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New Draft Bill of Anti – Terrorism Act to be gazetted

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Concurrence of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted at their meeting held on Sep. 05, 2022 to publish the draft bill of the Anti – Terrorism Act prepared by the Legal Draftsman in order to introduce the Anti –Terrorism Act repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act in the government gazette and subsequently submit it to the Parliament. 

Subsequently, the said draft bill was published in the government gazette on March 22, 2023.

Thereafter, a number of parties having concern about that (local and international) have expressed their concern regarding certain sections of the draft bill. 

Accordingly, the Ministry of Justice, Prison Activities and Constitutional Reforms have called for views and proposals formally from those who are interested in this regard through electronic media and the relevant Minister has held discussions with certain parties himself. 

Considering all the views and proposals submitted, actions have been taken to prepare a new draft bill by the Legal Draftsman by revising the original draft bill which was published in the government gazette. 

Clearance of the Attorney General has been granted to the said new draft bill.  Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to the resolution furnished by the Minister of Justice, Prison Activities and Constitutional Reforms to publish the said draft bill in the government gazette and thereby submit the same to the Parliament.

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Rocky successfully carries out ‘call termination’ racket

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Local phone service providers including Telecom and Mobitel as well as the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) are losing a colossal amount of revenue due to a ‘call termination’ racket operating in Sri Lanka, it was reported.

Agencies conducting investigations into the matter have received information that one such racketeer earns as much as Rs.02 – 05 million per day.

It was reported that these racketeers earn this amount by redirecting over 100,000 minutes of IDD calls in a single day.

Sri Lanka Telecom PLC is equipped with the technology to detect this kind of call termination scams and has also set up a separate unit called the ‘Fraud Management Unit’ solely for this purpose.

This unit, which is currently operating under the networking division, is said to have been well-functioning when it was under the financial division.

Senior officials reportedly shirked from launching investigations into these racketeers by citing the arrival of mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, IMO, Viber and Messenger as the reason for these daily revenue losses.

Meanwhile, investigations have revealed that the racket is currently being largely operated by an individual named ‘Rocky’ who is originally from Gampola and has now settled in Colombo.

Investigations revealed that Rocky is pretending to be an UK national and uses a phone number registered in England.

Apart from this, he is also said to be involved in Undiyal transactions.

He has been arrested by the police in connection with this fraud on a previous occasion as well.

According to security forces, those involved in this racket continue to do so again even after being reprimanded, as the relevant fine is as low as Rs.10,000.

Security forces also note that since such racketeers also support terrorist activities, questioning them under detention orders would enable them to weed out this racket altogether.

Heads of mobile phone service providers allege that the arrest of such traffickers keep getting delayed due to the lukewarm reaction by the investigation departments.

Meanwhile, former chairpersons of service providers, former cricket players and former presidential secretaries have also been accused by the media of being involved in this racket.

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Excise officials kidnap beedi businessman & forcefully take Rs.1mn

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The Walasmulla Police have launched an investigation into an incident where a Beedi businessman was kidnapped and assaulted before forcefully taking Rs.1 million from him.

The business license of the businessman residing in Maraketiya, Rajapuragoda in Walasmulla expired on June 26. A team of excise officials including the OIC of the Tangalle Excise Unit had arrived at his house on September 18 and seized the Beedi leaves.

Excise officials had demanded Rs.1.4 million from the businessman not to take legal action in this regard.

They had taken the businessman away in a three-wheeler, beaten him up, and then had taken an amount of Rs.1 million by force.

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Test kits ordered to detect ‘Nipah’ virus

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Steps have been taken to import special test kits needed for the detection of ‘Nipah’ virus, the Health Ministry said.

Special test kits recommended by the World Health Organization have been ordered to detect the virus and they are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka in a few days.

Commenting further, Virologist Dr. Janaki Abeynayake said that no specific treatment or vaccine has been developed globally for patients infected with Nipah virus.

However, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Samitha Ginige said that there is no high risk of the virus spreading among countries since the virus spreading pace is slower.

The Ministry requested the public not panic over the virus that has been reported in several countries including India.

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