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Despite China’s criticism, US delegation meets Dalai Lama, pushes for Tibet's autonomy

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Despite China’s criticism, US delegation meets Dalai Lama, pushes for Tibet's autonomy

Dharamsala, June 19 (IANS) In a significant show of diplomatic power politics, a high-level bipartisan delegation from the US, comprising ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others, met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the latter’s residence here despite criticism by China.

This move signals a potential escalation in diplomatic tensions as the US lawmakers asserted their stance on global human rights issues, pushing for the autonomy of Tibet within China.

“His Holiness Dalai Lama will live a long time and his legacy will live forever, but to you President of China, you will be gone and nobody will give you credit for anything,” said Pelosi, a long-time supporter of the Tibetan cause, while accusing China of not doing justice with Tibet.

Pelosi’s visit exemplifies solidarity and a commitment to global human rights, challenging Chinese policies.

Holding a copy of the Resolve Tibet Act, a bipartisan Bill to enhance US support for Tibet and promote dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama towards a peaceful resolution of the long-standing dispute, the Dalai Lama said, “The issue of Tibet is an issue of justice. It is not about a religious or political cause, but about the rights of the people to preserve their culture, language, and identity. The Tibetan struggle is a struggle for human rights and dignity.”

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The copy of the Resolve Tibet Act was presented by the Congressional delegation led by Chairman Michael McCaul, Nicole Malliotakis, Gregory W Meeks, Jim McGovern, Ami Bera, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, besides Pelosi, who were seen waving American and Tibetan flags.

The bipartisan delegation flew into Dharamsala on Tuesday to meet the 88-year-old Nobel peace laureate and other top officials of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) President Penpa Tsering said, “Grateful for your instrumental leadership in sponsoring and ensuring the passage of the Resolve Tibet Act in the US Congress. We are just one step away from this becoming a law, which will significantly add value to the middle-way policy advocated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the CTA.”

At the felicitation ceremony, Republican representative McCaul said the Bill reaffirms America’s support for the Tibetan right to self-determination.

“Just this week our delegation received a letter from the Chinese Communist Party, warning us not to come here… But we did not let the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) intimidate us for we are here today,” McCaul said.

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Beijing, which considers the Dalai Lama a ‘separatist’, had said that it was seriously concerned about the visit of the US lawmakers to Dharamsala.

The US delegation visit came a day ahead of a planned trip by the Dalai Lama to the US to undergo medical treatment for his knees. However, his office told IANS that there will be no public engagement, including public audiences, of the Dalai Lama during the visit.

The Dalai Lama has been living in self-imposed exile in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959.

–IANS

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Sri Lanka's minority Tamils decide to field candidate for Presidential election

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Sri Lanka's minority Tamils decide to field candidate for Presidential election

Sri Lanka's minority Tamils decide to field candidate for Presidential election

Colombo, July 22 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s Tamil political parties have decided to field a common candidate to represent minority Tamils at the upcoming Presidential election slated to be held in September.

It will be after more than four decades that a Tamil could feature as a candidate in Presidential polls.

Late Kumar Ponnambalam, a leader of All Ceylon Tamil Congress, was the last Tamil Presidential candidate who contested in the 1982 Presidential race. He was assassinated in Colombo in 2020.

The group of Tamil political parties, including Tamil People’s Alliance led by former Northern chief Minister C. V. Vigneswaran, Selvam Adaikkalanathan’s Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), D. Siddharthan’s People’s Liberation Organisation Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), Srikantha’s Tamil National Party and Suresh Premachandran’s Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), together with the leaders of a civil society groups including Tamil People’s Congress Association (TPCA) have now come to a consensus to nominate a common candidate to represent the minority Tamils in the island nation.

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However, Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) – the main Tamil political party in the country with the largest number of MPs under the umbrella group of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) – has not joined the pact signed on Monday.

The date for the decisive presidential poll is to be announced in the coming week while unconfirmed reports indicate that the election might take place on September 21 with nominations to be accepted by mid-August.

Incumbent President Ranil Wickremesinghe, together with his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country amidst public protest, is completing his five-year term with the Election Commission now empowered to announce the nominations date for the next election.

The main Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa of Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), who broke away from Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP), and Marxist party Jathika Jana Balawegaya (National People’s Power) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake have announced candidacy.

Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) are yet to announce whether they will be contesting the elections together or separately.

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–IANS

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Four die in armed attack in Nigeria

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Four die in armed attack in Nigeria

Four die in armed attack in Nigeria

Abuja, July 22 (IANS) At least four people, including a police inspector, were killed in an attack by unknown gunmen in Nigeria’s southeastern state of Abia on Sunday, the police said Monday.

The attack claimed the lives of three civilians as the gunmen targeted a group of security personnel on patrol in the commercial city of Aba, said Maureen Chinaka, the spokeswoman for the Abia police.

Two assailants were killed and several others escaped with bullet wounds after security forces responded to the attack, Chinaka said, Xinhua news agency reported.

An investigation has been launched into the attack, the spokeswoman said.

–IANS

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250,000 stimulant tablets seized in Myanmar

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250,000 stimulant tablets seized in Myanmar

250,000 stimulant tablets seized in Myanmar

Yangon, July 22 (IANS) Myanmar police seized 250,000 stimulant tablets in eastern Myanmar’s Shan State, according to the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) on Monday.

Acting on a tip-off, the joint anti-narcotics task force inspected a motorcycle in Ywangan Township of Shan State on July 17 and confiscated the drugs, it said.

The seized drugs had a street value of 125 million kyats (38,487 US dollars) and a suspect was arrested, it added, reported Xinhua news agency.

Further investigation was underway, the committee said.

–IANS

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Kamala Harris moves to lock nomination for President

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Kamala Harris moves to lock nomination for President

Kamala Harris moves to lock nomination for President

Washington, July 22 (IANS) US Vice President Kamala Harris is moving swiftly to lock up the Democratic party nomination for President after President Joe Biden dropped out of the race under mounting pressure from those sceptical of his chances.

Harris had picked the endorsements from over 179 of the Congressional Democrats and 23 Democratic Governors, according to The Washington Post.

The Governors backing her included most of those who were expected to throw their hats in the ring, such as Gavin Newsom of California, Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, Andy Beshear of Kentucky, and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. Some of these Governors are now in the running to join the Harris ticket as running mate – such as Beshear.

Others said to be in the race for her Vice-President position include Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Shapiro and Arizona’s Senator Mark Kelly, a military veteran and former astronaut.

The notable holdouts who have yet to endorse the Vice President are former President Barack Obama, leader of House Democrats Hakeem Jeffries, leader of Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer and former Speaker and party powerhouse Nancy Pelosi. Although they have not cited their reasons yet, Obama is understood to have adopted the same position as he did in 2020, when he held on to his endorsements till after the primaries as he did not want to side with any one of them, including Biden, who had served as his Vice-President for eight years.

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The Biden of President campaign has been renamed Harris for President campaign and according to news reports, donations are “pouring” in from a re-energised party base and donors, who had pulled in recent days as the party pressured Biden to step aside and make way for a different candidate.

The Harris campaign has raised $50 million in the hours since her elevation to the top of the ticket following the president’s exit. Working from the Vice-Presidential mansion in the Naval Observatory in Washington DC, Harris, dressed mostly in a Howard University hoodie and sweats, made over 100 calls on Sunday, according to news reports.

Her first public appearance as a candidate for President will be to deliver remarks at an event celebrating the National Collegiate Athletic Association championship teams from the 2023-2024 season.

Harris has promised to “earn and win” the party nomination. She needs to win the support of 3,000 of the 3,900 party delegates who will attend the convention and elect a nominee. The party intends to start a virtual voting process over the next two weeks to go with the convention with one candidate for presidential nominee, Harris.

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According to party rules, challengers will have to secure the signatures of at least 300 delegates to enter the fray. Independent Senator Joe Manchin, who votes with the Democratic party and was a Democrat for decades, has said he wanted to see the eventual nominee emerge through some kind of a primary process, to ensure the party’s next generation of leaders get a fair shot at the nomination and the party gets the best nominee.

With early voting to kick off in September, the Democrats don’t have the luxury of time to go through another round of primary contests.

–IANS

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Landslide kills at least 20 in southern Ethiopia

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Landslide kills at least 20 in southern Ethiopia

Landslide kills at least 20 in southern Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, July 22 (IANS) At least 20 people were killed by a landslide in southern Ethiopia, local media reported on Monday.

The deadly landslide occurred on Monday morning at around 10:00 am local time in the Geze Gofa district in southern Ethiopia, state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported.

Misikir Mitiku, chief administrator of the Geze Gofa district, said rescuers have so far recovered more than 20 bodies that were buried under the mud, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said the death toll is likely to rise as rescue operations are currently underway at the landslide area.

Ethiopia is in the midst of a rainy season which started in July and is expected to last until mid-September. Constant rains occasionally cause landslides in some parts of the East African country.

–IANS

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