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Lanka wants to learn from Chinese CP’s governance experience – President tells Jinping



President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has told Chinese Leader Xi Jinping that Sri Lanka hoped to learn from the Chinese Communist Party’s governance experience, and especially looked forward to strengthening exchanges and cooperation on poverty alleviation and rural vitalization strategies, during a phone conversation between the two leaders on Monday evening.

The following is the full text of a statement issued by the Chinese Embassy yesterday regarding their conversation: “President Xi Jinping pointed out that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Sri Lanka have pulled together and helped each other, writing a new chapter of China-Sri Lanka friendship. China attaches great importance to the development of bilateral ties, and stands ready to work with Sri Lanka to determine the strategic direction and achieve steady growth of the relationship. China will continue to provide as much assistance as its capacity allows for Sri Lanka’s fight against COVID-19, and seek to gradually carry out cooperation in fields like aviation and education while keeping pandemic control measures in place, and continuously explore new channels and areas of collaboration. China stands ready to steadily push forward major projects like the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, providing robust impetus for Sri Lanka’s post-pandemic economic recovery and sustainable development.

Xi Jinping emphasized that China and Sri Lanka are strategic cooperative partners that enjoy sincere mutual assistance and ever-lasting friendship. China will never forget Sri Lanka’s valuable support for the restoration of Beijing’s lawful seat in the United Nations, and is willing to make continuous joint efforts with Sri Lanka to firmly support each other on issues concerning respective core interests, defend our legitimate rights, promote international equity and justice, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries. 

Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka warmly congratulates the Communist Party of China (CPC) on the 100th anniversary of its founding and highly appreciates the historic achievements made by the CPC. Particularly, under President Xi Jinping’s strong leadership, China has made great achievements in economic development and the fight against COVID-19. Sri Lanka thanks China for its valuable support, and is willing to collaborate closely with China to firmly support each other’s positions on issues concerning respective core interests and safeguard our common interests. Sri Lanka hopes to learn from the CPC’s governance experience, and especially looks forward to strengthening exchanges and cooperation on poverty alleviation and rural vitalization strategies. The Sri Lankan side is willing to work with China to expand cooperation in fields like infrastructure and tourism, and smoothly advance major projects such as the Colombo Port City. He is confident that these efforts will boost his country’s economic and social development and bring the Sri Lankan people more benefits.

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Appointment of GM led to CEB chief’s resignation?



By Ifham Nizam

Amidst further deterioration of the power crisis, the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) M.M.C. Ferdinando has tendered his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

In a letter to the President, the Attorney-at-Law said that he is quitting due to personal reasons. Ferdinando will resign as Chairman/Member of the Electricity Board with effect from Feb. 1.

Sources close to Ferdinando said that the incumbent CEB Chairman did not want to be in that position following the appointment of Eng. Dr. D.C.R. Abeysekera as CEB General Manager. Abeysekera received his letter of appointment from Ferdinando on Tuesday (25).

Abeysekera received the appointment at the expense of Dr. Susantha Perera, whose designation as the GM on a temporary basis was resisted by the engineers’ union as he is a retiree.

Retired public servant Ferdinando was brought in as the CEB Chairman on July 19, last year soon after Sri Lanka entered into what was called a framework agreement with the US energy firm, New Fortress Energy. The agreement now challenged in the Supreme Court was finalised on 17 Sept, last year with Ferdinando endorsing it as an Advisor to the Finance Ministry.

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UK indicates sanctions against Lanka military



By Shamindra Ferdinnado

Close on the heels of UK Foreign Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad’s three-day visit here, the House of Commons has been told that measures were being contemplated as regards the Sri Lankan military.

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Minister Amanda Milling has told Parliament that the government regularly engaged with the US and other partners on issues relating to Sri Lanka. She has further said: “The UK government keeps all evidence and potential designations under the UK Global Human Rights sanctions regime under close review, guided by the objectives of the sanctions regime. We would not normally speculate about future sanctions targets, as to do so could reduce their impact.”

The Conservative Party member was responding to Labour Party’s Siobhain McDonagh on Tuesday (25). MP Milling was responding to a query McDonagh posed to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Elizabeth Truss, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the sanctions imposed by the US on General Shavendra Silva of the Sri Lankan army.

The US in Feb 2020 imposed a travel ban on General Silva, who is also the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Recently, the US extended its action against the Sri Lankan military by issuing travel ban on retired Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera.

The UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has commended the British stand.

Concerned Lankan military sources said that the UK in its capacity as the leader of Sri Lanka Core Group at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was planning further measures ahead of the next human rights sessions.

UK based sources told The Island that that type of written parliamentary question was usually answered by a government minister from the FCDO.

Sources explained as this particular question dealt with Sri Lanka, the minister responsible was Lord Tariq Ahmad, but as he represented the House of Lords he couldn’t make statements in the Commons chamber.

Sources added that it would be rare that a question on Sri Lanka would be directly responded to by the Foreign Secretary Truss

Commons member Amanda Milling is Minister of State for Asia, therefore her portfolio closely matches Tariq Ahmad’s brief.

Incidentally, the FCDO now has a British Tamil in a senior position. Maya Sivagnanam is South Asia Deputy Director for the Indian Ocean Region at the FCDO.

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JCPSM token strike cripples hospitals in Western Province



Strikers want Health Ministry to solve their problems within 10 days

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM) launched a 24-hour token strike yesterday (26) at 7 am at all hospitals in the Western Province. It consists of 16 unions.

The JCPSM has urged the government to address its members’s grievances including salary anomalies and issues related promotions. The strike had crippled hospitals in the province, Health Ministry sources said.

The JCPSM said emergency care, essential services and the treatment of COVID patients had not been affected by the strike.

President of the Government Nurses’ Association and former UNP National List MP Saman Rathnapriya said they had been urging the government to solve their problems for the past two months.

The College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President, Ravi Kumudesh told The Island that they would end the token strike by 7 am today m(27) and thereafter give the government 10 days to address their demands.

“We will launch a continuous strike if the demands are not met within 10 days,” he said.

President of the Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) Dr. Rukshan Bellana said that most unions seemed to have lost the ability to solve disputes through negotiations.

“The unions have become too politicised, and the people are suffering as a result.”

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