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Editorial: Rauff Hakeem Vs Yellow Robed Terrorism

Aug 12 (SL) Muslim Congress leader, Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem is reported to have said at a public meeting at Kalmunai last Sunday that President Mahinda Rajapaksa should defeat ‘yellow robe terrorism’ just as he had defeated other forms of terrorism. This had caused much concern among certain sections of the Buddhists particularly among the Sangha. However, Hakeem on Friday apologised for his comments. more..

'UPFA to enforce discipline among PC candidates'

Aug 12 (SO) He waxed eloquent in the Official Bar in presenting his cases for the prosecution for sometime. Later it was an entirely different role he was called upon to perform as the State Mortgage and Investment Bank Chairman. Today as Deputy Speaker of Parliament he has to maintain the dignity and decorum of the House and its Members. The Observer interviewed Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody on the more..

Editorial: Janatha Bhavatu Dhammiko

Aug 12 (NS) In 2001, when Dulles Alahapperuma ‘retired’ from politics he offered what was then a remarkable explanation: ‘Politics is made of brown (soiled) people and they don’t like white (clean) people because then their brownness gets exposed’. True. Dulles may have found compelling reasons to reverse that decision. It must say something about him and his colleagues as well as the brown-white issue, but that’s his business. The question is, ‘is it only the politician who is brown?’ We have politicians, officials, professionals, more..

Editorial: Tackle the education monster now

Aug 12 (LB) Amal Kumarage (senior lecturer Faculty of Engineering, Moratuwa University) in his recent superb analysis of the crisis in education and higher education in this country, raises some devastatingly important points, but chief among them is the fact that the govt – spending just 1.9 per cent of the GDP on education – has now embarked on an adversarial relationship with the academic community, when what’s required is an honest assessment of education policy in general vis-a-vis the salary agitations of the academics. more..

'WHAT! We didn’t identify agent provocateurs'

Aug 12 (LB) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, MP and presidential advisor on Reconciliation blames the Ministry of External Affairs for the lack of professionalism within the ministry and says it has not even bothered to find out who the members of the visiting delegation from the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner are. "... Can you understand a Ministry, supposed to be in charge of External Affairs, that has not even bothered to think more..

Editorial: Norochcholai – what next?

Aug 12 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawake is reported to have said that Norochcholai was not the best location for the country’s first coal power plant and also that the Chinese machinery installed there was not up to international standards. However that be, and whatever the reasons for selecting the site and the plant supplier, we are now saddled with an expensive power plant that frequently breaks down. The 300 MW that it generates is vital to keep our homes lit and the wheels of industry turning. more..

Editorial: Action plan evasive or deceptive

Aug 12 (ST) Reactions to the Govt’s announcement that it would – finally – act on the recommendations of the LLRC have been mixed. They range from a US Govt statement welcoming the announcement to critics calling it a big bluff laced with dishonesty. There’s no argument, however, that the LLRC was the outcome of international pressure exerted in the aftermath of the historic military defeat of the LTTE in May 2009. Pressed for an international probe on the conduct of the Armed Forces more..

Gota fires aces in Colombo while K’nidhi eats humble pie

Aug 12 (NS) With elections for the Eastern, Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provincial Councils less than a month away, the main political parties have stepped up their respective campaigns. While the ruling party holds an obvious edge by dint of incumbency, a flurry of activity by contenders was apparent during the week, less on the ground than in word and froth designed as media-bait, naturally. more..

Inefficiency and incompetence impairs good governance

Aug 12 (NS) Govts after holding office for a period of time tend to become unpopular. The usual reasons for this are economic issues which hurt the masses and, if a party has been in power for long enough, allegations of corruption and abuse of power. The UPFA under President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been in govt for seven years. Key personalities in the regime have been in power for 15 of the last 18 years - barring three years of United National Front (UNF) rule from 2001. more..

Polls can test the ‘goodwill quotient’

Aug 12 (LB) The Eastern Province election more than any other, is expected to be a barometer of how the govt is faring, and on whether the minority vote can at a future date, or at a future presidential election, bring down the govt. TNA and the Muslim factor together can significantly impede the hopes of the govt winning the elections in the east, see separate story elsewhere in these pages, and it folows that any loss in the Eastern Province, places the govt, at least theoretically, more..

Sri Lanka Golf on a high!

Aug 12 (ST) Anura Rohana after a series of average performances clinched a thriller coming from behind in 4th place going into the final Round to fire a 3 under shooting 3 birdies in the last 6 holes to finish on 7under par for a 4 round total of 281 in the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) Tournament in Karnataka concluded on Friday. Anura Rohana winner of the Asian Games Seoul 2000, Golf Silver Medal has played on the more..

CPC vs. Standard Chartered Bank - Round Two

Aug 12 (Island) Some days ago, the govt’s appeal against the judgement delivered by the Commercial High Court of Britain in favour of Standard Chartered Bank was dismissed by the British Court of Appeal and Sri Lanka has once again been asked to pay USD 166 million plus interest to the Standard Chartered Bank in settlement of the hedging deal. The govt for its part has announced that they will be taking the battle to the House of Lords. more..

Losing diplomacy and gaining lunacy

Aug 12 (ST) My Dear Lakshman K, Even though you are in the Land of Never Return, Lakshman K, I thought of writing to you because it has been seven years since you left us never to return and unfortunately we have missed you so much during that time. You may wonder why this is so, especially since the war has been won and the Tigers have been defeated. Ironically, that is why we miss your sane counsel and your brilliant contributions as Foreign Minister even more. more..

Govt does a U turn on the West

Aug 12 (SL) The Rajapaksa govt last week finally admitted that United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has been extended an invitation to visit Sri Lanka. The govt claims that Pillay during her visit to Sri Lanka would be able to learn firsthand of the positive developments in the country since the end of the war. The invitation to Pillay comes as part of the Rajapaksa govt’s efforts at re-building more..

SLPL begins in grand opening ceremony

Aug 12 (Island) Sri Lanka Premier League, the franchise based league tournament, was opened with a grand, multicoloured and a traditionally flavoured opening ceremony at Sugathadasa Indoor stadium, Colombo on Friday. The tournament is scheduled to run from yesterday till August 31 where the final will be staged at a floodlit R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. The ceremony was highlighted by the keynote address given by West Indian legend Brian Lara and included the introduction of more..

Can marathoner Cooray surpass Rosa’s record today in London?

Aug 12 (Island) It is likely to be a contest between Ethiopia and Kenya when world reputed marathoners compete over a course, dotted by some of London’s most distinctive landmarks in the 2012 Olympics’ marathon today but Sri Lanka has things to look forward to as South Asian Games medallist Anuradha Indrajith Cooray goes all out to lower legendary long distance runner S.L.B. Rosa’s long held national record in what has now become his second home here in London. more..

All-round Dilshan stars for Basnahira

Aug 12 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan lit up a damp Colombo evening with a 39-ball 66 not out and two wickets to ignite Basnahira's SLPL campaign, as they defeated Kandurata by 34 runs in a 13-over match. Playing in front of a small but boisterous home crowd, Dilshan savaged the sometimes wayward Kandurata bowling either side of the wicket, before making the initial breakthroughs for his side with the ball. A direct hit run-out towards the end of the Kandurata innings completed more..

Divi Neguma Banks envisioned in new Bill

Aug 12 (SO) The Govt hopes to set up Divi Neguma Community Based Banks and Banking Communities under the recently drafted Bill to establish a new Department for Divi Neguma Development. The Divi Neguma Community based banks will be set up covering the area of authority of one or more Divi Neguma community based organisations. Minister Basil Rajapaksa recently presented in Parliament the Bill to set up a new Department for Divi Neguma Development. The new department will more..

Carelessness costs lives of two foreign women

Aug 12 (SO) Two foreign women lost their lives last week - one due to drowning and the other being knocked down by a moving train owing to their carelessness. Police have warned tourists to take utmost care while swimming in the rough seas as several cases of drowning have been reported in the recent past, police said. According to Police a foreign woman tourist drowned in the rough seas off the Induruwa southern coast while swimming more..

Indo-China battle looms over prime property in Colombo

Aug 12 (ST) India has lodged a strong protest with Sri Lanka over the allocation of a prime Colombo property to a Chinese company though it was earmarked for India. The protests were delivered both in New Delhi and Colombo. The 287-perch property, once occupied by Whittal Boustead and Company, with frontage both to the Galle Road and the Duplication Road, has been given to the Chinese aircraft manufacturing firm CATIC or more..

Suspected killer back as PS chairman

Aug 12 (SL) The former Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, W. G. Sampath Chandrapushpa has been reinstated to his post by UPFA General Secretary, Minister Susil Premajayantha. His letter of reinstatement was issued five days after he was removed from his post and had his party membership cancelled over his alleged involvement in the murder of a British national in December. In a letter dated July 25, 2012, addressed to Chandrapushpa, Premajayantha notified him of his removal from the post of more..

SJGH under fire for paying hefty transport allowance to junior official

Aug 12 (Island) Amidst protests by trade union activists, the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH) has gone ahead with a move to pay a substantial allowance with arrears to a junior official, in what was described as a "shocking contravention of established procedure". "The decision to pay a monthly ‘transport and fuel allowance’ of Rs. 30,000 to an assistant accountant, with Rs. 380,160 as arrears since December 2011, is unacceptable", protested Chandana Jayalath, more..

'Ranil’s ‘Media Mafia’ eager to send me to UPFA'

Aug 12 (NS) UNP’s MP Dayasiri Jayasekara quashed rumours about crossing over to the govt, and charged that such a canard was being spread by the ‘Media Mafia’ of UNP Ranil Wickremasinghe’s media unit. He claimed that Ranil’s media unit had control over certain private media establishments and websites. “They’re using the ‘blue eyed boys’ close to Ranil to sling mud at me to damage my political career more..

Korea donates 30 notebook computers to SL Elections Department

Aug 12 (Island) In the wake of ongoing controversy over government wasting taxpayers’ money by having PC polls on a staggered basis, the Elections Department and South Korea’s National Election Commission have signed an agreement, under which GoSL can receive assistance. A spokesman for the Election Secretariat said that Nung Hwan Kim, the Chairperson of the National Election Commission of the Republic of Korea and more..

Man with LTTE tattoos arrested

Aug 12 (CT) S.Anojkumar who returned to Jaffna after several years from France was taken into custody over the tattoos of LTTE symbol he wore on his arm sources said. Anojkumar had gone to the Nallur festival currently in progress with his mother on Thursday. According to Hindu traditions he went into the temple bare bodied to worship. As the LTTE symbol on his left arm was prominent the police personnel on duty inside the temple in civilian cloths have taken him for questioning over the more..

CPC Board says: We are fall guys on ‘bad diesel’

Aug 12 (LB) The ex-board of directors of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) who were ‘forced’ to resign Thursday on the issue of substandard diesel, however stated that the Cabinet appointed Tender Board and the Cabinet appointed Technical Committee should take the responsibility, and rejected the minister’s claim that they should take the rap. Minster Susil Premajayantha said: “If they don’t take the responsibility, then more..

Govt. can’t prove its popularity thru witch-hunt against SLMC

Aug 12 (Island) The govt has miscalculated its realistic position if it believes that it can prove its popularity to the international community, especially in the Eastern Province, where all three communities, by carrying out a witch-hunt against the SLMC at the instigation of some UPFA members, political sources in the East said yesterday. The govt must be aware by now it is no easy task for the UPFA to capture power this time without the SLMC. more..

'Sri Lankans do not read for pleasure'

Aug 12 (IANS) Islands breed their own kind of somnolence. People would rather stand at their gates watching life pass by than read a book, says contemporary Sri Lankan writer and popular television arts show host Ashok Ferrey of his country. "Sri Lanka does not have enough people to read. They would rather read to clear the A-level examination than read a book for pure pleasure," Ferrey said at a recent literature conclave here. Ferrey, the author of two acclaimed novels more..

Pro-Eelam speakers denied Indian visa

Aug 12 (TOI) Several delegates perceived to be strident Eelam supporters have been denied visas to participate in the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organization (TESO) conference on Sunday, presumably to prevent any diplomatic embarrassment. The foreign ministry fears that the participation of around 15 such delegates, some of them Sinhalese, event could cause awkward moments for India, sources said. more..

NCPA ‘deaf and dumb’

Aug 12 (NS) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) appears to be ‘deaf and dumb’ over the present situation of the proposed National Child Protection Act. All efforts made by The Nation fell on deaf ears and the Chairperson of the NCPA Anoma Dissanayaka failed to pick up the telephone to answer calls. However, Minister Tissa Karalliyadda despite his busy schedule returned a call to The Nation on Thursday and claimed that he too kept on calling Ms. Dissanayake but there was more..

Politics in tele-actress prostitution!

Aug 12 (NS) Well informed police sources disclosed that certain ‘top’ film and tele-drama actresses operating a brothel ring exploiting young tele-drama actresses had managed to bring tremendous pressure to ensure that the uninterrupted raids of certain brothels in the city and suburbs where young tele-drama actresses patronized were brought to an end. The Special Police Unit at Mirihana combating prostitution in the city suburbs has rounded up a number of young tele-drama actresses more..

Vitol still in business despite controversy

Aug 12 (SL) A ship carrying low sulphur and high sulphur fuel oil from the controversial Vitol group is berthed at the Colombo Port awaiting technical clearance to off load. The Vitol Group is currently in battle with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) over the supply of allegedly contaminated fuel. Despite the controversy, the CPC is carrying out quality tests before acceptance of a combined shipment of low sulphur fuel and high sulphur fuel, both amounting to 20,000 tonnes each. more..

FUTA no-balled again

Aug 12 (LB) The govt has refused a salary increase for university lecturers as the strike by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) continues into its sixth week. In discussions held on Friday night, Minister Basil Rajapaksa and secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga categorically told FUTA representatives that an immediate wage increase was not an option. However, such could be considered in the broader framework of forming a Sri Lanka University Academic Service (SLUAS). more..

Down time at Norochcholai plant

Aug 12 (CT) Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) senior officials expressed their doubt on uninterrupted functioning of the Rs 45 billion worth Lakwijaya Coal Power plant in Norochcholai for another couple of weeks despite a scheduled test last evening. They said that the Board had lost some four billion rupees due to the breakdowns in Norachcholai this year. When contacted, CEB Vice Chairman Anura Wijayapala said that they were planning to run it last evening and if it continues to function there won’t be any issues but if it fails it would take some time. more..

Govt. launches two-pronged battle here and abroad

Aug 12 (ST) There is no one who is busier than President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the upcoming North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provincial Council elections. Without the glare of publicity, in the past days he has been chairing meetings with MPs of different districts in the three provinces. Co-opted to help them and given specific areas to campaign are cabinet ministers. All of them have been told that they should work towards ensuring more..

'Strike will continue till demands are met'

Aug 12 (ST) At least 14,500 employees of the Ceylon Electricity Board are on strike and consumers should not expect any maintenance or repair work to be carried out while the strike continues, CEB trade unions have announced. The strike began on Friday. The strikers are that all CEB workers be given fair and unbiased treatment. “Workers will be on strike until the Electricity Board increases their salary and promises to stop privatizing Electricity Board depots,” more..

M&M plans to pip Tata Motors in Sri Lanka

Aug 12 (Hindu) Homegrown SUV and MPV major Mahindra & Mahindra, which has already beaten Tata Motors in the domestic passenger car market in the market share sweepstake, plans to pip the country’s biggest auto company in Sri Lanka, too, in the next two years, a company official has said. Stating that the difference is only a few thousands between the two firms in the island country, Mahindra & Mahindra Vice-President, International Operations for Automotive and more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Aug 12 (ST) If the troops fought Tiger guerrillas during the final stages of the separatist war with modernised weapons, he waged his own battle in the media. Hosannas were sung for many in the UPFA govt in his commentaries. The most prominent among those who received plaudits every week was Minister G.L. Peiris. He heaped paeans of praise on Peiris on his assumption of office and shared in the glory of “the dawn of a new era in the conduct of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy”. more..

Widespread frustration across all campuses as strike enters 6th week

Aug 12 (ST) Academic activities at all universities continue to be at a standstill as the strike by lecturers enters its sixth week, and with no solution in sight. Striking tertiary education academics want the Government to allocate 6 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product for education, put an end to political interference in the running of universities, and increase university teachers’ salaries. more..

Ten-year-long NIC racket busted

Aug 12 (ST) The all-important National Identity Card is vulnerable to forgery and counterfeit cards made by master crooks and appear as good as the genuine ones issued by the Department of Registration of Persons, a police raid has revealed.On August 2, an undercover police team from the Unsolved Crimes Unit of the Mirihana police busted a racket that had been going on for ten years. Acting on a tip-off, Sub Inspector A.D. Wickremesinghe contacted a man who allegedly made more..