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Opposition urges govt to table PCoI reports on Easter carnage and political victimisation

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By Saman Indrajith

The SJB yesterday (10) called on the government to table the reports of the Presidential Commissions of Inquiry on Easter Sunday carnage and on Political Victimisation within this sitting week.

 Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella said that his party had requested at the last party leaders’ meeting that the government table the reports of the two presidential commissions of inquiry and a parliamentary debate held thereon.

“We need them tabled either on Thursday or Friday so that we could debate them during the next sitting week. Another Presidential Commission has been appointed to determine punishments on the basis of recommendations of the commission of inquiry on political victimization. It has been given only three months. We need to debate it in Parliament by that and to know the content of those reports. It is unfair to delay the process by not tabling them. The Speaker and Minister of Justice have promised that reports would be given to parliament.”

Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa

: When the Chief Opposition Whip made that request at the party leaders’ meeting the government promised to table the reports of the commissions of inquiry, and also allocate dates during the next sitting week for the debate. There is a special presidential commission that has been appointed to implement the recommendations of the commissions of inquiry. We need to debate the reports before that implementation process starts. We call on the Speaker to order the government to table those reports in parliament on Thursday so that we could debate them in the third week of this month.

 Leader of the House and Foreign Affairs Minister Dinesh Gunawardena:

We have made a promise to allocate time for a debate once the reports are tabled in parliament. Therefore, we are ready to allocate dates for the debate whenever the reports are given.

 SJB MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara:

It is said that the reports have made recommendations pertaining to the leaders of the Opposition parties. The Prime Minister too has stated that these reports would be tabled in Parliament. We urge the government to submit the reports as soon as possible.

MP Dilan Perera:

The Speaker has said that he would present the reports to the House as soon as he receives them. That is what the government’s wish too. We too need that debate.



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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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