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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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Self-Employed Traders petition SC over govt. favouring liquor dealers



By A.J.A Abeynayake

The Supreme Court has decided take up, on 04 Oct. for hearing a petition filed by the Association of Self-Employed Traders against the opening of liquor stores during the current lockdown.

 The traders have requested the apex court to order the government to allow members of their union to engage in business activities since the liquor stores had been allowed to reopen during the lockdown.

The petition was taken up before a three-judge bench comprising justices L. T. B. Dehideniya, Shiran Gooneratne and Janak de Silva, yesterday.

 The State Counsel appearing for the respondents said he had received the relevant documents pertaining to the case only last Friday evening. Therefore, the State Counsel requested the court to give him time to seek advice from the respondents who were many.

Attorney-at-Law Eraj de Silva, appearing for the petitioner at the time, said about 7,000 members of his client union had lost their livelihoods due to the decision by the respondents.

Therefore, Attorney-at-Law Eraj de Silva requested the court to give an early date for considering the petition.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court decided to take up the petition for consideration on 04 Oct and directed the lawyers of the petitioners to take steps to send notice to the respondents before that date.

The petition was filed by the President of the United National Self-Employed Trade Association G.I. Charles, its Vice President P.G.B. Nissanka, and Secretary Krishan Marambage.

The petition names 47 respondents, including the Director General of Health Services, the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of Excise.

The petitioners allege that under the quarantine law, the Director General of Health Services, who is the competent authority, issued a notice on Aug 20 prohibiting the opening of liquor stores.

The petitioners point out that steps were taken to open liquor stores countrywide contrary to the regulations of the Health Authority.

The Director General of Health Services, the Commissioner General of Excise and the Inspector General of Police have stated that they have not allowed the reopening of liquor stores.

The petitioners have also requested the Supreme Court to issue an order to the respondents to allow the members of their association to engage in business activities as the liquor stores are allowed to remain open.

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Lankan born newly elected Norwegian MP Gunaratnam calls for investments here



Newly elected Norwegian Labour Party MP, Lankan born Kamzy Gunaratnam says she will ask the new Norwegian government to continue engagement with the country of her birth.

 Speaking at a virtual media conference on Sunday night, Gunaratnam said that she does not believe that boycotting Sri Lanka is the way forward.

“I don’t believe in boycott. There needs to be investments. Only that will ensure employment,” she said.

Gunaratnam said that she is also prepared to meet President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, if invited, for talks.

She said that Norway must continue to assist Sri Lanka through trade, education and in other ways.

Gunaratnam said that she will also discuss with her party and the new Norwegian Foreign Minister, as well as the Norwegian Ambassador in Sri Lanka and see how best Norway can assist the country.

Gunaratnam said that Sri Lankans must also decide the best solution for Sri Lanka and not any foreign country. She said that Sri Lanka must not wait for foreign pressure to work on a solution.

The newly elected Norwegian MP also said that minority rights in Sri Lanka must be protected.

As a Norwegian MP she said that her main focus in the Norwegian Parliament will be to push for equality in Norway.

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Going to IMF best solution, says Ranil



UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe insists that a programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is necessary to mitigate impact of the growing debt repayment crisis; homegrown solutions are not effective.

“Unlike in the past, Sri Lanka’s debt problem has increased at a time when there is a global debt problem. This makes the situation more challenging and complex. Sri Lanka is a highly import-dependent economy,” Wickremesinghe said during a panel discussion, organised by the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka on Saturday.

The UNP leader said that the government shouldn’t sell state assets to ease off the shortage of foreign exchange to have breakfast but reinvest those proceeds back in the economy. “Going to the IMF is the best solution,” Wickremesinghe said.

With reference to homegrown solutions, he referred to the mess caused by the government in promoting Dhammika peniya as one of the failed measures earlier on to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former Prime Minister said that Sri Lanka should use the current situation to forge ahead with structural and public sector reforms which were postponed due to political considerations in the past.

The former PM suggested that the re-opening of the country be delayed till mid-October.

In responding to the issue of debt management in Sri Lanka, the UNP leader said that the most pressing concern is addressing the dwindling foreign exchange reserves of the country.

He explained that the regional foreign exchange reserves were projected to increase over the course of the year, however, Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves were on a downward trend.

He also said that economic recovery based on a resurgence of the tourism industry would be uncertain, and until airline ticket prices were reduced it was unlikely that tourist arrivals would increase significantly.

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