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Resolution on PSC in parliament this week

July 3 (NS) The govt is expected to place before parliament its resolution to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to find a political solution to the national question on Tuesday. The proposal would formally be presented to parliament by Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva. The preamble of the draft is titled ‘National Integration and Reconciliation’ and calls for a solution through the PSC to the protracted national question. more..

‘22 per cent increase in gem exports in last four months’

July 3 (NS) There had been a 22 per cent increase in the exports of Sri Lanka’s gems and jewellery up to now compared to the corresponding period in 2010, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Authority, Gen. Rohan Daluwatte said. Addressing the media at Facets Sri Lanka 2011 at Hotel Galadari’s Ballroom last Thursday, Daluwatte said, “There has been a marked improvement in the country’s gem and jewellery exports so far this year compared to the same period last year. more..

'Indian Reliance behind CPC rumours '

July 3 (LB) Minister Susil Premajayantha has ordered an investigation into reports that sub-standard petrol sold by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) had left vehicles sputtering on the roads. Some owners had been forced to garage their vehicles due to the extremely low quality gasoline that was being issued to the public. Minister Premajayantha however averred that all petrol being sold by CPC outlets are not of inferior quality. more..

Only State media to broadcast Cricket

July 3 (SL) The cabinet has announced that all television and radio broadcast rights for cricket matches will be awarded to state media only. This decision will mean all matches that are played in Sri Lanka and overseas will now be broadcast by the state media only. Minister of Mass Media and Information, Keheliya Rambukwella, explained to The Sunday Leader that Sri Lanka had always awarded the broadcasting rights for cricket matches to the state media. more..

Mohan Pieris to get short extension as AG?

July 3 (Island) Attorney General Mohan Pieris who is scheduled to retire at the end of August on reaching the age of 60 but, according to legal sources, might be given an extension by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in order to retain his services as a member of the country’s delegation to the annual sessions of the United Nations in September. Pieris has played a vital role in defending the country at international meetings since assuming office in 2009, especially against more..

Plan for luxury city suspended

July 3 (ST) The US$ 700 million Chinese-backed 500 acre project to create a new city on reclaimed land from the sea overlooking the Galle Face Green, has been suspended. A high-ranking source said yesterday that the move followed a “high-level” order and added that the matter would now go for scrutiny before the standard Cabinet Appointed Review Committee. “They will determine whether or not the project proposal should be accepted by the Cabinet,” more..

Police warn negligent trishaw drivers

July 3 (SO) The City Traffic Police has warned trishaw drivers countrywide to refrain from overloading passengers following a series of road accidents during the past two weeks due to the negligence of trishaw drivers. Nearly 14 persons including children who travelled in trishaws died during this period. An incident was reported where a packed trishaw with six members including a child of the same family had collided with a tipper truck at the Mawathagama town in Kurunegala more..

Preview: England v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI

July 3 (CI) It has taken just two matches for Alastair Cook to experience the full spectrum of emotions England one-day captains are routinely subjected to. A near-perfect performance at The Oval was followed by a shoddy one at Headingley, where Sri Lanka outgunned the home side in every department. It seems difficult to remember - especially after their World Cup showing - that England were actually making significant progress as an ODI side last year. more..

Key issues for Govt., time running out

July 3 (ST) Balachandran Sathkunanthan (30) set out from his house in the farming town of Avarankal in the Jaffna peninsula the previous Saturday evening for a leisurely ride on his motorcycle. The next day (last) Sunday morning, his blood-drenched body was hanging from a goal post in a playground in Putur, just two kilometres from his home. It bore torture marks. The nails of fingers in both hands had been plucked out, JMO, Dr. S. Sivaruban, testified at the more..

Three former GK directors join efforts to sell assets and repay depositors

July 3 (Island) In an encouraging development which offer a glimmer of hope to struggling Golden Key (GK) depositors, three former directors of this collapsed Ceylinco subsidiary are expected to sit together with the Committee of Chartered Accountants and representatives of depositors’ associations to jointly initiate the process of selling assets and mapping out a feasible repayment formula. This follows last week’s Supreme Court directive sanctioning more..

Parliament to debate on Rs. 20 b. for new Defence HQ

July 3 (ST) Parliament will debate on Wednesday the request for approval of a Rs 20 billion supplementary estimate for the building of the new Defence Headquarters in Battaramulla. The estimate was presented to Parliament last month under the name of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is the Minister of Defence. Meanwhile an adjournment debate on the prevailing security situation in the north and east will also be held in Parliament this week. more..

ABC urged to stop screening of CH 4 film

July 3 (SO) Sri Lanka’s High Commission in Australia, which protested the screening of Channel 4 video “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” on ABC’s Four Corners Program, has written to the Executive Producer Sue Spencer requesting to avoid telecasting the documentary, as it is completely biased and contains unsubstantiated allegations against the Govt of Sri Lanka. Acting High Commissioner Shashikala Premawardena, more..

Drive carefully or face heavy penalties

July 3 (ST) Introduction of a de-merit system for driving licences depending on the traffic offences committed, a ban on transporting children in the front seats and making it compulsory to wear seat belts are among new traffic regulations to be introduced shortly. The new laws were to be introduced in the wake of the increasing number of road accidents, Under the de-merit system each licence would have 48 points and depending on the type of accident or the offence more..

Mihin Lanka: Multi-millions down the drain

July 3 (LB) The Ministry of Finance and Planning reveals that Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. has incurred a colossal loss of Rs.8,877 million during the past four years. Mihin Lanka commenced operations in 2007, and to date, the airline has not generated any profit. The net loss of Mihin Lanka after paying taxes to the government was Rs.195 million in 2007, which figure had gone up to Rs.3161 million in 2008. more..

Post-war rehabilitation funds drying up

July 3 (Island) With the resettlement of approximately 300,000 war displaced people rapidly nearing completion in the Vanni region, the international community is likely to review its funding arrangements regarding post-war recovery projects. There is a likelihood of major donors reducing assistance in spite of the govt not having considered the possibility at the moment. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs more..

Tighter emission standards soon

July 3 (Island) Law abiding citizens who have been grinding their teeth in frustration over widespread and blatant flouting of annual mandatory vehicle emission testing scheme might finally see some justice in the coming days if not months. Emission standards too will be further tightened from later this month. They are for petrol vehicles from the current 4.5 per cent Carbon Monoxide and 1200 ppm Hydrocarbon to 3.0 CO and 1000 HC, more..

80 % of students at foreign campuses will be from overseas

July 3 (ST) Eighty per cent of students entering the two foreign universities coming up in Sri Lanka will be foreign nationals, and only 20 per cent will be local students. The two foreign tertiary educational institutions are branches of universities in Japan and China. Construction of campus buildings is already under way for a branch of the University of Tokyo. Minister S.B. Dissanayaka said the government had an agreement with the two universities that more..

Ranil to meet Ban Ki-moon on his current tour of the US

July 3 (ST) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is due to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday in New York, the Secretary General's office said on Friday. Mr. Wickremesinghe is on a visit to the United States. In Washington he took part in the International Democratic Union (IDU) Executive Committee meetings. He is a Vice Chairman of the IDU and Chairman of the Asia-Pacific region. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

July 3 (ST) Former Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama may have left the ministry and the political scene, but his shadow still lingers on. His brother-in-law who was posted at the Sri Lanka High Commission in New Delhi (primarily to baby sit the former minister's daughter who is studying there) has completed four years in the chancery -- and is now seeking an extension of his term. If he doesn't get an extension, Bogollagama's daughter will be homeless. more..

'Compensation for damaged vehicles'

July 3 (NS) The govt that is at the center of a controversy over the petrol impurity crisis has volunteered to compensate owners whose vehicles have been affected due to this. Petroleum minister Susil Premajayantha yesterday confirmed that the govt is willing to make compensation for those affected by the crisis. He said the govt is willing to make compensation for those affected by the petrol impurities crisis. more..

New video emerges

July 3 (BBC) Sri Lanka army say that they are investigating into a video that was telecast by a private television channel believed as the unaltered video used to create the Channel 4 documentary on Sri Lanka. Army Spokesman Major General Ubaya Madawela said that they have received a copy of the video which is now being analysed by an army expert panel. He said that the private television station has obtained the video from a foreign source. more..

Sri Lanka state-run airport firm profits up 40-pct

July 4 (LBO) State-run Airport and Aviation Services Ltd, which has a monopoly airport operations in the island has reported a profit of 1.3 billion rupees for 2010, up 40 percent from a year earlier. Revenues rose to 6,091 million rupees from 5,491 million a year earlier. It had expenses of 4.1 billion rupees, up from 4,050 million a year earlier, with staff costs going up to 2.8 billion rupees from 2.6 billion. AASL runs Sri Lanka's only international airport at Katunayake and more..

Philippines beats Sri Lanka 4-0 in WCup qualifier

July 4 (GMA) In front of a drenched full-capacity home crowd, the Philippine Azkals clobbered Sri Lanka in the second leg of their 2014 World Cup Asia qualifiers, advancing to the second round where the Pinoy footballers will face Kuwait. Playing in a pouring rain, Phil Younghusband scored twice while Chieffy Caligdong and Angel Guirado added one goal each. Phil was injured in the first Sri Lanka match in Colombo last Wednesday, but that did not deter him from scoring Sunday afternoon. more..

Sri Lanka diplomats to plug tourism

July 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's diplomats will promote the country abroad in the future and the state tourism promotion office will gradually sever links with private public relations firms, deputy economic development minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said. "The govt has decided do slowly distance ourselves from private public relations firms," Abeywardene told reporters. "After distancing ourselves we will set up separate units under our embassies. more..

PHIs to check salt

July 4 (DM) Public Health Inspectors (PHI) have been instructed to investigate the quality of table salt sold in stores, after research revealed that over 30 percent of table salt sold in stores do not contain Iodine, Health Ministry said. Health Ministry Spokesman W.M.D. Wanninayake told Daily Mirror Online that a recent survey carried out to check levels of Iodine content in table salt has revealed that only 68 percent of salt sold in markets contain Iodine. more..

Three leopard cubs rescued

July 4 (ST) Three orphaned leopard cubs found near Wilpattu have been handed over to the Karuwalagaswewa wildlife range office, in the Puttalam district. The cubs are all female, and about two months old. According to sources, the cubs had been put up for sale when the chairman of the Karuwalagawewa Pradeshiya Sabha intervened. The leopard is a protected species, and under the Flora and Fauna Act it is illegal for any person to keep a leopard in his possession. more..

England v Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI: England sets Sri Lanka 247 to win

July 4 (CI) Alastair Cook demonstrated the value of a batsman who can bed down for a full 50 overs, as he responded to his many critics with a determined and vital 119 from 143 balls. It was his second ODI hundred and his first in six innings as England captain, but for all its individual merits, it nevertheless came as part of a team performance that was some way short of par on a typically true Lord's wicket, and in perfect sunny conditions for run-making. more..

PSC – Rajapakse “panacea” for the country’s ills

July 4 (LG) Sri Lankan watchers and students of how Rajapakse is running the govt were not surprised at all when President Rajapakse pushed to Parliament his responsibility to unite the country with this Parliamentary Select Committee device – not the first time either. This was not merely a case of lacking the courage to do what is right and necessary to pull the country out of its most debilitating catastrophe – but also a further indication the Rajapakses more..

Ensuring the integrity of our public institutions and democratic freedoms

July 4 (LG) Shakespeare’s words, even after so many centuries and across several generations and cultures, still ring very apt and true. In the first quote from Hamlet, Polonius gives advice to his son who is leaving for France. In the second from Measure for Measure, Isabella utters these words to a Regent who has unfairly condemned her brother to death. In all his works, Shakespeare attaches great value to honour and integrity, to the need to have a conscience. more..

Caring for the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi

July 4 (SO) A young scientist stepped into the President’s private residence, Breamer at Ward Place in the early hours of May 20, 1985. The Head of State, clad in green pyjamas, welcomed the guest right on time. "Take a seat, young man", the President said in a stern voice. He went on questioning the young scientist who looked so confident. "You are trying to take a great risk. Do you know the danger of what you are trying to do?", he asked again more..

Lunatic expenditure on mega projects and the mythical investors expected to come in large numbers

July 4 (TC) Many economists believe that the greatest depression in human history is still in its beginning stages. What the media and many officials often refer to as the left over from the global financial crisis is in fact the end of the beginning. The real thing is yet to come. Originating in 2008, the global economic crisis took the world by storm: banks collapsed, those corporations considered “too big to fail” became bigger failures, govts bailed out more..

Examining the reasons for the absence of outrage

July 4 (LG) In my earlier short essay titled Replacing investigations with gossip, I tried to point to the absence of outrage against forced disappearances in Sri Lanka, which I ended by saying that there must be some cultural for such an attitude. In this second short essay I venture to look into what that cultural root may be. My guess is that there is common attitude of admiration of the acts of the strong no matter what those actions may be. There is further a more..

Fun and lessons in leadership for children of Mullaitivu

July 4 (ST) A group of people from different walks of life gather for a meal casting aside differences of race and religion, united by the fact that they are all children of mother Lanka. This sums up the aim and purpose of the Unity Mission Team in organizing the Ekamuthu Oray Makkal Unity Camp. Consisting of a group of professionals on an inter-faith platform, the Unity Mission Team was formed in 2009 as Sri Lanka witnessed the end of a three-decade long war. more..

Editorial: Roads that lead to valley of death

July 4 (Island) Some Sri Lankans have the habit of jumping before moving trains to end their precious lives. Even those without a death wish have no alternative but to perform such suicidal acts. They use public roads flirting with the grim reaper in the process. About six persons are killed in road accidents in this country daily. The government, troubled by the increasing number of fatal road mishaps, is planning to introduce a system where a specific number of points more..

Editorial: Uphold the dignity of the universities

July 4 (DM) The growing tension in the universities, with regard to academics grievances is one that demands immediate attention. The manner in which the situation has been allowed to grow into the gigantic proportions it has now come to is undesirable. Apart from the fact that it as left thousands of innocent children languishing in campuses awaiting the commencement of lectures; it has also allowed for a break in discipline to the lowest ebbs that the country has experienced in recent times. more..

Banned substances in school rugby is a menace

July 4 (ST) The usage of nutritional supplements or performance enhancing substances has become a trend in present day Sri Lanka especially in sports. At an era where Sri Lanka is making a massive effort to raise its head as a sporting nation, the side effects of anti doping are becoming alarmingly visible. During the past six months or so seven sportsmen who represented the country were proven positive for using banned substances. more..

What his personal physician did to Sri Lanka sports the president will someday do to Sri Lanka

July 4 (TC) It is a historical phenomenon common to both the East and the West – aristocratic wastrels selling their acreage to sustain their ostentatious life styles. The Rajapaksas, aristocrats from Medamulana, are on a selling binge. But unlike their Oriental and Occidental predecessors it’s not their private inheritance but the birthright of the entire nation they are hawking. Unable to sustain their expensive governance style, the Rajapaksas are selling land belonging to more..

Rajapaksa Siblings habit of thinking and acting like the Tiger has stayed with them post-war

July 4 (TC) Last week, in a question-and-answer session with five editors, Indian PM Manmohan Singh stated that the ‘legitimate grievances’ of Lankan Tamils did not disappear with the LTTE. He went on to underscore the need for a ‘new system of institutional reforms’ which will make Tamils feel “they are equal citizens of Sri Lanka’ and enable them to “lead a life of dignity and self-respect”. Last week, the US State Department Spokesperson indicated that if more..

UK’s Ofcom to probe Channel 4 documentary

July 4 (SO) The UK Govt’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) is to investigate the veracity of Channel 4’s recent documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s killing Fields’ following complaints that it was misleading and misrepresentative. British-based TV website TV Pixie, in a report filed by Alex Guest, disclosed that Ofcom would probe the program, presented by Jon Snow and produced by Callum Macrae. Ofcom is the UK’s Independent regulator and competition authority for more..

Sri Lanka state-run cashew firm losing money

July 4 (LBO) State-run Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation is losing money, has low productivity of its lands, and is depending on Treasury handouts to operate, a finance ministry report said. The Cashew Corporation made one percent of the country's annual production of 8,000 metric tonnes but there wasn't enough focus on developing cashew lands owned by the state enterprise, the report said. The focus instead was in implementing a subsidy schemes for private cashew growers. more..