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CPC reportedly buying Iranian crude thru’ third parties

Oct 20 (ST) A crude oil shipment delay and changes in a bill of certification have given rise to speculation that Sri Lanka is procuring Iranian crude from third parties despite imposed sanctions imposed by the United States. The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) contracted a company by the name of Mercol General Trading LLC to supply a consignment of ‘Murban’ light crude oil which could be refined more..

Sri Lanka gaming resorts to tie-up with existing casinos: ministry

Oct 20 (LBO) Two planned gaming resorts in Sri Lanka are expected to link up with existing casinos in the city and will require no new licenses to be issued, the investment promotion ministry has said. Australia's Crown group and Sri Lanka's John Keells Holdings are to build two 'integrated resorts' with luxury hotels, dining, shopping, conference, entertainment and gaming facilities. The move has run into a political storm after laws more..

Controversy over elephant ‘census’

Oct 20 (SL) Controversy surrounds the much publicised elephant census carried out in 2011, as the Wildlife Department is now claiming it was not a census and only a research. The research was conducted by the Wildlife Department and a copy of the report was given to the Ringling Brothers, a circus troupe, which had used it to source funds. According to sources in the Wildlife Department the Ringling Brothers was given credit in the more..

'UPA Govt. will protect Sri Lankan Tamils'

Oct 20 (PTI) The UPA Govt is aware of the problems of Tamils in Sri Lanka and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is using the diplomatic route to find an amicable solution, a senior Congress MP from Tamil Nadu has said. M Krishnasswamy, MP from Arani and former President of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee said both the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and premier Singh had detailed discussions on more..

New rules to curb shady deals by finance companies

Oct 20 (ST) The Central Bank has issued regulations to prevent, among other things, registered finance companies from writing off loans or leases granted to their own directors or relatives of directors. Five new directions have been made on the back of stinging criticism over the CBSL’s failure to prevent yet another finance company — Central Investments and Finance Ltd (CIFL) — from falling into distress. more..

House debates ‘come alive’ on giant screen from Wednesday

Oct 20 (ST) Live proceedings of Parliamentary debates will be telecast from Wednesday over a giant screen installed opposite the Parliament grounds at Jayanthipura in Kotte. Among the first debates to be telecast will be the debate on new regulations under the Strategic Development Projects Act. The debate on the regulations that seek to give tax concessions to casinos will take place on Thursday and Friday. more..

UNP crisis: Is UPFA govt taking sides?

Oct 20 (Island) It really does not matter who is in the middle of whom: whether the govt is in the middle of the UNP crisis or whether the UNP is in the middle of the govt. Beneath the all-powerful presidency the two major parties are seamlessly meaningless in parliament. For party differences and loyalties you have to go out of town. There you will find differences not only between parties but also within parties. At the last PC elections, the UPFA contestants were at war with more..

Lost Credibility of Sri Lanka

Oct 20 (Island) During a recent visit to Sri Lanka I had the opportunity to read two enlightening articles related to Sri Lankan foreign policy written by two eminent former diplomats of Sri Lanka viz. Messrs. Jayantha Dhanapala and K. Godage (I believe this is the same gentleman we used to call Nanda Godage when he was No. 2 at the embassy in Washingon DC). Although I am no foreign policy expert, over the years I have taken a keen interest in issues related to international affairs more..

'Won’t seek pardon from President even if sent to gallows'

Oct 20 (AD) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera says he will never ask for forgiveness from a leader such as Mahinda Rajapaksa - directly or indirectly- if he is sentenced to prison or even to the gallows. Samaraweera says that not only him but even his leader, Ranil Wickramasinghe will never seek forgiveness in that manner. The MP made these comments while speaking to journalists after visiting the Bataduwa residence of more..

Most nations happy with Sri Lanka’s positive progress — Basil

Oct 20 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that except for a handful who opt to look at Sri Lanka through colored glasses for reasons better known to the Tamil Diaspora, the perception of most nations is that the country is progressing positively towards strengthening democracy, achieving unprecedented development and establishing reconciliation amongst the various communities. "Most countries have praised the govt for its successful resettlement and rehabilitation of former LTTE cadres, more..

UPFA politico arrested for threatening journalist

Oct 20 (ST) A UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) member from Medirigiriya was arrested for threatening a journalist who exposed illicit felling of trees on the pretext of flood control measures in the area. The PS member, Nishantha Pradeep Kumara had telephoned the journalist and threatened him for reporting the news item. The member had not identified himself, but the journalist had recorded the call and noted the telephone number of the caller, enabling police to track down the member. more..

Row among bus owners

Oct 20 (CT) Last week, the Ministry of Private Transport Services announced a 7% bus fare hike with effect from 1 November, following a number of demands, accompanied by two bus strikes and many rounds of discussions. Minister of Private Transport Services, C.B. Ratnayake, had submitted the proposal to the Cabinet seeking a 7% bus fare increase in early October. Secretary to the Ministry of Private Transport Services, more..

India books rooms for CHOGM

Oct 20 (CG) India has booked rooms for the CHOGM summit in Colombo, an External Affairs Ministry official said. The official however said that while the rooms have been booked at a Colombo hotel it is still not clear who will be in the full Indian delegation. Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has confirmed he will be attending the summit, the official said but there is still no confirmation if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will lead the Indian delegation. more..

'Capital market will develop soon'

Oct 20 (SO) Sri Lanka's capital market will develop in the near future as the country is now stable, while investor confidence is growing, said Bank of Ceylon (BoC), Chairman Razik Zarook at the launch of the Rs. 4 billion long-term BoC debenture issue in Colombo last week. Responding to a query on issues in Sri Lanka's capital market, liquidity and secondary market issues of debentures, he said that there is development in the capital market and new instruments and new investors are coming more..

Final draft of the Prisons Bill to be presented to Justice Minister on Monday

Oct 20 (NS) The finalized draft on the Prisons Bill to reform the country’s over-populated prisons will be presented to Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem, by Chairman of the Committee, Justice Hector Yapa, on Oct 21. In a statement issued to the media, the Justice Ministry said that the committee to consider Prison Reforms had drafted the Bill based on studies conducted by previous more..

Opposition, Govt. allies gear up for anti-casino debate in House

Oct 20 (ST) The Opposition will call for a vote by name, when the Order made under the Strategic Development Projects Act to give tax concessions to a “casino project” in Colombo, is taken up for debate in Parliament this week. The debate scheduled for Thursday and Friday, will go ahead despite opposition from religious leaders as well as several political parties, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said that UNP MPs will fully more..

People’s assets plundered by politicians should be given back – Anura

Oct 20 (LT) All those who are holding the posts of ministers that possesses thumping bank accounts and colossal assets had been engaged in minor businesses or had been employed as teachers or grama seva officers and had owned only a motor bike or bicycle. How they came to the possession of such wealth should be investigated and everything they have obtained with public funds should be taken over say the JVP MP Anura Dissanayaka. He said all the wealth these ministers and more..

Ravi tells Ranil, Karu, Sajith to get UNP political prisoners out of remand custody

Oct 20 (Island) While the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and his former deputies Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa are scheduled to hold a second of talks this week to discuss power sharing, a senior UNPer called for a halt, saying that they were shamelessly talking, without doing anything to secure the release of 48 party members who were languishing in remand custody. "I am getting calls from UNP’ers more..

Places selling substandard food to be raided

Oct 20 (CT) The Ministry of Health is planning to conduct special raids to identify food and beverage centres that sell substandard food items during the Food Safety Week that starts from today. A Health Ministry spokesman said that Physical Health Inspectors (PHIs), Medical Officers of Health (MoHs) and other health officials have been instructed to conduct special raids. The ministry is also planning to provide special guidelines for the bottled water producers and suppliers. more..

Illegal workers in Saudi face blacklisting

Oct 20 (SL) Sri Lankan workers, who continue to work in Saudi Arabia illegally after the amnesty period ends, face being blacklisted. The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said that there were 16,000 illegal Sri Lankan workers in the Middle Eastern country, of which 10,000 have returned. Deputy General Manager of the SLBFE Mangala Randeniya said that the Saudi government had granted an amnesty to those working in the country illegally till 3rd November. more..

Cameron may visit the North

Oct 20 (CG) British Prime Minister David Cameron may visit the North during his stay in Sri Lanka for the CHOGM. The British Premier is expected to tour Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu to get a first hand view of the post war situation. The newspaper said that a British team had already visited the North to make arrangements for Cameron’s visit to the area next month. Cameron has drawn criticism by opposition members in more..

Sri Lanka deserves support

Oct 20 (TA) SADLY, pressure for a boycott of next month's CHOGM in Sri Lanka is gathering significant momentum. India's PM, Manmohan Singh, is now considering joining the campaign to stay away. The campaign has been spearheaded by Canadian PM Stephen Harper over Colombo's alleged human rights abuses. British PM David Cameron is also under pressure not to go, following a demand by the House of Commons' all-party Foreign Affairs Committee. more..

Baby born in three-wheeler dies from fall

Oct 20 (ST) A newborn infant died when it fell to the floor of a three-wheeler, when an expectant mother gave birth while she was on her way to the maternity hospital, a Coroner’s Court inquiry was told. Wanitha Priyani (26) was on her way to Castle Street Maternity Hospital from Kaduwela, Malabe, when she gave birth before she reached the hospital.The mother and the baby were immediately rushed to the hospital where the infant was pronounced dead. Priyani’s grandfather, Don Gamini said, more..

Kabir asked to initiate party reforms

Oct 20 (DM) UNP MP Kabir Hashim who has been assigned by party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to have discussions with MPs Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa on party reforms, today assured that he would work towards a settlement acceptable to all. Mr. Hashim said that the party leader had assigned him to have a dialogue with Mr. Premadasa and Mr. Jayasuriya on the 19-point plan proposed by him more..

Kotahena residents, police in dark over who distributed forms

Oct 20 (ST) Residents in Kotahena yesterday complained to Police that an unidentified group had distributed forms seeking personal information. Kotahena Police OIC I. Ovitigama said the residents had asked him whether he knew who the group was.He said if any state intelligence agency was collecting data the police were usually informed beforehand. The forms that were distributed by persons in civvies had asked for details including full name, address, nationality, more..

Pomp and pageantry at inaugural Central Provincial Council sitting

Oct 20 (ST) The maiden session of the sixth Central Provincial Council was declared open by Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, Governor of the Province. The Governor was escorted to the Council premises at Pallekelle by white uniformed police outriders where he was welcomed by the Chairman of the Council, Mahinda Abeykoon and Secretary of the Provincial Council S. Meegaskumbura. He then inspected a guard of honour drawn from a contingent of police from the Balagolla police. more..

Killing is not the solution: Hakeem

Oct 20 (SL) The govt says the simple approach of killing individuals involved in terrorism, without addressing the key underlying factors will only create more willing volunteers for the terrorist cause. Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said that regional bodies have begun to play an important role in addressing the growing problem of transnational organised crime and terrorism which threaten the international order. more..

Norochcholai at full capacity by May 2014

Oct 20 (NS) The Norochcholai Coal Power Plant (NCPP) will reach its full capacity of 900 MW by May 2014 said CEB Chairman W. B. Ganegala. He further stated that the power plant resumed generating its current capacity of 300 MW a few days ago, following annual repairs. The next stage will be completed by end of this year where its capacity will be increased by another 300 MW. “Therefore, by end of 2013, the power plant will reach a capacity of 600 MW. more..

IUSF plans island-wide protests to coincide with CHOGM

Oct 20 (NS) The Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) hinted at island-wide protests next month to coincide with the upcoming CHOGM. IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara said their protests would focus on issues including the continuing cuts to free education, privatization of the education sector and acts of intimidation against student activists. “University students throughout the island will take to the streets next month. As part of our campaign in the coming month, more..

Sri Lanka's 'Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence' opening tomorrow

Oct 20 (Island) The newly built Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence, as a forerunner to the Nanotechnology and Science Park in Pitipana, Homagama, will be declared open by President tomorrow. This provides for the initiation of the first ever high-tech park in SL fulfilling an important activity of the Mahinda Chintanaya. At this historic occasion it befits to examine some of the milestones which made this great feat possible. more..

Final opportunity for GK depositors

Oct 21 (SL) Almost 9,000 depositors of the Golden Key Credit Card Co, whose denied dues were represented in Court by Depositors’ Associations, filed action in case No. SC(F/R) 191/2009. The Presidents of these Depositors’ Associations were Ms Anusha Emert and Dushanthi Hapugoda. Ms Emert is said to have gone abroad whereas Ms Hapugoda has agreed to the repayment plans by the Central Bank and is functioning as a member/ director of the new GKCC Ltd. more..

UNP discussions: What’s the end-game?

Oct 21 (CT) The much-awaited Ranil Wickremesinghe - Karu Jayasuriya-Sajith Premadasa ‘summit’ took place last week. The meeting was a consequence of the efforts of the Maha Sangha who have apparently taken an unusual interest in sustaining the UNP as a viable alternative to the current holders of power. Since the electoral collapse of the Party at the recently-concluded elections in the Wayamba, Northern and Central Provinces and with the unceasing more..

'Development programs in North will continue'

Oct 21 (SO) While the Govt's objective towards fully restoring democracy and civil administration in the Northern province has been achieved after the establishment of a democratically-elected council last month, its development programs to transform the province as a hive of thriving economic and livelihood activities would continue, highly-placed govt sources said. Govt Agent for Kilinochchi Rubawathy more..

Why Asia’s third-best isn’t good enough for HK Sevens

Oct 21 (SL) Whilst celebrating what is clearly our rugby’s most glorious period, it is excusable if Sri Lanka RFU feels it has been short changed for its successes. Fazil Marija’s men, just as they did last month in Thailand, again finished third in the HSBC Asian Sevens Series in Mumbai – success that pretty much nails down for us the no. 3 slot in the Asian rankings for 2013/14, the final determination of which the IRB will declare after the last of the four-leg Asian Sevens Series more..

Lifting the liberal veil

Oct 21 (CT) Mohan Pieris, the de facto to CJ as some would mock him, dismissed the Nimalaruban case last week. Surprisingly it has enraged most of us, because anyone who has been closely watching the Supreme Court and the law for the last five years should know that it was always going to be that. It could not have ended in anything other than a callous dismissal of the fundamental rights petition filed by Nimalaruban’s parents claiming that their son was tortured to death by the police. more..

'Provincial Council is our baby'

Oct 21 (CT) Cabinet Minister and the govt’s front man in Jaffna, Douglas Devananda, says his party, the EPDP lost the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) whipped up ‘racism.’ He says he would continue to lobby for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and adds, “The TNA’s election win is not actually a victory for Tamil people.” Excerpts: more..

An appeal to CM Wigneswaran and other elected TNA members of the NPC

Oct 21 (CT) People who couldn’t get beyond nanthikkadal and mullivaikkal have blessed you all. In their total silence they prayed. They wished for you all to hold your head high and stand in front of their people to pledge them. You will look after them on their behalf in the coming years. In that hope they rest in peace believing their parents, children, wives and husbands will be looked after in their absence. They shed their remaining tears to thank you all for doing everything possible to take care of more..

Ranil reneges on promise to step down from leadership

Oct 21 (CT) Today, the entire country is watching with a growing keen interest the latest move afoot to bring about reforms to revitalize the grand old party, the UNP, and make it the strong political force it once was in the country. The fact that the initiative to make radical changes in the Party, for the better, this time round has come not from inside the Party, but from the Maha Sangha, has turned the question of the UNP’s future into a focal point of national significance. more..

The beginning to an end

Oct 21 (CT) The murder case of British tourist, Khuram Shaikh, which saw little progress over the past 22 months, seems to be now moving at full throttle, as the country prepares to play host to over 50 heads of govt in less than a month. Six persons had been identified as suspects in the case, including the Chairman of the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha, who is said to be hobnobbing with the top echelons in the govt. more..

Developing the North to benefit economy

Oct 21 (ST) The formation of the NPC with a far-sighted and broad-minded Chief Minister provides an excellent opportunity to develop the North to benefit the entire economy. If this devolution of power leads to ethnic reconciliation and national harmony, it could have far reaching benefits for the Sri Lankan economy. The economic development of the North would contribute to the development of the Sri Lankan economy, just as much as the development of any other part of the country more..