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Independence, judges and the rest…

Oct 19 (SL) I met Jagath, an old acquaintance, outside a large building, which housed a famous business school. His daughter, in her mid 20s, was following a diploma course in business management. The classes were conducted in the evenings and my friend, concerned for her safety and untrusting of the ever-present three-wheelers, drove there every evening in his little Indian made car to pick her up. While waiting for her to come down, we chatted. more..

Champions’ nightmare in Champions’ League

Oct 19 (DM) Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) champions Uva Next failed to get through the qualifying round and make it to the main draw of the Champions League tournament currently in progress in South Africa but it was not for the want of skills that Sri Lanka’s domestic T20 champions failed to impress but for the horrendous events that hindered their preparations. Uva Next went down fighting to Yorkshire in the first match with more..

No cheers, only jeers

Oct 19 (ST) Ajantha Mendis set a Twenty20 world record by taking 6 wickets for 8 runs, and Akila Dananjaya took out the batsman who smashed his cheekbone. But nothing beats the highlight of the ICC World T20 Championship 2012: Cheerleaders. The cheerleaders, all young local girls in gaudy makeup, wearing a multi-coloured ensemble of knee-length skirts and leggings (either a kaleidoscopic feast for the eyes or a garish horror, depending on your taste) more..

SLPL franchise dupes international stars

Oct 19 (DM) Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) which is reeling after a deadly match-fixing blow has run into deeper problems as one franchise holder has defaulted player payments in a move which could have far reaching consequences for the tournament and even a player-boycott, sources told “Daily Mirror”. Franchise holder Basnahira Cricket Dundee has not honoured the payments due to five foreign players who took part in the tournament and SLC sources said that the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) has more..

Ranil says UNP, JVP united in fighting for downtrodden

Oct 19 (Island) Launching a People’s Power Campaign against the rising cost of living and denial of workers’ rights, the UNP said yesterday that it had no problems with the JVP and was working in and outside parliament with Marxists and other opposition parties, to force the Rajapaksa regime to end its strangulation policy which has left the masses struggling to make ends meet. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing the public, opposite the Nugegoda Market, said that more..

Another grant aid from Japan for de-mining in the North

Oct 19 (Island) Japan extended a further aid package for de-mining activities in the North last week to facilitate return to normalcy and of those displaced during the war. The Govt’s de-mining programme was conducted parallel to foreign funded demining work carried out by NGOs. In this instance this aid package amounting to $ 737, 575 was extended to Devlon Assistance for Social Harmony (DASH) an NGO, for this work. more..

Divineguma banking structure a gamble with public money

Oct 19 (Island) When the petitions against the Divineguma Bill was taken up for hearing in the Supreme Court yesterday, J. C. Weliamuna, counsel for one of the petitioners, said that the Divineguma banking structure was a gamble using public money and the minister in charge was all powerful in managing the finances. Charmara M. Kaluge and another had challenged the Divineguma Bill in the Supreme Court saying that it was more..

President Rajapaksa meets with Sri Lankan community in Kuwait

Oct 19 (IL) While at the First Conference of Heads of State and Govt of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Summit, President Mahinda Rajapaksa took the opportunity to meet the Sri Lankan community in Kuwait. The audience with the President was organised by the embassy staff under the guidance of Mr C.A.H.M. Wijeratne, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka for the State of Kuwait. The president called on the community living in Kuwait and all other Diasporas living across more..

UNP MPs who attended Hyde Park rally face suspension

Oct 19 (Island) Three UNP MPs and two Provincial Councillors who attended yesterday’s rally at Hyde Park, in defiance of the Working Committee’s decision, were faced with a suspension order after General Secretary Tissa Attanayake reported their conduct to UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe last night. Attanayake, when contacted told The Island that he had informed the UNP leader in writing that parliamentarians Palitha Ranga Bandara, Asoka Abeysinghe and Palitha Thavarapperuma more..

Sri Lankan Tamils on hunger strike at Mandapam

Oct 19 (NIP) A group of Sri Lankan Tamils who were rescued by Nagapattinam fishermen while they were stranded mid-sea, on Thursday staged a hunger strike at the Mandapam transit camp, urging the government to release them at the earliest. Around 65 Lankan Tamils, including three women and a child, had engaged a boat last month to take them to Australia from Sri Lanka. However, the agent left them stranded mid-sea, near Nagapattinam. Fishermen rescued them and later more..

Foreign doctors’ registration date extended – Counsel

Oct 19 (Island) President’s Counsel S. Parathalingam appearing for the Sri Lanka Medical Council told the Supreme Court yesterday that the Council had extended up to March 31, 2013 the date for foreign medical professionals, employed in Colombo, to apply for registration to seek re-employment in Colombo. The SLMC had been cited as the first respondent in a group of fundamental rights violation applications filed by some foreign doctors employed in Colombo. more..

WikiLeaks: Solheim presented five points plan to present to the GovSL and Tigers

Oct 19 (CT) “Solheim summarized five points that the Co-Chairs agreed to present to the govt and Tigers: There is no international support for war in Sri Lanka. The conflict cannot be won through military means. Human rights abuses must stop now. There are no acceptable excuses. As long as human rights abuses continue, all those working in Sri Lanka (aid groups, journalists, business people, etc.) will continue to be afraid. more..

Thalassemia drugs under review due to side effects

Oct 19 (Island) The recurring debate over Thalassemic drugs Desferal and Talifer has prompted the Health Ministry to review their use in the treatment of Thalassemic patients. The spokesman for the Ministry said that the drugs were purchased on the recommendations of specialists. Reports claim that Talifer caused complications such as itching, and swelling of the abdominal area in some patients, while Desferal did not cause complications. However the conflict of more..

Rs.1000 million for Colombo Flood Mitigation Project

Oct 19 (AD) The Cabinet has decided to allocate Rs. 1,000 million to proceed with the special flood control work programme in Colombo, initiated by the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation for the year 2012. The Colombo Metropolitan Region is highly vulnerable to the effects of floods and on the direction of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, the SLLR&DC has initiated several urgent short term measures to mitigate flood in and around Colombo. more..

Minister Maithripala explains on his brother’s arrest

Oct 19 (GDI) Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that the media gave wide publicity recently about the arrest of his brother but they failed to report on the action taken by him to get him arrested. He said that there are good and bad persons in families and even the U.S. President Barak Obama, one of world’s powerful persons also has a brother who is living in a wooden lodge and who is a drug addict. Explaining about the incident relating to more..

A tale of two Tamils: High value assets in SL, criminals in India

Oct 19 (FP) This week saw the curious case of two influential Sri Lankan Tamils, wanted in India on sensational criminal cases but close to the island’s government, making news again. One of them is “KP” or Kumaran Pathmanathan who once allegedly controlled LTTE’s transnational finance and arms procurement network, and the other is an anti-LTTE Tamil leader and minister Douglas Devananda who had survived many attempts on his life. KP, the only survivor of the LTTE top-brass, more..

Mosquito Breeding Act to be amended, fines to be increased

Oct 19 (AD) Cabinet has decided to amend the Prevention of Mosquito Breeding Act to increase the minimum penalty up to Rs. 5000.00. Under this Act any person not taking proper measures to destroy mosquito breeding grounds is punished with a fine. The act was amended previously, in May last year so as legal action can be initiated quickly against those responsible for running breeding grounds. “Proposal made by minister Maithripala Sirisena to bring in amendments to more..

Ambassador Amza presents credentials to Belgium King

Oct 19 (IL) The Royal Castle in Brussels hosted a grand ceremony of the presentation of credentials by Sri Lankan Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Belgium P.M.Amza to His Majesty King of the Belgians Albert II. Newly appointed Sri Lankan ambassador to Belgium presented his letters of credence to Belgian King Albert II, at the Royal Laeken Castle in Brussels. more..

Vehicle loans and laptops for media personnel on nov. 3

Oct 19 (GDI) Media personnel will be given Laptop computers and Duty Free vehicle loans at a function to be held at Temple Trees on the 3rd of next month under the patronage of President Rajapaksa. This was stated by the Minister Keheliya Rambukwella at the Cabinet Decisions announcement meeting. He said that Heads of Media Institutions were requested to send the list of names of media personnel for whom the Laptops should be given and already the lists have been received. more..

‘CAA protecting only big time poultry producers’

Oct 19 (Island) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has recently allowed the price of chicken to be jacked up by Rs. 30 from Rs. 350 to Rs. 380 without consulting small time producers who supply 60% of the country’s requirement of poultry products, President of the All-Island Poultry Association (AIPA) Dr. D.D. Wanasinghe, said. He said that it had been done only in consultation with a handful of big time producers. more..

'EPF management has to be independent'

Oct 19 (DM) The management of the Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) must be removed from the control of the Central Bank in order to prevent conflicts of interest, according to Opposition Member, Dr. Harsha de Silva. Commenting on the current state of retirement funding in Sri Lanka at a recently held forum, Dr. de Silva expressed concern over the ability of the country to adequately fund its pensioners, more..

Jeena madam remanded further

Oct 19 (DM) Colombo High Court today reserved order for October 31 in the case where Rosemary Jude alias Jeena Madam was charged with procuring local and foreign women for prostitution. Colombo High Court Judge Kumudini Wickramasinghe further remanded Jeena madam till October 31. She has been in remand for more than and had been refused bail on several occasions when the case was taken up for hearing. During the trial President’s Counsel Thirantha more..

Unprecedented military budget in Sri Lanka

Oct 19 (wsws) The Sri Lankan govt’s Appropriation Bill for budget expenditure for the year 2013 has allocated 290 billion rupees ($US2.2 billion) to the combined defence and urban development ministry. This is a 26 percent increase from 2012 and represents the country’s highest-ever military expenditure, even greater than during the protracted communal war against the separatist LTTE that ended in May 2009. The continued increase in defence spending is to further strengthen more..

Shopping complex to open in old Racecourse Grounds

Oct 19 (AD) The much awaited opening of the mini pavilion at Racecourse Grounds in Reid Avenue, which has been converted to an up-market shopping complex, is to ceremonially take place tomorrow. Following the success of converting the Old Dutch Hospital in Colombo to a popular shopping center, the by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development more..

Sri Lanka housing project in capital by India's TATA

Oct 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Urban Development Agency will give land on a 99-year lease to India's Tata Housing Development Company Ltd as part of efforts to re-develop Colombo, minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. The cabinet had approved the proposal to give around eight acres of land in Colombo's Slave Island area bordering Malay Street, Justice Akbar Street and a railway track to TATA Housing and its partner SG 18 Advisors and more..

'Venture Capital scope should be broadened to help innovators'

Oct 19 (DM) Sri Lanka must break its colonial chains of being a follower and facilitate an environment where innovation and invention can lead the economy out of ‘Third World’ status’, Senior Minister of Scientific Affairs Prof. Tissa Vitarana stated at the Ray Awards ceremony held on Wednesday. He directed his plea to the sponsor of t he event – Commercial Banks’ CEO Ravi Dias- in hopes of increasing scope for venture capital in the Sri Lankan market. more..

Sri Lanka says all former child soldiers freed

Oct 19 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan govt on Friday said that all former Tamil Tiger child soldiers who underwent rehabilitation after being arrested have been freed. Sri Lanka's Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe said that out of approximately 12,000 Tamil Tiger suspects arrested and rehabilitated as of Oct. 1 this year, 10,985 former rebels including 594 former child soldiers have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. more..

'Ban on Corex cough remedy temporary'

Oct 19 (LBO) A sudden ban on the sale of Corex, a cough syrup originally formulated by the US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer which has brought relief to tens of thousands of sufferers, is temporary, Sri Lanka's health minister said. The sale of Corex branded medicine variants were banned following the deaths of several customers who abused it. "The drug was banned pending an investigation into the deaths," health minister Maithripala Sirisena told reporters, more..

Stocks edge higher; rupee down

Oct 19 (Reuters) Stocks inched higher on Friday led by telecom shares, but trading volumes were thin as most investors stayed on the sidelines. The Colombo Stock Exchange's main index rose 0.43%, or 24.21 points, to 5,649.53 with No. 1 mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata and top fixed-line phone operator Sri Lanka Telecom gaining 1.2 percent and 3.73% respectively. "The market should go up in the coming week as investors could not find the quantity they wanted. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief -19.10.2012

Minister corrects Hulugalla’s statements

Oct 19 (DM) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella today referred to the recent statement made by Media Center for National Security Director General Lakshman Hulugalla and said it might have been a misinterpretation. He made these comments when a journalist asked him about the govt’s stand on the statement made by Mr. Hulugalla that no charges would be framed against the former LTTE arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP because there was no evidence or complaints against him. more..

Sri Lanka will seek to have asylum seeker pirates extradited if boat reaches Australia

Oct 19 (TA) SRI Lanka will seek the extradition of a group of asylum seeker pirates heading for Australia who took over a fishing boat, knifed its crew and threw them into the sea. One of the crewman Loku Roshan Kumara told yesterday how the group, which included women and at least two children, was known to his captain. The asylum seekers boarded the trawler Theja Putha last Sunday then beat up members of the crew, threw some over board and left them to die, Mr Kumara said more..

Harness the potential of diaspora in a ‘positive fashion’

Oct 19 (AD) The National Action Plan to implement the LLRC recommendations contains several useful recommendations which can be utilized to harness the potential of Sri Lanka’s worldwide diaspora in a “positive fashion,” the United Kingdom said. British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin, states that recommendations such as on building relations between the community and the police could support more..

6% of GDP: Prioritizing govt expenditure

Oct 20 (NS) There has been an unusual discussion of fiscal policies recently. The reason for this sudden interest in fiscal policy comes from an unlikely source: The FUTA that chose an unconventional demand of 6 percent of GDP for education. Whether or not FUTA gets its salary demands (that must surely be their main concern), this strike of university academics will be long remembered for this demand of theirs, whether serious or tongue in cheek or a strategy to get public support, more..

Devolution choices; a common man’s dilemma

Oct 20 (NS) What does the common man want? He wants among other things to be fair; to keep up at least a semblance of fairness and fair play. When the CFA came into being in 2002, and it looked like they were finally going to wrench Sri Lanka free, from the pincer-like grip of the integrating dynamic it had been held in for millennia, and harness it to a segregating dynamic, how did the common man feel? Did his token sense of fair play cry out more..

Managing traffic congested roads of Colombo

Oct 20 (LB) The minister of Transport wants to import 3000 new buses to improve the public transport service. He has not said to where these buses will be deployed but if he does intend to put them to the roads of Colombo, he will undoubtedly end up aggravating the already highly congested traffic in the city. Commuters who live out of Colombo, for example in areas such as Nittambuwa spend 4 hours to come into the city. more..

Sri Lanka’s emerging fiscal cliff: Are we to fall off the cliff or fly over it?

Oct 20 (CT) Sri Lanka’s top most policy administrator, Dr P.B Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury and Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Development, has for the first time admitted in public the daunting challenges he faces when balancing the purse of the country’s govt. Addressing the 30th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Administrative Service Association in Colombo last Tuesday, he is reported to have said that he does not believe in the pitfalls of a large govt more..

Regime Change?

Oct 20 (CT) The Rajapaksa govt will fall and several in it will have to answer allegations of war crimes. There are many who will disagree with both assertions, indeed, violently and with the usual rhetoric. The animating logic behind regime longevity, seen from within govt, is that the international community will forget Nandikadal in May 2009. This is unlikely. Phaidon’s colossal ‘Decade’ is the sequel to ‘Century’. It’s not available in Sri Lanka, but at Waterstones or Barnes more..

Fat cats get the cream

Oct 20 (NS) No one can deny that there is decent stability in our island nation and infrastructure investments are going on at a galloping pace. The Government has focused its post-war efforts on building or renovating the nation’s airports, ports, roads, bridges, railways and other infrastructure, to turn post-war opportunities into a lasting peace bonus. Physical infrastructure is expensive but vitally necessary for any nation to progress. more..

Getting ready for the Croc Confab

Oct 20 (CT) The World famous Madras Crocodile Bank Trust (MCBT) of Chennai will play a big role in the World Crocodile Forum that will be held in Colombo next year. Director of MCBT, James Stevenson and the Chief Veterinarian of the Madras Crocodile Bank are in Sri Lanka. The duo along with the country’s leading herpetologist, Anslem De Silva, have been in continuous discussions with key stakeholders in the country. During their discussions with the senior authorities of the Wildlife more..