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India’s NIA takes over probe into seizure of AK-47s, ammo from SL boat

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The NIA has  taken over the probe into the seizure of AK-47 rifles and ammunition along with Rs 3,000 crore worth of heroin from a Sri Lankan vessel on March 25.

The agency has registered an FIR against six Sri Lankan nationals. NIA sources said the  agency will be probing the recovery of rifles and ammunition while the  seizure of heroin will be probed by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB. 

“After the seizure of 301kg of heroin from the boat, Ravihansi, NCB had started a probe. They later reported to the state police regarding the  recovery of five AK-47 rifles and 1,000 9mm bullets from the boat. Based on this, Kerala Police filed an FIR at Vizhinjam station on  April 5. As the case has international ramifications and is of serious  nature, NIA decided to take over the probe. An FIR has been submitted at the NIA court in Kochi,” a source said.

The accused persons in the case  are Sri Lankan nationals — L Y Nandana, 46, of Nakulugamuwa; H K G B  Janakadassppriya, 42, of Nakulugamuwa; A H S Mendis Gunasekara, 33, of  Dondanduwa; Thilanka Madushan Ransingha, 29, of Dondanduwa; and Dadallage  Nisanka, 40, of Ratgama.

The case has been registered under Section 7 of  the Arms Act for possession and acquisition of prohibited arms and  ammunition. NIA Inspector Ebinson Franco is probing the case. 

“The  seized AK-47 rifles and ammunition will be received from Kerala Police  soon. The boat is currently at Vizhinjam Coastal police station. We have  not yet produced the accused persons before the court. We have to take  them into custody for interrogation. Due to Covid-19, the initial  procedures are facing a delay. Once the NIA court opens after lockdown, we  will a file petition for the production of the accused persons and later  their custody will be sought,” an official said.

The boat was  intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard around 225 kilometres off  Vizhinjam coast. 

The heroin was found concealed inside the water tank of  the vessel in 301 packets bearing the image of a flying horse, a common  branding practice of drug trafficking syndicates. During interrogation,  the arrested persons revealed that an unknown vessel carried the consignment from  Chabahar Port in Iran, and handed over the same to Sri Lankan fishing boat Ravihansi in the high seas near Lakshadweep.

(The New Indian Express)



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Haiti police riot after crime gangs kill 14 officers

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Protesters attempted to break into the Haitian prime minister's residence (picture BBC)

BBC reported that Rebel police officers rioted in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on Thursday following the killing of more than a dozen colleagues by criminal gangs.

The rioting officers blame the government for not taking action.

More than 100 demonstrators blocked streets, burned tyres, broke security cameras and damaged vehicles.

Local media said several officers broke through the gates of the prime minister’s residence and attempted to enter Haiti’s international airport.

Fourteen officers are thought to have died since the start of the year in various gang attacks on police stations.

Seven officers were killed in shootout on Wednesday alone, according to Haiti’s National Police.

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Gold-covered mummy among latest discoveries in Egyptian tomb

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One of four newly discovered tombs at the Saqqara archaeological site south of Cairo (picture BBC)

BBC reported that archaeologists say they have found a gold leaf-covered mummy sealed inside a sarcophagus that had not been opened for 4,300 years.

The mummy, the remains of a man named Hekashepes, is thought to be one of the oldest and most complete non-royal corpses ever found in Egypt.

It was discovered down a 15m (50ft) shaft at a burial site south of Cairo, Saqqara, where three other tombs were found.

One tomb belonged to a “secret keeper”.

The largest of the mummies that were unearthed at the ancient necropolis is said to belong to a man called Khnumdjedef – a priest, inspector and supervisor of nobles.

Another belonged to a man called Meri, who was a senior palace official given the title of “secret keeper”, which allowed him to perform special religious rituals.

A judge and writer named Fetek is thought to have been laid to rest in the other tomb, where a collection of what are thought to be the largest statues ever found in the area had been discovered.

Several other items, including pottery, have also been found among the tombs.

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Health crisis: GMOA calls for WHO intervention

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Alleging the government has failed to address the developing crisis caused by grave shortage of pharmaceutical drugs, the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has called for WHO’s intervention.In a letter dated January 26, 2023, addressed to WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge has raised concerns about shortage of pharmaceutical drugs, escalating prices of medicines and allegations of malpractices and corruption in procurement procedures.

The GMOA has released its letter to the media along with what it called a 10 fold plan formulated by an expert committee set up by the GMOA.

The following are the GMOA’s proposals:

1. To appoint a high-level coordinating committee within the Ministry of Health to ensure effective communications and coordination between following institutions, identified as responsible for the whole exercise. (a) Ministry of Health focal points (b) Medical Supplies Division (MSD) (c) State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) d. State Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) e. National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) Monthly progress review meetings of aforementioned committees are to be ensured, with Chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Health or his representative. Quarterly review with Minister of Health to facilitate arriving at essential policy decisions.

2. To ensure Transparent Procurement Procedures, where every interested citizen should be entitled to know the true facts.

3. To upgrade the available computer software programme to match the current needs and to ensure more efficiency in procurement procedures.

4. To appoint a technical committee to study Auditor General Reports with regard to procurement Procedures of last 5 years and actions to be declared with specific time frame to implement recommendations of the Auditor General.

5. Review the recent Presidential Investigation Commission reports and initiate urgent actions to file legal action against the respondents. Remove all those officials who are accused through these reports of malpractices, from their current posts, until the verdicts are delivered.

6. To minimise emergency purchases of Medicinal drugs and ensure the transparency of that process through progress reports on emergency purchases, which is to be published on a monthly basis.

7. To identify alternative modes for distribution of pharmaceutical drugs to peripheral stations (e.g.: Public Transport services with identified modifications)

8. To open an “Information Desk” at the Ministry of Health to effectively communicate with and guide the donors of pharmaceutical items.

9. To fill the existing vacancies at National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA), following stipulated acceptable pathways and activating all the sub committees within NMRA.

10. To declare a relief package to reduce the prices of essential medicinal drugs, through the upcoming interim budget.

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