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CEO Zhang, Alibaba Succeeds Jack Ma as Chairman

The firm made a whopping $25 billion worth sales in a 24-hour period across its e-commerce platforms, last year.

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Alibaba Cloud
The logo is displayed at the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. VOA
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Chinese e-tailer Alibaba Group’s Chief Executive Daniel Zhang will be the new chairman, succeeding its co-founder Jack Ma from September 10, 2019, the global firm announced on Monday.

“Ma will continue as the executive chairman of the company over the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition to Zhang,” a statement quoting the Chinese behemoth said here.

The Hangzhou-based company’s 20th anniversary on September 10, 2019, Zhang will take charge as the new chairman.

Zhang, who was earlier the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Taobao, an online shopping portal owned by the Alibaba Group, was appointed the CEO of the Alibaba Group in 2015. He has been with the company since 2007.

Alibaba
Ma is revered by many Chinese, some of whom have put his portrait in their homes to worship in the same way that they worship the God of Wealth. Flickr

The co-founder of the company, Ma, will however, remain as a board member of the Alibaba Group until the annual shareholder meet in 2020, which marks the 21st anniversary of the e-commerce and tech conglomerate.

“While remaining as executive chairman in the next 12 months, I will work closely with Daniel (Zhang) to ensure smooth transition,” Ma said in a letter to the shareholders and employees on the occasion of the company’s 19th anniversary on Monday.

The transition demonstrates that the firm has stepped up from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on a culture of talent development, Ma’s letter addressed to the company’s 86,000 employees said.

Ma will remain a lifetime partner in the Alibaba Partnership and is a member of its partnership committee, the statement added.

Alibaba
Founded in 1999 by Chinese teacher-turned-entrepreneur Ma as a platform to connect Chinese manufacturers with the world. VOA

The Alibaba Partnership has 36 partners, who are the senior management of Alibaba Group or its affiliates, including movie-making firm Alibaba Pictures, cloud computing firm Alibaba Cloud, financial services firm Ant Financial among others.

Founded in 1999 by Chinese teacher-turned-entrepreneur Ma as a platform to connect Chinese manufacturers with the world, It stands among one of the largest companies in the world.

Ma, who turned 54 on Monday, said while continuing as a member of Alibaba Partnership, he wants to return to education.

“I want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things,” the Chinese business icon’s letter added.

The group’s e-tail portals Alibaba.com, Taobao, Tmall and AliExpress together clock billions of dollars of sales each year.

Alibaba
Cloud computing refers to a virtual space where one can grow their presence

As per its statement, the company’s revenue was $39.9 billion for fiscal 2017-18.

Also Read: Researchers In China Discover a Potential Antibiotic

During the company’s annual global shopping festival held on November 11 last year, the firm made a whopping $25 billion worth sales in a 24-hour period across its e-commerce platforms.

Apart from its online shopping portals, The company also offers electronic payment services and cloud computing services. (IANS)

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Parliament In Sri Lanka Gets Dissolved, President Calls For Election

The U.S. State Department tweeted that it is deeply concerned by news the Sri Lanka Parliament will be dissolved

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Sri Lanka, parliament
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena waves to supporters during a rally outside the parliamentary complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka. VOA

ri Lanka’s president dissolved Parliament and called for elections on Jan. 5 in a bid to stave off a deepening political crisis over his dismissal of the prime minister that opponents say is unconstitutional.

An official notification signed by President Maithripala Sirisena announced the dissolution of Parliament effective midnight Friday. It said the names of candidates will be called before Nov. 26 and the new Parliament is to convene Jan. 17.

Sri Lanka has been in a crisis since Oct. 26, when Sirisena fired his prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and replaced him with former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa. Both say they command a majority in Parliament and had been expected to face the 225-member house Wednesday after it was suspended for about 19 days.

Sri Lanka, parliament
Sri Lanka’s sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe holds a copy of the constitution of Sri Lanka as he attends a media briefing at his official residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka. VOA

Foreign Minister Sarath Amunugama told The Associated Press Saturday that the reason for the president to dissolve Parliament was the need to go to the people to find a resolution to the crisis.

“On the 14th there was to be a lot of commotion and unparliamentary activities sponsored by the speaker,” Amunugama said. “The speaker was not planning to act according to the constitution and standing orders of Parliament.”

Sirisena’s supporters had been irked by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s announcement that he was going to call for a vote for either party to prove their support.

Miscalculation

“The dissolution clearly indicates that Mr. Sirisena has grossly misjudged and miscalculated the support that he might or could secure to demonstrate support in the Parliament,” said Bharath Gopalaswamy, director at U.S.-based analyst group Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center. “At the end of the day, he is a victim of his own homegrown crisis.”

Sri Lanka, parliament
Sri Lankan civil rights activists hold placards during a demonstration outside the official residence of ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo, Sri Lanka. VOA

Wickremesinghe has insisted his firing is unconstitutional. He has refused to vacate his official residence and demanded that Parliament be summoned immediately to prove he had support among its members.

Tensions had been building between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe for some time, as the president did not approve of economic reforms introduced by the prime minister. Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe and another Cabinet member of plotting to assassinate him, a charge Wickremesinghe repeatedly denied.

Sirisena was critical of investigations into military personnel accused of human rights violations during Sri Lanka’s long civil war against a Tamil separatist group, which ended in 2009. Rajapaksa, who ruled as president from 2005 to 2015, is credited as a hero by the ethnic Sinhalese majority for winning the conflict. But he lost a re-election bid in 2015 amid accusations of nepotism, corruption and wartime atrocities.

Constitutional question

Wickremesinghe’s camp is likely to contest Sirisena’s move because of constitutional provisions stating a Parliament can’t be dissolved until 4 ½ years after its election. The current Parliament was elected in August 2015.

sri lanka, parliament
Sri Lankan former President Mahinda Rajapakse addresses journalists at his residence in Colombo, Sept. 22, 2018. Rajapakse has been appointed the Sri Lanka’s new prime minister. VOA

“It’s totally unconstitutional,” said Harsha de Silva, a member of Wickremesinghe’s United National Party and a former minister. “Sirisena has relegated the constitution to toilet paper. We will fight this dictator to the end.”

The party said in a Twitter message that it will meet the elections commissioner to discuss the constitutionality of Sirisena’s move.

US urges caution

The U.S. State Department tweeted that it is deeply concerned by news the Sri Lanka Parliament will be dissolved, “further deepening the political crisis.”

Also Read: Once a Hostage, Sri Lankan Sailor Now Helps Battle Somali Pirates

“As a committed partner of Sri Lanka, we believe democratic institutions and processes need to be respected to ensure stability and prosperity,” the statement said.

Earlier, U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and two other lawmakers wrote to Sirisena warning that actions circumventing the democratic process could impact U.S. assistance, including a planned five-year aid package from the Millennium Challenge Corporation worth hundreds of millions of dollars. (VOA)