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Rs 2.2 M on food and tea in three days

July 25 (CT) The National Gem and Jewellery Authority has spent Rs 2.2 million on food and tea during the three days in which a land auction was held in Thammannawa, Kataragama, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, alleged in Parliament. This was revealed when the MP raised questions on the auction of the gem land at Thammannawa in Kataragama. Minister Susil Premajayantha, in his is reply said the amount was spent over a year. more..

For West, Rajapaksa is Sri Lanka’s Modi

July 25 (AA) It is a measure of Sri Lanka’s return to “normal” democratic politics that conspiracy theories are once again resonating in Colombo. Compared to the situation just three years ago when “politics” continued to centre on the 30-year-long bloody civil war that mercifully came to an end in May 2009, the sub-text of political discussions today is the presidential election, due some time in early-2015. It is not that the unending tensions between the Central govt in Colombo and more..

'Recruit youth to combat dengue, relieve tri-forces of burden'

July 25 (Island) The Deputy Commissioner Colombo MC (Health), Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam yesterday proposed that the Health Ministry recruit youth who had completed their GCE A/L examination to be trained in mosquito control work. Dr. Kariyawasam said that the shortage of required human resources in local governments institutions such as the Colombo Municipal Council was one of the main impediments to house-to-house inspections and dengue control. more..

Sri Lanka debt, interest costs, among highest in the world: Moody's

July 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka has a strong record in debt repayment, but interest costs and debt levels are high compared to revenues and private external commercial borrowings are adding to state borrowings, a report by Moody's a rating agency said. "The Sri Lankan govt has maintained a default-free debt repayment record on both official and private creditor debt, even throughout the long civil war," Moody's said in a report on Sri Lanka's debt profile. more..

CRI scientists to assist coconut development in Tanzania

July 25 (Island) A memorandum of understanding (MOU) to assist Tanzania in coconut development was signed between the government of Sri Lanka and the United Republic of Tanzania at the Ministry of External Affairs, Colombo on July 21. Jagath Pushpakumara, Minister of Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development signed the MOU on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka and Bernard K. Membe, Foreign Minister of Tanzania signed on behalf of the United Republic of Tanzania. more..

Tenaga Car Parks launches solar powered CALE parking metres

July 25 (Island) ‘Tenaga Car Parks, the pioneer in parking, traffic management and consultancy services in Sri Lanka, introduced Solar Powered Parking Metres by the name of CWT Compact to the parking industry of Sri Lanka. The machines were launched and implemented at Baron Jayathilaka Mawatha Colombo as part of a pilot project amidst a distinguished gathering on July 24. A press release says: ‘The introduction of the parking metre to Sri Lanka is a result of the exclusive partnership that more..

Coalition for change of Constitution!

July 25 (FT) The civil society movement leading the charge on axing the presidency yesterday unveiled a six month post-electoral roadmap for constitutional change by a common candidate, creating momentum for broad opposition consensus on the issue. Marking a major milestone in the movement to field a single-issue, common opposition candidate at presidential polls likely early next year, the Movement for Social Justice led by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero more..

Yacht and houseboat tourism to be promoted in Sri Lanka

July 25 (ST) Boat building, tourism and fisheries combined together would bring in a new lease for Sri Lanka’s leisure industry soon as things are worked out to have Maldives-styled luxury boats for tourists to spend their holiday. Neil Fernando, Chairman, Boat Building Technology Improvement Institute Lanka speaking at the launch of Boat Show and Fisheries Exhibition 2014 held in Colombo this week said that in the Maldives there are about 450 charter boats operating and more..

Brigitte Bardot Foundation supports Embark and animal welfare

July 25 (Island) Embark, the unique community animal welfare initiative, has received support for its large scale sterilisation and vaccination programmes in Sri Lanka from Fondation Brigitte Bardot (the Brigitte Bardot Foundation), the leading animal protection organisation in France. Established in 1986 by Brigitte Bardot, the former French fashion model, actress, singer and well known supporter of animals, the Foundation has been working for the welfare and protection of animals more..

Port Authority given green light to setup Cargo Village

July 25 (CT) After more than two-and-a-half years of waiting, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority has received the green light from the government to construct the proposed 'Cargo Village' which would ease cargo dispatch. The 'Cargo Village' is expected to be completed within the next two-and-a-half years, with a connecting rail line. Currently the Colombo Port is facing difficulties in dispatching containers due to the single exit which was more..

Special loan scheme for external undergraduates from People’s Bank

July 25 (Island) People’s Bank now offers a special loan scheme for undergraduates who register for degree courses conducted by the Centre of Distance and Continuing Education of the University of Kelaniya. The MoU regarding this venture was signed between the Kelaniya University and People’s Bank at the Vice-chancellors Office of Kelaniya University. Representing the People’s Bank and the University of Kelaniya, CEO/General Manager of people’s Bank, more..

Govt initiative makes OHCHR probe redundant

July 25 (Island) It is clear from the text of the UNHRC Resolution A/HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1 of March 26, 2014 cited below that the expanded mandate of the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons would make any investigation by the Office of the OHCHR redundant. Paragraph 2 of the text to UNHRC Resolution "Calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of more..

Anura Yapa speaks up on petroleum and politics

July 25 (FT) The Minister of Petroleum Industries vows to revive the troubled industry and commence the much-delayed upgrading of refinery facilities within the next three months. Petroleum Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa asserts that losses incurred by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) have been reduced during the past two years. “This year we can run with the operating profit. That is our intention and we are working on that.” more..

Mahela joins Gavaskar and Lara, owns the SSC

July 25 (CI) 34: Test hundreds that Mahela Jayawardene has made, having drawn level with Sunil Gavaskar and Brian Lara. Jayawardene needs two more centuries to catch up with Rahul Dravid, who is the only other batsman within striking distance of Jayawardene given that the Sri Lanka batsman only has a maximum of five more Test innings before retiring. Kumar Sangakkara also has 36 Test centuries, but is likely to end up above Jayawardene in this list. more..

Different means to same inadequate end for Tahir and Philander

July 25 (CI) It had reached the time of day when even AB de Villiers was getting tired. An hour before the scheduled close, he had to chase a ball from slip to fine leg. De Villiers darted after it, collected and hurled it in but then could exert himself no more. He flopped onto his back, lay spread-eagled on the turf and even shut his eyes briefly before labouring back to his position. In that small moment in which de Villiers showed that he too is human, he summed up how more..

SSC's Superman does it again

July 25 (CI) A palm-lined beach, a curry swimming in coconut milk, and spiked with red chilli - though this Sri Lanka team enjoy their travel, there is nothing quite like returning to the comforts of home, they said, as they began their first assignment on the island this year. But so far, they have not made the best of being in Sri Lanka. They were undone in the ODIs, on a turner in Colombo, then at windy Hambantota. Then they banked on spin on a more..

Editorial: Arresting the rot in politics

July 25 (Island) Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has stressed the need for Sri Lankan politics to undergo a radical shake-up while calling for electoral reforms and reducing the term of Parliament to four years, among other things. He has, we believe, struck a responsive chord with the discerning public. Only the Opposition politicians get such brainwaves from time to time but, unfortunately they are without any means of putting their brilliant ideas into action. more..

Ramaphosa and Govt’s Policy shift on Reconciliation

July 25 (GV) Several weeks after Cyril Ramaphosa, Vice President of South Africa and Special Envoy of President Zuma to Sri Lanka, arrived in Sri Lanka to assist us in our search for durable post war peace and reconciliation, it is possible to observe several tactical moves by the Rajapakse Administration with regard to its post war reconciliation policies or the “North and East issues” as the Mahinda Chinthanaya, the Way Forward, manifesto of 2010, calls Sri Lanka’s unresolved ethnic problem. more..

Soured relationships hinder reconciliation

July 25 (NS) One month after the unrest, Dharga Town is now buzzing with a lot of reconstruction activities. The houses and shops that were damaged are being renovated and rebuilt by the security personnel. On the outside, everything looks calm, though there is still a significant security presence. Those affected have slowly started to move on with their lives, but the memories of the harrowing experience they faced are still afresh. more..

Mahinda before fire in the North

July 25 (CT) When former President D.B. Wijetunga met people at his retirement home in Kandy, he used to say that his engagement with the Southern Provincial Council was a folly. UNP was never strong in the South. The UNP strategy at the Southern Provincial Council election finally paved way for Chandrika to come to power. But Wijetunga did not understand it at that moment. In warfare also it is advised to lure the enemy into a field in which you are strong. more..

Commission of Inquiry & international advisers: Would that save the domestic process?

July 25 (CT) One day, when the chroniclers of the recent Sri Lankan history, write about the country's probable capitulation at the UNHRC, they would tell about a series of lost opportunities – and a series of belated govt initiatives, many of which, were too little, too late. Last week, one such initiative was announced, though, it seemed to have lost its allure, having being held back for nearly five years. Issuing a Gazette notification on 15 July, President Rajapaksa more..

The Gracious Lady creates history

July 25 (FT) 54 years ago, on 21 July 1960, Sri Lanka made history. The world’s first woman prime minister was sworn in on this day. At the second general election within five months held on 20 July (the first was on 19 March), the SLFP being the party with the largest number of seats (75) in the 151-member Parliament, its leader, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was invited to form the govt after PM Dudley Senanayake tendered his resignation having more..

Pricking the conscience on reminiscences of ‘Black July’

July 25 (CT) Six years back I wrote the article below. The polarization I mentioned then remains more the same between Tamils and Sinhalese, though a little reconciled, even after eliminating the worst adversary- the Tigers. Instead of the Tamils, Muslims are at the receiving end now, in a miniature size. The complaint by some is that Muslims fault by creating problems. Muslims complain of Sinhala extremist provocations. The venom against Tamils then has been diverted towards Muslims. more..

In the face of settler state of Israel’s never ending barbarity

July 25 (CT) On Monday 7 July 2014 Israel, the racist entity planted by European colonial powers ld by Britain in the robbed Palestinian land by means of violence, lawlessness, deceit and destruction, unleashed its latest relentless aerial, land and sea attacks on Gaza indiscriminately killing men, women, children and the aged. Who are these Palestinians in Gaza-one of the most densely populated areas in this planet? They are the people who were driven out from more..

Call to abolish Executive Presidency

President sends wishes to Sri Lankan Team for the 20th Commonwealth Games

July 24 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent a message to the athletes representing Sri Lanka at the 20th Commonwealth Games taking place in Glasgow, Scotland. “All of you were selected through rigorous competition and hard-work to be included in the national team,” President Rajapaksa said. “You should be proud of this achievement, and consider it a distinct privilege and honour to represent your country at such a widely celebrated event.” more..

Sri Lanka reiterates concerns over Gaza

July 24 (CG) Sri Lankan Govt says it welcomed the convening of a special session of the Human Rights Council held yesterday to address the current human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and refer the Council to the Statement made by Iran on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement. A statement by the External Affairs Ministry said the Govt of Sri Lanka is deeply concerned at the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, resulting in more..

Protest on Sri Lanka cleared by Glasgow

July 24 (CG) Organisers of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow today admitted they had decided to allow a Tamil group to protest outside the venue against Sri Lanka. Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said that there was a Tamil protest outside Celtic Park ahead of the opening ceremony against the inclusion of Sri Lanka in the event. “We’ve made a very strong commitment to allow peaceful protests. more..

Indian fishermen set to invade Sri Lanka

July 24 (CG) Fed up with frequent arrests and ‘harassment’ by Sri Lankan naval personnel, fishermen from Rameswaram in TN today said they would proceed to the island nation with their families on Aug 2 and surrender to officials there “to at least survive and earn their livelihood peacefully.” S Emerit and T Sesuraja, leaders of Fishermen’s Association, said the fishermen planned to meet the District Collector on July 28 and hand over the licenses and documents of the boats, more..

Chinese tourist drowns in Sri Lanka

July 24 (Xinhua) A Chinese tourist drowned while swimming off the southern coast of Sri Lanka, while another woman was saved but is in critical condition, local media reported on Thursday. The deceased, a 54 year old man and the woman were part of a group of 16 tourists, who were sea bathing along the scenic Dikwella coastline in Sri Lanka. The woman who was rescued was taken to the Matara Hospital where she is reported to be in critical condition. Dikwella police are conducting investigations, more..

Sri Lanka, India in mutual forex reserve investment pact

July 24 (LBO) Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the Reserve Bank of India has inked a deal to buy up to 500 million dollars worth of securities in each other's govts, in a bid to diversify reserve assets. "As a result, the CBSL could now access one of the growing securities markets in the world, realising a considerably higher return for the funds invested," Sri Lanka's monetary authority said in a statement. more..

TN fishermen launch indefinite strike demanding release of boats from Sri Lanka

July 24 (TOI) Fishermen in Rameswaram and Pudukottai launched an indefinite strike on Thursday demanding the release of Indian fishermen and their boats under the custody of Sri Lankan authorities. The fishermen leaders had earlier announced that they would go on an indefinite strike if the govt failed to ensure release of fishermen and their boats by Wednesday. More than 700 boats operating from Rameswaram and 600 others operating from Jagathapattinam and Kottaipattinam more..

Hostile reception greets TNA Provincial Councillor at Mullaithivu Courts

July 24 (DN) TNA Northern Provincial Councillor Ananthi Sasitharan was in for a rude shock when she arrived at the Mullaithivu Magistrate’s Court on Monday. She was confronted by a group of some 350 Tamil families demanding to know what she and her ‘missing’ husband LTTE’s Ellilan had done to their children. “Where are our children?”, they screamed at the same Ananthi Sasitharan who used the time slots of NGO representatives of other nations to appear before the UNHRC and more..

Supreme Court directs all public institutions to allow traditional Muslim dress

July 24 (AM) The Supreme Court today ordered the Attorney General to issue directives to all public institutions to permit to wear the traditional Muslim cultural attire when entering public places. When the case was taken up for hearing before the CJ Mohan Pieris, he said that the traditional Muslim attire is well within the identity of the SL culture and that Muslim women have a right to wear such attire a it causes harm to none. more..

Restriction of admission to popular schools via G-5 scholarship exam a violation of rights

July 24 (Island) Ceylon Teachers’ Union and 13 parents of successful candidates at the Grade Five Scholarship Exam in 2013 have complained to the Supreme Court that the educational authorities have unreasonably reduced, with effect from last year, the number of slots allocated by popular schools for students who pass the Grade Five scholarship Exam. They have argued that educational prospects and legitimate expectations of those students have been adversely affected as a result. more..

Moneragala District desperate for emergency drought assistance

July 24 (Island) An urgent request has been made to the Ministry of Finance to provide Rs. 100 million to mitigate the ill-effects of the prolonged drought in the Moneragala District which has caused severe shortage of drinking water. Moneragala District Secretary S. Pathmanathan said that he expected funds from the Treasury on a priority basis, given the bad situation in the district. "We have planned to desilt 330 of the 390 minor tanks, dig 15 tube wells, dig agro and other wells deeper and more..

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