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Cricket diplomacy in a unipolar world

Apr 3 (SL) Bumpy sprinted up the gangway and just made it to his seat in the special charter flight carrying the Colombo Fifty to Mumbai. He was by no means pleased to recognise his classmate of 50 years ago, Stinko seated next to him. Bumpy greeted him with a ‘Hello, Hello Stinko’ though not too pleased at his discovery. Why was Stinko on his way to Mumbai to watch Lanka’s conquering heroes playing the mighty Injuns when Stinko did not play any cricket in more..

UNP leadership struggle: Embers still simmer

Apr 3 (NS) The titanic struggle for leadership within the Opposition United National party (UNP) may have ended last week but the embers that were on fire during that battle are still simmering and the party faces a huge challenge ahead to forge true unity and move on. It will be recalled that at the crucial Working Committee meeting last week, leadership aspirant Sajith Premadasa declined to contest for the leadership. The ‘official’ reason was that he desired party unity. more..

Sajith’s back down baffles many

Apr 3 (NS) There is still a big question mark hanging over the UNP circles, as some are baffled as to why Sajith Premadasa had to back down at the crucial moment, from the contest for leadership. There were heartburns among many ardent Premadasa supporters, while some felt betrayed. The feeling that Premadasa had betrayed their cause at the last moment made them increasingly restless, awkward and angry. Their initial reaction was that they had lost the battle, and more..

Police chiefs from SAARC nations to meet in Colombo

Apr 3 (SO) Police chiefs of SAARC nations will meet in Colombo this week to tackle cross border crimes more effectively and strengthen cooperation among the law enforcement agencies in the SAARC region. It will be a prelude to the SAARC Interior Ministers’ conference on border crimes, shortly. Police Chiefs of SAARC countries will meet for the ninth occasion in Colombo to discuss issues relating to terrorism, drug peddling and gun running crimes that more..

Editorial: The way the wind blows

Apr 3 (Island) It was a remarkable coincidence that the annual report for 2010 of the Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC was pitched on the theme "The way the wind is blowing." Just before the bank’s annual general meeting last week, there was a surprise indication of the direction in which the wind was actually blowing when the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), belonging to non-government sector wage earners of the country that is managed by the Central Bank, indicated an interest more..

Editorial: Sports: Heroes and villains

Apr 3 (ST) Crest-fallen and sorely disappointed last night, most Sri Lankans would wake up today trying to reconcile with the fact that the national team emerged second-best and not the best at yesterday's much anticipated cricket World Cup final in Mumbai. The fact that the bold Sri Lankans made it to the final in a long and arduous tournament in itself was a great achievement. They lost to the better team on the night. They may have lost but these young Sri Lankans have more..

Quit notices on flat dwellers to discredit govt.

Apr 3 (LB) Several families living in the Urban Development Authority (UDA) flats in Colombo have been sent quit notices by the UDA without giving them adequate time to find alternative accommodation though the avowed government policy was not to displace families of low income groups from government housing complexes. Residents of the St.Anthony’s Lane, Colombo 3, UDA flats that were built with small floor space area for accommodating low income families told more..

Impact of emerging global developments on Lankan economy

Apr 3 (ST) The Sri Lankan economy is never spared from developments in the international economy. The world has been rocked by natural disasters that are having economic repercussions that are in turn impacting on the Sri Lankan economy. The appalling weather worldide last year resulted in higher commodity prices. The consequent international food crisis was compounded by two waves of floods in the country that destroyed the Maha paddy crop and other crops in the more..

Life stood still, only the scoreboard mattered!

Apr 3 (ST) My dear Kumar and the Team, As I write this, I am not certain of the outcome of the game that will forever be the most important game of your career. But I do know that when this is read, that game would be over and its consequences known. Really Kumar,that does not matter. What I would really want to do is congratulate you and the team on the dizzy heights you have reached and the fame you have brought to the country. It can be second only to the glory brought to more..

SLN investigating case of four missing sailors

Apr 3 (Island) The SLN investigating the mysterious disappearance of four naval personnel and their fibre glass dinghy from the northern coast on the evening of Mar. 29, naval sources said yesterday. The missing men from a detachment at Chundikukam on the Vadamarachchi coast are believed to have launched the dinghy in the late afternoon of Tuesday and investigators are trying to establish the circumstances under which they went out to sea. more..

The UPFA among Tamils

Apr 3 (Island) One of the issues arising from the recently concluded local government elections is how the UPFA has fared among the Tamils of the north and east. Not only is this important from the point of view of domestic politics, in view of the upcoming provincial elections in the north as well as the east, it also sends an important message to the western nations regarding the political processes in Sri Lanka. For well over half a century, there has been more..

Reprisals against UNP reformist fails

Apr 3 (Island) The post of national organizer of the UNP had been under discussion from last weekend. Friday before last, when Ranil Wickremnesinghe held a party at his house to celebrate both his birthday and his victory over the UNP reformists, Kabir Hashim had accosted him and got him to agree that he would not name anyone for the position of national organizer as this was a matter that should be sorted out through discussions. Among the five elective posts of more..

Uncertainty over tourism ambassador’s role?

Apr 3 (BL) A huge question mark looms as to the exact role of cricket commentator Tony Greig who was signed up by Sri Lanka Tourism to promote Sri Lanka’s tourism image abroad as Sri Lanka Tourism’s Goodwill Ambassador. Greig was signed up for quite a big fee amidst much pomp and ceremony at the Sri Lanka Tourism headquarters in February. But apparently, nothing has been heard from Greig’s side in respect of pepping up the country’s image as a more..

Lakshman Hulugalle: Convicted, but on the board of Commercial Bank

Apr 3 (SL) The appointment of a convicted criminal to the Board of Commercial Bank by the government has raised eye brows among senior bankers in the country. Lakshman Hulugalle, the Director General, Media Centre for National Security has been appointed to the Board of Commercial Bank by the government. In 1989 Hulugalle was given a two year prison sentence suspended for 10 years and has no previous banking experience or professional qualification. more..

Govt. plans to set up dry ports in Veyangoda and Ratmalana

Apr 3 (BL) The enhancement of the country’s products is of vital importance and to meet those objectives, in addition to the proposed industrial parks, two dry ports will be established in Veyangoda and Ratmalana, says Dhammika Perera, Secretary to the Ministry of Transport. Transport Secretary Dhammika Perera, the former Chairman of the BOI was addressing the Logistics and Transport Forum organised by the Shippers’ Academy at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce auditorium more..

Sri Lanka raises fuel prices

Apr 3 LBO) Sri Lanka has raised fuel arbitrarily jacking up petrol far above cost while keeping diesel mostly used mostly by businesses low, according to prices announced by a state run distributor. Ceylon Petroleum Corporation raised petrol (90 Octane) prices by 10 rupees a litre to 125 rupees but raised auto diesel by only 3 rupees to 76 rupees. In Sri Lanka fuel prices are arbitrarily decided mostly by politicians to arbitrarily tax car and more..

Big stink at the port

Apr 3 (SL) Private companies within the Colombo Port claim that there is an unsightly garbage dump inside one of the terminals which is not being cleared by the SLPA. Employees at a private company operating within the port said that the dump was in the Bandaranaike (BQ) Terminal 2. It seems that garbage from the canteen within the port had been dumped at this terminal. What’s more, according to sources the dump was clearly visible from the decks of the floating book fair, the Logos Hope. more..

Wage hike claim not based on tea prices alone

Apr 3 (BL) Although the plantation sector workers are clamouring for a proportionate salary increase on the grounds that the price of tea had almost doubled since the last collective agreement has reached, a top plantation official opines otherwise. The Chairman of the Planters Association of Ceylon, Lalith Obeyesekere said that the industry is not dependant on the price of tea alone but the cost of production also came into play in a big way. “Although a kilo of tea more..

JVP undergrads call on UN to help restore democracy in SL

Apr 3 (Island) In the run-up to the imminent release of a controversial UN report on alleged ‘war crimes’ committed during Eelam War IV, particularly in the final phase of ground battles on the Vanni front, a section of Sri Lanka’s undergraduates belonging to the JVP is seeking UN intervention to restore democracy in the country. They say that the conclusion of the war in May 2009 hadn’t brought about the anticipated change in the country. more..

Cost of Living hit for a six

Apr 3 (ST) Fuel price hikes by the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Indian-backed Lanka India Oil Corporation (LIOC), whilst Sri Lankans were engrossed in yesterday’s World Cup cricket match, will cause formidable increase in food prices, other goods and services. The CPC said yesterday that the price of petrol had now been raised by ten rupees a litre or Rs 45 a gallon whilst diesel had gone up by three rupees a litre or Rs 13.50 a gallon. more..

Shift from Pettah to Peliyagoda will be gradual

Apr 3 (LB) On April02 the traders engaged in the transportation of fish to Colombo’s Pettah wholesale fish market are expected to divert their wholesale stocks to the new multi-million-rupee state-of-the-art Central Fish Market Complex, Peliyagoda. Opened on March 26, by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the invitation of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Seneratne the Peliyagoda state-of the-art Central Fish Market Complex awaits business, more..

India's cup of joy overflows

Apr 3 (CI) Sachin Tendulkar walked out of the changing room and gestured to Sudhir Gautam to come up. Gautam is the thin, pale man with a shaven head and body covered in the Indian tri-colour. He is the man you would have seen recently with a miniature replica of the World Cup hanging atop his head. For at least half a decade now, Gautam has been Tendulkar's biggest fan, waving the Indian flag and blowing his conch shell at every venue Tendulkar plays. more..

No radiation in imports so far

Apr 3 (NS) No traces of radiation have been found so far in imported food or goods, including spare parts from Japan, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority (SLAEA) confirmed. A research team from the Radiation Protection Unit at the Authority said that although the screening of food items for radiation has been accelerated during the past few weeks, there have been very few imports coming in from Japan, and they are devoid of any radiation exposure. more..

LIOC wants govt. green light to further push up diesel price

Apr 3 (Island) Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) will be consulting the government this week for sanction to implement a new pricing mechanism to further push up the price of diesel as it can no longer continue to absorb a loss of Rs. 22 on every litre sold in the market. The company already sells diesel at Rs. 85 per litre – nine rupees more than Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) filling stations, where a litre is now sold at Rs. 76 under the revised price structure. more..

'We're going to miss Murali terribly'

Apr 3 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara rued not being able to give Muttiah Muralitharan the perfect send-off in what was his final international appearance for Sri Lanka and admitted the team would "miss him terribly." Sri Lanka were beaten by six wickets in the World Cup final by India in Mumbai and Murali, on one of his rare off days, went wicketless in eight overs and conceded 39 runs. "It's one of those rare days when he hasn't really done the job for us, but more..

Three top plantation TUs begin talks tomorrow

Apr 3 (SO) Three major plantation trade unions led by the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC), representing the bulk of the workers on tea and rubber estates, begin their first round of negotiations tomorrow, with representatives of the 22 Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) on the biennial Collective Agreement on wage increase for the workers. The last agreement expired on March 31. The last agreement signed on September 19, 2009, more than five months after the expiry of the previous one, more..

Runner-up answer to prayer

Apr 3 (TT) Mahinda Rajapaksa tossed up a request but Lord Balaji shouldered arms. Sri Lanka’s Buddhist President tried to seize the initiative for his country ahead of the World Cup final by praying at Tirupati’s Hindu temple. Although his effort went in vain, it makes Rajapaksa a rare head of state or government to have publicly visited a shrine to pray for national sporting success. Unlike some national leaders, Rajapaksa does not have to worry about going against a secular constitution more..

Sri Lanka let down sublime Jayawardene

Apr 3 (CI) The World Cup hasn't been blessed with grand finals. From a distance now, 1975 looks much closer than it actually was; 1983 was memorable because it produced a stunning upset; and 1992 was sealed with two magic balls from Wasim Akram. Only 1987 produced a tense finish, but it was played between two middling teams. To the dispassionate eye, the regret about 2011 will be that Sri Lanka, so clinical until the final, were so off the boil on more..

Controversy over toss

Apr 3 (Hindu) The World Cup final was off to a bizarre start with the toss having to be retaken here on Saturday afternoon. On the first occasion, Kumar Sangakkara called ‘heads' after Mahendra Singh Dhoni tossed the coin. However, match referee Jeff Crowe did not hear the Sri Lankan captain's voice amid the din at the Wankhede Stadium that was already packed. And Dhoni mistook Sangakkara's call as ‘tails.' Sangakkara, however, contested that his choice had been ‘heads' and more..

Lost, but not shamed!

Apr 3 (NS) Sri Lanka once again had to be content with the title of bridesmaid after finishing second to India in the Cricket World Cup final played to a packed Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday. They were runner-up to Australia at the 2007 World Cup in 2007. For Kumar Sangakkara and his boys it was a big disappointment not to have the silver ware in their possession after months and months of practice and sacrifice. Sri Lanka was one of the favourites to lift the World Cup and more..

Sri Lanka faces world pressure as prices soar

Apr 3 (ST) In just less than seven weeks from now, Sri Lanka will mark the second anniversary of the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas. For the UPFA leaders, the upcoming Victory Day, with a parade of the men and materiel that dislodged the guerrillas, is a major hallmark. Since May 2009 when the security forces regained full control of the north, the government leaders have ensured that the military victory remains alive in the minds of the people. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Apr 3 (ST) When the Old Royalists and Old Thomians hold their gala dances in New York, the traditional rivalry between the two Colombo high schools is cause for good-humoured banter -- and camaraderie. Last week, the Royal College Old Boys East Coast Association (RCOBECA) held its annual ball with two prominent guests billed as a double-header: Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona (an old boy of S. Thomas Mt. Lavinia) and more..

'India were a step ahead of us'

Apr 3 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain, took heart from his team's performance to reach the final of the World Cup but described the defeat to India in Mumbai as "hugely disappointing". It was Sri Lanka's third defeat - starting with the World Cup in the West Indies, followed by the World Twenty20 in England - in a global tournament final since 2007 and Sangakkara regretted not grabbing what more..

Delayed LG polls to cause legal snag

Apr 3 (NS) Elections to the remaining 66 local bodies will run into a serious legal snag if polls are not conducted on or before May 31. According to the elections law, the elections to the balance 66 local government bodies must be concluded by end May under the 2009 electoral register. If elections were to be postponed further, then the Elections Department will have to use the 2010 electoral register, more..

Be aware of counterfeiting

Apr 3 (NS) The Central Bank is set on creating awareness on how to identify fake currency notes. Superintendent of CBSL Currency Department C.P.A. Karunathilake said that he has observed that many are not aware of how to distinguish real notes from those that are fake. “We have been conducting programmes of this sort for sometime. But, with the introduction of the new currency notes, the problem of identifying real one from the ones that are counterfeit has become an issue. more..

Defence Secretary reveals Greater Colombo development plan

Apr 3 (ST) About 70,000 families identified as shanty or slum dwellers in the city of Colombo would be relocated within the next two years in high-rise community housing units that are to be developed for them within the city, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. Mr. Rajapaksa revealed this and several other development plans that are underway in Colombo, while addressing the American Chamber of Commerce last Monday on “Development Plans for the City of Colombo.” more..

Sri Lanka World Cup runner-up cricketers get grand welcome

Apr 3 (SPA) Thousands of fans lined up Sunday to cheer the Sri Lankan cricket team on its return home, despite defeat against India in the World Cup final the previous day. The team travelled in a motorcade from Colombo airport to the centre of the capital, taking nearly three hours for 30 kilometers as fans cheered them, set off fire crackers and played music on the roadside. The team led by Kumara Sangakkara were welcomed by the govt at the historic Independence Square. more..

Sri Lankans 'crestfallen' after World Cup defeat

Apr 3 (PTI) "Crestfallen and sorely disappointed, most Sri Lankans would wake up today trying to reconcile with the fact that the national team emerged second best," the 'Sunday Times' newspaper said in its editorial, commenting on the team's six-wicket loss to the Dhoni brigade last night. While opining that Sri Lanka had an easier passage to the finals than India, it said "India are the deserved winners, to them go the fruits of victory and all the accolades with it". more..

Indians now poaching off northwestern coast

Apr 3 (ST) As India played Sri Lanka in the Cricket World Cup final last night, there were different Indo-Lanka issues for the fishing community of Sri Lanka to contend with. The Sri Lanka Navy has stepped up patrolling in the northwestern coast along the Negombo-Kalpitiya belt following reports that Indian fishermen were now poaching in those waters after being confronted by northern fishermen. more..

CJ to initiate action against media outlets critical of the judiciary

Apr 3 (Island) Chief Justice Asoka N. de Silva says that before his retirement, he intends to take necessary action against certain media organizations which criticize the judiciary. Speaking at the 37th Annual Convention of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) in Colombo last week, he requested the BASL and the legal fraternity to back him for this endeavor. more..