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Seven ‘suicide bombers’ arrested in Sri Lanka

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SRI LANKA COLOMBO BLASTS

Colombo, May 8 Seven trained suicide bombers identified as followers of the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) Islamist group have been arrested in Sri Lanka, the police said.

The suspects were arrested earlier this week from Hambantota and are alleged to be close associates of Zahran Hashim — the brain behind the Easter Sunday bombings which killed over 250 people and injured hundreds.

The suspects were brought to Hambantota by a brother of Hashim, the Daily Mirror reported on Wednesday.

The April 21 attacks have been blamed by the Sri Lankan government on the NTJ, which is believed to have links with the Islamic State which claimed the killings.

The report said that the suspects had been trained “very discreetly” in Hambantota over a long period on the use of arms.

Mohamed Nasar Mohamed Asath who blew himself up inside the Zion Church in Batticaloa is said to have provided the training instructions, according to the daily.

The suspects will be interrogated about the affairs of the NTJ and their connections to the bomb blasts.

Meanwhile, the police on Wednesday recovered a haul of swords and knives at a public well, adjacent to R. Premadasa Cricket Stadium in Maligawatte.

At least 46 swords, a pistol and knives were found inside the well wrapped in a fertilizer bag. During the search, the police had also recovered methamphetamine.

Police officials believe that following a search operation, some individuals might have disposed them off in the well.

Cities

Karnataka Health Minister Sriramulu tests Covid positive

To reassure the people of Karnataka, the health minister said, under the leadership of the chief ministers, all the departments of the state government, including the health department, have been working hard against the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Karnataka health minister B Sriramulu

Karnataka health minister B Sriramulu tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, barely a week after chief minister BS Yediyurappa tested positive for the viral infection last Sunday.

Taking to Twitter, Sriramulu said that he was tested after he went down with flu-like symptoms. He added that he was hospitalised because he had been visiting the state’s 30 districts amid the spike in coronavirus cases in the state. The health minister has been admitted to the state-run Bowring Hospital in Bengaluru.

“From the time of Corona’s appearance, I have had the opportunity to visit the 30 districts and work in harmony with the government’s desire to treat people well. It is in this backdrop that I am going to be hospitalised and treated,” he said in Kannada in a series of tweets.

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Cities

10 dead in Andhra Covid centre fire, govt sets up probe panel

Nine people were killed after a massive fire broke out at a Covid-19 facility in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada.

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Andhra Factory Fire

Vijayawada, Aug 9 : At least 10 patients were killed and several others injured in a fire at a hotel functioning as a Covid care facility early on Sunday, Andhra Pradesh Health Minister Alla Nani said.

The government has set up a committee to inquire into the incident, said the minister, who inspected the scene at the Swarna Palace hotel which had been converted into a paid Covid care centre by a private hospital here.

The inquiry committee has been tasked with submitting its findings to the government within 48 hours, he added.

Following a review meeting with local authorities and officials concerned, the minister said that the fire had broken out at 4.45 a.m., while the fire station received the first intimation at 5.09 a.m.

Panic-stricken inmates began screaming for help and a few staff members leapt off from the first floor, suffering injuries.

There were around 50 people in the building at the time of the mishap, of whom 31 were Covid-19 patients. The remaining inmates were medical staff and support personnel.

Ten Covid-19 patients, including two women at the centre, were killed in the blaze suspected to have been set off by a short circuit. The remaining Covid patients are reported to be safe and recovering.

Stating that initial investigations point to several violations, the minister said that a police case has been registered against the Ramesh Hospital’s management under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has expressed sorrow over the tragedy and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 50 lakh to families of each victims.

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India

After ‘Digital Andaman’, PM plans to make it hub of ‘blue economy’

The Prime Minister also took a detailed stock from the local leadership about their work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Aug 9 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the Andamanese people via the digital mode amid the Covid-19 pandemic on Sunday.

The Prime Minister interacted with the BJP workers of Andaman and Nicobar Islands through a video conference on Sunday, a day before dedicating the Submarine optical fibre cable project, connecting Chennai and Port Blair.

“For the development of New India, the entire nation needs to progress. The government may function from a specific point, but its work should reach out to everyone, and more importantly, to the person at the end of the ladder,” he said.

Modi added that the islands are strategically positioned with proximity to Chennai, Kolkata and the Mongla Port in Bangladesh which will prove beneficial for the islands which can be developed as the hub of the ‘blue economy’.

Talking about the development of the Andamans, Modi said, “The Central government’s initiatives have been very influential in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These islands are being connected to other cities in the country by airways while also improving their inter-connectivity. Port Blair airport is being expanded.”

The Prime Minister also took a detailed stock from the local leadership about their work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

After listening to many anecdotes and personal experiences of the local BJP leadership, the PM seemed content and expressed his willingness to visit the Islands soon.

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