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Lawmakers in Sri Lanka Defect From President to Prime Minister

Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ruled that Sirisena's decision to dissolve parliament before the end of its term was unconstitutional

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Sri Lanka, prime minister
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looks on at a news conference in parliament in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 4, 2018. VOA

Three lawmakers from Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s party defected to the government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday after a dispute between the two leaders.

The island nation was plunged into crisis in October after Sirisena replaced Wickremesinghe with ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa, without the backing of parliament, leading to protests and downgrades of Sri Lanka’s debt.

Rajapaksa, best known for crushing a long-running insurgency in the north of the country and drawing Sri Lanka closer to China, failed to win a parliamentary majority and resigned Saturday as a government shutdown loomed.

Sri Lanka, prime minister
Sri Lanka’s ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looks on during a parliament session in Colombo, Dec. 12, 2018. On Sunday he was reinstated as prime minister, ending a political crisis.

Wickremesinghe was then sworn in as prime minister for the fifth time in a remarkable comeback.

“We joined the government … as the party and the country have been dragged into a difficult position,” Vijith Wijayamuni Soysa, one of the three lawmakers, told parliament.

With the latest defections, Wickremesinghe has the backing of 120 legislators in the 225-member parliament.

Sirisena told a party gathering later Tuesday that he would not allow any defector to be sworn in as a minister in Wickremesinghe’s cabinet, which is yet to be appointed.

Sri Lanka, prime minister
Sri Lanka’s ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looks on during a parliament session in Colombo, Dec. 12, 2018. On Sunday he was reinstated as prime minister, ending a political crisis. VOA

On Thursday, Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court ruled that Sirisena’s decision to dissolve parliament before the end of its term was unconstitutional, a judgment that eventually led to the return of Wickremesinghe as prime minister.

Also Read: Sri Lanka’s PM Gets Reinstated

Members of his ruling United National Party and at least six opposition MPs want to oust Sirisena through an impeachment, though that needs a two-thirds majority in parliament. (VOA)

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Anti-Crypto Law Draft Proposes 10-Year Jail for Dealing in Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies

Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence

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Draft, Law, Jail, Bitcoin
Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world. Pixabay

Holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could soon land you in jail for 10 years.

The “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019” draft has proposed 10-year prison sentence for persons who “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies.

Besides making it completely illegal, the bill makes holding of cryptos a non-bailable offence.

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security and is generally based on blockchain technology, a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency in the world.

Draft, Law, Jail, Bitcoin
) Holding, selling or dealing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin could soon land you in jail for 10 years. Pixabay

Given the high chances of cryptocurrencies being misused for money laundering, various government bodies such as the Income Tax Department and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had endorsed banning of cryptocurrencies.

The draft bill for banning cryptocurrency has been in the works for some time with Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg leading the exercise.

While strict law would soon be in place to deal with people indulging in trade of cryptocurrency, India is likely to have its own digital currency.

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“A decision on the launch of Digital Rupee would be taken after consulting the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” said an official. (IANS)