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Young rights man has winning shot at the UN

Sept 15 (ST) Kithmina Hewage did his country proud when he was chosen as one of the three Human Rights Champions at the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA)’s UNA Youth Human Rights Training held from June 17- 20 in Geneva. To put things into perspective, he was one of the 30 young people from around the world selected to take part in the programme-prestigious in itself; but then he was also awarded the coveted accolade of Human Rights Champion following his performance at the training. more..

Maligawa elephant goes berserk

Sept 15 (Island) An elephant named Sinharaja, which was being taken for the Dodamwela Devala perehera, went berserk at Bulumulla Junction, on the Kiribathkumbura – Waturakumbura road on Thursday evening. Its mahout, Jayantha, who was injured after being thrown to the ground by it, was admitted to the Peradeniya hospital. Sinharaja, belonging to the Dalada Maligawa, was being taken by its handler from his residence to the Devale when the incident occurred. more..

WikiLeaks: Nobody believes GOSL anymore – Robert Blake

Sept 15 (CT) “Pascoe, who recently visited Sri Lanka, questioned the credibility of GSL officials; no one believes they can meet their current timetable for moving people out of the camps. A/S Blake agreed, saying he had urged the GSL to demonstrate some real successes on the ground, because nobody believes them anymore. The U.S. has stressed the importance of more..

South African Business Delegation concludes successful visit to Sri Lanka

Sept 15 (GDI) The high-level Business Delegation of the African National Congress-Progressive Business Forum (ANC-PBF) led by Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of South Africa visited Sri Lanka from 5th – 9th Sept. The 24-member delegation included Renier Schoeman, Co-convener of the ANC-PBF and leading South African businessmen of mining, construction, agriculture, IT and retail sectors. more..

Sri Lanka to upgrade rubber infrastructure, eyes 2022 US$ 4bn export target

Sept 15 (Island) As global rubber prices are set to soar, Sri Lanka is moving to upgrade its rubber sector to capitalise on the trend-and also to play the US$ 4 billion rubber exports target set for 2022, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said yesterday. "I am pleased to announce that we are launching the first ever national rubber industry survey next month. We are also now looking at creating high end rubber testing lab facilities that the industry needs. more..

Kumar Dharmasena voted Umpire of the Year

Sept 15 (CI) Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena has won the David Shepherd trophy for the Umpire of the Year at the ICC Awards ceremony in Colombo. It is the first time he has won this award. The other nominees were five-time winner Simon Taufel, three-time winner Aleem Dar, along with New Zealand's Billy Bowden, England's Richard Kettleborough and Australia's Rodney Tucker. "This award means a lot to more..

TNA urges SLMC not to betray voters

Sept 15 (CG) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) today urged the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) not to betray the voters in the East by supporting the govt to form an administration in the Eastern Province. TNA leader R. Sampanthan told reporters at a press briefing this morning that the Muslims in the East had voted for the SLMC as the parry contested against the govt. Sampanthan noted that the SLMC had gone on stage and spoken against the govt during the election campaigning. more..

Dilshan: Twenty20's great entertainer

Sept 15 (GN) The Twenty20 format is sheer entertainment and the format is blessed with a great entertainer in Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan. It’s a treat to watch him bat, as the aggression and timing with which he plays his shots are spectacular — and he surprises by playing shots it was previously believed were impossible to execute. Be it a bowler bowling at a speed of 140km/h or a fine spinner, Dilshan will move away, make room, and thrash them with ease. more..

Sangakkara wins big in ICC awards

Sept 15 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara has won three awards, including the prestigious Cricketer of the Year and Test Cricketer of the Year at the annual ICC awards ceremony in Colombo. Sangakkara also won the People's Choice prize, an honour he had received last year as well. For Cricketer and Test Cricketer of the Year, Sangakkara was chosen ahead of South Africa's Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander, and Australian captain Michael more..

Youth Rugby: Sri Lanka drubbed by champs Chinese Taipei

Sept 15 (ST) Chinese Taipei got the better of Sri Lanka by 20-14 in the final of the Division II Youth Rugby Asiad match played at the Havelock Park today. Chinese Taipei made up their points from three tries, a conversion and a penalty while Sri Lanka, who missed out a golden opportunity of getting promoted to the top division when they failed to find the try line in the last five minutes, scored from an unconverted try and three penalties. At the short breather Chinese Taipei led 13-11. more..

Govt wants to appoint Najeeb Majeed of SLFP as first Muslim chief minister of EP

Sept 15 (DBS) While parties such as the TMVP, SLMC and the ACMC want to gain the chief ministership of the Eastern Provincial Council, the Govt seems to have chosen Najeeb Abdul Majeed from Kinniya in Trincomalee district for the coveted post. A decision to this effect was made by a high level ministerial committee appointed by President Rajapaksa to determine the choice of a new Eastern Provincial chief minister and composition of the provincial ministerial board. more..

Military intelligence operatives ‘pressure’ TNA Eastern Councillors into supporting UPFA administration

Sept 15 (DBS) The TNA which won eleven seats in the recently concluded elections to the Eastern Provincial Council is currently facing a serious crisis of a bizarre nature. The premier political formation of the Sri Lankan Tamils that garnered almost 90% of the Tamil votes in the East has to now cope with the task of “quarantining” the newly elected councillors in safe and more..

Court of Inquiry wasn’t appointed to implicate the officer – Army

Sept 15 (DM) Acting Military Spokesman Brigadier G. V. Ravipriya said the Court of Inquiry was not appointed to implicate the officer who was allegedly assaulted by Malaka Silva, but to probe into the details of the incident. Responding to a statement made by ex-Army Commander Sarath Fonseka in which he claimed the military is trying to take action against the officer involved inthe incident, Brigadier Ravipriya said the appointment of the Court of Inquiry is a routine more..

Japan navy boats in Colombo Port

Sept 15 (ST) Two Japanese naval ships, Shimayuki TV- 3513 and Matsuyuki DD- 130, are scheduled to arrive at the Colombo Port tomorrow. On Friday the Japanese naval ship, Kashima TV- 3508, arrived at the Port of Colombo on a goodwill visit, he said."Kashima" is a training ship which is 143 meters in length. It has a displacement of 4050 tons. "Shimayuki" is also a training ship with a length of 130 meters and a displacement of 3050 tons. "Matsuyuki" is a destroyer which is more..

MDMK demands referendum on Eelam issue

Sept 15 (CO) The MDMK party today demanded an international referendum with the supervision of United Nation Organisation to decide on the separate Tamil Eelam issue as it would be the only answer for sufferings of Tamils in the island nation. The Party's High level Committee member Senthilathiban and spokesman Nanmaran, briefing newsmen on the deleberations at Anna Birth centenary and the Dravidian movement more..

China's top legislator starts visit to Sri Lanka

Sept 15 (Xinhua) China's top legislator Wu Bangguo arrived here Saturday for an official goodwill visit to Sri Lanka, pledging to lift bilateral ties to a higher level. Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), is to have separate meetings and talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse and Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa during his four-day stay here. This is the first visit to Sri Lanka by chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, more..

JHU calls for Malaka’s arrest

Sept 15 (DM) The JHU yesterday condemned Malaka Silva’s attack on the Army Major and described him as a “hooligan” whose actions had reflected badly on the govt. “Everybody knows he is Minister Mervyn Silva’s son. But this is not the first instance that he has behaved in such a way. The law should be strictly enforced for actions like this,” JHU Central Committee Member the Ven. Hedigalle Wimalasara Thera said. The Thera said the JHU looked down on the incident with disgust. more..

Former Army Commander to form a new political party

Sept 15 (NF) The Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka says that steps have been taken to register a new political party. At a public meeting in Kurunegala on Friday he pointed out that he will continue his attempts to create a common opposition. He met with a group of businessmen in Kurunegala last afternoon. The participants raised questions from Sarath Fonseka regarding his future political plans. more..

Dr. Palitha Kohona speaks to Newsfirst

Sept 15 (NF) According to Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Palitha Kohona, the UNHRC team that arrived in the country today is not a part of the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka that was adopted in March. He made this statement exclusively to Newsfirst’s Shameer Rasooldeen, who is currently in New York. Dr. Palitha Kohona: "The Govt of Sri Lanka invited the the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to send the team. And that happened many months ago. more..

SLC refuses to share information on security costs for Twenty20 WC

Sept 15 (NF) Sri Lanka Cricket refused to share any information pertaining to the security costs of the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup. The refusal came during a media briefing to discuss ground facilities and security plans. However, after being questioned by a reporter, the SLC revealed that the ICC would be spending 30 million US dollars on the entire tournament. Here, journalists raised questions and Chief Executive Officer SLC Ajith Jayasekara responded to questions. more..

People Smugglers: Sri Lanka

Editorial: All should respect people's verdict

Sept 16 (SO) The masses have taught a good lesson again to extremist Opposition politicians and those who exploit racist and religious sentiments to gain political mileage. The resounding victory of the UPFA at the recent elections to the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provincial Councils are also a singular victory for all loyal and patriotic citizens. It is not only a victory for democracy which demonstrates the masses' gratitude for President Mahinda Rajapaksa for more..

Editorial: The Law of the Jungle Prevails

Sept 16 (SL) In the early hours of Sunday (9) morning Malaka Silva, who has gained notoriety after collisions with law enforcement officers particularly in night clubs had, with a supporting gang of goons, set upon two army intelligence officers at the JAIC Hilton and taken away a service revolver, a gold chain and a mobile telephone. That was the gist of the complaint made to the Police by the Army Officers. Under normal circumstances if any individual staged such an act, more..

'Farmers, the backbone of rural economy'

Sept 16 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only leader who brought giant development projects to the North Central Province, said S. M. Ranjith, the winning candidate of the UPFA at the North Central Provincial Council election. I take this opportunity to pay my sincere gratitude to trade unions, the state sector and private sector employees, teachers and farmers who helped me to attain this victory. more..

Editorial: Commonwealth and Democracy

Sept 16 (LB) In the history of mankind, there have been only two liberal empires. One is an empire in decline, the United States of America, which undoubtedly shaped the global order more than any other world power since the end of the Second World War, and more prominently since its democratic message that prevailed during the Cold War. Though not an empire in its traditional sense, it is an empire by virtue of its sheer military power, economy, cultural influence, more..

Editorial: Make an offer the TNA cannot refuse!

Sept 16 (NS) It’s been almost a week since the elections for the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern Provincial Councils were held. The votes were counted and the elected have been separated from the losers but the Chief Ministers have not been named yet. In the North Central Province there is a tussle between incumbent strongman and aspirant strongman. Sabaragamuwa is quiet. The noise is coming from the East. There’s no clear winner and therefore many are claiming bragging rights. more..

'We need leaders who don’t demand paychecks'

Sept 16 (NS) NFF known as the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna is a small party in the political arena though we know the activists of the party for a long time. Wimal Weerawansa known leftist or the former JVP stalwart is the founder leader of the NFF. The party is formed by a group who left the JVP when the JVP’s plans to expel its propaganda secretary and famous orator from the party. However, Weerawansa’s NFF contesting alone its first election more..

UPFA in box seat, but forming administration a challenge

Sept 16 (NS) Elections for the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern Provincial Councils concluded with no major incidents, without a clear winner, but the UPFA in the driving seat to form a viable administration. As expected, given the ethnic composition of the Eastern Province, the whipping up of communal sentiments in the run up the election and the political objectives of key players, no single party got a clear majority. more..

Editorial: Reactivate 17th Amendment before next elections

Sept 16 (ST) Pro-Govt political analysts and pundits have hailed as outstanding the victory of the UPFA in last Saturday’s PC election. But the govt needs to look at the results not only in a magnanimous way but in a sober and realistic spirit. Most independent analysts and observers are of the view that a free and fair election cannot be held under the present system where the executive presidency has been given absolute power with the enforcement more..

'Govt. has machinery to do things their way'

Sept 16 (LB) General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva says that there is a tendency for people to complain against the govt, criticize it, but at the same time, vote with the side that wins. The voters also vote without studying what is good, but merely drift towards the winning side. Q: You suffered a humiliating defeat at the recently concluded PC Election. What are the reasons? A: We accept that it is a defeat for us when more..

Editorial: Seize the opportunity

Sept 16 (Island) Will President Mahinda Rajapaksa grasp the nettle and seize the heaven sent opportunity of accepting the proposal of the Socialist Alliance of the old left parties (some call it the `dead left’) and form an all party provincial administration for the Eastern Province? Here is a chance for the three ethnic communities inhabiting the province in roughly equal proportions to run an administration for the benefit of all. Minister Tissa Vitarana, in an article we run today, more..

Dismay as opposition again undone at elections

Sept 16 (NS) Polls in the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern provinces last week handed the UPFA a ringing endorsement although it may have to cobble together a coalition with the SLMC to govern the Eastern Province. In both the Sabaragamuwa and the North Central provinces its share of the vote was about 60%, a commendable achievement considering that the UPFA has been in office for 15 of the past 18 years and given the recent barrage of adverse domestic events. more..

Bull-run amidst concerns of credit bubble and manipulation

Sept 16 (NS) The Colombo bourse in just four weeks has returned to being among the best performing markets in the world from a worst performer but concerns are being raised over alleged manipulation of junk stocks and an impending credit bubble, analysts say. The AllShare Index (ASI) has risen sharply by 22 per cent or 800 points since August 29 with the entry of Nalaka Godahewa as the new chairman of the SEC. more..

Indians enjoying Sri Lankan hospitality

Sept 16 (Island) The members of the Indian cricket team arrived in Colombo on Wednesday for World T-20 and have looked relaxed leading up to the tournament. India were here last month as well for an ODI series and the regular visits they make to the island makes Sri Lanka a familiar place for them. While hosts Sri Lanka will be playing in all three venues that host the tournament matches, the host board has been hospitable towards the Indians letting them play all their games at more..

SLMC-UPFA deal in the East; UNP sits lame

Sept 16 (LB) Last week, in this column we forewarned that a mad scramble for the chief ministerial posts was about to begin. Even before dust settled on the campaign trail, race for the hot seat took an ugly and violent turn in the North Central Province (NCP) where a supporter of UPFA candidate S.M. Ranjith succumbed to injuries after being attacked by the supporters of former chief minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake. The rivalry between the two main candidates of more..

Bribery probe into awarding gloves tender to unregistered supplier

Sept 16 (Island) Amidst continuing allegations of widespread corruption in the state health sector, bribery sleuths are now probing a shocking multi-million rupee deal where a tender for a consignment of surgical gloves had been awarded to a supplier who didn’t even have the basic Cosmetic Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority (CDDRA) registration to bid. The stock had been cleared from the port on a more..

MSD bodyguards for ministerial brats

Sept 16 (Island) Even as the results of the provincial council elections were rolling in on Saturday night last week, a drama was unfolding at the JAIC Hilton that would mar the convincing victory that the government was about to win. The whole of last week the newspapers have been full of the news that Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka and Mano Wijeyeratne’s son Rehan Wijeratne along with some Ministerial Security Division personnel had brutally assaulted an Army major and taken his service revolver, mobile phone and gold chain. more..

PC polls create more headaches for the govt. than solutions

Sept 16 (SL) Last week’s elections for the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern Provincial Councils have created more problems for the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt. The governing party that touted its victory in the three provinces is still struggling to resolve several issues in relation to two provincial councils – North Central and Eastern – even a week after the conclusion of the elections. Incidentally, the Elections Department has also stated that the gazetting of more..

Mervyn Silva to investigate all Kovils!

Sept 16 (SL) Minister Mervyn Silva has said that he would ensure that no animal sacrifices will be allowed to take place in any Kovil in the island, adding that he is investigating all Kovils to see if they cause disturbances to the public, based on powers vested upon him as the Minister of Public Relations. “I have assigned teams to find out whether animal sacrifices are being carried out in other Kovils in the country,” Silva said, but added that he had no intention of removing more..

The king and his tainted jesters

Sept 16 (ST) My Dear Mahinda maama, I thought I must write to you again to congratulate you on yet another election victory in Sabaragamuwa, Rajarata and the East although I heard that they are still haggling over who will control the East and Rauff is trying to strike a hard bargain. I must admit it is a creditable performance by you and the Blues because you had to deal with Z scores, leaked examination papers, power cuts, polluted petrol and even droughts and floods, more..