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Hit-run killer of Lankan student jailed for eight years



Nisali Perera was just two metres from safety when an ice-addicted driver struck and killed her on a Melbourne road

Shane Cochrane killed her instantly after he sped through a red light in Clayton in August 2019, having used ice and GHB the night before.

The 20-year-old Sri Lankan international student, on her way home from Monash University, was thrown nearly 60m by the impact.

But Cochrane didn’t stop, instead dumping his car at an abandoned church nearby before hopping into a DiDi ride share.

Judge Liz Gaynor sentenced the 38-year-old, who appeared to wipe away tears as he faced the Victorian County Court on Tuesday, to a maximum 10 years behind bars, the Australian media reported yesterday (6)

Cochrane had earlier pleaded guilty to multiple offences including culpable driving causing death, and failing to stop and render assistance.

Ms Perera’s parents were torn when their only child was accepted to study commerce at Monash, the court heard.

Her mother, Kamal, said in a statement they were “reluctant” to let their daughter go from their care and protection, but wanted the young woman to be able to “fulfil her dreams and live independently”.

“I still regret the fact that I let her go (to Australia),” the 52-year-old said.

“If I kept her back (home) … she would have lived.

“We do not have anything to look forward to in the future.”

Kamal Perera and her husband despaired that their daughter wouldn’t be able to care for them in their old age, as is customary in Sri Lankan culture.

“The irony of the situation is that Nisali had a belief that Australia was a very safe country,” Judge Gaynor said on Tuesday.

“She was the centre of her parents’ world and their lives have been entirely and irrevocably shattered.”

Cochrane had already been sentenced 29 times, mostly for drug and driving offences, when he fatally struck Ms Perera.

Judge Gaynor called his road record “appalling”.

He was still under the influence of ice when he sped, unlicensed, through a light which had been red for 12 seconds.

A collision reconstruction expert told the court Cochrane was “most likely” driving at 95 to 102km/h when he struck Ms Perera, who was 2.3m away from crossing the road.

The former furniture removalist and courier was arrested sleeping in a home at Officer, southeast of Melbourne, five days after the crash.

“I was just driving along that road and … the next thing I know, I’ve hit somebody, like, I didn’t even see her one bit,” he told police.

Cochrane is thought to have a brain injury from prolonged drug use and trauma, after an upbringing marred by violence. His mother died from drugs when he was a teenager.

He will be eligible for parole after eight years, but has already served 355 days in pre-sentence detention.

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UNDP: Rs 600 bn tax cut a huge mistake



Director of the Sustainable Finance Hub of the UNDP Marcos Neto has called the decision to do away with a range of taxes here a fundamental mistake committed by Sri Lanka.The comment was made at the Parliament complex during an interactive dialogue on ‘Revenue Generation as a Pathway to Sri Lanka’s Economic Recovery’ on Tuesday (09). It was organised on a request by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, former Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Opposition as well as several other parties alleged that the government had lost as much as Rs 600 bn due to the controversial decision to do away with a range of taxes including PAYE, NBT (Nation Building Tax), Withholding tax, Capital Gain tax imposed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, Bank Debit tax and unprecedented reduction of VAT (Value Added Tax). The 15% VAT and the 2% NBT which amounted to 17% imposed on all goods and services were unified and reduced to 8%, effective from the first of December 2019.

The decision was taken at the first Cabinet meeting of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government on 27 Nov. 2019.Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe is on record as having said that the powers that be ignored the IMF warning not to do so and also the immediate need to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt (SF)

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Debate on power tariff hike on 29 Aug.



Party leaders have decided to debate the electricity tariff hikes in parliament on 29 August.The date was fixed for the debate following a request by the main opposition SJB.The debate will be held from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on 29 August.

Chief Opposition Whip Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament on Wednesday (10) that as per the proposed tariff hike the monthly electricity bill of domestic consumers would increase by 75 percent to 125 percent. “This is unbearable. This is like sending the people to an electric chair while they are struggling to make ends meet amidst a massive increase in cost of living.

How does this government expect people would be able to pay such an exorbitant price for electricity? We demand a debate in parliament before this proposed tariff hike is implemented,” Kiriella said.

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British national to be deported



By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Department of Immigration and Emigration has ordered Kayleigh Fraser, a British national whose passport has been taken into custody after she posted on social media anti-government protests, for violating her visa conditions, to leave the country by 15 August. The Department has already cancelled her visa.

Earlier this month Immigration and Emigration officials visited Fraser at her home and took her passport into custody. The Department said Fraser had been in Sri Lanka for medical reasons since 2019. She had returned home several times, it said.

The Immigration and Emigration officers told her to visit them within the next seven days.Fraser on 02 August said that a group of immigration officers had visited her and asked for her travel document. She said that officials told her that they would return her passport when she visited the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Fraser added that she had received an anonymous call asking her to leave Sri Lanka as soon as possible before facing ‘big problems.’ Immigration officials visited her house a few days after the call.

Fraser has shared a number of photographs and videos from the ‘Gota Go Gama’ site. Human Rights groups and activists have accused the Sri Lankan government of using Emergency regulations to harass and arbitrarily detain activists seeking political reform and accountability for the country’s economic crisis.

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