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Cardinal accuses some leaders of using Easter attacks for political benefit

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“God almighty has started to expose those responsible”

By Norman Palihawadane

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith on Friday said that it was now clearly evident that certain leaders used the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks for their political advantage.

“It is clear that these attacks were a conspiracy,” he told a national prayer service held at the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka at Tewatte in Ragama to mark 1,000th day of Easter Sunday terror attacks.

“The 2019 April Attacks may be over. But, today we can see that those in powerful places are attempting to put the entire blame on Muslim extremists and cover up the truth. However, the truth is now coming out. Many tried to cover up the truth and they failed to do so.

“God Almighty has started to expose those who are responsible for this. The Parliamentary Select Committee in its findings said that Intelligence that only a few people were privy to, was not shared with relevant parties. The Parliamentary Select Committee on State Intelligence has highlighted serious concerns over this,” he said.

“The Parliamentary Select Committee has also called for further investigations to determine if action was not taken on the intelligence received that claimed that persons with vested interests were attempting to incite fear, uncertainty, and turmoil in the country targeting the elections that were to be held later that year (2019),” he said quoting from the PSC report in his address.

He said it is now even more clear that persons with vested interests had ulterior objectives that they concealed the fact they were aware of the intelligence and did nothing to save the lives, and also prevented those from taking action to prevent the attacks well.

“Such events will lead to a call for a change in government to control acts of terror by inciting fear among the people. This report suggests that the attacks were used to win votes at the election,” he said.

The service was attended by the survivors of the suicide bomb attacks at Katuwapitiya and Kochchikade churches as well as the family members of the victims.



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Weerawansa’s wife sentenced to RI

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Lawyers appearing for Shashi Weerawansa, MP Wimal Weerawansa’s wife, yesterday (27) appealed against a Colombo Magistrate’s Court decision to sentence their client to two years rigorous imprisonment.Colombo Chief Magistrate, Buddhika Sri Ragala found her guilty of submitting forged documents to obtain a diplomatic passport circa 2010. The Colombo Magistrate’s Court also imposed a fine of Rs. 100,000 on Mrs. Weerawansa. If the fine is not paid she will have to serve an extra six months.

Additional Magistrate Harshana Kekunawala announced that the appeal would be called for consideration on 30 May.The case against Mrs. Weerawansa was filed by the CID after a complaint was lodged on 23 January 2015 by Chaminda Perera, a resident of Battaramulla.

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Unions predict end of energy sovereignty

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A government decision to allow all privately-owned bunker fuel operators to import and distribute diesel and fuel oil to various industries was a rollback of the nationalisation of the country’s petroleum industry and another severe blow to energy sovereignty of the country, trade union activist of the SJB Ananda Palitha said yesterday.Earlier, Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera Tweeted that ‘approval was given to all the Private Bunker Fuel Operators to Import and provide Diesel and Fuel Oil requirements of Industries to function their Generators and Machinery. This will ease the burden on CPC and Fuel Stations provided in bulk’.Commenting on the decision, Palitha said that according to the existing law those companies only had the power to import, store and distribute fuel for ships. Those companies did not have the authority to distribute fuel inside the country, Palitha said.

“Only the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) can distribute fuel inside the country. There is a controversy about the licence given to the LIOC as well. If the government wants other companies to import fuel, it needs to change the laws. The Minister does not have the power to make these decisions. A few months ago the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration used to rush Bills that adversely affected the country through Parliament. Now, since they don’t have a majority in parliament, they are using the Cabinet to make decisions that are detrimental to the country’s interests.”

Palitha said that the controversial government move would further weaken the CPC, and that the ultimate aim of the Rajapaksa-Wickremesinghe government was to make the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) purchase fuel from private distributors. With a weakened CPC and a CEB under the mercy of private companies, the Sri Lankan state would have little control over the country’s energy sector, he warned.

“The CEB already can’t pay the CPC, and therefore how can it pay private companies? It will have to sell its assets. This is another step in the road to fully privatise the energy sector. When this happens no government will be able to control inflation or strategically drive production through fuel and energy tariffs. The people will be at the mercy of businessmen and the government will only be a bystander,” he said.

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US Ambassador calls on Speaker

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U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung yesterday (27) called on Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena at the Parliament Premises.The U.S. Ambassador said that she hopes the government, including the new Prime Minister, would be able to bring about political stability and overcome the current economic crisis. The Ambassador also emphasized the need to carry out the political reforms desired by the people and to safeguard democracy in the country.

She also hoped to enhance relations between the two countries through the Sri Lanka-USA Parliamentary Friendship Association. She appreciated the role played by the Women Parliamentarians Caucus and discussed the need to increase the representation of women.The Speaker also expressed his gratitude to the United States of America for its continued support to strengthening democracy in Sri Lanka.This is the first meeting between Ambassador Chung and Speaker Abeywardena since her appointment as US Ambassador to Sri Lanka.Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake was also present on the occasion.

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