December 2017 | 上海夜生活,上海夜生活网,上海夜网论坛

Italy expects financial market attack in August: govt. official

ROME ( ) – Speculators will probably attack Italian financial markets this month but the country has the resources to defend itself, a senior and highly influential government official said in a newspaper interview on Sunday.

Giancarlo Giorgetti, undersecretary in the prime minister’s office and a leading light in the far-right League party, said thin summer trading volumes helped fuel market assaults.

“I expect an attack (in August),” Giorgetti told Libero.

“The markets are populated by hungry speculative funds that choose their prey and pounce … In the summer the market volumes are small, you can lay the groundwork for aggressive initiatives against countries. Look at Turkey.”

Turkish markets slumped last week on growing concerns over the country’s economy and political leadership.

Italian assets have also come under strain in recent weeks, with investors concerned that the governing coalition, made up of the League and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, might tear up EU fiscal rules to pay for big-spending budget plans.

“If the (market) storm comes, we will open our umbrella. Italy is a big country and has the resources to react, thanks in part to its large amount of ,上海夜网Iman,private savings,” said Giorgetti, who is seen as a moderating force within the League.

Quoting a report by bankers’ federation Fabi, Italian newspapers said on Sunday household savings in Italy totaled some 4.4 trillion euros against 2.2 trillion in 1998.

“PLAN B”

In an interview with Il Foglio newspaper on Saturday, Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi, who is not a member of any political party, said the collapse of Turkey’s lira currency showed how important it was for Italy to be a part of the euro.

“What is happening in Turkey should be carefully considered by those who continue to have doubts over whether a currency like the euro is a positive thing or not,” he said.

Ahead of Ma爱上海rch national elections, the League called for Italy to exit the euro, but since forgi,上海夜生活桑拿会所Jada,ng its alliance with 5-Star has repeatedly denied any suggestion that it is planning to orchestrate Italy’s exit from the single currency.

Underscoring deep divisions within the coalition on the issue, the League’s chief economist Claudio Borghi, who is head of the lower house budget committee, said on Sunday that Moavero did not understand what he was talking about.

“We should worry about the euro, not celebrate its presumed stability,” he told La Verita daily, warning that plans by the European Central Bank to finish its three-year-old stimulus program could prove highly damaging to Italy.

“Either a new (market) guarantee is put in place, or we need to prepare for a plan B,” he said, in an apparent reference to Italy exiting the euro. “We already have a (trade) surplus. The moment we have our own currency, we will have a super surplus.”

Mixed messages from various government ministers and coalition officials have confused investors and exacerbated market concerns over the coalition’s economic plans. Giorgetti said there could be no room for communication errors.

“My colleagues must understand that the old ruling class in Italy and Europe want to abort this government … the EU fears that if we succeed in Italy, other countries will imitate us.”

Written by shyw on December 9, 2017 Categories: wkmeiwsovh Tags: , ,

Thousands gather in Israeli desert for meteor shower

MITZPE RAMON, Israel ( ) – Thousands of star-gazers gathered overnight at one of the darkest spots in Israel hoping to be dazzled by the annual Perseid meteor shower, only to be left somewhat disappointed by the show.

Locals had the rare task of directing traffic on a moonless Monday night in Mitzpe Ramon in the heart of the Negev Desert, a spot surrounded by terrain described as similar to a lunar or Martian landscape.

The Feinberg family from the Tel Aviv region drove for two-and-a-half hours for the display but the number of meteors, about one or fewer per minute, failed to truly light up the Ramon Crater’s dark night sky as in previous years.

“We are here waiting for the stars to fall, the c,上海夜网Paris,hildren are very impatient,” said Eliran Feinberg, 42, who works for an air cargo company.

The Perseid meteors, which reach their peak every August, are produced by debris from the 109P/Swift-Tuttle comet that passes by the Earth every 133 years. It last passed in 1992.

Professor Rennan Bark,上海夜生活桑拿会所Olivier,ana, head of the astrophysics department at Tel Aviv University, said this year’s shower was not as intense because the Earth had passed through a sparser part of the comet’s debris than previously and a上海419论坛 smaller amount of particles had entered the atmosphere.

Disorder, deal or dead-end: How will Brexit play out?

LONDON ( ) – The United Kingdom is due to leave the European Union on March 29, yet little is clear: There is, so far, no divorce deal, rivals to Prime Minister Theresa May are circling and some lawmakers are pushing for a rerun of the 2016 referendum.

How will the Brexit finale play out?

Following are scenarios:

1) DISORDERLY BREXIT

If May is toppled, fails to reach a deal with the EU or finds her deal is rejected by parliament, the United Kingdom would be plunged into crisis.

Many opponents of Brexit predict this outcome, as do some supporters of a deeper break with the EU than that advocated by the prime minister.

– MAY FALLS

May’s botched snap election in 2017 lost her party its majority in parliament. Her minority government is now propped up by nine Democratic Unionist Party lawmakers from Northern Ireland.

Her own Conservative Party, which has grappled with schism over Europe for 30 years, is in open conflict and some lawmakers want a change of leader to be tougher in Brexit negotiations.

If May fell, the Conservative Party would have to select a new leader, a step that would delay already tight negotiations. A national election is possible, though not legally necessary.

Opinion polls, though, show the United Kingdom is divided in its support for Brexit and political parties: no party has a clear enough lead to confidently predict vic,上海夜生活论坛Sage,tory in an election.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist who voted ‘out’ in the 1975 referendum on membership of the European Community, has seen his poll ratings fall.

Possible successors to May include Boris Johnson, her former foreign secretary, interior minister Sajid Javid, environment minister Michael Gove or Dominic Raab, her new Brexit minister.

Other possible contenders include Tom Tugendhat, a former soldier and chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, or lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg.

While the majority of Conservative lawmakers voted against Brexit, many have since switched to supporting Brexit and up to 80 of the 316 Conservative lawmakers now support a sharper split with the EU than May is proposing.

– NO DEAL

Both London and Brussels say they want to get a divorce deal at the October 18 EU Council but diplomats think that target date is too optimistic.

Two documents need to be agreed: the Withdrawal Agreement Treaty (currently 129 pages long) and a political declaration on the framework for a future relationship. The political declaration could set out aims in general terms.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier rejected key elements of May’s new trade proposals last month.

Agree上海419论坛ing a feasible arrangement for the Northern Irish border with the Republic of Ireland is one of several major hurdles and EU crises such as the 2015 Greek bailout shows how protracted negotiations can be.

If May cannot get a deal by October, an agreement could be reached at the December 13/14 EU Council.

– DEAL REJECTED

Any deal with the EU must be approved by the British parliament, which is due to go on Christmas holiday from Dec. 20 to Jan. 7. If British lawmakers reject a deal in late December or early January, Britain would face the prospect of leaving the EU three months later without an agreement.

The country would move from seamless trade with the rest of the European Union to customs arrangements set by the World Trade Organisation for external states with no preferential deals.

Some business leaders have warned that adding just two minutes onto every lorry’s customs procedure passing through the southern English port of Dover would produce a 14-mile tailback on either side of the Channel after one day.

Supporters of Brexit say those fears are overblown and that the UK economy would thrive in the long term outside the EU.

If the deal was rejected, May would be likely to resign and neither her party, nor Labour, could be certain of winning an election.

The prime minister is betting that the fear of a so called “no-deal” scenario will push many Conservative and Labour lawmakers to support a deal. But the numbers are tight.

Parliament will have two votes: One on the Brexit deal and one on the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill (WAIB).

Recent votes, such as the July vote knocking down an amendment to the Trade Bill, have shown May can command a majority of around six votes on major Brexit issues.

If the UK faced a no-deal scenario, other options include asking for an extension of the Brexit negotiation (by possibly withdrawing the Article 50 notification – something lawyers say is feasible) or parliament calling for a rerun of the referendum.

2) LAST M,上海夜生活Harriet,INUTE DEAL

British politicians are trying to convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to ensure that the EU does a deal that May can sell to her parliament.

In that case, little would be likely to change immediately when the United Kingdom leaves the EU on March 29, 2019, because a transition period lasts until 31 Dec. 2020.

May has said she will fight the next UK election, due in 2022, although she would likely face a challenge from her lawmakers before that.

A transition period would not necessarily guarantee a smooth exit; business leaders say they fear politicians have given little thought to the question of how the UK should operate in practice after it leaves the European Union.

3) BREXIT REVERSED

If the UK is thrust into chaos later this year, there is a chance Brexit could be stopped through a popular vote, according to an influential group of British politicians and journalists.

Opinion polls show that the United Kingdom remains deeply divided over Brexit, though some recent surveys have shown a swing towards support for staying in the EU.

A YouGov poll, conducted July 31-Aug. 7 and commissioned by the pro-referendum “People’s Vote” campaign, found 45 percent of voters supported holding a new referendum whatever the outcome of talks with the EU, while 34 percent opposed it.

Calling a rerun of a referendum that was a Conservative brainchild would sink the premiership of any Conservative leader while Labour’s Corbyn has so far indicated he does not support another referendum.

Supporters of another referendum think parliament could call such a vote if the government was in turmoil.

Brexit supporters have warned that a second referendum on membership of the EU would trigger a major constitutional crisis in Britain with uncertain consequences.

Dominic Cummings, the campaign director of Vote Leave, warned opponents of Brexit to be careful what they wish for, saying a second referendum would result in another vote to leave and could wreck both the main parties.

“The Tories will be destroyed and maybe Labour too,” he wrote.

Myanmar violated U.N. child rights pact in Rohingya crackdown,…

YANGON ( ) – Myanmar violated its obligations to the United Nations child rights convention in its crackdown on the Rohingya that led to an exodus of hundreds of thousands of people from the minority community, legal experts have found.

Children make up around half of the more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since the start of a military crackdown last August.

The U.N. has called the Myanmar military operations a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Myanmar denies the allegation and has said it waged a legitimate counter-insurgency operation after Muslim militants attacked security posts.

Legal experts commissioned by Save the Children Norway analyzed research by U.N. bodies and international human rights groups who have alleged that mass killings, arson, and torture were conducted by Myanmar security forces on the Rohingya.

“The research finds that the response by the Myanmar Government to the August 2017 attacks on police posts, together with the ongoing discrimination against Rohingya, constitute violations of at least seven key articles of the (UN convention on the rights of the child),” their report said.

The analysis found both the government and the security forces at fault. The Myanmar government “took positive steps” to assist the military operations and there was no evidence to suggest it did anything to curtail or condemn the security forces’ actions, the rep,上海夜生活论坛Ida,ort said.

Myanmar acceded to the United Nations convention on the rights of the child in 1991 and is bound to it by law. Representatives of the Myanmar government and military did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The violations highlighted in the report include failure to protect children from violence, abuse, neglect, sexual and o爱上海ther exploitation, inhumane treatment and detention.

It refers to “indiscriminate and extrajudicial killing of Rohingya children, and the torture, ill-treatment and gender-based violence” committed against them.

The government’s failure to conduct an independent investigation into the events following the August 2017 attacks, and ongoing discrimination against Rohingya children by,上海夜网Samia, denying them citizenship also are in violation of Myanmar’s obligations to the child rights convention, the report said.

The report was shared exclusively with ahead of its release next week.

“The list of violations we have found is not exhaustive,” said Guy Goodwin-Gill, emeritus professor of international refugee law at Oxford University, who co-authored the report.

“It represents only the most serious violations and there most likely are several others.”

Humanitarian ship seeks European port for rescued migrants

ON BOARD THE AQUARIUS,上海夜网Eden, ( ) – Human rights groups called on European governments on Sunday to tell a charity ship where it can dock and let more than 140 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean disembark in safety.

The Aquarius, run by Franco-German charity SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders (MSF), rescued 141 people in two separate operations off the Libyan coast last week.

The boat had just started heading north on Sunday toward Europe when Libyan coastguards called it back to pick up 10 migrants spotted aboard a small fiberglass boat.

As that rescue was underway, SOS Mediterranee and MSF asked for guidance on where to take those they had saved.

“What is of utmost importance is that the survivors are brought to a pl,上海夜生活桑拿会所James,ace of safety without delay, where their basic needs can be met and where they can be protected from abuse,” said Nick Romaniuk, search and rescue coordinator for SOS Mediterranee.

The Aquarius has operated in the central Mediterranean since early 2016 and says it has helped more than 29,000 people in distress, many of them African migrants, who, until this summer, were brought swiftly to Italy without any incident.

However, when a populist government took office in Rome in June, it immediately shut its ports to all NGO boats, accusing them of encouraging illegal immigration and helping human smugglers — charges the charities deny.

In June, the orange-hulled Aquarius picked up 629 migrants, including scores of children and seven pregnant women, but first Italy and then Malta refused to let it dock, provoking a row within the heart of the European Union over immigration policy.

Spain eventually agreed to take in the boat, but there was no indication of where the Aquarius might head on Sunday, with Malta immediately refusing it access and Italy saying at the weekend it would not be welcome at any of its ports.

SOS Mediterranee and MSF accused the Libyan coastguard on Sunday of endangering lives by not telling the Aquarius there were boats close to it that were in distress. They also said other ships in the area had apparently ignored the migrants.

“Ships might be unwilling to respond to those in distress due to the high risk of being stranded and denied a place of safety,” said Aloys Vimard, MSF’s project coordinator on board the Aquarius.

“Policies designed to prevent people from reaching Europe at all costs are resulting in more suffering and forcing those who are already vulnerable to take even riskier journeys to safety.”

More than 650,000 migrants have come to Italy’s shores since 2014, but the numbers of new arrivals have plunged over the past year, with Rome encouraging the上海419论坛 Libyan coastguard to carry out most of the rescues.

Egypt raid kills six suspected militants, interior ministry says

CAIRO ( ) – Egyptian security forces killed six suspected militants in a raid on a house on the ou,上海夜生活论坛Kailey,tskirts of Cairo, an interior ministry statement said on Monday.

The men were planning to attack “vital installations and Christian places of worship and the armed forces and police during the (Muslim) Eid al-Adha celebrations,” the ministry said.

The ministry published photos of bloodied b爱上海419odies with their faces concealed and assault rifles and shotguns lying on the floor beside them.

The raid in the 6th October suburb came just days after an attempted attack on a church near Cairo. Security forces arrested seven people suspected of involvement in Saturday’s foiled bombingy, the latest attack directed at Egypt’s Christian minority.

Separately, Egyptian forces killed 12 suspected militants in raids in North Sinai, state media reported on Sunday.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has promised to defeat Islamist militants, who have killed hundreds of civilians and members of the security forces in the Sinai Peninsula in recent years. Some attacks have targeted the Egyptian mainland.

The Eid festival takes place next week. Egypt usually tightens security measures before national holidays, around which several attacks h,上海夜生活桑拿会所Caleb,ave taken place since 2011.

N.Y. lawmakers, Governor Cuomo, strike budget deal before Monday vote

( ) – New York state legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo reached a deal on the state’s 2014-15 fiscal year budget after several weeks of negotiating behind closed doors, according to state officials on Saturday.

The $137.9 billion budget keeps growth in all spending levels below 2 percent and provides funding for statewide pre-kindergarten programs. It also cuts business taxes and introduces property tax relief for homeowners, Cuomo said on Saturday.

The agreement came after budget bills were printed late on Friday, allowing state lawmakers to vote on the plan on Monday, the last day of the state’s financial year. If passed, the budget would mark Cuomo’s fourth on-time budget in a row.

“It has to b,上海夜网Dalton,e passed and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but it was a good piece of work,” Cuomo told reporters on a conference call.

The new budget earmarks $1.5 billion in property tax relief for homeowners. It also includes an increase of more than 5 percent in school aid, $300 million of which will go to pre-kindergarten in New York City and provides new protections for charter schools.

Lawmakers rejected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s request for a tax hike on the city’s wealthy to help fund classes for preschoolers and to pay for after-school programs.

Mayor de Blasio said in a statement that with Saturday’s announced investments, the state made a powerful and historic decision that will change the lives of tens of thousands of children.

“We set out down this road nearly 18 months ago. Through ups and downs, we never wavered from our promise to the people of this city to expand full-day pre-K and afterschool for our children starting this September,” he said.

The budget also looks to cut state taxes and create jobs by establishing a 20 percent real estate property tax credit for manufacturers who own or lease pro上海龙凤419perty. Beginning in 2014, it will slash the tax rate on income for all manufacturers from the current 5.9 percent to zero.

Through budget initiatives, tougher bribery and anti-corruption laws will be implemented, and about $162 million will go to New York’s Environmental Protection Fund, an increase of $9 million over the previous budget.

Yo,上海夜生活桑拿会所Jane,ung people and new drivers will also face stricter laws governing texting while driving. Licenses will be suspended for 120 days for first-time offenders, and a year’s suspension will be imposed for those convicted twice.

At the same time, the state’s budget will fund a New York Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice. The commission will be entrusted to develop recommendations on ways to help raise the age at which juveniles are tried.

New York is one of only two states that prosecute 16- and 17-year olds through the adult criminal justice system.

South Africa’s high-speed train workers end two-week strike

JOHANNESBURG ( ) – Workers at South Africa’s high-speed train service that mainly caters for business commuters ended a two-week strike over pay o,上海夜生活论坛Isa,n Monday after reaching a 12-month agreement with their employer, and promised to resume work by Tuesday.

The Bombela Operating Company, which operates the rapid train and bus system in Gauteng province with services to the country’s main airport爱上海419, the capital Pretoria and commercial hub Johannesburg, had reduced train operations due to the strike.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) and the United National Transport Union (UNTU) said their members had agreed to an 8 percent wage increase across the board.

The UNTU, an affiliate of FEDUSA, represents about 90 percent of the workers at Bombela, in which construction company Murray & Roberts holds a 50 percent stake.

FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George said the union and Bombela had agreed in talks facilitated by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration, to lower the original demand of 10 percent by the workers due to inflation.

South Africa’s inflation quickened to 4.6 percent year-on-year in June from 4.4 percent in May.

Some workers are expected to commence work this afternoon with the rest starting tomorrow, George said.

“We are in the process of finalizing the agreement as we were given a clear mandate to sign from the constituency after addressing them this morning,” UNTU General Secretary Steve Harris said, referring to the union’s members.

The workers began their strike on July 30, demanding a 10 percent increase in wages, while Bombela offered an 8.5 percent.

The company and union however agreed to a lower wage agreement of 8 percent to accommodate other union demands, including a 900 rand ($63) housing allowance and a 50 perc,上海夜生活桑拿会所Eden,ent contribution by Bombela to workers’ medical aid.

($1 = 14.2960 rand)

Obamacare signup deadline pushed back to Tuesday

WASHINGTON ( ) – As Americans scrambled to beat a deadline to sign up for insurance under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, the White House gave most consumers an extra day, until Tuesday, to obtain coverage that starts January 1.

The last-minute move by the Obama administration to accommodate high demand came as it reported record traffic on HealthCare.gov, the federal enrollment website that struggled with glitches after its launch in October.

It was the latest impromptu change the administration has imposed on the healthcare program to address the fallout from a series of technical and political missteps.

Officials said the website received 1.2 million visits over the weekend and had surpassed 1 million additional visits by late afternoon on Monday. They said a call center took 200,000 calls from those seeking insurance under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

The hustle to sign up in time for January 1 coverage could help the Obama administration as it tries to patch up a botched rollout of the president’s top domestic policy achievement, a law that requires most Americans to get health insurance or face fines.

Before the Monday rush, well over 1 million people had signed up for private coverage through HealthCare.gov – which serves 36 states – and 14 state-run marketplaces, according to state and federal estimates. The figure, though likely to climb by Christmas, shows how far the government has to go to reach an estimated 7 million people by the end of enrollment in March.

Obama was embarrassed that HealthCare.gov did not work for most people shopping for insurance for its first two months. He also wound up apologizing for promising that everyone who liked their existing insurance could keep it under Obamacare.

The backlash has torpedoed Obama’s approval ratings, alarmed congressional Democrats facing re-election in 2014 and given a boost to Republicans opposed to the healthcare law.

The administration instituted a series of “fixes,” but the resulting patchwork of exceptions and deadlines has created confusion among consumers and upset insurance companies that fear the mixed messages could threaten the delicate financial formula around which Obamacare is designed.

On Monday, administration officials continued to encourage uninsured and under-insured Americans to enroll in Obamacare by midnight and said those who sign up before Christmas Day would be eligible for coverage starting January 1.

“Anticipating high demand and the fact that consumers may be enrolling from multiple time zones, we have taken steps to make sure that those who select a plan through tomorrow will get coverage for January 1,” Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a statement.

She was echoed by White House spokeswoman爱上海 Jennifer Palmieri, who warned that waiting until Tuesday to start enrolling in Obamacare would be risky.

“People should not think that they can get on the website (Tuesday) for the first time and try to enroll,” Palmieri said in an interview on MSNBC. “That would be a dangerous thing to do.”

In a mid-morning Twitter post on Monday, HealthCare.gov touted “a record day so far.”

“Thousands visiting and enrolling now. Queuing deployed to help keep site smooth for users,” the post said, referring to a system that sends users to an online “waiting room” when web traffic runs high.

“There is definitely a rush!” said La,上海夜生活Haven,uren Banks of AIDS Alabama, part of Enroll Alabama, one of dozens of “navigator” groups that is helping people sign up for coverage. “People lost track of time, and suddenly (the deadline is) here.”

Navigator group SER National in Illinois said its Obamacare sign-up events are now attracting hundreds of people compared with dozens in October and November.

SER’s navigator program director Zeke Romo said the last-minute shoppers include “a lot of people with complicated medical issues, such as people with children who are on medication” and are worried about a break in coverage if they don’t sign up in time for January 1 benefits.

EXCEPTIONS ABOUND

The 2010 Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to be enrolled in coverage by March 31 or face penalties that start at $95. But the enrollment deadline for January 1 coverage is widely viewed as the first real test of the viability of the healthcare overhaul.

The original deadline was extended from December 15 after HealthCare.gov proved dysfunctional. Late last week, the administration added a new category of “hardship” exception that allows some people not to sign up for any kind of health insurance without facing a penalty. The newest exception is designed for people who have had problems signing up with Obamacare after seeing their old policies canceled because they did not meet the law’s stepped-up standards of coverage.

States running their own healthcare exchanges were not bound by the latest federal extension. Connecticut, for example, kept Monday as its deadline, while New York pushed back its deadline by one day, to 11:55 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

“Volume is high and the decision was made to extend the deadline to provide consumers more time,” said Bill Schwarz, spokesman for the New York State Department of Health. “However, we are not experiencing difficulties such as people stuck in queues.”

New York reported early Monday that it had enrolled nearly 137,000 people in private health plans after a surge during the past week.

‘ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DELAY’

Republican lawmaker Fred Upton, a frequent critic of Obamacare, derided Monday’s extension as the latest in a string of missed deadlines for the healthcare law.

“Another day, another delay,” said Upton, chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce committee. “As we celebrate Christmas and prepare to ring in the New Year, we continue to ask, ‘What’s next?’ “

China’s Xi offers fresh $295 million grant to Sri Lanka

COLOMBO ( ) – Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered Sri Lanka a fresh grant of 2 billion yuan ($295 million), as Beijing looks to expand its influence in the tiny island country off India’s southern tip.

President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka, a partner in Beijing’s multi-country Belt and Road infrastructure push, made the announcement on Saturday at a ceremony marking the start of construction of a Chinese-funded kidney hospital in his home constituency of Polonnaruwa, 230 km (142.92 miles) from Colombo.

“When the Chinese ambassador visited my house to fix the date for this ceremony, he said that Chinese President Xi Jinping sent me another gift,” Sirisena told the gathering.

“He has gifted 2 billion yuan to be utilized for any project of my wish. I’m going to hand over a proposal to the Chinese ambassador to build houses in all the electorates in the country,” he added.

The grant offer comes at a time when a Chinese firm is facing heavy criticism for allegedly financing the last election campaign of former,上海夜生活桑拿会所Faye, President Mahinda Rajapaksa here

Last month, the New York Times reported that China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) gave $7.6 million for Rajapaksa’s re-election bid, which he lost to Sirisena in early 2015.

Rajapaksa, the Chinese embassy in Colombo and state-owned CHEC have all denied the allegation, but Sirisena’s coalition government held a parliament debate on Thursday over the report and called for an investigation into the alleged funding.

Sirisena had at the start of his term suspended most of the Chinese-backed infrastructure projects started under Rajapaksa over suspected corruption, overpricing and for flouting government procedures.

But more than a year later, the Sirisena government allowed Chinese projects to resume after a few changes in some of them.

NO STRINGS ATTACHED

China was among the first countries that stepped in to help the reconstruction of Sri Lanka after a 26-year-long civil war ended in 2009.

China and Sri Lanka have traditionally been friends and China has provided assistance according to Sri Lanka’s development needs, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news briefing in Beijing on Monday.

爱上海419“The relevant assistance does not come attached with any political conditions and is for the benefit of the Sri Lankan people,” Geng said, without directly referring to the 2 billion yuan pledge Sirisena announced over the weekend.

However, many of China’s projects, backed by loans from its government and initiated under Rajapaksa, have faced opposition in Sri Lanka amid concerns raised by the United States, India and Japan that China might use Sri Lanka as a military base.

The 2014 d,上海夜网Darla,ocking of a Chinese navy submarine in Colombo raised an alarm in New Delhi, prompting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to boost ties with Sri Lanka and claw back influence in the Indian Ocean region.

Both the Sri Lankan government and Chinese embassy in Colombo have denied any plans to use a southern port now handled by a Chinese firm for military purpose.