Sri Lanka

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Massive Mound of Garbage Collapses, Killing 16

The homes of 625 people were destroyed or under threat in Sri Lanka

(Newser) - At least 16 people were killed and more than 600 others fled their homes after a massive mound of garbage collapsed on part of a town outside of Sri Lanka's capital during festivities to mark the local new year, officials said Saturday. Four people were rescued from underneath the... More »

Soothsayer Busted for Predicting President's Demise

Probably wasn't a good idea to say Maithripala Sirisena was going to die

(Newser) - An astrologer who made several predictions that Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena would die has been arrested and released on bail, police said Wednesday, per the AP . Most Sri Lankans follow astrologers' advice, and the suspect, Vijitha Rohana Wijemuni, is a former navy sailor convicted of attempting to assassinate India'... More »

200 Families Missing After Mudslide

Mud has buried Sri Lankan villages

(Newser) - Torrential rains have sent landslides cascading over three villages in Sri Lanka, and at least 200 families were feared buried under the mud Wednesday, the Sri Lankan Red Cross says. Sixteen bodies have already been recovered and about 180 people have been rescued from the enormous piles of mud and... More »

Newly Found 'Star of Adam' Is Worth $100M

It's the largest blue star sapphire ever found

(Newser) - Kate Middleton's $45,000 sapphire ring can't compare to this showstopper: Gemologists in Sri Lanka say they've dug up the largest blue star sapphire ever found at a mine in Ratnapura, known as the City of Gems. The star sapphire—named for the star-shaped reflection that appears... More »

Good News, Bad News for Adulterer Sentenced to Die

Saudi court reduces sentence to 3 years in prison

(Newser) - An appeal has spared the life of a Sri Lankan maid sentenced to death by stoning for adultery in Saudi Arabia. A court announced the unidentified woman's sentence would be reduced to a three-year prison term on Wednesday, about four months after she was convicted of adultery with a... More »

Saudis Reopen Case of Woman Sentenced to Die Over Adultery

Court will take new look after Sri Lanka raises objections

(Newser) - A Saudi court has decided to reopen the case of a Sri Lankan woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva told parliament that an appeals court in Riyadh has decided to hear the case again following pleas by Sri Lanka's... More »

Tsunami-Hit Nations Mark 10th Anniversary

Ceremonies pay tribute to more than 225K dead

(Newser) - A decade after one of history's worst natural disasters killed more than 225,000 people in 14 countries, memorial ceremonies for Indian Ocean tsunami victims are being held across the region.
  • In Indonesia, the worst-hit country with more than 170,000 deaths—126,000 of them in Aceh province
... More »

Dalai Lama to Buddhists: Stop Killing Muslims

He calls for end to violence in Burma, Sri Lanka

(Newser) - If monks going on the rampage against Muslims doesn't sound very Buddhist to you, then the Dalai Lama is in agreement. At a celebration high in the Himalayas to mark his 79th birthday, the religious leader spoke out against attacks on the Muslim minorities in Burma and Sri Lanka,... More »

Tourist's Buddha Tattoo Gets Her Arrested

Sri Lanka will deport her over 'disrespectful' tattoo

(Newser) - A British woman learned the hard way that it's not a good idea to visit Sri Lanka if you have a visible Buddha tattoo. Tourist Naomi Michelle Coleman, 37, was arrested after arriving from India at Sri Lanka's main international airport yesterday; she was taken before a judge,... More »

New Hangman Sees Gallows, Quits

Sri Lanka searching for replacement

(Newser) - Sri Lanka is looking for a new hangman after its latest recruit quit in horror at his first sight of the gallows. The country's prison commissioner says the man was "shocked and afraid" after seeing the gallows after a week of training, reports the BBC . He is the... More »

After Mass Grave Found in Sri Lanka, Fears of More

Four more bodies found at 'layered' site

(Newser) - Four more skeletons were found yesterday when the second phase of excavation began on a mass grave that has put the uncounted victims of Sri Lanka's long civil war back in the headlines. So far 36 people's remains have been unearthed at the site, the ColomboPage reports, but... More »

Sri Lanka: OK, We'll Count War Dead

Island-wide census follows war crimes accusations

(Newser) - Amid international pressure, Sri Lanka has agreed to try to find out just how many people were killed during its merciless civil war. The government say a team of 16,000 officials "will conduct an island-wide census to assess the human and property damages occurred" in its long struggle... More »

Did a Sri Lanka Meteorite Have Fossils Inside?

Scientists fuel controversy with big claim

(Newser) - A group of scientists says a December meteorite over Sri Lanka held "fossilized biological structures"—but many of their colleagues aren't convinced. According to the pro-fossil team, electronic microscope images show tiny pieces of algae known as diatoms, supporting the idea of "panspermia." The theory—... More »

Group: Sri Lanka Executed Top Rebel's 12-Year-Old Son

Photos are proof of war crime, campaigners say

(Newser) - Sri Lankan government forces executed the 12-year-old son of a rebel leader on the bloody final day of the country's 26-year civil war, campaigners say. The Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka group says two photographs taken less than two hours apart show the son of slain Tamil Tiger... More »

Cops: Man Tries to Steal Diamond by Eating It

Suspect in Sri Lanka might face surgery

(Newser) - A man visiting a gem exhibition in Sri Lanka's capital tried to steal a 1.5-carat diamond by swallowing it, say police in Colombo. An X-ray showed the $14,000 stone still inside the 32-year-old Chinese suspect. He remains in custody and might face surgery if the diamond does... More »

UN on Sri Lanka: Government Committed War Crimes

Military blamed for death of tens of thousands of civilians in 2009

(Newser) - Civilians were slaughtered by Sri Lankan government forces and Tamil Tigers alike in the bloody final phase of the island nation's civil war, according to a hard-hitting report from a United Nations panel. The report accuses the Sri Lankan military of urging civilians in the separatist north to gather... More »

Sri Lankan Prez Re-Elected, Challenger Cries Foul

Mahinda Rajapaksa takes election, Gen. Fonseka vows to contest

(Newser) - President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been declared the winner of Sri Lanka's first presidential election since the Tamil Tigers' 26-year insurgency was defeated, but his opponent immediately vowed to contest the outcome. The BBC reports that the incumbent won 57.8% of votes cast; rival Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who took 40%,... More »

World Mourns Tsunami Victims

Prayers offered for 250K victims at graves, in mosques, on beaches

(Newser) - From Indonesian mosques to Thai beaches, prayer services and commemorations were held all across the Indian Ocean region today to mark the fifth anniversary of the catastrophic tsunami that obliterated whole villages and took nearly 250,000 lives. In Sri Lanka, all cars and trucks came to a standstill as... More »

Feds: NY Hedge Fund Boss Funded Terror

Donations were funneled to Tamil Tigers

(Newser) - A hedge-fund manager busted for insider trading has been contributing money to a Sri Lankan terrorist group, according to FBI agents. Raj Rajaratnam came under scrutiny in a federal probe into the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, a charity which was charged with funneling money to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,... More »

Sri Lanka Arrests Astrologer Who 'Sees' Ouster of Prez

(Newser) - He really should have seen this coming. A popular astrologer in Sri Lanka has been arrested after predicting the ouster of the president, the BBC reports. Police took Chandrasiri Bandara into custody this week after he foresaw a bad moon rising for Mahinda Rajapaksa and told opposition leaders they'd be... More »

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