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CID questions close associates here of man who carried out violent knife attack in New Zealand 

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By Norman Palihawadane

CID sleuths have questioned close associates of Ahamed Adhil Mohamed Samsudeen, the man who carried out the attack at a shopping mall in New Zealand.

A senior police officer said that investigations revealed that the attacker had left Sri Lanka as a student in 2011. His close associates are now being questioned in order to gather more information about him.

Ahamed Adhil Mohamed Samsudeen was a resident of Kattankudy.

Police and CID teams had so far not discovered any link between Samsudeen and the Zahran group that carried out the Easter Sunday attacks here, even though the former’s hometown had been at one time a hotbed for such extremists, the officer said.

Samsudeen grabbed a knife at the mall in Auckland and attacked shoppers on Friday, injuring seven, including three critically.

New Zealand Police, who were undercover at the mall, shot and killed the man after he stabbed seven people.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said Samsudeen was under Police surveillance and was a supporter of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

New Zealand agency reports quoted Ardern as saying the man came to New Zealand in 2011 as a 22-year-old, travelling on a student visa. Whether he held extremist views at the time was unknown. He first came to the attention of the police in 2016 after posting extremist material and reposting videos on Facebook. The videos were about war and violence, including a terror bombing in Europe. He was spoken to twice by police that year, in April and May. He was then arrested at Auckland International Airport in May 2017, as police believed he was travelling to Syria to join ISIS,  agency reports said adding that New Zealand government had tried for years to deport Samsudeen.

The New Zealand Government released more details on the suspect following the lifting of a court suppression order.

New Zealand court documents made public yesterday said Samsudeen, 32, had arrived in New Zealand 10 years ago on a student visa seeking refugee status, which was granted in 2013.

Samsudeen was inspired by the Islamic State militant group and was being monitored constantly but he could not be kept in prison by law any longer, the government has said.

He came to the attention of the police and security services in 2016 after he expressed sympathy on Facebook for militant attacks, violent war-related videos and comments advocating violent extremism.

 



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.

(SF)

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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter

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The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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