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Rahman’s budget speech entirely devoted to condemning President’s speech as being communal

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By Saman Indrajith

SJB Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahman told Parliament on Friday that reconciliation and inter-communal harmony would remain a distant dream as long as the government from the top to bottom worried only about the interests of one particular race.

Participating in the second reading debate on the budget 2021 on Thursday, MP Rahman said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his address to the nation on Wednesday commenced his speech by categorically excluding other communities focusing only on the majority community. “That is wrong. When the President holding the highest office of the country sets such an example, then it is impossible as the very same attitude is percolating down to other posts and finally the entire government machinery to the exclusion of other communities,” the MP said.

Rahman said that creating ‘us’ and ‘them’ mindset would be detrimental to the efforts to bring about ethnic harmony and reconciliation. “The President’s speech was an address to the nation and not to a single community. After winning the election, he became the President of the entire nation not the President of a particular community. But the President at the beginning of his speech stated that he had been voted in by a particular community. That is wrong. None of the former Presidents did such a thing. When the address is to the nation, it includes all communities in this country. After the recent presidential elections in the US, Joe Biden said that hereafter there would be no red and blue states in the US but he had only a single nation. That should be the attitude of a president. President Rajapaksa in his policy manifesto ‘Saubhagyaye Dekma’ (Vision of Prosperity) promises communal harmony. But in his speech he excludes other communities.

MP Rahman said the backbenchers of the government rank shouted at him hurling abuses and calling names.

Badulla District SLPP MP Thisakutti Arachchi said that the President had, in his speech, thanked those who had voted for him; he asked what was wrong with it.

Kurunegala District SJB MP Thushara Indunil raising a point of order called on the chair to control the House and requested all unparliamentary words by the government MPs be expunged from the Hansard.

Presiding member Matara District MP Weerasumana Weerasinghe ordered that all unparliamentary words of the government MPs be expunged and added that MP Rahman was to speak about budget proposals but he addressing some other issues.

MP Rahuman: “Those new comers need some coaching on how to behave in Parliament. Learn to listen even if you cannot agree with what the person says. That is the first lesson in democracy. The President, on the one hand, speaks of curtailing extremism and racism and, on the other, he himself creates divisions. If he wants to take forward the Saubhagyaye Dekma and the economy of the country he should think in terms of a Sri Lankan identity.

Presiding member Matara District MP Weerasumana Weerasinghe warned MP Rahman to stick to the subject he should be speaking on so that he could control the House.

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COPE meets online for first time in its history

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by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.

 

 

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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors

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During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra

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The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page https://www.facebook.com/ICCRSriLanka.

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email: iccrcolombo2@gmail.com

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