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“We can't ensure your safety”; police asks organizers to cancel media workshop

(NIDAHASA News) Sri Lanka Media Minister says that police have made a “very good” decision by stopping a media workshop organized by Transparency International.

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(NIDAHASA News) Sri Lanka Media Minister says that police have made a “very good” decision by stopping a media workshop organized by Transparency International.

Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, who accused International NGOs of supporting LTTE, said that if journalists were attacked by protesters, they could have use it for anti-government campaigns abroad.

“We have evidence that INGOs have supported LTTE in many instants,” Rambukwella told BBC.

The workshop which held in Negambo, was organized by Transparency International. Many journalist among around 20 participants were from North and East areas.

A group identified themselves as “Origination for Building up National Harmony”, who carried posters, banners and megaphones demonstrated in front of the hotel against the workshop. The police asked organizer to stop the workshop calming that they cannot take responsibility for the safety of journalists.

Journalists identified several military personnel in plainclothes among the protesters, Lanka Herald website said.

After police refused to confirm the security, organizers were forced to cancel workshop and send participants to Galadhari Hotel in Colombo for lodging, Jayasiri Jayasekara, the editor of Lanka Herald web site and a speaker at the workshop described the incident.

“Many of us fall asleep with a shock in our mind. However, we could not sleep for more than an hour. The management of hotel told us to leave the hotel as they were receiving threats from a 'higher power'”, he said.

“A five-star hotel like Galadhari would never expel its gusts in such a manner if the order wasn’t from a very powerful hand,” Jayasekara said.

However, when questioned by BBC, Media Minster dismissed the claim as a “baseless accusation”.

Several workshops organized by Transparency International during past few months were also cancelled in similar circumstances.

Sri Lanka is indexed as one of the worst countries for journalists by several international media watchdogs.

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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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