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On S. Thomas’ and education

Jan 16 (NS) My son started school this week at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, one of the finest educational institutions in this country. Or at least, being Thomians, this is what most of us believe and often proclaim. Others rightfully may beg to differ. No one school defines education, and no school can itself claim to be superior to another. Yet superiority is inextricably entwined into the fabric of a Thomian education and psyche. My son started school more..

Between tourism and free worship...

Jan 16 (NS) I am a Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhist. I know the millions who would openly subscribe to my national-ethno-religious classification will agree the temple of ‘the most sacred tooth relic’ (I for one do not subscribe to the mere ‘temple of the tooth’ term of the Colonial British) –the Dalada Maligawa is the most sanctified temple to all Buddhist. And by this dear reader I mean no ethno or national demarcations should apply in respect of more..

Cause of Mahela's failure: Abberation or divided dressing room?

Jan 16 (SL) Mahela Jayawardene’s prolonged failure is a worrying concern, and though it would be wrong to singularly blame him for the country’s fourth straight Test series defeat, the no.4’s sub-par contributions is a significant reason for the continued cataclysm, plunging the team to sixth in the ICC rankings, from third a shade over a year ago. By any measure, the fall is steep as it is rapid. Admittedly a slide in the post-Muralidaran years was to be expected, but more..

Prevention of cyber crime in Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia turns its spotlight today on the prevention of cyber crime in Sri Lanka as Sri Lankan society would aspire to be free of such sophisticated criminal activities. Cyber crime is rather a novel aspect of criminal activities in Sri Lankan society. With the advance of information technology and knowledge of computer science in Sri Lanka some individuals have turned to cyber crime as a means of more..

Tamil Americans wary of Sinhalese Sri Lankan embassy staff in Washington

Jan 16 (TC) Despite differences that spurred civil war and cost tens of thousands of lives, the Tamils and the Sinhalese from Sri Lanka have at least one thing in common: a love of tea. But some Tamil Americans say they are cautious when they go to Dupont Circle’s Teaism because their archenemies — the ethnically Sinhalese Sri Lankan Embassy staff — might also be in there sipping Ceylon green from the old country. more..

Editorial: What's up CBK's sleeve?

Jan 16 (Island) If there is anything that makes former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga stand out from the rest of politicians, it is her restless tongue which moves faster than even subatomic particles, as it were. She is in the news again having told an Opposition parliamentarian, according to a local TV channel, that she would tell the UNP how to topple the Rajapaksa government within three months if Ranil Wickremesinghe ceased to be the UNP leader. more..

Cabinet reshuffles changing of pillows: No cure for political headaches

Jan 16 (SL) Last week there were more stories making the rounds on contemplated decisions made outside the cabinet meeting than decisions made inside. Of course, the usual briefing on cabinet decisions were spelled out, Thursday. For a regime that still wants to boast it has popular support, comparing itself to an opposition fractured and quarrelling red and green, it is important it keeps a tidy face for the public. It is no easy route for the Rajapaksas. more..

Budget deficit expands 12.47%

Jan 16 (Island) Govt expenditure grew faster than revenue which saw the fiscal deficit for the first ten months of 2011 expand by 12.47 percent. The total outstanding debt stock of the govt grew 10.81 percent year-on-year to Rs. 5,070.4 billion as at end October 2011, estimated at 80 percent of GDP. Tax revenue had grown 13.94 percent to Rs. 661.2 billion during the period Jan to Oct 2011, however total earnings growth slowed down to 10.89 percent more..

‘Thugocracy’ versus development

Jan 16 (Island) Pecuniary corruption does not necessarily undermine the emergence of capitalism as the example of the robber barons of yore bears witness; but the sociologically otiose free reign of goons and thugs, bearing allegiance to and protected by the ruling party or regime, invariably derails the development of capitalism, especially in modern times. Capitalism emerged in one of two ways. In the cities and city states of Sixteenth Century Italy and Holland and in subsequent more..

Widening trade deficit: Depreciation of the rupee the way out

Jan 16 (ST) The devaluation or even the depreciation of the rupee has been a controversial issue among academics and politicians for a long time. Economists and politicians of the left have often opposed devaluation on the grounds that it would increase the costs of living and the economic burden on the poor while not benefiting the country's trade balance appreciably. In fact, some ministers of the govt openly opposed the decision to devalue the rupee by 3 percent more..

Sri Lanka a rich miracle, no third worlder by the looks of it

Jan 16 (Island) Judging by appearances, glancing on the surface, noticing the dazzlingly jet lit city of Colombo and reading advertisements for seasonal merrymaking, one would consider this land of ours to be a stinking rich country. This idea is reinforced by the recent motor racing in the Fort of speedsters and the sight of a stretch limo bringing a couple to a polling booth; also price of dance tickets for 31st night almost Rs 10,000 more..

Host of development projects parallel to Deyata Kirula

Jan 16 (DN) Mega development projects costing around Rs 21,000 million will be implemented for the welfare and well-being of the people in Anuradhapura parallel to the Deyata Kirula development exhibition 2012, Deyata Kirula Exhibition Committee president and Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said yesterday. The minister said that arrangements have been made to commence the sixth consecutive Deyata Kirula national exhibition at Oyamaduwa, Anuradhapura more..

Roofing tiles to replace A’pura tin, cadjan roofs

Jan 16 (DN) “The ‘shelter for all through Divi Neguma (Isurubara Diviyakata Samata Nivasak) programme will provide clay roofing tiles to 30,630 households with makeshift roofs in the Anuradhapura district. “The programme will be implemented parallel to the Deyata Kirula National Exhibition,” director of Divi Neguma, Economic Development Ministry, Jayathilaka Herath said. The Cabinet has approved the allocation of Rs 800 million to provide 27 million tiles through more..

Pusswedilla sparks rib-tickling laughter, with President joining in

Jan 16 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa joined in the waves of merriment which greeted the staging of a rib-tickling political comedy, Pusswedilla, at the Lionel Wendt Theatre on January 14. While no special ingenuity was required of the viewer to infer the targets of the very often scorching but laughter-inducing political satire, the President seemed to be accommodative and good humoured enough to appreciate every minute of the comedy. more..

Ground frost in Nuwara Eliya not serious enough to affect Tea

Jan 16 (Island) The John Keels Tea Brokers’ weekly Tea market report said that ground frost in Nuwara Eliya, was not intense enough to affect tea crops. Areas affected were tracts of Tea land bordering the Kandapola flats, and low lying Tea fields of Mahagastota. Additionally peripheral frost bite in Tea fields bordering shallow forest reservations in Upcot, Bogowantalawa, Maskeliya, and Upper reaches of Talawakelle. Also some interior areas of Lindula and Agrapatana. more..

More dogs for police

Jan 16 (Island) Hundred dogs imported from UK, Germany and Netherlands for the police were now undergoing special training at police Kennel Headquarters in Kandy in crime detection, including the detection of narcotics, IGP N.K.Illangakoon said yesterday. Their total cost was around 70 million rupees, each costing about Rs. 850,000, he said. The animals arrived in two batches, one on November 5, the other on Nov 20. The dogs were selected by Dr. Asoka Dangolla, more..

Increase in postal rates likely soon

Jan 16 (Island) The government is likely to increase the postal rates soon from the minimum Rs. 5 to Rs 10 and so forth, if the recommendations of a Posts Ministry committee to Minister Jeewan Kumaratunga find his favour. There had been a long awaited need to increase the rates as they had not been increased for a long time and everything has gone up in price since the last increase, Posts Ministry Secretary Hemasiri Fernando said more..

Industry urges fast-tracking hotel construction

Jan 16 (FT) Sri Lanka needs to urgently fast-track its hotel investments to meet the projected tourist inflow of around one million this year. City Hotels Association President M. Shanthikumar said that the industry needs to build at least 2,500 to 3,000 new rooms this year to accommodate the historically high influx of tourists expected in 2012. However, only around 200 rooms were opened up in 2011 despite the record number of arrivals, which saw over 30% growth in the last 12 months, more..

External Affairs Ministry alerts Lankan missions after ‘stampgate’

Jan 16 (ST) The External Affairs Ministry has alerted Sri Lankan missions in Europe to monitor LTTE front organizations in the wake of the “stamp- gate”, an attempt being made by sympathizers of the group keep its propaganda alive through the use of postal stamps. The postal stamps have been issued in France and the U.K. by LTTE sympathizers using a facility that is made available by the postal services in those countries for its citizens to obtain personalized postal stamps as souvenirs. more..

No turmoil over crates

Jan 16 (Island) The law pertaining to the transport of vegetables and fruit in plastic crates came into effect from midnight Saturday, but no untoward incidents happened as the law was not enforced strictly. A spokesman for the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade said that the transporters only are affected by this law and not farmers or traders. After discussions with the relevant persons concerned, the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade, more..

Cops nab LTTE sympathizer from Chennai

Jan 16 (TOI) A suspected sympathizer of the banned LTTE was arrested by Kochi city police from Chengalpettu in Chennai in connection with a human trafficking case involving Sri Lankan Tamils. The case pertains to the incident in which an international human trafficking racket attempted to illegally transport 39 Sri Lankan Tamils to Australia from Kerala on a fishing boat. A team from the Central police station in the city arrested the accused, who is said to be more..

Kollonnawa UC heads warned

Jan 16 (DM) The Chairman of the Kolonnawa Urban Council Raveendra Udaya Shantha and Vice Chairman Suresh Kodagoda were called over to the SLFP headquarters and severely warned said the General Secretary of the UPFA Minister Susil Premajayantha. These chiefs of the UC were also informed about the stern action that would be taken in future if any dispute is reported again and such disputes will be reported to the party office, Minister Premajayantha stated. more..

Four rehab centres won't close

Jan 16 (DM) Despite the re-integration of ex-LTTE combatants who surrendered to the military nearing completion, the govt has decided to keep four remaining rehabilitation centres for a further period for the rehabilitation of cadres being referred for rehabilitation by courts, officials said. Of the 11,000 ex-combatants who surrendered to the military during the last phase of the war, only some 400 remain to be reunited with their families. more..

Countrywide admission for Grade 1 classes today

Jan 16 (DM) The countrywide admission of Grade 1 children to schools would transpire today. Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane would participate in the main event at C.W.W. Kannangara Central College in Matugama. Mr. Gunawardane said that there would be similar events in other parts of the country as well. He said his deputy Gamini Wijith Wijayamuni Zoisa would attend a function at a school in Wellawaya in the Moneragala district. However, children will not be admitted to more..

Weerawansa plays role of honest broker to restore universities to normalcy

Jan 16 (Island) Minister Wimal Weerawansa has urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to grant a common amnesty to all undergraduates under suspension and in custody without criminal charges and to sack vice chancellors who discharge their duties in a manner provoking unrest in universities. In a letter addressed to the President, Weerawansa says only a direct and speedy intervention of the country’s chief executive could restore normalcy in the universities. more..

Better salary deal for workers employed in Kuwait

Jan 16 (ST) The wages for Sri Lankan domestics taking up employment in Kuwait will increase under a new payment arrangement aimed at bolstering the job market in that country. The scheme, which becomes effective from the beginning of this year, comes under an agreement signed by the Sri Lankan Manpower Welfare Association in Kuwait and the Association for Licensed Foreign Recruitment agents (ALFEA). Salaries will be based on the worker’s more..

Varsity non academics threaten TU action

Jan 16 (Island) A crucial meeting between university non academics and higher education minister S. B. Dissanayake will be held tomorrow at the ministry on resolving their long dragging salary anomalies. President of the Inter University Trade Union Federation R. M. Chandrapala said that they had discussed the issues related to rectification of salary anomalies with the Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne on Friday, but talks were not cordial. "As talks with the secretary failed, we demanded to meet the minister," he said more..

DUA ready for talks

Jan 16 (NS) The second meeting between the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Democratic Unity Alliance (DUA) would be held later this week, Secretary General DUA Nazeer Ahamed said. Both parties would decide on the formation of a common forum after the meeting on Friday, Ahamed said. The first meeting between both parties was held on January 4 and it was decided to hold subsequent discussions to look on the modalities of forming a forum of Muslim political parties. more..

PAC to summon Cabraal

Jan 16 (CT) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal will be summoned by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over financial operations of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). Along with him several other top officials who are in charge of EPF will also be summoned by the PAC for questioning, PAC member Dr. Harsha De Silva said. De Silva said he, in his capacity as a member of the PAC, would take necessary measures to summon EPF officials before the Committee. more..

UNP rejects A/L Results Committee Report, says politicized

Jan 16 (Island) The UNP rejected the report of the Committee that examined the mix up in last year’s A/L Exam results and countrywide rankings, alleging that there had been govt interference. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam MP, said that that a proper re-assessment of the Z-Score was required, but the Committee which was under political pressure, had white washed the culprits in an attempt to give its members an exit mechanism. more..

Ex-LTTE rebels warned

Jan 16 (SL) The Sri Lankan Army has warned ex-LTTE rebels that joining any groups looking to destabilise the country will result in their arrest. Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Major General Chandana Rajaguru, speaking to The Sunday Leader, explained that any former LTTE cadre who is found to be involved with groups looking to destabilise the country will be arrested. He explained that all the rehabilitated cadres are free to take part in politics, but in doing more..

Qatar and Lanka sign nine MoUs

Jan 16 (GT) HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse held a round of official talks in the presidential secretariat in Colombo yesterday evening. Talks dealt with bilateral relations and ways to promote them in various fields besides the latest regional and international developments. The session was attended by a number of members of the official delegation accompanying HH the Emir. more..

Salley irked by Maharoof being appointed above him?

Jan 16 (Island) Experienced Municipal councilor of the Colombo MC Azad Salley threatens to resign from the CMC on Thursday, but will continue to be with the SLFP and not rejoin the UNP, which he left to contest as an UPFA candidate at the Local Govt Elections to the CMC. Salley told The Island that his resignation would be made official at a Council meeting on Thursday (19). He said that it was the duty of the Council members in whatever party they represented to see that more..

Revised rules, but flexibility in enforcing them, say authorities

Jan 16 (ST) The revised regulations on the use of crates for transport of vegetables comes into effect from midnight today, but the govt will concentrate more on educating the farmers and traders on the benefits of the system rather than taking tough action on those who break the rules, Consumer Affairs Secretary Sunil Sirisena said. The latest gazette notification issued said the Consumer Affairs Authority has directed all transporters, distributors and more..

Bill to legalise clinical trials: 'Lankan patients as guinea pigs for drug testing’

Jan 16 (Island) Top medical academics warned of the danger of hasty legalization of clinical trials on new drugs using Sri Lankans as guinea pigs and urged the govt to put on hold a Bill it was planning to present to Parliament to that effect. Some medical experts who have read the draft Bill said that there were provisions that would endanger the lives of patients. Those provisions overlooked the issues such as more..

Smear campaign run rampant in Kelaniya – petition from Mervin

Jan 16 (LT) The SLFP organizer for Kelaniya and Minister Mervin Silva has forwarded a petition to the IGP says the police media spokesman. The police spokesman says the petition contains details regarding the clash between the Minister and several Members of Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha. Meanwhile, Members of Kelaniya PS had forwarded a petition with 12 complaints against Minister Mervin Silva to the IGP, CID as well as the Defense Secretary. more..

Thriposha to be exported

Jan 16 (NF) Steps have been taken to export the nutritious children's food item, Thriposha, to foreign countries, according to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry pointed out that after taking over the organization producing Thriposha, there has been a 94% improvement, thereby making it possible to produce the necessary amount of Thriposha required for the country. The Ministry added that while the required amount of Thriposha could be manufactured during mid-year, it has been more..

Another brick in the wall

Jan 16 (SL) Sri Lanka must surely boast the largest number of education ministers although none of them have discharged their duties as expected but contributed to an all time mock-up of the system. The recent A/L result fiasco, the public outcry against the govt and its education ministers have taken center stage for messing up the future of children. Typically none of the five ministers have come forward to take responsibility but more..

Roaming dogs and rise of rabies

Jan 16 (ST) Rabies was back in the news with the Minister Maithripala Sirisena last week creating an uproar, especially among animal lovers and animal rights activists when he said Sri Lanka had decided to lift a moratorium on killing of stray dogs as the govt attempted to tackle the problem of 2,000 people being admitted daily to hospital after being bitten. The law here allows authorities to catch and kill stray animals, but more..

Are uni students replicating a Tunisian/Libyan

Jan 16 (LB) Our universities are in the ferment. Students spend more time on the roads, holding protest marches and agitations than in class room discussions. Multiple universities are closed. University dons have threatened to resume a boycott of academic work over the paltry salaries they are being paid. And Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the defence secretary warns that some students are trying to replicate a Tunisian and more..