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Emergency Action Group meeting to discuss Sri Lanka before April?

Jan 27 (Island) Monitoring MP Sajin Vass Gunawardane arrived in London last week on what was widely viewed as a "damage control mission" following disturbing reports that Sri Lanka could lose the right to host the Commonwealth Heads Of Govt Meeting (CHOGM). The Island reported last week that this key parley hangs in the balance as Canada is pushing the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to discuss more..

Ampara tremors: Further investigations to probe cause

Jan 27 (SO) The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau will conduct further investigations in the Ampara district to ascertain the real cause for the tremors reported in Ampara as to whether they related to human activities or natural causes, the chairman of the Bureau N.P. Wijayananda said. He said they are now shortlisting the possible causes for these tremors to reach a conclusion on the cause for these tremors. He said the two teams of geologists who were withdrawn from the area more..

Mathews rejoices in 'electric' fielding

Jan 27 (CI) Electric was the right word to describe Sri Lanka's fielding in their opening Twenty20 victory, and the articulate Angelo Mathews found it. His opposite number George Bailey noted ruefully but truthfully that he had never seen a team get outfielded in this format and go on to win the game. Mathews was by contrast delighted with the way his XI had attacked Australia, as bowlers and fielders, taking wickets early and then restricting their scoring. Australia's tally of 3 for 137 had more..

Ultimatum to govt

Jan 27 (SL) Muslim political parties affiliated with the govt have issued an ultimatum to the govt in the wake of the anti-Muslim protests staged in Kuliyapitiya and Maharagama by a group of monks. A hate campaign had also fast spread on the internet with Muslims in Sri Lanka being targeted on Facebook, blogs and Twitter. The SLMC has urged the govt to address the issue without allowing it to escalate further and go onto more..

Hirunika to enter politics

Jan 27 (SL) Hirunika Premachandra, the daughter of the late MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra has decided to enter politics and contest the next elections under the UPFA. Premachandra told The Sunday Leader that she will remain a member of the Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya (Sri Lanka People’s Party) while supporting the UPFA. She said that during a recent event she had met some government Ministers and parliamentarians who had urged her to enter politics. more..

Was Cobra Girl seeking more publicity?

Jan 27 (NS) Nirosha Wijayaratne alias the Cobra girl withdrew her complaint to the police on Friday, of the alleged assault, said to have taken place last Wednesday. Wijayaratne was found unconscious and with bruises in Wellampitiya in the early hours of Wednesday. A complaint was lodged with the police following the incident. The Police did not rule out a possibility of a publicity gimmick by Wijayaratne, and had recorded statements from residents living near the place where Wijayaratne had stayed more..

GK depositors push for Sicille’s deportation from UK

Jan 27 (Island) With the impeachment battle to oust CJ Shirani Bandaranayake, where Golden Key figured saliently, now history, distraught depositors last week renewed their efforts to push for the deportation of Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala living in the UK. "We insist that she be sent back to face the law in Sri Lanka", Ms. Dushanthi Hapugoda, president, All GKCC Depositors’ Association, reiterated. "After all, she is a key suspect in more..

MP Namal to give leadership to UPFA young MPs

Jan 27 (LB) A group of UPFA young MPs or backbenchers have formed a new team under the leadership of UPFA Hambantota district MP Namal Rajapaksa in the parliament last week, LAKBIMANEWS reliably learns. This same group of UPFA MPs who formed the Mulberry group after they were elected to parliament back in 1994, have now decided to form another new group with the title 'A Tomorrow' and to be led by MP Namal Rajapaksa who is being touted in local political circles more..

Following attack on policemen and trackers: Wildlife officials take refuge in jungle

Jan 27 (SO) A massive search operation is under way to arrest eight officers including the Sub Warden of the Wildlife Department of Hambegamuwa who are believed to be hiding in the State Forest Reserve at Galamuna after they abducted, assaulted and kept two police constables and two trackers in wrongful confinement in the thick jungle for almost a day until a search party from the Police Task Force and policemen from the Moneragala police division found the men more..

Unpleasantness as police order removal of Kala Pola stalls

Jan 27 (Island) There were vehement protests at the Kala Pola yesterday morning after police intervened to order the removal of stalls on the pavement adjoining the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre. The stall-holders were at first adamant saying they had been given permission by the local authorities to put up the stalls, but the police later insisted they be removed claiming the structures were a hindrance. more..

No pension for ex CJ

Jan 27 (SL) Former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake will not receive a pension after being sacked from her post. Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration P.B. Abeykoon said that under local laws there was no reason to give a pension to someone who had been removed from service. He says the former CJ automatically lost her right to a pension after she was impeached by parliament and removed by the President. When contacted the Director General of the Pensions Department more..

Plantation TUs agitate for higher wages

Jan 27 (SO) Plantation trade unions have launched campaigns for a better wage structure for workers ahead of the expiry of the biennial Collective Agreement (CA) that concludes on March 31, 2013. The CA was signed on June 6, 2011 among three major unions representing the bulk of the plantation workers and 23 Plantation Management Companies including the two state agencies, offering a wage increase of Rs.515 for workers. The basic wage was fixed at Rs.380 while the Rs.105 more..

Hell near well: Others watched as woman was raped

Jan 27 (ST) A resident living down Pasal Mawatha at Wijerama close to the Sri Jaywardenapura University was alerted by the cries of a woman on Wednesday night. The cries came from the area of a public well. Looking out, he noticed two three-wheelers parked near the well which had two bathing sections –one for men and the other for women. He promptly called the Police Emergency unit on 119. The message was picked up more..

Pensioners overseas to be charged a commission

Jan 27 (SL) Sri Lankans residing overseas and receiving pensions from the Department of Pensions are to be charged a commission. Director General of the Pensions Department D. Swarnapala said that there were 22,000 Sri Lankans residing overseas who are on the pensions list. He said that when the pension is sent to a pensioner overseas, the bank charges a funds transfer commission. The department suffered a huge loss as a result of the commission charged by the banks. more..

Game Over, Davy Jones: Most state websites hacked

Jan 27 (ST) The websites of the Board of Investment, the Nelum Pokuna Theatre and Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage were the latest to be hacked in a series of incidents of hacking of govt and private websites in the recent weeks. A hacker using the online nickname ‘Davy Jones’ claimed he had accessed the database and obtained details of more than 2,000 investors from the BOI site. Reports also said that data had been leaked from Minister Aluthgamage’s site. more..

International battle ahead; possible questions from Commonwealth

Jan 27 (ST) Armed troops and police surrounded the superior courts complex, the citadel of the country’s judicial system in Hulftsdorp last Wednesday, for the second time in two weeks. Last week they kept protesting lawyers at bay as the newly appointed CJ Peter Mohan Maithree Peiris drove in through the back entrance to the premises to assume office. Their only task this time was to keep the private media away from more..

Police arrest maid at Sharjah airport with Dh82,000 jewellery

Jan 27 (E24|7) Sharjah Police have arrested a Sri Lankan maid at Sharjah Airport attempting to flee the country with stolen gold jewellery valued at Dh82,000. The maid was working with an Asian household in a neighbouring emirate and hid the jewellery tins of in milk powder she was carrying with her. According to the police, the maid admitted to stealing the jewellery from her employer, who were out of the country when she tried to flee. Investigations revealed that 2 other more..

Some UPFA MPs face disciplinary action

Jan 27 (NS) Disciplinary action is now on the cards against coalition members of the UPFA govt groups who either abstained or absented themselves at voting time on the impeachment motion debate on former Chief Justice, Dr Shirani Bandaranayake. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha said that the UPFA govet group was bound by collective responsibility and that Chief Govt Whip Dinesh Gunawardena had by letter informed all members of the UPFA to be present in the House at the more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 27 (ST) At last officials in the External Affairs Ministry have galvanised themselves into some action. They are sharpening their blunt swords to seek an explanation from Ahmed Aflal Jawad, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. They want to know why he disobeyed a Presidential directive, issued on January 10, to return to Colombo with “immediate effect”. The MEA warned when sending out the directive that his salary more..

Cabinet reshuffle imminent

Jan 27 (CT) A Cabinet reshuffle is imminent this week, according to reliable govt sources. An auspicious time has also suggested by the presidential astrologers to the President for the swearing-in of the new Cabinet Ministers. Unofficial govt sources said the appointment of a new Prime Minister is also on the cards. However, the incumbent, D.M. Jayaratne, who returned to the island after medical treatment in the US more..

Carlo apologizes to Gamini D’s family on Jaffna library accusations

Jan 27 (Island) Prof. Carlo Fonseka has unconditionally apologized to the family of the late Mr. Gamini Dissanayake for having accused him of having a hand in the burning of the Jaffna public library in 1981. Prof. Fonseka who was a main speaker during Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga’s first Presidential Election campaign repeatedly made reference to this incident. Speaking at the launch of Retd. DIG Edward Gunawardena’s Memoirs more..

64th Republic Day of India celebrations in Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (HCI) The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 64th Republic Day of India on Saturday, 26 January, 2013 at India House in Colombo. The High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha unfurled the National Flag and inspected a Guard of Honour presented by the BSF contingent. He read out significant excerpts from the Address to the Nation on the eve of the Republic Day by more..

Rs. 15 b for mega sports project in Hambantota

Jan 27 (ST) The Govt will spend Rs. 15 billion to turn Hambantota into a “sports city” and make it the venue for an Asian youth sports festival in 2017. Ministers at their weekly cabinet meeting on Thursday approved a cabinet memorandum submitted by Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage in this regard. He told his ministerial colleagues that the Asian Olympics Committee had officially agreed that Sri Lanka could host more..

Supreme Court refers AG’s application to 'Hon. CJ'

Jan 27 (ST) The Attorney General’s application calling for a fuller Bench to review the Supreme Court’s earlier determination on the legality of the impeachment process of CJ Shirani Bandaranayake, on three fundamental rights petitions, was referred to the “Hon CJ” by the Supreme Court’s three-member Bench, according to the journal entry for that day. This reference does not specifically state if by ‘Hon CJ’ it more..

SEC to complete 15 probes by mid-February

Jan 27 (ST) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) aims to conclude 15 investigations including insider trading by mid-February, Nalaka Godahewa, Chairman SEC now in the job for six months, says. “Nine investigation reports have already gone to the commission and the commission has made decisions. What happens is that these (decisions) have to be approved at the next commission meeting. more..

Govt. withdraws funds from TNA councils

Jan 27 (ST) The Govt has withdrawn more than Rs 560 million allocated for development work to Northern Province local councils controlled by the TTNA. The move comes in a year during which Northern Provincial Council elections will be held as pledged by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The funds were meant for rural roads, construction of new buildings for local councils, building new markets and other structures in 2013, more..

Army to review land release in North and East

Jan 27 (NS) In line with recommendations made in the Army’s Board of Officers report of the recommendations of the LLRC, the Army is to appoint a number of special committees to look into land issues that still prevail in the North and East due to the presence of military bases in these areas. Accordingly, five boards are to be appointed, one for each of the security forces headquarters in the North and East, more..

Sri Lanka hotel in hot water over 'Buddha Bar' dinner

Jan 27 (AFP) Two hotel managers have been arrested in Sri Lanka for organising a "nirvana-style" dinner with "Buddha Bar" music that hurt the religious feelings of locals, police said Sunday. The executives from a deluxe beach hotel at Beruwala, outside of the capital, were remanded in custody till Monday after allegations that their promotional material offended Buddhists. "The two managers were arrested on a charge of causing more..

Away with all deadly illusions and vile deceptions

Jan 27 (CT) We were taught in school that Democracy refers to a “Govt of the People; By the People and; For the People”, based on the “Rule of Law”. We were taught that in a Democracy, the people are ‘Sovereign’ and that this sovereignty is exercised by political representatives elected by the people through regular, free and fair elections. We were taught that Democracy requires a “Separation of Powers” between the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary to ensure that more..

Impeachment: No action by LAWASIA for time being

Jan 27 (Island) After considering the prevailing situation on the impeachment against the former Chief Justice in Sri Lanka, LAWASIA, the Lawyers' Association of the Asia Pacific Region, in which BASL is also a member, decided on Friday not to take any steps for the time being. Sunil Abeyaratne, former Secretary of the BASL and incumbent Executive Committee member of the LAWASIA, attended the Exco meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal on Friday. According to him, the position of the more..

Mahaveli Authority together with People’s Bank introduces ‘Mahaveli Aruna’

Jan 27 (Island) Sri Lanka Mahaveli Authority together with People’s Bank has launched a special concessionary loan scheme by the name of ‘Mahaveli Aruna’ to enhance the economy of the farming community living in the Mahaveli Zones. Under this loan scheme, a maximum loan amount of up to Rs. 200,000/- will be offered to various sectors such as agriculture, livestock, purchase of agricultural equipment, more..

Man in holy robes caught with girl in monastery

Jan 27 (E24|7) In the recent past the Kotakethana village in Kahawatte a suburb Ratnapura in the Sabaragamuwa province has seen a wave of murders of women. In a recent incident a villager saw a young attractive girl occupying a room in a monastery with a person clad in temple robes. The man then rung the temple bell continuously to call the villagers who gathered in their numbers and encircled the temple. The couple started to run away from a back door. They were caught by more..

Sri Lanka firms find ways to battle tough times

Jan 27 (LBO) Sri Lankan firms can ride out tough times by maintaining a lean culture, grabbing opportunities that are present in such periods and becoming more responsive to customer needs, top executives said. "Whether you are in tough times or not, it is important to have a lean culture," Hilmy Cader, head of MTI Consulting, told top executives at the LBR-LBO CEO forum on 'Tough Times – Tough Strategies'. "Smarter companies do not get carried away through good times." more..

'Please save our father, he’s committing suicide'

Jan 27 (E24|7) This story has elements of uncertainty and gut-wrenching despair, as it involves a young mother going to Saudi Arabia to earn a living and falling into trouble because of unscrupulous agents, and a family life getting destroyed in the process. The tale of woe was unravelled on a rainy afternoon on Jan 11, when two teary eyed boys, barefoot and in rumpled clothing boarded a bus at Armour Street, more..

Fake gold paddy scam uncovered

Jan 27 (E24|7) In a historic temple premises, three suspects were arrested yesterday by the Dambulla police in the North Western province with 1,140 gold plated grains recovered from a hidden treasure and set to be sold as gold paddy seeds. The Island reported that the suspects were from Kekirawa, Senapura and Polpithigama areas. A couple who arrived from Nugathalawa in Welimada in the Uva provice, to purchase the fake gold grains, too were arrested by the police. more..

Sri Lankan dirt on Japanese restaurant menu

Jan 27 (CG) A menu with a $110 dirt dish on it has stunned restaurant-goers. The extraordinary menu has been offered by a French-inspired restaurant in Japan, and features the expensive dish in which the main ingredient is dirt. The restaurant is called “Ne Quittez Pas,” and promotes itself as being inspired by the Southern French region. It is hoping that the unique dish, featuring dirt, and costing a wallet-emptying $110, will be a hit among those wanting to try something new. more..

US officials hold talks in Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (Xinhua) A high level delegation from the U. S. State Department held talks with the Sri Lankan govt and opposition members on Sunday regarding post war developments in the country. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Moore, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Vikram Singh and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jane Zimmerman arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday. more..

Teso team off to Delhi to help Lankan Tamils

Jan 27 (DC) Members of the revived Teso (Tamil Eelam supporters organization) led by DMK treasurer M. K. Stalin will go on a two-day tour to New Delhi from January 28 urging the Centre and other nations to expedite rehabilitation of war-hit Eelam Tamils. A statement issued by the DMK leader T.R. Baalu said the team would personally meet and urge Union external affairs minister Sal­man Khurshid and ambassadors of 47 UN member nations to prevail over Sri Lanka to more..

Boat arrivals test government's refugee policy

Jan 27 (PN) A record number of asylum seekers have made the dangerous monsoon season crossing to Australia during January, with 425 arrivals eclipsing previous marks under the Labor govt. While the govt believes its policy of turning people back to Sri Lanka has stemmed the flow of boats from there, there had been hopes a slowdown over summer was due to policy and not simply monsoonal weather conditions. Two boats were intercepted over the weekend with the more..

Govt. shelves plan to import 3,000 buses from China

Jan 27 (ST) The govt has shelved a plan to import 3,000 buses from China for the SLTB bowing to strong objections raised by private bus owners, Minister Kumar Welgama said. However motor traders say the reason for calling off the deal was because the Chinese company had refused to extend credit facilities to the Govt and offer ‘commissions’ to ‘certain parties’. On the other hand the govt also has no money more..