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Dedicated Assistant Conservator of Forests under fire for doing her job, allege environmentalists



by Ifham Nizam

Environmentalists yesterday lambasted a Wildlife Ministry move to hold an inquiry against an official who has stood for justice by preventing the destruction of a critically endangered Flora species.

There was nothing wrong with holding an inquiry against a government official, but targeting officers who stand up to politicians and their henchmen could not be tolerated, environmentalists said

“We will await the outcome of the disciplinary inquiry, and if there is anything serious when it comes to job security, we will fight for justice through legal means, Environmentalist Supun Lahiru Prakash said.

Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gampaha Division, Devanee Jayathilaka faces an inquiry for visiting a site just in time to prevent the workers from destroying the critically endangered level Crudia zeylanica on Sunday. The charge against her is that she has spoken to the media without permission.

“If I had not turned, the tree would be no more,” she said, adding that “the entire eco-system in the area had been destroyed by those who do not understand the importance of the environment,” Devanee told journalists.

Environmentalists have expressed opposition to a move to relocate the only surviving tree of the Sri Lankan Legume or Crudia zeylanica.

Scientists praised the Forest Officer for intervening to save the only surviving tree of the Sri Lankan Legume or Crudia zeylanica. It was rediscovered in a small plot of forest land located close to the Daraluwa Railway Station in Gampaha

The IUCN Red List of 2006 categorizes it as extinct, as does the National Red List of 2012.

It was known only from the herbarium specimens collected more than a century ago, and drawings, since there were no photographs of a living plant until its rediscovery in 2019 by three young research scientists.

The plant did not have a photograph till it was rediscovered; even Sri Lanka’s National Herbarium only had a sketch.

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Embassy officer arrested at BIA remanded




The Embassy official who was attached to the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oman who is accused of being involved in a human trafficking racket was arrested by officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and remanded till the 13th of December when he was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate

The official was arrested on his arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning (29 November).

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Easter Sunday terror attack suspect hacked to death



By Norman Palihawadane

A 38-year-old Easter Sunday terror attack suspect was hacked to death yesterday morning (28) in Mattakkuliya.

The victim, Mohamed Badurdeen Mohamed Harnas, was a resident of Safiya Avenue, Mattakkuliya, police said.

A suspect in the Easter Sunday terror attacks, he had been released on bail.

The suspect was rushed to the National Hospital, Colombo, after three individuals, who arrived in a car around 10. 00 am, attacked him.

Two persons attacked the man while the other was keeping the car engine running, according to eyewitnesses. The attackers thereafter fled in the same car.

Harnas was pronounced dead on admission to hospital.

Further investigations in this regard are currently underway.

The victims family members said that Harnas had been taken into custody, following the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, but later released as there was no evidence of his involvement in terrorist activities.

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Rail service between Mahawa and Jaffna to be suspended for five months



Transport Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday that the railway services between Mahawa and Jaffna will be suspended for a period of five months in 2023.

The Minister said that operations will be suspended from January 15, 2023.

The Minister said it was to repair work on the railway line.

He said so in response to a question raised by Vanni District MP Selvam Adaikalanathan.

“We are focusing our attention on the request made by you. We have to halt railway operations between Mahawa and Jaffna for five months from January 2023. Train services have been continuously operating to Jaffna, but now we have faced a situation as we have not been able to carry out any repair work thus far,” the Minister said.

Assuring that this issue can be rectified in five months, Minister Gunawardane said that, thereafter, a good railway service can be provided for this route.

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