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Zacky no more

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Today we with much regret bring to our readers the sad news of the demise of our long time colleague Zacky Jabbar (60). He died at home at Kumaragewatte, Pelawatte, where he had lived alone since the death of his mother. All that we have pieced together is that he last checked the Whats-app on the night of August 19, but since he lived a bohemian life like so many journalists, his body was discovered by his elder brother Zalman only on Wednesday.

It had not been unusual for Zacky to travel around, especially to places like the Maldives and be absent from office for days on end especially since he reached the retirement age of 55. But when he failed to turn up for some time we made discreet inquiries from his acquaintances and colleagues. We did not want it to be a megaphone search as Zacky guarded his private life. We finally managed to contact his brother Zalman, on Wednesday, to learn that even he and his sister, too, had been puzzled by Zacky’s absence from a family wedding last weekend.

Zacky entered the field of journalism in 1985 by joining the now defunct Sun newspaper after having worked at Browns. He joined The Island in the mid-80s and ever since had been a hard working member of our team. He specialised in covering the political round with very close contacts in the UNP and the previous government. He certainly was not a clock watcher; he was usually one of the last to leave office on any given working day.

Kaduwela Acting Magistrate ordered Zacky’s body to be released to Zalman for burial yesterday at the Muslim cemetery at Battaramulla. The magisterial order was given following the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) Dr. Sameera Gunaratne’s decision not to issue a death certificate as the cause of the death couldn’t be determined. The Magistrate said that the body had been found by Zalman on Sept 09 at Zacky’s home (No 1084/J Peiris Mawatha, Kumaragewatte)



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Cardinal: Was there any link between passage of 20A and Easter Sunday probe outcome?

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… stands by his claim of foreign involvement

By Norman Palihawadana

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday said that there could be a connection between the outcome of the probe into the Easter Sunday attacks and the enlisting of Muslim MPs’ support for the passage of the 20th Amendment.

The Cardinal said: “The leader of a Muslim political party voted against the 2Oth Amendment. But his MPs voted for it. The brother of Rishad Bathiudeen too was released around the same time. These are questionable developments. These events could be part of a deal.”

The Cardinal reiterated that international forces were behind the Easter Sunday attacks and that he did not believe that there had been any local political group directly involved in the Easter attacks.

Addressing the media yesterday, the Cardinal said that the remarks he made on Sunday had been misunderstood. He stood by his claim that international forces had been behind the attacks, he said.

“However, some people claim that I said a local political group was behind the attack. I have always maintained that there are international forces that use religious and ethnic extremists such as Wahabists to create conflicts. I was referring to such groups.”

The Cardinal added that only a small group of Muslims was involved in extremism.

The Archbishop also said that former President Maithripala Sirisena believed that taking action against extremists like NTJ leader Zahran Hashim would create unnecessary issues.

“Something along these lines is also in the PCoI on Easter Sunday attacks. The report also implies that the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was lenient in dealing with growing extremism in Sri Lanka.”

The Cardinal urged the government to protect the country and ensure that there would be no repeats of incidents like the Easter Sunday attacks.

The Archbishop of Colombo requested all religious leaders to work on rebuilding trust among all communities.

 

 

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AG appeals to Supreme Court against granting of bail to Ravi, others

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The Attorney General yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against bail for former Minister Ravi Karunanayake and seven others indicted in the bond case by the Colombo Special High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The eight accused were arrested and remanded over the bond scams. Later, they were released on bail.

The court warned that if the accused attempted to exert influence on the witnesses, by any means, bail would be revoked and they would be placed on remand until the end of the trial.

 

 

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26 more coronavirus cases detected in Jaffna Tirunelveli market area

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Another 26 COVID-19 cases had been detected on Sunday, from the Tirunelveli Market in Jaffna, which was the epicentre of the recent outbreak in the town, Dr. A. Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday.

The market and its surroundings had been reopened on April 11 following a 19-day lockdown. However, 378 PCR tests were conducted after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year and 26 of them proved positive.

Dr. Kethiswaran warned last week that there might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna after the New Year celebrations.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported in Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be lockdown, he warned.

“It’s too early to say whether we have to close the area down. We are monitoring the situation,” DR. Kethiswaran said.

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