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Another boat with 32 Lankans intercepted off Christmas Island

July 7 (TA) Another boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers, this time 31 men and one girl, have made the long journey from home to Christmas Island. The 32 passengers were transferred from their small fishing vessel to the island’s Flying Fish Cove this morning after their boat was intercepted late yesterday. They are the latest in a surge of asylum seeker arrivals which is seeing boats being intercepted almost every day and, more..

Editorial: Who’s afraid of the Freedom of Information Bill?

July 7 (DM) If Govt is serious and honest about restoring media freedom which is vital for the reactivation of democracy, then it must support the Freedom of Information Bill and implement it effectively. Similar laws for the freedom of information are in force in more than 90 countries including India where civic rights activists fought hard for its implementation some years ago, and the corruption of several top politicians and officials was exposed. more..

Sri Lanka on business traveller map says Colombo hotel

July 7 (LBO) Cinnamon Lakeside, a hotel in Sri Lanka's John Keells group had won an award from a UK-based business travel publication, giving international recognition to high industry standards, officials said. 'Business Destinations', a magazine targeted at corporate buyers and travel professionals, had named Cinnamon Lakeside the best luxury hotel in Sri Lanka. "We have not only taken Cinnamon Lakeside but also Sri Lanka to a new level because this is more..

Amungama proposes Panda Bonds with China

July 7 (DM) Minister Sarath Amunugama has suggested that the govt invests in Panda Bonds to boost Sri Lanka’s development programme. This proposal is being positively evaluated by the govt. Panda Bonds are Sri Lanka Development Bonds in Chinese currency known as RMB (Renminbi) or Yuan. This means that investors who deal in Chinese currency in the bond market can come to Sri Lanka and invest in RMB. more..

NFF sees local and foreign conspiracy

July 7 (Island) Some local and international parties were trying to destroy the country’s sovereignty and create ethnic conflict in the North again by urging the govt to hold the Northern provincial council elections soon, National Freedom Front (NFF) Central Committee Member Piyasiri Wijenayake said. Addressing the media yesterday, Wijenayake requested the government to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution without the police and land powers. more..

Kidnapping attempt fails, suspect nabbed

July 7 (AD) A suspect has been arrested by Katupotha Police for kidnapping a student with the intention of demanding ransom. The 8-year-old child was kidnapped yesterday near his school by an individual on a motorcycle. His father had later lodged a complaint with the Katupotha Police, who uncovered information that the child was taken from the motorcycle and put inside a van which had driven off. It is reported that police officers had proceeded to chase after the van, more..

'Child abusers are like stray dogs'

July 7 (DM) UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha described those involved in child abuse as stray dogs. He said UPFA politicians found guilty of having committed crime, corruption or fraud would be severely dealt with. Referring to the arrest of a Tangalle UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha member and four others on charges of having raped a 14-year-old girl, the minister said the UPFA was deeply concerned about what was alleged to have happened. more..

PHI refuses to bow down to political pressure

July 7 (Island) The Public Health Inspectors Union of Sri Lanka (PHISL) warned that they would not be forced into withdrawing the cases against six persons in the Galgamuwa area, who had mosquito breeding places in their premises despite interference and protests carried out by two local government members from the area. Secretary of the PHISL Senarath Bandara said that six homes had mosquito breeding places despite awareness campaigns conducted by PHIs, more..

Kunaratne, Serasinghe guide Sri Lanka A to 290

July 7 (CI) Sri Lanka A lost eight wickets for 290 runs, led by opening left-hand batsman and captain Dimuth Karunaratne, who made 83, after the first day. Seamer Ryan Mclaren took three middle-order wickets to push the visitors into trouble but a seventh-wicket partnership of 71 runs took them to relative comfort before two more wickets fell by the close. After inserting Sri Lanka to bat, South Africa claimed their first wicket of Dilruwan Perera more..

Legal Lacuna in police raid: Ranil

July 7 (DM) A legal lacuna exists in the manner in which the police acted in raiding the office of Sri Lanka Mirror and X news on June 29, it was argued in Parliament yesterday. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who raised the matter under Standing Order 23(2) said the police officers had quoted section 118 of the Penal Code in this case, but it had been repealed. “There is no legal basis for the police to take persons into custody under a law which is not in force. more..

Waqar, Moody appointed coaches in SLPL

July 7 (CI) Former Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis has been confirmed as the coach for the Ruhuna franchise for the inaugural season of Sri Lanka Premier League, according to the organisers Somerset Entertainment Ventures Ltd. Other notable appointments include former Sri Lanka captain Duleep Mendis and Australians Tom Moody and Trevor Bayliss. "Waqar [Younis] is one of six appointments that have been finalised regarding the coaching positions, more..

'Varsity non-academics harassed by UGC'

July 7 (DM) The Inter University Trade Union Federation (IUTUF) yesterday charged that the UGC had violated the terms of the agreement they entered into with non-academics. It stated that the UGC was harrassing non-academics who particiapted in the strike which concluded recently. M.Senarathne, secretary of the IUTUF stated that university non-academics and the UGC had entered into an agreement when the non-academcis called off the strike June 26. more..

FUTA online petition: Save Sri Lankan schools and Universities!

July 7 (CT) Education is a primary feature of all human societies today. It is a fundamental human right and a fundamental feature of our democracy. Everyone has the right to education and access to education (Article 26 – Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). In1945, education was established as a ‘free’ service, to be made accessible to all persons irrespective caste, creed, gender, ethnicity, gender, language more..

Editorial: PC polls - Opposition parties get cold feet

July 8 (SO) The dissolution of the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and the Eastern Provincial Councils ahead of schedule would enable the Govt as well as the Opposition to feel the pulse of the masses. The UPFA Govt, led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in deciding to hold fresh elections to these PCs has given an opportunity for those in the Opposition to prove their strength. The Opposition, especially the JVP which had attempted to capture power twice through two insurrections more..

Editorial: Protect children from Sex perverts

July 8 (SL) There is undoubtedly a horrendous mounting crime wave in the country – politically motivated killings, homicides for personal reasons, abductions, rapes and crimes committed against the most vulnerable of all – children. Crimes committed against the little ones received the least publicity but of late the horrendous nature of the bestial acts committed on them has deservedly received unprecedented publicity. News reports say that the NCPA had received 2,300 complaints of child abuse for the first six months last year. more..

'Opposition in shambles, Govt’s victory assured'

July 8 (SO) SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena suave in manners and forthright in words, he has no problems in the political arena. He has stormed many a weather in the political tinder box. He said in a situation where the Opposition is in total disarray and split into several factions, the Govt has no doubt about its victory at the upcoming Provincial Council polls since the majority of the people are with the Govt. more..

Editorial: Children under threat

July 8 (NS) Not too long after the historic defeat of the LTTE, President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a claim. He said ‘parapuraka aadambara thaaththa mamai’ (I am the proud father of an entire generation). The claim was not based on an opinion poll. And yet, both resonated well with the general public, considering the context. He had, after all, presided over and given political direction to secure what was thought to be impossible to obtain. And again, as is usually the case, as time went by, the claims and especially the second, were lampooned. more..

Editorial: EU’s coddling of wild ass media harms a vigilant watchdog press

July 8 (LB) For a govt and a system that is riddled with flaws, and that enjoys excessive wiggle room for carrying out certain undemocratic actions — the most effective antidote would be a credible robust and responsible media. But while we have many facets of the former (i.e.: rampant bad governance), we have very little of the latter. There is media – and then there is media. There is a thick gruel of corruption, nepotism and haywire governance that the mainstream media cannot more..

JHU pitches into Mahanayakes

July 8 (LB) Media secretary of the JHU Nishantha Sri Warnasingha in an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS spoke of a grave crisis and especially of one faced by the Buddha Sasana and said they were of the view that the Chief Prelates should not keep quiet but be alert to the threats to Buddhism: Q: The Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter has already stated that it is unsuitable for Buddhist monks to indulge in mainstream politics. What is the JHU’s take on it? more..

Editorial: Greek bonds and the bottom line

July 8 (Island) It is the tragedy of the UNP that many of the best people helping President Mahinda Rajapaksa to run this country had their political grounding in the green party. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, now very much between the crosshairs in the sights of opposition sharpshooters, is one of them. He narrowly missed being elected to Parliament as a UNP candidate and served as a Provincial Councilor of the opposition party. He even functioned as more..

Editorial: The colossal farce of PC polls

July 8 (ST) Elections are not the be-all and end-all of democracy. Even more so, elections that are tainted. The Govt’s decision to dissolve three Provincial Councils (PCs) before their mandate expired is firstly, robbing the people of their franchise. A Council, like Parliament or an elected President, is elected for a specific period. Extending or restricting this term on the decision of one person negates the franchise of hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of more..

'UNP needs backing of minorities'

July 8 (NS) Imtiaz Bakeer Markar is a known politician though he is not in active politics today. He was one of the high rankers of the UNP representing the Kalutara District. He was also a former Minister under the Ranil Wickremesinghe administration. However, today he is only an ex-MP, after the UNP leadership has sidelined him from all the responsibilities of the party. Even after, he was dropped from the party’s working committee, more..

All parties brace themselves for PC polls

July 8 (NS) Nominations for the elections to the dissolved North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern provinces will be received from July 12 to 19. And all political parties are now gearing up to face the polls. The SLFP, UNP and the TNA have already made the preliminary arrangements to pick suitable candidates to field in the three provinces. The SLFP has appointed three Nomination Boards which are to be overseen by Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva and John Seneviratne. more..

Delhi’s signals and Colombo’s options

July 8 (NS) Yet another Indian dignitary, Shivshankar Menon, the National Security Advisor to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in Sri Lanka last week trying to tell Colombo to get on with the task of finding a “political solution” to complete the country’s reconciliation process. Menon also asked that provincial council elections be held in the Northern Province, despite Sri Lanka’s assertion that the region needs to be de-mined. The statements following following Menon’s visit hint that he was here to convey one message: that more..

Preparations for third Test distracted by SLPL

July 8 (Island) Sri Lanka’s preparations for the third Test against Pakistan have been severely distracted due to the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) player auction that took place immediately after the second Test in Colombo resulting in players arriving in Kandy late for the third and final Test at Pallekele International Stadium that gets underway today. Instead of debating about the best way to counter the awkward angle more..

Rain a factor in 'lively' Pallekele

July 8 (CI) Sri Lanka in June and July is greener, even more beautiful and the lush hills form a stunning backdrop to the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, the host of two rain-affected Tests. The third one starting on Sunday, after some menacing rain the day before, will be lucky to get away unscathed. Amid the inevitable concerns about the weather this time of the year, there remains the promise of a more "sporting" pitch at this venue, the unforgiving more..

Indians get tough with Sri Lanka

July 8 (SL) The Indian govt is now getting tough with the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration by showing that it could not take for granted the relations between India and Sri Lanka. India will play an important role come November when Sri Lanka would be taken up for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on human rights before the UNHRC in Geneva. India is a member of the troika along with Spain and Benin that were selected by the UNHRC to oversee Sri Lanka’s UPR. more..

Landmark Celestial Tower sold at a bargain to new owner

July 8 (ST) The revival of the state-acquired Celestial Residencies, better known as Celestial Towers, at Kollupitiya has taken a new twist with an entirely new company taking over with an investment of Rs.4.2 billion far less than the earlier valuation of Rs.9.2 bilion. The site is one of the iconic properties of collapsed Ceylinco group of companies and was acquired under the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and more..

The tangled world of websites

July 8 (Island) The CID raid on the offices of the two UNP related websites, the Lanka Mirror and Lanka X News, and the arrest and subsequent release of their staff members continued to make waves last week. It was clear that this was no raid on a fly-by-night website. Mangala Samaraweera and Daya Gamage were present in courts on Friday to support the main suspect, Ruwan Ferdinandez when the case against the two websites was taken up; and the UNP has come out guns blazing in defence of their websites. more..

The image problem gets worse with rapes

July 8 (LB) Though the rape by a ruling party Tangalla Pradeshiya Sabha member cannot certainly be blamed on the govt, the problem is that there is enormous damage done to the govt’s image by the mere fact that he is a ruling party politician – at whatever level. In the same area, on December 24 last year, another PS member was apprehended for murdering a British tourist. And two weeks ago, Julampitiye Amare, also with ruling party connections though not a politician, more..

SLMC plays kingmaker

July 8 (NS) The SLMC has become the most sought after political party at the forthcoming Eastern Provincial Council elections being approached by both the govt and the TNA. However, the SLMC has so far stuck to its guns laying down rigid conditions before signing an MOU with either party. Party’s General Secretary M.T.Hassan Ali said yesterday that both govt representatives and the TNA met their leader Justice Minister more..

A debilitating case of election fever

July 8 (ST) “Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is all this fuss about elections?” “Why, Bindu,” Percy explained, “we are having elections again.” “I thought we didn’t need to have any more elections for a few years,” Bindu said. “That is true,” Percy said, “but Mahinda maama has decided that we should.” “Is that why some people are complaining?” Bindu wanted to know. “Well,” Percy said, “they say they are complaining because the elections are being held when they are not due.” “Where will these elections be held, thaaththa?” Bindu more..

Boat registration mandatory

July 8 (SL) The govt has made it mandatory for all fishing boats and fishermen to be registered, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said that both fishermen and fishing boats which are registered will also have to renew their registration annually. So far 42,000 fishing boats have been registered with the Ministry and another 5000 remain to be registered. He also said that earlier the registration of fishing boats and fishermen was done at a cost but now it is free of charge. more..

A sell-out at SriLankan Airlines

July 8 (SL) SriLankan Airlines has once again handed over the supply of duty free products to Phoenix Rising Ventures (Duty Free Partners) ignoring required tender procedure. Following our exposé last week titled ‘In-flight Duty Free Sales on SriLankan Handed Over On A Platter To Personal Favourite’, which highlighted the unethical manner in which the supply of cosmetics and fragrances was awarded to Phoenix Rising Ventures, reliable sources confirmed more..

Rapist Released

July 8 (SL) The police remained tight lipped on the release of the suspect in the double rape case at the BMICH Colombo that took place early last month. Lankadeva Dinesh de Zoysa of Ahungalla, an employee of the BMICH, had been arrested on June 9 for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl at the BMICH premises. However the suspect in the case had been granted bail last week by the Colombo Magistrate Rushmi Singappuli. When asked how the suspect had been released despite the heinous crime committed, more..

Politics should be detached from tourism sector decision-making process

July 8 (Island) Politics should be divorced from the decision-making process in the tourism sector, which they could act as a catalyst and play a huge supportive role for Sri Lanka’s economy, an industry specialist said. The authorities have decided to increase the minimum hotel room rate above US $ 200 per day, which is far too much compared with other hotels in the region, Sri Lankan Country Manager, JVD SA France/JVD Asia, Asoka Fonseka said. more..

Now - storm over Jaffna census

July 8 (LB) Controversy surrounds the last census in the Jaffna district, with Tamil political leaders now saying that it is incorrect. The problem however has arisen as the census indicates a drastic decline in the Tamil population in the country starting from Jaffna. The census conducted by the Dept of Census and Statistics shows the Jaffna District as having a 583,071 population in 2012 compared to 734,474 persons in 1981. This is 151,403 persons less. more..

S.M. Chandrasena faced the chop amid intra party battle

July 8 (LB) Minister S.M. Chandrasena yesterday stepped down from the North Central Province polls contest due to a bitter political tug o’ war in the NCP over the chief minister's post. He said last night: "I was asked to contest the NCP polls by some members of the SLFP, the Maha Sangha, the people, farmers and various organizations. But I called my supporters to my house today and and told them I am not contesting more..

Sri Lanka look to lure Pakistani golfers

July 8 (News) Sri Lanka are hoping to consolidate their sporting relationship with Pakistan by looking beyond cricket.On Friday night, top officials from SriLankan Airlines invited golfers from Pakistan to feature in the 2012 Sri Lankan Airlines Golf Classic to be held in October at the scenic Victoria Golf Club, just outside Kandy. Zaheer Abbas, the former Pakistan captain, was one of the amateur golfers, who were invited to take part in the Golf Classic. more..

Raid on two websites: Computer info still being analysed, say Police

July 8 (ST) The data obtained from the computers confiscated by the CID during the raid of two news websites – SriLanka Mirror and Sri LankaXnews – are still being analyzed, a senior police officer said. The computers have been sent to the University of Colombo for analysis of the data, he said. Meanwhile the raid on the two offices has come under criticism from media rights groups. The Committee to Protect Journalists has called more..