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X-Press Pearl litigation process: Probe on bribing local official

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Instructions have been given to launch an investigation into an incident of a local official being bribed in order to disrupt the litigation process to seek compensation from the insurers of the MV X-Press Pearl vessel, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said.

The X-Press Pearl vessel, which left the Hazira Port in India on May 20, 2021, caught fire near the Colombo Port on May 20.

There were 1,486 containers of nitric acid and other chemicals on board and many of them caught fire while many other containers sank.

It caused enormous damage to the coastal areas and ecosystems near Negombo.

Many parties questioned the government as to why the lawsuit has not yet been filed even though there is a possibility of obtaining a compensation of USD 6.2 billion from the shipping company.

According to experts, only 32 days are left to file a lawsuit.

Experts also questioned why the authorities decided to file a lawsuit in Singapore when they could have gained more advantage by starting the legal process in Sri Lanka.

Minister Rajapakshe said that he had received information that the insurance company of the ship had given a bribe of USD 250 million to an official in Sri Lanka to disrupt the process of seeking compensation from the insurers.

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Upcountry train services disrupted

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Train services along the upcountry railway line were disrupted due to a rock slip on the railway line between Haliela and Uduwara Railway Stations this morning (01), the Railways Department said.

Passengers said that while the Udarata Menike train was travelling from Badulla to Colombo at 5.45 this morning, the driver saw the collapsed earth mound and immediately stopped the train preventing a major accident.

The Railways Department said that the restoration of the railway line is currently being done.

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Annamale complains to IGP against Kassapa Thera!

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Social activist Kandasamy Annamale Sujith Priyantha alias Sujith Annamale has lodged a complaint to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) yesterday (31) saying that he and his family members have received death threats due to a statement made by Balangoda Kassapa Thera.

The complaint made by Annamale said;

“In a press conference held today (31/05/2023), Balangoda Kassapa Thera said, “Who helped from within the Aragalaya? Sujith Annamale… Sujith Annamale is the one who helped. Therefore, the CID should arrest them as soon as possible and produce them in court. If not, all the Buddhist monks behind me will take it to the street. We will not allow the Buddhist culture of this country to be destroyed.”

Annamale said that due to this statement, the life and property of his family members could be at risk.

“Therefore, please look into it and conduct a proper investigation as soon as possible and ensure the safety of my life and my property,” he said.

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Smoking kills 55 a day in SL

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According to the Alcohol & Drug Information Centre (ADIC), 55 deaths occur daily in Sri Lanka due to smoking.

The Centre said that 20,000 premature deaths also occur due to the use of cigarettes per year.

Sri Lankans spend Rs.400 million rupees on cigarettes daily.

A survey conducted by the ADIC said that the majority of smokers in Sri Lanka are people from low-income families.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wathsala Gunasinghe, an expert in respiratory diseases, said that more children and youth are addicted to e-cigarettes causing many health complications.

She said this at a news briefing held at the Health Promotion Bureau in view of World No-Tobacco Day yesterday (31).

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