New Malawi leader sworn in, urges unity
BLANTYRE, Malawi -- Lazarus Chakwera was sworn in as Malawi's new president Sunday after the announcement the previous night that he had won the southern African country's rerun election. There were nightlong celebrations in cities and towns across the country.
Chakwera is Malawi's sixth president after winning the historic election held last week, the first time a court-overturned vote in Africa has resulted in the defeat of an incumbent leader.
After a hard-fought campaign, Chakwera urged national reconciliation in his inaugural speech in the capital, Lilongwe, and spoke directly to supporters of defeated President Peter Mutharika.
"Perhaps the prospect of my presidency fills you with fear and grief. I want you to remember one thing, that this new Malawi is a home to you, too," said Chakwera. "So long as I am its president it will be a home in which you, too, will prosper."
Chakwera won with more than 58% of the votes cast, according to official results from the Malawi Electoral Commission.
The 65-year-old told the inaugural crowd: "It's an honor that fills me with unspeakable joy and immense gratitude. It's an honor forged in the furnace of your desire and your demand for change."
Chakwera's election came after months of street protests against the results of the election in May 2019 in which Mutharika had been declared the winner. The Constitutional Court struck down the results, citing widespread irregularities, including the use of correction fluid on ballots.
Bangladesh warns crops in jeopardy
DHAKA, Bangladesh -- With the monsoon setting in and waters from India rushing downstream, Bangladesh is facing a serious threat of floods that could cause extensive damage to farmlands across the delta nation's vast northern regions, officials said Sunday.
The country's Flood Forecasting and Warning Center said water levels in many rivers were continuing to rise, posing threats to flood-protection embankments that could burst, potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of people in more than 20 districts.
Abdur Rahim, a disaster management official in northern Sirajganj district, said about 50,000 families have already been affected after the Jamuna River swelled.
"If the waters continue to rise, many areas will go underwater," he said. "The signs are not good."
In other parts of the north, water levels in some major rivers, including the Teesta and the Dharla, have risen due to heavy rainfall in the past few days, inundating many areas in Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Gaibandha and Kurigram districts, according to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Center. The region is impoverished and most people farm for a living.
Arifuzzman Bhuiyan, an engineer with the warning center, said Sunday that waters would continue to inundate low-lying areas over the next week, affecting croplands and homes.
Downed India spy drone, Pakistan says
MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan's military said Sunday that it shot down a small Indian spy drone that flew into Pakistani-administered Kashmir, the ninth such downing of an Indian drone this year.
The military statement said the drone was shot down in the Hot Spring border village of Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both in its entirety. There was no immediate comment from India.
Pakistan often claims the downing of unmanned Indian spy drones in Kashmir, where the two sides often trade fire as well.
The latest development comes two weeks after India and China clashed along a different disputed border high in the Himalayas, leaving 20 Indian soldiers dead. Pakistan blames New Delhi for escalating tensions with China, a longtime friend of Islamabad.
Relations between Pakistan and India have been strained over Kashmir since August, when New Delhi revoked Muslim-majority Kashmir's decades-old semi-autonomous status, touching off anger in Indian-controlled Kashmir and in Pakistan.
Taiwan capital holds LGBT pride parade
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwanese capital held its annual LGBT pride parade Sunday, making it one of the few places in the world to proceed with such an event in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The parade typically draws tens of thousands of people, but Sunday's numbers were reduced by both virus concerns and heavy rain. Taiwan's Central News Agency said that more than 1,000 attended.
Those who did take part said it was a testament both to Taiwan's ability to contain the pandemic and its commitment to rights for people of all sexual orientations.
Taiwan is the only place in Asia where same-sex marriage is legal, and its liberal political system has long promoted human rights, free speech and freedom of assembly.
The island of 23.7 million people has largely dropped pandemic restrictions. It has confirmed 447 coronavirus cases, including seven deaths.
-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports