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Lanka’s Amb in Myanmar questions NZ response to terror threats



‘Man killed in Auckland gave up Sri Lankan nationality in 2013, won refugee status there’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Myanmar Prof. Nalin de Silva says Ahamed Adhil Mohamed Samsudeen, 31, shot dead by the police in an Auckland supermarket last Friday, had received refugee status there, in 2013, two years after entering New Zealand.

Ambassador de Silva questioned the rationale in New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern naming the ISIS inspired terrorist as a Sri Lankan instead of as a person accepted as a refugee nearly a decade ago. Samsudeen was from Kattankudy and migrated to New Zealand after studying in a Colombo school.

Prof. de Silva pointed out that the international media and various interested parties quite conveniently refrained from commenting on New Zealand law enforcement authorities gunning down the attacker, who was only armed with a knife, on the spot. Had that happened in Sri Lanka some sections of the international community, media and various other interested parties would have questioned Sri Lanka’s response and would have even castigated us, Ambassador Silva said adding that “We would have been accused of killing an estranged minority member without producing him in court,” Prof. Silva said.

Pointing out continuing pressure on Sri Lanka from here and abroad to do away with the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) or replace it with a new law acceptable to Western powers, Prof. de Silva said that in the wake of the recent incident New Zealand declared its intention to introduce much tougher anti-terrorist laws.

Prof. de Silva said that New Zealand followed the despicable strategy followed by many other nations in respect of Sri Lanka. The academic emphasized pivotal importance in the circumstances Samsudeen received refugee status after having entered the country in 2011 as a student.

The moment one received refugee status he automatically gave up his nationality. Declaring that Samsudeen had given up his Sri Lankan nationality, Prof. de Silva acknowledged the need to establish whether he subsequently received New Zealand nationality.

He also recalled how a Norwegian national, a son of a diplomat having massacred nearly 90 persons in two different locations in 2011 claimed he was inspired by events in Sri Lanka. The Norwegian gleefully referred to the LTTE driving the Muslim community out of the Northern Province in 1990.

Ambassador de Silva said that the world faced a severe threat due to rapid developments taking place in different regions and the situationin Afghanistan was all part of the overall strategy. The academic declared that the 2019 Easter Sunday carnage in Sri Lanka, too, should be examined against the backdrop of the battle between the Western powers and the Muslim world. He also faulted the New Zealand government for failing to to neutralize the threat posed by Samsudeen in spite of quite rightly recognizing him as an extremely dangerous person.

Amb. De Silva said that a large number of Sri Lankans, especially from minorities over the years sought refugee status in various parts of the world and subsequently won nationality. Thereafter they had become influential groups quite capable of influencing political parties in those countries, Prof. de Silva said, urging the world not to encourage terrorism.

Amb de Silva dismissed claims by Samsudeen’s relatives and other interested parties to blame those whom the boy from Sri Lanka met there for influencing him.

Prof. de Silva said that Sri Lanka shouldn’t be held responsible or humiliated for the actions of those who received refugee status or nationality of other countries.

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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries



The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.


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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students



By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter



The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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