Xinhua world news summary at 1030 GMT, July 23

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KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysians will have to use face masks in crowded public areas including on public transportation from August, Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Thursday amid the rising COVID-19 cases recently.

The minister, who coordinate the restrictive measures, said in a press briefing that the government made the decision following the increase of COVID-19 cases in recent days and a lack of compliance on standard operating procedure (SOP) among the public. (Malaysia-COVID-19)

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URUMQI -- Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has provided free accommodation and nucleic acid tests for tourists stranded there since new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in the region.

As of July 20, more than 1,000 hotels across the city had offered free food, accommodation and shuttle services for tourists, who were stranded there as the number of flights and trains to and from Urumqi reduced due to the new infections of novel coronavirus. (China-Xinjiang-COVID-19)

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KABUL -- The Afghan government security forces killed 31 Taliban militants and wounded 15 others in eastern Nangarhar province on Wednesday, the country's Defense Ministry said Thursday.

"The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) were aware of an imminent attack on checkpoints in Qelgho area of Khogyani district late Wednesday. The ANDSF launched a responsive attack, leaving the casualties among the Taliban," the ministry said in a statement. (Afghanistan--Militant Attack-Toll)

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WENCHANG, Hainan -- China launched a Mars probe on Thursday, designed to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission, taking the first step in its planetary exploration of the solar system.

A Long March-5 rocket, China's largest launch vehicle, carrying the spacecraft with a mass of about 5 tonnes, soared into the sky from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of southern China's island province of Hainan at 12:41 p.m. (Beijing Time). (China-Mars-Exploration)

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WELLINGTON -- A total of 125 community connector positions are being established throughout New Zealand to focus on helping people connect with the services they need to support recovery post COVID-19.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni made the statement on Thursday. (New Zealand-COVID-19-Community Connector). Enditem

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