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Politicians changing the constitution for personal gain?: Prez to submit fresh draft

Sep 14 (Island) Prez Rajapaksa has assured civil society groups, the National Joint Committee (NJC) and Yuthukama that the proposed 20th Amendment would be rescinded to pave the way for a new draft. Prez gave this assurance at a meeting with Manohara de Silva, PC and lawmaker Gevindu Cumaratunga last Friday. Manohara de Silva is also a member of a special committee headed by Romesh de Silva, PC, more..

19th and 20th Amendments: Buddhist monks want neither: Ven. Ananda Thera

Sep 14 (CT) Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera stated that Buddhist monks want neither the 19th nor the 20th Amendment and they prefer a whole new Constitution instead. He added that the monks want a Constitution that respects the interests of Lankans since the existing Constitution consists of bits and pieces of foreign Constitutions. “We do not have a national policy and each and every politician who comes to power works according to their own personal agendas.” more..

Murder-convict MP taking oaths: AG won’t appeal against CA’s order

Sep 14 (ST) The Attorney General does not intend to go before the Supreme Court to appeal against the interim order issued by the Court of Appeal ordering the Prisons Commissioner General to allow murder convict Premalal Jayasekara to attend Parliament sittings, Sunday Times learns. This is despite the AG earlier taking up the position in the Court of Appeal that according to Article 89(d) of the Constitution, a person “under sentence of death” was disqualified from being an elector. more..

SJB concerned about 20A reviving Urgent Bills, curtailing audit powers

Sep 14 (FT) SJB expressed concern regarding the provision for Urgent Bills in the proposed 20th Amendment, and the erosion of the public’s right to challenge the legality of upcoming legislation. The party also said that the proposed 20th Amendment has stripped away the power to audit Govt agencies, and probe corruption and malpractice. SJB MP Eran Wickramaratne said that the provisions for Urgent Bills to be rushed through Parliament more..

New laws to seize bank accounts and vehicles of drug barons

Sep 14 (ST) Govt will introduce laws to seize money in bank accounts and vehicles of convicted drug barons and their allies. PM will meet the officials of the Treasury, AG’s Dept and law enforcement authorities to discuss the parameters of this legislation. The new move will empower the govt to seize funds from such accounts and vehicles. Regulations will be made under the Money Laundering Act which empowers Finance Minister to gazette regulations to seize money more..

Finance Ministry revokes suspension of CSR activities of SOEs

Sep 14 (CT) The Finance Ministry in a circular dated 9 Sept, 2020 withdrew the temporary suspension of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities of state owned enterprises (SOEs) vide their previous circular of 20 Nov 2019. Finance Ministry S.R. Attygalle, in a circular addressed to ministry secretaries, Secretary to the Prez Dr. P.B. Jayasundera and the Auditor General, announced revocation of the temporary suspension order. Attygalle had further told the recipients that more..

Amid oil slick, CID probes New Diamond’s safety procedures

Sep 14 (ST) As the crippled super tanker MT New Diamond began to discharge oil in the sea off the southeast coast of SL, the CID has launched a probe to ascertain if the vessel’s crew ignored safety procedures. Colombo’s Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on Friday ordered the ship owner’s local agent to provide data records from the tanker to the CID. Magistrate also gave permission to MEPA to collect samples from more..

Prez has People’s mandate to make the right constitution for the country: Maha Sanga

Sep 14 (PMD) Maha Sanga stated that Prez Rajapaksa has been given the mandate by the people to make the most appropriate constitution for the country. Theros stated that they are more than enthusiastic to see the Prez’s forward journey to establish a self-sustained economy while fulfilling expectations of the citizenry. These comments were made by the Viharadhikari theros of Lankarama, Mirasewetiya and Sri Sambudhdha Jayanthi viharas when Prez visited these temples today (12). more..

GMOA threatens TU action in failure to fulfil demands

Sep 14 (TM) GMOA has issued a Trade Union (TU) notice for all-island TU action, which is to be initiated during the week, starting from 21 September, to protest against the undue delay in fulfilling several demands made by the Association, including the regularising of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). In a letter written to Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi on Friday, GMOA Secretary Dr. Senal Fernando stressed that the TU action would be launched against the undue delay more..

Video: More Boossa Prison inmates call off hunger strike

Sep 14 (AD) Twenty-five of the inmates at the Boossa Prison have called off the hunger strike they launched last Thursday (10). A total of 43 inmates including notorious underworld figures and drug traffickers such as ‘Kanjipani Imran’, ‘Wele Suda’, ‘Kewuma’, ‘Jausan’ and ‘Soose’ launched the hunger strike based on several demands. The hunger strike is being continued today (13) for the fourth consecutive day. more..

UNP wants Speaker to reconsider decision on convicted MP

Sep 14 (FT) The UNP yesterday called on the Speaker to reconsider his decision to allow Premalal Jayasekara, who was convicted of murder, to take oaths as a MP. In a statement, UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam stated that the verdict in the case Premalal Jayasekara vs. the Prisons Commissioner did not give legal basis for Jayasekara to come to Parliament. ”If the Speaker allows this precedent to take effect, even terrorists could enter the Parliament,” he said. more..

Exports around billion dollar mark for third straight month

Sep 14 (TM) SL’s exports during the month of Aug 2020 recorded a downfall of 19.2% to $ 947.7 million as compared to the value of $ 1,033.3 million recorded the same month of last year. Despite the decline in exports, some products like coconut-based products, electricals and electronic components, spices and essential oils, and food and beverages recorded a positive growth of 22.88%, 8.32%, 19.4%, and 11.45%, respectively, during the month of Aug2020 as compared to Aug2019. more..

Sri Lankan housemaid’s death in Kuwait: SLBFE to carry out separate probe

Sep 14 (TM) SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) is to conduct a separate investigation over the death of a SL migrant worker in Kuwait. “We are conducting a separate investigation with the assistance of the embassy, as the full report from the post-mortem is pending. Furthermore, should the allegations get confirmed, we will file legal action against the sponsor for recompense,” SLBFE General Manager W.M.V. Wanasekara said. more..

Better social protection for self-employed persons

Sep 14 (ST) Existing social security and pension schemes are to be expanded ensuring better social protection for self-employed persons countrywide, State Minister of Micro Finance and Self Employment Shehan Semasinghe said. The need to make certain the social protection for self employed has been identified as one of the challenges to be urgently tackled by the government, in the near normal COVID-19 period, he told a meeting of senior officials in Colombo recently. more..

COVID-19 cases increase to 3,231

Sep 14 (NR) 36 persons tested positive for the novel coronavirus, increasing the number of infections in the country to 3,231. 16 persons who arrived from Qatar, 10 from UAE, 6 from Kuwait, 2 from Maldives, a returnee from Ethiopia and a Ukrainian national who arrived from Thailand tested positive for the virus. Meanwhile 13 more coronavirus infected persons recovered and were discharged from hospitals during the past 24 hours, increasing COVID-19 recoveries to 2,996. more..

SL falls into massive Rs. 3 trillion debt abyss

Sep 14 (ST) Sri Lanka is in a dilemma of tackling massive public debt restructuring in the next three months with an unprecedented debt load of Rs.3.05 trillion for 2020, surpassing the earlier estimate of Rs.2 trillion, official data showed. In light of urgent and unforeseen requirements arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the increase in debt stock to over Rs.3 trillion compared to Rs.1.3 trillion in 2019 is unavoidable, a Treasury official said. more..

Sri Lanka’s coming constitutional changes and why its Tamil polity is worried

Sep 14 (IE) It was fully expected that the Rajapaksa brothers, with Mahinda having swept the parliamentary election last month, six months after Gotabaya won the presidential election in Nov 2019, would embark on a programme of constitutional changes. President and Prime minister Rajapaksa have lost no time. They have the two-thirds parliamentary majority that is required. Their first priority is to get rid of the 19th Amendment, and replace it with the 20th Amendment. more..

Extraordinary impairment charges drive Ceylon Tea Brokers into the red

Sep 14 (Island) Ceylon Tea Brokers PLC, listed on CSE as the first standalone tea broking company in 2010, has reported a negative bottom line in the year ended Mar. 31, 2020, despite posting an overall performance its chairman, Mr. CPR Perera, saw as encouraging in the face of lower production and declining tea prices. The loss was the result of an extraordinary impairment charge of Rs. 119.85 million (Rs. 21.45 m the previous year), on account providing for loans/advances to tea suppliers more..

Kadawatha-Mirigama stretch of road: Govt incurs Rs 20b loss due to delay

Sep 14 (SO) Minister Johnston Fernando said Govt has to incur a Rs. 20 billion loss due to the delay in construction work on Kadawatha-Mirigama stretch of road on the Central expressway by the former govt. Govt has already released Rs.17 billion as its 15 percent share to expedite construction work on the expressway. Although the previous Govt constructed the Mirigama-Kurunegala stretch of road on Central expressway, more..

Nestle recognized on World Coconut Day for contributions to coconut industry

Sep 14 (Island) The SL coconut authorities awarded Nestle at an official event on World Coconut Day, in recognition of its high foreign exchange contribution as one of the world’s largest exporters of coconut milk powder, and the strategic planning support extended to the govt to help promote the SL coconut industry. Nestle also supports more than 9,000 local coconut farming families through its business. The award was jointly conferred on the company by Mr. Arundhika Fernando, more..

Vehicle number plates to change

Sep 14 (TM) The Govt is to introduce a new RF (radio frequency) code for vehicle number plates which would enable authorities faster access to vehicle information. State Minister Dilum Amungama, said the new regulations were to be gazetted. “They will come into effect as soon as the new system is gazetted.” He explained that the RF code would replace the current method of provincial identification on number plates. “Present system where the number plates display the province more..

Pohottuwa pivoting pharma industry

Sep 14 (FT) The Govt has announced a series of measures to boost the pharmaceutical industry to produce within three years 50% of the country’s annual requirement locally, saving Rs. 60 billion spent otherwise on imports, as well as encourage exports. “The objective is to provide high-quality medicine to the public and the foreign market as well, at affordable prices. All products are made in accordance with the recommendations and more..

Editorial: Fasting criminals

Sep 14 (Island) Most of the underworld figures who launched a fast, in the Boossa High Security Prison, recently, have given up the protest. Hunger strike is against the communication restrictions currently in place, and security checks on visitors, among other things. These criminals have only themselves to blame for this situation; they have been found to be running their illegal operations such as drug running, extortion and contract killing via mobile phones from their cells. more..

Declare all out war against cyber crimes

Sep 14 (CT) The Police recently said that the CID has launched investigations into a number of online scams reported this year, while the Cyber Crimes Unit of the CID has also launched investigations into several online scams related to foreign employment scams. Also, it was reported that the Police have received complaints regarding an online racket, which requests people to deposit money to certain bank accounts to pay Customs fees, in order to clear cash prizes from overseas, more..

Yahapalanaya paved way for Premalal to enter parliament

Sep 14 (CT) According to the views of the SJB-led Opposition in the present Parliament, the most pressing issue facing this country at the moment is Premalal Jayasekara being allowed to swear in as an MP of the SLPP Govt. They claim that due to the presence of Jayasekara in the House, the August Assembly has been besmirched and its image forever tainted. Opposition also spent two full days to discuss the demerits of more..

Criminals in Legislature: Speaker - Convict - Speaker in 1930/40s

Sep 14 (DM) A murder convict Premalal Jayasekara, sentenced to death for murdering an opposition activist 5 years ago, was escorted to Parliament last week by prison authorities under a ruling by the Court of Appeal, a higher judicial forum than the High Court which sentenced him to death. Returned to legislature by the voters of Ratnapura district, ruling SLPP member took oaths amid protest by SJB led opposition who staged a walk out. Court of Appeal ruled that Jayasekara retained more..

Black sataka protest marks death row MP’s House debut

Sep 14 (ST) The constitutional storm that loomed on the horizon last week between the Courts and Parliament did not make expected landfall when a two judge Appeal Court bench pre-empted its outbreak on Monday and allowed the Ratnapura MP-elect on death row, SLPP’s Premalal Jayasekera, to attend Parliament and take his oaths as an honourable member of the House. Last week, the Parliamentary Speaker had ordered the Commissioner General of Prisons to more..

වත්මන් දේශපාලන වාතාවරණය

Taxing super-rich fear worsens

Sep 14 (CT) Speaking in Parliament during the course of the Vote on Account debate, Prof. Tissa Vitarana of the LSSP, stated that he was glad that speakers from both sides of Parliament appeared, at least now, to accept the country was faced with a severe economic crisis. This did not seem to be the case when promises were being made during the recent General Election campaign. But now when the money has to be found to fulfill the promises made, both sides of the House came out more..

Sathurukondan massacre: Witnesses speak

Sep 14 (GV) Sept 9, 1990, 5.30 pm. Armed men clad in military uniform and civilian clothes instruct people from Sathurukondan, Kokkuvil, Pachchaiyadi and Pillayaradi to come out to the road. They are taken to the Bois Town military camp nearby with the assurance that they will be released after questioning. They were mostly the elderly, women and children. None of them returned to their homes. In total, 184 individuals were massacred. The outside world gets to know of more..

COVID-19: Still a looming health emergency

Sep 14 (TM) As we reach the ninth month since the first case of Covid-19 was reported globally and the 6th month since SL reported its first locally transmitted case, we can observe that none of the countries that recorded the outbreak of the virus have been able to eliminate the threat yet. Although there is a potential vaccine being developed currently, it is yet to be administered at the clinical trial levels before it can be administered on more..

Lessons from Palestine

Sep 14 (DM) For the past 53 years (since the 1967, Israel-war, also referred to as the 1967 Arab-Israel War), Palestine has been under Israeli militarily occupation. In 2018, Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch reporting on Palestinians under Israeli rule wrote: “...Whether it’s a child imprisoned by a military court or shot unjustifiably, or a house demolished for lack of an elusive permit, or checkpoints where only settlers are allowed to pass, a few Palestinians more..

Why is the draft 20th Amendment hostile to greater public accountability?

Sep 14 (ST) As public concern over Sri Lanka’s draft 20th Amendment to the Constitution increases exponentially since this amendment was gazetted on 2nd Sept 2020, so do the sheer absurdity of the justifications thereto. Cunning and deplorably simplistic explanations are put forward by some in Govt ranks. It is bad enough that the Justice Minister asks as to what is the point of constitutional commissions when the narcotic trade cannot be eliminated in Sri Lanka? more..

UGC seven-member committee report: Readdressing relief for ragging victims

Sep 14 (TM) In August, the UGC stated that only 5% of the student population is involved in ragging and that too should be further reduced in the years to come. Despite the enactment by Parliament of the Prohibition of Ragging and Other Forms of Violence in Educational Institutions Act No. 20 of 1998, it has not succeeded in curtailing this phenomenon. While the current situation is in much better standards in comparison to the situation 30 years ago, more..

The right of appeal to the privy council

Sep 14 (CT) The circumstances in which the right of appeal to Her Majesty in Council was abolished in 1971 has been the subject of much unfounded speculation. It was attributed at the time to be a strategy to prevent the late C. Suntheralingam from challenging the legitimacy of the Constituent Assembly before the Privy Council. More recently, the abolition has been attributed to the late Felix R. Dias Bandaranaike’s displeasure over some decisions of the Judicial Committee, more..

An Open Letter to Dr. Harini Amarasuriya

Sep 14 (CT) Civil society hails with Three Cheers; and respectfully recognizes your brilliantly conceptualized, niche and professionally developed maiden speech in Parliament. This presentation certainly contains seeds for a way forward to add significant long term value to our society and its common stakeholders. Civil society also values the transparent commitment you publicly made in the House, to build through your political journey, a fairer world for the stakeholders of our society, more..

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