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SL’s Ambassador-designate to China formally assume duties

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Sri Lanka’s Ambassador-designate to the People’s Republic of China, Dr. Palitha Kohona, formally assumed duties last week in Beijing.

Prior to the assuming duties by Dr. Kohona, a Pirith chanting ceremony was conducted by the Most Venerable Zong XingThero, Vice President of the Buddhist Association of China, with four other venerable monks from the Guangji temple in Beijing.  This was followed by the formal hoisting of the national flag and the lighting of the traditional oil lamp.

Addressing the Embassy staff, Dr. Kohona emphasized the need for all to engage proactively with the local authorities, as well as the Chinese community.  It was important to develop links with the business community also. 

“Our objective should be to further enhance the image of Sri Lanka in China, strengthen the Sri Lanka-China bilateral relationship, and promote Sri Lanka as a welcome destination for foreign direct investments, and also encourage bilateral trade links”, he stressed.

Dr. Kohona was the former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations (UN) from 2009 to 2015. Until August 2009, he was the Permanent Secretary to the Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka and was also the former Secretary-General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process.

He was previously the Head of the UN Treaty Section in New York till 2006, the largest arm of the UN office of Legal Affairs.

Ambassador Kohona received his secondary education at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. He obtained LLB (Hons.) at the University of Sri Lanka, LLM from the Australian National University in International Trade Law and a Doctorate from Cambridge University in the UK.

Dr. Kohona arrived in China on December 15 and assumed duties virtually and underwent 14 days mandatory quarantine.



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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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