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Wimal sticks to his guns, continues to demand top position for GR in SLPP

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Leadership change not anticipated, ready to face probe on alleged foreign intelligence links

By Shamindra Ferdinando

National Freedom Party (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, has reiterated the urgent need to create a suitable top level position for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

The NFF parliamentary group in the SLPP consists of six lawmakers.

Minister Weerawansa emphasised that the NFF’s stand as regards the SLPP didn’t in any way mean Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s role as the leader of the party wasn’t required.

Lawmaker Weerawansa said so outside the Negombo court complex yesterday (9). The Minister was responding to media queries whether he would apologize for publicly calling for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to be given an opportunity to directly work with the SLPP.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa received the SLPP nomination at the 2019 Nov presidential election though he was never a member of that party.

Minister Weerawansa emphasized President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would be able to liaise with other political forces if he received a high position in the party, while Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa remained the leader. The former JVP heavyweight said that the NFF’s proposal would be equally good for the government as well as the country.

SLPP General Secretary and one-time State Counsel Sagara Kariyawasam, MP, strongly criticized Weerawansa for intervening in SLPP affairs. National List MP Kariyawasam questioned the NFF leader’s right to suggest leadership change.

Minister Weerawansa insisted that he never called for leadership change but a suitable arrangement for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to work closely with other political parties.

Minister Weerawansa said that he was not worried about criticism directed at him by newcomers to parliamentary politics. Weerawansa was referring to statements issued by lawmakers Sagara Kariyawasam and Kalutara District MP Sanjiva Edirimanna.

Responding to SLPP Administrative Secretary Renuka Perera’s accusations that NFF members namely two medical doctors were on the payroll of foreign intelligence services, Minister Weerawansa urged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to direct the IGP to initiate an inquiry after having recorded statements of the accusers. Minister Weerawansa emphasized that there was absolutely no basis for such accusations.

Weerawansa explained how he campaigned for Mahinda Rajapaksa’s victory at the 2005 presidential election much to the discomfort of his then JVP colleagues, quit the JVP in 2008 to throw his weight behind President Mahinda Rajapaksa amidst efforts made by the JVP to sabotage the war effort, spearheading the high profile ‘Mahinda Sulanga’ campaign in the wake of presidential polls defeat in 2015 and promoting Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s candidature at the 2019 presidential poll. Minister Weerawansa said if the SLPP wanted him to apologize for those above decisions of his he would gladly do so.

Minister Weerawansa emphasized that the SLPP’s stand that constituents had no right to comment on the main party wasn’t acceptable. Weerawansa questioned if that was the case how could they have commented on the UNP, JVP and other political parties.

 



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Southern MP warns that Russian & Ukranian tourists working here are at risk

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“They may be knifed or their lives threatened”

ECONOMYNEXT – Tourists from Russia and Ukraine who are staying in houses in Sri Lanka for long periods are engaging in business activities and should be taxed to prevent them being knifed by competitors, SLPP MP Chandima Weerakkody told parliament on Friday.

“There are many tourists who are staying long term in houses,” he said. “Though they come here they cannot use their credit cards – especially Russian and Ukrainian tourists who cannot use their money through their cards. As a result they have been forced to work and earn something in Sri Lanka.”

He called on the government to have a system where they can use their money.

“In our areas many tourists are cutting hair, some are doing tinkering work, some are setting up pizza shops, some are selling cannabis – I think there is a new name now *for ganja),” Weerakkody said. “If we send the immigration behind the tourists who are coming, even those that are coming will not come.”

“No taxes are being charged from any of these tourists who are doing business. Our (local people’s) taxes are raised. I am asking at least to have a system for the government to collect some taxes

“I want to say in Parliament that in our areas, a knifing (pihi anumak), or some other threat to life (jeewitha tharjanayak) may happen if this situation continues.”

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Kidney sale racket unearthed in Colombo

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Five duped to sell their kidneys at Rs. 15 million each

By Norman Palihawadane

The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) has informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate Ranjindra Jayasuriya that an investigation has been launched to arrest the suspects involved in the organized racket of obtaining kidneys from poor people promising big money and selling them to local and foreign people.The CCD told the court on Thursday that four men and one woman have parted with their kidneys, and despite promising to pay Rs.15 million per kidney nothing was paid.

CCD reported to court that the victims were operated at a Hospital on Cotta Road in Borella and no money was paid. A mother who was nursing a one-and-a-half-year-old infant was among those cheated.

The police told court that a person from the Bloemendhal area had referred these people through another man and a woman. Required medical tests had been conducted at three private hospitals.

Evidence has been obtained that kidney surgeries had been performed at a private hospital in Borella and the CCD stated in court that this racket was organized targeting poor families in Colombo.

It informed court that they have already launched investigations and will arrest the suspects and produce them before court.After considering the relevant submissions, the Magistrate ordered the CCD to conduct investigations and arrest the suspects and present them to court.

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Record highest number of school students visit Parliament

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School children wave during their visit to Parliament on Thursday (1). Serjeant-at Arms Narendra Fernando said that the largest number of school students in the history of the Parliament visited the Parliament on Dec 1. Over 5,000 students from 32 schools from different provinces visited the Parliament on that day, he said. More than 25,000 students representing schools in different parts of the country had visited to observe the Parliamentary debates after the Public Gallery was reopened for school students from Sept 19.

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