Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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China, Philippines agree to lower tensions
Bangkok, Jan 18: China and the Philippines said they have agreed to work on lowering tensions after a year of public and tense confrontations in the South China Sea between their ships that have raised concerns of armed engagement in the region. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday that the two sides agreed to continue to improve communication and use friendly negotiations to manage their differences at sea, “especially to manage well the situation at Ren’Ai reef.” Ren’Ai reef is the Chinese name for what the Philippines call Ayungin Shoal and the US calls the Second Thomas Shoal, the site of multiple confrontations between the two countries’ ships in recent months. In November, Manila said that a Chinese coast guard ship and accompanying vessels conducted dangerous maneuvers and blasted a Philippine supply ship with a water cannon in disputed waters. China disputed the account, saying it acted appropriately. China and the Philippines said they agreed to limit tensions at a meeting on the South China Sea on Wednesday in Shanghai, the eighth in a series that began in 2017. (AP)

British lawmakers pass PM Sunak’s Rwanda bill
London, Jan 18: Lawmakers in Britain voted in favour of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda bill, designed to confirm that Rwanda is a safe third country for relocating individuals there. The bill, key to the government’s Rwanda plan, passed the House of Commons with 320 votes in favour and 276 votes against on Wednesday. It will now go to the House of Lords, Parliament’s upper chamber, for its first reading. “The passing of the bill tonight marks a major step in our plan to stop the boats,” said a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s office. In April 2022, Britain reached a deal with Rwanda, under which illegal immigrants and asylum seekers would be sent to the East African country to have their claims processed there. If successful, they would be granted permanent residency in Rwanda rather than being allowed to return to Britain, Xinhua news agency reported. However, the scheme has met with resistance. (IANS)

Armed robbers target 3 liquor stores in US
New York, Jan 18: An Indian-origin liquor store employee in the US state of Illinois was left shaken after four armed men in their 20s entered the shop, put a gun to his temple and punched his co-worker before fleeing away with cash and cell phones. The robbers, carrying revolvers and semi-automatic handguns, hit three liquor stores in Chicago within a period of less than 40 minutes on Monday night, the police said. Mr P Beverage Depot in Wicker Park, where Pankajkumar Patel works, was the first store to be targeted in the area at around 8.45 p.m. “I have two children and a wife,” a shaken and terrified Patel told CBS News. According to Chicago Police, shortly after 9 p.m., the robbers entered the Before You Go Liquors store in Bucktown and at 9.20 p.m., they robbed the Clybourn Market liquor store in North Center. The incidents of robbery seem to be on a rise in Chicago with five liquor stores hit in a span of less than two hours in Irving Park last week. (IANS)


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