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Number of questions MPs could raise reduced from 15 to 10

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By Saman Indrajith

The party leaders, who met yesterday, had agreed to decrease the number of questions the MPs could raise in the House during the question sessions from 15 to 10, Parliament sources said.

They said the agreement had been reached in view of the time spent on question session during a normal sitting day.

Usually 15 questions are allowed for a day and one hour is allotted from the sitting time before the commencement of business of Parliament. However, there have been occasions in the recent past when the questions session dragged till lunch time as many MPs raised points of order demanding explanations. Following the commencement of Parliament today at 10 am, time will be allotted for the oral questions of the MPs until 11 am.

The party leaders meeting chaired by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena was held yesterday at the parliamentary complex.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that the regulation issued by the Minister of Labour, under an Extraordinary Gazette which was presented to Parliament on January 21, under the Employees Provident Fund Act would be taken up for debate today (09). The debate was scheduled to commence at 11.00 am and to continue until 04.30 pm. The adjournment motion moved by the ruling party was scheduled to be taken up for debate from 04.30 pm to 5.30 pm, Dasanayake said.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa would answer the questions raised by MPs on Wednesday, (10) from 10 am to 10.30 am. Thereafter, from 10.30 am to 11 am, time has been allotted for question time of the MPs.

On Wednesday regulations imposed under the Gem and Jewellery Act were scheduled be taken up for debate, which would be held from 11 am to 4.30 pm. After that the adjournment motion moved by the Opposition it would be taken up for debate, Parliament sources said.

Sources said that three regulations under the Imports and Exports (Control) Act would be taken up for debate on Thursday (11). On the same day, from 10 am to 11 am, time would be allotted for the oral questions of the Members of Parliament and the adjournment motion moved by the Government would be taken up for debate from 04.30 pm to 5.30 pm.

Votes of Condolence on the late MPs Surangani Ellawala, K.P Silva and Kapila Abeyratne are scheduled to be presented in Parliament on Friday (12). The sitting would be held from 10 am to 4.30 pm on that day and no time would be allotted for the questions of the MPs, sources said.



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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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

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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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