Top UN envoy to Iraq holds talks with senior officials in neighbouring

Staffan de Mistura, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, is scheduled to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, according to a UN spokesperson.Mr. de Mistura is also slated to hold talks with Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Majlis (or national Parliament), and with Saeed Jalili, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council.The consultations in Tehran today are taking part in the context of the regional mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). 9 September 2008The top United Nations representative in Iraq is visiting Tehran today for consultations with senior officials in the Iranian Government as part of his efforts to promote regional dialogue.

Top UN envoy speaks out against killings of prominent Somalis

Abdullahi Abdi Egaal, a member of the National Reconciliation Commission, and Hassan Mayow Hassan of Radio Shabelle were killed in separate incidents yesterday, while Deputy Minister for Reconciliation Ismail Hassan Timir was shot down on 27 December.“This is a brazen disregard for international law and should no longer be tolerated by the Somali people,” said Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, said, voicing sadness at learning of the “deliberate killings” of the three men who were promoting reconciliation in their nation.“The perpetrators should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “They should not be allowed to continue to perpetuate the lawlessness of the country.”In a press released issued in Nairobi, Mr. Ould-Abdallah offered his condolences to the families of those killed, as well as to the families of those still being held hostage.Meanwhile, the UN reported that recent heavy fighting in central Somalia has claimed at least 40 lives and uprooted over 50,000 people.Humanitarian agencies met today in Nairobi to discuss a coordinated response, but the deteriorating security situation is impeding aid efforts.The capital Mogadishu has witnessed a rise in security incidents, with nearly 20 people killed in different locations – including 7 civilian deaths caused by a shell slamming into a crowded restaurant – on 30 December alone.This week also saw three attacks against humanitarian workers, including hand grenades thrown into the Mogadishu compound of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).Armed groups forcibly entered the World Food Programme (WFP) premises in the town of Marka, south of Mogadishu. 2 January 2009Denouncing the recent killings of several prominent Somalis, the top United Nations envoy to Somalia today called for an end to impunity and “lawlessness” in the strife-torn Horn of Africa nation. read more

Humanitarian perfect storm brewing in southern Sudan warns UN official

A “humanitarian perfect storm” is how Lise Grande, the UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in the region, described it during a news conference in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. “Southern Sudan is facing an almost unmanageable set of problems,” she said. “A lot of good work is being done… despite this, we just can’t keep up.” Southern Sudan was the scene of one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest civil wars, in which at least 2 million people were killed, until the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that the recent flare-up of inter-tribal fighting is jeopardizing the stability of the entire country and putting at risk key milestones of the CPA. According to Ms. Grande, inter-tribal conflicts are increasing in number and intensity. Since January, over 2,000 people have died in inter-tribal violence and more than 250,000 people have been displaced across southern Sudan, she noted. The region also faces an acute food shortage brought about by a combination of delayed seasonal rains, widespread insecurity and high food prices. In addition, the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) is tackling a “massive” budget gap owing to the global financial crisis and the drop in oil prices. “Probably no other Government in the region has suffered as much from the global meltdown as southern Sudan, which has lost a staggering 40 per cent of the revenues it expected,” said Ms. Grande. “As a result many of the plans that the GoSS had made with the international partners, the UN agencies and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] have had to be shelved.” The situation has left 1.2 million people dependent on food assistance from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and is made worse by a lack of funding for humanitarian work, she added. Ms. Grande stated that $85 million is the bare minimum needed just to keep people alive in southern Sudan, where more than 90 per cent of the population lives on less than $1 per day, 97 per cent has no access to sanitation, and one out of seven women who become pregnant will probably die of pregnancy-related complications. While there are many constraints in southern Sudan, she said two of the most difficult are access and capacity. Presently, there is less than 200 kilometres of paved road in the whole region. “At the best of times, we have access to only 40 per cent of the areas we need to get to. During the rainy season, we lose even this,” she stated. “In terms of capacity, the point is that there isn’t enough,” she said, whether it is on the part of the Government, UN agencies or NGOs. “The GoSS is making Herculean efforts, the NGOs are doing fantastic work, the UN agencies are operating around the clock, but all of us are stretched to the limit – we don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough staff and because of these constraints we are not moving out of the emergency fast enough.” 12 August 2009Spiralling inter-tribal conflict, a massive food shortage and a budget crisis have converged to create a humanitarian emergency in southern Sudan, putting at least 40 per cent of the local population at risk, a senior United Nations official warned today. read more

UN reports decline in number of migrants from Horn of Africa to

9 April 2010The number of people making the dangerous boat trip from the Horn of Africa into Yemen has declined by almost half since the beginning of this year, the United Nations refugee agency reported today, saying violence within Somalia could be preventing many would-be migrants from reaching their port of departure. An estimated 9,400 people from across the Horn of Africa have reached the shores of Yemen since the beginning of this year, compared to nearly 17,000 between January and March 2009, Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.“The largest drop is registered in the number of the new Somali arrivals. Some 3,200 Somali refugees arrived in Yemen this year, which is approximately a third of their number during the first quarter of 2009,” she said.Currently, Somali refugees represent every third new arrival to Yemen. During the same period of 2009, refugees from Somalia were the overwhelming majority, making up more than half of all of the new arrivals by sea to Yemen, which hosts more than 170,000 Somali refugees.Somali refugees arriving in Yemen recently claim that those fleeing violence in the country face increasing difficulties in trying to reach the port town of Bossaso in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland in north-eastern Somalia, from where smugglers transport them across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, often in crowded boats that are not seaworthy.The refugees cite general insecurity as the main reason deterring their efforts to reach Bossaso, Ms. Fleming said. They also note that an increasing number of people have no means to pay for the trip to Puntland.Authorities in Yemen have also stepped up efforts to deter the human trafficking from Bossaso, according to refugee accounts.UNHCR teams in northern Somalia continue to assist those displaced population and are engaged in intensive information campaigns that warn those contemplating the risky passage to Yemen of the dangers involved.The civilian population in war-scarred Somalia continues to endure one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. There are an estimated 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia while nearly 570,000 others live as refugees in neighbouring countries. read more

Role of UN advocacy group vital to achieving antipoverty targets Ban says

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today underscored the vital role played by the group of current and former political leaders, businesspeople and thinkers he set up last month to spur action on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), stating that the time has come to turn commitments into action.“Around the world, people support the goals and the values embedded in the MDGs,” he said at the first meeting of the MDG Advocacy Group in Madrid, Spain. But, he added, more must be done to educate and inform about the Goals, which include targets for slashing poverty, boosting school enrolment rates, improving maternal health and increasing access to clean water and decent sanitation – all by 2015.That is where the MDG Advocacy Group comes in, he told the gathering. “This Group will identify strategic opportunities. You will help build awareness. You will help translate the rhetoric of good intentions into results – real results for real people.“That is why we are here – to build a global network, a movement, a team, to score the goals and triumph – like Spain – in our great common challenge,” the Secretary-General said, referring to Spain’s recent victory at the 2010 World Cup.Co-chaired by Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the Advocacy Group includes well-known figures such as Nobel Peace Prize laureates Muhammad Yunus and Wangari Maathai, as well as former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Gates.Today’s meeting comes ahead of the high-level MDG Summit that will take place at UN Headquarters in New York in September, which is expected to result in concrete national action plans for realizing the Goals.“Your role will be critical,” Mr. Ban told the advocates. “We need you to help mobilize and galvanize. We need you to help make the Summit a turning point…Help us adopt the strongest possible action plan for the next five years. Help us score the goals by 2015.“Now is the time for you to act.” While in the Spanish capital, the Secretary-General also met separately with Mr. Zapatero and Mr. Kagame.In addition to discussing the work of the MDG Advocacy Group and its first meeting, Mr. Ban and Mr. Kagame talked about recent developments in Rwanda. “The Secretary-General also noted the upcoming elections in Rwanda and expressed concern about recent incidents causing political tensions,” UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters. Mr. Ban encouraged Rwandan authorities to take immediate action, including a thorough investigation into the latest incident in which an opposition leader was found murdered, and to bring the perpetrators to justice, added Mr. Haq. 16 July 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today underscored the vital role played by the group of current and former political leaders, businesspeople and thinkers he set up last month to spur action on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), stating that the time has come to turn commitments into action. read more

Global youth unemployment rate at alltime high UN labour agency reports

11 August 2010The global youth unemployment rate is at a record high and is expected to climb even higher as the year progresses, the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) announced today. The global youth unemployment rate is at a record high and is expected to climb even higher as the year progresses, the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) announced today.According to a new report, of the world’s 620 million economically active youth between the ages of 15 and 24, 81 million were out of work at the end of 2009, the highest number ever.The youth unemployment rate climbed from 11.9 per cent in 2007 to 13 per cent in 2009.Such trends, the report noted, will have “significant consequences for young people as upcoming cohorts of new entrants join the ranks of the already unemployed.”ILO warned of a possible ‘lost generation’ of young people dropping out of the labour market, “having lost all hope of being able to work for a decent living.”The agency forecasts that the youth unemployment will reach 13.1 per cent this year before declining to 12.7 per cent, cautioning that youth unemployment rates have been more sensitive to the global economic downturn than those of adults.Further, it said, the recovery of the job market for young men and women will probably lag behind that of adults.In developing economies, home to 90 per cent of the world’s young people, youth are more vulnerable to unemployment and poverty. In 2008, nearly 30 per cent of all of the world’s young workers were employed but remained mired in extreme poverty in households surviving on less than $1.25 per day.“In developing economies, crisis pervades the daily life of the poor,” said ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. “The effects of the economic and financial crisis threaten to exacerbate the pre-existing decent work deficits among youth,” he added. “The result is that the number of young people stuck in working poverty grows and the cycle of working poverty persists through at least another generation.”The new report found that unemployment, underemployment and discouragement can have a negative impact on young people in the long-term, compromising their future work prospects.The cost of idleness among youth, it said, is that societies lost their investment in the education of young people, while governments receive fewer contributions to social security systems and must boost spending on remedial services.“Young people are the drivers of economic development,” Mr. Somavia stressed. “Forgoing this potential is an economic waste and can undermine social stability.”The current recession, he said, provides an opportunity to reconsider how to tackle the serious obstacles young people face when they enter the labour market. “It is important to focus on comprehensive and integrated strategies that combine education and training policies with targeted employment policies for youth.”The report was launched to coincide with the start of the UN International Year of Youth, under the theme “Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.” The Year seeks to further the ideals of peace, respect for human rights and solidarity across generations, cultures, religions and civilizations. read more

UN partners with oil firm to promote access to sustainable energy in

11 February 2011The United Nations agency tasked with promoting industrial development and a major oil and gas company today agreed to will work together to explore the feasibility of common projects to promote access to sustainable energy in developing countries. “We agreed today to closely cooperate and consult one another on matters and geographical areas of mutual interest in order to achieve common objectives,” said Kandeh Yumkella, the Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on the signing of the agreement with Sjur Haugen, the Project Manager for Renewable Energy for Statoil.“These objectives include creating sustainable energy access and industry in developing countries based primarily on local biomass and natural gas resources,” said Mr. Yumkella.The geographical scope of the agreement covers countries of mutual interest in sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South America.“Statoil is proud to be part of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change and be able to give our inputs on the important agenda of the UN community within the field of energy,” said Mr. Haugen.“By signing this document, we have agreed to explore the possibilities of setting up a Private-Public Partnership with UNIDO. If proven economic and environmentally sustainable, the industrial concept we have agreed to investigate could represent a tangible improvement in the everyday life of those benefiting from its results,” he added. read more

Annual UN policy session adopts decisions on major global health priorities

“I believe this has been an especially productive and profoundly effective Assembly,” Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said at the conclusion of the 64th World Health Assembly in Geneva.The meeting, which began on 16 May, brought together more than 2,700 delegates, including health ministers and senior health officials from 192 WHO member States, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society groups and other observers. The eight-day session concluded with the adoption of 28 resolutions and 3 decisions on a range of issues, including the agency’s budget and reform agenda, pandemics, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), child injury prevention and maternal health.The culmination of four years of negotiations between WHO’s members, delegates approved a framework for pandemic influenza preparedness that will improve information sharing and access to vaccines. “Member States agreed the framework lays the groundwork for better preparedness and better access to tools and knowledge,” the agency stated in a news release. “The next phase is to ensure the implementation of the agreement.”Under the new Global Health Sector Strategy on HIV/AIDS 2011-2015, WHO aims to promote greater innovation in HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care services so that countries can achieve the goal of universal access to services.WHO noted that at least 4.2 million new HIV infections would be averted and 2 million lives could be saved if the agency’s existing HIV treatment recommendations are fully implemented between 2011 and 2015.With more than 830,000 children dying each year from road accidents, drowning, burns, falls and poisoning, the Assembly adopted a resolution providing a platform to support action on preventing child injuries, which are the leading cause of death for children over the age of five.Delegates also adopted a nearly $4 billion budget for 2012-2013 for WHO, and discussed the proposed reforms for the agency. “The most important message for me was your clear consensus on the need for reform and your clear desire to see these reforms reinforce WHO’s position as the foremost authority on international health,” said Dr. Chan. 24 May 2011The United Nations health agency today wrapped up its annual policy session by adopting a set of decisions to guide its future work, including a plan for pandemic influenza preparedness as well as a new, comprehensive strategy to combat HIV. read more

In West Africa UN and partners pledge cooperation in fight against drugs

At a meeting in Dakar, Senegal, participants discussed how to streamline their efforts against drugs and crime in the region, with the production of counterfeit medicines and the smuggling of cigarettes also identified as major problems.The inaugural session of the High-Level Policy Committee of the West Africa Coast Initiative was chaired by Said Djinnit, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for West Africa.The meeting follows a regional action plan adopted in 2009 with the aim of tackling illicit trafficking, organized crime and drug abuse among locals.That plan followed a report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which revealed that the value of illicit flows in the region sometimes surpassed the countries’ gross domestic product (GDP).Cigarette smuggling in West Africa, for example, generates about $775 million, more than the GDP of the Gambia, while the trade in counterfeit anti-malarial tablets surpasses the GDP of Guinea-Bissau.Today’s meeting reviewed recent initiatives in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau and also discussed the impact of the recent post-election crisis in Côte d’Ivoire.The attendees included representatives of the UN, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and Interpol, as well as justice or interior ministers from Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone. 20 June 2011United Nations officials, government ministers and representatives of Interpol pledged today to work together in the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime in West Africa, which has become a key transit point for the shipment of cocaine from Latin America to Europe. read more

Somalia UN expert urges greater efforts to tackle violence against women

“While I support the Government’s tentative efforts to address the issues of violence against women, I note that there still are many challenges for the full and effective participation of women in the political process,” said Rashida Manjoo, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women.“Violence against women is a manifestation of inequality and discrimination which cannot be addressed in isolation of the historical and current context.” During her eight-day mission, Ms. Manjoo met with UN and international agencies based in Nairobi, and then travelled to Garowe in Puntland and Mogadishu, the Somali capital, to meet with Government officials and representatives of the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) and civil society.She also visited camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and police stations, and talked with individual victims of gender-based violence.Ms. Manjoo noted the lack of substantive reporting of violence against women and girls, and the absence of proper statistics and data, by the authorities, international agencies and civil society.“The absence of accountability mechanisms and specialized services for women and girl victims of various forms of violence, also contributes to such invisibility and silencing.” Somalia is also not immune to the problem of domestic violence, the most pervasive form of violence against women, the expert said, adding that the problem is exacerbated by the internal conflict, the displacement of populations and non-functioning State authorities.“In the absence of accountability mechanisms, impunity for acts of violence against women and girls is the norm. Furthermore, the use of traditional dispute forums to resolve issues of violence against women results in little or no justice for such victims.”Ms. Manjoo stressed that Somalia currently has an opportunity to promote human rights for all, and to place the issue of violence against women on the national agenda. “I call on all stakeholders to take on the responsibility to make this a reality,” stated the expert, who reports in an independent and unpaid capacity to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Her full report on Somalia will be submitted to the Council next June. 16 December 2011An independent United Nations human rights expert today called for greater efforts to improve the plight of women in Somalia, thousands of whom remain extremely vulnerable to discrimination and violence. read more

CPPIB enters US industrial real estate sector with US890million joint venture

TORONTO — The CPP Investment Board is taking part in a US$890-million partnership to develop industrial real estate in the United States.It’s the fund’s first direct investment in the sector, that it expects to benefit from a recent lack of new supply and growth in global trade.Global property developer and manager Goodman Group will invest US$490-million a 55% stake in the joint venture, called the Goodman North America Partnership.CPPIB is investing US$400-million for a 45% interest.CPPIB and Goodman have already invested together in Australia, Hong Kong and China.CPPIB managed about $161.6-billion in funds at the end of March.

Markets update

On the markets at 9:50 a.m. (ET):In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index is down 150.54 points to 15,205.04.The Dow Jones industrial average lost 11.09 points to 21,443.52.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 6.02 points to 2,434.67.The Nasdaq composite index dropped 48.86 points to 6,185.55.The Canadian dollar was trading at 76.80 cents US, up from Wednesday’s average price of 76.57 cents US.

Financial market highlights on Wednesday SPTSX 1512681 down 1660 points

Highlights at the close Wednesday at world financial market trading.Stocks:S&P/TSX Composite Index — 15,126.81, down 16.60 pointsDow — 22,158.18, up 39.32 points (record high)S&P 500– 2,498.37, up 1.89 points (record high)Nasdaq — 6,460.19, up 5.91 points (record high)Currencies:Cdn — 82.05 cents US, down 0.19 of a centPound — C$1.6119, down 0.21 of a centEuro — C$1.4517, down 0.21 of a centEuro — US$1.1912, down 0.45 of a centOil futures:US$49.30, up $1.07(October contract)Gold futures:US$1,328.00 per oz., down $4.70(December contract)Canadian Fine Silver Handy and Harman:$22.458 per oz., down 15.2 cents$722.02 per kg., down $4.89

Smugglers use Sri Lanka as transit point to pump in gold

“We believe the smugglers are also using a few other lesser known routes to bring in gold illegally into our country. We have stepped up security arrangements at Trichy, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore airports apart from Chennai airport. A special circular has been sent to staff at these airports to check carefully the baggage of passengers arriving from Sri Lanka,” an immigration officer said. Inquiries with the carriers caught so far have revealed that they get a mere 5,000-10,000 for a trip to India. “Of the 13 arrested in the past one month, at least 10 are Sri Lankan Tamils,” an official said. Sri Lanka seems to have become a transit point for smugglers bringing gold to Chennai from places like Dubai and Singapore. In the past month, bureau of immigration officials at Chennai airport arrested 13 people, including several Sri Lankan Tamils, and seized 3.5kg of gold. At least 30kg of gold has been recovered at Chennai airport from smugglers so far this year, sources said.A senior immigration officer confirmed the new route. “As officials double-check baggage of air passengers from Dubai and Singapore, smugglers are taking a lengthy route via Sri Lanka to avoid being scanned with extra care,” a police officer said. The increase in the gold prices in India has led to smugglers trying to bring in gold from abroad, officials said. Several attempts to smuggle in the yellow metal had been successful, but a number of attempts had been thwarted with the help of informers, they added. “We are getting information about smuggling of valuables from abroad through sources. Though most of the carriers arrested don’t know much about the bigger network, special teams are on the trail of the big fish,” the immigration officer said. (TOI) read more

Davy Jones claims to have hacked more Lankan sites

While those two websites however seemed to operate without a glitch, the hacker said that the database server of those websites were breached and the database was leaked in a pastebin post. A hacker going by the name ‘Davy Jones’ claims to have hacked several government websites in Sri Lanka, the latest being the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) website.According to E Hacking News the hacker said that the websites of Rupavahini television (State TV) and Sri Lanka One had been hacked last week. E Hacking news also said the hacker went into the One SriLanka website and extracted all data with 1,000 e-mail IDs and passwords, in a separate pastebin post. The paste also included a mediafire download link that contains the dump comprised from One SriLanka TV Web site.Last week, Davy Jones also hacked into the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment’s Web site, and leaked the database on a pastebin in a similar manner. Last week, the official Web site of Sri Lanka Media Center for National Security (MCNS) had also been hacked and defaced by a hacker calling himself Game Over. (Colombo Gazette) The hacker had breached the SLPA website. While the main page had not been defaced a Web page with a path to the “admin” folder was uploaded. read more

Tamil Nadu boat owners want talks with Lanka

Speakers said the Tamil Nadu Government should also resume the fourth round of talks with the Sri Lankan Government and its fishermen and retrieve Katchativu islet, so that the Indian fishermen could fish in the traditional area also. Various associations’ functionaries, including NJ Bose, S Emiret and P Sesuraja, who participated in a meeting, claimed they had the backing of all fishermen’s associations in Tamil Nadu, the Press Trust of India reported. They warned that they would resort to an indefinite stir from December 5 and intensify it, stage a dharna in front of Parliament and boycott elections if no action was taken. Mechanised boat owners’ associations in Tamil Nadu, comprising 11 outfits, warned of launching an indefinite stir from December 5 if the Centre in India did not take steps to secure the release of the 23 fishermen and 53 boats seized so far by Sri Lankan naval personnel.They also wanted compensation for the boats that were totally damaged while anchored in the Sri Lankan coast, said Sandhya, Vercode fishermen’s association president. read more

Chinese envoy visits Jaffna offers assistance for development

The Ambassador also noted that the Chinese Embassy in Colombo is keen to offer assistance to boost the education levels of children in the North.He also said that China will consider offering scholarships to children in the North. China has invested heavily in Sri Lanka, particularly to develop the road network and also funded the construction of a port and international airport. (Colombo Gazette) Yi Xianliang said that China stands ready to offer assistance to Sri Lanka and the Northern province within China’s capabilities. China today offered assistance to develop the northern province which was badly affected by a 30 year war.The Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang met Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray in Jaffna today and discussed the developments in the North. The Chinese Ambassador had told the Governor that China and Sri Lanka enjoy strong historical ties and that the relationship must be taken forward, the Governor’s media office said. read more

CPC to sell fuel at old price cabinet to decide on price

Director General of the Government Information Department, Sudarshana Gunawardana said a circular regarding this decision had been sent to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. However the Government Information Department said that CPC has decided to sell fuel at the previous rates. The Finance Ministry said that cabinet will decide on a price revision next week.Meanwhile Lanka Indian Oil (LIOC) said that it will sell fuel at the new increased price from today. (Colombo Gazette) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) which was to increase the price of fuel from today, has decided to sell fuel at the ols price.The Finance Ministry said yesterday that the price of fuel will be increased from today.

Navy officer arrested over abduction of 11 youth further remanded

Navy officer Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi, who was in remand over the abduction and disappearance of 11 youth from Colombo, was today ordered to be further remanded by court.The Colombo Additional Magistrate ordered the Navy officer to be remanded till April 04.

Sri Lanka insists ISIS not directly linked to Easter attacks

Sri Lanka has insisted that the Islamic State (IS) or ISIS were not directly involved in the Easter Sunday attacks.A Sri Lanka intelligence officer who wished to remain anonymous, told local journalists that investigations had confirmed that the Easter Sunday attacks were carried out purely by a local group. IS leader Al Baghdadi had later claimed responsibility for the multiple suicide attacks in Sri Lanka. However the intelligence officer insisted that the local network was not led by Al Baghdadi but may have had some form of contacts with some IS members.“They are not pure ISIS members,” he said. The officer said that the video sent to IS on the Sri Lankan bombers which was later released to the media by IS, was sent via Indonesia. The National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) was accuse of being involved in the deadly attacks on Easter Sunday targeting hotels and churches.NTJ leader Zahran Hashim was among the bombers killed in the attacks.Hashim had promoted the ISIS ideology through videos and other propaganda material. (Colombo Gazette) read more