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Govt. sees conspiracy behind grenade found in Church



Minister of Law and Order Sarath Weerasekera yesterday said that the recent detection of a hand grenade at All Saints Church, on Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha, Borella, and a similar detection at Lanka Hospital were masterminded by a single person to undermine the government and the Police.

Speaking to the media in Colombo, the Minister also rejected the allegations made by the Catholic Church that the Police was attempting to create a false narrative about the incident.

“After we received the complaint, the Police started the investigation. The Police discovered that the same person who had informed the priest about the grenade was the one who planted it through a child. The Police arrested four people and a 13-year-old child, living at a nearby house, told the magistrate that one of the four men had got him to move the bomb. The suspect also admitted this. Police also found evidence in the suspect’s room.

if someone says that these information is false, this is bad. When people issue statements undermining the police, people lose faith in police,” the Minister said.

The Minister said that they are also looking for a man with a limp in connection with the incident. On Thursday, the Church released footage of a man with a limp who was behaving suspiciously in the All Saints Church and claimed that instead of trying to ascertain the truth the police had detained a person working in the church.

“If the fathers have information relevant to the case, the church must inform the police. This is their responsibility. When revelations are made to media, in the middle of the investigation, those involved can hide and become harder to find. Also when you start suspecting the Police from the start, things can go wrong,” Minister Weerasekera said.

The Minister said that they will find the mastermind behind this incident and a detection of the grenade at the Lanka hospital.

“It has only been two days. We usually tell people involved in a case not to release CCTV footage to media. What if suspects hide and harder to find? Who is responsible then? This helps the suspects. However we have arrested the main suspect and, through him we will find others,” Minister Weerasekera said.

On Thursday, Archbishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith asked whether the recent detection of ahand grenade at All Saints Church, on Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha, Borella was part of a conspiracy. The Cardinal questioned the failure on the part of the police to ascertain the identity of an unidentified person whoentered the Church at 9.52 am on Tuesday (11).

The Church released the video footage of a man carrying a shopping bag entering the premises. He was also captured on camera taking something out of his pocket and leaving it behind a statue. Addressing the media in Colombo, the Catholic leader alleged that the police had checked the video footage; he emphasised the need to establish the identity of the person who limped and was not a Catholic. The Cardinal said that the unidentified person had not prayed and walked away when questioned by someone. The church also released the video footage of the man leaving the church.

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Keheliya turns down request for abolishing price control on medicine



Industry leader has sought court intervention

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday (17) said that in spite of difficulties caused by the foreign currency crisis price control on imported medicines couldn’t be done away with.

Abolition of price control on drugs would heap an enormous burden on the vast majority of people, Minister Rambukwella said.

Lawmaker Rambukwella said so when The Island sought his response to the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) requesting the government to do away with price control. Claiming that the grouping imported over 80 percent of medicines into the country, the SLCPI recently warned of possible collapse of the industry unless remedial measures were taken swiftly.

Minister Rambukwella said that recently he met an SLCPI delegation at their request to discuss issues at hand. “Of course, I understand the difficulties experienced by all sectors, including the pharmaceutical trade. However, price control as regards medicine cannot be done away with,” Minister Rambukwella said.

The SLCPI has pointed out to the Minister that at the moment medicines were the only commodity under price control in the local market. The Health Minister asserted that it wouldn’t be fair to compare the medicine with other commodities.

Minister Rambukwella said that regardless of constrains, the government was trying to ensure uninterrupted supply of medicine and it wouldn’t be fair to do at this juncture.

In a statement sent to the media SLCPI asserted: “There is no solution to this dilemma than removing the price control of medicines and implement a fair and equitable pricing mechanism which will link the price of medicines to the dollar, inflation and direct costs such as raw material, fuel and freight charges, which will then make importing and marketing of medicines viable. As difficult as it may sound, the authorities will have to choose between having medicines at a cost and not having medicines at all.”

The SLCPI has already sought the intervention of the courts to establish what the grouping called a transparent pricing mechanism outside government price control.

Recently, Minister Rambukwella, at a meeting also attended by State Minister Dr. Channa Jayasumana called for a report on the requirement of medicines over the next six months. The Health Ministry declared that there was no shortage of drugs whereas SLCPI claimed some drugs were in short supply and the situation could get worse.

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Central Expressway: Rs 3 mn raked in within 12 hours



Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said yesterday that about three million rupees had been earned by way of toll within the first 12 hours of the opening of the second phase of the Central Expressway.

Rs 2,805,100.00 had been paid by the expressway users during the first 12 hours from 12 noon to midnight Sunday (16) after its opening by the President and the Prime Minister on Saturday (15).

The Minister said that during the first 12 hours of the period of toll collection, a total of 13,583 vehicles had traversed the most  scenic road stretch in the country between Mirigama and Kurunegala. No traffic accidents had been reported during the 12 hour period.

Minister Fernando said that the newly opened road had been allowed to be used by the public free of charge for 12 hours from midnight Saturday (15) to Sunday (16) noon.

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President to inaugurate second session of Ninth Parliament today



by Saman Indrajith

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to commence the second session of the Ninth Parliament today at 10 am with his third Presidential policy statement (formerly Throne Speech).

He made his first ‘Throne Speech’ on Jan 3, 2020, opening the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament and the second on Aug 20, 2020 to open the First Session of the Ninth Parliament.

Secretary General of Parliament, Dhammika Dasanayake said that MPs have been requested to arrive at the parliamentary complex at 9.25 am the latest.

The MPs, if accompanied by their spouses will alight from their vehicles at the Staff Entrance of the parliamentary building, while all other MPs are requested to drive up to the Members’ Entrance.

To facilitate orderly arrival, the MPs are requested that the Car Label provided them with be pasted on the inside top left-hand corner of the windscreen of their vehicles. On arrival at Parliament, Members’ vehicles would be directed by the Police to the appropriate Car Park.

Thereafter the MPs are requested to enter the lobbies of Parliament and to remain there until the Quorum Bells are rung.

President Rajapaksa is scheduled to arrive at the Main Steps of the Parliament Building at 9.40 a.m. and he would be received by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and the Secretary-General of Parliament.

The President will be escorted by them to the Parliament Building. Thereafter, the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament will escort the President to his Chambers.

At 9.55 a.m. the Quorum Bells will be rung for five minutes and all Members will take their seats in the Chamber of Parliament.

The President’s procession will leave for the Chamber of Parliament and will enter the Chamber at 10.00 am. On entering the Chamber the President’s arrival will be announced whereupon all Members will stand in their places until the President reaches the Chair and requests the Members to be seated.

Thereafter, the Proclamation proroguing the Parliament and Summoning the Meeting of Parliament will be read by the Secretary General of Parliament. Then, the President will address Parliament.

After his policy statement the President will adjourn the House until 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday (19).

Thereafter, the President will leave the Chamber escorted by the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament.

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