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Parliamentary Election 2020- Ratnapura Seat Allocation



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COVID-19 scare grips Matara as Russian crew member tests positive




Media reports that a Russian staying at a boutique hotel in Polhena, Matara had tested positive for COVID-19 caused panic in Matara, yesterday.

The COVID-19 patient was one of the 15 crew members of a Russian cargo flight, which arrived in Sri Lanka, last Sunday. The aircraft departed yesterday with 14 crew members who had tested negative.

Health authorities said the foreigner who had tested positive had been transferred to the Hambantota hospital while the 23 employees of the hotel, drivers of vehicles in which the group had travelled, the members of their families and others who had come into contact with the group had been asked to undergo self-quarantine. They said there was no need for the people to panic and all precautions had been taken to prevent the spread of the disease.

Contact tracing was underway and the situation was under control, health officials said.

However, the people who spoke to The Island said the Russians had been sighted in places like supermarkets in the Matara town. Many others may have come into contact with them.

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UK’s Webley & Scott to make its guns in India



BY S VENKAT NARAYAN Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, September 23:

Famous British handgun manufacturing giant Webley & Scott (W&S) will begin manufacturing its arms in India in November this year. It will be the first foreign company to manufacture firearms in India.

W&S had armed the Allied forces during the two World Wars, and has produced weapons for at least 15 countries. Production will begin from its new unit in Uttar Pradesh’s Sandila (Hardoi), 30 km from Lucknow.

The firearms manufacturing company has joined hands with Lucknow-based Sial Manufacturers Pvt Ltd for the project. It will begin operations with the production of revolvers. The new unit will manufacture its .32 revolver in the first phase.

Speaking from Birmingham, W&S’s co-owner John Bright told The Times of India: “Later, we will manufacture pistols, airguns, shotgun and ammunition as well.”

He said the company decided to invest in India keeping in view the vast market potential.


The idea to expand the company’s business got shape after discussions with the Sial family in 2018.

“We entered a new joint venture for the manufacture of firearms and airguns in India for the Indian domestic market. We got the licence to manufacture firearms in India in 2019. The original design of the Mark IV .32 pistol of 1899 will be used to cater to the Indian market in the first phase,” Bright said.

A team of 15 experts from England visited India to set up the facility in Sandila, which took them four months.

Joginder Pal Singh Sial of Sial Manufacturers, the all-India distributor of W&S products, said: “The government’s support and the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ policy helped the project take final shape.”

“The cost of the .32 revolver will be INR 1,60,000. We will give stiff competition to the arms manufactured by ordnance factories. People will now get world-class weapons at their doorsteps,” he added.

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SLPP MP draws attention of parliament to many shortcomings in election process



By Saman Indrajith

The election deposit that must be submitted by an independent candidate to contest an election had remained the same since 1981 while no deposits were required for recognised political parties, Parliament was told on Wednesday (23). 

Opening the adjournment debate on the performance report of the Election Commission, SLPP National List MP Sagara Kariyawasam told Parliament that independent candidates had been required to deposit just Rs. 2,000 when contesting an election since 1981 while recognised political parties did not have to make any deposit. “We need to increase the amount to be deposited by a candidate,” Kariyawasam insisted. 

MP Kariyawasam thanked the Election Commission and its staff for having conducted the 2020 parliamentary election in a free and fair manner and in a peaceful atmosphere. “In addition, the election was held in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures were adopted to ensure that the election did not result in the spread of the disease within the country is laudable.”

Nevertheless, he noted that the gazetting of the candidates’ preferential vote numbers had been delayed due to disagreements among the three members of the Election Commission. “The Commission has three members and the quorum for a meeting is also three. As such, it is clear that increasing the number of members of the commission to five is sensible.”

Kariyawasam stressed that due to the severe restrictions imposed on election propaganda, only candidates who had enough financial resources could advertise on electronic and print media. 

MP Kariyawasam also pointed out that many of those engaged in essential services continued to be disenfranchised as they were required to remain at work on election days. “As per current election laws, even those in the health sector such as doctors and nurses, employees working on expressways, staff of aviation services and those in the hotel industry are not entitled to postal voting. As such, it would be better to introduce advance voting for such persons on a day closer to the polling day at their places of work.”

The MP, however, pointed out that a large amount of funds was needed to carry out advance voting, which was one reason why the deposit money should be increased. 

He said that given the massive workforce and effort that is needed to hold an election, it was time to explore the possibility of launching a pilot project on introducing electronic voting. 

The Government Printer, Department of Posts, police and Government employees were yet to be paid for work they had done during the elections, Kariyawasam said.

Kariyawasam drew the attention of Parliament to a large number of rejected votes.

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