Iraqi forces push Islamic State further back in Mosul

On Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the military had begun “movement” against Islamic State in the west of Mosul without specifying what action was being taken there. Renewed military progress has been made in the last two weeks, thanks to improved tactics and coordination between different military units, U.S. and Iraqi military officials say. Some Islamic State fighters had fled by boat across the river, taking civilians as human shields, Mohammedawi said. Islamic State has fought from among crowded residential areas and witnesses have seen its fighters shoot at civilians in areas they have lost, in apparent efforts to slow the advance of Iraqi forces. Islamic State has claimed a number of recent attacks on the Iraqi capital.

January 17, 2017 17:53 UTC

Racial bias confirmed in a heartbeat: study

opinionA single heartbeat can cause a person to make a decision based on racial bias, said an unusual study Wednesday into the crucial organ's influence on snap human judgement. “We can use it to think about ways to target this heart-brain communication to reduce the tragedies caused by racial bias,” study co-author Sarah Garfinkel of the Brighton and Sussex Medical School said. Scientists already knew that each heartbeat fires a powerful signal to the brain. Also known from previous research is that racial bias often leads to harmless objects being mistaken for weapons in the hands of black people, including by police who have been known to shoot as a result. The scientists cautioned that the risk of false threat perception may be exacerbated in a tense situation with a faster, stronger heartbeat.

January 17, 2017 17:30 UTC

Iran opposes US presence at Syria talks in Astana

WorldIran's foreign minister said on Tuesday Tehran opposed a U.S. presence at peace talks on Syria in the Kazakh capital next week, after a decision by Russia and Turkey to invite Washington. “We have not invited them, and we are against their presence,” Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying. The United States, which led failed efforts to launch peace talks last year, has not been involved in the latest diplomacy around the Syrian conflict. They were helping the terrorists.” Russia and Iran, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful allies, and Turkey, pushed for the talks in Astana after Syrian government forces won a major victory in capturing eastern Aleppo late last year. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday that Turkey and Russia had decided to invite the United States to the Astana discussions, which begin on Jan. 23.

January 17, 2017 16:45 UTC

May's Brexit speech 'more realistic': EU's Tusk

WorldEuropean Union president Donald Tusk said Tuesday that British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on her plans for Brexit provided a “more realistic” picture of what London wanted. “Sad process, surrealistic times but at least more realistic announcement on #Brexit. May has said she will invoke Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon treaty to begin the Brexit negotiations by the end of March. In her speech, May said Britain will leave the EU's single market in a clean break from the bloc so that it would regain control over immigration. At the same time, London will seek a trade deal giving “the greatest possible access” to the single market after Brexit, she said.

January 17, 2017 16:05 UTC

Saudi Arabia sees China rise as stabilising

WorldThe rise of China will be a source of global stability not conflict, major oil supplier Saudi Arabia said at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday. “As gets integrated into the world, and into the world financial and economic systems, it has a tremendous interest in stability of those systems,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said. Washington is a longstanding ally of Saudi Arabia but ties were strained under President Barack Obama, who hands power to Trump on Friday. “I think the change will happen,” the Saudi minister said. “He has acted as a statesman as soon as he was elected” and last week visited Riyadh as his first foreign stop, the Saudi minister said.

January 17, 2017 15:44 UTC



India's Modi urges Chinese restraint as Trump handover nears

WorldGrowing military ambitions in the Asia-Pacific are creating security risks, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday in a coded message to China to exercise strategic restraint. Although couched in diplomatic language and not mentioning China by name, Modi's remarks in a keynote foreign policy speech aligned New Delhi with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's intent to curb Beijing's regional clout. “Rising ambition and rivalries are generally visible stress points,” Modi told an audience of politicians and top military brass from 65 nations at a security conference in New Delhi. That is music to the ears of the foreign policy establishment in New Delhi, as are Trump's tentative - albeit in Washington controversial - overtures towards Russia's President Vladimir Putin, whom Modi on Tuesday called “an abiding friend”. “Primary responsibility for security in the Indian Ocean rests with those who live in this region,” he said.

January 17, 2017 15:36 UTC

'100 percent' of Jaffna farmers could run out of water

News100 percent of farmers in Jaffna are in danger of running out of water for their crops, Jaffna District Secretary N. Vedanayagam has warned. According to the District Secretary, 24, 324 families in the district have already been affected by the ongoing drought. According to the District Secretary, 30 percent of farmers in Jaffna have already run out of water, but if the drought persists, the number could climb to 100 percent. Meanwhile, many residents in Jaffna are also running out of drinking water, authorities warned. District officials are currently working with Disaster Management officials to provide relief for the people and distribute water to them.

January 17, 2017 11:21 UTC

Lottery ticket prices back at Rs.20

NewsPresident Maithripala Sirisena has instructed to reverse the decision to increase the price of a lottery ticket to Rs.30. Accordingly, the price of a lottery ticket will now revert back to Rs.20 with immediate effect. The controversial decision by the Ministry of Finance to hike the price of a lottery ticket by Rs.10 had met with island-wide protests from lottery lottery dealers. Lottery dealers initially went on strike against the price hike after it came into force on January 2. Though these protests were later called off, a fresh strike was launched this week after negotiations aimed at resolving the matter broke down.

January 17, 2017 10:14 UTC

CPC trade unions protest against IOC

100 percent of farmers in Jaffna are in danger of running out of water for their crops, Jaffna District Secretary N. Vedanayagam has warned. Features & AnalysisFairway Galle Literary Festival 2017 gets underwayThe Fairway Galle Literary Festival 2017 opened on the evening of Wednesday, January 11 with invitees and partic...‘Gosha- Beat to Beat’ ; Evening of percussion drums, songs‘Gosha – Beat to Beat’, an evening of percussion drums, songs and serenity presented by Limini Weer...Princess Diana letter about troublesome son Harry sold at auctionLONDON A collection of handwritten notes by the late Princess Diana, one of which reveals that her younger son Prince...New Year's Eve celebrationsCaptured here are New Year's Eve celebrations which took place around the island. The following were captured at ...

January 17, 2017 09:44 UTC

Update: Tense situation between SLT- Private bus drivers in Vavuniya

NewsA tense situation arose today when private bus operators clashed with Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) employees at the newly opened Vavuniya bus halt, local media reported. SLTB buses were reportedly prevented from leaving the halt and according to reports were damaged. The tension had spilled out onto the Jaffna–Anuradhapura main road hampering traffic. The tense situation arose after private bus operators protested that SLTB buses had not moved to the newly opened Vavuniya bus terminal despite a section there being reserved for SLTB buses. In this context, private bus operators claimed it was pointless for them to move to the new bus terminal as passengers would continue to use the old terminal due to SLTB buses being parked there.

January 17, 2017 09:16 UTC

Cricket: Sumathipala summons Emergency Meeting at SLC

SportSri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala has convened an emergency meeting to discuss and review about the disastrous Test series against South Africa, where Sri Lanka was whitewashed 0-3. The meeting is presently underway at the SLC Headquarters in Maitland Place. According to a live video uploaded via social media, SLC CEO Ashley de Silva stated that the meeting is taking place headed by Sumathipala. De Silva stated that the team management presently in South Africa -- Coach Graham Ford and Manager Ranjith Fernando and skipper Angelo Mathews are due to take part in the discussions via skype. The meeting will also make way to discuss Sri Lanka's strategic and the way forward about the upcoming ODI and Twenty20 series against South Africa.

January 17, 2017 08:39 UTC

Canadian Federal Court upholds deportation of alleged LTTE fundraiser

NewsAn alleged fundraiser for the LTTE who has been fighting deportation from Canada for more than two decades has lost a key court battle after a federal judge dismissed his appeal, the Vancouver Sun reported. The Federal Court upheld the deportation of Manickavasagam Suresh on the grounds he was a member of a terrorist organization and that he was complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Initially, Canadian authorities tried to deport him under a security certificate, which was upheld by the Federal Court. The 40-page decision dismissing his appeal of that ruling was handed down on Jan. 10 but as of Monday had not yet been posted on the Federal Court website. The Tamil Tigers ran a lucrative fundraising operation in Toronto and Montreal until the WTM’s offices were raided by the RCMP in 2006.

January 17, 2017 05:58 UTC

"Buddhist Ideals of Good Governance" launched

President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed to reverse the decision to increase the price of a lottery ticket to Rs.30. Accordingly, the price of... Features & AnalysisFairway Galle Literary Festival 2017 gets underwayThe Fairway Galle Literary Festival 2017 opened on the evening of Wednesday, January 11 with invitees and partic...‘Gosha- Beat to Beat’ ; Evening of percussion drums, songs‘Gosha – Beat to Beat’, an evening of percussion drums, songs and serenity presented by Limini Weer...Princess Diana letter about troublesome son Harry sold at auctionLONDON A collection of handwritten notes by the late Princess Diana, one of which reveals that her younger son Prince...New Year's Eve celebrationsCaptured here are New Year's Eve celebrations which took place around the island. The following were captured at ...

January 17, 2017 05:57 UTC

Rugby: Kandy thrash Navy 50-22

SportReigning champions Kandy SC kept their title defending hopes alive by thrashing Navy SC 5-22 in a second round match of the Dialog Division 'A' Rugby League Championship at Nittawela on Sunday (15). Despite tensed pressure Kandy kept on to their game plan and led the halftime by 28-10. The winners went on to score from six tries, four conversions and four penalties. The Sailors scored from three tries, two conversions and a penalty.

January 17, 2017 05:26 UTC

Transport Minister takes aim at Northern Provincial Council

NewsMinister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala De Silva criticised the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) for failing to provide services to the people on time with the powers it has already been given. As such, he requested NPC members to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by President Maithripala Sirisena. The Minister further said that it was time to bring an end to the 'war' that was still ongoing between the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and private bus operators. Built at a cost of Rs.195 million, the Vavuniya bus terminal is the first bus terminal built in the Northern Province by the National Transport Commission. Ministers Rishard Bathiudeen, Deputy Minister Ashok Abeysinghe, Parliamentarian K. Masthan and Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray were among those who were present on the occassion.

January 17, 2017 05:25 UTC



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