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CHOGM 2013: Gomin urges govt. to be ready for media barrage

Oct 18 (Island) Attorney-at-law Gomin Dayasri warns the govt to be ready to face a massive media onslaught in the run-up to the CHOGM next month. British High Commissioner John Rankin’s address to Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA), at the Taj Hotel, was a sign of the impending attack, Dayasri said. He alleged that a statement attributed to HC Rankin, that the Rajapaksa govt needed to make concrete more..

Colombo residents reject Muzammil’s request

Oct 18 (CT) Mayor of Colombo, A.J.M. Muzammil, has come under flak over his request to the residents of Colombo to colourwash their houses and parapet walls, ahead of the CHOGM. The Mayor requested property owners on routes earmarked for the use of visiting Heads of Govts and their entourages to colourwash and beautify their properties with attractive landscaping. Mayor said that he expects a good response from the people as CHOGM is a prestigious event. more..

Govt. defends Highland price hike

Oct 18 (Island) The price increase effected by Milco is not illegal, the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade says Highland milk powder price was increased from Rs. 310 to Rs. 325 per 400 g pack on Wednesday. All brands of 400 gram milk powder were authorised to be sold at Rs. 325 per pack and 1 kg packs at Rs. 810 each by the govt gazette of May 4, 2012. Milco had earlier sold the 400 gram milk powder packets at Rs.310 and the increase of Rs.15, was therefore not illegal. more..

Packer confirms Sri Lanka casino plans

Oct 18 (AFP) Australian tycoon James Packer on Friday said he plans to pump US$384 million into a five-star gambling resort in Sri Lanka, cashing in on the country's tourism potential. The billionaire, who operates casinos in Melbourne, Perth and Macau and is planning a complex in Manila, said the project on the banks of Beira Lake in Colombo would create 2,500 jobs. Sri Lanka is banking on high-end casinos to more..

Unsolved mystery of Mangala’s ‘Innocence’

Oct 18 (DM) Never shy of controversy, former Minister and UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera was to make headlines this week for his alleged involvement in the attack on a faction of the party staging a protest march demanding the ouster of party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. An arrest warrant was issued for Samaraweera, for allegedly masterminding the attack at Matara, after which he surrendered to the Police on Tuesday and was later released on bail. more..

Judgment Day is fast approaching?

Oct 18 (CT) It appears the next four weeks could be a make or break week for all in this country as the clock ticks towards the hosting of the CHOGM. What Sri Lanka has to gain or lose by hosting a record 53 Heads of State only time will tell, but the way the summit is being organized and the daily bulletins coming through, we can think of three characters in the show: Politicians, media and the public. Unfortunately, one of them, the public, may not have a part to play that he or she would really more..

Encroachment threatens upper catchments

Oct 18 (Island) A fully integrated conservation programme needs to be launched, at national level to tackle the threat to natural water resources in catchment areas of the Uva Province, especially in the Badulla District, caused by encroachment by plantation companies, Badulla District Secretary Rohana Dissanayake says. Dissanayake, asked for his views on public protests against the drying up of water sources more..

Opposition feeling optimistic

Oct 18 (SL) With the postponement of the meeting with the three leaders of the UNP, due to a reportedly previously planned engagement of Sajith Premadasa, there was widespread speculation that Sajith was in fact playing hard to get. However, Sajith insists that he is not someone who works for his personal glorification but for the collective victory of the party. He pointed out that various mischievous parties are trying to construct news regarding more..

Officials sound out warning to ‘noisy’ vehicles

Oct 18 (ST) Vehicles including motorbikes with modified silencers or horns that go above the permitted sound levels and vehicles with audio setups that generate sounds will be checked for noise pollution, authorities warn. The Environment Ministry and the Motor Traffic Department will assist the police to launch this monitoring programme on Tuesday with equipment imported from Denmark. The move comes in the wake of more..

Ratmalana Airport to be used to park planes during CHOGM

Oct 18 (DM) The Ratmalana Airport would be kept ready to accommodate international flights during the CHOGM Summit if and when it is needed. Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority H.M.C. Nimalsiri said that the airport was ready to accept international flights during the summit. “The airport is capable of handling commercial business jets if there is congestion at the BIA during the Commonwealth Summit,” he said. more..

Sigh of relief for SL as US raise debt ceiling

Oct 18 (DM) The deal between US President and the Senate to increase the country’s debt ceiling has come as a sigh of relief for Sri Lanka which has invested an amount of its foreign reserves in US treasury bonds, a minister said yesterday. The US govt managed to avert a federal debt default by agreeing to increase the debt limit. Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka closely observed the developments in the US since the more..

UPFA NP Councillors sworn in

Oct 18 (IL) The members of the UPFA who were elected at the recently concluded elections to the Northern Provincial Council took oaths before President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this afternoon (17). Kandasami Kamalendran, Angajan Ramanadan, Dharmapala Seneviratne, Anihamige Jayathilaka, Abbas Rifkhan, E. Thavanathan, Yaseen Jawahir and Cry Rise were sworn in as NPC councillors at the ceremony. more..

Delay in registering for external degrees

Oct 18 (CT) The university authorities have so far failed to call for registrations for external degrees for the students who sat for their A/L exam in 2010, the Student Union for the Protection of External Degrees said. Convener of the Union, Madusanka Bandara, said the external degree programme encountered various setbacks over the last few years, and that a large number of students have not been able to register for a degree more..

Medical students take tuition from doctors

Oct 18 (CT) Most of the first year students of the medical faculties in State universities are compelled to take tuition from doctors outside the faculty staff due to language difficulties. The National Education Commission (NEC) has received information that about 60 to 70 students are following tuition classes conducted by doctors, who had completed their medical degree some years ago. more..

Matale bones to be flown to China for testing

Oct 18 (CT) The samples of the skeletal fragments found at the Matale mass grave last November are to be flown to China for a carbon dating test, as ordered by the Courts, after an 11-month delay. It is learnt former Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of Matale, Dr. Ajith Jayasena, will hand over the sealed container containing the bones to the officers of the CID at his present office in Kurunegala, next Monday (21). more..

Packer’s package bigger than health budget

Oct 18 (CT) The annual tax concessions running into more than Rs 120 billion that the govt will be giving to global gaming giant, James Packer, for the proposed 35-40-storeyed casino complex, will be more than the annual health and education budgets. UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said, the health budget for 2013 was a mere Rs 95 billion and the annual education budget stood at Rs 121 billion. All casinos in the country are operating more..

Food and drugs: Standards in the mortuary

Oct 18 (DM) Sri Lanka this week joined the world in marking World Standards Day, but most people and independent analysts are raising questions as to whether this was just a one-day commemoration and whether standards in vital areas such as food and medicinal drugs were just dead letters. In the life or death field of food safety and security - the essence of a healthy nation and thereby a wealthy nation - there are many state authorities and institutions maintained at a high cost in more..

Matale to produce material for school uniforms

Oct 18 (Island) Recently appointed Deputy Minister of Industries, Lakshman Wasantha Perera, said that the entire requirement of material for school uniforms of the country would be provided from Matale, in keeping with the Mahinda Chinthana. The Matale district UPFA MP said that the foundation stone for the plant to manufacture the uniform material would be laid in two months. The factory will commence production in about six months, he said, on Wednesday 16. more..

Malaria vector unexpectedly found in Sri Lanka’s east

Oct 18 (IRIN) Sri Lanka’s main malaria vector, the Anopheles culiciacies mosquito, long thought to prefer nesting in rural areas - has been found in war-affected peri-urban areas in the country’s east. Medical researchers were only able to study parts of the north and a single district in the east - both closed off to epidemiological surveillance during the country's 26-year-long civil war, after fighting ended in 2009. more..

The myth of “no more minorities”

Oct 18 (CT) The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election that took place on September 21, 2013 was relatively the most peaceful election in the North after the 1977 parliamentary elections, in spite of couple of violent incidences and numerous threats, intimidations, and abuse of public property. The first-ever NPC election was also relatively calmer than the elections in the North Western Province (NWP) and Central Province (CP) that took place on the same day. more..

Morrison says Sri Lankans set to return

Oct 18 (AAP) Sri Lankan asylum seekers coming to Australia, whether by plane, boat or through third countries, can now expect to be promptly returned home. The immediate decision to return all 79 passengers aboard a vessel which arrived in waters near the Cocos (Keeling) Island on Oct 11 to Sri Lanka demonstrated the govt's resolve. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he's instructed his department to enforce a screen-out policy on all Sri Lankan nationals who claim asylum, more..

Democratic Party to boycott CHOGM

Oct 18 (CT) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has thanked the Canadian Govt for its decision to boycott the CHOGM in Colombo next month. “Canada cannot be blamed for this decision. We must be ashamed by it. Canada’s reasons for the boycott is sound and we are completely in agreement. Canada had the backbone and courage to criticise this country’s political leadership and his Govt’s corrupt ways. more..

Sirisena orders probe into alleged fraud

Oct 18 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the Ministry’s Investigation unit to conduct an immediate probe into the alleged fraud committed by the local agents of Indian Omacx Company. The local agents has imported 21 phials of a cancer drug known ‘Oncasper’, needed by child cancer patients, at a cost of about Rs. 250,000 each and sold it to the Maharagama Cancer Institute. Sources said that the same local agents, with the connivance of three pharmacists, attached to the Cancer Institute, more..

GoSL wanted US to release top terrorist operative

Oct 18 (Island) Earlier the Sri Lankan govt asked the United States to abandon the prosecution of one of those Canadian charged with buying equipment and laundering money for the separatist LTTEs. The extraordinary request, in a letter sent to the U.S. State Department, concerns Suresh Sriskandarajah, 32, who was extradited to the US in December to stand trial on terrorism charges. The letter, which surfaced at Suresh’s bail hearing, urged the US to drop the charges against more..

Congress of Religions object to the setting up of casinos

Oct 18 (ST) A media briefing was convened by leaders of various religious groups expressing their objections to legalising casinos and gambling in the country. The Co-chairperson of Congress of Religions, His Eminence Dr. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith shared these views at the briefing saying “The Catholic Council does not approve of casinos. We request the govt to stop this programme immediately because this will more..

A special ward for physically handicapped

Oct 18 (CT) Health Minister of the NPC, Dr. P. Sathyalingam, has initiated a unique move by setting up a separate ward for physically-handicapped persons at the Mullaitivu Hospital. Dr. Sathyalingam, soon after assuming duties, travelled to the Mullaitivu District which was badly affected during the final phase of the war. The surveys carried out in the Mullaitivu District have revealed that hundreds of people have to deal with various physical deformities due to the war. more..

400 temples closed in Wayamba

Oct 18 (CT) Chief Adhikarana Sanga Nayaka of the North-Western Province, Ven. Theldeniye Ratanasara Thera, said that over 400 temples in the Province have been closed down due to lack of sufficient number of monks to occupy them. He said this at a ceremony held in Rambukkana Thismalpola Temple on the occasion of three young novices being ordained as samaneras. They were, Ven. Mahiyangane Sirisumana Thera, Ven. Mahiyangane Sumanasiri Thera and Ven. Buttala more..

New Zealand should go to CHOGM - Key

Oct 18 (3N) PM John Key says New Zealand will still go to a Commonwealth conference in Sri Lanka despite concerns about the country's human rights record. Britain's PM is facing pressure to stay away but Mr Key says the best way to make a point is to do it in person. Sri Lanka's Govt says it respects human rights but in August the army responded to a protest about factory pollution by shooting 18 people, killing three. more..

South Korea keen to strengthen ties with SL

Oct 18 (Island) Minister G.L. Peiris held bilateral discussions with his South Korean counterpart, Yun Byung-Se, on the sidelines of the Cyberspace Conference in Seoul on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se commended Sri Lanka’s progress in recent years and expressed the wish of the Korean govt to expand the scope of cooperation at all levels. Among the topics discussed at the bilateral meeting were enhanced Korean support for the development of the Sri Lankan economy, more..

Extended jail term if inmates commit sex offences

Oct 18 (CT) The Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms said the prison inmates, who sexually harass other inmates, will be punished by extending their jail terms after holding inquires against them through a disciplinary board. Minister Chandrasiri Gajadheera added, however, such incidents cannot be avoided completely. The minister also said prison inmates who have undergone such harassments can complain either to the welfare officers or the investigation unit. more..

Sri Lanka and China trade talks spark intense debate

Oct 18 (JS) The much publicised talks to strike a free trade agreement (FTA) between the world's largest clothing and textile exporter, China, and upcoming niche outsourcer Sri Lanka, is sparking intense debate about its potential impact. While the secretary-general of Sri Lanka's Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), Tuli Cooray, is upbeat about the proposed agreement, senior economists Dr Saman Kelegama and more..

Close encounters of the jumbo kind

Oct 18 (Hindu) While browsing through the net for a vacation in Sri Lanka, I stumbled upon a project at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage run by the government. I immediately registered as a volunteer for one week. When I got out of the car at the orphanage gate, I had my eyes and SLR lens wide open to capture my first sight of a jumbo. Within two minutes, I was given my first task — to feed two cute baby elephants Waruna and Nilagai. As the mahout taught me the feeding technique, more..

UK MP Danczuk cautious

Oct 18 (CG) British MP Simon Danczuk has cautiously welcomed the news that the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman (UPFA) Sampath Vidanapathirana was indicted before the Colombo High Court over the murder of a British tourist in Tangalle. “This has been a long and hard campaign and let’s hope this is now the beginning of the end. I have directly raised my concerns with the Prime Minister about his attendance at the CHOGM in Sri Lanka next month, and I hope the more..

Scandal of Sri Lanka’s disappeared

Oct 18 (Telegraph) The abductors arrived in a white van shortly before midnight, stopping outside a modest home in a palm-fringed town on Sri Lanka's north-western coast. Inside the house he shared with his uncle, Anton Saniston Manuel lay asleep in his sarong. The men burst in and at the point of a gun the 24-year-old fisherman was led away. That was five years ago and nothing has been heard of Anton Manuel since that night. more..

Leatherback turtle washes ashore

Oct 18 (ST) A leatherback turtle was found today washed ashore on the Kosgoda, Paratharayaka Beach. The Head of the Kosgoda Turtle Conservation Project, Chandrasiri Abrew speaking to a local television station was quoted as saying the turtle died due to some sort of human interference. The Leatherback is the largest sea turtle and can reach lengths over 6 feet and weights over 2,000 pounds. These animals are deep divers, and have the ability to dive to over 3,000 feet. more..

HC moved for fast against PM's participation in CHOGM meet

Oct 18 (PTI) A petition seeking police permission for observing an indefenite fast in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu to press Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to participate in the Commonwealth Summit to be held in Sri Lanka next month was filed in the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court here today. After preliminary submissions, Justice T. S. Sivagnanam directed the government advocate to get instructions from the district SP and adjourned the case to Oct 22. more..

India keeps up suspense on PM's attending CHOGM summit in

Oct 18 (PTI) India today kept the suspense on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka next month in view of strong opposition by Tamil parties. Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said the Prime Minister has been invited by the govt of Sri Lanka for the CHOGM but the govt has not taken any decision. "The decision will be taken closer to the date (of CHOGM) more..

Ten top docs to undergo dengue clinical management training

Oct 18 (Island) On the instructions of Minister Maithripala Sirisena, the Health Ministry will send ten Sri Lankan consultant physicians to Thailand for training in dengue clinical management. Medical experts, who were conducting research on dengue, had pointed out that it was necessary to train Lankan consultants in dengue clinical management. Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka said that it was extremely important to undergo clinical training on dengue management, more..

Controversy over CPC Opp. Leader appointment

Oct 18 (Island) Controversy surrounds the appointment of Opposition leader in the Central Provincial Council. A section of the UNP members elected to the Council have challenged the appointment made by UNP headquarters of Ranjith Aluvihare and have, instead, demanded that Kandy District member Lucky Jayawardana be appointed Opposition Leader. At yesterday’s meeting of the Council Chairman Mahinda Abeykoon (UPFA) said that the name of Matale District UNP more..

Army denies North rape claims

Oct 18 (CG) The army has denied allegations that troops in large numbers are responsible for sexual violence, sexual harassment, abuse, exploitation and other types of violence against women and girls. Army spokesman said that there have been repeated attempts to draw a “non-existent correlation” between the presence of the military in the North and insecurity of women and girls in that region. more..