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    COLOMBO [url=http://www.hydroflaskstoreonline.com/]Cheap Hydro Flask Sale[/url] , Dec. 1 (Xinhua) — Heating up Sri Lanka’s presidential race, several opposition parties on Monday pledged to support common candidate Maithreepala Sirisena as the battle against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa steps up, an official said.

    Wheels have been set in motion to make history in Sri Lanka after incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for snap presidential elections last month, seeking an unprecedented third term in power.

    The decision split his party [url=http://www.hydroflaskstoreonline.com/]Cheap Hydro Flask Water Bottle[/url] , with coalition partner the nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) leaving the president’s party and forming a coalition platform with the main opposition United National Party (UNP) and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga.

    Less than 48 hours afterwards, the opposition revealed their candidate to be none other than the Secretary General of Rajapaksa ‘s own party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Health Minister Maithreepala Sirisena.

    The coalition has received the backing of most opposition parties as it aims to end Sri Lanka’s decade old executive presidency that gives sweeping power to one individual.

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    “We expect around 36 parties to eventually express their support for the common candidate,” former Fisheries Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne who also crossed over with Sirisena told media.

    A total of 11 members of parliament from the ruling party have crossed over to the opposition since Sirisena’s candidature was announced, with the latest being former Public Reforms Minister Navin Dissanayake.

    “I have resigned from all my positions in the government. Hope to join the movement for democracy. The country must be free from family corruption and nepotism,” the former Minister of Public Management Reforms tweeted on Sunday [url=http://www.hydroflaskstoreonline.com/cheap-hydro-flask-20-oz-coffee-black-best.html]Cheap Hydro Flask 20 OZ Coffee Black[/url] , announcing his resignation.

    The presidential election will be held on Jan. 8 and early indications are it will be a tightly run race with government supporters suspected of instigating sporadic violence.

    Rajapaksa signed the proclamation declaring his intention to hold a presidential election seeking another term despite having two more years to complete his second term in power.

    by Christine Lagat

    NAIROBI, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) — Methody Owaki had unusual composure when he occupied the stage to beat traditional Chinese drum whose beats electrified guests attending Sino-Africa Friendship knowledge competition that took place at Kenya’s oldest University on Wednesday.

    Born and raised in a rural village in Western Kenya, Owaki’s prowess in Chinese language, music and dance has secured him a ticket to a life of glamour and privilege.

    The 27-year-old performing arts guru has a post graduate degree in Chinese language and is among a growing number of Kenyan youth who have raised the bar in their grasp of the Asian giant’s rich culture.

    Owaki is not only fluent in mandarin but has as well mastered contemporary Chinese music and dance.

    He beat 15 contestants to emerge the overall winner during the Sino-Africa friendship competition organized by Chinese Embassy in Nairobi and the University of Nairobi’s Confucius Institute.

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    “Growing up in the village had its own challenges and thrills but am glad my curiosity to learn more about Chinese culture since I joined campus has paid dividends,” said Owaki.

    He was fascinated by Chinese language and music immediately he joined the University of Nairobi to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in education and linguistics.

    In 2010, Owaki enrolled at the University of Nairobi’s Confucius Institute to study mandarin.

    He was also a devoted member of the University choir that practiced and sang Chinese songs during special events.

    Owaki’s membership to the University of Nairobi choir secured him an opportunity to visit China in 2010 to perform in different cities.

    He also visited China in 2011 to perform at major festivals and in 2012 won a six months scholarship to study mandarin in China.

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    “After my six months study in China, I came back to Nairobi and worked briefly for a Chinese real estate company. In 2013, I won a two year scholarship to pursue a masters degree in Chinese language in a prestigious Chinese university,” Owaki told Xinhua.

    He returned to Kenya in August having accomplished a feat that has won him accolades from peers and family members.

    Owaki’s proficiency in mandarin and the ability to play the Chinese drum with ease could land him a rewarding career in future.

    He will fly to China in November to participate in the final competition that will be attended by contestants from all parts of the world.

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    Kenyan youth’s prowess in Chinese language, music and dance is unrivalled in the African continent.

    Enrolling for mandarin lessons has gained traction among Kenyan youth keen to visit China to pursue further studies or business ventures.

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