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US Senate wants to withdraw support for Saudi Arabia forces in Yemen war

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Sri Lanka’s chief of defence staff held for support to a civil war case suspect and new Lancet report says climate change to increase heat-related deaths.

US Senate votes to advance measure to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen

In a blow to the Donald Trump administration, the US Senate voted Wednesday to advance a measure demanding withdrawal of US support for Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the Yemen conflict, reports BBC.

The senate voted 63-37 to end the military support for the Saudi-led coalition in the war.

The Senate move came in the wake of Trump’s dismissal of an intelligence community assessment that concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman most likely ordered journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

Earlier Wednesday, secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defense secretary Jim Mattis told the Senators not to back the motion as it might worsen the situation in Yemen.

“The October murder of Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey has heightened the Capitol Hill caterwauling and media pile-on. But degrading US-Saudi ties would be a grave mistake for the national security of the US and its allies,” Pompeo wrote in a blog post, reports Al Jazeera.

Sri Lanka’s top official in court over assistance in civil war abductions case

Sri Lanka’s chief of defence staff Ravindra Wijegunaratne was remanded by a magistrate court Wednesday for helping a key suspect in a case of disappearance of 11 men in the final years of the country’s 26-year civil war, reports The Guardian.

Wijegunaratne has been accused of helping in the escape of Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi, a navy intelligence officer and chief suspect in the murders. He is alleged to have assisted Hettiarachchi to flee to Malaysia to avoid arrest. He was arrested in August when he returned to Sri Lanka.

Hettiarachchi is accused of abducting and killing wealthy men for ransom in the final days of the war that ended in 2009.

Wijegunaratne will be held in detention till 5 December pending further investigations into whether he aided the prime suspect in the case. He was refused bail by the Colombo fort magistrate.

Georgia gets its first woman president

Georgia has elected Salome Zurabishvili as its first woman president, reports BBC.

The French-born ex-diplomat defeated Grigol Vashadze by 55% to 45%, according to an exit poll by Edison Research. Zurabishvili was backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party while Vashadze was a united opposition candidate.

Zurabishvili, who was born in Paris, took up a career in the French foreign service and was posted to the Georgian capital Tbilisi as ambassador in 2003. She later gave up her post and was appointed foreign minister.

This election was the Caucasus republic’s first-ever runoff for the presidency since all previous elections had been won in the first round.

Climate change putting people at greater health risk, says Lancet report

A new global report warned that climate change is making more people around the world vulnerable to heat exposure, putting them at greater risk of heat-related killers, reports Reuters.

The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change report by an international group of researchers was published Wednesday.

“Trends in the impacts of climate change, exposures and vulnerabilities show unacceptably high risk for health, now and in the future,” said Hilary Graham, a professor at Britain’s York University who co-led the work.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, between 2030 and 2050, climate change could cause an additional 2,50,000 deaths a year due to malnutrition, diarrhea, malaria and heat stress.

The report said that in 2017, 157 million vulnerable people were exposed to heat waves globally, and 153 billion hours of labour were lost due to heat exposure.

A CNN report quoted Dr. Nick Watts, executive director of The Lancet Countdown, as saying that climate change is “not something that’s happening in 2050 but something that we’re already seeing today.”

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