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Monday, 19 November 2012

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Congratulations, Sec-Gen Jinping, and President Rajapaksa!

Xi Jinping's elevation to the role of the Secretary General of the Communist Party of China at the 18th National Congress makes him effectively the leader of one-fifth of the world's humanity. This is a one-fifth that has fond, longstanding and fraternal relations with this country -- which have been cemented with such great exuberance during the seven year tenure of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose ascension to office after his election victory in 2005 took place exactly seven years ago on this day.

China is at the cusp of world leadership, and if the country is not the number one world power, she is definitely the nation that ranks near number one if not number one in fact -- in being great friends with Sri Lanka.

China has wholeheartedly supported this country in international forums, and this has been at variance with the regressive polices of some other powerful countries which have not fully understood the difficulties of coming out of a long-running period of armed conflict. China on the other hand stood by us through thick and thin, and that's due to the Chinese sense of pragmatism which is imbued in the Chinese Communist Party's current day ruling credo.

Xi Jinping the new Chinese leader, a 'princeling' who is the son of a Chinese revolutionary who fought shoulder to shoulder with the late chairman Mao, showed the world a glimpse of this hard-headed Chinese sense of 'can-do', when in a short but power-packed speech on assuming office, he talked about improving the quality of lives of the Chinese people. Not for him, the theatrical flourishes that were in the past almost a trademark quantity for any perorations by Chinese statesmen ...

Instead, he spoke of cleansing the Chinese Communist party of bribery and corruption, and therefore instantly established his credentials as a man with his feet firmly rooted in the realities of his time.

Sri Lankans will to a man and a woman, no doubt wish the Chinese citizens greater prosperity and even better lives than now, under the guidance of the new Communist party chief and his seven member politburo. China is the next global superpower, definitely, if she is not already one ...

The Chinese governance ethos is closer to our hearts, and close to the imagination of President Rajapaksa whose seven year tenure was infused with the same pragmatic vision envisioned by the Chinese leader in crisp and friendly tones at the Communist Party National Congress just the other day.

Therefore China is extremely kindred to us -- and this bond of fraternal kingship between the people and leaders of these two countries is preceded by excellent bi-lateral relations that go back for what seems to be millennia ...

But the Chinese today are a powerhouse. The economy is the second strongest in the world, having overtaken that of Japan not so very long ago, and China is on a world-changing trajectory, a journey triumphed by the fact that this country's citizens comprise one fifth of the globe's people.

These sheer numbers enhance China's potential economic clout almost exponentially. But what's heartening is that with this gathering economic heft, China has not lost her way.

The Chinese have by and large not tried to police the globe, and have on the contrary identified with the practical difficulties that a country such as ours faces. There were no grand flourishes that alluded to global dominance, when Xi Jinping spoke on his ascension to office, though the new Chinese leadership can well afford to speak with a swagger.

This tendency of humility also points to China's instinctive sense of pragmatism as the country assumes a position of near unprecedented global responsibility. In all, the new politburo and the new leader's words about getting down to the job, are a happy augur to the Chinese people -- all 7 billion of them - and by extension to the people of China-friendly Sri Lanka, and the people of the world. We wish the Chinese people a prosperous future on this occasion of the inauguration of a brand new leadership, as we also warmly wish China's dear friend President Rajapaksa on the seventh anniversary of his own ascension to office. Subha Anagathayak!

Budget ballast for economy - Part II:

Good ideas canít wait

Though of course decisions must be made by the technical experts in the Ministry, it is vital that affected communities are consulted, and kept informed of progress. One difficulty in ensuring this I suppose is that responsibility is exercised at different levels, which is why we must ensure better coordination between Central and Provincial Ministries. I hope that the structural changes needed to ensure this will be implemented swiftly, with the needs of local communities, and their right to be consulted and informed, being the key factors that administrative reforms should fulfil.

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How the discourse on Human Rights is perverted

I was called up by the BBC when they received a leaked copy of the Report to the Secretary General on the work of UN Agencies in Sri Lanka during the conflict period. They wanted me to comment and, though they would not share with me what they had, I agreed since I did not want the debate to go by default.

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Musaeus, mother and mentor from America...

The beginnings of Musaeus College (101st anniversary of Marie Musaeus Higgins' arrival and 99th anniversary of laying of foundation stone) Marie Musaeus Higgins was born on May 18, 1855 in Wismar, in the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany where her father Theodore Mussaeus was a forestry magistrate. Her brother Friedrich emigrated to the United States of America and she joined him there in the 1880s.

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