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Tip about a puppy and a plane has political edge for Sunday Leader journalist

July 14 (TS) In Sri Lanka, a country notorious for its lack of press freedom, even a story about a puppy can draw a veiled death threat from the government. Newspaper journalist Frederica Jansz last week pursued a tip that Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had pulled some strings to help out a family friend. Gotabaya allegedly ordered an airplane being used for a July 13 commercial flight from more..

Former greats rue slip-ups for Sri Lanka defeat

July 14 (AFP) Former players blamed Pakistan's failure to make the most of their chances for their 1-0 defeat to Sri Lanka, which ended the side's two-year unbeaten run in Test series. "Pakistan had opportunities in all three Tests but they let them slip away and that cost them the series," Sohail said. "Pakistan didn't read the pitches correctly and that's why they didn't select the right combination." He said Misbah was short of ideas for how to use his bowlers in Sri Lankan conditions. more..

President opens Upper Kotmale power project today

July 14 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will declare open the new 150MW Upper Kotmale hydropower project today at the auspicious time of 10.45 a.m. The ceremonial opening will also be attended by Minister Champika Ranawaka and Ambassador of Japan Nobuhito Hobo. The construction work on the project was launched in 2006, after much delay because of protests. The protests also led to the pruning down of its capacity from 300MW to 150 MW. more..

UNP reformists call for rebellion against Ranil

July 14 (Island) A call went out on Thursday to UNP members to rise against their party leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, Mangala Samaraweera and members of the Working Committee loyal to the leader before the forthcoming elections to three Provincial Councils. The call was made by reformist firebrand and Secretary of the Movement for the Protection of the UNP and its Trade Unions, Lal Perera, who said all party reformists were more..

Sri Lanka plays balancing act between U.S. and Iran

July 14 (WP) The Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka might seem an unlikely cockpit for a game of global power politics, but that is exactly what it has become. Both India and the United States have tried to encourage Sri Lanka to respect human rights and promote post-war reconciliation three years after the end of a long-running civil war, but both countries are wary of pushing too hard. Their greatest fear is that Sri Lanka will slide inexorably down the path followed by more..

Millionaire hacked to death

July 14 (DM) The owner of the ‘Kapruka Textile Shop’ in Gampaha Town, millionaire businessman Larik Saman Rajapaksa (44) has been hacked to death Friday night at around 7 pm while he was at his shop. The murderers, who had entered the shop which was located close to the Gampaha Police station, by force, had allegedly hacked off one of his hand and had targeted his face, police reported. While being attacked the victim had attempted to run towards the police station but he had not been allowed to do so due to the sheer savagery more..

JVP to draft a Bill to establish a pension scheme for Private Sector

July 14 (Island) The JVP is planning to present a private member’s Bill to Parliament, in September, to introduce a private sector pension scheme. President of the pro-JVP Inter Company Employees’ Union (ICEU) Wasantha Samarasinghe said that the party would prepare a draft after studying the existing pension schemes in the world. "So far we have referred to the private sector pension schemes of six counties including more..

'Ranil, Mangala planning to field CBK at next presidential polls'

July 14 (Island) A prominent UNP reformist accused UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe and the party media committee head Mangala Samaraweera of covertly planned to field former President Chandrika Bandaranaike as the common candidate at the next presidential election. Secretary of the Movement to Protect the UNP and its Trade Unions, Lal Perera said that Wickremasinghe and Samaraweera said the reformists had reliable information about Wickremesinghe’s secret plan. more..

Police arrest 10,648 wanted persons in 3 weeks

July 14 (Island) The police have arrested 10,648 absconding offenders during the last few weeks. The failure on the part of the police to arrest Julampitiye Amare in spite of a several arrest warrants on him is believed to have led Inspector General of Police N. K. Illangakoon to order his men to hunt down the criminals on the run. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that the police personnel country wide had launched special operations to nab 12,588 wanted persons. more..

'Employment for school leavers after A/L and O/L, a bigger problem to solve'

July 14 (Island) The problem related to the students who leave school after sitting the A/L and O/L examinations was bigger than the problems related to the university students, said Monitoring MP of Education Ministry and Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry, Mohan Lal Grero, after assuming duties as the Monitoring MP of the Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry on Thursday at the ‘Nupunatha Piyasa’ in Narahenpita. more..

TID probes new LTTE propaganda campaign

July 14 (CT) The Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) is currently probing into LTTE operatives who have launched a fresh propaganda campaign within the country, via the use of mobile phones and phone memory cards. Sources from the TID confirmed that the current focus of the investigation comes in the light of recent interrogations of former LTTE cadres, who were responsible for the Vavuniya Prison hostage crisis last month. more..

'Samaraweera is trying to make UNP a lap dog'

July 14 (NF) The CID raided the buildings housing the Sri Lanka Mirror and Sri Lanka X news websites on June 29. This was on charges of possessing anti-govt material. At the time the raid was carried out UNP Working Committee Member and Head of the UNP Communications Unit, Mangala Samaraweera vehemently objected to it. At a media briefing, Samaraweera stated that he would file fundamental rights petitions over the matter. more..

SLC decides to reject Marsh’s Demand

July 14 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) seems headed for another costly legal wrangle as its Executive Committee decided on Thursday to reject the sacked national coach Geoff Marsh’s demand for payments as SLC terminated his contract prematurely. SLC had received new legal advice telling them that they do not need to pay anything more to the former Australian batsman and coach, and and the Ex Co had accordingly decided to reject his demand. more..

Drought hit paddy farmers: UNP demands Rs.200,000 compensation

July 14 (Island) Farmers affected by the drought should be paid a minimum compensation of Rs.200,000 per acre, while public servants deserve at least a Rs.7,500 salary increase the main UNP said. The govt was trying to pay a token compensation to farmers due to the forthcominging Provincial Council Elections, but that would not be enough for the affected persons to survive until the next crop, more..

Govt. hospitals short of 20,000 Nightingales

July 14 (Island) The Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) has urged the Health Ministry to seek approval from the Public Service Commission and the Cabinet to increase the Nursing cadre to overcome the existing dearth of nurses in government hospitals. Administrative Secretary of the PSUNU, Hector Francis, said yesterday that the present cadre had been determined way back in 1998. Francis said that it was over a year since the new Nursing Cadre was drafted by the more..

'It was an amazing experience'

July 14 (IANS) He almost developed cold feet before shaking a leg in front of Indian dancing diva Madhuri Dixit. But Sri Lankan master blaster Sanath Jayasuriya, who is back in his country after being eliminated from reality show "Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5", says he was especially overwhelmed with the great actress' warmth and the whole experience was "amazing" though "tough". He has gone back with happy memories and hopes to return to more..

SLMC to contest with the UPFA

July 14 (CG) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has decided to contest the upcoming Provincial Council Elections for three provinces with the ruling UPFA, the government information department said today. The decision was taken by the SLMC High Command which met last evening, the information department said adding that the party will contest in all three provinces including the Eastern Province with the UPFA. more..

Karuna invites Rudra here to see the real picture

July 14 (DM) Former LTTE Eastern Commander and Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna invited leading LTTE Diaspora activist V. Rudrakumaran and his followers to visit Sri Lanka and witness first hand the ongoing development in the area. “The pro-LTTE Diaspora has been brainwashed by the LTTE. People like Rudrakumaran have formed the so-called transnational govt and have mobilized people (in the diaspora). more..

India extends ban on LTTE

July 14 (PTI) The govt has extended the ban on LTTE declaring that it continues to adopt a strong anti-India posture and pose a grave threat to the security of its citizens. The Home Ministry said the activities of LTTE are detrimental to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and there is a continuing strong need to control all such separatist activities by all possible means. "LTTE continues to adopt a strong anti-India posture as also continues to pose a grave threat to the security of Indian nationals, more..

Editorial: Alarm bells ring on unrestricted imports

July 14 (DM) Just as we swallowed wholesale the globalised capitalist market economy and are now paying a heavy price for it with a dangerous gap between the rich and the poor, we also appear to be swallowing the good and bad factors in information and communication technology. Senior Minister and Communist Party Leader D.E.W. Goonesekera, addressing the party’s 69th anniversary sessions lashed out at the capitalist economic policy and the unrestricted imports which more..

$2.3m to cut mango crop losses in Sri Lanka and India

July 14 (LR) Consumers of mangoes around the world and their farmers in South Asia could soon benefit from new technology that will increase the shelf life of the popular fruit. University of Guelph professor Jayasankar Subramanian has teamed up with colleagues in Tamil Nadu, India and Sri Lanka to cut mango crop losses due to poor post harvest storage. $2.3 million of funding for the project was recently announced by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and more..

Sanath's last dance at Jhalak Dikhla Jaa

SLN renders Assistance for Indian Salvage Operation

July 14 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy assisted an Indian salvage team for the salvage of Indian fishing trawlers bearing the Registration NumbersTN/10/MFB/982 and TN/10/MFB/308 in the seas off Delft in Northern Sri Lanka. The assistance was rendered on humanitarian grounds in response to a request made by the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka. The Indian salvage team consisting of 08 boats and 62 crew members escorted by Indian Coast Guard Ship Rajtarang was received by more..

DRS drama, and Sri Lanka move on from Murali

July 14 (CI) Pakistan's coach Dav Whatmore demanded to know why it wasn't available. Mohammad Hafeez was more moderate but shared his coach's views. During the first Test in Galle, both of them said the inconsistent implementation of the DRS was affecting the game. The system was available, without Hot Spot, in Sri Lanka's previous home series, against England. When Pakistan arrived, three months later, Sri Lanka Cricket couldn't provide it because of the costs involved. more..

Indian-origin Tamils form new alliance in Sri Lanka

July 14 (PTI) Political parties representing Indian-origin Tamils have forged a new alliance, while the main Muslim party remained with the govt for the upcoming provincial polls. Three provincial councils are to go to mid-term polls early September. "We have formed an alliance with Ceylon Workers' Congress (CWC) and Upcountry People's Front", Mano Ganesan of the Democratic People's Front (DPF), which is another minority Tamil party said. more..

Sri Lanka suggests single clearance document for regional trade

July 14 (LBO) A single document that harmonises different regulations of South Asian countries for clearing cargo would help boost regional trade, minister G.L Peiris said. Trade among countries of the South Asian region was far below its potential and simplified procedures were needed to increase volumes, he told a forum on trade facilitation in Colombo Friday. "Regretfully, volumes of trade within the south Asian region are far, far below what it should be," more..

Several villagers in Kalpitiya and Puttalum face eviction from their lands

July 14 (Island) Several villagers in the Kalpitiya and Puttalum areas with clear titles/deeds are now scared of the govt’s claim that their lands belonged to the State. Recently the Survey Department had surveyed the lands and claimed that the lands belong to the State. The villagers have been threatened to either to vacate the lands or pay taxes for a 33-year -lease period. The issue has already affected the livelihood of the people as most of them believe that more..

New Kalladi bridge to open next year

July 14 (CG) The new Kalladi bridge which is being parallel to the old bridge in Batticaloa will be open for the public by early next year, Deputy Minister M.L.A.M. Hizbullah said. Speaking to a group of journalists he said that the construction work on the bridge will be completed by the end of this year. He said that a new investor had come forward to assist in financing the construction work after there were issues with the previous investors. more..

Talented Pakistani Artist exhibits her work in Sri Lanka

July 14 (GDI) An Exhibition by a very talented and versatile artist from Pakistan Ms.Noorjehan Bilgrami will take place at Paradise Road Galleries and will be opened on 19 July 2012. Ms Bilgrami, is an artist, textile designer, researcher and a filmmaker. Her interest in traditional crafts had led to the establishment of KOEL, a workshop that pioneered the revival of block printed fabrics and natural dyes and handloom weaving in Pakistan. She has been working actively with more..

Residents say they experienced ice showers

July 14 (NF) The Disaster Management Centre says that residents in the Bandarawela town and the Madolseema area experienced ice during heavy showers. Assistant Director of the Badulla District Disaster Management Centre, E.M.L. Udaya Kumara said that the residents of Bandarawela town experienced showers of ice at around 3 p.m. Friday. Meanwhile, residents of the Madolseema area experienced ice along with heavy showers at around 4 p.m. yesterday. more..

'Didn't want to jeopardise our hard work'

July 14 (CI) Some people have argued that we weren't ambitious enough to push for a win in the Pallekele Test to seal the series 2-0 instead of 1-0. We would have loved to finish with a memorable victory, but unfortunately that was not possible in the end. Nevertheless, we came out on top against Pakistan, who had beaten the No.1 Test side in the world (England) 3-0, by playing positive cricket in tough situations. more..

Editorial: Crime blown out of proportion

July 15 (SO) There is nothing new in notorious criminals and those in the underworld taking cover under unscrupulous politicians of various hues. This sub culture was a sequel to the open economy and the preferential voting system introduced in 1978. The open market economy, by the JR regime from 1977 induced most people to worship the god of mammon to lead a superior lifestyle as evidenced by the unprecedented volume of imported luxury items that flooded the market. This no doubt gave rise to underworld characters to resort to anything in more..

Editorial: Gotabaya Rajapaksa – O Tempora O Mores

July 15 (SL) There is no difference or should be none between human beings. But, is that a reality in Sri Lanka? No. Certainly not. The most recent incident where Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Defense Secretary lost his temper and used foul language brought home some truths about human behaviour, at least from some sections of our people. The language and tone of the delivery evoked a huge outcry from journalists across the civilized world. The international press and more..

'Creating a better citizen through rehabilitation, our aim'

July 15 (SO) The prison system in the country is one that has undergone severe criticism in the political circles and the media for decades and they have become more vulnerable places in the most critical stages of the country in the past. The recent incident in Vavuniya prison and many other incidents in other prisons became hot topics among the public during the past few weeks. more..

Editorial: The reason of protest

July 15 (NS) Pensioners took to the streets early this week. Media organizations protested too. On Saturday, a dozen or so dog lovers stood at Lipton Circus pointing out that the city can be beautified without ‘white-vanning’ dogs. Teachers complain of grievances, academics are up in arms, students boycott lectures, non-academic staff of the universities agitate. Doctors threaten to strike, nurses often do. Protests are a part of democracy and are a part of our political culture. more..

Editorial: Devil quotes scripture; shaky Paki (etc.) call for Gota’s removal…

July 15 (LB) Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu asking for the removal of Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the alleged verbal abuse of a newspaper editor is a Bible-study case of devil invoking scripture, insofar as Saravanamuttu who did his utmost to stymie the war effort, now seeks to remove the architect of the successful campaign against the LTTE with a trumped up case of ‘abuse and harassment’. Saravanamuttu and his ilk agitating over this affair, including Mangala Samaraweera, and more..

'Consensus between SLFP and UNP, solution to N-E people'

July 15 (SO) Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara said emphatically that as far as the grievances of the Tamils are concerned, it could be solved only if the two main political parties, the SLFP and the UNP reach consensus and thereafter hold talks with all Muslim and Tamil parties. The Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer said if this is not forthcoming, the problem will remain unsolved and inherited by the next generation. more..

Editorial: Thoughts on the PC elections

July 15 (Island) The celebrated American showman, P.T. Barnum, is credited (some say wrongly) with the famous statement that "there’s a sucker born every minute." Perhaps the ruling party in this so-called Democratic Socialist Republic of ours and its various panjandrums may well believe that a sucker is born not every minute but every second. Why else is this manna from heaven dropping on the laps of the people with provincial council elections only a few weeks away? more..

Editorial: RTI - A people’s govt. must enact it

July 15 (ST) It took an Indian Minister to come to Colombo and extol the virtues of a Right to Information (RTI) Law and explain how it has empowered the ordinary citizens of his country. Ironic as it is, this piece of progressive legislation was first introduced in Sri Lanka even before India did, but it was stillborn. A Freedom of Information Bill was drafted by a committee headed by the then Attorney General with stakeholders involved in the process. more..

'Hirunika may not agree - but I did right accepting post and house'

July 15 (LB) Last week we quoted Hirunika Premachandra, daughter of slain Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra in an interview as saying she 'will not cave in even if the mother does,' in relation to her mother agreeing to a presidential appointment and the facility of a house, despite the unsolved case regarding the father. This week, we interviewed the mother for her views. more..