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Sajith tells Parliament govt. plotting to strip Sirasa TV of its licence

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Bandula rakes up abduction and murder of Richard de Zoysa

By Saman Indrajith

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday (07) told Parliament that the government was planning to suppress the Sirasa TV channel.

The government should assure that no harm would befall Sirasa, Opposition Leader Premadasa said, noting that hundreds of thousands of people would stand by the channel.

 Opposition Leader Premadasa said: “Reliable sources have informed us that a top-level group in the government has gathered a team of lawyers to find legal provisions to cancel Sirasa’s licence. Why is the government trying to suppress Sirasa? Why is it so afraid of this channel?” he queried, adding that the media network had been reporting the truth to the public.

In response, Trade minister Bandula Gunawardena said that no illegal action would be taken to suppress the media.

SJB MPs invaded the Well of the House following the claim by Opposition leader Premadasa that a plot was being hatched to cancel the transmission licence of Sirasa TV.

 Opposition MPs alleged that the Opposition leader’s microphone had been switched off, allowing Leader of the House Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to continue to speak.

When the microphone was switched on, Opposition Leader Premadasa said: “We will not allow the government to suppress Sirasa. The government must make a public statement that it will not do so.”

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena: “You asked for five minutes. You have now spoken for nine. That’s enough.”

As the SJB MPs demanded a response from the government, Minister Bandula Gunawardena was given the microphone to continue with the proceedings.

Opposition Leader Premadasa: “I request this minister who is now speaking to make a statement on behalf of the government that Sirasa will not be harmed; claymore mines will not be exploded, and transmission licence will not be cancelled.”

Minister Bandula Gunawardena: “The government under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has not taken any decision to suppress any media organidation. Who is saying that? We remember how Richard de Zoysa, who reported impartially, was abducted and murdered. Did we do that? Did Gotabaya Rajapaksa do that?”

Opposition Leader Premadasa: “This is a minister who cannot even control the prices of goods.”

Minister Bandula Gunawardena: “Murderers. Murderers. Where is Richard de Zoysa?” Every day since Ranil Wickremesinghe came to parliament, the SJB MPs will make something up in the morning and shout disrupting the proceedings of the House.”



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Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused

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By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.

 

 

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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas

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By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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