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What Remains to be Done: Minimising Inequality in Sri Lanka

Jan 26 (DM) The Human Development Index (HDI) has become an alternative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for measuring ‘development’ or the progress of nations. Introduced in the first Human Development Report published by the United Nations in 1990, it is based on the premise that “people are the real wealth of a nation”. As Amartya Sen pointed out in the 20th Anniversary volume of the Human Development Report published in 2010 the HDI turned out to be more..

Jaffna students who passed the GCE(A/L) with highest marks are awarded

Jan 26 (MoD) Security Forces Headquarters - Jaffna (SF-J) in association with Kokuvil-based Kavaloor Jeganathan Foundation awarded twelve students with valuable prizes appreciating their success in G.C.E. A/L Exam 2011. The ceremony was held at the J / Kokuvil Hindu College on Friday with participation of Commander SF - Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe as Chief Guest, GA Jaffna Mrs. Emelda Sukumar, more..

Mahinda, Marxism and Michael

Jan 26 (GV) Michael Colin Cooke titles his response to my response “Once more into the breach”. If I may be permitted a quibble at the commencement, shouldn’t that read “unto” the breach? As Rooney Mara playing Lisbeth Salander in ‘Millennium’ says by way of greeting, “hey hey!” Let’s see what we have here. Having accused me of “idealisation of the current government of Sri Lanka” and in response to my challenge to come up with any evidence, MCC’s devastating riposte is that “By idealisation I mean Dr Jayatilleka’s exalting of President more..

Being the change that you want to see in the world

Jan 26 (DM) Volunteerism. Activism. Being the change that you want to see in the world. As a young person, today when I look around, I see and hear of groups, movements, events and programmes all aimed at incorporating a culture of volunteerism and activism in the lives of people. I have been inspired by the numerous selfless and silent acts of volunteers across Sri Lanka. The unsung heroes of our country need to be recognized and rewarded for their initiatives more..

'President gives assurance but no follow-up'

Jan 26 (LB) TNA stalwart Suresh Premachandra tells LAKBIMAnEWS that his party is in ‘the dark’ over the govt’s position on the solution to the ethnic question, not withstanding the recent govt statements that the president would offer ‘a 13 Amendment plus’ as the solution. In an interview with Ranga Jayasuriya, MP Premachandra says talks with the govt are now in limbo after the govt delegation didn’t turn up for talks scheduled for last week. more..

Krishna extracts promises and TNA woos the South

Jan 26 (SL) It was a week that had the Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna making headlines in Sri Lanka. He broke tradition, in many ways. His insistence on meeting with the TNA, the Tamilian political party in parliamentary opposition, before he met with the Govt, had Minister Prof. Peiris and the big wigs at the Colombo Foreign Ministry wondering what they could pull off, in proving they are not incompetent in handling their responsibilities. more..

Senate cannot be a solution to the demand for autonomy in managing local and provincial affairs

Jan 26 (TC) During his recent visit to Sri Lanka, Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna gave support to the Sri Lankan government’s intention to have a Parliamentary Select Committee work out the modalities of a political solution to the ethnic conflict. The Indian government has consistently expressed its interest in a political solution and that the Sri Lankan govt gave such assurances during the war that elicited international support. more..

Sharing land powers is part of the devolution process enshrined in the constitution

Jan 26 (DBS) The sharing of powers over land between the Provincial and Central Governments is currently a raging controversy. The “lands” issue has become one of the primary issues on which the Govt and TNA are finding it difficult to reach agreement upon. President Rajapaksa’s pronouncements on the subject tend to convey an impression that the TNA representing the Tamil people is making a fresh, unreasonable demand which will not conceded. more..

How much more to discuss and what for ?

Jan 26 (SL) Due to the nature of the issue (power devolution and 13th Amendment) and its sheer complexity, it would not be desirable to suggest a time frame to President Rajapaksa.” S.M. Krishna, visiting Indian Minister of External Affairs (MEA). “It is a process and we want to continue with substantive discussions. It would be an unrealistic and unhelpful approach to give a time frame to this process” said Prof G.L. Pieris, SL minister of Foreign Affairs, at the same press briefing on January 17, 2012 in Colombo. more..

Editorial: Armless drivers & sightless police

Jan 25 (Island) The police on Tuesday nabbed a man with only one hand who had been driving a school van from a suburb to Colombo for years. What is more shocking than anything else is the fact that parents of the children who travelled in his vehicle were fully aware of his disability but chose to take it for granted. Unthinkable! Are they mums and dads from hell? Parents may be pardoned for their ignorance of the roadworthiness or otherwise of school vehicles their children more..

Driven by a love of truth

Jan 26 (ST) I keep a wary eye peeled for religious fanatics and rabid atheists as I lead Dr. Richard Dawkins through the Governor’s Mansion in Galle. Both would only try to hijack my subject, (albeit for very different reasons) and I am intent on shepherding my charge through to where a modest verandah abuts a small garden. There two white chairs and a few minutes of quiet are waiting for us. As the 2012 Galle Literary Festival party gets into full swing on more..

From Russia with Love: Middle income Russians flock to Lanka

Jan 25 (Island) Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that some areas in the south coast was full of Russian tourists and during the festive season other guests had to look for rooms elsewhere. "Last year we had 21,385 Russians visiting the country while the number was only 13,278 in 2010. This year tourism authorities expect at least 30,000 Russians to visit the country by the end of the year," the deputy minister said. more..

Salley challenges UPFA Group to keep him out from meetings

Jan 25 (Island) Beleaguered UPFA Colombo Municipal Councillor Azad Salley said their group in the CMC had no authority to keep him out of meetings "and challenged them to do so." Salley, who has fallen out of grace with his own UPFA Group for his outspokenness on various issues, made these comments subsequent to the UPFA Group deciding not to invite Salley to any Group meetings and their letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to conduct a disciplinary more..

Sri Lanka: Spice island

Jan 25 (NZH) The market was jam-packed. A tuk-tuk overloaded with huge bunches of green bananas almost ran over my foot, knocking me off balance. Intense aromas and stenches invaded all our senses. Bicycles and the tiny motorised carts vied with jostling shoppers and merchants for space in the frenetic and frantic Pettah bazaar in the heart of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital and centre of commerce. On either side of the narrow alleys, more..

'Smart Meter' project, boon to consumers - minister

Jan 25 (DN) 'Having electricity at homes in the past was a luxury, whereas it has become an essential service today. The electrification of homes had changed the whole world,Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He was addressing the inauguration ceremony of the "Smart Meter" pilot project at the Parliament Committee Hall, recently. "Electricity has changed the face of the world and has resulted in rapid progress especially in the developing countries. more..

Quarter of Lanka's population own vehicles

Jan 25 (DN) One-fourth of Sri Lanka's 20 million population are owners of vehicles, Transport Deputy Minister Rohana Kumara Dissanayake said. He said that 525,421 vehicles had been registered with the Motor Traffic Department last year. This was an increase of 46 percent from the 359,243 vehicles registered during the 2010, he said. The total number of vehicles registered with the Motor Traffic Department last year was 4,479,372. Out of these 2,354,163 are motorcycles. more..

I fear my homeland: Ocean Lady claimant tells IRB

Jan 25 (NP) More than two years after the smuggling ship MV Ocean Lady arrived off the West Coast carrying 76 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, the first public hearing to determine whether to accept them as refugees took place on Monday. “My life is in danger in my country,” an ethnic Tamil man told the Immigration and Refugee Board, which ordered that his name could not be published to protect his safety. more..

'Students can't be given admn powers'

Jan 25 (DN) Ragging and other forms of disruptive activities by student unions in universities in their bid to usurp administrative powers should not be allowed, said Peradeniya University Geography Department Head Prof Shantha K Hennanayake. He said that student unions should be entirely responsible for ragging and unruly acts at the Peradeniya University. He said that anti- raggers and English medium students are deprived of the right to use the hostel, library, canteen, arts theatre, more..

Govt to export chicken

Jan 25 (DN) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that the govt has planned to export 5,000 Mt tons of chicken this year for the first time. He said that the country has recorded a surplus of maize and paddy production and excess of maize would be used for the production of poultry products. He said the country imported chicken an year ago and that the situation has changed with the launch of the Divi Neguma programme. He said that the govt has decided to release a portion of paddy surplus from more..

School van driver with one hand nabbed; His son lost leg at the hands of able-bodied driver

Jan 25 (Island) Police nabbed an amputee driving a school van with one hand yesterday. 62–year-old Bernard Wijesiri was produced before the Hulftsdorp Magistrate’s Court and enlarged on bail. His licence was retained by the police. The amputee was transporting children to three leading girls’ schools in Colombo from the Kotugoda, Yagodamulla area in Ja-Ela at the time of the detection, more..

Trial of Rizana’s false father

Jan 25 (Island) At the on going trial, of a recruitment agency commission agent, on Tuesday, who had been charged with aiding and abetting to send Rizana Nafeek, a minor to Saudi Arabia on forged documents after altering her age, the wife of the job agent, testifying before High Court Judge Sunil Rajapakse, said that the accused in the case Abdul Salam had been falsely introduced as the father of Rizana. Rizana was convicted by a Saudi Court for the murder of an infant in her charge while she was bottle feeding the baby. more..

NTC Chairman resigns

Jan 25 (DM) National Transport Commission (NTC) Chairman Shashi Welgama said he was resigning from the NTC to focus on other interests in the midst of charges by private bus operators who claimed that Welgama had chosen to resign as he was unfit for the position. Welgama said he was leaving the NTC to focus on other ventures and had requested permission from Private Transport Services Minister C.B. Ratnayake to permit him to resign on four separate occasions in the past. more..

Compulsory for state hospital nurses to serve in NP

Jan 25 (DN) The Health Ministry has made it compulsory for nurses attached to state hospitals to serve in the Northern Province. Nurses who had served in other parts of the country for over five years will be transferred to state hospitals in the Northern Province. The circular will be issued shortly. “Nurses who had served the most number of years in other parts of the country will be given priority when more..

India, Sri Lanka take steps to end fishermen's travails

Jan 25 (Hindu) India and Sri Lanka have intensified efforts to resolve the issue of fishermen from both countries plying their trade in a “limited pool of water,” according to officials briefing journalists on External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's recent visit to Sri Lanka. After a meeting of the Joint Working Group on Fisheries, when all problems were discussed, the two sides are looking at an interaction between fishermen, wherein some solutions are likely to be aired. more..

Use of plastic crates, a big success in Dambulla

Jan 25 (DN) The use of plastic crates at the Dedicated Economic Centre in Dambulla has been high. Dambulla, Dedicated Economic Centre's Manager, Lasantha Sanjeewa said that the use of plastic crates was made compulsory for eleven varieties of vegetables such as tomatoes, tibbatu, carrots, bittergourd, thumba karawila, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, capsicum and cucumber. He said that both vendors and transporters are using plastic crates to transport these more..

Graham Ford appointed Sri Lanka coach

Jan 25 (CI) Graham Ford has been appointed Sri Lanka coach, replacing Geoff Marsh, it was announced today. Ford, the former South Africa coach, will begin his assignment with the triangular ODI series in Australia next month. His appointment is the latest decision by Sri Lanka Cricket to revamp the setup around the national team - the captaincy was changed on Monday and, last week, the selection panel was replaced before its term expired - following more..

2 Chinese women fined for loitering on the streets

Jan 25 (DM) Two Chinese women who pleaded guilty to loitering on a street in Kollupitiya at night in a way to lure people were ordered to pay a fine of Rs.50 by a Colombo Court yesterday. The two women were arrested by the Kollupitiya police while they were wandering near Sea Avenue in Kollupitiya at night. The Kollupitiya police further charged that when they were arrested by police they were unable to give a reasonable answer to the charges of loitering in a public place. more..

CID sergeant caught in credit card scam

Jan 25 (DM) A CID investigator who had earlier cracked several credit card fraud cases was remanded by a Colombo Court today in connection with allegedly committing credit card fraud to the value of Rs.40 million. The Police Sergeant attached to the CID and six other suspects who were allegedly involved in the credit card fraud to the tune of Rs.40 million using hundreds of counterfeit credit cards were remanded till February 1 by the Colombo Fort Magistrate. more..

AG didn’t provide material from the prosecution: IPU rep.

Jan 25 (DM) Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) representative Mark Trowell who monitored the legal cases against former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has noted in his report that the Attorney General did not provide him with material from the prosecution despite repeated assurances. The IPU Human Rights Committee decided to send its observer to report on the judicial proceedings against Mr. Fonseka and a range of more..

Atomic Energy Authority out to control cowboys operating X-ray machines

Jan 25 (Island) The National Atomic Energy Authority (NAEA) wants all operators of X-ray machines to obtain a license in order to prevent hazards caused by radiation, Chairman of the authority Dr. Ranjith Wijewardene said. The license would be issued for two years ensuring that the machines are not substandard and the public is protected from the radiation emitted by the machines. "The Radiation Protection Division of the NAEA had started to inspect more..

Weeratunga heads committee to formulate broadband policy

Jan 25 (Island) A committee headed by the President’s Secretary had been appointed to formulate a national policy on the usage of broadband internet, Director General of the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Palpita said. He stressed that a supportive policy and good governance were essential for broadband deployment and take-up to succeed. The policy would be presented to parliament within the next six months more..

Pro-govt. group forces Black January protesters out

Jan 25 (Island) While Sri Lanka slipped to 163rd position on the World Press Freedom Index, a pro-govt mob yesterday prevented seven media organisations from staging a protest, titled Black January against media suppression, at the Fort Railway Station premises despite a Court order granting them permission. When the media personnel arrived at the Fort Railway Station yesterday afternoon, the pro-govt demonstrators had already occupied more..

Top minister calls for realistic exchange rate, Dr. PB says no threat to BOP

Jan 25 (Island) While the Central Bank continues to defend the exchange rate, with the IMF review mission in town likely to contend this stance as reserves continue to diminish and domestic interest rates come under pressure, Minister Basil Rajapaksa called for a realistic exchange rate regime. "We must have a realistic exchange rate which would reflect the situation in the trade deficit, but we must not have wide fluctuations going either way," Rajapaksa said more..

Pro-reformists of UNP to form alternative to defeat Govt.

Jan 25 (FT) The pro-reformists of main opposition UNP were not trying to build an alternative against the party, but against the govt, the Deputy Leader of the UNP, Sajith Premadasa said. Addressing press conference at the Bodhi Ranasinghe Foundation in Colombo yesterday with the former UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, Premadasa said that the pro-reform group was trying to show an alternative path to defeat the anti-democratic govt that is against the people. more..

SB hums different tune after his claims are countered

Jan 25 (Island) Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake yesterday claimed that he had wanted Prof. R.O. Thattil on the panel of experts which introduced a new Z score formula combining the results of old and new syllabuses at the last GCE (A/L), but the Examination Department and the UGC opposed his appointment to the panel. Addressing a news conference, Minister Dissanayake said that he couldn’t override their decisions. more..

Action against media not discussed at any level – Sajith

Jan 26 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa said that the party never discussed, at any level, action against Sirasa Media Network or any other media outfit. He stressed that the UNP wouldn’t interfere with the media, while reiterating their commitment to a vibrant media. The MP was responding to The Island query whether the Reformists group agreed with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s recent call for the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to more..

Mahinda re-election marks two years

Jan 26 (FT) Today marks the second year since the re-election of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a fresh term. Official sources said that the two years of achievements include a high 8% growth, positioning Sri Lanka as among the top five in the league of emerging economies with a major rebound in agriculture, industry and service sectors, boom in socio-economic infrastructure and other development programs countrywide, reduction in poverty and unemployment. more..

Fonseka is between Scylla and Charybdis

Jan 26 (SL) Any which way one looks at a Fonseka pardon, he is between the devil and the deep blue sea. Speculation is rife whether the former army commander Sarath Fonseka will be given a presidential pardon before the March 2012 UNHRC sessions. Even if he is pardoned, it looks like he will be faced with a war crimes trial abroad. Fonseka is a Legal Permanent Resident in the United States and has family and property in Oklahoma. more..

Govt. facing its first real challenge – MPS

Jan 26 (LB) The spectre of terrorism/armed struggle is one conjured by many governments at times when they are confronted with pressing social and economic issues that it finds hard to address. Events which transpired in the last few years have shown us that the Rajapaksa administration has mastered this art to perfection. During and after the war their political opponents have been dubbed as terrorists or having links to them, more..

Hey Dilly….: A tribute to outgoing Sri Lanka captain

Jan 25 (Island) "Hey Dilly, problem, Prasanna has just got injured. We know it’s tough, but can you keep wickets in this Test. Hey Dilly, by the way, we want to balance the side by playing an all-rounder at six, can you open the batting while keeping wickets as well in this Test. Hey Dilly, now that Sanath is gone, we want solid ten overs from someone in ODIs and can you make sure that you practice your off-spin. more..