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Celebrating Lester James Peiris



(Pic by DayanWitharana)

This month’s edition of “Rendez-Vous with Yasmin and Kumar” now showing on the YouTube, channel of the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, celebrates the life and world of Sri Lanka’s internationally renowned film-maker Dr. Lester James Peiris.

His connection with France has been a “karmic tryst” ever since he took his first film Rekawa to the 1957 Cannes Film Festival. France has hosted numerous retrospectives of his body of work since then.

In 1981, his film ‘Beddegama’, or ‘Village in the Jungle’ was screened in the Director’s Fortnight section at the Cannes festival.

Two year laters, in 1983, he was back in Cannes with his film ‘Kaliyugaya’

In 1988, the Cinematheque Francaise had a retrospective of his work and made Lester James and Sumithra Peiris life members of the prestigeous Cinematheque Francaise.

The same year, in 1988, the Festival of Three Continents in Nantes recognised Dr. Peries as one of the best film-makers of the three continents – Asia, Africa and Latin America.

When the Cannes Film Festival celebrated its 45th anniversary, in 1992, Dr. Peiris was invited to be a member of the prestigeous Jury with Gerard Depardieu as President.

In 1995 when world cinema celebrated its centenary, his (1972) film Nidhanaya was included among the Top 100 films of the century by the prestigious Cinematheque Française.

In 1997, he was decorated by the Government of France as Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters.

The Alliance Francaise de Colombo recently paid tribute to Dr. Peiris with a special screening of his 2002 movie ‘Wekanda Walauwwe’ or the ‘Mansion by the Lake’ titled ‘Le Domaine’ in French.

September 2022 also marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Wekande Walauwwe, produced by Chandran Rutnam

The Chekov-inspired ‘Wekande Walauwa’, was Sri Lanka’s first-ever submission to the Academy Awards. It was also screened at Cannes in 2003 as part of the Official Selection.

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Death threats won’t deter us – EC Chairman




Nimal Punchihewa (Chairman ECSL) picture by PRIYAN DE SILVA
Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka Nimal Punchihewa told The Island that members of  the election commission won’t be deterred by death threats.
He said that members of the commission  M M Mohamed,  K P P Pathirana and S B Diwarathne have been repeatedly threatened and the police have not been able to apprehend the perpetrators.
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Three people dead after torrential rain in New Zealand




At least three people have died due to flash flodding in Auckland (picture BBC)

BBC reported that at least three people have died and one is missing after New Zealand’s largest city experienced its “wettest day on record” on Friday.

Auckland is said to have received 75% of its usual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.

A local state of emergency was declared as authorities managed evacuations and widespread flooding.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins thanked emergency services for their swift response to the disaster.The new prime minister travelled to Auckland, where he also expressed his condolences to the loved ones of those who died in the floods.

“The loss of life underscores the sheer scale of this weather event and how quickly it turned tragic”, he said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon.

The downpour flooded the airport, shifted houses and resulted in power cuts to homes for hours.

New Zealand’s defence forces were mobilised to assist with evacuations and emergency shelters were set up across the city.

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Parliament prorogued on Friday night



President says cabinet agreeable to fully implementing 13 A until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment

Parliament was prorogued from midnight Friday (27) by President Ranil Wickremesinghe under powers vested in him by Article 70 of the Constitution, parliamentary sources said on Friday.

The Department of Government Printing was due to issue the relevant notification on Friday night but it was not out as this edition went to print.However the President’ Media Division (PMD) confirmed the prorogation on Friday evening saying that President Wickremesinghe “is expected” to make a policy statement based on the decisions taken after the 75th Independence anniversary when parliament recommences on Feb.8.

A separate bulletin said that the president had informed the party leaders Conference on Reconciliation that the cabinet was agreeable to “fully implementing (the) 13th Amendment until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment.”

Parliamentary sources explained that a prorogation which is a temporary recess of parliament, should not extend to a period of more than two months, However, such date for summoning parliament may be advanced by another presidential proclamation provided it is summoned for a date not less than three days from the date of such fresh proclamation.

Political observers believe that the prorogation is related to the president’s effort to secure as wide a consensus as possible on the National Question. They dismissed speculation that it is related to the scheduled local elections. This issue was clarified by the PMD bulletin.

When parliament is prorogued, the proclamation should notify the date of the commencement of the new session of parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution.During the prorogation the speaker continues to function and MPs retain their membership of the legislature even though they do not attend meetings of the House.

The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments.A Bill, motion or question of the same substance cannot be introduced for a second time during the same session. However, it could be carried forward at a subsequent session after a prorogation.

“All matters which having been duly brought before parliament, have not been disposed of at the time of the prorogation, may be proceeded with during the next session,” states the paragraph (4) of article 70 of the constitution.

In the light of this constitutional provision, a prorogation does not result in an end to pending business. Thus, a pending matter may be proceeded with from that stage onwards after the commencement of the new session.

At the beginning of a new session all items of business which were in the order paper need to be re-listed, if it is desired to continue with them.At the end of a prorogation a new session begins and is ceremonially declared open by the president.

He is empowered under the constitution to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each session of parliament and to preside at ceremonial sittings of parliament in terms of the provisions of paragraph (2) of article 33 of the constitution.The president is empowered to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each new session. In the past, it was known as the Throne Speech which was delivered by the Governor-General.

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