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Dire warning to VIP guards; CID arrests Rishad’s bodyguard

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana yesterday (14) said that those who had been assigned to provide security to politicians were duty bound to assist the police in case they (VIPs) evaded law enforcement authorities under any circumstances.

DIG Rohana, who is also an attorney-at-law, said so at a hastily arranged media briefing at the police headquarters.

DIG Rohana said that a police constable assigned to former minister and Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) lawmaker Rishad Bathiudeen’s security detail had been taken into custody on Tuesday evening in the Wellawatte police area.

At the onset of the briefing, DIG Rohana said that as a precautionary measure in view of the growing threat posed by corona, the police headquarters wouldn’t invite print media for briefings whereas television crews would be invited only if it was really necessary. However, audio recordings would be provided to all media organizations, the police spokesman said.

DIG Rohana told The Island that the constable had been taken into custody in terms of Section 209 of the Penal Code for harbouring and concealing a suspect.

There had never been previous instances of VIP bodyguards being taken into custody over absconding politicians.

According to him even though personnel had been assigned for VIP security tasks, they were responsible as law enforcement officers to assist the police. The police also seized two vehicles – a Range Rover and Axio allegedly used by Rishad Bathiudeen on Tuesday. The media were told, the raiding party took the vehicles into their custody along with drivers. “We also recovered two pistols, two magazines and 48 rounds of ammunition,” DIG Rohana said.

The arrested drivers were identified as 45 and 56 year old residents of Puttalam.

The police are looking for Rishad Bathiudeen over misappropriation of public funds to transport a group of voters from Puttalam to Mannar on Nov 16, 2019 on the day of the last presidential election.

Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage on Tuesday told the CID that there was no requirement to issue a warrant for the former minister’s arrest as the police could take him into custody.

Referring to Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC, issuing instructions on Monday, Oct 12, in respect of controversial release of Rishad Bathiudeen’s brother Riyaj, arrested on April 14, 2020 in connection with the Easter Sunday carnage, DIG Rohana said that two special teams would inquire into issues raised by the AG.

The AG has found fault with the CID over the release of Riyaj on Sept. 29.

Acknowledging that the issue had even attracted the attention of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, DIG Rohana said that a high level internal investigation was now underway. DIG Rohana said that the AG issued instructions in respect of seven vital matters regarding the Riyaj investigation. Two teams, each comprising 30 officers headed by two SSPs would inquire into the seven contentious matters, including money laundering et al under direct supervision of the new DIG, CID, DIG Rohana said.

 DIG Rohana revealed that in the wake of the AG meeting the new DIG, CID where fresh instructions were received, Secretary Defence Maj. Gen. (retd.) Kamal Gunaratne, participated in a meeting to decide the future course of action.

 DIG Rohana said that the police would take tangible measures to restore confidence in the CID.

 

 

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COPE meets online for first time in its history

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by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.

 

 

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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors

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During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra

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The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page https://www.facebook.com/ICCRSriLanka.

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email: iccrcolombo2@gmail.com

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