Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Individual B." Arrested

NEW YORK (AP) -- One of America's wealthiest men was among six hedge fund managers and corporate executives arrested Friday in a hedge fund insider trading case that authorities say generated more than $25 million in illegal profits and was a wake-up call for Wall Street.
Raj Rajaratnam, a portfolio manager for Galleon Group, a hedge fund with up to $7 billion in assets under management, was accused of conspiring with others to use insider information to trade securities in several publicly traded companies, including Google Inc.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas F. Eaton set bail at $100 million to be secured by $20 million in collateral despite a request by prosecutors to deny bail. He also ordered Rajaratnam, who has both U.S. and Sri Lankan citizenship, to stay within 110 miles of New York City.

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Related: ABC News: Indicted N.Y. Financier Gave Big to Hillary and Terror Charity

Friday, October 16, 2009

'Park and ride' goes up to Wadduwa from Nov 1

The Cityliner premium bus service 'Park and Ride' which operates from Moratuwa to Colombo Fort will be extended up to Wadduwa from November 1 as a measure to curb the traffic congestion and man power loss.

Addressing a media-briefing in Colombo yesterday, National Transport Commission (NTC) Advisor M.B.S. Fernando said the NTC has also selected a site to develop a "Park and Ride" in Kadawatha following good public responses.

He said the present service operating from Moratuwa to Colombo Fort has been able to attract a considerable volume of passengers. Already 117 daily commuters who travel by car or motorcycle, park their vehicles at Katubedda and ride in a luxury bus to the Colombo Fort.

Places in Talangama, Katunayake, Homagama, Ja-ela and Werahera have also been identified to operate the Cityliner service.

In addition to the office service, plans are afoot to commence the Cityliner service to cater to the shopping crowd in the afternoon. It will be operated on main roads and streets where main shopping malls and supermarkets are located.

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Sri Lanka fines US embassy

COLOMBO - SRI LANKA'S main water utility said Friday it had fined the US embassy in Colombo more than US$3,000 (S$4,193) for illegally tapping supplies from the national network.

The National Water Supply and Drainage Board said it found that the supply to US ambassador Patricia Butenis' official residence in Colombo bypassed the water meter.

The US authorities were fined US$3,222 after the unusually low water bills for the building aroused suspicion and prompted an inspection.

'When informed of the illegal tapping of water, they agreed to the fine,' a board official said, asking not to be named.

A US embassy spokesman, Glen Davis, said they were investigating the matter. -- AFP
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Basil Rajapaksa to resign from Sri Lanka parliament

Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa, the younger brother of Sri Lanka President and his Senior Advisor, is to resign from the parliament next week.

Speaking to the media this afternoon at Raththota in Matale MP Basil Rajapaksa confirmed that he will relinquish his parliament membership on the 20th of this month.

The main reason for this decision is to carry out the upcoming election campaign for the ruling party, he added.

MP Rajapaksa is to make a special announcement at the House before he resigns from his parliament membership.

He also heads the President's "Uthuru Wasanthaya", 180-day resettlement and reconstruction program in the North.

The reliable sources in the government said Hemal Gunasekara, the highest preferential votes taker in Matara district from ruling party in recently concluded Southern Provincial Council election, will succeed Basil Rajapaksa.

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EXCLUSIVE: I have “no intention whatsoever” to enter politics - Gotabaya

Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in an exclusive interview with Ada Derana rejected the recent media claims that he will contest upcoming elections from the Kuruneagala District. He added that he has no intention whatsoever to enter politics.

The Defence Secretary who is also the brother of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa explained that the mandate given by the people was the difficult task of eradicating terrorism from Sri Lankan soil and that it was accomplished.

He stated that the only goal he wishes to achieve now is to initiate a sustainable rehabilitation programme for the disables soldiers. He furthered that he did not pursue any task with narrow political aims.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SPC results sign of UPFA weakness: Opposition

Nothing could be as stupid as this assertion says UPFA Gen. Secy

UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha yesterday said nothing could be as stupid as the Opposition attempt to depict Saturday’s Southern Provincial Council election results, as a sign of weakness on the part of the SLFP-led ruling coalition.

Education Minister Susil Premajayntha told The Island, the UNP had conveniently forgotten that it lost all 21 electorates in the Southern Province, including Galle which the UPFA lost at the last presidential elections in November, 2005. Responding to our queries, he said that the UNP had received 297,180 votes whereas the UPFA polled 804,071 and the JVP, a paltry 72,379. He said, those who predicted polls as the beginning of the end for the UPFA could not be unaware of the difference between the UPFA and the UNP was a staggering 506,891 votes.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Jonathan Kay: Giving Barack Obama the Nobel peace prize is ridiculous

I am still trying to figure out why the Nobel Committee gave Barack Obama its annual peace prize. As far as it appears, the award was based on the fact that the U.S. President is a good-natured fellow who people seem to like — and who isn’t George W. Bush.
So who should have gotten the Nobel peace prize?

Instead of droning on about “hope” and “a new international climate,” a group of people charged with awarding an annual peace prize might find it useful to focus on a more mundane and obvious inquiry. To wit: What part of the planet was beset by bloody war in 2008, but is now entirely at peace?

The only nation that fits the bill is Sri Lanka. And the reason for that is a ruthless military campaign waged by President Mahinda Rajapaksa against a militarized Tamil death cult known as the Tamil Tigers. This conflict has taken nearly 100,000 lives since it began three decades ago. But Rajapaksa ended it definitively at one stroke, killing or capturing virtually the entire Tiger leadership. It is one of the only times in the history of modern warfare that a guerrilla/terrorist movement has been utterly destroyed in such a fashion. Overnight, war became a stranger to Sri Lanka.

Sounds like a pretty good candidate for a “peace” prize, don’t you think?

But of course, actually making peace is not what this nominal peace prize is about. It’s about going through the motions of pursuing peace in a touchy-feely UN-approved way.

Mr. Rajapaksa has done some fairly nasty things en route to destroying the Tigers — including imprisoning and perhaps even killing pesky journalists and human-rights activists. More importantly (from a Scandinavian point of view), Mr. Rajapaksa committed an unpardonable foreign-policy sin en route to his victory: flouting “multilateralism.” Which is to say that he ignored the bien pensant voices from abroad urging him to let the Tigers go just as the Sri Lankan military was about to administer the coup de grace. Had he listened, the war would continue to this day.

>> Full Story on National Post

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Southern Provincial Council Elections Preferential votes

Hambantota District


1. V.K. Indika – 56,855
2. D.V. Upul – 50,944
3. Kapila Dissanayake – 48,832
4. Ajith Rajapakse – 47,854
5. H.W. Gunasena – 45,910
6. Somawansa Kodagoda – 38,838
7. S.V. Ananda – 33,323
8. Arjuna de Silva – 25,282


1. Senaratne Gamage Tennakoon – 23,894
2. Nimal Lal Chandra – 17,614
3. Ekanayake Somapala – 15,760


1. Sujeewa Priyantha Lokuhennedi – 2,345

Matara District


1. Gunasekara Wickramaratne Hemal – 63,323
2. Abeywardena Sarath Yapa – 45,882
3. Chandima Rasaputra – 40,066
4. Dharmawijaya Wijesekara Dahanayake – 32,972
5. S. Vijaya Bindu Weerasinghe – 32,041
6. H.G. Weerasumana Weerasinghe – 31,945
7. Anthony Hewa Piyasena – 31,423
8. Manoj Sirisena Hewa Gampalage - 31,033
9. Kanchana Chodaka Wijesekara – 30,870
10. Jayanatha Kodituwakku Hewa Kodithuwakku – 29,282
11. Jastin Galappaththi – 28,371
12. Aruna Gunaratne – 28,239


1. Akalanka Buddhika Pathirana – 57,802
2. Gayan Sanjeewa Hewa Wellala – 17,654
3. Kapila Jayantha Wellappili – 15,041
4. Sirisena Vijayawickrama Kankanamage – 14,274
5. Haputantrige Vindana Nishantha – 13,758


1. N.K. Sisira Kumara – 3,189

Galle District


1. Shan Wijelal de Silva – 90,294
2. Randiam Gamage – 77,418
3. Nishantha Muthuhettigama – 71,718
4. Sajin Vaas Gunewardena – 70,627
5. U.P.D. Ariyathilaka – 56,358
6. Mohan de Silva – 48,272
7. Chaminda Athukorala – 42,300
8. Ajith Prasanna – 38,767
9. A.P.C. Piyasiri – 30,678
10. Anarkali Akarsha – 26,728
11. Baddegama Samitha Thera – 24,815
12. T.D.S.L. Jayaweera – 24,466
13. Ananda Kariyawasam – 24,206
14. K.P. Amarapala – 24,010
15. Chamli Vithanachchi – 22,771
16. Lasantha Kumara Ekanayake – 22,017


1. Krishantha Pushpakumara – 52,971
2. Manusha Nanayakkara – 38,477
3. Bandulal Bandara – 24,891
4. Ashok Danawansa De Silva – 21,674
5. Wijepala Hettiarachchi – 19,470
6. Maithri Gunaratne – 17,020


1. Nalin Hewage – 3,113

General Election first to change Constitution

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has, The Island learns, told a group of his confidants that he intends to hold, after bagging the Southern Provincial Council at today’s polls, a general election, where he will seek a two-third majority to change the Constitution.

"I have two more years left in office and I can either complete the full term or cut it short and return to Parliament," sources quoted President Rajapaksa as telling his close allies on Thursday.

Earlier, the government had decided to go for a presidential election after the SPC polls and to hold a general election subsequently.

The Opposition is in the process of forming an alliance to face a presidential election expected early next year.

Sources said all those present at the meeting had subscribed to the President’s idea and it had been decided to consult other high-ranking party leaders on the matter.

>> Source

Vocational training centre to Kilinochchi

Vocational Training Authority has taken steps to set up a full-fledged Vocational Training Centre in Kilinochchi. The project is expected to be launched in two years with an investment of.85 rupees million.

The courses conducted at the Vocational Training Center will be job oriented. In addition career guidance, counseling and propagation of IT skills for the rural community will be promoted through this institute. Hence, the young people affected by the war will be integrated into the workforce of the country.

Twelve courses including, Carpentry, Computer Application and other courses related to new technology will be provided. In addition, a special English language course will be conducted for skills development.
>> Full Story