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Sri Lanka has shown it will not fall for imperialist propaganda – President -SLCFA

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Sri Lanka China Friendship Association (SLCFA) yesterday praised the government for having told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Sri Lanka will remain true to its non-aligned foreign policy principles and that it would never take any action that undermines Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. The SLCFA also thanks all patriotic and progressive forces that convinced the government if there was any doubt, that most Sri Lankans were opposed to American imperialism and bullying tactics.

During the last few weeks USA and its allies had been engaged in a massive campaign of misinformation and disinformation about Sri Lanka’s relationship with China. Despite the fact that Chinese loans to Sri Lanka being less than 10% of our overall debt burden and the fact that these loans, overwhelmingly, are concessionary loans, with an interest rate of around 2%, Pompeo and other US officials have tried to portray that China has Sri Lanka in a ‘debt trap.’

The desperation of the US officials, who see that their military and economic strength dwindling and their country, in chaos due to systematic racism against its minorities, can be seen by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s veiled threat to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on August 30, where he hinted that the US could again exert pressure on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. It’s laughable that on the same breath Pompeo saying they want “the people of Sri Lanka to have sovereignty and independence,” SLCFA President, Attorney-at-Law, Ananda Goonatilleke said.

In response to these baseless allegations and threats, foreign minister Dinesh Gunawardena told a joint press conference, in the presence of Pompeo, that Sri Lanka would remain non-aligned in its foreign relations. However what the most clear indication that the government was not buying into imperialist propaganda was President Rajapaksa’s claim that China had assisted in the development of Sri Lanka’s infrastructure since the end of the separatist war in May 2009 and that Sri Lanka had not been caught in a debt trap as a result.

SLCFA has always insisted that Sri Lanka is a nonaligned country, must stay true to its non-aligned foreign policy, which had served it so well in the past, not to be a “Strategic Partner” of any other country, and must resist attempts by imperialist and expansionist nations to bring us into their sphere of influence. Goonatilleke said that the Sri Lankan people, of various political persuasions, came together in recent weeks to demonstrate that this is how most Sri Lankans feel.

“The SLCFA is conscious of the unholy alliance of the USA, India and two other countries under the guise of safeguarding the Ocean around our country. Though South Asian neighboring nations are constantly faced with our own regional oceanic issues, we must resist interference of various distant powers who try to fish in the troubled Indian Ocean, not only to rob our fish and other oceanic vales but also to intrude into our geopolitical existence,” Goonatilleke said.

 

 

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Sajith blames ‘Viyathmaga doc’

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Cause of Mahara Prison riot:

By Saman Indrajith

The recent Mahara Prison riot erupted as 120 inmates afflicted with COVID-19 had been taken there from the Welikada prison at the behest of a Director in charge of prisoners’ health, who was a Viyathmaga member, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa told Parliament yesterday.

“Many explanations have been given by ministers about the riot at Mahara Prison. The number of deaths is not yet known and around 120 are wounded. One minister said that there was an invisible hand behind the clashes. Another said the motive was to bring the government into disrepute internationally. A theory was concocted that prisoners had taken some narcotic tablets called Reverse and they and fought because they wanted to see blood. But the truth is otherwise. The real cause is that 120 inmates infected with coronavirus were transferred to Mahara from the Welikada prison at the behest of a director in charge of prisoners’ health. That director is a member of the Viyathmaga. Those who were transferred to Mahara prison caused a cluster of 183 persons. As the infection spread fast there was unrest and tension. That was the reason for Mahara riots.”

He said that ministers had their own theories, but one day the truth would surface. “I hope that the ministerial committee appointed to probe the riots will conduct an impartial investigation and they will reveal the truth.”

“Prisoners have rights. I do not wish that this country would permit the perpetuation of the killing culture and state terrorism. The government members should keep in mind that there is a concept called rule of law and we all are expected to uphold it. So, we should dump those theories of Reverse tablets and strive to find the truth.”

Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera: The health officer in charge of Mahara Prison is not a member of Viyathmaga.

Opposition Leader Premadasa: I did not say so. What I said was that 120 inmates were transferred from Welikada prison to the Mahara prison violating COVID-19 protocols. That order to transfer those had been given by a doctor who is a member of Viyathmaga. I do not mention his name. You can easily find it.

Chief Government Whip Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said that the Opposition leader talked of lofty ideals of prisoners’ welfare but the yahapalana government had failed to construct at least a single prison to ease the congestion in the prisons. “When I was incarcerated by your government, I was in a cell with 51 other inmates. There was no place to sleep. In the Kegalle prison, they put 225 in a hall enough for 50 inmates. The former government pre-occupied with the task of constructing new courts to imprison its political enemies but did not build a single prison for the benefit of inmates.”

Opposition Leader Premadasa: We did not want to build prisons, we built schools. Mahatma Gandhi has once said that when you open a single school, thousand prisons could be closed. We followed that.

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‘It will take four years to ensure quality of drinking water from small projects’

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By Saman Indrajith

The safety of drinking water from small scale community drinking water projects could guaranteed only after the implementation of a project to check the quality of water and that would take four years, Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara told Parliament yesterday.

The Minister said so, when Matara District SJB MP Buddhika Pathirana pointed out that although the safety of drinking water from the National Water Supply and Drainage Board was guaranteed the same could not be said of water from small scale projects.

“There are many harmful elements in water such as lead, cadmium and mercury. We know that Water Board supplied water is purified, but water from small scale project could be contaminated with them. It is said that mercury in a CFL bulb has the potential to pollute around 6,000 litres of ground water and causing kidney diseases. This is a dangerous situation. One trillion rupees have been allocated for the Water Supply ministry. Apart from the COVID-19 threat, the biggest threat to the lives of people in this country is from non-communicable diseases. Can the ministry introduce a mechanism to provide each district with at least a single testing unit to ensure the safety of drinking water supplied by the small scale community drinking water projects.”

Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that safety of water from the Water Board was guaranteed owing to sophisticated purification methods employed by treatment plants. He said that it would take at least four years to provide testing units to ensure drinking water from the small scale community drinking water projects countrywide too is safe from harmful elements.

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Teachers’ Union boss Stalin accuses govt of attempting Akila’s failed stunt

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

There was an attempt to create a new post, Director General – Sports, at the Ministry of Education and to appoint a political henchman, Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) General Secretary, Joseph Stalin told The Island yesterday.

“According to the Education Administrative Service minute, any appointment has to be made through a competitive exam. However, this post has been created through a Cabinet paper and an SLPP henchman is to be appointed to it.”

The CTU General Secretary said that during the yahapalanaya administration, then Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had tried to appoint a UNP henchman to the post of Director – Sports at the Ministry. Kariyawasam had been compelled to back off due to the stiff opposition of the education sector unions, Stalin said.

“The court has also ruled that people should be appointed in keeping with the Education Administrative Service Minute. The President came into power promising to uphold the rule of law, but this government, too, is attempting to undermine the education system by appointing unqualified people to high posts.”

The post of Director General – Sports would have the same perks of an Assistant Secretary and the person to be appointed was a person representing a government affiliated union, Stalin said.

“95% of unions of the education sector will oppose if the government creates this post for the benefit of a henchman. We will resort to trade union and legal action.”

Minister of Education, Prof. G. L. Peiris was not immediately available for comment.

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