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Army Major heading extortion racket nabbed

Aug 29 (CT) Mahara Magistrate remanded a Sergeant Major (SM-Army) who was taken into custody by a team of officers of the Sapugaskanda Police, for kidnapping a three-wheeler driver and demanding a sum of Rs 500,000 from him. The SM is reported have posed off as an officer from the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB). A request made by the police to retain and question the Army officer and an Army deserter who was allegedly involved in the drama, was denied. more..

Lankan Embassy refutes reports of a maid dying in refrigerator

Aug 29 (AN) The Sri Lankan Embassy Tuesday refuted news reports that a housemaid in the Kingdom was frozen to death inside a refrigerator. A senior official from the embassy said that the incident was alleged to have been perpetrated by the Saudi sponsor. “We summoned the housemaid to the mission with the help of the job agent and the Saudi Embassy,” he said, adding that the maid was in good health, more..

CEB moves to reduce payment rates for renewable energy

Aug 29 (Island) The CEB is planning to pay renewable power producers at reduced rates though the power sector regulator, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), recommended last year that they be paid more. Small Hydro Power Developers’ Association Secretary General S. B. Niyangoda told The Island yesterday that a paper in that regard would be presented to the Cabinet tomorrow. Their understanding was that new the rates would not be favourable. more..

Sri Lanka to set up investment zones for education

Aug 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka will set up investment zones to draw international universities to the country in a bid to boost higher educational services available to the people. Sri Lanka's higher education ministry secretary Sunil Nawaratne said 'free zones' for education will be set up in Gampaha, Puttalam, Kilinochchi, Hambantota and Trincomalee. Investors who can draw reputed international universities will be given 100 acres of land where they can build campuses with all facilities for more..

Sri Lankan minister accuses UN rights boss of 'secret meetings'

Aug 29 (AFP) A senior Sri Lankan minister accused the visiting UN human rights chief of holding "secret meetings" with activists during her ongoing fact-finding mission. Housing minister Wimal Weerawansa said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay "gave the slip to her bodyguards", appointed by the govt, to hold unscheduled meetings in the island's former war zone in the east. "She broke protocol, more..

'Major effort needed to restore SLAS pride'

Aug 29 (Island) One-time Post Master General Soma Kotakadeniya alleged that politicians had destroyed the once proud Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS), hence a major effort was needed to restore it. Mrs. Kotakadeniya claimed that the SLAS was in a pathetic state due to political interference and the failure on the part of SLAS officers to resist successive govts. The tough talking Mrs Kotakadeniya lashed out at those who had meekly given in to politicians over the years, more..

Don’t turn CMC into a fish market: Mayor

Aug 29 (DM) Colombo’s Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil today warned council members not to turn the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) into a fish market, after intense verbal exchanges ensued when the Mayor permitted to table a motion regarding the burning of important documents of the CMC recently at the Borella cemetery. This motion proposed by C. Chandrasena was tabled with the consent of a majority 27 CMC members. “It is an act where public property has been destroyed. more..

World Bank sees potential

Aug 29 (CG) The World Bank’s new country director assigned to Sri Lanka, Françoise Clottes, said she sees “high potential” in Sri Lanka. Clottes made this observation when she met President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees. Clottes also said that the govt has put in place some ambitious goals, but what “is more remarkable is that (work on those objectives) is well under way,” and the World Bank’s role in the country now is more..

Tests conducted proved presence of DCD

Aug 29 (CT) The Industrial Technology Institute (ITI), responding to the challenge posed by Maliban Milk Products, that they would award Rs 1 million to any institution or organization that proves that their milk products contain Dicyandiamide (DCD), said they are a responsible govt organization, and they stand by the tests carried out on the milk powder, recently, and the resultant report released. ITI, Additional Director, A. Pandila, said they have no intention of countering any claims or more..

'Deeds more important than words'

Aug 29 (LT) A political workshop has been held on the 27th by the representatives of left parties in South Asia presently visiting China and the officials of the International Department of Chinese Communist Party. The theme of the workshop was the ‘Mass approach’ of Chinese Communist party and the Communist and Workers’ political parties in South Asia. The ‘Mass Approach’ was accepted by the new General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping at the 18th more..

National drug policy to clear hurdles

Aug 29 (DM) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said the draft of the much-awaited National Medicinal Drug Policy (NMDP) had been finalised and would be presented in Parliament for approval within the year. He said the draft was currently being translated into English and Tamil at the Legal Draftsman’s Department and the Health Ministry expected the draft Bill shortly. He added that it would not be a difficult task to get it more..

World Bank New country Director calls on Minister Rajapaksa

Aug 29 (MEA) The World Bank’s newly appointed country director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Francoise Clottes met Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday. Minister and World Bank country director reviewed the progress of the Development projects initiated under the World Bank assistance. Minister also explained the importance of the support of development partners like the World Bank in implementing the Govt’s ambitious plans for reconciliation and economic expansion, more..

Video: Anyone with a working pair of eyes can see the progress made - Samarasinghe

Aug 29 (AD) There are challenges ahead of us but within the last four years considerable progress has been made and we are committed to overcoming the remaining challenges, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe stated following a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Human Right Navanethem Pillay. Following the meeting at the Plantation Ministry today, he told the media that they discussed several matters including the universal periodic review, explaining that this was the more..

Telegram service suspended from Oct 31

Aug 29 (AD) The telegram service in Sri Lanka will be discontinued from October 31st, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. Earlier this year officials claimed that it handles just 50 telegrams a day. Transmitting telegrams using a network of postal messengers across the country was too expensive, ministry secretary Hemasiri Fernando said, adding that they could not compete with phones and text messages for speed. more..

Hisbullah gets new office

Aug 29 (MEA) Economic Development Deputy Minister M.L.A.M Hisbullah officially assumed duties at his new Deputy Ministerial Office at T.B. Jayah Mawatha, Colombo 10 on Monday August 26. He was appointed as Economic Development Deputy Minister on Feb 8 this year. Economic Development Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame, Ministry Additional Secretaries Hema Dharmawardhana, Shantha Bandara, Priyantha Mayadunne and Chandra Wickremasinghe and other more..

A new bridge across Kokilai lagoon

Aug 29 (MoD) With a view of connecting North and East along the coastal belt of the Eastern Province, the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the Ministry of Ports and Highways to put up a new bridge across the Kokilai lagoon connecting Mullithivu and Pulmuddai. The preliminary plan of the new bridge has already been prepared, and the feasibility study is now being carried out. A bridge across the lagoon will greatly reduce the distance through alternative routes amounting to more..

Sri Lanka rejects impunity charge

Aug 29 (CG) The govt says there is no culture of impunity in the country and in instances where evidence is available action to conduct legal proceedings have been instituted irrespective of the status of those accused, which include politicians, public officials and officers of the law enforcement agencies. Minister G.L. Peiris said this when he met visiting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay today. more..

Fish or cut bait!

Aug 30 (Island) Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne has once again called for tough action to end poaching in Sri Lankan waters. All parties contesting the NPC polls, especially those which represent the people of the North in Parliament, must be asked to make their position known on the issue of illegal fishing and the plight of the northern fishers who have been deprived of their livelihood. At present, these politicians are running with the local hare and hunting with the Indian hounds. more..

Stupid quotes from elected jokers

Aug 30 (NS) Some people say stupid things. Others with a measure of public prominence believe their position gives them the right to say incredibly stupid things and get away with it. Welcome to the Hall of Shame, peopled largely by a number of our nit-wit legislators. The fact that a bunch of them spew out such inconsequential idiocy should not be a surprise. They are, after all, politicians. That is why Sri Lankan political theater has become welcome grist for the humorist mill. more..

Deduru Oya project, a reality soon

Aug 30 (SO) The Rs. 9.5 billion Deduru Oya Reservoir Project, one of the major multi-purpose irrigation and water supply projects in the history of the country is scheduled to be commissioned in November, with the major part of the hydraulic, mechanical and construction work already completed. It is next in line to be commissioned under the Mahinda Chintana concept followed by the many irrigation and water more..

Navi Pillay

Aug 30 (CT) She has all the credentials that an international diplomat should possess; her academic background is impeccable, her posture is imposing and her communication skills are excellent. Yet she is portrayed by most dictators and 'democratic-pretenders,' be it Syria or Egypt, Myanmar or Pakistan, as a trouble-maker, for what she finds out and her declarations could be harsh to those who wield power. They could be utterly unpalatable to the abusers of power. more..

Everyone knows the story of little Johnny and the flea

Aug 30 (NS) Regardless of what sort of essay the teacher tells the class to write, this brat very quickly ties the assigned topic through some marginal link to the flea and then proceeds to blast out his spiel on that species and its importance to every single reason behind every single reason why Johnny and the planet he inhabits should or shouldn’t survive. The local equivalent of Little Johnny as everyone knows is “makkage kathaava” associated with the character Amden. more..

Military meddling in Sri Lanka elections: What will the UN do?

Aug 30 (GP) The Sri Lanka Army has said it will vacate camps in the country’s northern Jaffna Peninsula before crucial provincial elections in September. Despite the international publicity the move has attracted, Jaffna’s residents say there is no significant downtick in overall levels of militarization. Elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) next month will be the first. Legislation setting up provincial councils was more..

Dreaming of Eastphalia, in Belarus…..

Aug 30 (CT) The day the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights arrived in Sri Lanka, the President of Sri Lanka flew to Belarus. Belarus has been ruled by Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. In 2010 he won his 4th presidential election by bagging 79.65% of the vote (two of the rival contenders were badly beaten-up by the police). His long reign was enabled by a referendum in 2004 which removed presidential term-limits. Mr Lukashenko, known by the sobriquet Bat’ka (father), is given to more..

Financialisation and crisis in post-war SL

Aug 30 (CT) Altering the economic and social landscape of Sri Lanka, the neoliberal policies pursued by the Rajapaksa govt have exacerbated inequitable development, indebtedness, and the marginalisation of the Muslim and Tamil minorities. Whether the crisis in the economy would lead to political changes that will reverse the economic slide and ethnic polarisation remains to be seen. The Galle Face Green, a promenade along the Indian Ocean surrounded by the bustle of Colombo, more..

ඇත්තටම කිරි සුදු ද?

Big draw for ‘Invest in Hambantota’ forum tomorrow

Aug 30 (FT) A host of companies and investors have so far registered to find out new opportunities in Sri Lanka’s emerging hub Hambantota to be highlighted at a key forum tomorrow in the southern town. Titled ‘Invest in Hambantota,’ the investment forum organised by the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce will be held on Saturday 31 August from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium at Sooriyawewa. Its objective is to showcase new opportunities in more..

Logi Mariathasan creates history skydiving at 70 for charity

Aug 30 (LR) It was perfect blue skies over the Parachuting School of Toronto recently, Smith Blvd, Baldwin, Ontario. Logi Mariathasan, pretty but physically-disadvantaged with polio affecting her right leg at a very young age, attempted a daredevil sky dive from a height of 13,500 feet over Ontario skies. Her father, former Deputy Chief Govt Analyst in Sri Lanka V. Kulanayagam, and his wife spent considerable amount of their wealth to bring their pretty daughter on her feet. more..

Habeas Corpus applications in Vavuniya High Court

Aug 30 (DBS) A new set of Habeus corpus applications were filed in the High Court of Vavuniya by the families of persons who are missing after surrendering to the Sri Lankan Military. It was alleged by the Petitioners that after their harrowing trek to the Mullaithivu govt controlled area they acceded to the request and announcement made by Sri Lankan Military authorities and decided to surrender. The surrendees were lined up in more..

Leave Sanga alone

Aug 30 (Island) Our thoughts are with a certain cricket administrator who seems to be suffering from a sickness called Sadistic Personality Disorder. The symptoms of this sickness are ‘callous, vicious, manipulative, and degrading behaviour expressed towards other people.’ Theodore Millon identified four subtypes of sadists. They are; Explosive Sadist, Tyrannical Sadist, Enforcing Sadist and Spineless Sadist. Of these four types, Tyrannical Sadists are said to be deriving ‘a special sense more..

Be patient with young players, urges Sanath

Aug 30 (Island) Chairman of Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya has urged the public to be patient with young players if they are to see the best of them. The 44-year-old former captain stresses that young players need to be given adequate time to develop into match winners. "It’s not easy for young players to be consistent. There is a lot of scrutiny going on and there’s lot of competition. Once you identify talent it’s crucial to persevere with that talent," Sanath said. more..

Sri Lankan expatriates write to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Aug 30 (FT) We write you as Sri Lanka’s large and diverse expatriate community based in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Middle East and Asia. Although we live out of SL, we still retain a paramount interest in the progress of our country, and the lives of our countrymen and women. In consideration of your imminent visit to Sri Lanka, we are compelled to express our view on the stand your office has taken with respect to Sri Lanka. more..

Softlogic Finance debenture issue oversubscribed

Aug 30 (Island) Softlogic Finance announced the oversubscription of its debenture issue where the amount to be raised of Rs. 250 Million was oversubscribed and further debentures amounting to Rs. 250 Million were issued, taking the total transaction to Rs. 500 Million. The issue opened on 22nd August and closed on the following day where keen interest was seen in the Senior, Listed, Rated, Unsecured, Redeemable, Three Year Debentures offered by Softlogic Finance. more..

Lanka-DoC calls for speedier exporter action to grab world’s largest regional market: govt.

Aug 30 (Island) As SAARC’s GDP growth is now projected at 5%, intra-regional trade growth becomes a key driver in the region’s GDP. Just as trade barriers, absence of prompt action on such barriers can equally ‘guarantee’ trade-setbacks. "Success of a bilateral or regional free trade agreement is measured by the volume of trade it creates. If a long list of concessions has generated only a nominal volume of trade, the agreement has to be reviewed for improvement. more..

One year on, Harsha wants Krrish deal annulled, probed

Aug 30 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva in a statement called for the cancellation of the contentious Krrish project approved by the Cabinet and a probe on it. It is exactly one year to date since Krrish Group signed an agreement with the BoI to build a sprawling mixed development consisting of three dizzy 95 storey towers and another 80 storey tower at Transworks Square in the Fort. Powerful ministers who backed the project said more..

Hotel on the bund of a wewa

Aug 30 (CT) Trees, rivers, streams, canals, tanks and ponds are nature's best gifts that nourish the environment. They help man and animals to live in this world, and these natural phenomena help to maintain the ecological balance. But, it's the people who are entrusted with the task of protecting nature and if they fail to do so, they will have to face the repercussions. Politicians and their henchman who 'invaded' Anuradhapura town and built hotels, tourist inns and circuit bungalows close to more..

Is Rambo of Uda Walawe dead?

Aug 30 (Island) It was about 10-15 years ago that a large bull elephant was sighted regularly along the electric fence bordering the Thanamalwila Road that runs adjacent to the Uda Walawe National Park (UWNP) and he was named Rambo. His demeanour was far from the Rambo in the movies, in that he was quite a docile animal, who just wandered up and down the fence peering at the passers-by, who for their part often stopped their vehicles to watch this magnificent pachyderm. more..

'China FTA should be handled with care'

Aug 30 (FT) A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka and China, which is in the pipeline, will be a massive disadvantage to local manufacturers, a top local economist warned. Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Executive Director Dr. Saman Kelegama told a gathering of businessmen at the Sri Lanka-Italy Business Council that while Sri Lanka’s exports would benefit from access to China’s emerging middle classes, more..

Five-year-old drowns in pit

Aug 30 (Island) A five-year-old boy fell into a pit full of rain water and drowned on Wednesday, while flying a kite, a few metres away from his home in the Nawagamuwa police area. Police spokesman SP Buddhika Siriwardana told The Island that the victim, Pathum Malshan, of 322/B, Kotalawela, Kaduwela, had been found dead in the pit. The mishap occurred while the boy’s mother was having a bath. She had been searching for him when she saw his slippers near the pit. more..

Pillay back in business in the city

Aug 30 (FT) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who resumed meetings in the capital yesterday following tours to the north and east, was briefed on the Govt’s implementation of the LLRC recommendations and measures taken to investigate alleged rights abuses during the war. High Commissioner Pillay met with Minister G.L. Peiris at the Ministry of External Affairs last morning, followed by meetings with Lalith Weeratunga and Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe. more..