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Buwaneka Aluwihare PC becomes Acting Chief Justice

Supreme Court Justice Buwaneka Pandukabaya Aluwihare PC took oath as the Acting Chief Justice in the presence President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He took oaths at the President's Office on Sunday (09).

Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake also participated the event.

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New Litro Gas prices announced

Litro Gas Lanka has announced a reduction in the prices of its domestic gas cylinders.

The primary gas supplier said that the price reduction will come into effect from midnight today.

The new prices are as follows:

12.5 kg gas cylinder reduced by Rs. 271 New price: Rs. 4280

5kg gas cylinder reduced by Rs. 107 New price: Rs. 1720

2.3kg gas cylinder reduced by Rs. 48 New price: Rs. 800

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All banks and stock market closed on Oct. 10

All banks and the Colombo stock market will be closed next Monday (10) in lieu of the bank holiday on Saturday (9).

This is due to the fact that a special bank holiday being declared on Monday, the 10th of October for the birthday of Holy Prophet, known as Mila-dn-nabi, which falls on Sunday (9).

However, the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration Priyantha Mayadunne said that Monday is not a public holiday.

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Kabir Hashim to head COPA Committee

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Kabir Hashim has been appointed as the Chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA).

The Parliament of Sri Lanka announced that MP Kabir Hashim has been appointed to the post unanimously.

On Monday (03), Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced a 27- member COPA committee.

The members were nominated to the COPA Committee by the Parliament Committee of Selection.

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Global Tamil Forum welcomes UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has welcomed the passing of Resolution 51/L1/Rev1 with minimal opposition among the member countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

On October 06, a total of twenty countries including the United Kingdom, United States, France, Finland, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland and the Republic of Korea voted in favour of the resolution while seven countries – China, Bolivia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Cuba and Eritrea voted against the resolution.

The GTF in statement said that it is particularly pleasing that several countries who would have traditionally voted against such a resolution recognised the criticality of the Sri Lankan situation and decided to abstain.

It also noted that UNHRC continues to offer hope for the thousands of victims of serious human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, who have been denied justice for more than a decade, even if the process of seeking justice is painstakingly slow and arduous.

The statement further said:

"The process towards this important outcome commenced with the comprehensive report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which was highly critical of Sri Lanka’s failure to address wartime accountability; entrenched impunity for human rights violations; economic crimes; endemic corruption; and the application of draconian security laws to crackdown peaceful protests. The High Commissioner’s recommendations were ably converted into Resolution 51/L1/Rev1 by the core group of countries – in effect, a balancing act of highly concerning developments in Sri Lanka and challenging geopolitical reality.

GTF would like to express its gratitude to all progressive forces that made this outcome possible – the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the core group of countries led by the UK, countries that voted for or co-sponsored the resolution, the human rights organisations who championed the cause, and more importantly, the victims of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka who despite the long time elapsed and the risks involved, continue to provide inspiration by bravely fighting for accountability.

Resolution 51/L1/Rev1 recognises Sri Lanka’s total failure in addressing wartime accountability. It has extended and reinforced the capacity of the OHCHR to collect, consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence, and develop strategies for future accountability processes. Such options could include extraterritorial and universal jurisdiction as well as targeted sanctions against those credibly implicated in serious human rights abuses.

The resolution acknowledges the lack of freedoms and marginalisation endured by the Tamil and Muslim communities and calls for the government to fulfil its commitment to the devolution of political authority, specifically to ensure that all provincial councils, including the northern and eastern provincial councils, are able to operate effectively in accordance with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

The resolution also underscores how unaccountable governance, deepening militarisation and impunity for human rights violations eventually led to the unprecedented economic crisis in Sri Lanka and calls on the government to address the crisis, including by investigating and prosecuting corruption committed by present and former public officials, and offers assistance with the investigation into economic crimes.

Furthermore, Resolution 51/L1/Rev1 notes the heavy handed approach adopted by the government against protesters calling for change, such as declaring multiple state of emergencies and continuing with detentions under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. It calls on the government to protect civil society actors and human rights defenders while emphasizing the positive contribution peaceful protests can make towards the effectiveness of democratic processes.

Notwithstanding India’s abstention, we are pleased with its strong statement in support of the Tamil people for equality, justice, dignity and peace. India noted inadequate progress in implementing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and called for meaningful devolution and early elections for the Provincial Councils. GTF hopes India’s actions of goodwill – both the unprecedented assistance during the economic crisis and abstention at UNHRC – could be leveraged to protect and promote the legitimate political and economic aspirations of Tamils.

Resolution 51/L1/Rev1 which aims to address many legacies and emerging human rights and economic issues is timely. Its success depends entirely on the insistence and persistence of the international community in ensuring its full implementation. In this context, it is important to highlight the sense of frustration engulfing many victims and their families with no sense of accountability and justice even after 8 UNHRC resolutions and, 13 years of waiting.

Sri Lanka’s response to the resolution presented by Foreign Minister Ali Sabry – who insisted on exclusive domestic mechanism to address wartime atrocities despite the country’s inability to take a single meaningful initiative for 13 years – is thoroughly disappointing. Rejecting any external involvement in investigating the economic crimes – despite overwhelming evidence that such crimes partly contributed to the economic crisis, he trivialised the efforts put in by many countries for Resolution 51/L1/Rev1, alleging it caters for their domestic politics and regional differences only.

For Minister Ali Sabry, there was no sense of irony when invoking an outdated concept of sovereignty as an all-encompassing protective shield while the country is totally dependent on international assistance to overcome its deep economic crisis. Perhaps therein lies a pathway to make a meaningful transformation in Sri Lanka. Knowing Sri Lanka’s track record with past UNHRC resolutions, it makes complete sense to link the progress on implementing the key aspects of Resolution 51/L1/Rev1 to the financial packages provided by the international community.

Unlike previous years when the outcome at the UNHRC was eagerly sought mainly by the Tamil community, the interests and expectations this year were much more widespread. The ruthless treatment meted out to those protested against the government, and the authoritarian and militarised trajectory the country is increasingly adopting, has brought a new awareness about human rights and their universality among all citizens of the country.

GTF believes this convergence of concerns, fears and apprehensions offer hope for all the people of Sri Lanka to come together as equal citizens and communities. Such progress is possible only when all communities stop living a lie based on denial and come to terms with the truth based on evidence. The UNHRC resolution just passed provides a useful framework to work towards such an outcome in unity."

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Cement prices reduced from midnight today

INSEE Cement Sri Lanka announced that it had decided to reduce the prices of two types of cement to benefit the country's construction sector.

Accordingly a 50 kg package of INSEE Sanstha and INSEE Mahaweli Marine Plus cement will be reduced by Rs.100 effective midnight on Tuesday (4).

INSEE Cement Sri Lanka is the country’s leading and only fully integrated cement manufacturer offering a comprehensive portfolio of construction solutions to meet the escalating demands of Sri Lanka’s construction landscape.

INSEE Cement Sri Lanka, also known as Siam City Cement (Lanka) Limited, is a subsidiary of the Siam City Cement Public Company Limited (SCCC) of Thailand.

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2022 A/L & Gr. 5 exams postponed

Sri Lankan authorities have decided to postpone the 2022 G. C. E. Advanced Level Examination, and the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination.

The new examination dates are as follows:

Grade 5 Scholarship: 18th December 2022

G. C. E. Advanced Level (2022): 23rd January 2023 to 17th February 2023.

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President to make special statement; 22A uncertain!

President Ranil Wickremesinghe is due to make a special statement to parliament on October 06 with regard to the economy and international assistance.

Announcing this, he also told government MPs at a meeting yesterday (03) that a House debate would be given if necessary on his statement, said state minister Jagath Kumara.

It comes amidst plans by justice minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe to hold a House debate on the 22nd amendment to the constitution on October 06 and 07, followed by a vote.

However, Wickremesinghe was asked by S.B. Dissanayake and other SLPP MPs as well as president’s chief of staff Sagala Ratnayaka at yesterday’s meeting not to table the amendment and stressed that the executive presidency should continue.

Namal Rajapaksa has openly declared that he would vote against the amendment.

Further, 10 cabinet ministerial hopefuls in a list submitted by Basil Rajapaksa have decided to boycott the vote if they are not given the portfolios.

They are Johnston Fernando, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Gamini Lokuge, S.B. Dissanayake, C.B. Ratnayake, Pavitra Wanniarachchi, Wimalaweera Dissanayake, S.M. Chandrasena, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Sarath Weerasekara.

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Patali to head National Council’s sub-committee on economic stabilization

Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka has been appointed as the Chairman of the National Council’s sub-committee on identifying short- and medium-term programs related to economic stabilization.

MP Patali Champika Ranawaka was elected as the Chairman of the National Council’s sub-committee during the first meeting of the said sub-committee held in Parliament today (07).

MP Ranawaka’s name was proposed for the post of Chairman by MP Vajira Abeywardena, which was seconded by MPs Mano Ganesan and Naseer Ahmed.

The committee members expressed their views on the measures that can be taken for the future economic security of the country, such as developing tea cultivation, increasing milk production, restructuring agriculture, fertilizer production, tourism industry, etc.

The members also agreed to discuss with experts in various fields and submit a report to the National Council on the 20th of October that includes economic development proposals related to each field.

Accordingly, the members agreed to call experts on foreign exchange issues, and debt restructuring, as well as officials from the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance before the committee on the 13th of October to get their views.

Also, it was decided to invite experts and relevant officials in the fields of food, health, transportation, energy etc.. to the committee on the 14th of October to get their opinions and suggestions.

The MPs also agreed to hold the next meeting of the National Council’s sub-committee on identifying short- and medium-term programs related to economic stabilization on the 19th of October.

Minister Naseer Ahmed, State Ministers Sisira Jayakodi, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, and Members of Parliament Vajira Abeywardena, M. Rameswaran, Mano Ganesan, A. L. M. Ataullah and Rauf Hakeem, and the Assistant Secretary General of the Parliament Tikiri Jayathilaka, were present at the meeting.

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President meets the Bishop of Kurunegala

A special discussion took place yesterday (02) between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Most Rev. Dr. Harold Anthony Perera, Bishop of Kurunegala and the President of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka at the Bishop House in Kurunegala.

The President's Media Divison said that discussions centered on Catholic Religious affairs.

Most Rev. Fr. Piyal Janaka Fernando of Kurunegala Catholic Diocese, the Treasurer of Kurunegala Catholic Diocese Most Reverend Sagara Prishantha and former Minister Ravi Karunanayake also participated at this occasion.

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Patali Champika nominated to serve in National Council

Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana today announced to the House that Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka has also been nominated to serve in the National Council.

Furthermore, the Speaker announced that Member of Parliament M. Rameshwaran has been nominated to serve in the National Council to fill the vacancy occurred due to the resignation of the MP Jeevan Thondaman from the Membership of the National Council.

The next meeting of the National Assembly is scheduled to be held tomorrow (06).

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Litro slahes gas proces again

The price of a domestic LP gas cylinder will be slashed effective from midnight Wednesday (05) said Muditha Peiris, Chief of the state-run LITRO Gas Company.

Accordingly, the revised prices will be made public soon, he added.

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