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Desi vs. Desi

Oct 20 (WSJ) It seems like a courtroom drama made for Bollywood: The Sri Lankan hedge-fund kingpin being prosecuted by a fellow immigrant, the Indian-born U.S. attorney for Manhattan. But the case against Raj Rajaratnam is very much an American story. Mr. Rajaratnam, the billionaire founder of the Galleon Group, and Preet Bharara -- the Indian-born, Ivy League prosecutor – are both South Asian, a term that actually gained popularity (and possibility) overseas to more..

Police get prosecution training

Oct 20 (LNP) Police officers who had gone through the prosecution course can carry out their duties effectively for the general public understanding their needs and requirements. Around 41 police officers from the Kalutara and Panadura Police Divisions who have successfully completed the two week Prosecution course conducted by the Police Crime Division received their certificates at Police Headquarters yesterday. more..

Health Minister warns TUs, Opposition against politicizing health issues

Oct 20 (LNP) Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva warned the trade unions in the health sector and opposition politicians against seeking mileage from health issues. The Minister denied the accusations by trade unions and rival politicians that the government was importing substandard Rubella vaccines and it had caused the recent death of a student in Kurunegala. more..

'We cannot answer baseless allegations'

Oct 20 (LNP) Misconceptions and baseless allegations over the electoral procedures and systems would result in the breach of confidence among civil society of the entire democratic process. As responsible government officials we are not concerned with matters such as the person who obtains the highest aggregate of preferential votes or the person who would emerge as the Chief Minister, said Galle District Returning Officer more..

MIT faces exciting future

Oct 20 (LNP) MillenniumIT (MIT) looks set for an exciting future as part of the London Stock Exchange Group. We intend to leverage the Group s strong global franchise to further develop our global exchange technology sales business continuing to support our existing customers as well as expanding the company in to other markets and investing for the future, said MillenniumIT Chief Executive Officer, Tony Weerasinghe. more..

The Rajaratnam affair: A can of worms?

Oct 20 (LNP) America is the land of opportunity for the honest and the crooked alike. It is full of mysterious millionaires and billionaires like the eponym of Scott Fitzgerald`s unputdownable work, The Great Gatsby. Today, an American billionaire has hit the headlines across the globe over an alleged racket. He happens to be of Sri Lankan origin! Raj Rajaratnam is his name. He was arrested by the FBI and the US Justice Department filed insider trading charges against him and five others last Friday. more..

Old spares imported at prices of new ones by Railway Ministry :170 million loss

Oct 20 (LeN) The Railway dept. has imported used railway spares paying the price that would be paid to new ones. Within three months two imports of this nature had been made. In the first instance it cost Rs. 30 million 20 lakhs. On the next occasion, it has cost Rs. 140 million. By the fraudulent import of Traction Motor armatures for M2 and M4 engines, the Dept. has lost 30 million 20 lakhs. more..

Saraswathi pension scheme for artistes

Oct 20 (DN) A pension scheme for artistes who have dedicated their lives for the progress of the arts called ‘Saraswathi’ is to be introduced. A ceremony for awarding the ‘Saraswathi Pension Scheme’ will be held on October 21 at the Cultural Affairs Ministry with the participation of cultural and Natural Heritage Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardhana and Cultural Minister Piyasiri Wijenayake. more..

Trincomalee glistens

Oct 20 (DN) Sighting the blissful environs of Trincomalee after the end of a decades-old war was moving on a Tuesday morning. The war-torn background that once was has now changed to a heavy influx with carefree masses thronging to see the beauty of the sandy beaches and feel the golden sand. Many sources such as the Internet and English reference guides link the origin of the city with a Hindu God called Koneswaran. more..

The giant wakes up Revival of Yoda Wewa

Oct 20 (DN) From early times, the economic potentials in the North had played a vital role in strengthening Sri Lanka's national economy. Its landscape is unique in character since the nature has endowed it with a rich soil and most fertile paddy lands. Mannar is one of the administrative districts of the North. In the olden days, Mannar was famous for its port known as Mahaota, Mantota and Mahatheetha in Sanskrit, (which means the 'great port'). more..

‘Sri Lankan seafarers in higher demand’

Oct 20 (DN) From the inception of the Ceyline Group of Companies in 1985, it had been making a tremendous contribution by producing more efficient and professional seafarers to the industry, said Ceyline Group of Companies Group Managing Director Captain Ajith Peiris. He said while Ceyline Shipping was the first company to be incorporated, the CINEC Maritime Campus is the crowning of its success in the journey of diversification into many sectors. more..

Swine Flu: Three Kandy students test positive

Oct 20 (DM) Three students of a leading Kandy school were tested positive for the influenza A- H1N1 virus yesterday. Consultant Epidemiologist Dr. Risintha Premaratne said thethree students between the ages of 10 and 11 were among five suspected of being hit by the virus. The test were carried out by the Kandy Epidemiology Unit. He said in the aftermath of the spread of the virus among school children, a special health programme was carried out in more..

Muthuhettigama alleges death threats, seeks political asylum

Oct 20 (DM) UPFA Southern Provincial Council member elect Nishantha Muthuhettigama, speaking to Daily Mirror online, claimed that he is under threat by the Sri Lankan government and is going to seek political asylum from countries including Canada, Switzerland and India. more..

JVP wants life security for military leaders

Oct 20 (DM) JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake is expected to make a statement in parliament today asking the government to ensure life-time security for retired military leaders by introducing new laws to this effect. Mr. Dissanayake said he was making this statement taking into consideration the present political developments in Sri Lanka. Parliament is also expected to debate the supplementary estimate of Rs.34 billion meant for more..

Karuna says: Sack Pillayan

Oct 20 (DM) The rift between Minister Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman and Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan continues to deepen with Mr. Muralitharan calling for Mr. Chandrakanthan’s removal from his post of CM. The National Integration Minister told Daily Mirror ‘Hot Seat’ yesterday that in his opinion somebody like more..

SLFP CC meeting on polls put off

Oct 20 (Island) A crucial meeting of the SLFP Central Committee, to obtain views of the party membership on the holding of the Presidential, Parliamentary elections or a Referendum, scheduled for last night at Temple Trees, was postponed indefinitely as President Mahinda Rajapaksa had to be away from Colombo yesterday, Party sources said. more..

NCP leader says police want to arrest him

Oct 20 (Island) Leader of the North Central Provincial Council Attorney-at-Law Kasturi Anuradhanayake said that the Police were poised to arrest him for the abduction of Central Nuwara Gam Palath Pradeshya Sabha UPFA member R. Anura Bandara when he was being brought to the Anuradhapura Magistrate Court by the Vilachchiya Police. The PS member and another person arrested by the Vilachchiya Police was being accompanied by the Police to be produced before court when more..

UGC to fully implement anti-ragging Act

Oct 20 (Island) Chairman of the University Grants Commission Prof. Gamini Samaranayake yesterday said that the provisions of the Prevention of Ragging Act of 2005 will be implemented to the letter to rid the universities of the ragging menace. He requested undergraduates who were put through ragging in universities to report to the UGC immediately. The UGC is willing to take tough action against culprits. more..

Twenty hospitals ready to tackle swine flu

Oct 20 (Island) The Health Ministry has prepared 20 government hospitals island wide for AH1N1 influenza, also known as Swine Flu, treatment with effect from yesterday (19). There is a possibility of the disease spreading after 10 students of the Lyceum International School in Wattala and Nugegoda were identified with the virus last week. Currently, the treatment for the flu is available at Sri Lanka’s only IDH in Angoda. more..

Sri Lanka hydro power producer gets offer from US firm

Oct 20 (LBO) Asia Energy Management Systems Inc., a US-based firm, said it has offered to buy 160million shares or a 21.4 percent stake in Vallibel Power Erathna at five rupees a share. Acuity Partners, the manager to the offer, said in a stock exchange filing that Asia Energy Management Systems has got an undertaking from Dhammika Perera and Vallibel Power Ltd., to sell their stakes. more..

Parliament in commotion over arson attack on UNP MP's home

Oct 20 (CT) Commotion reigned in parliament today (Oct. 20) over the arson attack on UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara?s home, forcing speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara to suspend sittings twice. At the centre of disagreement between ruling and opposition members was a poster being displaced by Mr. Range Bandara in front of his seat, which had a picture of his torched house with the words 'This is democracy.' more..

20 pc students at Colombo girls' school suffer from mental imbalance

Oct 20 (CT) A girls' school in Colombo has around 20 per cent of its students suffering from mental imbalance, said education minister Susil Premajayantha. The minister attributed this plight mainly to their parents being overseas for employment and other purposes. He was speaking at a discussion at Royal College, Colombo on guidance and consultancy service for schoolchildren. more..

People beat up 2 youths who had raped girl aged three

Oct 20 (CT) People had beaten up two youths, who had allegedly abducted and raped a girl aged three years, and handed the duo over to police. The incident had taken place in Bandaragama in the early hours of yesterday morning (Oct. 19). The suspects had entered a house, snatched the sleeping little girl from her mother and taken her to a nearby well, where they had continually raped her. more..

Talking about human rights in Sri Lanka

Oct 20 (GP) April 1989, the city of Jaffna in Northern Sri Lanka: My uncle is riding his bicycle to work. A voice from behind calls out his name. He stops and turns around. Armed men begin arguing with him and yell that he is a traitor. He pleads with them, saying that he is a family man. They do not listen and shoot him in the face with a machine gun. His bullet-ridden body and bloodstained bicycle fall to the road. more..

The Art of Jagath Weerasinghe

Sri Lanka stocks fall on Rajaratnam’s fund redemption concerns

Oct 20 (BN) Sri Lanka’s stocks fell the most in nine months on concern Raj Rajaratnam’s arrest on insider trading charges may prompt investors to cash out of funds and companies linked to the billionaire. The Colombo All-Share Index slumped 3.2 percent to 2,983.17 at the close, extending a 1.6 percent decline yesterday, making Sri Lanka the world’s worst-performing stock market today. more..

Sri Lanka agrees to study critical EU report

Oct 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Tuesday agreed to study a European Union report criticising its human rights record, as Brussels threatened to withdraw the island's preferential trading status. The European Commission submitted Monday the findings of a year-long probe which concluded that the Sri Lankan government was in breach of commitments on human rights and good governance. Sri Lanka had refused to allow the EU inquiry mission access to the island and more..

Former Tamil castaways build new lives here

Oct 20 (G&M) Twenty-three years ago, Anandakumar Sothinathan was floating off the coast of Newfoundland with 154 other Tamil refugees in two overcrowded lifeboats. Instead of taking them to Canada, a smuggler had abandoned them in international waters with a compass and vague directions for finding freedom. Over more than two days at sea, the lifeboats, which had just one motor between them, ran out of gas and began to drift. more..

Economy sprouts under guard in Sri Lanka's north

Oct 20 (Reuters) The highway is open, prices are up and business is growing in post-war northern Sri Lanka, but traders say a legacy of tight security left by a 25-year conflict is holding back the region's full potential. The northern Jaffna district has been all but cut off from most of Sri Lanka since war with the LTTE separatists broke out in 1983. Now small-time traders and entrepreneurs, from paintshop salesmen to electronics sellers and fisherman, more..

'Muthuhettigama would be sacked from party'

Oct 21 (LT) Member of Southern Provincial Council Nishanthe Muthuhettigama, who was removed from being the SLFP Organizer for Akmeemana electorate in Galle District, would be sacked from the SLFP says Secretary General of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena. Mr. Sirisena has said a disciplinary inquiry was not necessary to sack him from the post of organizer but a disciplinary inquiry would be held to sack him from the party. more..

Basil’s resignation a fiction?

Oct 21 (LT) Parliamentarian and President’s Senior Advisor Basil Rajapakse was to resign from his Parliamentary seat after making a statement in Parliament today. However, later it was stated he would resign when the debate on the supplementary estimate on the Ministry of Defense was taken. The media had reported that Mr. Basil Rajapakse was to resign as it was necessary to mediate broadly in President Mahinda Rajapakse’s presidential election campaign. more..

Debrief News - 20.10.2009

Sri Lanka ranked 162 in the latest press freedom rankings

Oct 21 (LG) Political power grabs dealt press freedom a great disservice again this year. A military coup caused Fiji (152nd) to fall 73 places. Soldiers moved into Fijian news rooms for several weeks and censored articles before they were published, while foreign journalists were deported. In Thailand, the endless clashes between “yellow shirts” and “red shirts” had a very negative impact on the press’s ability to work. As a result, the kingdom is now 130th. more..

Sri Lanka regulator says Singalanka accused pleads guilty

Oct 21 (LBO) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said one of the accused in its case against senior executives of Singalanka Standard Chemicals charged with falsifying accounts and forging auditors' signatures has pleaded guilty. The SEC said in a statement it has instituted action in the Magistrate's Court of Colombo Fort against the former chairman and a key employee of Singalanka Standard Chemicals. more..

Sri Lanka vehicle imports down 35.5-pct in June: official data

Oct 21 (LBO) Vehicle imports to Sri Lanka fell 26.4 percent in July from a year ago with motor cars down 74.7 percent, trucks and other goods transport vehicle falling 47.3 percent and three wheelers 35.3 percent, the latest official data shows. In the seven months to July total vehicles imports were down 32.3 percent compared with the same period last year although the slump seems to have bottomed out and a recovery evident, more..

State Engineering Corporation to build houses in Libya

Oct 21 (GDI) The State Engineering Corporation has agreed with the Government of Libya to build housing schemes in Libya, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said at the media briefing. He pointed out that, it was expected to complete this project within two years at a cost of US $ 500 million. This project will build 2500 houses in a one complex. It scheduled to start construction this December. more..

President mixes up small boy at Hela Maha Seya ceremony

Oct 21 (LNW) Lanka News Web learns that the media ploy to capture the President kissing a small child at the ceremony in Anuradhapura to launch the construction of Seyas (dagabos) in every province to mark the military victory had failed when the President had mixed up the children. The President arrived at the venue after the ministers dug the ground at the auspicious moment and unveiled the name board of the Hela Maha Seya. more..

Indonesia, Australia leaders agree to form boat people plan

Oct 21 (AFP) The leaders of Indonesia and Australia agreed Tuesday to come up with a joint plan to tackle a rash of asylum seekers taking the treacherous boat journey to Australia, an official said. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd agreed during talks in Jakarta to meetings to come up with a "framework" to deal with the migrants, Indonesian presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal told reporters. more..

Karu appeals to EU for GSP concessions

Oct 21 (LG) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya today called the European Union not to decide to withdraw the GSP concession to Sri Lanka as it could serverely affect the estimated 300,000 garment sector employees. “…we make a final appeal to the European Union on behalf of the UNP to consider the fate of millions of our people who will face a loss of income and livelihood if the EU decides to withdraw this concession”, more..

University students union to stage a series of protests

Oct 21 (CT) The Inter University Students Union is planning a series of protests against the detention of its convener Udul Premaratne for 'no reason' and the continuing threats to free education. Raising black flags, holding protest marches, distribution of leaflets and collection of signatures for a petition to be handed over to the president will be among these steps, acting convener of the IUSU Sanjeewa Bandara told 'Colombo Today.' more..

Refugee's status to be revisited

Oct 21 (NZPA) The Refugee Status Appeals Authority must reconsider its decision to deny refugee status for a Sri Lankan man who has been linked to Tamil Tiger separatists, the Court of Appeal has ruled. The court also dismissed an appeal brought by the Crown in relation to the man's wife. The man had worked on board a boat in the early 1990s which transported arms and explosives for the Tamil Tigers. more..

Tissa's publisher 'to be released'

Oct 21 (BBC) The Attorney General (AG) in Sri Lanka has expressed his willingness to withdraw the charges against the publisher of an imprisoned journalist. AG Mohan Peiris, PC, has informed Colombo High Court through state counsels that the charges against Vetrial Jaseetharan and his wife will be withdrawn provided the accused withdraw their Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions filed in the Supreme Court against police Terrorist Investigation Division (TID). more..

Losing GSP+ can be 'very negative'

Oct 21 (BBC) The apparel industry in Sri Lanka has expessed concern of disastrous “chain of activity” in the industry if the country loses GSP+ trade concession offered by the EU. Sri Lanka could lose special trading rights with the bloc because of a failure to improve its human rights record, the European Union warned on Monday. A year-long inquiry by the EU has revealed "significant shortcomings" in Sri Lanka's human rights efforts. more..

Three Sri Lankan Tamils caught in Bangkok for credit card scam

Oct 21 (AT) Thai police nabbed three Sri Lankan Tamils on Monday (19 October) in downtown Bangkok for alleged credit card forgery. The suspected trio were identified as Sivapriyan Sivapakiyarajah, a naturalized Canadian Tamil of Sri Lankan origin, and Alahapan Balendran and Venkadeswaran Maheswaran, both Sri Lankan nationals, according to the Thai Police Crime Suppression Division. more..

Top dogs, Watch dogs and Stray dogs

Oct 21 (AT) International efforts to project Sri Lanka’s stature as a banana state have taken to top gear. The separatist war is over, yet one conspiracy after another is being hatched to punish our country at the behest of nations who call themselves Sri Lanka’s friends in word but acting like foes in deed. They are supported in their efforts by international non-governmental organizations, such as human right watch dogs and more..

President launches revolutionary directory service for mobile users

Oct 21 (BL) President this week opened a new vista in the sphere of mobile empowerment for all Sri Lankans, with the launch of a revolutionary application to offer comprehensive directory information via mobile phones. The service is offered by SLT Publications, a fully-owned subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom, which will host its popular RAINBOW PAGES business directory via all mobile telecom service providers. more..

Journalist Ruwan Weerakoon denies he was never provided with special Army commandos’ protection

Oct 21 (AT) A news website has recently reported that journalist Ruwan Weerakoon has given his mobile phone to UNP parliamentarians Lakshman Seneviratne and Johnston Fernando for them to talk to Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Sarath Fonseka. He further denied that he was never provided with the special Army commandos’ protection. Ruwan Weerakoon, a regular defense columnist of Asian Tribune more..

GSP+ growl grows

Oct 21 (BL) Growl over the not so favourable final report from the European Union on whether GSP+ concessions should be extended to Sri Lanka for its exports or not is growing, with the private sector and politicians staking their concerns. Lanka’s biggest export industry and a key beneficiary of concessions apparel industry as well as ceramics sector urged the Government to pursue negotiations. Given the serious repercussions over a possible loss more..

Lanka goes for more US, Europe investors in $ 500 m bond issue

Oct 21 (BL) Sri Lanka last week preferred to allocate a majority 76% of its US$ 500 million sovereign bond issue with US and European investors which analysts viewed as a positive move. They said that such an allocation would improve the profile of Sri Lanka among investors in these developed and key markets. The strategy also comes hot on the heels of perceived strained relationships between Sri Lanka and the West especially the US and select European countries. more..

'Tamil Nadu politicians best judge of IDP conditions'

Oct 21 (BL) Following last week’s visit of Tamil Nadu politicians to see the welfare centres of internally displaced people the government believes that the best possible message has been sent to the world. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene insisted that this visit had far more emphasis on the state of the displaced people than any other previous visit from the UN or European political representatives as the Tamil Nadu politicians were the brethren of the people in the welfare centres. more..