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Ex-SIS Chief defends his decision to record conversations with his superiors

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Given that some of his superiors had tried to shift the blame on Easter Sunday attacks to the SIS, he saw nothing unethical about recording conversations he had with his superiors after the tragedy to protect the reputation of his  institution,  former SIS Director SDIG Nilantha Jayawardena yesterday told the PCoI probing Easter Sunday attacks.

Jayawardena made this statement when Shamil Perera, the counsel appearing for Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith asked him whether it was ethical for Jayawardena to record phone calls without informing the person at the other end.

“You have repeatedly told the PCoI that you are an officer and gentleman. How ethical was it for you to record calls without telling the other party?”

SDIG Jayawardena said that everyone had worked together as one before the Easter Sunday attacks. However, that had changed after the attacks and a number of persons tried to shift the blame to the SIS, Jayawardena said.

“I didn’t betray anyone. But there were many attempts to undermine the SIS. I recorded the conversations that I had with senior officials after the attack, to protect the dignity of the SIS.”

Jayawardena added that there were no laws governing intelligence gathering. If he had told the person at the other end of the phone that he was recording the call, they would not have spoken truthfully.

“There is a hierarchy and I conveyed to my superiors the information that I had received from a foreign source about a possible terrorist attack. This was actionable information. I am the informant to the state, I can’t arrest people. I can only inform. Now, everyone is saying that I should have done everything, from summoning the National Security Council to informing the former president,” Jayawardena said.



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Fake computer institutes ruin career of Odisha jobseekers

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When Rajendra Sahu from the Jajpur district furnished an application for Gram Rojgar Sevak (GRS) post with a bachelor’s degree and computer proficiency certificates, little did he know that his application would be rejected on the grounds that his computer literacy certificate was not acceptable as the said institute where he obtained it is not an affiliated/recognised institute from any university/DOEACC.

The 25-year-old jobseeker had pinned high hopes on making it to the merit list as he graduated with honours obtaining 62% of marks. With the state government making computer-literacy mandatory for base level contractual jobs, he enrolled in a PGDCA course in a private institute.

Sahu was not aware of the fact that the institute is not affiliated/recognised from any university/DOEACC. He got the certificate without attending any online/offline classes or exams. He had to cough up Rs 5,000 towards the admission charges with additional Rs 1,000 towards the cost of the certificate. He paid the fees out of the hard-earned money of his father, a small-scale farmer.

Sahu committed the cardinal mistake in seeking admission in an unauthorised institute instead of pursuing the course in a government-authorised institution. Sahu is not alone to face this predicament. Like him, lakhs of other unemployed youths have been taken for a ride by such institutes mushrooming in the state. Sahu has finally realised his gaffe and is currently enrolled with an authorised institute in computer proficiency course. – Statesman/ANN

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Devotees leave thousands of kilos of plastic in Kumana

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Wildlife officers, at Kumana National Park, removed about 4000 kilos of plastic waste, left behind by devotees who visited the Kebilitta Devale, Park Warden R.A.D. Samaranayaka said.Officials collected the plastic waste from a 18 km range, from the entrance to the park to Kebilitta Devale.Samaranayaka said most of the waste was biscuit wrappers.

He said that officials had collected the plastic during a special cleanup program between 8 and 10 August. Over 300 people took part in the programme.

“We were assisted by Navy officers as well as volunteers. This was a great help. Each year, we collect thousands of kilos of plastic waste following the pilgrimage,” he said.

The devotees have been making this trip for hundreds of years and that it was only in the last three decades that plastic had become a serious problem, he said.

“If we leave the plastic waste in the park, it will have a significant negative impact on the environment. Animals will also eat them and die painfully from digestive tract issues. We urge devotees to use less plastic as possible,” he said. (IN)

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Karu supports 22nd Amendment and calls on Parliament to pass it unanimously

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The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution is a step forward for the future benefit of the country, Karu Jayasuriya, the Chairman of the National Movement for a Just Society, said.He said that it is the responsibility of the people’s representatives to ensure it is adopted unanimously.

“We highly appreciate the submission of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution to the Parliament which will revoke the 20th Amendment, which paved the way for a dictatorial government by severely distorting the democratic governance traditions of Sri Lanka. We consider it as a positive step taken to update the 19th Amendment to the Constitution,” he said.

Given below are excerpts of the statement. “It also must be noted that the step to be taken on September 6 to do away with the attempts to retain a number of crucial powers of the Executive Presidency, as included in the previous draft, will be commended by all who value democracy. As the National Movement for Social Justice, we express our gratitude to the Honourable President, the Minister of Justice and the Government for standing up for such democratic reforms.

“It is our expectation that when the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution is debated, in Parliament, on September 6, all the members of Parliament will stand on the side of the people. We also hope that the amendment can be adopted unanimously, after the debate on it.

“The foremost responsibility of the people’s representatives, in this country, is to create a country where future generations can live happily by working to ensure democracy and the betterment of the people. In order to fulfil that responsibility, we must focus our attention on the political and economic reforms that must be carried out. This is why we had to fight against the 20th Amendment to the Constitution brought by the previous government and struggle to have it withdrawn. That is why we continue to advocate for social and political transformations, including economic reforms that should be carried out for the good of the country.

“At the same time, the other important point that we emphasise is that although the government is working towards admirable political changes, such as the introduction of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, which is praised, not only by Sri Lankan’s respecting democratic values, but also the civilised world, we, as an organisation, do not agree with certain measures taken by the government through the use of Emergency powers.

We do not condone the harassment of trade union leaders and activists of the peaceful struggle who have made great sacrifices for democracy, under any circumstance. We are greatly saddened by these incidents. We are also deeply concerned about reports of what could be considered as abductions. Such events cause both national and internationally negative effects on the country. We, therefore, believe that the honourable President must pay personal attention to these matters.”

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