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Pseudo-patriots selling national assets, ECT first to go – JVP

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JVP Central Committee members and former MPs Sunil Handunnetti and Wasantha Samarasinghe addressing the media yesterday. 

 

By Saman Indrajith

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government will sell national assets to foreigners by giving Colombo Port’s East Container terminal to an Indian company, says the JVP.

 JVP Central Committee member and former MP Sunil Handunnetti said yesterday: “Selling off the Eastern Terminal of the Colombo Port to an Indian company will be the first step towards selling national assets. The remaining oil tanks in Trincomalee, mineral sands deposit in Pulmuddai, Eppawela Phosphate deposit will be gone thereafter. We have information that the lands belonging to the Galle harbor have also been earmarked for sale.”

He was ddressing the media at the JVP Headquarters in Pelawatte.

“The Cabinet has approved the sale of the Colombo Port East Container Terminal. This will initiate a process of selling off the remaning national assets. Ports and airports are strategically important assets for this country, given its location. The government says Sri Lanka Ports Authority’s income is not sufficient to develop the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port and therefore it should be disposed of. The Colombo Port, which ranked high in the region, has now come to this position due to mismangement. A part of it has already been given to China. Several sections of the port have been privatised. The SLPA reports indicate that its share of loan resettlement amounts to 24.8 percent of its income. It is paying nearly 11 billion rupees as debt installments to the local lenders alone.

“It was earlier planned to give the terminal to a joint company between India and Japan. But on Monday the Cabient decided to give it to an Indian company by the name of Adani Ports and Logistic Group. The Cabinet paper justifies the sale of the terminal to Adani group stating that it is responsible for 30 percent of India’s container operations and it has six container terminals. We call upon people to come foward to save the Colombo Port.”

JVP Central Committee member and former MP Wasantha Samarasinghe said: “Rajapaksas came to power as an alternative to a governments that sold off national assets to foreigners. Now it is doing likewise. We have information that in addition to the sale of the East Terminal of the Colombo port, lands belonging to Galle Port are also to be leased off for 35 years. Adjacent lands including those now occupied by the Police are to be leased for 99 years. And who is giving these away? The party that has assumed the role of patriots and saviours of national assets. We are warning that people should not let this happen. If we lose this vital terminal the SLPA would be reduced to a mere sign board.”



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Death threats won’t deter us – EC Chairman

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Nimal Punchihewa (Chairman ECSL) picture by PRIYAN DE SILVA
Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka Nimal Punchihewa told The Island that members of  the election commission won’t be deterred by death threats.
He said that members of the commission  M M Mohamed,  K P P Pathirana and S B Diwarathne have been repeatedly threatened and the police have not been able to apprehend the perpetrators.
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Three people dead after torrential rain in New Zealand

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At least three people have died due to flash flodding in Auckland (picture BBC)

BBC reported that at least three people have died and one is missing after New Zealand’s largest city experienced its “wettest day on record” on Friday.

Auckland is said to have received 75% of its usual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.

A local state of emergency was declared as authorities managed evacuations and widespread flooding.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins thanked emergency services for their swift response to the disaster.The new prime minister travelled to Auckland, where he also expressed his condolences to the loved ones of those who died in the floods.

“The loss of life underscores the sheer scale of this weather event and how quickly it turned tragic”, he said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon.

The downpour flooded the airport, shifted houses and resulted in power cuts to homes for hours.

New Zealand’s defence forces were mobilised to assist with evacuations and emergency shelters were set up across the city.

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Parliament prorogued on Friday night

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President says cabinet agreeable to fully implementing 13 A until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment

Parliament was prorogued from midnight Friday (27) by President Ranil Wickremesinghe under powers vested in him by Article 70 of the Constitution, parliamentary sources said on Friday.

The Department of Government Printing was due to issue the relevant notification on Friday night but it was not out as this edition went to print.However the President’ Media Division (PMD) confirmed the prorogation on Friday evening saying that President Wickremesinghe “is expected” to make a policy statement based on the decisions taken after the 75th Independence anniversary when parliament recommences on Feb.8.

A separate bulletin said that the president had informed the party leaders Conference on Reconciliation that the cabinet was agreeable to “fully implementing (the) 13th Amendment until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment.”

Parliamentary sources explained that a prorogation which is a temporary recess of parliament, should not extend to a period of more than two months, However, such date for summoning parliament may be advanced by another presidential proclamation provided it is summoned for a date not less than three days from the date of such fresh proclamation.

Political observers believe that the prorogation is related to the president’s effort to secure as wide a consensus as possible on the National Question. They dismissed speculation that it is related to the scheduled local elections. This issue was clarified by the PMD bulletin.

When parliament is prorogued, the proclamation should notify the date of the commencement of the new session of parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution.During the prorogation the speaker continues to function and MPs retain their membership of the legislature even though they do not attend meetings of the House.

The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments.A Bill, motion or question of the same substance cannot be introduced for a second time during the same session. However, it could be carried forward at a subsequent session after a prorogation.

“All matters which having been duly brought before parliament, have not been disposed of at the time of the prorogation, may be proceeded with during the next session,” states the paragraph (4) of article 70 of the constitution.

In the light of this constitutional provision, a prorogation does not result in an end to pending business. Thus, a pending matter may be proceeded with from that stage onwards after the commencement of the new session.

At the beginning of a new session all items of business which were in the order paper need to be re-listed, if it is desired to continue with them.At the end of a prorogation a new session begins and is ceremonially declared open by the president.

He is empowered under the constitution to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each session of parliament and to preside at ceremonial sittings of parliament in terms of the provisions of paragraph (2) of article 33 of the constitution.The president is empowered to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each new session. In the past, it was known as the Throne Speech which was delivered by the Governor-General.

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