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HR Commissioner not appointed -UNP

Sept 17 (CT) The UNP yesterday questioned why the govt doesn’t appoint a Commissioner of Human Rights to the Commonwealth Association. UNP MP Dr.Jayalath Jayawardana while alleging the govt is painting a completely different and incorrect picture about the proposed HR Commissioner, said the govt should not oppose such a move. “Leader of the House Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has said the Commonwealth is a voluntary organization registered in England. more..

More rains coming

Sept 17 (DM) Rainy weather was predicted in most parts of the country including the drought-hit North Central Province due to the convergence conditions developing in the atmosphere. The Meteorology Department said the winds coming from the two hemispheres were merging over Sri Lanka currently. It said cloudy conditions would prevail for few days while there would be heavy showers from time to time particularly in the South West part of the country, Western, Central and more..

SLHRC to query police inaction

Sept 17 (DM) The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) has decided to make inquiries from the police as to why they failed to arrest Minister Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka who allegedly assaulted an Army intelligence officer during a night club brawl. The injured army officer was admitted to hospital on Sept 8. SLHRC Commissioner Dr. Pratiba Mahanama said that no arrests had been made yet though several more..

Sri Lanka to be home to exclusive auto SEZ for Indian companies

Sept 17 (BS) Indian companies in the business of auto components and engineering products will have a first of its kind special economic zone (SEZ) in Sri Lanka. The two countries are scouting for members of a joint working group to study a proposal to this effect made during a recent visit by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma to Colombo. The development assumes importance as Sri Lanka did not show a positive response to India's more..

Fire cracker lorry blast injures two

Sept 17 (Island) An explosion in a lorry carrying a load of fire crackers yesterday injured two persons and left three in a state of shock. The explosion occurred around 11.30 a.m. at Dunagaskotuwa, on the Kurunegala – Galewela road. The injured were in the rear of the lorry. They were admitted to the Galewela Hospital. Their condition was not serious. The police suspect that careless lighting of a cigarette or the disposal of a burning butt may have triggered the explosion. more..

Sri Lanka banks on cricket to cleanse bloody image

Sept 17 (AFP) Sri Lanka is banking on cricket to repair the damage to its blood-stained image after the brutal end to a 37-year ethnic war as it stages the biggest tournament in the nation's post-independence history. Since declaring an end in 2009 to a conflict that claimed up to 100,000 lives, President Rajapakse's govt has had to battle accusations that its troops killed thousands more..

Heart drug smuggling attempt thwarted

Sept 17 (Island) The Narcotic Control Unit of the Sri Lanka Customs, on Saturday night at the BIA, nabbed a Sri Lankan national attempting to smuggle in a consignment of low quality drugs meant for cardiac patients. The 46-year-old suspect from Negombo, who was returning from Chennai on flight UL 124, attempted to smuggle in drugs to the value of Rs. 8,000, Customs sources said. An officer said that the man had attempted to walk through the green channel with three bags and more..

Chauhan urges Vaiko to call off protest against Rajapaksa’s visit

Sept 17 (Hindu) Describing President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Madhya Pradesh as a non-political event, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan has urged MDMK general secretary Vaiko to “call off” his protest. President Rajapaksa is scheduled to visit the ancient religious town of Sanchi in Vidisha district on Friday to lay the foundation stone of the Sanchi University of Buddhist and Indic Studies. The scheduled visit has evoked strong protests more..

FUTA battle: Some dons strike a discordant note

Sept 17 (Island) A section of university teachers condemned the ongoing strike, by the FUTA, claiming it was a joke to demand an allocation of 6% of the GDP for education. Convener of the Patriotic University Teachers’ Alliance Nemsiri Jayathilake said that the total govt expenditure was 24% of the GDP. He asked how the govt could allocate one fourth of it for education? more..

Editorial: All religions alliance for a new Lanka

Sept 17 (DM) The worldwide controversy, violent demonstrations and the killing of the United States Ambassador in Libya over the release of a ridiculously scandalous You-tube film on the life of the Holy Prophet Mohammed underlines the need for effective steps to marginalise extremists and bring about religious unity in diversity. The sacrilegious low-budget film believed to have been produced by an individual who has a criminal record gives a virtually devilish twist to more..

Sri Lanka, A Diminished Democracy

Sept 17 (DM) The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is an association of Parliamentarians who are bound by their shared interests, respect for the rule of law and individual rights and freedoms, and the pursuit of the positive ideals of parliamentary democracy. The Association’s mission is to promote the advancement of parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance. The CPA consists of the Parliamentarians of more..

Raped! And now facing a revenge attack

Sept 17 (SL) When the Chairman of the Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha, S. L. Sunil was granted bail by the Matara Magistrate in a case where he is accused of repeatedly molesting an underage girl of 14 years, fears for the safety of the victim were voiced. Human rights activists say that it would be very easy for Sunil’s underworld thugs to take revenge against the girl as well as those who worked for his arrest. “Although he has now been bailed out and the bail conditions have clearly more..

No more power cuts: But for how long?

Sept 17 (ST) Power cuts may have been temporarily lifted, but Power and Energy Minister didn’t have any bright news when he failed to give assurance of a continuous power supply for the upcoming festive season. Minister Champika Ranawaka said, “at present the 3-hour power cut is halted as the Norochcholai power plant is back in operation and hydro levels in reservoirs have increased.” However he said rains have only increased water levels from 18% to 23.7%. more..

FUTA strike: Govt. cancels plans to use force

Sept 17 (LB) The government has cancelled plans to use forced arbitration – an internationally criticized practice – to settle the two-month-old strike by university lecturers. Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who held another round of talks with the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) on Friday night, confirmed that the Labour Department has been instructed to stop the proceedings. more..

More contenders seeking CM’s post in East

Sept 17 (DM) The battle for the chief ministerial post of the Eastern Provincial Council has become intense with two Muslim parties aligned with the ruling coalition at the last election and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) which contested alone, asking for the post, party officials said. The All Ceylon People’s Congress (ACPC) of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen which won three seats from Batticaloa and more..

Mahanayakes call for unity in the UNP

Sept 17 (DM) UNP MP Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday started a programme in Kandy to revamp the party's youth wing which is under him. Mr. Wijewardene, who is the chairman of the UNP-affiliated National Youth Front, visited the Mahanayakes of the Malwatte and Asgiri Chapters to seek their blessings for the party and his initiative in mobilizing the youth of the country to the cause of his party. The Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter, the Ven Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha more..

Man attempts self-immolation in Salem protesting Rajapaksa’s visit

Sept 17 (PTI) A 26-year-old Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) activist on Monday attempted self-immolation here protesting the proposed visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India. Shouting slogans against Mr Rajapaksa, Vijayaraj, an unmarried autodriver of Nethimedu, doused himself with petrol and set himself afire at the old bus stand early this morning, shocking the waiting passengers. more..

Threat to President Rajapaksa’s life

Sept 17 (CG) A complaint has been lodged with the police saying there maybe a threat on the life of President Rajapaksa, SSP Ajith Rohana said. He said that UPFA MP Sajin Vas Gunawardena had lodged the complaint with the police over a column appearing in the Sunday Leader newspaper. Investigations had been launched into the complaint and a statement was recorded from the MP. The newspaper column referred to was “Nutshells” more..

How ‘El Dorado’ dreams land refugees in deep water

Sept 17 (Hindu) Yet another instance of Sri Lankan refugees or nationals becoming victims of human smugglers has come to the fore with the latest incident off Nagapattinam. In the last three months, there were four well-reported incidents of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, living in camps set up by the State govt, trying to migrate illegally to Australia. In all these cases and also the Nagapattinam incident, the destination of more..

East will have Muslim CM - Hakeem

Sept 17 (Island) Having had talks with the UPFA and the TNA on the formation of the next Eastern Provincial Council, SLMC Leader and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday evening declared that the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province would be a Muslim. The declaration was made in Sinhalese before the SLMC leader delivered the 12th A. H. M. Ashraff commemoration speech in Tamil at party headquarters, Dharussalam. more..

T20 World Cup fever grips Sri Lanka

Sept 17 (IC) Nearly four years have passed since I last visited this glittering island. The lack of multiple security checks at military checkpoints, a facet that seemed a norm back then, immediately stands out. One thing that hasn’t change is the warmth of the locals and the smiles on their faces. From the airport to the beachside restaurants in the south of Sri Lanka, it's all about the ICC World Twenty20. more..

SLCTB to increase fleet with 3,000 new buses

Sept 17 (DN) The Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLCTB) plans to import 3,000 buses from China to strengthen its fleet. The SLCTB operates around 5,000 buses but about 3,500 buses are over 15 years, Minister Kumara Welgama said. He said the country needs at least 3,000 new buses to streamline the public transport service. He said to overcome this, the govt was planning to import 3,000 buses from China. “These buses are imported on the basis of paying their cost after more..

‘Academics trying Indonesia-style plot’

Sept 17 (DN) The strike of university academics is an indirect plot to engineer a regime change. It is similar to what happened in Indonesia where the Suharto’s govt was ousted, State Intelligence Service reports said. At the executive meetings of the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA), priority is given to demands that would place the government in economic difficulty rather than discussing their genuine requirements. These are the same tactics more..

Stockbrokers say ‘No Problems Sir!’

Sept 17 (DM) The appointment of Dr.Nalaka Godahewa as the Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman seems to have been able to cast out all the grievances the stockbrokers have had, even perhaps to the utter surprise of Godahewa himself. During the meeting heads of the stock broking firms—inclusive of those who are not members of the Colombo Stock Brokers Association (CSBA)—had with the new SEC Chairman more..

CAA raids yield Rs 70 in fines

Sept 17 (DN) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) earned Rs 70 million in fines from errant traders following islandwide raids from Jan 1 to Sept 10. “In all, 21,182 business establishments violated rules and regulations of the the Consumer Protection Act,” Minister Johnston Fernando said. He said legal action had been initiated against errant traders for fleecing consumers by selling commodities at a higher than the maximum stipulated retail price, selling outdated goods and more..

Mervyn accepts court order to remand son

Sept 17 (DM) Minister Mervyn Silva told the media outside the Fort Magistrate’s Court today that although he felt sorry for his son, he respected the court order to remand him. The minister said he could bear it up as a Buddhist. He said the Court order showed that the rule of law existed in Sri Lanka under the Rajapaksa regime. Cases such as this would not have been brought to the attention of the police or the Court under the previous govts. The media gave publicity to more..

Ambassador Michele J. Sison's remarks at US-AMCHAM Trade Show

Sept 17 (USE) Thank you so much for welcoming me here this evening. I am honored to be part of your 20th Anniversary celebration. We are so honored by the presence of the Minister of External Affairs, and by the return of Secretary, Trade and Industry, who was with us this morning. I also welcome the distinguished Members of Parliament and all friends of AmCham. I would like to thank President Vijaya Ratnayake, more..

University crisis: SB accused of undermining Basil’s settlement bid

Sept 17 (Island) Striking university teachers yesterday accused Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake of trying to sabotage ongoing efforts, by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, to re-commence academic activities in universities. President of the FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri told The Island that last Friday’s discussion between Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the FUTA went on well, though Minister Dissanayake was bent on disrupting them. more..

Sri Lanka to entertain claims from shareholders of expropriated firms: report

Sept 17 (LBO) Shareholders of two listed firms that were expropriated by the state last year can lodge claims for compensation from a three member tribunal, a media report said. The Sunday Island newspaper quoting a public notice said the panel wahzas made up of the Govt Valuer, former chief valuer P W Senaratne and a third member, Sunil Fernando. "Such compensation shall be payable to reflect the value of the shares held by each shareholder in affected more..

Chokers? At least we reach finals, says Sri Lankan captain

Sept 17 (IE) Sri Lanka's captain Mahela Jayawardene today hit back at suggestions his team have "choked" in major finals -- and said he'd rather be a runner-up than an also-ran. Jayawardene, speaking on the eve of the hosts' World T20 opener against Zimbabwe, said it was tribute to Sri Lanka that they had reached three global title matches since winning the 1996 ODI World Cup. "Lot of people have asked us why we have more..

Dont back Sri Lanka in UN: PMK

Sept 17 (ENS) Warning the Centre against falling into the trap of Sri Lanka, which is trying to wriggle out of accusations of war crimes at the United Nations with India’s help, PMK founder S Ramadoss on Sunday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to avoid meeting Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his upcoming visit and ensure India took a neutral stand in the investigations against the island nation. The Periodic Review Working Group of the UNHRC is all set more..

Central bank seen keeping rates steady for 5th straight month

Sept 17 (Reuters) Central bank is expected to keep interest rates steady for a fifth straight month on Tuesday despite high inflation to help bolster economic growth, which has been cooling due to sweeping policy measures and an extended drought. Twelve out of 13 analysts polled by Reuters expect the repurchase and reverse repurchase rates to be left unchanged at 7.75% and 9.75%, respectively. Both rates are at their highest more..

Sri Lanka economy grows 6.4% in 2Q

Sept 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy grew 6.4% in the second quarter of 2012 from a year earlier, slowing from 7.9% in the first quarter, gross domestic product estimates by the state statistics office showed. The statistics office said agriculture grew 9.1% from a year earlier, industry grew 9.5% and service, grew 4.5%. In the first quarter of 2011, agriculture grew 1.8%, industry 9.5% and services 8.8%. Within agriculture tea contracted 3.5%, more..

Sri Lanka war zone road re-building project expanded by ADB

Sept 17 (LBO) The ADB has approved 98 million US dollars in additional financing to expand a road re-building program in Sri Lanka's North Central Province and war torn Northern Province. The project will reduce travel time on the road by an average of 20 percent from the 2010 level. "The additional road upgrades will give distant communities easier access to services, including schools, health clinics, and markets," more..

Chilaw temple cancels animal sacrifice

Sept 17 (CG) The Munneshwaram Bhadrakali Amman Hindu temple in Chilaw has decided to cancel the animal sacrifice scheduled for this year. According to the govt information department this decision was announced by the chief priest of the temple. Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga had said last week that there was no agreement with the government to allow animal sacrifices at the Sri Munneswaram Bhadrakali Amman Kovil. He said that both in principal more..

Malaka and Rehan remanded

Sept 17 (SM) Malaka Silva, the son of minister Mervyn Silva, and Rehan Dhanushka Wijeratne Jayawickreme, two accused in the assault of a military officer, are suffering from serious illnesses, their lawyers said in courts today. Colombo Fort magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne was told so when he took up the case pertaining to the assault of Army intelligence major Pradeep Susen and the snatching of his service firearm at JAIC Hilton Hotel. more..

Berty Premalal to be Chief Minister again?

Sept 17 (AD) UPFA candidate and former Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake is most likely to once again be appointed the new Chief Minister for the North Central Province despite receiving less preferential votes than S.M. Ranjith at the recently concluded Provincial Council Elections, SLFP sources stated. S.M. Ranjith of the UPFA received the highest number of preferential votes in the Anuradhapura District with 105,232 votes beating other UPFA candidate more..

Batticaloa prisoners on hunger strike

Sept 17 (CG) A group of inmates of the Batticaloa prison launched a hunger strike this morning, officials said. Around 40 inmates launched the hunger strike over various demands and warned that they would fast unto death if their demands are not met. Of those on strike six had got on top of the prison roof to strike, prison officials said. The prisoners are demanding the transfer of Sinhala speaking prison officials and the appointment of Tamil prison officials. more..

China's top legislator meets Sri Lankan president on bilateral ties

Sept 17 (Xinhua) China's top legislator Wu Bangguo met with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse here Monday, vowing to insert new energy into relations between the two countries. "China-Sri Lanka relations are now at the best period of development in history," said Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), who is more..

Rescue Lankan jumbo living in small, concrete pen for 35 yrs

Sept 17 (SM) An animal rights group has launched an online petition campaign to rescue an elephant, donated by Sri Lanka to the Philippines, who had spent the last 35 years in a small, concrete pen at the Manila Zoo. The petition by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to the Department of Agriculture, the Philippines already has 23,124 supporters. It needs a total of 26,876 signatures for it to be sent to its intended more..