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New Sri Lankan Ambassador to Sweden Oshadhi Alahapperuma assumes duties

Sept 13 (IL) The newly appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador to Sweden, with accreditation to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Oshadhi Alahapperuma assumed duties at the Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden recently. Oshadhi Alahapperuma, engineer by profession and the former General Manager of Mobitel, is the youngest ever ambassador appointed by the Govt of Sri Lanka at the age of 38. more..

Police learn to minimise rights violations

Sept 13 (Island) The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has taken steps to educate Police officers country wide on how to exercise their powers after the lifting of emergency laws, an official from the commission said. "Most of the police officers, especially in areas outside the capital, are not aware of the powers vested in them under the prevailing laws," Secretary to the Commission, Nimal Punchihewa said. The HRC has already implemented training programmes for the Police officers of the more..

Kandiah highlights glaring shortcomings in title registration

Sept 13 (Island) Citing glaring shortcomings in the title registration system, President of the All Ceylon Hindu Council and attorney-at-law Kandiah Neelakandan has requested the BASL to urge the Ministry of Land and Land Development to halt the issuing of deeds under the Title Act which is not in operation in the Northern region. According to the new measures, the government has requested the Tamils who had left the country to apply for new deeds. The ministry is supposed to verify the more..

Animal sacrifice: Court declines to grant interim relief

Sept 13 (DM) The Court of Appeal declined again to issue an Interim Order preventing the annual rituals of animal sacrifice to be held today at the Sri Bhadra Kali Amman Kovil in Munneswaram, Chilaw. The Bench noted that the Court was called upon to make a pronouncement regarding the rituals when it was to be held today. The Court also noted it was a very serious matter involving constitutional interpretation and and customary laws and very short notice to stop it more..

DNA FR petition re-fixed for Oct. 31

Sept 13 (DM) The Supreme Court yesterday (12) re-fixed for support on October 31 the fundamental rights violation petition of members of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA). Members of the DNA filed their petition complaining the alleged unjustifiable dispersal/disruption of their protest campaign in Galle and subsequently their arrest and detention. The Bench comprised Justices N.G.Amaratunga, P.A.Ratnayake and S.I. Imam. Petitioners are MPs Vijitha Herath, Ajith Kumara, Arjuna Ranatunga and more..

'Shopping-crazy pilgrims going missing'

Sept 13 (DN) Irresponsible acts of pilgrims are the main reason for their going missing in New Delhi, said Sri Lanka’s Buddhist Pilgrims Rest Administrative Secretary in New Delhi Ven Pallegama Vijitha Thera. Citing the incident where around six Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims had gone missing in New Delhi recently, the Thera said most pilgrims give priority to shopping and other distractions and they get lost in a vast place like New Delhi. Of the six pilgrims, three were found. The whereabouts of more..

New scholarship exam for grade 8 students

Sept 13 (DM) The Education Ministry is to introduce a new scholarship examination for grade 8 students from next year and a certificate will be issued for each and every student who gets through the grade five scholarship examination from this year, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardana said. Explaining the new educational reforms expected to be introduced from 2012 to the media, he said a cross section of professionals, dignitaries, social activists, educationists, more..

Fire at children’s home kills 6-year-old

Sept 13 (DM) A six year old boy died of burns after a fire erupted in a storeroom of a children’s home in Bathalahenwatta area in Thihariya last morning. Police said the victim had been identified as Ramesh Dilshan. The body is now lying at the Vathupitiwala Hospital. It is believed that the boy had gone to the storeroom with a matchbox and the incident had taken place when an old mattress caught fire. He had gone to the storeroom with his elder brother and a 10 year old boy. more..

JVP won’t ever join hands with UNP

Sept 13 (Island) The Propaganda Secretary of the JVP, Vijitha Herath yesterday said that under no circumstances would the Marxist party form an alliance with the UNP to defeat the govt. Herath quashed rumours that the JVP was planning to align with the UNP adding that the robber economy was introduced to the country by the capitalist UNP. He said that during the UNP rule there was large scale social injustice while robbery and corruption in the country was at a high level. more..

'Sri Lanka, like many post conflict societies, is going through a process of renewal and rebuilding'

Sept 13 (TC) It is my privilege to once again address this august body as head of the Sri Lanka delegation. We come here as always, Madam President, to share with the members of this Council and the other representatives of the community of nations, our experiences in overcoming the several challenges we face in the present era – an era that offers a fresh hope of a new Sri Lanka. The dawn of this new era coincided with the end of the armed conflict in 2009 more..

Malik asks from where Mahroof got the money

Sept 13 (Island) Former UNP MP Mohamed Maharoof, who crossed over to the SLFP recently, alleged that he made two contributions of Rs. 500 million to the election campaign of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in the presence of former UNP Chairman and top businessman Malik Samarawickreme. However, he did not say for what election the donations were for. Maharoof, who failed to obtain UNP nomination as the Mayoral candidate for the forthcoming CMC elections, immediately crossed over to the governing party and more..

Rs.666 million owed to EPF: AG

Sept 13 (DM) Management inefficiency has led to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) failing to collect as much as Rs.666 million in terms of contributions and surcharges from employers in 2009, the Auditor General has revealed in his latest report to parliament. But the report released last week does not indicate whether these monies were later recovered or are still to be recovered. The Auditor General said the Kandy North District Labour Office had not recovered Rs.11 million due from four employers as more..

Sri Lanka, UNHCR Chief in diplomatic spat

Sept 13 (DM) The much talked about UNHCR session began in Geneva yesterday with a diplomatic spat between Human Rights High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay and the Sri Lankan delegation headed by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe. While Sri Lanka questioned the impartiality of the High Commissioner on the basis it could lead to a loss of confidence in the UNHRC mechanism, Ms. Pillay urged Sri Lanka to do a complete review of its security- related measures. more..

Sri Lankan government holds belated local council elections

Sept 13 (wsws) The Sri Lankan government has called elections for 23 local government bodies, including 17 municipal councils, for October 8. The polls, including for the Colombo Municipal Council, had previously been postponed arbitrarily under the country’s emergency regulations. While local elections are generally not regarded as significant, the ruling UPFA has launched a major campaign to win the Colombo Municipal Council from the opposition UNP. more..

Universities not hampered by sick notes

Sept 13 (Island) The academic activities of the universities were not interrupted due to the sick note campaign launched by the administrative staff and the non-academic staff of the universities, University sources yesterday said. The examination that was to be held at several Universities had to be postponed and the new date would be fixed, authorities said. Sources said that the work at the University Grants Commission was interrupted due to the sick note campaign. more..

Lankan doctors to battle dengue in Pakistan

Sept 13 (Island) A team of Sri Lankan doctors will be deployed to Lahore, Pakistan today to assist in controlling a dengue crisis. Health Ministry sources said yesterday that a request had been made by the Pakistan govt to the Sri Lankan govt for assistance in controlling the mosquito borne disease, which could reach epidemic proportions. They said that the experience gained by Sri Lankan doctors, in controlling the disease, more..

Babul plays hell with children’s mouth

Sept 13 (Island) A comprehensive survey, has revealed that many school going children were prone to oral cancer because the mucus membranes of their mouths were already beginning to thicken due to chewing intoxicating substances. The survey had also found that every Sri Lankan has, on average, at least six decayed teeth or other dental complications. The main factors for contracting such kind of cancer, identified as Sub Mucus Fibrosis, are consumption of Babul, various other betel products and smoking. more..

Colombo slum evictions: Opposition lambastes,Govt. denies

Sept 13 (LB) The govt will recommence the eviction of slum dwellers soon after the Colombo Municipal Council elections, predict opposition political parties -- and claim that the govt’s declaration that ‘there will be no evictions’ is nothing but an election gimmick. This view may be substantiated by the various statements made by members of the govt. UPFA CMC mayoral candidate, Milinda Moragoda assured the slum dwellers that more..

Grade five scholarship examination results out this week

Sept 13 (DM) The results of the grade five scholarship examination held on August 21 will be released this week -- less than three weeks after the examination, said Education Minister Bandula Gunawardana. The education department had been able to release the grade five examination results in 20 days -- which was a major achievement. He said that 321,401students had sat the exam and 642,802 answer scripts had had to be marked. more..

'Fonseka’s conviction lacked material'

Sept 13 (Island) The convictions of General Fonseka, by the Court Martial II, were not affirmed by the convening Authority, the President. Hence, there cannot be a consequential sentence, said Romesh de Silva PC, in the Court of Appeal yesterday. Counsel, de Silva, appearing for Fonseka, requested the Court to quash the decision and the sentence imposed by the Court Martial II, which convicted Fonseka of disgraceful conduct and imposed a sentence of 30 months imprisonment. more..

'China, Pak back Lanka at UN Human Rights Council'

Sept 13 (PTI) China and Pakistan have backed Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council as Colombo sought to prevent the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's special panel report from being discussed at the session today. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who heads the govt delegation at the 18th session of the UN Human Rights Council, told the state owned `Lakhanda radio on the telephone that China and Pakistan had spoken in support of Sri Lanka. more..

'PMC only intent on making money'

Sept 13 (Island) The GMOA yesterday claimed that the Private Medical College (PMC) at Malabe enrolled students every six months, not to contribute to medical education in the country, but to rake in more and more money. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Sankalpa Marasinghe said that the country has eight State medical faculties, but none of them enrolled students every six months. "Normally, students sit the GCE (A/L) examination only once a year," he said more..

Sangakkara named ODI Cricketer of the Year

Sept 13 (CI) Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has been named the ODI Cricketer of the Year for 2011 during the ICC Awards ceremony in London. Sangakkara also won the ICC People's Choice Award, capping a memorable evening for him. "It's a great honour first of all to have been nominated for this award [ODI Cricketer] and a great honour to have actually won it," said Sangakkara, who was not in London because of the ongoing home series against Australia. more..

Controversy over land deals

Sept 13 (DM) Controversy surrounds the Economic Development Ministry’s circumvention of tender procedures when leasing out land for the tourism industry in areas such as Kalpitiya in the Puttalam district and Kuchchaveli in the Trincomalee district. Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane admitted in parliament last week that an open tender procedure was not being followed as a policy matter for the identification of investors for tourism development. more..

UN Sri Lanka report sent to human rights council

Sept 13 (AFP) UN leader Ban Ki-moon has sent a report accusing Sri Lankan troops of killing tens of thousands of civilians to the UN Human Rights Council, bringing a potential international inquiry one step closer. Ban has said that he alone cannot order an inquiry into the killings during a final offensive against Tamil separatists in 2009 -- which the Sri Lankan govt has strongly denied -- but that a forum such as the Human Rights Council could do so. more..

Sri Lanka stocks end down 0.5-pct

Sept 14 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks slumped again Tuesday continuing a slide that began towards the end of last week, with the highlight being trading in Lanka Milk Foods in which there were several deals, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.54 percent (37.58 points) to 6,930.04, while the more liquid Milanka index ws barely changed, down just 0.01 percent (0.63 points) to close at 6,270.41, according to stock exchange figures. Turnover was 3.0 billion rupees. more..

Etisalat to give migrant workers discounted calls

Sept 14 (LBO) The Sri Lanka unit of UAE's Etisalat said it is offering a discounted international call package to migrant workers in partnership with the island's main foreign employment agency association. "As an international company operating in a country that has a significant segment of its labor force working overseas, we understand the importance of supporting Sri Lankan migrant workers…," Etisalat chief executive Dumindra Ratnayaka said in a statement. more..

'Don’t marginalise Sri Lanka': Maldivian President to HRC

Sept 14 (MN) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has submitted a report documenting alleged war crimes in the closing days of the Sri Lankan Civil War to the UN Human Rights Council. The report accuses the Sri Lankan military of killing tens of thousands of civilians through shelling in the closing days of its war with Tamil separatists, and increases the likelihood that the Human Rights Council may be called on to vote for a more..

Royal wedding 'boosts Sri Lanka sapphire sales'

Sept 14 (BBC) Sri Lankan gemstone dealers say demand for blue sapphires has risen strongly since Britain's Prince William married Kate Middleton in April. They say the stone in the bride's ring, previously worn by Princess Diana, originated in Sri Lanka. In the first half of this year, Sri Lankan gem exports rose 35% over the past year to be worth more than $48m. An ordinary sapphire can cost $17,000 per gram, as the gems are difficult to mine. more..

EPDP protest blocks Blake meet with Jaffna civil society, students

Sept 14 (TN) The visiting US Assistant Secretary of State, Robert O Blake, had to cancel his appointment with civil society representatives, including student representatives of the University of Jaffna on Tuesday afternoon as EPDP, organized a protest outside the American Corner, situated on 4th cross street in Jaffna, sources in Jaffna said. Hundreds of people were brought from EPDP-controlled islets off Jaffna with placards supporting Mahinda Rajapaksa and staged the protest more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 13.09.2011

Australia seek reward for effort

Sept 14 (CI) Australia's meticulous planning and organised performance against a Sri Lankan team that has floundered rather more than it has flourished will count for very little should the hosts gather themselves and win the final Test in Colombo. For all the progress that appears to have been made under the captaincy of Michael Clarke, there will be nothing to show for it in terms of the series or the ICC rankings if the Australians slip up at the SSC. more..

Aussies, Sri Lanka both battling injuries

Sept 14 (AFP) Australia and Sri Lanka were both battling injuries to key players ahead of the third and final Test starting in Colombo on Friday. Australia's frontline fast bowler Ryan Harris was due to undergo scans on a hamstring strain later on Tuesday, while Sri Lanka's unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis was ruled out with a back injury. Harris, nicknamed 'Rhino' for his strong physique, complained of a stiff hamstring on the final day of the drawn second Test in Pallekele more..

US envoy visits Sri Lanka's former war zone

Sept 14 (AFP) US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake toured Sri Lanka's former war zone on Tuesday to meet students, community leaders and govt officials two years after the island's civil war ended. Blake, the top US diplomat for South and Central Asia, was in the northern Jaffna region to see development work since the fighting ceased, a US embassy spokesman said without giving further details. His visit to Sri Lanka comes as pressure grows at more..

Colombo-Badulla rail service down

Sept 14 (ST) The rail service on the Colombo - Badulla line has been suspended today after a boulder rolled on to the track close to Nanu-Oya, officials said a short while ago. They said that the scheduled night mail that leaves Colombo Fort for Badulla at 8.00 pm today will not be available and the train set to leaves the other end to the metropolis at 6.00pm has been cancelled. Workmen are in the process of removing the boulder that had rolled down from a nearby slope that borders the track and efforts to clear the rock is expected to more..

Two injured, 10 vehicles damaged as concrete beam collapses in Fort

Sept 14 (HN) An individual who was injured after an aluminum sheet which was used for a renovation activity in a building situated in Chiththampalam A. Gardinar Mawatha in Colombo-Fort collapsed onto him from one of its upper floors was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital a short while ago. The Chief Training Nurse of the Colombo National Hospital Pushpa Ramyani De Soysa with this regard, he stated that an individual who had sustained injuries from such an incident more..

Mervyn Silva intervenes to stop sacrifice of animals

Sept 14 (ST) Minister Mervyn Silva today intervened to rescue animals meant for sacrifice in temples in the Chilaw area. A Court order had already been issued to prevent the sacrifice of the animals, but Minister Silva arrived at the Badhra Kali kovil and said that no one will be allowed to carry-out sacrifice of animals. Hundreds of goats and cockbirds were lined up to be sacrificed. Mr. Silva questioned the people as to who the owners of the animals and more..

Sri Lanka's small stock market seen easy to manipulate

Sept 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stock market is still so small a small group of investors with deep pockets can manipulate prices, a former stock broker and present head of a ceramic tile group has said. "Our market is too small. A small group of people with a lot of money can move the market," declared Mahendra Jayasekera, managing director of Lanka Walltiles group. "That's why they don’t need to speak to brokers or research analysts." He said the Colombo Stock Exchange had not grown since more..

SL India cheapest to build

Sept 14 (DM) India and Sri Lanka were named the cheapest places to build both in Asia and the wider world as a whole, according to the 2011 International Construction Cost Report released by built asset consultancy, EC Harris. Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore are the most expensive places in Asia to build and are amongst the world’s top twenty most expensive countries. According to the survey, which benchmarks the cost of building in each country, the construction prices in more..

Sri Lanka bans mass animal sacrifice at temple

Sept 14 (AFP) A Sri Lankan court has ordered an annual sacrifice ritual in which hundreds of goats are slaughtered to be halted after a petition by animal rights activists, police said Tuesday. About 700 goats and scores of chickens were to be sacrificed on Tuesday during a traditional religious ceremony at the Munnewaram temple, just north of the capital Colombo. The grisly ritual, in which goats are decapitated in public using a large hatchet, more..