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Ranil wants country closed forthwith to curb spread of pandemic



… blames govt. for not investing in vaccination drive

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says that there is a pressing need to think anew and formulate a new strategy to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Prime Minister has, in a statement, said that Sri Lanka needs nearly 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and adds that not all citizens will be able to receive their vaccinations in 2021. Therefore, priority should be given to seeking medical advice on how to prevent the further spread of the virus.

The former Prime Minister urges the government not to sacrifice people’s lives by focusing solely on the economy.

Wickremesinghe has said there would have been no shortage of vaccines in the country if the government had invested USD 200 million in the vaccination drive last November.

UNP leader Wickremesinghe says the government remained preoccupied with increasing foreign exchange and increasing tourist arrivals, which led to the spread of the pandemic.

The UNP leader requests the government to close down the country immediately.

The full statement by Wickremesinghe: The people of this country need around 30 million COVID-19 vaccines.  It is difficult to bring down that number of vaccines this year.  

Therefore, there is a need to think anew and formulate a new program for the COVID pandemic.

People who have received the first dose of AstraZeneca should be given the second dose. The government must ensure that the vaccines necessary for these people are purchased. The government and other sectors are trying to bring in the required number of vaccines.

Although the government continues to administer vaccines, not all citizens will be able to receive their vaccinations this year. Therefore, the first thing to do is to seek medical advice on how they can control the further spread of the virus.

Do not sacrifice people’s lives by focusing about the economy. The Sri Lankan rupee has depreciated because the Central Bank printed money.

If US $200 million had been invested in the vaccine last November, there would not have been a vaccination shortage in the country. The virus spread further as Indian tourists were brought to the country by a Government concerned only on increasing our foreign exchange.

Today we see that the anti-COVID efforts cannot be coordinated by the existing committees. If we must close the country, close the country and give relief to the people who need relief.  

The President and the Cabinet should exercise the powers vested in them by the Constitution and make necessary plans to control the spread of the disease.

Do not sideline the cabinet. They must take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of the country.”



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Death threats won’t deter us – EC Chairman




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




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



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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