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Swann over was decisive - Mahela

Apr 7 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene was left to rue missing the opportunity for Sri Lanka's first Test series victory since 2009 and believes if they had survived Graeme Swann's last over on the fourth evening they would have saved the match. The complexion of the game was changed by Swann who claimed two wickets in the penultimate over to leave the home side with a huge task on the final day. A couple of early dropped catches by Alastair Cook suggested it would more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa Vidyalaya, ‘only for the best’

Apr 7 (SM) Education minister Bandula Gunawardena is planning to admit the 320 best O/L students of 2012 to Mahinda Rajapaksa Vidyalaya in Homagama, to make it the best school in the country. An advertisement published in the newspapers by his ministry said the aim is to create a group of Sri Lankan children with such intellect that that could be an asset to the entire universe. This is the first time that an advertisement of this nature has been published in a more..

Sri Lanka beckons tourists, investors

Apr 7 (ToO) Sri Lanka, which is known as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, has drawn worldwide attention due to its geographical location in the Indian Ocean. It had been a popular international trade centre for many centuries and traders from numerous countries travelled to Sri Lanka for trading in tusks, gems, jewellery, pearls, cinnamon, apparel etc. Many centuries following that prosperous era, this glamorous trade centre had faded into oblivion due to many reasons, more..

'LTTE propaganda must be countered briskly'

Apr 7 (DM) A top Sri Lankan diplomat yesterday said that the LTTE had increased its political activities in Latin America and therefore the govt should vigorously counter such propaganda by strengthening its missions in that region. Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva Ms. Tamara Kunanayakam said that Sri Lanka should have missions covering every region in the world, and highlighted that Latin America and Africa were becoming increasingly more..

Sri Lanka and Maldives holds official talks

Apr 7 (Haveeru) Foreign Minister Dr. Abdul Samad Abdullah has held official talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris, who is in the Maldives on an official visit. In the official talks held at Foreign Ministry yesterday afternoon both Foreign Ministers discussed ways of further strengthening the close historic ties of friendship and cooperation between the Maldives and Sri Lanka, Foreign Ministry said. Foreign Ministry further said that noting the exemplarily relations more..

Notice of disappearance of Kumar Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Atygalle

Apr 7 (AHRC) This is to inform you of the disappearance of two leaders of the movement for people's struggle and the Frontline Socialist party. This disappearance has occurred just before the launch of the new party formed by the movement for people's struggle - named the frontline socialist party, which is to be inaugurated on next Monday; 09th April 2012. clearly, these disappearances are aimed at undermining the establishment of the new party, with a view to more..

WikiLeaks: Basil conceded pre-election contacts with the LTTE

Apr 7 (CT) “Basil Rajapaksa conceded to Ambassador (ref B) that the pre-election contacts with the LTTE had taken place. It is not yet established that money changed hands in these meetings or what Kanthan may have done subsequently with the funds.” the US Embassy informed Washington. The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database which details the secret agreement with the Tamil Tigers to suppress more..

Navy Seva Vanitha unit conducts a Trade Fair in view of New Year

Apr 7 (SLN) In view of the forthcoming Sinhala-Tamil New Year, the Seva Vanitha Unit of the Navy conducted a trade fair at SLNS Gemunu in Welisara on 07th April 2012. The fair was declared open by President of the MOD Seva Vanitha Unit Mrs. Ioma Rajapaksha. Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake, President of the Navy Seva Vanitha Unit Mrs. Neluka Dissanayake and seniors officers of the Navy were also present on the occasion. more..

England end subcontinent drought

Apr 7 (CI) England won their first match in Sri Lanka since their 2-1 series win in 2000-01. They also became only the second team from outside the subcontinent, after Australia, to win a Test in Sri Lanka since that series. During this period, Sri Lanka played 13 series against teams from outside the subcontinent and before this victory today, only Australia had won Tests here (four, over two series). South Africa had lost three out of four Tests, while England had lost by identical 1-0 margins on their last two tours. more..

Is Dayan Jayatilleka the target of a witch-hunt?

Apr 7 (DBS) However much, the residents of Paris are to be envied during spring, there is one person there for whom these days of April seem to have no charms. For Sri Lanka ’s official representative in France, Dayan Jayatilleka, April has dawned in a rather cruel, unkind way. Ambassador Jayatilleka in Paris was the recipient of an official missive dated March 30th 2012 from the Ministry of External Affairs in Colombo. more..

Editorial: Renewed hope in the New Year

Apr 8 (SO) Easter is the most significant day for Christians the world over while the traditional New Year is celebrated on a grand-scale by the Sinhalese and Hindus alike. Hence, the week is replete with celebrations for most Sri Lankans, irrespective of ethnic and religious affiliations. Millions of Christians, worldwide, celebrate Easter Sunday today, which marks the resurrection of their Saviour - Jesus Christ. The essence of Christianity lies entirely on the resurrection more..

Editorial: Cabinet responsibility, ministerial irresponsibility or just plain chicanery

Apr 8 (SL) In the time tested form of the parliamentary system of governance there is the concept of Cabinet Responsibility (Ministerial Responsibility) where ministers are said to be ‘collectively responsible’ for government policy. In Sri Lanka’s fast evolving constitutional form of govt – particularly under President Mahinda Rajapaksa – the cabinet itself has become a tremendous joke with over 100 members of parliament being included in more..

'Enough food stocks during festive season'

Apr 8 (SO) Minister Johnston Fernando said it is entirely up to the President and the Govt to take decisions on the internal affairs of the country. He said being a small country Sri Lanka was the only country which successfully defeated a ruthless terrorist outfit like the LTTE through military means. Sri Lanka has set an example to the world on how to defeat terrorism by changing the theories adopted by the West that terrorism cannot be militarily defeated. more..

Editorial: Inhabit the common ground!

Apr 8 (NS) There’s a pernicious adage that many people treat as an article of faith: ‘If you are not with me, then you must be against me!’ It is easy to piece out life in binary terms. It makes for easy analysis and easy strategizing. The problem is that the premise is erroneous and the error gets multiplied as life and living travels the Grand Road of Binaries. It is something that plagues our political culture. In the mad rush to ensure that ‘enemy’ doesn’t obtain more..

Editorial: Best growth since independence.. mean anything?

Apr 8 (LB) The statistical reality revealed this week that the Sri Lankan economy has recorded the highest ever growth rate since the granting of independence, 8.3, could sound a little grating — perhaps even somewhat hilarious — to the average Perera waging an enormous kitchen-war to make ends meet. This however is no reason to dismiss the latest Central Bank statistic which suggests that the post-war peace dividend is accruing gradually to the people, though certain more..

Govt. wants public to ‘survive’, not ‘live’

Apr 8 (NS) Sunil Handunnetthi was first elected to Parliament in 2000 and he was the Deputy Minister for Small Industries in Chandrika Kumarathunga led govt in 2004. Parliamentarian who was reluctant to comment on the JVP rebels’ announcement of a new party was much critical on the government policies and the main opposition UNP’s inability to address general public’s burning issues. Here, he speaks to The Nation staffer Deepal Warnakulasuriya. more..

Editorial: Act now before time runs out

Apr 8 (Island) We do not apologize for beginning to publish in this issue of our newspaper substantial excerpts of the speech made in Parliament last week by TNA leader R. Sampanthan on the recent events in Geneva. Like most other mainstream media in this country, we too on occasions have branded the TNA as LTTE proxies because that is how we saw the party during many stages of the long drawn war. But we have not forgotten that the TNA too suffered from the Tigers, notably so more..

Editorial: Bouquets for BRICS

Apr 8 (ST) The hangover from Sri Lanka's recent Geneva debacle continued to give the Govt headaches for yet another week. A two-day parliamentary debate demanded by the Opposition saw accusations being made against the Govt's mishandling of the country's foreign policy. The Govt defended itself with statements ranging from the feeble to the outrageous. Clearly, the Govt is embarrassed over its own incompetence. So much so that the Minister of External Affairs is now suggesting that more..

Vehicle tax dilemma

Apr 8 (NS) Both unregistered and reconditioned vehicle importers lamented that they have no option other than closing down their businesses unless the govt change its decision to impose taxes and other restrictions on motor vehicles. Their main grievance was not the increase of taxes on automobiles on March 31 but the reduction of the life span of vehicles permitted to import from two-year old vehicles to one year for motor cars and from more..

India should be friend, not foe

Apr 8 (NS) The real surprise in the fall out from the recently concluded sessions of the UNHRC in Geneva was not the pro-Eelam posturing of western powers and international agencies but the diplomatic volte face by neighbouring India, which voted against Sri Lanka. The real surprise in the fall out from the recently concluded sessions of the UNHRC in Geneva was not the pro-Eelam posturing of western powers and international agencies but the diplomatic volte face by more..

Gunaratnam ‘Missing’ ahead of party-launch

Apr 8 (NS) The shadowy Premakumar Gunarantam who according to some is the true leader of the breakaway group of the JVP is reported to have gone missing since Friday night. It is believed that he has been either abducted or arrested while on his way to another appointment. It is reported that Dimuthu Attygalle, another staunch member of the group had also gone missing around the same time. Tne group is due to launch a new political party, Peratugami Samaajavaadi Pakshaya (Frontline Socialist Party) on the 9th more..

Dockyard rides out recession, order book full till 2014

Apr 8 (Island) Colombo Dockyard, affected by the recession in the global shipping industry, has seen both revenue and profitability drop in the year ended December 31, 2011 with revenue down 12% to Rs.12.8 billion, the gross operating profit down 30% to Rs.2.3 billion and the profit after-tax down 13% to Rs.1.8 billion, the company’s annual report reveals. The company founded in 1974 and presently operating as the country’s largest more..

South hijacks Tamil issue

Apr 8 (LB) Now, it’s called a dangerous strategy, but look who is angling to ride to power on the politics of so called Tamil grievances? Well, well - it looks like it’s the entire Sri Lankan opposition. The very week that the shadowy leader-apparent of the new JVP offshoot Kumar Gunaratnam is said to have either been abducted or arrested - the news was still unclear at the time of going to press - there is a brewing controversy in the UNP on the location of the party’s 2012 May Day rally. more..

Govt. continues to face fall out of Geneva

Apr 8 (SL) The Rajapaksa administration continues to face the fall out of Geneva both locally and internationally. The release of the report on Sri Lanka by US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, Stephen Rapp to the Congress last week is a clear indication that the international community is going to continue its focus on Sri Lanka. While the Rajapaksa administration commenced assessing its strategies and foreign policy post Geneva, the Rapp report was handed to the US Congress on the 4th more..

'Tamara Kunanayagam should have been put in charge'

Apr 8 (Island) One of the main criticisms directed at Sajith Premadasa by his detractors is that he never takes up national issues but only talks about micro level issues at the village level - a road that had not been constructed properly, a school with no electricity and such issues which may be important to his constituents in Hambantota but have no relevance to the nation as a whole. His alleged silence on national issues made more..

Bandula’s lick-onomics theory for progress

Apr 8 (ST) My Dear Bandula, I first thought I must write to you when I heard you say that a family of three can survive on Rs. 7,500 a month, these days. Now, after hearing you debate the issue on television I feel I really ought to discuss this with you, just to let you know what a great idea this is. I heard you say, Bandula that this minor miracle is possible by living a frugal lifestyle and managing with what you have. To prove your point, you cleverly cited how you more..

Kandiah’s grocery store in Geneva

Apr 8 (Island) As it turns out, Geneva has proved to be an abiding embarrassment to the govt not just because of the US resolution but the manner in which the govt handled the issue. This is still the subject of discussion in the local media. Certainly, never before in living memory has the conduct of foreign policy been the subject of so much media discussion after an event. That there was no unified command or control was obvious from the start. There were two cabinet ministers, more..

SriLankan Airlines trains staff for Mattala airport

Apr 8 (ST) SriLankan Airlines’ plans are underway to recruit and train new staff for the upcoming Mattala International Airport at a cost of approximately Rs.20.4 million. The national carrier is currently carrying out a recruitment drive to train 102 persons for vacancies in cargo, airport, handling, ramp, airport support, flight operations and security services at the Hambantota-based airport scheduled to open in November this year, more..

Sale of vehicles likely to drop by 60-70%

Apr 8 (ST) Vehicle importers were in a quandary this week with one section insisting the govt needs to remove the age of imported vehicles to one year while others believe there is a necessity to phase out used car imports. But both were against the govt recent tax hike on motor vehicles and opined it could result in a 60-70% drop in sales in the future. Vehicle Importers’ Association President Yoga Perera said they had requested the govt not to impose the one year age of more..

Dealers refuse to refund deposits paid against car imports

Apr 8 (Island) Vehicle buyers who had paid deposits to importers have been confronted with the problem of the refusal to refund such deposits when they found last week’s tax increases have driven up prices beyond affordable limits. "I paid Rs. 100,000 as a deposit to a well known dealer to purchase an Indian vehicle for Rs. 2.9 million. The price went up to Rs. 3.9 million which is beyond my reach. But the dealer won’t refund my lakh," one affected person said. more..

‘Forces linked with govt.’ abducted Gunaratnam, claims his Party

Apr 8 (LB) Gunaratnam is believed to have been abducted from his temporary residence at No.291/1, Gemunu Mawatha, Kiribathgoda, on April 6. He was last seen by a party member who dropped him at his residence in Kiribathgoda at around 5pm on April 6 following a party meeting. At around 11pm that day, Gunaratnam spoke to the same party member and asked to be picked up from his residence at 5am the following day. more..

Revenue falls short of 2011 budget target

Apr 8 (ST) Govt revenue targets set by the 2011 budget have fallen short by Rs.33.59 billion from the estimated revenue last year. Total receipts and grants in the year was Rs. 974.297 billion against estimated revenue of Rs. 1.007 trillion. The Inland Revenue (Tax) Department has achieved 99% of the revenue target of Rs. 307 billion set for 2011 while other major revenue collection bodies including the Customs were slightly short of the targets, the sources added. Customs and the Excise Department considered as main pillars in the local tax system, more..

Bid to edge out top gloves supplier raises eye brows

Apr 8 (Island) With ongoing moves by the Health Ministry to procure locally latex examination gloves, the biggest supplier of this vital medical product to govt hospitals, has complained of covert attempts to block its entry to foist a "one horse race" by blocking its entry. Machinations to edge out this company — the market leader in this segment — which had been supplying a top quality imported brand for many years, has raised suspicions that a political favorite is being more..

Indian Navy is all set to commission UAV squadron

Apr 8 (Hindu) The Indian Navy is all set to commission its first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) squadron on the East Coast at Uchipuli near here soon. It is considered a significant step towards strengthening maritime surveillance and reconnaissance in Palk Strait, Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay off the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh coast. The commissioning of the UAV squadron near Rameswaram assumes significance not only due to its close proximity to more..

Will India provide a tusker for Kandy's Esala Perahara festival?

Apr 8 (Hindu) The biggest Buddhist temple in Kandy has a problem. It needs a tusker to be the lead elephant in a sacred procession, The Perahera. And Sri Lanka, home to the highest density of elephants per square kilometre, for some genetic reason, does not have elephants with the majestic tusks that we see in India. The biggest Perahera, Esala Perahara (Festival of the Tooth) in Sri Lanka is organised in Kandy each year around July/August. The hill town attracts people from more..

Chidambaram defends India backing US-sponsored resolution

Apr 8 (PTI) Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday defended India supporting the US-sponsored resolution at UN's top human rights body censuring Sri Lanka for alleged rights violations in the war against LTTE, saying it would not have been carried as expected if the country had hesitated. "Had we not rendered our support, things would have been different... had we hestitated even a little, the resolution would not have been carried as expected by us," he said. more..

Strong protest by India; Gandhi statue being rebuilt

Apr 8 (ST) India strongly protested and expressed concern over the vandalizing of a statue of India’s independence hero Mahatma Gandhi in Batticaloa town and offered assistance to restore it. A spokesman for the Indian High Commission said the protest was lodged with the External Affairs Ministry. “We have urged the Ministry to instruct the relevant authorities to carry out an inquiry into the act of vandalism,” more..

Foreigners net buyers on CSE for fifth week running

Apr 8 (Island) Foreign investors remained net buyers on the Colombo bourse for the fifth consecutive week last week with the CSE closing the four-day trading week marginally in the green with the All Share Price Index gaining 3.05 points (0.06%) week-on-week and the Milanka gaining 2.09 points (0.04%), Acuity Stockbrokers said. The weekly market report noted that foreign activity dominated by the foreign investors remained net buyers five weeks running. Average turnover levels, more..

No more Samurdhi cards for beneficiaries

Apr 8 (SL) The govt has decided to do away with Samurdhi cards with effect from this month, an official told The Sunday Leader. Samurdhi Commissioner General Chandra Wickramasinghe said that 1,541,323 Samurdhi cards will be cancelled and funds from those cards will be transferred to accounts to be opened at the Samurdhi bank. Samurdhi beneficiaries use the cards to purchase goods from co-operatives in 330 Govt Agent (GA) divisions around the country. more..

Sri Lankan becomes Citigroup’s top lawyer

Apr 8 (FP) Citi today announced that Rohan Weerasinghe will join the company as its General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Michael Helfer, who has been General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for nine years, will become Vice Chairman. Both appointments are effective June 1. Weerasinghe is currently Senior Partner at Shearman & Sterling, an international law firm advising corporations, financial institutions and govts with approximately 900 lawyers more..