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Gutsy Afghans thump hapless Sri Lanka ‘A’

Sept 16 (ST) Afghanistan who of late have been making big news in cricket showed their opponents what to expect when the fourth edition of ICC World Twenty20 gets underway on September 18 onwards. The gutsy Afghanistan cricketers coming into action in a warm up against a strong Sri Lanka A side came out victorious with a massive 51 runs win in the match played at Braybrooke Place yesterday. They gave a lesson of discipline to be learnt after being invited to take first lease of more..

Dogs rounded up, pre C’wealth parley, not brought back

Sept 16 (LB) Animal rights activists demand that BMICH authorities bring back all the dogs that were living in the compound and were rounded up and taken away, be brought to their original habitat. The dogs were rounded up by the CMC in view of the Commonwealth Parliamentary meeting that was held at the BMICH last week. Up until last evening, the dogs were not brought back although BMICH director general Bandula Ekanayake had more..

Milinda Moragoda appointed as Advisor to Nalanda University

Sept 16 (Island) Nobel Laureate and Chancellor of Nalanda University, Professor Amartya Sen and the Governing Board of the university have invited Milinda Moragoda to assist in the establishment of the university as an advisor. The Nalanda University was an ancient centre of Buddhist learning and repository of world knowledge, functioning for 800 years from the 5th-12th century CE. The most famous Buddhist university, it was one of the first universities in the world and reputed to have more..

Train derailed after hitting jumbo

Sept 16 (ST) The human-elephant conflict took a slightly new turn when a wild elephant was knocked down by a Colombo bound train at Kekirawa in the Anuradhapura District killing the elephant and causing the train to derail. The train which was travelling on Friday night from Trincomalee to Colombo came to a halt when the elephant was hit at around 11 p.m. at Nelliyagma near Kekirawa. No one on the train was injured in the incident. Train services on the line came to a halt for 8 hours and services were brought to normal at more..

Treasury stalls Customs probe on alcohol ‘firms’

Sept 16 (ST) Customs have been ordered by the Treasury to halt investigations into 9 dummy companies that imported ethyl alcohol for industrial purposes but sold it surreptitiously to liquor manufacturers. The revenue loss during the past two years due to this racket, a senior Customs official who investigated the matter said, was more than one billion rupees. He said the companies were linked to a powerful politician. more..

Fuel stocks being tested at ITI

Sept 16 (SL) The allegedly contaminated fuel stocks are undergoing testing by the Industrial Technological Institute (ITI), according to the director of ITI Dr A. M. Mubarak. Mubarak said that the Ministry of Petroleum Industries had presented them with a letter on Thursday requesting that they carry out the tests on the fuel samples. “The Ministry has asked us to test the fuel samples to identify whether a micro-biological element was present in the supplies. We will be taking samples from more..

CEPA due to be passed

Sept 16 (LB) The govt will sign the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) despite vehement protests by the local business community, a senior govt minister said. “CEPA is still on the cards and the decision to sign CEPA will be made very soon but at the same time it cannot be rushed through,” said Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. He explained that there are certain concerns regarding CEPA that will be taken up as there are different views that have been expresssed. more..

Bribery probes Sarana’s bank accounts and assets

Sept 16 (NS) The Bribery and Corruption Commission (BCC) is now probing Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardena’s bank accounts and other assets including land, Commissioner of the BCC, Jagath Balapatabendi said. “I have put my investigation unit to check the assets of the Deputy Minister which includes his bank accounts and land owned by him,” the Commissioner said. He elaborated that investigations into assets more..

Commonwealth delegates tour Northern province

Sept 16 (Island) The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Sri Lanka Branch, under direction by Speaker Chamal Rajapakse arranged a tour of the Northern Province to 70 delegates who were amongst the participants at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Colombo last week. The 70 delegates from many countries including United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, Australia, South Africa, Uganda, Guyana, Swaziland, Maldives, Kenya, Tanzania, more..

Bid to bring FUTA for unilateral arbitration

Sept 16 (SL) The govt is holding internal discussions to bring striking academics for unilateral arbitration, Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge said. He said that the Labour Ministry and the Govt were vested with powers and responsibilities to intervene at a time when industrial action by unions were having adverse effects on the country. “We are not giving up our attempts to find solutions simply because the FUTA walked out of meetings,” Lokuge said. Labour Commissioner Pearl Weerasinghe, more..

Students helpless and angry

Sept 16 (ST) The ongoing strike by university staff and the Govt’s continuing lack of initiative to resolve the crisis has left students confused, frustrated and angry. Science student Yomal Jayasinghe’s dream of qualifying and getting a decent job becomes less achievable by the day as universities remain shut and academics continue to agitate for salary and other reforms. He said he did not even have a place to stay, as the more..

Now, try Berty Premalal in court - Polls Chief

Sept 16 (NS) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday claimed that it was now up to the voters to try North Central Chief Ministerial candidate and elected councillor Berty Premalal Dissanayake in court for the alleged offences committed during the run up to the elections. ‘It’s a matter for the judiciary and not me’, he stressed. If any political party or a NGO had an issue with regard to the allegations, it’s up to them to pursue it at judicial level, Deshapriya pointed out. more..

New-born Black Rhino dies

Sept 16 (ST) A Black Rhino was born last week at the Dehiwala Zoo, but died a few hours later. The baby was born in the early hours of Sept 10. The post-mortem or necropsy revealed internal bleeding in the head of the new-born, Zoo director Anura de Silva said. The injury could have been the result of a kick from the mother rhino. The post-mortem was done by a government veterinary surgeon. The baby rhino weighed 16 kgs. A normal healthy rhino baby weighs between 30 and 35 kgs, more..

TNA wants Hakeem to ‘abide by the wishes of the Muslim people’

Sept 16 (Island) The TNA expressed confidence that SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem would abide by the wishes of the Muslim people, who supported the party without opting to vote for the govt. "As a politician, I will be very patient until the SLMC leader makes up his mind and inform me of his decision", TNA leader, R. Sampanthan said. "We have agreed to offer the Chief Ministership to the SLMC and all other matters could be more..

Pillay’s rep says ‘we are not out to probe war crimes’

Sept 16 (LB) The two representatives of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay who are now touring the country have reportedly said that they are primarily out to conduct a general assessment of the human rights situation in the country and they have no intention of conducting investigations on human rights violations. They have given this undertaking to the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission chairman (SLHRC) when they had met with its officials recently. more..

We will catch Malaka - Police

Sept 16 (NS) The Police yesterday strongly reiterated that Malaka de Silva, the son of Public Relations Minister Mervyn de Silva would definitely be arrested with the other six accomplices in connection with the alleged assault on two military intelligence officers last Sunday at a leading Colombo hotel. Police Media Spokesman, SSP Ajith Rohana said, “Definitely he (Malaka) will be arrested along with the other six suspects.” He added that already two police teams had been deployed to carry out the arrests. more..

Much hangs in the balance over hung council in East

Sept 16 (ST) The results of Last Saturday’s PC polls were on a predictable note enabling the ruling UPFA to capture the majority of seats. Victory was most convincing in the Sinhala-majority Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provinces. The UPFA garnered about 60% of the votes compared to more than 50 in the 2008 PC polls. For the UNP, votes dropped from 38 to 33% and 40 to 30% respectively in these two more..

Polls chief want elected councilors to declare assets

Sept 16 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said that until all elected candidates submitted their declaration of assets and liabilities, he would not be in a position to issue the necessary Gazette notification on the bonus seats. Asked whether there is be a possibility to do so at least by tomorrow, he replied, "I have to wait until all the candidates had forwarded their declarations". He said that it is the responsibility of political more..

16 contenders vie for top DGHS slot

Sept 16 (Island) With 16 aspirants vying for the top Director General of Health Services (DGHS) slot, a new appointment is expected to be made within the next three to four weeks, a high-ranking health official said last week. "We are now processing the applications and the selection will be made by a panel headed by the Finance Ministry Secretary", says Dr. Nihal Jayathilake, Secretary to the Health Ministry. Four other members to the panel will be appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers. more..

Why Mervyn did not go to the CPA dinner

Sept 16 (ST) The weekly Cabinet meeting was advanced to 5 p.m. last Wednesday. This was because President Mahinda Rajapaksa was hosting a gala dinner for delegates of the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) meeting that ended on Friday. There was some distraction to an otherwise routine session where ministers were rushing through Cabinet Papers. They were also anxious to go for the dinner. Minister Mervyn Silva rose to his feet. He apologised to more..

Audit query from Public Trustee yet unanswered

Sept 16 (ST) A nephew of the Public Trustee has been paid the highest amount as legal fees for cases handled on behalf of the Department, an audit inquiry made by the Auditor General’s (AG’s) Department has revealed. The AG’s Department which made the inquiry nearly seven months ago from the Public Trustee’s Department over the payment seven million rupees as legal fees for 124 cases within a period more..

Big blow to Sri Lankan Tea in the UK

Sept 16 (Island) Sri Lanka’s membership at the prestigious London Tea Council has expired after a record 59 years after the country had failed to pay the annual membership fee since 2011. This comes as a big blow to the promotion of Sri Lankan tea which has witnessed a sharp decline with imports to the United Kingdom plunging to a pathetic two million kilograms in 2011 from a previous enviable 65 million kilograms. more..

Plans to call for an independent international accountability mechanism

Sept 16 (SL) Amendments to a US House of Representatives’ resolution on Sri Lanka calling on the Sri Lankan govt, the international community and the United Nations to establish an independent international accountability mechanism to look into reports of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations have been tabled before the House last week. more..

Mihin Lanka loses engine

Sept 16 (SL) Engine trouble with Mihin Lanka’s newest A321 has resulted in the engine of another A321 being installed in the aircraft to ensure it continues flying. However, this swap has meant the previous aircraft has been grounded indefinitely. The cost of the operational lease for the new A321 is US $2,350 per flying hour. Kapila Chandrasena, Mihin Lanka CEO, signed the lease for this aircraft back in December 12 2011. more..

Current stability largely due to 18th Amendment: GL

Sept 16 (Island) External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris in a recent conversation attributed the current political stability enjoyed by post-war Sri Lanka largely to the introduction of the hotly disputed 18th Amendment to the Constitution. He emphasized that the success of ongoing rapid development program would depend on the SLFP-led UPFA’s political strength. more..

Contaminated shipment to be returned to India

Sept 16 (CT) A consignment of stainless steel and aluminium products, contaminated with a radioactive substance, is to be shipped back to India, on the orders of the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority (SLAEA). Chairman, SLAEA, Dr. R. Wijayawardena, said the consignment, currently at the Colombo Harbour, contained about 125 units of stainless steel and aluminium products, all contaminated with cobalt 60, an extremely more..

Army training Sri Lankan men, admits Lieutenant General AK Singh

Sept 16 (DC) Lt Gen A.K. Singh, general officer commanding in chief, southern command, appears to have got the army into a bit of trouble. After participating in the happy ceremony of the passing out of cadets at the Officers Training Academy at St. Thomas Mount next to the Chennai airport on Saturday, the handsome general went full throttle explaining before TV cameras how greatly endowed the Indian Army has been in training foreign more..

Ex Al-Jazeera chief tells MR: Stay with NAM and look East

Sept 16 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was all for a suggestion that countries in Asia should shift their focus from the West to the East. Given Sri Lanka’s close relations with China, such advice was like telling children that they should eat more chocolates. The suggestion came from former Al-Jazeera chief Wadah Khanfar when he met the President on Tuesday at Temple Trees. Khanfar, who now heads the think-tank as-Sharq Forum, was here on a two-day lecture tour more..

Debt-ridden, loss-making SEC pays for dubious award

Sept 16 (ST) Sri Lanka is overwhelmed by various international awards given by obscure foreign organisations. Now a state agency has joined the throng of companies and individuals willing to pay for recognition from a dubious Spanish outfit. Earlier this month, State Engineering Corporation (SEC) which comes under the Ministry of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities, announced that it had won the “International Star for more..

World Twenty20 winner is anyone's guess

Sept 16 (AFP) The World Twenty20 explodes into action this week in tropical Sri Lanka with no runaway favourite and upsets likely in cricket's shortest and least predictable form. At least half of the 12 participating nations will consider themselves strong contenders to lift the trophy in Colombo on October 7, with the others hopeful of living up to the event's reputation for shocks. From defending champions England, the powerful West Indies and formidable South Africa more..

The new stamps say it all...

Sept 16 (LB) To underscore that the traditional, colonial postal system is still intact and widely used in Sri Lanka, the Postal Department last week released four new, classic stamps reviving the glorious, British colonial era. In an age where people are accustomed to emails, sms’, wi-fi, paging and mobile phone for communication, post and postage stamps can link countries and people more closely, states the Postal Department. The issuing of stamps started in 1857 under more..

Premadasa threatened war with India, says former envoy

Sept 16 (IANS) Then Sri Lankan president R Premadasa threatened to go to war with India in 1989 if Indian troops were not pulled back, the then Indian high commissioner in Colombo has revealed. Lakhan Lal Mehrotra said that Premadasa held out the sensational threat when he called on the president at his Colombo office. The president told Mehrotra that if India did not agree to withdraw its military, more..

Luxury vehicles with fake garage numbers aplenty

Sept 16 (NS) Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV) assisted by the Police has cracked down on vehicle owners operating with fake garage numbers, top RMV sources said. Among the vehicles detected with fake garage numbers, luxury vehicles have dominated the percentage, they added. According to the RMV, only vehicle importers and dealers are issued garage numbers by the RMV. However, many luxury vehicles have been discovered to be operating with garage numbers more..

Duminda to the fore

Sept 16 (SL) Parliamentarian Duminda Silva will be arriving in Sri Lanka during the latter part of this month, sources from his office said. An official from Silva’s office, who did not want to be named, said that Silva would resume politics upon arriving in the island, and several key projects to be headed by the MP are already underway. Silva has been engaging with the public through his various profiles on the social networking site facebook, which also featured pictures of a healthy Silva in a gymnasium, uploaded during the last week of July this year. more..

Strict guidelines set for whale and dolphin watching

Sept 16 (ST) Stringent new regulations have been drawn up to cover all aspects of the whale and dolphin watching industry. Conditions will apply to all owners and operators of such tour vessels, the crew, and the passengers. The regulations cover annual licensing, mandatory insurance for vessels and passengers, lifesaving requirements, fees to be levied, and guidelines for conduct when the mammals are sighted. more..

If it's Kandy, it's time for tea

Sept 16 (CI) Kandy, the capital of Sri Lanka's verdant hill country, is famous for Buddhism, cultural pride, and of course tea, which grows outside the city and throughout the region, and which, until the government nationalisation of the tea estates in 1972, was a world of its own: the "Old Ceylon" of hardy British planters, gentleman's clubs, and, especially in the tea capital of Nuwara Eliya, a tangible taste of Britain, with picture postcard cottages, red letterboxes, and imposing clubs with hunting memorabilia on the walls. more..

'Asks int’l community not to be be deceived by false propaganda'

Sept 16 (Island) The results of the recently concluded Provincial Council elections in the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern Provinces bear ample testimony to the overwhelming trust that the people have reposed in the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and their endorsement of the UPFA govt's post-conflict policy direction to steer the country on the path of peace and prosperity. Issuing a Statement, former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama noted more..

World T20 cricket: Sri Lanka look to home comforts

Sept 16 (BBC) While Sri Lanka have won three Asia Cups and shared an ICC Champions Trophy title since they won the World Cup in 1996, players and fans alike will feel a second major global crown is well overdue. This month's World Twenty20 could be the opportunity they have been waiting for. On home soil, with a well-balanced team, and lessons learnt from the recently concluded SLPL more..

As usual, Vaiko spews anti-Lanka rhetoric

Sept 16 (TOI) MDMK leader Vaiko on Saturday launched his "Mupperum Vizha" to celebrate the Dravidian movement's centennial, coupled with DMK founder C N Annadurai's 104th birth anniversary, in Trichy. He reiterated his resolve to mobilize international support to "punish Sri Lankan president Rajapakse" for the alleged war crimes against Tamils. One of the resolutions adopted by the MDMK was protecting Tamil fishermen from atrocities of Sri Lankan Navy. more..

Veddahs storm Wildlife Office

Sept 16 (DM) A group of Veddahs from Dambana is alleged to have stormed the Wildlife Conservation Office at Galkada in Dambana and secured the release of a suspect by force and later handed him over to the Mahiyangana police. The Wildlife Conservation Officers had arrested the suspected poacher with a fire arm, allegedly from the Veddah community, during a raid in the Maduru Oya forest reserve and taken him to the Wildlife Conservation Office. One of the officers were more..