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JVP-led trade union front issues warnings to govt.



By Saman Indrajith

JVP trade union wing leader, K.D. Lalkantha, on Thursday, said workers would go all out to send the incumbent government home.

Addressing a rally organised by the Trade Union Coordinating Centre’s United People’s Movement (TUCCPM), at Hyde Park, Colombo, Lalkantha said: “We have united the leaders of the Galle Face struggle, the farmers’ struggle, fishers’ struggle and the members of the Hartal protest. We all are now on a single stage. We used to have several slogans. One of them was Gota Go Home. The other was to rough the thieves out. Gota has gone but the thieves are still there. Similarly, the slogans of punishing the thieves and recovering stolen wealth are still valid today. We have joined, under a single slogan – to send this government home and push for an election to get a new government. We must get the Parliament dissolved. All progressive forces are converging and joining this struggle. We call on all the people to line up with us. We assure that the new phase of the struggle, that we commence today will end in certain victory.”

Co-Convener of the TUCCM and Chairman of the All Ceylon Management Services Officers’ Union, Udeni Dissanayake, said: We had mounted a massive struggle. One of the results of that struggle was Ranil Wickremesinghe, who did not have the people’s mandate, becoming the President of the country. We, today, commence a new phase of the struggle from Hyde Park. We will carry on until we see the end of the Ranil-Rajapaksa government. We have to see the end of this government to save people living in hunger and neck-deep in taxes. There is no use of keeping a government that has no answers for the people’s problems.

Independent Port Employees’ Union President, Lal Bandamuwa, said: “Ranil Wickremeisnghe is under obligation to look after the interest of the lot who hoisted him up. Those who elected him President were the ones that had been chased away by the people several months back. They do not know the hunger of the people. Then there is Ranil’s coterie who now holds top posts. They used to call the Rajapaksa and his men thieves. Now, they are united in the same government.”

Ven. Koswatte Mahanama Thera representing the Galle Face strugglers, said: “We call on all the members of the clergy to open their eyes and see the obvious, and how people are starving, and without medicine. The members of the clergy should stand up to chase this makeshift government that has no mandate of the people.

President of the Colombo University Students’ Union, Hiruna Hettiarachchi, said: “This rally, in Hyde Park, today, is the first salvo against the Ranil-Rajapaksa government. Ranil is mistaken if he thinks that people will keep their silence forever suffering in the crisis. He must realize that the people’s power is mightier than the powers of the executive presidency.”

President of the Association of Health Professionals, Ravi Kumudesh, said: “There is no other solution for the prevailing crisis than establishing a new government. The incumbent government has neither a mandate nor solutions for the people’s problems. No other country can help us until this makeshift government, without the people’s mandate, is ousted. They do not step down, now we are left with one solution – that is to expel them. We have started that campaign today.”

Activist and lawyer Dr. Kaushalya Ariyarathne, representing Progressive Women’s Collective, said: “The majority, in this country, are women, and they know the gravity of the ongoing crisis, being unable to provide food for their children. Women are the first victims of this crisis. Time has come for them to leave the kitchen and join the struggle, to send the government home.

Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union President, Chandana Dissanayake, said: We unconditionally support this struggle to send the Ranil-Rajapaksa government home. It is time that all must come forward to join this struggle, overlooking their political differences,for the sake of the future of this country. We will not turn back until we win our goal.”

Workers’ Rights Movement’s General Secretary, Piyasiri Fernando, said: “Ranil Wickremesinghe has forgotten how he lied low for one year, after the election in which he could not muster votes for at least a single seat, in any electorate of this country. People have not forgotten that. People will chase him away, sooner than he thinks. We must continue forward with this struggle.”

Rev, Father Amila Jeewantha Peiris, representing the Galle Face strugglers, said: “I visited Convenor of the Inter-University Bhikku Federation, Galewela Siridhamma Thera, in hospital, and saw how appalling the way he is being treated. That 25-year-old monk is ill-disposed on a hospital bed fighting the dengue virus. His bed is surrounded by armed members of the security forces, as if he is a terrorist. We have seen how the Prevention of Terrorism Act is abused to persecute Tamils and Muslims, from time to time. Now it is used against all the people.”

D.M.P. Abeyratne, of the Railway Unions’ Alliance, said: “We emphasize to Ranil, his coterie, and his newly-found SLPP friends, that they are nothing for the united unions’ power. Their power is not for that long. We will certainly win this struggle and see them off.”

President of the Inter-Company Employees Union (JVP), Wasantha Samarasinghe, said: “The government must step down because it has no solutions for the people’s problems. It is unable to deliver solutions and the day is not long when people will drag the Ranil-Rajapaksa gang by the ear and dump them in the Beira Lake.”

Other trade union leaders, who addressed the rally, were the All Ceylon Medical Officers’ Association President Dr. Jayantha Bandara, General Secretary of the Samagi Workers’ Union Subash Perera, Socialist Youth Union National Organizer Eranga Gunasekera, National Programme Coordinator of Da-Bindu Collective Chamila Thushari, All Ceylon Nurses’ Union Chairman Amila Ratnayake, National Organizer of the All Ceylon Fisheries Federation Ratna Gamage, Secretary of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation branch of the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya Nishantha Ranaweera, National Water Supply and Drainage Board Workers’ Union President SGN Liyanarachchi, All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation Secretary T.B. Sarath, National Trade UInion Front Organizer Tamara Gayani Hettipola, Harbour Workers’ Union Alliance’s Roshan Perera, Sri Lanka Postal and Telecommunication Workers’ Union Chairman Chinthaka Bandara, Attorney-at-Law Manoj Nanayakkara representing the Galle Face strugglers, Jagath Manuwarna of the Aluth Parapura, President of the Moratuwa University Students’ Union Nishan Kavinda, and Priyantha Prabhath of the CEB United Trade Unions Alliance.


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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