12/08/22
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Sri Lanka Ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Leaves Singapore For Thailand After Visit Pass Expires: Report


Sri Lanka Ex-President Leaves Singapore For Thailand After Visit Pass Expires: Report

Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority said that Gotabaya Rajapaksa left Singapore. (File)

Singapore:

Sri Lanka’s ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa left Singapore for Thailand after his short-term visit pass expired on Thursday, according to a media report.

Rajapaksa boarded a flight from Singapore to Bangkok, after Thailand confirmed a day before that it had received a request from the current Sri Lankan government for him to visit the country.

Responding to media queries, Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority said that Rajapaksa left Singapore on Thursday, The Straits Times newspaper reported.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday confirmed a temporary visit to Thailand by the 73-year-old embattled Sri Lankan leader for humanitarian reasons, and said he promised not to conduct political activities in the kingdom during his search for permanent asylum in another country.

Rajapaksa, who is currently in Singapore after fleeing Sri Lanka in July amid mass anti-government protests, is seeking refuge in Thailand as his Singapore visa runs out on Thursday.

After flying to the Maldives on July 13, Rajapaksa then fled to Singapore, where he announced his resignation a day later after months of protests over the country’s economic crisis.

“This is a humanitarian issue. We have made a promise that it’s a temporary stay. No (political) activities are allowed, and this will help him find a country to take refuge in,” Prayut was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post newspaper on Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said the ousted president can stay in Thailand for 90 days as he is still a diplomatic passport holder, the report said.

Don said the Sri Lankan government did not oppose the visit and the Thai government would not make accommodation arrangements for him. The visit would not pose conflicts with Colombo as acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe had worked for him when he was in power, he added.

The minister said a condition for Rajapaksa’s stay was that he should not cause problems for Thailand.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Tejashwi Yadav Endorses Nitish Kumar For PM: 5 Big Quotes


Tejashwi Yadav is the new Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar.

New Delhi:
Tejashwi Yadav, day after taking oath as the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, said the decision to forge an alliance with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was “spontaneous and on the spot”. He also endorsed Mr Kumar for the post of Prime Minister in 2024.

Here are five big quotes of Tejashwi Yadav:

  1. He has experience. He has administrative experience. he has social experience. Except Rajya Sabha, he has been into all the Houses. He was a Union Minister. Tell me…If Narendra Modi ji can become PM, then why not Nitish ji.

  2. Let them (investigating agencies) open an office at my house.   I’m issuing an invitation via your channel – “ED, CBI, Income Tax, please come and stay as long as you want to. Why go away and come after two months to raid us? Just stay, it’s easier.”

  3. It wasn’t a pre-planned move to come together. It was on spot, spontaneous. We were watching the political developments. This alliance is need of the hour for Bihar.

  4. We were able to see that Nitish ji was very uncomfortable. BJP was trying to impose on him. Could see it in his face. As you can see, people like Lalan Singh said that BJP were trying to break his party, what they were trying to do in other states.

  5. Opposition parties need to sit together and make a roadmap. The people of India want a face against Narendra Modi.



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Trinamool Congress’s Anubrata Mondal’s Dramatic Arrest By CBI In Birbhum Over Cattle Smuggling Scam


Trinamool Leader's Dramatic Arrest By CBI In Cattle Smuggling Scam

Trinamool Congress’s Anubrata Mondal has been arrested by the CBI

Kolkata:

Trinamool Congress leader Anubrata Mondal has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a cattle smuggling case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team came to the house of the Trinamool’s Birbhum district chief along with Central Reserve Police Force personnel to arrest him after his lawyers said he needed at least two weeks before he could appear for questioning.

The CBI yesterday sent a report to its headquarters explaining how Mr Mondal sought more time to face interrogation even after not responding to summons for a 10th time in the cattle smuggling case.

When the investigators reached his house today, they surrounded the property first before moving in, sources said. The Trinamool district chief is also known to be a local strongman. All the doors of his house were locked from inside, sources said. The CBI arrested him eventually, citing non-cooperation with the probe into the cattle smuggling case.

He will be brought to state capital Kolkata. Earlier, his doctor had prescribed bed rest for Mr Mondal. Sources said he was planning to go for an operation to treat a fistula, but the authorities in state-run SSKM Hospital said he did not need hospitalisation.

The CBI has filed four chargesheets in the cattle smuggling case and named 11 accused. Mr Mondal’s bodyguard, Saigal Hossain, was arrested in the case. The CBI alleged the Trinamool strongman’s bodyguard played a key role in moving money between cattle smugglers and Mr Mondal.

The CBI claims Mr Hossain has also amassed properties worth crores of rupees.

Mr Mondal’s arrest is the second high-profile crackdown on alleged corruption by central agencies after the arrest of former Trinamool minister Partha Chatterjee and his aide Arpita Mukherjee in the Staff Selection Commission, or SSC, scam. Over Rs 50 crore in cash was found in the houses of Ms Mukherjee during a raid by the Enforcement Directorate.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party had come under severe criticism over Mr Chatterjee’s arrest. Mr Modal’s arrest, too, is likely to give more ammo to the BJP to attack Ms Banerjee for alleged corruption by leaders of her party.



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A No-Risk Move To Remove Speaker Behind Timing Of Bihar Assembly Session


Nitish Kumar Wants Trust Vote After 2 Weeks. This Is Why

Nitish Kumar yesterday took fresh oath as Chief Minister yesterday, with Tejashwi Yadav as deputy.

Patna:

The first Bihar assembly session after Nitish Kumar took a fresh oath as chief minister is set to be from August 24 — and the timing is yet another canny move. It is in this session that the JDU-RJD+ government has to prove its majority, but the Speaker is still from the BJP, Nitish Kumar’s former partner. The alliance wants to change that first, unwilling to risk anything even though it looks comfortable on paper.

Technically, the Governor calls the session, but he’s to act as per the government’s recommendation.

Fifty-five legislators from the new ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (Grand Alliance) have moved a no-confidence motion against Speaker Vijay Kumar Sinha. Rules say it can be taken up in the House only after two weeks of submission. August 24 means that rule won’t be a problem.

The renewed Grand Alliance has support of 164 MLAs, several more than the 122 needed in the House of 243. 

But the no-risk plan is straightforward: Before Nitish Kumar faces the trust vote on August 25, Mr Sinha be removed in the no-confidence vote, and a new Speaker be elected, on the first day of the session.

Mr Sinha may resign before that. Sources said he’ll act on the BJP leadership’s command. That will mean just an election to the post.

A new Speaker is to be from the RJD, as per the “chacha-bhatija” pact’s terms and conditions.

Nitish Kumar and Speaker Sinha haven’t had the best relationship even before this. In June, JDU had skipped a session in which its then-ally BJP sought to discuss who was the “best legislator”.

The RJD and Congress also boycotted the proceedings after Speaker Sinha didn’t permit a debate on the Agnipath defence recruitment scheme. The JDU’s opposition to the scheme was one of its many disagreements with the BJP. The Speaker said a discussion on that wasn’t correct as the issue wasn’t a state subject.



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US Speaker Nancy Pelosi Says US Can’t Allow China’s “New Normal” On Military Drills Against Taiwan


Can't Allow China's 'New Normal' On Drills Against Taiwan: US Speaker

Taiwan has accused China of using the recent drills as practice for an invasion. (File)

Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the US just cannot allow China to establish a “new normal” to put pressure on Taiwan through the kind of military drills and warplane incursions that Beijing launched after she visited the self-governing island.

China on Wednesday announced that it has “successfully completed” its week-long and unprecedented military drills that have essentially encircled Taiwan.

Initially, the People’s Liberation Army announced the war games in the busy Taiwan Strait from August 4 to 7, the day after Pelosi, who is the highest-ranking US leader to have visited Taiwan in 25 years, left Taipei after high-level meetings. It later kept extending them, keeping the breakaway island on tenterhooks.

“What we saw with China is that they were trying to establish sort of a new normal. And we just can’t let that happen,” Pelosi told a news conference on Wednesday, referring to the provocative drills.

The Chinese military exercises involved hundreds of warplanes, dozens of naval ships, including an aircraft carrier group with a nuclear submarine in tow, amid assertions by the official media that such war games in the busy Taiwan Strait will be a new normal.

Pelosi’s trip to Taipei angered Beijing, which views Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Taiwan has accused China of using the recent drills as practice for an invasion.

“We didn’t go there to talk about China. We went there to praise Taiwan. And we went there to show our friendship to say, ‘China cannot isolate Taiwan,’” Pelosi asserted during the news conference on Wednesday after her trip to Asia.

“The visit delivered a clear statement that America’s commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific is unshakeable,” Pelosi noted.

The US along with several world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the resource-rich region.

China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea. China also has territorial disputes with Japan in the East China Sea. Pelosi said her bilateral discussions centred around seizing opportunities and addressing shared challenges, including upholding the democracy in the face of autocracy, fostering robust economic growth, including through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and in governance, responding to COVID-19 and climate crisis.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Gregory Meeks told reporters that Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan illustrated that no matter what Chinese President Xi Jinping said, the US was going to stand by its friends and allies.

Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who was part of the Congressional delegation to Taiwan, was also present at the news conference.

He said the delegation discussed the backlog of the pending arms sales to Taiwan.

Apart from Taiwan, Pelosi’s delegation also visited Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Taiwan Holds Military Drill After China Says War Preps Will Continue


Taiwan Holds Military Drill After China Says War Preps Will Continue

The exercise in Taiwan’s southernmost county lasted about an hour, an official said. (Representational)

Taipei:

Taiwan’s army held another live-fire drill Thursday after Beijing ended its largest-ever military exercises around the island and repeated threats to bring the self-ruled democracy under its control.

Beijing has raged at a trip to Taiwan last week by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — the highest-ranking elected American official to visit in decades — staging days of air and sea drills around the island that raised tensions to their highest level in years.

Taiwan has accused China of using the Pelosi visit as an excuse to kickstart drills that would allow it to rehearse for an invasion.

Lou Woei-jye, spokesman for Taiwan’s Eighth Army Corps, told AFP its forces fired howitzers and target flares as part of the defensive drill on Thursday morning.

The exercise in Taiwan’s southernmost county Pingtung began at 0830 am (0030 GMT) and lasted about an hour, he said.

Artillery tucked in from the coast was lined up side by side, with armed soldiers in units firing the howitzers out to sea one after the other, a live stream showed.

Taiwan held a similar drill on Tuesday in Pingtung. Both involved hundreds of troops, the military said.

The military has played down the exercises’ significance, saying they were already scheduled and were not in response to China’s war games.

“We have two goals for the drills, the first is to certify the proper condition of the artillery and their maintenance condition and the second is to confirm the results of last year,” Lou said, referring to annual drills.

‘Prepare for war’

The latest exercise came after China’s military indicated its own drills had come to an end Wednesday, saying its forces “successfully completed various tasks” in the Taiwan Strait while vowing to continue patrolling its waters.

But in the same announcement, China added that it would “continue to carry out military training and prepare for war”.

In a separate white paper published Wednesday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Beijing would “not renounce the use of force” against its neighbour and reserved “the option of taking all necessary measures”.

“We are ready to create vast space for peaceful reunification, but we will leave no room for separatist activities in any form,” it said in the paper.

China last issued a white paper on Taiwan in 2000.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry on Thursday joined its top policymaking body on China in rejecting the “one country, two systems” model that Beijing has proposed for the island.

“China’s whole statement absolutely goes against the cross-strait status quo and its reality,” ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou told a press conference.

“China is using US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit as an excuse to destroy the status quo and taking the opportunity to make trouble, attempting to create a new normal to intimidate the Taiwanese people.”

“One country, two systems” refers to the model under which Hong Kong and Macau were promised a degree of autonomy under Chinese rule.

Taiwan routinely stages military drills simulating defence against a Chinese invasion, and last month practised repelling attacks from the sea in a “joint interception operation” as part of its largest annual exercises.

In response to the Chinese military revealing it was bringing drills to an end Wednesday, Taiwan’s army said it would “adjust how we deploy our forces… without letting our guard down”.

Since the late 1990s, the island has transformed from an autocracy into a vibrant democracy, and a more distinct Taiwanese identity has solidified.

Relations between the two sides have significantly worsened since Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s president in 2016.

Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party do not consider Taiwan a part of China.

Their platform falls under China’s broad definition of Taiwanese separatism, which includes those who advocate for the island to have an identity separate from the mainland.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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