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UAE President Dies

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UAE President Dies

The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan died on Friday, according to the Ministry of Presidential Affairs.

The ministry also confirmed there would be 40 days of official mourning with flags across the UAE drawn at half-mast, and the work of all UAE ministries at the federal and local levels, as well as those of the private sector, will also be suspended for three days, beginning on Friday.

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No official word is given yet on the cause of death. However, in a statement published in Arabic by the state news agency WAM, the ministry expressed its condolences to the people of the UAE and the Arab nations “on the death of the leader of the nation and the guardian of its journey, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the country.”

 

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Sri Lankan Prime Minister Resigns As Protests Persist

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Sri Lankan Prime Minister Resigns As Protests Persist

Amid raging protests, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday.

For many weeks now, there have been protests for he and his brother, the president, to step down over the country’s worst economic crisis in decades, an official said.

An aide to the prime minister, Wijayananda Herath, confirmed that Rajapaksa submitted a letter of resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. There was no immediate official confirmation from the president’s office.

The resignation comes after authorities deployed armed troops in the capital, Colombo, on Monday following an attack earlier in the day by government supporters on protesters who have been camped outside the offices of the president and prime minster.

The Indian Ocean island nation is on the brink of bankruptcy and has suspended payments on its foreign loans. Its economic woes have brought on a political crisis, with the government facing widespread protests and a no-confidence motion in Parliament. Trade unions also called Monday for a general strike until the president and the rest of his ruling family leave.

The resignation of the prime minister means that the entire Cabinet is dissolved.

Supporters of the prime minister rallied inside his office earlier Monday, urging him to ignore the protesters’ demand to step down. They then went to the front of the office where protesters have been demonstrating for several days.

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Television channel Sirasa showed government supporters attacking protesters with clubs and iron bars, demolishing and then burning their tents.

After the attack, hundreds of armed soldiers were deployed in capital, as the protesters accused police of not preventing the attack despite using tear gas and water cannons on protesters as recently as Friday.

Sirasa TV showed government lawmaker Sanath Nishantha among the government supporters who attacked the protesters.

At the main hospital in Colombo, 23 people were admitted with non-critical injuries, an official said on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the media.

The attack came as protesters marked their 31st day outside the president’s and prime minister’s offices demanding that they and other powerful Rajapaksa family members quit. Similar protests have spread to other locations, with people setting up camps in other towns across the country.

Three other Rajapaksas out of the five who were lawmakers stepped down from their Cabinet posts in April.

For several months, Sri Lankans have endured long lines to buy fuel, cooking gas, food and medicine, most of which come from abroad. Shortages of hard currency have also hindered imports of raw materials for manufacturing and worsened inflation, which surged to 18.7% in March.

People blocked main roads to demand gas and fuel. On Sunday, television channel Hiru showed people in some areas fighting over fuel.
Sri Lanka was due to pay $7 billion of its foreign debt this year out of nearly $25 billion it must pay by 2026. Its total foreign debt is $51 billion.

Sri Lanka’s finance minister announced earlier this week that the country’s usable foreign reserves have plummeted below $50 million.

As oil prices soar during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Sri Lanka’s fuel stocks are running out. Authorities have announced countrywide power cuts will increase to about four a day because they can’t supply enough fuel to power generating stations.

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Protesters have crowded the streets since March, maintaining that President Rajapaksa and his family — who have dominated nearly every aspect of life in Sri Lanka for most of the last 20 years — are responsible for the crisis.

On Friday, President Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency, which empowers him to authorize detentions, property seizure and search of any premises. He can also change or suspend any law in the interests of public security and for the maintenance of essential supplies. Diplomats and rights groups have expressed concern over the move.

Sri Lanka has been holding talks with the International Monetary Fund to get an immediate funding facility as well as a long-term rescue plan but was told its progress would depend on negotiations on debt restructuring with creditors. Any long-term plan would take at least six months to get underway.
AP

 

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NATO Is A Threat To Russia – Putin

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NATO Is A Threat To Russia - Putin

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an obvious threat to Russia and its borders, Vladimir Putin has declared, amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

Putin stated this during his speech at the Victory Day parade in Moscow, with thousands of troops cheering in Red Square, according to BBC.

According to him, in Kyiv, they were saying they might get nuclear weapons and NATO started exploring the lands close to Russia.

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“In Kyiv, they were saying they might get nuclear weapons and NATO started exploring the lands close to us and that became an obvious threat to our country and to our borders. Everything was telling us that there is a need to fight,” Putin said.

Russia and Ukraine have been fighting for over two months.Several casualties have already been recorded as a result of the war.

Putin had ordered the invasion of Ukraine due to some political differences between both nations.

 

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Belarus Head Of State Dies

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Belarus Head Of State Dies

Stanislav Shushkevich, the first head of state of an independent Belarus, who with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine signed a decree dissolving the Soviet Union, has died aged 87.

Shushkevich, who later became a critic of Belarus’s strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko, died of complications from coronavirus, his wife Irina told AFP on Wednesday.

As chairman of the Belarus Supreme Soviet, Shushkevich, along with Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian leader Leonid Kravchuk, signed the 1991 declaration that dissolved the Soviet Union.

Shushkevich led Belarus from independence until he was defeated in a 1994 election by Lukashenko, becoming a prominent member of the opposition

“We hope that a state funeral will be organised, but no one has contacted us yet,” Irina Shushkevich said.

The Belavezha Accords, signed on December 8, 1991 at a luxury dacha in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha forest in Belarus, set up the post-Soviet group the Commonwealth of Independent States to replace the Soviet Union.

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The three leaders were reported to have fired off guns and downed glasses of vodka at the hunting lodge before signing the historic document.

Born in Minsk, Shushkevich took over the Supreme Soviet after the previous chairman was ousted because of his support for a Communist hard-line coup attempt in August 1991 against Mikhail Gorbachev.

After Belarus’s independence, he remained head of state until 1994, although he never formally held the title of president.

He was ousted in a graft probe spearheaded by Lukashenko, who at the time headed the Belarus anti-corruption committee.

In June 1994, Shushkevich stood in presidential elections against Lukashenko and other candidates but was knocked out in the first round.

Lukashenko won a landslide victory in the second round and has remained president ever since.

Shushkevich subsequently became a leading critic of Lukashenko and strong supporter of the country’s liberal opposition.

In 2012 Lukashenko accused Shushkevich of leading a “fifth column” in Belarus and the ex-leader was barred from leaving the country.

A year later, while writing his memoirs, Shushkevich said he had tried to access the original signed declaration from Belavezha but it appeared to have been lost.

Shushkevich had been less active in recent years and played no role in the huge anti-government protests that erupted after Lukashenko claimed another victory in an August 2020 presidential election.

Tens of thousands took the streets for weeks and thousands were arrested in a severe crackdown that crushed the demonstrations and saw many opposition leaders flee the country.

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader who now lives in exile, called Shushkevich’s death “a big loss for the Belarusian people and the democratic world.”

“The first leader of independent Belarus will be remembered for his role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. May he rest in peace,” she said on Twitter.

Belarusian media reported in April that Shushkevich was in intensive care due to complications from the coronavirus.

There was no immediate reaction from officials in Minsk on Wednesday to his death.

 

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