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Forum on new Customs Notice - amendment no. 103

Oct 22 (Island) The Ministry of Finance has published Gazette Number 1829/39 dated 27/09/2013, as a major reform process is taking placing at Sri Lanka Customs department, to facilitate exports & imports. The Director General Customs & his team has now placed the system that would expedite the export processing system as well as enhance the clearance process of imports which will result in supply chain efficiency. There was a partial delay in implementation as the more..

Mobitel bags the prestigious ‘Service Brand of the Year’ award

Oct 22 (DM) Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel in its vision to lead Sri Lanka towards an info-com and knowledge rich society, through its service offerings has yet again confirmed its commitment to its customers by winning the prestigious ‘Service Brand of the Year’ Award at the 12th SLIM Brand Excellence 2013 held on Wednesday. Commenting on the win, Mobitel’s Chairman, Nimal Welgama said, “Mobitel’s success was based on its unwavering ambition to achieve the best. more..

Education the most corrupt sector

Oct 22 (CT) The highest number of complaints of bribery and corruption, received by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) so far this year, is yet again from the education sector. CIABOC Commissioner Dr. Jayantha Wickremeratne, said the highest number of corrupt practices are taking place in schools, particularly in terms of bribes. The Commission has, previously, summoned more..

Lessons unlearnt

Oct 22 (IE) The campaign in Tamil Nadu's political circles to have India boycott the forthcoming Commonwealth meet in Colombo comes as no surprise. Whether it was over New Delhi's attempt to negotiate a workable draft of a UN resolution on human rights in Sri Lanka or the participation of Lankan cricketers in domestic cricket, Tamil Nadu's two largest political parties have been outbidding each other in recommending the more extremist position, never mind its very questionable more..

Can Mahinda Rajapakse afford to be as daring as Sri Lankan cricketer Jayasuriya?

Oct 22 (ET) Sri Lanka has warned that a boycott of next month's Commonwealth heads of state Summit in Colombo by PM Manmohan Singh will have "consequences" for bilateral relations between the two countries, queering the pitch for the govt ahead of a decision on the level of its participation. Singh is under intense pressure from TN politicians, including those in his own Congress party, to not attend the Nov 15-17 CHOGM as a mark of protest against the treatment of Sri Lanka's Tamil minority. more..

SL’s first ever botanical garden in dry zone opens parallel to CHOGM

Oct 22 (DN) Sri Lanka’s first ever botanical garden in the dry zone, Mirijjawila Botanical Gardens, will be opened parallel to the CHOGM in November, National Botanical Gardens Director General Dr. Cyril Wijesundara said. He said the opening ceremony will be marked by a tree planting campaign attended by Commonwealth state leaders and Youth Forum participants of the CHOGM. A rehearsal on this opening was conducted at more..

Court seeks Centre’s response to plea against sale of warships to Sri Lanka

Oct 22 (Hindu) The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday sought the Union government’s response to a public interest litigation petition by a Madurai-based advocate to cancel the proposal to supply two naval warships to Sri Lanka. The petitioner, B. Stalin, claimed that the sale of the warship “would be insensitive to the strong sentiments in Tamil Nadu against Sri Lanka.” After getting instructions from the State, the Additional Advocate General submitted in more..

Development documentaries for CHOGM heads

Oct 22 (DN) The Govt Information Department (GID)’s Film Unit has developed and produced 75 documentaries about various mega development projects in the country since the unit, which had been virtually defunct for years, was re-invigorated and given an uplift by GID Director General Prof Ariyaratna Athugala. He handed over a copy of a DVD containing a video documentary made by his department’s film unit on the development of the Colombo - Katunayake Expressway more..

SL heralds new era with nanotechnology

Oct 22 (FT) President Rajapaksa opened Sri Lanka’s first Nanotechnology and Science Park (NSP) and Nanotechnology Research Centre in Homagama yesterday, marking a milestone in the national strategy that envisions taking Sri Lanka towards upper middle income country status. The Sri Lankan economy is one step closer to joining the technological revolution taking place in the rest of the world, President said, more..

MSD in believe-it-or-not deal

Oct 22 (Island) It is a case of believe-it-or-not where the Health Ministry’s Medical Supplies Division (MSD) is concerned. It has purchased a drug manufactured by one company from two different suppliers at vastly different prices. The drug Oncasper given by injection to children suffering with cancer was purchased from one supplier at Rs. 237,000 per phial, while the same was purchased from another company at Rs. 325,000 each, the difference being a hefty Rs. 88,000. more..

Refugees at risk under return policy: AHRC

Oct 22 (SMH) Asylum seekers from Sri Lanka risk being returned to potentially harmful situations under the govt's enhanced screening process, the Australian Human Rights Commission says. It's also warning that proposed changes to the refugee determination process to reduce avenues for appeal could see refugees return to danger. Commission president Professor Gillian Triggs says the new government should ensure that all asylum seekers and refugees are treated humanely, more..

SLC waste to cost public Rs.3.2 bn

Oct 22 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is negotiating with government officials to have a whopping sum it owes two state institutions written off. The construction of cricket stadiums at Hambantota, Pallekele and R. Premadasa in the lead-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 cost SLC a fortune and it still owes a further Rs. 3.2 billion to the State Engineering Corporation and Sri Lanka Ports Authority. more..

Tiny terror forces Land Ministry closure

Oct 22 (Island) In the face of a losing battle against termites and silverfish that destroy important documents, the Ministry of Land and Land Development, will be closed for two days from today to effect a ‘final solution’ against the pests. The ministry premises, at Battaramulla, would be shut down today (21) and tomorrow (22), ministry sources said,adding that chemicals would be used to eliminate pests which had already destroyed heaps of documents. more..

Novel vote counting system to be introduced

Oct 22 (Island) Elections Secretariat has decided to introduce a novel vote counting method and it would be used at the forthcoming Western and Southern Provincial Council elections, secretariat sources said. Election Commissioner had decided to inform political parties and civil organisations of the new method, sources said, adding that he had already asked the general secretaries of the registered political parties information pertaining to take part in the awareness programme. more..

Call for David Cameron to boycott Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka

Oct 22 (Guardian) David Cameron should boycott the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka to express British concern about the country's lack of progress on improving human rights, the shadow foreign secretary has said. Douglas Alexander urged the prime minister to stay away from the CHOGM after of recent warnings about Sri Lanka's deteriorating political situation. He said Labour would support the govt if Cameron more..

Bulgarian fugitive convicted in suffocation deaths of 18 stowaways arrested in U.S.

Oct 22 (Reuters) A Bulgarian fugitive convicted in the suffocation deaths of 18 Sri Lankan stowaways who died in the back of a truck he was driving nearly two decades ago has been arrested near Seattle and faces possible extradition to his home country, U.S. authorities said on Monday. Plamen Trifonov, 58, was found guilty in Bulgaria of negligent homicide and human trafficking in 2002 in connection with the 1995 incident. He was sentenced to eight years in prison but did not more..

Sri Lanka begins budget process for 2014

Oct 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka is kicking off the budget process for 2014 presenting spending limits or appropriations for ministries in parliament Tuesday. In what is called the first reading of the budget 'Appropriation Bill' for 2014 the administration is seeking parliamentary approval to spend 1,542 billion rupees, up 30% from a year earlier. The total govt spending does not correspond directly to the numbers presented in the annual budget table in the so-called 'second reading of the budget' more..

Govt. puts casino consent on hold

Oct 22 (DM) Amid sharp protests from various quarters, the govt last night decided to shelve the decision to approve regulations governing two gazette notifications for the establishment of two casino centres in Colombo, sources said. They said the decision was taken at a special meeting convened by President Rajapaksa with the leaders of the govt alliance partners. At the meeting, it is learnt that the two main govt allies more..

Do not rock the boat

Oct 22 (DM) A television station in its prime-time news bulletin on Saturday showed footage of TNA Parliamentarian Sivagnanam Sridharan arguing with a group of Sinhalese in Navatkuli, Jaffna last Tuesday, over allotment of land for them by the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA). Sridharan was heard protesting against the allotment of land to Sinhalese in Jaffna, on the grounds that Tamil people in the North had suffered to the core due to the war. more..

What is Nanotechnology?

Oct 22 (DM) Nanotechnology is based on exploiting the experimentally observed and analysed changes which occur in materials when their physical sizes are shrunk to between 100 – 1 nanometres (a nanometre is 1 billionth of a metre). These changes are seen as variations, at times drastic, in the chemical and physical properties of a material at the nanoscale compared to the bulk scale, where one can see, touch and feel a material. A dramatic example of this is carbon in its elemental more..

Fishermen call for an end to the ‘invasion’

Oct 22 (DM) The poaching on Sri Lankan waters by Indian fishermen is an issue that has strained both the political and diplomatic relations of India and Sri Lanka, however, unknown to many and despite the heavy attention laid on both the political and diplomatic fronts on the issue, the tale of the fishermen who are directly affected by the poaching is one that calls for at­ten­tion on ‘humanitarian grounds.’ more..

Minister clears met department

Oct 22 (CG) Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera today insisted that inquiries conducted following the weather disaster in June in which several fishermen were killed, had found that the Department of Meteorology or his Ministry were not at fault. The Minister said that the committee appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and by his Ministry had both found that the Department of Meteorology had issued more..

Illicit fags become dear as the Law butts its smuggling

Oct 22 (ST) The sale of illegal cigarettes is on the decline with law enforcement agencies cracking down on outlets involved in the business. As cigarettes are heavily taxed, it has long been observed that many of the imported sticks are smuggled into the country to avoid taxation, and sold at a much lower rate. Ceylon Tobacco Company states that law enforcement agencies conducted 492 raids in the last six months, more..

'Nishantha's reign has been catastrophic for Sri Lankan cricket'

Oct 22 (IC) Earlier this year, Charith Senanayake was removed from his position as team manager over incidents that took place while the national team was on tour in Australia. Senanayake spoke to Island Cricket to discuss the circumstances behind his removal and the current state of affairs at the cricket board. Q: How did your relationship with SLC sour? A: Firstly, I must stress that I have nothing personal against more..

Sri Lanka shuts factory after toxic gas leak

Oct 22 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities shut down a detergent factory in Colombo on Tuesday after more than 70 people were hospitalised following a suspected toxic gas leak, police said. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said 72 factory workers and nearby residents were taken to hospital earlier on Tuesday after gas - thought to be ammonia - leaked from the plant. "Some of them are still in hospital eight hours after the incident was reported," Rohana said. more..

Who pays the price of Rs. 30 billion drug mafia?

Oct 22 (SL) Failure to increase budgetary allocations for the country’s free health service is an indication that successive Sri Lankan govts have neglected the free health care service in the country. Secretary, All Ceylon Medical Officers’ Association Dr. Jayantha Bandara said that the continuous decline in budgetary allocation to the health sector over the years when globally it is the opposite, signifies that the govt is pruning more..

New houses for Slave Island residents in 2 years

Oct 22 (CT) The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday concluded the Fundamental Rights case filed by residents of the Slave Island houses complaining that the UDA is taking steps to demolish their houses. The Court concluded the case after both parties arrived at settlement based on an agreement. According to the agreement the residents of the houses will be given new houses in two years, after the Tata Company Housing Unit completes more..

Provincial political authority has no bearing on troop deployment

Oct 22 (Island) Military spokesman Brig. Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the deployment of troops in the Northern Province was the prerogative of the President and Commander-in Chief of the armed forces, Mahinda Rajapaksa. He insisted that there was absolutely no uncertainty as regards the deployment of personnel and assets in the Northern Province, comprising the districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar and more..

DEW: 'Political interference causes public sector losses'

Oct 22 (Island) Losses made by four major State Owned Enterprises were due to political interference by members of the ruling party, Senior Minister for Human Resources and COPE Chairman D.E.W. Gunasekera said, while calling for an independent SOE system to be put in place. The minister said though the economy had improved in the past, its benefits did not reach the people due to the loss incurring state ventures. more..

Packer's Crown resort-casino in Sri Lanka faces delay after tax changes

Oct 22 (Reuters) Opposition by Buddhist religious leaders and some political parties in Sri Lanka led the govt to announce it will alter tax concessions granted to Australian gambling tycoon James Packer's Crown Ltd for a $400 million hotel resort that will include a casino. Changes could take at least one month and likely will delay Packer's mixed-development investment project for the second time this year. more..

Another shot at separatism?

Oct 22 (CT) Terrorists have intricate internal rituals that propel the radicalization of their cadres. Tamil Tigers, a monolithic terrorist group, which was built around the cult like figure of its megalomaniac leader, V Prabhakaran, excelled in this deadly behavioural manipulation exercise, better than any other terrorist group in recent times. One component in this particular affair was the elaborate ceremonies, which were held to commemorate the slain Tiger cadres. more..

Welcome to the land of Tumpane modayas

Oct 22 (CT) I have, on several occasions, referred to a completely illegal, neighbourhood garbage dump which is significantly reducing the life expectancy of several families drawing their drinking water from the springs which it has polluted for the past ten years, not to mention the poisoning of the headwaters of the Deduru Oya river into which this rural sewer empties. Recently, there was yet another outrage. We were informed that two tanker loads of raw sewage was hauled up the hill and dumped, more..

Anti-Halal campaign more important than casinos – BBS

Oct 22 (CT) The Bodu Bala Sena believes its anti-Halal agitation is far more important than taking up the Govt’s move to create casino zones in Colombo, the group’s Chief Executive Officer Dilanthe Withanage said. “The Bodu Bala Sena is against casinos. But we believe that compared with the Halal issue in the country, the casino issue is a minor one,” Withanage in an interview with Colombo Telegraph. more..

Stocks down 0.36%, rupee steady

Oct 22 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.36% lower dragged down by tobacco and diversified stocks. The Colombo All Share Price Index fell 21.43 points lower at 5,925.22, down 0.36%, after reaching an intraday high of 5,952.01. The S&P SL20 closed 14.95 points lower at 3,272.58, down 0.45%. Turnover was to 983.09 million rupees, down from 1.04 billion a day earlier, with shares of 108 firms closing in the red against 68 gainers. Foreigners bought shares worth 492.29 million rupees, more..

Mankulam Sri Sugatha Vihara Dagoba opened for veneration

Oct 22 (CT) Enshrinement of Buddha’s sacred relics, placement and unveiling of the gold-plated pinnacle atop the newly-built Dagoba at the Mankulam Sri Sugatha Viharaya in Kilinochchi, took place on Thursday morning, preceded by an all-night pirith chanting, the previous night. Security Force Headquarters-Kilinochchi (SFHQ-KLN), fully supported the construction of this new dagoba, at the request of the temple incumbent, Ven Hingurakande Sumana Thera, as it is a more..

Michael Clarke urged not to promote Sri Lankan casino

Oct 22 (ABC) An Australian group advocating on behalf of Tamil refugees is calling on Michael Clarke to re-consider a deal to promote a casino in Sri Lanka. Australian billionaire James Packer's Crown group signed up Clarke as part of its campaign to build a $400 million casino on Beira Lake in the heart of the Colombo resort district. Crown says Clarke will be a mentor and role model to job seekers and trainees at the casino. more..

Packer, JKH negotiating with local casino licence holders

Oct 22 (Island) The govt would not issue any new casino licences, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena has said, adding that the two mega development projects by the Australian Gaming Tycoon James Packer and the local conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH) were in negotiations with two licence holders to transfer their licences to the two integrated resorts. Commenting on recent reports that the govt has issued new licences to the two investors, Packer, JKH for their two more..

Sri Lankan envoy meets Iran Qehsm island officials

Oct 22 (FNA) Sri Lankan Ambassador to Iran Mohammad Feisal Razin and Qeshm Island Governor Masoud Salari discussed possible avenues of mutual cooperation in a meeting on the Persian Gulf island today. Speaking at the Monday meeting with Salari, the Sri Lankan diplomat said that Qeshm Island is an exceptional area for tourism, economy and natural attractions. It enjoys a huge potential to attract investment and develop tourism industry. Razin further noted that more..

Army Chief meets top foreign military leaders

Oct 22 (DM) Army Commander Daya Ratnayake, who is currently in Washington DC met several top-ranking world-wide military leaders, including the Chief of Staff of the US Army, General Raymond T. Odierno. The visiting Army Commander now attending the three-day long 60th annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) in Washington, D.C at the invitation of the AUSA. more..

Rs 1,300 B set aside to develop North

Oct 22 (CT) Minister for Disaster Management, Mahinda Amaraweera, said the government has planned to spend Rs 1,300 billion on development projects in the North. However, he added that all development plans, both private and govt, will have to undergo a rigorous risk assessment for their vulnerability to natural hazards, before commencement. Speaking at the launch of 'Disaster Resilient City Development Strategies for Sri Lankan Cities' at BMICH yesterday, he said, more..