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CMC destroys over 300 kgs ‘adulterated’ fruit

Sep 20 (DN) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) health officials will keep an eye on Manning market wholesale and retail fruit sellers who adulterate to ripen and preserve fruit. Over 300 kgs of fruit identified not suitable for human consumption were destroyed during the weekend. Under the 1980 Food Act, persons who breach this law can be fined while an order can be obtained to produce food outlet owners before Courts. more..

Johnny vows to control chicken and egg prices if …

Sep 20 (Island) Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando, who has drawn flak for a steep rise in chicken and egg prices, vows to crush what he calls the chicken and egg monopoly if an artificial scarcity of the two commodities is created. He said that he was even prepared to order his ministry to step in to collect eggs and sell them through Lanka Sathosa, Economic Centres and cooperative stores. more..

'Army commander's charge sheet is shameful, illegal'

Sep 20 (NF) The charge sheet given to parliamentarian Sarath Fonseka is illegal, shameful and against all privileges of parliament. What the government had done is shameful, says Ranil Wickremasinghe, UNP leader. The Opposition leader was addressing meeting at Wariyapola to pay tribute to former parliamentarian Mrs. Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake on her retirement from politics. more..

'All draconian despots have been defeated by people’s power'

Sep 20 (LT) The JVP does not accept the verdict making former Commander of the Army Gen. Sarath Fonseka guilty by the second court martial states the JVP. At a media briefing held the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva said the court martial and its verdict should be rejected and a gigantic public opinion would be created against it as it is an issue regarding democracy and justice. more..

Editorial: Extravagance, SL style

Sep 20 (DM) As to what an average Sri Lankan can do to prevent the annual tragedy of having to foot the bill of more than 100 persons visiting New York as part of President’s entourage is a question that many ask. It is the people of this country that pay for the accommodation, this time for 130 odd persons at Waldorf Astoria’ and a few other plush hotels, and also the other expenses incurred including ones on hired limousines. more..

Sri Lanka's war probe commission attract hundreds in north

Sep 20 (DN) The members of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission led by its Chairman C R de Silva PC yesterday inspected the Palai Central College where most students are studying under trees. They conducted this inspection on the request of people who gave evidence before the Commission when it met at the Pachchalaipallai Divisional Secretariat yesterday. more..

Beggars removed from railway stations

Sep 21 (CT) All beggars are to be removed from the main railway stations island wide from today (Sep 20). Commercial Superintendent of Railways, Wijaya Samarasinghe confirmed that the Railway Protection Force and the Police are engaged in the removal of beggars from railway stations in Kandy, Fort, Matale and Galle. He added that the assistance of the Army would be sought if necessary. The decision was meant to minimize inconvenience caused to the public, he said. more..

Prime Minister appoints 04 acting Ministers

Sep 21 (LP) Four acting Ministers were appointed this morning (20) when they took their oaths at Prime Minister’s Office before the Prime Minister. Dep Minister Dilan Perera was appointed as Acting Minister of Public Adminstation and internal Affairs. Dep Minister S M Chandrasena as Acting Minister of Irrigation and water management. Dep Minister Veerakumara Dissanayake as acting Minister of Tradtional Industries and Small Enterprise Development. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 20.09.2010

Sri Lanka budget revenues on track, expenses up in July

Sep 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state revenues were on track with a projected budget for the first seven months to July 2010 but current expenses have started to creep up, keeping the revenue deficit wide, official data show. The state revenues grew 23.4 percent to 425 billion rupees up to July 2010. The state extracted 372.4 billion rupees from the people up 18.3 percent, in line with the 17.8 percent trend rate projected for the full year in the budget. more..

Sri Lanka war panel hears of Tamil disappearances

Sep 21 (BBC) People in northern Sri Lanka have told a war inquiry that family members who served with the Tamil Tigers disappeared after surrendering. They said their loved ones went missing at the end of the war in May 2009. The defence ministry blocked the BBC from covering proceedings in the former rebel headquarters of Kilinochchi. But Sri Lankan journalists who did attend said the panel now intends to question security force officials on the subject of missing people. more..

Bail sought for LTTE woman leader Thamilini

Sep 21 (CT) Woman leader of the LTTE's political wing Subramaniam Sivathai alias Thamilini was, for the first time, represented by lawyers when the case against her was taken up at the Colombo magistrate's court today (Sept. 20). At the hearing, her lawyer P. Pubalasingham sought bail for her client, noting that LTTE interpreter George Master and spokesman Daya Master had been given such a reprieve. more..

Sri Lanka corporate lawsuits seen on the rise

Sep 21 (LBO) Corporate lawsuits are on the rise in Sri Lanka with the collapse of financial firms and a new company law making directors and executives more accountable, an insurance industry official said. “Not only globally but in Sri Lanka too the trend of claims filed against corporate executives exposing them to potential personal liabilities for violations of laws and regulations has shown a marked increase," more..

Sri Lanka-born refugee sentenced to 5½ years in Australia for smuggling asylum seekers

Sep 21 (AP) An Australian court sentenced a Sri Lanka-born refugee to more than five years in prison Monday for helping to smuggle nearly 200 asylum seekers to Australia in a leaky boat. Asylum seekers from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan are taking boats to Australia in record numbers, fueling a divisive debate among political parties about how they can be deterred. Sydney spice shop owner Pathmendra Pulendren, more..

Sri Lanka to build 1-GW nuclear power plant by 2030

Sep 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is to have its first nuclear power plant within the next 20 years to generate cheap electricity to draw large investments and boost its post-war economy, a top government official said on Monday. "We have received government clearance to set up a nuclear power plant of 1,000 MW," M.M.C. Ferdinando, the secretary of the Ministry of Power and Energy told an investor forum in Colombo. more..

A book in every home to spread the Christian literature in the Archdiocese of Colombo

Sep 21 (AN) Tomorrow the Book Festival begins in the Capital, a literary review that takes place annually in September in the BMICH in Colombo. The fair will last until September 25 and hundreds of visitors from around the country are expected. Exploiting the curiosity of the readers the Archdiocese of Colombo has also organized its Press Week, September 19 to 26. more..

Prof. Vitarane and the 18 Amendment

Sep 21 (LG) In the Medical Faculty of the University of Ceylon, Minister Professor Vitarane, my senior colleague and teammate in the University cricket team, was believed to be a Samasamajist, only due to the fact that his relative Dr N. M. Perera was a leader of the Samasamaja party, the LSSP. He did not seem to have any strong Marxist ideological convictions and was not an active member of any leftist organization within the faculty or the University. more..

Desecration of Saiva temples in upcountry escalates

Sep 21 (TN) The destruction and desecration of Saiva temples is reported to be on the increase in Kandy district. Since January this year about twenty Saiva temples have been plundered, desecrated and destroyed, Saiva community sources in the central province expressed serious concern. Unidentified gangs of persons entered Saiva temples and stole money from tills, jewelleries from statues and damaged statues of gods and goddesses in these temples, more..

Boomerang thrown at GL

Sep 21 (LG) Even before the heat of the 18th amendment had dissipated, the opposition handed in a no-confidence motion against External Affairs Minister G.L.Peiris. Anybody could see that what Sri Lanka could expect from the western world in the aftermath of the war was nothing but brickbats. The president probably needed the tranquility of mind that if whoever was handling this area fails to convince the mob, then nobody else could have done it either; and more..

On how to oppose

Sep 21 (LG) Of all the dialectical arguments with regard to the future trajectory of opposition politics in Sri Lanka what has struck me as most quaint has been the position taken that, sans a proper opposition with solid ideological moorings which can serve as the bulwark against state excess, the best thing to do would be to put up and shut up. While that may not be exactly the way that the theory is being posited by some, that is where this argument adduced by more..

'Don't be surprised if govt. wants to make parliament an authority'

Sep 21 (NF) It is not surprising if the government took steps to convert the parliament into an authority as well, says UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilaka. He expressed these views while addressing a media briefing at the Opposition leader's office this morning. “The Colombo Municipal Council has been dissolved and from what we see, the government is planning on converting it into an authority. more..

Hansi’s Story: Drugs or Vagrancy

Sep 21 (LG) Hansi is a 19-year-old girl from Upper Kandegama, Punewa. Her separated remarried and she spent her childhood with her grandmother under very severe economic difficulties. She went to school up to grade 11 following which she started work at a garment factory. It was there that she started a love affair with a boy. She came to know he was a married man only after lost her virginity to him. After that she felt difficult to live in her village because of the shame she bore. more..

What upsets Colombo’s middle class?

Sep 21 (LG) "We in Colombo also now have to become like people living in the North and East in our outlook. We no longer know what is what, which is which, whether we are coming or going", a lawyer friend of mine living in Colombo, a told me today. He was trying to reflect the mood of the people after the passing of the 18th Amendment. The aftermath of the violent conflict against the LTTE, which promised peace, has not brought peace of mind to the people living in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka new tea export levy by year's end

Sep 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to impose a new levy on tea exports to raise funds for marketing and advertising to increase its market share in the highly competitive beverage market. Upali Dissanayake, additional secretary of the Ministry of Plantation Industries, said the law to enable the collection of the new promotional levy of 3.50 rupees a kilo will come into force in three months. more..

Demagoguery: Life and soul of lankan democracy

Sep 21 (LG) In the 1990s a southern politician, Mahinda Rajapaksa, led many demonstrations, one of which we remember was the Mothers’ March in protest against Sinhala youth detained by the UNP government during the JVP insurrection. This writer, at that time, as an editor of another newspaper, wrote an editorial headlined ‘Demo-no-crazy’, condemning a ban on such demonstrations. It irked the ire of the pukka-sahib ex-planter, the then Defence Minister Ranjan Wijeratne who more..

If my story could be yours too

Sep 21 (GV) This story could be penned from many entry points. That would not make it any different, I guess. It would thus be good, or not bad, to start from the presidential elections of November, 2005, says my hindsight. Just as a reminder and a link to what follows, at that presidential elections, Mahinda Rajapaksa was brought forward as the SLFP candidate of the UPFA. He was mobbed and rallied around by the JHU, the JVP and their “cuddly tweeties”, that made Rajapaksa a more..

Fighting the 'class' war

Sep 21 (NS) Receiving education is of fundamental importance today and in a country like Sri Lanka where free education prevails, an outsider might actually think that receiving primary education is a luxury that any citizen can afford. When a child becomes of age to receive primary education, the parents have to enter the child to a school but entry to grade one has become a battle which every parent has to fight using wealth, power and influence. more..

Sri Lanka urban development agency making heavy losses

Sep 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Urban Development Authority (UDA) has been making losses from 2006 and the accumulated loss by December 2009 was 1.1 billion rupees, its debenture prospectus has revealed. The auditor-general's report said the UDA's net assets were a negative 87 million rupees and its going concern is uncertain without government financial aid. The report said 627 million rupees due from customers had remained unrecovered for over 10 years, more..

Thoughts on ‘Dancing for the Gods’

Sep 21 (GV) I recently asked the illustrious Bijayini Satpathy, Director of the Odissi Gurukul at Nrityagram how she negotiated the contest between tradition and modernity in her interpretation of Odissi dance – the oldest surviving dance form of India, but only revived less than a century ago. It is in fact a broader question concerning the arts – the perennial contest, not always civil or progressive, between what is acceptable to the old guard and more..

Sajith wants ‘all or nothing’

Sep 21 (NS) The chief contender for UNP leadership, Sajith Premadasa, now says there is no room for compromise solutions to the party crisis, such as elevating incumbent leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to a position of senior leader, and is demanding full implementation of reforms beyond what has already been adopted by the party Working Committee. “Playing musical chairs with artificial positions and more..

Sri Lanka airport transit facilities boosted: state airline

Sep 21 (LBO) Facilities for transit passengers in Sri Lanka's international airport at Katunayake has been boosted with a 24-room hotel, which is under the management of state-run SriLankan airlines, the national carrier said. The hotel, named 'Serenediva', has four grades of rooms, a business centre, a spa and a jacuzzi, is managed by SriLankan Catering, a unit of the state airline. "Our transit hotel is a showcase of the country to transit visitors," more..

542 Brigade facilitates 'Livelihood Program' for newly resettled families - Manthai West

Sep 21 (MoD) The civil coordination office of 542 Brigade has distributed agricultural and livelihood equipment among the civilians who had newly resettled at Pallaiadi Pudukkulam in Manthai West recently. As measures to strengthen the livelihood of these families, agricultural water pumps, carpentry kits, masonry kits and many other needed equipment were distributed among 78 families at the event. more..

Protester unveils his ‘tall claims’

Sep 21 (NS) The buzz around the city last week was about a man who climbed a hoarding post at Viharamahadevi Park, demanding to hear personally from President Mahinda Rajapaksa or a member of his family. This was a first time in Sri Lanka, a country where protests are as common and habitual as breathing. Why was the situation special? For a very simple reason, because the man, now identified as Asanka de Zoysa, had no issue of public interest to fight for, more..

Editorial: Defending SF

Sep 21 (Island) The JVP-led Democratic National Alliance (DNA) seems to think that the UNP is not fighting for former Army Commander and MP Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the way it should. DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake told the media on Sunday that the UNP should not shirk its duty by Gen. Fonseka, as the biggest partner of the grand Opposition coalition (the Democratic National Front––DNF) that backed him at the last presidential election. more..

Editorial: Who wants a foot hold in SL?

Sep 21 (DM) It was only a few years back a former head of the counter-terrorism division of India's external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) said that Pakistan insurgents in Sri Lanka’s East have joined hands with the local Muslim militant groups to launch attacks against India. This is despite the common knowledge that there’s absolutely no need for Pakistan militants to come all the way to Sri Lanka when it can easily slip in to India and more..

The challenge and opportunity at the UN meeting

Sep 21 (LG) There was speculation whether President Mahinda Rajapaksa would attend the UN General Assembly meeting this year. This was on account of the strained relations between the Sri Lankan government and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the issue of war crimes allegedly committed in the last phase of the war. Six months ago, following several strongly worded exchanges between the Sri Lanka authorities and UN officials, more..

1600th anniversary of Ven. Fa-Hsien’s arrival

Sep 21 (LB) It would be 1600 years tomorrow since the arrival of Most Ven. Fa-Hsien Thera in Sri Lanka. In order to mark this historic event, a Buddhist literary festival and a commemoration ceremony has been jointly organised by the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, and All Ceylon Buddhist Congress. The event will be held at Kularatne Hall, Ananda College Colombo tomorrow. It will be held under the patronage of Ven. Agga Maha Panditha Dauldena Gnanissara Thera, more..

Vice Chancellor’s love phobia causes uproar In Sri Jayawardenepura University

Sep 21 (SL) Students of the Sri Jayewardenepura University claim that the Vice Chancellor, N.L.A. Karunaratne sent six girls for a virginity test. They say that the Vice Chancellor’s phobias are making their campus life miserable. “The girls were talking to boys on August 25 at about 6.30 p.m. as it often happens in campus life, when they were forcibly put into the campus ambulance by security guards and taken away to the Kalubowila Hospital for a virginity test. more..

3D - Hon.Susil Premajayantha

Agency racket busted

Sep 21 (DN) The Colombo Fraud Investigation Bureau (CFIB) has uncovered a massive agency racket following the arrest of two suspects, a father and the son, from the Kandy Police Division. According to the investigation directed by CFIB Director Senior SP Maxie Proctor, a father, son and several other members of the same family had operated a agency office in the Wellawatta police area for several months and had collected over Rs 2.3 million from 39 persons promising more..

Student’s death: Commission gets loads to study

Sep 21 (DM) The Presidential Commission probing the death of Ruhunu University student Susantha Aruna Bandara had received more than 55 petitions containing information on his death, the commission said yesterday. At its inaugural session, Commissioner D.J. de S. Balapatabendi said more than 90 per cent of the petitions were from Ruhunu University students. “The Commission will probe the circumstances which led to Susantha’s death on July 22, and more..

Bank margins up, benefit to customers in doubt

Sep 21 (Island) The banking sector’s net interest margin, the difference between interest earned and interest expended as a percentage of average assets, stood at 3.7 percent in 1998, declined to 3.2 percent in 2001 and grew to 4.6 percent in 2009, Central Bank Deputy Governor P.D.J Fernando told a recent forum. "During this period, the operating costs to total assets have gone down gradually but more..

Sri Lankan Tamil arrested

Sep 21 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan Tamil refugee was arrested here on Monday for allegedly attempting to send a group of Lankan refugees to Australia from Chennai clandestinely by sea. The accused R. Sudharshan (26), a resident of Pozhichalur near Chennai, was later sent for remand. Based on information, sleuths of the ‘Q' Branch intercepted a Tiruchi-bound tourist bus transporting the group of 37 Sri Lankan Tamils at Kollidam Tollgate on the city's outskirts. more..

Astronomical fly-over costs

Sep 21 (SL) The government last week answered a question posed by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake in parliament which raised quite a few eyebrows. The question was regarding the cost of construction of several overhead bridges. The government has been more than active when it comes to large-scale development projects, particularly flyovers. Most of the flyovers have been built using prefabricated steel and as a result built in double quick time. more..

Qatar ready to assist Sri Lankan development

Sep 21 (GDI) Close understanding was reached on mutual cooperation between the Emirate of Qatar and Sri Lanka when President Mahinda Rajapaksa had bi-lateral discussions with His Majesty Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, in New York yesterday (20). The Emir had great admiration for the restoration of peace in Sri Lanka and the work already being done towards reconciliation and mutual trust among all communities. more..

PBOA taking bus fares to courts

Sep 21 (DM) The PBOA yesterday said it would take legal action over the Transport Ministry’s decision that bus fares would not be raised. Two weeks ago the PBOA asked the ministry to permit a two per cent increase in fares. “We are requesting for an increase in bus fares because the ministry has not provided adequate timetables for the bus routes. This has increased vehicle congestion on the roads and results in higher fuel consumption. Therefore an increase is essential,” more..

Editorial: Island of Rajapaksas?

Sep 21 (ET) The deeply troubling aspect of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s success in bringing in a constitutional amendment that does away with the two-term limit on a president, as well as the guilty verdict handed out to former army commander and erstwhile challenger for the presidency, Sarath Fonseka, is the danger of Sri Lanka slowly slipping into some form of autocratic rule. Indeed, allegations of a vendetta, the opaque nature of Fonseka’s trial and more..

'Govt. plans to build one million houses'

Sep 21 (Island) Minister Wimal Weerawansa says that a plan is underway to initiate an integrated National Housing and settlement programme from next year. He said the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) will be entrusted with the task of meeting the housing needs of the people. He said that the one million housing programme and settlement development programme would be implemented after the next budget (2011). more..

Sitting as Independents in the House: UNP dissidents give party leadership two more weeks max to meet demand

Sep 21 (Island) About 25 UNP MPs, who threatened to sit as independent members in Parliament, have given the party leadership two more weeks to meet their demand, as the Working Committee, which met on Saturday at Siri Kotha, the Party Headquarters, decided that the Party reforms would be implemented within ten days. Ratnapura District UNP MP Thalatha Athukorale told The Island yesterday said that more..

Govt. urged to enact Animal Welfare Bill

Sep 21 (Island) President of the Dharmavijaya Foundation Olcott Gunasekera yesterday urged the Government to enact the Animal Welfare Bill, prepared by the Law Commission in2006, which gave the rights and protection to all animals in Sri Lanka. He told The Island yesterday, at a meeting of all animal lovers and welfare societies, that the Foundation has started a signature campaign to hand over a petition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa shortly. more..