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Reports citing inaction over harassment against women, false – Parliament SG

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Mrs. Kushani Rohanadeera, the Secretary General of the Parliament has announced that the reports that there is constant sexual harassment towards female staff members and female Members of Parliament in Parliament and that proper investigations and measures are not being taken are completely false.

The Secretary General emphasized that when such incidents related to disciplinary violations in the Parliament are reported, investigations related to them are carried out very impartially under the guidance of the Speaker and the Speaker did not interfere or influence in any way other than giving his assistance at best towards holding speedy investigations. 

The Secretary General stated that although an incident was reported in which sexual harassment of several female employees was reported, the internal committee appointed in this regard conducted a very impartial investigation and the investigation report has now been handed over to her. Furthermore, she pointed out that the chief officer who is suspected to be involved has been suspended from work and thus the related steps will be taken immediately.

The Secretary General also said that further investigations have been conducted in this regard and has been handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department for law enforcement.

The Secretary General further stated that the reports stating that the Leader of the Opposition was notified via a letter regarding such harassment but no proper action was taken are also completely false and the Office of the Leader of the Opposition has confirmed that such a letter has not been received by the Hon. Leader of the Opposition thus far.

The Secretary General also points out that she is the head of the Parliament Secretariat and that she is a woman, and that the opportunity for women to head of many departments in the Parliament has been created because there is an environment and culture in the Parliament where women can perform their duties without any undue influence or violence.

In such a situation, the Secretary General further states that she is extremely disappointed regarding the publication of completely false, fabricated and baseless information to damage the reputation of the Parliament of Sri Lanka and the Speaker and condemns such publications with contempt.

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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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