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Death sentence confirmed in Royal Park case

Oct 22 (CT) The Supreme Court has rejected the Appeal filed by Shramantha Jayamaha against the conviction of death sentence in connection to the murder of Yvonne Johnson at Royal Park in 2005 and has reaffirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal. Jayamaha was found guilty of the murder of the 19- year- old Swedish woman, Yvonne Johnson, on 30 June 2005, at the Royal Park apartment in Rajagiriya. Earlier, Jayamaha was indicted in the Colombo High Court based on the evidence more..

JVP says casino bill remains

Oct 22 (CG) The JVP says reports that the govt has withdrawn the casino bill is misleading. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the govt is dependent on the tourism sector to raise money and cover its debts. He said that tourists want entertainment and to meet that demand the govt had plans to first open a nude beach. However after that plan failed the govt in 2010 introduced the casino bill and it had more..

'Boycott bad for Commonwealth'

Oct 22 (CG) The govt says boycotting the CHOGM will bring disrespect for the Commonwealth and not Sri Lanka. Deputy Minister Neomal Perera said that Sri Lanka expects all the countries to be represented at the Colombo summit. However he said the government will respect any decision taken by heads of governments to skip the summit over their domestic political issues. The Deputy Minister said that even India has fully supported Sri Lanka to make the summit a success. more..

Speaker to consider live TV

Oct 22 (CG) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said that he will consider allowing parliament sittings to be broadcast live on television if the idea to broadcast sittings on a giant screen from tomorrow is successful. UNP MP Joseph Micheal Perera requested the Speaker today to consider live TV coverage of Parliament instead of just showing it on a giant screen. Speaker however said he will first need to see how the giant screen broadcast goes before deciding on live TV coverage. more..

Sri Lankan raises concerns over Indian power plant

Oct 22 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government on Tuesday said it could not rule out the possibility of a threat to the island posed by a nuclear power plant in neighboring India. Sri Lanka's Research and Technology Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said that Sri Lanka had sought an agreement with India where information on the power plant would be shared but so far India has not responded to that request. more..

Commonwealth meet: Drive to dissuade PM gets wide support, Amnesty says

Oct 22 (TOI) About 35,000 people from India have supported Amnesty International India's campaign to dissuade PM Manmohan Singh from attending the CHOGM in Sri Lanka, a statement from Amnesty International said. The campaign began on October 15 and would continue till the start of CHOGM in Nov 2013, it added. "India's staying away from the CHOGM will send a clear signal to President Rajapaksa to take action to end human rights violation abuses in Sri Lanka. more..

Probe into appointment of PMB General Manager

Oct 22 (Island) The Secretary to the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade, G.K.D. Amarawardene, has launched an investigation into how the interview Board of the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) promoted a senior officer as its General Manager though he did not have the required qualifications. The officer had now been transferred to another section. A candidate for the GM’s post should have five years of service after the completion of a post graduate degree. more..

Spike in dengue expected; Colombo leads the way

Oct 22 (Island) The Health Ministry warned of a possible increase in the number of dengue cases due to rains. A spokesman for the Ministry said that the intermittent showers provided ideal breeding conditions for the dengue mosquito. The number of dengue cases reported from January this year, till the end of the second week of October, was 25,230 with the highest number of 3,200 cases being recorded in August. more..

Remote villages get electricity courtesy Iran

Oct 22 (Island) Some 500 families who were long deprived of electricity in the remote villages of the Nunggaha Yaya, Gurumada Mw, Omalpe Medawathugoda, Galkandagoda, Vijeriya Udagama, Nandanagama and Ginigalgoda areas, in the Ratnapura district, benefited last week from an Iranian-funded rural electrification scheme. The project under an Iranian RE-8 loan facility was completed at a cost of forty million rupees. Power and Energy Minister Pavithra more..

Brussels confirms November biz delegation

Oct 22 (FT) The Brussels region, a hive of European Union commercial activity and decision making, is looking to further strengthen its trade ties with Sri Lanka directly. “I will be visiting Sri Lanka in November this year with a Belgium biz delegation which will have many firms from the Brussels region. This visit would be a good opportunity to explore bilateral trade potentials in several identified areas,” revealed Celine Fremault, the Brussels Regional Minister in Charge of Economy, Employment, more..

Reservoirs brimful, but CEB dependent on thermal power

Oct 22 (Island) With the commissioning of the second and third stages of the first coal fired power plant at Norochcholai and with the completion of the Sampur Power Plant in Trincomalee by 2017, there would be a considerable reduction in power generation costs, says Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi. The upcoming two phases would add 600 MW while Sampur would add 500 MW to the national grid, in the near future. more..

'I discussed matters pointed out by the leader'

Oct 22 (SM) UNP MP Kabir Hashim has stated that he engaged in a discussion with Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Preamdasa regarding suggestions on the powers vested upon the leader of the party adhering to a request made by the UNP leader. He made these comments responding to a question raised by ‘Hiru News’ regarding Kabir Hashim being involved in an unnecessary problem. Venerable Meetiyagoda Gunaratne Thera, the president of United Bhikku Front (UBF), in an interview to ‘Mawbima’ more..

Ranil wants another name for 'Leadership Council'

Oct 22 (CT) It is learnt that UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who agreed to the eight-point proposal presented by the United Bhikkhu Front on 15 Oct had made a request to change the name of 'Leadership Council' in proposal No. 03, and substitute it with another. Similarly he had stated that the power vested in him under the Party Constitution to appoint 20 members to the Executive Committee be allowed to be continued as it is, in the future too. more..

Abuse, marginalization of war-affected women in Sri Lanka’s north

Oct 22 (IRIN) A UK-rights group has accused the Sri Lankan govt of failing to address the marginalization and sexual abuse of women living in the country’s former war zones in the north and east, an allegation officials dismiss as coming from a “diaspora-led false propaganda machinery”. A report recently published by the London-based Minority Rights Group (MRG) said rape and sexual harassment of women in former war zones more..

The making of an Indian expert

Oct 23 (NS) ‘Indian Expert’ can mean an Indian who is an expert on some subject or someone who is an expert on India. It is the latter tribe that is relevant to this story. Earlier this month the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), along with the A J Kidwai Mass Communication Research Center, Jamila Millia Islamia and the Nelson Mandela Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, organized a conference of senior editors in the South Asian region. more..

‘Matara Veeraya’: Mangala’s fantasy?

Oct 23 (NS) They say history repeat itself; in a remarkable coincidence, it was exactly on Oct 4 that a peaceful procession of the UNP was attacked in Imbulgoda in Gampaha by supporters of the SLFP. Whereas a violent attack on a march by a faction of UNP took place at Devinuwara and Matara on Oct 5, just a day later, 56 years apart, by goons under the guidance of Mangala Samaraweera, a ‘party leader’ and head of media unit of the same party in an unprecedented home and more..

Tigers killed many top notch Tamil leaders

Oct 23 (SO) Certain TNA parliamentarians are still attempting to spread the LTTE's separatist ideology by making controversial statements. It is a pity that they have forgotten how LTTE separatism took thousands of innocent lives during its three decades of terror. The LTTE not only killed Sinhalese by exploding bombs in the South, but also killed democratic Tamil leaders who were close to the people in the North and the East. more..

It’s SL’s justice system, not just one case

Oct 23 (ST) The predictability of it all would be laughable if it was not so deplorable. In a perfect world, the upcoming CHOGM would never have been held in Sri Lanka which, under this Presidency, symbolizes a complete negation of all the values that the Commonwealth stood for. Yet, as trade-offs continue between Sri Lanka’s spin masters and foreign leaders whom the government dearly wishes to entice into attending this extravaganza, we can only stand back and chuckle. more..

Tamil short stories from Sri Lanka

Oct 23 (CT) It was after well over 30 years that I went back to Jaffna for a literary event. I have been well over a dozen times to the peninsula over the last 5 years, but it was for Reconciliation work, beginning with the Future Minds Exhibition held in December 2008 to encourage youngsters to take advantages of the educational and employment opportunities that would open up with the impending end of the conflict. Since then I have been to Business Development meetings, more..

'Arts graduates are not useless'

Oct 23 (CT) Q: The undergraduates allege there is a severe shortage of hostel facilities and that the ministry is not doing anything about it. What measures has the ministry taken to resolve this issue? A: Our normal hostel policy is to give priority to first and final year students, not to the second and third year undergraduates. That is how it normally is, though exceptions are made with regard to certain universities. more..

Travails of political office and the memory of Prabhakaran

Oct 23 (CT) The Tamil political struggle in Sri Lanka reached an important milestone, when a historic election was held on 21 September to elect members to the first NPC in the country. With history-making come serious responsibilities and they now rest squarely on the shoulders of those elected to the new Council. Though there were detractors, it is safe to say, Sri Lanka's silent majority, looked forward to a poll that would signify the island's ability to devolve power to more..

Constitutional configurations Lanka should avoid: The democracy deficit in the US

Oct 23 (CT) The United States prides itself as the longest continuous constitutional democracy though the Brits, home of the mother of parliaments, may demur. The written document apart, US pride must be tempered by the unfortunate truth that enforcement of the right to vote by blacks became reality only after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Squabbling with the Brits aside, the American Constitution enshrines the separation of powers, Presidential term limits, checks and balances, more..

No global demand for Sri Lankan rice

Oct 23 (Island) Sri Lanka was not yet in a position to export rice as the country was still producing medium and small non-sticky rice varieties for which there was no international demand, Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said. Citing recently issued figures on paddy production, he stressed that though paddy production had increased this year, the country couldn’t export rice as there was no demand internationally. more..

Editorial: Batting for Betting

Oct 23 (Island) Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke has undertaken to play a different game. He has been hired by James Packer to promote a casino resort in Sri Lanka. Packer may have felt the need for someone famous to repair his image vis-a-vis protests against his gambling empire, and repackage and market his proposed project. Clarke has walked in to bat for him, but for a hefty fee. Clarke is singing hosannas for Packer in a promotional video. more..

Arsenic and the so-called WHO report

Oct 23 (Island) This is in a sense continuation of the series I intended to write on "Let them die to maintain the hegemony of western science". I will be writing a few more articles on the above theme though not by the same title. I want to write on western science is a ‘pattapal boruwa’ [blatant lie], and in a sense I was glad when a great Sri Lankan scientist living in Canada said that I am a worse critique of western science than Feyerabend was. As far as I am concerned western science is more..

TNA leader Sampanthan urges India to consider opinion of Tamil Nadu leaders

Oct 23 (TOI) Sri Lanka's TNA leader and senior MP R Sampanthan on Tuesday said the Indian govt should seriously consider the opinion of the leaders in Tamil Nadu over the country’s participation in the CHOGM scheduled to be held in his country in November. Many parties, including the AIADMK and the DMK, and students’ organizations in the state have been urging the Centre to boycott CHOGM. more..

Leisure Golfers from 16 countries to tee-off at SriLankan Golf Classic

Oct 23 (SA) Responding to SriLankan Airlines’ consistent overseas promotional drive to promote leisure golf combined with family holidays, over 170 amateur golfers from 15 nations across the globe have flown into Sri Lanka, to participate at the 14th SriLankan Airlines’ Golf Classic on the stunning Victoria Golf and Country Resort course in Digana, Kandy, from 23rd – 27th Oct. The international line-up of keen, consistent golfers will be joined by over 50 of our very own golfers more..

Shelving Tea Hub: TEA to moot SBU proposal

Oct 23 (NS) In the wake of the ‘Tea Hub’ concept not gaining much acceptance by the govt authorities, the Tea Exporters Association (TEA) is to present a fresh set of proposals soon, this time for the formation of a Strategic Business Unit (SBU) in Hambantota. According to the TEA Chairman Rohan Fernando, the new proposals would entail the setting up of a total value addition center for tea in the Southern region which would provide the required space for exporters to compete with more..

JETRO Chief upbeat on Sri Lanka’s hub prospects for Japanese firms

Oct 23 (FT) Emphasising Sri Lanka’s time has arrived, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) last week expressed confidence over growth prospects as a strategic hub and called for greater promotion as well as reforms to become successful faster. JETRO’s CEO Hiroyuki Ishige who led a high-powered Japanese business delegation of 40 representatives from nearly 30 companies and institutions last week said more..

More needs to be done to qualify for Test Championship

Oct 23 (Island) The International Cricket Council (ICC) last week announced the preparations and the cut off dates to determine the qualifiers for the World Test Championship. The ICC has said that only the top four ranked teams by the cut off date will qualify for the inaugural World Test Championship, which I am sure will create lot of interest. It’s also the right decision by the ICC to play the tournament between the top four ranked teams. Earlier, they were discussing to more..

Mihin Lanka to commence SL-Seychelles

Oct 23 (Rueters) SriLankan Airlines’ sister carrier, Mihin Lanka, will start twice-weekly direct flights from Colombo to Mahe, the largest island of Seychelles, in November. An air services agreement was established between the two governments in June this year to boost trade and tourism between the nations. The route expands Mihin’s network to nine destinations. As a codeshare partner on the route, SriLankan now has 65 destinations in 35 countries. more..

Full house for Commonwealth Biz Forum!

Oct 23 (FT) As Sri Lanka will be the highlight of the world as it prepares to host the much awaited CHOGM, the Govt assured yesterday that the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) will have full house attendance. Deputy Minister of External Affairs and CBF Co-Chair Neomal Perera affirmed that many countries have expressed their interest in participating at the CBF which will take place from 12 to 14 Nov in Colombo. more..

CWC takes up plantation workers’ woes with govt.

Oct 23 (Island) The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) had commenced discussions with the govt seeking to recover over Rs. 1,000 million, in EPF, ETF and retirement gratuity, due to 15,000 or more employees of the estates coming under the Janatha Estates Development Board (JEDB) and State Plantations Corporation (SPC), CWC leader and Deputy Minister Mutthu Sivalingam said. This follows a Supreme Court ruling that the Hantane Estate pay all outstanding EPF, ETF and gratuity to more..

Malaysian PM commends practical value of CHOGM themes

Oct 23 (DN) Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at a meeting in the Malaysian Parliament in Kuala Lumpur on Monday with Minister G.L. Peiris commented on the immediate relevance and practical value of the themes chosen for discussion at the CHOGM in Sri Lanka, underpinning economic development accompanied by social equity. He also said he looks forward to participating in this event. Prof. Peiris briefed the Prime Minister about the modalities of the Business Forum more..

'Hard-fought victory in round one; will battle for best regime for gaming'

Oct 23 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva in a statement hailed what he described as “hard-fought victory” in forcing the Govt to rethink plans for rushing ahead with mega plans to boost casinos, but assured the battle was still on to ensure better governance and practices in gaming industry. "We are happy to note the hard-fought victory for the people of Sri Lanka in round one of the ongoing battle to stop tax breaks for more..

Chinese official wants SL-China youth exchange program strengthened

Oct 23 (DN) It is necessary to strengthen the youth exchange program among Sri Lanka and China with the intention of strengthening the economic, cultural and educational bond between the two countries, said China Youth Federation Chairman He Junke. Addressing the fourth session of Sri Lanka Youth Parliament, He Junke said though Sri Lanka and China exchanged youth for several years, the youth exchange program among the two countries is not at a satisfactory level. more..

Foreign students to be awarded scholarships

Oct 23 (CT) The Higher Education Ministry stated that hundred scholarships will be awarded to foreign students for them to pursue their higher education in Sri Lanka and serve as ambassadors to Sri Lanka. Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navarathne said that 100 scholarships will be awarded to students in 58 countries, enabling them to do their undergraduate studies, masters and PhDs in Sri Lanka. This is in line with the Higher Education Ministry’s long term vision to more..

NZ tech firm signs up Sri Lanka Cricket

Oct 23 (NZH) Wellington cricket technology company CricHQ has landed its biggest deal yet and gained a foothold in Asia by signing up the national cricketing body of Sri Lanka. CricHQ, whose backers include former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming and current captain Brendon McCullum, runs a web and mobile-based system which allows cricketing teams and bodies to manage their competitions and record data. more..

Liquor, drugs free society vital for good health – Minister

Oct 23 (DN) A person should abhor the liquor and smoking habit if he wants to achieve excellence as a human being. A liquor and narcotic drugs free society are the most important factors which ensure longevity and good health of man, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. He said so addressing an awareness program organized by the Sasip Education Institute, Nugegoda on Oc 21 in support of the government’s anti-spoking program. The Minister said the high incidence of more..

Leadership Council will decide on how UNP functions – Tissa

Oct 23 (Island) The proposed UNP Leadership Council (LC), aimed at power sharing, will determine the future direction in which the party would function, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. He pointed out that while Ranil Wickremesinghe continued as leader, all his powers would be transfered to the LC, which would be entrusted with the task of joint decision making. "The establishment of a LC had come about as a result of the dissident group stating that they could do a better job. more..