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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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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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