Embilipitiya family murder : Six treasure hunters arrested

Police probing the murder of a four-member family in the Embilipitiya area, were investigating whether a tip-off by the chief occupant of the house to the Police about a treasure hunt, had led to the killing.
The family including two children – a 14-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter -- were killed in Panahaduwa in Udawalawe on Thursday night.

Six treasure hunters in the area were arrested following a tip-off from a businessman Lalith Kumara.
He was the owner of three buses, a metal quarry and more than five acres of land. Residents said that around 7.00 pm they heard gunfire from Lalith’s house, and when they rushed to the scene, they found four bodies in different locations.

The daughter, Nadeeka Sewwandi was found dead with books in her hand. Four police teams have been deployed for the investigations. At least 10 persons have been killed in the Embilipitiya police division in the past two weeks.

Rapist sentenced to 37 years RI

By L.B.Senaratne

An accused was sentenced after trial to thirty seven years rigorous imprisonment and ordered to pay compensation of Rs. 100,000 to a 20-year-old girl for raping her, failing which he would have to serve another term of two years rigorous imprisonment.

Kandy High Court Judge Manilal Waidyatilleke made this order in sentencing the accused. In this case Aluthgamage Sarath Upatissa of Meetalawa in the Gampola Police Division was indicted for the rape of the girl, having forced open the door of her house at night, where she was living with her grandmother. She was taken out of the house and then raped. The grandmother had raised cries, but the accused had fled. It was also revealed that he was under the influence of liquor at the time.

The non-summary proceedings were held at Gampola Magistrate's Court. Giving evidence from the witness box the accused said that he was not aware of the incident and that he had been living at the time with his sister at Polonnaruwa. He said that at the time of the incident he was painting a house of a politician. State Counsel Charaka Dharmasiri prosecuted.

New training centre for govt. servants

By Shelton Hettiaratchchi

President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was in Nuwara Eliya recently, directed a fully equipped training centre for government servants to be set up in the midst of a forested area. For this purpose a 25-acre block of land has already been selected.

The local training centre is to be set up along the lines of the Indian training centre for government servants which has been set up along the foothills of the Himalayas.

Minister of Administration Mr. W.J.M. Seneviratne selected the 25-acre block of land at Ambewela after an inspection carried out by Deputy Minister Wijaya Dahanayake, together with Ministry Secretary P.M. Abeykone, Director Administration M. Wijeratne, Dist. Secretary D.P.G Kumarasiri, Wild Life Range officer T.A.S. Kumarasiri and others.

The centre situated around 19 km out of the Nuwara Eliya town has a number of access roads leading to the Kandela Sanctuary, the Horton Plains. According to Deputy Minister Wijaya Dahanayake, the training institute situated in scenic surroundings will be easily accessible from two railway stations.

More Lankan refugees return as ferry service starts

More Sri Lankan refugees living in India are due to return to Sri Lanka in the next few months.
Currently there are some 120,000 Sri Lankans living as refugees in India. This week the UNHCR arranged the return of Sri Lankan refugees from India to Colombo by ferry as part of its facilitated voluntary repatriation programme.

The first group of 37 refugees (15 families) arrived by commercial ferry in the Port of Colombo on Wednesday after an overnight voyage from Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, southern India. They were accompanied by three UNHCR staff from India.

Refugees arriving at the Colombo Port on Wednesday

The return by sea will add a fresh dimension to UNHCR's voluntary repatriation programme as until now, all returnees have come by air, the UNHCR said.

The journey of returnees by sea is significant as refugees in camps in India have been telling us they want to return by ferry so they can bring more of their household possessions with them, said UNHCR's Representative in Sri Lanka Michael Zwack.

As at end-September 2011, UNHCR has helped 1,493 Sri Lankan refugees (466 families) return home to the north and east this year. The returnees are mainly from India (1,448) while small numbers have also come back from Malaysia, Georgia and the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia. In 2010, a total of 2054 Sri Lankan refugees returned home, an increase of over some 800, compared with the previous year.
“Refugees have been returning steadily in small and increasing numbers to Sri Lanka. It’s difficult to predict how many more will opt to return with the ferry route now open.

But what is important is that if they do want to return home and bring many of their possessions they now have that opportunity, Mr. Zwack said. All the refugees returning today have been living in some of the 112 refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, India.

Among the first arrivals by ferry were some refugees returning after more than two decades in India.
The UNHCR Representative was present at the Colombo port to welcome the returnees, along with Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development and Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce for Resettlement, Development and Security in the Northern Province.

They were also joined by the Deputy Minister of Resettlement Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan and government officials.

Most refugees have been returning to Trincomalee district, followed by Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna district. Some people are also returning to the Kilinochchi, Colombo, Batticaloa, Kandy, Ampara, Matale and Puttalam districts.

Combating dengue in Gampola a problem

By J.A.L. Jayasinghe

Dengue is on the increase in Gampola, in the Kandy district. Speaking at a recent discussion, Helath Director W.A.K. de Silva said as many as 95 persons had fallen victim to the disease in the Kahatapitiya and Udapalatha areas alone.

Government Agent Gamini Senarathne chaired the meeting. The Health Direc emphasised that combating the menace in Gampola had become a problem as the residents in the district were not co-operating with the health authorities to counter the spread of the disease.

He appealed to the media to help create awareness among the public to fight the epidemic. He added however there were many stumbling blocks in the campaign to arrest the rise of dengue in the district.

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