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Prez expected to rescind disputed gazette soon

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SLPP dissidents lambaste HSZs:

President Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to abolish High Security Zones (HSZs) that had been established in Colombo and its suburbs in terms of a controversial gazette issued last Friday.

Authoritative sources told The Island that President Wickremesinghe had advised the Attorney General to adopt necessary measures in this regard. Sources said so in response to The Island queries in the wake of former Foreign Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris lambasting the government over the declaration of HSZs.

Addressing the media yesterday (27) Prof. Peiris, who represents one of the rebel SLPP groups, questioned the legality of the HSZs declared in terms of the outdated Official Secrets Act that was meant for an entirely different purpose. The SLPP National List MP explained how the Wickremesinghe administration sought to suppress rapidly growing public dissent over dictatorial administration.

Referring to a statement issued by Acting Defence Minister Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, the former law professor said that the public didn’t want to beg for government’s permission to enjoy rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Sources said that President Wickremesinghe issued the relevant gazette bearing No 2298/53 on Sept 23 before he left on an official visits to Japan and the Philippines.

According to sources, President Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Defence Minister issued the relevant gazette following representations made by a team of officials from the Public Security Ministry. However, others have pointed out that though continuing protest campaign was severely detrimental to the economy, declaration of HSZs in the city could cause other issues.

Sources said that President Wickremesinghe has advised the Public Security Ministry to implement a new security scheme after having abolished the HSZs. President Wickremesinghe would rescind the gazette immediately after returning from the overseas visit, sources said.

Prof. Peiris said that the government was struggling to cope up with rapidly growing dissent. Declaration of HSZs was part of an overall strategy to scare the Opposition, the civil society and those struggling to make ends meet.

The Human Rights Council and the Bar Association strongly condemned the use of Official Secrets Act to issue the relevant gazette in order to suppress growing Opposition-led public protests (SF)



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Six member committee appointed to inquire into Sri Lanka Cricket Team’s conduct in Australia

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Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Roshan Ranasinghe has appointed a six member committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena to inquire into the incidents reported against some members of the Sri Lanka Cricket team that participated at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.

 

 

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SJB MP: Most parents have to choose between food and children’s education

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By Saman Indrajith

Most Sri Lankan parents are compelled to choose between food for their families and their children’s eduction, SJB Matale District MP Rohini Kumari Wijerathne told Parliament yesterday.

Only a few parents were able to feed and educate their children the MP said, participating in the debate on Budget 2023 under the expenditure heads of Ministries of Education and Women and Child Affairs.

“An 80-page exercise book costs Rs. 200. A CR book costs Rs 560. A pencil or pen costs Rs 40. A box of colour pencils costs Rs 570 while a bottle of glue costs Rs 150. If the father is a daily wage earner he has to spend one fourth of his salary on a box of colour pencils for his child. A satchel now costs around Rs 4,000. A pair of school shoes is above Rs 3,500. The Minister of Education knows well how many days a child could use an 80-page exercise book for taking notes. Roughly, stationery cost is around Rs 25,000 to 30,000 per child, MP Wijerathne said, adding that only Rs. 232 billion had been allotted for the Ministry of Education by Budget 2023.

“After paying salaries of teachers and covering officials’ expenses, etc., there will be very little left for other important matters,” the MP said, noting that Sri Lanka would soon be known as the country that made the lowest allocation of funds for education in the South Asian region.

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All crises boil down to flaws in education system, says Dullas

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By Saman Indrajith

All the crises Sri Lanka was beset with were due to the country’s outdated education system, MP Dullas Alahapperuma told Parliament yesterday.

“The political and economic crisis we are facing is the direct result of our education,” he said.

The Sri Lankan education system had not changed with global developments. Our system is not even geared for employment. Our examination system is antiquated and our classrooms are in the 19th Century.

However, the students belong to the 21st century. How can you cater to 21st Century children under an outdated system?” he queried.

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