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Asylum-seekers held on high seas arrive in Australia

July 27 (AFP) The first group of 157 asylum-seekers who attempted to enter Australia by boat arrived on the country's mainland Sunday, after being held at sea for weeks. Eighty-one asylum-seekers arrived at the remote Curtin Immigration Detention Centre in Western Australia, a spokesman for the facility said, after they were reportedly flown there by the govt from the remote atoll of Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean. more..

'PM post, useless to country'

July 27 (SM) The post of Prime Minister is of no use to this country, and according to my personal opinion, it should be abolished, Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne has said. Speaking to 'Silumina', he has said that executive presidency is essential for the country is to be progressed as an independent, developed state. Thought the issue of abolishing executive presidency had risen into prominence during every presidential election in the past, it was always limited to mere words. more..

Al-Qaeda is not operating in Sri Lanka

July 27 (CG) The Ministry of Defence says Al Qaeda does not have a base in Sri Lanka nor does any other terrorist organization. Defence Ministry spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that on several occasions there had been allegations that foreign terrorist groups were using Sri Lanka as a base for training. He said that the Sri Lankan authorities have not given any space for such groups to operate inside Sri Lanka. “Terrorism is terrorism no matter what form it is in. more..

BIA among the most inefficient in Asia

July 27 (CG) The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) has been rated as one of the most inefficient international airports in Asia. The rating has been done by the Airport Transport Research Society (ATRS) and is included in the Annual Global Airport Benchmarking Report. The ATRS released the results of its annual benchmarking study of commercial airports in Europe, Asia and Pacific, and North America. more..

IGP seeks ministry secretary's approval to ensure Upul Jayasuriya's security

July 27 (AM) IGP N.K. Illangakoon has sought the approval of secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order regarding a request made to IGP by BASL president Upul Jayasuriya that he be provided personal security while traveling. In response to BASL President, Ajith Wickramasekara the Staff DIG to the IGP stated that the request had been forwarded to the Secretary, Minister of Law and Order, seeking approval. Retired Major General Nanda Mallawarachchi is the Secretary of more..

Human rights to be included in school curriculum

July 27 (NS) Moves are afoot to include human rights as part of the school curriculum following a recommendation by the Human Rights Council of Sri Lanka (HRCSL). Director General of National Institute of Education (NIE) Prof. Abeyrathna Bandara said that HRCSL had come forward with certain proposals in order to include human rights in the school curriculum and added that they were in the process of formulating a system through which the subject could be implemented. more..

Next public sittings of Missing Persons Commission in Mannar

July 27 (GDI) Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons will hold its next public sittings in Mannar. It will be held on August 08 and 09 in Manthai West, in Mannar on Aug 10 and in Madhu on August 11. President Rajapaksa recently appointed internationally renowned legal luminaries - Sir Desmond de Silva, Sir Jeffrey Nice and Professor David Crane - to serve on more..

Secretary Defence graces centenary celebration of Ananda College hostel

July 27 (MoD) Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa graced the Centenary celebration of the Ananda College hostel yesterday (24). Mr. Rajapaksa attended as the chief guest at the main function held at the college premises. A proud product of Ananada College, Mr. Rajapaksa unveiled a commemorative plaque upon the invitation of the principle of the School Mr. Kithsiri Liyanagamage to mark the historical occasion. more..

Breakaway group in the making to 'rescue' SLFP!

July 27 (AM) A breakaway group within the SLFP is now in the making aiming to “rescue” the ruling party from its present leader, Sunday Lankadeepa newspaper reported today. According to the report, a large number of senior members of the SLFP, who are disillusioned with the present administration, have extended their support to this campaign. It is said that ruling party members who are supportive of this campaign are affiliated with former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

Multinational seeks to ‘glut-out’ Lanka Sathosa

July 27 (NS) A leading multi-national company operating in Sri Lanka with a wide range of personal care products is aggressively pursuing to gain special privileges in Lanka Sathosa, in violation of a national policies adopted by the sector. The concerned parties who noted the issue questioned as to how the officials under-value President’s Mahinda Chinthana development policy which gives priority for a local product based economy. more..

India to share Pakistani official’s info

July 27 (CG) India will be informing Sri Lanka about an official working with the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo who was allegedly playing a key role in planning terror strikes at the behest of ISI on the US and Israeli consulates in the southern part India. The information will be shared with Sri Lankan authorities by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) signed between the two countries in 2010, official sources said. more..

South Africa keeping their options open

July 27 (CI) If South Africa are still batting at tea on day five, they will go all out to win the Colombo Test. That is the warning AB de Villiers sounded after a day in which momentum was finally infused into a match that has stood in limbo through its middle portions. "If I am coming in after tea and we need six or seven an over I might give it a go," de Villiers said. "After tea tomorrow if we have wickets in hands that possibility will be there. You've got to find the balance between being positive & defensive. more..

Japan agreeable to domestic inquiry conforming to international standards

July 27 (Island) Japan believes the SL govt should provide proper information to the ongoing UN war crimes probe against it and the LTTE. Japanese Ambassador, Nobuhito Hobo, said that the Rajapaksa regime had the "proper" information pertaining to the period of the war between it and LTTE that was being investigated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on a mandate given by UNHRC. more..

Oxonian Heart Foundation to spend $ 2 mn. uplifting coronary care in north

July 27 (Island) A group of Sri Lankans led by Dr. Ravi Perumalpillai is championing the cause of providing open heart surgical facilities to citizens in the North and North-East of the island, a Colombo news conference was told last week. The Oxonian Heart Foundation was created in 2012 with the aim of treating the impoverished and destitute who suffer from heart disease. Their demographic target includes those along the Jaffna peninsula and the Vanni, an area home to 1.2 million people. more..

McDonald’s denies involvement in expired meat scandal

July 27 (NS) The Sri Lankan arm of fast food giant McDonald’s yesterday said the expired meat scandal in China had no bearing on operations in the country as all meat used for its products were obtained locally. When contacted, a company official at the fast food chain’s Kollupitiya branch said McDonald’s in Sri Lanka does not import ‘even a piece of paper’ from China, stating all its products were locally sourced. The statement was made after The Nation contacted McDonald’s to more..

Uva PC poll: SLFP Nominations Board to select candidates on Monday

July 27 (Island) The Nominations Board of the SLFP to select candidates for the forthcoming election to the Uva PC is scheduled to meet at SLFP HQ at T.B. Jayah Mawatha tomorrow from 10 am onwards. Nominations Board will select 17 candidates for the Moneragala district and 21 for the Badulla district. Board will comprise Ministers W.D.J. Seneviratne (Chairman) and Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Senior Minister more..

People cannot be deceived all the time

July 27 (ST) Kohonawala is a remote village in the Uva province located at the top of a mountain range in the Badulla district. The village has a population of around 48 families. Nicknamed “Ira payana nathi gama,” -the village where the sun does not rise the village has neither water, electricity nor a proper roadway. Indeed the village is appropriately nicknamed. It is surrounded by the mountains and only a few streaks of sunlight seep in at around 10 am! Darkness covers rest of the day. more..

Basil lauds Media for responsible reporting

July 27 (NS) The defeat of the LTTE five years ago made us a riots-free society and whatever the incidents occurred due to some pathetic individual issues around the island was prevented making big issues of the country by the media as well as other responsible authorities including the political leadership, said by Minister Basil Rajapaksa. He made these observations at a seminar for journalists and schoolchildren under the theme of “The role of the media for social conciliation” more..

Dickwella fined for claiming unfair catch

July 27 (CI) Sri Lanka's debutant wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella has been fined 10% of the match fee and received an official reprimand, for claiming an unfair catch on day three of the second Test against South Africa. Dickwella had admitted to the Level 1 breach of the ICC's Code of Conduct, and accepted the sanction imposed by match referee Jeff Crowe. He was found to have breached article 2.1.8 of the code, which more..

Govt sees a local conspiracy

July 27 (CG) The Govt says there is a conspiracy underway locally against President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his administration. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the opposition, well aware that they cannot defeat the Govt at an election, are not involved in a conspiracy to remove the Govt through other means. He said that as part of the conspiracy several rumors are being spread and attempts are being made to give the wrong message to the local public. more..

Former CJ asks for three days

July 27 (Island) Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake yesterday declined to respond immediately to a question on what took her to the New Town Hall on Thursday when the possibility of fielding a common opposition candidate at the next presidential election was discussed. Asked why she had attended that meeting as she had not participated in any political events since her impeachment, she said she needed three days to respond to the question. more..

Day 4: SA set for final-day spin inquisition

July 27 (CI) Sri Lanka had one objective when the day began: score as quickly as possible and declare. They did exactly that as they rattled along at well above four runs an over - more than double what South Africa managed in the first innings - to swell the lead to 368, despite more than an hour being lost due to rain and bad light. In Galle, Sri Lanka had to chase 370 in 120 overs, while here they have a whole day to wheedle more..

NOLIMIT ranked among the Top 100 unlisted brands in Sri Lanka

July 27 (Island) Sri Lanka’s biggest fashion retail chain NOLIMIT was recently ranked among the Top 100 unlisted brands in Sri Lanka by Brand Finance in their annual analysis of the top brands in Sri Lanka. The brand was also ranked 2nd in customer service among retail stores by Living Magazine in a survey conducted this year. The Unlisted Brands rating was compiled on the basis of an independent market research study and presents a complete view of the brand’s landscape in Sri Lanka. more..

JHU bitter over govt. ignoring constituent parties

July 27 (Island) JHU Western Provincial Councilor, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said the UPFA govt’s stand on national issues were akin to "monkeys building shelters when it rains". He charged that decisions are taken on national issues without consulting constituent parties and this proves that govt has no clear policy or strategy. Warnasinghe was referring to the govt’s decision to extend an invitation to acting President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaposa to visit Sri Lanka more..

A question still unanswered

July 27 (CT) Why does the Sri Lankan Govt want to build an Aircraft Maintenance Centre in Trincomalee to solely maintain and repair its Chinese aircraft? This is the question the Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe asked in Parliament last week, and this very same question has been on the minds of our closest neighbour India. Minister G.L. Peiris, who responded to Wickremesinghe's question, denied such a more..

Hungry child treated to an avalanche of toku

July 27 (Island) A 10-year-old going to school on an empty stomach as her sick mother could neither prepare a meal nor afford to give her a little money to buy something to eat is something that would pull the heart strings of many. This child who arrived late at school and missed her turn to clean the classroom was treated to an avalanche of knocks on her head (toku) from her fellow students on the orders of the principal. 10-year-old Sithmini Sandanayake, a Grade 5 student from more..

All in a week

July 27 (Island) The tittle should suggest what an agenda packed political week in Colombo now looks like. Sadly, however, the political agenda gets packed every week but political realities remain stubbornly the same. Hopefully, the figurative rainbow that was publicly aspired last Thursday at the Colombo Town Hall will turn out to be politically consequential unlike the real one that tantalizes and disappears. Going by the title’s order, India’s BJP stalwart Subramanian Swamy had more..

Confident Ajmal aims to outfox Sri Lanka

July 27 (Reuters) Pakistan's leading spinner Saeed Ajmal has brushed aside concerns over his bowling form before the series in Sri Lanka, saying he can still outfox batsmen with his "doosra" delivery. "It gives me great joy to get any batsmen out who can read my 'doosra' because it just gives me confidence that I have become a complete off-spin bowler," Ajmal told reporters on Friday. The 36-year-old promised to play an impact role in more..

First ever international film festival to be held in Sri Lanka

July 27 (ST) Making a historical move the first ever ‘International’ film festival in Sri Lanka under the title ‘Colombo International Film Festival’ will be held in Colombo from September 2 to 7. Organised by the Film Directors’ Guild of Sri Lanka the festival will provide a golden opportunities to all Sri Lankan film lovers, students and enthusiasts to experience a real international film festival. “Although Sri Lankan cinema has more..

TUs welcome MR’s about-turn on imposition of new taxes

July 27 (ST) Trade unions have welcomed President Rajapaksa’s decision to remove newly imposed taxes on public and private sector employees, but await fresh gazette notifications to ensure there are no implications on the employees. President Rajapaksa who met with Ceylon Bank Employees’ Union (CBEU) representatives on Monday, said the tax imposed on housing loans, distress loans, vehicle loans, more..

NFF, SLMC yet undecided To go with UPFA or not at Uva PC polls

July 27 (CT) Two Parties within the ruling coalition UPFA, have still to decide on whether to contest the Uva Provincial Council polls in their own or under the UPFA banner. The Wimal Weerawansa-led NFF and the Rauf Hakeem-led SLMC, will decide on whether to go it alone or as part of the UPFA, at the end of this month, their respective Party spokesmen said. Both Parties have in their ranks a Cabinet Minister each. more..

'LTTE responsible for 80% of alleged abductions'

July 27 (Island) The LTTE was responsible for nearly 80% of the alleged abductions, of the cases already heard in four districts except Jaffna, the Presidential Commission investigating cases of missing persons in the North and East was told. The Commission has held public sittings in Kilinochchi, Jaffna, Batticaloa and Mullaitivu from January to June this year and heard 831 cases of missing persons, Chairman of the more..

Public still unconcerned over dengue danger, say health officials

July 27 (ST) The anti dengue campaign is well into three months but breeding sites are still prevalent primarily due to public negligence, health officials said. Although 8,322 cases have been filed in courts against offenders, the risk still persists, the recently concluded phase three of the emergency dengue programme revealed. Phase three targeted high risk areas that included Modara Mattakkuliya, Wanathamulla, Grandpass, more..

Ambassador recalled after exposing abortion scandal in Oman

July 27 (ST) Sri Lanka’s ambassador in Oman has been recalled after he ordered a probe on the activities of Foreign Employment Bureau labour officers allegedly involved in getting Lankan housemaids to undergo abortions there. At the centre of the controversy, are labour officers, who, it is alleged, had asked a housemaid who sought refuge at the embassy to undergo abortion. The officers in question were in league with more..

‘President didn’t ask me to leave’ – Navin

July 27 (Island) Minister, Navin Dissanayake said that he was not shown the door by the President at a recent Cabinet meeting. Asked to comment on media reports that President Rajapaksa had asked him to quit the govt, Minister said these stories had emanated after an incident at the Cabinet meeting. "President was angry following a heated discussion over the actions of certain Cabinet Ministers", he recalled. more..

Poor turnout: Pro-LTTE demo in Glasgow

July 27 (Island) With "security concerns" keeping President Rajapaksa away from attending last week’s opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, the planned pro-LTTE demonstration opposite the Celtic stadium lost its steam. "The number of activists expected to turn up for the demonstration dwindled as news spread that the President would not be coming for the event", sources said. more..