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JVP accuses govt of sticking to yahapalana deal with India and handing over ECT to Adani Group

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By Saman Indrajith

The JVP yesterday accused the government of planning to hand over the Colombo Port’s East Container Terminal to Adani Group of India despite protests.

Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that the government had run out of excuses as there were widespread protests against the move to hand over the ECT to the Indian company. “So, now they twist words when they answer questions on the issue. The Prime Minister in Parliament the other day said the government had not decided to sell the ECT to any foreign entity. Several minutes later, the Ports Minister told Parliament that the government intended to bring in investors to develop the ECT. The Cabinet has approved a proposal to grant 49 percent of shares and management of the ECT to the Adani Group. The Ports Minister’s use of words is to bring in investors.

Silva said that the plans to sell off the ECT were prepared by the Yahapalana government. “There was a massive protest by port’s employees against those plans. Mahinda Rajapaksa then promised to protesting workers that national assets would not be sold under an SLPP government and asked the workers to vote for them.

People should understand that though they defeated Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP that sold state assets to foreigners, the current government was continuing what its predecessor had done.

“The port workers are now engaged in a campaign to save the ECT. The government declared the port an essential service. We ask the government why it is trying to sell it off to India if it is an essential service.



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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?

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… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.

 

 

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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others

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The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.

 

 

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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area

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Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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