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    Rajapaksas eye comeback in Sri Lanka presidential election

    Colombo (AFP) - Sri Lankans voted Saturday for a new president in what could mark a comeback for the Rajapaksa clan, lauded by supporters for crushing the Tamil Tigers but condemned by critics for war crimes, corruption and cosying up to China.Almost five years after political heavyweight Mahinda Rajapaksa lost power, his brother Gotabaya, 70, is running for the top job, promising...

    • 6 hrs ago
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    China targets one of Asia's biggest meth cartel: deputy drug tsar

    Bangkok (AFP) - Chinese drug police are working with Mekong countries to strike at the heart of a mega-rich meth syndicate, a senior Beijing drugs tsar said, as the region targets top-level drug traffickers instead of street dealers.The porous lawless border areas of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos have for decades been a hub for heroin production, but the so-called "Golden...

    • 6 hrs ago
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    Anger, guilt stir Hong Kong's white collar rebels

    Hong Kong (AFP) - Driven by anger at the authorities' response to massive protests - and guilt that the burden of defending democracy has fallen on the city's youth - a white collar rebellion is rippling out across Hong Kong.Every day this week thousands of office workers have downed tools for a few hours, responding to a call to strike in a cheekily named "Lunch With You" rally. Faces...

    • 6 hrs ago
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    Froome crash underlines 'scary' dangers of cycling - Bernal

    Shanghai (AFP) - Tour de France winner Egan Bernal said Friday that competitive cyclists are only ever one corner from catastrophe, reflecting on Chris Froome's high-speed crash in June. The four-time Tour champion Froome fractured a thigh, elbow and vertebrae during the Criterium du Dauphine stage race and last week had more surgery.The 34-year-old has admitted that he is "grateful...

    • 6 hrs ago
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    North Korea calls Biden 'rabid dog' that 'must be beaten to death'

    Seoul (AFP) - North Korea launched a visceral diatribe against US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, calling the former vice-president a "rabid dog" -- while also borrowing the terminology of Donald Trump.Pyongyang is renowned for its vitriol, but the verbal deluge was unusually ferocious even by its own standards.Biden "had the temerity to dare slander...

    • 6 hrs ago
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    Sweden honours detained Gui Minhai despite Chinese threats

    Stockholm (AFP) - Sweden's culture minister on Friday defied a Chinese threat of "counter-measures" by awarding a Swedish rights prize to detained Chinese-Swedish book publisher Gui Minhai.Known for publishing gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders out of a Hong Kong book shop, Gui disappeared while on holiday in Thailand in 2015 before resurfacing in mainland China...

    • 6 hrs ago
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    'Pad Man' faces 'Terminator' in Sri Lanka vote fight

    Colombo (AFP) - Sri Lanka's presidential election is a showdown between a man offering free sanitary pads and a former soldier dubbed the "Terminator" by his own family.Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, 70, a retired army lieutenant colonel, was the de facto military chief who crushed Tamil guerrillas and ended a 37-year separatist war, but Saturday's vote is his battle of ballots.His family calls...

    • 6 hrs ago
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    Chinese swim idol Sun Yang fights prospect of lengthy ban

    Montreux (Switzerland) (AFP) - Chinese multiple Olympic and world swimming champion Sun Yang, facing a ban of up to eight years for missing an out-of-competition test, told an appeals court on Friday that doping testers were at fault for failing to identify themselves correctly.Attending a one-day open hearing of the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS), Sun, accused of using a hammer to...

    • 7 hrs ago
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    Hong Kong protesters defy Xi with pro-democracy rallies

    Hong Kong (AFP) - Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters defied a warning by China's President Xi Jinping and took to the streets again Friday, as the political turmoil seeped out to London, where a territorial minister was confronted by masked demonstrators.Protests have swept Hong Kong since June as many in the city of 7.5 million people have vented fury at eroding freedoms under Chinese...

    • 7 hrs ago
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    Cricketers' mental health thrown into the spotlight

    Sydney (AFP) - Mental wellbeing as much as physical health is emerging as a key challenge for modern-day cricketers -- with relentless schedules, intense public scrutiny and the fear of failure weighing heavily.The issue has been thrust into the spotlight in Australia, where three top players recently stepped aside for mental health reasons, with administrators scrambling to get on top of the...

    • 8 hrs ago

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