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No danger posed by ship carrying Uranium – MEPA

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By Ifham Nizam

A team of scientists from the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) who yesterday visited the MV BBC Naples, which was carrying Uranium Hexafluoride and docked at the Hambantota Harbour, said that the cargo was secure and posed no danger.

Earlier, State Ministry of Solar Power, Wind & Hydro Power Generation Projects Development earlier said that legal action would be taken against Wilhelmsen Meridian Navigation Ltd, the local agent for M.V. BBC Naples for violating the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Act, No. 40 OF 2014. However, it is understood they will have to reverse their decision based on MEPA findings yesterday.

MEPA General Manager, Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara told The Island that the vessel docked because of a technical difficulty and had obtained the assistance of the engineers.

“Everything is under control and the ship is now sailing towards China,” he added.

He said the MV BBC Naples was anchored six nautical miles away from the Hambantota International Port, and engineers attended to the technical issue.

Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Regulatory Council said the vessel was transporting uranium for use in nuclear power plants.

M.V. BBC Naples was sailing under the flag of “Antigua & Barbados.” Sri Lanka Navy and Customs confirmed cargo wasn’t unloaded to the Hambantota Port.

Chandula Rambukwella, the Senior Manager- Commercial & Marketing for Hambantota International Port Group Pvt Ltd. told media the M.V. BBC had entered the port of Hambantota on April 20, at 2100 hrs, en route from Rotterdam to China.

The ship had made an emergency call at the port for some urgent repairs, Rambukwella said.



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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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Cardinal urges Catholics to fight for justice

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 By Norman Palihawadane

Today’s Church does not need ‘sacristy Catholics’ but a laity who fight for justice, says Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

Addressing a gathering at a ceremony to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Deva Dharma Nikethanaya, at Archbishop’s House auditorium, at Borella, last week, the Cardinal said that turning every layperson into a mature Christian, fit for leadership, should be the foremost duty of the Catholic Church. “Once the Catholic Church functioned as a Bishop-priest centered church and did only what the Bishop of the priest would say. We have to change the outlook of the Church. Today, we no longer need such sacristy Catholics. We need a laity who are ready to get down to the streets and fight for justice and do what is right for society,” the Cardinal said.

“The Church needs Christians who will commit themselves for Christ and follow his example. We do not need spoon-fed babies,” he said.

He said that the Bishops and Priests should not be afraid of handing over the responsibilities to the laity. “We should share our responsibilities with joy. The Church cannot continue otherwise. Understanding this situation, Pope Francis wants to change the priest-centres position that has become a theoretical doctrine in the church and to study how the church should change in a way that suits the present world.”

Apostolic Nuncio to Sri Lanka Rev Dr Brian Udaigwe and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference President Rt Rev Dr Harold Anthony Perera also addressed the gathering.

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Protests against 13A used to arouse communal feelings – SJB

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Protests against the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution are being used to arouse communal feelings among people ahead of an election, says the main Opposition SJB.

Addressing the media on Saturday, at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Chief Opposition Whip, SJB Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella, said:

“This country has witnessed many instances in the past. This time, too, the same old slogan of the country being divided is heard again.

“The 13th Amendment is part of the Constitution. All parties have contested elections under the 13th Amendment. The UNP, SLFP, SLPP and JVP have contested provincial council elections. It shows that they have accepted the 13th Amendment. Those in such parties now opposing the 13th Amendment must first explain how they oppose it directly while accepting the same indirectly by sending their members to the provincial councils set up under the 13th Amendment,” Kiriella said.

“The claim of the country being divided by the 13th amendment is made to arouse the communal feelings.

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