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Firearms amnesty – License or face the music, says MOD

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An estimated 1,200 private security providers have been instructed to re-license their firearms on or before October 31 this year or face the consequences, a senior official of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said yesterday. He said the security providers had been given prior notice towards this effect and therefore they are expected to comply accordingly with the deadline or face the consequences that could include the cancellation of the license, fines or even both.

“The bulk of the security providers are issued with firearms mainly repeater shotguns and others within the same category those mainly transporting cash and bullion and in some cases providing security to VIPs or wealthy individuals as the situation demands”.

However, whatever the case may be these security agencies are required to declare their firearms for re-licensing before the above mentioned date”, he said.

Meanwhile, the defence authorities along with other State agencies are working on a program to recover to hundreds if not thousands of firearms that were issued to politicians across the political divide since the 1988 disturbances. An assortment of firearms was issued to politicians even at the lowest level owing to threats to themselves and their families during the Janatha Vimukthi Permuna (JVP) uprising in the late 1980’s, the official said.

“A large number of these firearms remain unaccounted to date and many may even have fallen into criminal hands and this is worrisome while some of the original owners may even be deceased’, he said.

(sundayobserver.lk)

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5 years marked since the Easter Sunday bombings

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Today (April 21) marks 05 years since the brutal Easter Sunday bombings in 2019.

All churches across Sri Lanka will observe 02 minutes of silence at 8:45 am today (21) to remember those lost in the attacks.

Several memorial events centering the St. Anthony’s church in Kochchikade and the St. Sebastian’s church in Katuwapitiya will be held.

Police spokesman DIG Nihal Thalduwa says that security has been beefed up to areas where memorial services are being held.

In 2019, a spate of bombings that took place across the country claimed 273 lives while injuring hundreds.

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Govt to give preference for green vehicles

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Sri Lanka may consider lifting the import ban of motor vehicles next year as the country’s economic situation is improving with foreign reserves almost reaching USD 5 billion, said Chief of Staff to the President, Sagala Ratnayake.

“As the country’s economic landscape has improved, the ‘would be’ import bill for motor vehicles is not a big amount that the country should worry about. “But our concern is the protection of the local motor industry which is now making great progress.”

He told a press conference on Wednesday, that the Government may give preference towards the import of Green vehicles. “However, the local infrastructure should be developed first, as one doesn’t see many charging stations in and outside Colombo.”

He said that in Singapore there is a permit system and when a vehicle is over ten years old it is re-exported which ensures that a new vehicle fleet remains in the country. “Sri Lanka too has to follow a similar model for the motor industry.”

Ratnayake said that the high earning tourism industry is given all the assistance as it is being identified as an industry that could take the country to the next level.

The Government has already given permission to import 750 vans and 250 buses to be used for the tourism industry.

Similarly, the maritime sector too has been identified as a key area and this is the reason the Government is investing millions of dollars to upgrade and expand them. “The current geo-politics involving the Red Sea has already given the Port more business and revenue.”

He said that the proposed bridge between India and Sri Lanka too would be a major game changer for Sri Lanka’s economy as it will create more commodities to flow between the two countries.

“This will certainly help reduce some of the food prices in Sri Lanka and create more employment opportunities.”

Ratnayake said that the tax revenue collection is on track and the Government may soon explore the possibility of increasing the Rs. 100,000 tax threshold to a higher level.

(sundayobserver.lk)

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Easter Sunday bombings : Rs. 295 mn. paid as compensation

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The annual reports of the Office of Reparations have revealed that over Rs. 295 million (295,499,069) have been paid as compensation to victims and property damage of the Sunday Easter bombings.

Under this, Rs. 273,747,000  have been paid as compensation for 719 victims while Rs. 21,752,069 have been paid as compensation for property damages.

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