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South Korea pledges to support Sri Lanka’s economic recovery plan

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The official meeting between Presidents Wickremesinghe and President Yoon Suk Yeol took place at the South Korean Permanent Resident Mission to the United Nations in New York (pic PMD)

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol pledged his support for President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s economic recovery plan for Sri Lanka and also mentioned the potential for expanding the scope for job opportunities in South Korea for Sri Lankan youth in the future.

The South Korean leader lauded President Wickremesinghe’s efforts to address Climate Change issues based on the COP 27 agenda and proposed for Sri Lanka and Korea to enter into a Bilateral Climate Change Agreement. He further proposed the need to expedite the conclusion of a Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement with a view to facilitating more Korean investment bringing in new technology to Sri Lanka.

The official meeting between Presidents Wickremesinghe and President Yoon Suk Yeol occurred alongside the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the South Korean Permanent Resident Mission to the United Nations in New York. The leaders discussed the strengthening of diplomatic relations that began in 1978 and explored opportunities for further expansion.

(PMD)



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Ministerial Consultative Committee unanimously consent to canceling the nominations submitted for the Local Government Elections

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The Ministerial Consultative Committee on Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils & Local Government chaired by  Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena as well as the Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government  unanimously consented to cancel the nominations submitted for the Local Government Elections given that those who have submitted nominations have faced great difficulties due to the postponement of the elections.

 

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India set to approve historic women’s quota bill

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Sonia Gandhi called for the bill's immediate implementation (pic BBC)

The lower house of the Indian parliament has passed a bill guaranteeing a third of seats for women in the parliament and state assemblies.

First proposed in 1996, the bill had been pending for decades amid opposition from some political parties.

On Wednesday, the Lok Sabha passed it with near unanimity after hours of fierce debate. The bill will now require the approval of lawmakers in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. If passed here, it will be sent to the Indian president for approval and become law.

But it is still some way from being implemented as that would depend on the completion of India’s census. The exercise, conducted every 10 years, was set to be held in 2021 but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and is now expected to take place in 2025. Reported plans to redraw boundaries of assembly seats to increase the overall number of constituencies, known as delimitation, could further complicate the bill’s implementation.

The passing of the bill is expected to boost the fortunes of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the general elections next year.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked MPs who voted for the bill in Lok Sabha. He called it a “historic legislation” that will enable greater participation of women in the political process. The bill was passed after 454 MPs from across party lines voted in its favour with only two against it.

The Lok Sabha debated the legislation for nearly eight hours, with several members of the Opposition raising concerns about its implementation even as they voiced their support. Former Congress president Sonia Gandhi said the party supported the proposed legislation but demanded its immediate implementation. “How many years will they have to wait, two, four, eight?” Ms Gandhi asked. “Delaying this would be doing gross injustice to women.”

Several opposition MPs have also demanded a separate quota for women belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Hinduism’s caste system puts Brahmins or priests at the top, and Dalits (formerly untouchables) and Adivasis (tribespeople) at the bottom. In between are a multitude of lower and intermediate castes, which are roughly believed to constitute about 52% of the population, and are recognised as Other Backward Classes or OBCs. While India’s census has always recorded the population of Dalits and Adivasis, it has never counted the OBCs.

The proposed bill provides for one-third of the seats, which are already reserved for Dalits and tribespeople, to be reserved for women. But it excludes a similar sub-quota for women who belong to OBCs.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Ms Gandhi said the government should conduct a caste census – or a count of OBCs – and extend the benefits of the proposed law to women from those groups as well. Some other opposition MPs called the move an eyewash by the ruling party.

MP Asaduddin Owaisi, one of the two votes against the bill, said the current bill would only benefit upper caste women.

(BBC)

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Kerala cannabis with a street value of over Rs.132 million held by Navy in Negombo

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A special search operation conducted by the Navy in the Mankuliya Lagoon of Negombo today (21st September 2023) led to the apprehension of a dinghy loaded with over 400kg of Kerala cannabis with an estimated street value of over Rs. 132 million

The seized consignment of Kerala cannabis and the dinghy were handed over to the Negombo Excise Station for onward legal action

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