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Speaker names members of PSC on electoral reforms

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Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday announced the names of MPs for a Parliamentary Select Committee to identify appropriate reforms of the election laws and the electoral system and to recommend necessary amendments.

 Leader of the House Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has been appointed as the chairman of the Committee comprising 14 MPs.

Other members of the PSC are Nimal Siripala de Silva, Prof G. L. Peiris, Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi, Douglas Devananda, Wimal Weerawansa, M.U. M. Ali Sabry, Jeevan Thondaman, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Kabir Hashim, R.M. Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Mano Ganesan, M.A. Sumanthiran, Madhura Withanage and Sagara Kariyawasam.

Minister Gunawardena on April 5 moved a motion in the House to appoint a PSC to identify appropriate changes to election laws and the electoral system, and to recommend necessary amendments.

The PSC will have the power to summon any person to appear before it as well as call for documents or records, obtain written or oral evidence and obtain the services of specialists and experts in the relevant fields to assist the committee.

The committee will report back to Parliament in six months.



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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