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President left for UN Summit

Sept 19 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa left for New York this morning to attend the UN Summit. President will lead a delegation which also includes Minister Prof. G.L. Pieris, to the 66th session of the UN General Assembly. Where he will deliver his address in the UN General Assembly on the 23rd, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the Summit. This is the first time he will be meeting the UN Secretary General after the release of the Darusman report. more..

Biggest Indo-Lanka naval exercise underway off Trinco

Sept 19 (Island) India and Sri Lanka will launch their biggest joint naval exercise off the strategic Trincomalee Navy base today with the participation of over a dozen ships, helicopters and one maritime reconnaissance aircraft. The five-day exercise codenamed ‘SLINEX II’ would enhance relations between the two navies and help them share experience, skills and expertise. This is the second exercise since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. more..

Jailor laments over anomalies in promotion

Sept 19 (DM) Sequent to the rights petition, the aggrieved jailor, who laments over the impugned anomalies in promotions in the process of promotion to Class I Jailors, has been promoted to Jailor Class I with effect from October 25. When the fundamental rights petition came up before the Bench comprising Chief Justice Shirani A. Bandaranayake and Justice R.K. Suresh Chandra, the State Counsel Rajitha Perera informed Court he had received instructions from the Secretary to more..

'City uplift not at citizens’ expense'

Sept 19 (DN) The measures at beautifying Colombo would not be at the expense of city dwellers,President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Saturday. The President noted that an external facelift to the city would not be sufficient without uplifting the people’s living standards. President Rajapaksa added that measures to conserve and create a pleasing environment in the city would go hand in hand with efforts at meeting people’s expectations and needs to keep them contended and happy. more..

Wimal endorses leasing of state land to attract foreign investment

Sept 19 (Island) NFF leader Minister Wimal Weerawansa on Saturday strongly defended leasing of state-owned land to foreigners to attract foreign investment. He said that foreign investment was a prerequisite for developing post-war Sri Lanka. The country couldn’t afford to reject foreign investment, he said emphasising the importance of working out agreements favourable to the national economy. more..

Vacancy for hangman

Sept 19 (DM) Prisons Department will call for applications for the post of hangman also known in Sri Lanka as the ‘Alugoshuwa’, Prisons Commissioner General P.W. Kodippili said yesterday. He said the post of hangman had fallen vacant after the present hangman was promoted recently. He said the post would be designated under a new name and prisons too would also be renamed as rehabilitation centres. Mr. Kodipili said these names were those given by our colonial rulers and more..

Mervyn leads sugar storage raid

Sept 19 (AD) A group led by Minister Mervyn Silva today (September 19) carried out a sudden inspection of a ‘carelessly operated’ sugar storage at Pethiyagoda, Kelaniya which allegedly stores unhealthy sugar, Ada Derana reporter stated. The Minister of Public Relations and Public Affairs, who acted on information received by him in the morning today, had traveled to the location accompanied by several Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha members. more..

A sideshow that has become a necessary evil

Sept 19 (ST) With election propaganda increasing in its outpouring for the LG polls to be held on October 8, there has also been a dramatic increase in election law violations, monitors reported. Misuse of State property, illegal posters, cutouts and banners being the main areas of polls law violations. State resources have been misused mainly in the Ratnapura and Badulla municipality areas. Executive Director- PAFFREL, Rohana Hettiarachchi, more..

Tea brews mixed results

Sept 19 (FT) Brewing with mixed fortunes, tea exports have faced the Middle East unrest well, but future price fluctuations may pose challenges in the short term, say industry experts. Despite the challenges of the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, Sri Lanka’s tea exports have performed well during the first half of the year, Tea Board statistics show. Around 55% of all tea exports from Sri Lanka are destined to the Middle East, Gulf and North African regions. more..

Hambanthota is ready for South Asian Beach Games

Sept 19 (GDI) All South Asian countries have given their consent to host the inaugural South Asian Beach Games in Sri Lanka, and the the Ministry of Sports has taken all necessary steps to hold the first South Asian Beach Games Festival in Hambanthota from October 8th to 17th, Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. Sri Lanka was selected over Bangladesh and the Maldives by the South Asian National Olympic Committees in an unanimous decision. more..

35 stranded Lankans in Oman safe house

Sept 19 (DM) The new Sri Lankan Ambassador in Oman said a group of 35 Sri Lankans, who went to Oman seeking jobs were housed at an embassy-sponsored safe house, the Times of Oman reported. “At the moment we have 35 people in the safe house, half of whom are workers who have landed here through UAE. We are worried over such issues as the number of those seeking shelter is on the rise,” Ambassador Asoka Girihagama said. more..

Workers alone not to blame for collision; trains from India ‘unsuitable’

Sept 19 (AD) Definitive assumptions cannot be made regarding the train accident in Alawwa until the committee appointed to look into the incident submits its report, General Manager of Railways B.A.P. Ariyaratne said. He pointed out that certain factions are expressing various theories over the mishap. Mr.Ariyaratne, however added, that it would take several more days before the report of the committee is submitted. more..

'all ready to fight docs over Pvt. Medical College'

Sept 19 (LB) With regard to the Malabe private medical College controversy, Minister Dissanayake stressed that there would be no problems in this regard. He went on to say that the members of the SLMC (Sri Lanka Medical Council) are appointed by the president, and thereby they are duty bound to honour any decisions taken by the govt. He also warned that if SLMC were to take any decision that would be in conflict with the decision taken by the govt, more..

UNP unveils megapolis plan for western region

Sept 19 (ST) With less than three weeks to go for the local elections including the Colombo Municipality, the UNP has come out with a megapolis plan covering not only the city, but the western region. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Sunday Times that the master plan for the development of the western region included development of all sectors and the proposal would look to public – private investment partnerships to make it a reality. more..

UAE expats send gift of education to Sri Lankan children

Sept 20 (National) More than 20 underprivileged children in a Sri Lankan town devastated by the 2004 tsunami have received school bags, books and stationery from a charitable organisation in the UAE. The Overseas Pakistanis and Sri Lankans Society (OPSS) organised the gifts before school started recently in the city of Galle. The group was founded six months ago to bridge the two expatriate communities in the UAE. "The children were really excited about getting the new green bags and the textbooks," more..

Sri Lankan national arrested at Cochin airport

Sept 20 (Hindu) Immigration officials at the Cochin International Airport on Monday detained a Sri Lankan national after being deported from Dubai for travelling on an Indian passport. Officials said the person, identified as the 30-year-old Vasanthan of Jaffna in Srilanka had boarded an Emirates flight from here to Dubai on Sunday using the passport of a Chennai native. He, however, was caught during an emigration check at Dubai airport and was deported back to the originating destination. more..

A hundred that Mathews will grow to regret

Sept 20 (CI) Test cricket died a little in Colombo today. With a match for the winning and a series to be saved, Angelo Mathews was so consumed by his personal goal that he all but forgot about Sri Lanka's. To score a first Test century is a significant achievement, not least on the subcontinent, where statistical milestones carry plenty of meaning in themselves. But the way Mathews went about getting there, draining the match of more..

Sri Lanka central bank appoints new deputy governors

Sept 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank has promoted three assistant governors, P Nandalal Weerasinghe, B D W A Silva and C Premeratne to the posts of deputy governor, a statement said. Weerasinghe and Silva were promoted with effect from September 27, 2011 and Premeratne is to be promoted with effect from January 01, 2012. Weerasinghe has over 20 years of experience in the Central Bank especially in the field of economic research, the statement said. more..

Stock trades cancelled after technical glitch

Sept 20 (LBO) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) cancelled all orders and trades Monday after a technical problem halted trading soon after the opening. "The Automated Trading System experienced a hardware failure in the database servers shortly after the Open Auction today," a CSE statement said. "The system recovery is taking much longer than expected. Hence, we regret to inform you that trading would not take place today. "In view of the above, all orders entered and more..

SL v Aus, 3rd Test: Hughes hundred hurts Sri Lanka's hopes

Sept 20 (CI) Phillip Hughes scored his first Test century in two and a half years to give Australia every chance of playing out a series-winning draw at the SSC. But at the end of a day that began with a Sri Lankan crawl as Angelo Mathews ate up valuable time in reaching his maiden Test hundred, Rangana Herath had troubled Australia's top order enough to give Sri Lanka some hope of victory. The Sri Lankans must win the match to level the series, and more..

Man arrested for posing as Coordinating Secretary of Namal

Sept 20 (DM) A man posing as a Coordinating Secretary of MP Namal Rajapaksa and cheated several individuals was taken into custody by the Galle police during a propaganda rally to support the UPFA candidates contesting the Galle municipal election. The meeting was presided over by Parliamentarian Namal Rajapakse. The police said the suspect had obtained money from young men and women on the promise of providing them employment through the Parliamentarian. more..

Indicted for aiding to kill Jeyaraj

Sept 20 (DM) The Attorney General indicted before the Colombo High Court an accused who had facilitated the LTTE movement to carry out their terrorist acts by providing accommodation and aiding and abetting the LTTE to kill Former Minister of Highways Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. When the matter was taken up for inquiry before High Court Judge Ms. Depali Wijesundera today Counsel A. M. Thillayanathan appearing with Dusith Johndasan for the accused submitted that more..

Razed Sri Lankan Muslim shrine to be rebuilt

Sept 20 (BBC) Defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has ordered the reconstruction of a Muslim shrine recently destroyed by Buddhist monks. Mr Rajapaksa told a delegation of prominent Muslims the shrine will be rebuilt after Buddhist monks led a crowd in tearing it down nine days ago. The monk who led the demolition said the shrine was built on land given to Buddhists 2,000 years ago. He accused Muslims of planning to make it a mosque - Muslim leaders deny this. more..

37 drunk drivers arrested in Colombo

Sept 20 (DM) Police arrested 37 persons for driving after consuming alcohol during a major operation carried out in Colombo during the last few days. The license of the persons was suspended for three months. SSP Maxi Proctor said that these raids were carried out to prevent road accidents mainly caused by drunk drivers. The operation was carried out following two accidents which were reported in the Colombo area caused as a result of drunk drivers. “To avoid such accidents and more..

Moulana wields axe at Mervin

Sept 20 (DM) Western Province Governor and SLFP veteran Alavi Moulana warned today that Minister Mervin Silva would face major problems if he tried to stop the animal sacrifices that will be performed by the Muslim community on the eve of the Haj festival. “If Minister Mervin Silva who prevented the ritualistic animal sacrifice at a temple in Chilaw tries his antics on the Muslims who will sacrifice animals for Kurban, they will take to the streets in protest,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 19.09.2011

Central Bank resumes repo auction after two-yr lapse

Sept 20 (Reuters) Central Bank on Monday started repo auctions after a lapse of two years, a move currency dealers see as aimed at easing pressure on the exchange rate and the central bank's dollar sales. The central bank in the past has used the tool under its open market operation to drain money from the banking system to keep the short term interest rate in check, while keeping monetary policy rates unchanged. The bank stopped open market operations in October 2009. more..

Govt accuses opposition of blocking Galle Face Land sale

Sept 20 (DM) With the Cabinet having approved the 99-year lease on seven acres of prime land near the Galle Face Green to the China National Aero-Technology and Export-Import Corporation (CATIC), the government valuer has been directed to work out the lease payments, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said. He accused the main opposition UNP and the JVP of having compelled the government to change its earlier decision to sell the property outright at US$ 94.5 million or more..

Why Sri Lanka has designs on the fashion world

Sept 20 (BBC) Sri Lanka has long been known as a manufacturing location for the international garment industry. But the island is changing, according to the first Sri Lankan to present her own design at London Fashion Week's Esthetica - the hub of London's ethical fashion industry - into a fashion destination in its own right. "I personally see a massive change in the industry in Sri Lanka," Charini Suriyage told the BBC Sinhala service. more..

Sri Lanka will not take all advice that is given: CB Governor

Sept 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka will not take all economic advice that is given but chart its own course based on a longer term path, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said amid concern over continued defence of the island's dollar peg. "We've got to be very clear to the public, to the economic stakeholders that advisors are not responsible for their actions," Cabraal told a monetary policy forum in Colombo. "They can give advice; they can leave the next day. more..

Buddhist monk charged with raping girl in 1970s

Sept 20 (BBC) A Buddhist monk has been charged with raping an underage girl in the 1970s, the Metropolitan police has said. Pahalagama Somaratana Thera, chief incumbent of Thames Buddhist Vihara, Croydon, has been charged with four counts of sexual abuse, police said. The alleged rape and three counts of indecent assault occurred in Chiswick, west London, in 1977 and 1978. The 65-year-old from Dulverton Rd, Croydon, will appear on bail at Feltham Magistrates' Court more..

Another committee appointed to investigate substandard fuel

Sept 20 (DM) Minister Susil Premajayantha has directed the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to appoint a second committee to look into the compensation of some 3000 complainants whose vehicles were suspected to have been damaged by substandard petrol. A new three member committee comprising of a member from the CPC marketing division, finance division and CPC Board of Directors will look into the complaints to decide on the method of compensation. more..

Lanka building national consensus on Tamil issue: PM

Sept 20 (PTI) Sri Lanka has stepped up efforts to build national consensus and will set up a parliamentary select committee to find an early solution to the Tamil issue, Prime minister D M Jayaratne has told senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi. Joshi who had called on Jayaratne during the weekend had asked him to find a political solution for a speedy reconciliation with the Tamils. Jayaratne explained to Joshi about the steps taken by his govt to set up a more..

Sri Lankan admits guilt in second insurance fraud case in Bermuda

Sept 20 (BS) A Sri Lankan national today pleaded guilty to pocketing $7,884 from an insurance company by claiming a coworker had surgery overseas. Chandima Arachchige, 37, was charged with dishonestly obtaining $7,884 from BF&M by claiming Susanthan Wijekoon had surgery in Sri Lanka between July 22 and July 27 when he was in Bermuda. She is currently awaiting sentence on a similar matter. Arachchige pleaded guilty earlier this month to pocketing more than $60,000 by more..

Greens call for suspension of Sri Lanka from Commonwealth

Sept 20 (TA) Australia's Greens will launch the first major challenge to Sri Lanka's Commonwealth membership today when the party calls for its suspension pending a full investigation into allegations of war crimes committed in the final months of the country's civil war. The campaign to suspend Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth kicks off tomorrow with a roundtable meeting of human rights activists and jurists involved in collecting evidence for more..

Emdon Seevaratnam is experiencing the final straw at his main money making machinery

Sept 20 (LG) One time head of the international finances of the LTTE Nagendram Seevaratnam who is well known to the British Tamils as Terror Guru and Emdon Seevaratnam has accepted the finality of his fate in running the popular Muthumari Amman temple in Tooting, London. With his links to the LTTE, he abused his authority and ran his temple with the authoritarian cult and his cash investment from the temple funds stretched to Tamil Nadu, India and northern Sri Lanka. more..

British citizens held prisoners by Sri Lanka

Sept 20 (LG) Govt of President Mahinda Rajapakse has not changed and the minority Tamils are being systematically targeted for their stand that does not concur with his type of governance in Sri Lanka. The President’s statement of ‘You are with us or you are against us’ is practiced in full force to persecute the Tamil minority. Interestingly, Tamils taking a strong line against the govt in their host countries and have not violated the draconian laws like the Terrorism Act even that more..

The need to harness solar and wind power

Sept 20 (NS) The world today is witnessing a frantic race to harness power and energy for rapid economic development in the case of developing countries and for continuing economic and military dominance by certain rich countries. Amongst these countries are also some that have not been able to harness natural resources to produce sufficient wattage of electricity so that per capita consumption would reach all households in such countries. more..

A brief overview of post-independence

Sept 20 (LG) The problems of a section of Jaffna Tamils in the post-independence years were portrayed by Tamil politicians (also from the same section) of the day, as those of all Tamils. This was a historical mistake of immense proportions. The Vaddukottai resolution was the outcome. This was the result of the advantage they had by way of high quality schools, the propensity for hard work, the sacrifice their parents made in investing in education and the conditions in Jaffna -over crowding and more..

Sri Lankan think-tank releases review of the UN panel report on the War

Sept 20 (LG) The Marga Institute, the oldest independent think- tank in Sri Lanka headed by its founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Godfrey Gunatilleke, released its report of the recent Seminar on “Accountability, Restorative Justice and Reconciliation”. Held at the Marga Auditorium on 27 July, 2011, the Seminar reviewed the report of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka. The seminar was organized in four sessions with panel discussants such as; more..