BBC News – Sri Lanka: Mahinda Rajapaksa, former president, named as PM

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has named his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the country’s new prime minister after the collapse of the governing coalition.

Colombo – Sri Lanka, 26 October 2018. He sacked Premier Ranil Wickramasinghe after the president’s United People’s Freedom Alliance party (UPFA) quit the government.

Mr Sirisena beat Mr Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election. Opponents say the move is unconstitutional.

Mr Wickramasinghe helped the president triumph in the 2015 poll, but the pair reportedly clashed in cabinet recently over government plans to lease a port to India.

The prime minister and his United National Party (UNP) came to power promising accountability for alleged atrocities committed in Sri Lanka’s civil war and during Mr Rajapaksa’s administration.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera called his leader’s sacking “an anti-democratic coup”, saying Mr Wickramasinghe remained leader as he could not constitutionally be removed by the president.

And Cabinet spokesman Raitha Senaratne told the BBC that Mr Wickramasinghe remained the country’s prime minister. President Sirisena had been an ally of and minister under Mr Rajapaksa before turning against him.

Mr Rajapaksa ended the civil war in 2009, but faced criticism for the means by which he achieved victory, many thousands of Tamil civilians are thought to have been killed by government forces in the final months of the fighting.

Over the 26-year conflict, between 80,000 and 100,000 people are estimated to have died, with both sides alleged to have perpetrated war crimes.

Moreover, the former president is also accused of corruption on an epic scale, along with his inner circle.

President Sirisena told the BBC shortly after his election victory that he planned to set up a domestic inquiry into the alleged civil war atrocities.

But poor headlines have dogged the president in recent weeks, tarnishing his image.

Mr Sirisena had to call India Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month after reports that he said the Indian secret service was plotting to kill him at a cabinet meeting.

And in September he railed against national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines for serving him sub-par cashew nuts.

Bad news for Sri Lanka, Bad news for democray
Man-in-Blue

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45991919

The Hindu – ED searches Amnesty India’s office in Bengaluru

Staff Reporter

Bengaluru – Karnataka/New Delhi – India, 25 October 2018. Enforcement Directorate officials conducted searches of the Bengaluru office of Amnesty India on Thursday in connection with suspected violation of rules under the Foreign Exchange Management Act in the use of funds received from abroad through commercial routes.

Sleuths arrived at the office at Indiranagar around 2 pm on Thursday, and were reportedly perusing through documents kept at the office as well as laptops and other electronic devices being used there. The raids continued till late in the night.

The action had been taken after a reference from the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) unit of the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Department of Revenue, under which the ED functions.

In 2011-12, the Amnesty International India Foundation Trust had been granted permission under the Act to receive foreign contributions of Rs 1.69 crore from Amnesty International-UK. However, the approval for more receipts was denied on the basis of “adverse” inputs from security agencies.

In a release, ED states that after permission was denied, they “resorted to bypass the FCRA Act” by floating a commercial entity in the name of Amnesty International India Pvt. Ltd (AIIPL) “This entity has received foreign funds through commercial route to the extent of Rs 36 crore till date, (of which)Rs 10 crore was received as long term loans. This amount was immediately placed in FDs. and another Indian entity,” says a statement by ED.

Indians for Amnesty International Trust then established an overdraft facility for Rs 14.25 crore keeping Rs 10.00 crore FD as collateral which means the receipt of FDI by trust only. The remaining Rs 26.00 crore was received in two accounts of AIIPL as “consultancy services”.

“The inwards remittances received by the AIIPL from overseas is in violation of FDI guidelines. In this background, searches are conducted at their Bengaluru office today and further investigation is in progress,” says ED.

Amnesty International was yet to comment on the matter.

Greenpeace says ‘pattern’ in searches [

The searches closely follows an operation in the Greenpeace India Society office in the city. The case pertains to alleged violations of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 and FCRA. Greenpeace has challenged the matter in the Chennai High Court.

However, their bank accounts have been frozen since. “This is a pattern where the government clampsdown on any organisation working for social justice.

ED could not find any proof for their allegations in the documents taken from our office, but it becomes clear that they want to stop our local resource mobilisation,” says Greenpeace after the Amnesty raids.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/amnesty-india-fema-probe-ed-conducts-searches-in-bengaluru/article25325118.ece

Gent Sint-Amandsberg and Sint-Niklaaskerk

Gent Sint-Amandsberg
Edgard Tinelstraat
25 September 2018


Provincial centre for adult education


The Rohingya issue


Some of the panel members

Gent Sint-Niklaaskerk
Week of Peace
26 September 2018


Sint-Niklaaskerk


Participants


A very good programme put together by IWG

To see all my pictures:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12445197@N05/

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Tribune – Drop murder bid charge against protesters: Khaira

Tribune News Service

Sangrur – Panjab – India, 5 October 2018. Rebel AAP leader Sukhpal Khaira on Thursday backed six local residents, who along with others had shown black flags to SAD chief Sukhbir Badal and threw a shoe at his vehicle on October 4. Khaira met them in Sangrur jail.

He said his group would launch an agitation if the attempt to murder charge was not withdrawn against them.
Earlier, Lok Insaf Party (LIP) leaders also met them and SAD Amritsar workers held a protest in their support.
Khaira also met the families of the arrested persons, Bachitar Singh, Amarjeet Singh, Manjit Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Devinder Singh and Gurjant Singh.

Meanwhile, SAD Amritsar workers held a protest and demanded withdrawal of attempt to murder charge and release of the arrested persons.

Sangrur SSP Dr Sandeep Garg said: “The SP (headquarters) is conducting an investigation into the matter. We will take action after receiving the report.”

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/drop-murder-bid-charge-against-protesters-khaira/673848.html

Pakistan Today – Supreme Court orders inclusion of ‘Sikhism’ in census form

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered for proper representation of Sikhs in the in census form

Islamabad – Capital Region, 26 October 2018. According to a report in the local media, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) heard a case relating to the matter and ordered the inclusion of a column of “Sikhism” in the population census form.

The additional attorney general, during the hearing, informed the court that the overall record of “Sikhs” has been summoned from National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) and will be included in column six of the census form which includes a section depicting the citizens’ religion.

Chief Justice Nisar remarked that it is utmost necessary for Sikhs to be represented in the census form when the next population census takes place.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/10/26/sc-orders-inclusion-of-sikhism-in-census-form/