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Blacklisted fuel supplier reinstated

Aug 21 (ST) The state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) re-instated a blacklisted fuel supplier, ignoring tender procedures and resorted to private negotiations by-passing three official committees, it has come to light. As a result, a five-member Special Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee has been tasked to screen purchases. This is besides the role of the Technical Committee that evaluates CPC tenders and the Cabinet Approved Tender Board. more..

A CEA initiative - National Green Awards to promote environmental protection

Aug 21 (Island) The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) of Sri Lanka is to launch a new National Green Award to recognize the environmental services rendered by production and technical firms in the country. The National Green Awards organized under the Environment Ministry would be the country’s main environmental award from this year, which encourages local companies to be more concerned on this area, CEA Chairman Charitha Herath told the ‘Sunday Island’. more..

Emergency to be lifted next month

Aug 21 (ST) The Govt will lift the ongoing state of emergency, in force for the past six years, from September 8. Some provisions relating to curbing terrorism and related matters now in force and needed to be retained, will be enforced through new legislation that is expected to include amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The govt plans to introduce such legislation within the two weeks following Sept 8. Govt sources said the State of Emergency was due to come up for renewal in Parliament on Sept 8. more..

Overseas LTTE got arms in 2010

Aug 21 (NS) Despite the war against the LTTE won by the Sri Lanka armed forces in 2009, overseas members of the terrorist group continued to procure weapons in 2010 the US State Department said in a report on Thursday. The Tamil diaspora continued to support the organisation financially, it further asserted. The report ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2010’ revealed that the LTTE network continued to collect contributions from the Tamil diaspora in more..

Sri Lanka’s first online bookshop launched in Colombo

Aug 21 (Island) From now on, Sri Lankans will have the opportunity of buying their English, Sinhalese and Tamil books online via It was the inventive businessman Sujan Dias who came up with the idea to launch an online bookshop for Sri Lankans. His partner Samantha Liyanage, Director Operations, supports him with the execution of the business. Q: How did the idea to launch an online bookshop come up? A: I absolutely enjoy reading and I travel frequently as well. more..

UNP seniors urge amicable settlement

Aug 21 (NS) The rift between leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Sajith Premadasa faction of the UNP could be narrowed down during the coming two weeks and a number of seniors on both sides were making attempts behind the scene to patch up differences within the party, outspoken UNP MP Dayasiri Jaysekara said. Though the differences of opinion that came to the surface two to three weeks back were brought out in public, most of the senior members of the party and even people at the grassroots level were urging more..

Double games and dual roles in UNP circus

Aug 21 (ST) Most members of the Working Committee, the policy making body of the country's main opposition UNP, were perhaps asleep late Tuesday night when orders went out to move heavy rollers, asphalt pavers and other road construction machinery before dawn the next day opposite Siri Kotha, the party headquarters at Pita-Kotte. As a RDA official said on grounds of anonymity, orders had come "from the top," to pave the road with asphalt. more..

Sri Lanka restores Pakistan rice import quota

Aug 21 (TP) Sri Lanka would allocate importation of the entire basmati rice quota of 6,000 tonnes agreed under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to the private sector from 2012. The understanding was reached at the end of the 4th technical level meeting on FTA held in Colombo. Pakistan’s Secretary Commerce Zafar Mahmood and Sri Lankan Secretary Industry and Commerce Tilak Collure led their respective delegations. Initially, the Sri Lankan authorities allowed more..

Lankan report to US State Department

Aug 21 (SL) A report by the Defence Ministry regarding the last military operation in Sri Lanka to defeat the LTTE has been hand over to the US State Department. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Jaliya Wickramasuriya told The Sunday Leader that the report was handed over to “all the divisions” in the US State Department. The report titled ‘Humanitarian Operation Factual Analysis July 2006 – May 2009’ was released by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in Colombo earlier this month. more..

Moragoda vs. Who?

Aug 21 (Island) Former Minister Milinda Moragoda is being actively considered to be the govt candidate for Mayor of Colombo although no final decision has yet been taken, authoritative governmental sources said. The UNP has not yet made up its mind on who its mayoral candidate will be although aspirants include Provincial Councillor A.J.M. Muzammil, MP Mohamed Maharoof and WPC C.Y.P. Ram, from Kotahena. Former Minister Karunasena Kodituwakku has also more..

100 km maximum speed limit on Southern Expressway

Aug 21 (Island) The maximum speed limit on the Southern Expressway has been stipulated at 100 kilometers per hour, according to a Gazette notification issued by the Minister of Transport. Motor tricycles, motor tricycle vans, agricultural land vehicles, hand tractors, invalid carriages and steam driven motor vehicles are debarred from using the expressway. "No person shall drive or use any special purpose vehicle without more..

Refinery shut down for a month, expansion alternatives under study

Aug 21 (Island) The Sapugaskanda oil refinery was closed down on August 15 for the urgent replacement of the platinum base catalyst of three reactors powering the plant, authoritative CPC sources said yesterday. A team of American engineers are now on the job of replacing these vital components that will keep the refinery closed for a period of about one month, these sources said. more..

PSC coming, but for national unity

Aug 21 (ST) Contrary to earlier expectations of a Parliamentary Select Committee to address Tamil grievances, the Govt will now appoint one “to recommend and report political and constitutional measures to empower the people of Sri Lanka as one nation.” Thirteen Cabinet Ministers are among the 18 MPs who have given notice of a motion in Parliament last week. They want it listed in the Addendum to the Order Book No 4 of Parliament. more..

Yakko types take over the East

Aug 21 (LB) In Faizal Nagar, Kinniya, rumours spread much faster in the night in this holy month of Ramadan. This majority Muslim town generally erupts in a mini festive mood as locals break fast at sunset. However, last Sunday, the air was thick with rumours that Grease Yakas (Grease Demons) had tried to attack local women in three separate incidents. These romours were never verified. But enraged villagers, armed with clubs and more..

A multi billion rupee blunder

Aug 21 (SL) Sri Lanka has sought more money from China to remove a massive rock in the seabed near the entrance of the Hambantota port. Hambantota port chief engineer Agil Hewageegana told The Sunday Leader that Sri Lanka has sought US $85 million from China (Over Rs. 9 billion) for this purpose. He said that the money will also be used to complete some of the work on the port itself, which has been built with Chinese assistance. more..

Police get a handle on VIP supported drag racing at last

Aug 21 (LB) The Police Department stepped in recently to put a stop to the practice of drag racing -- pell- mell in the strets of Colombo -- by sons of millionaires and VVIPs. Among them are also those with links to high-ranking politicos within the government. Furthermore, these sons of big-guns are said to be habitually stepping out of nightclubs at around 1.00 or 2.00 am to drag race through the streets of the metropolis and its environs. more..

Eradicate ‘tea mafia’ call by exporters

Aug 21 (NS) Claiming that the Sri Lanka tea industry was facing a threat from a mafia where robbery of produce and adulteration was taking place, the president elect of the Sri Lanka Tea Exporters’ Association (SLTEA), Niraj de Mel appealed to the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to help eradicate this menace which was dwarfing the industry saying, “Sir we need your help.” The president elect of the SLTEA, more..

Malabe Medical College given degree status

Aug 21 (NS) The UGC will grant degree awarding status to the Malabe Private Medical College established two years ago. When this status is granted it will be the first private university in Sri Lanka to award the MBBS degree. Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne said that when the private medical college affiliated to a Russian University sought permission from the UGC to award more..

US ignores report to ‘better’ relations with Lanka

Aug 21 (LB) Two years ago, a report released by the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee encouraged President Barack Obama’s administration to seek a more positive relationship with Sri Lanka, asserting that the United States could not afford to “lose” the strategically placed Indian Ocean nation. ‘Sri Lanka: Recharting US Strategy after the War’ was a bipartisan report endorsed by Senator John Kerry, the committee chairman, and more..

The New Depression takes root

Aug 22 (LB) The immediate cause of the panic in global equity markets at the beginning of August was the antics of a far right Neanderthal group of about 40 to 50 Tea Party Movement (TPM) representatives elected to the American Republican Party. The TPM was able to hold the entire Republican Party hostage and force it to dance to its tune and make a public spectacle of its dunce like intransigence. The motive was obvious, as long as there is a black man in the White House, give him hell; more..

Muslim politics after Pottuvil

Aug 22 (DM) It was heartening to note that all major Muslim political party leaders addressed the community together, after the police firing that claimed a protestor’s life in Pottuvil. This does not mean anything per se as to the future of Muslim politics in the country, but it was time that community and political leaders read the writing on the wall, and acted accordingly – that is, united. It is possible that a ‘grease devil’ or ‘mystery man’ was attacking women in particular. more..

'No further actions to weaken UNP'

Aug 22 (SO) Imthiyaz Bakeer Markar, former UNP Minister and a senior party member who is now supporting the dissidents' campaign to groom Karu Jayasuriya as the Party Leader and Sajith Premadasa as Deputy Leader, says despite the internal strife his party is going to retain the Colombo Municipal Council, UNP's traditional stronghold, at the forthcoming polls. When asked about the reformists invitation to be the mayoral candidate, he said, "I have bid farewell to more..

Is it wise to reduce Parliamentary seats for Jaffna Electoral District?

Aug 22 (DM) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, one of the experts in the legal fraternity, speaks to the Daily Mirror on current issues in the country. Under our Registration of Electors Act, voters are enumerated every year. The last enumeration was done in July this year and the Commissioner of Elections has certified it. The number of seats in the Jaffna District have been gradually reduced. It was 11 in 1994, then it dropped down to 9 and now to 6. more..

And the people not living as one

Aug 22 (DM) More often than not, the great majority of people do not live in unity. Harmonious living often on the surface, with differences, anger and resentment simmering underneath, could turn out to be brittle–shattering easily affecting a community, several communities and countries. Politics play a major role in such upheavals. This phenomenon is being mirrored widely in the world today when history is repeating itself as if time is running away too quickly. more..

PC Opposition Leaders endorse Ranil's leadership

Aug 22 (SO) The bone of contention in the political circles at present is the UNP crisis which has reached deplorable proportions to the utter dismay and displeasure of the party supporters amounting to about five million in the country. It is an open secret now that the party is divided into two factions Ranil's group and Sajith's group. After the successive defeats suffered by the party since 2004 general election, the party leadership was challenged by more..

CPA survey shows remarkable congruity between Sinhalese and Tamils on key issues

Aug 22 (TC) There is an extensive survey of public opinion, the results of which will up-end all conventional assumptions about what the Sri Lankan people think and therefore how they are likely to act or react. This is the Survey on Democracy in Post-War Sri Lanka, Topline Report July 2011, conducted and published by the Social Indicators unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), in association with the Friedrich Neumann Stiftung of Germany. more..

Only way out is to concede a degree of autonomy to the Tamils ideally along Indian lines

Aug 22 (TC) Sri Lanka is to buy 14 Mi-171 military helicopters from Russia, two+ years after the war was won. According to Wikipedia, the average unit-cost of a helicopter is US$11.5 million. The helicopters are being supplied “on account of the Russian state credit given to Sri Lanka by Russia in 2010 for purchasing Russian armaments” (ITAR-TASS). According to this loan-agreement, signed in February 2010 (by Lankan Ambassador and Rajapaksa-cousin Udayanga Weeratunga), more..

'Sarath Silva as chief justice made an ass of the law'

Aug 22 (TC) The origin of corruption is when someone thinks power is for him, his family and his henchmen, said former Chief Justice Sarath N. de Silva speaking last week at the launch of the website ‘Voice Against Corruption’. That Sarath N. Silva was a Chief Guest at this ceremony is not only ironical but laughable. It only personifies the ridiculous depths to which civil society will sink or choose willingly to adopt a comfortable state of amnesia. more..

Editorial: Politicians and Vedi Bana

Aug 22 (Isand) Political leaders in retirement are like aged, toothless predators which still have an insatiable thirst for blood and an irrepressible urge to kill but lack the ability to gratify their raptorial desires. The former must, therefore, be judged not by the pious platitudes they mouth when out of power but by what they really did in their heyday. Vegetarianism of someone compelled to give up meat eating when he turns edentulous and gummy should not be mistaken for more..

Editorial: With fresh milk let’s get back to our home gardens

Aug 22 (DM) The Daily Mirror in its editorial on Friday focussed on the realities that if we wish to build a wealthy Sri Lanka, it must be done on the solid foundation of a healthy Sri Lanka. We spotlighted the need that to build a healthy Sri Lanka our children must be healthy and a vital factor for that is the restoration and revival of the fresh milk production which once thrived in our country but was gradually destroyed in a subtle and sophisticated way by agents of more..

Expect little tax concessions with 2012 budget

Aug 22 (Island) The Cabinet of Ministers last week approved a broad framework for the preparation of the Budget for the year 2012 based on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework of 2012- 2014. The General Treasury was given the green light to proceed with the preparatory work of the budget 2012 focusing on the following parameters: * Economic Growth to be maintained at least at 8 percent. * Inflation to be within a range of 6 to 7 percent. more..

Muslim children decry lack of Tamil teachers

Aug 22 (BBC) A group of students who sat for the year-five scholarship exam in north western Sri Lanka complain of serious difficulties to answer exam papers due to lack of Tamil language supervisors. 65 Tamil-medium school children have sat for the exam in Monnekulama Maha Vidayalaya in the Kurunegala district. The children are students from Abukkagama Muslim Maha Vidyalaya and Galpanawa Muslim Vidayalaya. Their parents have requested the examination officials on more..

Slow relocation of houses from landslide-prone areas

Aug 22 (ST) The relocation of houses in the landslide prone areas of the country has reportedly not been completed despite a circular sent by the Disaster Management Ministry last February. The Ministry issued a circular stating that no new constructions can be made in areas identified to be landslide-prone without the authorisation of the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) and if it takes place with local government authorisation without approval from NBRO, the more..

Hornets stirred by Gotabhaya interview to Indian TV channel are yet to settle

Aug 22 (TC) As long as Colombo skirts the issue, India will continue to pressurize the Sri Lankan govt to arrive at a negotiated political settlement with the Tamil minority. New Delhi needs for Colombo to find and implement a power-sharing arrangement. It is now increasingly clear that, notwithstanding the parliamentary select committee it intends to appoint, the Sri Lankan government prefers sticking with the existing Constitution. more..

MR wants additional facilities to Delft

Aug 22 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had instructed all facilities needed be provided to the Delft Island where the UPFA govt had won the local government election with a higher percentage than what they obtained in the Hambantota district. Ministert Douglas Devananda made this comment at the Velanai Divisional Secretariat Division Development Council meeting where it was disclosed that all roads will be rehabilitated and concreted and maintain a satisfactory SLTB bus service. more..

Cops close in on lawyer who got News Ed’ attacked

Aug 22 (LB) The special police team that is conducting inquiries into the attack on the Udayan news editor Gnanasundaram Kuhanadan has made more breakthroughs in their latest investigations, after being tipped off that the contract to carry out the assault had been given to the attackers by a lawyer in the North. This lawyer who is a resident of Jaffna had initially been a TNA activist for sometime before joining the UPFA. Having unsuccessfully vied for a district organizer post from more..

SLC chief slams interim committees

Aug 22 (BBC) The head of Sri Lanka Cricket says the continuous appointment of ICs over the years to run the country's richest sports body has paved the way for what he calls a greedy culture. Upali Dharmadasa, who was recently appointed by the sports minister as the new chairman of the chairman of the interim committee (IC), says that only two governing bodies were democratically elected since 1998. "The SLC has been controlled by nine interim committees, including me, since then," more..

Three couples who jumped tuition Nabbed near an abandoned house

Aug 22 (LP) Three teenaged couples who escaped from the rear entrance of a tuition class at Nugegoda were followed by policemen in civvies and apprehended before they entered an abandoned house at Madapatha, Piliyandala yesterday evening, Police said. The young couples have travelled in two three wheelers and the Police too have followed them in a three wheeler, police added. A man who was awaiting them at the entrance to the abandoned house too was taken into custody. more..

Sri Lanka can avoid currency trouble with consistent policy: fuss-budget

Aug 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign reserves are a record high but the rupee peg is under pressure from an unsustainable credit growth that is eating up excess reserves in the banking system at an amazing pace. While excess reserves have to go, the rate at which they are being consumed indicates a credit bubble whose momentum needs to be slowed. There is a persistent imbalance between loans made and deposits raised by the banking system, indicating that a market clearing more..

National flower threatened by hybrid species

Aug 22 (DN) A recent research has revealed that the national flower of Sri Lanka ‘Blue Water Lily or Nil Manel’ (Nymphaea Nouchali) is facing the threat of extinction due to its hybridization with the violet flowered Nymphaea which is often misidentified as the national flower. This research was carried out by Peradeniya University Botany Department Senior Lecturer Prof Deepthi Yakandawala and Wayamba University Horticulture and Landscape Gardening more..