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January 22, 2018 [GMT]
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TNA won’t back 20 A: Govt. move to put off PC polls in jeopardy
[Saturday 2017-08-12 15:00]

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday declared that it wouldn’t support the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in its present form, under any circumstances, top party spokesperson, Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran told The Island.
The TNA parliamentary group comprises 16 members, including two National List MPs.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday declared that it wouldn’t support the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in its present form, under any circumstances, top party spokesperson, Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran told The Island. The TNA parliamentary group comprises 16 members, including two National List MPs.

  

Asked whether the four-party coalition was having discussions with the government regarding the 20th Amendment that would vest in Parliament the powers of dissolved Provincial Council, MP Sumanthiran ruled out any agreement on proposed Amendment as, he said, it didn’t reflect understanding among all political parties represented in parliament. The proposed controversial 20th Amendment will also enable all Provincial Council elections to be held simultaneously and for Parliament to determine the date of dissolution of all PCs.

Attorney-at-law Sumanthiran emphasised that the government could have avoided unnecessary trouble had it prepared the Bill in accordance with the agreement reached among political parties following a series of consultations over a period of time. The TNA consists of the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the PLOTE, TELO and EPRLF. ITAK heavyweight MP Sumanthiran explained that political parties represented in parliament subsequent to a spate of deliberations had accepted what he called 60:40 Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system in respect of Provincial Council polls.

The Sabaragamuwa, Eastern and North Central will complete five year terms on Sept. 26, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, respectively. In accordance with the Provincial Council Election Act No 02 of 1988, the National Elections Commission (NEC) will have to call nominations on Oct. 2 or 3. Uva Provincial Council will be the last PC to complete its term on Oct. 8, 2019. MP Sumanthiran pointed out that there hadn’t been a previous consensus among political parties regarding unified electoral representation system. In answer to a query, MP Sumanthiran said that the agreement on 60:40 MMP system in respect of Provincial Councils should be examined against the backdrop of the political parties’ readiness to accept the same formula for both parliamentary and Local Government polls.

In accordance with the agreed formula, which, MP Sumanthiran said, had been discussed at the Steering Committee spearheading the constitutional making process, 60 per cent of members would be elected and 40 per cent named. The TNA spokesman described the accord at all three levels, namely parliamentary, provincial councils and local government a significant achievement. Asked who had directed that 20th Amendment to be drafted in contravention of their agreement, MP declined to comment. "All I can say is what has been presented to political parties certainly does not reflect the agreement reached, hence the decision to oppose it."

Sumanthiran said the country would know whether the proposed Amendment required to be approved in parliament with a two-thirds majority and by people at a referendum in case an aggrieved party sought the opinion of the Supreme Court. When it was pointed out that those who had so far addressed the issue at hand conveniently refrained from commenting on ‘all party consensus’ on 60:40 mixed member proportional system for all three levels, MP Sumanthiran said that all political parties participated in that process. The Joint Opposition, too, had been represented, MP Sumanthiran said, adding that in addition to a constitutional amendment an amendment to the Provincial Council Election Act had to be effected to enable the postponement of PC polls, political parties agreed to launch a delimitation process at provincial level.

MP Sumanthiran said that the TNA would definitely vote for the 20th Amendment if the government reintroduced it with what had been agreed by other parties incorporated thereinto. The TNA spokesperson stressed that the move to bring in an amendment only to put off PC polls was not acceptable to them. Political sources said that the UNP-SLFP combine couldn’t secure a two-thirds majority in parliament without the backing of the TNA (16 seats).

The UNP and the UPFA secured 106 and 95 seats, respectively at the last general election in August 2015, out of the 95 seats obtained by the UPFA, about 52 members joined the Joint Opposition (JO) at the expense of President Maithripala Sirisena.

  
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TGTE SESSIONS IN CANADA : SRI LANKA’S MISSION ON ALERT
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

The Sri Lankan mission in Canada is closely monitoring a claimed session by the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, a body of ‘elected’ members whose ideology upholds separatism in the country, official sources told the Sunday Observer. A release posted on the website of the TGTE stated, “Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam’s (TGTE) 8th Sitting of its 2nd Parliament will be held from January 19th to 21st in Toronto, Canada.” The sources did not confirm if the Foreign Ministry has lodged an official protest to the Canadian counterpart against the TGTE meeting.



Forcing a Principal to kneel: President directs IGP to probe
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena had directed IGP Pujith Jayasundera to hold an inquiry into incident in which Uva Province Chief Minister was accused of forcing a lady Principal to kneel in front of him, officials said. The President had instructed the IGP to take necessary legal action into the incident based on investigations. Meanwhile, the Police said the Badulla Police had commenced an investigation into the incident after the Principal had lodged a complaint.



AMERICAN CENTER TEMPORARILY CLOSED
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

The US government officially shutdown yesterday for the first time in five years after the Senate rejected a short-term spending bill to keep the federal government running. The shutdown began at 12:01 am (local time) after a few Republicans joined Democrats in blocking the crucial measure would have provided short-term funding for the Pentagon and other federal agencies, the foreign media reported. Responding to the situation in the US, the US Embassy in Colombo said in a tweet message, “At this time, scheduled passport and visa services at the U.S. Embassy will continue during the lapse in appropriations as the situation permits. The American Center is closed until further notice.”



President vows to bring economy under his control
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said the management of the country’s economy, which had been under the United National Party (UNP) for the last three years, would be taken over by him from this year. Addressing a United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) election rally in Kegalle, the President said he appointed the National Economic Council (NEC) three months ago to provide relief to the people by managing the economy through this council. The President said he would take over the responsibility of strengthening the country’s economy while protecting all local industries, products and investments. He appealed to local industrialists and investors to join in this endeavour and not to abandon their motherland.



Uva CM steps down as Education Minister
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

Uva Province Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dassanayake said he would step down from the Post of Provincial Education Minister with immediate effect. The Chief Minister said he decided to step down from the post until the investigation into the allegations levelled against him was completed. The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) launched an investigation into the incident where the Chief Minister allegedly forced a school principal to kneel before him.



Kataragama protestors tear gassed
[Sunday 2018-01-21 18:00]

The Police a short while ago fired tear gas to disperse protesting people following yesterday's shooting incident in Kataragama. It was reported that more than 60 individuals had been arrested over violence.



If Ranil removed from Premiership UNPers threaten to impeach Prez
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

United National Party Parliamentarian Chaminda Wijesiri said that if any attempt is made to remove Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from office, the Party would definitely bring a motion in Parliament to impeach President Maithripala Sirisena. He made these comments in relation to rumours that subsequent to the Local Government (LG) polls, the Prime Minister would be changed and that a new Government would be formed.



EC says no power to unseat elected candidates
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday he could do nothing about unseating a field officers or any other candidate if he had been found to have illegally contested the Local Government election and was elected. Mr. Deshapriya said unseating of an elected candidate could only be done through a court procedure and added that elections commissions had no provision to do so.



Sri Lanka, China to co-build dendro power plant
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

Sri Lanka and China on Friday signed a joint venture agreement to construct Sri Lanka's largest dendro power plant in Moneragala in the country's south. The power plant will produce 70,000 megawatts of renewable energy per year to the country's national power grid. The joint venture was signed between Beijing Full Dimension Power Tech Company Ltd, Nanjing Turbine and Electric Machinery Group Company Ltd, and Sri Lanka's IMS Holdings.



Flight diverted to Chennai as Sri Lanka closes airspace
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

An Ethiopian Airlines flight (ET638), operating on the Addis Ababa-Singapore-Kuala Lumpur sector, was diverted to Chennai on Thursday, after Sri Lanka closed its airspace for some time in connection with the Agni-V missile test off the coast of Odisha. The twin-engine aircraft, a Boeing 787-8 (ET-ATK), left Addis Ababa at 2.30 a.m. (India time). Five hours into its approximately nine-hour flight, while approaching Thiruvananthapuram, the crew were unable to continue flying on the allotted track across central Sri Lanka and its oceanic region, and the flight was diverted to Chennai. It landed here at 8.51 a.m. and later took off for Singapore at 12.35 p.m.



US helping SL counter human trafficking
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

The U.S. government will award more than 183 million rupees ($1.2 million) to counter trafficking in persons in Sri Lanka over the next three years. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs will award the new project "Equipping Sri Lanka to Counter Trafficking in Persons (EQUIP)" to the International Labor Organization (ILO) Country Office for Sri Lanka and Maldives.



Postal voting for Local Government elections to begin on Monday
[Saturday 2018-01-20 19:00]

Postal voting for the February 10 Local Government elections will begin on Monday, January 22. Officials of the police stations, Divisional Secretariats, District Secretariats and election office could cast their postal votes on January 22, according to the Director General of Election Commission, R. L.A.M. Ratnayaka. Postal voting for employees at other government institutions will be held on the 25th and 26th of this month.



SL delays implementing pledges to UN: HRW
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

The Sri Lankan Government has stalled on its key pledges to provide justice for conflict-related violations and to strengthen human rights protections, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today in its 2018 World Report. It said the government took some steps in 2017 to reduce restrictions on speech and assembly, but there was little progress on transitional justice initiatives agreed to at the UN Human Rights Council in 2015.



SLPP petition for Maharagama rejected
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

The petition filed by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) over the rejection of its nominations list for the Maharagama Urban Council, was rejected by the Supreme Court today. It was rejected after being considered by a bench of Judges headed by the Chief Justice.



EU insists on key reforms in Sri Lanka
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

The EU stressed yesterday its clear and unwavering expectation that urgent action would be taken by the Sri Lankan authorities to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and replace it with legislation that is in line with international standards.



Dead army officer’s claim doubtful: CID
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

The Army Intelligence Officer who had committed suicide by hanging himself in 2016, having written a letter taking responsibility for the killing of senior journalist and Sunday Leader Chief Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, had in fact spent that day in the Kegalle area, the CID informed the Mount Lavinia Magistrate yesterday. This revelation is based on the officer’s telephone records, unearthed by the CID.



I WILL LEAVE OFFICE WHEN CORRUPT ARE PUNISHED -PRESIDENT
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said during his term he expects to duly punish those politicians responsible for fraud and corruption. “Some people are asking, when I will leave office. I would like to tell them that I will leave office when corrupt politicians are duly punished for their fraudulent acts”.



Judge orders to halt excavation of alleged LTTE ‘treasures’
[Friday 2018-01-19 18:00]

Mullaitivu District Judge Lenin Kumar on January 18 ordered an immediate halt to excavations done in a selected area in Mullivaikkal, Mullaitivu in search of alleged LTTE hidden treasures. The District Judge made this order after considering two submissions made to court by Mullaitivu Police. The police in its submissions said water had filled the excavated large pit causing great inconvenience to residents and there were no signs of any gold being buried despite digging operations done to a depth of nearly 21 feet.



Wiggy wants Intl legal framework
[Thursday 2018-01-18 18:00]

Northern Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran stressed on the need to find a political solution for the Tamils through an International legal framework. Wigneswaran was addressing a special meeting, convened by the Tamil People's Council (TPC) under the theme ''informing people'. Prof. S. Swarnaraj (Former professor, Law Faculty, University of Colombo) who participated in the peace talks during the Norwegian peace facilitation period was also present at this special meeting which was held at the Jaffna Veerasingam hall on Tuesday (16).



Trudeau celebrates Thai Pongal
[Thursday 2018-01-18 18:00]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, attired in traditional Tamil dress (silk 'veshti' and shawl), celebrated 'thai pongal' the Tamil harvest festival along with the expatriate Tamil Canadians. Trudeau said, "he had a great time" at the festivities. It also happens to be the 'Tamil Heritage Month' in Canada. He wished everyone in Tamil: "Iniya Thai Pongal Nalvazhthukkal!", which means, "Sweet Pongal Greetings." Canadian Parliamentarian of Lankan origin Gary Anandasangaree, the son of the TULF leader V.Anandasangaree is also seen in the picture.


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