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Myanmar’s president resigns — ‘to rest’

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Htin Kyaw, Myanmar’s civilian president, has resigned with immediate effect “in order to take rest from the current duties and responsibilities,” his office said in a statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday.

According to the country’s constitution, the more senior of two vice presidents will stand in as president until a new leader is elected by parliament within seven working days.

This means that Myint Swe, who was the military’s appointment for vice-president, will become acting president.

The president is the head of state and government in Myanmar, and under the constitution has far-reaching powers.

However, Htin Kyaw’s role was more ceremonial because Aung San Suu Kyi has been Myanmar’s de facto leader since April 2016.

A constitution drafted by the former junta bars Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi from the top office and so she hand-picked Htin Kyaw, a close ally of hers, to become president.

Aung Shin, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said that Htin Kyaw, 71, had stepped down due to ill-health.

The president’s office did not give a reason for Htin Kyaw’s resignation.

In its posting, the president’s office said steps would be taken to replace him within seven working days.
“The next president will be an NLD member or one who suits with NLD policy,” Aung Shin said.

“The current vice-president cannot be the next president, according to the constitution.”

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FOREIGN

EXTRA: Man contests election for 96th time — and he’s never won in any

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John Turmel, a Canadian, is currently contesting election for mayor of Brantford, the city he lives in, but that is actually his 96th shot at an elective position.

Interestingly, he has never won in any of the elections, earning him the record of the world’s biggest loser in the polls.

But he says he has no regrets and is not deterred to keep pushing.

“I have no regrets. For a guy with no resources, doing it all with my winnings from mainly illegal games, what have I got to be ashamed of?” he asked in an interview with The Guardian .

He first ran for an election into parliament in 1979, earning just 193 votes after knocking on uncountable doors, campaigning.

His main goal at the time, according to Turmel, was to legalise gambling, after series of police crackdown on his underground operations.

Four decades down the line, he has never stopped to take his chance at elective offices, sometimes earning as much as 4,500 votes, and, on one occasion, getting just 11 votes.

“People with no money can basically create their own tokens by monetising their own time,” he was quoted as saying.

“I realised that I’m going to have to take advantage of every opportunity to explain how we could save ourselves from poverty, which is created by not enough money.

“We’ve got lots of wealth, lots of food, lots of clothes, we’ve just got not enough money to buy it.

“I do zero campaigns,” he says. “I go and I sign up, I give them a press release and a press conference and then I’ll go home. And if there’s a debate, I’ll show up.”

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South Africa legalises marijuana use

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South Africa’s constitutional court has decriminalised the private use of marijuana.

The ruling came after a provincial high court in 2017 held that the use of cannabis in private space should be allowed because laws against it were inconsistent with the country’s constitution.

The state appealed to the constitutional court, which upheld the high court’s findings.

“It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private space,” judge Raymond Zondo said while delivering the judgement on Tuesday.

The judgement did not say how much cannabis one may have at home for private use.

Celebrations broke out in the court, which was packed with marijuana advocates and members of South Africa’s Rastafarian community.

“It’s been persecution and prosecution for the Rastafarian community,” one of those celebrating, Prince, told TV channel eNCA.

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Workers fired for selling 15,000 apples to one client

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Workers fired for selling 15,000 apples to one client

Several employees of a Cuban supermarket have been fired for selling 15,000 apples to a single customer in a country regularly plagued by food shortages.

State news outlet Granma reported on Friday that the employees involved were let go after news of the sale first broke on the blog of a Cuban journalist, who witnessed it at a supermarket in Havana.

A group of “young, husky people” who were “organized in a quasi-military” way appeared at the store and bought 150 cases of 100 apples, according to journalist Iorel Sanchez, who said all the fruit was for a single customer.

The buyer paid the equivalent of 45 cents per apple, according to receipts published in the blog post.

It is not uncommon in Cuba — regularly hit with shortages on staples including fruit, butter, milk and beer — for a trader to buy a large stock of food to resell it at a higher price.

Granma said eight employees of the store — owned by Cimex Corporation, which is state-run but subject to the laws applicable to private enterprise — had been dismissed.

Cuba imports almost all the food consumed by its 11 million inhabitants, including apples, according to the official site Cubadebate.

The island is seeking to reform its Soviet-style economic model: a new constitution to replace the 1976 version has been approved by parliament and submitted to public debate.

In a bid to improve its supply of food products, Cuba’s government recently extended the area and allowed period of cultivation granted to the island nation’s farmers.

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