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Liquor licences for govt. cronies will deprive pregnant mothers, children of Thriposha

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By Saman Indrajith

The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) yesterday alleged that the government had issued four liquor manufacturing licences to its cronies who would further worsen the prevailing maize shortage by using those grains for the production of beer and spirit.

Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s office in Colombo, Kurunegala District SJB MP Thushara Indunil said that there was a shortage of maize in the country. “While there is a severe shortage of maize, the government has surreptitiously issued four licences – two for spirit production, two for beer production, to its crony businessmen. Those businessmen will use the remaining stocks of maize to produce beer and spirit and that will worsen the acute shortage of maize in the country.”

The SJB MP said there was a shortfall in the locally produced maize supply. A portion of the production is used to manufacture nutritional supplements such as Thriposha, a blended and nutrient-rich supplementary food provided to infants and expectant mothers. “Some of the produce is sent to market for people to buy while a portion of the produce is also used for animal food production. The government stopped importing maize without taking action to promote production of the grain in the country. They allowed their crony businessmen to import wheat. Following the suspension of imports, the animal food industry is now in a quandary. In addition, the suspension of importing affected negatively on the poultry industry too because maize is a key ingredient in making poultry feed.”

The Thriposha factory in Ja-Ela had been shut down citing the reason of inability to obtain maize, MP Induni said.

“Now the Thriposha given to low income pregnant women and infants is not available as it is no longer produced. In the coming days the poultry industry too is going to face a crisis. The situation has been aggravated further by the Sena caterpillar destroying much of the maize cultivation during the recent past. While the country is suffering from maize shortage the government has issued beer and spirit manufacturing licences. Those businessmen will buy the remaining maize stocks to produce beer and spirit. Production of spirit and beer requires grains they have to use either rice or maize. Now, the infant children and pregnant women are starving but the government promotes beer and spirit production. This is how the so-called Sinhala Buddhist government behaves.”

“We have information that a spirit production factory is being set up in Passekudah. That factory belongs to one of the leading businessmen that supported this government. We condemn this and demand that the government revoke the licences at least for the sake of saving maize for the production of Thriposha for the low income earning families. We have no problem with the government looking after its friends, but that cannot be permitted at the cost of innocent pregnant women and infants. We are planning to campaign against the issuance of liquor manufacturing licences and hope that the people will stand up with us.”

Badulla District SJB MP Vadivel Suresh also addressed the press.



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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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