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PCoI summons ex-president Sirisena, three auxiliary bishops

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI), investigating the Easter Sunday attacks, ordered former President Maithripala Sirisena, his Private Secretary  Sameera de Silva and three auxiliary Bishops of Colombo, Anton Ranjith Pillainayagam, Maxwell Silva and J D Anthony Jayakody, to appear before it today at 10.30 am.

The order was made by the PCoI after Attorney-at-Law Dilshan Jayasuriya appearing for ex-Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, on Tuesday, alleged that former President Maithripala Sirisena had placed ex-Defence Secretary’s life at risk by issuing a media statement that the evidence given by the latter before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks was “malicious and fictitious”.

Sirisena, on Sunday, issued a press release claiming that the testimony given by Fernando at the PCoI about his conduct was completely false.

“I vehemently deny what was said at the Commission by Fernando. These are malicious and fictitious statements and I wish to reiterate to the public that Fernando’s statements are false.”

The three auxiliary Bishops have been summoned over a press release they issued on a statement given by MP Harin Fernando before the PCoI.

The Commissioners also ordered the three Bishops to appear in person or send a legal representation today at 2.00 PM regarding the issuance of a press statement on behalf of Archbishop of Colombo Malcom Cardinal Ranjith denying the evidence given by SJB MP and former Minister Fernando.



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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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