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China hosts reception for Lankan rescue mission that rushed to aid capsized Chinese fishing ship

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Divers being felicitated

On the evening of 06 June, an appreciation reception for the Sri Lanka’s search and rescue mission of the capsized Chinese fishing ship “Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028” was hosted at the Shangri- La Hotel Colombo by Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Qi Zhenhong.About 300 guests, including Sagala Rathnayake, Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser on National Security to the President, Dr. Bandula Gunawardana, Minister of Transport and Highways, Minister of Mass Media and Cospokesperson of Cabinet, Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dewi Gustina Tobing,Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Sri Lanka, Paul Stephens, the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, and all the officers and sailors of the Sri Lanka Navy ship Vijayabahu P627 were present at the reception Ambassador Qi Zhenhong thanked President Ranil Wickremesinghe for his
decisive and timely decision to provide full assistance; appreciated the Ministry of Defence of Sri Lanka, the tri-forces,and all the officers and sailors of Sri Lanka Navy ship Vijayabahu for immediately responding and coming to their aid despite the long distance.

The. Chinese envoy specially paid most sincere appreciation and highest tribute to the nine brave divers, as well as all the countries and agencies involved in the search and rescue operation, for their timely help. “This is not only a joint action to fulfill international obligations,but also a glorious mission to demonstrate the spirit of international humanitarianism.”, said Ambassador Qi, “The Chinese government, the Chinese people and all the families of the crew members of the fishing boat will always remember this special friendship.

” Ambassador Qi stressed that the ruthless sea only highlights the compassion of humanity. “Through this search and rescue operation, we once again feel the fraternal friendship of the government,the people, and the military of Sri Lanka towards China. We also feel deeply that every country and nation belongs to the global village where we share weal and woe. At a time when global risks and challenges keep emerging, solidarity and cooperation is the only right way forward. Let us join hands to build a community with a shared future for mankind!”

Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera gave a detailed introduction of the ins and outs of the rescue operation. He reviewed the danger of the diving and said that when the divers tried to enter the crew cabin area, it was just like a turbulence inside a washing machine. The gushing watermade the access impossible. Commander Perera specially mentioned that this mission was very special because of the international joint effort. Sagala Rathnayake, Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser on National Security to the President, said that Sri Lanka and China have enjoyed a relationship for a long time with cooperation in fields, including economy and defence. More importantly, China has helped Sri Lanka through many tough times. When it came to the moment to make the decision to carry out the rescue operation, it was not a difficult one.

It was not just the international obligations but also the historic relations and connections between the governments and peoples of Sri Lanka and China that let us make the decision. Nine (09) divers who participated in the salvage operation – Lieutenant Commander S.A.I.A Subhasinghe, Petty Officer K.P.A. Arunajith, Petty Officer E.M.D.A. Ekanayaka, Petty Officer D.D.N. Jayathissa, Leading Seaman H.D. Darshana, Leading Seaman N.M.C.L. Narayana, Able Seaman W.W.N.C. Sandaruwan, Able Seaman I.D.L.M. Dissanayaka, and Able Seaman R.S. Kumarage were invited to the centre of the stage where they were presented with flowers by Chinese diplomats and received tribute by all participants. Before the reception, a minute of silence for the victims of the tragedy was observed and a special video clip presented by the Sri Lankan Navy to introduce the heroic rescue mission was played.

The Chinese fishing boat “Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028” tragically capsized at the central part of the Indian Ocean on May 16, with 39 Chinese, Indonesian and Filipino crew members on board missing. China, together with Sri Lanka, Australia, India, Maldives, Indonesia, the Philippines and other countries had then carried out a joint search and rescue, which covered a total area of nearly 20,000 square nautical miles and the maximum possible drift region of people in distress.Sri Lanka immediately sent Navy ship Vijayabahu and a diving team to the accident site, which was more than 800 nautical miles away. The Sri Lankan divers were the first to dive into the water and enter the hull at the risk of their lives.



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United Republic Front presents ‘A united step for the country’ to the President

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Leader of the United Republic Front Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka, presented the proposal titled “A United Step for the Country” to President Ranil Wickremesinghe , at ‘Srikota’, the United National Party headquarters in Colombo this morning (24).

Speaking at the event President Ranil Wickremesinghe, highlighted the government’s concerted efforts over the past two years to stabilize the country’s economy, which had faced significant challenges. Stressing the government’s commitment to steering the economy towards recovery through strategic reforms, the President expressed his determination to continue these initiatives with the collective support of everyone.

Recalling his open invitation to all political parties to unite under a common agenda for the country, regardless of political differences, the President reiterated his willingness to embrace constructive proposals from all political parties as part of the nation-building efforts.

The President responded positively to the request made by Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka to allow other political parties to participate in the upcoming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month concerning the restructuring of foreign debt.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, responding queries about the scheduling of elections, affirmed that the Presidential Election will proceed as scheduled, with the General Election anticipated to take place early next year.

 

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Opp. fears govt. discarding SC recommendations on ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Bill

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Prof. G. L. Peiris

Prof. Peiris highlights need for ex post facto judicial review

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, MP, said that Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena’s refusal to accept that Supreme Court recommendations hadn’t been accommodated in ‘Online Safety Act No 09 of 2024’, would undermine their faith in the committee stage of a particular Bill.

The dissident SLPP MP said so when The Island sought his opinion on the SC determination on the ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Bill.

Against the backdrop of the continuing controversy over the circumstances under which the Parliament enacted the ‘Online Safety Bill’, the Opposition was seriously concerned about the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government adopting the same strategy in passing the ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Bill.

Prof. Peiris emphasised that the Speaker even ignored the Human Rights Commission advice that SC’s recommendations hadn’t been accommodated. The academic, who recently aligned himself with the SJB, said that the genuine Opposition shared his concerns.

Several parties challenged the ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Bill in the SC in terms of Article 121(1) of the Constitution. The determination of the SC as to the Constitutionality of the Bill concluded as—

(a) Clause 3, Clause 42, Clause 53, and Clause 70 of the Bill are inconsistent with Article 12(1) of the Constitution and required a special majority to be passed by Parliament.

(b) However, the SC stated that the said inconsistencies can be ceased if the said Clauses are amended as per the Determination of the Court.

(b) Clause 4 has to be suitably amended as per the Supreme Court Determination. Clause 72 (1) is unconstitutional and needs to be passed by a Special Majority and a Referendum. The unconstitutionality will cease if this Clause is amended as per the Determination of the Supreme Court.

(c) Correspondingly, Clause 72(2) must be amended in accordance with the Determination.

(d) Clause 75 (3) infringed the Article 4 (c) read with Article 3 of the Constitution and required 2/3 majority and a Referendum. The invalidity will cease 7 upon the amendments suggested in the Determination.

(f) Clause 83 (7) requires a special majority to be passed into law. It has to be suitably amended as per the Supreme Court Determination.

Further, the Supreme Court has determined that subject to the amendments that have adumbrated to the provisions of the Bill by the Supreme Court, the Bill could be enacted into law with a Simple Majority only if the amendments determined by the Supreme Court are introduced to the provisions.

Prof Peiris said that the crisis highlighted the need for ex post facto judicial review, for which there is at present no provision in Sri Lanka. The position is otherwise in countries like the USA and India where an Act of Parliament can be impugned, even after completion of the legislative process, on the ground of conflict with imperative provisions of the Constitution. Such provision existed in Sri Lanka prior to the First Republican Constitution of 1972.

The former minister said that in the draft Constitution Bill which he presented to Parliament on 3 August 2000 on behalf of the Government of President CBK, appropriate provision in this regard was included. “Unfortunately, the Constitution was burnt in the Chamber of Parliament. This gap in our law should be filled, in my view, when a comprehensive exercise in constitutional reform is undertaken by a new Administration after the conduct of national elections this year.”

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US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Verma visits Sri Lanka

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Deputy Secretary of State of the United States of America Richard Verma visited Sri Lanka from last Thursday to yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.

The visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and delegation had extensive discussions with Foreign Minister Ali Sabry at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on further strengthening bilateral cooperation. The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State also paid a courtesy call on President Ranil Wickremesinghe following the discussions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, while appreciating the humanitarian and emergency assistance granted by the U.S. to overcome the economic challenges encountered by Sri Lanka, welcomed the recent US$ 553 million development assistance extended by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to the Colombo West International Terminal Private Limited. He also appreciated the U.S. assistance in securing the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) from the IMF.

Foreign Minister Sabry briefed Deputy Secretary of State Verma on Sri Lanka’s priorities as Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association and the opportunities to foster collaboration in blue economy and maritime security in the region to promote freedom of navigation for all and for the facilitation of trade and commerce. He also apprised the Deputy Secretary of State of the Government’s efforts to further strengthen governance, democracy, and rule of law, as well as to combat corruption.

Deputy Secretary of State Verma while noting the encouraging progress in Sri Lanka following the economic downturn in the last two years, assured continuous U.S. assistance to the country towards economic prosperity.

The Deputy Secretary of State was accompanied by the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung, senior officials from the White House National Security Council, U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of Defence. Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Jauhar and senior officials of the Foreign Ministry were associated with the Foreign Minister at the meeting.

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