Xinhua world news summary at 1530 GMT, Feb. 21

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JERUSALEM -- The Israeli Health Ministry announced Friday that one of the Israelis returned from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hours after arriving in Israel from Japan.

The female patient is being kept in quarantine in the Sheba Medical Center in central Israel and will remain there, said the ministry in a statement, adding that the patient was infected outside of Israel. (Israel-Coronavirus-First Case)

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KABUL -- The Afghan Taliban has confirmed it will sign a peace accord with the United States later this month, paving the way for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, a Taliban spokesman said Friday.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, wrote on Twitter that following lengthy negotiations "both parties agreed to sign the finalized accord in the presence of international observers" on Feb. 29. (Afghanistan-US-Peace)

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TEHRAN -- An Iranian health official said Friday that the World Health Organization (WHO) has sent equipment to Iran to detect suspected COVID-19 cases.

Kianush Jahanpur, head of Public Relations and Information Center of Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said that "the fourth set of special kits to detect suspects with COVID-19 infection was sent to Iran by the WHO representative to the Islamic republic on Friday." (Iran-WHO-Coronavirus)

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BANGKOK -- Thailand's Future Forward Party was dissolved under Friday's ruling of the Constitutional Court pertaining to its money-lending controversy.

The Constitutional Court has considered the lending of 191.2 million baht (about 6.04 million U.S. dollars) provided by the Future Forward Party Leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit as the de facto reception by the dissolved party of donated money and not as a loan in normal business sense, which was thus concluded by the court as a breach to the 2017 constitution and political party law. (Thailand-Party-Dissolved)

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KIEV -- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko discussed the United Nation's (UN) role in resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during a working visit to the UN headquarters in New York, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's press service reported Friday.

Prystaiko underlined the vital role the UN plays in providing humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian civilians affected by the conflict, and in supporting the Ukrainian government's efforts to implement reforms and achieve its Sustainable Development Goals plan. (Ukraine-FM-UN) Enditem

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