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SJB asks whether narcotic tablet ‘reverse’ was taken by prisoners or govt. members

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By Saman Indrajith

Kurunegala District SJB MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha yesterday said in Parliament that a probe should be conducted to find out who actually used the particular narcotic tablets, which some government members claimed had been found in the Mahara Prison. “This is said to be a tablet with serious effects. Its name has been mentioned as ‘Reverse’. We are not sure whether the tablet is also used by the ministers and MPs of this government because all of them are moving backwards. None of them move forward. Does it mean that the government rank members are using the Reverse tablet.”

 He said: “Minister Weerawansa said that there was an international conspiracy. When he says so, it is the duty of the government to investigate it given his experience in international conspiracies.”

 The MP raised the issue as a point of order after JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake made a special statement on the recent incidents at the Mahara Prison.

Gampaha District SJB MP Dr Kavinda Jayawardana said that he had received many complaints that the prison authorities had not released the names of those killed and injured in the clash. “The parents and loved ones of the inmates in the Mahara prison have now gone there and are waiting outside to know who had actually been killed and wounded. The authorities should release their names to the public.”

 Gampaha District SJB MP Harshana Rajakaruna: The clash started because the inmates demanded that PCR tests should be conducted. Now, the parents weeping outside the prison are asking whether their children in the prison are still alive. This is a serious issue. Nine persons have been killed.

 Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena: You are raising the same issue as JVP Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. You are repeating what he said.

MP Harshana Rajakaruna: No this issue matters to us. I am from the Mahara electorate in the Gampaha District. Many of the inmates in the Mahara are from our district. Their parents call me and call for our intervention to find out what has befallen their loved one. The names of the dead and the injured must be made public.”



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UNDP: Rs 600 bn tax cut a huge mistake

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Director of the Sustainable Finance Hub of the UNDP Marcos Neto has called the decision to do away with a range of taxes here a fundamental mistake committed by Sri Lanka.The comment was made at the Parliament complex during an interactive dialogue on ‘Revenue Generation as a Pathway to Sri Lanka’s Economic Recovery’ on Tuesday (09). It was organised on a request by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, former Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Opposition as well as several other parties alleged that the government had lost as much as Rs 600 bn due to the controversial decision to do away with a range of taxes including PAYE, NBT (Nation Building Tax), Withholding tax, Capital Gain tax imposed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, Bank Debit tax and unprecedented reduction of VAT (Value Added Tax). The 15% VAT and the 2% NBT which amounted to 17% imposed on all goods and services were unified and reduced to 8%, effective from the first of December 2019.

The decision was taken at the first Cabinet meeting of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government on 27 Nov. 2019.Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe is on record as having said that the powers that be ignored the IMF warning not to do so and also the immediate need to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt (SF)

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Debate on power tariff hike on 29 Aug.

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Party leaders have decided to debate the electricity tariff hikes in parliament on 29 August.The date was fixed for the debate following a request by the main opposition SJB.The debate will be held from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on 29 August.

Chief Opposition Whip Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament on Wednesday (10) that as per the proposed tariff hike the monthly electricity bill of domestic consumers would increase by 75 percent to 125 percent. “This is unbearable. This is like sending the people to an electric chair while they are struggling to make ends meet amidst a massive increase in cost of living.

How does this government expect people would be able to pay such an exorbitant price for electricity? We demand a debate in parliament before this proposed tariff hike is implemented,” Kiriella said.

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British national to be deported

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Department of Immigration and Emigration has ordered Kayleigh Fraser, a British national whose passport has been taken into custody after she posted on social media anti-government protests, for violating her visa conditions, to leave the country by 15 August. The Department has already cancelled her visa.

Earlier this month Immigration and Emigration officials visited Fraser at her home and took her passport into custody. The Department said Fraser had been in Sri Lanka for medical reasons since 2019. She had returned home several times, it said.

The Immigration and Emigration officers told her to visit them within the next seven days.Fraser on 02 August said that a group of immigration officers had visited her and asked for her travel document. She said that officials told her that they would return her passport when she visited the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Fraser added that she had received an anonymous call asking her to leave Sri Lanka as soon as possible before facing ‘big problems.’ Immigration officials visited her house a few days after the call.

Fraser has shared a number of photographs and videos from the ‘Gota Go Gama’ site. Human Rights groups and activists have accused the Sri Lankan government of using Emergency regulations to harass and arbitrarily detain activists seeking political reform and accountability for the country’s economic crisis.

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