Now, SJB lawmaker accused of being a UK citizen

EC Chairman denies allegations By Shamindra Ferdinando Election Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya has denied accusations that controversial SJB National List lawmaker Diana Gamage is a dual citizen, and therefore not eligible to be a member of parliament. Responding to a spate of allegations, the EC Chairman has said that both the Registrar of Persons and the Immigration and Emigration Department confirmed she was born at Kalubowila in 1965 and carried a Sri Lankan passport and not registered as a dual citizen. In terms of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution…

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Don’t build a wall around Sri Lanka; build bridges to connect us with the world

SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva says in adjournment debate in Parliament on ‘International Agreements’ that mixed messaging has left people confused with the economic development model Govt. envisages Says country should have clear and unified vision to achieve in terms of socio-economic development Says international agreements today is not cast in terms of comparative advantage of mutual benefit, but cast in terms of conspiracy theories Discloses Mahinda Rajapaksa, when he was President wrote directly to US President Bush asking him, “Please give us the MCC” Says he was called…

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US wants SL to be successful, sustained, but China has a different vision – Pompeo

The United States wants the people of Sri Lanka to be successful and sustained in development, but China has a very different vision, says US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo. He mentioned this speaking at the joint press conference held with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena, today (28). Pompeo says that the US seeks to strengthen our partnership with democratic, peaceful, prosperous, and fully sovereign Sri Lanka. “A strong sovereign Sri Lanka is a powerful strategic partner for the US on the world stage. It can be…

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Those who voted for 20A betrayed the people – Bakeer Markar

By Udeni Saman Kumara  With the Government having passed the 20th Amendment to the Constitution with a two-thirds majority, the Opposition has been defeated again. As the main Opposition what have you got to say about this? A: It has to be said at the outset that it was not the Opposition that was defeated but the people. With the ratification of this new Bill, its consequences would be there for all to see before long. With eight SJB MPs voting for the Bill does it not indicate that cracks…

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There’s something fishy when voting for free

Sri Lanka’s voters do have short memories. Just turn the pages of time in the history of local politics and we will see how former heads of state Sirimavo Bandaranaike and JR Jayewardene abused power with the intention of becoming ever so powerful. Mrs Bandaranaike who came to power with a 2/3 rd majority extended her reign from five to six years sans a referendum. President Jayewardene brought in the executive presidency and prevailed over the rest of the ministers of his Cabinet. Mahinda Rajapaksa brought in the 18th Amendment…

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The Decline Of ‘Arabu-Tamil’ Language: A Great Loss To The Sri Lankan Muslim Heritage!

“I have four Arabu-Tamil books — Noor Nama (an account of Prophet Muhammad’s life), Simt-us-Sibyan,Mubarak Maalai (poems of the life of our Prophet) and Penn Puththi Maalai (advice for Muslim women). Though nobody wants to learn Arabu-Tamil anymore, I still read these books as they are part of our heritage. We need to preserve our traditions” (View of a Muslim lady) As Meelad un Nabi, the commemoration of the birth of Prophet of Islam (OWBP) dawns, it is heart-warming to listen to many melodious and emotional songs of praise in his great memory, written in a language which may be…

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CID Officer tells Easter Attacks PCoI: NTJ maintained eight safe houses in East

By Buddhika Samaraweera The National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) had maintained eight safe houses in the Eastern Province, in which a large quantity of explosives was stored, to carry out a second wave of attacks in August 2019. This was revealed on 27 October when an Officer attached to the CID testified before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the bombings on Easter Sunday, 21 April 2019.  According to him, Mohamed Azam Mohamed Mubarak and Atchchi Muhammadu Muhammadu Hastun, who bombed the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in…

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UPDATE 1-Sri Lanka’s bonds hammered as U.S. dubs China “predator”

LONDON, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s government bonds fell heavily on Wednesday as the United States ratcheted up pressure on the country’s government over its ties with China. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was visiting Sri Lanka as part of a four-nation Asian tour, said the Chinese Communist Party was operating as a “predator” in the country and had brought “bad deals” and “lawlessness”. Worries that the COVID-19 crisis will make it hard for Sri Lanka to pay its debts have already seen its bonds lose over…

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Plaudits and pre-warning from Pompeo

Pompeo labels Chinese Communist Party a predator, says US stands for a democratic, peaceful, prosperous and fully sovereign Sri Lanka Says bad deals, violations of sovereignty and lawlessness on land and sea, show CCP is a predator In contrast, says US comes as friend and partner Asserts strong, sovereign Sri Lanka is a powerful and strategic partner for US   Says American companies like Coke, Oracle and IBM operating here are most reliable partners on the planet Says good governance, transparency in policy consistency will attract even more American investment Notes that…

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Sri Lanka to appeal against move to lift UK’s ban on LTTE

The Government of Sri Lanka says that it has been made aware of the Open Judgement by the Proscribed Organizations Appeals Commission (POAC) of the United Kingdom on delisting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a proscribed terrorist organization. The government also said that it will appeal against the judgement of the independent tribunal in the UK which has reportedly ordered the British Home Office to lift the ban on the LTTE. Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, issuing a statement today, said that the decision of the POAC dated…

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Tribunal orders UK Govt. to lift ban on LTTE

An independent tribunal in the UK has ordered the British Home Office to lift the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE was proscribed in the UK in 2001. In 2019, the Tran-snational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) officially requested the British Home Office to lift the ban, claiming that the proscription of the LTTE was misperceived as a ban on advocacy for the establishment of a sovereign state of ‘Tamil Eelam’ and had a “chilling effect” on people’s participation in TGTE work towards that goal. The…

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20A: Muslim MPs vote in favour

Several members of the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) voted in favour of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution while the SJB had officially decided to oppose the legislation. Among the SJB MPs who voted in favour of the 20th Amendment were MPs Diana Gamage, Ishak Rahuman, Faizal Cassim, H. M. M. Harees, M. S. Thowfeek, A. S. M. Raheem, Nazeer Ahamad and Aravindh Kumar. While several MPs from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) voted in favour of the 20th Amendment, the…

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Sumanthiran urges MPs not to go in ‘reverse gear’ in direction of autocracy

When the 17th Amendment and the 19th Amendment was passed, why was it that almost the whole House approved it, he questioned. “Why did it happen? It didn’t happen for any other amendment, but those two.”  Because those had the total approval of our people that this country must remain a democratic country, he said. “That messy as it is, democracy is the way that we have chosen and that’s the way, that’s the path we will tread.” “Democracy is messy. We know that. All of us know that. Discussion…

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20A could mean death of democracy

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Imthiaz Bakeer Markar yesterday (21) said in Parliament that he is of the opinion that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is also against the 20th Amendment to the Constitution Bill, which takes away all his powers and makes the Premier’s post a nominal one. Participating in the debate on the 20th Amendment Bill, he said: “I do not agree with the conduct of Prime Minister Rajapaksa. But his charisma helped you (the Government) to come to power. Now, you are…

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MPs will support 20A, Hakeem urges them to oppose it

ECONOMYNEXT- Leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Rauff Hakeem is urging the members of his party not to vote in favour of the 20th amendment, especially in those who are representing the eastern province hoping that would be politically pragmatic given the development needs of the area. Speaking in the parliament earlier today, he said that SLMC has met few times to consider these amendments which have far-reaching consequences to the equilibrium of power between the executive, legislative and the judiciary.

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Dual citizens who want to serve the Motherland must be given the chance – Kariyawasam

ECONOMYNEXT – Many Sri Lankans who fled violence and persecution in the country and have become citizens of other countries must be given the opportunity to return and serve their motherland, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Member of Parliament Sagala Kariyawasam said. Joining the debate on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution Kariyawasam said that many Sri Lankans fled the country either due to the 1983 anti-Tamil riots or the violence unleashed by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna in the late 1980s. “Many of these people are patriotic Sri Lankans who consider…

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The forgotten 13th

Back to the 13th. The 13th Amendment is about provincial councils, at least in the operationalization of it. Provincial council elections have not been held in years. No one seems to mind, not even the die-hard devolutionists, not even the democracy-or-death types who wake up whenever their political darlings are in trouble. So, one can ask, ‘what’s the issue then; if we don’t have the PCs, then this business of weak powers or no powers for the president is a non-issue, surely?’    Well, the problem is in the fact…

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TNA will reject any constitution that doesn’t have wide national consensus: Sampanthan

ECONOMYNEXT – The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will reject any constitution that does not have wide national consensus including that of the Tamil people, TNA leader R Sambanthan said. The MP made this remark in a speech declaring the TNA’s and the Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK)’s decision to vote against the 20th amendment to the constitution. In the second reading of the 20th amendment bill debate today, the senior Tamil politician told parliament that the Tamil community has consistently given their mandate for a new constitution. The democratic verdict…

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Sirisena tells Easter Attacks PCoI: I did not appoint an Acting President or Defence Minister

Sirisena did not feel the need to appoint an Acting Minister of Defence when he went abroad on 16 April 2019, especially since it was the Sinhala and Hindu New Year season. Sirisena responded by saying that while in some cases Acting Ministers are appointed, often however, they are not. Also, a member of the Commission again queried him as to whether it did not seem to be a violation of the Constitution to not act in accordance with the appointment of an Acting Minister as mentioned in the Constitution. …

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IP Nishantha’s probes backed by LTTE sympathisers

Sirisena also said Jayasundara had sent a letter to the National Police Commission in this regard and in it had stated that “it was in accordance with the instructions received at the NSC.” Sirisena had subsequently blamed Jayasundara for this. He further said Jayasundara was not invited to the meetings of the NSC for that reason. Meanwhile, when the Commission inquired as to why IP Silva, who had been transferred to Negombo, was called back to the CID, Sirisena said former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, various Ministers and NGOs had…

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