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Wrap – a Tumultuous Week in the World

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Picture: Pradeep Dambarage/Nur Police fire water and tear gas in a bid to disperse university students protest who were demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, amid the country’s economic crisis, on July 08, 2022, in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

By Shifaan Ryklief

WHILE the conflict in Ukraine has dominated the world headlines since the start of the year, all eyes were on the news from across Sri Lanka, Japan and the United Kingdom as leaders failed to deliver on their promises.

Sri Lanka

The people of Sri Lanka said enough is enough with the rising food and fuel costs, the rolling power cuts, as well as medicine and food shortages. A recent survey by the United Nations shows that about 70 percent of Sri Lankan households have cut back on food consumption and that the country of 22 million people is out of fuel, while fresh shipments are still days away.

Last weekend, thousands of protesters carrying the yellow and red Sri Lankan flag marched to the President’s home chanting “Gota, go home”, where they ultimately swept past the policemen, breached the barricades and broke into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s home, demanding his resignation.

The following day, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told reporters that Rajapaksa had officially informed him that he would resign from his post on July 13, and at the same time, leaving Wickremesinghe in charge.

In anticipation for president Rajapaksa’s official resignation, he and his wife had fled the country to the Maldives in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Protesters turned their the focus onto PM Wickremesinghe and chaos erupted at his residence.

Security forces were deployed to clear the crowd using tear gas and Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency, imposing curfew in the western province of the country.

Japan

On Tuesday, Japanese residents young and old lined up at former prime minister Shinzo Abe’s funeral to lay flowers and pay their respects after he was gunned down by an assassin last week.

Abe was shot in Nara while campaigning for a fellow LDP politician ahead of the upper house elections. The former PM was one of the country’s most influential leaders and Japan’s longest-serving prime minister.

A day before his funeral, Japan’s ruling party and partners won enough votes in the upper house election to form a super-majority, which further strengthens its military role on the global stage.

United Kingdom

Meanwhile in the UK, Boris Johnson is counting down the days as prime minister after he was voted out as the leader of the Conservative Party.

Eight candidates have since been nominated to enter the race to be the leader of the party and later replace outgoing Johnson as the UK Prime Minister. The eight contenders, who successfully enlisted the required backing of at least 20 Conservative legislators are: former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak; Foreign Secretary Liz Truss; International Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt; backbench legislator Tom Tugendhat; Attorney General Suella Braverman; newly appointed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi; former Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch; and former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The first round of voting among Tory legislators requires contenders to receive at least 30 votes to enter the second ballot, according to the rules set by the 1922 Committee, which runs the leadership contest.

The number of contenders will then be whittled down to two through more rounds of secret ballot, before British parliamentarians break up for the summer recess on July 21. And, the final two contenders will then go through a postal ballot of all the Conservative members numbering around 200,000 over the summer, and the winner will be announced on September 5.

Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the development of bilateral economic co-operation, and the situation in Ukraine during a telephone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The talks revolved around further promoting economic co-operation, including measures to improve the contractual legal framework, boost trade and use national currencies in transactions, as well as to ensure uninterrupted supplies of Russian energy.

Furthermore, Russia, Ukraine and the UN held talks over the exports of grain from Ukraine with Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar announcing that a deal between Russia and Ukraine will be signed next week while the parties already agree on “joint controls” across the Black Sea.

Elon Musk

The world’s richest man Elon Musk was in the spotlight yet again, this time after the Tesla founder said he was going to abandon the $44 billion Twitter deal. Musk announced that he couldn’t buy Twitter as the company would not disclose its bot and fake account information.

However, Twitter later responded by suing Musk for breach of contract and called his exit strategy “a model of hypocrisy”.

The suit filed in the US state of Delaware urges the court to order the billionaire to complete his deal to buy Twitter, arguing that no financial penalty could repair the damage he has caused.

Ryklief is a multimedia journalist at the African News Agency (ANA)

This article is original to the The African. To republish, see terms and conditions.