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Malinga pulls out of Zimbabwe tour

Aug 25 (ST) Lasith Malinga has made a request to Sri Lanka cricket that he would not be available for their tour of Zimbabwe or the Champions League T-20 tournament which will take place in India. The Champion’s League tournament is scheduled to begin on September 17 in India while the tour of Zimbabwe will begin from October 3. Malinga is reported to have cited his wife’s confinement as the reason for more..

I will not stop my work – Dr Ajantha Perera

Aug 25 (NS) Well-known environmental and consumer protection advocate, and member of the Food Advisory Committee Dr. Ajantha Perera in the wake of an arson attack on her home in Rattanapitiya, on Thursday said that such cowardly acts will not deter her from her activities on environmental and consumer protection issues’. Dr. Perera said she had been out of her home attending a meeting at Kolonnawa that day. When she had returned home at 5p.m., she had seen more..

PC polls: Most candidates declare assets

Aug 25 (NS) The Department of Elections said, most candidates contesting the forthcoming provincial council polls had submitted their assets and liabilities declarations by last Friday, ahead of its deadline, which expires on August 30. When contacted, Additional Elections Commissioner R.M.A.L. Rathnayake said most candidates seemed to be complying with the directive to declare their assets and liabilities, but added the Elections Commissioner reserved the right to take more..

Divided views in UPFA on value of Navi Pillay’s visit

Aug 25 (Island) The SLFP-led ruling coalition strongly believes that UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay’s unprecedented visit is advantageous to the country though some of its constituents take an opposing view. Both JHU and the NFF are strongly opposed to Pillay’s visit, with nationalist groups too, voicing serious concern over the UN agenda here. Pillay’s weeklong visit could dispel some of the lies more..

Billiards: Sirisoma in line to retain National title

Aug 25 (ST) Title holder K.H. Sirisoma of SLPA warmed up with two comprehensive wins in the round robin stage of the 61st National Billiards Championship played at the Sugathadasa Sports Hotel on Saturday. Sirisoma who has won the national championship in billiards at 21 occasions will be vying for his 22nd title this year. Sirisoma recorded 3-0 wins against M. Ekanayake of Kandy and N.M. Jiffrey of Galle while recording a break of 57 points against the latter, more..

Hikkaduwa PS chairman cleared of corruption charges

Aug 25 (ST) Hikkaduwa Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Vinnie Kariyawasam was this week discharged from corruption charges by a Colombo court. He was accused of not fulfilling tender procedures when issuing a contract for the installation of 50 aluminum lamp posts in the tourist belt of Hikkaduwa in the Galle District. Colombo’s Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya discharged Mr. Kariyawasam after hearing submissions by counsel on the law and on facts placed before him. more..

Huge pleasure garden, pleasure park in Colombo

Aug 25 (ST) The Govt will set up a “pleasure garden” alongside a “pleasure park” now under construction in the City of Colombo to enable foreign and local tourists to “spend their day leisurely.” It will have a parking complex “for at least 2,000 motor vehicles, ten buses, 500 motorcycles, and three-wheelers,” the Cabinet has decided. It follows a recommendation made by President Rajapaksa. more..

Faraz shooting: Five arrested

Aug 25 (SL) The Police have arrested a five-member gang in connection with the attempted murder of The Sunday Leader investigative journalist Faraz Shauketaly. They were remanded by the Mount Lavinia Magistrate on Wednesday for questioning. Our sources indicated that the gang was initially arrested for questioning on their involvement in a series of armed robberies in the North Western and Sabaragamuwa provinces. Detectives working on Shauketaly’s case more..

Foreign detainees to be deported

Aug 25 (CG) More than 100 foreign nationals detained at the Mirihana special detention center will be sent back to their country of origin. The Department of Immigration and Emigration said that the UN refugee agency UNHCR has been informed about it. Most foreigners at the Mirihana center are Myanmar nationals and they had reached Sri Lanka by boat while trying to escape violence in Muslim dominated parts of Myanmar. In February this year 138 Bangladeshi and Myanmar nationals more..

Maliban challenges ITI test result, offers one million reward

Aug 25 (ST) An Australian milk powder supplier has warned of diplomatic consequences if its product is proved to contain any farm chemical while its Sri Lankan buyer offered a one million rupee reward if anyone could identify such substance. The warning and the offer of a reward come in the wake of the state-run Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) declaring that it had found the harmful substance DCD in a batch of more..

Govt. rinses its mouths of Weliweriya, Opposition dutifully swallows it

Aug 25 (ST) By the time Parliament took up the Opposition initiated adjournment motion debate on the Rathupaswela incident last Wednesday, the dust had more or less settled on the issue, and the resulting debate did not generate sufficient enthusiasm either from the Opposition or the Govt side to justify the gravity of the incidents that took place in Weliweriya on that fateful day in early August, that resulted in the loss of three lives. Instead, the Govt, as it usually does, more..

Chinese lightning expresses on Indian tracks in Lanka

Aug 25 (ST) The Govt wants to run Chinese built ‘rolling stock’ — engines cum carriages — on the northern railway line now under construction with Indian assistance and due for completion next year. Transport Minister Kumara Welgama has told his ministerial colleagues that the Sri Lanka Railways wants to initially operate train services from Colombo to Kankesanthurai with two “fast express trains” and two night trains. It also wants to introduce a daily express train service to Talaimannar more..

Govt. keeps blowing hot and cold on key issues

Aug 25 (ST) Paradoxical enough, it was a chance foray last week for Minister G.L. Peiris into the realm of Indo-Sri Lanka bilateral relations. Though within his purview, tagged “top priority” then, it was handled exclusively earlier by a troika — Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Lalith Weeratunga and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Strained relations between Colombo and New Delhi have downgraded the status. more..

Student NICs: Prompt action needed by school heads

Aug 25 (SO) Most school heads in the Kurunegala and Puttalam districts of the NWP have failed to obtain National ID cards for their school candidates who are to sit the G.C.E. (O/L) exam 2013 in December. Some govt school heads in the Kurunegala district are reported to be negligent in obtaining NICs early for the students. The Commissioner General of the Department of Registration of Persons, Sarath Kumara has informed all govt school heads to send more..

Dual track for Kalutara-Aluthgama line

Aug 25 (SO) Steps are being taken to convert the Kalutara-Aluthgama railway line to a dual way on a proposal by the Transport and Highways Minister Kumara Welgama. Thousands of commuters who pass daily between the two stations are handicapped due to the absence of a dual carriage, and the time wasted in crossing the distance of eight metres from Kalutara to Payagala can be avoided. The first phase of the program from Payagala to Kalutara South will cost Rs. 300 million, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Aug 25 (ST) It is not only intra-party clashes and the campaigning for polls that President Rajapaksa has to cope with. The man known for his unparalleled enthusiasm for public relations seems to go with it. Last Sunday, he was at the President’s Lodge in Nuwara Eliya. Summoned for a meeting were UPFA Nuwara Eliya District candidates for the CPC elections. He dealt at length on the need for unity among them. more..

Cold war at CMC comes to a head

Aug 25 (CT) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is the oldest and the largest local govt authority in Sri Lanka, formed as early as 1865. The Council first met a year later, in 1866. It is the general perception that the British colonial rulers, who brought Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) under total subjugation in 1815, established the CMC to provide the natives with a foretaste of democracy, good governance and a model of citizen-friendly more..

CMC file pyre: Commissioner comes under fire

Aug 25 (ST) Among Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) files secretly set ablaze at the Borella Cemetery last Saturday were vital documents related to recent irregular recruitments and assets of the Municipal Secretary’s Department, an internal audit said. The files were burnt in an area reserved for funeral pyres. Four CMC officials oversaw the incineration on the written instructions of Commissioner Bhadrani Jayawardhane. more..

Belarus is ready to welcome Sri Lankan President

Aug 25 (IL) President Rajapaksa will begin his three day official visit to Belarus, former Soviet Union country today. Meanwhile Sri Lankan Embassy in Russia accredited to Belarus has organised many cultural and traditional dancing events called ‘Mega Tourism Caravan’ an awareness campaign prior to the President’s visit to promote Sri Lanka tourism under the theme “Sri Lanka- Wonder of Asia” in major shopping more..

Bathiudeen meets President over police raids on his residences

Aug 25 (ST) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has asked President Rajapaksa to carry out an investigation into police raids carried out on two of his residences and a circuit bungalow. He had met the president personally to make the request. Two weeks ago police teams had searched for weapons at the minister’s residences in Mannar and Puttalam and his circuit bungalow in Vavuniya. Mr. Bathiudeen said that the police had more..

Norochcholai Power Project cost of US$ 268 mn. Re-negotiated for US$ 568 mn.

Aug 25 (Island) The Norochcholai Power Plant contract which was finalized at a cost of US$ 268 million during the last stages of President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s rule, had been re-negotiated within a year after she had left office by the Rajapaksa regime for US$ 568 million. Ravi Karunanayake MP, said that costs had more than doubled despite the deal being re-negotiated with the same Chinese company. more..

Health Ministry, GMOA battle over bottled water

Aug 25 (NS) The GMOA called for a far more stringent mechanism for testing bottled water, expressing doubts regarding the current testing mechanism. GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya claimed, they have advocated for a more stringent method of testing bottled water for over two years now. He claimed there were ‘deficiencies’ with the Health Ministry system of testing bottled water, as it still did not possess the necessary more..

Sri Lanka call not serious, danger lurks

Aug 25 (AA) On the face of it, the Colombo call warning of large-scale Pakistani terrorist incursion into Tamil Nadu does not worry the police intelligence network much, but those in charge of monitoring terror threats are aware that serious danger now lurks in Sri Lanka that’s less than two hours by boat across the Palk Strait. “I will not rate high that phone call to Maniyachi DSP office. How did that anonymous caller from more..

Fonterra to answer contempt of court charges, while enjoining order is lifted

Aug 25 (ST) The enjoining order preventing Fonterra Brands Lanka (Pvt) Limited from advertising, selling and distributing its products either directly or through agents which was enforced for 14 days, was lifted by Gampaha Additional District Court Judge Indika Upawansa on Friday. The order was lifted two weeks after the Gampaha District Court issued the enjoining order on August 16, effective for 14 days, in response to a case more..

Court Martial will be determined by Military Board of Inquiry findings

Aug 25 (Island) The initiation of a court martial to try any officers or men involved in the August 1 army crackdown on civilians at Weliveriya will be determined by the findings and recommendations of the military Board of Inquiry, which probed the shooting, Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Daya Ratnayake said last week. "The findings will give a clear guideline on the follow up action that can be initiated", he said in an exclusive interview more..

Is it really about law and order?

Aug 25 (CT) The govt on Friday announced the creation of a Law and Order Ministry under President Mahinda Rajapaksa, with a retired Army Major General as its Secretary, bringing up a slew of questions about the timing and the direction in which law and order in the country is heading. The new ministry will be responsible for the police force, which is currently under the supervision of the Ministry of Defence, which in turn has elicited severe criticism from the international community. more..

Three tales of blind mice

Aug 25 (Island) The style today is different; it’s not all on one theme, it is three short pieces on different topics for the reason that if I spread them over three weeks they would all be outdated. Timely comment assists in thinking through events as they unfold and is fodder for latter day historians reviewing analysts’ judgment of events and interventions prescribed. The sorry state of affairs in Egypt and crumbling of the Arab Spring is first. Second, I want to push on with a topic I recently injected more..

Eminent scholar Prof Mendis Rohanadeera commemorated

Aug 25 (IL) One of the highly respected and prominent intellectuals in the recent past Professor Mendis Rohanadeera was commemorated recently at a special ceremony organised by the Rohanadeera Study and Research Center. The second memorial ceremony of the late Professor popularly known as ‘Giruwaye Maha Praggnaya’ took place at BMICH under the auspices of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Sangakkara praises Russell's 'Roger Federer serve'

Aug 25 (CI) Chris Gayle, the captain of the Jamaica Tallawahs, has praised the contributions of Kumar Sangakkara and Andre Russell after the pair put on 35 in 11 balls for fourth wicket to help defeat Barbados Tridents by seven wickets and book Jamaica's place in Saturday's final against the Guyana Amazon Warriors. Sangakkara, who signed for Jamaica last week, anchored the innings with an unbeaten 50, and added a crucial 71 for the second wicket with Chadwick Walton to set more..

Prelate complains of death threats

Aug 25 (Island) Ven. Battaramulle Seelaratana thera, the leader of the Janasatha Peramuna has complained of death threats. "I have lodged a police complaint as I received phone calls abusing me in obscene language and threatening my life", the prelate said. Describing it as the work of cowards, he said that his party will remain undeterred by threats and continue to work towards the welfare of all communities in Sri Lanka. "I have consistently espoused the cause of all communities as more..

Two robbers are deserters

Aug 25 (CG) The army says two of the five robbers arrested over the break-in at the home of journalist Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema yesterday are deserters and not soldiers still serving in the army. Army spokesman said that some parties including web based media have attempted to implicate the Sri Lanka Army in the robbery that took place at Bambalapitiya. “The Army does not approve any crime and particularly we regret more..

Principal’s attempt to motivate results in confusion

Aug 25 (NS) All grade five students of Zahira College, Colombo will be allowed to sit for the Grade Five Scholarship Exam today, the College Principal Trizvii Marikkar said. However, Marikkar had earlier warned that underperforming pupils will not be allowed to sit for the exam. The announcement led to confusion with parents airing their displeasure. However, Marikkar said there was a misunderstanding adding that the warning was meant for parents and was not for students. more..

Blood Donated to Jaffna Teaching Hospital

Aug 25 (MoD) A blood donation campaign was organized in view of the 18th anniversary of the 51st Division of the Sri Lanka Army, responding to a blood necessity of the Jaffna Teaching Hospital blood bank at the Brigade Headquarters Copai yesterday (23). With the assistance of the doctors and the hospital staff over 160 security forces personnel donated their blood to the blood bank at the event. Keen enthusiasm shown by the troops to save a life by donating blood at yesterday's more..

Audio: I’m not here to criticise – Pillay

Aug 25 (CG) The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says she is not visiting Sri Lanka to critisise the country but to look into human rights concerns. Responding to a question during a brief media interaction at the Cinnamon Lakeside hotel this evening, Pillay said that she wants to see if the govt is complying with the human rights standards set to the whole world and accepted by the Sri Lankan govt. more..

UNP probing monk presence

Aug 25 (SL) The main opposition UNP says it is trying to verify how a monk got on stage with party members during a recent opposition rally at Fort. UNP MP John Amaratunga said that the monk was not a UNP member nor was he invited on stage. Controversy surrounded the presence of the monk after the media published images of UNP MP Harsha De Silva having his hand on the shoulder of the monk while they were on top of a lorry together with several others during the protest. more..

Man detained in Rameswaram on suspicion

Aug 25 (PTI) Amid heightened security following intelligence that terrorists might sneak into this island from Sri Lanka, Police today detained a 32-year-old man from Andhra Pradesh on suspicion. Gopi was picked up by “Q” Branch police at Pisasu Munai (Ghost Point) during the intensified patrol. They found him having a mobile phone with ‘enormous contact numbers’, police said but did not elaborate. He was detained after his replies during the initial questioning were contradictory more..

UN human rights chief begins key visit to SL

Aug 25 (Xinhua) The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday on a weeklong visit during which she will attempt to draw her own conclusions on the post war situation in the country. Pillay, who has been highly critical of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, will visit the north of the country which has been battered by 30 years of war between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan military. more..

Ramifications of UNHRC Chief’s visit

Aug 25 (CT) Her visit should not be taken lightly. Whether the government likes it or not, she is after all the last word on what the future holds for the Rajapaksa Govt and would sift through with a fine tooth-comb on what went on during the last stages of the war in 2008/2009. She comes armed with enough tangible evidence of govt soldiers committing rape, murder and torture on Tamil civilians fleeing for their lives caught between the advancing army and the stubborn LTTE more..

Lawyer to represent murdered SL woman

Aug 25 (AN) The Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh has hired a Saudi lawyer to plead the case for a Sri Lankan woman who was allegedly killed by her American husband in the Kingdom. Amaralatha, 41, was married to an American engineer who allegedly killed her over a family dispute in Dammam. The General Court in Riyadh is currently looking into Amaralatha’s killing after her husband was charged with her murder by a representative from the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution. more..

A bouquet for perseverance

Aug 25 (Island) Nadeeka Lakmali, together with her unassuming coach, A. J. Rodrigo, have proved the doubters wrong. Lakmali became only the second Sri Lankan athlete after Susanthika Jayasinghe to feature in a final of an IAAF World championship in its 30-year history, when she qualified for the final with a throw of 60.39 metres, in Moscow last week. The perception that Sri Lanka cannot impress in throwing events more..