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'Hosting CHOGM in SL will silence critics'

Oct 20 (SO) Fisheries Minister, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said a large number of foreign journalists who will come to Sri Lanka to cover CHOGM would be able to gather first hand information about the prevailing situation in the country. They would realise that the situation in Sri Lanka is not the perception they had in mind - the distorted picture projected about Sri Lanka by certain sections of the international media. more..

Casinos: Cusp of a new era

Oct 20 (ST) No Sri Lankan President has ever won an election on the back of a campaign promoting the vices entrenched in society. Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed power in 2005 in fact vowing to rid the country of liquor, cigarettes and narcotics through a state-backed temperance programme. The Govt’s ‘Mathata Thitha’ initiative had ambitious objectives that were supported by such parties as the JHU. This engendered hope that, while it was impractical to expect alcohol, cigarettes or narcotics to more..

Casinos - let them in but tax them realistically

Oct 20 (Island) It is unlikely that the govt, heeding the protests of its JHU ally and other groups including influential Buddhist monks, would go back on its decision to permit up-market casinos to set up shop here. The plans of Australian gambling tycoon, Kerry Packer, to invest USD 400 million in a casino resort in Colombo have already been communicated in a stock exchange filing in Australia and shares of companies connected to this project are being traded with this information factored. more..

'Public wealth exploited by govt extravagance'

Oct 20 (SL) The Budget is to be presented by the President to Parliament on Nov 21 and much criticism has been directed at the govt for its extravagant spending this year. The Opposition has been vocal on this topic during this week’s debate on the Committee on Public Enterprises report when a UNP MP observed that the Parliament has become a den of thieves. Over ten billion rupees is expected to be spent on the CHOGM. more..

First-hand experience will inspire C'wealth leaders

Oct 20 (SO) Some international nosey-parkers are poking their snouts in Sri Lanka's internal affairs in the guise of their countries' participating in the forthcoming CHOGM 2013 in Colombo next month. It is unbecoming of certain Commonwealth countries in the West to meddle with Sri Lanka's internal matters in view of their participation in CHOGM 2013. A few member countries of the Commonwealth have expressed concern over Sri Lanka's internal matters under the guise more..

Political analysts see Ranil’s shadow behind Trojan horse

Oct 20 (NS) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran again visited President Rajapaksa at his official residence Temple Trees last Thursday. He was accompanied by his subject ministers in the newly elected provincial council. Most note that Chief Minister Wigneswaran will be a strong bridge between the Tamil community in the province and the Colombo based central govt. Once postponed meeting of seniors in the UNP took place on Tuesday (Oct 15). more..

Passport to damnation for our migrant maids

Oct 20 (NS) Sri Lanka’s 1.8 million migrant work force has been a blessing for the economy of our war-torn nation. Indeed they are the heroic army battling on the economic frontlines providing significant support to the country’s balance of payments. Although our island nation receives a huge amount of foreign exchange from agricultural and industrial products, garments, tourism, gems and jewelery industries, foreign exchange more..

A not-so-innocent spin doctor

Oct 20 (ST) My Dear Mangala, I thought I must write to you even though I am not sure whether I should send this letter to you at home or to the remand prison in Matara-such are the difficulties you face when you leave the Cabinet and then join a party that is trying so hard to be its own enemy! As the ‘media spokesman’ for the Greens, I am sure you must be thinking that any publicity is good publicity. If so, last week would have been good for you: you made national headlines for more..

Bulldozing the casino gazette through parliament

Oct 20 (NS) Parliament meets this week. Of the four sitting days from Tuesday to Friday, the third day is promising as the debate on the casino gazette is scheduled and agreed to be taken up. It has been listed for this Thursday as it could not be taken up during the last sitting week owing to sluggishness of officials. It could actually have been taken up early had it not been for the inefficiency of those who bear the responsibility of providing each member a copy of any gazette presented. more..

Congestion at Hambantota port: Vessels anchored in outer harbour await bunkering

Oct 20 (Island) The government will go ahead with the proposed expansion of the newly-built, US$ multi-million Hambantota port as more berths are required to handle the prevailing shipping congestion, a top industry official said. "The two existing berths are fully occupied and there are vessels anchored in the outer harbor awaiting bunkering", says Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama, Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). more..

Matara incident: Side the public didn't see

Oct 20 (Island) Details have emerged of how the rivalry between pro-Ranil and anti-Ranil factions in the UNP turned Matara into a battlefield. It was Maithri Gunaratne who first wrote to the IGP a few days before October 5 informing him that a peaceful march will be held from Devinuwara to Colombo demanding the resignation of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. This letter had been copied to the Matara police as well as to all the police stations along the proposed route of more..

Vintage farce a la Ranil fails to impress

Oct 20 (SL) Asperger’s Syndrome was once mooted as a cause for the way the Leader of the Opposition acted and behaved. Not being entirely proficient in the science of detecting such inherently medical complications, ‘Inside Politics’ has been left puzzled as the rest of those yearning for a vibrant opposition in Sri Lanka. The Leader of the Opposition’s behaviour and actions can only be described as undemocratic at best. It is equivalent to “last man has a chance” in cricketing parlance. more..

Attempt to sell luxury apartment by former GK director revealed

Oct 20 (ST) Attempts to sell a penthouse at the Trillium apartments belonging to a former director of the once, collapsed Golden Key (GK) company, Ms Padmini Karunanayake were this week disclosed by residents. This apartment said to be worth around Rs.300 million was being offered at a meager price of Rs. 50 million, they said. Most of the assets of former GK directors have been seized and set to be sold by a govt-appointed more..

Retired HNB executive to head Solomon Islands bank

Oct 20 (Island) The DFCC bank has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Pan Oceanic Bank Ltd. in the Solomon Islands to facilitate the establishment of their correspondent banking network, and to provide a co-banking solution through its subsidiary, Synopsys Ltd. DFCC made this announcement through a stock exchange filing correcting a wrong report that it would set up in the Solomon Islands. Retired HNB Chief Financial Officer, Nihal Kekulawala, has been more..

Elusive Maloney’s still have Lankan assets

Oct 20 (ST) Are Sri Lankan authorities looking for the elusive Maloney business couple to question them in connection with the crisis at forestry management company, Touchwood? The couple which has similar investments in Cambodia and Vietnam is yet to show up – after being asked to – before the Colombo-based Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an inquiry pertaining to alleged fraudulent and suspicious transactions in the company. more..

No pressure to rush Khuram's case

Oct 20 (CT) Attorney General, Palitha Fernando refuted claims that his Department had been subjected to political influences and interferences over its investigation into the murder of British tourist, Khuram Shaikh. "There was no influence whatsoever. Nor was any international pressure applied to 'quicken' the trial, he said. It was a judicial matter and no one can pressurize his Department to 'rush'," he said. more..

Conflict of interest and the interest in Dedigamuwa Hillock

Oct 20 (NS) Questions pertaining to conflict of interest have been raised due to GSMB Technical Services, a subsidiary company of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) compiling a project proposal for the controversial Dedigamuwa Hillock quarry project of WA Perera & Co. Ltd. The project proposal is subject to approval by the parent ‘company’, GSMB. Although GSMB had previously issued the company a permit for quarrying, quarry activities had ceased due to protests by more..

Enabling rural schools: Fashion Bug launches Sisu Dirimaga

Oct 20 (Island) "It is our aim to establish a sustainable CSR platform as opposed to miscellaneous one off projects that lack clear long-term objectives. The Sisu Dirimaga programme will ensure that all the projects stem from one clear platform, establishing a clear CSR identity for Fashion Bug as a responsible Corporate Citizen, as well as give our customers the satisfaction of being part of a noble national cause", said Shabier Subian, Director, Fashion Bug. more..

Sinister deal uncovered

Oct 20 (SL) The Sunday Leader has unearthed sinister plans by a group backed by a wheeler-dealer business conglomerate, to take over the Renewable Energy projects that have been given to the Sri Lankan private sector for development. It is learnt that plans are afoot to take back to the govt, nearly 450 Megawatts of small hydro and wind power projects, that have already been identified and feasibility studies more..

UNP to brief Commonwealth

Oct 20 (SL) The UNP has decided to brief Commonwealth leaders on the situation in Sri Lanka, on the sidelines of the CHOGM next month. UNP MP John Amaratunga said that Commonwealth leaders will be briefed on alleged human rights violations taking place in SL. UNP, which had last week said it will boycott the main summit in protest over the arrest of MP Mangala Samaraweera, will also look to brief Commonwealth leaders on the impeachment of the former CJ more..

‘It will be defeat of democracy’

Oct 20 (TOI) He was barely seven days old when the civil war in Sri Lanka broke out in July 1983. "I was told how my elder brother used to hide me and take me to shelters. Our family lived in Colombo and we had a lot of property too. All of it was gone and our house was burnt down. My family was scattered across Sri Lanka and some came back to India. As I grew up, I started realizing how difficult it is to live as a Tamil in that country," said N Kumar (name changed). more..

‘Super-rich’ tax in the budget

Oct 20 (ST) Sri Lanka’s ‘super-rich’ are in for an unpleasant surprise next month. The Govt is considering the introduction of an additional tax on wealthy Sri Lankans in the 2014 budget to be presented on Nov 21. The annual income and assets of wealthy Sri Lankans would be taken into account in establishing a new tax category for the so-called ‘super-rich’. This tax would be in addition to other normally levied taxes more..

Several World Cup final tickets unsold

Oct 20 (Island) As many as 525 tickets to the 2011 ICC World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka played at the Wankhede Stadium were unsold. This and other irregularities left the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) poorer by Rs. 2.64 crore, the four-member inquiry committee appointed by the MCA to probe the fiasco has found. The panel, comprising advocates Avinash Rana (chairperson), Deepak Thakre, Vivek Kantawala, and MCA general body member Ravi Mandrekar, more..

Bishop wants accountability

Oct 20 (CG) Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph says there needs to be accountability for 146,679 people who he claims have not been accounted for in the North during the last eight months of the war. The outspoken Bishop says the govt must address Tamil issues and not shift attention from the core issues faced by Tamils. Once seen by the govt as being a strong supporter of the LTTE and pushing for a separate state, the Bishop insists he was never for a separate state and had even objected to more..

Legal Draftsman dilly dallies over new dual citizenship laws

Oct 20 (SO) Sri Lanka’s much awaited new dual citizenship scheme has been held up at the Legal Draftsman’s office for the past one year adversely affecting the Immigration and Emigration office processing applications from expatriates seeking dual citizenship. Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulananda Perera said they were awaiting approval from the Legal Draftsman’s office from the middle of more..

Southern Province plans major development drive

Oct 20 (ST) The Southern Provincial Council (SPC) is planning to develop the province in many areas including tourism, with a number of new projects earmarked to make the areas more attractive to tourists. One of these will be a project centering on the picturesque area of Deniyaya where a tourist zone is to be set up by 2014. The SPC will also undertake the training of tourist guides. The other area on which the SPC will focus is the fisheries industry with a programme to release more..

Slave Island residents to protest against casinos

Oct 20 (CT) Residents of Slave Island are to engage in a massive demonstration at the Slave Island junction on 22 Oct, against the got's decision to set up casinos in the area. One of the main organizers of the protest, Mujibar Rahuman said, the protest will be held with the participation of Buddhist monks, Hindu priests, leaders of Islam and residents of the area, urging the govt to not set up casinos in Slave Island. "According to the Gazette Notification issued recently, the govt has granted permission to more..

Cash-strapped SLC raises selectors allowance over 200%

Oct 20 (ST) In spite of the prevailing cash crises, Sri Lanka Cricket has decided to increase the allowances of the national selection committee members by over 200 per cent. In a sweeping move when the new selection committee headed by Sanath Jayasuriya (Chairman) and including Eric Upashantha, Chaminda Mendis, Pramodya Wickremasinghe and Hashan Tillekeratne was appointed, it was decided to have two paid more..

Reinstated teacher re-interdicted by ministry

Oct 20 (NS) An internal inquiry launched by the Education Ministry has found a teacher of Mahanama College, Colombo, to be guilty of speaking to the media without proper authority. However, the teacher alleged that the inquiry was motivated by personal vendetta on the part of the complainants. Samanthi Pelaketiya, a teacher of oriental music has been at the school from 2007. She alleged that former principal Premalal Kumarasiri had made sexual advances to her more..

Ravi has doubts

Oct 20 (SL) While UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and MPs Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa meet in an attempt to settle a growing rift in the party, MP Ravi Karunanayake has questioned if some UNP members are genuinely committed to resolving the issue. Karunanayake said that there needs to be a more genuine effort to resurrect the party and in the end the people must get what they want. “We have been silent with the hope that there is a genuine effort to try to more..

Indian poaching: President convenes meeting

Oct 20 (ST) President Rajapaksa has called for an immediate meeting of all stakeholders to formulate a common position on the issue of poaching in Sri Lankan waters by Indian fishermen. As the first step, the President on Thursday directed Minister Rajitha Senaratna to chair a meeting in Jaffna. The directive came after the President had sworn in NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran for a number of portfolios he will hold. more..

Rs 400 M found in suspect human smuggler’s accounts

Oct 20 (CT) Police investigations have traced Rs 400 million deposited in the bank accounts of a key suspect, believed to be the mastermind behind the spree of boat people setting sail to Australia. The suspect, a prominent businessman of Trincomalee, was earlier arrested in the East and is currently being held under detention orders. The suspect is alleged to be the mastermind of a multi-million rupee human smuggling racket and is believed to have sent several boat loads of people to Australia. more..

CJ wants goods released

Oct 20 (SL) CJ Mohan Peries has ordered the Courts to release goods seized from owners, including vehicles, until a pending case is over. The Chief Justice is of the opinion that the goods decay by keeping the goods outside Court for a long period of time. By the time, the detained goods are returned to their owners, they find no value in them due to their dilapidated condition. “The laws that are non-functioning and impractical should be abolished and new laws should be introduced to the system. more..

Amid CHOGM rush, Lanka blows hot for coal

Oct 20 (ST) It was a ‘home’ and ‘home’ encounter between partners of the UPFA with President Rajapaksa being forced to play the role of the ‘neutral umpire’. It all began after he swore in UPFA councillors for the NPC at a ceremony on Thursday at ‘Temple Trees’. Seated on the same side of the table for the tea party, next to each other with President Rajapaksa were Ministers Rishad Bathiuddin, Rauff Hakeem. more..

Manmohan Singh’s dilemma

Oct 20 (CT) As revealed elsewhere in this issue of Ceylon Today, there is a high tension tug-of-war between India’s diplomatic establishment and Tamil Nadu politicians over whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should attend the CHOGM in Colombo next month. Colombo is no less affected by this struggle for political one-upmanship, for a no-show by the head of a government that is deemed to have fought hard to ensure that the 2013 CHOGM is held in Sri Lanka, would not only more..

The victory of the ITAK: The challenges and tasks faced by the people

Oct 20 (CT) The overwhelming electoral mandate given to the ITAK by the people of the Northern Province has a depth of historical significance that should be grasped and acted upon. It has decisive consequences for the future of Lanka. First of all, the people’s mandate embodies the reality of the majority of the oppressed Tamil and Moslem people in the North- both as oppressed nationalities and as a super-exploited and oppressed economic class. Together, they have expressed their desire to more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Oct 20 (ST) The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources recently awarded a contract to dredge the fishery harbour in Panadura. The project came under the Ceylon Fishery Harbours Corporation (CFHC). Following an agreement with the CFHC, the company began dredging operations. Minister Rajitha Senaratne says the dredged sand is of no use to the construction industry because of the high salinity content. more..

Nothing fresh about ‘fresh produce’

Oct 20 (NS) A recent research conducted by the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI), on the country’s agricultural products have revealed that nearly 50 percent of all fresh produce is affected by increasing heavy use of chemicals. Researchers, who submitted a recent policy brief titled ‘Minimizing the Damages of Pesticides’, cited that upcountry vegetable and specially potato farmers use more..

Chandrika and Kasun win gold at Malaysian Open

Oct 20 (AD) Chandrika Subashini and Kasun Kalhara of Sri Lanka won Gold medals in 400 meters women’s and men’s races respectively at the 89th Malaysian Open Athletics Championship. The Athletics Association of Sri Lanka stated that Subashini finished the race in 52.86 seconds while Kalhara clocked a time of 47.19 at the finals. High jumper Manjula Kumara, 400metres sprinters Kasun Kalhara and Chandrika Subashini more..

Mahaweli Authority trying to clear forest reserves

Oct 20 (NS) Environmentalists have accused the Mahaweli Authority of attempting to illegally clear land coming under forest reserves in a bid to establish new settlements in Welioya, Mullaitivu. As part of this settlements program, a total of 2,700 acres belonging to two forest reserves in Welioya are currently under threat from Mahaweli officials, who were allegedly threatening officers from the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC) more..