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IMF approves 2nd financial review, releases $330 mn to crisis-hit Sri Lanka

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Colombo, June 13 (IANS) The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Sri Lanka’s second review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) paving the way for the crisis-hit Indian Ocean Island to receive the third tranche of around $330 million.

“This achievement is a testament to our dedication to driving forward economic reforms and securing a prosperous future for all Sri Lankans. Onward and upward!” announcing the IMF’s financial approval, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry said in a post on social media platform X.

The third IMF tranche out of a $2.9-billion bailout package to recover from the worst-ever economic crisis since Independence followed the release of a second tranche of $337 million last December.

Gradually recovering from the crisis, Sri Lanka has been progressing toward debt sustainability, raising revenue, rebuilding its reserves, reducing inflation and safeguarding financial stability.

The IMF approved the bailout package in March 2023, a year after the 22 million people in the island nation were plunged into turmoil as it grappled with crippling shortages of essential food, fuel and medicines.

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The crisis triggered massive street protests which forced the powerful President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and topple the government.

India played a major role in Sri Lanka to secure the IMF deal as the powerful neighbour issued the required guarantees sought by the Washington-based lender.

India’s Finance Ministry went on to the extent of issuing a letter to the IMF to confirm its support to Sri Lanka on the issue of debt restructuring.

Additionally, India also provided much-needed financial and humanitarian assistance of more than $4 billion.

–IANS

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Trump's shooter identified as Thomas Matthew Crooks

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Thomas Matthew Crooks (20) has been identified as the person suspected of shooting former US President Donald Trump in an attempted assassination, the FBI said in a statement.

“The suspected shooter was Thomas Matthew Crooks (20) of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, as the subject involved in the assassination attempt of former President Donald Trump on July 13, in Butler, Pennsylvania,” said the FBI.

Crooks was killed on the spot by the security officials after he fired shots at the former US President, piercing through his ear, during a campaign rally in western Pennsylvania.

The FBI had earlier said that the shooting was being investigated as “an assassination attempt” on Trump.

The motive behind the assassination attempt, however, is yet to be revealed.

Trump, who is due to be anointed the Republican Party’s Presidential candidate, had a narrow escape on Saturday when shots aimed at him at a campaign rally grazed his right ear and killed two people at the event.

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–IANS

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Maldives pledges $1.3 million in aid for Palestinians

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Colombo, July 14 (IANS) The Maldives has pledged to donate over $1.29 million in humanitarian aid for Palestine, Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations Ali Naseer Mohamed said.

The aid was announced during the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Pledging Conference held Friday at the UN headquarters, Xinhua news agency reported.

Naseer also said that the Maldivian government has increased its annual donation of $5,000 to Palestine by 10-fold, to $50,000 this year.

The representative also urged the international community to increase their financial assistance and fulfill political obligations to progress UNRWA initiatives.

–IANS

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Six killed in road accident in Afghanistan

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Pul-e-Khumri, July 14 (IANS) Six commuters have been confirmed dead and five others injured in a road accident in north Afghanistan’s Baghlan province, police said.

The deadly road crash on Saturday occurred in the province’s Dand Ghouri district when a military vehicle collided with a passenger car, killing six travelers including a woman, and injuring five others, the statement added, reported Xinhua news agency.

Similarly, a motorcyclist was killed when his motorbike hit a vehicle in Hussainkhail region, Pul-E-Khumri city, the provincial capital of the province late on Saturday.

Road accidents are prevalent in Afghanistan due to poor road conditions, reckless driving, difficult terrains, overloading, overtaking, and overspeeding.

–IANS

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World leaders condemn assassination attempt on Trump

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United Nations, July 14 (IANS) World leaders have condemned the attack on former US President Donald Trump at an election rally in western Pennsylvania.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, on Saturday said, “The Secretary-General unequivocally condemns this act of political violence.”

“He sends his best wishes to President Trump for a speedy recovery,” he added.

Trump, who is due to be anointed the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, had a narrow escape on Saturday when shots aimed at him at a campaign rally grazed his ear and killed two people at the event.

Many leaders took to X, the social media for immediate dissemination, to express their disgust with the attack and condemn political violence, while some saw it as an attack on democracy.

US Vice President Kamala Harris took to her X handle and expressed her shock over the attack on Republican Party Presidential candidate Trump.

“I have been briefed on the shooting at former President Trump’s event in Pennsylvania. Doug and I are relieved that he is not seriously injured. We are praying for him, his family, and all those who have been injured and impacted by this senseless shooting,” Harris wrote.

She said, “We are grateful to the United States Secret Service, first responders, and local authorities for their immediate action.”

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“Violence such as this has no place in our nation. We must all condemn this abhorrent act and do our part to ensure that it does not lead to more violence,” Harris added, condemning the attack.

Former US President Barack Obama said, “There is absolutely no place for political violence in our democracy. Although we do not yet know exactly what happened, we should all be relieved that former President Trump was not seriously hurt, and use this moment to recommit ourselves to civility and respect in our politics. Michelle and I are wishing him a quick recovery.”

Former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also expressed shock over the incident and wished for Trump’s speedy recovery.

“As one whose family has been the victim of political violence, I know firsthand that political violence of any kind has no place in our society. I thank God that former President Trump is safe. As we learn more details about this horrifying incident, let us pray that all those in attendance at the former President’s rally today are unharmed,” Pelosi said in a post on X.

Former Presidential candidate Nikki Haley, in a post on X, said, “This should horrify every freedom-loving American. Violence against presidential candidates must never be normalized. We are lifting up Donald Trump, the entire Trump family, and all in attendance in prayer.”

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UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer expressed his shock over the attack and said that political violence has no place in society.

“I am appalled by the shocking scenes at President Trump’s rally, and we send him and his family our best wishes. Political violence in any form has no place in our societies, and my thoughts are with all the victims of this attack,” Starmer said in a post on X.

One of Trump’s closest Western allies, Hungary’s President Viktor Orban posted. “My thoughts and prayers are with President in these dark hours.”

Another right-wing politician, Argentina’s President Javier Milei, blamed what he called the “international left” for the attack, writing, “In panic of losing at the polls, they resort to terrorism to impose their backward and authoritarian agenda.”

Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, another leader from the right, expressed “apprehension” and wrote that she hoped during “the electoral campaign, dialogue and responsibility can prevail over hate and violence.”

From the US neighbour to the north, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted, “I’m sickened by the shooting at former President Trump. It cannot be overstated – political violence is never acceptable.”

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, “We must stand firm against any form of violence that challenges democracy. I pray for former President Trump’s speedy recovery.”

Writing in Portuguese, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said, “The attack on former President Donald Trump must be vehemently repudiated by all defenders of democracy.”

Writing on his and his wife’s behalf, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted, “Sara and I were shocked by the apparent attack on President Trump. We pray for his safety and speedy recovery.”

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wrote that the “incident” at the campaign rally “is concerning and confronting. There is no place for violence in the democratic process.”

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric Font posted in Spanish, “Violence is a threat to democracies and weakens our life together. We must all reject it.”

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol denounced the attack as “horrible political violence” and wished Trump a quick recovery.

“I am appalled by the horrible political violence. I wish former President Trump a speedy recovery. The people of Korea stand in solidarity with the people of America,” Yoon wrote in English on his official X handle.

–IANS

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Trump to attend Republican National Convention next week despite injury in rally shooting

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New York, July 14 (IANS) Despite being injured in a shooting at a rally in Butler in the US state of Pennsylvania, former US President Donald Trump’s campaign said he will attend the Republican National Convention next week as scheduled.

In a joint statement, Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee said the former president “is doing well” and “looks forward to joining you all in Milwaukee as we proceed with our convention”, reported Xinhua news agency.

The Republican National Convention will convene in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on July 15-18, during which Trump is expected to be officially nominated as the party’s presidential candidate for the November 5 election.

Gunshots were fired at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania on Saturday evening when Trump was delivering a speech.

Screams were heard from the crowd and Trump was seen with blood on the side of his head and his ear, video footage showed. He was quickly escorted into a vehicle before his motorcade left the venue.

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In a post on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump said he was shot with a bullet “that pierced the upper part of my right ear.”

“I knew immediately that something was wrong in that I heard a whizzing sound, shots, and immediately felt the bullet ripping through the skin,” he said.

“Much bleeding took place, so I realised then what was happening,” he added.

Trump noted that one person was killed at the rally, and another badly injured, adding that he wanted to extend condolences to their families.

In a statement on X, the US Secret Service said that during Trump’s rally in Butler, a suspected shooter fired “multiple shots” toward the stage from an elevated position outside of the rally venue.

Secret Service agents “neutralized the shooter, who is now deceased,” and the former president “is safe,” the statement said, adding that one spectator was killed and two others were critically injured.

“The incident is currently under investigation,” the statement added.

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The shooting incident is being investigated as an attempted assassination, law enforcement officials said.

US President Joe Biden condemned the shooting on Saturday.

“There’s no place for this kind of violence in America. We must unite as one nation to condemn it,” he said on X.

In remarks released by the White House, Biden said he had been thoroughly briefed on the incident.

“I have tried to get a hold of Donald. He’s with his doctors, he’s doing well,” Biden said.

Biden spoke with Trump in the wake of the shooting incident, according to the White House.

Biden, who was returning to the White House from Delaware to monitor the situation, said there is no place in the country for this kind of violence.

“We cannot allow this to be happening. We cannot be like this. We cannot condone this, Everybody must condemn it,” Biden said.

–IANS

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