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Last updateThu, 21 Jun 2018 7am

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Boris Nemtsov murder trial begins at Moscow military court

Five men accused of involvement in the killing of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov have gone on trial at a military court in Moscow. A former deputy prime minister who became a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, Nemtsov was shot dead last year near the Kremlin. The defendants - all Chechens - were allegedly promised cash to kill him. All deny the charges.

Kashmir Valley remains calm

No restrictions were in place on the movement of people anywhere in the Kashmir Valley today where the nearly three-month long agitation is showing signs of fatigue. However, normal life continued to remain affected in Kashmir for the 87th consecutive day today due to the separatist sponsored strike. The Police said security forces have been deployed at some places, including market places, to instill a sense of security among the people so that they can carry out their day-to-day activities without fear.

The Police also added that the situation in Kashmir was improving with each day and there has been a significant increase in the movement of private and public transport, except buses, in uptown areas of the summer capital Srinagar, including in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk.

Deadly stampede at Ethiopia festival

Many people are reported to have been killed and injured in Ethiopia's Oromia region after security forces fired tear gas and shots to disperse a protest. Some died in a panicked stampede after troops opened fire.

Thousands had gathered for a religious festival in Bishoftu, 25 miles from the capital Addis Ababa. Some reports said troops responded after anti-government protesters threw stones and bottles, while others said demonstrators were entirely peaceful.

British PM to trigger Article 50 by end of March

Theresa May will formally begin the Brexit process by the end of March 2017. The PM's announcement on triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - which begins the formal negotiation process - means the UK looks set to leave the EU by the end of March 2019.

Mrs May also promised a bill to remove the European Communities Act 1972 from the statute book. She said this would make the UK an "independent, sovereign nation". The repeal of the 1972 Act will not take effect until the UK leaves the EU under Article 50.

SLBC Women's team won the Asi Disi Cricket Championship.

Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Women's team won the Asi Disi Cricket Championship organized by the Ministry of Mass Media.

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The Western Province is in the forefront at the National Sports Festival


The Western Province is in the forefront at the National Sports Festival being held at the Dorei Appa Stadium in Jaffna receiving 101 gold, 37 silver and 62 bronze medals. The 2nd place secured by the Central province receiving 28 gold, 35 silver and 38 bronze medals. Southern Province is in the 3rd place receiving 25 gold, 24 silver and 41 bronze.

Aleppo hit air strikes and barrel bomb

 

The divided Syrian city of Aleppo has seen a morning of air attacks, with reports of barrel bombs hitting a hospital already bombed this week.

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San Diego Police release shooting videos

Police in the US city of San Diego have released two videos of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man outside a shopping centre on Tuesday.

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World leaders laud Shimon Peres at the funeral

World leaders have hailed the vision of the late Israeli leader, Shimon Peres, as he is laid to rest three days after he died at the age of 93. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described him as "a great man of the world", as he led the eulogies.

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Two new SL records created in the 2nd day of the national sports festival

Today is the 2nd day of the National Sports Festival being held at the Duraiappa stadium in Jaffna. Two new Sri Lankan records were created today. Tharika Fernando of Western Province was able to create a new Sri Lankan record in the women's shot put event. It was 15 point 25 meters. Meanwhile, Jaga-Eswaran Anna of Northern Province created another record in the pole vault event by nailing
a 3.4 meter attempt. The previous record was by Hasitha Dilrukshi of North Central Province.

Meanwhile, Lionel Samarajeewa who represented the Central Province won the gold medal of the 10,000 meter event held today. The silver medal was won by B.A.Maduranga of Sabaragamuwa Province while K.G.S. Kumara from Uva Province bagged the bronze medal. Meanwhile, the 5000 meter event was won by Nilmini Ratnayake of Sabaragamuwa Province.

Chinese people honor deceased national heroes

Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior leaders attended a ceremony Friday at the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing to honor and remember deceased national heroes on the Martyrs' Day.

This year is also the 80th anniversary of the victory of the Long March, a famous military maneuver carried out by the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army of the Communist Party of China from 1934 to 1936.

Veterans, family members of martyrs and representatives of all walks of life gathered at the Monument to the People's Heroes at the Tian'anmen Square to mark the country's third Martyrs' Day on the eve of the National Day.

The leaders and other participants in the event will present flowers to the people's heroes.

Martyrs, as defined by the government, are "people who sacrificed their lives for national independence and prosperity, as well as the welfare of the people in modern times, or after First Opium War (1840-1842)."

It is estimated that China has about 20 million martyrs.

A peace deal in Afganistan

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani formalized a controversial accord with one of Afghanistan's most notorious warlords on Thursday. The government hopes the agreement will lead to more peace agreements.

Surrounded by hundreds of Afghan officials, Afgan President signed a pact that opens the door to the militant faction of Hezb-i-Islami, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, playing an active role in politics.

Despite the rhetoric of unity, Hekmatyar was not present and addressed a gathering in Kabul in a recorded video message, appearing by himself to sign the document in a small room.

Hekmatyar said in his message “I call on all sides to support this peace deal and I call on the opposition parties of the government to join the peace process and pursue their goals through peaceful means.”

Hekmatyar has been designated a “global terrorist” by the United States.

“We hope that the day comes when foreign interference has ended, foreign troops have departed fully from Afghanistan, and peace has been achieved,” Hekmatyar said.


His faction of Hezb-i-Islami has played a relatively small role in the current conflict, in which the Taliban have a leading role in battling the government in Kabul.

But government officials hope the accord will be a first step toward eventually making similar peace deals with the Taliban and other groups.

“This is a chance for the Taliban and other militant groups to show what their decision is: To be with people and join the respected caravan of peace, like Hezb-i-Islami, or confront the people and continue the bloodshed,” Ghani said.

India 'launches strikes against Kashmir militants'.

India's army says it has carried out "surgical strikes" against suspected militants along the de-facto border with Pakistan in Kashmir. The operation was aimed at preventing attacks being planned by Pakistan-based militants, a senior army official said.

He said "significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who are trying to support them". Pakistan denies India carried out any strikes and says two of its soldiers were killed in cross-border shelling.

Zimbabwe to host Sri Lanka for Tests

Zimbabwe Cricket has announced that they will host Sri Lanka for two Tests followed by a one-day tri-series that will also involve West Indies. The two Tests will be played in Harare, with the first one from October 29 and the second from November 6.

The tri-series will begin fromNovember 14 with the first match between the hosts and Sri Lanka at the Harare Sports Club. The three teams will play each other twice, making it a total of six round-robin matches, before the final on November 27. The last four ODIs and the final will all be played in Bulawayo.

Train hits New Jersey Hoboken station - casualties feared

A commuter train has crashed into a rail station in Hoboken, New Jersey. Casualties are feared but the extent of injuries and damage is unclear. Emergency crews have arrived at the scene. Photos on social media show extensive damage to the train carriage and station. The city of Hoboken is seven miles outside New York City.

Prime Minister's New Zealand visit to commence today

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe will leave for New Zealand today for a three day official visit. It is taking place according to an invitation extended by his New Zealand counterpart John Key

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Congress foils Obama veto for the first time.

Congress has voted to override President Barack Obama's veto of a bill that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabian officials. In the first veto override of his presidency, the Senate voted 97 to 1 and the House of Representatives 348 to 77, meaning the bill becomes law. Obama told CNN the lawmakers had made "a mistake". The President argued the bill could expose US companies, troops and officials to potential lawsuits abroad.

A leading Indian news paper reports about cancellation of Islamabad SAARC summit

A senior diplomatic source in Nepal says that the SAARC summit of 2016 will be cancelled.The confirmation came hours after India’s decision to stay away from the summit. Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also followed India's decision.

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National Sorts Festival starts tomorrow at Alfred Duraiappa stadium in Jaffna


The 42nd edition of National Sorts Festival will commence tomorrow at Alfred Duraiappa stadium in Jaffna.

The inaugural ceremony will be presided by the Speaker of the parliament Karu Jayasuriya. Ministers Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and Dayasiri Jayasekera along with political leaders of the North will also grace the occasion.

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Parliamentarian Jayantha Samaraweera arrested today by the FCID.

Parliamentarian Jayantha Samaraweera arrested today by the FCID. Mr. Samaraweera was arrested after a making statement at the FCID. The arrest was made over charges that Samaraweera misused vehicles belonging to the Presidential Secretariat during the previous government’s regime.The arrested MP is due to be produced before the Fort Magistrate today.

After India, more countries pull out of SAARC summit

Apart from India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan have also pulled out of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November, saying the environment is not right for the successful holding of the meet. The decision was conveyed by Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan on Wednesday to the SAARC chair Nepal.

The communication by the Bangladesh said, the growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by one country has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19thSAARC Summit in Islamabad in November this year.
It further says Bangladesh, as the initiator of the SAARC process, remains steadfast in its commitment to regional cooperation, connectivity and contacts but believes that these can only go forward in a more congenial atmosphere. Therefore, the country said it is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad.

Bhutan said, while it is committed to the SAARC process and strengthening of regional cooperation, it is concerned over the “recent escalation of terrorism in the region, which has seriously compromised the environment for the successful holding of the SAARC Summit.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last night also decided not to attend the SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November.

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