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Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Sept 9 (ST) The days she reigned supreme, President Chandrika Kumaratunga hopped from one town to another in Air Force helicopters. Yet, she kept a safe distance when it came to flying over the then war-torn north for fear of attacks. Recently, thanks to the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas by the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration, she chose to drive along the A-9 Colombo-Jaffna highway. more..

Purged diamond in police hands

Sept 9 (ST) The Chinese national arrested for swallowing a diamond believed to be worth Rs. 1.8m at a Colombo exhibition had the precious stone purged out yesterday, three days after admission to the National Hospital. On recovering the diamond the suspect was transferred to the Prisons’ Hospital at Welikada, Prisons Commissioner General W.P. Kodippili said. The recovered item was now in the custody of the police and investigations were continuing to more..

Extra headaches with extra student intake

Sept 9 (ST) A senior don says the University Grants Commission proposal to increase the university student intake this year was a “political solution” that gave university authorities no say in the choice of students admitted. Professor Sirimal Abeyratne said that an additional 4,900 students would be admitted to universities not because they were eligible, under university criteria, but because they were deprived of marks as a result of a govt error. more..

Artificial situation arisen at SEC based on insider trading

Sept 9 (Island) Chairman, International Chamber Of commerce, (ICC), Tissa Jayaweera, said in his annual report to the membership at its 46th annual general meeting that expectations were high after elimination of terrorism that stability and growth would move forward. However, morphed into an escalating spiral of increasing costs, policy makers had not heeded misgivings that were expressed that looming balance of payments more..

Flak over Kunanayakam’s removal from Non-Aligned Movement position

Sept 9 (Island) The Non Aligned Movement (NAM) has taken up the removal of Ms Tamara Kunanayakam as Chairperson of the UN Working Group on the Right to Development with the Sri Lanka mission in Geneva. Having discussed the issue with current NAM leader (Iran), the former Chair of the grouping (Egypt) recently raised the removal with Sri Lanka’s No 2 in Geneva, Ms Manisha Gunasekera, who was more..

India rejects request for Kapilavastu exposition at Temple Trees

Sept 9 (CT) New Delhi has rejected a Govt request for a special exposition of the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics at Temple Trees. The rejection, according to sources, has delivered a major blow to diplomatic relations between the two countries, already dented following the recent developments in Tamil Nadu. Informed sources said President Mahinda Rajapaksa had made the request for a special exposition, through Minister more..

Sanctions on Iran impacts SL oil refining process

Sept 9 (SL) The refining of Arabian Light crude oil has resulted in a decline in the output of petrol and kerosene. The country previously used Iranian Light crude oil, which has now been stopped following the US sanctions on Iran. The govt has now turned to the next option, Arabian Light crude oil. Minister Susil Premajayantha said the govt had no other option but to look for alternative crude oil supplies since Iranian more..

Drug king pin ‘Wele Sudha’ amassed assets worth over Rs. 180m in 2 years

Sept 9 (ST) One of Sri Lanka’s biggest drug traffickers, Samantha Kumara Vithanage alias ‘Wele Sudha’ from Badovita off Ratmalana, who started off as a bootlegger and later switched to heroin trafficking for its ‘greater returns’, amassed assets worth a whopping Rs. 180 million or more in two years. He fled the country last year with his wife, just when the CID opened investigations into his activities early last year. more..

Sri Lanka's ruling party wins provincial election

Sept 9 (AP) Sri Lanka's ruling party has defeated the country's main ethnic Tamil party in a provincial election seen as a test of whether Tamils still want self-rule or are satisfied with govt-led development programs in a region devastated by decades of civil war. President Mahinda Rajapaksa's UPFA won 14 seats in the Eastern Provincial Council, while the TNA secured 11, the Department of Elections said Sunday. more..

Paradise Road Gallery Café grabs first place

Sept 9 (SL) The Gallery Café holding first place as the Best Themed Cuisine Restaurant in Sri Lanka for the third consecutive year was recently awarded by Sri Lanka Tourism at their annual award ceremony held at Waters Edge. Opened in 1998 in what used to be the former office of the renowned Sri Lankan architect, the late Geoffrey Bawa, this restaurant continues to the opening hours of the café which are 10 am to midnight, attracts visitors not only for meals but more..

Lanka’s 2012 Jan-July tea exports Rs100 bn: In 2011, it was Rs92 bn

Sept 9 (LB) Sri Lanka’s exports of tea from January to end-July this year is Rs100.5 billion, an increase from Rs92.6 billion during the first seven months of 2011, according to Customs statistics. A price indication dollar-wise at the Colombo tea auctions is January to end-August — $3.07 (Rs404.99) per kilo. The figure rose from $3.30 (Rs363.27) per kilo at end-Aug 2011, under the Colombo auction hammer, the Forbes and Walker report more..

The final verdict in the case of Pahalagama Somarathana Thero

Sept 9 (SL) On May 3 this year, the Isleworth Crown Court convicted Pahalagama Somarathana, a high profile Sri Lankan Buddhist monk living in Britain, on four counts of indecent assault. He was on trial for crimes he committed more than thirty years ago, when he sexually assaulted a 9-year old girl. The monk was then 33. Victims state that attacks took place over a period of time, where the girls were enticed by the monk with more..

Kandy HC judge issues notice on CP PSC, Education Ministry

Sept 9 (ST) Kandy High Court Judge Manilal Waidyatileke issued notice on the Chairman- Central Province Public Service Commission, S.B. Beddewela and other members of the Commission, the Chief Secretary- Central Provincial Council, Secretary- Central Province Education Ministry, and the Secretary- Central Province Public Service Commission, to appear in the High Court on October 15, 2012. This was consequent to a petition submitted by 26 graduates who have been more..

SLPL's impact on Sri Lankan cricket

Sept 9 (IC) The SLPL's impact on Sri Lankan cricket was direct and immediate. When SLC requested the deadline for naming the World T20 squads to be extended for them, they did it with the thought that the SLPL would force them to change their minds and also allow them to come to concrete conclusions about certain players. The 15-man squad they announced proved both cases to be true. Akhila Dananjaya and Dilshan Munaweera were picked solely on their exploits at the SLPL. more..

TNA seeks alliance for provincial gov't

Sept 9 (Xinhua) The main Tamil political party in Sri Lanka on Sunday initiated talks with the opposition to gather the majority to form a govt in the eastern province following local council elections. TNA legislator Suresh Premachandran said that his party had reached an agreement with the UNP and will next meet with the SLMC on forming an alliance. Local council elections for three provinces in the country including the more..

Malaka at it again

Sept 9 (CG) A police complaint has been lodged against Malaka Silva, the son of Minister Mervyn Silva, over an assault incident at a hotel in Colombo. The police said that Malaka Silva had allegedly assaulted an army officer at the hotel late last night and also attempted to take away his weapon. The army officer was admitted to hospital following the assault incident and investigations are underway, the police said. In 2007 Malaka Silva was arrested by the police following more..

SLC does not recognize Cricketers’ Association

Sept 9 (NS) In a shocking disclosure Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) admitted that they did not recognize the Cricketers’ Association which represents the country’s cricketers. “To my knowledge the Cricketers’Association is not a recognized body,” said SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga. “If you look at the players they have the option of either going to their managers, to their lawyers or the Cricketers’ Association. But the more..

Sex scandal: SLC plays humpty dumpty

Sept 9 (NS) The cricket board - Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), in an effort to drive under the carpet the recent sex scandal involving its female hospitality manager and a top executive of Sommerset Entertainment ventures, is passing the buck driving the media from pillar to post. Last Thursday’s attempts to gather information on a so called report that SLC’s President, Upali Dharmadasa had reportedly stated would be out shortly proved futile. more..

'The only wrong we committed was to hope for a better life'

Sept 9 (Hindu) In a packed dingy hall close to Old Mangalore Port on Saturday, over 80 men who were detained by police in a bid to thwart their alleged attempt to migrate to Australia gestured helplessly to the Kannada-speaking policemen. Expressing fear about the detainment and sorrow over their lost money, they also pleaded not to be sent to jail and instead allowed to return to Tamil Nadu. Communication remained difficult until, speaking crisp English, Subash Karan (23) more..

She drowned and... he hanged himself

Sept 9 (NS) 13-year-old Vihange Sandaruwan was known to be a lovable young boy, but a mischievous young character. To get things done the way he wanted, he always threatened to commit suicide. All the time, the older ones played into his hands and his demands were met. But, on this occasion his threat to commit suicide went practical, as his demand was not met. Dewmini Ranagala, a charming young girl, who was a classmate of Sandaruwan in Maharagama Madya Maha Vidyalaya, more..

'Navi Pillay is welcome as Sri Lanka has nothing to hide'

Sept 9 (Island) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris who was in London last week to address the 30th International Symposium on Economic Crime held at the Cambridge University also met with some British MPs, Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma and Chairman of the Commonwealth Business Council Mohan Kaul. In his discussions, he pointed out that after the war Sri Lanka is having an opportunity to solve the more..

Three top companies continue fast track internships for second year

Sept 9 (Island) John Keells Holdings PLC (JKH), Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) and HSBC have come together to continue their "Fast Track 15" Internship Programme for the second year, they jointly announced last week. This programme provides an opportunity for fifteen (15) Sri Lankan citizens studying in local and foreign universities to be engaged in a six-week internship programme during their summer break. more..

Jungle Beach Kuchchaveli: UGA’s newest resort promising both Beach and Jungle

Sept 9 (Island) Uga Resorts steps onto the sunny beaches of Eastern Sri Lanka to deliver their newest creation: Jungle Beach. Nestled within a 10-acre estate located 23km North of Trincomalee, this luxury destination opened its doors (to the public) on the 2nd of June 2012. Sandwiched between the Indian ocean and a lagoon boasting colourful bird life, this boutique promises not only pristine sandy beaches but also tropical mangroves. more..

CAA takes on Nestle

Sept 9 (NS) Eleven lawsuits have so far been filed against the multi-national dairy giant, Nestle Lanka PLC (Nestle) and their dealers by the Consumer Affaires Authority (CAA) for violating the controlled price for infant milk powder imposed by the latter last June via a gazette notification while large super market chains have also been identified among other errant traders,The Nation reliably learns. “Among the infant milk manufacturing more..

Parents abandon two children

Sept 9 (CG) The Pamanugama police had found two young children abandoned by their parents at their house, the police media unit said. Aged 6 and 2 years old, the two children had been found abandoned on Friday following information received by the police. The police took the two children into their care and lodged a report at the Wattala Magistrate’s court. The Magistrate instructed the police to place both children at two children’s homes till the parents could be found. more..

Mum’s the word on probes by SEC commissioners at their first meeting

Sept 9 (ST) Commissioners of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) met for the first time on Friday, after the induction of a new chairman, but contrary to expectations, there was virtually zero discussion on crucial issues such as current probes and investigations against alleged market manipulation and insider traders. Instead, the Commission headed by Dr Nalaka Godahewa, who, incidentally, heads a vibrant company listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange(CSE), decided to more..

Sri Lanka’s preparations underway for World T-20

Sept 9 (Island) Sri Lanka’s preparations haven’t gone right ahead of World T-20 as both of their training sessions, at Premadasa Stadium, were hit by rain. The national cricketers had a day off on Saturday and training will resume today starting at 2 pm. Sri Lanka are drawn into Group ‘C’ alongside Zimbabwe and South Africa and will play the curtain-raiser of the tournament at Suriyawewa on 18th Sept against Zimbabwe. more..

IT industry targets US $ 1 b revenue by 2016

Sept 9 (SO) With the end of terrorism and active investments with Govt reforms, the information technology industry will exceed its ambitious target of generating more than one billion US dollars in revenue by 2016, said Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunge at ICTA's (Information, Communication and Technology Association Sri Lanka) 'Regional Expert Consultation on Connecting Asia Pacific's Digital Society for Building Resilience' held recently. more..

Damaged currency notes replaced

Sept 9 (SO) Around 400,000 - 500,000 mutilated or damaged currency notes have been handed over by people to banks. The mutilated and damaged currency notes were replaced with new notes following an announcement by the CBSL last month. The CBSL expects over 100,000 damaged notes to be handed over by people to their banks within the next two months. Anyone who has damaged or mutilated Sri Lankan currency notes could have them replaced with new notes from any bank. more..

Govt. rejects appeal to lift TN travel advisory

Sept 9 (ST) The Govt rejected calls by the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TNCCI) to lift the travel advisory warning Sri Lankans against visiting the southern Indian state. “There have been more than 20 incidents targeting Sri Lankans or related interests since the start of this year and therefore it was necessary to put up the advisory to protect individuals and their property,” External Affairs Ministry Secretary said. more..

More time needed to supply power from Norochcholai

Sept 9 (SL) The govt says that more time is needed to supply power from the Norochcholai coal power plant to the national grid despite completion of the main repair work. Minister Champika Ranawaka said the main repair work on the plant has now been completed. However, he observed that the repair work on the transmission line was ongoing and that even after the repairs are completed, more time would be needed for a test run before re-connecting the line to the national grid. more..

Rains in the south-west, drought conditions in NP and NCP

Sept 9 (ST) Contrasting weather patterns in the island have been observed with the south-west receiving somewhat heavy rains causing minor traffic blocks on roads in Colombo and the suburbs while drought conditions prevailed in the Northern and North Central Provinces resulting in crop damages in over 100,000 acres. With the re-activation of the south-west-monsoon, rain can be expected in the south-west quarter of the country with the Western, and more..

LLRC report: C’wealth ready to help Lanka

Sept 9 (ST) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma who arrives in Sri Lanka tomorrow to attend the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference will discuss possible collaboration between the Commonwealth and Sri Lanka on the implementation of the report of the LLRC. During his visit, Mr. Sharma will call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Minister G. L. Peiris to discuss issues related to the more..

Bowled over by a bowl

Sept 10 (SL) Sri Lanka won the Bowl competitionat last week’s 2012 Borneo Rugby Sevens, which is no big deal really, given that likesuccess was achieved last year as well. So, to accord the returning team, Tuesday night at the KIA, something of a heroes’ welcome was a tad too rich on the part of the SLRFU. The drummers and dancers were present, as were pretty girls bearing garlands for players; only the red carpet had apparently been forgotten, but not so invitations to more..

Hilary Abeyaratne: A teacher and more

Sept 10 (SL) I don’t know when Hilary Abeyaratne passed away in Australia, but it was, for someone like me who wanted to meet him again as I entered my own twilight years, too soon. There has been at least one appreciation of Hilary that has appeared in a weekly English language publication that speaks of his many qualities as a teacher. For my part, I believe that Hilary made a significantly greater impact on those with whom he came in contact, an impact that extended beyond more..

'Our pilgrimage to Tamil Nadu ended in sadness'

Sept 10 (SO) Following the attack on a group of Sri Lankan pilgrims who went to attend the annual feast at the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health in Velankanni the Sunday Observer spoke to a cross section of those affected to take a look at this issue from their perspective and to find out how this incident will impact on relations with our close neighbour. The President of the Chilaw fishermen's Association, W. Jesudasan, 43, more..

Tilak Jayaratne: Indomitable Broadcaster with a Stubborn Conscience

Sept 10 (DBS) Making an extraordinarily acute observation, veteran broadcaster and scriptwriter Tilak Jayaratne who passed away this week after battling a killer disease with characteristic courage, pointed out in a telephone conversation with me on the phone barely two months ago that there was little point in ‘grumbling about bad political leaders or voting them out in the hope that the replacement would deliver the goods.’ As he said quite rightly, these are strategies that more..

Ranjana Thangaraja who danced in the Carol Reed film “Outcasts of the Islands”

Sept 10 (DBS) The movie Outcasts of the Islands was a 1951 film directed by British filmmaker Carol Reed based on a novel by Joseph Conrad. It was shot on location in Ceylon in 1950, and premiered on January 2, 1952. It also went into the annals as the first British movie that was produced on location in Ceylon before being screened here and the rest of the world. A movie critic who had seen one of its previews, writing a reveiw to the Sunday Lankadeepa had noted that more..

'Investigations at SEC will continue, uninterrupted'

Sept 10 (LB) “I am here at SEC to do a job because I like to serve. I came here with my car, my petrol, my mobile and my computer. I have also made a decision not to engage in any stock market activities as a shareholder during my tenure as SEC chairman. There is a price one has to pay when accepting public responsibility,” says the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Dr. Nalaka Godahewa. more..

Concerns in the Mannar diocese; issues and suggestions

Sept 10 (CT) People in the Mannar diocese have been expecting better life in many aspects since the end of the war and there are expectations of a reconciliation process leading towards sustainable peace with justice. As Church leaders, we have been trying to work with other religious leaders, civil society, govt officials, to address key issues facing the people in order to achieve a sustainable peace and reconciliation. It is in this spirit that more..