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SJB asks whether narcotic tablet ‘reverse’ was taken by prisoners or govt. members

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By Saman Indrajith

Kurunegala District SJB MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha yesterday said in Parliament that a probe should be conducted to find out who actually used the particular narcotic tablets, which some government members claimed had been found in the Mahara Prison. “This is said to be a tablet with serious effects. Its name has been mentioned as ‘Reverse’. We are not sure whether the tablet is also used by the ministers and MPs of this government because all of them are moving backwards. None of them move forward. Does it mean that the government rank members are using the Reverse tablet.”

 He said: “Minister Weerawansa said that there was an international conspiracy. When he says so, it is the duty of the government to investigate it given his experience in international conspiracies.”

 The MP raised the issue as a point of order after JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake made a special statement on the recent incidents at the Mahara Prison.

Gampaha District SJB MP Dr Kavinda Jayawardana said that he had received many complaints that the prison authorities had not released the names of those killed and injured in the clash. “The parents and loved ones of the inmates in the Mahara prison have now gone there and are waiting outside to know who had actually been killed and wounded. The authorities should release their names to the public.”

 Gampaha District SJB MP Harshana Rajakaruna: The clash started because the inmates demanded that PCR tests should be conducted. Now, the parents weeping outside the prison are asking whether their children in the prison are still alive. This is a serious issue. Nine persons have been killed.

 Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena: You are raising the same issue as JVP Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. You are repeating what he said.

MP Harshana Rajakaruna: No this issue matters to us. I am from the Mahara electorate in the Gampaha District. Many of the inmates in the Mahara are from our district. Their parents call me and call for our intervention to find out what has befallen their loved one. The names of the dead and the injured must be made public.”



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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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