Yahoo Finance’s Akiko Fujita breaks down the top stories around the world.
AKIKO FUJITA: In our "World View" today, Iran's Supreme leader has officially endorsed the country's incoming president just days before his inauguration. In his speech, Ayatollah Khomeini advised Ebrahim Raisi to empower the country's quote, "poor people, and improve the national currency." The hard line president faces an uphill battle in turning the country's fortunes around, with US sanctions devastating the Iranian economy, while its currency, the rial has plummeted.
Meanwhile, COVID infections continue to rise, with a record 39,000 cases reported Tuesday. Raisi vowed to take steps to lift in his words, "tyrannical sanctions" imposed by the US. He officially takes office on Thursday. North Korea is calling for international sanctions to be lifted as a precondition to restarting nuclear talks with the US. South Korea's main intelligence agency briefed lawmakers one week after a key hotline between the two Koreas was restored.
Pyongyang is specifically calling for the removal of sanctions banning metal exports and imports of fuel, along with a ban on imports of luxury goods. Those demands come as the country struggles to cope with an ongoing drought and import restrictions stemming from the pandemic. South Korean intelligence officials say North Korea is now providing emergency military rice reserves as the food shortage gets worse. And senior officials with the Biden administration have said the US did reach out to North Korea to restart talks earlier in the year, but have not received a response.
And the Chinese city of Wuhan is testing its entire population for COVID-19 after officials detected new local infections for the first time in more than a year. The city reported just seven new cases so far, but more than 400 cases have been reported nationally in the last 10 days. That is the largest outbreak in China in months. Wuhan's 12 million residents have been under intense scrutiny since the first COVID case was detected there in the fall of 2019.