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President and other top leaders pay their respects to Mao Zedong; Xi says, ‘Only the Communist Party can lead China’

Grand welcome: Xi Jinping at a dinner on the eve of China’s National Day in Beijing. APAndy Wong

On the eve of the 70th anniversary of its formation, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) says it is a responsible global power, but will not deviate from its unique socialist model.

On Monday morning, Chinese President Xi Jinping, along with the top ranking leaders of the seven-member Standing Committee of the Politburo, paid their respects to Mao Zedong, the founding father of the PRC.

“Chinese President Xi Jinping with other senior Chinese leaders joined representatives from all walks of life in presenting flower baskets to deceased national heroes in Beijing on Monday, marking the country’s sixth Martyrs’ Day on the eve of National Day,” state broadcaster China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported.

Ahead of the national day celebrations, People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China (CPC), also focused on the importance of China’s red-roots, for ushering the PRC into a “new era” on Mr. Xi’s watch.

Central role

The daily reported that during a visit to an exhibition on September 23, commemorating seven decades of achievements by the PRC, Mr. Xi stressed that the CPC’s role was central to China’s progress.

“Xi said the historic achievements China has made in the past seven decades and the historic changes it has undergone fully demonstrate that only the CPC can lead China; only with socialism can we save China; only with reform and opening up can we develop China, develop socialism and develop Marxism; and only with the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics can we lead China toward prosperity and strength,” the daily reported.

During an elaborate military parade, which will be highlighted on Tuesday during national day celebrations, the Chinese wish to convey two messages — that Beijing is a responsible global stakeholder, but whose military power gap with the U.S. was rapidly reducing.

The march of Chinese peacekeepers on UN assignments would be spotlighted during the parade. “Chinese peacekeepers will march for the first time in the military parade celebrating New China's 70th birthday on Tuesday, signifying the country’s strong capability and commitment to maintaining global peace and prosperity,” says state-run China Daily newspaper.

The daily, citing official data, said China has sent about 40,000 personnel to participate in 24 UN peacekeeping missions around the globe.

Currently, there are around 2,500 Chinese blue helmets in seven of the 14 ongoing UN peacekeeping operations, making China the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

In a clear message to the U.S. and Taiwan, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will showcase the road-mobile DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of targeting any part of the globe with its multiple warheads.

‘Dual citizenship’ status is being probed

Gotabaya RajapaksaDinuka Liyanawatte

Presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa will face a court test this week over his Sri Lankan citizenship — on which his candidacy depends — following a petition challenging its legality.

On Monday, Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeal set up a three-judge panel to hear the case on October 2 and 3. October 7 is the last day for presidential aspirants to file nominations.

War-time Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had been a “dual citizen” of Sri Lanka and the U.S., until he reportedly renounced the latter some months ago, ahead of his presidential bid. Sri Lankan law bars those holding citizenship abroad from contesting for presidency. Early August, the local business newspaper Daily FT published a report pointing to questions over the validity of Mr. Gotabaya’s Sri Lankan citizenship documentation.

Subsequently, activists Gamini Viyangoda and Chandraguptha Thenuwara complained to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), seeking an investigation into the matter. Probing the complaint, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) recently informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court that Immigration and Defence Ministry authorities claimed they do not have records substantiating Mr. Gotabaya’s dual citizenship, weekend newspaper Sunday Times reported.

Well-known civil society members in Colombo, Mr. Viyangoda and Mr. Thenuwara were involved in the campaign for democracy and good governance that, in the 2015 presidential election, dislodged ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, propelling the President Maithripala Sirisena-Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe combine to power. Over a month after their complaint to the IGP, and amid conflicting reports about likely progress in the high-profile case, the civil rights activists petitioned the Court of Appeal on the same matter last week, arguing that Mr. Gotabaya’s passport and National Identity Card had been issued “unlawfully”.

Presidential contest

Commenting on the development, Keheliya Rambukwella, a spokesman for Mr. Gotabaya, said their side was certain of winning the case. “This only goes to show that they [ruling party] are really threatened by his candidacy, his reach and popularity. It is hilarious,” he told The Hindu.

Sri Lanka will go to polls on November 16, and Mr. Gotabaya, representing the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), is among the main candidates in the fray, along with the ruling United National Party’s Sajith Premadasa, the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake and former Army commander Mahesh Senanayake, fielded by a broad civil society coalition.

Former Chancellor will explore the possibility of a coalition

A day after winning Austria’s early election, former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz refused on Monday to rule out any options for forming a new government, including courting the far-right Freedom Party that suffered heavy losses following corruption allegations.

Mr. Kurz’s conservative People’s Party finished first with 37.1% of the vote on Sunday and he said he planned to honour his pledge to talk to all rivals on the possibility of a coalition. “We will seek talks with all parties and try to determine which parties there’s overlap with, which parties a stable government can be formed with,” he told public broadcaster ORF.

The 33-year-old also bristled at calls from German commentators for his party to shun a fresh coalition with far-right partners. “I don’t think we need advice from abroad, including from Germany,” he said.

A video showing former Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache offering favours to a purported Russian investor triggered the collapse of Mr. Kurz’s 17-month government with them in May. Mr. Strache also faces an investigation for suspected breach of trust over the alleged billing of private expenses to his party, which contributed to its weak third-place finish Sunday with 16% of the vote.

Two options

The Freedom Party has indicated it plans to move into opposition to rebuild itself, leaving Mr. Kurz with only two realistic options — joining with the second-placed Social Democrats, whose share of the vote fell to 21.7%, or the environmentalist Greens, who staged a big comeback after failing to enter Parliament in 2017 and received 14% support on Sunday.

“I fear (coalition talks) will be a little bit more challenging this time,” said Mr. Kurz.

Mr. Kurz said safeguarding the economy would be the main task for the coming years.

His call to Zelensky was part of whistleblower’s complaint

Adam SchiffJ. Scott Applewhite

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday escalated his attacks against the lawmaker leading the impeachment inquiry against him, suggesting that Representative Adam Schiff be arrested for “treason.”

The comment is likely to inflame criticism of Mr. Trump’s handling of the scandal engulfing his presidency, stemming from a telephone call in which Mr. Trump asked Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son.

The telephone call was included in an intelligence officer’s whistleblower complaint that raised concerns about whether the President sought to leverage U.S. aid to Ukraine for a political favour.

Mr. Schiff opened a congressional hearing last week with a parody imitation of Mr. Trump speaking like a mafia boss to pressure Mr. Zelensky to investigate his potential opponent for the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden.

“Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended it to be mine as the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read it aloud to Congress and the American people. It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?” Mr. Trump said in a post on Twitter.

From time immemorial, problems in myriad forms have been very much a part of human life. The cause of human misery is traced to the individual’s failure to curb desires in the bud even as these arise in one’s heart and mind. Then, the tendency to do wrong and commit sins becomes dominant. Moreover, deluded by Maya, people forget the Supreme Lord who is the source of all creation and get immersed in their own selves, says Krishna in the Gita, pointed out Swami Omkarananda in a discourse.

In Hiranyakasipu’s reign the name Narayana is taboo. Hiranyakasipu is driven by self love that makes him think that he is the highest power and authority. He orders that all should worship him alone as the supreme person and even punishes those who propitiate Narayana as the Lord. His own son Prahlada is subjected to untold torture and miseries because the child is firm in his faith and belief in Hari. This is how one loses track of the purpose of life and of one’s duty towards self and society.

In the 16th chapter, a spiritual aspirant gets an exposure to both good and evil inherent in human nature when the Daivi, the divine and the Aasuri, the evil, Sampath with which each one is endowed with is explained in detail. Rigorous and honest self examination of one’s nature and tendencies against the backdrop of these good and bad qualities is absolutely necessary. For then if one realises the lack of good qualities, he should cultivate them consciously; if he has evil tendencies in him, he should try to free himself of these. When one is always aware of the atma tatva jnana and of the dichotomy between the perishable body and the immortal atma, one can try to sustain good qualities and transcend the tendencies towards evil and wrong doing.

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