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China, Sri Lanka expand political relations following Pompeo visit



Close on the heels of the US urging Sri Lanka to join an alliance against China, the Chinese Communist Party has initiated a special dialogue with the ruling SLPP meant to take bilateral relations to a higher level.

Chinese Embassy spokesperson Luo Chong said that the meeting was aimed at implementing a consensus reached by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and President Xi Jinping in their telephone conversation as well as the recent high-level visit of top leader Yang Jiechi to Colombo.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeatedly attacked China during his one-day visit to Colombo where he requested President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government to end its close relationship with China. The US asked Sri Lanka to make “difficult but necessary choices” to secure its economic independence instead of choosing opaque practices.

Luo Chong issued the following statement Thursday night (5) after the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) held an advanced seminar on governance via video, strictly abiding by the health guidelines of both countries: “

Minister Song Tao of the International Department of Central Committee of CPC, Party Secretary Liu Cigui of CPC Provincial Committee of Hainan Province, SLPP Chairman Professor G.L. Peiris, Secretary General Sagara Kariyawasam, SLPP MPs including Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Namal Rajapaksa, Ramesh Pathirana together with some State Ministers and mayors from the Western Province participated in the meeting. Ambassador-designate Qi Zhenhong joined the discussion in his self-quarantine and delivered a speech on behalf of the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka.

“The two ruling parties of China and Sri Lanka are committed to jointly promote regular exchanges, engage in in-depth experience sharing on governance, and to enhance collaboration during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. In the seminar, bilateral relations of the two countries and the two parties, suggestions on the CPC-SLPP cooperation and long-term exchanges, Hainan’s successful practice on provincial development and poverty alleviation, joint combat against COVID-19 were broadly discussed with fruitful outcomes. The CPC also gave an introduction on its Fifth Plenum of the 19th National Congress, at which the CPC Central Committee proposed the 14th Five Year Plan and the 2035 Vision, specifying China’s goal of development for the next 5-15 years. The two ruling parties also shared their opinions on aligning the Belt and Road Initiative with Sri Lanka’s “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor” to bring more tangible benefits to the two peoples. 

“Ambassador Qi expressed his pleasure and honor to attend the opening ceremony, which was his first public event after assuming the office since last Friday (30/10). Ambassador Qi said the history of China – Sri Lanka friendship is a history of mutual learning, and the friendship between our two countries and our two parties has grown stronger through the joint fight against COVID-19. He also emphasized that the experience sharing between the two ruling parties will play an important role in bilateral cooperation in the post-COVID era to come. “To overcome the huge challenge in front of us, on one hand we need to support each other in both medical supplies and financial supplies; on the other hand, we need more cooperation in disease prevention and treatment, economic revival and local governance etc. As ruling parties, CPC and SLPP should enhance experience sharing so as to better lead the two governments and the two peoples for a brighter future.” 

Up till now, the CPC has established contacts and exchanges with more than 400 political parties and organizations in over 140 countries. It also maintains friendly relations with a dozen political parties in Sri Lanka both in the government and the opposition. On October 22nd, the CPC co-host the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Political Parties Forum and the BRICS Party Round-table Meeting via videolink.”

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PSC action could cripple health services, warns GMOA Secretary



There were vacancies for 89 specialist doctors in government teaching hospitals due to certain actions taken by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said yesterday.

GMOA secretary Dr. Senal Fernando yesterday told The Island those vacancies had the potential to cripple the state health service, as the service was stressed due to COVID-19.

Dr. Fernando said: “Specialist doctors are appointed and transfered according to procedures established by the Health Service Minute. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the transfers and the PSC should oversee the transfering process to ensure that they are made in a proper manner.”

“The PSC has ordered the appointment of a committee to look into the matter but there is no mention of such a committee in the Health Service Minute. Instead of following the process, the PSC has tried to intervene in the process and 89 posts remain vacant during the time of COVID-19,” he said.

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Hizbullah denies links with Zahran



But signed agreement for Zahran’s help in 2015 GE

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Former Governor of the Eastern Province, M. L. A. M. Hizbullah on Monday night told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing Easter Sunday attacks, that he had not had any links to National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim. The NTJ members had assaulted his supporters at Kattankudy in March 2017, he said.

Hizbullah said so when the Commissioners asked him about his links with Zahran.

Hizbullah was also asked about billions of rupees he had received from foreign organisations since 2016. Earlier in the day, it was revealed that close to Rs. 4 billion had been deposited by foreign individuals and institutions in two accounts Hizbullah operated at the Bank of Ceylon Colpetty Branch from 2016 to 2019.

The witness said the Sri Lanka Hira Foundation, a social service institution run by him, had received money from foreign countries after March 2016.

“Ali Abdullah al-Juffali of Saudi Arabia gave Rs. 308 million and Siddique and Diana Osmond of London gave Rs. 5.5 million,” he said.

Hizbullah added that he knew al-Juffali and some other Saudi philanthropists. Al Juffali family was one of the richest Saudis with an estimated worth USD 19.8 billion, he said.

Then, a video of a discussion Zahran had with Sibli Farooq of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was played at the PCoI.

The video showed Zahran and Farooq talking about a sum of one million riyals that Hizbullah had allegedly received from Saudi Arabia. In the video, Zahran says that he had no problem with Hizbullah receiving money from Saudi Arabia.

In response, Hizbullah said that by the 2015 Presidential election, Farooq and Zahran had been against him. A member of the Commission then asked why Hizbullah had entered into an agreement with Zahran during an election if he had acted against him.

Hizbullah said Zahran had told, on social media, that he would support politicians who agreed to some of his proposals.” All the parties joined him. I also went along,” he said. Earlier, it was revealed that representatives for the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC,) Democratic Party, UNP, UPFA and National Front for Good Governance (NFGG) had signed agreements with Zahran in exchange for the support of NTJ in 2015.

Hizbullah was also questioned on the Aliyar clash between NTJ and Sunnath Wal Jamaat, a group that supported Hizbullah, on 10 March, 2017.

“Did you ask Zahran to surrender to the court through his mother?” a member of the Commission questioned.

“I made no such comment. I do not know if anyone in my party did so,” he said.

The Commissioners also asked Hizbullah about growing date palms in the Kattankudy area and placing Arabic billboards.

The witness replied that he had grown date palms because of the high temperatures in the area. Nameplates with Arabic letters had been put up to attract Arabic students as they were largely visiting the area, he said.

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CA annuls summons issued on President



The Court of Appeal yesterday annulled the summons issued on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the disappearance of two persons in Jaffna in 2011.

Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan went missing in 2011. Last year, Jaffna Magistrate’s Court issued summons on Rajapaksa over a habeas corpus petition filed by the relatives of the two missing activists. They had named Rajapaksa one of the respondents since he was the Defence Secretary at the time of the disappearances.

Earlier, Rajapaksa had submitted a writ application stating that he found it difficult to appear before the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court due to security reasons. The Court of Appeal issued an injunction preventing Rajapaksa being summoned by the Magistrate.

President of the Court of Appeal A. H. M. D. Nawaz, declaring their decision, said that a Magistrate’s Court could only issue summons over a specific reason. However the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court had issued the summons based on a motion of a lawyer and that there was no legal basis for the summons. Thus, the Court of Appeal issued a writ notification declaring the summons issued by the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court void.



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