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Navy seizes more turmeric smuggled from India



Naval operations conducted at Norochcholai and on Wella Island in Kalpitiya on Aug 29 led to the recovery of about 1,428 kilos of dried turmeric smuggled into the country by sea.

The Navy apprehended two suspects with a stock of dried turmeric in 26 gunny bags in the Norochcholai area. A lorry and a car used by the suspects for the smuggling racket were also taken into custody.

Following interrogation of the two suspects, the Navy was able to apprehend four others with a dinghy which is believed to have been used to smuggle in the stock of turmeric, at Thoraiadi Pier in Kalpitiya.

Acting on information received from the four suspects, the Navy found 18 more sacks stuffed with dry turmeric which had been hidden at the Wella Island in Kalpitiya, after being smuggled into the country by sea.

 The Navy found 294 kilos of dried turmeric in 12 sacks, hidden on the Ippantivu Island in Kalpitiya.

The entire operation led to the recovery of about 1,428 kilos of dried turmeric, a dinghy, a car and a lorry apart from the six suspects held by the Navy.

The suspects have been identified as residents of Kalpitiya and Kotiyakumbura areas, aged between 20 and 44.

The suspects along with the recovered items were handed over to the Kalpitiya Police for onward investigation.

The Navy has so far seized about 3,861 kilos of dried turmeric during naval operations in Thalvupadu, South Bar in Mannar, Nadukuda, Arippu, Talaimannar, Ettalai in Puttalam, Norochcholai and Kalpitiya from Aug 21.

The naval operations carried out from 28th July up to now have led to recovery of a staggering 12,270 kilos of dried turmeric smuggled into the country. Further, 25 suspects involved in turmeric rackets have also been nabbed during these operations.



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Foreign qualified medical students protest



A group of foreign medical degree holders protested opposite the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (23) requesting that tangible measures be taken to conduct the Examination for Registration to Practice Medicine (ERPM) without further delay.

They alleged that over 1,500 students had been deprived of the opportunity to sit the examination due to the fault of the Sri Lanka Medical Council, which is now under investigation by a committee, appointed by Health Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi.

Photo: A section of the protesting students (pic by Thushara Atapattu)

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SJB insists referendum necessary besides 2/3 majority in Parliament



Supreme Court moved against 20A

By Chitra Weerarathne

General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, yesterday (23) filed a petition in the Supreme Court stating that the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution was inconsistent with the Constitution. It requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament and approval by people at a referendum for passage, the SJV has argued.

The SJB says 20A violates people’s sovereignty and franchise enshrined in Article (3) and (4) of the Constitution.

The petitioner has argued that the provisions in clause 55 of the Bill are inconsistent with the public trust doctrine and the principle of checks and balances and would prejudicially affect public finance.

 The clause 54 of the Bill seeks to repeal Article 156 A of the Constitution, which provides constitutional recognition to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or corruption, the petition says.

 The petition says 20A seeks to repeal the prohibition on dual citizens being elected to Parliament and to the post of President.

The power of the Auditor General to audit the state institutions has been curtailed, the petition says, arguing that it could be detrimental to the economy.

It will be detrimental to the country if the Constitutional Council is replaced by a Parliamentary Council, the SJB General Secretary’s has contended in his petition.

Clause 20 (2) of the proposed 20A has restricted the powers of the Election Commission as regards the conduct of elections, the petitioner has argued.

The 20A states that an omission by the President could no longer be challenged through a fundamental rights violation petitions in the Supreme Court, the petitioner has said, adding that the Bill seeks to further enhance the powers of the President by allowing him to unilaterally remove the Prime Minister. The President would not be accountable to Parliament, the petition says.

The 20A would repeal Article 70/ (1) of the Constitution and enable the President to dissolve Parliament even immediately after a general election, the SJB General Secretary argues.

The respondent to the petition is the Attorney General.

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Lawyer Hijaz’s foundation received funds from banned foreign outfit – CID tells court



By A.J.A.A beynayake and Kasuni Rebecca

The CID yesterday informed the Colombo Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage that Save the Pearls Trust run by lawyer Hijaz Hisbullah, now in custody for allegedly aiding and abetting one of the Easter Sunday bombers, had received Rs.13 million from a banned organisation named the Caliphate of Qatar.

The CID told court that according to the bank accounts of the trust the money had been received by it during the last few years and the police had launched an investigation to ascertain whether the funds had been used for terrorist activities.

The CID told court the investigation had been launched under the Money Laundering Act and a psychologist’s opinion had been sought on the book titled “Navarasam” found in a madrasa (school teaching Islam) run by Save the Pearls Trust in Puttalam.

The Magistrate order the CID to submit to court a Sinhala translation of the book and examine whether the contents of the book promoted terrorism.

The case will be taken up again on October 7.

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