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Where praise is DEW

July 6 (NS) In tradition-bound Sri Lankan, bucking the tide can be tough, particularly in the sphere of politics. And the higher you go the tougher and more political it gets. Yet, most of our politicos appear to hesitate and fight shy when it comes to speaking out about corruption, ineptness, misappropriation or squandering of public funds within their own administration. And if these people are expected to set a real example then that is unequivocally what they must do, more..

Are FUTA’s demands within the mandate of a trade union?

July 6 (CT) Three university academics, who are currently under State patronage, Jagath Wellawatta (Chairperson, State Mortgage Investment Bank formerly, National Child Protection Authority, Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau), Rohan Rajapakse (Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education; formerly Executive Director, Sri Lanka Council of Agriculture Research), and Ranjith Bandara (Chairperson, Sri Lanka Foundation Institute and Senior Economic Adviser, more..

Conspiracy Theories

July 6 (CT) Over the last week I have had a plethora of conspiracy theories brought to my attention, on a great range of subjects. The first was a newspaper article, by an American of course, alleging that George Soros had a master plan to break up possible rivals to the West into small states that could then be turned into clients or else neutralized. The countries diagnosed as being subjected to this treatment were China and India and Russia and Indonesia, and the method included promotion of internal nationalisms and hence separatism, more..

A to Z of tragedy

July 6 (DM) The Supreme Court ruling on the Z-score and its repercussions created a number of controversies in the country for the past two weeks. Concerns were raised about the Z-scores issued for students who sat for the GCE A/L Exam in 2011 as it was alleged that Z-scores issued were wrongly calculated. The situation arose when the authorities took steps to issue much delayed A/L results following increasing demands by students and parents to do so. more..

If Implementation is the answer, What is the question?

July 6 (DBS) In Sri Lanka’s post-war context, two national mechanisms have been put in place. First, the LLRC report released at the end of 2011 calls upon the Govt of Sri Lanka , among others, to work towards a political solution that is favourable and acceptable to all sides and communities concerned. The home grown mechanism, independent in nature though commissioned by the Govt, was developed to reflect upon and recommend action, and drew on solicited and unsolicited submissions from more..

Stalled coal fired power plant project can be shifted to Noracholai or Hambantota

July 6 (DBS) We never seem to learn! Sri Lanka messed around with the Norochcholai coal-fired power plant over 1993-2005, and we still pay for the sins of the politicians, religious leaders and NGOs that blocked the vital power plant. Today, as stated by the Honourable Minister himself, the country would be reeling with power cuts, if not for the presence of the 1st stage of the Norochcholai power plant. Many a politician raised both hands in the Cabinet on motions brought by more..

'Role of the media is not to protect govt'

July 6 (DM) The German Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jens Ploetner spoke to the Daily Mirror on the LLRC, the reconciliation process and winning peace. Q: Since you’ve been in the country what has been your view of the reconciliation efforts being carried out by the govt? A: When I arrived in October 2009, Sri Lanka had just come out of the war. At that time there were 300,000 IDPs still in Menik Farm and since that time there has been tremendous progress. more..

Sri Lankan foreign policy needs strategic direction

July 6 (Island) There has to be a realisation that international diplomacy is not undertaken in the same manner as domestic political theatrics. In domestic politics, the President’s endorsement will help win elections, but this strategy is futile in the international domain. Presidential advisers on foreign policy need to understand that the current approach of ‘photo-opportunity diplomacy’ is superficial and prone to debacles that re-energize the pro-LTTE lobby. more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s rural cunning

July 6 (Island) The cancellation a month ago of another overseas speech by Mahinda Rajapaksa due to protests by the Tamil diaspora has intensified debate on Sri Lanka’s foreign policy. Does it need to change? Or is it just being poorly implemented by the country’s diplomats? The President’s spin doctors tried to present his UK visit as ‘extremely successful’ and ‘a substantial advance in bilateral relations’, but not even Lalith Weeratunga can really believe that – more..

Boston Lanka News: July 5, 2012

Foreign intervention

July 6 (Island) There are pundits in Political Science and other Social Sciences who claim that at present sovereignty of a country has a different meaning and that so-called human rights are more important than sovereignty or words to that effect. It is said that the international relations have changed and that any country should preserve and protect the human rights and if this policy is not followed the international community should have the means to correct the position more..

Editorial: President's epiphany

July 6 (Island) Nothing could be more humiliating to conceited politicians with massive egos to nurse than having to swallow their pride and own up to their blunders. Cabinet ministers in charge of education and higher education have had to do just that. A few months ago we had Minister S.B. Dissanayake and Minister Bandula Gunawardena vehemently defending a formula devised by a UGC-appointed expert committee to calculate the Z-score for university admissions. more..

Tax reforms come to nought

July 6 (Island) Despite widely acclaimed reforms to the tax system, tax revenue growth fell sharply during the first few months of this year as the government continues to tackle a balance of payments problem. Comparing two sets of data ‘January to April’ and ‘January to May’ for 2011 and 2012, government revenue growth rates have fallen sharply while expenditure growth rates have risen, with the budget deficit widening by more than 60 percent. more..

Crisis? Use it as an opportunity without succumbing to austerity, says Rohitha

July 6 (FT) Former Minister Rohitha Bogollagama this week urged the Govt and the private sector to use difficult times as an opportunity to optimise abundant local resources and dynamics, rather than resorting to austerity. “It can be tempting during crisis times to shift to a mode of austerity. However, that might make things worse or prolong a quicker recovery. Ideally the best strategy is to use tough times as an opportunity to optimise local dynamics as well as more..

Sri Lanka Insurance declares Rs. 4 b as bonus to Life policyholders

July 6 (FT) Sri Lanka Insurance, the nation’s flagship State insurer, declared a Rs. 4 billion in Life insurance bonus for its policyholders this year, endorsing 50 years of trust placed in the company by the Sri Lankan people. The declaration comes breaking the company’s own record of the highest bonus declared in the industry last year of Rs. 3.4 billion. Explaining how the company was able to achieve this success, Sri Lanka Insurance Managing Director/CEO Mohan de Alwis more..

Ranaviru Real Star-Mission 2 grand finale today

July 6 (DN) The grand finale of Ranaviru Real Star (RRS Mission 2) will be held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium today at 6.30pm. It will be telecast live over Sri Lanka Rupavahini. A press conference announcing the finale of Ranaviru Real Star Mission 2 was held Wednesday. The event was attended by Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Sri Lanka Rupavahini more..

Sweden impressed by Sri Lanka's progress

July 6 (DN) The Sri Lankan embassy in Sweden is working towards further strengthening the decade long ties between the two nations. Ambassador to Stockholm Oshadhi Alahapperuma met Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt recently and discussed enhancing the long standing diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Sri Lankan embassy in Sweden described the talks as very fruitful where Alahapperuma and Bildt discussed issues of interest to both countries. Ambassador Alahapperuma brought to the Foreign Minister's attention, more..

Proper maintenance reduces railway accidents

July 6 (DN) Railway accidents and derailments have reduced this year due to proper maintenance services, Railway Department General Manager B A P Ariyaratne said at the Transport Ministry said. About 63 derailments occurred in 2009 but only two derailments occurred during the first quarter of 2012. About 108 derailments in railway yards occurred in 2009 and only 16 occurred in the first quarter of 2012. About 66 accidents on railway crossings were reported in 2009. more..

Esala Full Moon Poya observes at Temple Trees

July 6 (IL) Today (3) is the Esala Full Moon Poya Day in the Buddhist year 2556. The usual ‘Amadam Sisilasa’ Poya Dhamma desana (Buddhist sermon) organized at Temple Trees on every Poya Day was held to mark the Esala Full Moon Poya day. The sermon was delivered by the Ven. Prof. Devalegama Medhanandha Thera. President Rajapaksa, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa, many MPs as well as more..

Bus permits issued without tender notices

July 6 (CT) Complaints have been lodged with the Bribery and Corruption Commission against the Ministry of Private Transport, by the Private Bus Owners Association (PBOA) for issuing bus permits without tender notices. PBOA President Gemunu Wijerathne alleged, though it has been two years since the Private Transport Ministry was established, nothing had been done to improve the welfare of employees in the private bus sector. Instead, bus permits were being issued without tender notices, through political influence, he charged. more..

Swaminathan demands probe into Vavuniya jail assault

July 6 (Island) UNP MP D.M. Swaminathan demands that the govt conduct an impartial inquiry into the assault on Tamil prisoner identified as Nimalaruban, who succumbed to his injuries recently. Nimalaruban was alleged to have been assaulted by prison authorities at the Vavuniya Prison. He died at the Mahara Hospital. Swaminathan said that the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms should take steps to immediately prosecute, release or rehabilitate more..

Arrested for idol worship in Saudi Arabia

July 6 (CT) A Sri Lankan youth employed as a domestic aid has been arrested in Saudi Arabia for worshiping a statue of the Buddha, which is considered an offence according to Shariah law. According to the Bodu Bala Senaa, the youth bearing passport no. 2353715 identified as Premanath Pereralage Thungasiri has been arrested by Umulmahami Police, which is a grave situation. The organisation states that information has been received regarding a plan that more..

LTTE's child soldiers struggle to rebuild their lives

July 6 (KSEA) Winston Jeyakumari was only 15 years old when she was plucked from school by the LTTE in 2007 and forced into conscription. The teenage girl was taken to a camp in the northern hinterlands of Sri Lanka, to be trained as a child soldier to fight against the advancing Sri Lankan government troops. "They bundled me into a vehicle and took me away. My family members knew about my whereabouts only after four days," more..

Jaffna docs on strike today

July 6 (Island) Around 350 doctors attached to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital will stage a token strike from 8.00 am. to 8.00 pm today in protest against the failure on the part of the police to arrest those responsible for the June 14 attack on Dr. Nadaraja Jayakumaran’s residence and alleged maladministration of the hospital. According to the GMOA, emergency services will not be disrupted. The GMOA media spokesman, Dr. Navin de Soysa, told The Island that with the concurrence of more..

Navies of India, Sri Lanka to get to bottom of fishermen issue

July 6 (Hindu) The recent arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy and related incidents will figure at the bilateral International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) meeting of the navies of India and Sri Lanka to be held shortly, according to Inspector General Satya Prakash Sharma, Commander, Coast Guard Region, East. He was reviewing maritime security with KBL Bhatnagar, Deputy Inspector General of Coast Guard, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, more..

Lawyers’ right at Police stations: Rules gazetted, AG informs SC

July 6 (FT) Senior State Counsel representing the Attorney General yesterday informed the Supreme Court that the regulations covering the rights of Attorneys-at-Law to represent their clients at Police stations had been gazetted as the rules cited as the Police (Appearance of Attorneys-at-Law at Police Stations) Rules, 2012. Senior State Counsel Shanaka Wijesinghe also told Court that the rules, made by the IGP, with the approval of the Minister under Section 55 of the Police Ordinance were gazetted on 18 May 2012. more..

See Lanka

July 6 (TOI) From the magnificent stupas at Anuradhapura to the street food of Colombo, from the Cave of Celestial Maidens to the beach at Galle, Sri Lanka offers many changes of scene. Stories apart, what I did remember best about Sri Lanka, my mother asked me when I got home. "The lotus ponds of Anuradhapura and the lagoons of Jaffna," I replied. "And, mmm, the egg-hoppers in Colombo's cubby-hole eateries." The lotus ponds in Anuradhapura are world heritage ornaments: splendid swathes of more..

Sri Lanka name 56 foreign players for SLPL

July 6 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket has named 56 foreign players who will play in the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League. There are no India or England players - apart from Azhar Mahmood - among the 56, who were picked by the seven franchises via a draft system in Colombo on Thursday. Shahid Afridi was initially named icon player for Nagenahira but, reportedly, was put back into the draft and picked up by Ruhuna. The reason for this is as yet unclear. more..

Rape of child: UPFA Tangalle UC member, 4 others remanded

July 6 (Island) Tangalle Magistrate Uresha Silva yesterday remanded, till July 17, five persons, including Anjana Liyanage, UPFA member of the Tangalle Urban Council, on a charge of raping a 14-year-old girl. The Magistrate directed the authorities to produce the suspects at an identification parade. On a request made by attorney-at-law Nishantha Sadaharana, the Magistrate directed authorities to provide additional security to the Urban Councillor and another suspect who were likely to be more..

MDMK members protest training given to SL air force

July 6 (Hindu) Members of MDMK and Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam staged a demonstration outside the Indian Air Force (IAF) Station in Tambaram on Thursday, protesting the training imparted to Sri Lankan air force personnel. The protest followed a statement issued by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa earlier in the day, objecting to the Ministry of Defence allowing Sri Lankan air force personnel to be trained here. The activists were taken into custody and later released. more..

Universities paralysed by teachers’ strike

July 6 (Island) Universities countrywide were paralysed for the second day yesterday due to the strike launched by lecturers demanding that the govt allocate 6 per cent of GDP for the education sector, engages university teachers in the process of making decisions involving the higher education sector and grant a pay hike. President of the FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that all universities, except Uva-Wellassa, Kelaniya and the medical faculties, more..

Lions clubs to educate Tamil refugees in Lanka

July 6 (TOI) Lions Clubs International would soon be supporting the Tamil people in the refugee camps of Sri Lanka by providing computer education programmes with the help of members from Lions Club in Sri Lanka. N Manoharan, district governor, Lions Clubs International said that the clubs are in discussion with the govts to follow up on the plan. The computers would be provided to members of the Lions Clubs in four to five districts of Sri Lanka, who would educate the masses there. more..

Govt to amend Press Council Act

July 6 (DN) The govt has put in place several steps to amend the Press Council Act of Sri Lanka to monitor and mitigate issues created by certain websites, Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. The minister addressing the weekly Cabinet media briefing yesterday, said even though the print and electronic media can be monitored and regulated by the Sri Lanka Press Council Act, websites are not monitored by the Act. “It is an exception since those monitoring regulations don’t cover websites. more..

Elections Chief gets under Keheliya’s skin

July 6 (Island) The govt has disputed Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya’s claim that the upcoming Eastern, North-Central and Sabragamuwa provincial council polls will cost around Rs. 650 million. It said yesterday that it did not know how that figure had been arrived at. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, when questioned, at the Cabinet press briefing in Colombo, on Deshapriya’s contention that the conduct of staggered elections was costlier more..

Sri Lanka to set up consulate in Bahrain

July 6 (GDN) A top visiting govt delegation announced the setting up of a consulate during a closed-door meeting, which was attended by Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment chairman Amal Senalankadhikara, Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Agency chairman Senaka Abeyagoonasekera and Honorary Consul General P B Higgoda. The meeting was chaired by newly appointed non-resident Sri Lankan Ambassador to Bahrain Chandrasekara Wijeratne, who is also Ambassador to Kuwait. more..

MPs must give priority to parliament over Court - Speaker

July 6 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday instructed the Secretary General of Parliament to inform the Chilaw High Court Judge that the Court could not issue arrest warrants on MPs who did not present themselves in Court on the days Parliament met. "This must be conveyed to the Judge through the Secretary of Judicial Services Commission," the Speaker told the Secretary General. Speaker Rajapaksa said that MPs should give priority to attending Parliament sessions more..

On foot

July 6 (CT) The foot pilgrimage, more familiar as ‘Pada Yathra’ from Jaffna to Katharagama is a time honoured annual tradition. The journey begins from Selva Sannithi, a temple for Lord Skanda in Thodamanaru, the northern most tip of the country, winds its way through the eastern coastal line and ends in Katharagama. Said to be the longest foot-pilgrimage in the world, it covers a distance of around 450 kilometres and takes more than a month to complete. more..

Sri Lanka in final talks over India coal joint venture: official

July 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run CEB is in the final stage of discussions with India's National Thermal Power Corporation to build a 500 MegaWatt coal plant, an official said. "We are in final stage of discussion," deputy chairman of CEB's Anura Wijayapala said. "We hope to sign the final agreements within a month or two. We hope to begin construction by the end of 2012 and issue tenders to buy equipment." more..

Refugee return figures decline in first half

July 6 (CG) The number of Sri Lankan refugees returning home with UNHCR’s help declined during the first half of 2012 compared with the same period last year. The latest statistics show that 662 individuals voluntarily returned to Sri Lanka with UNHCR’s help during the first six months of this year to end-June, nearly a third less than the same period in 2011 when 962 refugees returned. A total of 1,728 Sri Lankan refugees returned under UNHCR’s facilitated voluntary more..

Sajith lashes out at UNP website

July 6 (Island) Close on the heels of a warning issued by section of the international community to the govt over recent police raid on the shared office of two news websites, Lanka Mirror and Lanka X news (official UNP website), UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, MP, yesterday alleged that the party’s official website had been used to tarnish his image. The MP criticized the failure on the part of the party to take punitive action against those responsible more..