SJB insists there is no rift
The SJB yesterday insisted that there was no rift among its members. Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s Office, in Colombo, SJB Chairman, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said the SJB was united.
Asked by journalists to comment on recent reports of a rift in the SJB, especially between party leader Sajith Premadasa and MP Champika Ranawaka, Fonseka said that the government was attempting to give the impression that there was a rift in the SJB just to divert attention from the real issues in the country.
Field Marshal Fonseka, however, added that he had met Ranawaka two days before and had extensive discussions.
He said that there was no indication of any dispute during his meeting with Ranawaka.
There has been speculation that Ranawaka was seeking to lead the alliance and be the next Presidential candidate.
Field Marshal Fonseka said that Ranawaka had resigned from his own party and extended support to the SJB.
Amnesty seeks info on SL-IMF agreement
By Rathindra Kuruwita
Representatives of Amnesty International (AI) would meet International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials soon to ascertain information about the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to Sri Lanka, AI Senior Director Deprose Muchena told yesterday.
Muchena arrived in Sri Lanka a few days ago to attend the regional launch of the organisation’s Annual Report 2023 on Tuesday in Colombo.
He said that there was no attempt to partner with the IMF on its programme in Sri Lanka. When asked about austerity measures that go hand in hand with IMF programmes, Muchena said they often affected welfare programmes of a country.
“We want the government of Sri Lanka and the IMF to be transparent about everything. The people have a right to know and the human rights of the people should not be violated,” he said.
Muchena also criticised the double standards of the West on Human Rights protection. “There is a selective deployment of human rights protection mechanisms. A lot of countries stood against the Russian aggression in Ukraine, but we can’t see the same when it comes to Israel’s aggression in Palestine or India’s or China’s measures against their Muslim minorities,” he said.
Muchena added that the robust response to the Ukrainian crisis in the West was in sharp contrast to a deplorable lack of meaningful action on plummeting rights in Afghanistan and intense crackdown on the right to protest in Palestine, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, India and Nepal.’
Muchena urged the Sri Lankan government to protect the right to protest and dissent. “If the government doesn’t want to anger the people more, it has to ensure transparency and human rights of the people,” he said.
JVP accuses govt. of bringing in draconian laws to suppress dissent
By Saman Indrajith
The JVP yesterday alleged that the government had brought in new draft legislation to introduce new laws to silence those critical of its anti-democratic conduct.
Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte, JVP-led NPP MP Vijitha Herath said that the implementation of IMF-advocated reforms would certainly be very oppressive and people would come out to the roads when they no longer could put up with them. “Now, the government is all out to sell public assets. This would result in job losses for thousands of people while hunger and frustration are on the rise; there would certainly be public protests. To counter this, the government has opted for draconian laws. They are bringing in a new Anti-Terrorism Bill to do away with the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The new bill will help brand anyone a terrorist and suppress his or her rights.
“We hear that some ministers say that this Anti-Terrorism law is a temporary measure. We heard the same when JR Jayewardene brought forward the PTA in 1979. But now everybody knows that temporary measure has been the cause of suffering for thousands of people for many decades. Political activists, journalists and civil society leaders had been detained, harassed and deprived of their democratic rights. This new law too is not a temporary measure. When the PTA was brought in it was said that law would be applied only against the Tamil youth in the North who had engaged in subversive activities. We then warned that the PTA would be used against the Southerners as well. Decades later now people know that we stand correct.
“We must stand up against this move and defeat this new law. This law will allow trade union and student leaders, journalists, and civil society leaders to be labeled as terrorists if they speak against the government and to detain them for 20 years without being charged before a court. As per the new law even the Coast Guard ratings could make arrests of civilians. An OIC of a police station will have the powers of getting biometric information of a person.”
Institute of Chemistry launches a professional development programme
The Institute of Chemistry Ceylon recently launched a professional development programme at the P.P.L.G. Siriwardena Auditorium at the Institute of Chemistry, Rajagiriya.
At the inauguration, the President of the Institute of Chemistry, Ceylon N.M.S. Hettigedara emphasised the importance of such programmes meant to enhance the knowledge of professionals.
The Chief Guest, Dr. A.M. Mubarak, former Chief, Research and Innovation, Sri Lanka Institute of Nano Technology delivering the keynote address highlighted one of the main areas lacking in the nations quality system on measurement and calibration, which is vital in international trade and how it effect the cost of the product. He emphasised what the Institute of Chemistry, Ceylon offer in developing the National Quality Infrastructure of the Country.
The Dean of the Institute of Chemistry, Professor Namal Priyantha presented the overview of chemical analysis explaining the classical and instrumental methods used in chemical methods and its importance.
Professor Sujatha Hewage, Chairperson of the CPD Programme delivered the vote of thanks.
The training programme was initiated on the 23rd of March with classical methods of analysis and will continue every Thursday and Friday of the week for 3 months under the theme “Knowledge, Skills and Standard Practices in Chemical Analysis” covering Spectroscopic analysis,
Electroanalytical techniques, Chromatographic methods, Calibration and measurements, Analytical method validation, Quality assurance and quality control and Laboratory accreditation. Anyone who wishes to join the programme can follow the entire programme or individual programmes. For further details please contact Institute of Chemistry, Ceylon on 011 2861231 or 011 2861653.
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