Sri Lankan president promises systemic change

STORY: Rajapaksa announced 17 new ministerial appointments on Monday but notably left out some members of his own family in the wake of protests over the government's handling of a devastating economic crisis.

Rajapaksa said he would seek solutions to Sri Lanka's problems including via possible constitutional changes, according to a statement issued by his office.

"I stand ready to support parliament on constitutional changes that should be made," he said.

The island nation of 22 million is experiencing prolonged power cuts and fuel and medicines shortages triggered by a tumble in its foreign exchange reserves that has stalled imports of essentials, leading to daily protests in the commercial capital Colombo.

Faced with growing popular unrest and calls for his resignation, Rajapaksa dissolved his previous cabinet earlier this month and invited all parties in parliament to form a unity government, but opposition groups and members of the ruling alliance rejected the idea.

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