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Prime Minister's invitation to Maithri’s son

Sep 15 (SO) Thousands of people paid their last respects to the mother of Minister Maithipala Sirisena last week. Among them were President Rajapaksa and PM D.M. Jayaratne. The entire Cabinet of Ministers and several MPs were among those who attended the funeral. The PM paid his last respects to the SLFA General Secretary’s mother on the day of the cremation. When the PM sat down and offered his condolences to Maithri, he saw the Minister’s son nearby. more..

RW’s ticket to unchallenged leadership

Sep 15 (Island) A provincial council election can be expected to generate some heat only during the last week. So we are now upon that heat generating final week. And the only heat that will be generated will be due to the infighting between ruling party candidates for preference votes. A telling indictment of the whole electoral system is that almost all the violence in this election campaign has been due to candidates of the ruling party fighting one another for preference votes. more..

After the Colts war, another big battle looms

Sep 15 (ST) Conflict is not something that is confined to only Homo sapiens. Conflict is common to all living beings — big, small or in micro forms. Yet, the difference between the man and the beast also is defined at this point. The human kind through travails of time have grown into a being who could understand the repercussions of conflict and the damage it could bring in and at the same time has learned how to use a thing more..

From the Floor: Get them with

Sep 15 (NS) Parliament is not sitting this week, but yet all 225 members from the newest MP to the Speaker are experiencing busy days. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa had been away from the country to attend the 59th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC 2013) held at Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg. He was accompanied by Leader of the House Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and TNA Batticaloa MP Pon Selvarasa. Theme of the conference, more..

Serene Pavilions directors restrained by Court

Sep 15 (NS) By an interim order, the Commercial High Court of Colombo has restrained three individuals, Nipuna Lokuhetty, Gamini Nettikumara and Wasantha Galagoda from functioning as directors of the Serene Pavilions hotel which is embroiled in an ownership controversy at the moment. It is learnt that one Sumith Guruge was the petitioner whilst a proxy of Anura Lokuhetty who is the CEO and Deputy Chairman of Serene Pavilions was present at the hearing on Friday. more..

Top labour union opposes attempts to exploit labour at BOI zones

Sep 15 (ST) A top labour union has protested to Sri Lankan authorities over attempts to allow companies to, what it calls, ‘exploit labour. “We are totally opposed to this approach of allowing companies to exploit labour on two counts. One, it allows inhuman and unfair labour practices with heavy exploitation. Two, such approach will not in any way benefit economic growth and development such needed in this country,” more..

AHS students fight for four year degree

Sep 15 (NS) Students of the faculty of Allied Health Sciences, at the University of Peradeniya, are engaged in an ongoing protest against the four year Allied Health Science (AHS) special degree being reduced into a three year general degree. Allied Health Sciences Student Union (AHSSU) accuses the Ministry of Higher Education and the UGC of downgrading the degree. Higher Education Minister S B Dissanayake stated that he agrees with the demands of the students. more..

CWE fire an unsolved crime

Sep 15 (NS) Police are yet to make headway into investigations on the fire on the seventh floor of the CWE at Vauxhall Street in July. SP Budhika Siriwardena said that no arrests were made on the incident and investigations and inquiries were ongoing. Although, the Trade Ministry Media Unit was completely gutted in the fire, with the damage estimated at Rupees 30 million, officials attached to the department cited that they too were unaware of status of the ongoing investigation. more..

Wigneswaran irks TNA leadership

Sep 15 (NS) A fresh crisis is simmering among the ‘top brass’ of the TNA, with TNA Spokesman Suresh Premchandran distancing the party from the alleged ‘anti-Indian remarks’ made by its Chief Ministerial Candidate C.V. Wigneswaran. In an interview with The Hindu Wigneswaran had alleged that Tamil Nadu politicians exploiting Sri Lankan Tamil issues for their own political gains to the detriment of Tamils in the North. more..

Customs seizes four containers

Sep 15 (CT) Hot on the heels of the last month's detection of 262 kg of heroin by the Customs inside a consignment of ceramic ware and grease canisters, the Customs has seized four containers of plaster of paris imported from Pakistan on suspicion that another attempt has been made to smuggle in illicit drugs. The four 20-foot containers had been held up by the police, pending further investigation, after receiving a tip-off on a large-scale smuggling racket of heroin along with plaster of paris. more..

BBS threatens to resume anti-Halal campaign

Sep 15 (ST) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is to revive its campaign against the ‘Halal certification’ process on the basis the Government has failed to keep to its promises on this issue. “We stopped our campaign against the Halal certification process after the Government assured it would look into the issue and appointed a Parliamentary committee. Our members also testified before the committee, but no action has been taken,” BBS Secretary Ven Galaboadaththe Gnanasara said. more..

'We do not support a separate state'

Sep 15 (SL) The TNA Chief Ministerial aspirant for the Northern Provincial Council former Judge of the Supreme Court Justice C.V. Wigneswaran said that his party is confident of winning the vote if a free and fair election is held and added that the TNA could bring a ray of hope into the lives of the Tamils. “In the fields of economy and development we intend receiving benefits from the state as well as the international community. more..

Rajapaksa govt begins to feel the heat

Sep 15 (SL) It is an age old adage that goes on to say that you reap what you sow and for the Mahinda govt this is now slowly, but surely becoming a reality. The govt is now being questioned on its actions past and present by the international community which is sending warning signals of what lies ahead. No Sri Lankan would support any external interference in the functions of the country, but it all depends on the actions of the government in power, its policies and the honouring of more..

Marvan in line for top coaching job

Sep 15 (NS) Former Sri Lanka captain and present batting coach Marvan Atapattu is tipped to take over as head coach of the Sri Lanka cricket team when the contract of current coach Graham Ford expires at the end of January next year.Atapattu, 42, was appointed batting coach in April 2011 ahead of Sri Lanka’s tour to England. He captained Sri Lanka in 18 Tests and 63 ODIs between 2002 and 2006 in a 17-year international career that saw him represent his country in 90 Tests and 268 ODIs. more..

Depositors trapped in double game

Sep 15 (ST) When her husband died of a heart attack in 2004, Ms. J, who wished to remain unnamed in this article, received a life insurance payout. “He was a doctor,” she related last week. “His death came as a terrible shock to us. My younger son was just two-and-a-half years old. I have two children.” “I had been a nurse but I retired early, making use of a half-pension scheme offered by the govt,” she said. “We went abroad, more..

Polls Chief gets tough

Sep 15 (SL) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has decided not to gazette the election results of independent groups and minor political parties who had failed to declare their assets by last week. Additional Commissioner R.M.A. Ratnayake said that all recognized political parties had declared their assets ahead of the Sept 21 PC elections. However he said independent groups and minor political parties had not met the deadline which expired last Thursday. more..

Weliweriya shooting: Police agree to finalise probe before Sunday

Sep 15 (ST) Police assured that all investigations into the Weliweriya’s shooting incident would be concluded before next Sunday. The assurance was given by Gampaha’s ASP Chandana Kodithuwakku when Ven. Theripehe Siridhamma Thera, the chief monk who is spearheading the clean water campaign in Rathupaswela, went to the Weliweriya police to inquire about the investigations. The chief monk was accompanied by a few lawyers and representatives of Rathupaswala villagers more..

Rs. 1.2 billion for BMWs, Defender jeeps for CHOGM

Sep 15 (ST) The Govt will spend more than Rs. 1.2 billion to import 40 luxury BMW cars and 60 Defender jeeps for the upcoming CHOGM. While the cars are for use by heads of state or govt, the new Defender Jeeps will be for security details. At the end of the summit, the vehicles would be sold by public auction to recover the money spent on them. Several ministers have appealed to President that the BMWs be given to them as official vehicles. more..

PC poll: Political parties wrap up campaign on Wednesday

Sep 15 (Island) President Rajapaksa and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will wrap the PC polls campaign with a series of rallies on Wednesday, when campaigning officially ends at midnight. The election to the three PCs will be held on Sept 21. The President will address a political rally – the final in the Northern province in support of UPFA candidates — in the Mullaitivu district at the public esplanade today at 3 pm, party sources said. He is also scheduled to address a meeting in more..

Postal vote applications of 344 teachers rejected

Sep 15 (CT) A large number of teachers have been deprived of the right to postal vote, despite following the correct procedure during the process of application, the Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU) alleged. Accordingly, 223 teachers belonging to the Mahawa Education Zone, 68 teachers belonging to the Nawula Education zone, 13 teachers of the Kuliyapitiya education division and 40 teachers of the St. Bernadine College of the Polgahawela division have been deprived of postal voting. more..

'James Packers Casino business in Sri Lanka illegal'

Sep 15 (Island) The Australian Casino King James Packer has no valid licence to operate his gaming business in Sri Lanka, an opposition legislator charged. Harsha de Silva MP and economist, said that cabinet approval did not make Packer’s casino legal since he had to obtain approval from a Casino Regulatory Agency established through an Act of Parliament, which the govt had failed to do. more..

Ring, ring on crossing: You will be arrested and fined

Sep 15 (ST) Those who use mobile phones while crossing the road will be arrested and prosecuted with immediate effect, police warned yesterday. A senior police officer said the decision came after a survey conducted by the police revealed that there were number of accidents caused due to the negligence of pedestrians who used mobile phones on the roads. He said such pedestrians would be charged under 1987 regulations which stipulated that they could be penalised for failing to more..

Controversy surrounds Rs.150m worth ethanol seizure

Sep 15 (NS) Controversy surrounds the seizure of 150 barrels of ethanol worth Rs.150 million from two Customs containers a few months ago. While the Customs authorities stay deadpan mum over the contraband on the basis that investigations are continuing, the Excise Department, which made the breakthrough when the contraband was being transported in two containers, claims that in fact a suspect had been arrested and produced in courts by the authorities. more..

Showpiece development in north but TNA victory inevitable

Sep 15 (ST) Business is booming in this northern capital. The contrast with the City of Colombo is striking. Shops stocked with satellite dish antennas, some to view Tamil Nadu TV channels, overflow to the pavements. They are aired only a few hundred miles away from the Palk Strait, the thin but marine rich seas that separate Sri Lanka and India. Showcases display flagons of premium Scotch whisky and exquisite brands of Cognac. more..

100% margin deposit for LCs hits vehicle importers

Sep 15 (SO) Vehicle importers said that the 100% margin deposit for opening a Letter of Credit (LC) is adversely affecting all vehicle importers who have fallen from the frying pan to the fire due to the exorbitantly high vehicle import duty. They said that it is the small players who are the most affected as they have to pay upfront the value of the vehicle which is a huge burden to them. “We have called upon the govt to reconsider the regulation which is having an adverse impact on more..

Gang breaks in to boys' hostel at Kelaniya Uni

Sep 15 (ST) gang of 15 men broke into the premises of the University of Kelaniya’s Kannangara Boys’ Hostel around 3 am on Saturday (14). The lodgings are located at Munamalgaha, around 1.8 kilometers away from the university. The miscreants, who had covered their faces to prevent recognition, had trashed the premises, causing damages to 14 motorcycles. Some other vehicles were also damaged. They left after threatening the security guard. At a press conference held later more..

Talk at the cafe spectator

Sep 15 (ST) The Metropolitan Police and a local borough council in Britain that used the Tiger flag to point to the Tamil language translations of its information base has bowed to official protests and dropped the flag from its websites. The withdrawal of this symbol that signified the LTTE worldwide, came a few days after some Sri Lankan expatriates complained about the matter and the Sri Lanka High Commission in London sent more..

Excessive lead in paints

Sep 15 (NS) An environmental organization reveals another blunder by paint manufacturers, who put local customers in severe health hazards, putting lead more than the permissible amount in paints. The organization, the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), shows that they put more lead in the products for the local market, while they adhere to the guidelines when they produce for the European markets. more..

Dispute over classy hotel’s ownership; Police guard placed

Sep 15 (ST) A stand-off between a hotelier and parties acting on behalf of the original British investor in a multi-million rupee boutique hotel in Wadduwa near Panadura continued after the hotelier who is the CEO was forcibly locked out, with the police continuing to guard the high-end hotel. The hotel, ‘Serene Pavilions’, was stormed by a group of 50 persons on Wednesday following a dispute over its ownership and since then more..

Hundreds of monitors to ensure fair poll in North

Sep 15 (ST) More than 700,000 voters are eligible to go to the polls next Saturday in the first ever Provincial Council election for only the North since the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was introduced in 1987. It comes after the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas four and a half years ago and assumes greater significance in many respects. For the UPFA Govt, it is a test of strength after it embarked on several development more..

Indian govt. floats Sethusamudram Canal project again

Sep 15 (ST) The controversial Sethusamudram Canal project is back on the Indian govt’s agenda under pressure from some Tamil Nadu Political parties such as the DMK the Indian Media reported recently. This in turn has raised concern among environmentalists in Sri Lanka. The project aims at shortening the sea route between India and Sri Lanka by dredging the canal as the sea is not deep enough for ships to navigate. more..

More troops sought in Jaffna

Sep 15 (SL) The Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe says he is contemplating making a request for more troops and military camps in the North. He says this need has arisen as there are fears the election campaign of the TNA may incite some 4000 former LTTE cadres who have not been rehabilitated and are believed to be mingling with civilians. When asked if a strong troop presence was still required in the North more..

TNA shoots Tamils in the foot

Sep 15 (SL) By coming up with a controversial election manifesto when none was required to win the NPC polls of Sept 21, the TNA may have put the cart before the horse, and advanced excuses well before time. This could lead to the party losing the confidence of the people who may be voting it to power in the first place. It was a repeat-performance of sorts from the Eastern PC polls last year, where no formal manifesto of more..

Taj Hotels mulls northeast expansion

Sep 15 (ST) India’s Taj Hotels’ Group is expanding into northeast Sri Lanka, aiming for three new resorts with a total of around 300 rooms in the first phase of this initiative, officials said. Rohit Koshla, Director Operations – Taj Hotels and Resorts, Area Director Sri Lanka, said that they are looking at existing properties (in the northeast) or in a state of construction where the company can provide inputs into design. more..

Minister justifies private ownership of elephants

Sep 15 (NS) Minister Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa maintained that elephants should be provided to private parties ‘depending on social needs’, and challenged environmentalists to go before Courts if he was doing anything illegal. Zoysa reiterated his view that there was a dearth of privately owned elephants in the country and claimed registering such elephants was the only way to prevent more..

Govt bans purchasing drugs from 4 Indian firms

Sep 15 (AD) The Ministry of Health has decided to ban the purchase of medicinal drugs from 4 Indian pharmaceutical companies due to quality issues. Health Minister Mathripala Sirisena has ordered that the purchasing of all drugs from the companies Laborate, Vivek, Bafna and Elysium Pharma be suspended immediately due to the companies allegedly supplying substandard pharmaceutical drugs within the past 4 years. more..

SLRC to seek AG advice

Sep 15 (SL) The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) has sought the advice of the Attorney General (AG) regarding approximately Rs 120 million which politicians and some government institutions owe the state television broadcaster. Sources at SLRC said that legal action will be filed once the advice is received from the AG in order to recover the money. Sources said that of those who owe SLRC, politicians owe over Rs 42 million while state institutions owe just over Rs 56 million. more..

Wigneswaran coin is missing the point

Sep 15 (CT) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who signed a disastrous ceasefire agreement with the LTTE in 2002, made an important remark this week at an election rally on claims over the re-merger of the North and East. The Opposition Leader in no uncertain terms said Tamils in the North had bigger problems than the re-merger of the two provinces, which were separated by a Supreme Court order, a few years back. While there are suspicions about the bona fides more..

Sajin appoints Rosy’s daughter, 11 others as CHOGM 70k consultants

Sep 15 (CT) The Govt has recruited several consultants to the CHOGM 2013 to be the ‘face’ of the summit coordination efforts in November this year. 12 such consultants have been hired at remuneration in the range of Rs. 70,000 each, Colombo Telegraph learns. They include male and female youngsters of between 20-26 years old sources told Colombo Telegraph. The consultants function under the office of the Monitoring MP more..

Institutional implications of the JSS and Black July

Sep 15 (CT) What appears on the surface as a good reason against the violence of July 1983 being organised comes from persons who knew the prominent cabinet members well, say as journalists. It is pointed out that there were rival factions within the UNP engaged in bitter power struggles. For this reason, it is argued, they were thoroughly incapable of sitting down together and planning something so scandalous and full of dangerous repercussions as the July 1983 violence. more..