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JVP flays govt. for bringing Ukrainian tourists without repatriating Lankan migrant workers

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By Saman Indrajith

Sri Lankan migrant workers knew that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had two characters and he had a peaceful side and a dark side since he treated the migrant workers and Ukrainian tourists in two different ways, member of the JVP-led NPP member of the Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council Samanmalee Gunasinghe said yesterday.

Addressing the media at the JVP headquarters in Pelawatte, Gunasinghe said that the tourism industry contributed only around four billion rupees to the national economy while the migrant workers’ contribution was at seven billion rupees a year.

“The government overlooked bringing home the stranded Lankan migrant workers but rolled out the red carpet to Ukrainian tourists. There were COVID-19 infections among those tourists and that finally resulted in some Lankan hotel employees and drivers getting infected by the virus. The President welcomed the Lankan migrant workers who came down in planeloads to vote for his party.

Gunasinghe said adding that the Ukrainian tourists were given princely treatment while the government had allowed its friendly businessmen to exploit the Sri Lankan migrant workers who are brought home.

JVP-led NPP MP Dr Harini Amarasuriya said the repatriation of Sri Lankan migrant workers had become a big business for a handful of tycoons. “We are happy that many leading government members in and out of parliament last week said they too felt something suspicious about this process. Around 300 Lankan citizens died abroad because of the pandemic. The issue of stranded Lankan migrant workers is not a problem that came up last week. It started around 10 months back but its was only last week that the government expressed its willingness to bring them home. Now, the government says that only those who have registered themselves with the Foreign Employment Bureau would be brought home, but when they sent seven billion rupees home the government did not ask whether they were registered or not. Every person has a right to return to his or her home country. It is a universally-accepted human right. It is unfortunate that the government has no regard for that.”

Progressive Women’s Collective Chairperson, Saroja Savithri Paulraj said: “The government should take responsibility for every single Lanka migrant worker who died abroad because it failed to help those workers come home owing to the pandemic. Every other nation in the world has brought its citizens home.



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Death threats won’t deter us – EC Chairman

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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

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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

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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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