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Charity hands UN file to back Sri Lankan torture claims

Nov 8 (Guardian) A UK charity that is pushing for a halt to deportations to Sri Lanka has handed the UN a file of medical evidence to support allegations that authorities there are continuing to torture opponents. The submission by Freedom From Torture – formerly known as the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture – is based on a review of 35 cases drawn from the 300-plus Sri Lankans who have been referred to the charity's UK clinics for examination or more..

CMC meets today: UPFA councillors divided

Nov 8 (DM) The opposition UPFA group in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) appear to be divided with few members including former deputy mayor Asath Sally who crossed over from the UNP opposing the decisions taken at the UPFA councillors meeting on October 31. Today’s inaugural session of the newly elected CMC is expected to be a stormy one with the UPFA attempting to take control of 16 standing committees including the finance committee more..

Actor caught playing real life extortion drama

Nov 8 (Island) An army deserter cum actor who had played the role of policeman in several films and teledramas was nabbed in the middle of a real life daring extortion act at Kiribathgoda. The suspect, who led a gang, had abducted a millionaire businessman from the Kiribathgoda area and obtained a luxury car and cash amounting to Rs 6.9 million as ransom, Colombo Crimes Division sources said. He was caught while attempting to extort a further 500,000 rupees from the same businessman yesterday. more..

'Muzammil assures an office for Moragoda'

Nov 8 (Island) Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil had assured Colombo DIG Anura Senanayake on Friday that he would obtain the approval of the Council today to allocate a room for CMC UPFA group leader Milinda Moragoda on the second floor of the Colombo Municipal Council. DIG Senanayake said that he visited the CMC premises at the urgent request of its Commissioner Mrs. Bhadrani Jayawardena in an attempt to defuse a tense situation that arose after two rooms were broken into more..

Sri Lanka Cricket: Riddled with politics and financial woes

Nov 8 (SL) Boasting a team of world champions Sri Lanka Cricket has been reduced to an all time low as the bankrupt and controversy riddled Board swings from one crisis to another. With the SLC debt standing at over Rs. 2 billion, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told The Sunday Leader that he intends to sack the current Interim Committee (no surprises there) and call for elections to be held a month from now at the end of December. more..

Four million Lankans anaemic; the aged go hungry

Nov 8 (LB) Four million Sri Lankans are anaemic, 1.3 million school-goers underweight and 0.4 million children under five years of age are underfed, Head of MRI Dr. Renuka Jayatissa said. Hunger stared in the face of 0.3 million of the country’s elderly or people over 60-year of age; 1.8 million of the country’s womenfolk are underweight, Dr. Jayatissa said at the launch of the World Disaster Report 2011. more..

Re-build leftist movement: JVP Dissidents

Nov 8 (DM) JVP dissidents said today that they would commemorate the 22nd death anniversary of the party’s founder leader Rohana Wijeweera in the hope that Sri Lanka’s leftist movement should be rebuilt from zero. Politburo member Senadheera Gunatilake alias Opatha said that Mr. Wijeweera, on the brink of the defeat of the armed struggle in 1988/89, asked his members to restart a fresh struggle for a socialist revolution. more..

Over 100,000 teachers deprived of promotions threaten trade union action

Nov 8 (Island) More than 100,000 teachers, who had been deprived of their due promotions for nearly three years, yesterday threatened trade union action before the end of the current school term if the government did not promote them immediately. General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) Mahinda Jayasinghe told The Island that the government had not promoted teachers after December 31, 2008. more..

Police officer netted with stolen Indian HC vehicles

Nov 8 (DM) An Inspector of Police based in Colombo who is alleged to be the leader of the gang that steals vehicles was taken into custody by the police, along with some vehicles stolen from the Indian High Commission in Colombo, police said. The Colombo Western Special Criminal Investigation Unit also arrested an associate of his. Two members of the gang were missing from their homes and are absconding. more..

Indian bilateral meetings set to dominate SAARC again

Nov 8 (Hindu) The official machinery in seven countries in the SAARC region is busy working out details of bilateral meetings with India, even as they finalise their travel plans to the summit venue in The Maldives. As it happened at a few SAARC meetings, the meetings on the sidelines between India and Pakistan, the two-nuclear powers in the region, have often overshadowed the modest agenda of SAARC. more..

Sri Lanka hit by regime uncertainty

Nov 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's investment prospects would be hurt by sudden changes in policy and laws relating to property rights and investment returns analysts said, describing a condition identified by economists as 'regime uncertainty'. "Consistent government policy: that is what investors are looking for," Sujeewa Mudalige, President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka told a business forum on taxation organized by Sri Lanka's Institute of Policy Studies. more..

New uniforms for MSD men

Nov 8 (DM) The govt decided to introduce a special uniform for members of the Ministerial Security Division (MSD) who are assigned to provide security to MPS, sources said. IGP N.K. Ilangakoon participated in the govt parliamentary group meeting as a special guest yesterday evening and briefed the members about the previous decision to make it compulsory for MSD personnel to wear uniform when providing security to MPs. more..

‘Appear before PSC, prove your innocence, if you can’

Nov 8 (Island) A collective of 42 judges who claim to have been victimized by ex-Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva while holding office, yesterday, dared him to appear before the Parliamentary Select Committee to be appointed to probe his conduct during his tenure and prove his innocence if he could. The former judicial officers who have grouped themselves as the Foundation of Victimized Judges (FVJ) issued this challenge to more..

‘Websites blocked temporarily’

Nov 8 (DM) Asserting that it had blocked six websites for violating the country’s laws, ‘only temporarily’, the Media Ministry said that the owners of those websites could come and discuss the matter with the authorities and give their side of the story. “We are ready to discuss with them at any time and ready to cooperate with them if they genuinely want to adhere the country’s laws in the future,” said Media Ministry Secretary W.B. Ganegala, more..

Sri Lanka's (nearly) forgotten massacre

Nov 8 (NP) This isn't a column about the Middle East. But to make my point, I'm going to start by asking readers to imagine a scenario from that part of the world. Imagine that, sometime in the next few months, Hamas attacks against Israel escalate to the point of all-out war. Hundreds of Israeli tanks roll into Hamas-controlled territory, supported by artillery barrages and round-theclock bombing runs. Position after position is overrun, until the retreating Arabs - Hamas fighters more..

Editorial: People need action not platitudes from WHO

Nov 8 (DM) Avital role in the worldwide work of the United Nations needs to be played by the World Health Organization (WHO) because health is wealth and therefore the WHO has to diagnose and give an effective remedy to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor because poverty is the most widespread disease and hunger the biggest killer. But world health rights’ campaigners have expressed their disappointment with the Rio Declaration issued by the WHO conference on more..

LLRC report completed

Nov 8 (DM) The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission has completed its report on the final stages of the war and is awaiting a communication from the President’s Office regarding the handing over of the report. Lakshman Wickremasinghe the Media co-ordinator for the LLRC speaking to Daily Mirror online said that the report is complete and is now in the process of being proof read. "The report has been completed and is now in the process of being proof read, more..

Rajiv killer's mother pleads for son’s life

Nov 8 (TOI) Arputhammal, 65-year-old mother of Perarivalan who faces the death penalty in the Rajiv Gandhi murder case, on Monday made a fervent appeal to the political leadership in the country to repeal capital punishment to avoid innocent people being hanged on fabricated charges. Talking to the media a day after the mega convention against capital punishment and continuing genocide in Sri Lanka, Arputhammal reiterated that her son had committed no crime and expressed more..

Gen Y Tamil filmmakers say no to Sri Lanka

Nov 8 (DC) They’ve finally come out and said it in no uncertain terms. After showing their solidarity for the oppressed Tamils in Sri Lanka in various ways, like going on a one-day token fast, resolving not to shoot Tamil films in the island nation and not to take part in any of the shows there, Gen Y Tamil filmmakers have sent a clear message. Path-breaking director/producer Sasikumar’s bold decision not to release his upcoming flick Porali in Sri Lanka has made more..

Police officer netted with stolen Indian HC vehicles

Nov 8 (DM) An Inspector of Police based in Colombo who is alleged to be the leader of the gang that steals vehicles was taken into custody by the police, along with some vehicles stolen from the Indian High Commission in Colombo, police said. The Colombo Western Special Criminal Investigation Unit also arrested an associate of his. Two members of the gang were missing from their homes and are absconding. The vehicles found yesterday included a more..

School vans not allowed to park near schools

Nov 8 (DM) School van drivers have been advised by the traffic police to park their vans in car parks around leading schools in Colombo with immediate effect. Acting police spokesman DIG Maxi Proctor said that these vans cause huge traffic congestion in the city and during school hours therefore the police had to take these steps to reduce traffic. “Many school vans can be seen parked in front of Royal College and D.S. Senanayake College,” he said. “They can park the vans in more..

Tortured businessman seeks compensation

Nov 8 (DM) Senior Counsel for the detained Bambalapitiya Businessman drew the attention of the Supreme Court although the petitioner businessman had been discharged from the criminal proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court, his properties and belongings taken into police custody have not yet been returned. The fundamental rights petition filed on behalf of the businessman Ramasamy Prabakaran came up before the Bench comprising Chief Justice Shirani A. Bandaranayake, Justices more..

WikiLeaks: ‘I am not saying we are clean’ – Basil to US Senate Foreign Relations staff

Nov 8 (CT) A leaked US diplomatic cable the President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother and his advisor Basil Rajapaksa has been described by the US Ambassador, as a de-facto czar of the IDP and demining issues. “The president’s brother, MP, and de-facto czar of the IDP and demining issues Basil Rajapaksa hoped to improve the bilateral relationship and build trust with the U.S.” the US Embassy wrote to Washington. more..

D.A.Rajapaksa 44th Death Anniversary Commemorated

Nov 8 (GDI) The 44th death anniversary commemoration of veteran politician D.A. Rajapaksa was held in Tangalle today under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and family members paid floral tribute to the D.A. Rajapaksa statue located in the Tangalle town. Many MPs and people’s representatives and school children joined in paying floral tributes. The D A Rajapaksa memorial oration was more..

Health service by Sri Lankans to Sri Lankans

Nov 8 (GDI) The Health Education Bureau of the Health Ministry launched an around the clock website in all three languages providing several services to the public. The website will provide information as well as answers to health questions posed by the general public on a one to one basis with the help of health experts from the Health Education Bureau and consultant specialists across the country. "It is the first time the country is to have, 'a health service by Sri Lankans for more..

'Absolute power to a regime not good for democracy'

Nov 8 (DM) Daily Mirror discussed a range of issues with NFF leader and Minster Wimal Weerawansa. Excerpts of the interview; Q: The UPFA kept wining almost all the elections held since 2005 under President Mahinda Rajapaksa giving a snowballing effect to the contemporary political culture of the country. How do you think this phenomenon has affected party politics in Sri Lanka? A: This is entirely an issue that should be addressed by voters themselves. more..

‘Srilankan’ to carry Mihin Lanka’s burden

Nov 8 (LT) According to sources in Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka there is an attempt to affiliate ‘Mihin Lanka’ air lines that incurred a loss of Rs.728 million during last year with SriLankan Airlines. ‘Mihin Lanka’ was set up on a requirement of President Mahinda Rajapakse. Its loss of Rs.707 million in 2009 increased to Rs.728 million in 2010. As an attempt to minimize its loss the expenditure for its employees is being slashed. Despite spending Rs.135 million for employees in 2008, it was reduced to Rs.107 by the end of 2010. more..

Bill is against principles of natural justice – Former Chief Justice

Nov 8 (LT) Taking over unprofitable private enterprises are against principles of natural justice says legal experts. Issuing a statement regarding government’s attempt to get ‘Revival of the Underperforming and Underutilized Assets Bill’ passed in Parliament former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva states taking over enterprises without making any inquiry from the owners of such enterprises or without informing them is against the Constitution. He says the owners should be given more..

8 TN fishermen hurt in attack by Sri Lankan Navy

Nov 8 (PTI) In the second such incident this week, 8 Tamil Nadu fishermen were today injured and 13 boats damaged when Sri Lankan Naval personnel allegedly attacked them near the International Maritime Boundary Line near Katchatheevu, officials said. The Sri Lankan Navalmen pelted stones and also used steel bodied boats to dash against the craft of the fishermen and also used axe like weapons, forcing them to return to the shores, more..

EU expresses concern over blocking of websites in Sri Lanka

Nov 8 (DPA) The EU Heads of Mission based in Colombo Tuesday expressed concern over the blocking of news websites in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has blocked five websites which have been critical of the govt. The govt said that the move followed complaints that defamatory articles were being published. 'The EU considers that freedom of press forms an integral part of any democratic system. The EU therefore believes that the media should be allowed to operate independently,' more..

Sri Lanka bourse closes at one-week low

Nov 8 (Reuters) Stock market fell to a one-week low on Tuesday, with investor sentiment hit by a proposed govt act to acquire underperforming assets, including from two listed firms. The main share index fell 1.3 percent, or 9.08 points, to 6,322.01. Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has decided that proposed legislation to acquire underperforming enterprises and underutilised assets was consistent with the constitution, parliament was told on Tuesday, despite more..

Southern Expressway opening on 27th

Nov 8 (GDI) The Kottawa-Galle section of the Southern Expressway is scheduled to be declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the 27th of this month. The Southern Expressway is the first expressway in Sri Lanka and it is the longest expressway out of proposed expressway network. It runs from Kottawa to Matara. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japan Bank of International Corporation (JBIC) are the main funding agencies for this project. more..

Court approved the blocking of lanka

Nov 8 (AT) Nugegoda Magistrate court has approved the Govt blocking the lanka The Court order says that investigation has been conducted by the CID and they have gone before the Magistrate and obtained an order to block the lanka The Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media and Information Mr. W.B. Ganegala said that the TRC has on ourv requwst has blocked,, and more..

Writers win Catholic literary prizes

Nov 8 (UCAN) Three writers have been awarded lifetime achievement awards for their contributions in boosting Catholic literature in the Buddhist majority country. The awards handed out by the National Catholic Writers Association are the highest honors the local body the International Catholic Organization of the Media (ICOM) can give to Catholic writers. Basil Fonseka, Agnes Siyambalapitiya and Mercy Edirisinghe picked up their prizes at a special gala evening in Colombo on Sunday. more..

Sri Lanka's asset acquisition act constitutional - court

Nov 8 (Reuters) Supreme Court has decided that proposed legislation to acquire underperforming enterprises and underutilised assets is consistent with the country's constitution, parliament was told on Tuesday, despite some concerns it amounts to nationalisation. The government's 'revival of underperforming enterprises and underutilised act' which was presented to the legislature on Tuesday, will see the state acquiring 37 private businesses more..

Sri Lanka urged to improve science and IT education

Nov 8 (LBR) Sri Lanka should improve science and technology education to bridge the gap between existing and required technology skills to grow the island’s IT and business process outsourcing industry which is heading towards a billion dollar target. “In Sri Lanka, there is a huge gap between the world of the book and the world of the work,” said minister Sarath Amunugama. Sri Lankas IT/ BPO sector which currently draws in nearly half a billion dollars is the fifth largest more..

Sri Lanka spice council calls for investments to improve export quality

Nov 8 (LBR) Sri Lanka’s spice exports chasing a billion dollar target in foreign exchange by 2020, is calling for private sector investments in to the industry to help improve quality and volume to meet global demand. “Our main problem is production and productivity,’ said Sarada De Silva, chairman of the Spice Council. ‘Many export inquiries can't be fulfilled due to inefficient volume and quality issues.’ De Silva was addressing the annual more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 08.11.2011

'CPC trying to damage more Petrol engines'

Nov 8 (DM) I refer to the advertisement published by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) on several newspapers inviting bids for the sale of “2600 metric tonnes of Gasoline 90 octane presently stored at the Kolonnawa Oil Installation”. From the specifications of the Gasoline in these advertisements, it can be inferred that it is the remaining quantity of the off-specification gasoline (92 unleaded petrol), recently imported and distributed throughout the country by more..

'A shocking mockery of the Legislative process, constitutionality and the Rule of Law'

Nov 8 (DM) The government which controls a two-third majority in Parliament is rushing through a convoluted Bill bearing the title Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets Act. Ordinarily, in terms of Article 78 (1) of the Constitution, every Bill should be published in the Gazette at least 7 days before it is placed on the Order Paper of Parliament. This publication is done to enable any citizen to challenge the constitutionality of the Bill more..