Wedding expenses to be curtailed by law in India

Life savings are poured into weddings in India, with price tags up to $75,000 not uncommon for affluent urban families hosting sometimes thousands of guests for sumptuous celebrations lasting for days. “I have seen people spend two million rupees ($30,000) just on dinner for wedding guests. Why should poor families be put under pressure to spend so much?” Her private members bill has been listed for discussion when parliament convenes on March 9, but such proposals must clear many hurdles to become law. Opulent weddings attract intrigue and disgust in India, where poor families can bankrupt themselves trying to meet the expectations of relatives and friends. A mining tycoon lavished $75 million on his daughter's wedding in November even as India was reeling from a painful cash shortage caused by a ban on high-value banknotes.

February 16, 2017 12:41 UTC

Iran says Israel 'biggest threat' to world peace

WorldIran said Thursday that Israel's atomic arsenal is the biggest danger to world peace, a day after US President Donald Trump vowed to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon. Israel is the “biggest threat to the peace and security in the region and the world,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, quoted by state news agency IRNA. Trump had warned Wednesday after meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington that the “threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions” was one of the major security challenges facing Israel. The Islamic republic's archfoe Netanyahu has warned that the deal will expire too soon to permanently remove the threat. Iran has consistently denied seeking nuclear weapons, saying its activities are exclusively for peaceful purposes such as power generation.

February 16, 2017 12:25 UTC

Google internet balloon plan at risk: Harin Fernando

NewsGoogle's venture to beam the internet to remote areas of the world via balloon has hit a legal snag in Sri Lanka that could see the project abandoned on the island, a minister said Thursday. But just a year after testing began in Sri Lanka regulators have been unable to allocate Google a radio frequency for the airborne venture without breaching international regulations. Communications minister Harin Fernando said the Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union (ITU) was opposed to Google using the same frequency as Sri Lanka's public broadcasters to provide its internet. The government and Google planned a joint venture where Colombo would receive a 25 percent stake, without any capital investment, for sharing its cellular spectrum with the project. About one-third of Sri Lankans have regular access to the internet, a figure expected to swell through the Loon project.

February 16, 2017 12:19 UTC

Edappadi Palanisamy to head Tamil Nadu, India

Edappadi Palanisamy took the reins of the ruling party after Sasikala, who was on the verge of becoming chief minister of the southern state, was spectacularly hauled off to prison for graft. Palanisamy, 63, was cleared for the top job after receiving Sasikala's blessing and a majority vote from the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party. “The governor has also requested the chief minister designate Edappadi K. Palanisamy seek the vote of confidence of the assembly within fifteen days,” the governor's office said in a statement. He emerged as the frontrunner after Tuesday's bombshell court verdict shattered Sasikala's political ambitions. Tamil Nadu, one of India's most prosperous states, was plunged into political crisis after its long-serving chief minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram died suddenly in December.

February 16, 2017 11:58 UTC

Police gift jeep to students studying motor mechanism

NewsPolice have provided a jeep for students of the Vavuniya Tamil Vidyalaya who are studying motor mechanism for their GCE A/Level examination. The vehicle was provided to the school after appeals made by the school's old boys' association and school principal to Vanni Range DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon. The DIG had then made a request to IGP Pujith Jayasundara. Accordingly, the IGP has authorized the release of a police jeep valued at about Rs.600,000 to the school for students to conduct their practical training on motor mechanism. The vehicle was recently handed over to the school by DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon at a ceremony attended by school officials, teachers, representatives of the old boys' association and students.

February 16, 2017 10:44 UTC

Thajudeen case: Former Crimes OIC granted bail

NewsThe Colombo High Court today granted bail to former Crime OIC of the Narahenpita Police, Sumith Perera, who had been in custody for allegedly concealing evidence in the murder of former Rugby Player Wasim Thajudeen. The decision to release the suspect on bail was announced after his bail application was taken up in court today. Accordingly, the former OIC was released on a cash bail of Rs.100,000 and three personal bails of Rs.1 million each. The suspect was barred from overseas travel and required to surrender his passport. The former Crimes OIC was arrested almost a year ago in connection with the murder of Wasim Thajudeen, who was found dead inside his car on May 17, 2012.

February 16, 2017 08:44 UTC

Student brawl: Fifteen arrested

At least eight students have been hospitalised following the two separate clashes between three leading schools in Colombo yesterday. According to reports an SLTB bus, a private bus, two vans and a car were damaged during the incidents. Fifteen students have been arrested so far in connection with the incidents. Police said that the brawl took place after a group of students had attacked a bus carrying students from another schools.

February 16, 2017 05:03 UTC

Nalanda, Ananda & DS students clash

NewsPolice have arrested 15 students from three leading schools in Colombo following clashes between rival groups which has left at least 10 injured and three vehicles damaged yesterday afternoon, police said. One of the clashes took place in Maradana between students of Ananda College Colombo 10 and the Nalanda College located in the same vicinity. In the other clash two rival groups within D.S.Senanayake college clashed in the Borella area. Police said six of the injured students have been hospitalized while four others with minor injuries have taken treatment privately. The clashes contributed to the major traffic blocks in the city aggravated by three other protests.

February 16, 2017 04:47 UTC

Students to be produced before courts

Ten students who were arrested by Maradana police and later released on bail over the clash between two leading schools yesterday will be produced before the Magistrate Courts, Maligakanda again this morning, police said. Five students who were arrested by Borella police will also be produced before the Aluth Kade Courts this morning. The clash between students of two leading boys’ schools in Maradana resulted in 15 arrests and eight hospitalizations, the police said yesterday. Students from Ananda College and Nalanda College have clashed within the premises of D. S. Senanayake College, another boys’ school in Colombo. Several vehicles including a bus and a van were also damaged.

February 16, 2017 04:18 UTC

Cricket: Historic Girls' Big Match at Panadura today

SportThe Panadura Esplanade will be in a different atmosphere when Mahanama Navodya College, Panadura girls meet Wadduwa Central School girls in their inaugural Big Match today (16) commencing at 10.00am. In this full day’s match it will be a battle between experience and talent where Mahanama with three years back ground lock horns with Wadduwa Central with just over an year’s experience. Danushka Ranmuthu, the coach of Wadduwa Central too is confident that his team though they are less in experience may create an upset in this inaugural big encounter. With a batting line including five batters who are capable of scoring runs freely will give the bowling attack of three right arm medium pacies and the spinners a total to bowl at. As both teams played in the recently concluded Singer Under 19 All Island Cricket Championship, an absorbing day’s cricket will be on the card at this inaugural girls cricket encounter.

February 16, 2017 03:22 UTC

SL in Aus: Sri Lanka warm-up with resounding 5-wicket win against PM XI

SportOpener Upul Tharanga hit an unbeaten 47 and Vikum Sanjaya captured three wickets as Sri Lanka beat a Prime Minister’s XI by 5 wickets in their Twenty20 series warm-up in Canberra on Wednesday (15). Tharanga and fellow opener Niroshan Dickwella gave Sri Lanka a flying start with an 80-run opening stand. It was a perfect lead-in for Sri Lanka for their three T20 game series against Australia, starting in Melbourne Friday. Voges began with a signature square cut for four before offering Sri Lanka a golden opportunity on 14, only to be dropped at deep mid wicket. Vikum Sanjaya was the pick of the bowlers with three for 26 off his four overs, while Malinga finished with one for 26.

February 16, 2017 03:18 UTC

China 'Silk Road' project in Sri Lanka delayed as Beijing toughens stance

Heavily indebted Sri Lanka needs the money, but payment for China's interests in Hambantota port could be delayed by several weeks or months, the sources added. Beijing also has a separate understanding with Colombo to develop a 15,000-acre industrial zone in the same area, a deal that Sri Lanka was hoping to finalize later. Yi Xianliang, Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka, said the two deals were related. "If we just have the port and no industrial zone, what is the use of the port? Hundreds of protesters clashed with police in January when a demonstration against the planned industrial zone turned violent.

February 15, 2017 22:52 UTC

UN chief: "no alternative" to two-state solution for Israel, Palestinians

WorldU.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday against abandoning the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying there was “no alternative”. “There is no alternative solution for the situation between the Palestinians and Israelis, other than the solution of establishing two states and we should do all that can be done to maintain this,” Guterres said during a visit to Cairo. CAIRO, REUTERS

February 15, 2017 14:32 UTC

Malaysia police arrest woman over N. Korean killing

As Seoul pointed the finger at poison-wielding female spies from North of their shared border, police in Kuala Lumpur said they were holding a woman with a Vietnamese passport. Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said 28-year-old Doan Thi Huong was arrested at the airport on Wednesday morning -- two days after the killing. “I don't really know why he became a dictator,” Kim said of his uncle Kim Jong-Un. Cheong Seong-Chang of the independent Sejong Institute in Seoul said the assassination was “unthinkable without a direct order or approval from Kim Jong-Un himself”. KUALA LUMPUR, AFP

February 15, 2017 13:53 UTC

Iran defeats U.S. navy in defiant animated film

opinionA full-length animated film depicting an armed confrontation between Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the U.S. navy is soon to open in Iranian cinemas, amid rising tensions over President Donald Trump's hardening rhetoric against Tehran. “I hope that the film shows Trump how American soldiers will face a humiliating defeat if they attack Iran,” Azima told Reuters in a telephone interview from the city of Mashhad in eastern Iran. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a powerful branch of the Iranian military, retaliates with full force, raining ballistic missiles on the U.S. warships. He said screenings will begin as soon as the film gets the necessary permissions from the cultural authorities. The director believes young Iranians have shown interest to the film as “they want someone to show them power of their country.”DUBAI, REUTERS

February 15, 2017 13:40 UTC

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