CMYK Rs. 3 KOLKATA SUNDAY, 8 MAY, 2022 PG-12, YEAR—8, ISSUE—343 (RNI NO.: WBENG / 2014 / 56803) Morning India My New City Skyline at Rajarhat New Town. PIC: PRABIR BHATTACHARAYA EU, US voice concerns over imposition of emergency in Sri Lanka MI News Service, Colombo: After the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared an islandwide state of emergency, the envoys of the European Union, the United States, and several other western countries have expressed their concern over the move by the government. These comments from representatives came after President Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency with effect from midnight on Friday as antigovernment protests continue. Delegation of the European Union in Sri Lanka, in a tweet, noted that imposing a state of emergency will not help solve the problems of the country. "A month of peaceful demonstrations has shown how Sri Lankan citizens Emergency in Sri Lanka fully enjoy their right to freedom of expression in the oldest democracy in South Asia. State of emergency will certainly not help solve the country's difficulties and could have a counterproductive effect," the EU in Sri Lanka said, reported Colombo Page. Showing worry over the second emergency in the country by the government, the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung said, "Concerned by another State of Emergency. The voices of peaceful citizens need to be heard. And the very real challenges Sri Lankans are facing require long-term solutions to set the country back on a path toward prosperity and opportunity for all. The SOE won't Continue PG 3 help do that." ❑ US judge dismisses Trump's twitter ban lawsuit MI News Service, San Francisco: A judge has reportedly dismissed a lawsuit by former US President Donald Trump seeking to lift his ban from Twitter. But, San Francisco federal district court Judge James Donato left the door open for Trump and other plaintiffs to file an amended complaint against Twitter that is consistent with his written decision to toss the lawsuit in its entirety, reports CNBC. The micro-blogging platform had banned Trump on January 8, 2021, citing the risk of the incitement of further violence on the heels of the Capitol riot by a mob of supporters of the then-President two days earlier. Trump, the American Conservative Union and five individuals had sued Twitter and its co-founder Jack Dorsey last year on behalf of themselves and a class of other platform users who had been booted from the app. The ruling comes nearly two weeks after Trump told CNBC he had no interest in returning to Twitter even if his ban were to be lifted by Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO whose $44 billion offer to buy the site has been accepted by Continue PG 3 the company's board. ❑ Ukraine's wheat harvest may fall by 35%, raising fears of global shortage MI News Service, Kiev: Wheat production in Ukraine is likely to be at least a third lower than in normal years, according to analysis of satellite images of the country. Ukraine is one of the world's biggest exporters of wheat, but the war is taking a toll on the country's agriculture and food supplies, sparking fears of shortages or higher prices around the world, The Guardian reported. Last year, Ukraine produced about 33m tonnes of wheat, of which, it exported about 20m tonnes, making it the sixth-largest exporter globally. This year, with the situation as it stands, the country only has the potential to produce about 21m tonnes of wheat, down about 23 per cent on the average of the previous five years, according to analysis published on Friday by the satellite analysis company Continue PG 3 Kayrros. ❑ CMYK TMC prepares to play key role Mamata slams Modi govt over LPG price hike in uniting Oppn in Prez poll MI News Service, Kolkata: As elections for the new President of India is scheduled sometime in July this year, it is certain that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will take a lead role in uniting the regional parties so that a strong and unanimously accepted opposition candidate can be fielded against the nominee of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). On Thursday, after a section of the media asked Banerjee about the Presidential polls, she refused to divulge the details of her plans but made it clear that she is determined to take a lead role in uniting the opposition ahead of the Presidential polls. "There is time to go for the polls. I cannot divulge my plans right now. I will share the details at an appropriate time. All I can say is that the opposition will put up a strong contest," the Chief Minister said. IANS contacted a senior Trinamool MP, who on conditions of anonymity said that Banerjee has started talking to the CMs of nonBJP states on this count. "During her recent visit to New Delhi, she had a President Election meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The issue of fielding a unanimous opposition candidate came up in the meeting. I heard that soon she is also likely to hold a meeting with TRS chief and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on this matter. The rest is up to the Chief Minister to decide," the Trinamool MP said. That Trinamool will go all out to play an important role in forging opposition unity over the Presidential polls was made clear by Banerjee on March 16, when she said that despite BJP's victory in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, it will not be a cakewalk for the BJP since they do not have even 50 per cent of the total number of legislators in the country. "You should not forget that without our support, BJP will not be able to sail through," the Chief Minister had said then. The question that automatically arises is whether the Chief Minister's dream of taking a lead role in uniting the opposition on this issue will be fulfilled if she keeps the Congress out of her plans. According to All Indian Congress Committee member Suvankar Sarkar, Banerjee has to decide whether she is really serious about uniting the opposition on the issue of Presidential polls. "In March, she had said that without Trinamool's help the BJP will not be able to sail through. Do I consider this statement as a subtle message to the BJP? The initiative has to come from her side on whether she wants the support of the Congress on this issue," he said. Political analyst and the former registrar of Calcutta University, Rajagopal Dhar Chakraborty, said that any attempt from the Chief Minister to field an unanimously accepted opposition candidate will not be fruitful without the support of the Congress. "Mere unity of regional parties will never be able to put up a formidable opposition against BJP's presidential nominee. However, I feel the equation will be clear by the first or second week of June," Chakraborty said. MI News Service, Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee compares the price hike in cooking gas with the 'Great Indian Loot' marking the continuous increase in fuel prices including cooking gas . At the same time, he harshly criticized the Center for the continuous rise in prices in other essential items. At the same time, Mamata's message to the Center was, "Stop torturing the countrymen." Fuel prices have been skyrocketing in the country since the 5 state elections. The Center has suddenly increased the price of cooking gas by Rs 50 this month escalating the price of LPG per cylinder in Kolkata marks one thousand plus. In such a situation, the Chief Minister of Bengal compared the BJP with the imperialist power. By establishing an empire in India, the British looted the wealth of this country. The Chief Minister said that historians refered to this looting as the 'Great Indian Loot'. On the same day, Mamata Banerjee wrote on Twitter, "Let the Modi government at the center stop torturing the people. The Great Indian is looting the country by continuously increasing the prices of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and other daily necessities. People are being fooled. ” At the same time, she wrote, "It's sad to see the media keep quiet."