News stories from Island
Rs. 371 mn more for politicos’ vehicles
by Saman Indrajith
The government yesterday submitted a supplementary estimate seeking the approval of the House for Rs. 371 million (Rs. 371,097,000) to purchase nine vehicles for ministers and deputy ministers.
The estimate was presented to the House by Chief Government Whip Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilake.
Accordingly, the approval has been sought for the allocation of Rs. 39,897,000 to acquire a vehicle for the Minister of Education, Rs. 42,000,000 to purchase a vehicle for Deputy Chairmen of Committees in Parliament, Rs. 82,000,000 to purchase two vehicles for the minister and deputy minister of Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Rs. 40,000,000 to purchase a vehicle for the minister of plantation industries, Rs. 38,200,000 to purchase a vehicle for the Sports Minister, Rs 43,000,000 to purchase a vehicle for the Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media, and Rs. 86,000,000 to purchase two vehicles for the minister and state minister of Industry and Commerce.
In addition, parliamentary approval has been sought for Rs. 19,100,000 for six vehicles the Ministry of Education has obtained on lease, Rs. 28,180,200 to purchase an ambulance for the Prime Minister, Rs. 1,050,000,000 for the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation for double tracking the railway line in Polgahawela – Kurunegala section and Aluthgama-Galle section and set up a new domestic airline on Public Private Partnership basis, and Rs. 850,000,000 to procure National Cyber Security System for the Ministry of Defence.
Supplementary allocations are provided strictly for the purposes specified in approved budget estimates to relevant spending agencies after a need assessment is carried out with consideration to relevant financial regulations, and approved procedures, a note attached to the estimate said. .
It said: “However, this supplementary provision does not change the approved total expenditure limits of the annual estimate by Parliament. The allocation of such purposes has been made under the project of budgetary support services and contingent liabilities of the Department of National Budget and it is under the limit of the approved annual budget.
“Therefore, either the borrowing limit or the maximum limit of total expenditure will not be increased due to granting of these supplementary provisions.”
Kerala boy becomes India’s youngest father at 12!
BY S VENKAT NARAYAN, Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI, March 24: A 12-year-old boy from Kerala, who fathered a child with a 16-year-old girl, is perhaps the youngest father in India.
The young mother gave birth to a baby girl a few months ago at a hospital in Ernakulam.
The personal details, including the identity of the young parents and the baby, are being withheld in accordance with the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Investigators confirmed the paternity of the child this week after carrying out the genetic profiling of both the baby and the father.
Dr. P.K. Jabbar, Professor and Head of the Endocrinology Department of the Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, said the boy could have a medical condition called “precocious puberty,” in which a child attains puberty at a much earlier age.
It was not an unusual medical condition but no incident of a boy becoming a father at the age of 12 has come to his notice, Dr. Jabbar said.
The DNA profiles generated from the blood samples of the father and the baby, who was just 18 days old at the time of the scientific analysis, were compared to affirm the paternity.
In the “absence of identical twins, it was found that the alleged father was the biological father of the child” whose blood samples were examined, sources said.
Police earlier registered a case against the boy under the POCSO Act. The case had opened up a legal conundrum as both the victim and the perpetrator were minors.
UK wants resolution calling for foreign judges fully implemented
The UK has urged Sri Lanka to take tangible measures to ensure meaningful devolution through constitutional reforms, establish credible transitional justice mechanisms, return all remaining military-held private land and replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act with human rights compliant legislation during ongoing Geneva sessions.
British High Commission in Colombo on Thursday night issued the following statement made in Geneva on the previous day by UK representative: “We welcome the co-sponsorship of the new UN Human Rights Council resolution by the Government of Sri Lanka, which reaffirms commitments made in resolution 30/1 in October 2015, for the next two years. By co-sponsoring a new resolution the Government of Sri Lanka has demonstrated its commitment to human rights, accountability and reconciliation, as important elements of a lasting political settlement for all Sri Lanka’s communities.
As the report of the Office of the High Commissioner notes, there have been some improvements made to the human rights situation in Sri Lanka since January 2015. We recognise that further progress is needed and believe that continued support and encouragement from the international community, including through the UN Human Rights Council, will be an important factor in delivering this.
We join the High Commissioner in recognising the steps taken by the Government of Sri Lanka since January 2015 to improve the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, in particular the restoration of important democratic checks and balances, improvements in respect for freedoms of expression and movement, the return of some military-held land, the passing of legislation to establish an Office for Missing Persons, the ratification of the Convention on Enforced Disappearances and the initiation of a process of constitutional reform.
However, as the High Commissioner’s report clearly states, much remains to be done. We encourage the government to take the steps necessary to deliver fully on the commitments it made when co-sponsoring resolution 30/01 and to develop and communicate a comprehensive and time bound implementation strategy. In particular, we encourage the Government to deliver meaningful devolution through constitutional reform, establish credible transitional justice mechanisms, return all remaining military-held private land and replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act with human rights compliant legislation.
We also welcome the work of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms and encourage the Sri Lankan government to give due consideration to its recommendations.
In November 2015, the UK committed £6.6 million over three years to support Sri Lanka’s ambitious reform agenda. This includes work on police reform and training, defence engagement, support to the UN’s work on reconciliation and peace building, inter-religious dialogue and mediation, capacity building on anti-bribery and the fight against corruption, and demining in the north of the country.
The UK and the wider international community are helping support Sri Lankan government efforts to implement its commitments on reconciliation, accountability, human rights and a political settlement that delivers equitable and just governance for all Sri Lankans.”