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Port City Bill: Kiriella questions bona fides of govt.

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By Saman Indrajith

Chief Opposition Whip and SJB Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella yesterday questioned the bona fides of the government with regard to the Colombo Port Economic Commission Bill.

Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s office in Colombo, MP Kiriella said that the government had been in a mighty hurry to present the Bill to Parliament on April 08. “I was in the Chamber in the evening of April 08. The government did not inform the party leaders’ meeting held the week before that it would present such a bill. The timing of the presenting of the bill too raises doubts. It seems that the government wanted to block the process of challenging the bill in the Supreme for its constitutionality. It was presented to the House while the country was getting ready to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. With the intervening weekend and public holidays had just two working days to retain lawyers, many of whom were on vacation, and file applications challenging the constitutionality of the Bill in the Supreme Court within the one-week period stipulated in the Constitution. The intentions of the government with regard to the bill are crooked and not genuine right from the beginning because they knew that they were doing something wrong,” Kiriella said.

The Kandy District MP challenged the Government to bring about four changes to the draft Bill if the latter was truly genuine in its intentions with regard to the Bill. “We propose to bring about a clause or section to the draft Bill making it answerable to Parliament. So that parliament’s supremacy over public finances would be guaranteed and the parliamentary committees such as Committee on Public Enterprises and Committee on Public Accounts would be able to oversee the proposed Colombo Port Economic Commission. In addition, it should be made compulsory for the CPEC to submit their annual reports on finances and performance to Parliament. Third proposal is that a clause should be introduced to the draft bill without any uncertain terms preventing money-laundering in the Port City area. Fourth, a section or clause should be inserted among the provisions of the draft bill preventing the inflow of funds from terrorist activities to the port city,” MP Kiriella said.



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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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Cardinal urges Catholics to fight for justice

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 By Norman Palihawadane

Today’s Church does not need ‘sacristy Catholics’ but a laity who fight for justice, says Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

Addressing a gathering at a ceremony to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Deva Dharma Nikethanaya, at Archbishop’s House auditorium, at Borella, last week, the Cardinal said that turning every layperson into a mature Christian, fit for leadership, should be the foremost duty of the Catholic Church. “Once the Catholic Church functioned as a Bishop-priest centered church and did only what the Bishop of the priest would say. We have to change the outlook of the Church. Today, we no longer need such sacristy Catholics. We need a laity who are ready to get down to the streets and fight for justice and do what is right for society,” the Cardinal said.

“The Church needs Christians who will commit themselves for Christ and follow his example. We do not need spoon-fed babies,” he said.

He said that the Bishops and Priests should not be afraid of handing over the responsibilities to the laity. “We should share our responsibilities with joy. The Church cannot continue otherwise. Understanding this situation, Pope Francis wants to change the priest-centres position that has become a theoretical doctrine in the church and to study how the church should change in a way that suits the present world.”

Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka Rev Dr Brian Udaigwe and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference President Rt Rev Dr Harold Anthony Perera also addressed the gathering.

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Protests against 13A used to arouse communal feelings – SJB

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Protests against the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution are being used to arouse communal feelings among people ahead of an election, says the main Opposition SJB.

Addressing the media on Saturday, at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Chief Opposition Whip, SJB Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella, said:

“This country has witnessed many instances in the past. This time, too, the same old slogan of the country being divided is heard again.

“The 13th Amendment is part of the Constitution. All parties have contested elections under the 13th Amendment. The UNP, SLFP, SLPP and JVP have contested provincial council elections. It shows that they have accepted the 13th Amendment. Those in such parties now opposing the 13th Amendment must first explain how they oppose it directly while accepting the same indirectly by sending their members to the provincial councils set up under the 13th Amendment,” Kiriella said.

“The claim of the country being divided by the 13th amendment is made to arouse the communal feelings.

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