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Foreign Minister thanks outgoing Seychelles HC 

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Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena complemented outgoing High Commissioner of Seychelles in Colombo, Conrad Vincent Mederic, for his outstanding and significant contributions towards enhancing Sri Lanka- Seychelles relations during his tenure, including the Presidential visits in 2017 and 2018, as the first High Commissioner of Seychelles to Sri Lanka.

 While acknowledging the staunch support extended by Seychelles to Sri Lanka in the realm of multilateral and international fora, Foreign Minister Gunawardena reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to enhance close collaboration in areas of trade, agriculture, medical tourism, blue economy, hospitality, financial sector and information technology.

Outgoing High Commissioner Mederic called on Foreign Minister Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry last week.

While offering New Year greetings to the people of Sri Lanka from the President and the Foreign Minister of Seychelles, High Commissioner Mederic underlined the importance of fruitful cooperation between Sri Lanka and Seychelles which has a huge potential to reach new heights in the post-Covid world. 

The High Commissioner also apprised the opportunities open for Sri Lankan professionals and skilled workers in Seychelles in numerous fields such as in education, health, financial and tourism sectors. 

The High Commissioner also commended on the state of the art service rendered by hospitality and health industries of Sri Lanka by which several people of Seychelles benefit annually.

Foreign Minister Gunawardena assured the envoy the early resumption of medical tourism for the Seychelles people. The Foreign Minister and the High Commissioner also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest including the Covid-19 pandemic, maritime security, human trafficking, drug smuggling and transnational crimes. 

Despite the closure of the High Commission of Seychelles in Colombo due to economic constraints posed by the Covid crisis, the High Commissioner handed over a letter to the Foreign Minister seeking permission to appoint a Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka.

As Indian Ocean nations, both parties agreed to consolidate the existing relations embracing new areas of cooperation in the years ahead.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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