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How credible are the latest official claims concerning troop reductions in Jaffna?

July 11 (GV) The extent of military presence in the North of Sri Lanka has understandably been the focus of much attention. This week’s edition of the Economic and Political Weekly carries an interesting commentary on the topic, which suggests that there is 1 military personnel for approximately every 5 civilians in the Northern Province. If true, this is really extraordinary, especially because, as the commentary points out, more..

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa shoots from the hip as well as the lip

July 11 (DBS) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, is perhaps the most controversial personality in Sri Lanka. He is interviewer’s delight because of his forthright, no-holds barred comments are sure to be a hit. At the same time, he is media man’s nightmare because Gotabhaya does not allow critical comments go unchallenged and makes no bones about it (pun not intended). None can deny Sri Lanka benefited from the veteran’s return from the U.S. in 2005. more..

Editorial: People's patience running out

July 11 (Island) The govt, writhing under heavy flak over the ever increasing crime rate, has sought to ‘make a molehill out of a mountain’. There has been no such rise in the incidence of crime and the media are blowing the situation out of proportion, it claims. People are the best judges. They are aware that it is thanks to the media that the government has woken up and taken notice of people’s grave concern about their children’s safety. Protests against child abuse are more..

Expropriation act hits finance company

July 11 (Island) A listed finance company has seen a downgrade in its credit rating because of the controversial expropriation act. RAM Ratings Lanka has downgraded the long-term financial institution rating of Bimputh Lanka Investments PLC, from BB to BB-. At the same time, the short-term rating has been reaffirmed at NP. Meanwhile, the Rating Watch (with a negative outlook) on the Company has been lifted and the stable outlook on more..

Reservoir neglect heightens farmer plight - minister

July 11 (DN) Irrigation and Water Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said if small scale reservoirs had been renovated, farmers would have been able to cope with the prevailing drought. "The renovation of small scale water reservoirs had been delayed for a long time resulting in the present predicament of the farmers," He said hitting out at environmentalists and wildlife organisations who had become a stumbling block to the renovation programmes. more..

'China, a tower of strength to Sri Lanka'

July 11 (DN) 'China was a tower of strength to Sri Lanka, especially when we faced various challenges in the international arena, External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L Peiris said. The minister was making the keynote address at the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the People's Republic of China and 60th anniversary of Sri Lanka - China Rubber Rice Pact, at the BMICH yesterday. The Sri Lanka China Friendship Association, more..

Karu urges Govt. not to abuse state resources in run up to polls in 3 PCs

July 11 (FT) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya has urged the Govt not to abuse state resources in the run up to the polls for the three Provincial Councils whilst emphasising elections must be free and fair. Following is the full text of the statement: We wish to reiterate to the Government to at least conduct the proposed provincial council elections according to the guidelines of the Commissioner of Elections and in a free and fair manner, more..

Colombo port city: A cruel joke, says Harsha

July 11 (Island) UNP lawmaker and economist Dr. Harsha De Silva slammed the govt for literally throwing away the country’s resources to the sea. "Is it a cruel joke on the already suffering people that US$ 900 million, before the usual cost escalation of at least 50 percent, is to be wasted to reclaim 234 acres of sea to build, among others, a golf course? That is exactly Rs. 500 million per acre or Rs. 3.125 million per perch just to fill the sea," he said more..

Paranavitana comes through when it counts

July 11 (CI) One of the biggest challenges for a Test specialist is the fact that he gets only a few chances to prove himself when his form plummets. The proliferation of limited-overs contests and Twenty20 leagues has shrunk the Test calendar in certain countries and, when under pressure, the lengthy periods between Test series can be agonising for these players. Many hours are spent in the nets, rectifying specific technical deficiencies. There's always more..

Connections | July 09, 2012

Monk among 4 arrested attempting to sell ‘Gaja Muthu’

July 11 (Island) Four persons, including a Buddhist priest, were arrested by a team of police sleuths, while they were attempting to sell two ‘gaja muthu’ (pearls found in elephants tusks) in Kandy. The four were produced before the Kandy Magistrate’s Court and they pleaded guilty. Police told Court that the suspects were planning to dispose of the ‘gaja muthu’ for Rs. 200,000. Chief Magistrate Ravindra Premaratne allowed them to be released on bail in Rs. 15,000 more..

Marriott hotels announces first resort in Sri Lanka

July 11 (LTM) Marriott International will open the Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa in 2014 – this will be Marriott's first property on the Indian Ocean island. The 200-room, 11-storey Weligama Bay Marriott Resort and Spa, will be operated under Marriott’s flagship Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand. Marriott International is a world renowned operator and franchiser of a broad portfolio of hotels and resorts which include Bulgari Hotels and Resorts and The Ritz Carlton. more..

Economic Summit kicks off with wakeup call for Sri Lanka

July 11 (FT) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce-organised Sri Lanka Economic Summit kicked off yesterday, with an emphatic message to both the Government and the private sector that challenges are mounting and success as a nation will depend on a strong collective effort to be competitive. Delivering a keynote address peppered with bold remarks, World Bank South Asia Chief Economist Dr. Kalpana Kochhar said global risks and more..

‘Z-score’ advisory committee meets today

July 11 (Island) The committee appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to advise the UGC on how to implement the Supreme Court directive on the calculation of the ‘Z score’, would meet for the first time today. The six-member committee, headed by Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, includes Chancellor of the Peradeniya University P. W. Epasinghe, Prof. R. O Thattil, Prof. Sarath Kulatunga, Prof. Sarath Banneheka and Prof. P. Ariyaratna. more..

Wimal calls for tougher action against criminals

July 11 (Island) Housing Minister, Wimal Weerawansa on Monday called for urgent prison reforms to tackle the continuing crime wave. Addressing a public gathering at Grandpass, the NFF Leader alleged that the failure on the part of the government to implement existing laws had contributed to the rapidly deteriorating situation. The minister pointed out that those held at various prisons had been able to receive a range of comforts, including foreign liquor. more..

Convicted migrant workers to be blacklisted

July 11 (DM) The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau had decided to blacklist all Lankan migrant workers who return after being convicted in the Middle Eastern countries for various crimes. Most of these workers had been found guilty for allegedly staying without Visas and working and other places, escaping from house holds, robbery, engaging in prostitution and for flouting the laws of the country where they were employed. They are all to be blacklisted more..

Places of religious worship, some luxury hotels breed dengue - Survey

July 11 (DN) Almost all places of religious worship and luxury hotels in the Western Province maintain potential dengue mosquito breeding grounds in their premises, a sample survey conducted by the entomological unit of the MRI has revealed. Two schools, 31 places of worship and 15 hotels and tourist resorts were subjected to this sample survey conducted in the Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts on June 1 and almost all of them had potential mosquito breeding grounds, more..

Police, army rescue U’grads from Hantana

July 11 (Island) A combined police and army team, in the early hours of Tuesday (10), rescued six undergraduates of the Moratuwa University who had been stranded in the Hantana Mountain range on Monday night. The six first year undergraduates, had been on an excursion in Kandy on Monday and had entered the Hantana Mountain range but had lost their way when attempting to return, due to inclement weather accompanied by thick mist. more..

CID ordered to provide Court with complete report on Duminda’s condition

July 11 (Island) When the case inquiring into the Mulleriyawa gun battle, in which Presidential advisor Baratha Lakshman Premachandra was killed and Parliamentarian Duminda Silva critically injured, was taken up yesterday, Colombo Additional Magistrate Prasanna De Alwis ordered the CID to provide a complete report on parliamentarian Duminda Silva’s condition and to record the Attorney General’s instructions at the next date of hearing. more..

Wattala PS works to rule

July 11 (DM) The Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha has decided not to remove garbage from the roadsides under its purview during the dengue eradication month which started on June 25, as the authorities had issued a circular prohibiting the transportation of garbage in state owned vehicles during this month. Responding a question as to what the people should do with their garbage during that period, Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Thiyagaratna de Alwis said he could not offer any suggestions regarding this. more..

Polls violations in Kegalle, Trincomalee

July 11 (CT) The elections monitoring body, CaFFE on Monday complained to the Elections Secretariat regarding the polls violations taking place in the Kegalle and Trincomalee districts. CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon told Ceylon Today that six incidents related to election violations have been reported in the Trincomalee districts. He further added that in the Kegalle district six candidates, from both the UPFA and UNP have been identified for more..

‘Cartoonists can help build disciplined society’

July 11 (DN) ‘Cartoons can be described as a medium which can provide a great message to society through humour and entertainment. ‘Therefore the contribution of cartoonists is expected towards building a disciplined society by way of providing creations that will set an example to the future generation, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he met a group of cartoonists at Temple Trees yesterday morning. more..

India Pavilion adjudged the best

July 11 (DN) The ‘Pro Food Pro Pack 2012’ held in Colombo provided an excellent platform to around 45 participating Indian companies to showcase their wide range of agro and food products to the Sri Lankan public and business community. There was strong buyer interest in the Indian products such as wine, fresh fruits like mango, pomegranate, apples from Kashmir and Himachal, table honey, ready-to-eat snack foods, pulps, fruit juices, health foods, curry paste and fresh ginger. more..

Another attempt at unitary Muslim parties to elect a CM

July 11 (Island) General Secretary of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) Y. L. S. Hameed said that with a Muslim population of 42 per cent in the Eastern Province the Muslim community was determined not to give in this time on the matter of having a Chief Minister from the community. He said that out of the nine Provinces in the country, the Eastern Province was the only province in which a Muslim could become Chief Minister and on the last occasion, in May 2008, more..

Cases against LTTE cadres to be speeded up

July 11 (DM) The govt has decided to speed up the prosecution of all remaining hardcore LTTE cadres and rehabilitate those who have been charged with minor offences, acting Attorney General Palitha Fernando said yesterday. He said the cases would be heard within three months and a four-member committee has been appointed by the govt to do this work. The committee headed by Additional Solicitor General and Former Justice Ministry Secretary Suhada Gamlath more..

Universities paralysed for the seventh day

July 11 (Island) The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) yesterday said that they would collect signatures from the public beginning tomorrow for a petition against the government’s delay in solving their problems. The universities remained paralysed for the seventh day yesterday due to the strike launched by the university teachers. FUTA spokesman Dr. Devaka Weerakoon said that they had collected signatures for the petition from all universities during last week. more..

Legitimate owners get their lots back

July 11 (CT) The British High Commissioner John Rankin has been briefed by the Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj. Gen Mahinda Hathurusinghe that the lands in the North are not being grabbed by the Security Forces, but that the houses and other assets used by the Army are now being gradually handed over back to the legitimate owners. The British envoy John Rankin who was on a two-day-visit to North, met Maj. Gen Hathurusinghe at Palaly SF Head Quarters on Monday and more..

Upper Kotmale finally connects to national grid

July 11 (Island) The much-delayed and much-discussed last of the major hydro power projects, the Upper Kotmale Project will provide five per cent of the country’s energy needs after it is connected to the national grid from Saturday. The total cost of the project was Rs. 44 billion. The Sri Lankan Government provided Rs. 10 billion and the Japanese Government Rs. 34 billion. The temporary run of the plant had commenced on June 30. more..

Days of political eunuch’s numbered -Sajith

July 11 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday said that the end of the road was in sight for political eunuchs in Sri Lankan politics. Addressing the media after leading delegation of UNP MPs to a meeting with Amarapura Nikaya Mahanayake Davuldena Gnanissara thero, at Wijayarama in Nugegoda, the MP said that the means and methods employed by political eunuchs have come to an end therefore the days of political eunuchs was numbered. more..

Minister Champika faces music

July 11 (LB) Minister Champika Ranawaka says that some farmers have alleged that the govt has decided to save large water resources in reservoirs in order to facilitate the landing of planes, and other development drives. He explained that they have given approval for such a purpose only to the Castlereigh reservoir. “The water level at Casltereigh is at 13 per cent. That is the reservoir with the lowest level of water among all the major reservoirs.” more..

Media rights groups concerned over threat to Frederica

July 11 (SL) Several international media rights groups have expressed concerns over the safety of The Sunday Leader Editor Frederica Jansz after Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa threatened her with death. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Article 19 called on the international community to address the threat and raise their concerns with the govt. As far as Frederica Jansz is concerned, more..

Sri Lanka's Muslim Congress defers poll decision

July 11 (Xinhua) A Sri Lankan Muslim party, which is an ally of the ruling UPFA, has deferred to July 13 its decision on contesting the upcoming polls for eastern provincial council, where it is keen to install its own member as chief minister. After a lengthy session of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress' (SLMC's) High Command, it was decided to defer the decision-making to Friday, when another meeting of the body will be convened more..

Colombo Law Faculty joins the strike

July 11 (CT) The Colombo Law Faculty will also join the university lecturers’ strike action today, Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) said yesterday. FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said, faculties and universities which had not taken part in the trade union action which commenced on 4 July were now joining them. The academics of Kelaniya University will decide if they will join in the trade union action today, Dr. Devasiri said. more..

Post-war reconciliation:Vasu’s son lashes out at TNA

July 11 (Island) The National Languages and Social Integration Ministry yesterday said that a successful post-war reconciliation effort meant the TNA wouldn’t have an environment conducive for its project. In the wake of the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, nothing could be as important as pursuing national reconciliation efforts, though there were shortcomings, advisor to the ministry, Sankajaya Nanayakkara said. more..

IMPA President calls for setting up of lab for private drug imports

July 11 (Island) A former Sri Lanka Independent Medical Practitioners’ Association (SLIMPA) President called on the govt to immediately check some of the drugs imported from GlaxoSmithKline because the company was fined US$ 3 billion for bribing doctors and encouraging the prescription of unsuitable antidepressants for children. Glaxo was also expected to admit failing to report safety problems with more..

Probe on army food poisoning

July 11 (CG) An investigation is underway over the cause of the food poisoning which saw over 100 soldiers attached to the Mattegoda army camp being hospitalized yesterday. Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasekera said that 133 soldiers were admitted at two hospitals yesterday after the dinner they consumed at the army camp on Monday made them fall sick. The health condition of the soldiers admitted to hospital was not serious and they should be more..

Sri Lanka confident 2012 growth will be 7 pct

July 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank and finance ministry asserted on Wednesday that the country can still have economic growth of about 7 percent this year in spite of domestic problems and the global economic slowdown. The central bank, which on Wednesday kept policy rates unchanged for a third straight month as expected, said it was confident the economy would meet its 7.2 percent growth target this year. The secretary of the Finance Ministry said that more..

Trade Unions protest against Wimal

July 11 (DM) Pro govt trade unions protesting opposite the State Engineering Corporation today, charged that Minister Wimal Weerawanshe has over 35 vehicles for his personal use and were filling the corporation with henchmen who are given bogus posts. The convener of Joint Trade Unions Thushara Gunasekara said that Minister Wimal Werawanshe is directly responsible corruption in the corporation. “The Minister has over 35 vehicles for his personal use, more..

Northern Province elections in September 2013, says Rajapaksa

July 11 (Hindu) Elections to northern provincial council will take just over a year from now. “We want to hold elections in September 2013,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa told The Hindu. “We are working towards it [the elections] in a systematic manner.” In an interaction at Temple Trees, here, Mr. Rajapaksa said there were many issues to be resolved ahead of holding of elections. The primary one related to the electoral rolls. more..