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'It’s a conspiracy of a top police officer'

Aug 20 (DM) Counsel appearing on behalf of former DIG Vaas Gunawardena informed Mahara Magistrate today that ‘a senior Police officer’ had led a conspiracy due to which his client is currently in custody. “It was a conspiracy of a senior most Police officer, which resulted in him (Vaas) being remanded for a crime he did not commit” Counsel Anura Senevirathne told court. The Attorney made this submission when the more..

ComBank eyes Myanmar, Nepal

Aug 20 (ST) The Commercial Bank aiming to expand its horizon has applied for a banking licence in Myanmar and is eyeing a stake in a bank in Nepal, officials sad. “We applied for this a couple of months ago and the approval process is on. We should get the licence by year end,” an official said. He said that the bank officials visited Nepal about two months ago in order to evaluate a suitable stake in a Nepalese bank. He also said that Indonesia is on their radar for the future. more..

Indian PM refuses to comment on participation in CHOGM

Aug 20 (DH) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday refrained from committing his participation in the CHOGM in Colombo, as political parties from Tamil Nadu in Parliament demanded his boycott. He has received a formal invitation from Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to attend the CHOGM 2013, to be held in Colombo between November 15-17. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G L Peiris called on Singh in New Delhi on Monday to invite him on behalf of the Sri Lankan govt. more..

No imported solutions for our issues: President

Aug 20 (DN) President Rajapaksa said certain elements are in the habit of seeking the help of foreign countries to solve their problems but ‘no foreign country can solve our problems.’ He said: “The problems faced by our country can only be solved by ourselves through discussions with the relevant parties.” President said yesterday that the people in the North were provided everything that they were deprived of by LTTE terrorists more..

Bus owners unite for a cause

Aug 20 (CT) Despite the clashes between bus owners associations, Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) is to call an all-island private bus owners assembly on 24 August in Colombo, with the participation of all bus owners. LPBOA President, Gemunu Wijeratne, told Ceylon Today, that bus owners should be united in order to get their demands from the government. He said the government is making every effort to stop bus owners from increasing bus fares. more..

Warrant out for arrest of N’Eliya Dy. Mayor

Aug 20 (Island) Nuwara-Eliya Magistrate issued an open warrant for the arrest of Nuwara-Eliya Deputy Mayor Tissa Seneviratne, who is absconding Court over a case where he is accused of child abuse. President’s Council Kalinga Indatissa attempted to submit a bail application on behalf of Deputy Mayor Seneviratne, but it was turned down by the Magistrate. Investigations related to the case are being conducted by the National Child Protection Authority, which yesterday produced in court more..

Supporters of Thonda and Digambaram clash

Aug 20 (Island) Several individuals were injured and 14 vehicles damaged as a result of a clash between supporters of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) and the National Workers’ Union (NWU) at Commercial Junction in Kotagala yesterday. The CWC and NWU are both constituent parties of the UPFA. Apparently, the clash had been sparked off when CWC campaign workers were having refreshments at more..

India has not invited Ranil

Aug 20 (CT) Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe's three-day visit to India is not in response to an official invitation by the Govt of India, as claimed by some local media reports, sources from India said. The visit was made consequent to numerous requests from Wickremesinghe wanting the 'nod' by the Indian authorities, to visit India. They said the previous visits to India by Wickremesinghe were also unofficial although the Media Unit of the UNP strove to portray them as such. more..

World leaders to stay at Hilton, Cinnamon Lakeside

Aug 20 (ST) 52 Heads of State attending the November CHOGM would be staying at the Hilton and the Cinnamon Lakeside hotels with no public access to anyone else during this period. City Hotels Association President K. Shanthikumar said that all the city hotels in Colombo and even a few in Mt. Lavinia have been blocked for the November 8-17 summit. About 4500 rooms are to be used by heads of states, international media, business forum and other delegates. more..

Sri Lanka to release some withheld Fonterra milk products

Aug 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's health ministry has decided to release a batch of milk powder made by companies including New Zealand's Fonterra after tests for suspected dicyandiamide (DCD) contamination came back negative, officials said. Customs had withheld several batches of Fonterra products from sale after Industrial Technological Institute (ITI) said some of its milk powder brands were found to contain DCD, more..

A responsibility to restore Sri Lanka Army’s image and credibility

Aug 20 (DM) Restoring the image of the Sri Lanka Army is a daunting task but not one alien to newly appointed Army Commander Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, a man who spent all his working life in the military and that was precisely what he did as military spokesman at the height of the Eelam War. Daya Ratnayake hails from Kurunegala and was schooled at Maliyadeva College. He joined the Sri Lanka Army in 1980 as an officer cadet and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the more..

The patron-client relationship

Aug 20 (DM) Truly, the world does not fall short of patron/client relationships and Sri Lanka shows exceptional brilliance in this highly volatile, emotion based systemic existence. The ‘our man’ syndrome based on old school ties, matrimonial and biological connections, caste, race, religion, regional and provincial leanings, among other things has taken a heavy toll on man’s rationality - the end result being a highly chaotic, ‘dead habit’ state of existence - the very grim, abyss of disaster Rabindranath more..

I said, 'I'm the Army Commander not you'

Aug 20 (DM) Hailed as one of the greatest soldiers the country has produced, the 11th Army Commander of Sri Lanka General Hamilton Wanasinghe recalls an old story. A story that hasn’t been told many times, a story that strikes a chord in today’s context and a story that can be preserved. If not for the present generation for the future ones, it is indeed a story that has many strands. A military man right throughout, more..

UNP says it was forced to call for Int’l probes

Aug 20 (Island) The UNP said that it was forced to call for international inquiries into the recent Weliweriya killings and state sponsored terrorism against its very own citizens, because nothing would come out of local investigations. UNP MP Tissa Attanayake said that the Rajapaksa regime, as usual, was hiding behind hackneyed slogans, by referring to anyone who demanded that the law be implemented as "traitors". more..

Sri Lanka's Buddhists, Muslims working to repair rift

Aug 20 (KSA) With tensions high following a spate of attacks on mosques across Sri Lanka, religious and civil leaders are joining hands to ease hostilities between Buddhist and Muslim communities. For years, the two groups lived together amicably, respecting each other's cultures and values. But relations have soured recently as hard-line Sinhalese nationalist groups like Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and Sinhala Ravaya drum up more..

'Those in political, security and cinema fields gave the orders'

Aug 20 (ST) When they came for Rookantha and his wife Chandralekha the first time, the couple managed to flee in the nick of time with their two young children, leaving behind their meal laid out on the table and leaving open the cover of the piano on which Mr. Goonatillake had been playing a song for his two-year-old daughter. That was in December 2000. The popular singing duo were drawing large crowds more..

'Honouring those to whom honour is due'

Aug 20 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the Russian sculptured statue of the late Mr Lakshman Kadirgamar at a solemn function on Monday on the 8th anniversary of his assassination, at the premises of the Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies, named after the late Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka. The statue was commissioned on a Cabinet proposal presented by President Rajapaksa more..

Sustainability After Weliweriya

Aug 20 (SL) Last week, The Sunday Leader spoke to politicians, civil society and lawyers for their input on the Weliweriya incident. This week, the focus turns to the business world, as residents in Rathupaswala pointed an accusatory finger at a factory in the area which they said was contaminating the groundwater, making it acidic. In the wake of these accusations, this week economists, trade groups and more..

Video: NE airport place yet to be found

Aug 20 (DM) Difficulties in finding an appropriate place had delayed the proposed Nuwara Eliya Air Port project, President Rajapaksa said. “We are still on the look out for a proper place to start the project,” President said at a ceremony held in Nuwara Eliya. The ceremony was held to commence the second phase of Nuwara Eliya Gregory Lake garden. Speaking about the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) more..

India to deport 3 Lankans

Aug 20 (CG) The Indian Union govt issued orders to deport three Lankan refugees, Eela Nehru, Senthuran and ‘Italia’ Rajan alias Sundarajan, from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka. The three refuges are planning to engage well-known activists-lawyers in the city to stop Centre’s move. Eela Nehru, who is lodged in Tiruchy central prison, told Deccan Chronicle over the phone that a revenue official from Chengalpet had called him more..

Burning of CMC files: Storm in a tea cup, says Secy.

Aug 20 (Island) Colombo Municipal Council Secretary H.D.C. Janaki, who is at the centre of the storm over burning of the Council’s documents at the Kanatta cemetery, said that the key to her office had been lost on Sunday but later recovered from another place. However, an entry was lodged at the Cinnamon Gardens police before it was found. Asked whether there was a connection between the missing key and taking CMC documents to more..

Polls Department bigwigs go north to probe complaints

Aug 20 (Island) Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya dispatched a special team of senior election officials to the North to inquire into complaints of the removal of placards and posters of Opposition candidates in Jaffna and the use of govt resources for propaganda purposes by the UPFA in Killinochchi. Meanwhile, the polls chief is also scheduled to visit the districts in the Northern Region on Wednesday to monitor more..

Fitch affirms John Keells holdings at ‘AAA(lka)’/Stable

Aug 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's John Keells Holding's 'AAA(lka)' rating has been confirmed by Fitch with a stable outlook, saying the group has cash reserves and low leverage. The parent company was getting strong dividend stream from its container terminal unit, which could however face competition from a rival firm which has just opened for business. Fitch expected JKH to be conservative in funding a proposed 650 million US dollar plus project but said it will monitor developments. more..

In honour of ‘Shanie’: Rethinking patriotism; Re-imaging the patriot

Aug 20 (CT) In the morning of January 13th 1948, Mahatma Gandhi began the final fast of his life. The target of Gandhi’s last fast was not the Colonial rulers but the govt and people of newly independent India. His demands were equally unusual. Gandhi wanted Hindu refugees to vacate the Muslim homes/mosques they had seized, even if it meant returning to the wretched refugee camps, in the bitter cold of Delhi-winter. He also wanted Indian govt pay Rs.550 million it owed to Pakistan. more..

30 years ago: How ICTs are changing SL

Aug 20 (GV) To remember Black July, Groundviews brought together leading documentary filmmakers, photographers, activists, theorists and designers, in Sri Lanka and abroad, to focus on just how deeply the anti-Tamil pogrom in 1983 shaped our imagination, lives, society and polity. The project is called 30 Years Ago and details of it can be read here. The Picture Press was commissioned by Groundviews to interrogate more..

Pillay's visit and implications

Aug 20 (CT) UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay will arrive in Colombo next week, having finally accepted an invitation that has been pending since April 2011. For over two years, Pillay's office was having second thoughts about accepting the invitation. They feared, understandably enough, that Colombo would turn the visit into a propaganda stunt. Now, the forthcoming visit by Pillay's anticipated visit has prompted the government to act on some of the long-standing more..

Maharagama UPFA UC member charged for fraud

Aug 20 (CT) Member of the Maharagama Urban Council, Thushara Dissanayake, who was charged for defrauding Rs 4 million from a bank account by using a Power of Attorney given in his favour, was released on two personal bails of Rs 500,000 each, by the Colombo Magistrate's Court yesterday. The Councillor of the UPFA was arrested by the CID following a complaint made by the bank account holder, M.V. Tillakaratne. Plaintiff Tillkaratne had given Power of Attorney to the suspect more..

Kerawalapitiya Combined Cycle Power Plant to be reactivated

Aug 20 (Island) In view of the shutdown of the Norochcholai coal-fired power plant on Wednesday for its annual maintenance, the CEB has decided to reactivate 300MW Kerawalapitiya Combined Cycle Thermal Power Plant. The CEB’s top management has ordered its Dispatch Division to give the green light for reactivating the Kerawalapitiya plant from Thursday to meet the power shortfall caused by the shutting down more..

Sri Lanka’s First Honorary Consul in Zambia

Aug 20 (AT) Minister G.L Peiris has approved the appointment by the Sri Lanka High Commission in Pretoria of Elmo Jayetileke as Sri Lanka’s first Honorary Consul in Zambia. Jayetileke is a Chartered Accountant who was a former Partner at Price Waterhouse Zambia. He currently works as the Chief Financial Officer of the Finance Building Society and it is envisaged that he will assist the Pretoria High Commission to develop the relationship between Sri Lanka and Zambia. more..

Matale mass graveyard back in focus

Aug 20 (CT) The CID decided to send the skeletal remains found in the Matale mass grave to the Scientific Experiment Unit of the Peking University, to ascertain the period the skeletons had been buried. A high-ranking police official said the CID has taken into consideration some of the incidents which could be connected to the mass grave, unearthed in the backyard of the Matale Hospital, such as the Wellassa insurgency, the 1988-89 riots, 1971 riots, the earth slip, and more..

Digambaram vows to teach Thondaman a lesson

Aug 20 (AD) National Workers’ Union leader, MP P. Digambaram today vowed to teach CWC leader and Minister Arumugam Thondaman a “lesson” through the people’s votes at the upcoming election, following yesterday’s clashes between supporters of the two ruling coalition parties. Supporters of the CWC and NWU, which are both contesting the PC polls under the UPFA, clashed in Commercial Junction in more..

Training for new Tamil drivers and conductors

Aug 20 (Island) Nearly 300 new Tamil drivers and conductors, who are interested in joining the private bus industry, have been registered with the National Transport Commission (NTC). They will work in the Kilinochchi and Mannar districts. These drivers and conductors would undergo training from August 21 to 23, the NTC said. The NTC media spokesman said that NTC would train the new recruits on providing a quality service to passengers, public relations, prevention of road accidents, more..

Audio: Mattala a joke for some says MR

Aug 20 (CG) President Rajapaksa says the Mattala international airport has become a joke for some but they fail to see what the country has to gain from this in the future. Speaking at an event in Nuwara Eliya, President said that earlier if an airline could not land or refuel at the Bandaranaike International Airport it had to be prepared to fly to Chennai. However now that Sri Lanka has two International airports, a passenger plane can be diverted to Mattala and not India. more..

SSP gets tough on election law violators

Aug 20 (CT) SSP Matale Division, said anybody who violates election laws will be taken into custody, irrespective of his or her status. SSP Medawatta made this declaration when he briefed candidates contesting the PC elections from the Matale District, at the Matale District Secretariat. "Obstructing officials of the Elections Department or others seconded for election duty, pasting posters on electrical and telephone posts, more..

World Humanitarian Day commemorated in Sri Lanka

Aug 20 (AT) World Humanitarian Day honors those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service and those who continue to bring assistance and relief to millions. In December 2008 the UN General Assembly declared 19 August as World Humanitarian Day to commemorate the day when 22 UN staff tragically lost their lives in Iraq in a massive bomb attack on the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. During the past decade, over 800 aid workers worldwide have lost their lives more..

Stop using events organized by security forces for election campaigns – CaFFE

Aug 20 (LT) CaFFE expresses its surprise at UPFA candidate for Northern Province, M Remedius attending an event organized by the army in Nawanthurei, Jaffna yesterday CaFFE states Mr. Remedius is a lawyer by profession and has an excellent understanding of election laws, however he has attempted to gain undue political mileage by attending an event organized by the army. CaFFE believes that all political party leaders and general secretaries must take action to prevent more..

Environment Ministry seeks help

Aug 20 (Island) The Environment Ministry required the support of Govt and NGOs to eliminate ozone depleting substances (ODS) in the atmosphere, Environment Minister Susil Premajayantha said. Addressing a workshop to introduce new Customs symbols, he said that his ministry had already launched many programmes to reduce the emission of Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) which damages the ozone layer. more..

Police arrest 12 over violence

Aug 20 (CG) The police have arrested 12 people as of today over pre-election violations, ahead of the provincial council elections next month. 40 complaints had been received from the time accepting nominations for the polls were closed. Of the 40 complaints, the police said that 33 have bee investigated. Most complaints were related to pasting posters and cut-outs in violation of election laws. Meanwhile the Department of Elections said it had received 149 complaints more..

EPF & ETF monies of SLTB employees pinched

Aug 20 (LT) The employees of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) state a situation has come up that monies of their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees Trust Fund (ETF) have not been sent to the relevant accounts. The employees have come to know that EPF and ETF monies of 225 employees of SLTB at Nuwaraeliya have not been deposited in Central Bank account since May, 2011. The contribution exceeds Rs.20 million say employees. more..

Milk powder with no DCD to be released to market

Aug 20 (AD) The latest report by the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) has found no traces of the DCD in 7 samples of imported milk powder held by customs at the Colombo Port. The report on these samples was handed over to the Health Ministry’s Food Advisory Committee yesterday. It confirms that these samples contain no DCD. Therefore the Ministry of Health has granted approval for the release of these relevant more..