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Choice on Aug 5: Luxurious meals for Gota, Mahinda or three daily meals for the poor- Ranil



By Zacki Jabbar 

Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Sunday (2) that the people were left with just two choices before casting their votes at the general election, scheduled for tomorrow.

 Addressing the UNP’s final election rally amidst intermittent showers in Colombo Central, Wickremesinghe said that the people had to decide if they would continue to let President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, keep enjoying luxurious meals for life or obtain three meals a day for themselves, which most people were struggling to find.

Wickremesinghe, like many speakers before him, including Assistant Leader Ravi Karunanayake, stressed that Wednesday’s election was a contest between the UNP and the Podujana Peramuna. 

 The nine-month history of broken promises and suffering under the Gotabaya-Mahinda government was only too well known to require repetition, he noted, pointing out that the main issue to be addressed was uplifting the home economy, which the Rajapaksas had proved they were incapable of doing.

 Wickremesinghe recalled that the UNP had time and again demonstrated since Independence, that it was the only party capable of reviving the economy, which its predecessors had ruined by implementing wrong short-sighted policies.

 “We are once again left with the task of reviving the economy, which the Rajapaksas have destroyed within a short period of nine months. But we are equal to task of again freeing the people from the sufferings that has been heaped on them”, he underscored.

 Wickremesinghe urged the people to vote for the historic “Elephant” symbol, which he described as a force still to be reckoned with and re-elect the UNP that had always been the party of the common masses, so that it could serve them better.

 “Before casting your ballot, you have just one question to answer” he said – “Do I vote for the UNP and ensure that me and my family have three meals a day and savings in hand or allow only the Rajapaksas to enjoy luxurious meals and heaps of money for generations to come?” 


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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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