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Six Lankan youth held under slave like conditions rescued from desert farm in Kuwait



The Lankan youth with the officials of Sri Lanka’s Embassy in Kuwait

Six Lankan youth,detained, beaten, not given food and wages and forced to work in a farm run in a desert near the border with Iran in the state of Kuwait have been rescued with great effort and sent home.

The youth had arrived at the BIA at 03.30 am yesterday on board a Jazeera Airways flight J-9551 from Kuwait, Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau sources said adding that their officials had taken the youths to their homes.

All of them are residents of Kinniya in Trincomalee, and had gone for these jobs in Kuwait through an illegal broker from their home area. They had been employed in a farm run by a Sheikh in Kuwait.

The operation to rescue them had been arranged following a telephone call made by the group of Sri Lankans from this farm to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait during the night.

It was not an easy task to rescue the Sri Lankans who were detained in this farm in the difficult desert area where there are no roads.

It is reported that a special military operation was launched with the support of a Major General, the head of Kuwait’s highest security forces, to deal with the influence of the powerful Sheikh of the State of Kuwait and the difficulties in the surroindings.

Also, with the assistance of the chief security officer and the Kuwaiti government, it was made possible to obtain their travel documents to despatch the group home.

Abdul Halim, the second diplomatic officer of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Kuwait, and Janaka Samarasekara, the third secretary, also have helped to rescue mission.

At present, three other youth also from Kinniya, who were kept in the farm in this manner, have now come to Sri Lanka and with the information elicited from them, the Trincomalee Police are investigating the illegal broker who sent them there.

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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration




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



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”



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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