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China has ‘always shared weal and woe, no matter what’ with Lanka

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China has built or is building 116 major grant projects in Sri Lanka and has provided training programmes to a total of nearly 8,000 Sri Lankan professionals, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Qi Zhenhong  said yesterday at the opening ceremony of the Sri Lanka – China National Nephrology Specialized Hospital in Polonaruwa.

This hospital will become a new symbol of China-Sri Lanka friendship, Ambassador Zhenhong said, adding that China has never been absent when Sri Lanka needed help after the establishment of the PRC.

“Since the two countries established diplomatic relations, China has always treated Sri Lanka with equality, sincerity and mutual trust, and always shared weal and woe, no matter what level of development China is on and no matter how the domestic and international situation evolve,” he said.

Given below is his speech in full:

“Today is a good day long-awaited by the Sri Lankan people. Today is also a good day to be remembered in the history of China-Sri Lanka relations. Despite the surging COVID-19 challenges, we gathered here in this historical city of Polonaruwa, to unveil the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Hospital, the largest nephrology specialized hospital in South Asia. During the past few years, both China and Sri Lanka have worked together to overcome various difficulties, especially the heavy impact brought by the COVID-19 epidemic, and succeeded in completing this modern and State-of-the-Art hospital on schedule. It impressed all visitors that this specialized hospital has a construction scale of over 25,000 square meters, 200 general inpatient beds and 100 hemodialysis beds. At this remarkable moment, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations and highest appreciations to all the Chinese and Sri Lankan personnel who have supported and contributed to this wonderful project.

“The opening of the hospital is of great significance. Firstly, it becomes a new landmark for the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. Secondly, it brings hope to thousands of kidney disease patients and their family. Thirdly, all 1.75 billion population in South Asia might benefit from it. Furthermore, the Nephrology Specialized Hospital will become a new symbol of China-Sri Lanka friendship, just like the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, the Supreme Court Complex, the Nelum Pokuna Theater, the Joint Research and Demonstration Center for Water Technology in Kandy and many other China-Aid projects, which will go down in history and further carry forward the deep friendship between the Chinese and Sri Lankan people.

“I would also like to emphasize that China has never been absent when Sri Lanka needs help. Looking back the past 64 years since our two countries established diplomatic relations, China has always treated Sri Lanka with equality, sincerity and mutual trust, and always shared weal and woe, no matter what level of development China is on and no matter how the domestic and international situation evolve. Up till now, China has built or is building 116 major grant projects including 36 large-scale sets of projects in Sri Lanka and has provided training programs to a total of nearly 8,000 Sri Lankan professionals. Besides, the local governments, enterprises, social organizations and individuals from China have also provided support within their capacity for Sri Lanka’s social development and improvement of people’s livelihood in various ways.

“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Chinese Government has provided most urgently needed help to Sri Lanka at different stages, and successively donated tens of millions of personal protective equipment, about one hundred thousand nucleic acid detection reagents and recently 1.1 million doses of Sinopharm vaccines. In addition, China is providing the greatest assistance to Sri Lanka for its procurement and local production of Chinese vaccines. I am confident that, with the joint efforts of the two countries, we will defeat the coronavirus and secure the final victory at an early date. The China-Sri Lanka friendship will only be further elevated to a new height in this joint fight against the epidemic, and more tangible benefits be brought to both Chinese and Sri Lankan people.”



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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