China reiterates its pledge to do the maximum for Sri Lanka’s development
The newly appointed Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong presented his credentials to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the President’s House yesterday (19).
During the brief cordial discussion with the Chinese Ambassador following the ceremony President Rajapaksa expressed his satisfaction over the long-standing and lasting cooperation and friendship with mutual benefits between Sri Lanka and China.
“China extended its support towards Sri Lanka’s infrastructure development, especially after winning the war against separatism. Colombo Port City, Hambantota Port, Southern Expressway are some those initiatives. Some segments of the society criticized this cooperation between China and Sri Lanka. Their argument was that these projects would not bear fruits. But the truth is the opposite. Projects started with the assistance of China have high income generation and employment creation potentials. My expectation is to see the full completion of these projects before the end of my tenure,” the President said.
President said that Sri Lanka had made it a priority to attract investments instead of further foreign borrowings in its development drive. “There are vast investment opportunities available in our country. Agricultural sector, Communication Technology and education are special among them. Livelihood of around 30% of the population of Sri Lanka depends on rural agriculture. Achieving the kind of rural development that China has reached over the past two or three decades and to improve the living standards of the rural population in Sri Lanka is one of my prime objectives. We seek your assistance in this regard,” President Rajapaksa told the new Ambassador.
In response, Ambassador Zhenhong said that his government was ready to make the maximum possible contribution to the success of Sri Lanka’s economic and social development endeavors.
Extending President Xi Jinping’s good wishes to President Rajapaksa, the Chinese envoy said he aimed to further enhance long-standing friendship between the two countries and to strengthen development and strategic cooperation. “After assuming office, you united the people of Sri Lanka. You guided the country on the path of economic growth while improving the living standards of the people. We witnessed how the government and the people of Sri Lanka stood together in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic,” the new Ambassador said. He also said that China wished to see Sri Lanka emerge as a prosperous nation.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Deputy Head of the Chinese Embassy Hu Wei and the Head of the Political Division Luo Chong were also present on the occasion.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
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