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Thoppigala bulldozered! 

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Environmentalists and representatives of local farmers’ organizations claim a group of 30 persons are using bulldozers to flatten the forest cover and areas of archeological value in the reserves of Thoppigala,Uthuchenai and Vadamunai.

‘Lankadeepa’ reports that around 1,500-acre area in these three reserves has been destroyed by them.

Noting that the group has been clearing the land day and night under the guise of starting paddy farms, the group has also been making firearms to kill animals for a wild meat racket, while felling many huge, valuable trees.

Residents have stated that wild animals including elephants have started to enter villages as a result of this.

They also say that many areas of archeological value have also been destroyed.

Noting that these racketeers are under the protection of certain politicians representing the districts of Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa, residents have also alleged that their complaints and pleas to the Forest Department, Divisional Secretariats have fallen on deaf ears. 

Speaking to ‘Lankadeepa’, Residential Business Manager of Mahaweli B Zone – Mr. Sugath Weerasinghe has said that these lands did not fall under the Mahaweli areas but are under the purview of the Welikanda and Kiran Divisional Secretariats.

He has added that measures will be taken to look into the matter.

However, Welikanda Divisional Secretary – Ms. H. Nisha has said that the lands being destroyed did not fall under her secretariat.

(Lankadeepa)

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Tourists nowadays aren’t fools – Diana

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State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage has warned that stern action will be taken promptly against those who are hostile to tourists visiting Sri Lanka.

She was responding to the media over the recent incident where a vendor had been hostile to a tourist over an overpriced Kottu.

Noting that tourists nowadays are not idiots and cannot be fooled, the State Minister urged such persons to refrain from such behaviour without harming the reputation of Sri Lanka as a hospitable, friendly tourist destination as well the livelihood of other such fellow businessmen as well.

Related News : 

Hostile street food owner bailed (Update)

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Complaint lodged over Piumi Hansamali’s possession of Gota’s Range Rover

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Mage Rata organization president Sanjaya Mahawatta today, lodged a complaint with the Illegal Assets Investigations Division, calling for an inquiry into model Piumi Hansamali using the Range Rover vehicle previously used  by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“It is clear that an election is near and politicians tend to inject all their saved black money into the upcoming election campaigns and it has become a good time for the people who engage with money laundering activities. 

“Accordingly, we have some doubts on how Piumi Hansamal managed to get the Range Rover vehicle (CBH 1949) which was used by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“The question arises whether the Range Rover vehicle was given to the former president or if Gotabaya has given it to Piyumi,” said Mahawatta and further alleged that the model currently resides in a super luxury apartment, owns other properties and leads an exceedingly luxurious lifestyle.

Therefore, there are suspicions that Piumi Hansamali is being utilized for money laundering activities involving politicians’ black money, he charged.

“Therefore, we have lodged a complaint with the Illegal Assets Investigations Division. The initial complaint pertains to the Range Rover vehicle previously associated with former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and its transfer to Piumi Hansamali. This vehicle is estimated to be worth Rs. 100 million. Questions arise regarding how the vehicle came into Piumi Hansamali’s possession, the reasons behind its transfer and how she could afford such a valuable asset while primarily engaged in selling cosmetics. Additionally, it is noted that Piumi Hansamali’s has not made any television appearances lately.

“I personally know several individuals who rely on selling cosmetics for their livelihoods. But they struggle to cover their daily expenses with their modest incomes. However, Piumi Hansamali reportedly spends lakhs of rupees daily and leads a lavish lifestyle. 

“The Mage Rata organization is vigilant over the extravagant spending of politicians during election campaigns and their potential involvement in money laundering activities,” he stated.

“Hence, we anticipate an immediate investigation into this complaint,” he added.

(dailymirror.lk)

(This story, originally published by dailymirror.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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SL hopes to continue discussion with bondholders

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State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe has said today (April 17) that Sri Lanka hopes to continue discussion with the bondholders with a view to reaching common ground ahead of the IMF board consideration of the second review of Sri Lanka’s EFF program.

Sri Lankan authorities continue to engage all debt restructuring negotiations in good faith, within principles of equitable treatment among creditors, and with maximum transparency within the norms of such negotiations, he has said.

The full statement of the State Minister is as follows :

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