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Catholic Church questions independence day celebration plans

COLOMBO (News1st) – The Catholic Church questions how Sri Lanka can proudly celebrate its independence at a time when the country's economy and the rule of law is in disarray.   At a media briefing in Colombo today, Media Spokesperson of the Catholic Church, Reverend Father Cyril Gamini stated, "We must question how independence day can be celebrated proudly at a cost of Rs.200 million in a country that is unable to meet its foreign debt obligations, a country that is bankrupt". He further explained the situation in the country, that "30% of the population is starving, 33.4% of children under 5 years are suffering from malnutrition, many people are being laid off, small and medium scale businesses are crashing, the rule of law has deteriorated severely,human rights are being violated without any remorse, laws including the PTA are being misused to suppress fundamentals rights of the people, electricity cannot be provided continuously even during the A/L exam period and the lives of patients are at risk due to medicine shortages".Rev.

Fr. Cyril Gamini went on to express that it is a great waste and a crime to stage such a celebration at a time the country is bankrupt.

"We vehemently oppose a celebration which the President considers should be held with much pomp and pageantry. On the cusp of the 75th anniversary of independence what should have been done was for all political parties that ruined the country's economy for 75 years accepting their flaws and apologizing to the people," he said.

Rev. Cyril Gamini also stated  that everyone who squandered and stole the country's resources should have been brought before the law, regardless of social status and those funds should have been recovered.

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Sri Lankans - Ranil Wickremesinghe - Julie Chung - US pledges support for Sri Lanka’s recovery efforts - - Usa - Sri Lanka
US pledges support for Sri Lanka’s recovery efforts
COLOMBO (News 1st) –  Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo on Wednesday (1).She is on an official visit to the country, and she discussed the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, and the ongoing US assistance to the Sri Lankan people.US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung accompanied Nuland for the meeting, where both sides further discussed ways both the United States of America and Sri Lanka are working together toward an inclusive, prosperous and secure future for all Sri Lankans.According to the President's Media Division, the President in his meeting with Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, thanked the US Government for their support during difficult times. Under-Secretary Nuland had pledged the US Government’s support for Sri Lanka's ongoing recovery efforts.The discussion also focussed on the on-going discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while the U.S. pledged to continue to support the negotiations with the aim of swiftly resolving the issues.The President outlined the measures being taken in regard to the reconciliation talks with the minority parties in Sri Lanka, including the full implementation of the 13th Amendment.Discussions also focussed on the on-going efforts to combat the growing narcotics trade, with the U.S.
Bandula Gunawardena - Ranil Wickremesinghe - President orders to further curtail government expenditure - - Sri Lanka
President orders to further curtail government expenditure
COLOMBO (News 1st); In a note to the Cabinet, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, had stated that the Government revenue at present is far below the monthly expenditure for the month of January 2023.The President's Media Division, and Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Bandula Gunawardena confirmed that the President had instructed on further curtailing government expenses.The President had noted that the Treasury finds it challenging to meet all expenditures at this moment, except for payments for salaries, pensions, welfare, pharmaceuticals and debt servicing.Therefore, President Wickremesinghe had pointed out that the Government expenditure will have to be curtailed further / postponed until planned revenue to be raised on the recent tax revisions is realized, reported the President's Media Division.He had noted that the Treasury will formulate a priority criterion for this purpose.Furthermore, the President had pointed out that public officers should refrain from obtaining goods/services on credit basis, and any officer who violates this will be held personally responsible for such expenditure, said the PMD."The President informed the Cabinet of Ministers that the revenue for January collected from the Inland Revenue Department, Sri Lanka Customs and the Excise Department was Rs. 158.7 Billion.
Threatening calls to NEC members originated from Dubai – CID - - city Dubai
Threatening calls to NEC members originated from Dubai – CID
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The National Election Commission said that it cannot be satisfied with the status of investigations taking place with regard to the death threats made to three members of the NEC.A senior official at the National Election Commission speaking to News 1st said that various factions are continuing to make undue influence on the NEC in order to delay the Local Government Elections.He added that certain state officials, attached to several State Institutions that should be involved in ensuring a Free & Fair election takes place, are neglecting their duties.The Senior Official said that those who appointed the state officials who are neglecting their duties must be held accountable for the dereliction of duty.The Chairman of the National Election Commission, Attorney Nimal Punshihewa has requested the President to intervene over the death threats made to the members of the National Election Commission.The NEC Chairman in a letter to the President requested that an environment favourable to conduct a free and fair election be created.News 1st also inquired from the Criminal Investigations Department on the progress made with regard to the investigations on the death threats made to members of the National Election Commission.A Senior Official at the CID said that investigations revealed that the threatening phone calls were made from Dubai.He said that a telecommunication analysis reports has been called for from the service providers.
Kanchana Wijesekera - ‘My officials were threatened to sign’ – Kanchana on No-Power Cut agreement - - Sri Lanka
‘My officials were threatened to sign’ – Kanchana on No-Power Cut agreement
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lanka's Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said that the officials from the Ministry of Power and Energy who attended a recent meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka had disclosed that they were pressurized to sign two documents that they did not agree do.The Minister tweeted on Friday (27) that the officials were pressurized by two members of the Human Rights Commission, and that they were threatened with jail sentences.On Wednesday (25), the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka revealed that all the  necessary stakeholders including Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) agreed to provide uninterrupted power supply during the advanced level examination period until February 17th.However, despite the statement from the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, power outages were experienced on Wednesday (25) and Thursday (26).The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka on Friday (27) said it will elaborate facts to the Supreme Court against officials including the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board and the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy for breaching an agreement by suspending the supply of power. Speaking further, an official from the HRCS said it has been observed that the CEB and the Ministry of Power and Energy are operating arbitrarily, going against the laws of the land. Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka directing a letter to the Chairman of the HRCSL said that it will not approve power outages occurring during the period between the 26th of January and 17th of February. The Human Rights Commission emphasized that if the CEB does not act according to the directive, the HRCSL has the ability to act according to Section 21 of the Sri
Parliament to be prorogued from Friday (27); New Session on 8th February -
Parliament to be prorogued from Friday (27); New Session on 8th February
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The President's Office has reserved a slot with the Government Printer to issue the Proclamation to Prorogue Parliament with effect from midnight on Friday (27).President's Secretary Saman Ekanayake confirmed to News 1st that the respective gazette was sent to the Government Printer as per a decision taken by the President to prorogue parliament with effect from midnight on Friday (27).He said that the new session of Parliament will take place on the 8th of February 2023 at 10 AM.A Senior Official at the Government Printer confirmed to News 1st that the respective gazette was received to go ahead with printing.What is prorogation?To prorogue Parliament means to prolong it,or toput it off for a later day.It is basically a temporary recess of Parliament.Parliament ordinarily functions over a series of sitting days which make up what is called a session; when Parliament is prorogued, a session comes to an end.Effect of Prorogation in Our Parliament:Constitutional ProvisionsDuring the prorogation the Speaker continues to function and the Members retain their membership even though they do not attend meetings of Parliament. The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current Business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments.  A Bill, motion or question of the same substance cannot be introduced for a second time during the same Session.
Ranil Wickremesinghe - 75th Independence Day at minimal cost – President - - Sri Lanka - county Centre
75th Independence Day at minimal cost – President
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has given out instruction to celebrate the 75th Independence Day with pride, at minimal cost.A pre-discussion was held on Thursday (26) at the President's Office chaired by President Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the Independence Day celebration being held in a grand and proud manner, but maintaining minimum cost.Accordingly, in conjunction with the 75th Independence Day celebration, many special programs are scheduled to be implemented from February 2nd to the 19th. According to the President's Media Division the following events have been planned:Special Dalada Pooja and Pirith chanting Religious ceremonies of all faiths Cultural show held at Independence Square Traditional Independence Day celebration main event held at Galle Face Green National parks and Zoo's will be open to the public free of charge Opening of the Jaffna Cultural Centre Kandy republic parade Cycle race from Dondra Head to Point PedroThe President advised the officials that it is their responsibility as well as that of the political authority, to pay attention to the current financial situation of the country while estimating the expenses required for these activities.The President had advised that spending must be practical, and minimal.While pointing out that there is huge opposition among the people regarding the allocation of funds for the 75th Independence Day celebration, the President emphasized that efforts should be made to minimize the related expenses.Expressing his views further, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said, “We must celebrate the 75th Independence Anniversary, otherwise, the world will say that we are not capable of celebrating even our independence.
Maithripala Sirisena - Easter Sunday - Sri Lanka must compensate Easter attacks victims, and set up independent inquiry – UN - - Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka must compensate Easter attacks victims, and set up independent inquiry – UN
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that Sri Lanka must fully compensate victims of the Easter Sunday 2019 terrorist attacks.Sri Lanka's Supreme Court on Thursday (12) found Former President Maithripala Sirisena, his Defence Secretary, the Police Chief during his time, as well as the then Chief of National Intelligence, and Director of State Intelligence guilty of violating fundamental rights.11 Fundamental Rights petitions were filed with the Supreme Court, claiming that the Sri Lankan administration failed to prevent the 2019 Easter Sunday Attacks, despite having information about an imminent attack.More than 270 people were killed in the series of explosions at churches and hotels across the island nation. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Sri Lanka to provide full reparations to the victims, including to establish the truth and to ensure justice. “Whilst no amount of compensation can ever erase the suffering and pain of the victims and families, this judgment marks a step in the victims’ struggle for recognition of the harm suffered and their rights to truth, justice and reparation,” said Spokesperson Jeremy Laurence, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.“In its judgment, the Court expressed ‘shock and dismay’ at the lack of ‘oversight and inaction’ by the security and intelligence officials – ruling that the former President and his top security officials had failed to prevent the attacks, despite detailed intelligence suggesting such attacks were imminent,” said Laurence. The UN human rights office called on the Sri Lankan Government to ensure that victims receive