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Top Govt. politicos using stock market to launder money : UNP

Aug 25 (DM) The UNP accused ruling party politicians of using the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) for laundering their ill-gotten money with the help of 17 agents. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella told journalists that this was how the stock market mafia came into existence. “This only goes to show that the mafia is operating with the blessings of top ruling party politicians,” he said He alleged that these politicians were using the more..

SLPL: Jamshed, tight bowling give Ruhuna comfortable win

Aug 25 (CI) Ruhuna Royals kept their semi-final hopes alive with a comfortable four-wicket win, having restricted an uninspired Basnahira Cricket Dundee to 123 for 4. Nasir Jamshed guided Ruhuna home in 16.4 overs with a measured 51 from 46 balls, after Aaron Finch had provided an explosive start to the run chase. Wahab Riaz took two for 19 for Ruhuna in his last match before the Pakistan players depart for national duty in the UAE. Basnahira had little to play for, with more..

ANC: Sri Lanka beats Hong Kong in curtain raiser

Aug 25 (ST) Reigning title holders Sri Lanka kicked off the 8th Asian Netball Championship in style at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium in Colombo, thrashing Hong Kong by a massive margin of 81-38 today. Six-footer Tharjini Sivalingam who emerged as the netball queen in the 7th edition of the competition in Singapore, made the bulk of scoring when she netted 75 goals out of the total tally for the winners. Sivalingam who made 78 scoring attempts was unstoppable more..

Day One in Nallathanniya, Sri Lanka

Editorial: Creating a healthy business climate

Aug 26 (SO) Opportunist politicians in the Opposition have left no stone unturned in their quest to regain power. Nevertheless, none of them has been able to diminish President Mahinda Rajapaksa's popularity and that of the Govt. On every occasion when Opposition politicians resorted to their dirty tricks to sling mud at the Govt, the masses in unison put them into the political dustbin. This is manifest in the UNP-led Opposition's track record of losing 24 consecutive elections, more..

Editorial: A strong man departs

Aug 26 (Island) Several factors, including most of all optimism about the country realizing its full economic potential with the ending of the war, fuelled the post-war share market boom that made the Colombo Stock Exchange one of the best performers in the world. But that bubble has now been pricked with two well known personalities who headed the SEC quitting within the space of one year. First Ms. Indrani Sugathadasa, wife of Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, more..

East on par with South soon - Dissanayake

Aug 26 (SO) With polls to the Eastern, North Central and Sabaragamuwa PCs only two weeks away, all political parties contesting the polls have intensified their campaigns. While campaigns are progressing well for the North Central and Sabaragamuwa PCs, the focus of all, including that of the international community, is on the Eastern Province where there is a three-pronged fight among the ruling UPFA, the TNA and the SLMC. more..

Editorial: Abuse-free elections

Aug 26 (NS) There are all kinds of elections. We have general or parliamentary elections. We have presidential elections, elections for local government authorities and provincial councils. There are elections to all kinds of bodies. So we have ‘election’ preceded by ‘general’, ‘provincial council’, ‘presidential’ etc. And yet, that’s just description of event and not phenomenon. The phenomenon called elections are associated more readily with words like ‘fraud’, ‘violence’, more..

Editorial: Who shot the Stock Market sherriff?

Aug 26 (LB) Obviously, something was amiss, when the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thilak Karunaratne tendered his resignation, after telling the media that he was ‘under tremendous pressure’ exerted by unnamed parties to stop 17 investigations into stock market fraud, blamed on a cabal of top level stock market investors. Dr. Karunaratne, a reputed businessman and a one-time politician, who served in an honorary capacity as the SEC chairman tells more..

'Blaming me for Norochcholai mess is ridiculous'

Aug 26 (NS) There seems to be no clear end in sight to the current power crisis. Daytime power cuts lasting over three hours are now a daily feature. The power cuts, necessitated by the breakdown (for the 12th time) of the Lakvijaya coal power plant in Norochcholai, look set to continue at least until the end of the month. However, ‘Lakvijaya’ is simply one facet of a much larger problem affecting the power sector. more..

Editorial: An uneducated mess over education

Aug 26 (SL) A continuing misfortune of Sri Lanka has been that we have had many ministers of education who cannot truly be said to have been educated. Educated persons are not necessarily those with paper qualifications but those with deep understanding of human nature with the ability to appreciate the thinking of students, teachers and other stake holders in education. A teacher’s diploma or a certificate of graduation from a university will not make a good minister of more..

Editorial: Links with China -The potential and the pitfalls

Aug 26 (ST) Coinciding with the Non Aligned Movement summit today, and in the immediate backdrop of a British Govt travel advisory warning its citizens on visiting Sri Lanka and Indian displeasure over certain events in the island, the visit of the Chinese Defence Minister has acquired added significance. Not only is China a major global financial powerhouse, but its strategic interests in the region are under close scrutiny by the world. Thus, its long-term interest in Sri Lanka more..

'All pervasive: Politicization in our universities'

Aug 26 (LB) The Friday Forum, a group of concerned citizens comprising some of Sri Lanka's most distinguished professionals, recently issued a strong statement decrying the deterioration of the education sector. One of its most active members, Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare last week warned that the politicization of universities had reached unacceptable levels. A former chairman of the UGC, Aluwihare also supported the demand of the FUTA for increased govt spending on more..

Jihad and elections in the eastern tinderbox

Aug 26 (LB) Electioneering in Sri Lanka is not always a pleasant experience. However, this time around, the election campaign in the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provinces appear to be taking place without much uproar, partly because the provincial polls, at least in the two predominantly Sinhalese provinces have already turn out to be a one horse race, where the Rajapaksa juggernaut would like to sweep the board. But it is somewhat a different case scenario in the Eastern Province where the TNA, SLMC, UNP and the UPFA vie for the multi ethnic electorate. more..

Basil’s Empire

Aug 26 (Island) When the UNP parliamentary group met last Tuesday in Parliament, the main topic of discussion was the Divineguma Bill and Tissa Attanayake informed the UNP MPs about certain unacceptable provisions in the proposed legislation. His criticism centred around the fact that the Southern Development Authority and the Udarata Development Authority will both be abolished if the bill is passed and the money in the Samurdhi Banks will be taken over by the govt and that the bill makes no mention about what will happen to more..

'Crony brokers and market mafia? No! Not acceptable’

Aug 26 (LB) Dilith Jayaweera, a leading businessman and investor in the stock market, who has been ‘portrayed’ as one of the ‘leaders’ of ‘market mafia’ in town, says he is very confident that his company is definitely not part of the SEC's pending investigation, and so confirmed by SEC’s ex-chairman. He also reveals that he has already asked Dr. Karunaratne to come up with the names of the culprits and more..

SLMC facing a split amidst Eastern polls

Aug 26 (SL) The SLMC is facing a split following party Chairman Basheer Segu Dawood’s decision to resign from his deputy ministerial portfolio in the govt. Dawood handed in his resignation on Thursday saying he needed to focus on the party’s election campaign in the East and that it would not be proper to be affiliated to the govt when the SLMC was contesting the election separately. The SLMC Chairman noted that he could not campaign for his party while being a member of the govt. more..

Competency needed for policy management

Aug 26 (NS) Higher education in Sri Lanka is in crisis - and that is an understatement. The Z-score fiasco continues. Question papers at the recent Advanced Level examination were riddled with errors. University academics are on strike. To cap it all, all universities - barring medical faculties - were closed this week. We need to ask why education has reached this sorry state. Along with free healthcare, free education has been a luxury Sri Lankans have taken for granted. Arguably, more..

Mergers and acquisitions amongst Govt enterprises

Aug 26 (ST) Several loss-making state enterprises are to be merged with profit-making ones while others would be handed over to the private sector under management contracts, Finance Ministry officials said. Under this scheme, the Agriculture and Agrarian Insurance Board has already been merged with the National Insurance Trust Fund. Salu Sala is to be merged with the State Trading Corporation while a similar merger more..

Elections Commissioner hounds political toughs

Aug 26 (NS) While political parties were busy revving up campaigns in the Eastern, Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provinces, relations between India and Sri Lanka took centre stage in Colombo. Indian Cultural, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister, Kumari Selja’s visit to Sri Lanka was of historical importance as the delegation arrived in the country with the sacred Kapilavastu relics.The holy relics had been brought to Sri Lanka in 1978 once and more..

Planting 100,000 jakfruit seedlings begins

Aug 26 (LB) The Karuna Trust, known for its aid to civilians in the periphery of the war with terrorists that ended in May 2009 has begun the task of distributing 1000,000 jakfruit seedlings for free. The trust intends completing the task in two years, its chairman, Mahinda Karunaratne said. The planting of the jakfruit seedlings will be limited to the wet zone where this high yielding fruit tree thrives, Karunaratne said. Work has just commenced in the Galle district of producing the seedlings and where 25,000 of it will be planted. more..

Bribery commission questions Kariyawasam

Aug 26 (SL) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption has commenced investigations into the controversial share transaction between the National Savings Bank (NSB) and The Finance Company (TFC). Former NSB Chairman, Pradeep Kariyawasam was summoned by the Commission a few days back to record a statement on the NSB-TFC transaction. Chairman of the Commission Justice D.J. De S. Balapatabendi said Kariyawasam was more..

Palm Garden & Riverina to amalgamate to build new hotel

Aug 26 (Island) Palm Garden Hotels PLC, a member of the LOLC group, is planning to amalgamate with Riverina Hotels PLC, also a member of the group, to optimize the use of the assets of both companies to facilitate the construction of a 500-room international star rated hotel, Palm Garden announced last week through a Stock Exchange filing. Both Palm Garden and Riverina owning hotel properties along the Golden Mile at Beruwala are operated under the banner of LOLC Leisure, more..

Won’t these lecturers learn a lesson from politicos?

Aug 26 (ST) My Dear SB, I thought I must write to you to congratulate you on your latest achievement in ordering the closure of all universities in the country. With this decision, you will take us a step closer to becoming the ‘knowledge hub’ of Asia! I know that many people are opposed to closing the universities, SB, but I think you took a brave decision that most of your cabinet colleagues would not have taken. In fact, it would be like Bandula cancelling the A/L exam because of the more..

Get ready for tough challenges ahead: Lorgat tells Lanka

Aug 26 (ST) Former ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat, now in Sri Lanka to study and advise the Board on the present status of cricket in the country, feels that the country should immediately start reshaping its game to face the competitive challenges that are coming in world cricket in the near future. Sunday Times met the South African cricket expert on Friday to get his views about his role and how he looks at the challenges. more..

Havelocks’ resurgence – a healthy sign for rugby

Aug 26 (ST) Havelock’s Sports Club claim to the league championship was decided even before yesterday’s match against the Navy. Just as much as the emergence of Havelock’s is sweet music to most rugby lovers the dissemination of hate mail has begun by some others. It is another part of our system to build another story that would possibly disturb the balance. The drubbing Kandy received at the hand of Havelock’s is something that will never be understood by the hill country club who more..

Longest ballot paper: Balls, flags and what not!

Aug 26 (NS) Ballot papers to be issued to voters in Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee Districts on September 8 will be the longest at the forthcoming provincial council elections. Ampara and Batticaloa District voters will be issued with a ballot paper two feet and four inches in length while the Trincomalee voters will have one with just two inches shorter than the former. There are 16 political parties and 18 independent groups in each district in Ampara and Batticaloa while Trincomalee will have 16 more..

Did sinking ship spill 75 tons of oil into the sea?

Aug 26 (Island) The vessel that sank off Panadura may have spilt 75 tons of oil into the ocean but an exact quantification of the spill and the extent of the marine pollution caused by the slick cannot still be assessed, a senior official said. "Originally, the ship’s tanks held 350 tons but most of it was pumped out in semi-solid form. But another 75 tons remained at the time it ran aground", says Jagath Gunasekara, Manager, more..

Veteran Lankan diplomat’s abrupt transfer raises eye brows

Aug 26 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commissioner in London, M.R.K. Lenagala has been moved out to Berlin in an abrupt transfer, which has caused consternation amongst the Sri Lankan expatriate community. Less than six months after his elevation as Deputy High Commissioner, he has been transferred with effect from September 1. Lenagala is the third high profile career diplomat to be prematurely transferred from the Sri Lankan High Commission in London before their more..

Around 40 politicos, mainly from govt. ranks on the mat

Aug 26 (LB) Police Department sources said that in past year or so they had been able to arrest around 40 politicos on alleged cases of murder, rape, assault, threat, et al. A high-ranking police officer said that they are now close to nabbing 10 more politicos for similar crimes. He added that around 90% of politicos who have already been arrested, and those who are about to be arrested are from the govt ranks. This officer also said that among those detained have been a senior minister, more..

China to build military housing in North-East

Aug 26 (ST) China is expanding its economic, trade and military ties with Sri Lanka providing Rs. 13.2 billion for army welfare projects initiated by the Ministry of Defence. Plans are afoot to set up accommodation and infrastructure facilities in army camps in the north and east with Chinese assistance. The maintenance of military camps in strategic locations throughout the country is essential for national security, the Govt has more..

'FUTA’s demands outrageous'

Aug 26 (SO) A leading economist and a senior lecturer at the Colombo University Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan has dubbed the FUTA demands as ‘illogical, inappropriate and irrelevant’. The FUTA’s week-long-strike is continuing’. In a letter to the Arts Faculty Teachers’ Association (AFTA) and Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) Dr. Gunaruwan said that the demand for a fixed 6 percent allocation of the GDP for the education sector is outrageous considering more..

Thousands of land grabs in Colombo: CID arrests six gangs

Aug 26 (ST) More than 3,500 complaints of illegal land grabs, forcible occupation of houses and cases of forged deeds — most of them from Colombo — have been received by the CID, a senior officer said. He said that already six gangs operating in Colombo had been nabbed and of the complaints received, 1,165 were being investigated. He said among the complaints were a case of a military officer’s land being occupied, a case of a 60-acre coconut land being sold illegally and more..

Akashi offers Japanese good offices to improve SL's international relations

Aug 26 (Island) At a breakfast meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday, senior diplomat Yasushi Akashi who was here since Tuesday as representative of the Govt of Japan expressed Japan's willingness to "assist in the efforts to develop relationship between Sri Lanka and the international community." Akashi who was here on his 25th visit served as Japan's special envoy during the peace process. more..

Dengue death statistics withheld by Health Ministry

Aug 26 (ST) The number of dengue cases has reached a staggering 25,000 this year despite measures taken by health authorities to control this deadly mosquito-borne disease. According to data released by the Health Ministry the number of cases stands at 25,679. However, the number of deaths has not been released by the Epidemiology Unit since June this year. The last update was 75 deaths. Colombo still remains the deadly district with 6,299 cases to date, followed by Gampaha with more..

Police dismiss political link to Museum robbery

Aug 26 (NS) As five Police teams mounted an operation to apprehend the main suspect in the billion rupee Museum robberies, speculation that a politician was involved in it was dismissed.“There is no truth whatsoever that a politician was involved,” Police Media Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said adding that the main suspect had been found to be Lansige Priyantha Mendis. The mystery robbery carried out on March 17 was busted after four months with the arrest of four suspects more..

A poll for politicos – not for people

Aug 26 (ST) The banners, cutouts, posters and flags – illegal except in offices of candidates – are the only signs that tell the story that elections are round the corner in just 12 days. Those very busy are only the candidates and their supporters. The police are otherwise busy too. With money from the Department of Elections in their pockets, they hire labourers to pull down cutouts, posters and other propaganda material. more..

SLU to host Future Leader’s Confab in Jaffna

Aug 26 (Island) Sri Lanka Unites (SLU) will be hosting the Future Leader’s Conference for school children who have exhibited potential for leadership, in Jaffna from August 28 to September 1. With five days of intense and stringent skills training for the selected youth from different ethnic origins, the conference seeks to instil a true sense of "Sri Lankanness" in this chosen group of young people. Dispelling the doctrine of nationalism based on caste and creed, these future leaders will then more..

Brothel: Actress on the run

Aug 26 (NS) The involvement of film and tele drama actresses operating brothels in Colombo in recent months was further highlighted with police finding popular tele drama actress and former Miss Sri Lanka runner-up in an under cover operation at Uyana, Moratuwa. The modus operandi of the actress who is on the run had been to operate the brothel on a hotel front in an apartment right next-door to her home, OIC of the Panadura Vice Squad, Inspector Duminda Balasuriya said. “She is evading arrest and a search is on to apprehend her more..

The President pressured me to go – Tilak

Aug 26 (SL) Tilak Karunaratne, the former Chairman for the SEC says that President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance brought pressure on him to resign from his post as chairman SEC. Excerpts of the interview: FJ: Your predecessor Indrani Sugathadasa was forced out despite being a senior highly regarded public servant and wife of President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga. In those circumstances why did you accept the appointment as more..