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Sunday October 17th, 2010

17,000 drug cases ‘stuck in system’
More than 17,000 productions pertaining to narcotic cases are reportedly piled up at the Government Analyst’s Department waiting to be analysed, causing a massive backlog in the judicial system.
According to sources, these evidence seized during various raids and arrests made by law enforcement agencies including the Police, Customs Department and Excise Department were forwarded by the courts to the Analyst’s Department for its expert opinion.

Gang nabbed with Rs 50m
The Colombo Crimes Division on Thursday made a major breakthrough into a gang, believed to be led by a serving army officer, that had been extorting money from wealthy Tamil businessmen, when CCD detectives waiting in ambush at a private hospital caught at least three of its members when they came to collect a ransom of Rs 50 million from a leading Sea Street jeweller, sources said.
Out of five gangsters who came to

Motherly love

Sri Lanka’s golden boy of boxing Manju Wanniarachchi, who won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, is greeted by his mother Shayama on arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Friday. Wanniarachchi became the first Sri Lankan boxer in 72 years to win a Commonwealth Gold medal.
(Pic by Ishara Kodikara)


Pelawatte to host ‘Lankan Pentagon’
With the government successfully maintaining security and peace in the country for more than a year after its military victory over the LTTE, defence authorities are now considering building a Pentagon type establishment at a Colombo suburb, defence sources said.
Under this proposal, the government is planning to build the establishment to house the key defence elements including the headquarters of the Army, Navy and Air Force at a land in Pelawatta, Battaramulla opposite the present army Volunteer Force Headquarters..

Ranil to visit UK, Norway
Opposition and United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will leave for a tour of Europe today.
UNP sources said Wickremesinghe would meet British Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague.
According to the sources, Wickremesinghe is also scheduled to meet the Tory leaders in the UK.


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LLRC rejects foreign rights groups’ claims
The independence and impartiality of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission in all fairness must be judged by the performance of the commission and not on the basis of pre-conceived notions, LLRC secretary S B Atugoda said.
In a letter sent responding to three INGOs following their refusal of the invitation sent by the commission to give evidence before it the secretary also said that: “The commission notes with greater regret, the indirect aspersions you have cast on hundreds of fellow citizens who were the victims of this conflict and several responsible civil society organisations of our country, who have already made representations before the commission”.
The International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch and ...

Sampanthan ‘has no plans to quit politics’
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentary group leader R Sampanthan dismissed reports that he would step down from politics.
It was reported that Sampanthan would quit politics, citing ill health.
“Anyone can speculate. All these are speculations,” Sampanthan told The Nation.

Key talks in North
President Mahinda Rajapaksa will chair the development meeting of the Northern Province in Vavuniya this week.
Vavuniya District Secretary, P S M Charles told The Nation that the meeting would be held on October 19 at the Vavuniya District Secretariat.
She said the District Secretaries of all five districts in the province would take part in the talks.

Nationalism may undo trinco coal plant
Are ultra nationalist types in the government not in favour of going ahead with the joint venture with the Indian Thermal Power Corporation and the CEB to build the country’s second coal power plant in Trincomalee? Their apparent fear about Indians having 50 percent control of a public utility has got them asking questions as to why we cannot own it entirely as in the case of the country’s first coal power plant at Norichcholai being built by the Chinese on a loan provided by the ExIm Bank of China.

Sri Lankan mother’s ordeal ends in Malaysia
The search for two missing children and father turned fugitive has come to an end for Faika Fathima who left for Malaysia over two weeks ago to trace them.
The Malaysian national police led by its Interpol division arrested the estranged father on Thursday night (14) and were able to take the two children to safety, according to their maternal grandmother.
Faika’s mother told The Nation that she received word from Malaysia that Faika is reunited with her two children and are expected to return to Sri Lanka next week after the nine-month ordeal.
“I was told the children are in safe hands and Faika’s husband has been taken into custody, which is a relief to all of us, its our only wish that Faika and the two children be returned to Sri Lanka safely,” said the mother who was reluctant to divulge her name out of fear.
Faika Fathima, a Sri Lankan national, left to Malaysia two weeks ago to trace her two children aged seven and 12 who were forcibly taken to Malaysia by her estranged husband.

Alarm over rising breast cancer cases
Breast cancer, the commonest female cancer in Sri Lanka, has surged over the past decade to an alarming level.
“The number of patients has increased considerably from 1985 when breast cancer accounted for only 6.9% of all cancers to its present percentage, with most of the victims being women who are 55 years and above”, a group of cancer specialists told the media at a seminar organiිed by the Health Education Bureau.


Economy on the upswing amid political acrimony
After a 30-year civil war that virtually crippled the country’s economy, Sri Lanka is showing a gradual but a firm commitment towards economic recovery.
These were the sentiments expressed in many forums here and overseas over Sri Lanka’s economic prospects for the next couple of years.
The US is impressed and optimistic over Sri Lanka’s economic growth, but emphasised that there is ample room for political reconciliation, which is the key for a resilient economy.
US Assistant Trade Representative for Central and South Asia Michael Delany expressed these views addressing the Breakfast Meeting organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Colombo.


The Nation Economy
The vicissitudes of trade will always have a serious bearing on the economic fortunes of the country.
This has been so in the last six decades after independence.
In some years, and at times for a period of several years, the country faced severe hardships when import prices rose sharply and export prices did not rise as fast or even fell.
The prices of exports relative to the price of imports or the terms of trade has been, is and will be an important factor ..

Malinda Seneviratne Column
When poverty-producers propose poverty-alleviation

This is the month dedicated to ‘saving’. This is the month when all banks run ad campaigns urging people to save money. Banks need savings because banks need to sell all kinds of loan products. A nation needs savings because a nation has to invest money in various spheres in order to create jobs, generate income etc. People need to save money because people are fragile and frequently find themselves in cash-strapped situations. We are told that it is good to save for a rainy day, but no one tells us that we are in a year-long monsoon when it comes to financial needs.

Focus on people’s immediate needs as calls grow for unity

The post-war political environment has brought many Tamil political parties together, leaving their political differences aside, to assist the war-affected people and address the immediate needs of those who have been resettled.
Tamil political leaders in the recent past have shown great interest in working together towards the betterment of the Tamil people and to address the issues faced by those who were affected due to the war.

Agony of ‘child mums’
In a relatively conservative society like Sri Lanka, a 14-year-old or a 12-year-old girl giving birth to another child can still make front page news in national newspapers. It is considered a social taboo but the fact remains that more than 1,000 teenage pregnancies had been reported in previous years.
In past three weeks alone, there were four cases being reported in the media of teenage mothers giving birth and the father turned out to be one of their own family members -- it is the elder brother in some instances.

Our failed industry development
No matter what part of the world it is, industry development initiatives are aimed at increasing the internal and external competitiveness of a nation’s business environment to spawn wealth, create jobs and promote the nation as an attractive place to invest and do business in a free-market economy.


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Lanka in image building process leaves for Down Under today
Aussie tour will highlight small weaknesses - Sangakkara

In the past few weeks or so some members of Kumar Sangakkara’s team have been accused of match-fixing and also misbehaving during cricket tours abroad and the image of the side has been tarnished to some extent.
With the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup looming it is not the kind of publicity or accusation the team would want when their focus is on the mega event.
Sangakkara told The Nation that the players have to be responsible as individuals not to do anything that harms the group and also the reputation of Sri Lanka as a country. “Skill alone is not going to make you a great cricketer,” he said.

Athletics needs another Anthony Abeysinghe
The most important athletics event right up to the late sixties was the Public Schools Meet organised by the Schools Athletics Association under the patronage of the Ceylon Amateur Athletics Association (AAA). Although it was a meet meant for schools to select their champions for that year it was more important than the national meet conducted by the AAA. That should not in any way undermine the cause that the nationals served our athletics. But at that time there was a progressive system in school athletics where future athletes came into the national ranks. An athlete who won at the Public Schools Meet was guaranteed his place as ...

Sanga opens out
Skipper Kumar Sangakkara believes the kind of energy, enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude that spin legend Muthiah Muralitharan brings to the team are vital ingredients if Sri Lanka is to make an impact at the 2011 World Cup. Muralitharan retired from Test cricket as the game’s highest wicket-taker but is available for the 2011 World Cup and Twenty20 matches. He has been included for the short tour of Australia where Sri Lanka is due to play three one-day internationals in addition to a one-off Twenty20 international.

Congrats Manju, but no politics please

Boxer Manju Wanniarachchi is the man of the moment. He fully deserves all the accolades that are being showered upon him by the media and by all and sundry. It is an occasion worth celebrating because Wanniarachchi has, by winning a Gold medal in boxing at the 19th Commonwealth Games at New Delhi, revived a sport in the country which has been dying for want of an icon to project its image and draw the attention of young pugilists. Wanniarachchi has shown that with determination, hard work,

South Africa wins despite Taylor heroics
BLOEMFONTEIN, (AFP) - Hashim Amla and debutant Colin Ingram eased their way to centuries to set up a 64-run win for South Africa in the first one-day international against Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein on Friday.
Amla hit 110 and Ingram 124 as South Africa made 351 for six after winning the toss and taking advantage of a good batting pitch at the Oval.


‘Eighty per cent of my constituents wants me to join ruling alliance’
Chief opposition whip praises govt

There was a strong rumour in the political circles in the recent past that UNP stalwart John Amaratunga, who is also the chief opposition whip, was planning to cross over to the government.
The rumour acquired wings when it came to be known that Amaratunga had been listed as a member of the Sri Lankan government delegation to the UN General Assembly sessions.

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