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Thirty airlines setting up shop in Sri Lanka

Sept 18 (BL) What is expected to put the tourism drive into full swing is about 20 to 30 international airlines making Sri Lanka a stop-over destination in the next one year, Anura Lokuhetty Chairman of Hotels Association of Sri Lanka and Vice President of Serene Pavilions, he said. Towards this end, already Aerofloat was setting up shop in Colombo by end of this week or next week which would give the impetus for the rest to follow, he said. more..

Editorial: Mervyn makes waves

Sept 18 (Island) The irrepressible Mervyn Silva made waves last week by muscling his way into the act of animal sacrifice at the Munneswaran Temple near Chilaw. We are in no way advocating animal sacrifices anywhere. We abhor and deplore the practice. But Silva’s behaviour, especially as he is a minister of the govt wielding political muscle and enjoying the use of taxpayer paid vehicles and other perquisites and privileges, raises a number of issues including that of law and order. more..

Editorial: Foreign policy: Walk the talk

Sept 18 (ST) For some time now, we have been waiting with bated breath, so to speak, to see what would happen at the biennial sessions of the UNHRC which began in Geneva this week. To the surprise of the Govt, but not of many others, the UN Secretary General slipped into his diplomatic pouch a copy of the report submitted to him earlier this year by a three- member panel of so-called experts he had appointed (no doubt on the recommendations of those who have his ear). more..

'Namal Rajapaksa threatens Colombo voters with eviction if they don't vote for UPFA'

Sept 18 (TC) Elections are around the corner and the government’s dubious propaganda juggernaut has resumed its services of churning out nonsense; which at this point does not posses any credibility. This time though, they are catering to an electorate that is discerning and their lies aren’t being consumed as readily as they would like. As is the case with lies, it’s becoming hard to keep track of and it’s becoming very evident. more..

Surreptitious move to vilify Sri Lanka

Sept 18 (NS) The much talked about attempt to arraign Sri Lanka before an international tribunal came in for discreet inquiries in Geneva last Monday by the Sri Lankan delegation to the UN Human Rights Council sessions which included Special Presidential envoy Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe. These inquiries revealed the details relating to a surreptitious move that led to the presentation of the Darusman report at the UNHRC sessions. It had transpired that even the more..

Western countries eager to prosecute Sri Lanka

Sept 18 (NS) Sri Lanka ended its war with the LTTE on May 19, 2009. However, its war with the Tamil Diaspora that propped up the LTTE continues to this day and the confrontation escalated last week. The theatre of conflict was in Geneva where sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) were in progress. It transpired that the report of the so-called ‘panel of experts’ appointed by United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon had been forwarded to the UNHRC. more..

100% land sale tax for foreigners to be scrapped

Sept 18 (ST) Sri Lanka will scrap the 100% tax on foreigners buying land, to promote foreign investment and tourism. The Govt instead plans to introduce a special land tax in the 2012 budget removing existing barriers in the sale of land to foreigners and foreign companies to develop land in any part of the country. This will bring more revenue to govt coffers. The new land tax, the amount of which is yet to be finalised, is aimed at preventing the sale of more..

PMC: Doc in the dock

Sept 18 (ST) "Thaaththa," Bindu Udagedera asked, "what is all this fuss about a medical college?" "Well," Bindu's father Percy said, "I think the government wants to set up a private medical college…" "So, what is wrong about that?" Bindu wondered. "I think the doctors' trade union is protesting against that…" Percy said. "But thaaththa," Bindu remembered, "didn't they have a private medical college some years ago as well?" "Yes, they did," Percy remembered, "but then the rathu sahodarayas more..

Wolf in a nightgown at HRC

Sept 18 (Island) The UN Human Rights Council is in session these days and the concern was that the west would try to push through a resolution against Sri Lanka. One thing that raised a howl of protest was the referring of the Ban Ki-moon expert panel report to the HRC. Even before the panel of experts was appointed by Ban, the present columnist pointed out that this was a case of subverting the UN procedure and that the UN secretary general could appoint such a panel of more..

Clean-up at CPC after dirty petrol

Sept 18 (ST) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s (CPC) commercial division is undergoing a major shakeup amidst continued bureaucratic bungling in the purchase of fuel, violating tender procedures even several months after the dirty petrol fiasco that damaged around 2,000 vehicles in the island, officials said. Minister Susil Premajayantha said, the CPC commercial division will be completely restructured streamlining its functions and more..

SL V Aus, 3rd Test: Not out the right call

Sept 18 (CI) How much can Hawk-Eye's lbw predictions be trusted? One-hundred percent? Not at all? If the answer is somewhere in between, then it makes sense for the ICC to apply the technology with a margin of error. And if there is a margin of error, there must be a line at which doubt disappears. And if there is a line, decisions will occasionally come down to millimetres. Enter Tharanga Paranavitana and Trent Copeland. On the second afternoon at the SSC, Paranavitana was more..

Moon – The Party Pooper

Sept 18 (SL) The “Darusman Report” did come up at the 18th Sessions of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva despite strong lobbying by the govt of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Prof G.L. Peiris joined Minister of Plantation Industries, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and MP Sajin Vass Gunawardene (Monitor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) after his marathon journey undertaken to canvass support for Sri Lanka against the ‘Darusman Report’. more..

Sri Lankans to be used as Guinea Pigs to test Cancer drug

Sept 18 (SL) The Sunday Leader learnt that a major scam has come to light where the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine is attempting to import and distribute drugs manufactured in Japan which claim to cure cancer, despite them not being certified by the Japanese government. Informed sources said that Minister Salinda Dissanayake has approved the move to import the drugs from the Japanese manufacturer, pass it under the Ayurveda seal and more..

Kapurala’s pleasure ends in triple killings

Sept 18 (SO) The news of the triple murder reverberated in the Dolekade junction when people woke up on an early morning on Saturday last week. The victims of the heinous crime were the husband, his mistress and her brother who were stabbed to death with a pointed weapon while the trio were asleep in their residence at Elias Mawatha at Pannipitiya, police said. An eerie silence hung about the partly built upstairs house where the gruesome killing was committed. more..

Telecom pages hacked: Engineer arrested

Sept 18 (ST) A computer engineer has been arrested by CID detectives for hacking Sri Lanka Telecom data. Detectives say he allegedly hacked into data of the Sri Lanka Telecom Rainbow Pages – the directory for advertising. The CID’s cyber crime division had found that he had altered the programme in a manner that a user could type out the telephone number and find out the name and address of the owner. Usually the user could type out a name and find only the phone number. more..

'Pvt. Medical Colleges can make Lanka Asia’s education hub'

Sept 18 (NS) “The govt’s goal to make Sri Lanka the hub of education in the Asian region, can only be realized by new investments in tertiary education, such as Private Medical Colleges. Setting up private medical colleges can not only play a major role in elevating the socio economic standards of the country, they will increase access to medical education which is limited at present, and by providing healthy competition to the existing more..

Move in Geneva against Lanka bounces back

Sept 18 (NS) The attempt made at the UN Human Rights Commission sessions in Geneva last Tuesday to introduce a human rights violations motion against Sri Lanka at the instance of some parties opposed to Sri Lanka had bounced back on the initiators of the move as a step contravening accepted UN procedure. Special Presidential envoy Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who angrily responded to the atypical procedure that was to be followed in the attempt to introduce more..

ICG, Marine cops rescue 6 Lankan fishermen

Sept 18 (DC) In a joint operation, the Kakinada marine police and the Indian Coast Guard, rescued six Sri Lankan fishermen, 60 nautical miles off Kakinada coast on Saturday. In a joint operation, the Kakinada marine police and the Indian Coast Guard, rescued six Sri Lankan fishermen, 60 nautical miles off Kakinada coast on Saturday. The six fishermen ventured in to sea from Sri Lanka on August 18, and due to technical snag in their boat, they lost their way in the sea. more..

Large-scale India, Lanka naval exercise from Monday

Sept 18 (TOI) India and Sri Lanka are all set to hold a major joint naval combat exercise off Trincomalee next week, as part of New Delhi's continuing intensive diplomatic and military engagement with Colombo. Defence ministry officials say the six-day exercise called "SLINEX", which kicks off on Monday, will see the two navies deploying at least four warships each. "We have held naval exercises with Sri Lanka in the past but this one will be on a more..

Progress at talks with TNA

Sept 18 (ST) A govt delegation which resumed talks with the TNA has agreed that decisions reached during discussions will be placed before the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who took part in the talks said the TNA had requested that decisions taken at the talks should be placed before the PSC and the govt delegation agreed. However, a second demand by the TNA to conclude the talks within the next three months had not been agreed upon. more..

Sights and sounds of LG polls campaigns in Negombo

Sept 18 (ST) It’s all happening in the coastal town of Negombo as the forthcoming Oct 8 LG elections draws close. Contestants from all sides of the political divide say they will win, with nobody willing to be a loser. While the Opposition claims that the ruling party has done little to improve the infrastructure of the town and its environs, the govt says otherwise. Leading the pack for the UNP is a former police officer turned businessman- Royce Vijitha Fernando, who has vowed to sweep the board. more..

3 killed, dozens injured as train crashes into Inter-city express

Sept 18 (ST) At least three people, including a foreign national, were killed and around 25 injured when a train crashed into the observation carriage of the Kandy-bound Inter-city train. The accident occurred in Alawwa last evening. Police said a Rambukkuna-bound train from the Colombo Fort had ploughed into the Inter-city express which had stopped at the Alawwa Railway Station because another train in its path had stalled after developing engine trouble. more..

UK sets deadline for Sri Lanka

Sept 18 (SL) The British government has set a deadline for Sri Lanka to show progress in addressing concerns of human rights violations committed during the war. British Foreign Secretary William Hague has told the British Foreign Affairs Committee that Sri Lanka has been told it needs to show progress by the end of this year or Britain will support the international community in revisiting all options available to press the Sri Lankan government to fulfill its obligations. more..

Govt. blasts UN chief

Sept 18 (ST) The govt has lashed out at UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for submitting, what it calls a deeply-flawed report of the UN panel on Sri Lanka, both to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the President of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The letter of protest accuses Ban of violating one of the basic protocols of diplomacy by not informing the govt in advance of the submission. The move came as President Mahinda Rajapaksa leaves today to New York to attend the 66th session of the UN General Assembly. more..

With JVP also in turmoil, Rajapaksa rides high

Sept 18 (ST) Internecine battles within the JVP, between the now liberal, metamorphosed moderate leadership and radical extremists have come into the open spilling in its wake many secrets hitherto unknown of the Marxist party. The latest casualty is a rebel politburo member who is accused of divulging party secrets to the media. The Central Committee decided just a week ago to suspend him from membership and pursue disciplinary action. more..

Construction Expo 2012 key to driving SL economy: Wimal

Sept 18 (NS) Minister Wimal Weerawansa said that despite a war ravaged past the country had been able to overcome difficult times to achieve a nine per cent development in the construction industry. “Today, Sri Lanka is on a far-reaching development course in the construction industry with a difficult war ravaged past behind us. The industry has achieved a nine per cent growth up to now and according to Central Bank forecasts this is expected to rise to 11 per cent,” more..

New laws on funding terrorism

Sept 18 (ST) The Government will seek Parliament approval this week to enhance the powers in the two acts that deal with money laundering and terrorism financing. The amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act will be taken up for debate on Wednesday as part of the govt’s counter measures against terrorism with the lapse of the emergency regulations. The Terrorist Financing Act is applicable in respect of more..

Triple killing – police grill suspect

Sept 18 (SO) The main suspect allegedly involved in the triple killing of the former custodian Kapurala of Rankadu Paththini Devalaya at Kaduwela, his mistress and her brother almost 10 days ago was taken in for questioning when he surrendered to the Homagama police station on Friday. The Homagama police handed over the suspect to the CID for further investigations. CID will probe whether the suspect committed the murder single-handedly or others too were involved in the murder. more..

Switzerland rejects Gen. Dias but Ministry denies

Sept 18 (LB) Sri Lanka retained T.B. Maduwegedara as its ambassador in Germany several months after his tenure ended, because Switzerland - to which the mission in Berlin is also accredited - refused to accept Gen. Jagath Dias as acting ambassador, authoritative Geneva-based sources said. They said Maduwegedara’s term ended in June. But he was kept back so that his deputy, Gen. Dias, would not have to take over as acting ambassador pending more..

Over 1,500 Bodhi poojas for Mervyn Silva

Sept 18 (ST) More than 1,500 Bodhi poojas are to be held throughout the country today to bring blessings on Minister Mervyn Silva after he was cursed for intervening in stopping a ritual of sacrificing animals at a Kovil in Chilaw. The main Bodhi Poojawa will be held at the Kelaniya temple today evening, but several other temples in the Gampaha district as well as the outstations too have organized poojas. more..

Sinharaja road rape stopped by UNESCO: Yapa may proceed anyway?

Sept 18 (LB) In a good example of a foreign body intervening when local laws have been flouted, UNESCO could revoke Sri Lanka’s "World Heritage Site” description given to Sinharaja forest, and hence perhaps save imminent destruction of the reserve, due to the proposed road construction that the government had embarked upon. The UNESCO declared Sinharaja as a World Heritage Site in 1988. more..

SL spurns Gaddafi ‘pronto’

Sept 18 (LB) Sri Lanka turned its back on its former ally, Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi on Friday and voted in favour of granting Libya's United Nations seat to the National Transitional Council (NTC) of the former rebels, who succeeded in ousting Gaddafi. On Friday, in the General Assembly, Sri Lanka voted along with 114 member states in favour of a resolution to accept the credentials of the National Transitional Council. more..

Rail accident damages estimated at Rs 75 million

Sept 18 (ST) The Transport Ministry today estimated the damages of the Alawwa railway accident at Rs. 75 million as the death toll remained at three with two more serious. Deputy Minister of Transport Rohana Dissanayake told the Sunday Times that a specially appointed panel, headed by Railways General Manager B. A. P. Ariyaratna, will be investigating the incident. Thirty others were 30 others injured, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Sept 18 (ST) Minister G.L. Peiris was hosting delegations of 29 countries to the UNHRC to lunch in Geneva last Tuesday. Ministers Mahinda Samarasinghe, Nimal Siripala de Silva and Anura Priyadarshana Yapa were also present. The Sri Lankan Ministers were jolted from their seats when a member of the delegation representing the European Union gave them the news. He said he had met the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navaneethan Pillay earlier that day. more..

Colombo: Rs.30 per coconut; surplus into exports

Sept 18 (LB) Colombo’s continuing low retail price of coconuts at Rs.25-Rs.30 per curry nut as at mid-September means that the incoming high supply of coconuts is flooding Colombo and suburban marketplaces. In contrast, most years, beginning August, production in the plantations wane, and the retail price of coconuts in Colombo and the suburbs firm up, president, Coconut Growers Association of Sri Lanka (CGASL), Anton Fernando said. more..

LLRC report out before Nov.15

Sept 18 (NS) The LLRC’s report that was to be released by November 15 could be out even earlier and its recommendations are expected to point towards several measures to be adopted in reconciliation as well as in ensuring that issues such as human rights are also addressed, political sources said. Meanwhile the stalled talks between the govt and the TNA on devolution of power that were restarted earlier in the week and more..

Ten percent pay hike likely for public sector

Sept 18 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa wants to give a pay raise to state sector employees and has told the Treasury it should be in the range of five to ten per cent, a senior Finance Ministry officials said. He said President Rajapaksa had directed the Treasury to make allocations to grant such a salary hike in the Nov 15 budget considering the escalating cost of living. Trade unions have repeatedly demanded a salary hike of Rs.10,000 but more..

Fifa says Sri Lanka HQ rented

Sept 19 (BBC) The international football governing body, Fifa, has admitted that the headquarters of Sri Lanka Football Federation (FFSL) is rented out to private business. Denying any wrongdoing, Fifa earlier said that the FFSL headquarters "only hosts FFSL and the FIFA development office." In an email communication to BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya in July it said that no private businesses are being run from the premises. However, FFSL president Sarath Weerasekara, MP, more..

Cargills to double beer production

Sept 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Cargills group is to double production at a brewery it acquired earlier this year as a post-war economic boom spurs demand from both locals as well as an influx of tourists. A group subsidiary Millers Brewery bought McCallum Breweries (Ceylon) in February 2011 for 1.4 billion rupees. "Millers will more than double capacity over the next 18 months," a source said. He said he estimates there will be investments of around 30-40 million US dollars to expand more..

Army Commander visits Haiti, meets UN Peace keeping official in New York

Sept 19 (GDI) Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Army en route for Haiti to inspect operational duties of the Peacekeeping troops serving the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) had a stopover at UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York and met Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye, Military Adviser and UN Assistant Secretary for Department of Peacekeeping Operations on Friday (16). more..