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Floods strong possibility with turbulence in Bay of Bengal



By Ifham Nizam

The Meteorological Department yesterday said that there could be heavy showers in the southwestern parts of the country in the coming days due to the prevailing turbulence in the Bay of Bengal.

The Irrigation Department has warned of possible floods. Director General of the Irrigation Department S.P.C. Sugeeshwara said that low lying areas adjoining rivers could be inundated.

Sugeeshwara said that due to the recent rains, some parts of the country had been flooded. The Deduru Oya and the Udawalawe and Inginimitiya reservoirs were brimful and their sluice gates would have to be opened anytime.

The Department also said if the sluice gates were opened, the low lands on both sides of the Deduru Oya, the lowlands on both sides of the Walawe River and the lowlands on both sides of the Mee Oya would be inundated.

The Irrigation Department also warned the public to remain vigilant about flood warnings.

The Director General of the National Building Research Organisation Asiri Karunawardena said that there was a risk of landslides in Badulla, Nuwara-Eliya, Kandy, Kegalle, Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Kurunegala, Colombo and Gampaha districts.

Low pressure in the East Central Bay of Bengal was very likely to develop into a cyclone today, the Department of Meteorology said.

It is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach near the west Bengal coast on Wednesday (May 26).

According to the Department, forecast showers or thundershowers will occur at times in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central, North-western, and Southern provinces.

Fairly heavy falls of about 75mm could be expected at some places in Western and Sabaragamuwa provinces and in Galle and Matara districts.

Several spells of showers will occur in the Northern and North-central provinces. Showers or thundershowers will occur at a few places in Eastern and Uva provinces during the evening or night.

Wind speed can increase up to 40-50 kmph at times over the country and reach 50-55 kmph at times in the Western slope of the Central hills, Northern, North-central, North-western, and Uva provinces and in Hambantota district.

Winds will be south-westerly in the sea areas around the country. Wind speed will be 30-40 kmph.

Wind speed can increase up to 55-60 kmph in the sea area extending from Chilaw to Trincomalee via Puttalam, Mannar, and Kankesanturai and in the sea area extending from Galle to Pottuvil via Hambantota.

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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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