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JVP cries foul over signing of agreement with US firm to build new offshore LNG facility

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By Saman Indrajith

An agreement Sri Lanka had entered into with a US company to allow the latter to construct a new offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving, storage and regasification terminal poses a serious threat to the local economy and national security, the JVP says.

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake addressing the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte said: “The Cabinet approved this agreement on Monday. We hear that the New Fortress Energy Company (NFEC) of the US and Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle have signed this agreement, according to which the Lankan government has permitted NFEC to build an offshore Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) and the pipeline system for supplying Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) to diesel power plants including Yugadhanavi and Kelanitissa and LNG Power Plants proposed to be built in the future. The terminal is to be located off the coast of Colombo to supply gas to the power plants at the Kerawalapitiya Power Complex.

“This is the latest instance of the government selling off the country’s assets to super powers. This has become part of the foreign policy of the incumbent government. It sells off the assets to China, India and the US from time to time. Several weeks ago, the Port City Act was passed amidst protests. We hear that talks have already commenced for handing over a large extent of land covering a section of the Trincomalee harbour and oil tank storage complex there to India.

“The Cabinet has granted NFEC the rights to supply gas to all LNG power plants for five years. The NFEC will supply natural gas to the 300 MW Yugadanavi Power Plant at Kerawalapitiya. The NEFC is to purchase the Government’s 40% stake in the company that owns the power plant,” Dissanayake said.

Former JVP Kalutara District MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa also addressed the press.  



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MP’s wife, father-in-law among three detained

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Rishad held under PTA to be questioned

16-year-old girl’s death:

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Police investigating the death of 16-year-old Ishalini, the domestic servant at All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader Rishad Bathiudeen’s Baudhaloka Mawatha residence have arrested Ayesha Shiabdeen, 46, the wife of the former minister.

Police also took into custody Rishad’s father-in-law Mohammed Shiabdeen, 70, and Ponnaiah Pandaram alias Shankar, 64, a resident of Dayagama.

Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said that Shankar had brought Ilashini from Dayagama to the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Vanni District lawmaker late last year.

Having studied the post postmortem report, they were taken into custody in terms of Section 360 C and Section 308 B of the Penal Code that dealt with human trafficking and cruelty to children, the top police officer said. According to him, so far 20 statements had been recorded.

Asked whether MP Bathiudeen, too, had been among the questioned, Senior DIG Rohana said the parliamentarian detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over 2019 Easter Sunday carnage, too, would be interrogated in that regard.

The ACMC contested the last general election on the SJB ticket. It switched its allegiance to the SJB ahead of 2020 general election after having represented the cabinet in UNP led yahapalana administration. Rishad has also served President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet during his second term.

Having suffered serious burn injuries on July 3 at the MP’s residence and admitted to the National Hospital, Illashini succumbed to her injuries on July 15th. Medical examination revealed that she had been raped over a period of time.

The police spokesman said that they intended to secure court approval to detain the suspects for 72 hours. A Superintendent of Police could obtain such approval on the strength of a B report submitted to the court in respect of offenses on children.

Although, the police indicated earlier in the day they would be produced in Colombo Magistrate court they weren’t brought in.

Meanwhile, the SJB said that interested parties were making a despicable attempt to politicize the incident. The police should be allowed to conduct the investigation without interference, a spokesman for the main Opposition party said.

 

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Women’s organisations in North conduct protests demanding justice for Ilashini

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A section of those engaged in Jaffna protests

 

By Dinasena Ratugamage

Women’s organisations in the North yesterday held a number of demonstrations in Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Jaffna against the death of J. Ilashini, the 16 -year-old girl who died while working at SJB MP Rishad Bathiudeen’s residence.

The protesters urged authorities to ensure that investigations into the death are conducted in a transparent manner. The family of the victim should be compensated and those guilty punished, they said.

Representatives of the organisations said that if justice was not done, they would hold a massive demonstration in Tarapuram, Mannar, which Bathiudeen represents in Parliament.

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Dancer lodges complaint with police over FB post 

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Police headquarters yesterday (23) said that dancer Anusha Damayanthi had lodged a complaint with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over a Facebook post alleging that she was running a brothel.

Police headquarters said that Damayanthi, while denying the accusation, had also brought to the CID’s notice that a minister was being accused of lambasting the Walana anti-crime strike force for carrying out the raid. Police said that an investigation was underway.

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