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Agriculture Minister still grappling with rice mafia

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BY CYRIL WIMALASURENDRE

KANDY – Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage again vowed to eliminate the rice mafia of the country. The government  would strive to get it under its  grip during the  forthcoming  season, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said in Kandy on Saturday (29). 

Speaking to the media at the Central Province Governor’s Secretariat, Minister Aluthgamage said there was no need for people to panic about shortages as the government had made all arrangements to supply rice on call from authorised retail dealers through the Cooperative Wholesale Establishments (CWE).

The respective District Secretaries through the Divisional Secretaries had been directed to appoint authorised mobile consumer goods suppliers to take the goods to the door steps of the people during the lockdown season, Minister Aluthgamage said.

The CWE had sufficient stocks of rice at Rs.91 a kilo of raw rice and at Rs.94 a kilo of nadu rice, the Minister said.

The Minister dismissed as false reports that the country was experiencing a shortage of organic fertiliser.



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At least 17 killed after explosion in Peshawar mosque

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(picture from twitter)

BBC reported that at least 17 people have been killed in an explosion at a mosque in the Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The blast happened when the mosque was packed with worshippers and more than 90 people were injured.

A section of the building was destroyed, and officials say people are buried under the rubble. Several others are being taken to local hospitals.

The cause of the explosion is unclear.

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More heavy rain ahead for New Zealand’s largest city

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Auckland experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall on Friday (picture BBC)

BBC reported that residents in flood-hit northern New Zealand are bracing for more heavy rains as officials issued severe weather alerts.

At least four people have died and a state of emergency was declared in Auckland, which on Friday experienced its worst downpour on record.

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Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled

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by Priyan de Silva

Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, Nimal Punchihewa, asked to comment on a special news release, purportedly issued by the Director General of the Department of Government Information, on Sunday (29), told  The Island  that preparations for the 09 March local government elections were going ahead, as planned, and that the media statement at issue was misleading.

The media statement says: “The gazette notice with signatures of the Chairman and other members of the Election Commission required for the commencement of the Local Government election process has not been sent to the Government Press for printing.”

Punchihewa requested the public not to be misled by any misinformation being spread in an attempt to create doubts in their minds.He also  reiterated that the EC would not be deterred by any acts of intimidation.

Three of the EC members have been threatened with death by an unidentified caller to resign from their posts. They are S. B. Divaratne, M. M. Mohamed and K. P. P. Pathirana. The Opposition has accused the government of trying to sabotage the LG polls.

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