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International news brief: Sri Lanka crisis deepens, Army chief urges calm

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International

oi-Deepika S

| Updated: Sunday, July 10, 2022, 13:45 [IST]

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Colombo, July 10: The anti-government protesters in Sri Lanka on Sunday continued to occupy the residences of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, a day after they stormed into the premises and set on fire one of the buildings protesting over the nation's severe economic crisis even as the island nation is still in the dark about the embattled President's whereabouts.

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Sri Lankan Army chief seeks public support to maintain peace

Sri Lankan Army chief General Shavendra Silva on Sunday said that an opportunity to resolve the current political crisis in a peaceful manner is now available and sought the people's support to maintain peace in the island nation, hours after embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa agreed to step down on July 13.

In a brief statement, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Silva said that an opportunity has arisen to resolve the current crisis in a peaceful manner. He requested all Sri Lankans to support the Armed Forces and the Police to ensure that peace is maintained in the country, Colombo Gazette news portal reported. The statement was issued following the violence seen at Galle Face and Fort on Saturday and near the private residence of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have offered to resign following the incidents.

Sri Lankan protesters claim they find millions of rupees inside President Rajapaksa's house

The anti-government protesters in Sri Lanka who stormed embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's official residence have claimed to have recovered millions of rupees inside his mansion, according to a media report on Sunday. A video is being shared on social media showing the protesters counting the currency notes that were unearthed. The recovered money was said to be handed over to the security units, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported. Authorities have informed that they will take steps to announce the ground situation after probing the relevant facts, the daily reported.

Japan votes for key election in shadow of Abe assassination

Japanese went to the polls Sunday in the shadow of the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was gunned down while making a campaign speech. Abe's governing party appeared to be cruising to a major victory.

Abe was shot in Nara on Friday and airlifted to a hospital but died of blood loss. Police arrested a former member of Japan's navy at the scene. Police confiscated a homemade gun and several others were later found at his apartment.

14 dead in bar shooting in Soweto

A mass shooting at a tavern in Johannesburg's Soweto township has killed 14 people and left three others in critical condition, according to police. Police say they are investigating reports that a group of men arrived in a minibus taxi and opened fire on some of the patrons at the bar late Saturday night. Police were on Sunday morning removing bodies of the deceased and investigating what had led to the mass shooting. The three critically injured and one other person wounded have been taken to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. The number of cartridges found on the scene indicated it was a group of people who shot at the patrons, said Gauteng province police commissioner Lt. Gen. Elias Mawela.

US eyes counter-China moves in Southeast Asia

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Thailand as the Biden administration moves to show its commitment to Southeast Asia in the face of a relentless push for influence in the region from China. Blinken was meeting with senior Thai officials and democracy activists from neighbouring Myanmar on Sunday in Bangkok. He signed an agreement with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai expanding the US-Thailand "Strategic Alliance and Partnership." Blinken came to Thailand after attending an international conference in Bali, Indonesia, where he also raised concerns about China's increasing assertiveness in talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Like its predecessors, the Biden administration has watched China's rapid growth warily and sought to hold it to international standards without significant success.

Biden defends pending visit to Saudi Arabia in opinion piece

President Joe Biden, preparing for a trip to Saudi Arabia amid criticism of its poor human rights record, defended his decision in a newspaper opinion piece, insisting that he had long supported reforms and sought to "reorient but not rupture" relations with a longstanding strategic partner. In the article posted online Saturday night by The Washington Post, Biden pointed to developments in the Middle East that he contended had made the region more stable and secure than when the Trump administration ended, among them intense diplomacy as well as military action against state-sponsored attacks.

Ukraine's Zelenskyy dismisses ambassador to Berlin

Ukrainian Ambassador Andriy Melnyk will be removed from his post in Berlin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a decree published on Saturday. Ukraine's envoys to the Czech Republic, India, Norway, and Hungary were also dismissed.

Zelenskyy and his aides did not provide reasons for the moves, with the president later saying decision was "a normal part of diplomatic practice."

However, the 46-year-old Melnyk has been increasingly at odds with politicians in Germany, where he openly slammed leaders over their Russia policy. Most notably, in May, he called Chancellor Olaf Scholz an "offended liver sausage" - a German term roughly equivalent to "snowflake" in English.

with agency inputs

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