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UPFA forcibly enters sealed rooms against Mayor’s wish

Nov 5 (Island) Two rooms at the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) taken over on October 31 by a group of UPFA Councillors, claiming that they were for the ‘Leader of the Opposition of the CMC’ Milinda Moragoda, were sealed by the CMC on Thursday (3). However, yesterday morning, the UPFA councillors broke open the doors of the rooms and occupied them. They said they would have a groups meeting last evening. more..

Parliament to receive LLRC report from MR

Nov 5 (Island) Those countries wanting to haul Sri Lanka before an international war crimes tribunal, over accountability issues, are preparing to attack the LLRC report, which is now expected to be handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Nov. 19 – four days after the lapse of a deadline to finish its work, senior officials say. They say the TNA and those foreign-funded NGOs based in Colombo are ready to pounce on the report as more..

Private medical college report soon: Ministry

Nov 5 (DM) The Health Ministry said yesterday that the five-member committee appointed to investigate the private medical college in Malabe which has come under strong criticism in recent times by government doctors and local medical faculty students was still in the deliberation process and the committee would release its report in the coming weeks. Health Ministry Secretary Dr. Ravindra Ruberu said once more..

JVP dissidents shown the door

Nov 5 (Island) With JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva sending a new list of party members to the Election Commissioner this week, the dissidents said that they would form a new party after their Heroes’ Day activities on November 13. A dissident spokesman said that since the JVP had become part of the old left due to the fault of its leaders they had decided to continue the party’s journey from where their late leader, Rohana Wijeweera, left it. more..

'Losing Canadian aid big loss, but survivable'

Nov 5 (PNM) While he's hoping Canada will not boycott the next Commonwealth summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka, or cut aid over war crimes allegations, a senior Sri Lankan minister says his country will survive if it does. "It would be a big loss," Vasudeva Nanayakkara told Postmedia News in an interview at the Sri Lankan High Commission in Ottawa. "But we'll do without it." A UN report commissioned by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon recently found more..

Major changes to O/L exams from 2013

Nov 5 (DM) The Education Ministry will introduce overall changes to the national exams next year making it compulsory for students to choose their GCE A/L study stream at Grade nine, instead of waiting till they complete their GCE O/L exam, Minister Bandula Gunawardane said. He said the new policy would be introduced next year along with major changes to the entire school education system to be implemented from 2013 onwards. The parliamentary consultative committee which was set up to work out this policy more..

Gamage stresses sour part of ‘Sevanagala Sugar’ story

Nov 5 (DM) Industrialist turned Ampara district UNP organizer Daya Gamage who owns the Sevanagala Sugar Industries Ltd. yesterday said direct and indirect livelihoods of around 50,000 people would be at stake due to the government’s plan to acquire properties of his factory through the proposed ‘Revival of Underperforming and Underutilized Assets Bill’. He said the entire manufacturing process had come to a standstill with a more..

Sri Lanka Nestlé unit wins 'Best Corporate Citizen' award

Nov 5 (LBO) Nestlé Lanka, the Sri Lankan unit of the food multinational, has won the 'Best Corporate Citizen Award' organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. A big apparel exporter, MAS Intimates, was the first runner up and Hatton National Bank the second runner up, a statement said. Link Natural Products was the winner in category B for firms with sales below 15 billion rupees with shipbuilder Colombo Dockyard and NDB Bank coming second and third. more..

Editorial: Get rid of vice in Cricket

Nov 5 (DM) Judge Jeremy Cooke of Southwark Crown Court sentenced four Pakistanis – former national cricket captain Salman Butt, reputed fast bowlers Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir and sports agent Mazhar Majeed – to jail terms ranging from six months to 32 months for indulging in match fixing during their series against England in August last year. Former captain Butt and bowler Asif were found guilty on Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to more..

CMC defeat: Is it a challenge to the govt?

Nov 5 (DM) When one examines the results of elections since 2004, several salient features emerge. One of the main factors that come to our mind is of the Sinhala Buddhist voter. The polity of Sri Lanka, we now see a phenomenon of the Sinhala Buddhist voters’ converging around the UPFA. Today, we can go to the extent of identifying it as a separate constituency. Hitherto this constituency was fragmented among the SLFP, the UNP, the Left parties and the JVP. more..

'A girl should have the noble character that surpasses The learning gained by passing exams'

Nov 5 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that a girl should have the noble character that surpasses the learning gained by passing exams. The President said that a virtuous personality could be developed through cultural and historical factors. The socio-cultural and historical foundation necessary for building that character still existed in our country. Participating in the annual prize-giving of the Visaka Vidyalaya in Colombo, more..

Sri Lanka to de-list military deserters

Nov 5 (PTI) Sri Lanka has initiated a process to de-list around 60,000 Army deserters who have had no involvement in crime under a new programme. Brigadier Nihal Hapuarachchi said that 60,000 deserters since 1982 have been separated under four categories in the de-listing process. "The first category is about 55,000 deserters who owe no financial or logistical obligations towards the Army", Hapuarachchi said. "The second category of about 4500 who have outstanding issues more..

Criticism of Sri Lanka ignores Tiger threat

Nov 5 (TA) The criticism of Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa, when he visited Australia for the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting in Perth, left the key Sri Lankan villain out of the story. The criticism was that the Sri Lankan govt engaged in serious human rights abuses, shelling areas where civilians were present, at the end of its civil war with the LTTE, in May last year. Both sides committed atrocities in this war, but defeat of more..

Sri Lankan ivory carvings from the Dutch period at Francesca Galloway in London

Nov 5 (AD) Ivory has been the medium of choice for luxury and precious objects since Antiquity. Indian ivory objects were already in considerable demand during the Achaemenid Empire in Iran (650-330 BC) and one of the most famous examples of Roman Trade with India is the carved ivory mirror handle that was found amongst the ruins of Pompeii (79 AD). The 16th century witnessed dramatic change in India with the establishment of the Mughal Empire in 1526 and the start of more..

Beg your pardon, what happens to corruption?

Nov 5 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, vanakkam and assalamu alaikkum as you retur n from the Commonwealth Summit in Australia where you faced an unexpected propaganda onslaught from the pro-tiger Tamil Diaspora. Australia’s main television channel, ABC, telecast several prog rammes showing alleged war crimes by Sri Lankan troops. The Defence Ministry in Colombo responded f ast by making a video film which under mined the credibility of those who made the allegations. more..

TNA talks in Washington will harden public opinion in Sri Lanka: GL

Nov 5 (DM) Q: Sri Lanka achieved what has been called a “significant victory” at the recently held CHOGAM. What are the specific reasons for such a positive outlook on the meeting? A: There was a huge buildup, which was all too evident before the actual meeting, by the inter national media and the Australian media to demonize Sri Lanka. We were told that issues relating to Sri Lanka’s human rights would be taken up, the spokesperson for the Australian more..

Hambantota Convention Centre reaches final stages

Nov 5 (GDI) Hambantota is to receive the largest International Exhibition and Convention Centre with the assistance from Korea. Construction work on the Convention Centre in a 28 acre land in Siribopura has now reached the final stages. The Complex has a main hall with 1500 seating capacity, 3 more halls with 250 seat capacity each and 10 other small halls. It has restaurant facilities, exhibition halls, modern sound and recording facilities, and also an open air theatre. more..

Seeman denied entry into US over LTTE ties

Nov 5 (AD) Authorities in the US today denied permission to Indian director and Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam chief Seeman to enter the country when he landed at New York airport to attend a conclave organised by the World Tamil Forum. A press release from Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam condemned the act of US authorities stating ‘this is a blow to individual freedom and freedom of thought’. The release added that Seeman was invited to attend the Tamil conference and that he obtained more..

WikiLeaks: US believes Trade unions in SL are politicized and not like US unions

Nov 5 (CT) “The Sri Lankan labor situation differs from that in the Unites States with almost all of the unions affiliated with a political party, and different unions working at the same work site” the US Ambassador to Colombo wrote to Washington. A leaked unclassified US diplomatic cable records the trade union actions against the govt. The cable written on November 16, 2009 by the US Ambassador to Colombo Patricia A. Butenis. more..

FTZ unions attentive to expropriation law

Nov 5 (AD) The Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees’ Union (FTZ&GSEU) says it is paying close attention to the proposed expropriation bill, as garment factories are amongst the companies identified to be taken over by the government if the bill is passed. We have received word that 37 companies which are incurring losses are to be taken over by the government and that these include several garment factories, the General Secretary of union Anton Marks said. more..

Lankan brothers center of illicit booze ‘epidemic’ in UK

Nov 5 (LE) The second of two Sri Lankan brothers allegedly at the centre of an illicit booze “epidemic” in Wirral was banned from selling alcohol. Councillors revoked the licence held by the Poulton Pop-In in Seacombe after a police and trading standards raid in September last year uncovered 250 litres of untaxed spirits. The corner shop, on Poulton Road, was alleged by police to have sold one-litre bottles of vodka that had been destined for export for as more..

Younis century leads Pakistan resistance

Nov 5 (CI) Pakistan gave yet another demonstration of how far they have progressed from their collapse-prone avatar of recent years by posting a solid 282 for 6 on the third day of the final Test in Sharjah. The three middle-order batsmen instrumental in providing steel to the Pakistan line-up over the past year all made substantial contributions on a track which was truer than expected. Younis Khan made the biggest impact by going on to his more..

Sri Lanka business chambers endorse expropriation bill

Nov 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka large business chambers have tacitly endorsed a draft law to expropriate assets of several businesses on a promise that it will never be done again, according to a statement from the island's largest business chambers. The business chambers said they have been assured has assured that it will be a "one off bill" and the expropriated assets of some of their fellow men would be given back to the "private sector", following a meeeting with president and senior ministers. more..

Truckers call off strike at port

Nov 5 (ST) A wild cat strike by container operators entering the Colombo Port late yesterday was called off a short while ago, following talks with the relevant authorities, police said. They said the action by the truckers was in protest over a new regulation that prevents them from entering the main roads between 4.00 pm and 7.00 pm, as they were hindering the traffic flow to and from Colombo city. A spokesman for the truckers said the new rule will force them to more..

Sri Lanka targets dissident websites

Nov 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Saturday warned websites to register with the authorities after the United States expressed deep concern over Colombo’s blocking of a popular Internet-based dissident publication. The Ministry of Mass Media and Information said many reports posted on dissident websites amounted to character assassination of President Mahinda Rajapakse, his ministers and top officials. “This ministry believes that those who are operating and more..

'Pivithuru Hetak’ steers country towards development

Nov 5 (DM) A movement called ‘Pivithuru Hetak’ (A Cleaner Tomorrow) was set up by the JHU with the main objective of taking the country in the right path by cooperating to its primary goals towards development in all aspects was formed under the leadership of JHU parliamentarian Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera. “Even after defeating the LTTE, still certain powerful forces in the international sphere are continuously taking action against Sri Lanka by charging the country more..

Child in Sri Lanka: “Education for us is like another war”

Nov 5 (SOS) The damage inflicted on the country’s education system from decades of conflict has left scare facilities and a lack of teachers; leaves futures of the most vulnerable in the balance. Schools in Sri Lanka, especially in the eastern province, have been hit hard by both natural disaster and conflict. Displaced families and damaged schools have meant that most children in the region find themselves without proper school facilities and even a lack of teachers. more..

News on shortage of heroin is a political ploy

Nov 5 (LT) The news published regarding a shortage of drugs around Colombo has no basis says a senior officer of the Sri Lanka Police Narcotic Bureau. He revealed that in raids carried out last month the same number of suspects that had been arrested in previous months was arrested and nearly the same amount of drugs was apprehended. He also revealed that well known heroin racketeers who are protected by powerful politicians have not been arrested. more..

Europe keeps LTTE alive

Nov 5 (DP) Daud Haider, well-known Bengali poet and our gracious host, was keen to treat us to a home-cooked meal which would include, apart from prawn curry, karela fry, which I presumed would be done Bangladeshi style, and daal with drumsticks. On the way back to his apartment, tired and hungry after tramping around the city the whole day, we stopped by at a store owned by a Sri Lankan Tamil family. It had a narrow doorway and seemed more like a corridor that had been converted more..

Buoyant GL informs cabinet of Sri Lankan diplomatic triumph in Australia

Nov 5 (DBS) The Sri Lankan government is very happy with its achievements in Australia when the Commonwealth summit was held in Perth. Colombo is of the opinion that it registered a diplomatic triumph down under. A buoyant External Affairs minister Prof. GL Peiris outlined the salient points of this victory in a comprehensive cabinet paper submitted to his ministerial colleagues a few days ago. The academic turned politico in customary style has lucidly presented the more..

President Rajapaksa graces Visakha Vidyalaya annual prize giving

Nov 5 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the annual prize giving ceremony of Visakha Vidyalaya, one of the oldest Buddhist prestigious girls’ schools in Sri Lanka which was held at the school premises on Friday 04 November. The President participated the ceremony as the chief guest. He was warmly welcomed by the Principal of the school, Mrs. Sandamali Aviruppola at the school’s main gate and later was guided to the school main hall from a colourful more..

Editorial: Lanka's foreign policy, a role model

Nov 6 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's illustrious leadership and political maturity were demonstrated in ample measure in Sri Lanka's major diplomatic victories during last week's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia. Despite sinister moves by LTTE sympathisers and politicians who depend on the LTTE ghosts for their survival, during CHOGM 2011, Sri Lanka beat all overwhelming odds to secure major victories on the international front. more..

Editorial: Doom for democracy and the economy

Nov 6 (SL) The Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Bill that is to be presented to parliament soon has in it economic and political objectives that spell doom for Sri Lankan democracy as well as the economy. It would vest in the Sri Lankan govt Hotel Developers (Lanka) PLC which owns the Colombo Hilton that has been described as an ‘Underperforming’ enterprise and 36 other business establishments that have been called ‘Underutilized’ more..

'Southern Expressway in keeping with international standards'

Nov 6 (SO) Deputy Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardene said when compared with other expressways in Asia, the Government has been able to construct the Southern Expressway with standards similar to expressways in European countries. He said the expressway is an innovative as far as Sri Lankans are concerned as this is the first expressway to be opened in Sri Lanka. When this massive project of this magnitude is implemented, more..

Editorial: Indecent hurry to push through Bill trumps public interest

Nov 6 (NS) In the initial euphoria of capturing power, Fidel Castro, perhaps taking power-to-the-people to ridiculous dimensions, launched a frenzied process of acquisitioning private enterprises. The joke then was that even the operations of poor ice cream vendors were taken over, such was the zeal prompted by aversion to private enterprise. Moderation is something rare in times of great political upheaval or even perceived radical alteration of political equation. more..

Editorial: Your ABC of liberal economics

Nov 6 (LB) The current brouhaha about the govt hoping to acquire loss-making enterprises with a state stake in them, can be seen in the most stark terms when seen together with the plea by private bus owners to ask for subsidized diesel! First-glance at least, seems to show that we are still in that state of the economy, in which private enterprises cannot run profitably without state intervention. After decades of liberalizing the economy, this does seem to be quite a sorry pass indeed. more..

Lawlessness on the rise - Dayasiri Jayasekera

Nov 6 (NS) “A situation has been created where a section of people closely connected to the government could escape from the clutches of the law after earning enormous amounts of money through illegal means. Ultimately, it is the poor and the innocent who have to pay for all these sins. It is the duty of the Opposition to summon all their strength together and launch a fight against this deteriorating situation faced by the country” more..

Import substitution: Is it a pragmatic economic policy?

Nov 6 (ST) Pragmatism, the President told an Australian business audience, was a fundamental approach of the government's economic policies. This is indeed how it should be in a world that is constantly changing and a country that has to face fresh global challenges continuously. The Sri Lankan economy must always be one that responds to global challenges and continuously adopts countervailing policies to cope with emerging global situations. more..

Editorial: Merits and demerits in targeting underutilised assets

Nov 6 (BL) The COPE Chairman, DEW Gunasekera has reported that there are 249 govt ventures which are losing money and that their losses amounted to Rs. 19 billion. The Opposition is criticising the proposed Bill termed “Revival of Under-performing Enterprises and Under-utilised Assets” which will vest in the govt certain specified enterprises and underutilised assets in the private sector, on the ground that the govt is not able to run profitably even the businesses it already owns. more..

SLC elections on or before December 15

Nov 6 (ST) Sri Lanka Cricket Board elections as stipulated by the ICC will be held on or before December 15. Sports Minister Aluthgamage last week directed that the present Interim Committee headed by Upali Dharmadasa would be dissolved on November 14. The Sports Minister said: “The Interim Committee will be dissolved before November 15. Thereafter 21 days would be given to hand over the nominations and the elections will be held on or before December 15.” more..