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Rugby sevens legend Ben Gollings takes over SL 7s team

Aug 29 (Reuters) Rugby Sevens’ record points-scorer Ben Gollings has been signed up to coach Sri Lanka for the next two months as the south Asian country bids to reach next year’s world cup. The former England skipper, who amassed 2,652 points from 70 tournaments, is tasked with leading the Sri Lankans through four competitions, culminating in a world cup qualifier in Singapore where 16 teams will vie for three Asian positions at the 2013 showpiece in Moscow. more..

Over 50 national trade unions and CSOs pledge to safeguard state education

Aug 29 (CT) The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) held a historic convention at the Western Province Aesthetic Centre on 17 August 2012 on the current status and future directions of State Education in Sri Lanka or “free education” as it is popularly known. The convention was attended by representatives of over 50 national trade unions and civil society organizations who collectively pledged to safeguard State Education. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 29.08.2012

World T20 trophies arrive in Sri Lanka

Aug 29 (IBNS) The ICC World Twenty20 2012 trophies were ceremoniously accepted at the BIA in Colombo, on Wednesday. The trophies arrived on board an Emirates flight from Dubai. Emirates, the Official Carrier for the ICC World Twenty20 Sri Lanka 2012, delivered the trophies to the host country at the completion of their global tour and the men’s and women’s trophies were met by Ajit Jayasakera, Sri Lanka Cricket CEO, and ICC World Twenty20 2012 Tournament Director more..

Audio: Inquiry should be against Rajapaksa regime: Dayasiri

Aug 29 (DM) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara who faced a disciplinary inquiry at the UNP headquarters Sirikotha today said he shouldn’t be the one asked to face such inquiries. “The disciplinary inquiry should be held against the Rajapaksa regime and not me. I don’t understand why they are doing this. They have crippled my election campaign programme,” he said. He was asked to appear before a two-member disciplinary committee more..

Karunanidhi hits back at Jayalalithaa

Aug 29 (PTI) DMK chief M Karunanidhi today hit back at the AIADMK for taking jibes at him regarding the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and said he gave up his 'fast unto death' demanding ceasefire at the height of the 2009 war only on the Centre's assurance that use of heavy artillery and aerial weapons would be halted. Responding to AIADMK Executive launching a tirade against him by describing his 2009 "fast unto death" as a drama, Karunanidhi quoted then more..

Dy. Minister confident his sister would be CM

Aug 29 (DM) Deputy Minister for Resettlement Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman expressed confidence that his sister Ruthramalar Gnanabaskaran who was contesting as a UPFA candidate for the Eastern Provincial Council would be appointed as the Chief Minister of the Province as President Mahinda Rajapaksa had promised to give the post to the person with the highest preferential votes. Mr. Muralitharan said that his sister who was contesting from the more..

Colombo shares see retail play stirred by new SEC chief appointment

Aug 29 (ST) Colombo shares on Wednesday saw many retail investors being active on the back of the appointment of Dr. Nalaka Godahewa as the new SEC Chairman. Softlogic Securities said in a statement that that “amongst today's traders, there's a crowd who were stuck with a loss-making portfolio and that today’s trading has set many of them free whilst a number looks to enjoy their gains”. It described the day as an ideal trading opportunity with the penny play taking the key lead. more..

'SLC in better control of financial situation'

Aug 29 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket special advisor and former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat has said he is encouraged by the measures SLC have taken in the wake of a financial crisis, and believes the board has since "got a handle" on their financial situation. Lorgat is presently in the country conducting a wide-ranging review of the state of the game in Sri Lanka, and is expected to produce a report of his findings and recommendations later in the year. more..

SL govt accuses opposition of inciting communal passions

Aug 29 (PTI) The Sri Lankan govt on Wednesday accused opposition parties and one of its own allies of trying to whip up communal passions during election campaign in the Tamil and Muslim dominated eastern province. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the government's ally at the Centre, is contesting the eastern province polls, independent of the ruling UPFA coalition. The ruling party of President Rajapaksa has accused it of running a communal campaign. more..

Animal sacrifice: JHU tells President to intervene

Aug 29 (DM) The JHU requested President Rajapaksa to intervene and stop the animal sacrifice that is scheduled to be held at the Munneswaram Kali Amman Kovil on Saturday. The JHU Leader the Rev. Omalpe Sobitha Thera in his written request said the Kovil Priests had agreed to stop the animal sacrifice if the President asked them to do so. “The JHU, Buddhist organisations, animal rights groups and the All Ceylon Hindu Congress have voiced their protest over this act. more..

Sri Lankan Paralympians face resources challenge

Aug 29 (BBC) Sri Lanka is sending a seven-member team to compete in the Paralympic Games in London. They are determined to win the first ever Paralympic medal for the country, but say their effort is being hampered by a lack of official support. "The only equipment I have for training is my walking stick," says the team's captain Lal Pushpakumara, who lost his left leg after he stepped on a land mine planted by Tiger more..

Sri Lanka to be fully electrified by next year

Aug 29 (DM) Taking another step to meet the ambitious target of providing electricity to all of Sri Lanka by 2013, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has completed the Vavuniya – Kilinochchi main transmission line, a Power and Energy Ministry spokesman said. Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka paid an official visit to the worksite yesterday and instructed officials to take steps to connect power to the Kilinochchi sub-grid station as early as possible. more..

President worships Sacred Kapilawasthu relics at Kantale Agrabodhi Vihara

Aug 29 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid homage and worshipped the Kapilawasthu Sacred Relics at the Kantale Agrabodhi Viharaya on tuesday morning. This is the second occasion on which the President paid homage to the Sacred Relics since they was brought from India, the first being when he received the Relics at the BIA and at the religious ceremonies that followed. Thousands of devotees streamed into the Agrabodhi Viharaya to pay homage since the more..

As temperatures rise in Sri Lanka, drought wreaks havoc

Aug 29 (IPS) It is a time of extreme heat and anxiety in Sri Lanka. Even the rains last week felt like a sudden burst of cold water on the smouldering asbestos sheets on most Sri Lankan household roofs, creating a blast of cold air before the heat returns once the rains end. In some regions, like the north-central Pollonaruwa District, temperatures have been hitting highs in the region of 35 Celsius at uncomfortably regular more..

Rural entrepreneurship in post-war Sri Lanka: Jobs for youth and ICTs

Aug 30 (GV) Her day job aside, Sandya Salgado is a Director of the Foundation for Advancing Rural Opportunity and approached Groundviews recently to talk with us about the organisation’s model for rural entrepreneurship in particular, and the prospects for BPO writ large in post-war Sri Lanka. In this brief conversation, we first talk about FARO’s BPO model which supports rural entrepreneurship through ownership of shares in the BPOs set up in Mahavilachchiya, Seenigama more..

Perilous state of higher education: Cooperation, not confrontation, need of the day

Aug 30 (CT) The closure of the Sri Lanka’s State university system by the country’s higher education authorities recently is not quite an unexpected move. When the strike action by the academics of the State university system had paralysed most of the universities and all attempts at bringing the striking academics within the Govt’s solution-frame had failed, the only course of action available to authorities has been to seek guidance from more..

Little Sri Lanka gripped with huge crime wave

Aug 30 (NS) Three members of the same family; mother, father and daughter, are found dead inside a house in Wellawatte. Police launch a manhunt for the son, who is suspected of having murdered all three. A seven year old girl is kidnapped, raped and murdered, before her body is dumped in a canal. The main suspect arrested is a relative of the victim. Several politicians are arrested for raping a number of schoolgirls. more..

French kissing the Buddha

Aug 30 (CT) Recently, when three French tourists were in the media and the dock for taking photos that had them kissing and posing with a statue of the Buddha at the Ambekke Temple in Kandy, Udaya Gammanpila, the spokesman of the blithely racist JHU noted, “Sri Lankans consider this statue to be sacred. They desecrated it. This is uncivilised behaviour” and went on to note that “We condemn this action of the three French tourists and urge Westerners to please respect our culture and act decently”. The photos taken by the tourists more..

A child of Apollo salutes his first hero: Remembering Neil Armstrong

Aug 30 (GV) When Neil Armstrong took that first ’small step’ on to the Moon, at 10.56 pm EST on 20 July 1969, a quarter of humanity — following it live on radio or TV — collectively held their breath. In the next moment, our various divides disappeared…at least for a brief while. As Arthur C. Clarke – who covered the Moon landing for CBS network – later summed up, it was “one of the great divides in human history; we are sundered from it forever by the moment when Neil Armstrong more..

Bureaucratic bungling of Z-score continues

Aug 30 (SL) The University lecturers’ strike, the Z-score results for year 2011 pending in courts and the several errors in the A/L papers of 2012 together with university teachers, refusing to participate in the marking of the A/L papers has put many parents in a quandary as to the future of their children who are being penalised for no fault of their own. Parents and students alike expressed worry and concern with regards to the education system in Sri Lanka more..

Reintroducing capital punishment for child abuse offences is absurd

Aug 30 (DBS) I have been deeply disturbed by some reactions to what seems a spate of criminality relating to the abuse of children. The argument is that we should respond to this by reintroducing capital punishment. This is absurd, and not only because punishment should always fit the crime. Capital punishment for murder is another question, but that we already have, and the simple fact that it has not been implemented indicates the deep disquiet felt in more..

Reconciliation and rehabilitation issues must be addressed with sincerity and speed

Aug 30 (DBS) In the great Hindu epic Mahabharata, it is often said, particularity in the context of war of words between Prince Dhuryodhana and Prince Dharmaraja, that it is good to listen to whoever has a comment to offer or advice to make. Going by this maxim, the comment by UN agency, IRIN that there is lot of talking and not much improvement in the North Sri Lanka deserves to be heard. The comment should propel the powers that be in Colombo and Jaffna to worry about the course of events more..

Sri Lanka's New Wave

Editorial: Bulls, bears and pigs

Aug 30 (Island) A fish rots from the head down. So does a country. If corruption is allowed to thrive at the highest echelons of government, it swiftly percolates down, corroding the entire state machinery and eventually rendering the system dysfunctional. No one is equal to the task of reversing the process thereafter. Sri Lanka is a case in point. In theory, a country’s stock exchange is a leading indicator of its economic wellbeing but, in practice, the validity of this contention is more..

8th Asian Netball Championship: Sri Lanka overwhelming favourites

Aug 30 (Island) Defending champions Sri Lanka will go into the semi-finals of the 8th Asian Netball Championship as the overwhelming favourits against Malaysia at the Sugathadasa Stadium today. With skipper Tharjini Sivalingam and Thishala Algama providing height advantage near the goal post and co captain Gayathri Lankathilake guiding the young and the experienced attackers from the centre Sri Lanka are well ahead of their counterparts on paper. more..

Excitement heats up for SL’s first global event in a decade

Aug 30 (Island) The ICC World T-20 trophies arrived in Colombo yesterday morning together with several ICC officials, including former wicket-keeper batsman and its CEO David Richardson. Several events are lined up leading up to the tournament with Richardson addressing the media today alongside cricketer Kumar Sangakkara in Colombo. The tournament gets underway on the 18th of Sept at Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium more..

SLPL: Nagenahira in final after washout

Aug 30 (CI) The Nagenahira Nagas advance to the SLPL final on round-robin results, after intermittent heavy rain forced abandonment of the second semi-final without a ball being bowled. The Kandurata Warriors, who sit one point behind the Nagas, will bemoan their luck, as the only other washout was their clash with Uva Next on Saturday, which if they had won, would have seen them through to the final on net run-rate. The pitch was being made ready for play after showers earlier in the day, more..

Free Nawaloka Hospital health checks for 400 garment factory workers

Aug 30 (Island) Private healthcare pioneer Nawaloka Hospital recently held a free-of-charge Mobile Health Camp (MHC) through its Serene Health Screening Centre for over 400 workers at a leading garment factory in the southern town of Horana. A Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative intended to create awareness for preventative health amongst those who typically cannot afford it, this free-of-charge, more..

Sri Lanka Aug inflation seen near record high on drought, rupee

Aug 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's annual inflation rate may have accelerated to near record high of 10.2 percent year-on-year in August as an extended drought pushed up food prices and as a weaker rupee aggravated import bills. Annual inflation is expected to have accelerated to its highest since January 2009, when it hit a record 10.4 percent on a new consumer price index, a Reuters poll of 15 analysts showed. more..

Filling up of tank by encroachers for cultivation angers farmers

Aug 30 (Island) Farmer families in Mawathagama are up in arms against the filling of the catchment area of the Kohila Wewa and using it for cultivation. The encroachment of the tank had greatly reduced its capacity, farmers complain. The tank irrigates 150 acres of paddy. Paddy fields in Pothuwelayaya, Kanassa, Kongahakumbura, Pangolla, Pitadepola, and Weralugaspitiya were cultivated with the water from that tank. But those living close to the tank gradually encroached on more..

'Don’t destroy students’ confidence in examination system'

Aug 30 (DN) Minister Dullas Allahapperuma yesterday requested the Opposition not to destroy the confidence of student community in the country’s examination system. He asked the Opposition political parties not to indiscriminately criticize the country’s examination process to cover up their political bankruptcy. He observed if the faith and confidence of the students in the examination system collapse it would adversely affect the education sector. more..

Constitutionality of ‘Divineguma’ Bill challenged before Supreme Court

Aug 30 (FT) The Supreme Court will send its special determination to the Speaker of the Parliament on 6 Sept on the constitutionality of the Bill titled ‘Divineguma,’ which has been challenged by three petitions. The Petitions were taken up yesterday before the Bench comprising Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, Justices Priyasath Dep and S.E. Wanasundera. The General Secretary of the Samurdhi Development Officers’ more..

‘UNP, JVP fear Divi Neguma Dept. will make govt more popular’

Aug 30 (DN) Some parties fear that the govt will become more popular by converting the Samurdhi Authority into a Divi Neguma Department. Due to this reason, the UNP and JVP are protesting against the Bill to establish the Divi Neguma Department, All Island Samurdhi Development and Agricultural Research Production Assistants Officers’ Society Chief Secretary Jagath Kumara said. He was addressing a press conference at the more..

Kumudesh wants a discussion on all aspects of corruption in the Health Ministry

Aug 30 (Island) The Health Service Trade Union Confederation (HSTUC) urged the Health Minister to treat both parties involved in the appointment to the post of Director General Health Services (DGHS), alike, Joint president of the HSTUC Ravi Kumudesh said. He said that it was the duty of all those in the Health Service to defend its reputation rather than slinging mud at each other. Kumudesh said that it was the Health Minister’s duty to protect more..

Lanka’s oldest Maha Nayaka Thera passes away at 103

Aug 30 (DN) Ramannaya Maha Nikaya Mahanayake the Most Ven Wewaldeniye Medhalankara Thera passed away yesterday evening at a private hospital in Colombo at the age of 103. The Thera was ordained on May 26, 1922 under the tutelage of Venerable Kathaluwe Silavansa Nayake thera, the chief prelate of Abhayagiriya Temple in Anuradhapura and Venerable Kadiragama Sumanasara Thera. more..

Sri Lanka Laugfs expects 398 hotel chain by end 2014

Aug 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Laugfs group is expecting to have 398 hotel rooms operational by end 2014 under its 'Ananthaya' brand, chairman W K H Wegapitiya said. The chain includes a 75 room hotel in Sigiriya, a 125 room hotel in Waskaduwa a 110 room hotel in Passikudah and an 88 room hotel in Chilaw. "We hope to open the Chilaw hotel soon," Wegapitiya said. "We also want to build the hotel in Waskaduwa quickly." He said the group will invest 9.0 billion rupees in hotels. more..

Govt. should take up Kudankulam plant with India – Environmentalist

Aug 30 (Island) The Ministry of External Affairs should take up the Kudankulam nuclear power plant with India urgently as it posed a serious threat to the country, Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardane said. Addressing the media yesterday, Gunawardena said that according to the convention on nuclear safety and convention on early notification on nuclear accidents, the Indian government was liable to protect its people and also neighbouring countries. more..

Harsha slams SEC appointments

Aug 30 (Island) Is the govt’s message to go ahead and engage in fraud at the CSE without worrying about getting caught, asked UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva, calling on the govt to cancel the new appointments. "If the minister of finance was genuinely concerned in re-establishing a fair and equitable regulatory regime at the CSE would he have appointed persons with strong connections to entities being investigated for alleged securities fraud? more..

Kapilawasthu Sacred Relics Exposition: Highest number of devotees in Gampola

Aug 30 (DN) The largest number of devotees to pay homage to the Kapilawasthu Sacred Relics since they were brought to Sri Lanka were seen in Gampola, as a long queue formed outside the Naranvita Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Temple where the Relics are kept since making their journey from Kantale Agrabodhi Viharaya on Tuesday. The Sacred Relics arrived at Naranvita Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi Temple from Kantale Agrabodhi more..