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Bomb threat on flight: Lankan student pleads guilty

A Sri Lankan man who threatened to set off a bomb onboard a flight from Melbourne is facing a maximum 20 years' jail after pleading guilty to attempting to take control of an aircraft.

Manodh Marks, 25, forced Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 to Kuala Lumpur to turn back shortly after take-off when he tried to enter the cockpit while screaming that he had a bomb.

The catering student was overpowered by passengers who tied him up with belts until the flight landed at Melbourne Airport in June.

Police were criticised for taking up to 90 minutes to board the plane and remove Mr Marks, who had in fact been holding what officers described as a "speaker-type" object.

He was initially charged with multiple offences, some of which carried a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

But prosecutors dropped a number of charges, leaving Mr. Marks to plead guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to a single charge of attempting to take control of an aircraft. It carries a maximum penalty of 20 years' jail.

(ABC)

Photo Credit: AAP

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'Foolish' remark on Namal irks Mahinda

Comments made by Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara referring to MP Namal Rajapaksa as a 'fool' recently is said to have deeply upset Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

According to reports, at the cabinet press briefing this week the Minister had claimed that two individuals acting in a foolish manner are preventing the union of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Joint Opposition. MP Namal Rajapaksa and Prasanna Ranatunge were hinted at as being the 'foolish' duo.

Would the harassment of your mother not enrage you?

The Former President is said to have brought up the comments before a group of parliamentarians, including Minister Jayasekara during the marriage ceremony of Pasanda Yapa Abeywardhana, Southern Provincial Council Member and Son of State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena yesterday (07).

According to reliable sources, the Former President had questioned if it was, in fact, unfair of Namal to be angry in this manner when there are ongoing attempts to arrest his mother.

Rajapaksha is said to have explained that MP Namal is resentful towards the government due to the attempts being made to arrest Former First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa.

"Will you not get angry when your mother is harassed by others ?" Rajapaksa had questioned thereafter asking MinisterJayasekara to speak to Namal personally and resolve this issue.

As reported to 'ISIS' while Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara had accordingly met with and spoken to MP Namal Rajapaksa at the parliament yesterday afternoon, what was discussed at the said meeting is yet to be revealed.

 

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Food imports to counter rising cost of living

Making a statement regarding the cost of living in Parliament today Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe clarified steps taken by the government to counter its rise. “In order to reduce the cost of living, food items will be imported if the need arises” the PM confirmed adding that the government is prepared to take the necessary steps in this regard.

According to the PM the country’s economy, as well as food supply, is highly dependant on the weather and climate patterns of the country. “This has had a negative impact on the household economy,” Prime Minister Wickramasinghe said adding that the continuous erratic weather has hindered farming activities thereby causing the cost of goods to rise.

Meanwhile, the State Minister of Finance, Eran Wickramaratne yesterday (07) announced that the PM has ordered the purchase of One million Metric Tonnes of Rice. He further said that measures are now being taken to reduce the prices of rice.

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Colombo to host seminar on crimes against journalists

A seminar on ‘reinforcing regional cooperation to promote freedom of expression and the rule of law in Asia through ending impunity for crimes against the journalists’ will open at Hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo, on 4 December at 9.00 am under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, says the Government Information Department.

Organized by UNESCO with the Ministries of Information, Justice, and the Supreme Court with the participation of various regional stakeholders including Asian Inter- Governmental Commission of Human Rights (AICHR) and Human Rights Commission representatives, the keynote address of the seminar will be delivered by the Prime Minister.

Introductory remarks will be made by Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera and UNESCO Freedom of Expression and Media Development Director, Guy Berger in addition to a video message to be sent by Frank La Rue, Assistant Director General for Communication and Information.

The seminar will seek to advance dialogues and strategies to strengthen the regional cooperation on safety of journalists and ending impunity in Asia.

The event will focus on the role of the judiciary, National Human Rights Commissions as well as on the role of civil society and media in the persisting challenge of combating impunity for crimes against journalists in the region.

Through encouraging the exchange of best practices and identifying steps ahead and concrete solutions, the event aims to strengthen the fight of impunity for crimes against journalists and inscribe this issue in the larger framework to protect fundamental human rights.

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Satisfactory fiscal performance leads to a USD 251 million disbursement from the IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that the Executive Board completed the third review of Sri Lanka's Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement on Thursday (06), which enabled the disbursement of about USD 251.4 million. With the latest tranche, the IMF has disbursed a total of USD 760 million to Sri Lanka.

Issuing a statement following the third review, the IMF Executive Board stated that Sri Lanka's fiscal performance has been satisfactory and all targets until September were met. IMF acknowledged that despite a series of weather-related supply shocks, the macroeconomic and financial conditions have been stable. The release also states that the authorities remain committed to the economic reforms under the program and have undertaken measures to improve government revenue and accumulate international reserves.

Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, Mitsuhiro Furusawa stated that, "it is important to build on the progress made and accelerate reforms to further reduce fiscal and external vulnerabilities”. He added that timely progress in structural reforms, including tax administration and energy pricing, will further support fiscal consolidation.

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SLT Engineers Union demands the Group CEO’s ouster

Sri Lanka Telecom engineers and staff will launch a continuous trade union action with effect from December1 demanding the authorities to remove Group CEO Dileepa Wijesundera from his post as they have completely lost their professional trust and respect with him.

This decision was taken at an emergency general meeting of Telecommunication Engineers Union (TEU) this week.

According to SLT trade union sources, the present administration headed by the CEO has failed to properly manage the institution and the management has also botched to direct the company towards higher levels of growth.

They accused the CEO for continuing actions detrimental to the progress of the company.

Mr Wijesundera was also misleading the SLT management, Board of Directors and share holders claiming that the company has achieved a high growth and it provides a better service for consumers, TEU alleged.

Under this set up SLT TEU members have decided to boycott all directives and orders of the CEO and his affiliates as a well as to desist from all duty coordination with him and his subordinates with effect from December 1.

It has also demanded to immediately stop heavy investments leading to financial instability of the institution and unproductive operations and halt the present restructuring process in the administrative structure and conduct a prompt investigation into financial frauds in the institution through unsuccessful projects.

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Rajapaksa’s attempt to court Maithree

The Rajakasa’s including Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is now secretly attempting to once again build a close rapport with President Maithripala Sirisena political sources have revealed.

According to sources, the discussion held between Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara and MP Namal Rajapaksa at the Parliament yesterday (07) which was initiated by the Former President is said to be an initial step in this regard.

While organizer and front-runner of the ‘Pohottuwa’ political party Basil Rajapaksa has not agreed yet to these secret discussions it is said the former First lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa are highly favourable of the new political move.

Accordingly, sources revealed that the Former President sent an initial draft of a MoU to President Sirisena yesterday (07) which will allow the SLFP and JO to contest in the upcoming polls under a joint ticket. The response of the President in this regard is expected to be conveyed today (08) reliable sources said.

SLFP and JO stalwarts have been continuously emphasizing the need for an alliance between the SLFP and JO in the upcoming mini polls.

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Mangala carries PM’s message to president!

Carrying a message from prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the prevailing political crisis, minister Mangala Samaraweera met president Maithripala Sirisena at the latter’s official residence at Paget Road, Colombo on the night of November 26, political sources say.

There, minister Samaraweera expressed the desire of the premier and the UNP to continue the government until 2025 as per the agreement they reached with president Sirisena in 2015.

Conveying their confidence in the president, he, however, noted the difficulty in continuing that alliance if the SLFP joined with the joint opposition, according to the sources.

130 MPs to support UNP govt.

Meanwhile, meeting the president in Kandy, minister Malik Samarawickrema informed him the UNP would have to form a government of its own if there would be an union between the SLFP and the JO.

The UNP presently has 107 seats in parliament, and it is prepared to show a strength of 130 seats, he stressed.

But, the UNP will not expect support from its appointed MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera, he added.

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Government will not tax Sri Lankan migrant workers : Minister Eran

Refuting allegations that the government is set to tax Sri Lankan migrant workers, State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne has labelled the accusations as 'completely false'.

"Any migrant worker can send in their remittances without any hindrance," the Minister said adding that no tax will be levied on foreign remittances according to the rumours being circulated by various parties.

According to the Minister, remittances can be made as per the norm without being subjected to any tax. "The tax will be imposed on the banking system and not on individuals making foreign remittances" he clarified adding that the government values the efforts of the country's migrant workers and would never impose such a tax on them.

The Minister made the statement following claims made by the 'Organization to protect rights of Migrant workers' that it will stop workers from making remittances for two weeks in January 2018 if such a tax is levied on them.

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President leaves on state visit to South Korea

President Maithripala Sirisena left the country today and is scheduled to arrive in Seoul tomorrow (28) for a three-day state visit to Republic of Korea, on an invitation extended by the Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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JO parties to enter election fray individually! Sama Samaja party to take on Balaptiya alone!!

Political sources claim that due to ongoing internal conflicts within the Joint Opposition, several parties within the JO are planning to contest the upcoming local government polls under their own party banners. Soures say several parties will as a result contest individually in certain electoral divisions.

Accordingly, the Sama Samaja party is in discussion to contest for the Balapitiya municipality division separately while Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (People's United Front) led by Dinesh Gunawardena may settle on handing in nominations under their own party banner for the Ampara, Seethawaka and Maharagama electoral divisions.

Wimal can leave if he pleases

wimal weerawansaMeanwhile, the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna (National Freedom Front) led by Wimal Weerawansa is also currently in discussion to follow suit if the party does not receive a significant number of nominations through the JO sources say.

Reports claim that while Weerawansa has requested 10 percent of the nomination slots to be reserved for his party, however, the front liner of the new Sri Lanka Podhujana Party, Basil Rajapaksa has raised his opposition in this regard.

It is said that Rajapaksa is of the opinion that the Jathika Nidahas Peramun contesting individually will not be disadvantageous to the JO or make any impact on the overall result of the polls.

SLFP to contest under 'hand' and 'beetle leaf' symbols

Discussions are also said to be underway within the Sri Lanka Freedom Party about the upcoming polls. According to sources, the SLFP (SLFP) may contest the election under the 'hand' symbol in the South and North while it will use the 'beetle leaf' symbol going under the banner of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) party in the hill country.

"We have had a request to contest LG polls under the hand symbol in the North," an SLFP stalwart told ISIS.

SLFP back to its rightful owners?

Meanwhile attending a JO press briefing held yesterday (07) Former parliamentarian G.L Peiris claimed this election will go on to reveal the rightful owners of the SLFP. The status of the current government can be deduced from the results of the LG polls, Peiris said.

 

 

 

 

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UNP ready to work with anyone backing Good Governance: PM

The United National Party (UNP) was ready to work with anyone willing to uphold Good Governance and to mutually strengthen electoral prospects, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today.

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