Tensions in Tangalle as one dies during raid of illegal liquor brewery

A massive protest has been launched by villagers in Tangalle against the Katuwana Police.

 An illegal liquor distillery was raided by a group of Police officers and during the raid, a 50-year-old man had died following the ensuing scuffle.

The tensions began when villagers had surrounded the Katuwana Police station to protest the death of a local villager. 

It is reported that some of the provoked villagers have attacked the police with stones. Tires too had been burnt and additional security had been requested from the STF  as well as other surrounding police stations.

Speaker informs President of RW’s confidence motion

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has notified President Maithripala Sirisena regarding the manner in which the confidence motion of Ranil Wickremesinghe was tabled in Parliament today (Dec 12).

The Speaker's office, issuing a press release said the motion was put forward as per the provisions of Standing Order 27 (3) by MPs Sajith Premadasa, Ravi Karunanayake, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Lakshman Kiriella, Rajitha Senaratne, Palani Digambaram, Mangala Samaraweera, and Rishad Bathiudeen.

The release further added that the motion was submitted today since it was agreed at the party leaders meeting on December 05 to table the motion in the order book for December 12.

Accordingly, the Speaker had notified the President that the motion was initially debated following which it was taken up for a vote.

The release further said the vote was carried out under the provisions of 47 (2) b as per the electronic system and ended in favour of Ranil Wickremesinghe with 117 votes in favour of the motion.

 

In pictures : ‘Fight for Democracy’ protest at Liberty roundabout

A special protest  'Fight for Democracy' is being  held at the Lipton Roundabout since 3:30 pm.

The protest has been organised with the collaboration of 17 civil society movements.

Captured below are scenes from the protest.

(Pics by M.A. Pushpakumara)

Parliament adjourned till December 18

Parliament has been adjourned till 1 pm on December 18.


By Sandun Jayawardana

Parliament has been adjourned till 1 pm on December 18.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya adjourned Parliament after a motion expressing confidence in UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was passed a short while ago with 117 MPs voting in support of it. 

The motion's passage gives Mr Wickremesinghe a clear majority in the 225 seat Parliament.  

Ranil says MPs voted together as Sri Lankans

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe thanked all MPs who voted for the motion expressing confidence in him. 


By Sandun Jayawardana

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe thanked all MPs who voted for the motion expressing confidence in him.

Addresing the House after 117 MPs voted in support of the motion, Mr Wickremesinghe said the MPs who voted in Parliament did not vote based on whether they were Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim, but as Sri Lankans. 

Responding to the speech made by ITAK Chairman Mavai Senathirajah, Mr Wickremesinghe said the new Constitution Parliament was hoping to adopt will help all communities to live together in an undivided country. He also pledged to strengthen Provincial Councils and abolish the Executive Presidency. 

 

Confidence Motion on Ranil passes with 117 votes

The motion expressing confidence on UNP Leader and  ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stating that he commands the support of a majority of MPs in Parliament was passed a short while ago with 117 MPs voting in support of the motion. 


By Sandun Jayawardena

The motion expressing confidence on UNP Leader and  ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stating that he commands the support of a majority of MPs in Parliament was passed a short while ago with 117 MPs voting in support of the motion. 

MPs from the UNF and TNA voted for the motion, while the JVP abstained. 

The UPFA again boycotted today's Parliament sessions.  

Actress Samanalee Fonseka demands Rs 500 million as compensation from MP Kanchana Wijesekara

Actress Samanalee Fonseka has demanded compensation of Rs 500 million from SLPP MP Kanchana Wijesekara over the defamatory remarks made by the latter at a press briefing recently.

Addressing a letter to MP Wijesekara via her lawyer Udul Premaratne, Ms. Fonseka had vehemently opposed all defamatory comments made or insinuated by the MP who charged that she was involved in abusing state funds.

The letter stated that MP Wijesakara had directly or indirectly alleged that a sum of Rs 2.7 million belonging to the Mass Media Ministry was abused by the actress while also accusing her of appearing before the Bribery and Corruption Commission in this regard.

Mr. Premaratne further said the SLPP MP had also accused his client of making statements against the incumbent government in a bid to cover up her wrongful actions.

While stating that his client had vehemently opposed such allegations, he also added that his client had complained of her image being tarnished within the public circles due to these defamatory remarks.

Mr. Premaratne proceeded to demand a sum of Rs 500 million to be paid as compensation within 14 days. He signed off the letter by saying that if the compensation was not paid, a complaint will be lodged at the courts in order to claim his lawyer fees along with the compensation.

Huawei executive gets bail in case rattling China ties

A Canadian court granted bail on Tuesday to a top Chinese telecom company executive wanted in the United States in a case that has rattled relations between China and the North American allies.

The conditional release of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, came hours after the detention of a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing further stoked tensions.

Meng, who faces a US extradition bid on charges related to alleged violations of Iran sanctions, was granted Can$10 million (US$7.5 million) bail, ordered to surrender her passport and will be subjected to electronic monitoring.

"The risk of (Meng's) non-attendance in court can be reduced to an acceptable level by imposing the bail conditions proposed by her counsel," a judge in Vancouver said, prompting the courtroom packed with her supporters to erupt in cheers.

She was later released and left in a black SUV, according to Global News television footage. She will be allowed to stay at a luxury home owned by her husband, Liu Xiaozong, in Vancouver.

Huawei is a strategically key company for China's global high-tech ambitions but some of its services have been blocked in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Britain over security concerns.

Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei's founder, is accused of lying to bankers about the use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran in breach of sanctions. If convicted, she faces more than 30 years in prison.

The extradition process, scheduled to start on February 6, could take months, even years, if appeals are made in the case.

Her lawyer, David Martin, argued that she was not a flight risk because it would otherwise "embarrass China itself". She had also cited health reasons for requesting bail.

During a pause in proceedings, Martin said Meng looked forward to a break from work and spending time with family, read novels and maybe apply to a doctorate program while the extradition case played out after "working hard for 25 years".

Huawei said in a statement it was confident that the courts would "reach a just conclusion" in the case and stressed that the company complies with all laws and sanctions.

Her December 1 arrest in Vancouver has shaken China's relations with Canada and the United States, and raised concerns that it could derail a US-China trade war truce.

US officials have said the arrest was unrelated to the trade talks, but President Donald Trump told Reuters he "would certainly intervene" in the case if it can help strike a deal with China.

(AFP)

Time’s ‘Person of Year’ goes to journalists, including Reuters pair

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Time on Tuesday named a group of journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and two Reuters reporters imprisoned by Myanmar’s government, as “Person of the Year” and warned the idea of truth as critical to democracy is under assault.

The publication also honored the founder of a Philippines news website critical of that country’s authoritarian government and a Maryland newspaper that was the target of a mass shooting, the first time in the magazine’s 95-year history that Time has bestowed the distinction on its own profession.

A cover story highlighted the role of journalists, including Reuters’ Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who Myanmar imprisoned for violating a state secrets act, and Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi writer and critic of the nation’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was slain two months ago inside a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey.

“I hope that this is received by the public at large far, far beyond the United States as a reminder of the importance of defending free expression and the pursuit of truth and facts,” Ben Goldberger, Time magazine’s assistant managing editor, said during an interview. “That is the baseline for all free societies. Democracy certainly cannot function without a shared understanding of the facts.”

The annual distinction is intended to recognize the person, group or idea that had the greatest influence on world events that year. It has been given to a wide range of influencers, from U.S. civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. and Queen Elizabeth to Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, who was honored before the start of World War Two.

Wednesday will mark one year since Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were imprisoned for their work investigating the killing of villagers from Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority by the country’s security forces and civilian mobs. They were convicted on Sept. 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act in a case seen as a test of democratic freedoms in Myanmar.

“We hope this recognition will draw continued awareness to their unjust arrest and imprisonment in Myanmar, and reaffirm the essential role of a free press around the world. Every day that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo remain in prison is an assault on press freedom,” said Reg Chua, the chief operating officer for Reuters editorial.

MR’s appeal against Appellate court’s interim order fixed for support on Friday

The hearing of the appeal filed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the Appeal Court's interim order which barred him from functioning as Prime Ministerhas been fixed for hearing on Friday.

The case is being haerd before a three-member judge bench comprising Justices Prasanna Jayawardena, Priyantha Jayawardena and L.T.B Dehideniya.

President's counsel Kanang-Iswaran filed an objection during today's hearing citing that they had not recieved a proper notice, following which it was decided to hear the case on Friday.