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Navy nabs 25 suspects from different parts of country for illegal fishing, and other unlawful acts

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The Navy has nabbed 25 persons engaged in illegal fishing and other unlawful activities in different parts of the country during operations conducted last week in Eastern, Northern, North Central, Northwestern and Southern naval areas, the Navy said yesterday.

The Eastern Naval Command, during operations conducted in the sea areas off Kallady and Wakare, in Erakkandi and at Cod Bay fishery harbour on Oct 21 and apprehended 19 persons for fishing with banned nets and possessing shark fins. Along with the suspects six vessels including a multiday fishing trawler, five banned nets and several other fishing accessories were taken into custody by the Navy.

The Northern Naval Command nabbed a suspect for keeping about 2,693 conch shells, in a house, during a search operation carried out at the Eluvaitivu Island on Oct 23. In another operation carried out in Talpadu, Mannar on the same day, the personnel of the North Central Naval Command apprehended asuspect for illegal transport of 70 kilos and 600 grams of dried sea cucumber in a trishaw.

During a special operation conducted at Kirimundalama in Kalpitiya on Oct 21, the Northwestern Naval Command intercepted a suspicious lorry and apprehended two suspects who were transferring 28 sacks full of shark fins. The vehicle was also taken into custody.

In another development, the Southern Naval Command in coordination with the Fisheries Inspector of Kalametiya caught two persons for using a banned net for fishing near the Kalametiya fishery harbour on Oct 22. Along with the two persons a dinghy the banned net were taken into custody.

The suspects were identified as residents of Kinniya, Kathiraweli, Wakare, Lankapatuna, Eluvaitivu, Erukkulampiddi, Kalpitiya, Sinnapadu and Hungama areas, aged from 27 to 53.

The suspects, fishing vessels, banned nets, lorry and three-wheeler were handed over to the Assistant Directors of Fisheries in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Mannar as well as Fisheries Inspectors of Muttur, Kayts, Puttalam and Tangalle for onward investigations.

All these operations were carried out in conformity with strict health and safety guidelines declared for the prevention of COVID–19 pandemic.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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