President Maithripala Sirisena today declared 82 heroes of the 1818 Uva-Wellassa rebellion, who were sentenced to the capital punishment and were expatriated, as patriots.The President signed the gazette declaring the 82 heroes of the 1818 rebellion as patriots at a historic ceremony named ‘Uththamaabhiwandana’, which was organized by the Department of Government Information. It was held at the Magul Maduwa in Kandy. Chief Prelates of Malwatta and Asgiriya chapters, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Ministers, Parliamentarians, and family members of the heroes of the 1818 rebellion took part in the event. (Colombo Gazette)
The long-term future of British bus maker, Optare plc, has been secured thanks to a refinancing agreement announced today that will see Indian commercial vehicle manufacturing company, Ashok Leyland, increase its holding in Optare to 75.1%, allowing the company to build upon its position as top five bus manufacturers in the world. Ashok Leyland is the flagship company in India of the Hinduja Group and the refinancing and guarantee of support will provide a substantially improved working capital facility for the business – safeguarding the existing contractual and statutory employment and pension rights of all Optare employees.CEO, Jim Sumner, said “This is great news for Optare’s customers, employees and suppliers by securing stability and the long-term future of the business. The re-banking of Optare represents a critical milestone in the turnaround of the business and allows us to now complete the final phase of the three year plan which commenced in June 2009.”He added, “In addition, our recent move to a new factory in Sherburn gives us the capacity and modern assembly facilities necessary to capitalise on the additional sales our deeper partnership with Ashok Leyland will undoubtedly deliver.”John Fickling, Chairman of Optare said, “Given the global economic challenges we all face, this is a game changing deal for Optare. It ensures that we can grow and prosper in an ever changing and demanding market place”.Vinod Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland observed, “We see this as an important element in realizing our vision of being among the top five bus manufacturers globally. Through leveraging the synergies of the two companies, we are confident that going forward we will be able to accelerate technology sharing, develop future-ready products and increase our global footprint to fast-track our growth in volumes.”Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman of Ashok Leyland said, “We are confident that, together with Optare, we can surge ahead leveraging historic British manufacturing excellence and taking advantage of the large opportunities for growth and development we see based on synergy and integration with the Ashok Leyland bus business.”Optare is Britain’s leading maker of advanced low-floor integral buses and employs around 500 people across the group, principally at its new assembly facility in Sherburn in Elmet, Yorkshire. The company produces a wide range of fuel efficient buses of its own integral design. In addition Optare has pioneered its ‘EcoDrive’ programme across all of its products which deliver a wide range of low carbon power options, including hybrid, full electric and dual fuel models.To see where Optare and other commercial vehicle manufacturers operate in the UK, click here.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
Two children were killed alongside their mother in a horror car smash moments after two separate cars were seen apparently racing nearby.Sanjay and Pawanveer Singh, aged 10 years and 23 months old, were passengers in a BMW car with their mother, when they were caught up in what one witness described as a “massive” multi-vehicle smash.Three cars, also including a Bentley and an Audi S3, were involved in the collision on the Birmingham New Road at the junction with Lawnswood Avenue in Wolverhampton at 8.45pm on Thursday, West Midlands Police said.The driver of the Bentley car, a 31-year-old man, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving. He has been released pending further investigation. The Audi driver has not been traced.A picture of Sanjay happily holding his younger brother in front of a Christmas tree was released by police alongside a tribute from their family. They said: “Our family are grieving over the tragic deaths of our two beautiful children, as well as dealing with the shock of the horrific crash. “We appeal to the general public to come forward as witnesses in order help police find the perpetrator who fled from the scene and to bring him or her to justice. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “It was too much. The mother was just in shock.”Eyewitness Dudley Hartley said police quickly cleared the area and moved onlookers away – after immediately realising the severity of the children’s injuries.Mr Hartley, who went outside to see if he could help at the scene, said: “It was absolutely shocking. To see something of this nature and then to discover there were two fatalities, both children, is shocking.”Accident investigators were on the scene overnight, where the blue Audi could be seen with a crumpled front end. “At this time we would appreciate some privacy and space to grieve over our precious loss. “Your co-operation in this would be very much appreciated.”Witnesses claim the driver appeared distressed after being accused of racing with the Audi, which struck the family car at traffic lights on a dual carriageway.Police are attempting to find the Audi driver, who left on foot.Passersby rushed to the scene in an attempt to help the victims and comfort and treat their mother.A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that nothing could be done to save the two young boys who had been badly hurt and they were confirmed dead at the scene.”The mother was taken to hospital seriously injured.A taxi driver told reporters two cars had passed him at a “very, very fast” speed about a mile away from the accident scene.Describing how two cars had passed him at speed, Tanveer Hussain added: “I was further up the road, by McDonald’s, and two cars overtook me. If I am doing 35 to 40, they were doing much more.”Explaining what happened after he heard a bang and then saw the crash site, Mr Hussain added: “I got out of my car and other lads tended to the children. What I saw was terrible.