May 24, 2019
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    A Sri Lankan man, believed to have connections with those involved in the Easter bombings that killed at least 250 people, was arrested in Myanmar on Thursday afternoon.Abdul Salam Irshad Mohmood, 39, was detained by police when he appeared at an immigration office in downtown Yangon to renew his visa.

    The arrest came after Myanmar Tourist Police’s request on Wednesday to the country’s Hotel and Tourism Department to report if the man had registered at hotels or guesthouses in the country. In Myanmar, hotels and guesthouses are operated on a license approved by the department.

    According to a letter sent out by the department to hotels and guesthouses, the suspect, a Sri Lankan citizen, arrived in Yangon on a tourist visa in January 2018. The letter also provides his passport number as well as his date of birth.

    An official from the Tourism Police said the arrest was made at 3:20 p.m. by police acting on the shared information of the suspect’s data. “Now he has been referred to the police’s Special Branch [for further investigation into his connections with the suicide bombings],” he added.

    The Tourist Police said Abdul Salam Irshad Mohmood has over-stayed (his tourist visa) for one year and two months.It is not clear whether Sri Lankan authorities tipped off the Myanmar government with the information that the suspect is in Myanmar.

    (ucanews.com) One of the Vatican's top officials has made an unheralded visit to Sri Lanka to show solidarity with Catholics still reeling from the Easter suicide bombings that claimed over 250 lives and injured more than 400.Cardinal Fernando Filoni, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, said during his three-day trip on May 22 that it was time to focus on rebuilding the nation.The cardinal condemned the April 21 bombings on a handful of luxury hotels and churches in the capital Colombo and Negombo by local extremists affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group as an attack on the nation as a whole, rather than being directed at Christians alone.

    Foreign Minister Tilak Marapone had notified the US that it would not be possible to implement the provision to exempt US forces from criminal jurisdiction in Sri Lanka. Public Enterprise, Kandyan Heritage and Kandy Development Minister and Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella responding to JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake, noted that Foreign Minister Tilak Marapone had discussed with the US about the clause in the agreement which gives US forces exemption from criminal jurisdiction of the host country.

    “The third US partnership Dialogue held on May 16, 2019 in Washington was co-chaired by the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister and the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Dale. During the meeting Minister Marapone had notified the US delegation that Sri Lanka would find it difficult to grant exemption to US forces from criminal jurisdiction to US forces. He also stated that it would be difficult to implement the 1995 SOFA agreement through an exchange of notes. (CN,SM and AM)

    So thereby, we have notified them that if the US soldiers commit a crime while on Sri Lankan soil, they will be liable to come under Sri Lankan criminal jurisdiction. If they commit a crime here, they will have to be dealt with according to local laws.” He said that the Acquisition and Cross Services Agreement (ACSA) was signed in 2007 during the period Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was the Defence Secretary. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) was signed during President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge’s tenure in 1994.

    “This is the background of these agreements and these are not what we initiated,” he added. Responding to parliamentary questions he said, “Please note that we have no records to prove that any agreements or Memorandum of Understanding have been signed by Sri Lanka with any country which infringes on the sovereignty or security or interfering with the internal affairs of the country, either before or after April 21.”

    The government of Sri Lanka signed the initial ACSA agreement with the USA in 2007 and the signatories to this agreement were the Ambassador to the US, Robert O. Blake and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Kiriella said. “Mahinda Rajapaksa said that two American citizens had signed the agreement.The validity of the agreement was for ten years and was due to expire in March 2017. A new draft was proposed from the US side in July 2016 and in general the contents are similar.

    Heads of all schools were yesterday informed by the Education Ministry to abide by the Gazette notification issued under the emergency regulations which prohibited dress and helmets preventing the identification of persons.

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