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Rs.26.3 mn robbery in Matara; no arrests yet

Aug 15 (DM) Four armed men who entered the house of a businessman at Pamburana in Matara has fled with cash, jewellery and items valued at Rs. 26.3 million after locking up the owners in two rooms, police said. They said the armed group had entered the house on Saturday claiming to be CID officers. The suspects had told the owners that they had received information that a key Devinuwara drug dealer was hiding inside the house and therefore asked the businessman to place jewellery and cash in a separate room. more..

Elephant count courts controversy

Sri Lanka banks on Amăna for economic prosperity

Aug 15 (AN) Sri Lanka this month became the latest country to have a full-fledged commercial Islamic bank following the start of business operations in early August at the bank's 14 branches throughout the country offering a range of financial products and services including current and savings accounts, home mortgages, SME banking, trade finance and corporate banking. The governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who officially launched the bank at a ceremony at more..

The Korean dream becomes nightmare

Aug 15 (ST) Korea has expressed concerns over the clash that occurred last week when job seekers were refused application forms, noting that the situation that day was "pretty bad." Arriving at the distributing centre in Colombo, the Police Park grounds on Tuesday, on receiving information that there was an issue, Korean Ambassador Jongmoon Choi had observed that the situation was "pretty bad." He told the Sunday Times at the venue that this inconvenience "shouldn't happen next year." more..

Nigerian orders repatriation of 8 ex-militants from Sri Lanka

Aug 15 (Nation) Eight ex-militants sent abroad for training have been ordered deported by the Federal Government. Accused of breaching ethical contract are: Igoli Chinese, Kingdom Weri, Omieh Jonathan, Orunnisiede Brinumugha, Otto Agbuwatse, Ogosi Ekankumor, Suama Agbaboh and Thursday Sinclair. They are expected back from Sri Lanka this week. They will lose all the rights enjoyed as pardoned ex-militants, in addition to possible prosecution on their return. more..

Alleged brothel keeper and Thai woman further remanded

Aug 15 (DM) A person who was alleged to have run a brothel at a hotel in Kollupitiya and a Thai woman who was arrested on prostitution charges were further remanded until August 15. When the case came up before the Colombo Fort Acting Magistrate, the Kollupitiya police informed Court that they would seek the Attorney General’s advice regarding this particular case as it came under procuring charges. The brothel was raided by the Colombo South Anti Vice Squad after a search warrant was issued by more..

Rehabilitated LTTE cadres form musical group

Aug 15 (DM) The LTTE members were fighting a war for the last 30 years. Later they were rehabilitated under the Security forces and have now formed for the first time a musical group called ‘Samaye Mithuro’ (Friends of Peace). This musical group has staged a show and exhibited its talents on 12th of August at the Vavuniya Cultural Hall after their rehabilitation. They made the audience happy and enjoyable singing the Sinhala song ‘Api Okkoma Rajawaru, Okkoma Wesiyo’ and later sang some Tamil and Sinhala songs. more..

What the devil is going on?

Aug 15 (ST) Ushanar Marzuka, 31, a mother of two living in a remote area in Valaichchenai on Wednesday was preparing lunch when she realised that the battery on her mobile phone was low. Since her household did not have electricity she left her two children at home and walked over to a neighbour’s house to charge her phone. As she made her way back home, she says she was obstructed by two men clad in T-shirts and shorts with faces painted black. more..

Mother and paramour arrested

Aug 15 (DM) The body of a one and a half year old child, buried in a paddy field at Waharaka in Pugoda was exhumed on Saturday morning on a court order. The child had disappeared from home from July 31, 2011. During inquiries police arrested the child’s mother and another person, alleged to be her paramour. They said the child died of sudden illness and that they buried the body in a paddy field. Police said the woman was a mother of two from Attampitiya and his paramour from Mandawala in Pugoda. more..

Refugees "punished" by cutting water

Aug 15 (BBC) Sri Lanka authorities have cut off water and electricity supplies to IDP in the Poonthottam Camp in Vavuniya. The services have been terminated to punish those refusing to leave the camp to resettle in the Vanni, IDPs told our correspondent. The IDPs who came to the camp since the beginning of the war between the army and LTTE have been living there for 19 years. Out of sixteen thousand IDPs, one thousand one hundred and sixty three from 183 families refuse to leave the camp on the grounds that more..

Breathing new life into Sri Lanka's Jaffna Public Library

Aug 15 (CNA) It is a rare privilege for international media to visit the former war torn northern Jaffna peninsula. En route to Jaffna town centre - one still notices soldiers taking up positions at street corners ensuring peace prevails following the end of the civil war in May 2009. It is not long before one is greeted by a historic building, the Jaffna Public Library. It has survived the destruction of a fire and the ravages of a civil war, and now stands as a symbol of hope, more..

Police open fire to fend off mob

Aug 15 (DPA) Police opened fire and arrested at least 25 people in north-eastern Sri Lanka Monday following a mob attack by residents angry about attempts to stop illegal fishing, officials said. Mobs attacked a navy vehicle, threw stones at police and set fire to one of their vehicles in Kinniya fishing village, 280 kilometres north-east of the capital. 'The villagers are trying to get the navy detachment removed as they are arresting people who are carrying out illegal fishing by using dynamite. more..

Petition of SC judge: Hearing resumes

Aug 15 (DM) The Supreme Court fixed the hearing to be resumed on the rights petition of former Supreme Court judge and his wife. It would be taken for hearing on October 19 by the Supreme Court. The Petitioners state that they have been residing at their ancestral home situated at Nagoda, Kalutara for the past 40 years and the impugned factory was located right behind their home which was a residential premises. They said the impugned factory had been set up in 2007 adjacent to their residence and more..

LG polls: SLMC campaign on track

Aug 15 (Island) In spite of recent clashes at Pottuvil, which claimed the life of an SLMC supporter, the party is going ahead with its campaign for the forthcoming LG polls. SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem was in Kalmunai yesterday to pick his team to contest the Kalmunai Municipal Council. An SLMC spokesman said that the SLMC would contest Kalmunai MC and Colombo MC on its own at the third and last phase of the LG polls. more..

LG polls: Imtiaz tipped to lead UNP in Colombo

Aug 15 (Island) Imtiaz Bakeer Markar, is being strongly tipped to lead the UNP candidate list to be the Mayor of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) at the balance 23 local government elections scheduled for October. UNP sources told The Island that Bakeer Markar is the most accepted candidate for post of Mayor of Colombo by both the leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s group and reformists led by Sajith Premadasa. more..

A politico’s henchmen kill NGO boss

Aug 15 (LB) Investigations carried out by the police into the kidnapping of Pattani Razik, the manager of the CTF Branch, an NGO in Puttalam, and the demand of Rs. two billion as ransom before his murder -- this sum of money was not paid -- reveals that the whole exercise had been launched by those involved with a politician. Razik had been working to uplift the lives of the people in the Puttalam district with the monies that the NGO had received. more..

Australian police crack international fraud syndicate

Aug 15 (AFP) Five men from Malaysia and Sri Lanka have been charged with being members of an international fraud syndicate responsible for attacks on bank card systems across Australia. New South Wales state fraud squad detectives said the arrests in Sydney followed months of investigations with the men allegedly coordinating the group's activities in Australia, Europe and North America. more..

'The idiotic govt imports substandard medicine, oil, coconut and cement'

Aug 15 (LT) The present government is an idiotic administration which imports substandard medicine, substandard oil, substandard coconuts and substandard cement says JVP MP Vijithe Herath. He said, “Govt’s gazette has named cement as a special consumer item. As such, a standard certificate is necessary to sell cement in the island since the day this gazette was published. It is wrong to display advertisement of substandard cement either. more..

UNP reformists to hold big demo at Srikotha

Aug 15 (DM) The deepening crisis in the UNP is bound to reach a climax on Wednesday if the reformist group carries out its plan to hold a demonstration at UNP headquarters ‘Sirikotha’ with the participation of a large number of supporters to demand a change in the party leadership. A reformist MP said his group had requested local councillors to come to Sirikotha in large numbers and agitate for a leadership change but was unable to comment on reports that more..

Therapeutic functional play area at Lady Ridgeway Hospital soon

Aug 15 (Island) In a bid to cure more than 30,000 Lankan children suffering from chronic nervous disorders, the Americares International has come forward to set up a Therapeutic Functional Play Area at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital. This is the first time in Sri Lanka such a unit will be established. It will cost Rs.1 million and all children with body imbalance and various nervous disorders will be able get required treatment under paediatricians, more..

India hopes Sri Lanka will pursue genuine political settlement

Aug 15 (Hindu) “It is our hope that the vision and leadership that resulted in an end to armed conflict will now be employed in the quest for a genuine political settlement resulting in national reconciliation among all the communities of Sri Lanka,” Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha, said in his Independence Day message in Colombo. Clearly calling upon the Sri Lankan leadership to accommodate the more..

'Reduction of seats in Jaffna District: Polls Chief acted hastily'

Aug 15 (DM) Amid opposition political parties objecting and expressing concern over the Election Commissioner’s recent move to reduce the number of seats in the Jaffna district, legal experts claimed it was against the Constitution. They said the move could have severe repercussions on the peace after 30 years of bloodshed. Besides concerns by various parties, the main Tamil political party TNA is contemplating legal action. more..

Three cement companies push for price increase

Aug 15 (Island) The cement crisis is worsening by the day. The latest is that three local cement companies have requested the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) to increase the price of a 50kg bag of cement by Rs. 35 to 785, from the current controlled price of Rs. 750. The three local companies involved in this new development are Tokyo Cement, Lafarge and Ultratec, Tokyo Cement (Tokyo Super Ordinary Portland, Tokyo Super Puzzolana and more..

Sri Lanka youth seeking Korean jobs already working: think tank

Aug 16 (LBO) A snap survey by a Colombo based think tank among thousands of young Sri Lankans queuing up to find jobs in Korea have revealed that a majority of them were already employed and looking for better salaries. The Institute of Policy Studies survey (link) said 63.4 percent of those polled at a centre in Colombo were already employed but were looking for better paying jobs. "Although we may be quick to assume that most of these Korean job aspirants were unemployed youth, more..

Kalu Ela Garden under Sundara Gampaha Project

Aug 16 (GDI) On going development programmes in Gampaha town and suburbs were inspected by the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa last Friday. During this visit the Minister investigated the Kalu Ela Garden and Landscaping development project in Oruthota, Gampaha According to the Sundara Gampaha Programme measures have been taken to develop Gampaha into the most environmental friendly, beautiful and safest district in the island and the most developed district in the country. more..

Main suspect of Kuganathan attack arrested

Aug 16 (GDI) Senior DIG Gamini Silva has said that the main suspect in the attack on the News Editor of Uthayan newspaper Gnanasunderam Kuganathan has been taken into police custody this morning. He has said that a special police team was deployed from Jaffna to apprehend the suspect while at the Kalubowila Hospital in Colombo. The Uthayan News Editor was assaulted by an unidentified group and hospitalized on July 29. He had been clubbed on the back of the head with more..

Sri Lanka: Confusion and Obfuscation all around

Aug 16 (EAR) The political waters of this island have become very murky in recent weeks and there is no saying where things will end up by the end of this year or come early 2012. The principal actors themselves are not in control of events and the chips may fall in ways that even they cannot foresee. The confusing signals of the recent period include: a) President Mahinda Rajapakse and his powerful brother Gothabaya (de facto number two in Sri Lanka’s hierarchy of power) are at cross purposes on c more..

Sri Lanka Navy denies allegations of preventing Indian fishermen from fishing off Kachchative

Aug 16 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy categorically denies the allegations that Sri Lanka Naval personnel prevented about two thousand Indian fishermen from fishing in the seas near Kachchative Island and looted their catch, as quoted by PTI yesterday. Being a responsible Naval force, Sri Lanka Navy adheres to international maritime laws and carries out surveillance and patrolling accordingly in the defence of Sri Lankan waters. more..

Sangakkara calls for improved Sri Lanka

Aug 16 (AFP) Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara urged teammates to lift their game ahead of a must-win match on Tuesday in the one-day series against the visiting Australians. "Another batting failure and we are now left with lots to do to keep the series alive," former captain Sangakkara wrote on his blog on Monday, after Australia pulled off an easy eight-wicket victory in the second one-day game on Sunday. "We need to somehow re-group tomorrow (Tuesday)," he said. more..

New Bank of Ceylon GM assumes duties

Aug 16 (GDI) The Bank of Ceylon appointed Mrs. W.A. Nalini as the bank’s 17th General Manager, today. A veteran in the Banking Sector W.A. Nalini has joined the Bank of Ceylon in the year 1975 and has functioned in several senior positions before she was elevated to the post of General Manager. She is the 3rd female to take up the post of General Manager of the Bank of Ceylon. Addressing the employees of the Bank after taking up the appointment this morning, she said that her primary aim more..

Sri Lanka bans reduction of bran in wheat flour

Aug 16 (WB) Sri Lanka's Health Ministry has decided to bring new laws to prevent the removal of bran when processing wheat flour. So far, the processors could remove bran up to 74%.The wheat flour in the market contained only 26% bran that contains the most of the nutrients of the flour, reported Colombo Page. The Ministry has decided to stop the practice and permit only 20% of the bran to be removed. Accordingly, the wheat flour producers will have to produce flour with 80% of the barn, more..

Housemaid sentenced to death returns home

Aug 16 (GN) A Sri Lankan housemaid sentenced to death in a murder case has returned home after she was pardoned, the Sri Lankan Embassy in Abu Dhabi said Sunday. Abdul Kareem Kanzul Maharifa, 38, was arrested on April 30, 2006, on charges of causing the death of her sponsor's wife by repeatedly hitting her on the head and face with an ornamental pot, the embassy said in a press release. The Sharia Court imposed capital punishment in 2006. more..

Sri Lanka stx flat; investors await regulator margin decision

Aug 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's bourse ended flat on Monday in thin trade as investors a ruling from the Securities and Exchange Commission on margin trading amid continued foreign outflows. Sri Lanka's main share index closed 0.05 percent or 3.47 points firmer at 6,836.53, highest since Aug. 1, in see-saw trade. Foreign investors sold a net 50.7 million Sri Lanka rupees ($462,380.3) worth of shares on Monday, extending the outflow to 2.44 billion in the last 15 sessions. more..

40 held for trying to hoist Indian flag on Katchatheevu

Aug 16 (PTI) More than 40 members of a Tamil Nadu-based Hindu outfit were arrested today when they tried to put to sea for hoisting the national flag at Katchatheevu in the Palk straits, ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974. Police said 43 workers of the Hindu Makkal Katchi, including its state unit President Annadurai, were arrested when they were on their way to the fishing jetty here, en route to Katchatheevu island. They were demanding that fishermen should be allowed to fish in and around the island. more..

65th Independence Day of India celebrates in Sri Lanka

Aug 16 (IL) The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 65th Independence Day of India on Monday, 15th August at India House in Colombo. High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha unfurled the National Flag, which was followed by rendering of the National Anthem by the lady officials of the High Commission and the Indian community. The High Commissioner inspected the Guard of Honour presented by the BSF contingent and more..

Police under pressure release 25 involved in attacks

Aug 16 (ST) 25 persons allegedly involved in the mob attacks on the police and Navy in Kinniya in Trincomalee were released on police bail today afternoon after the GA for Trincomalee Major Geneal (Retired) Ranjith de Silva was prevented from leaving the Kinninya divisional secretary's office by villagers. They demanded the release of the 25 persons who had been arrested by the police over clashes earlier in the day. Earlier tensions were high in the Kinniya area following more..

SL sapphire in world's priciest perfume

Aug 16 (GDI) A sapphire from Sri Lanka has been included in the world's most expensive fragrance bottle. A 7.18 carat Sri Lankan Oval Cabochon Sapphire in DKNY Golden Delicious bottle priced at USD one million. The bottle is made from 14-carat yellow and white gold, featuring almost 3,000 precious stones sourced from all over the world. The fragrance will be showcased around the world before being sold to benefit the Action Against Hunger charity. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 15.08.2011

India leery of neighbor's new squeeze

Aug 16 (AT) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa would have returned from China a relieved man. The Chinese promised Sri Lanka more investment in infrastructure projects and to enhance two-way trade and strengthen cultural and personnel exchanges. More important for Rajapaksa was Beijing's assurance of "fullest support in all necessary situations to Sri Lanka in international forums". It means that the Sri Lankan president can count on the Chinese to come to his rescue should allegations of more..

Mandatory bill for all Fuel

Aug 16 (DM) It will be mandatory to issue a bill to the consumer every time fuel is purchased at filling stations with immediate effect, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. He said this step was taken to protect the rights of the consumer as there has been a marked increase of complaints from consumers, especially from motorists against filling station owners. “The main objective in this exercise is to provide quality service to the consumer and ensure they get 100% clean fuel. more..