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Ecological devastation of X-Press Pearl disaster revealed in court

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By A.J.A Abeynayake

Deputy Solicitor General, Madawa Tennakoon yesterday told Colombo Magistrate’s Court that 176 turtles, 20 dolphins and four whales had been killed by the MV X-Press Pearl disaster.

Tennakoon informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate, Lochani Abeywickrama that a 39-member expert committee had confirmed that the toxins released by the disaster had caused those deaths. Investigations by veterinarians had confirmed the committee’s opinion, Tennakoon said.

The Deputy Solicitor General said that the captain of the ship, the operator and the local agent of the vessel had tried to conceal the real situation as regards the fire on board the ship. “The investigators have taken into custody the mobile phones of the 25 crew members of the ship and are using the photos taken by them to draw a real time line of the events. Legal action will be taken against crew members if they try to conceal information and mislead Sri Lankan authorities,” Tennakoon said. The Deputy Solicitor General added that the government had no intention of welcoming a burning ship to receive compensation from ship owners.

Deputy Solicitor General said that the relavant authorities had taken all necessary steps to douse the fire. Sri Lankan officials were told on 19 May 2021 that all the cargo has been safely loaded. Thus, the fault lay with the shipping company that mislead the government, Tennakoon said.



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Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused

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By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.

 

 

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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas

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By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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