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Navy nabs more than 200 fishers for harvesting of sea cucumbers illegally

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Naval operations carried out in Eastern, Northern, Northwestern and North Central Naval Command areas in the past two weeks have led to the seizure of 10,219 sea cucumbers illegally harvested through night diving and the apprehension of a group of individuals and diving gear used for this illegal act.

The Navy has increased its day-and-night patrols covering the seas around the country in an attempt to prevent illegal fishing practices.

The North Central Naval Command, during patrols conducted in Walaipadu and Iranativu sea areas, took into custody 6,878 illegally-harvested sea cucumbers, 53 persons, 11 dinghies and diving gear.

The Northwestern Naval Command in Arippu, Kondachchikuda and Kalpitiya seas, the Northern Naval Command off Allapiddi and Eastern Naval Command in the sea area of Sallimunai seized 3,341 illegally-harvested sea cucumbers.

The navy took into custody 22 persons, seven dinghies and other accessories used by the suspects.

Other naval operations carried out in Eastern, Northern, Northwestern, North Central and Southeastern Naval Commands from February 16 to March 30, 2021 led to the apprehension of 128 more individuals and the seizure of 41 craft engaged in illegal fishing.

The suspects ranging aged from 17 to 61 years, held in these separate operations were identified as residents of Trincomalee, Point Pedro, Lunuwila, Thoduwawa, Negombo, Gandara, Kuchchaveli, Sendun, Kinniya, Pottuvil, Kudiraweli, Karadikuli, Kalpitiya, Jinnamuham, Silawathura, Puttalam, Mannar, Allapiddi, China Bay, Arippu, Kandakuliya, Nachchikuda, Sallisambalthivu, Gurunagar, Talaimannar, Poduwakattu, Vankalai, Muthur, Kiranchi, Sivapuram, Mulankavil Ambalantota and Tissamaharama areas.

 The suspects along with the fishing vessels and gear were handed over to the Assistant Directors of Fisheries in Trincomalee, Mannar and Muthur, Fisheries Inspectors of Kuchchaveli, Puttalam, Kalpitiya, Pooneryn, Silawathurai, Jaffna and Kilinochchi, Police stations of Kalpitiya, Kayts and Trincomalee and office of Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Point Pedro and Pottuvil for legal action.



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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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