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‘Funds poured into NTJ kitty from all over the world’



Ex-Chairman of National Thowheed Jamaath tells PCoI

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Muslims from all over the world donated to the National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ), a former chairman of the terrorist organisation, Mohamed Yusuf Mohamed Tawfiq Moulavi, who is currently in remand custody told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating the Easter Sunday attacks on Saturday.

“I don’t know much about the specifics. I don’t know who exactly donated to the NTJ account. But there is a ledger on the expenses. I maintained that with the NTJ Treasurer, a man named Mastakeen.”

However, Mohamed insisted that he was not an extremist and that if he had known that NTJ leader Zahran Hashim was an adherent of ISIS ideology, he would never have joined the NTJ.

The representative of the Attorney General’s Department (AGD), who led evidence, told the witness that he had shared some videos of Zahran on his social media platforms. Given that Zahran’s posts were sectarian and fundamentalist by nature how Mohamed could claim that he had not been aware of Zahran’s ideology, the counsel asked.

“I only shared Zahran’s speeches that I agreed with. I have not shared any speech that promotes extremism or ISIS,” the witness said.

Although Mohamed said that he was not aware of Zahran’s extremism, the AG’s Department representative said the NTJ’s media unit had boosted Zahran’s extremist speeches.

The counsel asked how come Mohamed, the Chairman of the NTJ, had missed those extremist speeches.

“I am human. I could not observe Zahran all the time. I have also not seen any of these videos that promote extremism,” the witness said.

Mohamed said there had been a clash in Kattankudy on 10 March 2017 between the NTJ and members of Sunnath Wal Jamath group and that Zharan had gone missing thereafter. Since then he had had no contacts with Zahran, the witness said, stressing that he served as the Chairman of the NTJ in 2016 and joined the organization upon a request by Zahran Hashim.

Members of the PCoI then asked the witness when he had found out that Zahran was involved in the Easter Sunday attacks.

Mohamed: “Two days after the attack, the CID and the TID came to my house and asked if I could identify Zahran’s head. I was the one who identified it.

A Commissioner: “How did NTJ devotees respond to Zahran’s involvement?

Mohamed: “They were angry with Zahran.”

A Commissioner: Was the NTJ registered with the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU)?


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COPE meets online for first time in its history



by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.



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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors



During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra



The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email:

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