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Rs 10,000 penalty for sending unsolicited SMS

Nov 19 (CT) Mount Lavinia Additional Magistrate, Praharsha Ranasinghe, ordered a company to pay compensation amounting to Rs 10,000, based on charges of mentally distressing an individual, who had been receiving unsolicited text messages. In a complaint lodged with the Wellawatte Police on 10 Nov 2010, the complainant, Chandrasekera Wijetileke, had stated that he had been driven into mental torment owing to the text messages he had been regularly receiving via his mobile phone. more..

CBK refuses to comment on Sri Lanka foreign policy

Nov 19 (DM) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said she did not want to comment on the foreign policy of the present govt and insisted that there were no allegations of human rights abuses “when my govt was in office”. “There was never an allegation of human rights violations against my govt. I don’t want to comment on how this govt must react because it would attack me and castigate me because they are not willing to more..

Samathuva Makkal Katchi flays Centre for attending CHOGM

Nov 19 (Hindu) The All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi has condemned the Union govt for participating in the CHOGM. A resolution adopted at the party’s general council meeting held here on Sunday said the participation of Minister Salman Kurshid ignoring the two resolutions adopted in the State Assembly and the sentiments of Tamils was condemnable. The party also flayed the Centre for failing to show adequate concern for the plight of the TN fishermen, who faced frequent attacks more..

Drug companies undersupply Health Ministry

Nov 19 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena last Saturday revealed that some bidders, who won Ministry tenders, had often tried to take the Ministry for a ride. For instance, when the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) placed an order for 100 million tablets, the company would deliver only 75 million, but bill the ministry for 100 million tablets. Although he was determined to have pictorial warnings printed on cigarette packets, to discourage smoking, tobacco industry owners in the US and UK more..

Cameron lambasted

Nov 19 (DN) The British PM during the CHOGM had conducted himself in a manner unbecoming of a Head of Govt and would do well to practice what he preaches, said several intellectuals and professionals yesterday lashing out at the unacceptable conduct of British PM David Cameron during a major international event. Referring to his claims of human rights violations by Sri Lanka, UGC Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama more..

Health Ministry biggest job creator

Nov 19 (CT) "The Ministry of Health had created the highest number of opportunities for employment, compared to the other ministries, the Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena, said. Addressing an event held in Kurunegala last week, Sirisena noted, 1,046 medical interns will be given their letters of appointment on 26 Nov, while 6,025 people will be recruited to be trained as nurses. In addition, 3,000 trained nurses will also be appointed on 17 Dec, to serve in the govt sector. more..

Maiden session of UNP Leadership Council postponed

Nov 19 (CT) UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, said the maiden session of the Leadership Council that was to be held at the Party Headquarters, Sirikotha, yesterday, had to be postponed as the Chairman of the said Council, Karu Jayasuriya, was indisposed. Responding to a query from a journalist, as to when the maiden session will be held, Attanayake said he was not in a position to say when the session would be reconvened as they were awaiting the more..

Video: No restrictions on patrol boats gifted to Sri Lanka

Nov 19 (SMH) Australia's agreement with Sri Lanka for the handover of two patrol boats for border protection puts no restrictions on how they are used or limits on the weapons that can be fitted, Fairfax Media has confirmed. The document governing the gift of the two Bay Class patrol boats is a 2009 memorandum of understanding for co-operation on people smuggling, which makes no mention of the use of military assets. more..

Queen’s Hotel Kandy closes public bars to preserve sanctity

Nov 19 (FT) The Directors of the Kandy Hotels Co announced that it will be closing down the public bars of the Queen’s Hotel, Kandy with immediate effect. The Queen’s Hotel is supporting the President’s vision to ensure a sacred area in the vicinity of the Temple of the Tooth Relic. This decision was taken in line with President Rajapaksa’s vision to honour one of the most sacred sites in SL. Queen’s Hotel is in close proximity of the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, more..

Cameron’s presence better than Harper’s absence

Nov 19 (G&M) Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims his absence at this year’s Commonwealth summit made a difference, that Canada’s empty seat at the table was the best way to register Ottawa’s opposition to Sri Lanka’s appalling human rights record. You know who made more of a difference? David Cameron. Shortly after the British Prime Minister arrived in Colombo, he travelled north to Jaffna, the crucible of a brutal three-decades-long civil war, which ended in 2009. more..

Heroin importer to be released

Nov 19 (CT) Colombo High Court Judge delivered the order, releasing the suspect who was charged for importing a stock of heroin from Pakistan that had been concealed in a container of potatoes, on the instructions of the Attorney General. The order was made yesterday. AG had informed the Court that he would not be taking legal action against the main suspect, and therefore, the indictment should be withdrawn. more..

High class gambling den raided again

Nov 19 (DM) Nine people were arrested by the police when a high class gambling den run at Union Place, near the Town Hall was raided again yesterday evening. The Slave Island Police Anti Corruption Unit said among those arrested was the manager of the gambling den which was closed after the police anti-crimes unit raided it on November 4. Among the others taken into custody were businessmen and high ranking government sector officers. The manager of the club and 45 others who were more..

CBF adds glamour to 'brand' Sri Lanka

Nov 19 (DN) The Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) in Colombo held last week added glamour and grandeur, with the largest number of participants in the history seen at the Business Forum. This event saw the highest number of participants not only from Commonwealth countries but also non-Commonwealth countries. The event attracted foreign investments into the country and many countries especially countries in the African continent inviting local expertise in different more..

I was right to go to summit says Cameron

Nov 19 (BBC) David Cameron has defended his decision to attend the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, saying his duty was to "deal with, not ignore" controversial issues. In a statement to Parliament, the prime minister said a process of "justice, closure and healing" was needed in the country after decades of civil war. Sri Lanka must begin an inquiry into alleged war crimes by March or face international intervention, he said. more..

Divide and Rule: Season Two

Nov 19 (DM) There are a lot of things that David Cameron has not done. He is dragging his feet on the Chilcot Report. He has not thanked President Mahinda Rajapaksa for making it possible to visit Jaffna by ridding the peninsula and indeed the entire country of the terrorist threat. He has not issued an ultimatum to Barack Obama regarding the closure of the USA’s premier torture chamber, Guantanamo Bay. There are probably other things, but these are major issues. more..

Winners and losers of the CHOGM fiesta

Nov 19 (DM) The CHOGM carnival is over. It commenced with a bang but ended in a murmur. What is left is to hold the postmortem. According to the series of events that occurred all we have to say is “It’s no use crying over spilt summits.” The number one citizen who received the maximum advantage is President Rajapaksa. He received the Commonwealth crown for two years. Whoever is appointed ‘Chairperson-in-Office’, Queen Elizabeth II is the lifelong head of the Commonwealth. more..

'PC System the best political mechanism to solve national question'

Nov 19 (DM) Minister Douglas Devananda remains disillusioned about the electoral defeat at the NPC Poll. Mr. Devananda, the leader of EPDP, is a strong advocate of the Provincial Council (PC) system. Also, EPDP is a militant group that laid down arms soon after the introduction of the system in 1987 under the Indo-Lanka Accord. In a recent interview, he speaks out his sentiments on the elections and the way forward for his party. more..

Sharma defends Cameron

Nov 19 (Island) The Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, on Sunday defended British PM David Cameron, saying that the latter had not abdicated his duties by the CHOGM, which concluded in Colombo that day. Answering a question, during his last press conference at the BMICH, Sharma said it was not correct to accuse PM Cameron of having roamed without even attending CHOGM’s executive sessions. more..

CHOGM and beyond

Nov 19 (SL) The much looked forward to Commonwealth summit was overshadowed by human rights issues last week as key Commonwealth leaders including British PM David Cameron insisting on accountability. Side events connected to the summit, including the Commonwealth Youth Forum and the Commonwealth People’s Forum, opened in grand style in Hambantota and Galle respectively. more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 27% in October

Nov 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 27.9% to 102,805 in October 2013 from a year earlier, helped by surging arrivals from China, Maldives, India and Russia, official data showed. Up to October arrivals were up 16.8% to 904,015. Sri Lanka will have to draw about 296,000 visitors in November and December, or up 29% from a year earlier, to reach a targeted 1.2 million visitors for 2013. Arrivals have been at or slightly above more..

Cameron assures Uthayan management its concerns will be relayed to SL Govt.

Nov 19 (ST) Visiting British PM David Cameron, who was the first Head of Government to visit the Jaffna peninsula since the country gained Independence in 1948, on Friday assured journalists and management of the Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna that he will convey their concerns about safety and take up issues of media freedom with the Sri Lankan Govt. The assurance came during a 20 minute meeting with E. Saravanapavanan, more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka to expand existing free trade agreement

Nov 19 (IN) In a major development, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are going to expand the scope of their existing free trade agreement (FTA) in a bid to deepen bilateral trade between the two countries. To this effect, a ministerial joint economic commission (JEC) is due to hold a meeting in Colombo on Nov 27-28.“We are going to include a chapter on services sector and investment in the existing FTA and in addition, the existing more..

Video: Ampara tense as police fire tear gas

Nov 19 (DM) A tense situation is reported to have arisen along the Ampara - Kalmunai road after police riot squad fired tear gas on protesting villagers in order to disperse them a short while ago. Around 500 villagers burnt tyres and organised a hartal which caused the road to be shut down for close to 36 hours. A clash between Special Task Force (STF) personnel and villagers is said to have caused the unrest. more..

Murali is right to say that- Cameron

Nov 19 (DM) British PM David Cameron has said Sri Lanka’s former cricketing star Muttiah Muralitharan was right in saying that as a proud Sri Lankan he was keen to paint a fair picture of Sri Lanka. “What he wants, as a proud Sri Lankan is to ensure that a fair picture is painted of his country, and he is right to say that,” Mr. Cameron said when responding to a question asked by a fellow lawmaker in the British Parliament. more..

Rural electrification: 670 projects near completion

Nov 19 (Island) The govt has invested nearly Rs. 3.7 billion to complete 670 rural electrification projects and on the instructions of Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, CEB had taken measures to complete and vest those projects in the people. 670 projects include 89 in Northern province, 46 in Western province, 96 in Eastern province, 63 in Uva, 99 in Southern province, 153 in Central province and 124 in Sabaragamuwa province. more..

UNP apologises to BBS over Sirikotha clash

Nov 19 (AD) The UNP apologised to the Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) today over the clash that took place at Sirikotha last week while the UNP also seek an apology from the BBS for the incident. The UNP apologized in particular for any harassment that Galaboda Atte Gnanasara Thero and the BBS supporters had to endure in the tense situation that arose during the clash. The BBS is currently engaged in a protest outside the Sirikotha more..

CHOGM: Winners and losers

Nov 19 (CT) At the recently concluded CHOGM, Mauritius's loss has been Malta's gain. After the Indian Ocean Island snubbed the host and boycotted the biannual summit held in Colombo, Commonwealth leaders on Sunday picked Malta, a tiny South European country as the venue for the next CHOGM in 2015. Malta, which hosted the CHOGM in 2005 and was the chair of office from 2005 to 2007, is no stranger to the Commonwealth. The boycott of the summit by the PM of more..

Genocide, refugees and an inconvenient truth about Harper’s boycott

Nov 19 (CT) In 2009, I was amongst thousands of Toronto’s Tamil community that protested against the war in Sri Lanka. We braved the bitter cold and formed human chains across downtown to desperately turn people’s attention to the carnage of chemical weapons unleashed on our families and communities. While most Torontonians celebrated mother’s day, we occupied the Gardiner Expressway when over a thousand civilians were killed in 24 hours. more..

IMF sees stable 6.5% growth for Sri Lanka this year, 2014

Nov 19 (Reuters) IMF expects Sri Lanka's economy to grow at 6.5% this year and in 2014, less than the central bank's forecast, a senior Fund official said, and remains concerned about medium-term risks from high budget deficits. Naoyuki Shinohara, deputy managing director of the IMF, said measures taken by the govt to achieve macroeconomic stability were commendable, but it still needed to build a policy buffer to more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.2%

Nov 19 (LBO) Stocks closed lower with tobacco and plantation stocks losing ground despite strong foreign buying. The All Share Price Index closed 15.33 points lower at 5,809.15, down 0.26%. The S&P SL20 closed 13.62 points higher at 3,213.93, up 0.43%. Turnover was 603.23 million rupees, down from 936.44 million rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 108 firms closing in the red against 54 gainers. HNB closed 50 cents higher at 145.00 rupees with a 213 million rupee off market transaction more..

NEC suggests one paper for G-5 exam

Nov 19 (Island) The National Education Commission (NEC) has handed over a report to President Rajapaksa, with a copy to Minister Bandula Gunawardena, recommending that a single question paper be used in the Grade Five Scholarship Exam, which currently has two papers. NEC Chairman Prof. Lakshman Jayathilake said candidates would be allowed more than one hour to answer the new question paper. He added that his commission had made recommendations in the report more..

David Cameron 'breached protocol' in SL

Nov 19 (BBC) Sri Lanka's govt has accused David Cameron of breaching protocol on his visit to the country, during which he raised concerns over alleged human rights abuses against Tamils. A senior source told the BBC that the PM had "brushed aside" an official and had failed to acknowledge a dance reception. They added that they "expected better". But Mr Cameron told MPs on Monday that his visit had succeeded in more..

SL's retreat into language of conspiracy

Nov 19 (BBC) The last time I came to Sri Lanka the journey from the international airport into the capital, Colombo, took more than three hours. The taxi pulled out into a late monsoon downpour, its windscreen wipers feebly slapping at the sheet of water. With roadside culverts overflowing, traffic slowed to a crawl and pedestrians, their sarongs and saris hitched up, took shelter where they could. How different it was this time. We were in the heart of the city centre well within an hour courtesy of more..

Action only against gambling den managers: Police

Nov 19 (DM) SSP Ajith Rohana said the Police would take legal action against the Colombo 7 gambling den managers but no action would be taken against the owners of the complex in which the illegal den was located. “We are not interested in who the owners of the complex are. But we will file action against the managers who conducted the operation at the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court on Nov 25,” he said. 9 suspects arrested during the raid yesterday were released on police bail. more..

CMC irked by NGO getting credit for its project

Nov 19 (Island) Colombo Municipal Council accused a NGO, involved in a weekly counseling programme, at its Child Resource Centre (CRC) at Nagaswatte, Kirulapone, of ‘stealing the show’ by misleading the British High Commission and a visiting Royal into believing that it was one of their programmes. Home Start, an NGO which visited the Resource Centre once a week for counseling, had misled the British HC more..

Karzai telephones Mahinda

Nov 19 (CG) In a phone call to President Rajapaksa this morning, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai congratulated Sri Lanka and President Rajapaksa for the assumption of the Commonwealth Chair-in-Office. While offering his best wishes to both President Rajapaksa and the people of Sri Lanka, President Karzai praised Sri Lanka’s ability in improving many social indicators and achieving such rapid development. The CHOGM 2013 took place in Colombo over the past weekend more..

'SL has to be supported and encouraged'

Nov 19 (Island) The Foreign Residents’ Association (FRA) of Sri Lanka, has said that Sri Lanka is the only country that has comprehensively overcome the spectre of terrorism and should be supported and encouraged in its reconciliation efforts. The FRA is made up largely of British citizens, who have settled down in Sri Lanka. In a statement released yesterday it added that since the conflict ended four years ago, there had not been a single terrorist inspired incident in the country. more..

‘Najib’s CHOGM trip – to help Sri Lanka’

Nov 19 (FMT) Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainuddin today justified Malaysia’s participation in the CHOGM summit as a method to resolve the problem plaguing the island state. “Malaysia is part of a Commonwealth committee working together to push for balanced development. We have agreed to set this agenda as part of SL’s post 2015 development.” “It is about CHOGM in Sri Lanka not CHOGM on Sri Lanka,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka: Engaging the Diaspora

Nov 19 (TD) The 23rd CHOGM opened in Sri Lanka on Nov 15. Canadian PM Stephen Harper has decided to boycott, citing governance shortcomings in the host country. Indian PM Manmohan Singh made a late decision to stay away also. Given that India is Sri Lanka’s immediate neighbor and an emerging global power, Singh’s decision to stay home was significant. British PM David Cameron has come under intense fire for his decision to attend CHOGM 2013, but has said that more..

Delta Corp exploring Sri Lanka’s ‘emerging gaming market’

Nov 19 (AD) The largest gaming and entertainment company in India, Delta Corp says it is exploring the “emerging Sri Lankan gaming market” which his poised for rapid growth and will be looking to build a casino resort in property it has already acquired. Jaydev Modi, Chairman, Delta Corp Limited, stated that the group aims to make its presence felt in places like Sikkim and across the border in Nepal and Sri Lanka. “We have already acquired property for the casino resort in Sri Lanka more..