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Thousands overstaying visas, crackdown launched

Nov 14 (ST) Just six weeks before a new electronic visa system comes into effect, the govt has launched a countrywide crackdown on visa overstayers.“We are now using special units to track down those over staying their visas,” Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulananda Perera said. He said more than a thousand people, largely Indian and other South Asians, have been deported so far. Other overstayers included people from European and former Soviet bloc countries. more..

Over 3,000 workers in K’nayake EPZ in trouble

Nov 14 (Island) More than 3,000 workers of three factories in the Katunayake Export Promotion Zone whose establishments are to be taken over by the govt under the Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilised Assets Act or the Expropriation Bill passed in Parliament are in a dilemma as the factories have yet to pay them compensation and not even remitted their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees Trust Fund (ETF) dues. Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and more..

'Premadasa too sought Norwegian help'

Nov 14 (Island) The Norwegian-funded inquiry into its peace efforts in Sri Lanka has revealed the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa sought Norwegian help to establish contact with the LTTE, in June 1990. A report, which primarily discussed Norwegian peace efforts in Sri Lanka from 1997 to 2009, explained the circumstances leading to the then Foreign Minister A.C.S. Hameed meeting Norwegian politician, Arne Fjortoft, a long time resident in Sri Lanka, more..

'Media play vital role in promoting tourism'

Nov 14 (GDI) Media play a vital and important role in promoting tourism, not only within the SAARC region but throughout the world as well. Destinations are made known to tourists before they set off and known destinations are popularized among tourists by the media, Mass Media and Information Ministry Secretary W B Ganegala said. Ganegala was making the welcome speech at the SAARC seminar on 'The role of media in promoting tourism for enhancing people to people contact' more..

Bellantara Thero needs psychiatric help

Nov 14 (SL) Once again Ven. Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thero of thre Siri Sadaham Ashramaya in Bellantara is in the spotlight. Although he was notorious for harassing his neighbours over the years by taking the law into his hand, this time it is about how the Maha Sangha rallied together and admonished him for being an unruly monk. At around 3 p.m. on Monday November 7, more than 100 Buddhist monks arrived at Siri Sadaham Ashramaya, got the locked gates opened forcibly and entered more..

Caught in a web of lies, intrigue and political witch-hunting

Nov 14 (SL) The government has taken extra measures to impose restrictions on the local media by blocking news websites alleged to have engaged in “character assassination” and “invasion of privacy”. Secretary for Ministry of Media and Information, W. B. Ganegala said, “the ministry will introduce a code of ethics and media guidelines.” Mudslinging and biased reporting are not new phenomena in the scope of Sri Lankan media, more..

Bill to control drug prices negates Bibile policy

Nov 14 (Island) Organizing Secretary of the Prof. Senaka Bibile Commemorative Committee Dr. Jayantha Bandara cautioned that the contents of the proposed National Drug Policy were neither transparent nor accountable. Prof. Bibile’s drug policy had been completely distorted. It advocated an end to pharmaceutical imports by the private sector. Dr. Bandara said that drug imports, transport and distribution had to be handled solely by the State. more..

Sri Lanka 96km expressway completed at US$700mn

Nov 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's first 96 kilometre expressway from Colombo to Galle in the south of the island to be opened in November 27, cost 77 billion rupees to build, officials said. The road is part of a 126-kilometer expressway running to Matara at the Southern tip of the island which has faced delays and cost escalations. An extension running up to Hambantota, the home constituency of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is now being designed. more..

Now, GMOA slams private medic students over training

Nov 14 (LB) Students of the Malabe Private Medical College South Asia Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) started clinical training in Colombo despite vehement opposition from both the GMOA and the Medical Faculty Students Federation (MFSF). Meanwhile, parents of students are planning to seek redress from President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena -- for more..

Galle Dialog 2011: A Welcome move says US

Nov 14 (DM) While welcoming the International Maritime Security Conference ‘Galle Dialogue 2011’ organized by the Sri Lanka Navy due to begin today in Galle, the United States yesterday said it recognized the importance of multilateral approaches in promoting security in the Indian Ocean and said it aimed to expand cooperation with regional partners. The US embassy in a statement said “the Galle Dialogue presented a welcome opportunity for more..

Bharatha’s daughter seeks justice

Nov 14 (DM) Hirunika Premachandra, the daughter of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, said yesterday that her family would be compelled to seek redress internationally with regard to her father’s killing if the authorities failed to bring the killers to book. Speaking to a private TV channel yesterday, Ms. Premachandra said UPFA MP Duminda Silva’s departure abroad to seek treatment was questionable, as he had not sought permission from the police. more..

Could a maid on death row in Saudi Arabia soon be pardoned?

Nov 14 (Time) "I will get her back," Razeena Nafeek says softly, her eyes staring straight ahead from beneath the faded red scarf that covers her forehead. Her silence after uttering the words conveys her determination, as well as the seeming enormity of the task. Razeena's 23-year-old daughter, Rizana Fathima Nafeek, has spent the past four years of her life on death row in Saudi Arabia, thousands of miles from her home of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka's highest court under fire in parliament

Nov 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Supreme Court came under fire in parliament on a debate on an expropriation bill, after the highest court reportedly said it was consistent with the constitution. The expropriation law came under fire for being deeply flawed and amounting to ad hominem legislation, which is targeted at a specific citizen instead being equally applicable to all, and for arogating the powers of the judiciary and executive. more..

Body of housemaid sans internal organs

Nov 14 (DM) In an alarming disclosure, a post mortem examination on a 28-year-old Sri Lankan housemaid who had died in Kuwait, found that several internal organs had been missing. The victim’s brother Priyantha Bandara Gunawardene said the Negombo General Hospital JMO Dr.a.dayapala who performed the postmortem examination had told them that the body had been cut open from the abdomen up to the neck and stitched and more..

Sri Lanka expropriation could be credit-negative, property rights uncertain: Moody's

Nov 14 (LBO) A law to expropriate assets of dozens of private firms including two listed companies could hurt the island's credit, cloud its investment climate and has created uncertainty about property rights and policy, Moody's a rating agency said. "Despite authorities’ statement that this is a one-off move and that further expropriation will not occur, the measure may undermine the predictability of future policies and more..

Editorial: From Gold Coast to not-so-gold Hambantota

Nov 14 (DM) For those who are laying out plans to make the country an eternal carnival for the enjoyment of a privileged minority, losing the bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games was a massive blow. Yet, contrary to the sad picture drawn by the crestfallen Lankan delgation that the country’s 20 million people grieve over the loss, they are actually rejoicing over it. Despite millions that were spent on the promotional campaigns, Hambantota fell short while Gold Coast finished the more..

Mannar’s mega industrial show sales exceed Rs 10 M

Nov 14 (LP) The 2011 Agriculture, Livestock, Technology and Machinery Exhibition together with Mannar Investor Forum and Financial Facilitator Forum, which is the first ever mega event of this nature to be held in this region, has grossed more than Rs 10 Million in its’ on the spot sales alone. During its two days’ duration, more than 3000 visitors thronged the show while strong participation from Colombo’s private sector was seen in its Investor Forum and the more..

Ambassador Wickramasuriya promotes Sri Lanka's reconciliation and development

Nov 14 (GDI) Sri Lankan Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya used a three-day stop in Houston last week to highlight Sri Lanka's continuing redevelopment and reconciliation work more than two years after it successfully concluded its long conflict against terrorism. Noting a recent visit to Sri Lanka by three U.S. congressmen who issued positive reports of post-conflict progress, more..

Sri Lanka to permit buses on expressway

Nov 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka will permit public transport to operate on the island's first expressway after buses with safety features are imported, deputy highways minister Nirmala Kothelawala said. "We will allow buses to travel on the road after four or five months," minister Kothelawala told reporters. "But buses with belts in all seats, and door that can be closed will have to be imported." Initially only five bus services will be permitted, Kothelawala said. more..

Sri Lanka stocks end down 1.5-pct

Nov 14 (LBO) Shares tumbled Monday with a rating agency warning a new expropriation law could hurt the investment climate and a listed hotel saying all its shares were now owned by the state. The main All Share Price Index fell 1.47 percent to 6,239.52, while the Milanka index fell 2.05 percent to close at 5,535.74. Turnover was 519 million rupees with no crossings or off-the-floor private deals, brokers said. Uncertainty over a business expropriation law passed last week and more..

'We’ll march forward to create socialism despite enemies vilify us'

Nov 14 (LT) “Rohana Wijeweera will not do anything for the revolution,; a Marxist-Leninist movement exists in the North; this is what is important,” this is what Dayan Jayatilleke said in 1982 and now a new group of people have sprung up who repeat what Dayan Jayatilleke said then said the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. Speaking at the commemoration ceremony of ‘IL Heros’ (November Heroes) held at Viharamahadevi Park more..

Abducted book shop owner released - Police

Nov 14 (AD) The owner of a book shop who was abducted by a group of unidentified persons who had arrived in a white van, has been released by his captors, Police said today. The abducted businessman’s wife had lodged a complaint with the Mirihana Police on November 12. Mirihana Police today stated that the book shop owner E.N. Chaminda Thushara Bandara was found last night with his hands and feet bound, blindfolded near a road in Kelanimulla. more..

UNP will return the assets to respective owners

Nov 14 (LS) Deputy leader of the UNP announced that they will hand over the assets which were take over by the govt towards the respective owners during the ruling period of UNP in the country. Govt has take over the assets of the companies which faced losses for long term period. John Amarathuga said Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramsinghe who is currently engaged in a foreign tour will hold discussions with the foreign delegates. more..

WikiLeaks: Don’t push Sri Lanka towards Burma-like isolation – American Ambassador

Nov 14 (CT) “Our challenge is strongly to encourage the Sri Lankan govt to embrace reconciliation, accountability, and respect for human rights, while trying not to push the country towards Burma-like isolation from the west” the American Ambassador to Colombo wrote to Washington. A leaked US unclassified diplomatic cable discussed the post-war challenges in Sri Lanka. The cable was written on October 30, 2009 by the US Ambassador more..

Suspicious death of youth while in the hands of PNB

Nov 14 (DM) A Colombo Court today ordered the Fort police to arrest all suspects involved in a 30-year-old youth’s death when he went to the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) to sign the case book on October 30. Delivering the verdict of the inquest into the death of Mohammed Sathak Mohammed Fahim of Maligawatta, Colombo Fort Magistrate Ms. Lanka Jayaratne ruled that there was reasonable suspicion that a crime had been committed and the police was ordered to conduct further more..

'Heroin distributes supports govt will receive more benefits'

Nov 14 (LS) Deputy Leader of the UNP Karu Jayasuriya said heroin distributes who carried out their work according to the favorable meaner of the SriLankan govt will receive may benefits for their business. Its the correct time for our people to think about the family politics take over by the politicians of the country this will be the major thereat to the democratic ruling said the leader. Taking over the assets of the private companies towards the govt will create more..

Sri Lanka finds second gas deposit

Nov 14 (Reuters) Cairn India said it had discovered natural gas at a second location in Sri Lanka's offshore Mannar basin but it would take time to determine whether the find was commercially recoverable. The Barracuda 1/G1 well, drilled to a depth of 4,700 metres, had three petroleum-bearing formations with gas and an indication of liquid hydrocarbons, Cairn India and the Sri Lankan president's office said in separate statements on Monday. more..

Lankan diplomat elected to London Consular Corps

Nov 14 (AD) A Sri Lankan diplomat has been elected to the executive committee of the Consular Corps of London for the first time in history. Chaminda Kularatne, Minister Counsellor handling consular affairs & Immigration at the High Commission in London was recently elected together with Diplomats from Cyprus, Belgium, Seashells and Latvia. The Consular Corps of London established in 1902 is a prestigious association of all diplomatic officers handling more..

Video: Hirunika Premachandra on SirasaTV

Nov 14 (CT) Hirunika Premachandra condemned Defence Secretary Gorabhaya Rajapaksa’s recent statement that “one cannot do politics in Colombo without thuggary and underworld”. She also condemned the transfer of police officer Hettiarachchi Samudrajeewa, who was handling the investigation of the assassination of former PA MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. Daughter of the murdered Bahratha Lakshman Premachandra, Hirunika Premachandra reveals how her more..

Sri Lanka forum highlights need for joint fight against piracy

Nov 14 (LBO) Co-operation among countries with interests in the Indian Ocean is essential to effectively fight Somali piracy against merchant ships which could threaten trade if unchecked, a Sri Lanka defence official said. "It is our belief that the lasting solution to threats of this nature cannot be undertaken by individual nations in isolation, but only through greater international cooperation," declared Gotabaya Rajapaksa, more..

Sarath and Senaka case postponed for Jan. 23

Nov 14 (DM) The Colombo High Court today postponed for January 23, the case in which former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and his Personal Assistant Senaka Haripriya de Silva were indicted for committing mutiny, in-subordination to the govt and harbouring army deserters. The counsel for Mr. Fonseka informed the court that Senior Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty who had defended him in the White Flag case had been nominated as the Senior Counsel to defend him again in this case more..

Fear and Loathing in Post-War Sri Lanka

Nov 14 (FPIF) Sri Lanka’s bloody twenty-six year civil war is over. The Sri Lankan government, led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, can rightfully claim a resounding military victory over the LTTE. It would be misleading, however, to call Sri Lanka a post-conflict society. There is no question that the underlying tensions of the conflict remain. Sri Lanka is a diverse country with historical ties to five ethnic groups (the two largest being Sinhalese and Tamils) and more..

Public expected govt. to work like Aladdin’s Lamp

Nov 14 (AD) The govt continues to making various statements on various occasions, says the UNP. The govt said one thing during the war, another after it ended, one statement during the election and another after the election, UNP spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka stated. “During the war the govt asked the public to make sacrifices and that it is no time for concessions.” The govt promised salary hikes, to reduce the cost of living and more..

Private Bus strike called off

Nov 14 (LP) The bus strike scheduled to be launch midnight today (14) has been called off by the Private Bus Operators after the discussions with the Minister of Private Transport C. B .Ratnayake. The PBOA has taken a decision to suspend services as the government failed to respond to its demand for a fare hike or fuel subsidy. Secretary of the All Island Private Bus Owners Union Federation, Anjana Priyanjith said the bus strike was called off following more..

Buddhist monk in Anuradhapura on a fast unto death against Principal

Nov 14 (HN) A Buddhist monk serving at the Anuradhapura Central College has commenced a fast unto death protest against the Principal of the school. Meanwhile simultaneous to this protest, the Past Pupils Association of the Anuradhapura Central College has also commenced a protest campaign against the Principal in front of the school. The venerable Diyabedume Sumanasara thero of the Anuradhapura Central College who is engaged in the fast unto death protest stated that more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 14.11.2011

Alive or Beheaded this Maid is a Heroine

Nov 14 (IPS) Will Rizana Fathima Nafeek return to this poverty-ridden coastal village in Sri Lanka alive and in one piece? Or will the beheading sentence passed on her by a Saudi Arabian court in 2007 be finally carried out? Either way Rizana is a heroine. She is one of many young women who risk abuse and torture to work as domestic help in the Middle East and send in the remittances that support their families, and also keep the Sri Lankan economy going. more..

Bus fares to rise again

Nov 14 (DM) The Private Transport Ministry said today that it was seeking Cabinet approval to increase bus fares for a second time this year following a Rs.8 increase in the price of a litre of diesel. According to the national transport policy bus fares can only be increased in such a situation only if the prices of a litre of diesel rises by 4%. The percentage increment however has been 3.5%. Ministry Secretary Victor Samaraweera said that the ministry is seeking to reduce more..

Buddhist monks, sugar farmers to stage death fast

Nov 14 (DM) Farmers attached to the Sevanagala Sugar Industries and the Buddhist monks from temples in the vicinity today decided to stage a death fast to urge the government to review its decision to acquire this business venture under the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underused Assets Bill. Sri Dharamapala Wiveka Senasana Chief Incumbent Ven. Thanamalwilla Sumangala Thera told a news conference that together with the farmers more..

Party leaders to decide on PSC

Nov 14 (DM) The party leaders will meet during the budget debate to decide on the setting up of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to resolve the North–East conflict, a senior official said today. Parliament Secretary General Dhammika Kitulgoda said it was imperative for the party leaders to decide on the fate of the PSC as it had been included in the Order Paper. “It is up to the party leaders to decide on the next course of action on the PSC,” he said. more..