Saturday, November 25, 2017

Friday, November 24, 2017

Egypt mosque attack leaves at least 235 dead in Sinai Peninsula

Egypt mosque attack leaves at least 235 dead in Sinai Peninsula

CAIRO — At least 235 people were killed when gunmen opened fire and bombed a mosque in Egypt's volatile Sinai Peninsula on Friday. Government officials said 109 more had been injured in the attack — among the deadliest in Egypt's history.

Images from inside the building showed dozens of bodies wrapped in blood-soaked cloth lined up on the carpeted floor.

Police sources told the Associated Press that men in four off-road vehicles opened fire on worshippers in the al-Rawdah mosque in the town of Al Rawdah. NBC News could not immediately independently verify that account.

Two eyewitnesses and a security source told Reuters that the suspected militants targeted supporters of the security forces attending prayers. Citing official sources, state-run MENA reported that the mosque is largely attended by Sufi Muslims — a form of Islam considered heretical by some conservatives and extremists like the Islamic State group.
Egypt mosque attack leaves at least 235 dead in Sinai Peninsula
Around 50 ambulances were transferring victims to hospitals, according to the Ministry of Health. A statement issued by Egypt's General Prosecutor Nabil Sadiq put the death toll at 235, with at least 109 others wounded.

People sit next to bodies of worshippers killed in Friday's mosque attack. EPA

A Health Ministry official told Al Jazeera TV that “there were many people inside the mosque — it’s only a small mosque."

Gunmen shot worshippers fleeing the initial attack, he added.

There have been a wave of attacks on the country's Coptic Christian minority, but strikes on mosques are rare and Friday's onslaught shocked many throughout Egypt.

While Egypt's security forces have been battling Islamist militants in northern Sinai for years, violence picked up after the 2013 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. A new group called Ansar al-Islam claimed responsibility for a bloody October attack on Egyptian police.

Dozens were killed and injured in a bombing and gun attack targeting worshippers at this mosque. STR / EPA

The conflict has killed hundreds of soldiers and militants over the years, although journalists are banned from the area and exact numbers are unclear.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declared three days of mourning and called a meeting of security officials after the attack.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

Charlene Gubash reported from Cairo. F. Brinley Bruton reported from London
18-hour water-cut on Saturday

18-hour water-cut on Saturday

Water supply to several areas in Colombo will be disrupted for eighteen-hours tomorrow from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. on Sunday, local media reported.

The National Water Supply and Drainage Board was quoted as saying water will be disrupted in Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia, Kotte, areas surrounding the Kaduwela Municipal Council, Maharagama, Borelesgamuwa, Kolonnawa, Kotikawatta, areas surrounding the Mulleriyawa Municipal Council, Ratmalana and Zoysapura flats.

The water-cut will occur due to repairs at the Ambatale water treatment plant.
The film is titled 'Viswasam'. Ajith fans are ready to celebrate after the release

The film is titled 'Viswasam'. Ajith fans are ready to celebrate after the release

The film is produced by Sathyajyothi Films. Ajith and Siva joins for the fourth time. The film is titled 'Viswasam'. Ajith fans are ready to celebrate after the release



Pugazhendhi Enum Naan is an upcoming political film starring Arulnithi, directed by Karu Palaniappan and produced by Axess Film Factory.

The technical team comprises of D Imman for music, Aravind Singh for cinematography, San Lokesh for editing and Rajeevan for art direction.
Adam’s Bridge linking Sri Lanka and India will not be damaged

Adam’s Bridge linking Sri Lanka and India will not be damaged

India’s Union Government has taken a decision not to go ahead with the original alignment of Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project in order to protect Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge which links Sri Lanka and India, Times Now reported.

At a meeting with a few Cabinet colleagues, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided that the Indian Government should file a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court making its stand on Ram Sethu clear.

The Times of India reported on Thursday that the Shipping Ministry will soon come out with a detailed proposal that would be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA), following which the fresh affidavit would be filed in the Supreme Court.

In 2014, Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari had categorically stated that the “sacred structure associated with Lord Ram” won’t be damaged under any circumstances.

And now, the Government has decided that any alignment – whether original or alternate – that damages the Ram Sethu won’t be approved.

The Government’s decision is aimed at taking care of both its political objectives as well as environmental concerns.

The Supreme Court had earlier this month asked the Centre to make its stand clear on the canal that aims to facilitate navigation between India’s east and west coasts.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar, and Justice D Y Chandrachud had directed the Centre to state its position, after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy said that the Centre has said that Ram Sathu will not be touched.

The Sethusamudram project has been facing stiff resistance from some environmentalists and Hindu groups as alignment number 6 in the Palk Strait to facilitate navigation between India’s east and west coasts was to pass through the mythological ‘Ram Sethu’.

The alternate alignment 4A was to cut through the spit of land just east of Dhanushkodi bypassing and thus save the mythical bridge. But this alternate alignment did not find favour with the experts.

The shipping canal or Sethusamudram project was mooted by the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The BJP had opposed it, saying Ram Sethu associated with Lord Ram’s passage to Sri Lanka.
Threat of floods with heavy rain expected to hit Sri Lanka

Threat of floods with heavy rain expected to hit Sri Lanka

A change in the weather pattern will result in downpours returning to Sri Lanka and parts of southern India next week, Accuweather reported.

Largely dry weather has prevailed across the region over the past two weeks; however, a large area of showers and thunderstorms will develop over the Bay of Bengal this weekend and track westward.

The first surge of moisture will bring rain and thunderstorms to Sri Lanka and the southeastern coast of India on Sunday.

Rainfall could spread as far north as Chennai while the heaviest rain is expected across southeastern Tamil Nadu and much of Sri Lanka.

Rain will spread across most of Tamil Nadu and Kerala early next week, which will increase the threat for flash flooding.

Locations at risk for flooding include Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Daily showers and thunderstorms are also expected to continue across Sri Lanka on Monday and Tuesday.

Additional tropical moisture will stream westward across the Bay of Bengal from Wednesday into next weekend.

It is during this time that a tropical cyclone may attempt to develop across the southern Bay of Bengal between the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Sri Lanka.

Regardless of cyclone development, the tropical moisture will continue to fuel rounds of rain and thunderstorms throughout Sri Lanka and southern India from Wednesday into Friday.

Development and track of any potential tropical cyclone will then determine if heavy rainfall continues across Sri Lanka and southern India or if the threat shifts farther north.
UNP backbenchers slam Minister, demand LG polls

UNP backbenchers slam Minister, demand LG polls

United National Party (UNP) backbenchers today slammed Minister Faizer Mustapha and demanded that the Local Government (LG) elections be held on schedule.

UNP Parliamentarian Kavinda Jayawardena said that the Minister must be held responsible if the election is not held on schedule.

He told reporters today at a media briefing attended by UNP backbenchers that Faizer Mustapha must resign from his post and sit with the UNP backbenchers if he cannot ensure the election takes place.

Kavinda Jayawardena said that the UNP wants the LG election to be held and that the party was never for it being delayed.

Jayawardena said that the UNP backbenchers are also prepared to back holding the election under the old system.
Julie 2 actress Rai Laxmi criticises leak of three intimate scenes days before release

Julie 2 actress Rai Laxmi criticises leak of three intimate scenes days before release

Raai Laxmi’s next release Julie 2 is the latest victim of piracy in Bollywood. Some intimate scenes from the film have been leaked on internet. The film, presented by former censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, is said to be an erotic thriller.

Raai Laxmi has now reacted to the leak. “I am busy promoting the film and wasn’t even aware of this. I can’t believe these scenes have leaked. It’s ridiculous that someone would want to do this to the film before release,” said Raai Laxmi in a conversation with entertainment website Bollywood Life.

In an interview with IANS, Nihalani gave an idea of the film’s premise. He said, “Julie 2 is based on the life of a well-known glamorous actress of the 1990s and 2000s. The film’s makers are withholding the actress’ name to avoid legal trouble for the film.”

To which Raai Laxmi said, “I am not denying the similarities between my character and the actress. These similarities are there. I don’t know if they’re deliberate or just a coincidence.”

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Robert Mugabe resigns as president of Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe resigns as president of Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe has resigned as president of Zimbabwe with immediate effect after 37 years in power, the speaker of the country’s parliament has said.

The announcement came during a parliamentary hearing to impeach him and launches the nation into a new era as uncertain as it is hopeful.

The move caps an astonishing eight-day crisis, which started when the military took over last week in order to block the rise to power of Mugabe’s wife and her faction within the ruling Zanu-PF party then developed into a popular revolt against the ageing autocrat.

A letter submitted to parliament by the 93-year-old said his decision to resign was voluntary on his part.

Wild jubilation broke out among MPs when Jacob Mudenda, the speaker, told the parliament and cheers and celebrations spread through the streets of Harare.

Zimbabweans celebrate in Harare after the resignation of Mugabe.

Zimbabweans celebrate in Harare after the resignation of Mugabe. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Impeachment proceedings against Mugabe began earlier on Tuesday as the ruling party, Zanu-PF, attempted to remove him from office.
Thousands of Zimbabweans had turned up outside parliament to urge on MPs, chanting, dancing and waving placards in Africa Unity square.

Though some still consider the former guerrilla a hero of the liberation struggle, many more reviled Mugabe as a dictator prepared to sacrifice the economic wellbeing of 13 million people to remain in power.

By the end, few options were open to Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe through a mixture of coercion, bribery and revolutionary rhetoric. Support in some branches of the security establishment – such as the police – had evaporated.

His fall will reverberate across a continent where hundreds of millions still suffer the authoritarian excesses of rapacious, ruthless rulers, are denied justice by corrupt or incompetent officials, and struggle to hold even elected governments to account.

The way is now clear for Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice-president fired by Mugabe 13 days ago, to take power. He was appointed interim leader of the Zanu-PF at the meeting on Sunday.

The military has said it has no intention of staying in power and according to the constitution, Mnangagwa, as vice-president, should now take the place of Mugabe as head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, left, stands behind Robert Mugabe in a 2014 swearing-in ceremony. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Shortly before legislators met, Mnangagwa broke more than a week of silence to add his voice to those calling for the ageing leader to step down.

Until recently Mugabe’s vice-president and right hand man, Mnangagwa, 75, is a veteran of Zimbabwe’s liberation wars and a former spy chief who has close relations with the commanders who led the takeover.

Opposition leaders in Zimbabwe have called for the formation of an inclusive transitional government but risk being sidelined by the powerful army and Zanu-PF.

Mugabe has been under house arrest and key allies of his wife, Grace, removed from power since the military took charge last week.

The ruling Zanu-PF party, which at the weekend voted to make Mnangagwa its leader and demote Mugabe to a rank-and-file member, introduced the motion to impeach and the opposition seconded it.

Mugabe had refused to resign until the impeachment proceedings were underway.

Robert Mugabe kissing his wife Grace in April 2017. Photograph: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

The case for impeachment against Mugabe, foccused heavily on his age and the machinations of his wife for “usurping constitutional power”, leaving a man who is still respected as a hero of the liberation struggle against colonial rule as much dignity as possible.

Mnangagwa had said in a written statement released on Tuesday morning that he backed impeachment as an “ultimate expression of the will of the people outside an election.”

He had fled into exile earlier this month after being ousted from his position in government and Zanu-PF by a faction allied to Grace Mugabe. His supporters are widely believed to be behind the coup.


Who is Emmerson Mnangagwa?


Zimbabwe’s fragmented opposition will be hoping for an early commitment from any new ruler that they will be included in government and that polls will be held unless they agree otherwise.


Elections are due by August next year but it is unclear whether they will be held.

The fate of Grace Mugabe, the divisive first lady, is unclear. The 52-year-old has not been seen since the takeover but has been held with her husband under house arrest at the presidential residence in the upscale Borrowdale neighbourhood in Harare since the military took over.

Along with 20 of her close associates, Grace Mugabe was expelled from Zanu-PF on Sunday morning.

Since taking power, the military has arrested about a dozen senior officials and ministers. Several remain detained

The purge has effectively destroyed Grace Mugabe’s “G40” faction within the party, and underlines the degree to which Mugabe’s overthrow has been driven as much by competition for power within the Zanu-PF as popular anger at a dictatorial and corrupt regime.
Long queues at toilets at BIA as some were shut

Long queues at toilets at BIA as some were shut

Long queues were seen at toilets at the Banadaranaike International Airport (BIA) today as some had been shut for maintenance and renovation.

Sources at the airport said that passengers were heavily inconvenienced with the closure of some toilets.

Women and well as the elderly were among those waiting in the queue to use the toilet

Monday, November 20, 2017

PM Wickremesinghe testifies before Presidential Commission into alleged Bond Scam

PM Wickremesinghe testifies before Presidential Commission into alleged Bond Scam

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe left the commission building a short while ago. The premier arrived at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry earlier this morning as he was summoned to testify before the commission into the alleged Bond Scam.

The premier’s name was mentioned several times at the commission, while he himself defended the then- CBSL Governor Arjuna Mahendran soon after the alleged Bond Scam took place.

According to the PM’s office, given the reasons that his name was used from time to time at the commission, he was willing to testify before of the commission at any time.

Prior to this, a questionnaire was put forth to the PM by the commission, and the answers were established through an affidavit.

The PM was yet asked to appear before the commission due to a need of clarification and other testimonials.

PM Wickremesinghe was escorted by nearly 30 parliamentarians and ministers.

For more information stay tuned with us.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Mumbai Indians likely to release Malinga for IPL auction

Mumbai Indians likely to release Malinga for IPL auction

In what would have seemed an unthinkable move a few years ago, IPL side Mumbai Indians are set to release their premier fast bowler in history, Lasith Malinga, for the IPL auctions, the Indian media reported.

With the teams likely to be allowed to retain a maximum of three players, the IPL 2017 winners are unwilling to keep hold of Malinga, considering the fact that the Sri Lankan speedster has looked out of form and also faced issues regarding his fitness off late.

Mumbai Indians though will still have the option to pick the 34-year-old during the player auctions - a move the franchise is not ruling out.

"As per the rules, Every team can preserve maximum four to five players, Mumbai Indians team management is on the opinion to release the Slinga Malinga," a source, close to Mumbai Indians told Cricket Age.

"The Mumbai Indians can also buy him back, but as far as the auction is concerned, it looks like Lasith Malinga will find himself in the pool of players up for grabs" the source revealed further.

Malinga is the most successful bowler in IPL history with 154 wickets from 110 matches and played a key role in Mumbai Indians victorious campaigns in 2013 and 2015 picking up 20 and 24 wickets respectively.

However, Malinga was off-colour in the 2017 IPL campaign picking up just 11 wickets from 12 matches as well conceding runs at an expensive 8.84 runs an over.

While there is no doubt that Malinga is by far the most successful bowler in IPL history, be it with his wicket-taking abilities or his death-overs bowling, the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and New Zealand's Mitchell McClenaghan has established themselves as the Mumbai franchise's first-choice bowlers ahead of the Sri Lankan.

Malinga may be head and shoulders above the rest with his enviable IPL record, but there is no denying that the Sri Lankan speedster has lost the pace and the ability to bowl yorkers consistently that had made him one of the toughest bowlers to face in the T20 format.

Age has caught up with the right-arm pacer and an unwillingness to look after his body has played a part in his downfall as a bowler while also leading to many run-ins with the Sri Lankan cricket administration.

It is hardly a surprise that Mumbai Indians has decided to let go off Malinga though they still have the option to pick him up at the auctions at a considerably lower price.
BBS’s Gnanasara Thera plays peacemaker in Gintota

BBS’s Gnanasara Thera plays peacemaker in Gintota

The General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), the Venerable Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera today attempted to play the role of peacemaker by calling for calm in Gintota, Galle.

Gnanasara Thera told the Colombo Gazette he visited Gintota following the violence between two communities and sought to mediate and bring the situation to a peaceful end.

He said that some groups were falsely accusing the Bodu Bala Sena of being involved in the violence.

Meanwhile, issuing a statement, the Bodu Bala Sena Organisation said its General Secretary Venerable Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera did not make any statement regarding the communal clashes that occurred in Gintota, Galle and reports circulating through social media to that effect were false.

Venerable Gnanasara Thera was in Galle today to look into the present situation, especially regarding the casualties and property damages and to establish peace in the area.

“We have received reports that unnecessary issues had been created in the area due to the involvement of political leaders and police in the conflict settlement process,” the BBS said.

A discussion also took place between politicians and community and religious leaders in the area today in order to resolve the situation.

The Police imposed a curfew from 6pm this evening to 6am tomorrow in Gintota and adjoining areas to prevent further violence.

Several houses, shops and vehicles had been damaged in the violence last night which began following a road accident.

A curfew had been imposed last night as well and was lifted this morning.
UAE and Sri Lanka agree to resolve domestic worker issues

UAE and Sri Lanka agree to resolve domestic worker issues

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), arrived in Sri Lanka today as a part of his Asian Tour. Minister Nahyan was received by State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake at the Bandaranaike International Airport.

During his visit, Minister Al Nahyan paid Courtesy calls on President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and had bilateral discussions with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tilak Marapana.

Matters related to political affairs, trade and investment opportunities between Sri Lanka and the UAE were discussed during the bilateral meeting.

Ministers agreed on several initiatives to strengthen cultural cooperation and employment prospects for Sri Lankan workers in the UAE, which will further expand the relations between the two countries.

Sri Lanka invited UAE investors to invest in Sri Lanka, especially in infrastructure projects which will support Sri Lanka’s endeavors to emerge as a maritime hub in the Indian Ocean.

The two Ministers decided to hold the second round of Sri Lanka-UAE Joint Commission next year in Colombo, which will be a platform to resolve several issues related to Sri Lankan domestic workers in the UAE, and discussed areas of economic cooperation including enhanced market access to value added Sri Lankan products in the UAE. Minister Marapana confirmed that Sri Lanka would also participate at EXPO 2020 in Dubai from 20 Oct 2020 to 10 April 2021.

The Ministers concluded a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Establishment of a Joint Committee for Consular Affairs, and an Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance on Customs Matters.

The UAE delegation headed by Minister Al Nahyan, included UAE Ambassador to Sri Lanka Abdulhamid Al Mulla, Deputy Chief of Staff Maktoum Al Maktoum, Head of Media and Content Jamal Al Suwaidi of the office of the Foreign Minister, Desk Officer of the West Asia Department of the Foreign Ministry and Third Secretary Maryam Azizi.

Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana was accompanied by State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake, senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Employment, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, Department of Commerce and the Department of Customs.