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Minister calls for changes in cricket, offer four-year term

Sept 2 (ST) “Give me the impending changes in the cricket structure and I will give you the promised four year term”. This is the message that Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has for Sri Lanka Cricket officials. “I have nothing against any individuals in the cricket administration, but, we find that the prevailing system in the country is wrong. We want that changed,” minister said. He said he felt if the cricket officials did more..

SL: An acid test for Indo-China relations

Sept 2 (SL) The Indo-China battle for supremacy in the Indian Ocean has now openly entered Sri Lanka with delegations from both countries making a string of appearances. The visits have created the impression of one country trying to outdo the other. The past few months have seen several ministerial and a parliamentary delegation from India visiting Sri Lanka to strengthen bi-lateral relations and to open new avenues to build its links. Seeing the Indians aggressively entering the country, China has more..

Welcome aboard, our new friend Sudan

Sept 2 (LB) This year’s summit held in Tehran is a twist of irony in the history of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), which once described itself as ‘the greatest peace movement in the world,’ for its contribution to avert a nuclear holocaust stemming from the super-power rivalry. Last week, as NAM met in its 16th summit in Tehran, the capital of Iran, a United Nations investigation panel announced its findings that Iran had shielded one of its nuclear plants from UN observers. more..

Loan sharks on Kelani ‘Palama’

Sept 2 (ST) An unlicensed money lending syndicate, believed to be with powerful political backing, is now operating in Colombo and suburban areas using unconventional methods to lure borrowers who are in urgent need of cash. These loan sharks spread their message of money lending for business and personal requirements without collateral through their agents deployed near traffic signals and bridges especially at more..

Frontline socialists or Sinhala nationalists?

Sept 2 (Island) You could have knocked me down with a feather! The Front Line Socialist Party (FLSP), the break away from the JVP, has come down hard, just like its predecessor, against devolution; just plain simple devolution. Devolution is simply decentralisation of power and administration to lower levels, to the people. Devolution means reducing centralisation in favour of the grassroots. I did not expected the FLSP to accept self-determination, but that it opposes common or more..

New cable channel catering to Tamil community

Sept 2 (ST) Another cable and satellite television service provider is entering the Sri Lankan TV arena focusing its content on the Tamil community in the North and Colombo. Ask Cable Vision (PVT) Ltd will provide cable and satellite television services after its licence is approved by the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC), a spokesman of the company said. The company, located at the BMICH in Colombo, is a collaboration with Dish Asia Network (DAN) to telecast “DAN TV” more..

Govt. to cooperate with UNHRC: Ravinatha lobbies over 50 countries and ingo’s

Sept 2 (LB) The govt has declared itself willing and ready to cooperate with the Human Rights Council, in a marked departure from the ‘no deal, no compromise’ stance it adopted during the sessions in March. In the country report which was recently submitted to the council – and published on the HRC website last Friday, Sri Lanka has made it clear that it will cooperate in its Universal Period Review (UPR) in November. more..

Sri Lanka lose both games at the Borneo Rugby Sevens

Sept 2 (Island) Sri Lanka sevens national side lost both their group stage matches at HSBC Asian sevens Series-Borneo Sevens in Malaysia yesterday. Sri Lankans were expected to have a hard time considering the lack of luck they had in the tournament draw having been pitted against defending champions Japan and seventh seed Taipei. They performed admirably by losing the Japan match 34-7 and coming within a whisker of pulling off a huge upset against Taipei 17-14. more..

PC poll: Campaigning ends midnight Wednesday

Sept 2 (Island) Political campaigning for the Sept 8 PC poll in the three provinces will end by midnight on Wednesday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to address a rally in the Batticaloa district tomorrow and in Kantale on Tuesday followed by rallies in the Akkaraipattu town on Wednesday and the final meeting in Dehiattakandiya town the same evening. The General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake said that the party would conclude its campaigning in more..

Can Nonis be HC in UK and Mackwoods Chairman?

Sept 2 (Island) A group of Lankan expatriates in the UK have raised issue over the dual role played by the incumbent Sri Lankan Higher Commissioner to London as he continues to serve as chairman of a key mercantile firm, which they asserted, was "in violation of the Govt Establishment Code (GEC)". At a meeting held in London last week, the concerned group pointed out that according to GEC (Chapter XXX titled ‘Rights of Govt over its offices’: more..

Sri Lanka's mines bureau violates environmental laws

Sept 2 (CT) The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) has issued several permits for sand mining in forest reserves, violating the terms of the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance. The Environment Conservation Trust (ECT) pointed out that the permits were issued on the strength of requests made by several politicians. It was reported the forest reserves are in danger since the permits give unlimited access for mining. A huge amount of sand from more than 20 acres of the Madu Reserve was taken after chopping down trees, more..

'Indo-Lanka relations on firm footing'

Sept 2 (CT) Indo-Lanka relations remain on a strong footing, despite occasional glitches according to Minister Basil Rajapaksa. He said there were certain elements trying to create a rift between India and Sri Lanka. However, the two countries have managed to overcome whatever misunderstandings, he added. Elaborating further on Indo-Lanka relations he said that whenever President Mahinda Rajapaksa was scheduled to make an official visit to India, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe hurries to India before him for some other purpose more..

Poosari: Police prevent transport of animals to Munneswaram Kovil

Sept 2 (ST) Police yesterday intervened to prevent hundreds of devotees from transporting animals for sacrificial purposes to the Shri Badrakali Amman Kovil in Munneswaram, despite an assurance given by the temple trustees that the pooja had been called off. Police set up barriers some 50 metres from the kovil and checked vehicles carrying fowl or goats. The devotees were prevented from taking the animals. more..

Wijeyapala Mendis no more

Sept 2 (Island) Veteran UNP politician Wijeyapala Mendis died yesterday at a Colombo private hospital. He was ailing for some time and was 84 years at the time of his death. Mendis served as the youngest Mayor of Negombo after winning the 1954 municipal election. Later, he served as a Cabinet Minister in the UNP govt and as UNP chief organizer and in different other capacities in the party. An old boy of Maris Stella College and Harischandra Vidyalaya, Negombo, he started his more..

'Let them curse me, I don’t care'

Sept 2 (SL) Minister Mervyn Silva said that he was willing to face any form of adversary to prevent the controversial animal sacrifices from happening at the Munnesvaram Kovil. “I’m not scared of Thovil, Vas Kavi, witchcraft or curses that people do against me,” said the Minster, and challenged the priests of the Kovil to bring any amount of dark negative energies that the priests could muster. “These are tribal things, and we have to move on from these to a more civilised form of living,” Silva said. more..

Crooked brokers, agents make millions while country’s image suffers

Sept 2 (ST) A major racket involving Sri Lankan housemaids, brokers, and errant Arab recruiting agents is threatening the image of the foreign employment trade and could hurt business, the industry warned yesterday. Faizer Mackeen with the Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies (ALFEA) said rogue brokers are making millions of rupees at the expense of unsuspecting Arab sponsors and the image of the country. more..

India’s Mahindra and Mahindra expanding footprint in SL

Sept 2 (Island) The Mahindra Group, one of India’s top companies with a turnover of USD 15.4 billion, last week announced plans to expand its already extensive footprint in Sri Lanka by offering motorcycles, small planes and vehicle finance in the local market. The company which already has a presence in automobiles – it sold over 10,000 units last year – and tractors (with a market share of 16%) sees great potential in the proximate Sri Lankan market. Outside India, more..

Maharoof evades payment for damages

Sept 2 (SL) UPFA Group Leader of the CMC, M. H. Maharoof, has been accused of avoiding payment for the damages he caused to a vehicle owned by Dr Curt Twerenbold on March 6 this year. After months of evading, Maharoof was sent an official letter from Twerenbold’s lawyers demanding payment be made for the damages to his vehicle. According to the receipt from Nadeesha Motors, the company that repaired Twerenbold’s BMW, the total cost was Rs. 24,000. more..

Private tutors to be axed

Sept 2 (SL) The Examinations Commissioner W.M. Pushpakumara said that he would take steps to stop private tuition classes being held in the country within two years. “There is nothing wrong with the papers that we have produced. All the issues are created by those who conduct private tuition classes,” he said. “All the questions in this year’s paper are strictly from the school curriculum, and those who conduct tuition more..

Sri Lanka Navy denies arresting any Indian Fishermen

Sept 2 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Navy denies arresting any Indian fishermen yesterday in the sea, however a section of the Indian press alleged that Sri Lankan Navy arrested 28 Indian fishermen while they were fishing around the Katchativu area and another section of the Indian media alleged that 28 Indian fishermen were detained by Sri Lankan Naval personnel on the charge of entering the island waters in the Palk Strait, but were later released after a stern warning. more..

Confusion over Royal College Deputy Principal transfer

Sept 2 (SL) In an unprecedented move last year, the Deputy Principal of Royal College, Sumedha Jayaweera, was relieved of her duties and transferred to another school in Gampaha before being transferred to the Education Ministry all in the space of 24 hours. Several months later she was transferred to Thurstan College. These continuous transfers had been made despite no official charges being levelled against her nor has she been questioned over any allegations by more..

'I run cricket, not sex'

Sept 2 (NS) SLC Chief, Upali Dharmadasa accused the Sri Lankan print and electronic media of tarnishing SLC image by overplaying sex stories and claimed he was Sri Lanka’s cricket boss and not the Head of ‘Sri Lanka Sex’. Angered over the questions raised by The Nation on the recent ‘sex fiasco’ at SLC where a top executive of a sponsor of SLPL, Somerset Entertainment Ventures (SEV), having had sex with a SLC more..

Can Sarana outsmart the IGP?

Sept 2 (NS) With the Commission to Investigate Bribery and Corruption moving further to examine evidence placed before them by the IGP, N. K. Ilangakoon on bribery allegations brought against Deputy Minister, Sarana Gunewardene, all political and legal quarters keep fingers crossed on the issue. Last week the Bribery Commission Chief, Justice Jagath Balapatabendhi directed the Legal Department of the Commission to study the pros and cons on evidence forwarded by the IGP more..

No Chinese Govt. involvement in Shaw Wallace land deal

Sept 2 (ST) There is no Chinese Govt involvement in a prime property deal in Colombo City by a local company with foreign links, one of their spokespersons claimed yesterday. Wen Zhong Lim, Deputy General Manager of Avic International Hotels Lanka said that the transaction by his company with Shaw Wallace and Hedges PLC to purchase their property bordering Galle Road at Kollupitiya was ‘purely a business deal.’ His claims came after the Sunday Times revealed more..

'Where’s the security despite huge expenditure?' asks UNP

Sept 2 (Island) The UNP yesterday alleged that an unprecedented security operation implemented at the taxpayers’ expense has failed to ensure an incident free PC polls in North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provinces. The main Opposition party said that the situation was deteriorating in the provinces, though the Election Secretariat and the police recently boasted of a security operation at a cost of Rs 108 mn to more..

Sri Lanka’s Blue Sapphires and Amethysts classed amongst best in the world

Sept 2 (Island) Three key gemologists from Germany, Nirmala Bonk, Roman Bonk, and Dunya Yasaeul are in town to participate in ‘FACETS 2012’, the international Gem and Jewellery Show which opens in Colombo on September 5. "This will be the fourth year we would be running a stall at FACETS. The wide array of stones I have, will be on show at the exhibition. There will also be healing stones. Literally, meant to heal various maladies. more..

Police seize 107,000 cannabis plants inside forest reserve

Sept 2 (Island) Police seized 107,000 cannabis plants following a raid on a three and a half acre ganja plantation in the Aluthwela, Diyabethma forest reserve. The stock was valued at around Rs. 7.5 million. Two persons who had in their possession 270 kilos of dried ganja leaves were arrested from the plantation during the swoop down. The two suspects were later produced before Bandarawela Magistrate and fined Rs. 50,000 each. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Sept 2 (ST) It has been a gruelling schedule for President Mahinda Rajapaksa as he campaigned for the Sept 8 provincial council elections in the North Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. When it came to a rally in Ratnapura, large crowds had gathered at the Sivali Grounds but Rajapaksa had not turned up. It transpired that he waited till the GCE A/L exam which was under way ended at 4.30 p.m. more..

Strict code of conduct for polls observers

Sept 2 (ST) Elections observers will be bound by a code of conduct which will strictly require them to act impartially and have no affiliations with any political party or group. The Code of Conduct has been laid down by Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya. This is the first time such guidelines have been put in place for observers and it will come into effect from next Saturday’s elections to three provincial councils. Under the code, more..

SLFP 61st anniversary celebrations today

Sept 2 (Island) The 61st anniversary celebrations of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will be held at the Kegalle Municipal esplanade at 3 pm today. It will be held under the auspices of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who returned early yesterday after attending the 16th sessions of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) in Teheran. Senior Vice President of the SLFP and Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana said that 61 years ago on September 2, 1956, the party was founded by more..

Indian company gets huge project in Fort

Sept 2 (ST) One of the City’s major landmarks is to be given to an Indian company for development on a 99-year lease for more than Rs 4.9 billion. The land encompasses the Transworks House, a colonial building that once housed the former Public Works Department (PWD). The building is documented as a place of archaeological value. A recommendation by President Mahinda Rajapaksa for this deal has been endorsed by the cabinet. It will see the local subsidiary of more..

Three money lenders paid back in lead

Sept 2 (ST) Susantha Premakumara, 33, a money lender of Moragahahena, off Horana, was on his motorcycle going to his ancestral home in the same village, last Sunday, accompanied by his wife and four-year-old daughter Nawanjana, when, less than 100 metres from his destination, he was ambushed by two gunmen who opened fire at him at point-blank range, killing him instantly. Premakumara received three shots on his chest, while one of the bullets penetrated him and more..

The noose tightens on capital punishment as hangman returns

Sept 2 (ST) The Prisons Department will be ready to execute the death sentence, if and when it is restored, with the conclusion this week of the interviews for the post of hangman. Minister Gajadeera said that the main objective of recruiting a hangman was to prepare for the execution of the death penalty, if it is to be implemented again. “There are only a few officials of those who were in service when the death penalty was implemented. more..

Coalition wants Sri Lankan asylum seekers deported

Sept 2 (ABC) Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop says asylum seekers from Sri Lanka should be deported because the country's civil war is over. Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop says many Sri Lankan asylum seekers turn out to be economic migrants, not refugees. She says Sri Lankan asylum seekers should be deported before they get access to Australia's legal system. "Sri Lanka is already making a significant effort by more..

Lankan students at London Met University face deportation

Sept 2 (Island) More than 2,000 overseas students, including scores of Sri Lankans face deportation from Great Britain within 60 days if they fail to find a United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) approved university after the British govt stripped the Metropolitan University of its right to admit foreign students. With this well-known higher seat of learning in London losing their Highly Trusted Status (HTS), which permits it to sponsor more..

'Arrest the actual culprits, not dummies'

Sept 2 (Island) The GMOA yesterday urged the police to arrest the UPFA supporters responsible for the brutal attack on Dr Chamila Herath and bring them before the law instead of taking ‘dummies’ into custody. GMOA General Secretary, Dr Chandika Epitaduwa warned that trade union action launched in the Anuradhapura hospital on Friday will be extended to other hospitals in the North Central Province if the police fail to arrest the actual culprits behind the attack. more..

'No record of monies in Swiss banks'

Sept 2 (SL) The Central Bank is unaware of millions of Swiss francs deposited in Swiss bank accounts in the past few years by Sri Lankan individuals and organizations or how the monies have been sent out of the country. The Exchange Control Unit of the Bank says it does not have any record of the monies deposited in Swiss bank accounts and they would have been deposited through illegal means. Exchange Controller C.H.O. Chandrasoma said the millions of francs that more..

Animal sacrifices may commence again

Sept 2 (SL) A decision to resume the animal sacrifice rituals at the controversial Munnesvaram Temple has not been made yet and the temple’s trustee board will be making the decision soon, sources from the Kovil said. Kali Mutta Shivapada Sundaram, a priest who is involved in the sacrifices at the Kovil, said that the decision to temporarily stop the sacrifices was made following a public request by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Animals for sacrifices are however being accepted from devotees, even though slaughter is not taking place. more..

No decision to stop sending workers to Lebanon

Sept 2 (SO) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) yesterday assured that there was no immediate danger to Sri Lankans working in Lebanon despite the current volatile political situation there. SLBFE Chairman Amal Senalankadikara said that his department has not taken a decision to stop sending workers to Lebanon. He refuted some media claims to the contrary. However, the SLBFE Chairman said his organisation will continue to monitor the situation closely and take appropriate action to more..

'Lanka ready to welcome more Tamil refugees from India'

Sept 2 (PTI) Sri Lanka will welcome more Tamil refugees who fled the country to India and want to return home after nearly three decades of war with the LTTE, a top minister has said. "They have been returning from time to time, in small groups. My ministry along with the defence ministry would jointly welcome them if more want to return. They could be resettled in their places of origin," minister Gunaratne Weerakoon told PTI. more..