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The woman behind return from Lanka of ailing elephant



Former Suphan Buri MP Kanchana Silpa-archa is one of the people who played a key role in securing the return to Thailand from Sri Lanka of an ailing male elephant, Saksurin, which is tentatively scheduled to be flown back home on  July 1st.

In an exclusive interview with Thai PBS, Kanchana, the older sister of the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut, recalled that, in August last year, she received a call from Sittidet Mahasawangkul, a veterinarian at the Forest Industry Organisation, asking for help to bring Saksurin back to Thailand for medical treatment, as the elephant had a badly infected wound, its living conditions at a temple in Sri Lanka were bad and it was not being given proper care.

She said that she was saddened when she saw a picture of the elephant, which was sent to her by Sittidet, and consulted her brother, Varawut, who is overseeing the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

She also said that the Thai ambassador in Sri Lanka was very helpful and arranged for a team of Thai vets to visit Sri Lanka to take care of Saksurin which, she added, marked the start of the process to bring the animal back home for proper treatment.

Thanks to the kindness of the abbot of the temple in Sri Lanka, Saksurin was relocated to a zoo, to be taken care of by a Thai mahout, Thongsuk Mali-ngam, who was flown from Thailand, initially for a period of one month, which was extended to almost six months, said Kanchana.

Thai vets were sent to Sri Lanka twice to treat the nasty wound on the elephant’s hip, once in August last year and again in November.Kanchana said that all the vets and others involved agreed that the best way to treat the elephant would be to bring it back to Thailand, initially, in January this year, but it was delayed because the elephant was in musth.

Ambassador Pote in Sri Lanka was instrumental in arranging the considerable amount of paper work for the elephant to be flown back, required because it is a species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).Meanwhile, in Thailand, an air transport cage was built.

Kanchana admitted that, while the task of repatriating the elephant may not appear to be difficult, without the cooperation of several governmental agencies, including state funding of a 24.7 million baht special budget, the Thai embassy in Sri Lanka, the Forest Industry Organisation, Minister Varawut, the mahout and the Sri Lankan’s who are assisting, this could not have happened.

She said that Saksurin is luckier than the many other elephants which have been sent overseas and have not had a chance to return home.

A team of officials from the Forest Industry Organisation, the Zoological Park Organisation of Thailand and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation will be flown to Sri Lanka ahead of time to prepare for the elephant’s flight back to Thailand.Upon arrival in Thailand, Saksurin will be sent to the elephant hospital in Lampang for treatment and a peaceful retirement.( Thai PBS)

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Train services on coastal line delayed




The Railway Department has announced that train services on the coastal line will be delayed due a derailment between Kollupitiya and Colombo Fort this morning (27).

It also said that trains bound to Colombo will be given priority and requested South bound passengers to make use of alternate modes of transportation until the situation is rectified.


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Chinese ship visit: Sabry contradicts Defence Ministry



India consulted, concerns raised by US

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, PC, has denied that the government granted permission for Chinese research vessel Shi Yan 6 to visit the Colombo port late next month.

Sabry told the media in New York on Monday (26) that Colombo had not given permission for the Chinese vessel to dock. He said India’s security concerns were important for Sri Lanka.

The Defence Ministry on 27 August announced that approval for the Chinese ship to dock in Colombo had been granted

The media quoted Sabry as having said there was a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and the government consulted many friends including India.

“That’s a conversation going on for some period of time. India has expressed its concerns over a long time, but we have come out with the SOP. When we were making it, we consulted many of our friends, including India. So, as long as it complies with the SOP, we have no problem. But if it doesn’t comply with the SOP, we have a problem,” Ali Sabry told ANI.

“So, therefore, as far as I know, we have not given permission for the vessel to come to Sri Lanka during October. Negotiations are going on. Indian security concerns, which are legitimate, are very, very important to us. We have always said that because we want to keep our region a zone of peace,” said Ali Sabry.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, too, has said that an SPO was worked out for foreign vessels.

The Chinese research vessel was expected in Sri Lanka in October to conduct research along with the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).

US Under Secretary Victoria Nuland, during her meeting with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, had raised concerns regarding Shi Yan 6’s visit.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Victoria Nuland stated, “The US supports a strong and prosperous Sri Lanka. Our work together continues at #UNGA. I met with @MFA SriLanka Minister Ali Sabry to discuss U.S. economic assistance, human rights, and our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Sabry told Nuland that Sri Lanka had worked out the SOP to be followed by foreign ships and aircraft in carrying out any activity in Sri Lankan territory, according to a Daily Mirror report.

Last year, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, while commenting on Chinese vessel Yuan Wang-5 which had docked in Sri Lanka, said that any developments that have a bearing on India’s security are “obviously of an interest to us”.

“What happens in our neighbourhood, any developments which have a bearing on our security obviously are of an interest to us,” Mr. Jaishankar said at a joint press conference after the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting.

India had expressed its security concerns over the docking of the vessel at the Sri Lankan port as it was shown as a research vessel with the capability of mapping the ocean bed, which is critical to anti-submarine operations of the Chinese Navy. The Chinese research ship had docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port.

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Court bans Thileepan commemorations in Trinco



The Trincomalee Magistrate’s Court yesterday (26) prohibited the commemoration of LTTE cadre ‘Thileepan’ who died on 26 Sept., 1987, during a fast against the IPKF. The court order came as several events were scheduled to be held in Trincomalee yesterday.

The Trincomalee Court banned any sort of celebrations, demonstrations, parades or protests commemorating Thileepan in the Kulakottan Hall and the Gandhi Roundabout within the Trincomalee Harbour Police division, and within the Trincomalee police division.

The relevant order was issued against several activists, including

President of the Trincomalee District Tamil People’s Forum R. F. Jerome, Ramesh Nicholas, Suhirdha Priya, Krishna Pillai Sri Prasath, Kandaiyya Kandeepan alias ‘Pamaparasan’, Karthik Kalkiriyan and others.

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