Sri Lanka Current Affairs - 2019

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Sri Lanka Election: Gotbaya Rajapaksa to be sworn in as new President

The former wartime Defence Chief Gotabaya Rajpaksa of Sri Lanka has won the Presidential Election. He took 52.25% of vote against his rival Sajith Premadasa. Mr Rajapaksa won in Sinhalese majority areas and Mr Premadasa had scored in regions that were dominated by the Tamilians.

Highlights

  • National Security was seen as the dominant issue of the state as Islamic Group targeted churches and hotels in the Island. More than 250 people were killed in the state in several bombings in April 2019.
  • Gotbaya is the brother of the former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In 2009, the brothers spear headed the Tamil Tiger rebels where at least 100,000 were killed
  • The country recorded 83.7% of voters turn out.
  • Totally 35 candidates contested in the Presidential Election

India’s concerns

The previous Government had close ties with China. Political experts are worried about the ballooning debt to Beijing. The regional powers especially India is concerned about the extent of Chinese influence in the country. Rajapaksa has told the reporters that he is planning to restore the relations with China. On the other hand, Mr Premadasa was leaning towards US and India.

Falling into debt trap, Sri Lanka has leased the Hambantota port to the Chinese for 99 years.

Sri Lanka becomes first South Asian nation to criminalise match-fixing related offences

Sri Lanka has become first South Asian nation to criminalise several offences related to match-fixing. The move comes after Sri Lankan parliament passed of a bill related to it labelled as “Prevention of Offences Related to Sports”. Sri Lanka’s Sports Ministry worked closely with International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) during the process of drafting bill.

Key Highlights of Bill

The newest legislation covers all sports. As per it if a person is found guilty of committing an offence related to corruption in sports, then he may find himself jailed for a term up to 10 years and will also be required to pay other fines.

The bill criminalises ‘acts of omission’, which includes failure to report corrupt approaches. This means that, Sri Lankan cricketers who are approached by corruptors will now have to report these approaches not only to ICC’s ACU, but also to a Special Investigation Unit (SIU) appointed by Sri Lankan government.

The legislation not only punishes any person related to a sport who is directly involved in fixing, but also those who provide inside information.

The bill also introduces jail term for- curators who prepare surfaces to suit betting operators or match officials who deliberately misapply rules for money, if found guilty.

It is also now illegal for former players and others involved in sports to provide corrupt figures access to current players.

What led to the Legislation?

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been under investigation by International Cricket Council’s ACU since 2017. Former cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya was charged under ICC Code and accordingly handed a two-year ban. Recently, Shakib Al Hasan all-rounder of Bangladesh was also handed a two-year ban, with 1 year being suspended for not reporting a suspected match-fixing offer to ICC’s ACU.