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China’s Xi Jinping arrives in US ahead of summit with Joe Biden

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Chinese President Xi Jinping waves as he arrives at San Francisco airport (Aljazeera)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in the United States for his first visit in six years, after US President Joe Biden said his goal in their bilateral talks this week was to restore normal communications with Beijing, including military-to-military contacts.

Xi is due to meet Biden near San Francisco on Wednesday morning US time, before attending the annual summit of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping.

The summit will be their first face-to-face meeting in a year and follows months of high level meetings to prepare the ground, after tensions between the two countries spiked over issues from trade to human rights and the pandemic.

Speaking ahead of his departure, Biden said his goal was simply to improve the bilateral relationship. “We’re not trying to decouple from China. What we’re trying to do is change the relationship for the better,” Biden told reporters at the White House before heading to San Francisco.

Asked what he hoped to achieve at the meeting, he said he wanted “to get back on a normal course of corresponding; being able to pick up the phone and talk to one another if there’s a crisis; being able to make sure our militaries still have contact with one another”.

Xi waved from the door of his Air China plane before walking down the steps to meet US officials, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, who were waiting on the tarmac.

He is on his first visit to US since 2017 when he met then president Donald Trump.

(Aljazeera)



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Navy intercept multi-day fishing trawler carrying 200kg of narcotics

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It has been reported that the Sri Lanka Navy has intercepted a multi-day fishing trawler carrying around 200kg of narcotics suspected to be heroin and crystal methamphetamine (‘Ice’) off the southern coast of the island.

The boat and crew  were to be brought to the Galle Harbour,

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Advisory for Severe Lightning issued to Western, Southern, Sabaragamuwa, Northern and North-western provinces and in Monaragala district today (12)

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Advisory for Severe Lightning issued by the natural hazards early warning center at 01.30 p.m. to 11.30 p.m. on 12 April 2024

Thundershowers accompanied by severe lightning are likely to occur at several places in Western, Southern, Sabaragamuwa, Northern and North-western provinces and in Monaragala district.

There may be temporary localized strong winds during thundershowers.

General public is kindly requested to take adequate precautions to minimize damages caused by lightning activity.

ACTION REQUIRED:

The Department of Meteorology advises that people should:
• Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees.

• Avoid open areas such as paddy fields, tea plantations and open water bodies during thunderstorms.

• Avoid using wired telephones and connected electric appliances during thunderstorms.

• Avoid using open vehicles, such as bicycles, tractors and boats etc.

• Beware of fallen trees and power lines.

• For emergency assistance contact the local disaster management authorities.
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US restricts travel for employees in Israel amid fears of Iran attack

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A view of the Tel Aviv skyline (BBC)

The United States has restricted travel for its employees in Israel amid fears of an attack by Iran.

The US embassy said staff had been told not to travel outside the greater Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Beersheba areas “out of an abundance of caution”.

Iran has vowed to retaliate, blaming Israel for a strike on its consulate in Syria 11 days ago, killing 13 people.

UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has phoned his Iranian counterpart to urge against further escalation.

Israel has not claimed responsibility for the consulate attack but is widely considered to have been behind it.

(BBC)

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