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Wednesday
July 2019
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Sindhu looks to complete unfinished business in Japan        Griezmann says heart with Barca after ugly Atletico exit        Kotak Mahindra Bank Q1 consolidated up 23 pc; standalone net jumps 33 pc to Rs 1,360 cr        Investor wealth plummets over Rs 4 lakh cr in 3 days of market fall        China says Hong Kong protests 'absolutely intolerable'        Britain's May chairs emergency session on seized tanker        SC to hear on Aug 6 plea by Ahmed Patel against Guj HC order on his election to RS        Nadda pulls up Pragya Singh Thakur for her toilet remarks        Chandrayaan-2 illustrates India's determination to scale new frontiers of science: PM        India's second moon mission launched successfully; ISRO takes control of spacecraft        Ramya Haridas to not accept Youth Congress' car gift        ICC ran out of patience with Zimbabwe cricket: Flower        Pragya's latest: Have not become MP to clean toilets        Want to be an Indian superhero in Avengers: Taapsee Pannu        Have been able to achieve balance between commercial and parallel cinema: Sonakshi        Mahershala Ali to star in Marvel's 'Blade' reboot        Sindhu ends runner-up at Indonesian Open        UK car sector accelerates towards electric future        China importers seek to lift tariffs on US farm goods: State media        LIC offers Rs 1.25 lakh cr line of credit by 2024 to fund highway projects: Gadkari        
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International News
Sri Lanka president vetoes military deal with the US
 
Colombo, Jul 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka's President Saturday announced he will not allow his government to conclude a proposed military deal that would allow US troops free access to the island's ports.

Maithripala Sirisena said he was opposed to the draft Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that the two countries are negotiating to further strengthen their military ties.

Sirisena is at loggerheads with his pro-Western Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

"I will not allow any agreement that undermines our independence and sovereignty," Sirisena told a public rally in the island's south. "Several agreements currently being discussed are detrimental to our country."

"I will not allow the SOFA that seeks to betray the nation. Some foreign forces want to make Sri Lanka one of their bases. I will not allow them to come into the country and challenge our sovereignty."

The SOFA seeks to ensure reciprocal access to port facilities and allow freer entry to military personnel and their contractors.

Sirisena said there will be no bilateral agreements "against Sri Lanka's national interest" as long as he was in office. His term ends in January.

He did not name the powers he accused of trying to gain a military foothold in his Indian Ocean island republic of 21 million people.

However, it was a thinly veiled reference to the US which is keen on strengthening their existing military cooperation.

A year ago, Washington announced it was granting 39 million to boost maritime security in Sri Lanka as China developed its strategic hold on the Indian Ocean island.

Increased US interest in Sri Lanka comes as China is upping investment in ports and other building projects on the island, which is a key link in Beijing's ambitious "Belt and Road" infrastructure initiative.

The US had stopped arms sales to Sri Lanka during the height of the island's Tamil separatist war that ended in 2009.

The global power has also been highly critical of the human rights record of the former government of strongman president, Mahinda Rajapakse.

Several senior military commanders from the Rajapakse regime have been denied visas to visit the US.

China has vowed to keep providing financial help, including loans, to Sri Lanka despite warnings about the island nation's mounting debt.

Sri Lanka in 2017 granted a 99-year lease on a strategic port to Beijing because of it could not repay Chinese loans for the USD 1.4 billion project.

The port in Hambantota straddles the world's busiest east-west shipping route and also gives a strategic foothold to China in a region long dominated by India.


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ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
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KERALA NEWS
Ramya Haridas to not accept Youth Congress' car gift
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NATIONAL NEWS
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 New Delhi, Jul 22 (PTI) The Supreme Court Monday fixed August 6 for hearing the plea of senior Congr
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