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‘All those in authority who failed to avert Easter Sunday attacks will be punished’ – PM

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Based on PCoI findings

By Norman Palihawadana

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Friday that punitive action will be initiated against all persons who failed to avert the devastating 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks, based on the findings of the ongoing Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the carnage.

“Notwithstanding their positions and standing in society, we will file legal action against those identified by the Commission for their failure to prevent the coordinated scourge of terror”, the premier assured.

The Prime Minister was responding to Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith’s public statement that justice should be meted out to the Easter Sunday victims and those responsible for the dastardly attacks brought to book “without shedding crocodile tears over the incident”.

Speaking during his homily for the National Day of the Sick at the basilica of Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatte last week, the Cardinal said the presidential commission investigating the Easter Sunday bombings has only identified the public faces of those who failed to prevent the attack, but the “people behind the scenes, who funded these attacks, who planted the bombs, have not been found”.

“If any government tries to hide and release the culprits without punishing them, I will oppose that government”, he said.

“We will ensure justice”, Rajapaksa stressed, while adding that “however mighty and powerful those responsible for preventing the grisly attacks may be, they will be made to face the full force of the law”.

It was a grave lapse on the part of those in authority to have ignored intelligence warnings on the imminent terrorist attacks, which plunged not only the Catholic community but the entire country into unspeakable grief, the Prime Minister noted.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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