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COPA instructs police to dispose all expired tear gas



Chair of the Committee on Public Accounts – Lasantha Alagiyawanna informed the Department of Police to provide the next proposed program of the police department within a month yesterday (26).

The chair of the Committee stated the aforesaid yesterday (26) when Sri Lanka Police was summoned before the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) to examine the Auditor General’s report and current performance for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security, the Inspector General of Police and many senior police officials were invited to this event.

It was questioned as to why when the department of police was called before COPA in 2016, a recommendation had been given in this regard, but it had not yet been implemented. The Inspector General of Police said that since it is difficult to set up a single information technology system for the Sri Lanka Police, steps will be taken to introduce information technology systems in segments.

Accordingly, the Inspector General of Police said that a new pilot project is currently being implemented in Hatton and Nuwara Eliya Police Stations where details can be obtained from the filing of a complaint to the status of its court proceedings.

The Committee Chair emphasized that it is essential to establish an information technology system in the police department where relevant information can be obtained immediately by integrating the motor transport department and other institutions. Accordingly, he instructed to give a report on the current program and the proposed plan to the Committee within a month.

Lack of female police officers

Issues such as the lack of female police officers in the Sri Lanka Police were also addressed. It was disclosed that there are 2419 female police constable vacancies and it was proposed to complete the said vacancies in the year 2023. However, it could not be done due to the current economic situation.

The Inspector General of Police said that the conventional context within the police force has been changed and the necessary reform program has been initiated to provide opportunities for women to higher positions including the post of Inspector General of Police in the future. He said that as a result, an opportunity will be provided for the emergence of a future female Inspector General of Police.

Dispose expired tear gas

Attention was also drawn to the expired tear gas belonging to the police. Senior police officers informed that the process of disposal of expired tear gas has started and they will never be used. The Committee instructed to dispose of the expired tear gas existing in all police stations across all of Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, according to international conventions, the Chair of the Committee informed that a report should be prepared and submitted to the COPA on the measures taken in controlling the public riots including tear gas.

Language skills

Special attention was also paid to the need to improve the language skills of police officers. Senior police officers pointed out that many programs have been started to impart Tamil and English language skills to police officers. The Committee emphasized the need to streamline those activities.

Issues related to police promotions, police reward fund management, road accident control, crime control and other problems and their solutions were also discussed here.

State Ministers Kader Mastan, Prasanna Ranaweera, Mohan Priyadarshana De Silva, Diana Gamage and Members of Parliament Tissa Attanayake, A. L. M. Athaullah, J. C. Alawathuwala, Weerasumana Weerasinghe, (Ms.) Manjula Dissanayake, (Ms.) Mudita Prashanthi, D. Weerasingha, (Dr.) Major Pradeep Undugoda, Ashok Abeysinghe, (Dr.) (Ms.) Harini Amarasuriya were present at the Committee meeting held. 


New evidence surfaces on health ministry’s controversial emergency procurement scheme




More documentary evidence has emerged on the Health Ministry’s disastrous “fast-track” emergency procurement scheme that led to counterfeit drugs entering public sector hospitals.

Letters between key officials show the plan was in place as early as September last year. That month, a Health Ministry Additional Secretary wrote to the Deputy Director General of the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) stating that it was decided at a meeting chaired by former Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella to buy drugs using the Indian credit line (ICL) through private suppliers.

The purchase would be under an “emergency procurement method”, it said, adding that pending orders must be disregarded.

This meant that, even if required stocks were on the way, the Health Ministry would farm out additional contracts under the ICL to handpicked suppliers. And it would be done through a new system that a small coterie of officials—with the Health Minister’s endorsement—had floated to facilitate walk-in, unsolicited offers from unvetted suppliers, bypassing the national drug regulatory process.


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Tsunami Alert Lifted 




The Philippines lifted a tsunami alert early on Sunday as waves receded from a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck the south of the country, triggering coastal evacuations and some waves in there and in Japan.

There were no initial reports of casualties or serious damage from the quake in the Mindanao region, although some residents reported damage to buildings in the area, which is less populated than some parts of the archipelago.

More than 500 aftershocks were recorded, and the Philippines’ Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) urged caution as people resumed normal activities.

“The tsunami threat associated with this earthquake has now largely passed the Philippines,” Phivolcs said in a statement but advised people in threatened communities to heed the instructions from local authorities.

It had earlier urged people living near the coast of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces to move inland.

The national disaster said it was assessing the impact of the quake, with a team on the ground collating information.

The Philippine Coast Guard put all its vessels and aircraft on alert for potential dispatch.

“We started going back to our homes early on Sunday, although we are still shaking because of aftershocks,” Julita Bicap, 51, a front desk staffer at GLC Suites hotel in the seaside town of Bislig, said after power was restored around 5 a.m. (2100 GMT)

“There are aftershocks even now. Last night we were at the evacuation centre including my two foreigner guests. One of them came back to the hotel already,” Bicap told Reuters, adding that she noticed a small crack in the hotel’s front wall.

The largest aftershock was magnitude 6.5, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies on the “Ring of Fire”, a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is prone to seismic activity.

Scores of residents were seen in an evacuation centre in photographs posted on social media by the authorities in Hinatuan province, 30 km (20 miles) from the quake’s epicentre.

Philvolcs’ Hinatuan-Bislig Bay station recorded maximum waves of 0.64 metre (2 feet). Japan’s Hachijojima island, some 290 km (180 miles) south of Tokyo, recorded waves of 40 cm (1.3 feet), the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System had initially warned of waves of up to 3 metres (10 feet) above the usual high tide level.

The quake, which struck at 10:37 p.m. (1437 GMT) on Saturday, was at a depth of 25 km (15 miles), Philvolcs said.

James Soria, who owns a small hotel in Hinatuan, said there had been significant damage to his home. “It’s shaking again here now,” he told Reuters before the call was disconnected as another aftershock hit.

Cosme Calejesan, 47, said there had been damage to his house in Surigao City 185 km (115 miles) from the epicentre, but the structure was intact.

“I was already asleep, but I was woken up by the creaking sounds of my cabinets when the tremor occurred,” he said. “It was frightening. It was sudden and abrupt and I was worried for my children.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by srilankamirror staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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President leads talks on six renewable energy projects for next year




President Ranil Wickremesinghe along with Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera and Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake has spearheaded discussions for six renewable energy projects next year.

The projects will generate over 1500 MW and transform Sri Lanka’s energy landscape. The inaugural project is a 700 MW solar power initiative, harnessing sustainable energy sources. A senior Government spokesperson said that all six projects are slated for completion within the next 12-24 months.

President Wickremesinghe initiated these discussions with the relevant parties before leaving for the United Nations International Conference on Climate Change (COP 28) in Dubai.

Presidential Chief of Staff Sagala Ratnayake last week held a meeting with officials to address the challenges and devise solutions to commence these ground-breaking projects.

The Ministry of Power and Energy anticipates a marked reduction in Sri Lanka’s electricity tariffs following the successful implementation of these energy projects. This is in line with the country’s broader vision for a sustainable and eco-friendly energy future.


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