Three in the same family drown in Chilaw

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Three members of the same family have died after drowning in Thuruvila Wewa in Chilaw police division today (25) at around 11.30a.m.

Deceased were identified as a father, his son and another relative who resided in Veyangoda.

Their remains are placed at the morgue of Chilaw Hospital.

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Half-eaten chapati helps Indian Police crack robbery

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A voracious eater stopping only at half a chapati was the clue that helped police solve a Rs 23-lakh robbery case that took place earlier this month.

On Monday morning, officers of the Bengaluru east division announced the arrest of five men, who robbed Rs 23 lakh from a merchant from Kerala, Haneef, during his visit to Bengaluru to purchase bulk cigarettes.

The case was solved when the prime suspect, Mohan, came under police radar. The man, known for his appetite, showed his nerves by eating just half a chapati. A few grilling sessions later, Mohan was singing, leading to his and his four accomplices' arrest. For over six months, Haneef and his colleagues used to visit the city on business. The bulk orders of cigarettes used to cost around Rs 25lakh based on the quantity.

"They used to carry the cash, keeping it under the seat of the pickup truck they used to commute from Kerala. They would come early and wait outside Vijay Agency , from where they purchased the goods," said N Sateesh Kumar, DCP , east.

On November 11, Haneef and an associate were waiting outside the agency around 7am. Suddenly , a group of men attacked them and fled with the money kept under the seats. "During investigation, one of our inspectors felt suspicious about Mohan, the middleman who introduced these merchants to this agency," Sateesh said.

To confirm their doubt, the merchants were asked to go out with Mohan for lunch. "The man who used to eat a lot, ate only half a chapati that day and he was sweating throughout. This was the lead.Mohan was picked up and during interrogation, confessed," Sateesh added. Later his associates Chandrashekar, Anil Kumar, Naveen and a minor were held.

(The Times of India)

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Five treasure hunters arrested in Polpithigma

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Police have arrested five treasure hunters who were carrying out excavations in Kahalla Forest Reserve in Polpithigama police division, yesterday (24). Equipments used for excavations were also taken into police custody.

The suspects are residents of Ilukpallama, Galkiriyagama and Nagampaha; aged between 28 and 46 years. They will be produced before Mahawa Magistrate today (25).

Polpithigama Police is carrying out further inquiries into the incident.

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Ritu released on bail

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Kaduwela Magistrate released popular actress Ritu Aakarsha on a personal bail worth Rs one lakh yesterday (24).

Aakarsha was arrested for causing damage to several traffic cones on the road to Parliament in the early hours of 23 November. She has alleged that she lost control of her vehicle which has veered off course.

She was taken into police custody after being summoned to Talangama Police Station in the evening of the same day.

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A deathly seat

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A man who was sitting on railroad tracks died after being struck by a train in Rambukka police division last evening (24), Police Media Unit told Ceylon Today Online.

The victim was identified as a 56-year-old resident of Yatagama.

His remains are placed at the morgue of Rambukkana Hospital. Post mortem examination will be held today (25).

Rambukkana Police is carrying out further investigations into the incident.

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A deathly choice of seat

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A man who was sitting on railroad tracks died after being struck by a train in Rambukka police division last evening (24), Police Media Unit told Ceylon Today Online.

The victim was identified as a 56-year-old resident of Yatagama.

His remains are placed at the morgue of Rambukkana Hospital. Post mortem examination will be held today (25).

Rambukkana Police is carrying out further investigations into the incident.

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Man arrested with ganja in Maha Oya

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Police have arrested an individual who allegedly transported ganja in a lorry, in Maha Oya police division yesterday (24) at around 6.20p.m. One kg of ganja was found in the suspect's possession. The lorry was also taken into police custody, Police Media Unit said.

The suspect is a 51-year-old resident of Siyambalanduwa.

He is to be produced before Dehiattakandiya Magistrate today (25). Maha Oya Police is conducting further investigations into the incident.

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President orders tax increase on imported beer

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President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to increase the tax imposed on beer with less than 5% alcohol content, which was reduced in the budget proposal. Read the Full Article

Sending ex-LTTE suspects for rehab and release may face legal issues?

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The Sri Lankan government's plan to send for rehabilitation and eventual release 217 Tamils detained for alleged links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has run into legal difficulties. MORE... Read the Full Article

President appoints Board of Directors for Special Precedential Projects

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President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday (25) appointed Board of Directors for Special Presidential Projects, the President Media Unit said. MORE... Read the Full Article

Strict enforcement of carriageways law from tomorrow

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Road regulations applicable to carriageways will be strictly implemented from tomorrow (26) in Colombo, the police said. MORE... Read the Full Article

Station Masters, Controllers call off strike

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UPDATE- Railway station masters and Controllers have called off their strike after a discussion with the railway authorities, a short while ago. MORE... Read the Full Article

Heated debate over Budget 2016 continues

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Opposition Lawmaker Selvam Adaikkalanathan moved the third day of the Appropriation Bill 2016 - .. Read the Full Article

MH370 hunt moves to where pilot believes it crashed

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Officials say the hunt for a missing Malaysian airliner has shifted to a remote part of the Indian Ocean where a British pilot believes the Boeing 777 made a controlled ditching last year with 239 people on board.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is co-ordinating the search on Malaysia's behalf, said that the patch of ocean south-west of Australia that Captain Simon Hardy has determined is the most likely resting place of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 will be searched through December.

Australian authorities, however, said they were not being guided by Mr Hardy's analysis, which has been widely published in recent months.

Martin Dolan, the bureau's chief commissioner, said the search was moving farther south because the southern hemisphere spring makes the extreme conditions in the southern ocean calmer.

"We're aware that we're in the area that Captain Hardy specifies, but we're in that area because it was next in our search sequence, and we've been moving progressively south because the weather is improving," Mr Dolan said.

Mr Hardy used mathematical analysis and a flight simulator to plot the course he believed the airliner took when it vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing on March 8, 2014 in one of aviation's most baffling mysteries.

"I am fairly confident that the wreckage will be found within the next four to eight weeks," Mr Hardy told The Australian newspaper.

Experts directing the search have discussed Mr Hardy's theory with him.

"There are many theories from members of the public and various independent experts and all are considered," the bureau said in its statement, which described Mr Hardy's analysis as credible.

But searchers do not accept a key aspect of Mr Hardy's conclusion: that whoever was flying the plane made a controlled landing at sea, which allowed it to sink largely intact.

The only confirmed wreckage of Flight MH370 to be recovered was a wing flap found on a remote Indian Ocean island in July.

Mr Dolan said authorities still believe that the final satellite transmission from one of the jet's engines indicated that it was out of fuel, meaning the plane would have plummeted into the ocean out of control and disintegrated.

Australia and Malaysia have split the cost of the search of the vast expanse of seabed that began in October last year based on satellite analysis of the jet's flight for more than six hours after it went off course. The search, taking place more than 1,800 kilometres off the Australian coast, has so far covered 70,000 square kilometres.

Chinese premier Li Keqiang pledged additional millions over the weekend to fund the continuing search. China lost 153 citizens in the disaster.


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Two magnitude-7.6 earthquakes strike eastern Peru

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Two powerful 7.6-magnitude earthquakes struck near the Peru-Brazil border region within five minutes, foreign media reported today. MORE... Read the Full Article

EPF, ETF will be merged, so its easy to manage- Ravi

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The Government decided to merge the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and the Employees' Trust Fund (ETF) so it is easy to manage them in the future, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake says. MORE... Read the Full Article

No foreign naval bases on SL soil- PM

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that Lanka will not allow other countries to set up naval bases in its territory. MORE... Read the Full Article

U.S. lauds Sri Lanka government on post-war Tamil reconciliation

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The United States has praised Sri Lanka's new government for speeding up efforts towards reconciliation with ethnic minority Tamils after a separatist civil war which lasted nearly three decades and killed tens of thousands of people. Read the Full Article

318 people relocated due to a land slide

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Three hundred and eighteen people attached to 74 families have relocated due to a land slide occured at Warwick Estate in Welimada. The residents are currently staying at Warwick Estate Hospital.


(Premalal Rathnayake)

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Turkey ‘downs Russian warplane on Syria border’

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The Turkish military have reportedly shot down a Russian military aircraft on the border with Syria.

Russia's defence ministry said an Su-24 had crashed on Syrian territory after being hit by fire from the ground, and that its pilots had managed to eject.

But Turkish military officials said Turkish F-16s had shot down the plane after repeatedly warning its pilots they were violating Turkish airspace.

Video footage showed the plane crashing into mountains in Latakia province.

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Galle Dialogue 2015 commences in the port city of Galle

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Galle Dialogue 2015 commences in the port city of Galle Read the Full Article

Indian Marine Police lodge case against SL Navy

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The Marine Police of the Coastal Security Group (CSG) have registered a case against the Sri Lankan navy for allegedly attacking fishermen from Rameswaram on November 21, when they were fishing on the high seas, north off Rameswaram fishing jetty.

A complaint was filed by Rameswaram fisherman A. Varghis, who suffered head injury in the incident. The Sri Lankan navy allegedly attacked the fishermen with iron balls, stones and bottles.

Mandapam Marine police registered a case against the Sri Lankan navy under Sections 427 (causing damage) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons) on Monday.

Varghis, who had been in fishing for more than three decades, said in his complaint that they were fishing 25 nautical miles north off, Rameswaram fishing jetty on Saturday night, when the Lankan navy attacked them, hurling iron balls and bottles and caused damage to fishing nets.

Sceptical about the case, U. Arulanandham, president, Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), said that by registering the case, the police had recorded the attack incident. Many such attack incidents went unnoticed as the fishermen failed to lodge complaints, he said.

Registration of the case in the present attack incident might not help bring the Lankan naval personnel to face trial in an Indian court but would help record the incident and secure compensation to the affected fishermen, he added.

(The Hindu)

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Gas prices reduced from today

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Executive Chairman of Litro Gas Lanka, Shalila Munasinghe said that according to provisions of the Budget 2016 gas prices have been reduced with effect from today (24).

A 12.5 kg gas cylinder will be priced at Rs 1346.00 within Colombo. Meanwhile, the prices of 5 kg and 2.5 kg cylinders will be Rs 572.00 and Rs 273.00 respectively.


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US issues worldwide travel alert over terror threats

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The US has issued a worldwide travel alert for its citizens in response to "increased terrorist threats".

The state department said "current information" suggested the Islamic State [IS] group, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and others continued "to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions".

The alert, it said, will remain in place until 24 February 2016.

France, Russia, Mali and several other countries have seen deadly attacks in the past month.

A US state department representative told BBC News there was "currently... no reason to believe that US citizens would be specifically targeted".

Meanwhile Belgium announced the capital Brussels would stay at the highest level of alert for another week over fears of militant attacks like those that killed 130 people in Paris on 13 November.

In other developments

An apparent explosives belt was found in a bin in the Paris suburb of Montrouge, which a fugitive suspect is believed to have passed through on the night of the Paris attacks

France carried out its first air strikes against IS from its Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, newly deployed in the eastern Mediterranean, reportedly hitting targets in Iraq and Syria, including the IS stronghold of Raqqa

The travel alert advises US citizens to "exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation".

They are also advised to "be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places".

"Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da'esh [IS] return from Syria and Iraq," the state department said.

A US worldwide travel alert is unusual but not rare.

Similar advice, which applies everywhere bar the US itself, was issued twice in 2011 - following the death of Osama Bin Laden and on the tenth anniversary of the 11 September attacks. There was a further warning in August 2013.

The most recent worldwide alert came last Christmas in response to an attack in Sydney, Australia, flagging the risk of "lone wolf" attacks, a warning repeated this time using the less colourful phrase "unaffiliated persons".

Such broad warnings have been criticised in the past, both for being so vague as to be of little practical use and for doing the terrorists' job for them by creating a climate of fear in which governments may introduce repressive policies.

But with millions of Americans travelling this week to celebrate Thursday's Thanksgiving holiday, US officials insist the action is a sensible reminder of the global terrorist threat.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel warned that the threat to his country remained "imminent and serious".

But he also said authorities were planning to reopen schools and the Brussels metro on Wednesday.

IS is believed to be behind the 13 November Paris attacks.

Co-ordinated assaults using guns and suicide vests were launched on several locations in the French capital.

Belgian prosecutors announced on Monday that a fourth suspect had been charged with terrorism offences related to the Paris attacks.

The unnamed man was one of 21 people detained in raids on Sunday and Monday. Seventeen have been released without charge.


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Engine drivers call off strike

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Train engine drivers have called off their strike a short while ago. The strike was launched following the assault incident that took place at Ragama yesterday (23).

Over 18 trains were disrupted due to the strike this morning.

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