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Man killed by wild elephant in northern Laos

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Man killed by wild elephant in northern Laos

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) A man was trampled to death by a wild elephant in northern Laos’ Xayaboury province, local media reported.

The incident occurred on April 7 when a 49 year-old-man left his home in the morning to feed pigs at his farm in Napho village in Paklai district of Xayaboury province, some 170 km northwest of Lao capital Vientiane, local news website Lao Pattana News reported on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

A witness informed local authorities that he had heard both the loud sounds of an elephant and the frightened scream of a man. After everything was quiet, he saw a wild elephant walking into a nearby forest.

–IANS

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EAM Jaishankar to attend key ASEAN, Quad Foreign Ministers' meeting

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EAM Jaishankar to attend key ASEAN, Quad Foreign Ministers' meeting

EAM Jaishankar to attend key ASEAN, Quad Foreign Ministers' meeting

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is expected to hold significant discussions with his counterparts from several Southeast nations besides foreign ministers of Australia, Japan and the United States, over the next few days at the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ gathering in the Laotian capital of Vientiane and the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Tokyo.

The EAM will be in Laos from July 25-27 to participate in the Foreign Ministers’ Meetings under the ASEAN framework in the format of ASEAN-India, East Asia Summit(EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

The 57th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) will be attended by over 1000 delegates, including foreign ministers and representatives from 31 countries.

ASEAN countries remain an important pillar of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and key partner of its Indo-Pacific Vision underlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) vision.

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As many as 25 ministerial meetings are being hosted by Laos in its capacity as 2024 ASEAN Chair under the theme of ‘ASEAN: Enhancing Connectivity and Resilience’ from July 22 to 27.

“The visit underlines India’s deep engagement with and the importance India attaches to the ASEAN-centred regional architecture, our strong commitment to ASEAN unity, ASEAN centrality, the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and taking forward the ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on Tuesday.

“It is of particular significance that this year marks a decade of India’s Act East Policy which was announced by Prime Minister at the 9th East Asia Summit in 2014,” it added.

In Vientiane, EAM Jaishankar will not only be holding bilateral meetings with Saleumxay Kommasith, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Laos, but also with his counterparts from other countries on the margins of the ASEAN-related meetings.

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The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, UK Foreign Secretary David Lammy and foreign ministers of several other countries will also be in Vientiane for the Asean meetings.

From Laos, the EAM will travel to Tokyo to participate in the next meeting of the Quad Foreign Ministers’ on July 29 along with the Foreign Ministers of Australia, and the United States.

“The Ministers will take forward discussions held during the last meeting in New York in September 2023 and exchange views on developments in the Indo-Pacific region, and review progress on Quad initiatives and working groups,” the MEA stated.

“The Ministers would discuss regional and international issues, and guide future collaboration to achieve the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region by addressing contemporary priorities of the region through delivery of public goods,” it ministry detailed.

During the Tokyo visit, EAM Jaishankar is also scheduled to hold discussions with his Japanese counterpart Yoko Kamikawa to further strengthen the growing partnership between the two countries.

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–IANS

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South Korea's People Power Party elects new leader

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South Korea's People Power Party elects new leader

South Korea's People Power Party elects new leader

Seoul, July 23 (IANS) Han Dong-hoon, a former interim leader of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), was elected as new head of the embattled party without a runoff Tuesday as he won a majority of votes in the heated race.

Han won a whopping 62.8 per cent of the vote against runner-up former Land Minister Won Hee-ryong’s 18.8 per cent. Five-term lawmakers Representative Na Kyung-won and Representative Yoon Sang-hyun won 14.6 per cent and 3.7 per cent, respectively, Yonhap news agency reported.

Han’s win with a majority of the vote makes a runoff unnecessary.

President Yoon Suk Yeol showed up at the national convention held at the KINTEX exhibition center in Goyang, northwest of Seoul, for the second consecutive year. Last year marked the first time in seven years that the president had attended a national convention of the ruling party since former President Park Geun-hye did so in 2016.

The party convention comes nearly three months after Han resigned following the party’s crushing defeat in April’s parliamentary elections to take responsibility for the defeat.

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His election raises questions about how the party’s relations with President Yoon will go.

Han, a former justice minister who had been considered a close ally of President Yoon Suk Yeol, had clashed with Yoon over a number of politically sensitive issues in the run-up to the general elections, including how to handle allegations that first lady Kim Keon Hee received a luxury bag as a gift in 2022.

Tensions between Han and Yoon’s office resurfaced this month over allegations Han snubbed text messages from the first lady early this year. Han reportedly ignored five Telegram messages Kim sent to him in January to offer to resolve a controversy at the time over her alleged illegal acceptance of a luxury bag in 2022.

Declaring his bid last month, Han vowed to “reestablish” the PPP’s relations with the government more “horizontally,” saying the party has so far been unable to voice reasonable criticism of the government’s policy directions or political decisions.

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During the convention, Yoon stressed the need for unity between the government and the PPP to push forward major agenda items despite challenges from the opposition-controlled National Assembly.

“The large opposition party is ignoring urgent livelihood issues and pressing economic policies, instead focusing on political strife. Although the 22nd National Assembly began two months ago, it effectively remains idle,” Yoon said in an address. “To overcome the situation, we need unified strength.”

The DP, which has a controlling majority of 170 seats in the 300-member Assembly, railroaded a contentious bill mandating a special counsel investigation into the military’s response to a Marine’s death, which was once again vetoed by Yoon earlier this month.

Tuesday’s election will fill a seven-month vacuum in the PPP’s formal leadership since Kim Gi-hyeon stepped down in December 2023. The ruling party has been led by an emergency committee since August 2022 after former party chairman Lee Jun-seok was removed as leader.

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The PPP earlier revised its party rules to include public opinion polls in the election based on a weight of 20 per cent public opinion poll results and 80 per cent ballots cast by party members as part of efforts to better reflect public views after its bitter defeat in April.

–IANS

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Death toll in Ethiopian landslide rises to 157 (Ld)

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Death toll in Ethiopian landslide rises to 157 (Ld)

Death toll in Ethiopian landslide rises to 157 (Ld)

Addis Ababa, July 23 (IANS) A landslide in southern Ethiopia has claimed more than 157 lives, the local government said on Tuesday.

The landslide occurred on Monday in southern Ethiopia’s Geze Gofa district, Xinhua news agency reported.

The local community is currently working to save the lives of the injured and provide shelter and food to the victims, the Gofa Zone Government Communication Affairs Department said in a statement.

The death toll has increased due to additional accidents involving people who went to the area for life-saving work. Some teachers, health workers, and agriculture professionals who were present for the rescue work have become victims of the accident, the local government said.

Ethiopian Red Cross Association and professionals from the neighbouring regions and zones are at the site helping the victims.

The local government has called on all Ethiopians to provide support and attention needed to the zone for further rescue efforts.

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–IANS

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Noose tightens around Imran Khan's PTI for spreading 'digital terrorism'

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Noose tightens around Imran Khan's PTI for spreading 'digital terrorism'

Noose tightens around Imran Khan's PTI for spreading 'digital terrorism'

Islamabad, July 23 (IANS) The ruling Shehbaz Sharif government and the military establishment could further tighten its grip on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after police authorities raided the party’s central office in Islamabad and arrested its information secretary Raoof Hasan, on Monday.

Reliable sources told IANS that more arrests of PTI leaders and workers are in the pipeline on charges of spreading “digital terrorism, false propaganda and use of social media through fake accounts”.

People privy to information about the upcoming crackdown against PTI’s social media wing, said that there is a long list of identified leaders and workers of PTI, who have been using their mobile phones, party office and the internet to run social media trends against the Pakistani armed forces, the newly launched counter-terrorism operation ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’, and General Syed Asim Munir, the chief of the Pakistan army.

“There are credible pieces of information and intercepts that confirm that PTI leaders and their members, who sit in their party offices, create false, fake narratives and share them with the PTI social media team abroad to run deprecating trends and campaigns on social media platforms against the Pakistan armed forces,” said the source.

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“The malicious propaganda campaigns are then run by the PTI social media team abroad. The recent raid and arrests of PTI leaders and confiscation of their electronic items, including computers, was done after getting evidence of the fake, propagated and concocted information being shared by them regularly to target Pakistan’s military establishment,” the source added.

The sources believe that Monday’s raid and arrest is just the start of a focused campaign against PTI leaders, workers and supporters of Imran Khan and PTI.

“This is exactly what digital terrorism is and PTI social media is at the forefront of it. Their social media teams operate from outside Pakistan and indulge in the spreading of fake narratives. Most of them have fake IDs and faceless social media accounts,” the source mentioned.

PTI founder Imran Khan, already in jail and facing several cases, continues to target General Munir, the military establishment and the ruling government.

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In a recent statement given from Adiala Jail, Khan confessed that he had last year given a call for a protest outside the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi in the event of him getting arrested but did not tell his supporters to get violent or attack the military headquarters.

“I only called for a peaceful protest outside the GHQ Rawalpindi,” he said.

Imran Khan’s statement is expected to massively help the ruling government which is trying to initiate proceedings against the PTI, eventually ban the party and book Khan on charges of high treason.

The government has already slammed Khan and PTI for being involved in anti-state activities.

–IANS

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Taiwan issues land, sea alerts for Typhoon Gaemi

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Taiwan issues land, sea alerts for Typhoon Gaemi

Taiwan issues land, sea alerts for Typhoon Gaemi

Taipei, July 23 (IANS) Taiwan’s meteorological agency has issued both sea and land alerts for Typhoon Gaemi, which is expected to make landfall in Yilan County between late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

As of 1 p.m. (local time) on Tuesday, the centre of Typhoon Gaemi was located approximately 470 km southeast of Eluanbi, moving northwest with maximum sustained winds of around 144 km per hour, Xinhua news agency reported.

The storm’s radius is approaching the Bashi Channel and the sea areas southeast of Taiwan, posing a threat to New Taipei, Yilan, Hualien, and Taitung.

The meteorological agency forecasts increasing winds and rainfall as the typhoon draws closer.

Typhoon Gaemi has forced the suspension of some ferry services, the cancellation of certain flights, and the closure or restricted access to several major tourist sites.

–IANS

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