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Australia presents protective gear to the Maldives

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Australian High Commissioner to Maldives David Holly and Australian Defence Adviser Group Captain Sean Unwin Tuesday presented Australian supplied Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Maldives High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, HE Omar Abdul Razzak, and Lieutenant Colonel Ismail Naseer, Defence Adviser to the High Commission of the Republic of Maldives in Sri Lanka.

At the handover ceremony, High Commissioner Holly said “Australia expresses solidarity with Maldives as we both face the impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis together. As a longstanding friend, Australia is pleased to help Maldives counter COVID-19 by providing this equipment to protect those on the frontline”.

High Commissioner Omar expressed sincere appreciation for the generosity of donating PPE equipment provided by the Australian Department of Defence to the Maldives National Defence Force in its efforts to combat COVID-19, also thanked the Government of Australia for the continued cooperation and friendly relations with Maldives at all times.

The PPE consisted of 12,000 high quality coveralls and 200,000 gloves with a value of USD120,000, manufactured in Sri Lanka by Australian company Ansell, and will support Maldives’ efforts to minimise further transmission of COVID-19.

As Indian Ocean neighbours, Australia and Maldives share a long and warm bilateral relationship. Events to mark 45 years of relations in 2019 included the visit to Maldives of HMAS Ballarat in July and the visit to Australia by Minister for Defence Uza. Mariya Ahmed Didi in November 2019. Australia looks forward to continue working with Maldives as an Indo-Pacific partner, a news release from the Australian High Commission in Colombo said.

 



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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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