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Book on ganja in Parliament causes stir; Speaker promises probe

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By Saman Indrajith

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday promised to conduct an investigation to ascertain how a book titled Triloka Vijaya promoting the use of ganja had been distributed among the staff of Parliament and who was responsible.

 The speaker promised a probe after the matter had been brought to his notice by Matara District SJB MP Buddhika Pathirana at the time of commencement of the sittings. 

MP Pathirana:

I spoke of a plan to propagate the use of ganja on Tuesday. Shortly afterwards, I came to know that a book titled, Triloka Vijaya, had been distributed among parliament staff members. (He showed a copy of the book to the House.) Visitors are not allowed. Who brought this into the parliamentary premises? How could it be distributed among parliament staff members? Copies of a book dedicated to the Speaker could be distributed among parliament staff members, and there is nothing wrong with it. The dedication of the book says that it is for the purpose of delight (aanandaya labanna). What does it mean? Isn’t it to promote the smoking of ganja? I queried this from Ministers Bandula Gunawardena and S.B. Dissanayake but could not get an answer.

 The Speaker: I will look into the matter.

 Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena: Since my colleague mentioned my name I have to clarify that I had nothing to do with distributing this book. We too are engaged in writing and publishing books. So, the wrong impression could be created when our names are mentioned in connection with a book. I did not bring such a book or distribute anything of the sort.

 MP Pathirana: Since the word, anandaya, is mentioned, I asked both Minister Gunawardena and S.B. Dissanayake of the meaning of the word. We have heard of aanandayen pragnawata (from delight to wisdom). There is a signature on the title page of the book. If the Speaker appoints an investigating body, involving the Secretary General and the Sergeant-at-Arms, I can hand this book to them. We can check the CCTV footage and find out how these books had been brought in and who did it. Does distributing this book among parliament staff mean it is asking them to smoke ganja? What is the next step? Is it asking the MPs to smoke ganja?

The Speaker: We will look into the matter. 

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COPE meets online for first time in its history

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by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.

 

 

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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors

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During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra

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The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page https://www.facebook.com/ICCRSriLanka.

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email: iccrcolombo2@gmail.com

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