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Sri Lanka Bars Former President From Acting As Prime Minister

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Sri Lanka Bars Former President From Acting As Prime Minister

A Sri Lankan court has barred former President Mahinda Rajapaksa from acting as Prime Minister while it hears a petition challenging his refusal to step down despite losing two no-confidence motions last month.

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Judge Arjuna Obeyesekere issued the stay order on Monday, saying “irreparable damage would be caused” if Rajapaksa and ministers of his cabinet continued to hold office.

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The court of appeal will sit again next week to deliver a verdict.

Sri Lanka has been in crisis since October 26 when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Rajapaksa, a controversial but popular leader accused of corruption and grave human rights abuses.

READ:  Sri Lanka Parliament Passes No-confidence Motion Against New Prime Minister

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Extradition Hearing For Huawei Executive Begins In Canada

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Extradition Hearing For Huawei Executive Begins In Canada

The first stage of an extradition hearing for a senior executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei begins today, Monday in Vancouver, Canada.  The case has angered Beijing and has also set off a diplomatic furor and raised fears of a brewing tech war between china and the United States.

Beijing expressed great shock when Canada arrested Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou in late 2018, at the behest of the U.S.

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Huawei represents china’s ambitions to become a technological power, but has been the subject of U.S. security concerns for years. Beijing views meng’s case as an attempt to stunt china’s technological growth.

Washington accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. It says Meng, 47, committed fraud by misleading HSBC bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

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Meng, who is free on bail and living in one of the two Vancouver mansions she owns, denies the allegations.  Her defense team has pointed to comments by U.S. president Donald Trump they say suggest the case against her is politically motivated.

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Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for cellphone and internet companies. Washington has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft.

 

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Key Players Squabble Over Trump’s Impeachment Trial

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Key Players Squabble Over Trump's Impeachment Trial

The U.S. Senate is set to kick off the impeachment trial of president Donald Trump on Tuesday.  There are squabbles already over the trial.

Criminal defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who is one of the team of lawyers defending Trump, said on CNN on Sunday he will tell the 100 members of the senate, who are acting as jurors deciding Trump’s fate, that “even if the facts as presented are true, it would not rise to the level of impeachment” to convict Trump and oust him from office.

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The lawmakers will be deciding whether trump committed “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the constitutional standard for removing a president from office. As the trial nears, the republican-majority senate remains highly unlikely to convict Trump, also a republican, since a two-thirds vote against trump would be necessary to oust him from the white house.

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Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, leader of seven house of representative managers prosecuting the case against Trump, told ABC news’ on Sunday, the republicans have not debunked the facts that the president withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to an ally at war with Russia, and that he withheld a white house meeting that the president of Ukraine desperately sought to establish with his country.  He said Trump withheld the aid in order to force Ukraine to help him cheat in the next election.

READ:  Sri Lanka Parliament Passes No-confidence Motion Against New Prime Minister

On Saturday, both the house lawmakers pushing for Trump’s conviction, and Trump’s defenders, filed legal arguments in the case.

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Coffins Of Ukrainians Killed In Tehran Plane Crash Arrive In Kiev

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Coffins Of Ukrainians Killed In Tehran Plane Crash Arrive In Kiev

The coffins of 11 Ukrainians have arrived in Kiev on Sunday.  They were killed when Iran’s military mistakenly shot down a passenger airliner, after takeoff from Tehran international airport.

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, and other senior Ukrainian officials took part in a solemn ceremony after the 11 flag-draped coffins arrived in the Ukrainian capital.  They were carrying the bodies of nine Ukrainian international airlines crew members, and two passengers.  They died along with a hundred sixty-five others when their plane was shot down twelve days ago.

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Iranian officials have said the plane was un-intentionally shot down by air defenses who were on high alert during heightened tensions with the United States.

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Ukrainians and officials from four other countries that lost nationals in the disaster have demanded a “thorough, independent, and transparent” investigation.

Senior Iranian officials have called for the punishment of those responsible for shooting down the plane.

Foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Britain, Canada, Sweden, and Ukraine issued a joint statement after a meeting in London on Saturday to pressure Iran to give a full accounting.

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Most of the victims on the flight were Iranians or dual citizens, many of them students returning to studies abroad, or families returning home after visiting relatives in Iran.

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