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The authoritarian president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, arrived at the Russian resort city of Sochi on the Black Sea coast to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. A Kremlin spokesman said the two were to discuss political and financial support for the embattled Belarusian leader following six weeks of massive protests in Minsk, and growing calls for a democratic government.
Over the weekend, an estimated 150,000 people flooded the streets of the Belarusian capital, demanding Lukashenko’s resignation and led by women in the country’s burgeoning opposition movement. The country’s interior ministry said 774 demonstrators were arrested.The protesters argue that the Aug. 9 presidential vote was rigged, with the US and EU agreeing that the poll was neither free nor fair. But Lukashenko refuses to engage in direct talks with the opposition.
Lukashenko has appealed to Moscow for help, depicting the protest movement as a Western attempt to isolate Russia. For its part, the Russian government sees Belarus as a bulwark against NATO expansion but fears that dissent in Belarus could embolden Putin’s critics at home.
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India’s parliament convened for the first time in six months, as new cases of the coronavirus increased by over 90,000 in just a day and total infections approached 5 million. In the chamber, members wore masks and sat between glass partitions to prevent virus transmission. “We hope that a vaccine is available soon, whichever part of the world it comes from,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the media before the session.
The Afghan government and the Taliban began peace talks in Doha, Qatar, over the weekend in a bid to put an end to decades of brutal conflict. But discussions could be hamstrung by a lack of unity in the team representing the Afghan government, which includes officials from rival political parties, members of civil society and religious figures.
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Amid the global pandemic, musicians have become even more creative in order to stage performances for audiences. On Saturday, the Dresdner Sinfoniker orchestra performed with 16 alphorns, nine trumpets and four tubas — 164 feet up on rooftops in Dresden, Germany. The percussion instruments were set up at a nearby car park on top of a shopping center. Now that's socially distanced entertainment.
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