine operation through," Scholz said.

"He didn't think Ukraine would resist like that. He didn't think we would support them to hold out for so long... We won't withdraw the sanctions unless he reaches an agreement with Ukraine, and he won't get that with a dictated peace."


New York City raises Covid-19 alert level as case numbers rise

The recent uptick in Covid-19 cases across New York City has prompted increased caution from the city.

The city has moved to a "medium" alert level from "low" as new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days has surpassed 200.

The latest figure of 209.02 cases per 100,000 is the highest since early February.


Italy passes $20 billion aid package focused on energy relief

Italy approved a 14-billion-euro (S$20.4 billion) aid package focused on energy, as Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the country is committed to easing its dependence on Russian gas.

The measure does not include additional deficits, the premier said, and Rome will extend tax breaks for energy-intensive industries.

The country will also raise taxes on energy companies' profits, the premier said.


Shopee authorised to operate as payment institution in Brazil

The Singaporean shopping app Shopee, owned by Sea Ltd, received authorisation on Monday from Brazil's central bank to operate as a payment institution, according to a notice in the government's official gazette.

SHPP Brasil Payment Institution and Payment Services Ltda, controlled by SHPP Brasil Participaçoes Ltda, will be able to "manage prepaid payment accounts, in which funds must be previously deposited," the official gazette said.

Shopee has become one of the most-downloaded e-commerce apps in Brazil, drawing users to its low-cost marketplace from other local companies.


Football: Uefa bans Russian clubs from 2022/23 Champions League

Russian clubs have been banned by Uefa from participating in the Champions League and all other European competitions next season, European football's governing body announced on Monday.

"Russia will have no affiliated clubs participating in Uefa club competitions in the 2022/23 season," it said in a statement.

Russian clubs and national teams were suspended "until further notice" by Uefa in February in the wake of the country's invasion of Ukraine.


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