Bodhi, key backstage organiser of UNP, passes away

One time Chairman of Ceylon Hotels Corporation Bodhi Ranasinghe passed away suddenly this week. Mr Ranasinghe was a key backstage organizer of the United National Party. (UNP).

A graduate of the Ceylon Hotels School he w as a director of several companies in the hospitality trade until he was appointed Chairman of Ceylon hotels Corporation n 2001.

In his brief stint as Chairman (until 2004) he is credited with upgrading several of the Corporation's rest houses around the country. He was actively in opposition politics at the time of his untimely death.

His body was donated to the Medical Faculty of the Sri Jayawardenepura University according to his wishes.

Elections to over 60 councils postponed

Local government elections for 64 councils have been postponed as election petitions have been filed challenging the rejection of nomination papers. New dates for the elections will be announced after the petitions are heard.

The Councils for which elections have been postponed include 19 Councils in the Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts.

Special anti-riot guards for prisons

A Prisons Police unit, specially trained to prevent or contain riots, will soon be in place at the Welikada prisons. The newly created unit comprises prison guards who will have their own uniform, according to Commissioner General Prisons, Major General (retd.) V. R. de Silva.

“The team will be responsible for maintaining discipline, conducting investigations, and checking for banned items smuggled into prisons,” Major General de Silva told the Sunday Times. The team will also be alert for drug trafficking. “The special prisons police unit will take up duties at Welikada prison, and similar teams will be deployed at other prisons,” he added.

Meanwhile, there are plans to relocate prisons away from main towns. A prisons complex in Mahara will replace the Welikada prisons in Colombo, while inmates at the Bogambara prisons in Kandy will be moved to Pallakelle. The Galle and Matara prisons will be closed and a new prison complex will be set up in Weligama, while the Tangalle prisons will be shifted to Ranna, in the Southern province. In Jaffna, land close to the Jaffna Fort has been allocated for a prison.

Forest fire at Pidurutalagala

By Shelton Hettiarachchi

A fire caused by the extensive heat now prevalent in the Nuwara Eliya district destroyed a five-acre patch of forest in the Piduruthlagala forest reserve.

On information that a sudden conflagration had occurred in the reserve, District Secretary D.P.G. Kumarasiri, sent in a team of military personnel, a posse of policemen, the fire brigade and brought the fire under control.

l. Lalith Amunugama of the SLA and the Mayor of N’Eliya were also involved in planning the operation.

Arrested for possession of wildlife artefacts

The caretaker of a holiday bungalow in Nuwara Eliya who was produced before the Nuwara Eliya Magistrate Saman Kariyawasam for having in his possession artefacts of animals which are protected by law, was ordered to be released after the payment of a fine of Rs. 50,000 and and personal bail.

Among the items taken into custody by wildlife authorities were the artifacts of a head and horns of a deer which the accused is said to have found on the Horton Plains way back in 1927.

The items were ordered to be handed over to the Director of Museums and a report submitted.
The case will again be called on 28th of April. Plaint was filed by the Wild Life Department .

Tickets at a price despite cops in civvies

The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) yesterday deployed policemen in civvies around the R. Premadasa cricket stadium to detect persons selling tickets for the Pakistan-Sri Lanka cricket match, but the sale of tickets at exorbitant rates continued unabated.

The deployment of police came after the arrest of a volunteer of Sri Lanka Cricket selling tickets at exorbitant rates. He was arrested selling the Rs 50 ticket for Rs 1,350.

However, residents in Maligawatta said that Rs 50 tickets were being illicitly sold for over Rs 1,000.
A senior officer of the CCD said that they had recorded a statement from the volunteer, but there was no immediate involvement of the Cricket Board.

Meanwhile, high security was maintained yesterday with the deployment of the army, police and STF around the grounds and in the vicinity, while strict security checks were being maintained in and around the grounds, with no persons allowed to stay on for long periods and police allowing only those with tickets to come to the venue.

Rare dolphin falls victim to blast fishing

The bleeding carcass of a rare Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin has washed ashore on the beach at Kalpitiya, on the west coast. Experts suspect the eight-and-a-half foot mammal was killed by dynamiting in the Puttalam lagoon. Blast fishing is a common practice among local fishermen.

Dead Dolphin

The carcass, found on 13 February, was bleeding profusely at the mouth and eyes, a sure indication the animal was a victim of dynamiting.

According to the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA), this particular dolphin was identified in August 2004 by a scientist working for NARA. The dolphin was identified by a scar just behind the dorsal fin.

The Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin is one of the world’s critically endangered marine mammal species.

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