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This is the beauty of the UNP – Ravi

Nov 10 (SL) With the UNP leadership crisis all but over despite the forming of a leadership council last week which will more or less take over from party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, senior UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake seemed confident the troubles are over and the party can move forward. Karunanayake gave his views on the latest developments and the road ahead for the UNP. Q. With the leadership council now formed is more..

Muslims charge own politicos

Nov 10 (NS) A truth seeking initiative in the form of a Citizens’ Commission set up by an NGO in partnership with three Northern Muslim Organizations pointed out that the resettlement process of Muslims in the war affected areas had raised more issues, with authorities as well as the Muslim politicians having failed to address them satisfactorily. The Law and Society Trust (LST) in its report released recently said that Northern Muslims’ interests have been downgraded by more..

UNP leadership appointments farcical

Nov 10 (SL) Many sceptics were proved right just last week. Many did not expect Ranil Wickremesinghe to go quietly, have a bun and a tea and then leave gracefully. What most did expect Ranil to do was to become firmly entrenched in his thinking as much as he is with his mannerisms, and to thereby frustrate plans to achieve meaningful change within the party. It came as a surprise to many therefore to read that Ranil had decided to step not down but sideways as advised by more..

Discarded Aroos tells his side of the story

Nov 10 (ST) SLC has spent a staggering amount of Rs. 575,000 to conduct a series of inquiries which lead to hand a five year ban on the former women’s cricket team manager A.R.M. Aroos, for accepting Rs. 56,000 from a player. This was evidently disclosed by an SLC source who went on to say that SLC hired four eminently qualified attorneys to conduct the inquiry instead of directing the issue to the disciplinary committee. more..

Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 1st ODI: Preview

Nov 10 (CI) New Zealand's limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka is the last international cricket in the country for 12 months, but even so, the series has yet to attract widespread coverage, thanks in part to the big political event in Colombo. The CHOGM has displaced this series into the outstations, but as a weakened, weathered New Zealand seek to overcome substantial odds, perhaps they will be glad the spin-friendly Premadasa track is not on the itinerary. They may also be buoyed by more..

Dharmasena to officiate in Ashes Tests

Nov 10 (NS) Sri Lanka umpire in the ICC Elite Panel Kumar Dharmasena has been assigned to officiate in three of the five upcoming Ashes Tests Down Under. Dharmasena will stand in the first two Tests at Brisbane and Adelaide and then again in the Boxing Day fourth Test at Melbourne. Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Marais Erasmus of South Africa will also officiate in three of the five Tests during the series. Meanwhile New Zealand’s Bill Bowden dropped from the Elite Panel in June more..

CHOGM to raise gay rights?

Nov 10 (CT) Sri Lankan gay rights activists, who are scheduled to meet a number of Commonwealth leaders, are calling on British PM, David Cameron, to 'set the record straight' of an archaic British law that criminalized homosexuality in Sri Lanka, one and a half century ago. Sherman de Rose, a leading gay rights activist said the local gay and lesbian rights activists would be meeting a number of Heads of States and delegates more..

Most politicos ‘uneducated’ – Dullas

Nov 10 (SL) Government Minister Dullas Alahapperuma says most politicians both in parliament and in provincial councils are educationally unqualified. The Minister speaking at an event last week said that if politicians were picked on their educational qualifications then some of his colleagues in parliament would need to step down. He noted that usually in universities there are no protests or opposition when a student leader is elected. more..

AG rejects new Ayurveda Act

Nov 10 (SL) The Attorney General (AG) has rejected a new Ayurveda Act, Ayurveda Commissioner Palitha Weerakoon said. He said that the proposed new Act had sought more powers to take legal action on those violating Ayurveda laws. The AG had proposed that instead of new laws the existing laws be amended. Meanwhile, Weerakoon said that proposals have been sought to ban newspaper advertisements using the Ayurveda name. He said that a ban will also be sought on more..

British FCO prevents group of Conservative MPs coming during CHOGM

Nov 10 (Island) With the CHOGM a few days away, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has intervened to prevent a group of dissenting Conservative MPs from attending the confab, sources said. Sources claimed that six MPs would have taken a position on Sri Lanka contrary to that of UK Premier David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague thereby undermining the overall British strategy. more..

Susantha expects necessary approvals for Waterfront Project "shortly"

Nov 10 (Island) John Keells Chairman Susantha Ratnayake has expressed confidence that the necessary approvals for setting up the conglomerate’s Waterfront Project which will include a casino run by a foreign operator to the highest international standards "will be forthcoming shortly." Ratnayake had a section on the Waterfront Project in the statement accompanying JKH’s interim results for the second quarter of the financial year 2013/14 as well as the first half of more..

SEC to take SLC to court

Nov 10 (SL) The State Engineering Corporation (SEC) has decided to file legal action against Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) over its failure to pay Rs 530 million for the construction of the Pallakalle cricket grounds and upgrading of the Kettarama cricket stadium. SEC Chairman Jagath Perera said that the construction work on the two sites had been completed in 2011, ahead of the cricket world cup. He said that the time period given to SLC to pay its dues had lapsed and as a result a more..

Calls for Key to boycott Sri Lanka trip

Nov 10 (Stuff) Esther was at home, preparing a meal, when the bomb fell. When she awoke from the chaos, ears ringing, her left leg was gone. It was only the beginning of her horror. Over the next three years she would be forced to march for kilometres, from 'safe' place to place, with only tree branches for support. She witnessed dozens of people die, many blown apart in systematic bomb drops on ethnic Tamils in the last few months more..

Madness at CHOGM media centre

Nov 10 (Island) With less than a week for the CHOGM, the media arrangements appeared chaotic and even went against the own guidelines set by its taskforce headed by Media Ministry Secretary Charitha Herath. A radio reporter was told to wait for nearly two hours to pick up her media badge on the first day the CHOGM 2013 media accreditation office opened Thursday. Media institutions have also been turned back saying all individuals must call over personally. more..

Gota invites CHOGM leaders to visit Jaffna

Nov 10 (CT) Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, said that visiting Heads of State/Govt, who will be in Colombo next week for the CHOGM, will be able to see for themselves what the govt has done for the North in terms of development and human rights issues inthe post May 2009 era. "The visiting CHOGM leaders should go to Jaffna and other areas in the North and see for themselves what the govt has done in terms of development and resolving human rights issues, more..

Punishing the diligent?

Nov 10 (CT) IGP, N.K. Illangakoon, transferred all the 23 officers other than the Director of the Organized Crime and Corruption Prevention Division of the Police Headquarters in less that 24 hours following their raid of a gaming centre at the Salaka building in Union Place. Police officers, who raided the gaming centre which was run with the blessings of the politicos and officers, have been transferred out of the Western Province. more..

Doctors not informed of new regulation

Nov 10 (SL) Govt doctors say they are yet to be informed of the new regulations to prevent stickers from being pasted on the front screen of vehicles. Vehicles driven by doctors carry a special sticker on the windscreen, but under the new regulations those stickers or badges will be banned from being pasted on windscreens. President of the Govt Doctors’ Union Dr Anurudhdha Padeniya said that govt doctors have not received any notification in writing requesting them to remove more..

CPF 2013 launches with opening ceremony in Galle

Nov 10 (Island) The Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) 2013 will be officially launched today at a glittering opening ceremony at Galle Fort presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of The Commonwealth, and Sir Anand Satyanand, Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation, and attended by 1000 delegates and invited guests. The CPF is the largest gathering of civil society organisations on the Commonwealth’s calendar. more..

‘Commonwealth role goes much beyond Lankan rights violations’

Nov 10 (Hindu) The role and relevance of the Commonwealth goes much beyond the issue of human rights in Sri Lanka, said Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma. He said that it was crucial for leaders of the small states (countries with a population of 1.5 million or less), which constitute 31 out of the 53 member states of the Commonwealth, to participate in the CHOGM. Commonwealth provides assistance to these more..

Cameron to meet Wigneswaran on 15 Nov

Nov 10 (CT) British PM, David Cameron, will meet Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, on 15 Nov in Jaffna. Cameron will arrive in Jaffna after attending the inaugural session of the CHOGM in Colombo, informed sources said. The meeting between the NPC Chief Minister and the British Premier will take place at the Jaffna Public Library Auditorium. Cameron is expected to be briefed on the latest political developments in the North as well as on the unresolved more..

Jaffna university closed till Dec

Nov 10 (CG) The Jaffna university has been closed till next month and students in the hostel have been told to go home tomorrow. According to students in the university, notices have been pasted at the university premises saying the university will be closed from Monday. The students have been informed that the university will re-open again on December 2. While a clear reason has not been given to close the university, some students are of the view it has something to do with more..

Haggling over UK-SL summit

Nov 10 (ST) President Rajapaksa’s gift for Prince Charles’ 65th birthday, which he will celebrate in Colombo, will be a fine collection of kavun and kokis. Prince Charles will arrive in Colombo by a special flight to inaugurate the CHOGM that begins on Friday. He is booked to stay at the boutique hotel Tintagel, the former residence of the Bandaranaike family. The suspension of Fiji from membership is one of the issues up for discussion. more..

UK to seek commitment

Nov 10 (CG) The British Govt is to push Sri Lanka to demonstrate its commitment to Commonwealth values when British PM David Cameron visits the country for the CHOGM. British High Commissioner John Rankin said that as British PM David Cameron has stated, he is coming to Sri Lanka because of the importance Britain attaches to the Commonwealth, irrespective of where CHOGM will be held. He noted that Britain is a strong supporter of the Commonwealth as a force for good, more..

CHOGM participation may isolate Congress in Tamil Nadu

Nov 10 (TOI) The Centre's decision to send a delegation headed by external affairs minister Salman Khurshid to represent India at the CHOGM in Sri Lanka on November 15 and 16 may have its political fallout in Tamil Nadu, where the Congress' position remains untenable. DMK president M Karunanidhi, who has been giving confusing signals about his party's relationship with the Congress, on Saturday welcomed PM Manmohan Singh's decision to abstain from the meet saying more..

UNP crisis: Sajith’s bid to oust Ranil backfires

Nov 10 (ST) A six-week long campaign by so-called reformists of the main opposition UNP to oust their leader Ranil Wickremesinghe appears to have ended where it began. He continues as president of the party and retains his position as the Leader of the Opposition. Main casualty seems his detractor, the man who spearheaded the drive to oust him, MP Sajith Premadasa, son of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa more..

Big corporates lack export hunger

Nov 10 (NS) The head of international management consultancy firm, MTI Consulting, Hilmy Cader claims that one of the reasons why Sri Lanka does not perform well in its export industry is because the island’s big corporates lack hunger for exports. Addressing a forum organized by the Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka, Cader analyzing the top 40 CSE capitalized companies said that out of the top 40, only three companies have a significant dependence on International income more..

China to benefit from PM's absence

Nov 10 (DC) India may end up ceding space to countries like China in the island nation with PM Manmohan Singh not attending the CHOGM in Sri Lanka. Earlier this year, Sri Lanka had felt let down by India after it voted in favour of a US-sponsored resolution censuring its neighbour at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva for its human rights record. The Sri Lankan govt had been hoping that the Indian PM would not embarrass it by skipping the summit, to which it is attaching great prestige. more..

Law College rocked in scandal

Nov 10 (NS) The removal of the Principal of the Law College Dr. W.D. Rodrigo from office pending a probe by the Council of Legal Education was the result of serious allegations of misconduct against the Principal including issues regarding exam results of his son Oshada. The Council, headed by CJ Mohan Peiris, has appointed Nigel Hatch PC as acting Principal. Sri Lanka Law College is the country’s only accredited more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Nov 10 (ST) Last Monday morning around 10, the Nelun Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre was a hive of activity and the buzz was when Britain’s ‘Prince Charles’ arrived at the venue. It was in the form of M.R.K. Lenagala, the External Affairs Ministry’s UN Division DG. The fashionably head shaven young diplomat ironically had just last year been unceremoniously sent packing from serving Sri Lanka at the Court of St. James in Britain more..

Sri Lanka hardens stand on pact to lease oil storage to IOC

Nov 10 (PTI) Hardening its stance, Sri Lanka has refused to sign a decade old agreement to lease the Trincomalee strategic oil storages to a unit of Indian Oil Corp (IOC) and is blocking the Indian firm's plans to set up a bitumen plant in the island nation. In 2003, Lanka IOC - a subsidiary of state-owned IOC - bought one-third share in Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd which operates the China Bay tank farm. more..

‘Foreign media free to come as we have nothing to hide’

Nov 10 (Island) There will be no restrictions on the foreign media to cover CHOGM 2013 in Colombo, Charitha Herath, Secretary, Ministry of Mass Media and Information, assured last week. "We have nothing to hide. They can come. They can write. They must report on what they see. Let them see what this government has done. We have rid the country of terrorism. We have established peace. We expect over 1,000 more..

On our toes, ready and all set for CHOGM

Nov 10 (ST) The CHOGM 2013 will be the most publicised Sri Lankan event with live coverage to all five continents. CHOGM Secretariat said activities of the meeting will begin today with the opening of the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) in Galle, and will continue till the 14th at Hikkaduwa, and the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) in Hambantota also from November 10 to 14. The CYF that meets every two years, will bring young more..

A Truth Commission with legal teeth

Nov 10 (NS) Truth and Reconciliation Commission - which is to be appointed by the government with the aim of addressing issues related to the three decade long conflict – will be vested with certain judicial powers in terms of addressing grievances of all stakeholders of the problem. The court-like Commission will be in line with the model adopted in post-Apartheid South Africa and will assess all the war-related issues with a comprehensive more..

Cameron watches Channel-4 video

Nov 10 (Telegraph) David Cameron said Sri Lanka's president has "serious questions" to answer about alleged war crimes committed by his regime, as he prepared to attend a CHOGM on the island. The PM sought to increase pressure on Mahinda Rajapaksa to hold an independent inquiry into the brutal final months of the 25-year civil war with the separatist Tamil Tigers. He spoke out after watching what he described as a "chilling" more..

Only Immigration Controller can grant visas

Nov 10 (CT) President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), Upul Jayasuriya, blamed the govt for not granting visas to the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) delegation. He said: "The BASL, in collaboration with the International Bar Association (IBL), of which the BASL is a member was organizing a seminar on 'Commonwealth Values and the Role of the Legal Profession' more..

CHOGM: Manmohan tells Rajapaksa he is not coming

Nov 10 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday sent a letter of regret to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, explaining why he is not attending the Commonwealth summit in Colombo next week. The letter, whose contents were not disclosed, was sent following the UPA govt's decision to scale down the level of India's participation at the Nov 15-17 CHOGM in Colombo. more..

Australia and NZ MPs released after being detained in Sri Lanka

Nov 10 (SMH) Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon has been released from the custody of Sri Lankan govt officials and allowed to leave the country. She was not charged, neither formally deported, though the Sri Lankan govt maintains she and the New Zealand MP Jan Logie broke visa laws, a charge Ms Rhiannon denies."They did not require a statement from us, and we were given back our passports after about three hours in detention," she said. more..

PM's decision proves he is no longer India's sole arbiter on foreign relations

Nov 10 (NIE) The broth of diplomacy could turn out to be a noxious concoction made of “scale of dragon; tooth of wolf; witches’ mummy; and maw and gulf” if the pot is stirred sans care and caution. Throw in a dose of dilemma, and diplomacy is certain to cause undiplomatic trauma—the current mot juste for the Indian diplomatic community’s state of mind. For the past few weeks, PM Manmohan Singh is under tremendous pressure to choose between pleasant pastures of more..

Religous tensions: Muslims petition President

Nov 10 (Island) A large number of Muslims have requested President Rajapaksa to give leadership towards consolidating the unity and friendship amongst the religious communities in the country and to put an end to religious tensions being orchestrated by groups possibly on foreign pay rolls. A delegation from the Sri Lanka Muslim Assembly(SLMA) met Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, at the Presidential Secretariat on Wednesday and apprised him of the more..

WikiLeaks: Navi Pillay faced serious opposition within the UN on Sri Lanka

Nov 10 (CT) “Kyung-wha Kang, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights strongly supported the Congressional request for reporting on Sri Lanka, seeing it as a sign of high-level attention to these issues. She noted that High Commissioner Pillay has publicly called for an international investigation of what seem like credible accusations of violations of humanitarian and human rights law. Within the UN system, Kang said that more..