ANKARA

Anadolu Agency is here with a rundown of the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic and other news in Turkey and around the world.

Global developments

The world’s most powerful space telescope was rocketed from Earth, marking the beginning of a bold mission to scan the universe for its first stars and any signs of life in the cosmos.

Pope Francis urged individuals and world leaders to be open to dialogue as he celebrated a second Christmas under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.

The volcanic eruption on the Spanish island of La Palma is officially over.

At least 10 people were killed in a deadly accident on the Ahvaz-Khorramshahr highway in Iran’s southwestern Khuzestan province.

Sudan saw internet service cut hours before planned protests demanding civilian rule.

The death toll from Friday’s ferry fire incident in Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka rose to 38, as search and rescue operations continue for a second day.

COVID-19 updates worldwide

More than 8.94 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, according to Our World in Data, a tracking website affiliated with Oxford University.

Meanwhile, the global tally for infections surpassed 279.3 million, said US-based Johns Hopkins University.

France registered a record number of new coronavirus cases, exceeding the 100,000 mark for the first time since the pandemic began.

Palestine recorded five new cases of the omicron variant.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard contracted the coronavirus, the English Premier League club announced.

Turkmenistan became one of the first countries to approve the use of Russian COVID-19 vaccines, including Sputnik V, EpiVacCorona and Sputnik Light.

Coronavirus and other developments in Turkey

Turkey has administered more than 128.38 million coronavirus vaccine doses since launching a mass immunization campaign in January, according to official figures.

More than 56.79 million people have received their first dose, while over 51.38 million are fully vaccinated, said the Health Ministry.

The ministry also reported 20,470 new cases, while 145 patients have died from the disease in the past 24 hours.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the government wants to make the country continue to grow through investment, employment, production and exports as well as in terms of current account surplus.

Turkish security forces rounded up nine foreign nationals for alleged links to the Daesh/ISIS terror group in the metropolis of Istanbul.

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