A foreign investigator (fourth left) talks with priests as soldiers stand guard at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo. — AFP photo
COLOMBO: Sri Lankan authorities locked down the central bank and the road leading to the jittery capital’s airport was shut briefly by a bomb scare on Thursday as more people were swept up in the search for those behind Easter Sunday bombings that killed 359.
Two bank officials told Reuters the street outside the building near the World Trade Centre in the capital, Colombo, was blocked to traffic before the security alert was lifted.
Underscoring the nervous atmosphere in the Indian Ocean nation, authorities also shut the entry road to Colombo’s main airport after a suspicious vehicle was identified at a nearby carpark. The road was reopened when the alert was declared a false alarm.
A police spokesman also said there was a so-far unexplained explosion in a town east of
the capital but there were no casualties. It was not a controlled detonation like other blasts in recent days and was being investigated, he said.
More people, including foreigners, were swept up for questioning overnight as domestic and international authorities probed deeper into the bombings, which were potentially the deadliest operation claimed by Islamic State.
Police said an Egyptian and several Pakistanis were among those detained overnight, although there was no immediate suggestion they had direct links to the attacks.
A picture has slowly emerged of a group of nine well-educated, home-grown Islamist suicide bombers, including a woman, who carried out the attacks in the South Asian nation.
However, authorities have also focused their investigations on international links to domestic Islamist groups — National Thawheed Jama’ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim — they believed carried out the attacks.
Islamic State offered no firm information to back up its claim of responsibility.
The Islamist group released a video on Tuesday that showed eight men, all but one with their faces covered, standing under a black Islamic State flag and declaring their loyalty to its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
The man whose face could be seen has been identified as Mohamed Zahran, a preacher from the east of Sri Lanka known for his militant views who officials believe was the attack’s mastermind.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said yesterday another of the bombers had lived in Australia with his wife and child on a student visa but left in 2013.
Morrison did not identify the man, although his family have said his name was Abdul Latheef Mohamed Jameel.
“I can confirm that the suicide bomber had been in Australia,” Morrison told reporters.
Police said yesterday 16 more people were detained for questioning overnight, taking the number held since Sunday to at least 76. That number includes a Syrian national.
A police statement said one of those detained overnight was linked to a ‘terrorist organisation’ but gave no other details.
It said another was taken into custody after they investigated posts on the individual’s Facebook page and found what they described as ‘hate speech’.
“It was related to the spreading and preaching of terrorism,” a police spokesman said.
Others have also been caught up in the broader crackdown.
Police said they detained an Egyptian who was found not to have a valid visa or passport. The man taught Arabic in a school about 70 km from Colombo and had been living in Sri Lanka for more than seven years.
A police spokesman also said a group of Pakistanis had been detained among an unspecified number of foreign nationals for overstaying their visas. — Reuters
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Albon lost control as he entered the straight and careened into a wall with minutes left in the practice session. AFP Photo
Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon lost control and smashed at high speed towards the end of final practice on Saturday for the Chinese Grand Prix, bringing the session to a premature end.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas went fastest for the second practice in a row, with the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc second and third.
The 23-year-old Albon climbed gingerly out of his wrecked car, but only after a huge scare that drew gasps from the crowd in Shanghai.
The Thai-Briton, who is in his first season in F1, careened into a wall as he entered the straight with less than 10 minutes left of third and final practice.
His car was badly mangled and there was a frantic call from engineers asking if he was okay.
“I’m fine, sorry,” came the reply from a shaken Albon, who was able to walk away and was assessed by medical personnel.
He was later given the all-clear but will miss qualifying because his ruined car will not be fixed in time, Toro Rosso said.
Bottas clocked a leading time of one minute 32.830 seconds, 0.392 seconds ahead of Vettel and 0.418 of Leclerc.
World champion Lewis Hamilton was fourth in the other Mercedes.
Before his dramatic late smash, Albon clocked the ninth-quickest time.
Qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix — the 1,000th race in Formula One — takes place at 2:00 p.m. (0600 GMT). – AFP
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A monitor connected to a body temperature scanner shows flight passengers arriving at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport June 21, 2015. Malaysians are required to pass through a body temperature scanner at the Padang Besar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex when returning from visits to Thailand over a reported outbreak of Chikugunya disease. — Reuters pic
PADANG BESAR, Jan 15 — Malaysians are required to pass through a body temperature scanner at the Padang Besar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex when returning from visits to Thailand where there is a reported outbreak of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya disease.Perlis Health Committee chairman Teh Chai Ann said the precautionary measure was imposed by the Perlis Health Department in view of the reported Chikungunya outbreak in Hat Yai.“The situation is still under control at this stage but the people have to be reminded constantly,” he told reporters here today.Teh advised people who had visited Hat Yai to go for a medical examination if they suffered from symptoms such as fever, headache and fatigue.The Bangkok Post of Thailand reported yesterday that Chikungunya had been detected in Hat Yai and that scores of people were seeking treatment for the disease at clinics in the city. — Bernama [...]
Lim Kit Siang questioned MIC’s delay in naming a candidate for the federal seat, and wondered if it was due to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s warning yesterday that hell awaits Muslims if they are led by non-Muslims. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — DAP's Lim Kit Siang continued today to press MIC over the party’s apparent decision to possibly give up contesting the Cameron Highlands by-election amid reports that Umno wants the seat for itself.The Iskandar Puteri MP questioned MIC’s delay in naming a candidate for the federal seat, and wondered if it was due to PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s warning yesterday that hell awaits Muslims if they are led by non-Muslims.“What is of more immediate interest, however, is whether MIC is going to concede Cameron Highland seat to Umno because of Hadi’s warning of ‘hell’ and PAS’ 3578 votes?“In actual fact, I have great doubts that Hadi will be able to deliver the 3,578 votes in the Cameron Highlands by-election on January 26, as I do not believe that the general PAS membership are ‘all fours’ with Hadi in rejecting Malaysia as a plural society and his antediluvian view that a corrupt Muslim is always better than clean and honest non-Muslims, which is also not the teaching of Islam or the great religions of the world,” Lim said.Traditionally the Cameron Highlands federal seat has been contested by MIC since 2004. During the 14th General Election, the party’s vice-president Datuk C Sivarraajh defeated DAP candidate M Manogaran.Manogaran then filed a petition on June 4, 2018 to cancel the result of the Cameron Highlands constituency for violating the Election Offences Act.He accused Sivarraajh of allegedly giving bribes of between RM30 and RM1,000 to Orang Asli voters via their Tok Batin (community chiefs) to ensure they voted for BN.On November 30, 2018 the seat was declared null and void by the Election Court as it was proven that Sivarraajh was aware and consented to corrupt practices being committed.In the same statement, Lim also condemned Abdul Hadi’s warning of ‘hell’ and accused the PAS chief of finally showing his true colours.He said the nation could now understand why under Abdul Hadi’s leadership the Islamist party had supported former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s kleptocrat government.The veteran politician accused Abdul Hadi of not being fully committed to battle corruption, since the latter regards a corrupt Muslim as better than a clean non-Muslim and this was the reason there was no strong objections against corruption scandals such as 1MDB, Felda, Felcra, Mara and Tabung Haji.He also observed that PAS is now laying claim to be the only party to fight for the Malay-Muslim agenda in light of Umno’s fall from grace.“But PAS leaders cannot be more wrong as PAS cannot have the monopoly to champion the Malay-Muslim agenda in Malaysia.“This is because in a New Malaysia, it is the responsibility of all Malaysian political parties in the Pakatan Harapan coalition, whether PKR, Bersatu, Amanah or DAP, to champion the Muslim/Malay and non-Muslim/non-Malay agendas to demonstrate that any viable and successful nation-building in a plural society is not a zero-sum game but a win-win formula for all Malaysians,” he said. [...]
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona was released from hospital after being admitted earlier on Friday with internal bleeding in the stomach which was discovered during routine examinations, his daughter Dalma said. [...]
(MINNEAPOLIS) — A Minnesota-based poultry producer is recalling more than 164,000 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be contaminated with salmonella.
The Jennie-O Turkey Store products have markings saying to use or freeze by Nov. 12 or 13. The recall includes plain ground turkey and turkey with taco or Italian seasonings. The products were shipped to Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin.
Food safety officials are worried that some contaminated turkey may be in people’s freezers. The recalled products have the tag P-579 marked on the lower left corner of the front of the package.
The USDA says the recall was part of an investigation into a November salmonella outbreak that involved 216 patients in 38 states. [...]
MALELANE, South Africa (Reuters) - American David Lipsky survived a double-bogey on his third last hole to hang on for a two-shot victory at the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Championship after shooting a final round 68 at Leopard Creek Country Club on Sunday. [...]
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ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - Argentina great Diego Maradona said on Wednesday he was fine after appearing to take ill during the South Americans' roller-coaster World Cup win over Nigeria on Tuesday, but found himself in hot water again after making an obscene gesture at the game. [...]
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