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Nimal Siripala resigns as Minister of Ports, Shipping, and aviation

Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva has sent his letter of resignation to the President following an allegation made by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa in Parliament yesterday citing a social media report that a Cabinet Minister had solicited a bribe from Japan’s Taisei Corporation.

The Minister said that though he is NOT the cabinet minister in question, the project by the Taisei Corporation comes under his purview, and therefore the public may assume that he is the alleged Minister in question who solicited a bribe.

He called on the President to conduct an independent investigation into the allegation, in order to protect the good name of the government and his innocence.

Nimal Siripala said he was resigning to pave the way for an independent and impartial investigation.

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Army launches internal probe on Lt. Col. who kicked a man at a filling station

Sri Lanka’s fuel crisis is worsening to a level where unarmed people are being subject to beatdowns from Police and Military Personnel while waiting in line for fuel for days.

It is reported that these ugly scenes are taking place when the Police and the Military intervene in the fuel distribution disregarding the fact that the common man has been waiting in line for days to access limited amount of fuel.

An incident where the Commanding Officer of the Wehera Army Camp in Kurunegala kicked back a man, took place when people who were in line for many days questioned why they were not given fuel, and why the military was obtaining fuel.

The incident took place at the Yaggapitiya Filling Station located along the Dambulla – Kurunegala Main Road.

Sri Lanka Army Spokesperson Brigadier Nilantha Premaratne speaking to News 1st said the Army had launched an internal investigation on the Lieutenant Colonel alleged to have carried out the assault.

The Army Spokesperson said that the incident had taken place when a group of people who had scolded military personnel in profanity, were being escorted to the Police.

He said that two people who behaved in an unruly and violent manner were handed over to the Police, adding that a certain group is attempting to create such incidents to bring disrepute to the Army.

News 1st

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Former MP Hirunika & 11 others granted bail

Former Parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra and 11 others were granted police bail a short while ago (06).

The group was arrested earlier today for staging a protest opposite the President’s residence in Fort this morning.

Accordingly, seven females and five males were arrested and later granted bail Police Spokesman SSP Nihal Thalduwa said.

The group staged a protest this morning near the President’s house expressing their displeasure over the current economic crisis, with Hirunika demanding that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa step outside and meet her.

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Sri Lanka expecting several fuel shipments this month

The Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera stated that two diesel ships will arrive in the island within the first two weeks of this month.

Accordingly, two tankers with diesel shipments will reach Sri Lanka on 8th or 9th July and on 11th or 14th July.

The minister also mentioned that a LIOC ship carrying petrol will arrive in Sri Lanka on the 22nd or 23rd July, which has already been paid for, while a third diesel shipment will arrive in the country on 15th – 17th July, upon advance payment.

However, the Minister said that discussions have been initiated with Malaysia to obtain a Petrol shipment on or near 10th of July, and three new importers have been informed in this regard.

Moreover, Minister Wijesekara added that the Government has also discussed with the Malaysian oil company ‘Petronas’ to supply the necessary crude oil required for Sri Lanka, and the Malaysian Government had responded positively.

Minister, in a tweet said that the CPC is still awaiting confirmation of shipments upon advance payment, for 1 diesel shipment and 2 petrol shipments from LIOC, while LIOC has so far confirmed three cargo arrivals on 13-14th July, 30-31st July and 10-15th Aug, carrying both Petrol and diesel.

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Dates for 2022 A/L, O/L and Scholarship exams announced

Education Minister Susil Premajayantha today announced the dates for the 2022 G.C.E. Advanced Level examination, the G.C.E. Ordinary level examination and the Grade 05 Scholarship exam.

Accordingly, he said that the G.C.E. A/L examination will be held from November 28 to December 23, 2022 while the Grade 5 Scholarship exam is to be held on November 27.

Meanwhile the G.C.E. O/L examination is expected to be held between April and May next year, the Minister of Education said.

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Galle Road obstructed between Ambalangoda and Hikkaduwa

Police says that vehicular traffic along the road from Usmudunawa in Ambalangoda to Kumarakanda in Hikkaduwa has been obstructed due to sea waves crashing on to the side of the road.

Motorists are advised to use alternate routes, police said. Meanwhile it is reported that the Alakanda Road is also risky for travel.

Earlier today, the Department of Meteorology issued a ‘Red’ alert for gusty winds and rough seas, advising the fishing and naval communities not to venture out into the sea areas off the coast extending from Colombo to Hambantota via Galle within the next 24 hours.

In its advisory, the Meteorology Department said the wind speeds can increase up to 60-70 kmph in the sea areas off the coast extending from Puttalam to Pottuvil via Colombo, Galle and Hambantota due to the active south-west monsoon condition.

The swell waves (about 2.5 m – 3.5 m) height (this is not for land areas) are likely to increase in the above-mentioned sea areas and these sea areas will be rough to very rough.

There is a possibility that nearshore sea areas off the coast extending from Puttalam to Matara via Colombo and Galle, may experience surges due to swell waves, it said.

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NO moral right for President to stay in power: Cardinal

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has requested the President and the Government to take responsibility for the present crisis and resign, as they have no moral right to remain in power any further.

Issuing a statement, the Archbishop of Colombo notes that the country has fallen into a state of total economic bankruptcy, and the resultant level of suffering on the people had pushed them into a dark abyss, that cannot be explained in human words. Although hopes of a better future were rekindled with the appointment of the new Prime Minister and many remained silent in order to not to be an obstacle to solutions being found for current problems, the present plight which the people are facing had become worse and unbearably painful.

The present crisis and the despondent situation that has brought about has to be directly attributed to the President and the Government of Sri Lanka for the shortsighted and arbitrary decisions made within the last two and half years.

“From the beginning we did not hesitate to condemn the stubborn and oppressive burdens that had been placed on people, fleecing them and stealing their money and assets of the country in a corrupt manner” the statement reads.

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith also calls out on the lack of an investigation or bringing to book of those who are responsible for the corrupt and dishonest practices and decisions, and the lack of a serious attempt being made or a vision to solve the problems which the country is facing.

“People are spending days in queues going through untold hardships to obtain essentials and the Government has no cohesive plan or project which could definitely free them from this situation,” the statement reads.

The Archbishop of Colombo also notes that the biggest obstacle to liberating the country from its sad situation is the fact that the Rajapaksa family continues to stay in power in spite of majority of people not reposing trust in them anyway.

“The blatant neglect of duty on the part of the ruling party of the Rajapaksas to serve them, has made it very clear to the people that this family considers their political power as being more important than the wellbeing of the people, thus proving that everything done so far amounted to only political jugglery,” His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith mentions.

Therefore, on behalf of the suffering people, the Archbishop of Colombo has requested from President and the Government of Sri Lanka to accept responsibility for the sad situation and to step down from their positions, as they have no moral right to continue office anymore under these circumstances and to hand over the power back to people without causing further suffering.

News 1st

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Four military personnel arrested over inmate’s death at Kandakadu

Four military personnel belonging to the Sri Lanka Army and the Sri Lanka Airforce were arrested over the death of an inmate at the Kandakadu Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre in Welikanda.

The Sergeants arrested, aged between 35 and 39, are believed to have served as counselors at the Centre at the time of the incident, and are due to be produced before Court today (02).

Meanwhile, the postmortem is scheduled to be conducted on Tuesday (05).

Earlier this week, over 600 inmates escaped the Centre on Wednesday (29) after riots broke out with the Police following the suspicious death of an inmate.

Although the Army was later deployed to the scene, inmates refused to let them see the body of the deceased for hours, still in the midst of the chaos created.

The situation was, however, later brought under control.

While nearly all the escapees were arrested in the days that followed, 44 inmates are still on the run. Police have requested that the public contact the OIC of the Welikanda Police Station via 0718591235, in the event any information about these inmates is obtained.

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President arrives in Parliament

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived in Parliament a short while ago (05).

He was seen sitting next to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Criticism was levelled at Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe during yesterday’s Parliamentary sitting, after they failed to be present.

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Japan denies media reports, reaffirms support towards SL

Deputy Ambassador of Japan, Kotaro Katsuki, has strongly denied recent media reports claiming that Japan has refused to extend its support to Sri Lanka.

In an e-mail addressed to the Prime Minister’s Secretary, Katsuki assured that the media report in question had ‘no grounds whatsoever’, and that the Ambassador of Japan would do no such thing.

Moreover, Japanese Ambassador Hideaki Mizukoshi met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday (01), during which Japan’s willingness to maintain a robust bilateral relationship in the economic, social & cultural spheres was reiterated.

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Supreme Court requests AG to submit report on fuel

The Supreme Court today ordered the Attorney General to prepare a report detailing the sectors that a given priority in fuel purchasing, and distribution.

The Attorney General was ordered to submit this report before the 12th of July 2022.

Th Supreme Court made the order after taking into consideration two Fundamental Rights applications filed by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The applications were called up in the presence of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena, and Arjuna Obeysekera.

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Three anti-govt activists including “Ratta” and Lahiru granted bail

Social activist and YouTuber Rathindu Senaratne alias “Ratta”, the national organizer of ‘Youth for Change’ Lahiru Weerasekara and Venerable Rathkarawwe Jinarathana Thero were granted bail today (July 01).

The case was taken up before Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court.

On June 17, the Colombo Fort Magistrate ordered the police to arrest several protesters for their unruly and violent behaviour during demonstrations at Colombo Fort and Thalangama on the 9th and 10th of June and to produce them before the court.

Later, “Ratta”, Lahiru Weerasekara and actor Jagath Manuwarna, who were wanted over the said incidents, had surrendered to Maradana Police on June 22. They were accordingly placed under arrest and remanded along with four others, namely Jehan Appuhamy, Dhammika Munasinghe, Eranga Gunasekara and Ven. Rathkarawwe Jinarathana Thero.

Several charges including criminal coercion, obstruction of duties of police officers, unlawful assembly, causing injuries and causing damages to public property were levelled against them.

On June 22, four of them - Manuwarna, Appuhamy, Munasinghe and Gunasekara - were released on bail by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court, while the remaining three activists, ‘Ratta’, Lahiru Weerasekara and Jinarathana Thero were remanded further.

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