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Nishantha urges govt to summon all-party conference to make Port City a success

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The government should call for an all-party conference on the Colombo Port City Commission so that it could be made a successful project, says former Western Provincial Councilor Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe.

“We are not against the Port City project turning out to be the zone that helps this country become the economic hub of the region. Our fears are that this area could be used for the promotion of a black economy,” he told The Island.

Warnasinghe said that there were reasons to believe that the government might move ahead promoting the Port City area for cheap gains by allowing money laundering, night clubs and gambling there. “See the statements made by the members of the government ranks. Diana Gamage who recently switched alliances and is now with the government is talking of promoting a night life economy and to legalise prostitution. None within the government ranks has stopped her talking of the need to create red light districts to promote the economy. Then there are MPs like Arundika Fernando asking for the legalizing of moonshine. Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa is promoting smoking of cinnamon cigarettes. With these indications we have fears that the Colombo Port City area would be made use of for the nefarious activities to earn a fast buck by the government,” he said.

He said that Presidents including the incumbent one might come and go, but the people of this country would have to live with the consequences of projects such as the Colombo Port City. “We know that the area reclaimed to become the Colombo Port City should not be used to cultivate banana or used as an esplanade for kids to come and fly kites. It should be used to its fullest potential so that the country’s economy would be benefited. For that purpose the government should speak and listen to all without being adamant so that there would be no regrets in the future,” Warnasinghe said.



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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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