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Jerome Fernando in Singapore!

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The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said that pastor Jerome Fernando had gone to Singapore on the 14th with a group of his followers.

He had left for Singapore in the wake of the CID launching an investigation on the President’s order in connection with making statements in a way that harms religious harmony.

The CID said the investigation is being conducted by a Superintendent of Police under the full supervision of the CID Director.

Police said that they will be able to arrest the pastor upon his return.

Police sources said that video footage of the statements made by pastor Jerome Fernando regarding the Buddha and other religious leaders are being studied by the CID and necessary steps will be taken to obtain unedited footage as well.

The investigation against the pastor was launched when a video containing a statement made by him circulated on social media platforms causing an uproar among Buddhists.

The President’s special attention was drawn to this video and an order was issued to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to conduct an investigation through the CID.

The President had informed the IGP to conduct an investigation into the pastor’s statement and submit a report to him as religious conflicts may arise due to irresponsible statements and it may affect the harmony of the country

The state-owned ‘Dinamina’ newspaper reported that special attention has been paid to implement the law regarding this statement according to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Act No. 56 of 2007.

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India relaxes onion export ban for Sri Lanka and UAE

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India has lifted its ban on onion exports, permitting the shipment of 10,000 metric tonnes to Sri Lanka, announced the Indian High Commission in Colombo. 

This move, aligned with India’s Neighbourhood First policy, aims to support Sri Lanka during its Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations.

The decision comes as a relief for Sri Lanka, where onion prices surged following export bans imposed by both India and Pakistan.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade has issued a gazette notice granting permission to National Co-operative Exports Limited for the export of 10,000 MT of onions to Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, the UAE has been granted permission to import an additional 10,000 MT of onions, in addition to the 24,400 MT already permitted. This decision is significant given the substantial Indian and South Asian expat community residing in the UAE.

The relevant gazette notification is given below.

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Expressways generate whopping income during Avurudu season

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The expressways have generated an income of Rs. 159,802,950 from April 10 – 13, Road Development Authority (RDA) says.

According to the Director of Expressway Operation Maintenance and Management Division – R.A.D. Kahatapitiya.

Over 4,350,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this period, he has added.
As many as 366,000 vehicles have used the expressways during this three-day period.

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Special transport arrangements to those returning to Colombo

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Special train services are in operation from this evening (April 14) for people to return to Colombo after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year holidays, the Railways Department said.

Deputy General Manager of Sri Lanka Railways –  N.J. Indipolage stated that accordingly, eight additional train journeys will be in operation from Badulla, Galle and Beliatta railway stations to Colombo Fort.

The Department of Railways also mentioned that the office trains will be operational as per usual from April 16.

Meanwhile, the National Transport Commission has said that special buses will be deployed to transport those who had gone to their hometowns during the New Year.
Bus associations have also stated that buses to Colombo will be operational.

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