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Stock market regulator: Making it a Toothless Tiger no good sign

Aug 23 (CT) Colombo Stock Market is a peculiar place. It doesn’t create just plain news. It creates scary news. First, it was agitations by a group of market participants, known as high net-worth investors, for the removal of the Chief Executive Officer of its watchdog, Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC, from his post. His crime: getting too tough on investors who have been alleged to have practised the crime of engaging in ‘market manipulation for more..

'Milton won’t overshadow Keuneman'

Aug 23 (Island) Member of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) and the President of the Association of Singers Madumadhawa Aravinda said that erecting a statue of the popular singer, the late Milton Mallawarachchi at Maradana junction, next to the statue of the former parliamentarian, the late Pieter Keuneman would not cause any disrespect to the great politician contrary to the claims by the Pieter Keuneman Commemoration Committee. The Chairman of the Keuneman Commemoration Committee A.H.M. Fowzie has stated that more..

CPC buys 40,000 tons fuel oil from little-known supplier

Aug 23 (Reuters) Ceylon Petroleum Corp (Ceypetco) has awarded a tender to buy 40,000 tons of fuel oil to a little-known company called Bumi Siak Pusako. Ceypetco bought 15,000 tons of Low Sulphur Fuel Oil at a premium of $84.95 a ton, above Singapore spot quote, for 29-20 August delivery to Muthurajawela. The other 25,000 tons are High Sulphur Fuel Oil, which Ceypetco purchased at a premium of $69.95 a more..

SEC fiasco a sign of lawlessness in the country – Harsha

Aug 23 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva on Tuesday identified Sri Lanka as a country sans law and order elaborating on the recent SEC debacle. “Within a period of one year two chairmen resigned at SEC. One happens to be the wife of the President’s Secretary Lalith Weerathunga. These past chairmen have found it difficult to work according to self-conscience. Recent past Chairman Thilak Karunaratne, a politician who was in the SLFP with the President more..

Court extends stay order on UNP leadership

Aug 23 (Island) Mount Lavinia District Judge Priyantha Fernando yesterday extended till September 5 the stay order preventing the UNP leadership from extending the leader’s term of office by six years. UNP Southern Provincial Councillor Maithri Gunaratne initiated legal action at the Mount Lavinia District Court on August 8 against an alleged illegal decision of the UNP Working Committee to change the party constitution unlawfully, which would have enabled party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to continue for another more..

31,500 foreign passport holders travel North

Aug 23 (CT) Secretary to the Defence Ministry, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa revealed that up to August this year, nearly 31,500 foreign passport holders who visited Sri Lanka have travelled to the North. He also said, since July 2011, more than 51,400 foreign passport holders from over 100 countries have visited Sri Lanka and travelled to the North. He added that a considerable number of them were Lankan expatriates visiting their ancestral homes, assets and their more..

UNP questions Govt.’s wheat flour policy

Aug 23 (FT) Discouraging wheat flour use in the country, the effectiveness of the different types of taxes imposed on wheat flour imports, was questioned on Tuesday at the Parliament by Opposition legislator Ravi Karunanayake . “You have imposed a tax totalling Rs. 31 per Kg, which is borne by the consumer. If the Govt is keen to discourage the use of wheat flour, why not completely stop the imports?” asked Karunanayake raising a supplementary question highlighting more..

SLMC candidate’s vehicle torched

Aug 23 (CT) The vehicle of Rupika Chandani, a Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) candidate for the Eastern Provincial Council, has been burnt when it was parked on 21 August. It is reported Chandani, who contests for the upcoming Provincial Council election from the Trincomalee District had parked her vehicle near the garage of her daughter’s house after finishing her election campaign work. The vehicle was burnt at around 9.30 p.m. while she was having dinner. more..

'Less violence compared to past polls'

Aug 23 (DN) The Elections Secretariat has received 204 complaints on election violation laws and violent incidents as at Tuesday evening, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said. He said there is a reduction of pre-election violence compared to previous elections. He noted the majority of the complaints was related to incidents of election laws violations. He said among the 204 complaints, 167 incidents were related to the violation of election laws. more..

President visits Parliament

Aug 23 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday visited Parliament and attended Parliamentary sessions for a while. The President arrived around 1.50 pm and was warmly welcomed by the ministers and members. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa was in the chair. At the time of the President's arrival Minister Nirmala Kothalawala was responding to a question by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara during the round of questions for oral answers. President Rajapaksa left the chamber around 2.00 pm. more..

Sugathadasa stadium closed for repairs

Aug 23 (DM) The newly laid track at the Sugathadasa Stadium is to be closed for repairs and many events had to be postponed, while some event organizers have changed the venues. The track which was laid only three months ago and was used for the Asian Youth Athletic Championships was due to undergo these repairs when the technical officer detected a few damages on the track. The matter was forwarded to the foreign constructors by the local constructors and they said that it was not an issue to be alarmed about as more..

Alex is back, but still trapped in limbo

Aug 23 (SMH) Sanjeev 'Alex' Kuhendrarajah, the spokesman for 254 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who refused for months to leave their boat at an Indonesian port, has resurfaced in Thailand, telling how he escaped capture by people-smuggling agents he had betrayed. Mr Kuhendrarajah, 30, says he spent 12 months moving around Malaysia to avoid agents he had identified as having arranged the over-crowded wooden boat which was intercepted more..

Abundance of blessings as Sacred Relics leave Kelaniya

Aug 23 (DN) Thousands of devotees braved the heavy rains early yesterday morning to pay homage to the Kapilawasthui Sacred Relics for the last time at Manelwatte Temple before it left on its next journey to the Pelmadulla Rajamaha Viharaya. The heavy downpour after a long spell of drought was linked to the presence of the Sacred Relics by devotees whose chants grew louder at what was perceived to be a miracle. "The heavy rains that came down while the Sacred Relics were more..

Govt. giving excuses to avoid political solution - Sampanthan

Aug 23 (CT) Leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan said the talks of a home-grown solution should not be used as an excuse to not resolve the national problem. Moving the adjournment motion in Parliament yesterday, he said the TNA agrees that a solution should be found within, but it has been used as an excuse by all successive governments to avoid providing a lasting political solution. “The agony of the people is being exploited by various people to make money. more..

Inquiry into indecent behavior at SLC

Aug 23 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket Ex-co has ordered disciplinary committee to inquire into the alleged incident of indecent behavior of two persons at the SLC premises which received wide publicity in the press. The SLC also requested the Committee to hand over the report by August 27 considering the heavy gravity of the issue. This was decided at a special meeting convened on Saturday to discuss the matter as quickly as possible. more..

'No conspiracy to destroy stock market'

Aug 23 (DM) The UPFA said today that there were no conspiracies within the govt to destroy the stock market. Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that there was no organized plot within the govt to destroy the stock market and if anyone accused the govt of such acts they flatly rejected them. “We have always featured the growth of the stock market in our vision for economic growth. As the government, we will always dedicate ourselves to the safety of the stock market,” he said. more..

Fishermen's hearing adjourned for 23rd time

Aug 23 (TOI) With the hearing on the Thangachimadam fishermen who were detained in Sri Lankan prison on drug peddling charges from November 2011 adjourned for the 23rd time, and the next hearing scheduled on September 5, the fishermen community in Rameswaram is despondent. Fishermen associations are busy taking measures to represent their plight to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Thangachimadam fishermen Emerson, Agustus, Wilson, Langlet, and more..

SLC mum on SLPL match-fixing investigation

Aug 23 (IC) It is the responsibility of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to carry out investigations into the corruption cloud hanging over the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) tournament, the ICC has said. The ICC refused to comment on if a probe had been launched by its own Anti Corruption and Security Unit, to investigate the recently leaked audio recording of an alleged attempt to fix SLPL matches, but cricket’s global governing body more..

Missing Lankan ship surfaces

Aug 23 (CT) The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources confirmed the fishing vessel, ‘Sanduni Valentica 3,’ which went missing recently, was found in Beruwala last morning. Fisheries Ministry spokesperson, Narendra Rajapaksa said, the vessel comprising six fishermen went out to the sea on 20 July from Negombo and was reported missing. “The Ministry received news about the missing ship on 20 August. It was to return to the country on 9 August, but had disappeared. However, we can now confirm the ship has finally arrived in Beruwala more..

SriLankan Airlines offers discounted tickets for students

Aug 23 (N360) SriLankan Airlines has started a program to offer discounted air tickets and excess baggage for local student’s pursuing higher studies in overseas countries. The program will be applicable for students studying in countries which come under the airline’s network of online destinations. Some of those countries would be UK, Germany, Italy, France, Malaysia, Singapore, China, India and Russia. Accordingly, SriLankan will offer a 5% discount for more..

'No English, ICT for university entrants this year'

Aug 23 (Island) Minister S.B. Dissanayake told Parliament that the English and Information Communication Technology courses conducted for university entrants every year, would not be held this year. However, the leadership training programme, conducted for them in army camps, would be continued, the Minister said, adding that the new batch of students would be enrolled in October this year. more..

Re-examine the recently introduced market regulations – Former SEC DG

Aug 23 (N360) A former market regulator urges authorities to launch an independent study to re-examine the recently introduced market regulations. Former Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission Channa De Silva speaking to said, “All market regulations that were brought in the recent past should be re-examined from an independent standpoint”. He believes doing this is important, especially for the regulations that were introduced more..

PC polls: One sixth of Rs.600 mn allocated to police

Aug 23 (Island) Elections Chief Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said that his department, too, had realised the need to explore ways and means of curtailing polls-related expenditure. He said that some of his officers, including the senior officer in charge of Anuradhapura, Rasika Peiris, had discussed the issue with him. The Polls Chief said that an effort was being made to slash expenditure and also keep both his department and the police under scrutiny through an audit process. more..

Decision to close down universities would mark the end of this govt – JVP

Aug 23 (LT) The govt closed down universities to evade issues and the govt’s intention of closing down universities would be a decision that would mark the termination of this govt says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said, “The govt has closed down all state universities in the country. There is no big issue to close down universities at the moment. It is possible for universities to function. more..

UNP challenged to win six EPC seats

Aug 23 (Island) The SLFP-led UPFA yesterday challenged the UNP to win at least six seats in the Eastern Provincial Council. Addressing a media conference at the Mahaweli Centre, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that UNP’s vote base had decreased and they would obtain only five seats, according to the UPFA’s latest election surveys. He said that most of the parties were spreading racism to obtain more votes at the election, but those were not sustainable campaigns. more..

Manpower snag to hit mega construction projects

Aug 23 (DM) Manpower shortfall in the construction industry will be a pivotal issue to be addressed by policymakers, particularly at a time when mega social and physical infrastructure projects are happening all over Sri Lanka, President of Chamber of Construction Industry (CCI) stated. “There is a massive shortage of construction professionals such as, service engineers, quantity surveyors, project managers and construction managers and more..

Ah, the maverick King of Swaziland

Aug 23 (LB) The King of Swaziland, Mswati 3 who arrived in the island last week on a state visit is the last absolute monarch in Africa, who relishes in extravagant, no-expense-paid, birthday parties and jet sets in his own McDonnell Douglas DC-9 private jet while 60 per cent of his subjects are living below the international poverty line. According to Forbes, he is one of the richest monarchs with an estimated personal fortune of US$100 million. He has 13 wives, still a lesser achievement than more..

Wayamba 90% of the Paddy crop destroyed

Aug 23 (SL) We are not in a mood to speak in decent language anymore. We are so hurt. There has not been a single President from J. R. Jayewardene onwards who found a solution for the Batalagoda scheme. They came time and again and found temporary solutions. The officials are the same. They too come time to time and spin some yarn and go away”, said Podibanda Ratnayake, a farmer from Kombavehera, Ibbagamuwa gazing at the mountain range ahead of him. more..

Which mystery will prevail in Today’s world T20 selections?

Aug 23 (DM) Ajantha Mendis was the man who brought the term “Mystery Spinner” into everyday use in world cricket in recent times. Promising youngster Akila Dhananjaya Perera discovered by Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene is firmly in line to become the next man from Sri Lanka to earn the tag. Sri Lanka, I feel is about to create a world record as the first country to produce the first “Mystery Selector” more..

'We had only beedi butts, a cap to bust thieves'

Aug 23 (Island) Senior DIG of Police Anura Senanayake yesterday said that the police were happy that a massive operation they had conducted painstakingly for months to trace invaluable artefacts stolen from the National Museum in March had yielded the desired results. He said the police were looking for the main suspect. Senanayake said the police had been saddled with a Herculean task as more..

CPC diesel scam report will take over two months – AG

Aug 23 (Island) The Auditor General’s Department will take at least two months to complete its investigations into the scam involving the purchase of low quality diesel by the CPC, which resulted in a number of vehicles, including buses, trains, motor cars and gantry cranes in the Colombo port, stalling. Auditor General H. S. Samaraweera said that his department commenced investigations last Friday and it would take over two months more..

Govt. looking at laws to prevent ‘white collar crime’

Aug 23 (DM) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said today the govt would look into possibilities of introducing laws to prevent white collar crime. He made these remarks when Daily Mirror questioned him about the govt’s stance on the resignation of CSE Chairman Thilak Karunarathne. “If there are no laws covering white collar crime the government will definitely have to look into introducing these laws,” he said. more..

Forces in North reduced: Gota

Aug 23 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the presence of security forces personnel in the North had been reduced with 28 battalions being moved to the East and the South. He said the overall number of troops had been reduced by more than 21,000 since 2009. He said the govt would compensate the owners of the properties within the Palaly cantonment and provide them with alternate lands. “It must be stressed that civilians have not occupied more..

Abandoned foreign vessel sinks

Aug 23 (CG) A foreign ship anchored off Panadura for the past three years, had sunk by this morning. The Marine Environment Protection Authority said that officials were now sent to the area to asses the possible environment impact from the sinking of the ship. Jagath Gunasekera, Assistant Manager operations at the Marine Environment Protection Authority said that most of the oil in the ship had been removed so they don’t expect a major environmental impact. more..

Navi Pillay due in Sri Lanka to assess progress

Aug 23 (DM) United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will visit Sri Lanka to assess the steps taken by the govt of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the LLRC, said External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris in Parliament yesterday. During the debate on the action plan for the implementation of the LLRC recommendations, the minister said an official from Ms. Pillay's office would arrive in the country soon to lay the groundwork for her visit. more..

Deputy Minister Basheer Segadawood resigns

Aug 23 (NF) The Deputy Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Basheer Segadawood has resigned. In a letter to the President, Chairman of the SLMC Basheer Segadawood has said that he has taken this decision in order to engage in the election campaign of the party. He has pointed out that he took this decision as the party is contesting on its own. He states in his letter that he does not intend to use state resources in the party's election campaign. more..

Four bones, three countries

Aug 23 (Hindu) Four bone fragments of the Buddha housed in the National Museum, Delhi are on a two-week tour of Sri Lanka to enable Buddhists there to pay homage to them. While all relics of the Buddha are revered, these are special. They are part of the trove of 22 bone fragments that were discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in the 1970s in Kapilavastu, Uttar Pradesh, where he grew up as a prince before renouncing the world. The journey of the relics, from New Delhi to Colombo, and to six other places in Sri Lanka more..

Loan from China's Exim bank for Matara-Beliatta railway line

Aug 23 (GDI) The Exim Bank of China has agreed to provide loans to finance the Matara-Beliatta section of the Matara-Kataragama Railway Line extension project to improve the transport system in the Southern Region. The project is planned to be implemented in three stages. Stage 1 includes the construction of the railway line from Matara to Beliatta, Stage 11 from Beliatta to Weerawila and Stage 111 from Weerawila to Kataragama. Accordingly the Exim Bank of China will more..

City hotels hope to end 2012 with 85% room capacity

Aug 23 (FT) Given the anticipated growth in tourism, the country is likely to see an 85% average occupancy rate and 35% revenue growth in Colombo city hotels in 2012. Colombo City Hotels Chairman M. Shanthikumar yesterday told the Daily FT that the occupancy level so far has recorded a growth of 65-70%, which is expected to rise up to 95% in the September-October period due to the T20 matches and a telecommunication conference that has been organised. more..

Editorial: Closed until further notice

Aug 23 (DM) The two-month-long strike by the university academics over a few demands kept the students on tenterhooks. Though one of the demands put forward by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) -- the salary increments-- was granted by the govt, the academics said the strike would continue in order to attain their broader demands to find solutions to the problems prevailing in the current university system. In addition to the pay hike, the FUTA also demands that a 6% of GDP be allocated for education. more..