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Kanaka wants Basil in Parliament soon

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Basil Rajapaksa should enter Parliament soon and make a comprehensive contribution to the economic development process, Company Estate Reforms, Tea Estate Related Crops, Tea Factory Modernization and Tea Export Promotion State Minister Kanaka Herath said.

The State Minister made this statement while addressing the Rambukkana electoral committee meeting (Aasana Bala Mandalaya) of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna held at the public  market there with the participation

of a large gathering to coincide with the fourth convention of the SLPP.

State Minister Herath pointed out that Basil Rajapaksa was currently taking the lead in the country’s economic development work and that he could provide a more efficient and effective service to the country by being in Parliament.

All members of the SLPP were looking forward to Basil’s arrival in Parliament as he had the potential to serve the country in a more formal and efficient manner as a member of the Legislature, Herath said.

Commenting on the political process in the country, the State Minister said that the country should move beyond the traditional political pattern and accordingly the country should be at the forefront before the party. Accordingly, the Legislature had a special responsibility to fulfill the aspirations of the people and the country, he said, adding that Basil Rajapaksa could come to Parliament and lead the parliamentary group and strengthen the current course of government.

Commenting on the revival of the tea and rubber industries, the State Minister said that the current year’s budget had allocated the largest ever amount for the development of tea and rubber sector. Allocating such a huge amount had created an opportunity to develop the agricultural economy along with the manufacturing economy.

Through that, a subsidy of Rs. 250,000 per acre would be provided to tea and rubber growers for drip irrigation for the first time. Besides tea cultivation subsidy had been increased from Rs. 500,000 to Rs. 750,000 per acre while the subsidy on rubber cultivation per acre was Rs 500,000, State Minister Herath said.

Commenting on the physical development of the Kegalle District, he said that all the bus driven roads had already been carpeted by now. Rural roads were being developed and constructed by laying concrete or carpet.

He emphasized that no matter what the Opposition said, the programme to build the country would be carried out as the people expected in line with the “Vision for the Prosperity” policy statement.

State Ministers Janaka Wakkumbura, Roshan Ranasinghe, Parliamentarian Rajika Wickramasinghe, Sudath Manjula and many others were present at the meeting.



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Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’

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By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam

The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.

Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.

A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.

The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.

According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.

The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.

DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.

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PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners

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By Norman Palihawadane

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.

Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.

The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”

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Thilo Hoffman remembered

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A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.

Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.

The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.

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