Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 0600 GMT, Aug. 14

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KABUL -- The Afghan government freed 80 inmates out of 400 Taliban inmates on Thursday, spokesman of the Office of the Afghan National Security Council confirmed on Friday.

The government released 80 Taliban convicts out of the 400 that the Consultative Loya Jirga, or the Grand Assembly, approved to release, spokesman Javid Faisal said in a statement. (Afghanistan-Taliban-Release)

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NEW DELHI -- Total COVID-19 cases in India have crossed 2.4 million, reaching 2,461,190, as the total deaths crossed the 48,000-mark, reaching 48,040, according to the data released by the federal health ministry on Friday.

During the past 24 hours, as many as 64,553 new cases were added to the tally, and 1,007 deaths were registered. (India-COVID-19-Cases)

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WELLINGTON -- New Zealand confirmed 12 new cases and one probable case of COVID-19 on Friday, with the 12 cases linked to the community transmission from an Auckland family cluster, amid the second and stronger wave of the epidemic in the country.

Friday's new cases are in Auckland and nearby Waikato, and one of the cases is in hospital, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told the daily briefing. (New Zealand-COVID-19-Cases)

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SYDNEY -- Health officials and experts were optimistic that an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Australian state of Victoria was in decline, as the result of stricter containment measures came into effect.

On Friday, Victoria recorded 372 new virus cases and a further 14 deaths, continuing a steady pattern of decline in daily infections since peaking at 725 on August 5. (Australia-Cases-Decline) Enditem

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