Two white-van abductions: Police hopeful of breakthrough

Investigations into two separate incidents of abductions which have rekindled the fears of the once dreaded white van are continuing with detectives expressing hope of a breakthrough soon.

Police said yesterday that in the first abduction that took place on Thursday at dusk at Gonawela in Kelaniya, abductors overpowered a 33-year-old man and bundled him into the white van in which they arrived and drove away.

Investigations had revealed the man identified as Gayantha Perera had left his house after he had received a phone call from his girl friend, police said. They said the Kelaniya police were hopeful of a breakthrough soon.

In the other incident a bookshop owner was abducted shortly after dusk on Friday at Jubilee Post in Nugegoda and driven away in a white van.

Police said the victim was walking to his vehicle after closing his shop for the day when the abductors pounced on him. Police said they had recorded a statement of a driver of a three-wheeler parked at the scene. He had witnessed the abduction, the police said.

They said they had taken in a man along with his white van for questioning but they were not sure whether he was the abductor or his vehicle was used for the crime.

“We are investigating with an open mind,” a senior policeman said adding that their investigations had revealed he was once an active member of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna. The Crimes Division of the Mirihana Police is conducting the investigations.

Bogus foreign recruiter in custody

By Rekha Tharangani Fonseka

A suspect taken into police custody on 17 complaints of soliciting money on the guise of sending gullible applicants to Cyprus, had another 21 complaints against him, according to Mt. Lavinia police. Unsuspecting persons from various places such as Kandana, Kurunegala, Matara, Galle, Bandaragama and Wadduwa had fallen victim to this con man. The suspect, Abdul R.A. Saleem, 32, ran a mobile employment exchange, and when taken into custody on information received by the Mt. Lavinia police, he had in his possession, 9 passports with visas and air tickets, and 6 birth certificates.

He said he had a house at Millennium City and was a successful businessman, who was known as 2nd Sakvithi by people in Dematagoda and Kandana areas. He is said to have helped LTTE cadres obtain visas, charging exorbitant sums of money, while carrying on an illicit business. He is said to own houses in Kandana, Kolonnawa and Bandaragama.

Investigations continue under SSP R. Karawita and HQI T. Sugathapala.

Vijitha Yapa’s mother passes away

Katherine Yapa, mother of Mr. Vijitha Yapa, former editor of the Sunday Times, passed away on Friday.
The funeral will be held at her residence at Yapland, Waralla, on Sunday, 13th November 2011 at 5.00 p.m. She was 96 years old at the time of her death. She was the wife the late Mr. M.D. Yapa, a prominent social worker and tea planter in Morawak Korale in the Matara District.

Flu can come with weather changes

Changing weather patterns, with temperatures abruptly dropping, could give rise to viral flu, says consultant and community physician Dr. A. Balasuriya. Viral flu tends to spread with the onset of cold weather, usually from late October to December and January.

“Unusual weather patterns can trigger viral fever,” Dr. Balasuriya said. “The virus gets active when the human body adjusts to climatic change. Children are the most vulnerable.”

The main symptoms of viral flu are coughs, colds, sneezing, a runny nose, headache, sometimes accompanied by a mild fever. Muscle pain, eye irritation, changes in the voice, and loss of taste and smell are other symptoms. The first sign of viral flu is a sore sensation in throat and nose.

“Colds are not dangerous, but then can make you weak and susceptible to bacterial infections. A person with viral flu should get plenty of rest and lots of liquid, but not chilled liquids,” the consultant said.
Viral flu can last for one or two or even up to three to seven days.

He said those suffering from severe bronchitis and wheezing should be cautious with the coming cold weather condition.

63 families evacuated after Badulla earthslip

Sixty-three families were evacuated from Meeriyabadda, in Haldummulla, Badulla, after an earthslip occurred on Thursday. The families were moved to the nearby Handummulla Tamil School.
Minor landslides occurred in the area in 2004 and 2007.

A spokesperson at the Ministry of Disaster Management told the Sunday Times that a resettlement site was under construction in the Meeriyabadda area. The National Building Research Organisation has recommended the permanent re-location of residents, pointing out that the area could experience worse landslides during heavier rains.

Principal’s killing: Several students to be quizzed

Police investigating the killing of a school principal in Jaffna are set to question several students, a police official said yesterday.“We have some clues and are following them up closely. It is a matter of time before we close in on our suspects,” Jaffna Police Headquarters Inspector (HQI) Saman Sigera said.

He said the principal’s personal life style may have been the reason for him being killed sometime after dusk on Thursday this week. The victim, Sivasubramanium Dayaparam, 43 was attached to the Government Tamil Mixed School (GTMS) at Kandarmadam Nallur situated on the Railway Track Road.
He had been stabbed to death.

The victim was alone in the quarters at the time of the incident. His wife lives at Varani in her parent’s home. The motive for the killing is yet to be established, with the Jaffna police conducting further investigations under the instructions of HQI Sigera.

Elephants in search of paddy invade villages

By Hiran Priyankara

JayasingheIt is human-elephant confrontation again in Karuwalagaswewa, where, as many as 15 houses have been destroyed in a single week.

The elephants come in search of paddy, and the worst affected is Muriyankulama village, where the peasants have a struggle on their hands. A.P. Apeksha, a schoolgirl said schooling is a dangerous task due to the threat of elephants. Once, three of her family had to put up a fight with an animal that breached the walls of their house in search of paddy. A 50-year-old man said that, 15 years ago, such a menace did not exist in the village. He attributed the chasing of animals by Wildlife officials from elsewhere to these villages, as the reason for the recent menace.

When Chandrasiri Bandara, the chief Wildlife official of the area, was questioned, he said that the villagers were correct, and that, the department was tackling the issue.

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