Thursday, August 23, 2012

Court rejects to release computers of Mud Websites

Published on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 11:09 |
The Criminal Investigation Department yesterday told the Court that and websites have been identified as scurrilous and mudslinging websites and they cannot be considered media institutions.  The CID also told the Court that the suspects arrested from these Mud Websites cannot be considered as professional journalists.

The CID made these assertions when the case against the two websites was taken up before Colombo Additional Magistrate K.A.G. Punchihewa.

The CID told the Court that all newspapers that followed the code of ethics for media have identified these websites as purveyors of slander and mudslinging.

The CID informed court that they will raise no objection to release the computers on condition that the defendants accept what is contained in the computers. He also stated that the defendants should comply with the condition that no change or alteration would be done to the data contained in these computers.

The CID also produced before the Court data contained in three more computers  to be placed in the Court safe. After considering the submissions by the two parties, the Magistrate refused to release the computers and the case was put off until September 4. The suspects who were arrested by the Court and later released on bail also appeared in Courts. (niz)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sri Lanka introduces new land policy to promote tourism   2012-08-22 17:31:26
COLOMBO, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka has introduced new land policy to attract foreign investment for tourism, a minister said on Wednesday.
Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, deputy minister for Economic Development, said the Cabinet has given nod to lease out state lands for hotel projects for foreign investors under 99 years lease agreement.
"The lands will be leased out on the prices valued by Government Chief Valuer," Abeygwardena said.
Sri Lanka's robust post-war tourism sector continued to grow, posting a 7.8 percent rise in July from a year earlier, according to government data.
During the first seven months of the year, Sri Lanka's tourism grew 16.7 percent in comparison to 2011 with UK tourists marking the second highest arrival rate behind India.
Meanwhile, revenue from tourism has increased 24.3 percent to 459.9 million U.S. dollars this year, according to the Central Bank.
With the demand, seven star class hotels including some eco- friendly branded have been opened this year and over 300 rooms were added to the industry. "This was over 27 million U.S. dollar investment on country's tourism," said Abeygwardena.
Sri Lanka has set ambitious targets of one million arrivals for 2012 with its rising to 2.5 million by 2016. Two billion U.S. dollars in earnings are also expected from the industry this year.
Editor: Yang Lina

Sri Lanka coal plant: Chinese designer says accusations unfair

Aug 22, 2012 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Chinese built coal plant which is breaking down repeatedly has been over-used without scheduled maintenance but had still saved billions of rupees to the power utility, its designer has said.

Zhao Wenxue, from the Northwest Electric Design Institute which designed the plant said in a statement that most of the accusations leveled against the plant, built by China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) are unfair.
The plant had been well designed but had been operated from March 2011 without annual maintenance he pointed out.
"According to normal practice in China, a thermal plant should undergo a one month maintenance period annually," Wenzue was quoted as saying in a statement.
"Only then can the unit be more reliable and efficient and expected to perform well.
"The lack of rain at the hydro catchment areas in Sri Lanka over the past several months posed a threat to the power generation around the island.
"The Norochcholai coal power plant was forced to work beyond its required limits and keep supplying electricity to the whole country.
"With the lack of rain and in an attempt to avoid burdening the public with power cuts the Ceylon Electricity Board had meanwhile decided to postpone the annual maintenance of the Norochcholai coal power plant."
Another source familiar with the matter said the plant is still within a 'defect notification period' which usually follow a large engineering project before being finally handed over to the client.
A coal plant cannot be compared to a hydro or diesel plant as it is more complex and problems also crop up when a plant is shut down and re-started. Some problems have to be repaired while the plant is still in operation Wenzue said.
Some of the technical aspects of such a plant also need to be maintained and repaired while the plant is in operation.
Wenzue said CEB and CMEC engineers were working around the clock to fix the problems.
"The Norochcholai coal power plant had past all the performance tests and it was in operation continuously from February 2012 till end of July 2012," he said.
"Questioning the quality of the equipment used in the project and pointing fingers at CMEC is without basis.
"The Norochcholai coal power plant is not as bad as one makes it look. It is just overused, tired and needs a break to rest like any other equipment does."
Analysts says that a coal plant would in any case be expected to about 80 percent of the time (plant factor) which would allow the 300MW plant to generate about 2,100 GigWatt hours of energy a year.
During the past year the plant had generated 1,875 GigaWatt hours (millions of units of electricity) at a cost of 6.67 rupees a unit at a total cost of 12.5 billion rupees.
To generate the same amount from a combined cycle plant at 15.79 rupees a unit would cost 29.6 billion rupees.
Assuming 80 percent of that energy came from a combined cycle and 20 percent from gas turbines (at 25.93 rupees a unit) it would have cost the CEB 33.4 billion rupees to generate the same amount of energy, Wenzue said.
Following the ground breaking ceremony in July 2007, on a request by Sri Lanka, the Chinese government had asked the builders to complete the project one year ahead of schedule.
"We agreed and mobilized our teams including a skilled workforce for early completion of the project ahead of the scheduled date," Wenzue said.
The design build transfer project was financed with a Chinese loan. The coal plant was long overdue.
However concerns have been raised about the way the deal was closed between the ruling classes of Sri Lanka and China through a so-called 'government to government deal' without open tendering.

Sri Lanka condemns Buddha-kissing French tourists

Three French tourists convicted in Sri Lanka for desecrating a temple by photographing themselves kissing and posing with a Buddha statue drew condemnation Wednesday for their "uncivilised behaviour".
The National Heritage Party, which is in the coalition government, said the trio of travellers aged 26-35 had been insensitive to the religious feelings of the island's majority Buddhists.
"Sri Lankans consider this statue to be sacred. They desecrated it. This is uncivilised behaviour," Heritage Party spokesman Udaya Gammanpila told AFP, referring to the statue in the Ambekke Temple in the central district of Kandy.
"We condemn this action of the three French tourists and urge Westerners to please respect our culture and act decently," Gammanpila added.
The photos violated local laws protecting religious feelings and the two women and man were sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended for five years by a magistrate in the southern town of Galle on Tuesday.
One of the women, who arrived on August 4 in the capital Colombo for a tour of tourist towns and the beach, posed pretending to kiss the statue on the lips, a photo published on a local website showed.
The magistrate fined the trio 1,500 rupees ($11) each, ordered the destruction of the photos, but handed back the camera and their passports.
As well as the photo of the woman appearing to kiss the statue, the man tried to imitate the pose of the Buddha, police told the magistrate.
"If we had not arrested them and prosecuted them, they would have taken the pictures abroad, published them and gloated," police spokesman Ajith Rohana told AFP.
"They had not only broken Sri Lankan law, but they have also violated universally accepted norms of respecting religious symbols of others," Rohana said. "We condemn this and urge tourists not to make religious offence."
Officers were alerted to the incident after the travellers, named as Cristina Bras, Jorge Bras and Emilie Fontaine, tried to get their holiday pictures printed at a photo shop in Galle on Monday.
"I am also a Buddhist and I was very hurt when I saw what was in the pictures," the owner of the shop, Prasanna Gamage, told AFP by telephone. "That is why I refused to print them and called the police."
In 2010, Sri Lanka prevented US rap star Akon from visiting over his music video which featured scantily clad women dancing in front of a Buddha statue.
Eight years ago, Sri Lanka's Supreme Court ordered police and customs to seize CDs of Buddha Bar chill-out music.

Lanka Seychelles to share experiences for economic development

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 10:43 |
Sri Lanka and Seychelles will establish direct Air link between the two countries immediately enabling increased trade and tourism between the two island nations and neighboring countries. At the discussion held between the visiting president of the Republic of Seychelles  Alix Michel and  Basil Rohana Rajapaksa, Senior Adviser to H.E. President and Minister of Economic Development, at the Hilton Hotel yesterday, it was decided to open up a direct flight service between the two countries immediately.
Sri Lanka will extend a credit line to the Seychelles to use in trade and commercial transaction with Sri Lanka. Seychelles can use these credit facilities to buy commodities and services from Sri Lanka Minister Basil Rajapaksa said at the discussion.
The two countries agreed to have a joint programme to develop cottage industries and exchange experiences and know how and to start with Sir Lanka will help Seychelles to develop cottage industries in relation to coconut  production.

President Michel and Economic Development Minister discussed the possibility of Sri Lanka investing in Seychelles hotel industry. The two countries will initiate a joint programme to develop tourist industries targeting high end tourists since both countries have promising opportunities in the tourist sector.
Seychelles has a well develop fishing industry and it has industrial, semi industrial and primary ventures. Sri Lanka has entered industrial ventures in fishing establishing a canned fish factories very recently. The two countries will exchange these experiences to develop fishing industry.
Another area extensive discussion was centered on was maritime link programme between the two countries which will facilitate trade and tourism between the two counties extending facilities to the neighbor countries of the Seychelles such as Madagascar, Murushe.
Sri Lanka dockyard and ship building firms can venture into this programme and benefit from it expanding their services to Seychelles. delegation said.
 President Michell said that the two countries have many similarities and therefore we can share our experiences for the economic development and well being of the people. Since Seychelles import most of its requirement from other countries Sri Lanka has potential to increase exports.
Minister  Basil Rajapaksa said after the end of conflict Sri Lanka was able to achieve good results in economic development despite the global economic setback and the country gives priority to infrastructure development. He also emphasised that Sri Lanka's strategic location in the international maritime and aviation centre is beneficial to investors as well as traders and Sri Lanka has become a fast developing regional hub in the South Asia. 
 Jean Paul Adam, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Seychelles,  Peter Sinon, Minister of Natural Resources and Industry of Seychelles,  Waven William, High Commissioner of Seychelles to Sri Lanka, Prof. Sunada Madduma Bandara, Director  General of the Ministry of Economic Development,  Dr Nalaka Godahewa,  Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Ms. Saroja Sirisena, Director General  of External Affairs, Ministry of Economic Development,  Khan, Director General of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Dr. Nihal Samarappuli, Executive Director of the Board of Investment also participated at the discussion.