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Experts recommend close monitoring of Kandy tremors



By Ifham Nizam

The Expert Committee appointed to investigate the recent tremors in Kandy, has recommended that action be taken to monitor the tremors.

They have made this recommendation in their report handed over to the Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday. Ministry Secretary, Dr. Anil Jasinghe and Chairman GSMB Anura Walpola were also present.

Tremors were reported from Aluthwatte, Ambakote, Digana, Maialapitiya, Anuragama and Haragama areas in the Kandy District on 18 November. The government appointed a committee comprising Senior Seismologist Nilmini Thaldena, Senior Geologist Mahinda Seneviratne, Geologist Mahasen Wickramaratne, Seismologist Jayanath Herath, Seismologist Uthpala Ratnayake and trainee Seismologist Sachintha Weeranayake to conduct a study and make recommendations.

The report states that it is currently not possible to attribute the tremors to limestone quarrying, but further scientific research is needed.

Minister Amaraweera said that a comprehensive programme would be launched for the protection of not only Victoria Reservoir but also others reservoirs. The Minister said that the expert report has confirmed that the Victoria Reservoir dam had not been affected by the recent tremors.

The Expert Committee has made the following recommendations to be implemented immediately for the safety of the reservoirs and the public in the area.

1. A continuous long-term monitoring programme should be established as soon as possible as several tremors have occurred in the same region in a short period of time.

2. The structural rupture monitoring process, mainly related to dolomite mining in the Aluthwatta area, should also be taken into consideration.

3. Provide a format for recording incidents reported to selected persons in the area, mainly students. A team of geologists should be immediately empowered to compile a detailed geological /structural map. This survey is extended to re-evaluate the observations made during the strip survey with the required geological applications.

4. Take steps to activate the Accelerometer and seismograph with data connection to the Bureau’s National Data Centre, especially in the Victoria Dam reservoir structures.

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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?



… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.



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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others



The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.



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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area



Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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