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Your Week in Asia

Sri Lanka elects new president, Japan CPI, Thailand no-confidence vote

Your weekly lineup of Asia's biggest business and political events

A protester waves the Sri Lankan flag outside then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office in Colombo on July 13. With the post now vacant, an election is to be held on July 20.   © AP

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

As U.S. President Joe Biden concludes his trip to the Middle East, Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in Tehran on Tuesday to meet with the leaders of Iran and Turkey.

Separately, Turkey is expected to host another round of a quartet meeting with Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations, the aim of which is to reach an agreement on a U.N. plan to enable Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea. U.N. chief Antonio Guterres voiced optimism last week, saying, "Hopefully we'll be able to have a final agreement" during the new round of talks.

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Indian presidential election

India holds its presidential election in which Droupadi Murmu, a prominent tribal leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, is expected to beat opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha. Although the president is the head of state, the office lacks executive powers. Presidents are elected by members of the country's parliament and state assemblies. If she does indeed win, Murmu would be the first president from the country's tribal community and the second woman to hold the post, and would replace incumbent Ram Nath Kovind whose 5-year term ends later this month.

Tencent shuts Kuai Bao news app

Tencent Holdings officially terminates its Kuai Bao news aggregator app. The company has been scaling back its noncore businesses since posting zero first-quarter growth. China's most valuable private company has gone through several rounds of layoffs since the beginning of this year, and more are expected, particularly in content production. Tencent also closed down several content production studios last month.


Putin meets leaders of Iran and Turkey

Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to visit Tehran, on the heels of U.S. President Joe Biden's trip to Iran's regional rivals Israel and Saudi Arabia. Putin's trip comes after Washington said Iran plans to supply military drones to Russia for use against Ukraine.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will arrive in Tehran on the same day for a summit with Putin and Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Erdogan recently announced plans to launch a cross-border operation into northwestern Syria against Kurdish armed groups Turkey says are a threat. Russia and Iran, the two main foreign backers of President Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship in Damascus, oppose Turkey's plan.


Sri Lanka chooses a president

Sri Lanka's parliament meets on Wednesday to select a president to fill the vacancy left by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country in the wake of an anti-government people's uprising and sent his resignation letter from Singapore. Rajapaksa's exit was unprecedented in the annals of the country's history, as is the parliament's steps to choose a candidate from among lawmakers to complete his term. This political crisis comes against the backdrop of the South Asian nation's economic meltdown.

Hong Kong Book Fair begins

The annual Hong Kong Book Fair starts amid increasing concerns about freedom of expression as the city is squeezed by a Beijing-imposed security law. The weeklong fair, which can attract up to a million visitors, was once a symbol of publishing freedom for the Chinese-speaking world. The venue typically attracts hundreds of exhibitors.

Several publishers banned from this year's fair, for reasons not explained by organizers, were planning to hold their own show at a different location. But the landlord of that venue said he could not let it go ahead because the rival exhibit had attracted "too much attention."

Japan tourism data

The Japan National Tourism Organization releases visitor arrival numbers for June and the first half of 2022. The figures will be closely watched as Japan last month slightly eased its strict COVID restrictions on foreign tourists. Japan welcomed 387,100 arrivals for the first five months of the year, 3% of the number for the same period in 2019.

Tesla posts Q2 financial results


Monetary policy announcements: Japan, Indonesia, Turkey


Japan June CPI

Japan releases its consumer price index for June, which will show the country's latest inflation rate for food, energy and other essentials. The core consumer price index, which excludes fresh foods, in May rose 2.1% from a year earlier. More food makers have announced price increases in the past weeks, citing soaring raw material costs, in part due to the cratering yen.


No-confidence vote in Thailand

Thailand's House of Representatives will decide whether Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and 10 cabinet ministers have enough support to serve the final stretch of their term. The debate, which starts on Tuesday, will be the second in less than a year to take up Prayuth's handling of COVID-19, Thailand's economic woes and corruption. To stay on until the next general election, Prayuth will need more than half of 477 representatives to back him. The vote was triggered by the opposition Pheu Thai party.

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