Lanka to remain neutral in Russia-Ukrainian conflict
(PTI) The Government on Friday said it won’t take sides in the ongoing military conflict involving Russia and Ukraine, even as it admitted that the escalation of violence will have “severe” economic impact on the island nation, which is already facing an acute forex crisis.
“We are watching the situation (in Ukraine), but won’t take sides. Each can have their own reasons…,” Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage told the media.
He said the economic impact on Sri Lanka would be “severe” from the conflict. “We will have to pay more for our fuel and gas, our tea market will get affected,” Colombage said.
Colombage said there are only a handful of Sri Lankans in Ukraine and they have been asked to get in touch with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Turkish capital Ankara, which is concurrently accredited to Kyiv, for assistance.
Tea is the main export item from Sri Lanka to Russia. According to export figures, in 2020, the export value of tea to Russia was over USD 142 million.
Sri Lanka is facing its all-time worst foreign exchange crisis after the pandemic hit the nation’s earnings from tourism and remittances. By December last, the reserves position had plummeted to just one month’s imports or a little over USD 1 billion.
In recent months, the public has experienced a shortage of many essentials due to the foreign exchange crisis. Import restrictions to save dollars have threatened cooking gas and fuel supplies in addition to the looming power cuts.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry in a statement called upon all parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint and work towards the immediate cessation of hostilities, in order to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.
“The Government of Sri Lanka is deeply concerned about the recent escalation of violence in Ukraine,” the statement said.
Sri Lanka emphasises the need for concerted efforts by all parties concerned to resolve the crisis through diplomacy and sincere dialogue, the statement added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin cast aside international condemnation and sanctions and launched an all-out attack on Ukraine on Thursday. He also warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences they had never seen”.
Opp. alleges Prez intends to bring media under his thumb, roll back election map
‘Broadcasting Authority a political mechanism led by Media Secretary’
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Top Opposition spokesman Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday (05) alleged that President Ranil Wickremesinghe intended to silence television and radio stations through the proposed Broadcasting Authority Bill (BAB).
The former External Affairs Minister asserted that the BAB was part of a destructive political strategy meant to neutralise the media against the backdrop of the President’s bid to roll back the election map. He said so, referring to President Wickremesinghe’s recent declaration at the Bar Association event in Nuwara Eliya that the primary interest of the public was nothing but the revival of the economy. The UNP leader downplayed the importance of elections.
Addressing the media at the party office of Nidahasa Jathika Sabhawa, Prof. Peiris explained how the President planned to rein in free media through the five-member Broadcasting Authority Commission, and a three-member committee tasked with inquiring into complaints. The MP questioned the suitability of the President naming three persons to the Commission, in addition to appointing the Secretary to the Media Ministry who would be ex-officio head of the five-member Commission.
Urging the media to be vigilant of President Wickremesinghe’s game plan, rebel SLPP lawmaker said that the proposed committee would have the power to initiate inquiries on its own and conduct raids on ‘offending’ media institutions. The MP discussed the possibility of the committee taking hold of documents and other data in the hands of journalists while threatening them with imprisonment unless they revealed their sources.
Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, in a separate statement, vowed to oppose the proposed Bill, both in Parliament and outside. MP Premadasa said that the decision-making body of the Opposition political parties, led by the SJB, resolved to campaign against the controversial Bill.
The first salvos against the Bill were fired by one-time Media Ministry Secretary Charitha Herath, and SJB stalwart Dr. Harsha de Silva last week. In response to their criticism, Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse PC announced that they were still in the process of discussing proposals pertaining to the proposed Broadcasting Authority Bill.
Prof. Peiris emphasized that contrary to such claims the relevant Bill was in the public domain. The former minister said that there couldn’t be any doubt over whether the government would finalize the Bill and, if enacted, would automatically silence the media.
Describing the Bill as seriously flawed, Prof. Peiris questioned the competency of those who prepared it. It couldn’t have been done at the Legal Draftsman’s Department, the ex-minister said, alleging that responsibility had been outsourced.
Prof. Peiris said that the Supreme Court would be definitely moved against the proposed law. The academic said that the government was engaged in a desperate bid to consolidate its position. Comparing the Broadcasting Authority Bill with the Bill on the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Peiris said that the former wouldn’t receive the go ahead from the Supreme Court. The proposed Bill as a whole was contrary to the Constitution, lawmaker Peiris said, asserting that democracy couldn’t survive the death of the media.
Referring to President Wickremesinghe’s speech to the National Law Conference at the Nuwara Eliya Grand Hotel, Prof. Peiris said that just because the UNP was in a pathetic state and couldn’t do well at elections, at any level, the UNP leader shouldn’t try to justify his bulldozing actions.
Prof. Peiris accused the President of putting off Local Government polls as he feared facing the electorate. The UNP is represented in Parliament by just one National List seat, earlier held by the President.
Osaka immigration doctor may have worked after drinking – Kin of late Lankan detainee decry
TOKYO —The bereaved kin of a Sri Lankan woman who died while detained in a Nagoya immigration facility in 2021 despite her pleas for medical treatment have expressed their dismay over recent news that a female doctor at the Osaka Regional Immigration Services Bureau is suspected of having worked under the influence of alcohol.
Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo on the evening of 04 June, the family of Sri Lankan woman Wishma Sandamali, who died in March 2021 at the age of 33, protested that unless the medical system for immigration facilities is improved, the same thing could happen again.
The Osaka doctor worked full time at the immigration facility. Alcohol was detected on her breath on 20 January this year. She has since been removed from medical examination work. Information about the doctor was conveyed to the Immigration Services Agency of Japan in January, but not reported to the Diet, where deliberations are underway on an amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act that would strengthen measures to deport foreign nationals without a valid status of residence.
Participating in the June 4 news conference were Wishma’s sisters Wayomi and Poornima. Wayomi, 30, criticized the stance of immigration authorities, saying, “My older sister died because a medical system was not properly established (at the detention facility). It’s so wrong that an incident like this can happen in spite of that. Without a proper medical system in place, I think it will be a matter of course for more people to fall victim like my sister.”
Poornima, 28, added, “It is only recently that the information (about the Osaka case) came to light, and the immigration agency had been hiding the information. I think this may be because they haven’t accepted responsibility for my sister’s death.” (Japanese original by Yukinao Kin, Digital News Group)
SJB asks President to hold early general election
The SJB has informed President Ranil Wickrem-esinghe that it can consider his proposal to join the government if a general election is held first.
Addressing the media in Colombo, SJB National Organiser Tissa Attanayake said yesterday that the President had asked the SJB to join the government.
“We have informed the President of our stance. First of all, a general election has to be held. We have conveyed that our support will be contingent upon the outcome of a fresh mandate from the people,” Attanayake said.
The SJB national organiser said that the President was allied with “the wrong people.”
“The President wants us to work with him, however, he is with the SLPP, which is responsible for the current economic crisis. It makes no sense to work with the SLPP,” he said. (RK)
First sprinter to run 100m in under 10 seconds dies
Showers in Western and Sabaragamuwa provinces and in Galle and Matara districts
Opp. alleges Prez intends to bring media under his thumb, roll back election map
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
#Sundayisland Sunday Island- 31 January- Headlines
Business5 days ago
‘ඇය සුරකින AIA’ celebrates one year of empowering half a million women to rise together
Business5 days ago
DFCC Bank provides exclusive free access to DOC 990 for DFCC Aloka accountholders
News5 days ago
AI demands immediate release of Natasha
News6 days ago
Misappropriation of Rs 195 mn: Fort Magistrate clears way for continuation of CID probe
Opinion6 days ago
Features4 days ago
Religious cauldron being stirred; filthy rich in abjectly poor country
Features6 days ago
Please, take charge of Poson celebrations: A proposal to Mahanayake Theras
Opinion4 days ago
Demystifying Buddhism: Need of the hour?