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Mafia disrupts Colombo tea auctions

Nov 27 (ST) A leading buyer of tea pulled out of the Colombo tea auctions this week due to a transport crisis linked to goons connected to a politician. "It was a personal matter between the parties which escalated when the firm stopped buying," a tea broker said. However, other tea industry officials, who declined to be named, said the crisis was linked to an extortion racket allegedly carried out by goons who victimize tea firms transporting more..

Never again says miffed Cabraal

Nov 27 (ST) The Central Bank has been re-assured by President Mahinda Rajapaksa that there won’t be any more pronouncements of the depreciation of the rupee or devaluation that sent the banks into a dizzy spin this week. “The President has assured me that there won’t be any more pronouncements and that the 3 % devaluation was a one-off thing,” CB Governor Ajit Nivard Cabraal said. The President’s announcement of a devaluation of the rupee, which many economists say is over-valued more..

Death toll goes up, 33 fishermen missing

Nov 27 (SL) The death toll due to the bad weather experienced mostly in the south on Friday had risen to 17 as of last evening and 33 fishermen were still missing. Spokesman of the DMC Pradeep Kodippili said that the majority of the victims were from Matara. He also said that over 1200 houses had also been damaged. Meanwhile the navy said it was still conducting a search operation to locate 33 fishermen who were reported missing since Friday. There were 10 boats missing, but they were not sure if more..

LLRC report: World awaits Govt. response

Nov 27 (ST) It is perhaps the largest wooden table in Sri Lanka though it is not for dining or drinking. Unveiled this week, it would easily be one on which many a decision that enters chapters of Sri Lanka's history is made. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his 60 cabinet ministers sat around this table for the first tine at the formal weekly cabinet meeting last Wednesday evening. However, last Monday morning, they did gather around the same table for more..

Book on President’s Parliament speeches

Nov 27 (DN) A book containing the speeches made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament from 1970 to 2005 will be launched on November 29 at Temple Trees. This book titled Mahinda Rajapaksa Jandipathidun Eda Parlimenthuwedi Negu Handa (Voice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament) is a publication of Presidential Information and Documentation Centre. This centre was set up to collect and preserve information related to all Presidents who ruled the country. more..

No more gravel roads – Basil Rajapaksa

Nov 27 (SO) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said with Sri Lanka opening its first Expressway today, the other roads too have been developed to such an extent that there were almost no gravel roads in the country. Minister pointed out that schoolchildren were now unable to describe a gravel road since there were none. “That is because we have developed the entire road network. All roads, even roads in remote areas, have been carpeted under road development projects. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Nov 27 (ST) Officials closely went through video footage of Parliament proceedings on budget day. The purpose was to ascertain the trajectory of a water bottle. It had landed near President Mahinda Rajapaksa's feet splashing some water on him. The President thought it had come from the public gallery and told the Sergeant-at-Arms to investigate. But it came to light that it had been thrown by an MP from the Gampaha District. more..

Hirunika to launch new political party

Nov 27 (LB) The daughter of the late Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, Hirunika Premachandra says that she will create her own political party for people who are ready to rally round her, and those who respect law and order. Speaking to LAKBIMAnEWS she said: “My motto is ‘Law and Order.’ Unfortunately, no political party is following it today. That is why I don’t want to join any political party.” more..

Sexually abused students now being bullied by a teacher, says NCPA

Nov 27 (ST) The seven grade eight students who were allegedly sexually abused by a sports master at a school in Hanwella have now become victims of bullying by a staff member simply because they went public with their ordeal. In a story titled, ‘Sexercise scandal shocks Hanwella’, the Sunday Times last week highlighted how the sports master had allegedly sexually abused the students and videoed them on his mobile phone camera, on the pretext of more..

Expropriated ventures: Owners’ second chance

Nov 27 (ST) Former owners of business ventures taken over under the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets law are to be offered a second chance to run their ventures, a Finance Ministry official said yesterday. This will be done only if they provide a “viable business plan” to develop them in conjunction with the Competent Authorities already appointed. The Govt will, however, retain the ownership of these enterprises. more..

Rs. One billion needed to bail out ailing SL Cricket

Nov 27 (ST) The govt is hoping pump in Rs. One billion to bail out the ailing Sri Lanka Cricket and put the Sports giant of Sri Lanka back on its track. Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage speaking to the Sunday Times said “We have already put up a cabinet paper requesting for this sum and we are hoping to complete the transaction before the end of this year. “There are a few outstanding matters including the players’ payment and the backlog of more..

Minister denies buying electricity from Tamil Nadu

Nov 27 (NS) The electricity generated from the atomic power plant under construction at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu will not be sold to Sri Lanka. It would be for the sole use of Southern India, the newly appointed Tamil Nadu Congress Chief and Parliamentarian P.S. Gnanathesikan has told a Sri Lanka based Tamil daily. Widespread protests were in Tamil Nadu following information in certain South Indian Tamil dailies that electricity generated more..

Public spends Millions of rupees for CPC defence team

Nov 27 (SL) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has spent Rs.13 million for air tickets and accommodation for the local participants engaged in the defence against the arbitration and legal proceedings that took place in Singapore and the United Kingdom. The cases were filed by Citi Bank and Standard Chartered Bank claiming dues from the controversial hedging agreement. more..

Unpaid Sri Lankans give rise to fixing fear

Nov 27 (Independent) Fears of corruption in cricket were again raised yesterday as it emerged that Sri Lanka's players have not been paid since February. Although they have played several Test and one-day series in the last seven months and reached the World Cup final, none of the players has received any of their agreed salaries or match fees from the board. The amount owing is believed to be almost $6 million (£3.9m). more..

Gale havoc: State agencies did not give warning

Nov 27 (ST) State agencies failed to give early warnings of the gale force winds that caused havoc in the south on Friday, it was revealed yesterday. Gale-force winds in the south left 17 dead and another 35 missing, whilst rising flood waters elsewhere in the country have taken a toll of seven lives, officials said. The worst affected was the coastal areas of Galle and Matara where 17 people were confirmed dead and 35 people, more..

Mechanism to probe war incidents soon

Nov 27 (ST) The Govt will announce details of an investigative mechanism to probe incidents as recommended by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission when the report is tabled in Parliament early next month. According to the govt’s current thinking, the probes into matters relating to post-war incidents are likely to be placed in the hands of the Police, particularly the CID. The Sunday Times revealed exclusively last week that the LLRC will ask the govt to more..

UNP poll showdown with Ranil in December

Nov 27 (LB) The United National Party (UNP) will decide their political future when they appoint the next party leader at the party convention to be held in December. The UNP dissidents will field a candidate against current party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in the election for party leader at the party convention next month. However it has not yet been decided whether it will be Karu Jayasuriya or Sajith Premadasa who will contest, a source said. more..

Not sure of Expressway safety: hospitals on the ready

Nov 27 (LB) The director of the Accident and Trauma Unit, National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Dr. Prasad Ariyawansa says that measures have been taken to provide hospitals situated close to the newly constructed Southern Expressway with the necessary facilities to attend to any injuries that travellers may sustain in the event of an accident. He said that when a person suffers an injury she/he should be first attended to on the spot to stop the bleeding. more..

Arbitrary tender cancellation delays Sri Lanka’s crude oil importation

Nov 27 (ST) Sri Lanka’s crude oil annual imports which should have comenced from October have been delayed unnecessarily as a result of the cancellation of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) tender called to obtain cost effective transportation of crude, from Iran. Over 90% of the country’s crude requirements comes from Iran because of an extended (7-month) credit facility. The CPC had called for tenders in August this year for the voyage charter of more..

Alleged medical negligence at Lanka Hospitals

Nov 27 (SL) Lanka Hospitals formerly known as The Apollo Hospital is to face serious charges of medical negligence following the tragic death of a 24 year old Maldivian who is also a close relative of Maldivian First Lady Laila Ali Abdulla, the wife of the current President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed. The family of Aishath Eeman Zaki claim she died due to medical negligence at Lanka Hospitals on the evening of November 23 after undergoing a more..

Govt. still considering price control

Nov 27 (SL) Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ravindra Ruberu, said on Friday that the price control mechanism proposed for pharmaceutical products is still “being considered.” He said this in response to certain claims made by the pharmaceutical industry, which last week spoke out strongly against the proposed price control. According to the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI), price control is not only the wrong way to counter prevailing problems, more..

What happened to India’s 50,000 houses?

Nov 27 (SL) When The Sunday Leader interviewed R. Sampanthan a week ago, the TNA leader claimed that of the 50,000 houses the Govt of India had donated to IDPs in Sri Lanka, only 50 had been fully completed. “According to our sources, when the Indian Foreign Secretary visited last month, only 50 houses had been completed,” he said. When contacted, the TNA claimed that the primary cause for the delay has been that lists of beneficiaries more..

Rise in gold chain robberies: Police

Nov 27 (DM) The number of gold chain robberies has risen in urban areas especially in Kurunegala, Negombo, Tangalle, Gampaha and Anuradhpaura, the police said. Women living in urban area have been advised to be more aware and to take preventive measures. In the recent past many complaints had been lodged on gold chain robberies with the police. During investigations it has been revealed that the robberies were carried by two men or one person riding on a motorbike. more..

Chandimal fined for dissent, Hafeez reprimanded

Nov 27 (CI) Batsman Dinesh Chandimal has been fined 10% of his match fee for showing dissent at the umpire's decision during the one-off Twenty20 against Pakistan on Friday. The Pakistan opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez has been officially reprimanded for the same offence, in a separate incident. Both batsmen showed their bats to the umpire after they were adjudged lbw. Chandimal, who top scored with 56, was dismissed by Aizaz Cheema while Hafeez fell to Thisara Perera for 13. more..

JVP calls for war crimes probe

Nov 27 (BBC) An opposition party in Sri Lanka that supported Sri Lanka government’s war against the Tamil Tigers has called for an investigation into alleged war crimes. Somawansa Amerasinghe, the leader of JVP says it supports the recent statement by the defence secretary that accountability will be addressed by the govt if needed. “Every war is a dirty war. The war is the worst thing in the world,” he told BBC Sandeshaya. more..

Vigils to find missing fishermen

Nov 27 (BBC) People living along the southern coast of Sri Lanka have been holding vigils on the beaches and praying for their family members to be found after sudden storms in the past two days. The storms have left 19 people dead and 43, mostly fishermen, missing. Sri Lanka's navy now has three vessels searching at sea for missing people, while the meteorology department has warned fishermen to not to go out to sea. The deaths and missing people from sudden gales and more..

Tamils bat on despite visa doubts

Nov 27 (TA) WHAT better way to demonstrate a new-found allegiance to Australian life than with a game of cricket? Barely 24 hours after their release from Scherger detention centre in Queensland, Raja, 48, and his friend Praba, 38, could be found pulling on the gloves and taking up position at the stumps in a Sydney suburban park. Raja, a Tamil from Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north, arrived in Australia in March last year on a boat that sailed from India. more..

IC officials ruined cricket, says Thilanga

Nov 27 (BBC) Those who have served in recent interim committees have no moral right to contest the upcoming elections for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), says the last man to hold the elected office. Thilanga Sumathipala told BBC that former interim committee members are accused of ruining the cricket administration in Sri Lanka. Mr Sumathipala who declared his intention to contest the elections based on a "five-year development programme," more..

Abortion centre raided

Nov 27 (DM) An illegal abortion centre was raided in Negombo and three persons running the centre were arrested, the police said. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said that the centre was raided after a search warrant was granted from the Negombo Magistrate. The raid took place last night in Weligampitiya and the police also arrested two women who had come for treatment at the time. The two women were admitted to the Ragama General Hospital for further treatment, more..

SL tax to decrease Kinnow export

Nov 27 (DM) The Kinnow export to Sri Lanka will be reduced by 60 per cent because of the new tax levied on import of agriculture products. CEO of Harvest Trading Ahmad Jawad said that with the imposition of new tax by Sri Lanka, the duties on many export items from Pakistan have been doubled. The duty on Kinnow has increased from $2.19 per 13 kilograms to $4.47. Likewise, the duty on onion has increased from nine cents to 22 cents per kilogram and on potato from 4.5 cents to 30 cents per kilogram. more..

Economy in jeopardy, says Karu

Nov 27 (DM) UNP Co-Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya today said the crisis in the Colombo Stock Market was a clear case of all types of investors, local and foreign, increasingly being disappointed over the conduct and policies of Rajapaksa and Brothers Company. Mr. Jayasuriya in a statement said “the Govt’s failure to arrest the decline shows its disability and bankruptcy. The people and the country will see further worsening of the economy more..

Star designer Matheesha gets prestigious education scholarship

Nov 27 (F2F) Textured Jersey PLC, a leading producer of value-added knitted fabric, has come forward to support young fashion designer Matheesha Palihawadana with a scholarship to pursue higher education in his chosen field. A final year design student at the Academy of Design (AOD), Matheesha was awarded the scholarship in recognition of the exceptional creativity, skill and fabric research evident in the innovative designs he developed for a unique collection of evening wear more..

Death toll rises to 19

Nov 27 (DM) The death toll from the turbulent weather conditions rose to 19 this afternoon with 43 people still reported missing and 53,773 people from 13,337 families being affected, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said today. According to latest figures 630 houses have been fully destroyed and 5094 houses partially damaged. Nine districts have been affected by the turbulent weather conditions with the Matara District suffering most with 15 deaths and some 40 fishermen gone missing. more..

Dilshan wants Lankan fans to be patient

Nov 27 (ST) Sri Lankan skipper T.M. Dilshan hopes that the Lankan fans back home would have patience with his team and understand their plight. In one of the worst tours undertaken in recent times Sri Lanka on Friday lost the final game on their tour of the Middle-East going down to Pakistan in their one-off T-20 game by five wickets. They also lost the Test series 1-0 while losing the one-day series 4-1. Dilshan in his post match meeting said more..

Budget 2012: Nothing for Mr. Silva?

Nov 28 (SL) The new budget is meh. For those not in the know, ‘meh’ is internet-slang for a shoulder shrug. Other than the out the blue devaluation of the Rupee, the budget didn’t deliver any major surprises. This is probably a good thing, the surprises sprung in past budgets have seldom been happy, but this budget wasn’t that solid either. While it has its positives, most of its proposals for development appeared to simply throw money at problems hoping they’ll solve themselves. more..

Was the Buddha a bad father?

Nov 28 (SL) At about my age, the Buddha left his family to seek enlightenment. Blogger James Altucher said this makes him a bad father, which I guess is true in an immediate sense. The thing about Buddhism is that it is full of seeming opposites like this. People say that Buddhism is about doing nothing, but that appearance of nothing is actually complete awareness. Everything in a sense, but more accurately a point where those dualistic measures do not apply. more..

Reconciliation conference: Platform for broad spectrum of ideas

Nov 28 (SO) The first National Conference on Reconciliation, held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute under the theme ‘Reconciliation: The way forward for post-conflict Sri Lanka’ was momentous at a time Sri Lanka is on a path of recovery after the conflict era. The conference was a platform for a broad spectrum of ideas. Some participants were of the view that attitude changes in the masses could build a bridge between scattered communities more..

A garbage free Dehiwela Mt. Lavinia, sooner or later

Nov 28 (LB) I am now an elected representative of people. Never mind where, which or how. That I believe is irrelevant. In the last period, we were tormented by chauvinists, conservatives, and various reactionaries referring to our mass support. Every time we referred to injustice and lack of fair play, we were shot down as non entities. Famous of all, is that all our support could be accommodated in a three wheeler! Though it is obvious that one need not more..

Editorial: When the truth hurts

Nov 28 (Island) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has blown a gasket; her conniption knows no bounds. She used to keep telling India that the TN fishermen were not engaged in any illegal activity in the Sri Lanka's territorial waters. But, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has given the lie to her claim; it has told the Madras High Court in a counter affidavit in response to a public interest litigation that the Indian fishermen cross the International Maritime more..

Fonseka convicted: Another opportunity to reflect on ethnicity and communalism in politics

Nov 28 (TC) I fully support the enforcement of law and order to preserve communal harmony. Harmony is a precondition for peace in whatever form it comes, and disharmony would obstruct a political solution to the ethnic conflict. However, selective and inconsistent enforcement of the laws under which ‘anti-communalism’ can be prosecuted will not bring about communal harmony. more..