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Sri Lanka’s President assails AUKUS and contests concerns about China

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Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremesinghe assailed the AUKUS pact as a “military alliance” and an unnecessary arrangement that will backfire on the U.S., Australia, and the U.K.

The comments, from the head of a country widely viewed as having fallen victim to predatory loans from Chinese state-backed firms, highlight Washington’s challenges in courting non-Western countries skeptical of joining efforts to push back against Beijing’s malign activity.

“I think it’s a strategic misstep, and I think they made a mistake,” said Wickremesinghe this afternoon of AUKUS. He was addressing the Islands Dialogue, a conference hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation that convened leaders from Pacific island nations today, on the sidelines of the U.N.’s General Assembly meetings. He also said that it was intended to focus only on one country; though he did not name it, he was clearly speaking about China.

Throughout his remarks, Wickremisinghe criticized several Western diplomatic initiatives, saying he was taking a middle ground between the U.S. and China to staunchly advance his country’s interests.

He contested the Indian government’s claims that Yuan Wang 5, a Chinese ship that docked in his country in August 2022, was a spy ship. He said it was a research vessel and that his government had worked out a standard operating procedure for ships like that.

He also said a new port in Sri Lanka backed by the Chinese state-owned firm China Merchants Group was not linked at all to the Chinese military.

Wickremesinghe said that throughout his lifetime, he has seen the great-power blocs shift considerably.

“I have seen China and the U.S. taking on India and Russia. Now I’m seeing the U.S. and India taking on Russia and China.”

(nationalreview.com)

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Policeman shoots himself dead

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A police sergeant shot himself near the Kotawila Court complex, using his service firearm.

The deceased is a 52-year-old sergeant attached to the Kotawila Police Station.He had killed himself at the police post of the Kotawila Court Complex after returning to work from a prolonged sick leave.

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Political parties to be briefed on Regulation of Election Expenditure Act

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The Election Commission of Sri Lanka has decided to brief all political parties on the Regulation of Election Expenditure Act.

Chairman of the Commission – R. M. A. L. Ratnayake explained that the discussion will be held today (Feb. 27) and on March 06 as the upcoming elections will be the first to be held since the Act was passed.

According to the Regulation of Election Expenditure Act, all expenses incurred for the purpose of elections and campaigns must be limited, he noted.

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This week’s Cabinet decisions

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A number of decisions have been taken at the Cabinet meeting held yesterday (Feb.26).

The decisions taken by the Cabinet of Ministers are as follows:

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