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India wants increased devolution package to North

India has urged the government to resume negotiations with the TNA on an increased devolution package for the North.

India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who is on an official visit to Sri Lanka has said India looked forward to an early resumption of the dialogue "to address this issue in a timely manner."

The Indian Minister made the comments after meeting Monday with Minister G.L. Peiris yesterday (7th).

Khurshid had also said he hoped the Sri Lankan leadership that ended the war and held the recent election will now "work for genuine reconciliation."

Khurshid stating he negotiated the release of Indian fishermen who had been detained by Sri Lanka for alleged poaching said Sri Lanka should treat livelihood issues humanly.

Canada - no, India - undecided

A statement issued by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper states he had decided not to attend the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Sri Lanka in November in protest over alleged human rights violations by the government of Sri Lanka.

In the statement issued yesterday (7th) morning the Canadian PM states when Sri Lanka was selected to host the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Canada was hopeful that the Sri Lankan government would seize the opportunity to improve human rights conditions and take steps towards reconciliation and accountability but unfortunately this had not happened.

In his statement Harper states, “Canada is deeply concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka. The absence of accountability for the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards during and after the civil war is unacceptable.

Canada noted with concern the impeachment of the Sri Lankan Chief Justice earlier this year, and we remain disturbed by ongoing reports of intimidation and incarceration of political leaders and journalists, harassment of minorities, reported disappearances, and allegations of extra judicial killings.

Canada believes that if the Commonwealth is to remain relevant it must stand in defence of the basic principles of freedom, democracy, and respect for human dignity, which are the very foundation upon which the Commonwealth was built.

It is clear that the Sri Lankan government has failed to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values, which are cherished by Canadians. As such, as the Prime Minister of Canada, I will not attend the 2013 CHOGM in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This is a decision that I do not take lightly.

He had also stated that he had asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs to review Canada’s financial contributions to Commonwealth programs and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Meanwhile, India’s Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid has said no decision has been taken regarding the participation of Indian Premier Manmohan Singh at the CHOGM. He has said this answering questions posed by journalists when he met the media with Minister of Foreign Affairs G.L. Peiris.

UNP appoints ‘council’ to avoid stalemate

UNP Working Committee meeting held yesterday concluded after heated debates with a decision to appoint a leadership Council that will assume some powers of the Party Leader. Ranil Wickremesinghe will remain Party Leader but some of his constitutional powers will be transferred to the ‘council’.

Karu Jayasuriya, Sajith Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe are to form the council whose functions have not been discussed yet or its name decided.

Meanwhile, UNP Chairman Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, National Organizer Daya Gamage and Treasurer Senarath Kapukotuwa have resigned from their posts. Earlier Secretary General Tissa Attanayaka resigned from the post of party organizer of Kundasale electorate.

Save youths from ‘Rajapaksaisation’ – SYU

The youth of the country should be saved from ‘Rajapaksaisation’ says the National Organizer of Socialist Youth Union (SYU) Bimal Rathnayaka. He said this at a media conference held at the head office of the JVP at Pelawatta today (7th) to apprise the media regarding the motorcycle tour named “Youths tour for freedom” organized from Colombo to Vavuniya to mark the ‘Che’ day wich falls on 8th October (tomorrow).

Mr. Rathnayaka said the main intention of organizing the “Youths tour for freedom” motorcycle tour is to apprise the youth of the country regarding Che Guevara, the revolutionary, political leader, diplomat, physician, author, humanitarian and internationalist.

He said ‘Che’ attracts youths all over the world. Not only those engaged in politics but millions of youth admire and respect  Che Guevara adding that the picture of ‘Che’ could be seen even on t-shirts worn by youths who drive three wheelers. He said according to a survey conducted by ‘Times’ ‘Che’ is one of the hundred people who have made a great impact to the world during the 20th century. He pointed out while Che’s influence grew, the effect of the others faded and added that Che is making a tremendous impact on youths and politics. He said Che Guevara is so effective even today due to his self sacrifice to win social justice within a short span of 12 years.

Mr. Rathnayaka said our youths should be made aware of Che Guevara’s experiences. Our youths also need to practice self sacrifice, dedicate themselves to win social justice and freedom from suppression.

“Youths in our country are not free. They have lost the freedom to study. Only about 20,000 out of about 150,000 who are successful at the A/L examination could enter universities. The freedom of education has been limited only to those who have money. Youths have no freedom to be employed. For example no factory that could employ 100 youths has been started in Kurunegala District since the end of the war. The situation in the whole country is similar. Despite making room to put up casino palaces, not a single factory has been started to give employment for youths. Our youths have to be liberated from unemployment. 65% of prisoners in the country are youths. The main reason for this is they have not been able to get proper education and employment. Sports has completely become ‘Rajapaksised’. Drugs and liquor have become a menace to the country. Recently, 261 kilograms of heroin was seized. We have a suspicion that 260 kilograms of this haul has been released to the market. Such an incident was reported from Athurugiriya a few days ago. Youths should be saved from the drug and liquor menace.

Youths in the North too are confronted with similar issues. There is a military administration in the North. Youths in the North cannot arrange a cricket match without getting permission from the Army. Also, graduates who have got government employment have to work as government’s political stooges.

Youths in our country should be free from reactionary attitudes. They have become a lot that go behind ‘devales’ believe in horoscopes and yearn for dowries. Various media in our country spread fictitious beliefs. The ‘court soothsayer’ is making a great effort to turn back the falsehoods he uttered. A large crowd assembled at Katharagama as a result of the falsehood uttered regarding God Katharagama. Despite using i-phones, our youths have not been liberated from fictitious beliefs. The media that spread falsehoods and delusion never allocate sufficient time or space for scientific knowledge. As such, there is a struggle for youths to win their freedom.

Children of ordinary folks have not got an opportunity to get to the political leadership in our country. Only sons and daughters of powerful families have got this opportunity. Hence, we invite youths to rally, without any difference of party or colour, to change this unfortunate state and win their legitimate rights.

We hope to take a message to the youth.  We also would pressurize the government. We hope to forward several proposals targetting the forthcoming budget proposals. We demand the government to allocate funds from the budget to establish a state university to accommodate more students who get qualified to get university education. The Ten year Plan of Mahinda Chinthanaya states Rs.600 million would be allocated annually to make available an allowance for youths who are unemployed. However, no one has received this allowance. We demand the government to allocate funds for this allowance.

We also make an open invitation for youths. We invite them to join the “Youths tour for freedom” and to get attracted not only to the picture of Comrade Che Guevara but also to his heart.

Responding to questions posed by journalists Mr. Rathnayaka said, “Sports in our country has been ‘Rajapaksasised.’  There is direct influence of Rajapaksa family in selecting players for Sri Lanka cricket as well as rugby. Yoshitha Rajapaksa is the President of Elle Federation. The captaincy for rugby changes from Yoshitha younger brother to Namal, the elder brother. Family pressure is felt in the cricket committee as well. The telecast rights of sports events have been given directly or indirectly to Namal Rajapaksa’s CSN channel. The impact of pro-Rajapaksa ministers too is felt in the sports sector. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage changed the sports act. 56 new regulations were added. A regulation was brought in stating the Minister could do anything. Using this persons who have been accused of wrongdoing and those who have been defeated at elections have been appointed to positions. Rugby need not be the national game in Sri Lanka. Our country should win medals from athletics.  However, sports in our country have become the pet subject of the Rajapaksa family.

University academics, scholars and intellectuals demand the government to allocate 6% of GDP for education. However, the government allocated the least for education last year. It would be less this year. This is why we demand the government to allocate funds to establish a state university. We have to struggle to win freedom for free education.

National Committee Members of SYU Eranga Gunasekera and Amila Pathum also participated.

Programme:

Inaugural ceremony commences at Hyde Park in Colombo on 8th (tomorrow) at 9.30 a.m. and the riders proceed through Kalutara and Galle to Matara where a youths rally and a musical show are held.

On 9th October riders start from Matara, ride through Hakmana, Walasmulla, Tangalle and reach Tissamaharamaya where a rally will be held followed by a musical show.

On 10th October youths will commence their tour from Tissamaharamaya and ride through Wellawaya, Badulla and will reach Mahiyanganaya where a rally and a musical show would be held.

On 11th October the tour will commence from Mahinyanganaya, ride through Kandy and will reach Kurunegala. A youths rally and a musical show will be held in the evening.

On 12th October riders will commence their tour from Kurunegala, ride through Dambulla reach Vavuniya and come back to Anuradhapura where a rally and a musical show will be held.

Street dramas, distribution of leaflets and other programmes will be held in main towns passed by the riders.


13 more to burden masses

The President is to carry out a cabinet reshuffle on the 10th and 13 new ministers would be appointed say internal sources of the government.

Accordingly, SLMC would get two deputy ministerial posts, CWC would get two ministerial posts and Kandurata People’s Front would get a ministerial post say these sources.

Also, Parliamentarians who received the highest number of preferential votes at the last parliamentary elections too would get deputy ministerial posts. Already, names of Sanath Jayasuriya, Shantha Bandara, Nishantha Muthuhetti, Duminda Silva, Arundika Fernando and Thilanga Sumathipala have been proposed say sources.

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