COLOMBO Jimmie Foxx Jersey , Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan opposition United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) parliamentarians on Wednesday expressed concerns over Tamil political party's attempt to become the main opposition in parliament.

UPFA, defeated by the ruling United National Party (UNP) in a parliamentary election last month, won 95 seats, but later split up after its largest coalition partner, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), decided to join UNP to form a united government.

Fourteen UPFA members, including former President Mahinda Rajapakse, now sit in the opposition benches, but remain beaten by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) who came in third by winning 16 seats in the election.

The TNA last week said their parliamentary group leader must be recognized as the leader of the opposition in accordance with parliamentary practice and convention as they have emerged as the largest political party in the opposition.

However, UPFA member Udaya Gammanpila said UPFA members who decided to sit as opposition parliamentarians had already submitted a name from its party for the opposition leader's post to President Maithripala Sirisena and expected an answer soon.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Brazil should build a lot of soft power and strengthen cooperation and partnership with other countries in undergoing socioeconomic development, a Brazilian expert has said.

When Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was in office, Brazil's soft power was associated to the image of the former president, "a poor child from the northeastern region, who founded the largest left-wing party in Latin America," Evandro Carvalho, an expert of the public policy think tank Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), told Xinhua.

"They started looking at Brazil and saw the country having cultural and social intelligence exported to the rest of the world," he said.

However, even during the Lula administration, in which Brazil expanded its soft power, it did not manage to go beyond its stereotyped image of a country of soccer, Carnival, coffee and samba. That, Carvalho said, is due to Brazilians' lower level of education.

"Soft power depends a lot on the power of education in the Brazilian people's formation, and in this aspect, we are going badly. We are in the 80th place in PISA tests," he said, referring to the international test administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

According to Carvalho, without proper education the country will not manage to evolve much more in terms of soft power.

"We are importers of intelligence, and as long as we are importers, we will not manage to develop real soft power beyond the precarious tools of a soft power based only on stereotypes," he said.

Moreover, Brazil needs to focus on multilateral negotiations and strengthen partnerships with countries in Africa and Asia, he said, urging Brazil to be more daring and take over leadership positions when pertinent.

"Brazil should believe more in itself, and take the risks of acting both in the defense of its national interests and in the defense of a more balanced and socially just international order," Carvalho said.

"It takes courage and intelligence. Today, soft power is more important than ever," he added.

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