B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan government has announced that it has purchased equipment worth Sri Lankan Rs.2,049 million for the Northern Province with loan from China at concessional rate.

“The government has purchased a huge amount of vehicles, machinery and other equipment from the People’s Republic of China to speed up the development programmes currently under way in the Northern Province under ‘Uthuru Wasanthaya’ 180-day development drive. The equipment was handed over to the state authorities by Chinese Ambassador Yang Xiu Ping,” an official announcement said here.

Probe into death threats

In another development, President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday ordered the police to carry out a thorough investigation into the recent death threats received by Frederica Jansz, Editor-in-Chief of The Sunday Leader, and Munza Mushtaq, its News Editor.

The order followed representation to President Rajapaksa about the threat by Frederica Jansz, a statement issued by the Presidential Secretariat said here.

The threatening letters were received by The Sunday Leader office after the newspaper reported on the Channel 4 video. Amnesty International earlier said the Sri Lankan authorities must act to ensure the safety of the two women editors. The threats, written in red ink, were delivered by post to the newspaper on October 22.

Lasantha Wickrematunge, founder and former Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, was murdered in January, three weeks after receiving a similar death threat, also written in red ink. No one has yet been prosecuted for the murder.

The most recent threats relate to The Sunday Leader’s coverage of a video broadcast on U.K. TV Channel 4 in August, which allegedly showed Sri Lankan soldiers executing Tamil prisoners.

The government stated that the video had been faked, but on October 18, The Sunday Leader printed an article on its front page highlighting a report that an analysis of the video concluded that the footage had not been tampered with or edited.