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Oil Hedging deal: Disregard for judicial orders, costs US$ 164 Mn.

Aug 1 (Island) The govt’s total disregard for judicial orders had resulted in the country suffering a US$ 164 million loss in the ill conceived Oil Hedging Deal, the UNP said yesterday. The Supreme Court acting on petitions by civil society,the clergy and UNP, had directed the Rajapaksa Cabinet not to proceed with the Oil Hedging Agreement and also to reduce the price of liter of petrol to Rs.100 which was feasible at that time. But, the orders were rejected more..

Dons’ demands make no headway; air their grievances to UN

Aug 1 (Island) University teachers met UN officials on Monday and informed them of their demands from the govt at its Sri Lanka country office at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo7. President of the FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that they just met the world body’s officials to exchange view on their ongoing strike. FUTA launched an all out strike from July 04 demanding the allocation of 6% of the GDP annually to the education sector, consult them when more..

Vehicle parade: Polls Chief cautions JVP

Aug 1 (Island) The Elections Secretariat has warned the JVP not to conduct the on-going vehicle procession through Kegalle and Anuradhapura towns in view of the forthcoming elections for the Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provinces. Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said that he had been compelled to intervene following complaints received from the people of the area. Asked whether the Elections Secretariat had reached more..

Most street lights not switched off: Minister

Aug 1 (DM) Minister Champika Ranawaka yesterday instructed Local Govt officials to switch off at least 50 per cent of the street lights lamps from today because the haphazard use of street lamps had cost millions of rupees to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). At a meeting chaired by the minister it was revealed that tariffs had not been paid on some 400,000 street lamps being used by several local govt bodies. One street lamp costs the CEB Rs.150 a night and more..

First private teaching hospital at last

Aug 1 (Island) The first phase of the state-of-the-art private teaching hospital built for the Malabe PMC medical students to do their clinical practice will be ceremonially opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the first week of October. It would be a multi speciality tertiary care teaching hospital with a 1,002 bed capacity, South Asia Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) Chairman Dr. Neville Fernando said. more..

Ranil calls for the abolishing of Z-score

Aug 1 (DM) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said the introduction of the Z-score system is the main cause for the present debacle in the education sector. “The reason for this mess is the Z- score system and if not for the introduction of this system there will be no such crisis in the education sector. We have to see why this was introduced in the first place and abolish it if there is such a possibility,” he said. more..

Olympic Duel: Lanka heartbreak as India's Kashyap downs brave Niluka

Aug 1 (E24|7) Sri Lankans across the globe were forced to face another loss at Indian hands in the sporting world. Kashyap beat Niluka in a keenly contested badminton match at the Olympics in London, only a day after India beat Sri Lanka in a cricket ODI series in Sri Lanka. Niluka ranked lower than Kashyap in the seedings, raised hopes of an upset, but Kashyap proved too strong. Niluka lost the first game 15-21, but more..

LTTE remains on U.S terror list

Aug 1 (CG) The LTTE will remain listed as a foreign terrorist organization, according to the annual U.S State Department country report on terrorism for 2011 released yesterday. The report said that although the LTTE was militarily defeated in 2009 its financial network of support continued to operate throughout 2011. The Govt of Sri Lanka remained concerned that the LTTE’s international network of financial support still functions; most counter-terrorism activities more..

Editorial: Austerity and a simple lifestyle

Aug 1 (DM) The Central Bank has confessed that export earnings have dropped drastically. Our expenditure on imports is double the amount we earn from exports. This means we are spending twice as much as we are earning, and surviving on loans. This cannot go on. There must be a turnaround. We need to reduce in imports, encourage national production and give more incentives to exporters. The number of motor vehicles imported increased heavily last year. This led to more..

World’s largest gem stone Buddha statue here this month

Aug 1 (DN) The Pedi Vishva Shanthi Buddha statue considered the world’s biggest Buddha statue built of gem stones which is taken around the world for exposition invoking blessings on the globe and its inhabitants, will be brought to Sri Lanka this month. On the instructions of the President it will be first brought to Temple Trees and later kept for public homage and veneration in Colombo said Chandrapala Liyanage, Additional Director General of Govt Information more..

Sri Lankan govt moves to gag web sites

Aug 1 (wsws) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella announced on July 12 that the govt planned new regulations under the draconian Press Council Act to control web sites. Once the cabinet approved the amendments he would present them to parliament for approval within weeks, he added. The regulations would extend the coverage of the Press Council, a government tribunal that can fine and jail journalists, to web sites as well as other media outlets. more..

Sri Lanka contends with falling global tea production

Aug 1 (Island) Information from the Asia Siyaka (AS )Weekly Tea market Report showed that globally most Tea producing countries showed deficit production results during the first six months of this year; in India production was down 24.16 percent, in Kenya, 21.2 percent, Uganda 8.9 percent. Tea production in Sri Lanka was down 6.4 percent. Although Russia, /CIS countries continued to be our main Tea export destination, the future looks bleak for Tea exports because more..

Dengue cases in Sri Lanka on the rise

Aug 1 (Xinhua) In the first six months of this year over 12,000 people have been infected with dengue and 75 have died in Sri Lanka, raising fears that the disease is reaching epidemic proportions. But Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that the govt has taken several measures against the spread of the disease by providing adequate facilities and medicines in public hospitals. The Sri Lankan govt has also taken several steps to reduce breeding grounds for mosquitoes; more..

Indian Commerce minister here tomorrow

Aug 1 (DN) Indian Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma will visit Sri Lanka from tomorrow to August 5 coinciding with the prestigious India Show - Land of Limitless Opportunities organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce from August 3 to 5 at BMICH, Colombo. The India Show is supported by the Commerce and Industry Ministry, more..

IMF urges Sri Lanka to look to India, China for exports

Aug 1 (Reuters) The IMF has urged Sri Lanka to focus more on sales to India and China to boost its faltering exports and support economic growth. Sri Lanka's exports accounted for 17.8 percent of gross domestic product last year, slumping from 33 percent in 2001, though export revenue has risen by 69 percent to $8.1 billion in absolute terms. Koshy Mathai, the IMF resident representative for Sri Lanka and Maldives, said the exchange rate, high electricity prices and more..

Chinese presence in Lanka threat to national security: Karunanidhi

Aug 1 (PTI) Terming reports of Chinese presence in Sri Lanka a threat to India's national security, DMK chief M Karunanidhi today said the August 12 conference of the pro-Eelam body TESO would discuss it among other things and bring it to the attention of the Centre. Citing reports in a section of the vernacular media, he alleged that Sri Lanka was setting up a "temporary camp," with the assistance of the Chinese Navy in international waters near Dhanushkodi. more..

Sanga nominated for ICC People’s Choice award

Aug 1 (DM) Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara is among five international stars nominated for this year’s people’s choice award, the International Cricket Council said. Others are India’s legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, South Africa’s duo Vernon Philander and Jacques Kallis and England’s James Anderson, the Dubai-based ICC said. Former skipper Sangakkara (2011) and Tendulkar (2010) have won the LG People’s more..

Over 50 acres destroyed in forest fire

Aug 1 (CG) Over 50 acres of the Namanukula forest reserve was destroyed in a fire which broke out last night and lasted till this morning. The police media unit said that the fire was reported in the forest reserve at around 7.45 last night and it was completely doused at 10 this morning. Officials from the forest department, the Badulla police and area residents assisted to extinguish the flames which spread across the area. The police said they have yet to identify the cause of the fire. There are no reports of deaths or injuries from the blaze. more..

Drug stock worth millions seized at airport

Aug 1 (NF) A stock of drugs worth over 25 million rupees has been seized by the customs Anti-Narcotics Unit at the Bandaranayake International Airport in Katunayake. Customs Superintendent Nihal Alahepperuma, who is in charge of the Anti-Narcotics Bureau, stated that the drugs had been in the possession of two Iranian nationals who flew in from Doha, Qatar. He added that the two suspects were carrying a total of 1.8 kilogrammes of the drug. Investigations have revealed that the suspects who attempted to enter the country as tourists more..

'Let’s build unity of all communities to drive away undemocratic govt'

Aug 1 (LT) The procession of vehicles of the JVP ‘Jana Pelagasma’ programme of agitations against ‘the regime that torments masses’ reached Vavuniya today afternoon. JVP MP Anura Dissanayake addressing the crowd that assembled in Vavuniya town said, “The JVP is successfully uniting the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim masses who had been divided for a long time under a red banner. more..

Sri Lanka, Christians celebrate 200 years of the Ceylon Bible Society

Aug 1 (AN) The Ceylon Bible Society (CBS), an ecumenical Christian organization, today celebrates 200 years since its foundation. Founded in 1812, under British colonialism, CBS is one of the oldest associations in Sri Lanka. It translates, publishes and distributes the Bible throughout the island. To celebrate the bicentenary, bishops, religious leaders and believers of various Christian denominations attended a thanksgiving service, celebrated by Card. more..

Sri Lanka’s Orient Wealth hopes to raise Rs. 1 bn through investment products

Aug 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s newest mutual fund operator, Orient Wealth Limited plans to raise about a billion rupees by attracting customers to invest in pension, children’s education and general investment products, officials said. Orient Wealth, will operate three funds: Orient gilt-edge; Orient Corporate debt and Orient equity fund tapping into people’s appetite for diverse investment schemes. The funds will come into operation from August 6, more..

Govt. to amend Act as sand mining sans licence meets legal roadblock

Aug 1 (ST) The Govt’s decision to allow sand transport without any need for a licence has been temporarily put on hold as it has been deemed a violation of the provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act. The existing provisions on sand transport had been lifted by a special Cabinet decision taken under a directive of President Mahinda Rajapaksa allowing sand transport without a licence. Accordingly sand transport was allowed only during more..

Is media to blame?

Aug 2 (NS) Profiles of all murders were eerily similar: rape followed by strangulation and finally dismembering the bodies. The bulk of such were committed at Kahawatte in the Ratnapura District. The murders were committed under the cover of darkness and all victims were female. In Sri Lanka a series of shockingly brutal crimes have rocked the nation. The killings in Sri Lanka began in 2008 are shocking for their sheer brutality. In the past four years 14 persons have been brutally killed in an eerily similar manner. more..

Eight fundamentals of victory or the ‘Rajapaksa Model’ of fighting terror

Aug 2 (NS) “The news about the killing of Prabhakaran sparked mass celebrations around the country, and people poured into the streets of Colombo, dancing and singing. Looking back at the war General Fonseka made two insightful observations that must surely resonate in the minds of military strategists dealing with terrorism and insurgency in other parts of the world. The first is on the commitment of the political leadership to eliminate terror. more..

Intriguing tales of a jumbo pageant

Aug 2 (NS) A centuries old pageant, renowned as the oldest pageant in the world, has roamed the streets of Kandy for centuries. With the gentle breeze blowing over the Temple of the Tooth (Dalada Maligawa), the streets are illuminated and the sound of beating drums and whip cracking announce the arrival of the most famous procession of the country, the Kandy Esala Perahera. The whip crackers symbolize continuity of the perahera and they clear the path for more..

Problems or Symptoms?

Aug 2 (SL) I have, for a fairly long time, been aware that there seems an almost peculiarly Sri Lankan predilection to identify symptoms as problems and vice versa, with those doing so often claiming that one is indistinguishable from the other in a manner similar to the hoary old ‘chicken and egg’ business. However, that sleight of hand or, more accurately, sloth needs to be punctured and reality faced because not to do so is to skew any attempt to identify, understand and deal with our current Sri Lankan predicament, a predicament that more..

Understanding God’s particle, the Z score and the 3 R-s

Aug 2 (SL) I was in my ‘Hansi putuwa’ giving vent to my serendipitous thoughts – the Higgs-Boson (God Particle theory) over which Prof. Carlo Fonseka and Nalin de Silva are splitting hairs, on what, we don’t know. De Silva is a PhD in theoretical physics from the Sussex University although he now tends to ignore all such ‘Judeo-Christian’ qualifications. Fonseka needs no introduction. Very many people confess their ignorance on what on earth they are talking about but say it is more..

'India can do better to curtail Chinese influence'

Aug 2 (LB) Professor Sumit Ganguly, a key American strategist and analyst on South Asia says India has not done enough to forestall the Chinese advent in Sri Lanka. Prof. Ganguly holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University, Bloomington and is currently in Sri Lanka. He spoke on American foreign policy on South Asia at the Kadirgamar Institute on July 30. more..

LLRC action plan and taking LLRC report seriously

Aug 2 (CT) The detailed action plan prepared by the government with regard to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and released last week has been done in a highly professional manner, and would be the envy of many a dysfunctional previous commission of inquiry. On the face of it, the government appears to have taken the LLRC commission report seriously as the Commissioners would have wished and the international community has already called for. more..

25 years of India-Sri Lanka agreement: Questions & Answers

Aug 2 (CT) Extracts of my answers to questions raised by media on the India-Sri Lanka Agreement 1987 in the last two days are given below. Q: The Rajiv Gandhi-Jayawardane Accord completes 25 years on July 29, 1987. Many now feel it represents a total diplomatic failure of India. As one who was present in Sri Lanka when Indian forces were operating from 1987 to 90, what are your comments? A: Not all, but some of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora consider it as India’s more..

In defense of university autonomy and academic freedom

Aug 2 (Island) At the beginning, university education in Sri Lanka began as a middle class preserve, as it, in the very initial period, catered to the demand of the students from a select number of public schools in the country. university education, in the early period, was built on a theory of elites, which, in turn, represented certain aspects of the then existing class structure. The objectives of both secondary and higher education were more..

Conflicting versions about the courts conflict incident in Mannar

Aug 2 (DBS) Hundreds took part in protests all over the island after Friday prayers calling on the government for speedy resettlement of the internally displaced Muslims and to take action against conspirators obstructing the resettlement of the Muslims of the North. Subsequently, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama and several other Muslim organizations presented a communiqué to President Mahinda Rajapaksa explaining the plight of the Northern Muslims in general and more..

Safety becomes a major issue for first time to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu

Aug 2 (DBS) For 25 years, Sri Lankan Tamil refugees have been reaching the shores of Tamil Nadu, the Indian state closest to Sri Lanka, for their safety. It is in these camps and in small settlements in rural Tamil Nadu that they found safety and shelter for years. It is also in these camps that another generation was born and nurtured. But recent developments indicate that the safety of the refugees is in question, following the rape of a six-year- old girl within more..

'Sri Lanka has second largest expat population in the world'

Aug 2 (ST) A strong link between the rule of law and an effective budget emerged at an in-house panel discussion at the Wijeya Newspapers Ltd auditorium. It was revealed that if the judiciary is not independent and strengthened in terms of high wages, the national budget and all other civil society basic rights would suffer. The issue was raised by opposition MP and economist Eran Wickramaratne during a discussion on more..

Accounting body launches public sector wing

Aug 2 (Island) The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) in its continuing endeavor to enhance the professional skills and expertise of public sector accountants, have launched a series of initiatives to help propel public sector accountants, auditors & assessors and elevate their professional standing. In its capacity as the national accounting body and in its continuing efforts to ensure members of the profession enjoy the highest standards more..

DC industry worried about losing foreign markets

Aug 2 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Desiccated Coconut (DC) industry which enjoys a niche position in the international market was now gradually losing it to other coconut producing countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, a coconut industry specialist said. "One time Sri Lankan DC enjoyed a niche position as against produce of most of the other leading coconut producing countries in the world. Now local exports have fallen and the Coconut Development Authority (CDA) has more..

Niluka makes Olympics exit after scaring Kashyap

Aug 2 (Island) Niluka Karunaratne made an exit from the men’s singles badminton competition as Sri Lanka’s only player ever to have competed in a badminton pre-quarter final at Olympics after taking the match against his Indian counterpart Parupalli Kashyap to the third set at the Wembley Arena yesterday. Niluka lost the pre-quarter final two sets to one after shocking the world number 21 in the second set (Niluka world number 48). more..

Around Rs. 550m Nuwara Eliya development project launched

Aug 2 (DN) The govt has begun work to carpet the 27.2 km road from Nuwara - Eliya Blackpool Junction to World’s End and around Rs.550 million has been allocated for this purpose. “We have taken measures to reconstruct and carpet this road to uplift the livelihoods of the people in the area. The value of lands in the area will increase once this project is complete. This road reconstruction project will also help create more self employment opportunities,” Minister Navin Dissanayake said. more..

PS chief arrested for assault

Aug 2 (Island) Mawathagama Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman (UPFA) and three others, who assaulted a group of football players on Sunday, were arrested yesterday by the Mawathagamga police. One of the injured players was admitted to the Kurunegala Hospital on Monday. Police said that there had been a brawl between two parties near the Mawathagama grounds where a sports meet was held. The main suspect, PS Chairman Upul Perera, too, had been there when the incident happened, more..