APD | Weekly top 10 hot news (July 16- July 22)



Every weekend, Asia Pacific Daily will provide you with a run-down of the latest hot news.

This week, the following hot news you should know:

Top 1 | Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as Sri Lankan president

Sri Lanka's six-time Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in Thursday as president of the crisis-hit South Asian nation.

Wickremesinghe, 73, who was elected by legislators on Wednesday, took his oath of office before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya at parliament complex, according to a statement from his office.

Wickremesinghe won 134 votes in the 225-member parliament on Wednesday after his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country and resigned from his post last week.

Former Public Administration Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, a schoolmate of Wickremesinghe, is tipped to become prime minister.

Top 2 | Chinese, Finnish FMs hold phone talks on bilateral ties

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday held a telephone conversation with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto at the latter's request.

During their phone conversation, Haavisto said that Finnish President Sauli Niinisto attaches great importance to the friendship between Finland and China, and that the friendly relationship between the two heads of state has injected strong momentum into bilateral cooperation.

The joint economic and trade commission between the two countries has carried out productive work, and the Finnish business community has set up a China office and looks forward to expanding business in China, Haavisto said.

Top 3 | Wang Yi says lessons should be learned from Ukraine crisis during call with Hungarian FM

All parties should draw lessons from the Ukraine crisis, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday during a phone conversation with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.Szijjarto, who requested the call, outlined the current situation in Europe and Hungary, especially the economic and financial challenges faced by Hungary due to the spillover of the Ukraine crisis.He said Hungary is pleased with the achievements resulting from cooperation with China in various fields, especially the smooth progress of trade and investment cooperation.Noting that the crisis in Ukraine has not only had a severe impact on Europe, but also had negative spillover effects around the world, Wang said that China has committed itself to promoting peace negotiations even though the country is not a party to the Ukraine crisis.

The lessons from the crisis are profound and worth well learning for all sides, he noted, adding that in the long run, the parties should discuss building a balanced, effective and sustainable European security framework to realize lasting peace and security.

Top 4 | Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Secret Service over deleted texts

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol announced that it has issued a subpoena for records from the United States Secret Service over deleted text message and made it the first time the committee has issued a subpoena to an executive branch agency.

Anthony Guglielmi, Chief of Communications, United States Secret Service, issued a statement Saturday in response to the subpoena.

Chairman Bennie Thompson sought information about Secret Service text messages on Friday from January 5 and 6, 2021 that were reportedly erased and reiterated three previous requests from congressional committees for information.

Top 5 | Wildfires rage across Europe as climate alarm sounded

Emergency services battled wildfires across swathes of southern Europe amid mass evacuations on Wednesday, as warnings sounded in London after Britain's hottest day that the fight against climate change needed to be stepped up.

Hundreds fled in central Italy as gas tanks exploded in a forest fire near the Tuscan town of Lucca, while similar numbers fled in Greece as a blaze fueled by gale-force winds raged in mountains north of Athens.

Wildfires burned in several areas of Italy, including one that threatened to leave part of the northeastern city of Trieste without power and water, and 14 metropolitan areas including Rome, Milan and Florence were due to be put on the country's highest heatwave alert on Thursday.

Top 6 | Japanese figure skater Hanyu Yuzuru retires from competing

Japan's two-time Olympic figure skating champion Hanyu Yuzuru announced that he would retire from competitions and turn professional at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday.

Hanyu, 27, won his first World Championships medal in 2012, kicking off a storied career that established him as one of the greatest figure skaters of all time.

He completed a "Super Slam" in 2020 after finishing first at the Four Continents Championships, before which he had collected the Junior Worlds and Junior Grand Prix Final titles in 2010, two Olympic gold medals at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018, two World titles in 2014 and 2017, and a straight sweep of four titles at the Grand Prix Finals from 2013 to 2016. In addition, he is a six-time champion at the Japanese nationals.

Top 7 | Acting Sri Lankan president declares state of emergency

Acting Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared a state of public emergency, according to a government notice released late on Sunday, as his administration seeks to quell social unrest and tackle an economic crisis gripping the island nation.

"It is expedient, so to do, in the interests of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community," the notification stated.

Sri Lanka's parliament is scheduled to elect a new president on July 20 following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who flew to Singapore via the Maldives, amid a severe economic crisis in the South Asian country.

Top 8 | AU urges establishment of Public Health Emergency Operations Centres

The African Union (AU) has called on all Member States to make a commitment to establish and strengthen functional Public Health Emergency Operations Centers (PHEOCs) to help the continent respond effectively and efficiently to public health emergencies.

The message came on the sidelines of 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU and the 4th Mid-Year Coordination Meeting (MYCM) of the AU and the Regional Economic Communities (RECS), in Lusaka, Zambia.

The bloc noted the Heads of State and Government’s Declaration made in July 2017 on Accelerating Implementation of the International Health Regulations in Africa, which seeks to address the increasing public health events and recurrent epidemics on the continent and to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of diseases.

Top 9 | Sri Lanka starts the process of selecting a new president

The nominations for candidates in Sri Lanka’s new presidential election will be heard on Tuesday, according to Dhammika Dasanayake, secretary general of the parliament. If there are many candidates, Members of Parliament will vote on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka is in the process of selecting a new president to complete the remaining term left from the former president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country and resigned after huge protests over the country’s economic collapse. His resignation marks a turning point in the history of the nation that the Rajapaksas controlled with for the majority of the previous two decades before losing the support of their once-fervent subjects.

The interim president will serve until 2024 and could possibly appoint a new prime minister.

Top 10 | Ukraine Official Says Iran Promises Not to Buy Grain Stolen by Russians

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says his Iranian counterpart has promised his country won't purchase any grain stolen from Ukraine as the Middle Eastern nation faces pressure not to sell military drones to Russia.

Kuleba summarized a recent phone call with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a Tweet Friday. The reported conversation between the top diplomats reflects Iran's balancing act, which is drawing closer to Moscow while calling for an end to hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.

According to Kuleba, Amir-Abdollahian expressed condolences for the victims of the Russian missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, which killed at least 21 civilians, including three children.