Top UN envoy condemns terrorist attack on Iraqi pilgrims

At least 50 people are reportedly dead following the suicide attack that took place at a checkpoint en route to a Shia Muslim mosque.“Today’s terrorist attack claimed the precious lives of Iraqis who were gathering on the occasion of Arbaeen to practice their religion. I am saddened by these horrific crimes that continue to target defenceless civilians,” said Martin Kobler. “I call on all Iraqis to maintain the shared bonds that are so deeply rooted in their collective memory to break the vicious circle of violence. “It is time for Iraq to reconcile and heal, not to continue to bleed,” added Mr. Kobler, who is the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).He extended his condolences to the bereaved families and his wishes for a full and speedy recovery to the wounded. He also expressed his full support for Iraqis in their resolve to continue advancing peace, stability and national reconciliation. 14 January 2012The top United Nations envoy in Iraq has strongly condemned the terrorist attack that occurred on Saturday on pilgrims in the southern city of Basra, resulting in a large number of deaths and injuries. read more

Two cyclones form off Sri Lanka

Two cyclones have formed off Sri Lanka and could bring strong winds and heavy rain over the next few days, the Indian media reported today.Meanwhile the department of meteorology in Sri Lanka said that a depression has formed in the South-east Bay of Bengal and is centered about 1000km to the East of Hambantota. As such eastern and south-eastern sea areas beyond 300km from Hambantota will experience strong winds (more than 60kms per hour), rough conditions and intermittent rain. Naval and fishing communities have been requested to refrain from their activities in the sea area beyond 300Kms (85E) from Hambantota coast. Showers or thundershowers will develop at several places in the Sabaragamuwa, Eastern, Central, North Central and Uva provinces during the afternoon or evening tomorrow. Showers can be expected in the Western, Southern and Sabaragamuwa provinces during the morning too.General public have been request to be vigilant about lightning activities and localized strong winds during thundershowers. (Colombo Gazette) read more