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CBK lambastes Sirisena and Mahinda for current plight of SLFP



Former President and incumbent Patron of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said she would work with the younger generation to reinvigorate the SLFP that was weakened due to the conduct of former President and SLFP Chairman Maithripala Sirisena.

Kumaratunga said so yesterday (2) while making a special statement to mark the 69th anniversary of the SLFP.

Kumaratunga said she had been saddened by the present fate of the SLFP, which was formed by the late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and later strengthened by Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

“I think I am also responsible for what has happened to the SLFP, today. It is not because of what I did, but because of what I did not do. I am the person who revitalised the SLFP, which was on a losing streak for 17 years. The SLFP was able to remain in power for 23 consecutive years because of what we started.”

Kumaratunga said that she had returned to politics in 2015 at the request of the late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, a number of political parties and civil society organisations, after a long absence from politics as she needed to put an end to the destruction of the country and where the SLFP was heading at that time.

“Many people today say that I joined the UNP.  In 2015, we formed a massive alliance with a large number of civil society organizations and a number of Tamil and Muslim parties. That alliance included both the UNP and the SLFP.”

Although she and a group of others had presented a broader vision in 2015, Sirisena who came to power in 2015 completely had destroyed that programme, the former President said. Both leaders who came to power after her were responsible for what had happened to the SLFP, she said.

Kumaratunga went on to say, “One leader who came to power after me even put my life at risk. At a time when Velupillai Prabhakaran had warned that he would kill me, that leader removed my security within 24 hours. He did all that because I was the only living Bandaranaike family member who could rebuild the SLFP. Also, the Bandaranaike policies of the party were ruined due to various criminals who linked him to the SLFP,”

Further emphasising that a party like the SLFP could not be destroyed, Kumaratunga said that she was committed to strengthening the SLFP with the help of the youth.

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Fuel crisis: Key CPC facility opened for VIPs, friends as public transport shrinks



By Shamindra Ferdinando

Samagi Jana Balavegaya trade unionist Ananda Palitha yesterday (01) alleged that members of Parliament, Chairmen of various government institutions, and other politically connected persons, continued to obtain unlimited petrol and diesel from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) facility at Kolonnawa.

The former CPC employee declared that the powers that be had transformed the Kolonnawa depot into a special facility to cater to the needs of the politically influential.

Those who touted the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept had created a special category while almost the entire nation suffered due to the unprecedented disruption of fuel supplies, Palitha said.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera and CPC Chairman Sumith Wijesinha didn’t answer their phones.

Ananda Palitha said that none of those who had been given access to the Kolonnawa depot came under essential services. “Why should lawmakers, whatever their status in society, be given access to the special facility when they aren’t included among essential services,”

Ananda Palitha asked.The SJB activist said that the government was struggling to maintain public transport after having repeatedly promised to sustain.

The trade unionist alleged that though they brought the clandestine operation at Kolonnawa to the attention of the government, it continued unabated. Barrels full of fuel had been taken from Kolonnawa, he said, among the beneficiaries were owners of V8 and other super luxury vehicles.

Ananda Palitha said that the Opposition should have taken up this issue vigorously.

Responding to another query, Ananda Palitha said that according to information available to them, Ceypetco had approximately 3,000 mt of diesel, 2,500 mt of petrol 95,600-700 mt of petrol 92 and was not in a position at least to meet the requirement of the essential services.

“The government is yet to come up with a plan to obtain petrol and diesel,” Ananda Palitha said, urging the government to take the public into confidence.

Palitha pointed out that the police had carried out numerous raids, targeting those who hoarded diesel and petrol, whereas a primary fuel depot that was not supposed to pump fuel for outsiders, engaged in business. The government should be ashamed of this situation, the trade union leader said, pointing out the country was heading for chaos.

The Island yesterday afternoon brought Ananada Palitha’s allegations to the notice of Lalith Weeratunga, Senior Advisor to the President,Gotabaya Rajapaksa

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Energy cooperation sought from Saudi Arabia on urgent basis



Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has requested Charge d’ Affaires of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Abdulelah A. A. Orkobi, to facilitate Environment Minister Naseer Ahamed to visit Saudi Arabia from July 02-05 as Special Envoy of the President of Sri Lanka.The request was made when the envoy called on Prof Peiris at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday (30).

At the meeting, Foreign Minister Peiris briefed the Saudi envoy on the current economic situation, including fuel shortage and its negative impact on all sectors in Sri Lanka. Prof. Peiris sought avenues for energy cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as an utmost urgent matter.

Charge d’ Affaires of Saudi Embassy Orkobi, emphasized the importance attached to the Sri Lanka – Saudi bilateral relationship and assured all possible support to Sri Lanka, at this juncture.

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‘Halting assistance’: Japanese envoy reassures Prez



Japanese Ambassador Hideaki Mizukoshi yesterday (01) met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa against the backdrop of reports that Japan wouldn’t provide financial assistance due to the possibility of such being mismanaged.A section of the media quoted the Japanese envoy having said so at a meeting with a group of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) members during a recent visit to the north.

Subsequent to the meeting at the President’s House, the President’s Office said that the Japanese envoy reassured the President of their support to the proposed IMF programme with Sri Lanka and bilateral development assistance.

However, the Japanese embassy didn’t issue a statement on the meeting though it regularly issued statements on a range of issues.

Recently Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Japan Sanjiv Gunasekera suddenly quit the top diplomatic posting. The government has nominated former Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage as Gunasekera’s successor.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office has sought a clarification from the Japanese embassy regarding the controversial declaration and received an assurance that the envoy didn’t say so at the meeting with the TNA (SF)

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