SLPA Chairman questions proposed port deal with China

After signing a framework agreement with the Sri Lankan government in December 2016, the state-run China Merchants Port Holdings was expected to pay $1.12 billion for a 99-year lease, on an 80% stake in the Hambantota port. The port, built with Chinese loans in 2010, was part of Beijing’s plans to create a Silk Route across Asia. Finalised and completed when ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power, the port was termed a “white elephant” by his successor government that came to power in 2015.Government politicians negotiated a new deal and pitched it to the public as one aiming to reduce the burden of the $8 billion-debt Sri Lanka owes China. “Just because someone puts a billion dollars in front of you it doesn’t mean you give everything away,” said Ranatunga, brother of Ports Minister and former cricket Arjuna Ranatunga. Critics have in the past questioned his qualification to be appointed chairman. It is not just New Delhi or Washington that is worried about Colombo’s proposed deal to sell a deep-sea port in Hambantota to a Chinese company. Sri Lanka’s ports authority has “fundamental concerns” over the proposed deal, its Chairman Dammika Ranatunga said, according to The Hindu newspaper.While the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) appreciates the importance of foreign investment, it would only “go by the book”, Mr. Ranatunga told The Hindu. “We took a careful look at the [draft] agreement — it violated the SLPA Act, and the terms were not conducive to us,” he said, adding that even after 10 revised drafts of the agreement, factoring in some of SLPA’s observations, many concerns remained. Last week, the SLPA raised the matter again with a ministerial committee overseeing the agreement, flagging key clauses that reportedly ignored the Authority’s observations. The chairman’s remarks come ahead of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s scheduled visit to Beijing. However, observing that the proposed deal gave sweeping powers to the Chinese company to handle operations near the port, Ranatunga asked: “What does that mean? Can that be a military base,” pointing to Chinese investment in African countries that had sparked “similar concerns”.Colombo and Beijing also agreed to develop a 15,000-acre industrial zone near the port, and Beijing is now willing to sign the port deal, only if land for the industrial zone is made available. However, locals have been resisting the project. read more

GPs leaving men with family history of prostate cancer blind to the

first_imgThe new findings are based on analysis of surveys of 402 GPs and 1,901 adult British men, which will be presented  at a Public Health England conference in Manchester today.Prostate cancer can be successfully treated if caught in time, but the disease often displays no symptoms in the early stages.GPs should tell those with a family history about the option to have a PSA blood test, which can pick up higher levels of proteins linked to prostate cancer.Such tests are not routinely offered by the NHS, because raised levels do not necessarily denote cancer, but are offered on request to those over the age of 50. Prostate cancer treatment can involve hormone therapyCredit:Alamy “We need men to feel empowered to take control of their own health, find out their family history and pro-actively ask their GP whether they need tests for the disease due to their risk of developing it. Currently this isn’t happening nearly enough and the increased risk due to family history of prostate cancer is being dangerously overlooked by both men and their GPs.”Too many men are walking around completely blind to the serious danger they could face. This must change.” Man prostate  Family doctors are leaving patients with a family history of prostate cancer “completely blind” to the serious dangers they face, a leading charity has warned.Men whose father or brothers suffered from the disease are 2.5 more likely to develop it, and should be monitored more closely.But research by Prostate Cancer UK found just one in ten GPs were likely to ask patients about their family histories – even though 91 per cent were aware of the added risks.Meanwhile, two thirds of men whose relatives had suffered from the disease had no idea of the dangers linked to harmful genes, researchers found.The charity’s chief executive Angela Culhane said: “There’s no denying that GPs in the UK today face tremendous pressure to start conversations with patients regarding an ever-growing list of medical conditions. Man and scan Each year more than 40,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer and around 11,000 die from the disease. Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancerCredit:Alamy Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more