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Women must unite for their political rights – Dr. Fernandopulle

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Women must be united to win their political rights, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, Chairperson of Women Parliamentarians Caucus in Parliament and State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and Covid Disease Control said yesterday.

She said that women accounted for 52% of Sri Lanka’s population and 56% of the voters.

The Minister said this at the launch of the Report on the Representation of Women in Political Parties by One Text Initiative and Political Parties for Democracy in Finland at Monarch Imperial to map policies and practices for women’s political participation.

The research, conducted with the participation of six major political parties, provides a comprehensive picture of the political involvement of women in Sri Lanka, she said.

The Minister said that there are only 12 MPs and they are ignored.

“In order to be heard over the 213 male MPs, its important to join the 23% of local government women councillors,” she said.

The Minister pointed out that although the 12 Members of Parliament are from different parties, they stand together on women’s issues and work together as a forum for women MPs in the event of injustice to a Member of Parliament. She said that the political participation of women was essential and that she was committed to defeating any attempt to reduce the 25% quota for women representation in local government bodies. The Minister said that many steps are being taken to ensure gender equality and also a special Parliamentary Select Committee has been appointed for this purpose.

General Secretary of Samagi Jana Balawega Ranjith Maddumabandara, UNP General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Dayasiri Jayasekara, MA Sumanthiran on behalf of the Tamil National Alliance, Members of Parliament Premanath Dolawatta, Jagath Pushpa Kumara, Former Members of Parliament Ferial Ashroff, Karunaratne Paranavithana and Ameer Faiz, President of One Text, Kanaka Abeygunawardena, Project Director of One Text, Dr. Prabha Manuratne of the University of Kelaniya, Harinadra B. Dasanayake and Manisha Dullewa were also present at this occasion.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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