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Japan boosts SL’s counter-terrorism efforts

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Japanese Ambassador SUGIYAMA Akira donated anti-terrorism surveillance and investigation vehicles to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat last week.

The vehicles were the first batch of equipment donated by the Japanese government to the Sri Lanka Police for the country’s counter-terrorism efforts in the wake of the Easter Sunday terror attacks in 2019.

Among those in attendance at the ceremony were Minister of Public Security, Sarath Weerasekera, Inspector General of Police, C. D. Wickramaratne and W. L. A. S. Priyantha, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police.

In addition to the vehicles donated under the grant aid worth JPY 1 billion (Rs. 1.7 billion), a wide range of essential equipment for enhancing counter-terrorism and public security capabilities is to be donated to the Sri Lanka Police and the Airport & Aviation Services Sri Lanka (AASL), including Mobile X-Ray Scanners, Walk Through Safety Inspection Gates, Vehicle Chassis Safety Inspection Systems, and Patrol Craft.

As a longstanding friend of Sri Lanka, Japan is firmly committed to combat terrorism together with Sri Lanka. Japan renews its deep condolences to all those affected by the Easter Sunday terror attacks in 2019, and strongly hopes that the equipment donated under this grant aid will enhance Sri Lanka’s counter-terrorism capabilities.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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