East Timor leader offers resignation after coalition collapse

East Timor’s prime minister Taur Matan Ruak was sworn in as prime minister in June 2018 following a protracted political crisis. (Reuters)
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Updated 25 February 2020

East Timor leader offers resignation after coalition collapse

  • Taur Matan Ruak says he had filed a resignation letter to President Francisco Guterres
  • But he would remain in the job until his resignation request was accepted

DILI, East Timor: East Timor’s prime minister said Tuesday he was quitting after a political coalition that supported him collapsed, setting up the tiny Southeast Asian nation for another round of instability.
Taur Matan Ruak — a one-time guerilla fighter in the former Portuguese colony later annexed by Indonesia — said he had filed a resignation letter to President Francisco Guterres, citing a “political impasse.”
“I was in a meeting with President (Guterres) and I asked to resign from the PM position,” Ruak told reporters in the capital Dili, adding that he would remain in the job until his resignation request was accepted.
Ruak was sworn in as prime minister in June 2018 following a protracted political crisis that had paralyzed the half-island nation of some 1.3 million squeezed between Indonesia and Australia.
That marked East Timor’s second government in less than a year in the impoverished nation that won independence in 2002 after a brutal 24-year occupation by neighboring Indonesia.
Born Jose Maria Vasconcelos but universally known by his nom de guerre Taur Matan Ruak — which means “two sharp eyes” — Ruak was a commander in the East Timorese resistance before becoming chief of the newly independent nation’s army.
He also served in the largely ceremonial role of president between 2012 and 2017.


Truck drives into US crowd protesting George Floyd killing, underscoring volatile situation

Updated 01 June 2020

Truck drives into US crowd protesting George Floyd killing, underscoring volatile situation

  • Protesters managed to stop the truck and beat up the driver, who was later arrested by police
  • A New York City Police car earlier drove into a crowd of protesters who were pelting it with objects

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota: A tanker truck drove through thousands of people marching on a Minneapolis highway to protest the death of George Floyd on Sunday before protesters dragged the driver from the cab and beat him, according to a Reuters witness and authorities.
It did not appear any of the marchers were injured when the truck raced toward them on I-35, blowing its horn, sending protesters scattering before coming to a stop, according to the witness and a tweet by the Minnesota Department of Public Security (MNDPS).
Police arrived soon after and arrested the truck driver, who was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, MNDPS said.
Video of the incident shows protesters swarming the vehicle before it comes to a stop.

Protesters hand over to police the driver of a tanker truck after he drove into a crowd marching on 35W north bound highway in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 31, 2020. (REUTERS/Eric Miller)

“The incident just underscores the volatile situation we have out there,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz told a news conference, adding he did not know the motives of the driver.
It marked the second incident in as many days of a vehicle driving at people protesting Floyd’s death after a New York City Police car was captured on video on Saturday driving into a crowd of protesters who were pelting it with objects.
“Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators,” MNDPS tweeted.
Video showed the truck had a logo on its side for “Kenan Advantage Group,” an Ohio-based transportation company.
The company said in a statement that it was informed of an incident involving one of its independent contractors in Minneapolis and it would be cooperating with investigating authorities.
MNDPS did not identify the driver but said the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were investigating the incident as a criminal matter.