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Basil presents Divi Neguma Bill to parliament

Oct 10 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa presented Divi Neguma Bill to Parliament yesterday. The Supreme Court last month ordered that the Draft Bill obtain the sanction of all Provincial Councils (PCs) as it came within their scope and, therefore, was forwarded to all established PCs for their approval. The Samurdhi Authority, the Southern Development Authority and the Udarata Development Authority will be amalgamated to form the Department of Divi Neguma more..

JSC Secy’s bodyguard on leave on day of attack

Oct 10 (Island) Judicial Service Commission Secretary the Manjula Thilakaratne had not been escorted by his bodyguard when an unidentified gang assaulted him on Sunday at Mt. Lavinia, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He said that the govt vehemently condemned the attack, but reiterated the necessity to be with bodyguards if the govt provided them to a special person like Thilakaratne. more..

Govt. denies avoiding political solution for Tamil community

Oct 10 (AD) The govt denied allegations made by the TNA of not being ready to provide a political solution to the Tamil community of the country. Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris stated that a Parliamentary Select Committee was appointed in order to find solutions to the problems face by the Tamil community. The TNA stated to Indian media that the govt was not willing to provide the Tamil people a political solution while it was appointing more..

Umpires in TV corruption sting suspended

Oct 10 (AFP) Cricket authorities on Wednesday suspended six umpires at the centre of claims by an Indian TV programme that they could be bribed to make favourable decisions during games. An undercover investigation by the Indian TV channel allegedly found that the umpires, including one on the international circuit, were willing to give biased decisions or provide inside information in return for payment. ICC announced the suspensions after a meeting in Colombo, more..

EPDP denies hand in oil attack on Dimuthu

Oct 10 (CG) The EPDP has denied any involvement in the waste-oil attack on Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) activist and member Dimuthu Attygalle. A statement by the EPDP said that it condemns the attack but is also concerned of moves to blame the EPDP over the incident. Waste-oil was thrown at Attygalle near the Nallur Hindu Temple in Jaffna on Monday when she got down from her vehicle. Attygalle was in Jaffna to attend a party function when the attack took place and more..

Police arrest 31 Australia bound people

Oct 10 (CG) The police arrested 31 Australia bound asylum seekers and four human smugglers in Vavuniya last night. Our reporter in the area said that the would-be asylum seekers were in a bus which was about to take them to a drop off point when they were arrested. The bus was to take them to the location where a boat had been prepared to transport the asylum seekers to Australia by sea. Among those in the bus were women and children including a new born baby. The raid was more..

Jaffna Fort restoration continues apace

Oct 10 (GDI) The Jaffna Fort restoration work is continuing speedily, and once completed, will add to the country's unique cultural treasures and heritage sites. The restoration work is funded by the Dutch govt. National Heritage and Archaeological Director General Senerath Dissanayake said around 60 percent of the restoration work has been completed. "Individuals visiting the Fort can see the full structure of the Fort very clearly. more..

Sri Lanka Army celebrates 63rd Anniversary

Oct 10 (MoD) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) celebrates its 63rd anniversary today. Ceylon, as it was known then was endowed with a Regular Force on 10th October 1949 under the Army Act No. 17 of 1949. The extraordinary gazette (No 10,028) in this connection, signed by Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake, then Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs, was published the same day, announcing the Commissioning and Promotion of some local Army Officers to function at the newly established Army Headquarters. more..

Leader of the House says twist given to President’s invitation

Oct 10 (Island) Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament yesterday that it was regrettable that the invitation extended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to members of the Judicial Service Commission for a meeting had been given a wrong interpretation to suggest there was an attempt to interfere with the independence of the judiciary. He said the meeting had been summoned to discuss problems faced by members of the judiciary and not in any way intended to more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 10.10.2012

New Vidyaloka principal on leave

Oct 10 (Island) Although Vidyaloka College Galle re-opened on Monday, newly appointed principal Bandula Jayasinghe, who came under a stone attack, by students on Oct. 01, was absent for the second day yesterday. School sources said that student turnout was also very low, but no incidents had been reported. Galle acting HQI, Chief Inspector Sarath Ananda, said that police had so far recorded statements from 40 persons, but no arrests had been made. more..

False ID dad trapped by licence bid

Oct 10 (TSW) A Sri Lankan man who falsely used a Belgian ID document to get into Britain was caught out after applying for a driving licence. Edgar Warnakulasuriya, 40, had already left the UK once after entering the country illegally. But three years later he re-entered using a false Belgian ID card after paying £15,000 to a man to organise his trip from Sri Lanka. He said he had fled the country because he feared he would be persecuted because of his links to Tamil Tigers. more..

IMF downgrades Sri Lanka's growth to 6.7%

Oct 10 (Xinhua) The IMF has downgraded Sri Lanka's growth to 6.7% for 2012 but the country has still managed to stay ahead of the rest of Asia, the latest report showed here on Wednesday. The 6.7% projection published in the IMF World Economic Outlook is marginally behind 6.8% expected by the Central Bank. In 2010 and 2011 Sri Lanka posted a record 8 percent and 8.3% growth respectively. At the start of 2012, the Central Bank forecast growth at an ambitious 8% more..

DIG slaps SSP as T 20 ends

Oct 10 (DM) Police sources informed that on Sunday when the T 20 world cup match ended at the R. Premadasa Stadium a DIG had slapped a SSP and an attempt was now being made to hush it. The victim SSP had immediately brought this matter to the notice of two DIGs who had been present at the scene. Both DIG and SSP involved in this incident had been deployed on security duties for this match. This incident had sparked off when the DIG had attempted to take into the stadium a group of his friends and the SSP had confronted more..

Stocks close down 1.04%

Oct 10 (LBO) Stocks closed down 1.04% Wednesday with several blue chip stocks losing ground. The Colombo All Share Index closed at 5,772.52 down 60.80 points and the S & P SL 20 Index closed 16.31 points lower at 3,127.62 down 0.52%. Turnover was 398 million rupees. Top contributors to turnover were JKH with 140 million rupees, Commercial Bank with 54 million rupees and NDB with 15 million rupees. AVIVA NDB Insurance PLC dropped 32.00 rupees to close at 367.90 rupees down 8.00 rupees. more..

WikiLeaks: LTTE’s understanding of international affairs was “close to zero”

Oct 10 (CT) “Minister for International Development Erik Solheim, who was involved in setting up the Nordic Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in 2002, stated that the LTTE had an understanding of international affairs that was ‘close to zero.’ He further commented that their unfounded hope for some sort of external salvation, either through pressure from the Diaspora community or other international intervention, combined more..

Sri Lanka invites Pakistani investors for joint ventures

Oct 10 (BR) Sri Lanka has invited Pakistani pharma investors to explore possibilities of establishing joint ventures in Pharmaceutical industry in Sri Lanka. "Sri Lanka is planning to set up an Industrial Park for pharmaceutical industry and Pakistani pharma investors should explore possibilities of establishing joint ventures in that facility in Sri Lanka", Rohita Thilakaratne, President, Pak-Sri Lanka Business Council said during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce here on Wednesday. more..

Sri Lanka reforms electoral system

Oct 10 (PTI) Sri Lankan Parliament today approved a bill which would pave the way for a new hybrid system of first-past-the-post and proportional representation in local elections. The new system of first-past-the-post and the proportional representation system would replace the existing electoral system based on proportional representation (PR). Since the PR system was introduced in the late 1980s the it was blamed for internecine clashes within political parties. more..

CCD releases sketch of suspected assailant

Oct 10 (CT) Police investigating last Sunday’s attack on the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission, Manjula Tillakaratne, released an artist’s impression of the main suspect yesterday, and requested the public to notify the police if they have any information. The sketch, which had been composed by a profiler at the police fingerprint division, is based on the victim's description of the main assailant. more..

Vehicles to get AAA numbers

Oct 10 (DM) Vehicle number plates beginning with three English letters introduced recently by the Motor Traffic Department can accommodate up to 6.4 million vehicles in its registry. The new registration numbers were first given to trishaws and it will be introduced to other types of vehicles when the current two letter English registry ends. English number vehicle registry was introduced in August 2000 and till June 2012 the department had registered 3,046,008 vehicles. more..

CP blames 1978 Constitution for confrontations among State organs

Oct 10 (Island) The Communist Party of Sri Lanka yesterday said that since the enactment of the 1978 Constitution there had been confrontations among the three organs of State - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. CPSL General Secretary, Senior Minister Dew Gunasekera said that such confrontations had become a recurring feature in the art of governance and now a hall-mark of the Constitution. The minister was responding to the recent attack on Secretary to more..

FUTA and govt to issue joint statement

Oct 10 (CT) A joint statement is due to be issued by the university academics and the govt regarding the academics’ issues, tomorrow, the FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said. He said that FUTA’s executive committee will be meeting tomorrow and will issue their response to the proposals put forward by the govt tomorrow. Furthermore, the FUTA met with its sister unions today, but did not reach a final decision about their trade union action. more..

Passenger facilities for Mattala airport underway

Oct 10 (DM) The government is to allocate Rs.62 million to establish facilities for Immigration and Emigration services at the Mattala International Airport currently being constructed with Chinese assistance. The Immigration and Emigration Department said the cabinet had granted approval to purchase the necessary equipment and make arrangements to provide an effective and efficient service to passengers in accordance with international standards. more..

Mixed reactions to SEC’S credit, broker trading rules relaxation

Oct 10 (DM) The removal of credit restrictions by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), effectively providing brokers with the facility to extend more credit, met with strong positive and negative feedback from market analysts on both sides of the issue. Former Director General of the SEC, Aritha Wickramanayake said, “Credibility and not credit is the main issue that the market is facing today. I’ve always maintained that credit has in fact never been an issue for brokers more..

Army to remain on alert

Oct 10 (CT) The army will remain on alert despite being involved in development work following the end of the war, Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said today. He said this while speaking to the troops at the 63rd Anniversary of the army today. He paid tribute to all those who have so far sacrificed in numerous ways to elevate the Army standards and stressed on the importance of marching forward as a fully-fledged professional Army in the future too. more..

Regional trade forum in Sri Lanka to have SME focus

Oct 10 (LBO) An Asia-Pacific trade forum to be held in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo will have sessions focusing on small and medium enterprises and member of regional chambers in the island will take part, the island's largest business chamber said. The Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) will be held in Colombo on October 30 and 31. The Ceylon Chamber said participating nations will exchange information, experiences and practices for trade facilitation more..

Visitors stranded inside Minneriya Park

Oct 10 (AD) Around 30 visitors including several foreigners have been stranded inside the Minneriya National Park, in the North Central Province, after a stream flooded due to heavy rain. It is said that the roads were inaccessible due to the heavy showers which occurred after the visitors had entered the park. The Department of Wildlife says that immediate measures have being taken to rescue trapped visitors, and that their safety is assured. Reports state that around 12 foreigners are more..

Sri Lanka's cricketing future

The plight of the elders in Kandy!

Oct 11 (NS) Protests and walks to protect rights are rampant island wide. People shout and carry slogans which send the message, ‘Protect our Elders and treat them right. We live in a country where protests are common even for the slightest thing. The issue regarding the welfare of the elderly population has stolen the limelight. The month of October gives us the opportunity to hear the word elder. Newspapers publish articles about them. Though October brings the plight of elders more..

Downturn in economic growth performance

Oct 11 (NS) After two years of 8% economic growth, this year’s economic performance is likely to drop by about two percentage points to around 6%. However official estimates that have been revised downwards during the course of the year place it between 6.5 to 6.8%. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka revised its estimate of growth earlier this year to 7% and delayed its further revision till end September when it admitted that the growth rate would decline to 6.8%. more..

Waste management in new direction

Oct 11 (SO) In the process of finding a long lasting solution for the never ending garbage problem in Sri Lanka, the Central Environmental Authority with the technical and financial assistance from the Korea International Corporation Agency (KOICA), is now in the process of introducing the first ever sanitary land fill in Maligawatta in Dompe Pradeshiya Sabha area. The site located in a serene environment close to Kirindiwela town, once completed will provide a more..

Support education with honesty and commitment

Oct 11 (LB) In an article submitted to one of last week’s The Island Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha had promoted a more sustained involvement of the military in Sri Lanka’s rural education. In an unusually uncritical assessment in the militarization of ideological fronts, Wijesinha takes as his model of reference a Pakistani venture; and sees its suitability to Sri Lanka’s now less free educational domain. Counter essays were quick in coming and in an edition of the same paper, more..

Intellectual property law and software

Oct 11 (NS) ‘Intellectual Property’ is not an alien term to most of the Sri Lankans. It is, by and large, a legal matter and a legal term. We often come across court cases where people are prosecuted for violating intellectual property laws. Such laws are designed to apply on creations of the human mind, belonging to people, organizations and institutions. Sri Lanka is a country where there are stringent measures with regard to IP laws. What is the objective of having stringent IP laws? more..

A realistic view of Divineguma

Oct 11 (DBS) Divineguma is perhaps the hottest topic of discussion today. It came into prominence after the Supreme Court ruled that the connected Bill could not go through Parliament without the concurrence of the Provincial Councils. All but the Northern Provincial Council have approved the Bill by now, which is a foregone conclusion under the grip that the Central Government has over them. Whether the more..

Something has gone to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s head and I’m guessing it’s power

Oct 11 (DBS) Something has gone to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s head, and I’m guessing it’s power. Because that seems to be the only thing that interests him these days – how to bolster his own position and how to undermine everybody else’s. Hence his first priority after the end of the war was to get himself another term as president. The presidential election was called early, and it was followed within a couple of months by ato more..

Cricket provides the perfect distraction for latest regime clampdown

Oct 11 (CT) Nothing highlights the state of impunity and political apathy in Sri Lanka today as well as the Presidential Spokesman’s incessant Twitter updates about cricket and calypso just minutes after news broke that the Secretary to the Judicial Services Commission Manjula Tillekaratne, the regime’s present Enemy No. 1 was hospitalized following an assault by four unidentified persons early Sunday morning. Bandula Jayasekara who tweets more..

My motto: ‘Live life to the fullest’

Oct 11 (LB) Former bogus Buddhist monk garbed in saffron robes, Ruwanwelle Sobitha, aka Sunil Shantha, had reportedly told the Kegalle High Court Judge that he had used his bungalow to engage in physical pleasure with his friends – both males and females. It has been alleged that having posed as a priest, using the name Ruwanwelle Sobitha, Shantha has confessed that he is clueless about Buddhism more..

Editorial: Abuse of People's Sovereignty

Oct 11 (Island) No sooner had the judiciary boldly reacted to what it considered an attempt by the executive to interfere in its affairs than it drew heavy flak from the legislature on Tuesday for an alleged attempt to undermine the authority of the Speaker. Making a special statement in Parliament with the concurrence of the party leaders, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa took exception to the manner in which the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Divineguma Bill had been conveyed to Parliament. more..

Intimidation of the judiciary: This shockingly illustrates the gravity of the situation

Oct 11 (CT) The Friday Forum is a group of citizens committed to the advancement of democracy, social justice and pluralism in Sri Lanka. The Forum has regularly issued public statements on issues of common concern in the spirit of democratic engagement with a view to stimulating public debate and encouraging action from state authorities and other relevant parties. The independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka has seen consistent more..

Policy uncertainty, red tape continue to hurt investor sentiment

Oct 11 (Island) Standard Chartered Bank says Sri Lanka needs to do more to curb the dominance of state owned enterprises and encourage private investment as policy uncertainty and bureaucratic red tape continue to sully investor sentiment. "With the civil war over, Sri Lanka’s resources, good educational levels and past reforms, which put it ahead of regional competitors on many measures, leave it in a solid position to generate more..