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In the Pirates’ hold

Oct 20 (CT) Nearly two years have elapsed since six families received news that would shatter the world as they knew it – their husbands and fathers had been captured by pirates. Mind-boggling as it may seem, pirates are very much a threat even in the modern world, expanding their ‘trade’ to include kidnapping as well. On 26 November 2010, a Malaysian ship, the ‘M.V. Alvado’ was captured by Somali pirates some 900 nautical miles away from Somalia. 23 people were onboard, more..

Fault lines in the battle of the giants?

Oct 20 (Island) The incident reveals that giants often have feet of clay. They has surely sullied the image of the nation but opened a can of worms that was never displayed in public to paint a thin silver lining in an otherwise sordid saga. The ball is firmly in the govt’s court to do what is necessary. They should use all the king’s men and all the king’s horses to find the perpetrators of this ghastly crime of assaulting a judicial officer. Solving this crime may resolve many of the outstanding perplexing more..

Executive Vs Judiciary: The debate continues

Oct 20 (SL) The attack on the Judicial Services Commission Secretary Manjula Thilakaratne has created an intense discussion on the country’s judiciary and the balance among the executive, judiciary and the legislature. Unknown assailants attacked Thilakaratne last week after a communiqué was issued by the Judicial Services Commission about alleged interference into the independence of the judiciary. Several trade unions and civil society groups condemned the attack, more..

Speaker stands firm against SC while LG poll’s law sails thro’

Oct 20 (ST) A landmark ruling by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and Parliament’s approval of significant changes to the Local Authority election law in the country, dominated Parliamentary sittings this week. The lengthy statement by the Speaker, lasting nearly an hour, on Tuesday, came in the wake of the ruling by the Supreme Court, when preliminary objections were raised in connection with a petition filed, challenging the constitutionality of the Divineguma Bill last month. more..

TNA afflicted by internal dissension

Oct 20 (DBS) A high level delegation comprising seven MPs from the TNA was in New Delhi last week from October 10th -14th on an invitation extended by the Govt of India. The TNA team led by Trincomalee district MP R.Sampanthan consisted of Jaffna district MP’s “Mavai” Senathirajah, ”Suresh” Premachandran, A.Vinayagamoorthy, Batticaloa district MP Pon.Selvarajah, Wanni district MP “Selvam” Adaikkalanathan and National list MP MA Sumanthiran. more..

Editorial: When the limo breaks down

Oct 20 (Island) The UNP rebels talked the talk but they did not walk the walk. They vowed to attend Thursday’s Hyde Park rally as a pledge of solidarity with Gen. Sarath Fonseka, come hell or high water, but they got cold feet at the eleventh hour. When the UNP leadership gave them a choice between joining the protest led by former army chief and being sacked, they turned tail and ran away. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has proved once again that he is the boss! Only five members of the UNP’s ginger group had the intestinal more..

Out of this today, tomorrow must necessarily grow

Oct 20 (Island) Nehru wrote these lines in the last years of India’s freedom struggle against British colonial rule. But they seem equally relevant to Sri Lanka in today’s context. The 1978 Constitution gave the Executive Presidency wide powers paving the way for authoritarian rule. The Eighteenth Amendment, supported by an unthinking Parliament, by legislators who valued personal power and privileges more than the future of the country, dismantled whatever was left of our more..

3D ත්žරිමාණ - FUTA අරගලය කොයිබටද?

Sanath has many reasons to go back to Pakistan

Oct 20 (Island) When former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya was approached to lead an International World XI side to play two T-20s against a Pakistan All Star XI, he would have had little hesitation. Sanath has already said that he has no issues with security in Pakistan and has been overwhelmed by the hospitality shown by the Pakistani people on his arrival in Karachi. A media briefing was held yesterday ahead of the two games in Karachi and Sanath said that he had more..

Sri Lanka in US15.2mn venture to export processed graphite

Oct 20 (LBO) Sarcon Development (Pvt) Ltd, whose main investor is Caribbean based firm, will invest 15.2 million US dollars to process and export graphite, Sri Lanka's export promotion agency said. Sri Lanka Board of Investment the firm will be started with technical assistance from Sri Lanka's Geological Survey and Mines Bureau which will receive 55% of the value of processed graphite. Plumbago Refining Corp B.V, a company registered in Curacao, a Dutch Caribbean more..

Sri Lanka hotel under Hyatt Regency brand to open in 2014

Oct 20 (LBO) Hyatt Hotels Corporation said it had inked a deal to manage a 42-floor hotel in Colombo under which will have 474 rooms and 84 serviced apartments, which will open in 2014. The property owned by Sinolanka Hotels and Spa Private Limited will be branded a 'Hyatt Regency.' "Sri Lanka continues to be a growing market, and we are excited to work with Sinolanka on this iconic project in Colombo," Ratnesh Verma, more..

Discussions fail, teachers threaten strike

Oct 20 (Island) Teacher trade unions yesterday warned of a token strike on Oct. 24 demanding the rectification of their salary anomalies. This follows yesterday’s failed discussions between the unions and the deputy education minister. The discussions were held between the deputy minister, ministry officials and representatives of nine teacher unions. General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) Mahinda Jayasinghe said that the education minister and secretary to the more..

Killing of 66-yr-old mother: No breakthrough in probe

Oct 20 (Island) No arrests have so far been made over Wednesday’s killing of a 66-year-old mother of three children at Lalupitiya, Kirindiwela. Asked whether any gold jewellery or money had been robbed by the assailant or assailants, who had entered the house between 3.50 p.m. and 7.45 p.m. as claimed by some media, the police said that they had not received such information, and the suspects were not been unidentified yet. more..

Hilton, HDL book new deal

Oct 20 (FT) Hilton Worldwide (Hilton), together with Hotel Developers (Lanka) PLC (HDL), yesterday announced the signing of a new management agreement for the Hilton Colombo in Sri Lanka. The agreement reiterates that Hilton will continue to operate and manage the Hilton Colombo. HDL Chairman Thirukumar Nadesan indicated that he was extremely pleased to have the agreement in place after a prolonged discussion and expressed great satisfaction more..

Application forms sold

Oct 20 (CT) It is reported that 800 application forms have been printed by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) for distribution among those interested in the allocation of 468 boutique rooms constructed by CMC along the “Adi 100” road. However, according to informed sources 460 application forms have already been distributed officially while the rest are being sold at a rate of Rs 100,000 and Rs 300,000 each. Some officers attached to CMC allege that several officers are also involved in this racket. more..

Two students knocked down by Minister’s back-up

Oct 20 (Island) Two 19-year-old students of Pannipitiya Dharmapala College were injured yesterday morning when an STF vehicle, escorting Minister of Co-operatives and Internal Trade, Johnston Fernando, knocked them down at Moraketiya Junction, Pannipitiya. Police spokesman SSP Prishantha Jayakody said that the incident had occurred around 5.30 am and the driver of the STF vehicle that was providing security to the minister, at that time, had been arrested. more..

President launches Research vessel Samudrika RV

Oct 20 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the Samudrika Research Vessel (Samudrika RV) of the NARA at the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port yesterday. This vessel, specially designed for maritime research, is 25 metres in length and 6.5 metres in width and can accommodate seven researchers at any given time. Samurdrika, the first research vessel of the country cost Rs 300 million. The launch of this ship more..

NARA probes massive increase in fish harvest

Oct 20 (Island) The National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) has begun research into the reasons for the sudden increase in the fish harvest of the country. Fisheries Ministry official said that ministry would take necessary steps to buy the huge fish harvest as the fishermen all over the country had faced difficulties in selling their catch. The annual fish harvest had increased by 100,000 MT last year due to more..

Contaminated bottled water manufacturer could be shut down next time

Oct 20 (Island) The office of the Colombo Central Medical Officer of Health said that a place found guilty of preparing or manufacturing low quality food and drink items a second time could be shut down under the Food Act. The penalty could also included a six month jail sentence. However, under the Food Act, first time offenders are only fined between 500 and 1000 rupees. A bottled mineral water production company was fined Rs. 1,000 for more..

Hyde Park rally: UNP rebels to challenge suspension in court

Oct 20 (Island) The UNP’s decision to suspend the membership of five of its party members for defying a ban on attending the Oct. 18 Hyde Park rally, was in contravention the country’s Constitution and would be challenged in Court, a spokesman for the UNP reformist group said. UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe yesterday ordered General Secretary Tissa Attanayake to send out letters announcing the suspension of more..

Oct. 27 Hadj holiday

Oct 20 (Island) Saturday, October 27, has been declared a Public and Special Bank holiday since the Hadj Festival, which was due to be celebrated on October 26, had fallen on the 27th, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, W. D. J. Seneviratne said yesterday. Therefore, October 26 will not be a public and special bank holiday. He said that the changes had been effected accordance with the section 10 (1) (a) and 11 (1) (a) 0f the Holidays Act No: 29 of 1971 vested in him.

Sri Lanka, Thailand talks focus on agriculture, fisheries and service sectors

Oct 20 (DN) Minister Professor G L Peiris had bilateral discussions with Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul on the sidelines of the Asian Co-operation Dialogue Ministerial Meeting in Kuwait City. The two ministers agreed that conditions in Sri Lanka are conducive to a significant expansion of the economic relationship between Sri Lanka and Thailand, with particular reference to trade, investment and tourism. They regarded as timely the meeting of the Joint more..

Multi-ministerial thrust against kidney malaise

Oct 20 (DN) President Rajapaksa appointed a Ministerial Committee to implement World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations to eliminate Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD) in Sri Lanka. Minister Maithripala Sirisena said the Committee comprising top officials from Agriculture, Agrarian Services, Health, Irrigation and Water Resources and Water Supply and Drainage Ministries, would examine the issues arising more..

Lady teacher who slapped principal gets bail

Oct 20 (Island) A lady teacher of Melsiripura who slapped and threatened her principal in the staff room on Tuesday, was released on bail on Thursday when she was produced before the Kurunegala Magistrate. She was released on cash bail in Rs. 5000 and personal bail in Rs. 100,000. Police spokesman SSP Prishantha Jayakody said that the lady teacher had been arrested on Wednesday, following a complaint lodged by the principal with the Gokarella police on Tuesday. more..

Vignarajah fires fresh salvo to SEC

Oct 20 (FT) Investor K.C. Viganarajah has sent a fresh letter via email to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleging that the capital market regulator’s statement in response to his original communication had half truths and untruths. In addition he also described SEC’s media release as “purported”. Here is the full text of Vignarajah’s email in the “public interest, and interests of investing public” to the SEC, copy of which was sent to the media late Thursday night. more..

Internal divisions in Govt. over 13th Amendment, PC system

Oct 20 (CT) Senior ministers in the Rajapaksa Govt are apparently divided into two groups over the continuation of the Provincial Council system established in accordance with the 13th Amendment. Highly placed govt sources said that while one group is in favour of the Provincial Council system, several others, including govt partners, the JHU and the NFF are adamant that the 13th Amendment be abolished immediately. more..

National Parks under Wildlife Dept purview says President

Oct 20 (DN) Everything in National Parks should come under the purview of the Wildlife Department. Officials of the Department committed an offence by allowing the private sector to set up camp sites at the Yala National Park, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. Addressing the special Hambantota District Development Committee meeting at the administration complex at Siribopura, Hambantota, President said these camp sites have now become permanent camp sites and more..

UBF vows protests against UNP leadership

Oct 20 (Island) The United Bhikku Front (UBF) yesterday vowed to hold rallies countrywide against the UNP hierarchy for suspending the party’s parliamentarians and provincial councilors for attending Thursday’s Hyde Park rally demanding the abolition of the executive presidency. The National Organiser of the UBF Ven. Ulapane Sumanapala Thera said it was the duty of the UBF to ensure that the suspension of the UNP members would be withdrawn. He added that the suspended more..

Govt. to talk with Tamil Diaspora

Oct 20 (Island) In a new turn of events, the govt yesterday said that it would enter into a dialogue with the Tamil Diaspora to find a solution to the long drawn out ethnic conflict. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the groundwork had already been done and there had been a positive response from Sri Lankan Tamils resident abroad. He said that govt emissaries had established the required channel and if things went according to plan, more..

Playing politics with garbage

Oct 20 (Island) "What is this about not playing politics with garbage?" "What kind of garbage are you talking of?" "I’m only repeating what a politician has said." "What exactly has been said?" "What I read was that politicians of the now important hue will not play politics with garbage." "Hmmm…that’s going to be pretty tough isn’t it?" "Why, what makes you think it will be so tough?" "Because politics is all garbage today… "What did you say?" "I said politics is all garbage today. more..

Editorial: What a shame, 870 million people are starving today

Oct 20 (DM) Social scientists have told us that poverty is the most widespread disease and hunger the biggest killer. On Oct 16, World Food Day, the United Nations revealed that at least 870 million people would be struggling in a pigsty of hunger while an increasingly selfish and greedy world allows the gap between the rich and the poor to grow to monstrous if not self–destructive proportions. Oliver De Shutter the UN’s special rapporteur on the more..

Coir machine that takes on 1000 husks an hour

Oct 20 (ST) From coconut thief traps to coconut husking machines, inventing a range of useful apparatus is almost second nature to Dhammika, whose creative prowess goes back to his childhood. Now, having invented a Coir machine, which earned him the Presidential Award 2007 and 2008, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) award 2009, the INNOMECH University of Moratuwa 2009 and the Rajatha Sammanaya more..

Camp sites given on lease illegally, environmentalists allege

Oct 20 (LB) Environmentalists charged that camp sites found in many national parks which are under the supervision of the Wildlife and Conservation Department (WCD), and in keeping with the Wildlife and Flora and Fauna Act have been given on lease, illegally, to several private firms. He alleged that at the Yala National Park several camp sites known as Saipadeen ferry, Neganiyantota low lying area and Talgasmankada low lying area more..

KP to play "useful role"

Oct 20 (Island) The LTTE’s former chief arms procurer K. P. Pathamanathan, who was said to be in protective custody, is to be given a ‘useful role’. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told journalists yesterday that many southerners involved in armed insurrections had been given an opportunity to enter mainstream politics and there was no reason why Ex-LTTE cadres should not be treated in the same manner. His comments came amidst denials by Lakshman Hulugalle, that more..

John accompanies Neomal in France

Oct 20 (CG) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga accompanied Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Neomal Perera for a meeting with Denis Pietton, Cabinet Director of the French Foreign Ministry yesterday. The Sri Lankan Mission in France said that during the meeting, Director Pietton had said that bilateral relations between France and Sri Lanka were progressing positively. Acknowledging the economic ties between the two countries, Deputy Minister more..

Selectors hit reason for sixes

Oct 20 (DM) Jayawardene is a clever batsman who can make up for it, even if he won’t hit sixes. Can the selectors find more supporters than themselves to the theory that Kapugedara and Mubarak will be better T20 players than Jayawardene and Mathews? Delhi Daredevils pay US 1.4 million to Jayawardene and Pune Warriors pay US $ 950,000 to Mathews, but if de Mel had any say, these would have certainly gone for Mubarak and Kapugedara. more..

Saudi wants our AG there to discuss Rizana Nafeek’s release

Oct 20 (CT) The Saudi Arabian Government has indicated that the Attorney General (AG) of Sri Lanka should come to Saudi Arabia to discuss the legal issues connected with the release of condemned Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek, foreign media reported. President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the Asia Corporate Dialogue Summit in more..

Hoteliers unhappy over holiday shift

Oct 20 (DM) Several hotels and guest houses in the South are said to be facing difficulties following the government’s decision to shift the public holiday in view of the Haj Festival from October 26 to October 27. Owners of such hotels said that some of their clients were calling for a revision or cancellation of their bookings. They said clients who had booked rooms for October 26 now wanted to shift their bookings to more..

'No formal notice of the suspensions'

Oct 20 (DM) A group of three UNP MPs, whose party membership was suspended yesterday, claimed they have not been formally informed of such a decision through written or verbal means until now. UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara said, “We have heard various reports concerning our party membership through media reports. However, we have not received any official notice concerning the suspension of our membership through more..

Painful blows on 'Rule of law', Can it survive?

Oct 20 (DM) The much respected and universally accepted concepts of ‘Rule of Law’ and ‘Independence of the Judiciary’ are again at the forefront of the political dialogue in our country. Article 12(1) and 12(2) of the Constitution declares ‘Rule of Law’ as a fundamental right by enacting that ‘all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law’ and that ‘no citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, more..