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Lankan charged with murder at Canberra zoo

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A Sri Lankan sous chef has been charged with murder over the alleged stabbing death of a young female colleague in a kitchen storeroom at a Canberra zoo, Australian media reported today.

Jude Wijesinghe, 29, was arrested on Monday night and taken to hospital under police guard with “significant” self-inflicted stab wounds.

News.com.au confirmed that the victim is a 29-year-old Bhutanese national.

ATC Policing confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that Wijesinghe had been charged with murder, the report said.

“ACT Policing homicide detectives have today charged a 29-year-old man with one count of murder during a bedside hearing following an incident at the National Zoo & Aquarium yesterday,” an ACT Policing spokesperson confirmed.

The woman, who has not yet been identified, was found at 12.50pm in a commercial kitchen at the National Zoo & Aquarium of Yarralumla.

Police stormed Wijesinghe’s apartment in Oaks Estate around 2pm and spent hours inside, neighbours told Daily Mail Australia.

“He’s been here about one to two years,” one resident told the publication. “Before that, there was a group of guys living in there.”

“I can’t believe it,” another said. “It’s all a bit of a shock.”

Wijesinghe was a chef at Jamala Wildlife Lodge, which is part of the National Zoo & Aquarium, and regularly shared snaps of his culinary creations to social media.

It’s understood he migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka. He studied in Adelaide before working in kitchens across the country.

Metho Dema, First Secretary at the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Canberra today told news.com.au the victim is from Bhutan.

She added the close-knit Bhutanese community was deeply affected by the young woman’s death.

“The Embassy is in close contact with the bereaved family of the deceased as well as the Police and providing consular support,” Ms Dema said.

“The close-knit Bhutanese community in Canberra is deeply affected by this tragic incident involving a member of our community and is rallying around the bereaved family during this very difficult period.

“On behalf of the family and our community, we request that the media respect their privacy and allow them space to grieve this extremely tragic and sad loss.”

ACT Policing Detective Superintendent of Criminal Investigations Hall O’Meagher said witnesses heard “loud screams” around the kitchen area and responded to the disturbance.

“A homicide investigation has commenced and further inquiries will include an examination of the scene forensically, talking to witnesses and a post-mortem examination that will confirm the cause of death of this woman,” he said.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim.”

The knife police allege was used in the stabbing was found at the scene.

Photos from the scene show an extensive police response, with investigators interviewing people at the zoo.

The incident was contained to the zoo and there is no further threat to the ACT community, the police said.

The man is recovering in hospital under police guard, according to News.com.au.

Police do not know if the pair were in a relationship and are investigating this line of inquiry.

They added that the zoo would be closed “for some time”.

The National Zoo & Aquarium is privately owned 19-hectare zoo and aquarium at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin next to the Scrivener Dam.

The zoo is known for having the largest collection of big cats in Australia, including, until recently, the only tigon (a tiger, lion cross breed) in Australasia.

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Shooting incident ‘targeting’ former MP Uddika was self-orchestrated : Police

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Sri Lanka Police says it has been uncovered that the incident where several gunshots had been fired at the vehicle belonging to former Anuradhapura District parliamentarian Uddika Premaratne, had been orchestrated by the actor-turned-politician himself with the assistance of an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in the area.

Speaking during a press conference held in Colombo today (13), the Police Media Spokesman DIG Nihal Thalduwa said that the suspects connected to the incident have been identified so far following investigations carried out by the CID.

On September 17, 2023, a group of unidentified gunmen had opened fire at Premaratne’s car soon after he returned to his residence in Anuradhapura at around 10:35 p.m. The parliamentarian had managed to escape unharmed.

The perpetrators, who had arrived in a car, were said to have targeted the parliamentarian who was walking towards the house after parking his vehicle. The left rear door glass of Premaratne’s car was damaged in the shooting incident for which the gunmen were believed to have used a pistol.

Anuradhapura police initiated investigations soon after the incident was reported and Special Task Force (STF) personnel were deployed to beef up the security near the MP’s house. Later, investigations into the matter were handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

However, the former MP claimed that the existing system within the country was the reason behind the recent shooting incident targeting him.

Speaking in Parliament in this regard, MP Premaratne said that while he believed the system was the cause behind the recent shooting outside his residence, it is also the reason why the country is in the state it is today.

Later on 27 February 2024, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP resigned as a Member of Parliament, following which S.C. Muthukumarana of SLPP was appointed to fill the vacant MP seat.

However, Premaratne was later reported to have flown to Canada, seeking political asylum, which he refuted, and claimed that he was expecting a work visa in Canada.

In 2020, the popular actor was announced as a candidate for the 2020 parliamentary election from the Anuradhapura District as a member of the Sri Lanka People’s Freedom Alliance, a political alliance led by the SLPP formed in 2019. 

He obtained 133,550 votes and won a seat in the 16th Parliament of Sri Lanka.

(adaderana.lk)

(This story, originally published by adaderana.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Apple is the world’s first $1 trillion brand: Kantar

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Kantar BrandZ’s Top 10 Most Valuable Global Brands 2024 has named Apple as the world’s first trillion-dollar brand, holding onto pole position for the third consecutive year. 

Google, Microsoft, and Amazon join Apple atop the rankings, with McDonald’s rounding up the top 5.

Demonstrating how effective AI has become for driving brand value, NVIDIA has lept 18 places to crack the top 10 for the first time, holding sixth position with a 178% year-on-year brand value increase. 

Facebook rejoined the Top 10 after a one-year absence, while Oracle joined the Top 10 for the first time. 

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The G7 Summit begins today

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Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries are meeting for a three-day summit, starting today (13 June) to discuss global affairs in the southern region of Puglia (Apulia), Italy.  

Heads of state of the seven members – the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom – as well as the chiefs of the European Council and the European Commission will be present at the event.

Italy, the host of this year’s event, has extended an invitation to more than 10 other countries for sideline discussions. These include UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed, Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Notable absentees are Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who it  is reported, had been invited.

Support for Ukraine is top of the agenda. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to arrive on the summit’s first day for two sessions dedicated to the war-torn country. The G7’s most anticipated outcome is an agreement over a $50bn loan for Ukraine backed by profits accrued on Russian assets frozen in the West. 

The war on Gaza is also expected to dominate talks. 

Pope Francis will also be among the guests – the first time a pontiff has been invited to the summit – for a session dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI). Other specific sessions will be on migration, financial issues and the situation in the Asia Pacific. 

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