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Health concerns at Avenra Garden cause upsets in police circles?

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The recent sealing of cool rooms at the famed Avenra Garden Hotel in Negombo by PHIs, has led to upsets in political circles, ‘Sri Lanka Mirror’ learns.

This is due to doubts whether a prominent politician in the Negombo area had been behind the incident.

This politician, as well as the Avenra Garden owner – Danesh de Silva, have been close associates of late politician – Jeyaraj Fernandopulle.

However, Mr. de Silva is now said to be a close associate of the Rajapaksa family.

During the ‘Aragalaya’ protests last year, the Avenra Garden Hotel was even set on fire by protestors, claiming that Yoshitha Rajapaksa’s money had been pumped into de Silva’s businesses.

The rise of de Silva, from a humble PT teacher at a school to a hotelier owning multiple properties, has also been questioned.

Attempted sabotage of Hiru Christmas party?

Also, separate rumours cite that the aforementioned raid by the PHIs was done as an attempt to sabotage the ‘Senehase Naththala’ christmas programme annually done at the hotel by the ‘Hiru’ TV channel.

However, the programme is currently being held at the hotel with no setbacks.

Legal redress

The Avenra Garden Hotel has also issued a public statement with regard to the raid.

It states that the PHI’s had falsely stated that a certain frozen food was stored incorrectly in the hotel cool rooms and sought a bribe from the hotel management to look the other way.

The statement further notes that the hotel will be seeking legal action and a police complaint has already been lodged in this regard.

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IMF approves Sri Lanka program review

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The International Monetary Fund has approved a review of Sri Lanka’s program, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry has said.

On a X post, he has said, “This achievement is a testament to our dedication to driving forward economic reforms and securing a prosperous future for all Sri Lankans.”

According to the State Minister of Finance – Shehan Semasinghe, “a favorable outcome from the review is expected to unlock the 3rd tranche of approximately USD 330 million”.

The IMF had earlier said Sri Lanka had made “sufficient progress” on debt restructuring for a review on June 12, despite final deals pending with bilateral creditors and private creditors.

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Another probe related to Easter Sunday attacks

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the actions taken by the State Intelligence Service (SIS), Chief of National Intelligence (CNI), and other relevant authorities concerning prior intelligence received about the bomb attacks on April 21, 2019. This decision follows the findings of the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry, dated January 31, 2021, which highlighted that Indian Intelligence agencies and other sources had provided advance warnings about the impending attacks.

The Committee of Inquiry will be chaired by Ms. A.N.J. De Alwis, Retired Judge of the High Court. Other esteemed members of the committee include SLAS special grade Officer Ms. K.N.K. Somaratne and Senior Lawyer Mr. W.M.A.N. Nishane, AAL. 

The committee’s mandate includes examining whether actions or measures were taken by the SIS, CNI, and other relevant authorities based on the prior information or intelligence on an impending attack on April 21, 2019 by Indian intelligence agencies and any other sources and if so, adequacy of the actions and measure taken by the SIS, CNI and other relevant authorities. 

Additionally, the committee will investigate the circumstances surrounding the Directorate of Military Intelligence’s (DMI) and Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID) initial belief that the Vavunathivu killing of two police officers on November 30, 2018, was connected to the LTTE. This belief was held for four months before suspects with alleged links to the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) were identified.

A compact disk containing the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry on the Bomb Attacks of April 21, 2019, has been provided to the committee. The President has authorized the committee to inquire relevant officials and examine pertinent documents to thoroughly investigate these matters.

Ms. Sarathanjali Manoharan, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President, will serve as the Secretary to the Committee of Inquiry. The committee is expected to submit its report, including findings and recommendations, to the President by September 15, 2024.

(President’s Media Division)

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New, free train ride for pilgrims visiting Mihintale (Video)

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Cabinet Spokesman Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena has said that a new short train ride between Anuradhapura and Mihintale will be arranged for pilgrims during the Poson season.

He said this at the Cabinet briefing held today (June 12) at the Government Information Department.

Since work on the Northern railway line have been delayed, 400 special buses will be deployed to Anuradhapura instead during the Poson season, he added.

Noting that a special railway line from Anuradhapura to Mihintale has been reconstructed,  the minister said that Sri Lanka Railways has been directed to arrange special, free train rides on this line for pilgrims.

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