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Liverpool appoint Slot as manager to replace Klopp

Feyenoord boss Arne Slot is named as Liverpool's new manager, succeeding Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.

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Boy pulled from river remains critically ill

A teenager remains in a critical condition after a second boy died in the River Tyne in Ovingham.

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Nursery worker guilty of baby's manslaughter

Kate Roughley strapped nine-month-old baby Genevieve Meehan to a beanbag and left her for 90 minutes.

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'The Valhalla nail-biter that had everything'

Xander Schauffele’s thrilling breakthrough PGA victory over Bryson DeChambeau portrayed major golf in the best possible light, writes Iain Carter.

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Which BBC pundit got his predictions spot on - and how did the others fare?

Twenty-seven BBC pundits predicted who would win the 2022-23 Premier League title and finish in the top four. Who was spot on, and how did everyone else fare?

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The areas England must improve to take Australia's T20 crown

BBC Sport and data providers CricViz look at the pressing issues surrounding England's T20 side as they build towards this autumn's T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

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Assange wins right to challenge US extradition

It means Mr Assange can remain in the UK for now and challenge US assurances over his prospective trial.

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Prisoners and the Army donated infected blood in NI

The Infected Blood Inquiry published its findings in London on Monday afternoon.

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NHS and government covered up infected blood scandal, inquiry rules

Those in charge knew the risks of patients catching HIV and hepatitis from blood treatments, a report finds.

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Electric pulses may ease paralysis after broken neck

One patient who lost movement in her hand can now use it to scroll on a smartphone.

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At a glance: the inquiry's key findings

The report finds the infected blood scandal could and should have been largely avoided.

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Scottish blood victims were 'studied without knowledge'

The Infected Blood Inquiry has released its findings on the biggest treatment scandal in NHS history.

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Welsh minister apology for infected blood 'tragedy'

Eluned Morgan apologises to Welsh victims of the infected blood scandal, calling it a "tragedy".

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The trophies, the goals, the players - Klopp in numbers

As Jurgen Klopp says goodbye to Liverpool, we weigh up his tenure by checking out the data.

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Why thousands of NHS patients were given infected blood

Thousands were infected with HIV and hepatitis C, in the worst treatment disaster in NHS history.

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ChatGPT to lose voice over Johansson similarity

The flirty, conversational upgrade to OpenAI's chatbot has been compared by some to 2013 film Her.

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Archer will bring 'fear factor' on England return

Jofra Archer will bring a "fear factor" to England's bowling attack when he returns this month, says team-mate Sam Curran.

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MP calls for water parasite outbreak compensation

Totnes MP Anthony Mangnall says he wants South West Water to pay firms in Devon what they "deserve".

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South Africa's top court bars ex-president Zuma from standing in election

Ex-President Jacob Zuma's 15-month prison sentence disqualifies him from being a lawmaker.

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Summer interest rate cut possible, says Bank deputy

Ben Broadbent's comments come ahead of data which is expected to show a fall in inflation.

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No inquest to be held into death of BBC DJ Steve Wright

The coroner's court says it has "now discontinued this case", following the DJ's death in February.

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What we know about the helicopter crash that killed Iran's president

Authorities have not yet given a cause for the crash that killed Iran's president and seven others.

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ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Hamas leaders

Karim Khan says there are reasonable grounds to believe the leaders bear criminal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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  中新社曼谷5月20日电 据泰国媒体《民族报》20日报道,泰国国家经济与社会发展委员会秘书长达努查·皮查亚南20日在新闻发布会上透露,第一季度泰国GDP同比增长1.5%,但国家经济和社会发展委员会仍然下调了对今年经济增长的预期,将今年的增长预测从2.2%-3.2%小幅下调至2%-3%,这主要归因于持续的地缘政治冲突等因素带来的影响。

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Watch: How Iran state TV broke news of president's death

Footage shows the site of the helicopter crash which killed the president and foreign minister.

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Love Island to bring back social media ban

Friends and family will not be able to post on behalf of the islanders while they're in the villa.

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Top Gear stars sign up for new road trip series

Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris will travel around Europe as they grapple with mid-life problems.

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  中国日报网5月20日电 美国政府近日宣布,对中国电动汽车征收的关税将从25%提高到100%,对中国太阳能电池的进口税也将翻一番,从25%提高到50%。国际舆论普遍认为,美国此举是滥用贸易保护主义措施,不仅无助于美国本土相关产业的繁荣,损害美国消费者的利益,更不利于全球能源转型。

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  中新社北京5月20日电 综合消息:国际刑事法院首席检察官卡里姆·卡恩20日表示,他已向法院法官申请对以色列总理内塔尼亚胡、以国防部长加兰特和三名巴勒斯坦伊斯兰抵抗运动(哈马斯)领导人的逮捕令。

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Sixties pop phenomenon Frank Ifield dies aged 86

The singer was the first person to score three consecutive number one hits in the UK charts.

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GB News could face Ofcom punishment after breach

The broadcast regulator's said the network had been found in breach of due impartiality rules.

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和评理 | 滥施单边制裁不得人心 美国应迷途知返


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Ofcom rejects OnlyFans complaint about BBC report

A complaint about a report which highlighted claims that illegal images had originated on OnlyFans has been dismissed.

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Iran declares five days of mourning for president

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Kamenei offered condolences after the deaths of the president and foreign minister.

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Breaking Newscast: Iran’s President killed in helicopter crash

Adam and Lyse Doucet discuss what happens next

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Who is in charge of Iran?

How does President Ebrahim Raisi's sudden death impact how the country is run?

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Flotilla of RNLI boats mark 200 year anniversary

A mix of historic and modern boats take to the water at Poole Quay for a celebratory parade

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  中新社首尔5月20日电 (记者 刘旭)韩国政府20日敦促离岗满三个月的实习住院医师在当天返回岗位。

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  中新社北京5月20日电 据伊朗伊斯兰共和国通讯社报道,伊朗政府20日召开紧急会议并发表声明,对伊朗总统莱希及其随行人员的遇难表示哀悼。新一届总统选举将在未来50天内举行。

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Lyse Doucet: What next for Iran after President Raisi's death?

Raisi's death will test a system where hardliners dominate all branches of power, Lyse Doucet writes.

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Rishi Sunak to speak after infected blood inquiry says victims betrayed

An inquiry identifies a catalogue of failures and accuses the government and doctors of trying to cover up what happened.

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因阿根廷总统发布不当言论 西班牙召回大使并要求道歉

  中新网5月20日电 据路透社19日报道,因阿根廷总统米莱发表涉西班牙首相桑切斯妻子的不当言论,西班牙宣布召回西班牙驻阿根廷大使。西班牙外交大臣阿尔瓦雷斯还要求米莱就此进行道歉。

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  中新网5月20日电 据英国广播公司(BBC)20日消息,英国高等法院就“维基揭秘”网站创始人阿桑奇拒绝被引渡到美国一案作出裁决称,阿桑奇可以就此继续提起上诉。

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Should London become a 'sponge city'?

Surface flooding is one of London's biggest threats - so what can be done to combat it?

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  中新网5月20日电 当地时间19日,伊朗总统莱希和外长等人乘坐的直升机在浓雾中穿越山区时坠毁。据伊朗媒体消息,机上人员全部遇难。

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  中新网5月20日电 据国际刑事法庭官方社交账号最新消息,国际刑事法庭检察官当地时间20日宣布,寻求对以色列总理内塔尼亚胡和国防部长约亚夫·加兰特发出逮捕令。

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Profile: Ebrahim Raisi, Iran's hardline president

The cleric, who became president in 2021, cracked down on dissent and took a tough stance with the West.

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Children plot Chelsea Flower Show takeover

This year's event includes junior judges and a "no adults allowed" garden designed by children.

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Warning over Asian hornets after record sightings

There have been 108 sightings of Asian hornets since 2016, of which 56 were in 2023.

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  中新网5月20日电 综合外媒报道,当地时间19日,一架载有伊朗总统及高级官员的直升机发生事故。20日,伊朗官方通讯社等多方证实,伊朗总统莱希等高级官员在直升机事故中罹难。

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  中新网5月20日电 据路透社报道,伊朗总统莱希、外长阿卜杜拉希扬等在直升机事故中遇难后,伊朗最高领袖哈梅内伊当地时间20日宣布全国哀悼五天。

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  中新网5月20日电 据俄罗斯卫星网报道,伊朗总统莱希及随行人员的葬礼将于5月21日在伊朗大不里士市举行。

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  中新网5月20日电 据路透社20日报道,一名以色列官员表示,以色列与伊朗总统莱希遇难事故无关。

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Four ISIS terrorists hailing from Sri Lanka arrested at Ahmedabad airport

India, May 20 (Hindustan Times) - The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested four ISIS terrorists, all of whom are Sri Lankan nationals, at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad.

The Gujarat ATS has taken the suspects to an undisclosed location for intensive questioning, reported TV9 Gujarati. The precise motive and intention behind their presence at the Ahmedabad airport is not clear.

Security has been heightened across the airport.

The arrests were made ahead of the arrival of three IPL teams at the Ahmedabad airport for the qualifier and eliminator games.

In March, two top-rung leaders of ISIS in India were arrested near the international border after they crossed over from Bangladesh. The arrested ISIS cadres were identified as Harish Ajmal Farooqi alias Harish Ajmal Farukhi, a resident of Dehradun in Uttarakhand, and Anurag Singh alias Rehan, a resident of Panipat in Haryana.

4 Sri Lankan Suspected ISIS Terrorists

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  中新网5月20日电 据卡塔尔半岛电视台20日报道,伊朗最高领袖哈梅内伊就伊朗总统莱希的遇难表示哀悼。

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  中新社北京5月20日电 德黑兰消息:据伊朗伊斯兰共和国通讯社、伊朗国家电视台20日报道,伊朗总统莱希以及伊朗外交部长阿卜杜拉希扬已在19日的直升机事故中遇难。

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  中新网5月20日电 据美国有线电视新闻网(CNN)援引伊朗塔斯尼姆通讯社报道称,伊朗红新月会负责人表示,在伊朗总统遇难的直升机事故中,遇难者的遗体将被运往伊朗大不里士市。

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Lil Nas X: I felt like an imposter on tour

The rapper and singer discusses having to learn how to perform after rising to fame online.

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  《中国新闻周刊》记者 曹然

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伊朗政府内阁发表声明 对总统等人遇难表示哀悼

  中新网5月20日电 据伊朗国家通讯社报道,当地时间20日,伊朗政府内阁就伊朗总统莱希等人在直升机事故中遇难一事发表声明。

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  中新网温哥华5月19日电 (记者 余瑞冬)首届加拿大FIRA机器人世界杯公开赛5月18日在位于大温哥华地区的西蒙菲沙大学揭幕。

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How should countries deal with falling birth rates?

As the UK and US continue to see falling birth rates, options to deal with the issue are limited.

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  中新网5月20日电 据卡塔尔半岛电视台报道,委内瑞拉总统马杜罗对伊朗总统莱希的遇难“深感悲痛”并表示哀悼。

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  中新网5月20日电 据美国有线电视新闻网(CNN)及伊朗国家通讯社报道,在伊朗总统莱希及伊朗外交部长阿卜杜拉希扬遇难后,政府内阁当地时间20日召开紧急会议。

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  中新社印度尼西亚巴厘岛5月20日电 (记者 李志全)第十届世界水论坛20日在印度尼西亚巴厘岛开幕,这是世界水论坛首次在东南亚国家举办。

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  中新社北京5月20日电 马德里消息:据外媒报道,因阿根廷总统米莱在西班牙发表不当言论,西班牙政府19日决定召回驻阿根廷大使。

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加纳总统车队发生车祸 至少1人死亡

  中新社北京5月20日电 阿克拉消息:据加纳官方通讯社报道,加纳总统阿库福-阿多的车队当地时间19日晚发生车祸,造成至少1人死亡、多人受伤。

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Metro disabled access 'shame' for Paralympic Paris

Charity says lack of work to improve access to Paris's Metro ahead of Games is "scandalous".

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Water investors have withdrawn billions, says research

A report suggests shareholders have taken billons but failed to invest as water bills look set to rise.

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What happens when councils take control of buses?

More people are using buses in Reading where they are publicly-owned - will others towns follow?

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How did Guardiola turn Man City into the Premier League's great untouchables?

Why Manchester City's fourth successive Premier League title proves they are the domestic game's great untouchables.

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Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi killed in helicopter crash

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is also confirmed to have died in Sunday's crash in north-western Iran.

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Iran helicopter crash: President Ebrahim Raisi dies

03.01PM - First official state funeral expected tomorrow

The dead bodies are being transferred to the city of Tabriz where the president’s helicopter was heading towards before crashing.

Once the bodies arrive in Tabriz, there will be an autopsy.

We are expecting the first official state funeral to take place in Tabriz tomorrow.  After that, the bodies are expected to be transferred to the country’s capital, Tehran, where state dignitaries and people will pay their respects.

Then, we are expecting the bodies to be transferred to the city of Mashhad for two reasons: first, it was the hometown of President Ebrahim Raisi who was born and raised there and his political career started there; and secondly, the city of Mashhad is the most important religious centre in Iran.

We are expecting the burial ceremony to take place also in Mashhad.

02.24PM - Hezbollah mourns ‘great brother’ Raisi

The Lebanese armed group issued a statement offering its “deepest condolences” to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Iranian people.

“We have known His Eminence the martyr president closely for a long time, so he was a great brother to us, a strong support, and a steadfast defender of our causes and the causes of the nation, foremost among them being Jerusalem and Palestine, and a guardian of the resistance movements and their fighters in all the positions of responsibility he held,” the statement said.

02.19 PM - Ali Bagheri Kani appointed as Iran’s Acting Foreign Minister

The cabinet of Iran has appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani as acting foreign minister following the death of Hossein Amirabdollahian.

He has served as deputy foreign minister since September 2021.

Kani was deputy secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council between 2007 and 2013.

02.10PM - Iran declares five-day mourning for President Raisi

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced on Monday five days of mourning for President Ebrahim Raisi who died in a helicopter crash.

“I announce five days of public mourning and offer my condolences to the dear people of Iran,” said Khamenei in an official statement a day after the death of Raisi and other officials in the crash in East Azerbaijan province.

01.30PM - Lebanon begins 3 days of national mourning

Lebanon on Monday announced three days of national mourning for the Iranian president and foreign minister, who were killed in a helicopter crash overnight near the Azerbaijan border.

Lebanon's armed group Hezbollah had also offered its condolences for the pair.

12.50 PM - What are world leaders saying?

International leaders have begun sharing their reactions to the news that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has died. Here's what they're saying:

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has posted on X saying he is "deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise" of President Raisi and his nation "stands with Iran" during this "time of sorrow"
  • Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said Raisi's death is a "terrible loss" and his nation would observe a day of mourning
  • President of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan says his country stands with Iran during this time, Reuters news agency reports
  • While President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela has praised President Raisi as an unconditional friend and an extraordinary leader

12.40PM - Hamas shared feelings of sadness and pain

The statement conveyed Hamas' "deepest condolences and solidarity" to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Iranian government, and the Iranian people for "this immense loss."

It praised the deceased Iranian leaders for supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance against Israel and expressed confidence that Iran's "deep-rooted institutions" will enable it to overcome "the repercussions of this great loss."

12.21 PM - Dead bodies of President Raisi, companions transported to Tabriz

Iran President News LIVE: Photo shows rescue team carrying dead bodies of helicopter crash victims.

The head of the Islamic Republic Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has announced that the dead bodies of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions are being transported to Tabriz, northwest Iran.

The large-scale search and rescue operation ended as the dead bodies were sent to a place in East Azarbaijan province where the martyrs of Tabriz are buried, Pir Hossein Kolivand said in televised remarks on Monday.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Iranian cabinet noted that the popular president of Iran, Ayatollah Raisi, has been martyred on the birth anniversary of Imam Reza (AS), the eighth Shia Imam. He was to return to Tehran from Tabriz, where he attended an opening ceremony on a joint Iran-Azerbaijan dam project.



12.18 PM - Iran’s supreme Leader pays tribute to Raisi

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has posted a tribute to President Ebrahim Raisi following his death in a helicopter crash.

In a post on X, the supreme leader posted a photo of him and Raisi with a brief message referring to Imam Reza, the eighth imam of Shia Islam and a revered figure in Iran.

Raisi’s remains are now being transported to the city of Tabriz.

It is still unclear when and where Raisi will be buried.

12.05PM - What do we know about the crashed helicopter?

  • Bell Helicopter (now Bell Textron) developed the aircraft in the late 1960s as an upgrade of the original UH-1 Iroquois for the Canadian military.
  • The new design used two turboshaft engines instead of one, giving it greater carrying capacity.
  • According to US military training documents, the helicopter was introduced in 1971 and quickly adopted by both the United States and Canada.
  • The craft is designed to carry aerial firefighting gear and cargo and to mount weapons.
  • This particular helicopter had been reconfigured to carry 15 people, including a pilot.
  • Sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to obtain parts or new aircraft.
  • The most recent fatal crash of a Bell 212 was in September 2023, when a privately operated aircraft crashed off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, according to the Flight Safety Foundation, a non-profit focusing on aviation safety.

11.33 - Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will assume powers after Raisi’s death.

Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber

According to the Iranian Constitution, in case of the president’s death or incapacity, the first vice president will take over until an election is held within a maximum period of 50 days.

11.05 - Who are the other officials killed in the helicopter crash?

Several senior Iranian officials were also killed alongside Raisi in the helicopter crash in the Dizmar forest, located between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa in East Azerbaijan province.

The officials include:

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian
East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati
Representative of the Iranian supreme leader in East Azerbaijan Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem
Head of presidential guard Mehdi Mousavi
The helicopter’s pilot, co-pilot and crew

10.30 - Iran's government convenes urgent meeting

Iran's government convened an "urgent meeting" on Monday following the announcement that President Ebrahim Raisi and the country's foreign minister were among those who died in a helicopter crash, according to Iranian state news agency IRNA.

The chair that Raisi usually sits in was vacant, and was draped with a black sash in memory of the president, according to a photo shared by state news.

The timing and details of a mourning procession will be announced in the future, state media FARS News Agency reported.

09.40 - Mehr News Agency says Raisi, Amirabdollahian killed in crash

The semi-official news agency reports that the Iranian president, foreign minister and other occupants of the helicopter, including East Azerbaijan Province Governor Malek Rahmati, have been “martyred”.

There is still no official confirmation that Raisi is dead, but medics have said that they found “no signs” of life at the crash site.

09.26 - Rescue teams pictured during search for president's helicopter

Rescuers with the Iranian Red Crescent Society are pictured at an unknown location as they search for the crash site of a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

The aircraft was an American made Bell 212 helicopter and is believed to have crashed into a mountain in Iran as a result of bad weather as Mr Raisi returned from a meeting with the leader of Azerbaijan.

Rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province in the early hours of Monday. 

09.16 - Iranian President Raisi and the officials accompanying him are feared dead after the Red Crescent says it has found “no signs of the helicopter’s occupants being alive” at the crash site.


08.17 - Iranian official says 'expectations low' for president to be alive as rescuers locate helicopter - report

Reuters news agency reports that an Iranian official has said "expectations are low" that the Iranian president will be found alive after his helicopter crashed.

Rescuers have located the aircraft that was carrying Ebrahim Raisi, an official has told Iranian state television. 

The head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, Pir Hossein Kolivand, said rescue teams were around 1.25 miles away from the crash site.

06.47 - Turkish drone locates heat source in Iranian mountains

A Turkish drone has located a heat source in the Iranian mountains they believe could be the location of the helicopter crash site.

News agency Anadolu reported that the coordinates of the source had been shared with the Iranian authorities.

04.03 - Iranian foreign ministry thanks 'governments and nations for solidarity'

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran has issued a statement: "On Sunday afternoon, a helicopter carrying the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and several companions unfortunately had an accident in the Varzaghan region of East Azerbaijan province.

"Despite adverse weather and environmental conditions, efforts by rescue teams to reach the accident site continue earnestly and with hope.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran sincerely thanks the numerous governments, nations, and international organizations for their expressions of human emotion and solidarity with the government and people of Iran, as well as their offers of help and assistance for the search and rescue operation."

03.23 - Rescue crews have yet to find crash site of Iranian president's helicopter, official says 

Rescue crews haven't yet located the crash site of the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society, Pir-Hossein Koulivand, told Iranian state TV IRINN.

Earlier, a military commander said the aircraft's exact location had been detected through a signal from the helicopter and a mobile phone of a crew member, according to state news agency IRNA.

The crews are still searching around where the signals were detected, Koulivand said. 

Harsh weather conditions and heavy fog have made the search for the crash site very difficult. It is now just after 1 a.m. local time in the remote, mountainous province.

02.48- Russia is sending two planes

Russia is sending two planes, two helicopters and 50 rescuers to assist in operation over helicopter crash involving Iran's president

02.25 - People pray for Iranian president

In downtown Tehran, crowds of people have gathered to pray for the safe return of the Iranian president. 

A ceremony has been held at Vali-e-Asr Square, and state media has been broadcasting prayers since this afternoon. 

Images of hundreds of people, some with their hands outstretched, praying at Imam Reza Shrine in the city of Mashhad, one of Shiite Islam's holiest sites, as well as in Qom and other locations across the country, have also been shown. 

01.41: In pictures: Latest scenes from the search site

Here are some of the latest photos from the helicopter search site in Varzaqan, East Azerbaijan Province...


1.15 - Hamas release statement after 'painful incident'

Hamas has released a statement following the Iranian president's helicopter crash. 

The militant group, which is based in Gaza but backed by Iran, said it was following reports of the incident with "great concern". 

Describing the incident as "painful", it said it was in "complete solidarity" Iran. 

"We ask the God Almighty to protect the Iranian president and his accompanying delegation and to keep the brotherly Iranian people away from all harm and evil," it added.

01.00 - Iranian president and foreign minister are still missing

The Iranian president and foreign minister are still missing after their helicopter crashed during a flight back from Azerbaijan. 

Ebrahim Raisi and Hossein Amirabdollahian were travelling in one of three helicopters that were travelling as part of a convoy. 

The other two have reportedly made it to their destination safely. 

Iran flies a variety of helicopters in the country, but international sanctions make it difficult to obtain parts for them.

Its military air fleet largely dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. 

Fog hampers rescue efforts for Iranian president after helicopter crash

00.19- Turkey sending search and rescue equipment to Iran

Turkey is sending search and rescue equipment to help find the Iranian president and foreign minister. 

Its disaster agency said it received a request for assistance from Iran following Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash earlier today. 

23.58 - Turkey says it will send night vision rescue helicopter to aid Iran in its search

Iran has requested assistance from Turkey in the search for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's crashed helicopter, the Turkish disaster and emergency management ministry said Sunday.

Iran requested a night vision search and rescue helicopter, the ministry said. 

Turkey is also sending six vehicles and 32 mountaineer search and rescue personnel to Iran, according to the ministry.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on X that his government is "following the incident closely, in full contact and coordination with the Iranian authorities."

"On behalf of my nation, I convey my get well wishes to our neighbor, friend and brother Iranian people and government, and I hope to receive good news from Mr. President and his delegation as soon as possible," Erdoğan added.

23.50 - Turkish president 'deeply saddened' by helicopter crash

Turkey's president has said he is "deeply saddened" by the helicopter crash involving his "brother" Ebrahim Raisi. 

Writing on X, Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was in full contact with the Iranian authorities and stood ready to provide any necessary support. 

23:30 - It's nearly midnight in the frigid mountains where the Iranian president's helicopter crashed

It's now past 11:30 p.m. local time in the remote, mountainous region where the Iranian president's helicopter crashed this afternoon.

It has been approximately 10 hours since authorities lost contact with President Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter in the country's East Azerbaijan Province, where dense fog hindered search efforts during the day. Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency warned that extreme cold would only hinder the search further as night fell.

The overnight low temperature in the nearest city of Tabriz will be in the low 50s on Sunday. It's difficult to obtain precise weather data from the remote mountains where the crash took place, but temperatures there will dip closer to freezing, according to CNN meteorologists.

Iranian officials say they have located the exact crash site and are sending teams there. Earlier, authorities managed to make contact with two people who had been aboard the aircraft, according to a government spokesperson.

23.47 - Conflicting reports over Iranian president's helicopter being found

public to pray for Raisi and the others on board as rescue crews sped through a misty, rural forest where his helicopter was believed to be. 

In the last few moments, conflicting reports have emerged with some suggesting the Iranian helicopter's crashed helicopter has been found. 

Reuters news agency quoted state media as saying Ebrahim Raisi's chopper was discovered by search and rescue teams. 

It did not detail where it was found, or if any survivors have been located.

But moments later, Iran's Red Crescent denied the report. 

23.45 Iranian president's helicopter found - state media

The Iranian president's helicopter has been found, state media has reported. 

It said Ebrahim Raisi's chopper was discovered by search and rescue teams. 

It has not detailed where it was found, or if any survivors have been located.

23.36 - 'There will be no disturbances' - Iran's supreme leader seeks to reassure public

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has sought to reassure the public following the helicopter crash involving Ebrahim Raisi. 

"We hope that God the almighty returns the dear president and his colleagues in full health to the arms of the nation," he told state TV. 

23.22 - Contact made with passenger and crew member, says Iranian official

Contact has been made with a passenger and a crew member of the Iranian president's helicopter, an official has told state TV. 

The unnamed official said contact has been made on several occasions. 

23.15 - European Commission activates satellite mapping service to help search for Raisi

The European Commission has activated its satellite mapping service to help look for Iran's president. 

Crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said on X that the service was turning on its "rapid response mapping service in view of the helicopter accident." 

23.02 Rescue teams experiencing 'difficult and complicated conditions'

Rescuers have not reached the crash site of a helicopter carrying Iran's president and foreign minister, according to an Iranian government spokesperson.

22.38 - Pakistan's prime minister 'waiting with great anxiety' for update

Pakistan's prime minister says he is "waiting with great anxiety" for a positive update after Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash. "Our prayers and best wishes are with Hon President Raisi and the entire Iranian nation," he adds. 

22.03 - President of Azerbaijan 'seriously worried' after news of helicopter crash

The president of Azerbaijan has said he was "seriously worried" after hearing about Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash. 
Ilham Aliyev had met the Iranian president earlier today for the inauguration of a dam in Azerbaijan.

21.56 - Questions about 'foul play' will inevitably be asked, says expert

The cause of Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash is still unknown, and there are several possible reasons it may have been forced to make a hard landing. 

21.56- Iraq offers help in search and rescue operation

Iraq has offered to help Iran in its search and rescue operation, its government has said. 
Iraq's interior ministry, the Red Crescent and other relevant bodies have been instructed to offer their services, it added in a statement. 

21.37- US 'closely watching' reports of helicopter crash

The US is "closely watching" reports of the helicopter crash involving Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a US State Department spokesperson has said. 

21.18 - All army resources utilised for search and rescue operations - state media

Iran's army chief of staff has ordered the utilisation of all its resources to help in the search and rescue operations related to Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter crash, state media has reported. 

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi's 'life is at risk' after he was involved in a helicopter crash near the border with Azerbaijan.

A frantic search mission is underway after the aircraft, which was traveling in Iran's East Azerbaijan province near Jolfa, around 375 miles northwest of Tehran, suffered a 'hard landing' on Sunday, according to Iranian state television.

The helicopter was one of a convoy of three and foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, Friday prayer Imam Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem and other high-ranking officials were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president.
The lives of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian are at risk following the crash over mountain terrain, an Iranian official told Reuters.

All army and Iranian guard resources are being utilized in the search efforts for the helicopter. 

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Arrest of four persons over War Dead Commemoration: Sri Lankan authorities in Canada in dilemma

Colombo, May18 (DailyMirror) -The recent arrest of four Tamils in the Eastern Province over the commemoration of war dead has left Sri Lankan diplomatic authorities in Canada in a precarious position in countering allegations regarding human rights violations, a top source said.

Canada is home to around 240,000 Tamils of Sri Lankan origin, lobbying against the alleged human rights violations during wartime.

An informed source said the latest incident in the Eastern Province is raised in Canada by Tamil rights activists, and the Sri Lankan government authorities are in a fix even beingunable to issue a rebuttal.

Besides, Sri Lanka is alert whether Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will renew genocide allegations against Sri Lanka when the country marks victory day today. Sri Lanka ended the civil war on May 18, 2009.

However, Canada’s Parliament has voted to recognize May 18 as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day in 2022 though the Federal Government of Canada has confirmed that whathappened during the war in Sri Lanka does not amount to genocide, a concept with a deeper and broader legal meaning.

When the Canadian Prime Minister made allegations last year, the Sri Lankan government protested strongly. Foreign Minister Ali Sabry summoned Canadian High Commissioner Eric Walsh and stated that Mr. Trudeau’s “politically motivated statement was divisive and issued for domestic political consumption”.“sri Lanka vehemently rejects this unsubstantiated allegation of ‘genocide’ relating to the country’s almost three decades of terrorist conflictperpetuated by the LTTE,” the statement issued last year said.

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Sajith bars Daily Mirror over liquor controversy

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa has announced a ban on the Daily Mirror from covering any press briefings held by the SJB.

The decision comes in the wake of accusations made by Premadasa, who criticized the publication for what he deemed as a "mockery of journalism."

Accusing the Daily Mirror of deliberately misquoting a statement made by him on banning liqour licenses in the country, Premadasa expressed his frustration at the handling of his statements. However on many occasions Premadasa has taken out his frustration on the paper after the paper made critical coverage on him as an Opposition Leader. 

One such example is when Premadasa said he would lead the Aragalaya to oust former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa from his seat on July 9, 2022, but instead of leading the protest he got himself admitted at a private hospital in Colombo leaving the public to wonder where the Opposition Leader was.

Sajith Premadasa should be reminded that the Daily Mirror does not dance to the tune of any politician but instead serves the public in an accurate manner. Him banning Daily Mirror from press briefings is a loss to himself.


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Health experts raise red flags over soaring influenza cases

*Parents advised to keep a close watch on their children

*Seek prompt medical care if symptoms persist

Colombo, May 14 (Daily Mirror) - In the wake of the rising influenza cases at an unusual rate, health experts are urging the public to beware of symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

Speaking to Daily Mirror, Dr. Deepal Perera, a Paediatrician at the Lady Ridgeway Children's Hospital in Colombo said, it’s vastly prevalent among children and thus the parents are advised to keep a close watch on their children.

“There are usually two peaks of influenza namely November to February and April to July,” he stated.

“This time, we have seen a substantial rise in cases among children and adults as well. The cases have doubled during the last week alone. As of now, the predominant type is influenza A. However, influenza B is also prevalent,” he pointed out.

In light of the situation, the expert stressed the importance of seeking prompt medical care if the symptoms persist.

Groups susceptible to influenza-like illnesses include pregnant mothers, children under two years old, individuals aged 60 and above, and those with chronic diseases.

The Secretary to the Health Ministry had earlier advised the national influenza centre to enhance Influenza-like Illness Surveillance at 20 hospitals including Colombo, Ragama, Kalubowila, Negombo Hospitals, Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children and Infectious Disease Hospital.

Accordingly, samples are directed to the national influenza laboratory on a daily basis.

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Selectors deny favoritism in Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup squad selection

Colombo, May 13 (Daily Mirror) - While denying any favoritism during the selection of players for the Sri Lanka squad in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024, Sri Lanka Cricket Selection Committee Chairman Upul Tharanga said the Sri Lanka team is in a good position to challenge any team at the World Cup to be held in the West Indies and USA.

At a media briefing held to address various concerns regarding the Sri Lanka T20 squad for the World Cup, Tharanga said there was no favoritism in the selection process except for talent, fitness and discipline of players. He said the 15-member squad named for the World Cup is balanced and powerful. 

Responding to injury concerns about skipper Wanindu Hasaranga and fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana, Tharanga said both players are fit for the tournament.

When questioned about the inclusion of Dunith Wellalage in the squad, Tharanga highlighted his all-round performance and the potential advantage for the team in conditions like those in the US. 

"Dunith is a left-arm spinner and we can utilise him even in the power play," he said.

Regarding the selection of Dananjaya de Silva in the 15-member squad and Bhanuka Rajapaksa as travelling reserves, Tharanga explained it was a decision made after extensive discussions with all selectors, coaches and the captian.

"Dhananjaya is a good all-rounder, so we chose to include him over Bhanuka," he clarified.

When asked about the utilisation of the three main all-rounders - Dhananjaya, Angelo Mathews and Dasun Shanaka in the squad, Tharanga said that Mathews and Shanaka will be given priority in the playing 11 over Dhananjaya de Silva.

Responding to inquiries about Kusal Janith Perera's absence from the squad, the Chief Selector expressed regret, citing recent form despite his talent. 

Despite Kusal and Bhanuka being not included in the squad, Tharanga emphasized the squad's strong batting lineup with players like Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka and Dasun Shanaka.

Regarding Matheesha Pathirana's injury, Tharanga said that medical reports indicate Pathirana can participate in the entire tournament.

Speaking about the addition of Vijayakanth Viyaskanth as travelling reserves, the selectors believed he can be useful in the playing conditions in the West Indies. 

Selector Ajantha Mendis said Viyaskanth's strong performance compared to spinners Akila Dananjaya and Jafrey Vandersay was a reason for adding him as traveyling reserves.

When asked whether the selectors had overlooked discipline when selecting players for the squad, Tharanga denied the claims and said discipline was a crucial factor. 

"We consider the players' discipline because they represent our country, and any misbehaviour not only affects the team but also our country's reputation," Tharanga affirmed.

The Sri Lanka team will leave tomorrow for the USA for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024.

Pix by Kithsiri De Mel

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Concessionary vehicle permits: MPs have their way, ignoring economic crisis

Colombo, May 13 (Daily Mirror) - Despite the cost of living sizzling at red hot levels and the country being cash- strapped, the House Committee of Parliament has endorsed the proposal to offer concessionary vehicle permits for MPs as requested by them, a top source said.

The source familiar with the decision said the committee which looks into the requirements of the MPs positively considered the request by them for such permits in line with the similar facilities offered to executive graders in different categories of the public service.

The MPs , numbering more than 100 and representing different parties, submitted a letter to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena asking for permission to import vehicles with no duty for their use.

Following the approval by the House Committee, the Speaker is expected to write to President Ranil Wickremesinghe who is authorized to execute the decision as the Finance Minister.

After constitution of every Parliament, the MPs are given vehicle permits . However, the MPs elected to the current Parliament at the 2020 general election did not get the benefit due to the economic crisis and the ban on vehicle imports to save foreign exchange.

The government is now mulling the possibility of lifting the ban. The MPs are likely to get permits once the ban is lifted only.

In the past, there were reports about the MPs selling off their permits and earning multimillion rupee revenue each.

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On-arrival visa fiasco drains VFS Global’s confidence in Sri Lanka

VFS Global which has been caught in the center of controversy in the on arrival visa issuance at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) has raised serious concerns with the Public Security Ministry led by Tiran Alles stating that while they were a reputed global company, they were shocked to be left victimized as the on arrival visa saga took a turn for the worse.

The Daily Mirror learns that the government had handed over the contract of the on arrival visa issuance to GBS - IVS, which is a Singaporean based company and VFS Global, which is a multi national American company, was handling the technical part of the process.

The Daily Mirror learns that last Wednesday night, there was a severe back log at the on arrival visa counter at the BIA as the internet failed raising the foreign staff to question if there was an act of sabotage to purposely disrupt the service.

A highly placed source said that the foreign companies involved had raised these concerns with the Public Security Ministry and the government will soon commence a probe. Before GBS - IVS took over the on arrival visa issuance at the BIA, the counter was handled by the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

As GBS - IVS and VFS Global were delayed in getting the platform back up, the on arrival visa counter was handed back to the Department of Immigration and Emigration which then continued a smooth operation once again.

"Surprisingly when GBS - IVS and VFS Global were handed over the counter, the internet at the BIA failed and for several hours staff attempted to get the system back online. VFS and GBS has raised these concerns of sabotage with the Public Security Ministry," a senior source familiar with the incident said.

In December, the Public Security Ministry led by Tiran Alles signed the agreement with GBS - IVS and VFS Global to handle the on arrival visa counter at the BIA. VFS Global came in to only handle the technical part of the process. The government approved the foreign company to charge an additional 25 dollars for the service in addition to the 75 dollars which was already being charged bringing the total to 100 dollars to be charged per passport.

VFS Global which is already handling similar on arrival visas in 67 countries were approached by the government to which a contract was then signed. In each country they operate, VFS Global ensures data privacy, creates local employment, and also promotes the destinations among their audience of travelers.

According to the break down given by the Sri Lankan officials, the 25 dollars being charged included VFS Global paying the staff salaries, the rent as well as money allocated for data protection and to carry out a tourism promotion campaign for Sri Lanka Tourism in the countries VFS Global operates.

That was surprisingly not conveyed to the public by the Sri Lankan government.

Now that the companies have been caught in the midst of controversy, the Daily Mirror learns that VFS Global and GBS - IVS have informed Minister Tiran Alles of why they have been left victimized and why the government has maintained a silence and not doing much to clear the company's image.

Minister Tiran Alles himself was away in Singapore for a private visit these past few days and returned to the country today. He is expected to meet the press today afternoon to give his version of the story.

Tourism Minister Harin Fernando already played it safe last week when he met the media and said he was not to blame over the whole fiasco. He will raise the matter in Parliament this week.

The Daily Mirror learns that VFS Global has also very strongly conveyed to the government that their reputation was being damaged in the ongoing political cross fire and they were left disappointed. With its experience in 67 countries, the company is hoping the dust would settle soon, a senior source from the Sri Lankan side said.

Foreign companies who are invited into the country are often left disappointed due to the government's lack or ignorance of updating the Sri Lankan citizens and when controversy breaks out, foreign companies are often left carrying out its own damage control due to the inability of the government ministers to clean the image and clear the air.

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Sri Lanka face unusual dilemma

By Harsha Amarasinghe 

May 5 (Daily Mirror) - Moving into World Cup tournaments, Sri Lanka selectors have traditionally faced difficult challenges in relation to squad selection. From time to time, the selectors have made tough calls; some of which have paid off and some turned out to be shocking mistakes - such as leaving out a young Wanindu Hasaranga as a reserve player to include Jeffery Vandersay and Jeevan Mendis in the squad for the ODI World Cup in 2019.

Usually, the selectors have always had trouble picking the spinners or batsmen, as the country did not have a lot to select from in terms of fast bowlers. However, arguably for the first time in history, the national selectors will have a very hard choice to make when they name possibly three or four fast bowlers in the final 15-man squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies.

In the preliminary squad, Sri Lanka have got Dushmantha Chameera, Dilshan Madushanka, Asitha Fernando, Promod Madushan, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Thushara, and Binura Fernando. Selectors will ideally go with four fast bowlers, considering that all-rounders Angelo Mathews and Dasun Shanaka are almost certain to be in the Playing XI. 

Asitha Fernando is probably Sri Lanka's best fast bowler in Test cricket. He has got decent pace and swings the new ball to cause enough trouble for batsmen, but most importantly, he is Sri Lanka's Neil Wagner - when the going gets tough, the captains tend to switch on the chin music through Fernando. However, he is probably the least likely to be named in the World Cup squad based on his T20 performances. 

On the other hand, Binura Fernando has been given a lot of opportunities in the recent past. The lanky medium pacer has had plenty of injuries throughout his career and is probably the slowest bowler in the preliminary squad. However, drop-in pitches are expected to be used in the USA for the World Cup, and his variations could come in handy in such conditions. 

Promod Madushan, like Binura Fernando, has been representing Sri Lanka a lot in the shorter formats, but that's mainly down to the fact that the senior men were injured. He has done well with the new ball, but in T20s, bowling death overs is hugely instrumental to the team's success, and perhaps that's not his strong suit. 

Left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka made a name for himself when Sri Lanka lifted the Asia Cup a couple of years ago - very famously dismissing Virat Kohli with a brilliant in-swinger, but there has been a massive drop in his form in the last few months as he has been reduced to the bench. Should he find his rhythm back, he would be very hard to overlook. 

Lahiru Kumara has been really inconsistent over the years, but in the recent past he has appeared to lose some pace in order to gain much-needed control over his bowling. But then again, is he one of Sri Lanka's top four fast bowlers going into the World Cup? This remains a big question mark. 

Matheesha Pathirana - given his form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) - is likely to be one of the first to be named in the Playing XI should he remain fit. However, it is concerning that the former Trinity quick missed a few games for CSK through an injury he has been carrying for a few weeks now. 

Nuwan Thushara is also considered another 'Baby Malinga' given his action similar to that of former great Lasith Malinga, but what Thushara and Pathirana offer is absolutely different. While Pathirana is a death-over monster - CSK barely gives him an opportunity with the new ball. On the other hand, Thushara, who is far less in terms of pace, bowls superbly with the new ball, and demolishing Bangladesh single-handedly a couple of months ago is a fine example of that, but he is probably not at the same level at the death. It's crazy to think that Sri Lanka had someone with both of these characteristics for nearly 15 years in Lasith Malinga - some things are not loved enough until they are gone. 

Dushmantha Chameera has been Sri Lanka's spearhead in the post-Malinga era, but like Lahiru Kumara and Binura Fernando, he has been injured a lot. He is currently playing in the IPL on absolutely flat wickets, with not much success, but he should get more assistance from the wickets in the USA.

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Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa informed Sri Lanka of the decision during a foreign ministerial bilateral discussion on Saturday. 

The Japanese government will provide Sri Lanka with a vessel and sonar system worth about 01 billion Yen in total. Kamikawa was expected to emphasize Japan’s position on realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific and demonstrate support for Sri Lanka, which sits in a strategic position along sea lanes.

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Gotabaya Rajapaksa cannot deny my allegations: Cardinal

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa cannot deny what he told me during the telephone conversation he had with me in 2021, Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said today.

Cardinal was referring to the statement of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa where he denies telling the former that recormendations made by the Presidential Commission cannot be implemented as he will have to take action against people and associations which were close to him. 

"Both I and my secretary can confirm and prove that the fomer President talked to me over the phone on Febuary 2 2021. Rajapaksa has said recently that the Presidential Commission which probed the Easter Sunday bomb attacks has only recormended banning Islamic extrmist organizations. However, the report has clearly recommended banning a non-Islamic organization as well. The former President cannot deny these facts," the Cardinal said in a statement.

He accused former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of transferring intelligence officers who were probing the Easter Sunday attacks. Also, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has accused the present government for failing to implement recormendations made by the Presidential Commission. The Cardinal questioned as to why action has not been taken against former President Maithripala Sirisena though the Commission has recormended action against him.

"The present government also continues to push everything which is connected to the Easter Sunday bomb attacks under the carpet," he added.

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Royal Pardon for 44 Sri Lankans in UAE

UAE, May 3 (Daily Mirror) - Forty four Sri Lankans who were in different prisons across the United Arab Emirates have been pardoned by a Royal order, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates has formally conveyed to the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi that these Sri Lankan prisoners received pardons by the Royal order on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan, April 2024.

These forty four Sri Lankans who have received the Royal pardon will be repatriated to Sri Lanka by the Government of the United Arab Emirates in due course. 

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi will collaboratively coordinate with the United Arab Emirates Government authorities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka to ensure their safe repatriation.

Meanwhile, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, Udaya Indrarathne extended appreciation to the Government of the United Arab Emirates and its Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior for making arrangements to pardon these Sri Lankans.

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