Sri Lanka denies poll allegations

Updated 12 December 2014
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Sri Lanka denies poll allegations

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s government has denied allegations made by a group of independent monitors that it is using state resources to give an unfair advantage to President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is running for an unprecedented third term in next month’s election.
The seven observer groups, some of which are funded by foreign non-governmental organizations, on Thursday raised concerns that the ruling party was exploiting public services and employees and that the police were ignoring complaints.
“These are wild accusations. If there is a basis for those allegations, they should take action,” government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said.
Police spokesman Ajith Rohana rejected charges that police were biased toward any candidate, adding: “There can be delays, but we totally deny inaction and the allegations.”
Rajapaksa, president of the Indian Ocean island state since 2005, had been expected to win re-election easily until the emergence last month of his former health minister, Mithripala Sirisena, as the opposition’s common candidate to challenge him.


Five Czech soldiers wounded in Afghanistan attack — ministry

Updated 5 min 43 sec ago
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Five Czech soldiers wounded in Afghanistan attack — ministry

  • The five soldiers were injured when a civilian vehicle loaded with explosives was blown up near an armored vehicle which then rolled over
  • Thirteen Czech soldiers have been killed in NATO missions in Afghanistan

PRAGUE: Five Czech soldiers have been injured in an attack in Afghanistan only two months after three others were killed, the Czech defense ministry said on Thursday.
“The attack on the Czech patrol occurred on Wednesday around 1220 GMT near the Bagram base in the Parwan province,” the ministry said in a statement.
The five soldiers were injured when a civilian vehicle loaded with explosives was blown up near an armored vehicle which then rolled over, it added.
One soldier with serious injuries underwent surgery and his life is no longer in danger.
Another with light injuries remained in hospital while the other three were released, the ministry said.
On August 5, three Czech soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing while on patrol in the eastern Parwan province alongside a US soldier and two Afghan soldiers, who were wounded. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
It was the deadliest assault on NATO soldiers in many months.
The Lidove noviny broadsheet daily reported on Wednesday that Czech special forces had killed one of the August attackers and captured another, while Czech TV reported “far more” had been killed and captured.
Thirteen Czech soldiers have been killed in NATO missions in Afghanistan.