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Justice Minister fed up with Parliament

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Minister of Justice Ali Sabry says he has had enough of Parliament and does not want to reenter it after serving the current term. Instead, he says he will return to the legal profession.

Minister Sabry said so, speaking at the launch of Attorney-at-Law Pramaratne Jayasinghe’s book, ‘Criminal Law’, at the BMICH on Saturday, He said the judiciary remained independent, and Sri Lankans could be proud of that. The legal profession would thrive only if the independence of the judiciary prevailed. “There are many pointing fingers at us for this and that, but I can assure you that I am committed to safeguarding the independence of the judiciary. The independence of the judiciary alone is not sufficient for the efficient dispensation of justice. The judicial process should be efficient for that purpose.

 “There is no point in blaming each other for the plight we are in, and all of us must strive to light a single candle each instead of cursing darkness,” the minister said.

In many other middle-income countries such as Thailand and Malaysia there were 60 judges per one million people. India had 20 judges per one million people. In Sri Lanka there were only 15 judges per one million people, the Justice Minister said, adding that the number of judges should be increased immediately to streamline the judicial process. “We have increased the number of Supreme Court judges from 11 to 17. The number of judges of the Court of Appeal was increased from 12 to 20. The results of these increases should be felt by the people otherwise they would be mere provisions of jobs.

Minister Sabry said that there were some archaic laws that had to be updated in line with the modern-day needs. “We have some laws which have not been amended for the past 100 years. We have commenced a project to update some of them and 94 such laws have been identified for the updating. We already have updated seven laws, and four would be updated on Jan 11. We hope to commence the process of digitizing the court process by June next year,” the Minister added.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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