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Centre will lose all power if proposals are implemented - MR
Published Date: 02/11/2017 (Thursday)
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that ‘manipulation’ by the government is glaringly obvious in the whole process of formulating a new Constitution and that the Joint Opposition is being provided with scarce opportunities to voice their opinions. Delivering a speech during the debate on the Interim Report of the Steering Committee at the Constitutional Assembly in Parliament today (2), he charged that the views expressed by their MPs in the various sub-committees were dropped when the reports were published.
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VP Leader pooh-poohs Wimal’s bomb threat, danger of secession
Published Date: 02/11/2017 (Thursday)
National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa’s call to bomb Parliament, if it passes, the new constitution should not be taken seriously by others, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told the Constitutional Assembly yesterday. "Before responding to a threat by a person we should take look at who is making the threat. The person who threatens to bomb Parliament is not strong enough even to hurl a stone at a target with a catapult. He is not physically capable of anything. He has proved his strength by his conduct so far. He did not even have the courage to remain in remand prison. Before one
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Life sentence for killing intelligence officer LTTE ‘hit’ during CFA
Published Date: 02/11/2017 (Thursday)
The Colombo High Court, yesterday, convicted Selvathurai Kimbakaran alias Marthan of the murder of Sunil Thabrew, the Intelligence Officer-in-charge of the Dehiwala Police, on July 23,2003. A life sentence was imposed on the convict, as penalty for the murder conviction. A five-year rigorous imprisonment term was also imposed for possessing illegal weapons, and a fine of Rs. 25,000 for possessing illegal bullets.
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PM required to testify before Bond Commission
Published Date: 02/11/2017 (Thursday)
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the controversial Issuance of Bonds today said it requires the testimony of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in order to "obtain a few clarifications and any other evidence which may be necessary". Issuing a statement at the commencement of the today's session, the Commission noted that it had perused the affidavit given to the Commission by the Prime Minister and that the Commission had certain clarifications to be made.
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Why a new constitution? - Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe
Published Date: 02/11/2017 (Thursday)
Following are excerpts of a statement issued by former Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe PC regarding the much talked about Interim Report of the Steering Committee presented to parliament for debate. • Interim Report submitted by the purported steering committee dated 21st September 2017 has no validity and authority • Whose need is to have a new constitution devolving the powers enabling the conversion of this country to a federal state • The Tamil population, forming the majority, in north and east amounts to 1,597,000 • It was a sole victory gained by the UNP’ers through their blood, tears and sweat
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Constitutional Assembly unconstitutional, null and void ab initio
Published Date: 02/11/2017 (Thursday)
What could be comprehended by the Word Constitution? Constitution is recognised as a document made by law makers inserting a set of rules which are needed for the governance of the relevant territory, and it is considered supreme and unchallengeable. Inclusion of the following mandatory features could be seen in a constitution. 1. Provisions to guarantee/assure the rights of the citizens and the mechanisms to be operated for above purpose 2. Definition of the powers conferred on the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary and by whom such said powers are to be exercised
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In order to remain as one “We are seeking maximum possible devolution” - Sumanthiran
Published Date: 02/11/2017 (Thursday)
Following are excerpts of the speech made by TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran at the Parliament debate on the Interim report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly. This is indeed the first time that a party representing the Tamil people of this country is agreeing with some proposals, although incomplete and still at the proposal stage. I am saying this referring to the position paper that we have provided, which is part of the Interim Report that has been placed before this Assembly for Debate during these three days. We have stated our positions very clearly and I want to elaborate on some of them now.
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Sampanthan calls on all to decry separatism
Published Date: 02/11/2017 (Thursday)
Tamil National Alliance Leader R. Sampanthan said, that this country should never be divided and called on the people not to support anyone promoting separatism. Opening the Constitutional Assembly debate on the Steering Committee Interim Report for the third day yesterday (1), the Leader of the Opposition said, there is a clear need for a new Constitution to assure unity in diversity in the country.
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Sampanthan points out MR’s contradictory positions on devolution
Published Date: 02/11/2017 (Thursday)
There was a pressing need for a new Constitution to ensure unity in diversity in the country, Leader of the Opposition R Sampanthan said yesterday. Opening the Constitutional Assembly debate on the Interim Report for the third day, the Opposition Leader called on people not to support anyone promoting separatism. "This country should never be divided," he said. The TNA Leader said the inability of leaders to stand by what they had accepted and keep their commitments after they ceased to hold power had been a major setback.
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Things worse for SL if Nat'l question ignored-Leader of the Opposition
Published Date: 02/11/2017 (Thursday)
Things will get worse for Sri Lanka especially in the international arena if the country fails to address the National question, Leader of Opposition R Sampnanthan told the Constitutional Assembly yesterday. "Sri Lanka knows very well that all the problems it has faced in the international arena, particularly since 2012, is because of its failure to manfully address the National question. Things can only get worse; they cannot get any better if the same attitude remains," Sampanthan said.
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NGOs and Federalism
Published Date: 01/11/2017 (Wednesday)
Prof. Yash Ghai, a Harvard Scholar and Prof. Emeritus of the Nairobi University, was a Kenyan who had over the years been regarded as an international expert in constitutional making. It was a great honour for the University of Nairobi to have educated and nurtured such a magnificent scholar. He has been invited by many developing countries to formulate and assist in the drafting of their own Constitutions. Most modern scholars feel that the Kenyan Constitution is one of the clearest examples of a near perfect Democratic Constitution. Prof. Ghai was responsible for almost its entire draft. He was
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Highlight people's fundamental and social rights in new constitution: JVP
Published Date: 01/11/2017 (Wednesday)
JVP MP Vijitha Herath said today clauses to uphold the fundamental and social rights of the people should be included in the new Constitution before talking about issues of power devolution, federalism and giving more powers to provincial councils. He said this during the Constitutional Assembly debate on the new Constitution and pointed out that the people's social rights including the right to education, health, drinking water and housing
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Ploys by the Opposition to scuttle Govt. moves for new Constitution
Published Date: 01/11/2017 (Wednesday)
Several people have come forward to defend National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa who threatened to bomb the Parliament if a new Constitution was adopted on the basis of the interim report submitted by the Constitutional Assembly’s Steering Committee and tabled in Parliament on September 21 by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Keheliya Rambukwella a former media minister in the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime and joint opposition front-liner in the Central Province, Dilum Amunugama had echoed what Weerawansa
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Constitutional Reforms Debate Day Two Don’t miss the ‘Last Bus’ to lasting solution
Published Date: 01/11/2017 (Wednesday)
Government leaders yesterday warned the country that this was the 'last chance' the country had to bring about a lasting solution to the ethnic or national problem by bringing in a new Constitution. "For the first time, the biggest representation of Tamil people, the TNA, has actively participated in the process of constitutional reforms and this chance will never ever come to us. Already, it took decades to reach this juncture," said the majority of the Cabinet Ministers and other ranks
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No need to abolish the Presidential system?
Published Date: 31/10/2017 (Tuesday)
To argue against the prevailing popular ‘fashion’ is no easy task, but do hope I would be listened to for the simple reason that, sometimes, the solution could be more of a problem than the original problem itself. Though the majority of the ordinary citizens are concerned about mundane issues like the cost of living as pointed out in a number of recent Island editorials, the majority of intellectuals clamour for the abolition of the executive presidency and are ready to jump to the illogical conclusion that all our current ills are due to the delay in achieving this task.
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Day 1: One-third of Constitutional Assembly missing
Published Date: 31/10/2017 (Tuesday)
At least 75 members of the Constitutional Assembly (CA) tasked with formulating a draft Constitution were absent during the first session on Monday. The CA is having a three-day debate on the interim report presented by its Steering Committee. Parliament meets as the Constitutional Assembly on all three days. Sources said the attendance had been extremely low in spite of the best efforts made by political party leaderships to ensure their members’ participation.
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How China’s rivalry with India is rippling across South Asia
Published Date: 31/10/2017 (Tuesday)
By seeking to establish their dominance over South Asia, India and China are constraining the economic prospects of smaller neighbours. Their contest for the upper hand is also exacting a human toll on Muslim minorities in Myanmar and Hindus in Sri Lanka. More than 600,000 ethnic Rohingya have poured into Bangladesh since August. Beijing and New Delhi dismiss their persecution as part of Myanmar’s internal affairs, given that both wish to be in the good books of the strategically important, resource-rich nation.
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India grants USD 585,000 aid to Sri Lanka university
Published Date: 30/10/2017 (Monday)
India has recently furnished the Killinochchi campus of University of Jaffna – an institution located in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated north, with equipment and vehicles worth USD 585,000 (SLR 90 million). These items are presented to the university’s Agriculture and Engineering departments as part of its development partnership with Sri Lanka in the higher education sector.
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China Urges Closer Cooperation With Sri Lanka on Key Projects
Published Date: 30/10/2017 (Monday)
China and Sri Lanka should focus on strengthening cooperation over key investment projects, Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday told his visiting counterpart from Sri Lanka, amid strong local opposition to some major Chinese-invested schemes. In July, Sri Lanka signed a long-delayed $1.1 billion deal to lease its southern Hambantota port to China, ignoring an appeal by opposition parties to debate the pact in parliament.
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Making and unmaking constitutions: National obsession and ad hominem compulsions
Published Date: 30/10/2017 (Monday)
The unfolding constitutional crisis in Spain is bad timing for constitutional reform in Sri Lanka. The opponents of reform, who are also defenders of the current (1978) Sri Lankan constitution, will soon seize on the Spanish government’s clamp down on Catalan’s claim to independence - to insist on a full stop to the constitutional reform project in Sri Lanka. The constitutional reformers, on the other hand, could justifiably argue that their draft proposals will have even stronger safeguards against separatist threats than does Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, or even anything in our present constitution. But that will go nowhere
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A Constitutional Draft Of The Mahasangha?
Published Date: 30/10/2017 (Monday)
A common rule well observed in Sri Lanka’s political grammar is: Horrendous mistakes and lies made or uttered by opponents in the past is open licence for those in power to repeat them. That constant refrain we hear from politicians now in or out of power: ‘What did you say and do in your time?’ is a good example.
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Tamil Diaspora behind Constitutional reforms - Hemakumara Nanayakkara
Published Date: 30/10/2017 (Monday)
Governor of the Southern Province and Leader of the Mawbima Janatha Pakshaya, Hemakumara Nanayakkara, who severely criticizes the Interim Report of the Parliamentary Steering Committee for Constitutional Amendments, states that it may lead to separatism and may harm the sovereignty and the integrity of the country. He alleged that the true patriots of the Steering Committee are not properly consulted and given importance to, but those who are sponsored by the 'separatist Tamil Diaspora' and the International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) are attempting to manipulate the Constitution-making process to form
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Draft Constitution ready, debate on interim report irrelevant – Joint Opposition MPs struggle to explain MR’s absence
Published Date: 30/10/2017 (Monday)
The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday alleged that a draft Constitution with federal features severely inimical to Sri Lanka had been prepared though the government pretended it was still consulting other stakeholders. JO Gampaha District MP attorney-at-law Sirira Jayakody asserted that a three-day debate on the interim report of the Steering Committee tasked with formulating constitutional proposals, scheduled to begin on Monday (Oct. 30), was irrelevant as the draft Constitution was now ready.
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FROM NEW JERSEY TO PANDATHERIPPU-DR.JOHN SCUDDER AND THE FIRST WESTERN MEDICAL CENTRE IN SOUTH ASIA
Published Date: 30/10/2017 (Monday)
On October 18th a public function was held by the Church of the American Ceylon Mission in the village of Pandatherippu in Northern Sri Lanka. This was the final event of several held over the past year to celebrate and commemorate the arrival of the first American missionaries to Jaffna in October 1816. During this function which was attended by public officials, members of the medical profession and church members, a postage stamp and first day cover honoring Dr.John Scudder was officially released by the Sri Lankan Postal department.
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SLFP faces decisive moment, crucial make-or-break meeting on Friday
Published Date: 29/10/2017 (Sunday)
• Premajayantha makes last-bid effort for reconciliation; more dissidents may be fired, but Rajapaksas also remain tough • After all-party meeting, minister says pitch now ready for local polls in January; date by Elections Chief, not necessarily a Saturday One more desperate, last minute bid to re-unite the feuding factions of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) — those backing President Maithripala Sirisena and others, his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa — has got under way amidst serious doubts whether it would materialise.
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