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Sunday October 18th, 2009

New 8km tourism
zone in Trinco

The Tourism Ministry has come up with a massive project prepared by the Urban Development Authority, to meet the severe demand for land to build new hotels in the Trincomalee District due to increasing inflow of tourists, with... Full Story

Basil will not resign
Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa in a sudden move, has decided not to resign his seat in Parliament, informed political sources told The Nation... Full Story

Siddharthan tells TN where missing IDPs have gone
The leader of a former Tamil militant group has refuted reports that 10,000 people from the IDP camps in Vavuniya had disappeared. The alleged disappearance of so large a number of displaced persons had made news worldwide and several human rights watch organisations had expressed concern over it. Full Story

Strange Pakistan casino player identified
The Immigration and Emigration Department is probing the case of a Pakistani who has been coming to Sri Lanka almost twice each month since 2005 without a break and he has told investigators it was to play casinos here. Full Story


The Tattoo, the crowning ceremony to the army’s 60th anniversary celebrations got underway yesterday evening at the Khettarama Stadium with President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Chief Guest. Here former Army Commander and present Chief of Defence Staff Gen Sarath Fonseka ushers in the President accompanied by traditional dancers
                               (Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)

Missing principal to be extradited?
There appears to be no moves so far to extradite a former principal of a leading government girls’ school in Colombo who has reportedly managed to flee to Canada, while a major investigation is being carried out against her by the Bribery and Corruption Commission. Full Story

Paffrel presses for 17th amendment implementation
The Peoples Action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) will meet all major political parties and the Elections Commissioner in the next two weeks to push for the implementation of the 17th Amendment... Full Story

SL may lose GSP plus
The European Commission is to recommend withdrawing trade benefits from Sri Lanka over alleged human rights abuses in the last stages of the civil war against the Tamil Tigers, The Times has learnt. The decision could affect British shops including Marks & Spencer,  Full Story

Strict action to be taken against raggers
The Vice Chancellor of the University Peradeniya, Prof. S. B. S. Abayakoon declared that the usual rules of the country are valid inside the university premises as well and that strict action will be taken to ensure that ragging stops at the campus. Full Story


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Rubella vaccine needs to be tested
The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) alleged that the rubella vaccination administered at present by the Health Ministry needs to be tested extensively for its safety, as there is a serious question about its quality and safety.
The GMOA spokesperson Dr. Chandana Atapattu said that apart from the two deaths reported within seven months this year, other cases were also reported where some had developed allergic reactions subsequent to being injected with the rubella antivirus. Full Story

President off to Vietnam
President Rajapaksa will pay an official visit to Vietnam from October 22 to 24 at the invitation of State President Nguyen Minh Triet, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “The President will visit Vietnam next week on an official visit. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, Dao Viet Trung who visited Sri Lanka recently has extended an invitation from the President of Vietnam Nguyen Minh Triet to his counterpart President Rajapaksa for an official visit to Vietnam,” said a foreign ministry spokesperson. Full Story

Two senior digs lost
Two retired senior DIG’s of the police, G.W. Pratapasingha and Kumarasiri Gamage, who entered the southern province election fray last week from the UPFA and the UNP failed to get elected.
Gamage contested from the Galle District. But his official results could not be obtained due to them not being published yet, according to Galle Elections Office and Pratapasingha had been placed 13th in the Matara District after obtaining 25,003 preferential votes, according to the Matara Elections Office. Full Story

Independent experts probe unprecedenterd power failure
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the watchdog of the power sector has appointed a two member team of experts to probe the unprecedented countrywide power failure that plunged the entire nation into darkness from 1:30 am on October 10. Full Story

Lanka editor arrested
The Chief Editor of the Sinhala language Irida Lanka newspaper Chandana Sirimalwatta was arrested yesterday evening at Homagama by a group that identified themselves as from the CID.
“We were at the Sea Hawks grounds Homagama when officers from the CID and Homagama Police came in two vehicles.  Full Story

President responds to Commander’s request
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, acting on representations made by the Commander of the Army Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya to Secretary Defence, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa regarding insufficiency of funds to pay the Distress Loan (ten-month loan), applied for by all ranks in the Army, has instructed the Treasury to release a sum of Rs. 700 million on a priority basis.  Full Story

SC gives Health Ministry time till January 18
The Supreme Court has given the Health Minister time till January 18 to inform Court as to what was happening to the legislation for the implementation of a National Medicinal Drugs Policy to provide quality drugs to all the people at affordable prices.
This directive was on the Fundamental Rights petitions filed by the People’s Movement for the Rights of Patients and Yohan Bibile, grandnephew of the revered professor Senaka Bibile who gave the essential medicines concept to the world. Full Story

Road development project to be completed by year end
Most of the road stretches and bridges identified for rehabilitation under the Japanese funded Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Road Development Project launched in 2003, have already been renovated and the project could be completed by the end of this year, Provincial Road Development Project Director D.A.P.S. Daranagama... Full Story


Southern PC Polls outcome no set-back for Government
The UPFA last week gained another resounding poll victory recording a two thirds majority at the Southern PC elections.
The UPFA won 38 seats in the 55-member Council, up from the 34 the party mustered at the 2004 elections. The UNP has won 14 seats, down from the 19 it held in the previous Council. Meanwhile, the JVP’s 14 seats held in the previous Council has dropped to a sorry 3 seats at this election. However, the percentage of the total vote polled by the UPFA with the JVP in 2004 which was 70, has come down to 67.88 at this election. Full Story
Something for everyone
There are three kinds of lies, or so British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said: Lies, damn lies and statistics. And statistics was what all political parties were resorting to, in analysing the results of the Southern Provincial Council (SPC) elections last week.
As we argued in these columns earlier, the only issue at stake was the percentage of votes the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) would record, the winner of the poll being a foregone conclusion. Full Story



Health officials lock horns on low quality vaccine charges
The school vaccination programme has raised controversies and concerns once again. Just seven months after the first death of a school girl was reported in Matara following the administering of the Rubella vaccine early this year, a similar death of another girl has been reported after administering the same vaccination under the school programme of the Health Ministry. The first incident was ruled- out as a mere case of allergy and the then suspended school vaccination programme was reinforced after...  Full Story

Bishop wants 2009-2010 to be year of National Healing and Reconciliation
At the Annual Sessions of the Diocese of Colombo of the (Anglican) Church of Ceylon which began on Friday October 16, 2009, the Rt Rev Duleep de Chickera, the Bishop of Colombo, delivering his Address to the clergy and people of his Diocese called for the displaced persons in camps to be treated with dignity and trust. We must never forget, he said, that they are also Sri Lankans who crossed over at the invitation of their government to be liberated.   Full Story

A serious menace to the right to survival
While the majority of Sri Lankans are preoccupied with the political pranks of the country`s doomed opposition in the afterglow of the military victory gained by the ruling UPFA on May 18 this year by the elimination of the LTTE leadership, the issue of climate change has been practically sidetracked. In fact, in Sri Lanka, except for a couple of articles, published at odd intervals by several authorities on the subject, it never seemed to be a matter to be reckoned with. Whenever... Full Story

What’s happening to the engine of economic growth?
There is disappointment with the pace at which the private sector is investing in post war Sri Lanka. Although the strong performance of the Colombo Stock Exchange indicates business confidence, there has been limited real investment. Consequently, there has been some scepticism about whether the private sector could in effect be the engine of economic growth. Full Story


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Gibbs opts out
Cape Cobras captain Andrew Puttick confirmed that Herschelle Gibbs opted out due to the security scare which preceded their game against Victoria in Bangalore. The game was delayed after an Under-22 cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir, staying at the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) complex in the Chinnaswamy Stadium, was detained in connection with the suspected presence of explosives at the venue. Full Story

Continuous exposure the key
Sri Lanka’s under 19 cricketers’ one-day series victory over their Australian counterparts Down Under was described by chairman of Sri Lanka’s junior cricket selection committee Sunil Wikramanayake as an outstanding success.
“Going by their overall performance of the team they have
 performed well to win the five-match series 3-2,” Wikramanayake told The Nation. Full Story

Turf war delays Surrey tsunami project
Surrey’s chief executive, Paul Sheldon, has written to the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse, to express his “deep frustration” that a state-of-the-art cricket facility the club helped to build in Sri Lanka as part of their tsunami-relief efforts in 2007 has remained unused for almost two years due to a failure to lay any turf on the outfield. Full Story

Whose fault is it anyway?
Much has been written about the paucity of Test matches Sri Lanka will play in 2010. At the moment Sri Lanka has been slotted to play just two Tests against West Indies at home in November. What it means is after Sri Lanka completes a three-Test series in India starting next month, they will not have any Test cricket for almost 12 months. How can a country deprive its international cricketers the right to play Test cricket? All of us talk about rankings and things like that but how can a player like... Full Story


“Conspiracy to destabilise country being staged at US embassy”
At the centre of controversy since last week were comments made by Gen. Sarath Fonseka at the Army’s 60th anniversary celebration ceremony held at BMICH. Added to that is the offer made to the General to accept the post of Secretary to the Ministry of Sports. Speculation was rife, to varying degrees, that General Fonseka was ready to join the proposed grand alliance of the opposition parties and contest as the common candidate in the next Presidential election. Full Story

“Party leadership will deal with errant members”
Former Chief Minister of Southern Provincial Council-Shan Wijelal de Silva is yet again to be appointed to lead the PC, during a swearing in ceremony scheduled for tomorrow. In 2005 too, De Silva took the reins of the province at a time when it was suffering from abject poverty and rising unemployment. Main livelihoods of the area - paddy cultivation, tea, cinnamon, fisheries and tourism too were making no progress then.  Full Story

“State power can influence voters’ mindset” - Tilvin
General Secretary of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Tilvin Silva in an interview with The Nation said that the decline of the government has begun even though the government says it has earned a 2/3 majority in the SPC elections. Following are the excerpts of the interview
Q: The Opposition following the Southern Provincial Council (SPC) election said that the results depict a set-back... Full Story

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