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US-donated SL Navy ship Vijayabahu commissioned

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President of Sri Lanka – Ranil Wickremesinghe, Secretary to the Minister of Defence – Kamal Gunaratne, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy – Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne and the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka – Julie Chung today (22) attended the commissioning of the Navy Ship Vijayabahu, formerly the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro, in Colombo Harbor.  The United States had donated the ship to Sri Lanka on October 26, 2021 as part of its continuing commitment to strengthen Sri Lanka’s ability to protect its maritime sovereignty and security.

Viewing the commissioning ceremony with Sri Lankan dignitaries, Ambassador Chung extended her appreciation to the ship’s officers and sailors for their skillful handling of the ship during the voyage.  She also expressed her thanks to the families and loved ones of the sailors for their sacrifice during the crew’s long absence. 

Sri Lanka’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is seven times the size of its land area and maintains a Search and Rescue area nearly 25 times as large. The new vessel is capable of performing wide-ranging operations that include conservation of marine resources, search and rescue of naval and fishing vessels in distress and interdiction of drug and weapons smuggling among other crucial functions.

The Vijayabahu is the third ship donated by the United States to the Sri Lanka Navy, preceded by the Gajabahu in 2018 and the Samudura in 2004, which continue to patrol the nation’s waters.  The latest ship, a former Hamilton-class high-endurance 115-meter cutter, undertook one of the longest voyages in Sri Lankan naval history, embarking from Seattle, Washington, on September 3 and arriving in Colombo on November 2, 2022.

In its former U.S. role, the then-Douglas Munro enforced fishing regulations in Alaskan waters, seized trawlers engaged in illegal practices and interdicted 11.5 tons of cocaine off the coast of Mexico, one of the largest hauls in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.  After the 2004 tsunami, the cutter provided food and water to Indonesians and later seized a vessel overtaken by pirates off the Horn of Africa.  The ship also rescued survivors of numerous shipwrecks in dangerous and frigid waters off the Alaskan coast.

The transfer of the vessel is just one point in a long history of cooperation between Sri Lanka and the United States in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.  The U.S. is committed to supporting Sri Lanka’s efforts to protect its sea lanes, which are vital to alleviating the current economic crisis.

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Notice on rebuilding or compensating housing damaged by bad weather

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Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff to the President Sagala Ratnayaka, announced that President Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed to take the necessary measures to either rebuild or provide compensation, subject to a maximum limit, for houses that were completely damaged by the recent adverse weather conditions.

Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka also stated that measures will be implemented to assess the damage and provide compensation, subject to a specified maximum limit, for the repair of partially damaged houses.

Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka shared these views during a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (20), concerning the rebuilding of houses fully and partially damaged by recent adverse weather conditions.

The discussion extensively covered the reconstruction of houses affected by natural calamities such as strong winds, floods and landslides, which have impacted various parts of the country in recent days. The provision of suitable compensation, subject to a maximum limit, was also deliberated.

To ensure appropriate compensation within specified limits, for fully damaged houses upon agreement with beneficiaries, and prompt construction of such houses with the assistance of the Armed Forces. Additionally, the assessment and repair of partially damaged houses, with compensation also subject to a specified maximum limit, were discussed.

Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka also directed District Secretaries to submit formal reports on houses fully and partially damaged by natural calamities.

In attendance at the discussion were State Minister of Defence Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, the three commanders of the armed forces, and heads of relevant line Institutions. Participating remotely were District Secretaries and Divisional Secretaries via online technology.

(President’s Media Division)

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Piyumi’s income generated from Lollia Skin Care – CID

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The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has initiated a thorough investigation regarding a beauty products manufacturing company named Lollia Skin Care (Pvt) Ltd, which is said to be the main source of income of model Piyumi Hansamali, who is under investigation for her assets.

It was informed to the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday by the Illegal Assets Investigation Division of the CID. This company has been registered under the Business Registration Number PV00256805.

According to the CID, the investigation will be focused on businesses carried out by this company, taxes paid and also the imports and exports carried out by the company.

The Illegal Assets Investigation Division of the CID on Wednesday (19) informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court that an investigation was initiated regarding the purchase of a Range Rover Jeep for Rs.78 million, the purchase of a house from Grand Housing Complex in Colombo 7 for Rs.148 million and maintaining 20 bank accounts with suspicious transactions by Piyumi Hansamali. It has been revealed that these 20 accounts have been opened in relation to the National Identity Card numbers of her and people closely associating the model.

The investigations were based on a complaint lodged by President of the ‘Magen Ratata’ organization Sanjaya Mahawatta under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

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

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Dharma Rashmi Homagama Poson Zone to commence today

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The Dharma Rashmi Homagama Poson Zone annually held to coincide with the Poson Poya will be held from June 21 – 23.

This year, the Poson Zone spans across 13 kilometres covering Diyagama, Pitipana, Dampe, Meegoda, Godagama, Panagoda and Homagama.

The event is jointly organized by the Homagama Sasanarakshaka Bala Mandalaya, the Presidential Secretariat, the Transport and Highways Ministry, the Western Provincial Council, the Homagama Divisional Secretariat, Homagama Pradeshiya Sabha, the Homagama Zonal Education office, the Army and the Police.

Cash prizes to the value of Rs. 4 million will be given to the winners of the Poson Lantern competition.

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