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Pathfinder and Vivekananda International to discuss Indo-Lanka bilateral relations



The Pathfinder Foundation and Vivekananda International Foundation, a leading think tank in India are due to conduct a webinar on Monday, August 17 with virtual participation of several experts from both countries on two themes – Regional and Geopolitical Environment and International Trade & Economic Relations.

The two delegations will be headed by Chairman – Pathfinder Foundation, Bernard Goonetilleke and Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director-Vivekananda International Foundation. Dr. Gupta was the former Deputy National Security Adviser and also functioned as Director General, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA).

Admiral (Prof.) Jayanath Colombage, Additional Secretary to the President on Foreign Relations and Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka will provide their perspectives on the two topics of discussion.

Anil Wadhwa, former Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs and Sanjay Chadha, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India will speak on behalf of the VIF delegation. In addition, representatives of both governments, think tanks and research organizations will take part in the discussion.

Vivekananda International Foundation is one of several Indian think-tanks the Pathfinder Foundation has formed links with over the years. The two Foundation signed a Mmemorandum of Intent (MoI) in New Delhi on 3 March 2014 following a meeting Milinda Moragoda, Founder of the Pathfinder Foundation had with Ajit Doval, then Director of VIF in New Delhi.

According to the MoI, the two Foundations are expected to work towards enhancing economic relations between the two countries; deepening civilizational links, including exploration of the possibility of promoting mutually beneficial cooperation between the leading Hindu and Buddhist establishments of the two countries; and jointly organizing lectures/seminars/conferences on important issues facing the two countries for the development of closer bilateral relations.

Earlier a delegation representing VIF was expected to visit Sri Lanka in February for an interaction with the Pathfinder Foundation. However, that meeting failed to take place due to the emergence of COVID 19.

Over the years the Pathfinder Foundation has developed a network of relations with several other leading Indian think tanks including the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), Delhi Policy Group (DPG), National Maritime Foundation (NMF), United Services Institution (USI), Kalinga International Foundation (KIF) etc.


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Foreign qualified medical students protest



A group of foreign medical degree holders protested opposite the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (23) requesting that tangible measures be taken to conduct the Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) without further delay.

They alleged that over 1,500 students had been deprived of the opportunity to sit the examination due to the fault of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, which is now under investigation by a committee, appointed by Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi.

Photo: A section of the protesting students (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

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SJB insists referendum necessary besides 2/3 majority in Parliament



Supreme Court moved against 20A

By Chitra Weerarathne

General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, yesterday (23) filed a petition in the Supreme Court stating that the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution was inconsistent with the Constitution. It requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament and approval by people at a referendum for passage, the SJV has argued.

The SJB says 20A violates people’s sovereignty and franchise enshrined in Article (3) and (4) of the Constitution.

The petitioner has argued that the provisions in clause 55 of the Bill are inconsistent with the public trust doctrine and the principle of checks and balances and would prejudicially affect public finance.

 The clause 54 of the Bill seeks to repeal Article 156 A of the Constitution, which provides constitutional recognition to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or corruption, the petition says.

 The petition says 20A seeks to repeal the prohibition on dual citizens being elected to Parliament and to the post of President.

The power of the Auditor General to audit the state institutions has been curtailed, the petition says, arguing that it could be detrimental to the economy.

It will be detrimental to the country if the Constitutional Council is replaced by a Parliamentary Council, the SJB General Secretary’s has contended in his petition.

Clause 20 (2) of the proposed 20A has restricted the powers of the Election Commission as regards the conduct of elections, the petitioner has argued.

The 20A states that an omission by the President could no longer be challenged through a fundamental rights violation petitions in the Supreme Court, the petitioner has said, adding that the Bill seeks to further enhance the powers of the President by allowing him to unilaterally remove the Prime Minister. The President would not be accountable to Parliament, the petition says.

The 20A would repeal Article 70/ (1) of the Constitution and enable the President to dissolve Parliament even immediately after a general election, the SJB General Secretary argues.

The respondent to the petition is the Attorney General.

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Lawyer Hijaz’s foundation received funds from banned foreign outfit – CID tells court



By A.J.A.A beynayake and Kasuni Rebecca

The CID yesterday informed the Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage that Save the Pearls Trust run by lawyer Hijaz Hisbullah, now in custody for allegedly aiding and abetting one of the Easter Sunday bombers, had received Rs.13 million from a banned organisation named the Caliphate of Qatar.

The CID told court that according to the bank accounts of the trust the money had been received by it during the last few years and the police had launched an investigation to ascertain whether the funds had been used for terrorist activities.

The CID told court the investigation had been launched under the Money Laundering Act and a psychologist’s opinion had been sought on the book titled “Navarasam” found in a madrasa (school teaching Islam) run by Save the Pearls Trust in Puttalam.

The Magistrate order the CID to submit to court a Sinhala translation of the book and examine whether the contents of the book promoted terrorism.

The case will be taken up again on October 7.

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