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Government halts sale of telecom services to embattled regions

(AFP) – Sri Lanka suspended sales of telephones and mobile phone cards in the embattled north and east as troops stepped up attacks against Tiger rebels, an official said.

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(AFP) – Sri Lanka suspended sales of telephones and mobile phone cards in the embattled north and east as troops stepped up attacks against Tiger rebels, an official said.

The move was temporary and aimed at preventing guerrillas making use of phone services for military operations, telecoms watchdog chief Kanchana Ratwatte said on Thursday.

“The Defence Ministry has asked us to tell the operators to stop selling telecom equipment and services like pre-paid cards and new connections to people in the north and east,” Ratwatte said.

The announcement came as Sri Lankan jets bombed suspected Tiger positions in northeast Sri Lanka, a day after Colombo stepped up an offensive against the rebels, killing at least 18 people, according to military officials.

Ratwatte alleged that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) had been using the phone network to obtain information about Sri Lankan military movements.

In January, authorities restored mobile services to the eastern region after it was blacked out for several weeks due to military reasons.

Mobile services in the north were restored in December after being out of service for at least six months due to the ethnic conflict.

Over 60,000 people have died during the 35-year conflict in which the minority Tamils are fighting for an independent homeland.

Despite a 2002 Norwegian-brokered truce, more than 4,000 people have been killed in the past 15 months.

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President orders investigations into Daham’s nightclub scandal

(NIDAHASA News) President Maithiripala Sirisena call for an investigation into the Colombo nightclub attack allegedly carried out by his own son.

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(NIDAHASA News) President Maithiripala Sirisena call for an investigation into the Colombo nightclub attack allegedly carried out by his own son.

A group allegedly led by Sirisena’s son Daham attacked Clique nightclub at Town Hall, Colombo last Friday (07), allegedly after they were denied entry to the nightclub around 2.00 am. A security guard was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital following the attack with head injuries.
However, speaking to Sri Lanka Mirror web site, police denied any connection of President’s son to the incident.
“He had arrived there around 7.00 pm, and it was a long time later that the clash took place,” Sri Lanka Mirror quoted the police.
In 2013, during the time his father was a minister, Daham Sirisena was accused of attacking a youth at Passikudah beach.

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Severe weather: over 200 families missing

(NIDAHASA News) Over 200 families missing after a massive landslide in Aranayaka, in Kegalla district.

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(NIDAHASA News) Over 200 families missing after a massive landslide in Aranayaka, in Kegalla district.

“16 bodies have already been recovered and about 180 people have been rescued,” said military spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera.

“The task is to figure out what happened to them,” the Red Cross said in a statement, noting that some people may have left after local officials warned earlier this week of possible landslides.

The Disaster Management Center (DMC) reported over 350,000 people were affected by floods and landslides caused by massive rains.

Meanwhile warning has been issued to several suburbs areas of capital Colombo due to the increasing water level or Kelani river. People living in Wellampitiya, Megoda Kolonnawa, Sedawatte, Kohilawatte and surrounding areas have been asked to move to a safe place.

The depression, named BOB 01 is currently moving towards South India; however rain will continue for several areas in Sri Lanka until the end of this week, weather specialists say.

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Sri Lanka's firebrand Buddhist monk arrested

(NIDAHASA News) Supporters of Galagodaatte Gnansara started a violent protest in front of Homagama court after magistrate ordered to remand infamous Buddhist monk till 09th February.

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(NIDAHASA News) Supporters of Galagodaatte Gnansara started a violent protest in front of Homagama court after magistrate ordered to remand infamous Buddhist monk till 09th February.

The General Secretary of extreme Buddhist movement Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) surrendered to the court this morning (26) after magistrate ordered police to arrest the for alleged contempt of court. He was accused of making an argument with the judge during the court hearing of disappeared journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda's habeas corpus.

Gnanasara has alleged that arresting the Army officers over Ekneligoda's disappearance was illegal and the prosecution should be arrested for “illegal arrests” of military officers. The counsel representing the missing journalist's family informed the court that the monk has also threatened the journalist's wife Sandhya.

Protesters, including a group of monks attempted to enter the court premises challenging the court's order to arrest their General Secretary and tried to block the prison vehicle. Police however managed to take Gnanasara to the remand prison with the support of extra police team.

Gnanasara and his BBS had been accused of inflaming religious tension between Majority Buddhists and Muslims. They were also accused of being a cat's paw of previous Rajapaksa regime. However BBS denied any secret relationship with Rajapaksa brothers.

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