By Saman Indrajith
The party leaders at a meeting yesterday decided to continue with the debate on the Presidential Commission of Inquiry report on the Easter Sunday carnage, for two more days (25 and 26 March).
The two days of the next sitting week have been allocated for the debate, which commenced on March 10.
The Party Leaders, who met with Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena presiding, yesterday morning decided to convene Parliament for four days in the next week from March 23 to 26, Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said.
Parliament will convene on March 23 at 10.00 am and one hour will be allocated for questions from MPs and a resolution under Section 10 of the Customs Ordinance regarding import duties, two regulations imposed by the Minister of Finance under the Imports and Exports Act and an order under the Sri Lanka Export Development Act will be taken up for debate, which is scheduled to end at 4.30 pm.
Two regulations under the Motor Traffic Act are listed for the debate on the following day from 11.00 am to 4.30 pm.
The Party Leaders also agreed to allocate one hour for questions of MPs, on Thursday, and to allocate full sittings time on Friday for the debate without questions time.
Leader of the House and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that steps would be taken to set aside a day or two for answering questions raised by MPs. He said so in answer to a question from Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella regarding the adjournment of questions.
The Party Leaders discussed the possibility of having a debate on the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimisation and the report of the Presidential Commission of inquiry into the incidents of fraud and misappropriations which have allegedly taken place at public institutions from January 14, 2015 to December 31, 2018.
Chief Government Whip and Minister of Highways Johnston Fernando, Ministers Chamal Rajapaksa, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Mahinda Amaraweera and Prasanna Ranatunga, Members of Parliament Gayantha Karunatilake, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, M. A. Sumanthiran and Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who is not a Member of the Committee, were present at the meeting.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
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