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Defence Secretary underlines one of the primary duties of armed forces

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Armed forces should always be geared to assist in the nation building process to revive the country ruined for three decades owing to LTTE activities, Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne said.

Addressing the Graduation Ceremony of the Course Number 14 of Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, Colombo on Friday, the Defence Secretary said: “Wisdom and knowledge intertwined with professionalism for an officer is considered foremost, and therefore, we are in need of highly qualified, skilled and professional military officers to guide our forces towards a future which will be challenging and demanding”.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said countries were striving to reach higher profiles in diplomacy, informational, military and economic spears and therefore Sri Lanka needed its military to achieve the highest possible standards attainable without any exception.

“The government will expect an officer to lead their men to safeguard people against any threat whether it is manmade or natural, since current threats are mostly spinning as natural disasters/calamities endangering human life. Our military along with the Police and Civil Security Department extended a noteworthy service to the nation in combatting COVID 19 while saving people and it is still in progress”.

Hundred and thirty two (132) officers of Sri Lankan tri-forces and 18 officers of 11 foreign nations were received degrees at the event. Foreign student officers of Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Sudan were the alumnus of the DSCSC for this year.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne also extended his gratitude to all the former and current Commandants, Chief Instructors and the Directing Staff for their tireless effort.

He being a former Directing Staff member also extended his best wishes to the officers to continue the achievements in future endeavours too.

Secretary of the State Ministry of Money, Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms, R.M.A. Rathnayake, Chairperson Defence Ministry’s Seva Vanitha Unit Chithrani Gunaratne, Acting Chief of Defence Staff and the Tri-Forces Commanders, KDU Vice Chancellor, Commandant DSCSC, former Commandants of the DSCSC, Additional Secretary Defence, Members of the Board of Management, Chief of Staff of Tri-Forces, respective Defence Attachés/Advisors in Sri Lanka, student officers including all foreign students and their families were also present at the ceremony.



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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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