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Judge tells Australian govt to prepare for case against harsh asylum policy

Aug 14 (Reuters) A senior judge questioned whether the Australian govt has the authority to detain asylum seekers on the high seas and send them to another country after scores of Sri Lankans were kept at sea and then moved to a remote island. High Court judge Kenneth Hayne, during a hearing of Australia's most senior court, gave the govt and lawyers for the 157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers a week to prepare their more..

Expired drugs and cosmetics found at Gamage’s clinic

Aug 14 (DM) Expired drugs and cosmetic products were found today during a joint raid carried out at the clinic owned by cosmetic surgeon Dr. Nimal Gamage, following Tuesday’s death of a lady doctor who received an injection during a cosmetic surgery. SSP Ajith Rohana said that health ministry cosmetic unit, the government analyst’s department and the Colombo Crime Division carried out the joint raid at the Visakha Road clinic. The 47-year-old lady doctor identified as Dr. P.A. Priyangi more..

Video: Huge 13-foot crocodile caught in Hambantota

Aug 14 (AD) A 13-foot crocodile that wandered into the human habitats from the Bandagiriya tank that has run dry was captured and handed over to the Hambantota Wildlife Conservation Office by the villagers today. Residents said crocodiles from the tanks and canals that had run dry often glided into the neighbouring villages due to the prevailing drought. Wildlife office Range Assistant and Wildlife Guards visited the scene and took away the crocodile to be released to a forest reserve. more..

Sri Lanka slams Pillay, confident of Zeid

Aug 14 (CG) Govt today slammed the outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay and expressed confidence in the new High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein. Ministry of External Affairs said Pillay, who is scheduled to leave office at the end of this month, is making public pronouncements to the media on an investigation which has commenced only recently, and is a clear indication more..

Ranil starts tweeting

Aug 14 (DM) UNP national leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said today Sri Lanka should move from its current policy of constriction-based economic development to technology-based development to fall in line with global trends. “We should move from a concrete economy towards a technology based economy,” he said while stressing that 6 per cent of the country’s GDP should be allocated for technology development. He said Sri Lanka had failed to plan its economic more..

Minister meets squabbling cricket officials

Aug 14 (DM) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage is to meet top officials of Sri Lanka Cricket today to defuse a power struggle among the SLC hierarchy. Minister in a letter to SLC, summoned several executive committee members to a ‘special discussion’, though the written communication did not specify the reason for the meeting to be called. Minister summoned the meeting after one high-ranked official complained to the Minister, that he could not carry out his more..

President seeks permanent solution

Aug 14 (CG) President Rajapaksa expressed concerns about the impact the fishing issue is having on both the lives of fishermen and the environment and expressed the need for a permanent solution. President said this when he met the High Commissioner of India Y.K. Sinha at Temple Trees today. Sinha expressed his appreciation for the President’s gesture to release Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody more..

Karu's official website now goes missing...

Aug 15 (CT) Last week in this column we highlighted the lopside vision and errors in UNP leadership council chairman, Karu Jayasuriya's official website which had not been updated for a long time. Hence, we said in our column; 'Sometime ago UNP's Karu Jayasuriya launched his official website with much pomp and pageantry amidst a distinguished gathering. However, when one logs into his website now, it could be seen that the site has not been updated for weeks and months. more..

NGOs should follow mandate

Aug 15 (NS) Fundamental Rights of NGOs! A huge uproar had erupted just after the Director of National Secretariat for NGOs issued a directive to all NGOs in the country suggesting they act according to their mandate. Several NGOs, certain lawyers who are directly connected to those NGOs and the countries which pump money to them have issued several press releases against this directive and most of such statements indicate that the directive of the director of National NGO secretariat more..

More flowers to bloom in Badulla, Bandarawela

Aug 15 (SO) Sri Lanka being a tropical paradise with a high density of plant species stands a better chance in the trade of growing flowers with a little modern technological support. Growing flowers is not just a hobby any more. Today the word is not 'growing flowers' but it is floriculture. Floriculture, as a business, has been in existence in Sri Lanka for a long time. Yet being more exposed to the world market more were the chances that more..

Sri Lanka contract is full of Eastern Promise for timber products firm

Aug 15 (WB) Garden timber furniture manufacturer Dunster House has developed a trade partnership in Sri Lanka, which means it has become the 19th different market in two years. The company is also involved in a charity project in co-operation with Oxfam. Dunster House has been established in the UK retail market for 20 years with a major site in Warminster and three more in Bedfordshire, Kent and Lincolnshire. It has seven factories in three countries across Europe more..

Asylum seekers & refugees in SL: rubbish to throw out or persons to take care of?

Aug 15 (GV) When asylum seekers come to Sri Lanka, I feel proud to be a Sri Lankan. Because they have thought we, Sri Lankans, would show our love, care and concern for them and protect them at the time they needed it most – such as when face death threats and can’t practice their religion. Because they thought they could find hope for a safer and dignified life here with us, at least for a short time. Because they would have thought that our spiritual, religious and cultural values more..

Lawyers, scientists, models: Who will wear the crown?

Aug 15 (ST) Lawyers, budding forensic scientists, university students and models, the top ten of this year’s LITE FM Miss Universe Sri Lanka is an interesting spectrum of young women and an image of fiercely contemporary femininity. With the aim of spreading the message- that you don’t necessarily need a modelling background to become a Miss Universe competitor, LITE FM’s Miss Universe Sri Lanka is back more..

Dragon show before presidential election

Aug 15 (CT) When Mahinda decided to hold a snap poll for a third term Presidency he was smitten with fear of an Opposition backlash against his erratic foreign policy, which had embittered relations with world powers. He felt timorous about America spearheading an economic sanction programme, which could affect the economy of the country which would ultimately be used by the Opposition to arouse public dissention against the govt. Rajapaksa clan had assiduously prepared contingency more..

Editorial: Exams and conspiracies

Aug 15 (Island) Minister Bandula Gunawardena has taken exception to widespread criticism of question paper errors and other lapses while exams are on. Claiming that there is an organised campaign to confuse and demoralise candidates for political reasons, he has said legal action will be taken to thwart such efforts. He is reported to have made a complaint to the CID on Wednesday of the alleged conspiracy and an allegation that some questions in this year’s GCE A/L economics paper more..

Tharanga, Hitchcock horror or Eastwood western?

Aug 15 (CI) The first moments of a Test are almost always absorbing, even if that match eventually becomes dull. There is so much information go be gained about the protagonists. Are the openers in touch? Does the bowler have rhythm? Mostly, though, the first few exchanges reveal something about the living, breathing 22-yard unknown on which all of the action pivots. This information is at a premium at the SSC, more..

Champika’s double-edged book launch; Is Ranawaka initiating a leadership challenge?

Aug 15 (CT) The Foundation Institute’s auditorium was packed on 5th August afternoon, there was no standing room even in the corridors, the choreography was imaginative and well rehearsed, Professor Gunapala Nanayakkara made a calibrated (but far too long) speech whose objective was to introduce Minister Champika Ranawaka as a national leader of the highest calibre. If I were President Mahinda Rajapakse sitting in the audience, I would feel diminished. more..

Unite and field a common candidate: An open letter to opposition parties

Aug 15 (CT) According to reliable reports, President Rajapaksa has decided to consult the Supreme Court regarding the possibility of calling for the next presidential election before 19 November this year. The purpose is declared to be to hold the election before Pope Francis’ scheduled visit to Sri Lanka on 13 Jan 2015. But there can be other hidden agendas or motives. It has to be admitted that the opposition is not well prepared for the forthcoming national election/s as the govt does. more..

'COPE can observe and recommend, but Executive must act'

Aug 15 (FT) Q: What are your views about the recently-presented interim report? A: A similar report will be released in September and the final report is planned to be tabled in December. Our observations will be made only after the final report is out. This report contains findings of examinations carried out by the COPE on 47 institutions during the period from October 2013 to April 2014. more..

COMBank’s 1H profit tops Rs. 6 b mark

Aug 15 (FT) The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC has reported a noteworthy performance, posting profit before tax of Rs 6.474 billion and net profit after tax of Rs 4.479 billion for the first half of 2014, despite shrinking margins. Sri Lanka’s largest private bank reported a 9.39% improvement in its total operating income of Rs 17.698 billion for the six months ended 30 June 2014, through higher business volumes coupled with a notable increase in recoveries, despite there being a drop in more..

Pakistan Independence Day celebrating in SL

Aug 15 (AT) The High Commission of Pakistan and the Pakistani community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 68th Independence Day of Pakistan with traditional fervor and resolve to make Pakistan a strong, dynamic progressive tolerant and democratic Islamic welfare state. The High Commissioner of the Islamic Republic Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj Gen (R) Qasim Qureshi hoisted the national flag of Pakistan in an impressive ceremony at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo. more..

COPE questions relocation delay

Aug 15 (CT) UDA has for the last 23 months failed to lease 75 acres of reclaimed land under the agreement to raise funds for the redemption of debentures, and has invested the available funds for campaigning in other areas which has yielded Rs 3.7 billion needed to settle the Rs 4.2 billion interest. COPE questioned the UDA as to why it failed to lease 75 acres of 150 acres reclaimed by acquiring houses & lands relocating residents, more..

SL and PK cricketers coaching camp for kids

Aug 15 (Island) An exclusive coaching camp - Learn from the Legends – will be held for children on August 19, at R. Premadasa Stadium with the participation of cricketers and coaches from both teams. Following on from the success of the Standard Chartered and Sri Lanka Cricket fund raising initiatives around the South Africa Tour for the Sri Lankan Visually Handicapped XI’s bid at this year’s World Cup in South Africa in November, the two organisations have again joined forces to more..

Kiwlegedera returns but assets yet to be submitted

Aug 15 (ST) Touchwood Investments former CEO Lanka Kiwlegedera has agreed to submit assets-related documents to the company liquidator by August 25, following the Commercial High Court warning him of serious consequences for failing to do so by the said date. Court will resume hearing the case on Aug 27. Mr. Kiwlegedera had not submitted these documents pertaining to the company on or before Aug 7 even after court ordered to do so at the last hearing on July 31. more..

SAARC new Secretary General meets minister of external affairs

Aug 15 (GDI) As a part of the introductory visits to SAARC Member States, the new Secretary General of the SAARC, Arjun B. Thapa, is currently visiting Sri Lanka. During his stay in Sri Lanka, the Secretary General paid a courtesy call on President Rajapaksa on 11th Aug in Kandy and held discussions with the Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne on 12th Aug at the Ministry. more..

Indian and Lankan Navies in powwow

Aug 15 (Island) The 4th Navy-to-Navy Staff Talks between the navies of India and Sri Lanka were held from Aug 6 to 8 in New Delhi. The five-member SLN delegation was headed by Director General Operations, Rear Admiral Neil Rosayro. The 16-member Indian Navy delegation was headed by Assistant Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral R.B. Pandit. The staff interaction between the two friendly Navies aimed at enhancing bilateral naval cooperation and inter-personal relations. more..

Junaid and Wahab defy flat track

Aug 15 (CI) Junaid Khan, the Pakistan fast bowler, has said that having Wahab Riaz at the other end provided him the perfect partner to hurt Sri Lanka. He said that Wahab's fearsome bowling from the other end helped him to counter the dead first-day pitch at the SSC. Wahab took the place of the inexperienced Mohammad Talha, and his express pace provided an added dimension to the attack. Wahab had a five-for on Test debut at The Oval in 2010 against England but faded away more..

Cabinet approves $107 million solid waste disposal system for Colombo

Aug 15 (FT) Colombo’s garbage problem is being given a $ 107 million solution after Cabinet yesterday approved a solid waste disposal system for the capital. Govt plans to construct a sanitary landfill in Aruakkalu in the Puttalam District and transport the solid waste generated in Colombo and its suburbs there. According to the Cabinet paper, Railway Department has already completed design work for more..

SEC issues directives over Adam Investments, PC Pharma and PCH Holdings

Aug 15 (FT) SEC issued several directives to Adam Investments following recent developments including original sale of its stake in PC Pharma and subsequent reversal and its mandatory offers including on PCH Holdings. At their meeting held earlier this week, SEC Commissioners had deliberated on the consequential losses that may arise out of the cancellation of trades of PC Pharma on 7 August effected by SEC directive early in this week. more..

Bourse breaks through 7,000 points level; year-to-date return nears 18%

Aug 15 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks broke through the key psychological barrier of 7,000 points on Thursday to end near a three-year closing high as declining interest rates drove investors into risky assets and foreign inflows helped boost sentiment. The main stock index, which hit 7,018.72 during intra-day trade, ended up 0.27 percent, or 18.95 points firmer at 6,973.09, its highest close since Sept. 9, 2011. It has risen 17.93% so far this year. Stockbrokers, however, expect a correction more..

Organised pilfering from passenger luggage on the rise at BIA

Aug 15 (Island) The BIA is fast becoming a den of thieves and their latest victim is a poor housemaid whose valuables were pilfered as she returned after toiling in a West Asian country recently. She has lodged a complaint with the airport police that her cash and gold worth Rs. 241,000 were stolen from her bags presumably while they were being brought from the flight to the baggage belt. Investigations have revealed that culprits more..

Dankuda Pethiya to be conserved

Aug 15 (DN) National Zoological Gardens Department officials have initiated a project to breed and conserve Dankuda Pethiya (Dawkinsia Srilankensis), a fish species endemic to Sri Lanka included in the National Red List as a 'Highly Threatened' species. Project has been implemented at the Dehiwala Zoological Gardens aquarium. Distribution of Dankuda Pethiya is restricted to the Eastern slopes of the Knuckles hills in the Kalu River at Pallegama at elevations of 300-500 m. more..

Renovation work is progressing fast

Aug 15 (MoD) Rebuilding and renovation work of buildings damaged during the recent riots in Aluthgama and Beruwela is progressing fast said the Director/Spokesperson of the Media Centre, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. Speaking further he said that, 82 shops were identified and assessed for renovation under two categories. Twenty eight shops needed minor repairs (Upto Rs. 50,000.00) and major repairs (more than Rs. 50,000.00) were needed on 56 shops. more..

Power sector: Dallas hints at possible relief to consumers

Aug 15 (Island) Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said that those who had been critical of the govt’s failure to meet the growing demand for power had done absolutely nothing to address the issue. He said that there hadn’t been a concrete plan of action until President Rajapaksa adopted a different approach and new policy. The Chinese built a coal-fired power plant complex at Norochcholai in accordance with the new policy. more..

Over 160 exhibitors at Sri Lanka Plast, RUBEXPO, SIMEX 2014

Aug 15 (DN) Enterprising Fairs India Private Limited, a B2B Exhibition company from India, together with The Plastics and Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka (PRISL), inaugurated the second edition of SRI LANKA PLAST - a Plastics Expo and the first edition of RUBEXPO - a Rubber Expo and SIMEX - Sri Lanka International Manufacturing Expo at the BMICH, yesterday. The expos will be held upto Saturday. The plastics, rubber and manufacturing expos are B2B exhibitions bringing over more..

Doc’s Death: Those who visited beauty centre to be questioned

Aug 15 (Island) Police yesterday said that video footage recorded on the CCTV camera installed at the beauty centre of Dr. Nimal Gamage would be taken away for scrutiny and those who visited the clinic for treatment questioned. "Powerful and influential persons have visited the clinic for treatment and among them are politicians and artistes," an investigator said. Dr. P.A. Priyangani (47) treated by Dr. Gamage at his clinic died on Tuesday after being given an injection. more..

TPG strikes biggest Sri Lanka buyout deal with $113 mln Union Bank buy

Aug 15 (Reuters) TPG Capital Management LP has agreed to buy a majority stake in Sri Lanka's Union Bank of Colombo PLC (UBC) for $113 million in the country's biggest buyout deal. TPG, via its affiliate Culture Financial Holdings Ltd, will take a 70% stake in Union Bank through a combination of primary and secondary shares and warrants, the bank and the fund said. The deal allows TPG to increase its stake up to 75%, more..

State Literary Awards 2014 on Sept 3

Aug 15 (DN) The State Literary Awards Festival 2014 organised by the Culture and the Arts Ministry will be held on Sept 3 at the BMICH, Colombo. President Rajapaksa will be the chief guest at the event. Minister T.B. Ekanayake said a number of writers who excelled in all three languages will be awarded at this ceremony. Three veteran intellectuals who have rendered a remarkable service to Sri Lanka's literary sector will also be felicitated with Sahithya-rathna awards. more..

A new look Jaffna Railway Station

Aug 15 (DN) The Jaffna Railway Station which was destroyed by terrorists is being developed into one of the most modern railway facilities in the country. Construction work is to be completed by the end of next month. This railway station is being reconstructed at a cost of Rs. 143 million without changing its original design. The reconstruction of the platforms and official quarters has also been completed. A food city, Bank of Ceylon branch and air conditioned passenger waiting area more..

Seized Red Sandalwood to be shipped to HK

Aug 15 (CT) The largest ever consignment of Red Sandalwood (Rath Handun) valued at over Rs 100 million seized by Sri Lanka Customs in November last year which was released following a rushed Customs inquiry was loaded into new containers, to be shipped this Sunday as a fresh shipment in violation of internationally accepted conventions. the loading of the Red Sandalwood stock to the containers began last evening. more..