Sri Lankan communist leader lauds China’s peaceful rise to power and influence – NewsIn.Asia


By Shiran Illanperuma/Xinhua

Colombo, January 1 : The Communist Party of China (CPC) is offering benefits to all mankind with its success in building socialism, said

Over the past 100 years since its founding in Shanghai in 1921, the CPC has made miraculous achievements and further developed Marxism-Leninism, the party leader told Xinhua in a recent interview.

“Capitalism took centuries to develop through exploitative methods and wars, but socialist China has been able to achieve economic development peacefully within a matter of a few decades,” Weerasinghe stressed.

Noting that China under the leadership of the CPC has achieved the objective of eradicating poverty by 2020 and is now on the path of achieving socialist modernization, Weerasinghe said he has no doubt that the CPC is capable of making China a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020 and a modern socialist country by 2049.

The coming years would be crucial for the development of socialism in China and would require the strong, centralized leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core, he said.

“The international communist movement will be strengthened with the success of building socialism in China. All mankind will benefit,” Weerasinghe said.

Touching upon the COVID-19 pandemic, Weerasinghe said as the first country to identify and largely defeat COVID-19, China has been providing technical assistance to other countries and actively supporting the World Health Organization’s COVAX program, which aims to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines for all participating countries, delivering on the expectations of other developing countries.

The achievements in combating the COVID-19 pandemic has proved the capabilities of socialism with Chinese characteristics, Weerasinghe noted.

“The CPC’s genuine commitment and dedication to a community with a shared future for mankind is proven beyond doubt by the way it is facing the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

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Queensland Maroons Dane Gagai laughs off Origin transforming act and lauds winger Xavier Coates


Dane Gagai gets a little bemused at the suggestion that he is Clark Kent for his NRL side South Sydney and Superman for the Maroons in State of Origin.

“Everyone’s going to be entitled to their opinion,” he said. “I thought a few of my performances this year at Souths were pretty up there but, unfortunately, we didn’t get to where we wanted to go, which was the grand final.

“That’s all behind us now. Like I’ve always said, when I’m playing at Souths, all my focus is on them and, now I’m in Origin camp, all my focus is going to be here. I don’t listen to any outside noise. I’ll just do everything I can to prepare and not let the team down.”

Despite jokes to the contrary, Gagai had a strong season for the Rabbitohs but, once again, he’s risen to the occasion when he suits up for his state. Having won a player of the series on the wing for Queensland in 2017, Gagai was again brilliant against a high-profile but out-of-position NSW centre pairing in game one on Wednesday night.



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Daly Cherry-Evans lauds influence of Wayne Bennett and Mal Meninga after upsetting NSW Blues


“I never have been coached by Wayne before and he has a presence about him. Mal I have been lucky enough to be coached by him and he definitely has a presence amongst him. It is not unnerving or unsettling, but it makes you comfortable and sure of yourself. We had that tonight.”

The Manly playmaker said there was no panic in the sheds despite trailing the more fancied Blues at halftime. Asked what Bennett said at halftime, Cherry-Evans said: “[Be] more direct. Once we got those messages and clarity, I thought that we found our groove.”

Daly Cherry-Evans and the Maroons celebrate after Cam Munster’s decisive try.Credit:Getty

The Queensland debutants showed they weren’t overawed by the occasion. Two of them, Kurt Capewell and AJ Brimson, combined brilliantly to score one of the great Origin tries. Capewell kicked ahead for the Gold Coast fullback, who won the race for the ball in the in-goal.

“It was good,” Capewell said. “Lucky to get that break and AJ to back it up on the inside was good.”

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The Panthers forward, playing in the centres, said he backed himself to put boot to ball.

“It is something that you never forget as a kid and I back myself every day of the week,” Capewell said.

Capewell was unable to finish the game due to injury. “I had a bit of a tight groin and it seemed to get tight in the end and I wasn’t moving too well and decided to get someone else out there,” he said.

It has been a big week for Cameron Munster. The Storm star joked he was having “withdrawals” after pulling himself away from premiership celebrations.

“There is a lot of hunger in that group and no-one gave us a chance tonight,” Munster said. “We just dug deep and you would know that, just completing sets and kicking to the corners and that is what we did.”

Munster was one of the senior voices keeping his side composed when a late Josh Addo-Carr try raised the prospect of a NSW comeback.

“I was pretty much swearing, ‘Boys, you can’t lose it,’ Munster said. “We need to dig deep and the Blues are a great outfit and they can score all over the field. We just needed to get up.”

Xavier Coates, who scored a crucial try, was still coming to terms with his dream debut. “Honestly, it is one of the best feelings in the world,” Coates said. “Like, I honestly don’t know how to describe it. Ooh man, this is unreal.”

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Cotchin lauds Dusty road to AFL greatness


Richmond captain Trent Cotchin says Dustin Martin had to learn to “love himself” on his path to becoming an AFL superstar.

Martin was at the forefront as the Tigers claimed a third premiership in four years on Saturday night, cementing his own legacy with another best afield display to claim an unprecedented third Norm Smith Medal.

The 29-year-old kicked four goals from 21 disposals in the 31-point win over Geelong at the Gabba.

“Everybody who speaks about him, particularly in the AFL world, is just in awe of his unique ability to will himself and win games off the back of his own boot,” Cotchin told The Sunday Footy Show.

“But I think the thing that I love most about him is the journey that he’s been on about really connecting with himself and finding that love for himself.

“I encourage it for everyone to be the case.

“The footy environment can be tough at different stages and the expectation that’s put on players, particularly like himself, it can be a lot to deal with.

“But the way that he just shows up and continually just is true to himself is really impressive to watch from afar, but also from right by his side.”

Notoriously private, Martin made a rare media appearance alongside coach Damien Hardwick in Richmond’s post-match press conference after the grand final.

He said the “humble and hungry” Tigers will enjoy their latest success and have a shot at yet another premiership next season, but believes the journey is what is most important.

“That’s something that we speak about as an organisation – it’s the journey that brings you the happiness,” Martin said.

“This stuff at the end is cool, but the memories that we’ve got this year and over the last however long are going to be something that we look back on and it’s just going to be amazing.”

As Martin scorched the Gabba turf on Saturday night, his exiled father Shane Martin watched on television from New Zealand.

“We spoke to him after the game but as usual it’s all noisy, you can’t hear stuff, but you could hear how excited he was,” Shane Martin told the NZ Herald.

“It’s pretty hard to see it on TV when I should be there, really, but that’s another story.

“It’s still a proud moment but I would have loved to be there, but yeah, you know, it is what it is, don’t want to take the moment away from it.”





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AFL legend Matthews lauds brilliant Martin


It might just be the ultimate compliment for a man being universally lauded for inspiring Richmond to a third AFL premiership in the space of four years.

Leigh Matthews, officially recognised as the “best player of the 20th century”, says Dustin Martin is the only footballer he isn’t “insulted” to be compared to.

Martin cemented his own legacy with another best afield display on Saturday night, claiming an unprecedented third Norm Smith Medal as the Tigers over-ran Geelong by 31 points.

It earned the highest of praise from Matthews, who won four premierships and booted 915 goals in 332 games at Hawthorn.

“Put it this way: Dusty is the only player, I don’t get insulted being compared to,” Matthews told the Sunday Footy Show.

“Because the difference is – he has got the strength and power of a bricklayer and the touch and the deft skills of a surgeon.

“I mean, when you’ve got both those attributes, you become a prodigious talent.

“And not only that, he performs under pressure – he must have ice in his veins.”

Matthews hailed Richmond’s decision to maximise Martin’s output in attack as the 29-year-old kicked four goals from 21 disposals.

Richmond captain Trent Cotchin said Martin had to learn to “love himself” on his path to becoming an AFL superstar.

“Everybody who speaks about him, particularly in the AFL world, is just in awe of his unique ability to will himself and win games off the back of his own boot,” Cotchin said.

“But I think the thing that I love most about him is the journey that he’s been on about really connecting with himself and finding that love for himself.

“I encourage it for everyone to be the case.

“The footy environment can be tough at different stages and the expectation that’s put on players, particularly like himself, it can be a lot to deal with.

“But the way that he just shows up and continually just is true to himself is really impressive to watch from afar, but also from right by his side.”

Notoriously private, Martin made a rare media appearance alongside coach Damien Hardwick in Richmond’s post-match press conference.

He said the “humble and hungry” Tigers will enjoy their latest success and have a shot at yet another premiership next season, but believes the journey is what is most important.

“That’s something that we speak about as an organisation – it’s the journey that brings you the happiness,” Martin said.

“This stuff at the end is cool, but the memories that we’ve got this year and over the last however long are going to be something that we look back on and it’s just going to be amazing.”

As Martin scorched the Gabba turf on Saturday night, his exiled father Shane Martin watched on television from New Zealand.

“We spoke to him after the game but as usual it’s all noisy, you can’t hear stuff, but you could hear how excited he was,” Shane Martin told the NZ Herald.

“It’s pretty hard to see it on TV when I should be there, really, but that’s another story.

“It’s still a proud moment but I would have loved to be there, but yeah, you know, it is what it is, don’t want to take the moment away from it.”





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Penrith Panthers title-winning coach John Lang lauds similarities between halves Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai as well as 2003 heroes Craig Gower and Preston Campbell


But the similarities don’t stop there. Like the Langs, Cleary snr followed his son to the Panthers in a way.

Ivan returned to the foot of the mountains last season after walking out on the Wests Tigers, in part to fulfil an ambition to coach Nathan at NRL level.

It wouldn’t necessarily be your goal to coach your son – it’s not ideal in my opinion – but it’s better than the alternative.

John Lang

Martin Lang was signed to Penrith from Cronulla for the 2002 season by then coach Royce Simmons, who was sacked shortly after and replaced by John Lang.

They only had to wait until 2003 for the Panthers to win their second title, an 18-6 upset of the Roosters in the wet at ANZ Stadium.

Ivan Cleary has often spoken about his unease coaching against Nathan, whose Panthers beat the Tigers in two matches across the 2017-18 seasons.

Asked about winning a title in tandem with his son, Lang said: “I never really thought about it to be honest. Even now I look back and think, ‘how good was that?’

Relative success: John Lang, Martin Lang, Nathan Cleary and Ivan Cleary.Credit:NRL Photos

“It was a real good moment for our family but at the time, certainly in the lead-up, it really wasn’t on my radar. I was that focused on trying to win the premiership and Martin was focused on trying to win the premiership, as all the other boys were. I didn’t think much about it until years later.”

Lang and Cleary have discussed coaching philosophies and share a connection through their work on the NRL competition committee.

Lang famously wore a Driza-Bone suit on the sideline when he was drenched during the Panthers’ grand final triumph, remembered for Scott Sattler’s try-saving tackle on Roosters winger Todd Byrne.

But Lang reserved special praise for Clive Churchill Medal winner Luke Priddis, who he described as having one of the “best games in a grand final ever”.

Martin Lang (left) and his father John in 1998, when both were at Cronulla.

Martin Lang (left) and his father John in 1998, when both were at Cronulla.Credit:Craig Golding

As for the current crop of Panthers, riding a 17-game winning streak, Lang can see a striking comparison between Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai with his 2003 playmakers Craig Gower and Preston Campbell.

“Even though ours were a lot smaller than the two now, Gowie was a real rock-solid player who also had flair like Nathan,” Lang said.

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“And Preston and Luai are similar in the fact they’re good team players, but they can just do something out of nothing.

“You can throw the ball to Luai and he might have five blokes around him then all of a sudden he goes, ‘zip, zip, whack, bang’ and all of a sudden he’s created a break.

“That’s what Preston could do. It’s bloody great if you have one of those guys in your side. There’s a lot of parallels with the halves.

“They can create their own memories now.”

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O’Connor lauds Paisami’s path to Wallabies


James O’Connor knows all about making the most of second chances and he’s thrilled to see his Wallabies teammate Hunter Paisami do the same.

Both players have their own redemption stories after being sacked for off-field incidents, but scrapped their way back to play in Australia’s 16-16 Bledisloe Cup draw with the All Blacks in Wellington.

Paisami made his Test debut at outside centre, a feat that seemed a mile off when he was sacked by the Melbourne Rebels in 2018.

Yet to make his Super Rugby debut Paisami, then 20, was charged with affray after a drunken fight outside a nightclub and despite his promise was cut loose by the Rebels.

Paisami left his family in Melbourne and headed to Queensland to play club rugby with his power-packed running game catching the eye of the Reds.

He got his first Super Rugby start this year through an injury to Jordan Petaia, and his absence with a hip issue also handed Paisami his Wallabies debut.

Former bad boy O’Connor also landed back at the Reds this year and said he was all-too familiar with Paisami’s experience.

“Hunter came to the Reds when I arrived and he’s been on a journey himself,” O’Connor said after the Wellington Test.

“I can appreciate where he’s been and how he’s had to turn his life around and go from the bottom like I did and come back into the light

“For him, he had a huge call moving to Brisbane without his family or anyone around him to follow his career, follow his gut.

“He went after his dream and now he’s gone from playing club footy one year to playing for the Wallabies so I’m definitely very proud of him.”

Whether Paisami holds his spot for the Eden Park Test depends on the fitness of Petaia but O’Connor believes he has a long future ahead in the gold jersey.

“What he gives to us in the (Wallabies) midfield is that he allows Matty (Toomua) to ball play at the line,” the 30-year-old said.

“His game has grown this year – he’s starting to throw the long cut pass and squaring defenders up and he put a nice little kick in.

“I don’t think many people see this creativity he has but when you train with him you can actually see the ball skills he has.

“I know he’s playing 13 but I think eventually he will play 12 and he’s going to be one of the greats that’s for sure.”





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Tigers coach lauds record-breaker Cotchin


Richmond captain Trent Cotchin has been hailed by coach Damien Hardwick after breaking the record for most AFL games as Tigers’ skipper.

The 30-year-old passed Percy Bentley by leading the Tigers for the 169th time in Friday’s 31-point semi-final win over St Kilda at Metricon Stadium.

Bentley was Richmond’s captain from 1932-1940 and like Cotchin, steered the Tigers to two premierships (1932 and 34).

Following Friday’s match, the Tigers delivered an in-house message to Cotchin honouring his achievement.

It was a message echoed by Hardwick in his post-match press conference.

“He’s been a warrior for us,” Hardwick said of the 2012 Brownlow Medallist.

“He’ll be an all-time great and just the way he’s led this club since he took over has been enormous really.

“His journey, our club’s journey, has been on the back of him.”

While he didn’t get on the scoreboard in the win over the Saints, Cotchin was combative throughout the midfield and picked up 19 disposals, nine of which were contested.

The veteran will now lead the Tigers for the 170th time in the club’s fourth straight preliminary final next Friday against Port Adelaide as he chases the dream of a third grand final triumph.





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Nadal lauds Thiem, says Djokovic unlucky


“Sorry for him. He had an opportunity there. But in some way you should not be doing this. It’s very unfortunate, very unlucky situation. But it’s important to have the right self-control on the court, because if not, you can be unlucky.”

Nadal was one of several players to opt out of playing at the US Open because of his concerns about travelling during the pandemic.

Austrian Dominic Thiem, the man Nadal beat to win the last two French Opens, claimed his first grand slam title at Flushing Meadows, coming back from two sets down to beat Alexander Zverev in a gripping final on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday.

Thiem’s victory ended a run of 13 grand slam titles won by either Nadal, Djokovic or Federer and made him the first new major winner since Marin Cilic in 2014.

“Happy for Dominic. He is somebody that deserves to win a big title, super hard worker. Very focused on his goals. Good person, good human person. He deserves it,” said Nadal, who will be aiming to win a record-extending 13th French Open when the re-scheduled claycourt event starts at the end of September.

Nadal will open in Rome against Carreno Busta.

Federer will not play in Paris, having had knee surgery early in the pandemic. He plans to return in Melbourne in January.

Djokovic congratulated Thiem on his achievement in New York, and praised the sportsmanship of Thiem and Zverev.

“This is what sport is all about,” Djokovic wrote on Instagram. “Respect, appreciation and friendship. Regardless of the rivalry these two guys have and the amazing battle they had yesterday, they still showed big heart and inspired many tennis players.



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