Xinhua world news summary at 0530 GMT, Jan. 6

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PYONGYANG -- The eighth Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) opened here on Tuesday, with top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un delivering an opening address, reported official media on Wednesday.

The congress was convened in order to comprehensively and strictly review the work of the party's central committee, clearly reconfirm the exact orientation and duty in its struggle for winning a bigger victory in the socialist cause and take measures for substantial improvement, the official Korean Central News Agency reported. (DPRK-Party Congress)

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TRIPOLI -- Prime Minister Fayez Serraj of the UN-backed Libyan government welcomed on Tuesday the results of the 41st Gulf Cooperation Council Summit held in Saudi Arabia which ended the rift with Qatar.

"The President of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord welcomes the outcomes of the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit held in Saudi Arabia, which succeeded in clearing the atmosphere and strengthening brotherhood" in the Gulf region, in a way that strengthens Arab solidarity, Serraj said in a statement later Tuesday. (Libya-GCC-Qatar)

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NEW DELHI -- Deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic crossed the 150,000-mark in India on Wednesday, reaching 150,114, according to the data released by the federal health ministry.

As many as 264 deaths took place during the past 24 hours. The total number of COVID-19 cases rose to 10,374,932, as 18,088 new cases were registered since Tuesday. (India-COVID-19-Cases)

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CANBERRA -- Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt announced on Wednesday that the country's coronavirus vaccine rollout will begin weeks earlier than previously planned.

Hunt said the country's first COVID-19 vaccines will now be administered in early March rather than at the end of the month. (Australia-COVID-19) Enditem

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