Pompeo urges HK to reverse decision to suspend polls

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday urged Hong Kong to reverse a decision to suspend its legislative elections amid a resurgence of the coronavirus, saying the delay would be another blow to its autonomy from Beijing, the media reported. In a statement published on Sunday morning, Pompeo condemned the decision by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to invoke her emergency powers to postpone the Legislative Council elections, scheduled for September 6, until September 5, 2021, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP). “We urge Hong Kong authorities to reconsider their decision,” he said. 

Lanka’s election chief asks people to vote without fear

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s election chief Mahinda Deshapriya said on Sunday that there is no threat of the coronavirus at polling centres as he asked voters to abide by health directives while voting in the parliamentary election on August 5. “Voters can cast their vote without any fear during the poll,” Deshapriya, the Chairman of the National Election Commission, was quoted as saying by the News1st channel. He asked voters to abide by health directives at polling centres. Over 16 million voters are registered to vote on August 5 to elect a 225-member parliament for a 5-year term.

Islamic State intel chief killed in Afghanistan

KABUL: Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) has said that it had killed Assadullah Orakzai, the intelligence head for the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), it was reported. The NDS told TOLO News that the IS commander was killed on Saturday during an operation near Jalalabad city, the capial of Nangarhar province. “The Special Units of the NDS have eliminated Ziaurrahman known as Assadullah Orakzai, the native of Akhel Orakzai agency of Pakistan during a targeted operation,” the agency said in a statement late Saturday night.

Hurricane Isaias nears Florida

ST PETERSBURG: Early bands of heavy rain from Isaias lashed Florida’s east coast before dawn Sunday as authorities warily eyed the approaching storm, which threatened to snarl efforts to quell surging cases of the coronavirus across the region. Isaias weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm late Saturday afternoon, but was expected to regain hurricane strength overnight as it barreled toward Florida. “Don’t be fooled by the downgrade,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned during a news conference on Saturday after the storm — pronounced ees-ah-EE-ahs — spent hours roughing up the Bahamas.