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JVP says govt. seeking legislative approval to end trials against its cronies, penalize prosecutors & judges



Through Resolution tabled in Parliament by PM on Friday

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa tabled a resolution in Parliament last Friday seeking legislative approval to end trials against several family members indicted for corruption and military officials accused of murder and abduction, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake asserted.

He accused the government of directly interfering in matters before the judiciary after efforts to convince the Attorney General to drop the cases proved futile.

Revealing the contents of the Resolution of Parliament at a news conference last week, the JVP leader said the move by the premier sought to end trials currently underway in the courts against former Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda and other high ranking naval officers who have been indicted for conspiracy to abduct and murder 11 Tamil youth in 2008-2009 by a mercenary navy racketeers, Nissanka Senadhipathi, the chairman of Avant Garde, indicted for gun-running, and Udaya Gammanpila who was indicted for fraud.

He said the Resolution also seeks to end trial proceedings against Basil Rajapaksa for money laundering in connection to a villa he owned in Malwana.

The JVP leader further said the Resolution tabled by Premier Rajapaksa also seeks parliamentary approval to end judicial proceedings against:

* Ex-Ambassador to Russia, Udyanga Weeratunga (MiG deal) – Rajapaksa Cousin

* Ex-Ambassador to the US, Jaliya Wickramasuriya (Money Laundering) – Rajapaksa Cousin

* Current Chief of Staff to PM, Yoshitha Rajapaksa (CSN Network/Money Laundering) – PM’s son

* Suspects in the assassination of Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge

* Suspects in the abduction and torture of journalist Keith Noyahr


According to Dissanayake, the PM’s resolution of Parliament recommends prosecuting judges for hearing the cases and filing legal action against lawyers at the AG’s Department for filing the indictments. The Resolution also recommends the prosecution of CID officers and investigators at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption (CIABOC) for conducting investigations into the crimes.

He added that the resolution – which clearly draws from the recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on political victimization – recommends the prosecution of complainants in the cases.

He pointed out that even SLPP MP Udaya Gammanpila, whose fraud case is on the list of trials to be dismissed by the resolution of Parliament, will vote in support of the Government’s latest move.

“In what universe,” Dissanayake asked, “does the accused in a crime have the privilege of raising his hand and voting in favour of a resolution that will see to it that his own criminal case will be dismissed? So, he becomes the judge in his own case?”

“The 6.9 million people who voted for this Government and gave it a two-thirds majority in Parliament should think about whether they intended for this regime to use their parliamentary super majority to get their crooked cronies, murderers and criminals out of jail,” Dissanayake told the news briefing.


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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city




Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled



by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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Cardinal urges Catholics to fight for justice



 By Norman Palihawadane

Today’s Church does not need ‘sacristy Catholics’ but a laity who fight for justice, says Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

Addressing a gathering at a ceremony to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Deva Dharma Nikethanaya, at Archbishop’s House auditorium, at Borella, last week, the Cardinal said that turning every layperson into a mature Christian, fit for leadership, should be the foremost duty of the Catholic Church. “Once the Catholic Church functioned as a Bishop-priest centered church and did only what the Bishop of the priest would say. We have to change the outlook of the Church. Today, we no longer need such sacristy Catholics. We need a laity who are ready to get down to the streets and fight for justice and do what is right for society,” the Cardinal said.

“The Church needs Christians who will commit themselves for Christ and follow his example. We do not need spoon-fed babies,” he said.

He said that the Bishops and Priests should not be afraid of handing over the responsibilities to the laity. “We should share our responsibilities with joy. The Church cannot continue otherwise. Understanding this situation, Pope Francis wants to change the priest-centres position that has become a theoretical doctrine in the church and to study how the church should change in a way that suits the present world.”

Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka Rev Dr Brian Udaigwe and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference President Rt Rev Dr Harold Anthony Perera also addressed the gathering.

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