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China accuses US of politicising global response to COVID-19



The recent U.S. Intelligence Report on COVID-19 Origins has the ugly agenda of politicising the global response to COVID-19 when unity and cooperation is key, Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong said yesterday, issuing a statement.

He said that on August 27, a report on COVID-19 origins was hastily released by the U.S. intelligence agencies.

“It took them 90 days to cook this up after an executive order from its President. As predicted, this report couldn’t reach any conclusions, and failed to satisfy the White House’s tireless intention to incriminate China. The only result of this so-called “scientific” report is to make Washington’s circus show and its ugly hidden agenda exposed to all,” he said.

Given below is the statement in full: “The domestic agenda for the U.S. blaming China is to cover its big failure and chaos in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the only superpower with less than 4.3% of the world’s population and the richest medical resources, the U.S. surprised us with over 39.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, accounting for 18% of the global total, and more than 639,000 deaths, around 14.2% of the world. While being incapable of containing the pandemic, the U.S. politicians choose to point fingers at China, fabricating lies, instigating populism and racial hatred, to cover up their failure and shirk their responsibility. We solemnly advise the U.S. that to blame others will not save lives of American people, but only amplify its own incompetence. Facing the grave doubts from its own people and the whole world about its poor governance, the only way out for the U.S. Administration is to uphold science and solidarity fighting against the pandemic.

“The international agenda for the U.S. blaming China is to defame and suppress China by COVID-19 politicisation. Some U.S. politicians obsessed with cold-war mindset become more and more anxious and bewildered when witnessing China’s rapid peaceful growth, in particular China’s successful containment of the pandemic and fast resumption of all work and production. Therefore, out of self-created suspicion, they make a mountain out of a molehill to label China as “the strategic competitor” and “the greatest threat” to the U.S., and hysterically politicise the pandemic and demonise China. They are forcing the scientific origins-tracing into an undisguised political instrument against China, clamouring “accountability”, “compensation” even “boycotting the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics”, etc. However, the U.S. will never make it even though they repeat their lies for a thousand times. Thus far, over 80 countries including Sri Lanka have written to the WHO Director-General to openly voice their opposition to politicising origins-tracing.

“Furthermore, the Biden administration desperately blames China with an intention to distract its huge defeat in Afghanistan. The White House and its intelligence community made repetitious misjudgment and wrong decisions, which only leads to a hasty withdrawal and a big failure, leaving Afghanistan abandoned, all its allies betrayed, and the whole world shocked. In the face of domestic fires of sharp criticism and some calls for President Biden and his main aides to resign, the White House and its intelligence agencies are in dire need of shifting spotlight to save their face and future. That explains why the U.S. intelligence community had no choice but to rush out such a useless report against common sense.

“I would like to point out that it is sheer nonsense for the U.S. to ignore the authoritative WHO-China joint study and accuse China of not being transparent or cooperative on coronavirus origins-tracing. It is actually the U.S. that is not being transparent, responsible and cooperative on this issue. The U.S. has been refusing to respond to the international community’s reasonable doubts on the Fort Detrick biolab and the over 200 overseas bases for biological experiments, trying to cover up the truth and avoid being held responsible. The onus is on the U.S. to give the world an answer.

“We earnestly admonish the U.S. to immediately stop doing anything that poisons the atmosphere for international cooperation on origins-tracing or undermines global solidarity against the pandemic, and return to the right track of science-based origins-tracing and cooperation in the face of the pandemic. For lives’ sake, do something good for its own pandemic control and the global anti-pandemic collaboration.”

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Third DNA test on Sarah: SJB questions veracity of police claim, asks Prez to dig deep



Easter Sunday carnage

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) yesterday (30) questioned the veracity of a police headquarters declaration that one of the Easter Sunday bombers Achchi Muhammadu Mohamed Hasthun’s wife Pulasthini Mahendran alias Sarah Jasmin had been killed on the night of April 26, 2019 at Sainthamaruthu.

The media was told at the Opposition Leader’s Office at No 30 Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha that the SJB was quite disturbed and surprised by the police headquarters statement issued on the basis of the Government Analyst’s findings.

Top SJB Spokesperson Mujibur Rahuman said that the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government owed an explanation as to how a third DNA test proved Sarah Jasmin’s death when the two previous DNA tests failed. The former MP said that the two previous tests had been conducted during the tenures of President Maithripala Sirisena and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sarah Jasmin’s husband Hasthun is believed to be one of the bomb makers of the now proscribed National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) blamed for the series of near simultaneous blasts. Explosions caused by suicide bombers claimed the lives of about 270 persons including dozens of foreigners.

Rahuman told The Island that he would like to remind President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the Defence Minister that Easter Sunday carnage was meant to undermine the yahapalana government in which Wickremesinghe served as the Prime Minister. “We expect the President to look into this matter. The possibility of a conspiracy cannot be ruled out,” the former lawmaker said.

Authoritative sources said that the likes of ex-MP Rahuman was seeking political advantage from the Easter Sunday fallout. The Colombo District politician repeatedly questioned the investigation for reasons best known to him, sources said, alleging interested parties were working overtime to substantiate conspiracy theories.

Rahuman challenged the government to reveal the status of the investigation into the arrest of a police officer under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) for helping Sarah Jasmin to flee Sri Lanka. The former UNPer said that the police officer’s role in Sarah Jasmin’s escape transpired in the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (P CoI) into the Easter Sunday carnage.

The Batticaloa High Court granted bail to Chief Inspector Nagoor Thambi Aboobucker who had been arrested on July 13, 2020, a few weeks before the last general election, after he filed a fundamental rights application. The law enforcement officer had been held in custody for a period of 32 months.

Rahuman noted that Abdul Cader Fathima Saadiah, the wife of 2019 Easter Sunday attacks mastermind Zahran Hashim, too, had been granted bail. She had been held under the PTA for almost four years.The SJB official emphasized that regardless of repeated assurances given by successive governments, the Easter Sunday massacre remained a mystery. Rahuman said that SJB MPs Harin Fernando and Manusha Nanayakkara, who had been severely critical of the Easter Sunday investigations and repeatedly alleging a conspiracy, switched allegiance to the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government in last May. However, the SJB wouldn’t allow the incumbent government to suppress the truth, he said.

The former lawmaker asked whether the new partners had reached a consensus on the matter, therefore interested parties were busy covering up tracks.Rahuman said that those at the helm should be ashamed that the P CoI recommendations were never implemented. Demanding punishment to those who neglected their responsibilities, Rahuman said the current dispensation should know the conspirators, too, should be dealt with.

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CBK: Proposed anti-corruption bill inadequate to end widespread problem



“75 percent in parliament are crooks.”

There is nothing in the proposed anti-corruption bill to prevent people from engaging in corrupt activities, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike said yesterday in Colombo.She said that she had accessed the draft of the bill, formulated at the behest of the IMF.

“The bill focuses on what to do when someone is identified as a crook. But there is nothing to prevent people from engaging in such acts.”

Corruption had become a key feature in Sri Lanka since 1977 despite some efforts by political leaders. However, there were strong anti-corruption sentiments in the country and they had to be harnessed, she said.

“75 percent in parliament are crooks,” she said.

The former President was also critical of the proposed new anti-terror laws. She said they were very dangerous laws and anyone could be detained for having dissenting views.

“These are scary laws. Everyone must unite to fight such laws,” she said.

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SJB MP throws party union under the bus



By Akitha Perera

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP S.M. Marikkar on Thursday said that he supported the government’s decision to liberalise the petroleum sector and that the state should not be involved in business. Marikkar added that most Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) workers were idling and that they got paid for not doing any work.

“If you ask me, I say that we must liberalise the CPC. We must open the market. We can’t have this island mentality and it is our parochial thinking that got us into this mess. We can’t live in isolation. The world is open and an increase in competition leads to better outcomes for the consumer.

We believe that the state should not be involved in business. The Lanka IOC is in Sri Lanka. When three other companies come in, there will be greater competition. Most CPC employees are idling. They draw fat salaries at the end of the month for doing nothing,” he said.Marikkar said that while the average CPC employee wasted public funds, those who headed it were involved in corruption. Both waste and corruption had to be stopped, he said.

“I am not sucking up to the President. We have principles and we stand by them,” he said.

However, the SJB’s trade union arm led by Ananda Palitha is playing leading role in CPC trade union struggle against the Cabinet decision to award licenses to more foreign companies that intend to enter the fuel retail market in the country.

In a Twitter message, Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said China’s Sinopec, United Petroleum of Australia and RM Parks of USA in a collaboration with Shell Plc would enter the fuel retail market in Sri Lanka.

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