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SLFP ready to go alone – Sirisena

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The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is ready to contest the coming Provincial Council elections alone if the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) doesn’t give it a fair share of the candidates, former president Maithripala Sirisena has told The Hindu newspaper.

The former President has said that the SLFP was treated unfairly when candidates were selected for the August 2020 parliamentary election.

“We were treated unfairly when the candidates were picked for the general elections in August 2020. Our party didn’t get a slot in either Kalutara or Nuwara Eliya districts. In Gampaha, we were given only one. In Kurunegala, we were given only two slots. In the districts we are strong, we weren’t given a fair number of slots. We asked for 30 candidates. Had we been given 30 slots at the last general election, we would have got at least 25 in Parliament.”

Sirisena added that the SLPP candidates had carried out a campaign against the SLFP candidates during the election period. While the SLFP looks forward to contesting the coming provincial council election with the SLPP, it is also ready go solo “if there is no fair treatment. Our party will decide on a solo journey. We are ready for both options.”

Sirisena has also said that he did not like the abolition of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and that if he had been the President, he would have only amended 19A.

“And I gave away my superior powers as Executive President. The powers until then were almost monarch like. The powers I parted with went to the Prime Minister, the parliament and the independent commissions. So how did some wrong people get into those institutions? It is because the powers given to the Prime Minister were abused. So, there was a lot of criticism of the commissions that were supposed to be independent. One example is the Election Commission, that lot of people found fault with. That is why I said the 19th Amendment could have been amended in a way that strengthens democracy. I didn’t vote for the 20th Amendment.”

 

 



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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