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President, UN Secretary General discuss Economic Recovery, Climate Prosperity Plan at Summit in Paris



President Ranil Wickremesinghe held a bilateral meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact on Tuesday (22). The meeting served as an opportunity for President Wickremesinghe to provide an update on the progress made in Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and debt restructuring efforts, as well as to present the Government’s ambitious climate prosperity plan.

During the meeting, President Wickremesinghe apprised Secretary General Guterres on the significant strides achieved in the process of economic recovery and the ongoing initiatives to restructure the country’s debt. The President highlighted the government’s commitment to implementing sustainable economic policies and fostering a resilient financial framework to ensure long-term stability.

Additionally, President Wickremesinghe briefed Secretary General Guterres on the Government’s climate prosperity plan, outlining the comprehensive strategies aimed at mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change while promoting sustainable development. The plan emphasizes the importance of renewable energy, conservation efforts, and climate-resilient infrastructure.

Expressing his unwavering support, Secretary General Guterres assured President Wickremesinghe of the United Nations’ strong commitment to assisting Sri Lanka in its economic recovery and debt sustainability endeavours. Furthermore, Guterres commended the progress made by Sri Lanka in achieving the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), recognizing the efforts undertaken to address pressing social and environmental challenges.

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IPL auction player registration ends today (November 30)




Over 700 players are expected to register for the auction this time, with some prominent names aniticipated to be on the list (BCCI)

Today (November 30) is the final day for players to register for the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. Players are required to submit their names along with No Objection Certificates (NOCs) through their respective boards. The auction is scheduled for December 19.

With expectations of over 700 players registering for the auction, this time, some prominent names are anticipated to be on the list. Notable World Cup performers such as Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Travis Head, Daryl Mitchell, Rachin Ravindra, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, among others, are expected to be the top draws.

In particular, Starc is expected to be hotly pursued by franchises, despite his history of making himself unavailable after being acquired in previous auctions. Sources close to Cricket Australia have disclosed that at least five franchises have reached out to the left-armer, and he is likely to feature prominently on the marquee list.

Following the registration, franchises will be tasked with trimming the list. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) anticipates around 70 players to be sold at the auction. The BCCI has specified that transactions totaling up to INR 262.95 crore can occur at the auction, with 77 available slots across the 10 squads. Additionally, teams can acquire up to 30 foreign players.

While Ben Stokes has already withdrawn, franchise sources indicate they are awaiting confirmation regarding the availability of Jofra Archer, recently released by Mumbai Indians. There is also speculation that Josh Hazlewood may be available for the league, having been released by the Royal Challengers Bangalore recently.

The IPL is likely to take place from the third week of March, following the conclusion of the five-Test series between India and England, until the third week of May. This schedule ensures that players and boards have ample time to prepare for the Twenty20 World Cup, set to commence on June 3.

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Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dies aged 100




Henry Kissinger at the State Department's 230th anniversary celebrations in 2019

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has died at the age 100.

He served as America’s top diplomat and national security adviser during the Nixon and Ford administrations.

In a statement, Kissinger Associates, a political consulting firm he founded, said the German-born former diplomat died at his home in Connecticut but did not give a cause of death.

During his decades long career, Mr Kissinger played a key, and sometimes controversial, role in US foreign and security policy.

Born in Germany in 1973, Kissinger first came to the US in 1938 when his family fled Nazi Germany. He became a US citizen in 1943 and went on to serve three years in the US Army and later in the Counter Intelligence Corps. After earning bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees, he taught international relations at Harvard.

In 1969, then-President Richard Nixon appointed him National Security Adviser, a position which gave him enormous influence over US foreign policy in two administrations.


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COP28 president denies UAE using UN climate talks to seek oil deals




COP28 President Sultan al-Jaber walks through the venue for the COP28 UN Climate Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (pic Aljazeera)

The Emirati president of the United Nations Climate conference in Dubai has denied reports that he has used his role at the negotiations to pursue fossil fuel deals.

A day before the talks are due to begin, Sultan al-Jaber, who also is the CEO of the state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (Adnoc), rejected allegations made in a joint investigation by the Centre for Climate Reporting (CCR) and the BBC.

“These allegations are false, not true, incorrect and not accurate,” Jaber told reporters on Wednesday ahead of the talks, which will draw world leaders and tens of thousands of delegates to Dubai over the next two weeks.

“It’s an attempt to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency. Let me ask you a question: Do you think the UAE or myself will need the COP or the COP presidency to go and establish business deals or commercial relationships?”

Leaked documents show that al-Jaber planned to discuss fossil fuel deals in bilateral meetings at the climate summit, the CCR said.

According to the non-profit investigative journalism group, the documents include more than 150 pages of briefings prepared by COP28 staff from July to October and obtained by the CCR and the BBC from an anonymous whistle-blower. The documents indicate Jaber planned to discuss commercial interests with almost 30 countries, according to CCR.

The briefing notes, detailed in reports published on Monday, signalled Adnoc’s willingness to work with countries including China, Germany and Egypt to develop oil and gas projects.

Former United States Vice President Al Gore, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for campaigning for climate action, said the allegations “have confirmed some of the worst fears” around al-Jaber while former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said the COP28 host had been caught “red-handed”.

“The global community’s gaze is fixed upon these leaders, expecting them to embody the very essence of integrity, untainted by bias and national or personal gain,” said Tasneem Essop, executive director of Climate Action Network International.  “Any deviation from this path represents a betrayal of the trust placed in them by the world and a failure in their duty to future generations,” she wrote on X.

Al-Jaber, a 50-year-old longtime climate envoy, is a trusted confidant of the leader of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He’s been behind tens of billions of dollars spent or pledged towards renewable energy in the UAE.

He has weathered other controversies over alleged conflict of interest since being appointed COP28 president this year, including calls from US and European lawmakers for his replacement.

Supporters, including US climate envoy John Kerry, said al-Jaber is uniquely positioned to broker compromise at the COP28 talks, where world leaders will be confronted by their lack of progress in curbing global warming in a record-breaking hot year.

Reining in the use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions are expected to top the agenda of the 13-day summit, which runs from Thursday until December 12. International funding to help countries adapt to climate change will also be hotly debated as developing countries have been demanding more contributions from industrialised nations.

An ambitious loss and damages fund agreed last year to support poorer nations to help manage the negative effects of climate change is also going to be one of the main issues covered in the negotiations. World leaders agreed to the fund at COP27 last year, but they have failed to reach consensus on the most important questions of all – which states will pay into it and how much

The CCR said that alongside the briefings, it has also seen emails and meeting records “which raise serious questions about the COP28 team’s independence from Adnoc”.

“Please, for once, respect who we are, respect what we have achieved over the years and respect the fact that we have been clear, open and clean and honest and transparent on how we want to conduct this COP process,” al-Jaber said.


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