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Sri Lanka readies for the ‘Rajapaksa dynasty’

[Express Buzz, Tuesday, 31 August 2010 07:56 No Comment]

The Sri Lankan cabinet on Monday approved the constitutional changes that President Mahinda Rajapaksa wanted to bring about.

The proposed changes are: Removing the two-term limit for a President; diluting the 17th amendment on appointments to high offices with a view to safeguarding the constitutional powers of the President; and introducing the First Past the Post system in a limited way in elections to the local bodies.

The amendments will be introduced on September 7 and voted upon on September 9. The government now has the support of 147 MPs in a House of 224 and, therefore, slightly short of the required two-thirds majority. However, cabinet spokesman Maithripala Sirisena told newspersons that the  government would eventually get 160 votes.

CHINESE JAILED FOR STEALING SOIL: Three Chinese workers, employed in a road building project in the eastern Sri Lankan district of Amparai, have been sentenced to three years’ imprisonment by a local magistrate for stealing soil worth thousands of US dollars. The sentence was delivered by judge Sampath Hewawasam last Thursday, ‘Daily Mirror’ said.

In June 2008, two Chinese were caught stealing soil from a forest area in the same district. But, another Chinese intervened and forcibly took away the arrested men. Subsequently, all three were arrested and produced before the Amparai magistrate who let them off on a personal bail of SLRs 20,000 ($180).

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