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Govt, Congress at odds over PM's Lanka trip for CHOGM

Nov 6 (TOI) Whether PM Manmohan Singh goes to Sri Lanka for CHOGM in mid-November, the issue has seen the govt and the Congress ranged on opposite sides of the argument. The ruling party says that attending the CHOGM summit with Lankan President Rajapaksa would only bolster the island nation's intransigence against devolution of powers to Tamil areas. All top ministers of Congress from TN, led by minister P Chidambaram, have opposed the PM's visit for CHOGM. more..

No more factions in UNP: Karu

Nov 6 (FT) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya took over as Chairman of the Leadership Council, calling for unity among warring factions of the party and urging them to identify the real enemy – the Rajapaksa regime. “As of yesterday, there are no more factions and no more rivals within the UNP. The past is behind us, we begin a new journey,” Jayasuriya announced. Change was a process and having the bulk of the party’s concerns more..

NZ MP on fact-finding mission to SL

Nov 6 (RNZ) Green Party MP Jan Logie and an Australian Greens senator are travelling to Sri Lanka this week, in what they call a fact finding mission in the lead-up to the CHOGM. PM John Key will attend the meeting in Colombo, amid calls for him to send a strong message to Sri Lanka about its alleged human rights abuses. Human rights advocates want an independent investigation into allegations Sri Lankan govt forces committed war crimes towards the end of a 26-year civil war more..

Driver’s carelessness caused 10 deaths in Bandarawela

Nov 6 (Island) Police investigations, into Monday evening’s deadly bus accident at Mapitiya, Bandarawela, in which ten people were killed and more than 20 others were injured, have revealed that it was due to the carelessness of the driver. The SLTB bus which fell into a steep precipice of about 300 feet was reduced to pieces. 18 of the injured are receiving treatment in the Badulla, Bandarawela and Diyatalawa hospitals and four of them are in a serious condition. more..

Sri Lanka approves on arrival visa for Callum Macrae

Nov 6 (CT) Sri Lanka has approved on arrival visa to controversial UK Channel 4 Director, Callum Macrae, despite the fact that he has not been granted a visa to enter India to join a delegation led by UK PM, David Cameron, who will be in New Delhi on 14 Nov. Macrae, who earned the ire of Sri Lankan authorities for his documentary, No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, was expecting to fly to Sri Lanka to attend the CHOGM, more..

The ghosts in the Bibile mystery

Nov 6 (DM) With anarchy in the medicinal drugs market and with physicians, patients and pharmacies confused as to which drug is the safest, most effective and affordable, the Health Ministry needs to be reminded again that it must give priority to the restoration of a health service where the well-being of the patients is given top priority. The Health Ministry and two health ministers for the past eight years have been giving various reasons or excuses for the delay in the implementation of the more..

State, public policy and endemic corruption

Nov 6 (DM) A recent report published in an English daily had pointed out that education has become the most corrupt sector in the country. This is almost a national calamity because almost every child in this country is exposed to what is going on in this sector. When hapless parents have to either pull political strings or offer bribes to those who manage educational institutions to get their children admitted to their preferred school, such transactions naturally become common knowledge among children. more..

Cricket legend Botham in Sri Lanka

Nov 6 (MO) To sports fans, Sir Ian Botham needs no introduction. Forever remembered for defying impossible odds and slaying the Aussies at Headingley in 1981, Botham played in 101 other Test matches for England, scored 5,200 runs, took a record 383 Test wickets, and is generally considered the country’s greatest ever all-rounder. ‘Beefy’ is no stranger to epic charity walks either. Over the last three decades, more..

All eyes on the northern front

Nov 6 (SL) Jaffna, on the surface, seemed to be returning to normalcy with the successful conclusion of provincial elections. However recent incidents have shown that the situation is far from being “normal” and may spiral out of control if not arrested. The discovery of a corpse of a woman at the Nachiyar Hindu Temple at KKS road in Jaffna recently sent shockwaves among the public. Devotees who had visited the Temple on more..

Sri Lanka cries foul over EU action

Nov 6 (DM) SL govt asked why the European Union (EU) did not take action on India for failing to stop its fishermen poaching in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. Deputy Minister Sarath Gunaratne told Parliament that the EU had issued a yellow card (warning) to Sri Lanka on the grounds that the govt had failed to ratify international laws and conventions and thus prevent Sri Lankans from engaging in Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing more..

CPJ wants probe on media attacks

Nov 6 (CG) The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on the Commonwealth to ensure the Sri Lankan govt investigates attacks on the media. CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon says the CHOGM was set up more than 40 years ago with the aim of working together toward shared goals of democracy, freedom, peace, and the rule of law. In a letter to the Commonwealth heads, Simon notes that in the past, formal meetings and private more..

Australian Senator to investigate Sri Lankan asylum seekers

Nov 6 (SBS) Senator Rhiannon is travelling to Sri Lanka with NZ and Malaysian MPs ahead of the meeting and will be reporting in Parliament on her return. Senator Lee Rhinannon says she's planning to visit before next week's CHOGM, in Colombo. She told Kerri Worthington she'll be travelling to various parts of the country and engaging with many of the locals. She says news that Canada's PM has boycotted the event more..

Sri Lankan seafarer missing without a trace feared dead

Nov 6 (ST) A Sri Lankan seafarer on a foreign-flagged ship, has on October 22 gone missing without a trace and is feared dead. The ship was sailing to the port of Fujairahin the UAE, a maritime union source said. Able Seaman (AB) Saverimuttu Alagu Samuel (45) a father of one and a resident of Kotahena, last spoke to his family on October 17, but since then, there has been no communication from him, Ranjan Perera more..

Recent aerial surveys caused fears of govt. treasure hunt - JVP

Nov 6 (Island) The JVP told Parliament that a recent aerial survey conducted by the govt, in the Matale, Dambulla and Kandy areas, using a helicopter, had caused a fear among the public that the govt was searching for treasure believed to have been hidden underground by ancient kings. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, making a special statement, said that a land area of 207 sq. km. in those three areas, had been surveyed more..

Richest 20% account for 54.1% of national income

Nov 6 (Island) The richest 20% of Sri Lankans accounted for 54.1% of national income and the poorest 20% only for 4.5% of the country’s earnings, Parliament was told. Deputy Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said the value of the share from the national income enjoyed by the richest 20% amounted to Rs. 4,102,065 million while the corresponding figure for the poorest 20% of population was Rs. 341,207 million in 2012. more..

5,000 police to be deployed for the CHOGM

Nov 6 (Xinhua) Over 5000 police will be deployed in Colombo for a top Commonwealth Summit to be held later this month. As feverish preparations are made for the CHOGM in Colombo the police have put together new traffic plans to ensure security for the 53 Heads of State and Prince Charles who will be arriving to attend the summit. Sri Lanka is hosting the most important meeting for the Commonwealth for the first time. more..

Cameron wants to visit Jaffna paper

Nov 6 (Island) British govt is pushing for a visit by UK PM David Cameron to the office of the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper. Cameron is leading a British delegation to the CHOGM while the Queen is represented by Prince Charles. Sources based in the UK said that it was to be the highlight of Premier Cameron’s visit to the Jaffna peninsula. Sources alleged that the UK was pushing for a meeting with proprietor of the more..

Threat of separation: Possibility or hoax?

Nov 6 (CT) Before and after the NPC election we heard political orchestrations of a “separation threat” by the NPC. It was what the LTTE hoped, and echoed. Some totally believed it; some pooh-poohed it. Here I am trying to understand what separation relating to Sri Lanka is, as an academic exercise, because of the comprehended threat the TNA Election Manifesto’s reference to ‘self-determination’ made, followed also by statements of its leaders and consequential Southern dialogue. more..

Sri Lanka rupee at 4-week low on seasonal importer dollar demand

Nov 6 (Reuters) The rupee failed to hold on to earlier gains and ended slightly weaker on Wednesday at a four-week closing low as early exporter dollar conversions outpaced the year-end seasonal importer demand. The spot rupee ended at 131.07/15 per dollar, its lowest close since Oct. 8 and slightly weaker from Tuesday's close of 131.05/15. Dealers said the rupee is under downward pressure due to year-end importer demand for the greenback until more..

WikiLeaks: It’s not genocide - ICRC to US mission to UN

Nov 6 (CT) “Jacques de Maio, ICRC’s Head of Operations for South Asia, began by stating that, because of ICRC’s strict confidentiality rules, he would be unable to share any specific information regarding allegations of crimes by either side, nor would he be able to direct Williamson to sources. That said, de Maio engaged in a lengthy discussion of the conflict and offered a nuanced view of the complex situation on the ground. more..

The UNP's free-fall continues

Nov 6 (CT) Monday's all important meeting that was to decide the fate of the UNP was an anti-climax in every sense. It was an opportunity to guide the Party out from the murky mire it finds itself in, towards a new era of hope and victory. But perpetual Party Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, put paid to any such possibility, by appointing himself the national leader and selecting a coterie of henchmen to the Leadership Council mooted by the United Bhikkhu Front (UBF). more..

Hemas group makes top level changes

Nov 6 (LBO) Steven Enderby, an international executive with extensive experience in emerging markets and Sri Lanka has been appointed chief executive of Hemas Holdings as a part of sweeping top level changes. Current chief executive Husein Esufally, from the founding family of the firm will become non-executive chairman from April 2014, giving over operations to professional managers. Enderby will be chef executive with from April 2014 and deputy CEO with immediate effect. more..

Anti-Lanka protests affecting us more, say TN fishermen

Nov 6 (PTI) A day after their arrest for allegedly entering Sri Lankan waters, thirty fishermen from Tamil Nadu were today remanded to custody till November 19 by a court even as their colleagues here began an indefinite fishing boycott demanding release of all fellow fishermen and boats under detention in the island nation. In another development four TN fishermen, arrested along with their boat last month, were ordered more..

Thalatha opts out of UNP Leadership Council

Nov 6 (CT) A nine member UNP Leadership Council was whittled down to seven a few hours ago after UNP MP Thalatha Athukorale, refused a seat on the Council this afternoon. Athukorale is a strong supporter of Sajith Premadasa who refused to sit on the Council after it was constituted yesterday, claiming it would be a betrayal of the monks that tried to broker the compromise. Athukorale’s inclusion in the Leadership Council was strongly advocated by Karu Jayasuriya who was more..

‘India sitting on British filmmaker’s visa’

Nov 6 (GN) Even as the feature film, No Fire Zone — The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, is all set to be screened to the press in Delhi and Mumbai on Thursday and Friday, the film’s director, British journalist Callum Macrae, has yet to get his visa from the Indian government. “Macrae had applied for his visa eight months ago and till now he has not got it,” said Satya Sivaraman, a human-rights activist and organiser of the film show. “This is not normal. Indian govt has not officially denied him a visa more..

DIG promises minimum road disruptions

Nov 6 (Island) Senior DIG Anura Senanayake said that the traffic plan for the CHOGM would not inconvenience road users much as 20 selected roads would be closed intermittently and only according to the time the leaders of the 53 nations arrived and departed. All Heads of State except Prince Charles would be accommodated in four five star hotels in Colombo. They are Taj Samudra, Cinnamon Lakeside, Kingsbury more..

TNA to stage demonstrations during CHOGM

Nov 6 (CT) The TNA is planning to stage a series of demonstrations in the North and the East over the unresolved post-war issues, during the period of the CHOGM in Colombo. TNA MP, S. Sritharan said the demonstrations have been planned in order to create awareness among CHOGM delegates, who will arrive for the summit in Colombo. According to Sritharan, several issues remain unresolved, including the delay in implementing the recommendations made by the LLRC. more..

Sirisena recommends less harmful chew of betel

Nov 6 (Island) In a bid to prevent oral cancer the health Ministry has introduced a new chew of betel. It contains nutmeg, mace, cardamom and clove instead of the traditional staple of lime, arecanut and tobacco. Minister Maithripala Sirisena revealed that offering a chew of betel containing lime, arecanut and tobacco had caused more harm than good to the Maha Sangha during alms giving and pirith chanting ceremonies etc. Many monks had developed oral cancer as a result of chewing more..

OVL, Cairn to jointly bid for SL blocks

Nov 6 (PTI) ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), and Cairn India Ltd are likely to bid jointly for oil and gas blocks in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is offering 13 offshore exploration blocks in the Cauvery and Mannar basins, located to the North and West of the island. OVL-Cairn combine are likely to bid for three of them together, sources with direct knowledge of the development said. more..

Canada says message is clear

Nov 6 (CG) Canada says its message to the Sri Lankan govt is very clear and that message is that the govt cannot continue with its current stand on the human rights issue. Deepak Obhrai, the Canadian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, said that Canada will continue to fight for human rights in Sri Lanka. He said that Canada is the only country which will not be represented at the highest level at the Commonwealth summit more..

Monks wanted to unite UNP, not chase Ranil away - Tissa

Nov 6 (Island) The United Bhikkhu Front’s (UBF) solution to resolving the differences of opinion in the UNP, was not to chase Ranil Wickremesinghe away, the General Secretary of party, Tissa Attanayake MP, said yesterday. He told the first press conference after the formation of the UNP leadership Council (LC), chaired by Karu Jayasuriya, MP, at Sirikotha that the UBF had submitted an eight-point solution aimed at achieving an inclusive solution to unite the various factions. more..

Mullivaikkal memorial declared open

Nov 6 (Hindu) The controversial Mullivaikkal memorial (Mullivaikkal Ninaivu Mutram) was declared open in Thanjavur on Wednesday by P. Nedumaran, president, Ulaga Thamizhar Peramaippu. Earlier on Tuesday, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had granted permission for the memorial, advocate Nalladurai said. "This memorial has been built with help from the Tamil diaspora. This is one of the unique artworks more..

Stalled M.I.A. doc begins shoot

Nov 6 (SD) Production has begun in London on a feature documentary about the life of musician M.I.A. The film is directed by Steve Loveridge, who reportedly stepped down from making the documentary in July. At that time, Loveridge used his Tumblr account to leak a teaser trailer for the film, which was later removed. According to an email posted to Loveridge’s site, a representative from Roc Nation claimed “the timing of this leak … screws with everything we’ve been working on”. more..

JVP lashes out at govt. over extravaganza

Nov 6 (Island) The JVP alleged that the govt had spent an exorbitant sum on designing the official website of the CHOGM in Colombo. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that according to the Ministry of Mass Media and Information the govt had spent Rs. 15 million on the CHOGM website instead of allowing state institutions to undertake that task. He said that currently, anyone could get a website designed for a sum below Rs. 100,000, but the govt had spent Rs. 15 million of public funds more..

CHOGM holiday for universities

Nov 6 (DM) The UGC today announced that an eight-day vacation would be given to all universities countrywide starting Saturday, due to requests made by many undergraduates in light of the upcoming CHOGM. UGC Chairman, Professor Kshanika Hirimburegama said the vacation would start on Nov 9 and continue until Nov 17. “The decision was made mainly due to requests by many undergraduates who were more..

New Rs.500 note to mark CHOGM

Nov 6 (Island) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka will issue a commemorative note of the five hundred rupee denomination to mark the 22nd CHOGM. The Bank’s Deputy Superintendent (Currency Division) G.K.K. Gamage said that they would release five million rupees worth of notes to coincide with the CHOGM, which begins on November 15. He said that the decision to mint a five hundred rupee note had been taken by Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. more..

'Karu too, has joined Ranil’s conspiracy'

Nov 6 (SM) The problems faced by the UNP have worsened due to the newly-appointed leadership council, says southern provincial councillor Maithree Gunaratne, who is displeased with Karu Jayasuriya for having accepted the chairmanship of the council. The leadership council would only provide temporary solutions to the party’s problems, and through it, Ranil Wickremesinghe has conspired to demote the UNP to the third political force in the country, Mr. Gunaratne has told Neth FM. more..

Audio: All Ranil’s powers with council

Nov 6 (CG) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella says all the powers which were in the hands of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe are now in the hands of the UNP leadership council. Kiriella said that even the appointment of the UNP Working Committee members and chief organiser post is in the hands of the leadership council. He said that one clause however notes that advice can be sought from the UNP leader but that does not mean more..

Ranil queries what govt. doing for displaced Slave Islanders

Nov 6 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that the residents of 76 of the 323 houses demolished by the UDA in the areas of Glennie Street, Station Lane and Stuarts Street in Slave Island in July 2008 were facing hardships. Making a special statement, Wickremesinghe said the UDA had pledged to give some relief to those residents as per a Court Order. "Still, the residents cannot depend on such pledges because the UDA has a record of breaching the trust of people more..

Karunanidhi slams 'denial' of visa to documentary maker

Nov 6 (PTI) DMK chief M Karunanidhi today described as "cheap tactics" the reported denial of visa to a UK documentary film-maker who had released videos of alleged war-time atrocities against Tamils by the Sri Lankan Army. India had reportedly denied visa to Callum Macrae, whose recent video claims that a woman Tamil TV presenter who had served in the LTTE was executed after being captured by the troops and not during the final battle as claimed by the govt. more..