A stricken container ship that caught fire 13 days ago off the Sri Lankan coast, unleashing one of the worst ecological disasters in the country’s history, is now sinking, officials said. Since May 20, the Sri Lanka Navy and Indian Coast Guard have been working round the clock to try to stop that from happening as the blaze engulfed the container ship, which was laden with chemicals such as nitric acid and carrying 350 metric tons of oil in its tanks.
Oil and debris from a container ship on fire off the coast of Sri Lanka have coated beaches on its west coast. The Singapore-registered X-Press Pearl was carrying chemicals and cosmetics, and has been on fire for eight days. If the ship sinks, then hundreds of tonnes of oil could leak into the sea having an adverse impact on marine life.
Sri Lankan police have raided the headquarters of a hardline Islamist group founded by the suspected ringleader behind the Easter suicide bombings of churches and hotels. It comes as a ban on face coverings is due to come into force on Monday. Armed police in the town of Kattankudy searched the headquarters of the National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) and detained one man at the premises, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. On Saturday the government banned the NTJ under new emergency laws.
Sri Lankan officials revised the death toll from Easter Sunday bombings down by about 100 on Thursday, blaming the difficulty in identifying body parts at bomb scenes for the earlier inaccurate number. The new official figure was 253, down from an earlier 359, Deputy Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said. Police issued names and photographs of four men and three women wanted in connection with the attacks, as bomb scares and security sweeps kept the country on edge.
The Sri Lanka opposition accused the ruling party of using the Facebook data to crackdown on citizens, bringing the company into political tensions. The ousted Prime Minister and United National Party sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the company to safeguard users from data being used ‘in ways which are legally prohibited.’
Sri Lanka’s powerful Rajapaksa brothers have secured a landslide victory in the country’s parliamentary election, according to final results. The prime minister is most likely to be sworn in the same position by his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and the huge win on Friday could enable them to change the constitution and strengthen the dynastic rule.
After two months of political instability, Sri Lanka reinstated ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday. Wickremesinghe takes on the post of Prime ministership for the fifth time. Sri Lanka plunged into uncertainty after the president abruptly fired Wickremesinghe, citing differences over policy-making, and brought in former president Mahinda Rajapaksa for the post in a surprise move in October.
One person was killed on Sunday as Sri Lanka experienced a political crisis with the abrupt firing of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replacement by ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena claimed the move was caused by the economic crisis and a plot to kill him. Sirisena on Saturday suspended the parliament till November 16 after sacked Prime Minister Wickremesinghe sought an emergency session to prove his majority.
The terrorist group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that killed at least 321 people on Easter Sunday, but provided no evidence.The news came on Tuesday as the Sri Lankan minister of defense Ruwan Wijewardene said the attacks were in retaliation for last month’s terrorist attack against Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed. Sri Lanka has implemented an “emergency law” giving police powers to detain suspects without a warrant, and 40 people have now been arrested in connection to the attacks.
At least nine bombs tore through churches and hotels in three Sri Lankan cities on Easter Sunday. The death toll had risen to at least 290, with more than 500 others wounded, by Monday morning. Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene described the coordinated blasts as a terrorist attack by religious extremists. A Sri Lankan government official said the seven suicide bombers that attacked churches and hotels on Easter Sunday were from the domestic militant group known as National Thowfeek Jamaath, but that they likely had support from outside the country.