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UN official condemns attacks on Sri Lankan Muslims

Photo- Al Jazeera

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United Nations, March 12: Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman has condemned the violence against Muslims in Sri Lanka and urged the government to bring those behind the attacks and hate speech to justice.

During the three-day visit, “he met Muslim political and civil society leaders to express concern and show solidarity”, according to a UN statement issued on Sunday.

While in the island nation, Feltman, who is in charge of political affairs for the UN, also met President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana.

He “appreciated the reassurances from government leaders of their intention to move forward” with initiatives for reconciliation and sustainable peace although Feltman expressed concern that many elements of the government’s “visionary” plan anounced in 2015 for national unity seemed to have stalled, the statement said.

He lauded the recent appointment of commissioners to the Office of Missing Persons to probe the disappearances of people during civil conflicts and “expressed hope” that the panel “will soon be fully operational to help answer questions that haunt too many families from all across Sri Lanka about their missing loved ones”.

Senior lawyer Saliya Peiris is to head the seven-member panel that includes two Tamils and a retired major general. In 2016, the government said that about 65,000 people were reported missing since 1994.

Feltman praised the adoption of the Bill for the Protection Against Enforced Disappearances by Parliament and called it “an important element of the Sri Lankan government’s commitment to its citizens”.

Three people were killed, 11 mosques damaged and scores of Muslim-owned businesses destroyed in the riots in Kandy district earlier this month.

A curfew was imposed and the military and police were deployed to quell the riots.

On Saturday, Sirisena announced that a panel of three retired judges will investigate the riots.

Meanwhile, the Association of Sri Lankan Muslims in North America has announced a protest outside the UN on Wednesday to protest last week’s anti-Muslim riots.

IANS

Disaster

Indonesia’s Sulawesi island volcano erupts,spewing ashes upto 7.5 km high

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Jakarta, Dec 16 : A volcano erupted in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province on Sunday, spewing a column of ash measuring 7.5 km to the sky.

Mount Soputan erupted twice — first at 7.43 a.m. and the second at 8.57 a.m., an agency spokesman told Xinhua news agency.

There were no reports of casualties and the ash was not considered a threat to aviation, agency spokesman Sutopo Nugroho said on Sunday.

Ashes were spread toward south west and south of the crater and small tremors jolted the area.

“In anticipating the hot ash from sliding into the flank of the volcano and flows of cool lava, the community is prohibited from having activities at the radius of 4 km from the crater, and for the area at southwest of the crater the no go-zone has been declared at 6.5 km,” the spokesman said.

Mount Soputan is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia which lies on a vulnerable quake-hit zone called “the Pacific Ring of Fire”.

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World

Wickremesinghe reinstated as Sri Lankan PM

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sri-lanka

Colombo, Dec 16 : Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was forced out of office in October, was sworn in as Sri Lankan Prime Minister on Sunday by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) said on its official Twitter account that the deposed leader took oath before President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday.

“We thank the citizens of the country who fought the illegal seizure of power and ensured that democracy was restored,” the UNP said on Twitter.

His reinstatement has ended a nearly two-month political crisis,but has brought major embarrassment for Sirisena, who had replaced him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa following differences over policymaking and other issues.

However, Rajapaksa failed to win a parliamentary majority and resigned on Saturday as a government shutdown loomed.

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India

Chhota Shakeel’s brother Anwar Babu Sheikh detained in Dubai

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Chhota Shakeel

Mumbai, Dec 15 : The D-company received a major blow as  Gangster Chhota Shakeel’s brother Anwar Shaikh, who is wanted in Mumbai for 1993 Mumbai serials blasts, was arrested from Abu Dhabi Airport on Friday.Chhota Shakeel is considered the trusted right hand of fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar.

Sheikh, who is wanted in Mumbai and Thane in connection with several offences including the March 1993 Mumbai serials blasts, was detained and questioned by the Dubai Police at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Among other things, Sheikh is wanted for allegedly co-ordinating the Mumbai serial blasts from a location abroad.

After the Mumbai serial blasts red corner notice has been issued against him  and Indian authorities are trying to seek Anwar’s custody.

After search and interrogation, the Dubai Police are understood to have recovered a Pakistani passport from Sheikh, raising questions on his extradition to India.

Both Indian and Pakistani embassies in the UAE are said to be in touch with the Dubai authorities seeking his deportation to their respective countries.

 

Mumbai and Thane police sources said that Sheikh is linked to Pakistan’s ISI and was involved in several terror acts in India before he fled this country.

Earlier this year, Thane Anti Extortion Cell chief Pradeep Sharma had nabbed couple of persons for illegally keeping AK-56 Army assault rifles in their Mumbai suburban home in Goregaon.

 

 

 

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