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Pilleyan appointed co-chair of Batticaloa DCC ahead of vote on 20A

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

TMVP leader and MP, S. Chandrakanthan, has been appointed the Co-Chairman of the Batticaloa District Coordinating Committee in keeping with an understanding between his party and the SLPP.

Chandrakanthan aka Pilleyan received his letter of appointment from Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament on Tuesday (22).

One-time deputy to Karuna Amman following the 2003 split in the LTTE, Chandrakanthan is remanded at the Batticaloa prison since 2015 over his alleged involvement in Dec 2005 assassination of TNA lawmaker Joseph Pararajasingham. Karuna, who formed the TMVP later quit the party he founded to receive a National List slot courtesy the UPFA in 2010??. The former LTTE Eastern Commander contested Digamadulla district from the SLPP at the last general election. He was unsuccessful.

Premier Rajapaksa handed over the letter of appointment dated Aug 10 issued by the Office of the President to Chandrakanthan while the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) clashed with the SLPP over the latter presenting the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in parliament.

Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath serves as the Co-Chairperson of the Batticaloa District Coordinating Committee.

The TMVP backed the SLPP at the 2019 presidential and 2020 general elections after the two parties reached an agreement in the run up to the last year’s poll.

Political sources told The Island that the TMVP had assured its support for the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

The TMVP is among nine political parties which won one seat each at the recently concluded general election.

The SLPP requires five more votes for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

Political sources said that in addition to the TMVP vote, the SLPP was sure of two more votes-one each from the National Congress (Digamadulla MP A.L.M. Athaullah) and the SLFP (Jaffna District MP Angajan Ramanathan).

Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage on Tuesday (22) claimed in parliament that 17 Samagi Jana Balavegaya lawmakers were engaged in secret negotiations to switch their allegiance to the SLPP. SJB leader Sajith Premadasa insisted in parliament that none of his members would do such a treacherous thing.



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President Ranil Wickremasinghe calls upon chief prelates of Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters

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(pic courtsey Divaina)

President Ranil Wickremasinghe called upon the chief prelates of the Asgiriya and Malwatta chapters on Thursday (02) morning to seek their blessings ahead of the 75th Independence day celebrations.

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US secures deal on bases to complete arc around China

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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (R) was in the Philippines to finalise the deal (picture BBC)

BBC reported that the United States has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan.

With this deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south.

The missing link had been the Philippines, which borders two of the biggest potential flashpoints, Taiwan and the South China Sea, or the West Philippine Sea as Manila insists on calling it.

The US already had limited access to five sites under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) – the new additions and expanded access, according to a statement from Washington, will “allow more rapid support for humanitarian and climate-related disasters in the Philippines, and respond to other shared challenges”, likely a veiled reference to countering China in the region.

The statement came after Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin met Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in Manila on Thursday.

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Nuland accuses China of failing to help SL with ‘credible and specific assurances’ acceptable to IMF

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Nuland addressing the media in Colombo (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

US hopes LG polls will be held in March

By Saman Indrajith

US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, yesterday said China had not provided credible and specific assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for Sri Lanka to overcome the current economic crisis.

Addressing the media in Colombo, Nuland said: “What China has offered so far is not enough. We need to see credible and specific assurances that they will meet the IMF standard of debt relief. We, the United States, are prepared to do our part. Our Paris Club partners are prepared to do their part. India has made strong commitments that it will provide the credible assurances the IMF is looking for.”

Nuland said that India and the Paris Club had given strong assurances to the IMF to help Sri Lanka to obtain a $2.9 billion bailout.

“We want to see an IMF program as quickly as possible. That is what Sri Lanka deserves; that is what Sri Lanka needs,” Nuland said.

Nuland said the US would give Sri Lanka an additional USD 30 million to provide 96,000 schoolchildren with food.

She said Sri Lankans had taken to the streets, last year, demanding cleaner, accountable and inclusive governance, with transparency, and the government was expected to hold the elections to enable people to enjoy their democratic rights.

Nuland said that the US was glad to see that consultation between the government and other parties towards reconciliation had commenced. She said that she had met with members of the Tamil political parties, earlier yesterday. “We hope that the dialogue will continue to achieve real results such as return of the lands to their rightful owners.”

Nuland said that the US hoped that local elections would be held in March, the dialogue commenced for reconciliation would continue, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act would be reformed to meet international standards.

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