Police: Suspect swallowed fake 'diamond'; $13K gem still missing
September 11th, 2012
03:45 PM ET

Police: Suspect swallowed fake 'diamond'; $13K gem still missing

A man who investigators believed swallowed a $13,000 diamond at Sri Lanka's largest jewelry exhibition actually ingested a fake - and another man may have gotten away with the real one, media reports say.

Chou Wan, 32, of China, was arrested at the Facets exhibition in Colombo earlier this month on suspicion of swallowing the 1.5-carat diamond, the International Business Times reported.

But after authorities gave Chou laxatives and he passed the object, they learned it was a fake, the IBT reported Tuesday.

Police say a man who was with Chou at the exhibition might have gotten away with the real gem, and that Chou might have swallowed the fake to divert attention to himself, thereby buying time for the other man escape, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.


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Filed under: Sri Lanka
May 21st, 2012
05:12 AM ET

Sri Lanka orders release of jailed former army leader Fonseka

The Sri Lankan authorities on Monday set in motion the release of Sarath Fonseka, the former head of the country's armed forces who had been in prison since 2010, a senior government official said.

A letter rescinding Fonseka's sentence, issued by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is being sent to the prison authorities, said Justice Secretary Kamalini de Silva.

Under the Sri Lankan constitution, the president is empowered to pardon "any offender convicted of any offense in any court of Sri Lanka."

Rajapaksa had signed an order and placed it with the Justice Ministry before he flew to Doha to attend the Qatar Forum, according to his spokesperson Bandula Jayasekera.

Fonseka, who led troops to victory over Tamil Tiger rebels exactly three years ago this week, had fallen out of favor with Rajapaksa and his powerful brother, Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

That split came after Fonseka unsuccessfully challenged Rajapaksa at presidential elections in early 2010.

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Filed under: Sri Lanka
On the Radar: Arizona shooting, diplomacy, RNC and Steele, flood toll
Doctors say they see signs that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' condition is improving. Judge John Roll will be mourned Friday.
January 14th, 2011
10:10 AM ET

On the Radar: Arizona shooting, diplomacy, RNC and Steele, flood toll

Aftermath in Tucson - Doctors could remove the breathing tube for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Friday as she continues on her "miracle" journey to recovery after an assassination attempt and mass shooting, her husband said.

Giffords was shot in the head less than a week ago, but she is making progress, her husband and doctors told CNN. Her husband, Mark Kelly, told CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta that his wife is aware to some degree of what is going on around her and has the ability to move her arms and legs.

Meanwhile, a funeral Mass will be held Friday for U.S. District Judge John Roll, who was one of six people killed Saturday in the Tucson, Arizona, rampage. Media reports say more than 100 judges will attend the funeral, and security will be tight.

CNN is covering other angles in the Arizona case, including how suspect Jared Loughner "creeped out" classmates, the investigation into a bag with ammo thought to be Loughner's, whether a hero nearly shot the wrong person in the middle of the chaos and whether it is too easy to blame Arizona when looking at the tragedy.


Forecaster: Two phenomena responsible for world's bizarre weather
A graphic outlining sea temperature anomalies the first week in January shows drops in the Pacific as air temperatures rise between the U.S. and Europe (continents in gray). La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation are to blame, an expert says.
January 13th, 2011
03:35 PM ET

Forecaster: Two phenomena responsible for world's bizarre weather

The catastrophic weather events taking place across the globe – from Brazil’s and Australia’s flooding to the Eastern United States’ heavy snowfall – have two likely explanations.

Tony Barnston, lead forecaster at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said two phenomena – La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation – are likely responsible for the patterns we’re seeing.

Though La Niña is different every time, it can be simply defined as a drop in water temperature in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean. This particular La Niña appeared in July, Barnston said, and will last through spring.

During La Niña, there is less rainfall in the tropical Pacific and a horseshoe pattern of warm water typically forms in the North Pacific, the coast of Southeast Asia and the seas around Indonesia and Australia (check out the graphic above).

In this case, though, “the whole globe looks to be compensating,” Barnston said, noting that it’s difficult to determine if  La Niña spawns individual weather events.


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Filed under: Australia • Brazil • India • Indonesia • Philippines • Sri Lanka • Tropical weather • U.S. • Weather • Winter weather
October 20th, 2010
11:55 AM ET

Sri Lanka claims about 4,700 Tamil militants 'rehabilitated'

Sri Lankans celebrate last year after the government declared an end to a 26-year civil war.

Sixteen months after a quarter-century-long conflict ended, Sri Lanka's embassy says it has rehabilitated thousands of Tamil Tiger militants.

The plan is to reintegrate them into society, said Brig. Sudantha Ranasinghe, the island nation’s commissioner general of rehabilitation.

“We have handed over 4,685 ex-combatants to their parents after rehabilitation. Six thousand more are to be rehabilitated,” Ranasinghe said in a press release from the Embassy in Washington.

The majority of the militants surrendered or were captured last year in the final days of a 26-year civil war. The Sri Lankan government declared the conflict over in May 2009 after claiming it had killed the Tigers’ leader, Vellupillai Prabhakaran.


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Filed under: Ethnic studies • Militia • Sri Lanka • Terrorism • War