Travel Restrictions caused Rs. 60 Bn loss to state; Ajith Nivard

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Finance, Capital and Public Enterprise Reforms said the loss to the country’s economy due to the recent four-day island-wide travel restrictions is north of Rs. 60 billion.

The State Minister on Tuesday (18) informed parliament on the expenses incurred by the government for COVID-19 prevention activities.

The COVID prevention expenses mentioned by the State Minister are as follows:

Relief Packages in April & May: Rs. 56,593 Million
Quarantine, Medicine & Infrastructure: Rs. 29,045 Million
Relief to families in October & November 2020: Rs. 7,073 Million
Rs. 10,000 package to quarantined home: Rs. 2,846 Million
Support for loss-making state bodies due to COVID-19: Rs. 311 Million.
Facilities offered by District & Divisional Secretariats: Rs. 102 Million
Purchasing agricultural products: Rs. 88 Million

The State Minister said the total expenses are north of Rs. 96 Billion and so far in 2021 the state had spent Rs. 41.9 Billion adding the government has spent more than Rs. 138 Million on COVID-19 prevention efforts.

102 million was spent on other facilities allocated by divisional and district secretaries. 88 million was spent on purchasing agricultural produce. All these expenses amount to 96,058 million rupees. That is 96 billion. We have already spent 41.9 billion rupees in 2021 as well. So far, the government has spent 138 Billion rupees directly for COVID-19.

The Mulliwaikkal divergence By P.K.Balachandran/Daily Express

The annual ceremonies held by the Sri Lankan armed forces on May 19, to mark the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the observances held by Tamil political leaders on May 18 to mark what they consider “genocide”, keep alive the conflict between Sinhalese and Tamil nationalisms, which have marked post-independence Sri Lankan politics.

This year, to prevent the Tamils from commemorating their dead at Mulliwaikkal (the scene of mass killings at the tail of the 30-year war) the Lankan government has used the COVID-19 pandemic to isolate the place along with the adjacent areas of Mullaitivu, Pudukudiyiruppu, and Mulliyawali.

On May 12, unidentified persons destroyed a memorial “tupi” (stupa for the dead). The Tamils suspect that the army had done it, though the army has denied it.

Over the years, the observances of the Tamils on May 18 have gained international attention thanks to the growing influence of the Tamil Diaspora and the active post-war involvement of the international community headed by the US and its Western allies under the umbrella of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

In response to this, Sri Lankan governments have reacted through sharp denials. They maintain that the charge of genocide is based on biased inputs from interested parties.

The high point on the 12 th. Anniversary of the end of the war this year is the passing of a bill in the Ontario provincial legislature on “genocide” in Sri Lanka. Bill 104, the Tamil Genocide Education Week Act, establishes seven days each year, May 11 to 18, during which Ontarians “are encouraged to educate themselves about, and to maintain their awareness of, the Tamil genocide and other genocides that have occurred in world history.”

Infuriated by the ‘genocide Bill’ passed by Ontario Legislative assembly, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena summoned Canadian High Commissioner David McKinnon and expressed Sri Lanka’s deep concern. The Minister pointed out that the position taken by the Ontario Legislative Assembly contradicted the Canadian Government’s stand.

Foreign Secretary Jayanath Colombage pointed out to the Canadian High Commissioner the potential harm Bill 104 could cause to the reconciliation process, peace building in Sri Lanka and bilateral relations.

Along with this, on May 12, unidentified persons destroyed a memorial “thupi” for the Tamils who were killed in Mulliwaikkal in the last days of the war. Stones kept for building a better stupa were removed so that when Tamil politicians and their followers gather there to pay homage on May 18, they do not have a focal point. The government however denied that the army had destroyed it.

Reacting to this, the former Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, who is now an MP, issued a press release saying that the government’s efforts to hide the “genocide” will fail because, one day, the international community would surely recognize what happed in Mulliwaikkal was genocide. He appealed to the Tamils to observe the day, but strictly in accordance with pandemic regulations.

The Democratic Peoples’ Front leader Mano Ganesan condemned the destruction of the monument and pointed that the government could not prevent Tamils from mourning their war dead while allowing the revolutionary Sinhala organization Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to pay homage to its dead. He appealed to Tamil leaders to seek the support of progressive Sinhalese politicians and Buddhist monks for their reasonable demand for equality in commemorating the dead in conflicts.

In the Indian State of Tamil Nadu, home to nearly over 67 million fellow Tamils, Tamil nationalists, LTTE and Tamil Eelam supporters have already started observing Mulliwaikkal Day. The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko, who is an MP, paid homage to the dead. The object of veneration for him and his followers, was a map of Tamil Eelam with a picture of the 12 year-old Balachandran, the slain son of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, superimposed on it.

Meanwhile www.army.lk said that the Sri Lankan Security Forces are all set to remember the fallen war heroes at the National ‘Ranaviru’ monument in Battarmulla on May 19. The ceremony would be witnessed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and other dignitaries of the Sri Lankan State.

The website said that 23,962 army, 1160 Navy, 443 Air Force, 2598 police and 456 Civil Security personnel, a total of 28,619, had made the supreme sacrifice in the fight against LTTE terrorism before May 2009.

MULLIVAIKAL REMEMBRANCE DAY – MAY 18

Tamils all over the world pay homage to those who were killed in the brutal, final stage of Eelam War IV in 2009, the Tamil nation marked 12 years since the massacre of tens of thousands at the end of the armed conflict on May 18th 2009.

IN 2009 OVER 40,000 KILLED
146,679 TAMILS UNACCOUNTED FOR
25,000 CHILDREN ORPHANED
80,000 TAMIL WIDOWED UP TO END OF WAR

Freedom is our birth right and Autonomy is our demand

 

SL Government decides to agree with SC determination on Port City Bill – Sources

The Sri Lankan Government has decided to agree with the Supreme Court determination & amendments on the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill.

Government sources confirmed that the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill can be passed in Parliament with a simple majority.

On Tuesday (18) morning the Speaker of Sri Lanka’s Parliament announced the Supreme Court determination on the bill.

The Supreme Court had pointed out that multiple articles of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill are inconsistent with the constitution, and it can only be passed with a Special Majority and a referendum.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court, the speaker further announced.

Certain provisions of clauses of the Port City Commission Bill are unconstitutional, Supreme Court rules

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced the decision of the Supreme Court on the Colombo Port City Commission Bill in Parliament this morning.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament that the Supreme Court had determined that certain provisions of the Port City Economic Commission Bill is inconsistent with the Constitution, and directed that those clauses required to be passed by a special majority and a referendum as they were unconstitutional.

The decision of the Supreme Court was handed over to the Speaker recently after considering 19 petition filed against the proposed bill by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya.

The Speaker’s announcement in Parliament:

I wish to inform the Parliament that I have received the Determination of the Supreme Court in respect of the Bill entitled ” Colombo Port City Economic Commission” which was challenged in the Supreme Court in terms of Article 121 (1) of the constitution.

The determination of the Supreme Court as to the constitutionality of the bill entitled ‘Colombo Port City Economic Commission’ is as follows:

01. The provisions of clauses 3(6), 30 (3) second proviso, 55(2) and 58 (1) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 12 (1) of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

02. The provisions of clauses 3 (5) proviso, 3 (7), 6 (1) (b), 30 (3) first proviso, 71 (1), and 74 (Interpretation ‘Regulatory Authority”) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 12 (1) of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

03. The provisions of clauses 3 (4), 6 (1) (u), 68 (1) (f) and 68 )3) are inconsistent with Article 76 read with Articles 3 and 4 of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution and approved by the People at a Referendum by virtue of the provisions of Article 83.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

04. The provisions of Clause 52 (3) read with clauses 52 (5) and 71 (2) (p) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 148 of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution and approved by the People at a Referendum by virtue of the provisions of Article 83.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

05. The provisions of Clauses 30 (1), 33 (1), 40 (2), and 71 (2) (l) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 14 (1) (h) of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

06. The provisions of clauses 53 (2) (b) read with clause 53 (3) (b) of the bill are inconsistent with Article 76 of the constitution read with Articles 3 and 4 of the constitutions and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2) of the constitution and approved by the People at a Referendum by virtue of the provisions of Article 83.

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

07. The provisions of clauses 60 (c) and clause 60 (f) of the bill is inconsistent with Article 148 of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2).

However, the said inconsistencies will cease if the clauses are amended as mentioned in the determination of the Supreme Court.

08. The provisions of clause 37 of the bill is inconsistent with Article 12 (1) and 14 (1) (g) of the constitution and could be validly passed only with the Special Majority provided for in Article 84 (2).

However, the said inconsistency will cease if a new sub-clause is added to clause 37 of the bill restraining such authorized person making use of any exemptions or incentives granted under this bill when conducting business outside the area of authority of the Colombo Port City to the detriment of similar businesses conducted outside such area of authority by within the territory of Sri Lanka. The Supreme Court had determined that the rest of the clauses of the bill are not inconsistent with the constitution.

Former MP K. Thurairetnasingam passes away from COVID-19

Former Member of Parliament of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and ITAK K. Thurairetnasingam has passed away at the age of 80.

According to reports, he was under medical care for COVID-19 at the Kantale Hospital at the time of his demise on Monday (May 17).

He is the second former legislator in Sri Lanka to succumb to COVID-19. Former Speaker of Parliament W.J.M. Lokubandara passed away on February 14 from novel coronavirus infection.

Thurairetnasingam served as a Member of Parliament from 2002 to 2010 representing the Trincomalee District.

Govt. websites under attack on victory day: CERT/CC

Three websites including that belonging to the Health Ministry, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Beijing were reportedly hacked this morning by an organisation calling itself the ‘Tamil Eelam Cyber Force’, The Computer Emergency Readiness Team/Co-ordination Centre (CERT/CC) said.

CERT/CC Information Security Engineer, Ravindu Meegasmulla told the Daily Mirror that the attack may have been launched considering the victory Day of May 18, 2009.

Following the cyber attacks, the Tamil Eelam Cyber ​​Force had hoisted the LTTE flag on the websites.

Mr Meegasmulla said the Health Ministry website had been restored and the restoration process of the remaining websites was underway.

“CERT/CC had observed an increase in the number of website defacements during this particular period in the past years as well. Therefore, the CERT/CC had published an announcement requesting to be vigilant of the potential risk of Government Websites being intruded during this period,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Air Force Spokesperson Group Captain Dushan Wijesinghe said the cyberattack was launched in the early hours by LTTE related extremist activist groups.

The Information Technology Society of Sri Lanka (ITSSL), pointed out that the Tamil Eelam Cyber ​​Force (TECF) group that carried out this morning’s cyber attack, had the potential to carry out cyberattacks in the coming days as well.

Sri Lanka confirms 2,275 Coronavirus cases, 21 Covid-19 deaths

Sri Lanka has confirmed 2,275 Coronavirus cases, continuing to put pressure on the health system while 21 deaths were reported, and the public was urged to work from home wherever possible.

The total under medical care rose to 21,208 on the morning of May 16 from 19,944 with 1,102 discharged during the day and 2,386 confirmed on May 15.

By the end of the day 23,483 were under medical care.

The 2,275 confirmed of which 2,212 were domestic, came with 27,183 tests being done.

Health authorities have said home management of asymptomatic patients would begin, with the patients asked to go to hospital if they developed pneumonia.

Breathing difficulties were a key indicator of the onset of pneumonia, doctors said.

With the latest deaths, the total went up to 962. Among the dead was a 37 year old man from Bandarawela.

The public urged to stay at home from Monday except for going to the workplace for work which cannot be done from home, with curfew like restrictions in place eleven 2300 hours to 0400 hours.

Public transport and taxis could operate till 2300 hours. Taxis and three wheelers could take two passengers only.

“State and private offices were asked to operate with minimum staff under health regulations,” Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana told reporters.

“Workshops, meetings and conference are completely banned. Spas, massage parlours, clubs, parties, reception, beach parties or other night events are halted. Action will be taken against them.

“Yesterday in Welikada police arrested six persons who had been having a party using drugs. We also took into custody the manager of the guest house.”

The public has to go for shopping or other needs based on the last digit of the national identity card. Even if the driving license is used, the ID card number listed is the basis, Rohana said.

Those with a odd last numeral could go out on odd days and those with an even digit or zero could go on even dates.

Mullaitivu, Pudukuduirippu and Mulliyawalai isolated

Mullaitivu, Pudukuduirippu and Mulliyawalai in the Mullaitivu District have been isolated.

Army Commander General Shavendra Silva said the isolation status in these areas will take effect from 11pm tonight (Monday).

Residents will not be permitted to travel outside the respective areas.

The Government said that the isolation status has been enforced in these areas to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Port City Bill is a disaster : Sajith Premadasa

The Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill is a major disaster, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has said.

“I hope that the government has a good sense to listen to the constructive proposals and arguments we have put forth,” Premadasa noted.

He insisted that the bill must be amended so that it protects the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

The opposition leader added that the Port City must be transformed into the world’s famous hub.

Meanwhile, Premadasa insisted that Sri Lanka must have a “smart” foreign policy that protects the country’s interests.

“We shouldn’t get involved in a power struggle,” he said.