Ranil drags local politics at ICAPP
The election fever in Uva reached its peak last week with the main
political parties contesting the Uva Provincial Council (UPC) elections
intensifying their campaigns.
The Opposition, which has been starved of election slogans, was
stunned last week after President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced relief for
the masses with a staggering 25 percent reduction in electricity tariff
and reduction of petroleum products that included kerosene going down by
Rs. 20 a litre.
Most Opposition politicians could not believe their eyes when the
daily newspapers carried banner headlines. Hence, the Opposition leader
Ranil Wickremesinghe used an international forum to settle domestic
Ranil criticised the Government action by bringing his own theories
to give a political twist at the inauguration of the 8th General
Assembly of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP)
at Nelum Pokuna on Friday at which President Rajapaksa was the chief
The President smiled when Ranil showed his political bankruptcy by
dragging local political issues to international fora of that nature.
Though Ranil could not achieve what he intended in misleading the
international community, his disclosure enabled the participants at
ICAPP to know that the Government has passed such a massive benefit to
The reduction of electricity tariff is nothing new. The Government
had previously said that the electricity tariff would be reduced after
the full commissioning of Norochcholai coal power plant. No sooner the
third and final phase of the project was opened by Chinese President Xi
Jinping, President Rajapaksa passed the benefit to the masses by
granting a massive 25 percent reduction on monthly electricity bill
which will not only be a boon to households but also to industrialists.
Addressing the ICAPP inaugural session, President Rajapaksa cautioned
Asian political parties when he said that the emerging trends in the
world, including in parts of Asia, give signals that are dangerous to
the Asian community.
“We see how external forces under the guise of democracy and other
enticing slogans seek to interfere in the domestic affairs of other
They show little concern about destabilising nations. They encourage
domestic disharmony and we now see how the media, including social media
being used by the forces that are continuing the cause of division,
separation and terror,” he said.
The President said this is the most timely occasion to remind the
world of what we have earlier said that all terrorists are the same,
they are all brutal, they all carry out acts of savagery, and they all
are ready to massacre innocent people.
“As we seek to harvest the fruits of economic growth in this Asian
century, we have also to look at unity in facing up to other issues of
importance that are important to build peace and stability in Asia,” he
Opposition fails in Uva
Though the Opposition made every effort to project a gloomy picture
and force to postpone Uva Provincial Council elections, they failed
miserably with the law-enforcing authorities taking extra precautions to
assure an incident-free lead up to yesterday’s election.
There wasn’t any major incident in the last few of weeks prior to the
election and the Opposition was forced to give up its false campaign
with concocted stories of election violence. Hence the police had taken
steps to launch immediate investigations on all election related
complaints and take action against bogus complain, the Opposition was
forced to limit its complaints to only NGOs monitoring elections.
UPFA’s chief ministerial candidate Shasheendra Rajapaksa went to his
polling booth early last morning to cast his vote. Speaking to media
thereafter, Shasheendra said thanked everybody who contributed to
maintain a peaceful atmosphere for the Uva polls, especially the
Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Elections and media. He
said that the masses would continue to repose faith in President
Rajapaksa and the UPFA.
A total of 942,730 voters were eligible to vote at yesterday’s Uva
Provincial Election which was held from 7.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. to elect
new members to the sixth Uva Provincial Council. The Uva Province
consists of the Badulla and Moneragala districts and the names of the
new 34 new members elected to the UPC in the two districts are to be
expected later this evening. While the Badulla district elects 18
members, the Moneragala district will have 14 members. The Moneragala
district has 332,764 voters and the Badulla district 609,966 voters.
JVP rules out common candidate
The JVP has once again ruled out possibility of fielding a common
candidate at the next Presidential election, falling in line with the
UNP, which has already declared its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the
JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said last week that his party had
no faith in a common candidate at the forthcoming Presidential election,
shattering the hopes of Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha who will now have to
wage a lone battle with no support whatsoever from any of the main
political parties. Even Sarath Fonseka’s Democratic Party has not
responded to the Bikkhu’s call.
“There was an idea of fielding a common candidate at the presidential
election, but with the rift in the UNP, its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe
is planning to come forward as the Opposition candidate and we now have
no faith in a common candidate,” he said after a meeting the Chief
Prelate of the Malwatte chapter, the Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri
Siddhartha Sumangala Thera in Kandy last week.
“By appearing on the stage, holding hands and hugging each other, the
JVP does not believe that such a show will usher in a better future for
the masses of the country.
These issues cannot be resolved by the Constitution, which had now
swallowed, the country’s judiciary, Parliament and the rule of law,” he
“Despite having a two-thirds majority in Parliament, and having
control of the provincial councils and the Pradeshiya sabha, the
government is now getting scared and attempting to hold the presidential
election ahead of time,” he said.
Anura Kumara said that the need of the hour is not someone to foster
an era of luxurious living and to continue this same routine in the
future. “The JVP cannot accept this situation,” he added.
TB faces unexpected moment
Minister of Cultural Affairs and the Arts T.B. Ekanayake faced an
unexpected moment after the sole of shoes he was wearing broke when he
was about to attend the official signing of agreement between China and
Certain media, especially social media, unreasonably highlighted the
incident in a disgraceful attempt to sling mud, rather than appreciating
a minister using an old pair of shoes.
He later explained the reason for the worn-down state of his shoes on
his way to meet the Chinese President Xi Jinping who was the chief guest
at a meeting in connection with the signing of a cultural agreement at
the Presidential Secretariat last week.
The minister said he had lost the soles of both his old shoes which
he had at home and he had used the shoe pair for a long time. He said he
had to proceed to the meeting because it was with the President of
“Those shoes were white. I wore them because it matched my costume,
but I had not worn them in a while and both soles came off on the way.
What could I do? I had to go to the meeting and meeting on time,” he
said adding that “It is not every day that you get to shake hands with
the President of China, so I went like that”.
“Our people are all down to earth, so I didn’t pay much attention to
the state of my shoes. There were pictures of this that were circulated.
These things happen,” Minister Ekanayake added.
Sendil Thondaman hit by own vehicle
UPFA Uva Provincial Council candidate Sendil Thondaman, who was
injured in an accident in Bandarawela on Wednesday night and was
admitted to a Private Hospital in Colombo.
The driver of the vehicle who had run away after the accident later
surrendered to the Badulla Police and was taken to the Bandarawela
Thirty one people who were injured in the accident received treatment
at the Diyatalawa Hospital. A 48-year-old man was killed in the
The victims had been canvassing in the Bandarawela area when Sendil’s
vehicle had ran them down when the driver accelerated.
Back to back State visits
Sri Lanka experienced back to back visits of the Head of State of two
friendly Asian nations Japan and China. Following the state visit of
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a
similar visit. The two world leaders brought an unprecedented volume of
foreign investments. The new port city to be built by China adjoining
the Colombo harbour is the most notable.
Sri Lanka and China have agreed to deepen their Strategic Cooperative
Partnership, following official talks between the President Jinping and
President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo on
The Chinese leader, accompanied by First Lady Peng Liyuan and a high
level official delegation toured Colombo last week on a two day State
visit, at the invitation of President Rajapaksa. On arrival at the
Bandaranaike International Airport, President Xi and Madam Peng were
warmly received by President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi
Later in the day, the Chinese dignitaries were accorded a colourful
and elaborate ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Secretariat, prior
to the commencement of official talks between the delegations, led by
the two Presidents.
At the end of the official talks between the Sri Lankan and Chinese
delegations, a Plan of Action to deepen the Strategic Cooperative
Partnership between the two countries was signed by the Minister of
External Affairs of Sri Lanka, Prof. G.L. Peiris and the Chinese
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi. The two sides agreed to further
enrich and deepen this partnership in the spirit of equality, mutual
respect and support, and common aspirations for development of the two
countries for the benefit of the peoples. It may be recalled that both
countries agreed to elevate their bilateral relationship to a ‘Strategic
Cooperative Partnership’ during President Rajapaksa’s State visit to
China in May 2013.
A number of Agreements covering bilateral economic cooperation, trade
and commerce, power and energy, agriculture, education and culture were
also signed today, which would further strengthen the robust relations
between the two countries.
Launch of Port City project
Construction work on the mega Colombo Port City Development Project
commenced last week under the patronage of visiting Chinese President Xi
Jinping and President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Colombo International
Container Terminal (CICT).
The event was held with pomp and pageantry with the participation of
the two presidents amid a cultural performance by Kandyan dancers and
drum beaters with focus on confidence, dedication, national unity,
patriotism, nationalism, peace, national responsibility, culture and
awareness of national history in the minds of the people.
The ceremony commenced with the arrival of Chinese President Jinping
who was received on arrival by President Rajapaksa and other political
heads. The Chinese President was later accompanied to the CICT main
building, to view a miniature structure of proposed Port City.
Both Presidents jointly unveiled the plaque of the project amidst the
beating of Magul Bera and blowing of conch shells. Then they officially
commenced the construction of the mega Colombo Port City Development
Project by cutting a ribbon. Parallel to this, sand filling of the sea
area began by a ship.
Considering several feasibility studies carried out, it has been
identified that Colombo city, which is the major economic centre should
be developed as a modern city with all facilities parallel to the
overall rapid development drives. However, land limitation of the
Colombo City has become a limiting factor when carrying out such a
development drive and as it is difficult to find a huge land area within
the city limits, it was proposed to add an additional land area to
Colombo city by reclaiming the sea as a remedy and develop it as a new
It was apparent that prominence should be given to the Port City,
which will be constructed by reclaiming the sea to enable city expansion
thus uplifting Colombo city as a modern international city. The Colombo
Port City Project, which covers 233 hectares has been planned for two
stages and will be completed in eight years. The total land area for the
project is 233 hectares and that area will totally be reclaimed from the
The proposed area will include all related facilities such as access
roads, electricity, communication and all other infrastructure
facilities together with landscaping constructions including lakes.
The significant feature of the project is it changes the geography of
the country and outlook of Colombo with the inclusion of 233 hectares
added to the Sri Lankan map.
Surgical gloves to WHO
President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over one million surgical gloves
to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday as Sri Lanka's
contribution toward the global effort in combating the Ebola outbreak in
President Rajapaksa handed over the gloves that were produced by the
Hayleys Group of Companies, to WHO Country Representative in Sri Lanka,
Dr. Firdosi Mehta, at Temple Trees last week.
The current Ebola outbreak was first reported in March 2014 in
Guinea, after which it had spread rapidly in several West African
countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Congo has become
the latest African country to confirm the outbreak.
According to a WHO estimate, Ebola had killed more than 2,400 people
out of nearly 5,000 suspected and confirmed cases. The WHO on Tuesday
warned that the numbers of new cases “may be approaching an exponential
growth rate and could be doubling every three weeks,” and that it may
cost as much as US$1 billion to bring the epidemic under control
Close call for Britain
Voters in Scotland have rejected independence from Britain, opting to
preserve a more than 300-year-old union in a referendum Thursday that
sent shock waves through Europe and opened the door to continuing
political tumult in Britain.With turnout averaging 85% - so closely
watched that several pubs got special license to stay open all night as
the returns came in — voters dealt a decisive blow to the controversial
ballot measure that would have ended Scotland’s union with England,
Wales and Northern Ireland.
The independence measure was losing in all-but-final returns with 55%
voting against independence, compared with 45% voting “yes.” The outcome
was a blow to First Minister Alex Salmond and his Scottish National
Party, which pushed for the referendum when it won a majority in the
Scottish regional parliament in 2011.
ÓLet us not dwell on the distance we have fallen short,” Salmond said
in a concession speech early Friday. “A movement is abroad in Scotland
that will take this nation forward, and we shall go forward as one
nation.”Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the projected
result “a deep personal and political disappointment,” but told the BBC
that “the country has been changed forever.”
Independence has been a long-cherished goal for Scottish
nationalists. But while the result was not what they had hoped, Scotland
in any case is still poised to wrest more powers from the central
government in London. Hoping to win over disaffected Scots, the three
main political parties in Britain promised last month to turn over more
control over tax policy and public spending to the semi autonomous
government in Edinburgh.