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    (CNN)Former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has landed in Bangkok, according to a high-ranking police official with direct knowledge. The source said Rajapaksa arrived on his private jet and that his stay in Thailand will be treated confidentially. The ousted former leader landed at Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport. Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Tanee Sangrat said in a social media post Wednesday that the country had received a request to enter the country.Sangrat said that as a holder of a Sri Lankan diplomatic passport, Rajapaksa can enter Thailand without a visa for up to 90 days, emphasizing the stay is temporary and he is not seeking political asylum. Sri Lanka crisis: How do you fix a broken country?Rajapaksa flew from Singapore after initially fleeing the Indian Ocean island nation for the Maldives in July amid mass anti-government protests. Rajapaksa then tendered his resignation from Singapore.Read MoreAnger has been growing in Sri Lanka for months after the country's foreign exchange reserves plummeted to record lows, with dollars running out to pay for essential imports including food, medicine and fuel.The former...
    (RNS) — The street protests that drove Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa from office last month brought together people from across the country’s diverse and sometimes warring ethno-religious groups: Tamils, Muslims, Christians and Sinhala Buddhists — including, unmistakably, the saffron-robed Buddhist monks who are fixtures of Sri Lanka’s political scene. But with Rajapaksa in exile in Singapore and life returning closer to normal, decades-old questions are being raised about Buddhism’s role in Sri Lanka’s government. ___ This content is written and produced by Religion News Service and distributed by The Associated Press. RNS and AP partner on some religion news content. RNS is solely responsible for this story. ___ Political involvement by the monks — easy to spot in the protests against Rajapaksa’s inaction on Sri Lanka’s economic woes — also includes taking seats in Parliament and joining political parties. Last year, a controversial monk named Galagoda Atte Gnanasara was appointed to a presidential task force for legal reforms despite his vociferous anti-Muslim views. “The role of monks is to help people improve their spirituality. During the last 10...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A rights group gathering evidence on Sri Lanka’s alleged rights abuses said it filed a criminal complaint with Singapore’s Attorney General, seeking to arrest an ex-Sri Lankan president for his role in war crimes alleged to have been committed during the island nation’s civil war that ended more than a decade ago. Lawyers from the International Truth and Justice Project — an evidence-gathering organization administered by a South Africa-based nonprofit foundation — filed the complaint, requesting the immediate arrest of ex-Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa for his role as the secretary of defense during Sri Lanka’s civil war, which ended in 2009, the group said in a release on Sunday. Rajapaksa is believed to be living in Singapore after fleeing from Sri Lanka due to months of massive protests against him over the country’s economic meltdown. Rajapaksa fled the country in mid-July after angry Sri Lankan protesters stormed his residence. He first went to nearby Maldives and then flew to Singapore. The group said “the 63-page complaint argues that Rajapaksa committed grave breaches of the...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Ranil Wickremesinghe has been sworn in as Sri Lanka’s new president after lawmakers’ vote that risks more turmoil. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    Protestors here seen gathering outside the presidential secretariat in Colombo a week ago, have achieved their aim, with legislators soon to elect a new president to replace Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country and resigned as president.Arun Sankar | Afp | Getty Images Business confidence in Sri Lanka is at its lowest in years, according to the chairman of the Ceylon Chambers of Commerce Vish Govindasamy. "Business confidence is probably at its lowest since I've been in business. It's probably the most difficult times that we have faced. But we are resilient," he told CNBC hours before the lawmakers in Sri Lanka were scheduled to elect a successor to former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has fled the country. "The businesses are making sure we survive through this difficult time... [but] reforms are absolutely necessary," he said Wednesday on "Squawk Box Asia." Sri Lanka has faced months of demonstrations over shortages of food and fuel amid the worst economic crisis in the island nation's history. Last week, angry protestors stormed the home of Rajapaksa, whom they blame for mismanagement of the crisis,...
    By Heather Chen | CNN For years it had been one of Sri Lanka’s grandest and most heavily guarded buildings, serving as the official residence and state office of the President. But all that changed on July 9, when protesters stormed in and took control, demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa before turning the palace upside down. “That was the home of the most powerful man in the country,” said Sri Lankan author and analyst Asanga Abeyagoonasekera. “It had never been opened to the public.” It’s now become a novelty attraction — all traces of its exclusivity and prestige gone. Each day for the past five days, thousands have lined-up up for hours just for a glimpse of Rajapaksa’s luxurious lifestyle. The neatly manicured lawns have become picnic spots and protesters swim and party in his private pool. Rajapaksa fled the crisis-hit country on Wednesday, boarding a military plane to Maldives and naming Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Acting President. He has since moved on to Singapore, arriving on a “private visit” confirmed by the authorities. On Friday, Sri...
    Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the nation's acting president Friday following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa a day earlier. Wickremesinghe will serve as interim president until Sri Lanka's Parliament appoints a successor to carry out the remainder of Rajapaksa's term that ends in 2024. His temporary ascension to the presidency comes as the nation is mired in a deep economic crisis and massive protests that have threatened the stability of the government. SRI LANKAN PRESIDENT RESIGNS ONE DAY AFTER FLEEING COUNTRY Last week, Wickremesinghe agreed to step down from his post as prime minister, caving to demands from party leaders in Parliament that he and Rajapaksa both resign. He did not offer a specific timeline for his resignation but said it would come after the country's parties agree on a new government. The demand for Wickremesinghe's resignation from the prime minister post came amid colossal protests in which demonstrators stormed the president’s residence against the backdrop of collapsing economic conditions. Current situation of Sri Lanka President's swimming pool pic.twitter.com/ieKF8YVGGL— NewsWire...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Prime minister’s office: Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as Sri Lanka interim president until Rajapaksa successor elected. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    By Krutika Pathi and Krishan Francis | Associated Press COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Protesters retreated from government buildings Thursday in Sri Lanka, restoring a tenuous calm to the economically crippled country, and the embattled president at last emailed the resignation that demonstrators have sought for months. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled a day earlier under pressure from protesters enraged by the island nation’s economic collapse. He emailed his resignation a day later than promised, according to an official. But with a fractured opposition and confusion over who is in charge, a solution to the country’s many woes seemed no closer following Rajapaksa’s departure. And the president has further angered the crowds by making his prime minister the acting leader. Protesters have pressed for both men to leave and for a unity government to address the economic calamity that has triggered widespread shortages of food, fuel and other necessities. The tentative way the resignation unfolded only added to turmoil. An aide to the speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament issued a statement that said the speaker had received the president’s resignation through...
    The political crisis triggered by months of socialist economic collapse in Sri Lanka continued on Wednesday with violent clashes between protesters and soldiers, resulting in upwards of 80 people hospitalized in one day and the military announcing soldiers were “empowered” to attack civilians if deemed necessary. The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, governed for the better part of the past two decades primarily by the populous Rajapaksa family, began to run out of food, medicine, oil fuels, natural gas, and nearly every other basic good in March, the result of lavish government spending and the imposition of “green” policies that banned chemical fertilizer use. The fertilizer ban resulted in Sri Lanka becoming dependent on imports for food, rather than growing its own – which turned disastrous when Sri Lanka ran out of foreign currency reserves and defaulted on its foreign debt in April. Humanitarian organizations have documented a marked increase in signs of malnutrition across the country, particularly among children. Anti-government protesters take over the Prime Ministers office in Sri Lanka. Police use a large amount of tear gas...
    Protests in Sri Lanka have been raging over the government's mishandling of the nation's worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.Ishara S. Kodikara | Afp | Getty Images Sri Lanka has declared a curfew in the capital of Colombo that will last till 5am on Friday.  The government of acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe imposed the curfew at noon on Thursday, a day after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives to escape months of raging protests by Sri Lankans calling for his resignation. The usual protest sites, however, were calm on Thursday, Reuters reported. Rajapaksa appointed Wickremesinghe as acting president before leaving Sri Lanka in a military plane. That came in the wake of protests over the government's mishandling of the nation's worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.VIDEO2:4402:44Think tank discusses Sri Lanka's political future after president's resignationStreet Signs AsiaAngry protesters have stormed both Rajapaksa's palace and Wickremesinghe's office over the past several days. Though Rajapaksa declared his intention to resign, he has not yet done so. Sri Lanka's Parliament is expected to name a new full-time president on July...
    (CNN)Food prices in grocery stores and on restaurant menus are still on the rise, but relief may be on the horizon. Some financial experts say food producers' input costs peaked earlier this year and have been falling. But gas prices, which remain near record levels, are up nearly 60% over the past year, according to the government's latest inflation report.Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day. (You can get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)1. Covid-19Nearly two-and-a-half years since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the most infectious and transmissible variant yet has arrived. The latest version of the shape-shifting BA.5 variant, an offshoot of Omicron, is fueling a global surge in cases -- illustrating how the virus has evolved and can evade immunity provided by previous Covid-19 vaccines. In the US, BA.5 accounted for 65% of new infections last week, according to the CDC. The variant is also on the march in China, raising the fear that major cities there may soon...
    (CNN)Sri Lanka has plunged into chaos and its President has fled, appointing the prime minister as interim leader as questions swirl about the country's future.Embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa left Sri Lanka on Wednesday for Maldives, a nearby archipelago nation more commonly known as a luxury resort destination, as his country remained mired in an unprecedented economic crisis.As speculation emerged the President may flee to Singapore, confusion mounted over the stewardship of his once prosperous country, and whether Rajapaksa will formally resign -- as he had promised to do before vanishing in the early hours of the morning.A curfew that had been imposed on Sri Lanka's 22 million people has lifted, but the South Asian island nation is no closer to normality after months of protests over food and fuel shortages.Here's what we know.Sri Lankan protesters chant slogans after taking control of the Prime Minister's office in Colombo on July 13.Read MoreWhere is the President?Rajapaksa had been expected to resign on Wednesday, clearing the way for new leadership. Instead he and his wife boarded a military plane and fled from the...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankans woke up to confusion on Thursday, still waiting for their embattled president to resign after he fled the country, as the island nation fumes over an economic meltdown that has sparked political chaos. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his wife fled to the Maldives on Wednesday aboard an air force jet. He made the prime minister acting president in his absence — a move that further roiled passions among a public that blames Rajapaksa for an economic crisis that has caused severe shortages of food and fuel. On Wednesday, protesters, undeterred by multiple rounds of tear gas, scaled the walls to enter the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the crowd outside cheered in support and tossed water bottles to them. Protesters took turns posing at the prime minister’s desk or stood on a rooftop terrace waving the Sri Lankan flag after the latest in a series of takeovers of government buildings by the demonstrators — who see the political maneuvers as delaying their goal of a new government. Late...
    Now-former President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country, reportedly taking a military jet to the Maldives, on Wednesday shortly before he had agreed to resign from office. Sri Lankan officials conferred presidential powers to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had also agreed to resign this weekend, as a temporary solution to the power vacuum that the last Rajapaksa family member in power left upon departing the country. Rajapaksa had refused to resign after months of protests engulfed the nation, a result of what Wickremesinghe described in June as a “complete collapse” of the nation’s economy. The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is enduring the worst economic crisis in its history, the result of the Rajapaksa family – Gotabaya, his brother and fellow former president Mahinda, and a coterie of at one point over 40 Rajapaksas in ministerial positions at a national level – engaging in irresponsible spending sprees, heavily indebting the country to China, and imposing environmental policies that made it impossible for the country to feed itself. An army personnel fires a tear gas canister to disperse...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s president, who had announced he would resign Wednesday, has fled the country after months of turmoil culminated in protesters converging on the presidential palace. Here’s what’s happening in Sri Lanka: — The country is hurtling toward bankruptcy — Daily essentials including food and medicine are scarce — Political corruption has deepened mistrust in the government — The double whammy of government and economic instability is further complicating recovery Sri Lanka’s prime minister, who said he’ll step down after a new government is installed, says the island nation’s debt-laden economy has “collapsed” as it runs out of money to pay for food, fuel and medicine. It’s been relying on help from neighboring India, China and from the International Monetary Fund. Outgoing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who took office in May, was emphasizing the monumental task he faces in turning around an economy he said is heading for “rock bottom.” Sri Lankans are skipping meals as they endure shortages, lining up for hours to try to buy scarce fuel and cooking gas. It’s...
    President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka officially confirmed his intention to resign on Monday following a national wave of vandalism and mob protests that culminated with apparently thousands of people storming his house and bathing in his pool. Sri Lanka has experienced months of protests – many of them violent, including a wave of arson attacks on politicians’ houses and a shootout that killed a member of Parliament – following the collapse of its economy this year. Under the ruling Rajapaksa family, which at one point had over 40 of its members in high-level government positions, the Sri Lankan economy went on lavish spending sprees for infrastructure and social programs that never materialized. Much of that debt went to China under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a predatory scheme targeting poorer countries with promises of state-of-the-art road and railway projects. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addresses the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on September 22, 2021, in New York. (JOHN ANGELILLO / various sources / AFP) The Rajapaksas also recently implemented an...
    The anarchic scenes in Sri Lanka are enough to make the blood of any world leader run cold. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence overrun by furious protesters. Crowds cavorting on his four-poster bed and in his swimming pool and gym. Sections of the Prime Minister’s home in flames. This burning building not only serves as a symbolic funeral pyre for Rajapaksa’s government. It is a smouldering lesson for all governments in pursuing an economically illiterate green agenda at the expense of common sense. Make no mistake: The roots of this chaos can be traced to Rajapaksa’s wrong-headed thinking on farming. In his 2019 manifesto, he pledged to transform Sri Lanka into an ‘organic’ nation within a decade – reducing and eventually banning chemical fertilisers, herbicides and insecticides. It’s a pledge that would probably win votes here, too. Who wouldn’t, in principle, want a greener future, free of nasty chemicals? But the trade-off, as Sri Lanka learnt the hard way, is food production tumbling over a cliff. For them, going green meant going hungry. In 2020, Covid struck, hollowing out Sri Lanka’s...
    SRI Lankan protesters have been enjoying pillow fights, pool parties and gym workouts after storming the president's palace. Thousands of men, women and children poured into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's lavish mansion as months of frustration brought on by an unprecedented economic crisis boiled over. 11Protesters were seen jumping into the president's swimming poolCredit: Twitter 11Demonstrators sleep on the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s bedCredit: Reuters 11A man tries gym equipment inside the president’s house gymCredit: Reuters 11People crowd inside the president's bedroomCredit: AFP 11Protesters having refreshments inside the official residence of Sri Lanka’s PresidentCredit: AFP 11Protesters torched the PM's home hours before he agreed to step downCredit: Getty 11Thousands of protesters stormed the President's palaceCredit: Twitter Demonstrators also set fire to the home of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo, prompting both men to dramatically resign. Protesters have been calling for Rajapaksa - part of a powerful clan which has dominated politics for decades - to quit for months. Dramatic footage showed swarms of protesters inside and outside his home, chanting and carrying national flags with hundreds dipping in the...
    SRI Lankan protesters have been enjoying pillow fights and pool parties after storming the president's palace. Thousands of men, women and children poured into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's lavish mansion as months of frustration brought on by an unprecedented economic crisis boiled over. 10Protesters were seen jumping into the President's swimming poolCredit: Twitter 10Demonstrators sleep on the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s bedCredit: Reuters 10A man tries gym equipment inside the President’s house gymCredit: Reuters 10People crowd inside the official residence of Sri Lanka’s PresidentCredit: AFP 10Protesters torched the PM's home hours before he agreed to step downCredit: Getty 10Thousands of protesters stormed the President's palaceCredit: Twitter Demonstrators also set fire to the home of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo, prompting both men to dramatically resign. Protesters have been calling for Rajapaksa - part of a powerful clan which has dominated politics for decades - to quit for months. Dramatic footage showed swarms of protesters inside and outside his home, chanting and carrying national flags with hundreds dipping in the garden pool for a swim. People were seen having pillow...
    THOUSANDS of protesters in Sri Lanka have stormed the President's palace and were even spotted swimming in the pool amid the country's economic crisis. Demonstrators stormed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's home and nearby office in Colombo as the country is battling its worst crisis in years. 5Protesters were seen jumping into the President's swimming poolCredit: Twitter 5Thousands of protesters stormed the President's palaceCredit: Twitter 5Thousands protested against the country's leader amid economic crisisCredit: Reuters Dramatic footage showed hundreds of protesters inside and outside his home, chanting and carrying national flags with some even dipping in the garden pool for a swim. Others were seen walking around the house and watching TV while outside the building barricades were overturned and a black flag was hoisted on a pole. Security staff tried to stop demonstrators who pushed through fences to run across the lawns and inside the building. At least 34 people including two police officers were wounded in scuffles as protesters tried to enter the residence. READ MORE IN WORLD NEWSDEADLY WATERS Shark attack map shows 6 dead & 33 mauled...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Office of Sri Lanka’s prime minister says he has agreed to step down following demands by party leaders in Parliament. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    This puppy was discovered all alone on the beach, sitting on a sunchair in Sri Lanka. When this woman and her partner spotted her all alone, she won over their hearts, and they had to take her with them on their travel adventures. Although the couple had never owned a dog before and were only visiting Sri Lanks for a couple of months, they knew they would find a way to make it work. Source: The Dodo/Youtube They named her Sandy and fell in love with her playful and loving personality. After fostering her for the rest of their stay in Sri Lanka, it was finally time to fly to their next destination, this time with their new friend. Sandy was so tiny that they were able to fit her in her purse the entire time. She was so well behaved and excited to start her new life with her saviors. “It was super stressful because I’ve never flown with a pet before, but she was super chill. I was like ‘OK, I guess she’s a traveler dog...
    GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP) — The sport of cricket has become a welcome distraction for Sri Lankans looking for a break from the effects of the economic crisis in the country — long lines to buy fuel and cooking gas and school and work disrupted because there is little access to public transport. The cricket-crazed South Asian island nation is facing its worst economic crisis in recent memory, enduring acute shortages of food, fuel and medicine. The government has shut schools and universities and has limited fuel supplies. “Yes there is a problem in the country, people have become poor and helpless with all kinds of problems. We have been living a monotonous life and sometimes spent five, six seven days in fuel lines,” said Ujith Nilantha, who watched the first test between Sri Lanka and Australia with his 10-year-old son last week in the southern city of Galle. “There is no happiness for children, and we can’t provide what the child needs. When we watch this (cricket) it brings a mental healing,” added Nilantha, whose livelihood in the tourism...
    The seemingly ceaseless economic crisis that has left most of Sri Lanka with no food, fuel, medicine, or basic goods and has severely compromised the nation’s power supply has prompted a growing wave of child malnutrition, the BBC observed in a report on Monday citing mothers in the country desperate to keep their children nourished. Sri Lanka is facing shortages of nearly every necessary good for society to function and what Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called in June a “complete collapse” of the national economy after years of socialist mismanagement. Formally the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the ruling Rajapaksa family spent years frivolously spending of government projects, cutting deals for predatory loans with China, and engaging in risky “green” practices like banning chemical fertilizer that resulted in the nation being forced to import a significant percentage of its food needlessly. As Sri Lanka’s economy largely depends on the tourism sector, the Rajapaksa government’s failures led to an acute crisis after the Chinese coronavirus pandemic largely eliminated foreign tourism. The Rajapaksa family has been in government leadership almost without interruption...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — More than 500 inmates have escaped from a heavily guarded drug rehabilitation center Wednesday in northern Sri Lanka after a suspicious death led to a breakout of violence, police said. The Kandakadu rehabilitation center, about 250 kilometers (150 miles) northeast of the capital Colombo, mainly treats prisoners convicted of drug-related crimes. Nearly 1,000 people were undergoing rehabilitation at the center, which is guarded by army troops. A team of police officers were at the center to investigate the death when inmates started to get violent, broke the security fence and escaped, police said, adding that the search has begun to catch the escapees. Illegal drug use has become a menace in Sri Lanka where officials say some 300,000 people — around 1.5% of all Sri Lankans — are addicted to drugs. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    Senior Indian officials began talks Thursday with Sri Lankan leaders on economic assistance, a day after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced the country’s economy had “collapsed.” Sri Lankans have endured months of shortages of food, fuel and other necessities due to the country’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves and mounting debt, worsened by the pandemic and other longer term troubles. India’s foreign secretary and the chief government economic adviser met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe and were later scheduled to meet other top officials. Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the delegation said India was ready to help Sri Lanka achieve a “quick economic recovery through promoting investments, connectivity and strengthening economic linkages.” There was no immediate comment from the Sri Lankan side. Wickremesinghe’s gloomy comments to Parliament on Wednesday appeared aimed at fending off criticism over a deteriorating situation long in the making. Economists and other Sri Lankans said they were hoping the government would find ways to revive the economy. “What the prime minister should do is not to make announcements. He has...
    Two men died in Sri Lanka this week while waiting in hours-long lines for fuel amid the country’s ongoing financial crisis, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported Thursday. “A 53-year-old auto-rickshaw driver in Sri Lanka died of a heart attack on June 16 in Colombo’s suburb while waiting in a serpentine queue for fuel for the entire night near a petrol pump,” PTI reported on June 16. “The three-wheeler driver had been waiting in line for fuel since June 15 night in the Colombo south suburb of Panadura and he succumbed to cardiac arrest inside his vehicle,” according to the news agency. Eyewitnesses told Sri Lanka’s The Morning news website on Thursday that the 53-year-old died on his way to the hospital after an ambulance called to assist the man “was delayed for about half an hour.” Another man aged 64 died in similar circumstances on June 15 in Pugoda, a town located northwest of Colombo, while waiting in a line overnight to purchase cooking fuel, both PTI and Sri Lanka’s The Morning website reported. A mother and her...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — China says its initiative to build ports and other infrastructure across Asia and Africa, paid for with Chinese loans, will boost trade. But in a cautionary tale for borrowers, Sri Lanka’s multibillion-dollar debt to Beijing threatens to hinder efforts to resolve a financial crisis so severe that the Indian Ocean nation cannot import food or gasoline. Sri Lanka’s struggle is extreme, but it reflects conditions across dozens of countries from South Pacific islands through some of the poorest in Asia and Africa that have signed onto Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative. The total debt of poor countries is rising, raising risks others might run into trouble. Sri Lanka’s 22 million people are in dire straits. Foreign currency ran out in April, leading to food shortages, power cuts and protests that forced a prime minister to resign. Payment on $51 billion of debt to China, Japan and other foreign lenders was suspended. Sri Lanka and other poor Asian countries welcome Chinese financing. The Asian Development Bank says the region needs to invest $1.7...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s president swore in four new Cabinet ministers Saturday in an effort to ensure stability until a full cabinet is formed in the island nation engulfed in a political and economic crisis. The appointment of four ministers came two days after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa reappointed five-time former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, after his predecessor — the president’s brother Mahinda Rajapaksa — resigned Monday following violent attacks by his supporters on peaceful anti-government protesters. His resignation automatically dissolved the Cabinet, leaving an administrative vacuum. In a move bring back stability, president Rajapaksa reappointed Wickremesinghe on Thursday and swore in four cabinet ministers Saturday until a full cabinet is appointed. Rajapaksa swore in ministers of foreign affairs, public administration and home affairs, urban development and power and energy, said a statement Saturday from president’s office. All four ministers belong to the president’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Party. The new prime minister belongs to the United National Party. Rajapaksa sought a unity government in early April but the largest opposition political party, the...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Opposition lawmaker Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as new prime minister of Sri Lanka in effort to end political crisis. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    (CNN)Sri Lanka's outgoing Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was rescued in a pre-dawn military operation Tuesday, hours after his resignation, as violent clashes between pro and anti-government protesters left several dead and 217 injured.The military were called to the Prime Minister's 'Temple Trees' compound after protesters tried to breach his private residence twice overnight, a senior security source told CNN.The attackers managed to "enter the outer perimeter" of the residence where they hurled petrol bombs, but their attempts to enter the building were thwarted when the military fired tear gas, according to the source.One police officer involved in the clashes died at the scene when a tear gas gun exploded, the security official said, confirming that Prime Minister Rajapaksa and his family have since been taken to an undisclosed location.The scenes followed an evening of violent clashes across Sri Lanka's capital Colombo on Monday, during which at least seven people died according to police, although it is unclear if all of the deaths were directly related to the protests.Read MoreSome 217 people were also injured as a result of the clashes,...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka deploys troops in the capital after government supporters attack protesters outside president’s office. Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency order on Friday night — his second such act since April 1 — after violent protests demanding Gotabaya’s ouster gained renewed momentum in Colombo earlier that same day, Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper reported. The office of Sri Lanka’s presidency issued the decree on May 6 saying it was part of the federal government’s effort to “ensure public order” amid resurgent anti-Gotabaya protests in the national capital of Colombo (Gotabaya Rajapaksa is part of a large, extremely powerful political family; his brother Mahinda remains prime minister and dozens of Rajapaksas have held government positions in the past decade). The state of emergency went into effect on May 7 just after midnight local time, though the Sri Lankan government did not specify if the edict applied only in Colombo or nationwide, nor how long the measure would remain in place. Violent clashes between anti-government protesters and Sri Lankan police officers on roads leading to the nation’s parliament building in Colombo on May 5 and May 6 likely served as a major instigator...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Diplomats and rights groups expressed concern Saturday after Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency and police used force against peaceful protesters amid the country’s worst economic crisis in recent memory. The economic and political situation in the Indian Ocean island nation has triggered countrywide protests demanding the resignation of Rajapaksa and his powerful ruling family. Rajapaksa issued a decree declaring a public emergency on Friday. He invoked sections of the Public Security Ordinance that allow him to make regulations in the interests of public security and preserving public order, and for the maintenance of essential supplies. Under the emergency regulations, Rajapaksa can authorize detentions, seize possession of property and search any premises. He can also change or suspend any law. U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung tweeted Saturday that she is “concerned” by the state of emergency, adding that “the voices of peaceful citizens need to be heard.” “And the very real challenges Sri Lankans are facing require long term solutions to set the country back on a path toward...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s beleaguered government won a key vote in Parliament on Thursday as a ruling coalition-backed candidate was elected deputy speaker, despite growing public pressure on the government amid the worst economic crisis in decades. The vote was seen as crucial to demonstrate that the government still has majority support in the 225-member Parliament after 40 governing coalition lawmakers said last month they would no longer vote according to coalition instructions. It was feared that their move would significantly weaken the government and that it might also lose a majority. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, who was backed by the ruling coalition led by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, defeated opposition candidate Imithiyaz Bakeer Marker. Siyambalapitiya received 148 votes and Marker got 65 votes. Siyambalapitiya previously held the post of deputy speaker before resigning last month when his Sri Lanka Freedom Party defected from the government. But his party has agreed to work with the government to try to resolve the economic situation. The comfortable victory for Siyambalapitiya comes as the Rajapaksa government faces nationwide protests over its failure to...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s economy is in dire straits with its usable foreign reserves down to less than $50 million, the country’s finance minister said Wednesday. Ali Sabry was speaking to Parliament after returning to Sri Lanka from talks with the International Monetary Fund. He said any IMF rescue program, including a rapid financing instrument needed to urgently resolve shortages of essential goods, would depend on negotiations on debt restructuring with creditors and would take six months to implement. Sri Lanka is on the brink of bankruptcy and has suspended payments on its foreign loans. Its economic miseries have brought on a political crisis, with the government facing a protests and a no-confidence motion in Parliament. The country is due to repay $7 billion this year of the $25 billion in foreign loans it is scheduled to pay by 2026. “There is a severe risk in front of all of us,” said Sabri. He said Sri Lanka’s reserves stood at $7.6 billion at the end of 2019 and fell to $5.7 billion by the end of 2020...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s main opposition party on Tuesday issued a no-confidence declaration aiming at ousting Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Cabinet and blaming them of failing in their constitutional duty to provide a decent living standards amid the island nation’s worst economic crisis in memory. A group from United People’s Force party, led by leader Sajith Premadasa, delivered the motion demanding the no-confident parliamentary vote to Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. The move came amid countrywide protests demanding the resignation of Rajapaksa and his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who the demonstrators hold responsible for the economic crisis. A majority vote in the 225-member Parliament would be needed to remove Rajapaksa and the Cabinet from power. The United People’s Force can only count on 54 votes but hopes to win votes from smaller opposition parties and defections from the ruling Sri Lanka People’s Front party. The ruling party had nearly 150 votes but that strength has declined amid the economic crisis and defections in a no-confidence vote are possible. A decision on when to hold...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sherry Fonseka joined millions in 2019 in electing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a military strategist whose brutal campaign helped end Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war 10 years earlier. Now he is one of thousands who, for weeks, have protested outside the president’s office, calling on Rajapaksa and his brother, Mahinda, who is prime minister, to resign for leading the country into its worst economic crisis since its independence from Britain in 1948. With the island teetering near bankruptcy, Fonseka, who owns a small garment business in the capital, Colombo, has resorted to spending his own savings to pay the salaries of his 30 employees. But he knows he will soon have to let them go and is clear about who is to blame. “All of us thought we made the correct decision (to elect Rajapaksa), but we’ve realized we were wrong. We should have the backbone to tell people, and the world, that we made a mistake,” he said. In recent weeks, protests have erupted across the country demanding that Rajapaksa quit. The protests highlight...
    Police in southern Sri Lanka’s Galle city found a 43-year-old man “dead in the driver’s seat” of his vehicle on Monday after he had waited in a gasoline line “for hours” amid Sri Lanka’s dire fuel shortage, the local News First website reported. “Police said that the person had arrived at the filling station around 3.30 AM this morning to purchase Diesel for a Lorry [sic],” News First relayed on April 11. “Police further said he was found dead in the driver’s seat after waiting in line for hours,” the outlet added. The man was the fifth person confirmed by Sri Lankan government authorities to have died “while waiting in a line” for fuel, food, or medicine since the island nation’s latest financial crisis caused severe shortages of basic goods in early March, News First revealed on Monday. While Galle police did not disclose the exact cause of the 43-year-old man’s death on April 11, other victims of Sri Lanka’s extremely long fuel lines have died from apparent heatstroke after being forced to stand for hours under the tropical island’s scorching sun....
    Colombo, Sri Lanka (CNN)For three straight nights last week, Upul took to the streets of Sri Lanka's capital city holding a candle or a placard as he protested the country's worst economic crisis in decades. Like his neighbors, he was frustrated by the more than 10-hour power cuts that plunged Colombo into darkness, and a shortage of gas to cook with that made it hard for his family to eat. Then on Thursday -- the fourth night -- the protest turned violent. Furious demonstrators hurled bricks and started fires outside Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's private residence, as police used tear gas and water cannons to break up the protests. "People were visibly angry, shouting," said Upul, who asked only to be referred to by his last name for fear of repercussions. "Earlier (in the week) they demanded the President to step down, (on Thursday) they were yelling and calling him names." Protesters take cover as police use tear gas to disperse them during a protest outside the Sri Lankan President's home on March 31, 2022.Read MoreFor weeks, Sri Lanka...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Dozens of people were arrested in Sri Lanka following protests near the president’s home demanding that he resign amid the country’s worst economic crisis in memory, police said Friday. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office blamed “organized extremists” within the group of protesters for violence during Thursday night’s demonstration, where police fired tear gas and a water cannon at thousands of protesters and arrested 54 people. Nuwan Bopage, an attorney representing some of the suspects, said several of them were being taken for medical examinations for various injuries and would likely appear in court later Friday. The protesters blame Rajapaksa for long power outages and shortages of essentials. A police curfew that had been implemented in the suburbs of the capital was lifted Friday morning. On Thursday, the crowds demonstrating along the roads leading to Rajapaksa’s private residence on the outskirts of Colombo stoned two army buses that police were using to block the protesters from entering the road leading to the president’s house. They set fire to one of the buses and turned back a fire...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — India has signed an agreement to set up hybrid power projects on northern Sri Lankan islands in a deal seen as a strategic victory in its competition with China for influence in the Indian Ocean. India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who is in Colombo for bilateral meetings, witnessed the signing, along with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Gamini Peiris, the Indian embassy said Tuesday. In December, China announced its own project to build power plants on three Sri Lankan islands was suspended due to security concerns involving a “third party.” An Indian official said Tuesday he couldn’t confirm if the plants in the new agreement are to be built on the same islands earmarked for the Chinese project. The power source and other details on the projects weren’t available. India considers Sri Lanka, just across the narrow Palk Strait off India’s southeastern coast, to be in it sphere of influence, while the island nation in the middle of a key sea route connecting the east and west, also is important to China’s ambitious...
    Share this:INDIA — Score: India’s captain Rohit Sharma, right, applauded as Sri Lanka’s captain Dimuth Karunaratne, left, completed scoring a century during the third day of the second cricket test match between India and Sri Lanka in Bengaluru, on Monday.Photo: Aijaz Rahi/AP   ROMANIA — Peeking out: A refugee who fled from the war in neighboring Ukraine peered out from a tent after crossing the border, at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, on Monday.Photo: Andreea Alexandru/AP   UNITED KINGDOM — BAFTA’s Best Actress: Joanna Scanlan held her Best Actress award for her role in the film ‘After Love’ at the 75th British Academy Film Awards, BAFTAs, in London on Sunday.Photo: Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP  
    DHARAMSALA, India (AP) — Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat in the third and final T20 against India on Sunday. The hosts have already sealed the series with convincing wins in the first two matches. India won in Lucknow by 62 runs and then won on Saturday in Dharamsala by seven wickets. With the series already decided, India has made wholesale changes to their playing eleven. Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been rested. Wrist spinners Ravi Bishnoi and Kuldeep Yadav, as well as pacers Avesh Khan and Mohammed Siraj come in to completely revamp the bowling line-up. Opener Ishan Kishan also misses out. He had suffered a blow to the head during the Indian innings on Saturday. He spent the night at a local hospital and is under observation for signs of concussion. While Mayank Agarwal was drafted into the squad, one of Venkatesh Iyer or Sanju Samson is slated to open the innings along with Rohit Sharma. Sri Lanka has also made two changes. Janith Liyanage and Jeffrey Vandersay return to the playing...
    Getty Yuzvendra Chahal (R) will lead India against Sri Lanka. India host Sri Lanka in the first match of the best-of-three T20I series on Thursday, February 24. Despite injuries to some big names and key players, the Men in Blue will be expected to continue to hold sway over an opponent they have traditionally dominated in this format. There have been some exceptions to the norm, though. Like when Sri Lanka won the 2021 series over an India team depleted by Covid-19. The Lions still have the talent to spring another upset, but a deeper lineup, plus home advantage at the Ekana Cricket Stadium, should ensure a winning start for India.Note: Heavy may earn an affiliate commission if you sign up via a link on this pageIn the United States, the match (8:30 a.m. ET start time) isn’t on TV, but anyone in the US can watch India vs Sri Lanka live on ESPN+ right here: Get ESPN+ With ESPN+, you’ll be able to stream every single match of Sri Lanka Tour of India. It also includes dozens...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Sri Lanka on Sunday seeking to advance China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, as the island nation looked to Beijing for help as it tries to rescue itself from a foreign currency and debt crisis. Wang arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday from the Maldives on the last leg of a multi-city trip that also took him to Eritrea, Kenya and Comoros in Africa. In Sri Lanka, Wang was scheduled to meet President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Later, Wang and Prime Minister Rajapaksa were to speak at Colombo’s Port City, a reclaimed island developed with Chinese investment. The diplomatic visit comes as Sri Lanka faces one of its worst-ever economic crises, with foreign reserves down to around $1.6 billion, barely enough for a few weeks of imports. It also has foreign debt obligations exceeding $7 billion in 2022, including repayment of bonds worth $500 million in January and $1 billion in July. The declining foreign reserves are partly due to infrastructure built with Chinese...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — A policeman opened fire on a group of fellow officers in Sri Lanka, killing three of them and wounding three others, police said Saturday. The shooting occurred Friday night inside a police station in the small town of Thirukkovil in eastern Sri Lanka, a police statement said. The town is located in the island’s former war zone, which has been largely peaceful since the civil war ended in 2009. The town is about 336 kilometers (208 miles) east of the capital Colombo. The officer in charge of the police station was among the wounded who were rushed to a hospital. The police sergeant who carried out the shooting has surrendered to a nearby police station and handed over two T-56 assault rifles and ammunition, the statement said. The motive for the shooting was not immediately known. Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    This is the heart-stopping moment a man was carried into the air after his friends let go of the rope leaving him dangling for more than a minute.  Nadarasa Manoharan was playing in a kite-flying game when he was lifted more than 30 feet into the air in Point Pedro, Jaffna in Sri Lanka. More than seven people were helping to fly the giant square kite on December 20, which was being let out on a long rope.  Nadarasa Manoharan was taking part in a kite-flying game when he was lifted more than 30 feet into the air in Point Pedro, Jaffna in Sri Lanka Manoharan's friends were letting out the kite allowing it to gain altitude by rotating in a relay further down the rope The giant kite was able to drag the seven men along the ground as they struggled to keep it under control  Manoharan was dragged into the sky after his friends let go of the rope  Manoharan hung on desperately for more than a minute as his friends tried to bring him back to earth ...
    COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The body of a Sri Lankan factory manager who was tortured and set on fire by a mob in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy was buried in his native village with state honors on Wednesday. Buddhist clergy performed religious rites at the home of Priyantha Kumara before police led a procession in which family and friends carried the casket with his charred remains to the cemetery. The road was decorated with condolence banners and white flags symbolizing mourning. Kumara was assaulted by a mob of hundreds of people and was dragged into the street and set on fire last Friday in Sialkot, Pakistan, where he helped run a sports equipment factory. Workers at the factory accused him of desecrating posters bearing the name of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The victim’s brother, Arunasiri Wasantha Kumara Diyawadana, who also works as a technical director at a garment factory in Pakistan, said factories should have a secure environment. “That was not happening in this particular case,” he said. He called for an improvement in management practices so any dispute can...