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No Lankan casualties in New York

Oct 31 (CT) The Office of Sri Lanka’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, located at the Third Avenue, New York, has been closed down due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy that is currently wreaking havoc in the East Coast of the United States. A senior official from the Mission said that most of the Sri Lankan staff attached to the Mission is currently stranded in their homes due to the hurricane. The official speaking on grounds of anonymity said they have been advised to more..

Teachers to appeal to ILO

Oct 31 (CT) Teachers’ unions are planning to take Education Minister Bandula Gunawardana to task for refusing to address the grievances of the teachers in the country. The Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) said they will submit a complaint to the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Gunawardena’s refusal to meet with and discuss the problems of trade unionists. As Sri Lanka is a signatory to the several international conventions on labour, Minister Gunawardena has no right to more..

Investor influx for ports - H’tota gets lucky

Oct 31 (DN) Hordes of foreign and local investors have expressed their desire to invest in port related ventures surrounding the Colombo and Hambantota Mahinda Rajapaksa ports, Deputy Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said. Three such ventures are to commence business in the near future, probably within the next few months since the construction of these three enterprises are in their final stages. Accordingly, construction of more..

UNP suspends three MPs for attending Fonseka rally

Oct 31 (Island) The three UNP MPs who had attended the October 18 Hyde Park rally, to re-launch the political career of the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, in defiance of the party whip, were suspended by the Working Committee, yesterday evening pending the outcome of a disciplinary inquiry. Informed sources said that amidst objections by the dissident group, led by Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, more..

More LTTE suspects free today

Oct 31 (Island) Commissioner of Rehabilitation Brigadier Dharshana Hettiarachchi said that 27 LTTE suspects, who have been rehabilitated, would be handed over to their families and relatives today. Of the 12,090 ex-LTTE combatants, who surrendered or were arrested by security forces during the final stages of the conflict, 11,012 had completed rehabilitation and been reintegrated into civil society. Cirrently, 782 Ex-LTTE members, including 19 females are undergoing more..

President gets major education reform proposal

Oct 31 (DN) The National Human Resources and Employment Policy (NHREP) launched by the govt yesterday recognized the importance of reforming the school education sector to achieve the objective of attaining full, productive and freely chosen employment for all in Sri Lanka. This policy framework was launched with the first copy being presented to President Rajapaksa by more..

Tamil man self-harms as deportation looms

Oct 31 (SMH) A Tamil man set to be deported from Australia today has attempted to take his own life. Up to 50 protesters have gathered outside the Maribyrnong detention centre in Melbourne's west in a bid to block Immigration authorities from sending the 42-year-old back to Sri Lanka. The man was given his marching orders this month after failing in his bid for asylum. A last minute bid for a court injunction last night to stop the deportation also failed. more..

Govt. debt tops Rs.6 trillion

Oct 31 (DM) Sri Lanka's total outstanding government debt stood at Rs.6161 billion at the end of July 2012 against Rs.4975.2 billion reported during the same period of the previous year, the latest data showed. The data further showed that a month ago (end of June), the total outstanding debt stood at Rs.5951.6 billion. The key reason that can be attributed to the hike in debt in July was the US $ 1 billion sovereign bond, of which US $ 500 million will be utilized to repay a maturing bond. more..

Rajiv killing: Former CBI officer questions Karunanidhi’s role

Oct 31 (IE) A new book on the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case has alleged that no probe was conducted into the “abrupt cancellation” of DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s scheduled public meeting in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991 — the day when Rajiv was killed. In the book, Conspiracy to Kill Rajiv Gandhi: From CBI Files, the author, K Ragothaman, who was CBI’s chief more..

No immediate plan to enter politics – KP

Oct 31 (CT) Former International Coordinator of the LTTE, Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) said the time and people have to decide his entry into politics. KP, who was the chief guest at an opening ceremony of an engineering institute in Ariyalai, Jaffna on Monday, speaking to the audience said, he did not have an immediate plan to enter politics and the time and people have to decide on his entry into politics. He also said the LTTE was politically weakened by the international community. more..

Sri Lanka pitch 'below international standard'

Oct 31 (Yahoo) At one stage the Black Caps were in danger of the lowest ever Twenty20 international score, but they're claiming a drawn match against Sri Lanka is fair. Rain's caused the abandonment of the one-off game with the hosts six without loss in response to New Zealand's 74 for seven. The Black Caps had slumped to 26 for six earlier in their innings. Tim Southee top scored for the Kiwis with 21, after none of the top six batsmen cracked double figures. more..

Duminda is the stumbling block – Counsel

Oct 31 (CT) The Counsel appearing for the Premachandra family charged the CID finds it difficult to proceed with the Bharatha Lakshman murder case because of the involvement of Duminda Silva in the case. Upul Kumarapperuma, who appeared for the family of the late politician said this when the CID informed that they find it difficult to obtain the necessary legal steps from the Attorney General’s Department in connection with the more..

Former Lotteries Board Chief charged for corruption

Oct 31 (FT) The former Chairman of the Lotteries Board has been accused of having caused a loss of Rs. 9.82 million to the Lotteries Board by appointing a tax consultant as adviser to the Board. The Commission to Investigate into Allegations of Bribery filed a report before the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court alleging that the former Chairman of the Lotteries Board Ahmed Imtiaz Ismail had committed corruption punishable under more..

Museum theft: King’s sword still missing

Oct 31 (Island) The CID, probing the National Museum theft, had been able to elicit from the main suspect, Lasange Priyantha Medis, where the other stolen items were, but they had failed to elicit any information on the most valuable stolen artifact, a sword used by a Sinhala king. When contacted, many of the senior police officers, who had briefed the media on the issue on a number of occasions in the past, claimed they did not know what actually had happened to the sword. more..

UPFA collects 118 signatures to impeach CJ

Oct 31 (DM) The constituent parties of the ruling UPFA decided yesterday, at a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to bring an impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. It is learnt that the leaders of the constitution parties had discussed the charges to be leveled against the CJ in such an exercise. The govt had collected 118 signatures from MPs for the motion that is to be more..

Soldier goes to court to marry girlfriend

Oct 31 (Hindu) Will Major Vikas Kumar of the Indian Army be able to marry his Sri Lankan girlfriend Arnila Ranamali Gunaratne who is pursuing her M.Phil. in Bangalore? A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vkramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, of the High Court will soon decide on the order of the Indian Army, which had rejected the 34-year-old’s request to cast away his uniform so that he can marry a foreign national. As Army rules don’t permit personnel to marry more..

Editorial: Change course or face purgatory in November

Oct 31 (DM) With the UNHRC conducting its Universal Periodic Review on Sri Lanka this week, some leaders of parties in the ruling coalition appear to have made matters more difficult for the Rajapaksa govt. Though facing crises locally and internationally, the govt appears to be overcoming them largely because the opposition is weak or bitterly divided and a strong sustained civic action like the Arab Spring is probably not part of more..

Catering tender fiasco at Sri Lanka Railways

Oct 31 (SL) The delay in awarding a catering tender to the highest bidder by the cash strapped Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) has come under scrutiny by railway employees. Quotations were called by the SLR to award its catering service in July this year for a period of two years. Although the successful bidders have submitted nearly Rs.5 million more than what the SLR is now getting per month, higher officials at SLR have failed to more..

For the price of liberty

Oct 31 (LB) Balancing the tension between preserving individual liberty and protecting society from crime is the inescapable conundrum of most criminal justice systems. Any penalty given to the commission of a crime is necessarily an infringement of the convict’s liberty – be it a fine, an order for community service, a prison term, or the death penalty. However, it is an infringement that is justified in moral terms, on the basis that, more..

Rain fills reservoirs but problems persist in NCP

Oct 31 (ST) The inter monsoon rains that started a week ago have spread island wide bringing to an end the dry spell, with many parts of the country experiencing thunder showers during the latter part of the day. The Anuradhapura districts, one of the worst drought-hit areas in the North Central Province has been receiving above average rainfall. The rainfall received was not adequate for a successful ‘Maha’ cultivation which required more..

Saigon Queen ship sinks off Sri Lanka, 4 missing

Oct 31 (TN) The Vietnamese cargo ship Saigon Queen, with a crew of 22 on board, sank off Sri Lanka yesterday. Eighteen crewmembers have been rescued while the four others, including the captain, remain missing. At 12:12 pm on October 30, the MRCC received emergency signals indicating a potentially hazardous situation from the Saigon Queen while it was transporting wood products from Myanmar to India. more..

SLC: Cash woes caught up in political trap

Oct 31 (DM) The ICC has repeatedly cautioned Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to distance itself from politics and politicians, sources told “Daily Mirror”. The ICC has already put regulations in place to put a stop to politicians appointing local board officials, even as interim committee members, appointing national selectors and approving teams that represent the country. All these are standard practices in Sri Lanka. These new ICC rules will come into effect from next year, but they will more..

Tamil asylum seeker wins stay on deportation

Oct 31 (CT) A Tamil asylum seeker has won a last-minute reprieve from deportation, hours before he was due to be flown to Sri Lanka. The Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday afternoon overturned the Federal Magistrates Court's decision to reject an application for an injunction to stop his removal on Tuesday night. George Newhouse, the man's solicitor, argued the risk of harm to him if he was sent back to his homeland had not more..

Ganeshan challenges supremacy of CWC in plantations

Oct 31 (Island) In what is seen as a clear challenge of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress’ age-old supremacy, 18 Plantation Trade Unions were in discussions on establishing a new Plantation Trade Union Federation to deal with the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) from a position of strength to negotiate new wages for plantation workers. The move to form the new federation is being spearheaded by DPF Leader Mano Ganeshan. more..

Refinery shut down not affecting fuel supplies to power plants

Oct 31 (Island) Thermal power generation would not be affected by the shutdown of Sapugaskanda oil refinery, a Power and Energy Ministry spokesman said yesterday. The refinery was shut down last Friday due to non-delivery of crude oil. The Spokesman said, "Hydropower has still not reached the expected levels, so we are using thermal power and so far we haven’t faced any troubles with fuel supplies due to the shutdown of the oil refinery." more..

'Sri Lanka economy to grow 7% in 2013 but risks emerge'

Oct 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economic growth is likely to recover to 7% in 2013 after slowing to 6.5 percent in 2012, helped by Chinese loans and domestic consumption, while new risks are emerging, RAM Ratings, a rating agency has said. Global uncertainty and European troubles have dampened demand for exports and a drought has hit agriculture output and electricity generation this year, and tightening of monetary policy is more..

Floods affect 17,000, displace 1,500

Oct 31 (Island) As inter monsoon rains lashed all parts of the country, floods affected more than 17,000 civilians while displacing 1,500 people in eight Districts, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said. DMC Assistant Director Sarath Lal Kumara said that 1,500, 48, 27, 19, 274, 48, 1,945 and 15,000 people were affected by floods in the Mullaitivu, Nuwara Eliya, Kegalle, Kurunegala, Kandy, Colombo, Trincomalee and Gampaha Districts respectively. more..

MP Anjani Umma joins UNP

Oct 31 (AD) Former JVP Gampaha MP Anjani Umma who earlier crossed over to the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna (NFF) joined the UNP a short while ago. Umma was given UNP membership today at the Jathika Sevaka Sangama office in Colombo. She was appointed to parliament after contesting as a JVP member under the UPFA in 2004. She later joined the NFF or Jathika Nidahas Peramuna under Minister Wimal Weerawansa when he broke away from the JVP. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.13%

Oct 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka stocks closed down 0.13 percent Wednesday with S & P SL 20 index of large cap stocks closing higher at 4.18 points. The Colombo All Share Index closed at 5,513.64 down 6.98 points and the S & P SL 20 Index closed 4.18 points higher at 2988.05 up 0.14 percent. The day's turnover reached 477 million rupees. Top contributors to turnover were JKH with 237 million rupees, Chevron with 52 million rupees and Lanka IOC with 46 million rupees. more..

WikiLeaks: Gota pleaded that he had not received the credit he deserved

Oct 31 (CT) “What is most important, said Blake, is that everyone should feel that they are equal as Sri Lankans and share the same rights. That is not the case right now for Tamils. Rajapaksa blamed the LTTE, and pointed again to the East where there is “full freedom.” He urged A/S Blake to have confidence in the GSL. He regretted that there was too much “speculation, talking and shouting.” We know the situation is not perfect, more..

JVP blames govt. for delaying teacher appointments

Oct 31 (Island) The govt was delaying the appointments of more than 400 teachers, who passed out from Colleges of Education six months ago, the pro–JVP Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) said. CTSU General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said that the final examination results of those 459 student teachers had been approved by the National Institute of Education in April this year and sent to the Ministry of Education. "There is a severe shortage of teachers in more..

Were mystery deaths due to carbon monoxide inhalation?

Oct 31 (Island) There is suspicion that the two young men, who were found dead inside a locked business premises at Pasumale, Agrapatana, had died of carbon monoxide inhalation as they had slept with a generator running inside the building. The dead were identified as Rajaratnam Sudarshan (19) and R. Ramachandran (21). The police, who were summoned to the scene by the owner of the business, when there was no response from the youths, forced open the premises and found more..

Sri Lanka storm exposes Tigers' heavy weaponry

Oct 31 (AFP) A storm surge in Sri Lanka's northeast has exposed buried artillery guns of Tamil Tiger rebels in a region where the final battles of the country's 37-year conflict were fought, the army said Wednesday. Troops stumbled on four 152mm artillery barrels and one 130 mm piece believed to have been used by Tiger guerrillas during their last stand in the district of Mullaittivu, army spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya more..

Gem-mining in Kantale tank banned

Oct 31 (DM) National Gem and Jewellery Authority Director General Nimal Bandara said Police and Army teams have been deployed in the vicinity of the Kantale Tank to prevent villagers from damaging it in their rush to collect gems. Mr. Bandara said any excavation or mining of the tank has been temporarily stopped as it could incur heavy damages to the tank. More than 1000 people started hunting for gems on the bank of Kantale tank following rumours of several gems that are more..

Fishermen, boat found after 2 months

Oct 31 (CG) A group of fishermen who set out to sea from Negombo in August were found beached in Mullaitivu yesterday, the police media unit said today. The police said that five fishermen had gone fishing on August 30 from Negombo but their boat subsequently experienced engine trouble. The fishing boat had been out at sea with the fishermen unable to contact anyone to seek help. However after two months at sea the boat had washed ashore in Nayaru, Mullaitivu yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka's inflation eases to 8.9% in Oct

Oct 31 (LBO) Consumer price inflation in Colombo slowed to 8.9% in the 12 months to October from 9.1% a month earlier, data from the state debt office showed, as credit tightened after a balance of payments crisis. The Colombo Consumer Price Index, from which alcohol and tobacco has been removed (a recent tax hike pushed up the price of both items) fell in absolute terms by 0.3% in the month of October to 165.0 points. more..

Etisalat opens flagship store in Sri Lanka

Oct 31 (AB) UAE telco Etisalat announced on Wednesday the launch of its first flagship store in Sri Lanka as part of its plans for expansion in the south-Asian country. The company said the new store in Colombo will serve as a one-stop shop for customers and will also house an Etisalat Lanka customer service centre to assist customers with all their telecommunications needs. The store is the first in a series of outlets that Etisalat plans to open around the country more..

Final hearing on LTTE ban in India on November 3

Oct 31 (CG) A final hearing on the LTTE ban in India will be taken up on November 3 in Madurai. The three-day long tribunal hearing with regard to the ban on the LTTE ended on Monday, with tribunal head Justice V K Jain stating that a final hearing would he held at New Delhi on November 3. MDMK legal wing secretary G Devadoss had told journalists that their party’s general secretary Vaiko would participate in the final hearing. Earlier the Justice heard out three police personnel, more..

Sri Lanka eyes new crude pacts after Iran curbs hit supply

Oct 31 (Reuters) Sri Lanka plans to invite tenders for term supply contracts as the island nation hunts for alternatives to imports of Iranian crude curbed by U.S. sanctions, the country's petroleum industries minister said. Exports from Iran, which is grappling with tough Western sanctions targeting its energy and petrochemical sectors, have fallen sharply as consumers struggle both to pay for the oil and to secure more..

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Fund extends $ 60 million support for sri lanka

Oct 31 (GDI) The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Fund for Development (SFD) yesterday committed US$ 60 million worth of assistance to Sri Lanka for the development of the road network. The SFD is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s main development financing fund. The agreement to this effect was signed by Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance and SFD Chairman Dr. Ibrahim Al Assaf in the presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at more..