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Lankan talent shines at South Asian cultural diversity event

July 17 (DN) Choreographic talents of young Sri Lankan Americans dazzled an audience of US State Department officials, diplomats and guests on Thursday at a cultural performance held at the Dean Acheson Auditorium of the US State Department in Washington DC. The event was the 3rd Annual Cultural Diversity Event organised by the South Asian American Employees Association (SAAEA) of the United States Department of State. Sri Lankan dance artistes performed in five out of more..

Sri Lanka aims to shine via Premier League

July 17 (FT) In 25 days or even before, cricket fever is certain to sweep the country, dwarfing any depressed sentiments over the economic downturn, bearish stock market or focus on election, as promoters of Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) last night unveiled what they described as carnival of passion for this popular sport. Primarily to boost future talent and facilities especially in rural areas, the SLPL will also give a welcome fillip to the country’s tourism, more..

GMOA accuses Ministry of ignoring PSC guidelines

July 17 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday accused some Health Ministry high officials of ignoring the guidelines issued by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in carrying out the preliminary investigations into alleged incidents of corruption at the Jaffna Teaching Hospital. The PSC had recommended that the Health Ministry temporarily transfer Jaffna Hospital Directress Dr. Ms. Bavani more..

Was petrol price rigged too?

July 17 (Island) Concerns are growing about the reliability of oil prices, after a report for the G20 found the market is wide open to "manipulation or distortion". Traders from banks, oil companies or hedge funds have an "incentive" to distort the market and are likely to try to report false prices, it said. Politicians and fuel campaigners last night urged the Govt to expand its inquiry into the Libor scandal to see whether oil prices have also been falsely pushed up. more..

Gota denies alleged journo-threat

July 17 (LB) A Sunday newspaper last week alleged that the said newspaper’s female editor had called the defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to clarify a story about a matter allegedly involving him — and that the defence secretary had abused her in unparliamentarily language, and also threatened her. Certain media rights groups have meanwhile taken up the matter, and some others including opposition politicians have called for the resignation of more..

A Damning Record

July 17 (SL) The complaints on the rape of under aged girls continue to increase with another case of a girl being raped over a period of two days is reported from Nawalapitiya. The 15 year old girl from Ovitamahakumbhura in Nawalapitiya had been reported missing by her family on July 4th. Fathima (name changed) had been picked up by a known three wheeler driver in the area at a round 10 p.m. on the 2nd of this month when she had gone to the boutique to buy a loaf of bread. more..

Ruwan Ferdinandis once more at the CID

July 17 (SM) Director editorial of Sri Lanka X News and former director editorial of Sri Lanka Mirror, Ruwan Ferdinandis was summoned today (16) as well to the CID, for questioning. He was summoned to the CID yesterday too, to record a statement. Accompanied by a lawyer, Mr Ferdinandis was questioned for 7 1/2 hours. On the 6th of July, he was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrates’s Court by his lawyers when the plaint filed by the CID more..

A candid post-mortem of the LTTE

July 17 (IANS) This is a cold-blooded yet comprehensive post-mortem of the rise and fall of the LTTE and its boss Velupillai Prabhakaran who thought, till nemesis caught up with him, that he could never be vanquished. Murali displays admirable writing and reporting skills to present an otherwise complicated story of Sri Lanka's Tamil conflict, which lasted over a quarter century, into a chronologically detailed but easy to read work. Murali was eminently suitable to record the blood-soaked story. more..

Policy framework to cement social integration

July 17 (DN) All members of society including politicians, religious leaders as well as ambassadors, should play an active role in facilitating social integration, eliminating existing divisions, without trying to exploit these divisions for petty political and other gain, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. He made this observation at the inauguration ceremony of the Social Integration Week at Temple Trees. more..

At Flying Fish Cove, they keep coming

July 17 (DT) AN asylum seeker boat has been intercepted after approaching an off-shore oil and gas operation area off Darwin. HMAS Pirie came to the aid of the 58 asylum seekers and three crew on board yesterday after the boat was watched overnight. Customs said the boat first approached the oil and gas installation Liberdade. The operation reported the boat to Border Protection Command and the passengers will be taken to Darwin. more..

Sri Lanka launches 10-year sovereign bond

July 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka has launched a 10-year sovereign bond with order books opening in Asia on an initial price guidance of 6.125 percent. Last year Sri Lanka launched a bond with a slightly higher price guidance. In the secondary market Sri Lankan bonds have been trading at a premium to issue price in recent months. Sri Lanka is aiming to raise a billion US dollars from the bond, a part of which will be used to repay a maturing 500 million US dollar bond more..

Mahela cautions SLPL to set priorities right

July 17 (DM) Mahela Jayawardene confirmed that Sri Lankan cricketers will not take part in the forthcoming Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL), an Indian Premier League (IPL) style T20 tournament, unless the country’s cash strapped governing body Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) signs the annual Central contracts with the cricketers. “We will only sign SLPL contracts once the central contracts of Sri Lanka players are settled” Jayawardene told a packed more..

SLMC betrays Muslim community - Azath Salley

July 17 (AD) UPFA Colombo Municipal Councilor Azath Salley stated that Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Minister Rauf Hakeem had betrayed the Muslim community with the decision not to join a coalition of Muslim parties for the upcoming elections. As the Muslim community constitutes 42% of the Eastern Province, which is the largest numerically community, Salley stated that the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka together with more..

6-year-old Sri Lankan refugee in TN raped and killed

July 17 (Hindu) Security was strengthened at the Sri Lankan Refugee Camp in N.Mettupatti as tension prevailed over the murder of six-year-old Sirija alias Srinidhi. According to police sources, the girl was raped before being killed. “The victim’s naked body was found in a cement pipe under the culvert on Tiruchi Road, about a kilometre from the camp, during the late hours of Sunday. The body had a deep slit on the throat more..

Editorial: Norwegian temptation

July 17 (DM) It seems that Norway has an incurable itch to interfere with the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. Two national newspapers yesterday reported on the Norwegian embassy’s failed attempt to persuade an alliance between the SLMC and TNA in view of the upcoming provincial council polls. The newspaper went on to reveal that the mastermind diplomat behind the strategy was believed to have the blessings of the countries that are demanding a probe against the alleged war crime more..

Stocks down 0.5-pct, rupee weaker

July 17 (LBO) Stocks fell 0.5 percent Tuesday, with large cap stocks including banks losing ground, in a day which a billion US dollar bond was launched in international capital markets, brokers said. The Colombo All Share Price Index 27 points to 4,853 and the S&P20 Index of large cap stocks fell 0.7 percent (19.3 points) to 2,755.7. Turnover was 255 million rupees. Aitken Spence Plc fell 3.80 to 111.0 rupees, John Keells Holdings fell 1.70 rupees to 178.20 and more..

Top female Sri Lankan rebel undergoes rehabilitation

July 17 (Xinhua) A top female Tamil Tiger rebel is undergoing rehabilitation at a camp in Vavuniya. The Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brigadier Dharshana Hettiarrachchi said that Thamilini, the former political leader of the women's wing of the Tamil Tigers, is being rehabilitated at the Poonthottam Rehabilitation Centre in Vavuniya. A court last month ordered that Thamilini be sent for rehabilitation more..

New car registrations plunge in June

July 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's new vehicle registrations plunged 46 percent to 21,587 in June 2012 from a year earlier, with new three wheelers falling 64 percent an analysis by an equities research unit has shown. An analysis of new vehicle registrations by JB Stock brokers said new car registrations fell 66 percent to 1,454 in June 2012, from 4,397 a year earlier. Motor bicycle registrations fell 46 percent to 11,634 in June from 21,833 a year earlier and three wheelers fell 64 percent to 4,134 from 11.630. more..

Several people threatened for ransom

July 17 (CG) The Mirihana police say they have uncovered an attempt by a gang to threaten several people and demand ransom. Investigations have found that some people have already deposited money out of fear to accounts maintained by the gang at various banks. The gang has been threatening to cause harm to the children and other family members of the individuals they contact. The bank accounts have been maintained at Bank of Ceylon, Commercial Bank, Sampath Bank and National Savings Bank branches in more..

Sri Lanka to end colonial-era telegram service

July 17 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is finalizing plans to end the age-old telegram service citing unprofitability due to e- mail and other forms of communication. Sri Lanka has been operating a largely unprofitable telegram service for years without seeing profits, Postal Minister Jeevan Kumaratunge told media adding that only an average of 50 telegrams are sent daily. "As a result we are considering closing that department more..

UNP threatens to take legal action

July 17 (DM) The UNP charged today it would take legal action against the Govt if it used and abused state property for election campaigning. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayaka said the govt was using state property for campaigning and would go to courts if the govt continued to do so. “The govt is blatantly using state property. The use of state vehicles in the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provinces was reported to be high. We hope that Elections Chief will more..

Embilipitiya PS chairman joins UNP

July 17 (DM) The Embilipitiya Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Wijaya Witanage (UPFA) today joined the UNP to contest the forthcoming Sabaragamuwa Province Provincial Council election representing the UNP from the Ratnapura district. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe handed over the appointment letter to Mr. Witanage today. Wijaya Witanage said he had decided to join the main opposition, as he was finding it difficult to serve the people while at his present post. more..

National plantation awards ceremony 2012

July 17 (IL) The National Plantation Awards Ceremony 2012, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka was held at Temple Trees recently under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The award ceremony was being held to recognize the contribution made to the national economy by the growers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, small holders, factory owners, regional planters, exporters in the plantation sector and reward them by presenting National Plantation Awards. more..

Attempt to sell infant fails

July 17 (DM) Three persons including the parents of a six day-old infant were arrested by the Chilaw Police today for attempting to sell the infant, Police said. The parents of the infant had initially given the child to a married couple in Kalpitiya to adopt, after the parents had decided that they had no means to nourish the infant. However, the original father had later demanded money from the couple, who refused to pay the biological father any cash for the child. The biological father had then made a police complaint more..

Vietnamese, Sri Lankan foreign ministers meet on bilateral ties

July 17 (Xinhua) Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh met with his Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris for talks over bilateral relations in capital Hanoi on Tuesday during his four-day visit to Vietnam. During the meeting, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh spoke highly of Peiris's visit to Vietnam, adding that his visit plays an important role in further expanding the Vietnam-Sri Lanka multifaceted traditional friendship relations. more..

Sri Lankan defence personnel cut short India Visit

July 17 (PTI) Two senior Sri Lankan defence officials today left here cutting short their visit to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington in the wake of protests by political parties in Tamil Nadu against imparting training to them by India. Air Vice Marshal Jegath Julanga Diaz of the Sri Lankan Air Force and Rear Admiral S Ranasinghe of the Lankan Navy left the hotel where they were staying in Coonoor near Wellington at around more..

Deputy Minister Sarana among 16 suspects released on bail

July 17 (AD) Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources, Sarana Gunawardena and 15 others were released on bail by the Attanagalla Magistrate Court today after the group had been accused of causing damages to a private property. The group including the Deputy Minister were released on a personal bail of Rs.100,000 each after they were informed by police to be present at court to answer the allegations against them. The Police Spokesman stated that more..

'34,000 Muslim refugees in North and East neglected'

July 17 (DM) The welfare of Muslim refugees in the North and East had been ignored by both the govt and the international community, several Muslim groups complained. According to these groups that consist of members of the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) university academics and politicians, around 34,000 Muslim families were thought to be refugees out of whom around 22,000 had registered themselves to be resettled in their original lands in the North. more..

FUTA not calling off strike unless demands are met

July 17 (CT) The University academics’ strike is still going strong, and the academics will not be calling off the strike anytime soon, the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) said. Speaking to Ceylon Today, FUTA spokesperson Dr Devaka Weerakoon asserted that the lecturers will not be calling off the ongoing trade union action until the government grants a concrete solution to the issues in the education sector. more..

Six Sri Lankan journalists sue over their arrests

July 17 (AP) Six Sri Lankan web journalists filed a court case Tuesday seeking for their arrests last month to be declared illegal and demanding compensation, an attorney said. Saliya Peiris said the six staff members of , a website critical of the government, filed the case in a court in Colombo, the capital. The petitioners said a police raid on their office and the subsequent arrests were unlawful and aimed to stifle freedom of expression, more..

Multiple blunders in second term test papers

July 17 (DM) A series of grave blunders are being reported in exam papers given to students at the second term tests that are being held in schools countrywide at present. The Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe claims a lot of students were made to undergo inconveniences as a result of the blunders in their term test papers. He said Grade 10 and 11 students of the Piliyandala education zone faced complications last Friday due to multiple blunders in the Sinhala paper. more..

Sri Lanka in push for stronger economic ties with US

July 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka is pushing for stronger economic ties with the United States to which will strengthen overall diplomatic relations between the two countries, a top diplomat said. "At this point we have a very straightforward and genuine relationship with the US," Sri Lanka's envoy to the United States, Jaliya Wickremasuriya said. "We don’t agree to everything the US says nor do we say no to everything. more..

We want to start season on good note: Dhoni

July 17 (PTI) Set to embark on a short tour of Sri Lanka, Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said that it was important for his team to begin the new season on a good note by performing well in the limited overs series. Dhoni said that a good series against Sri Lanka would also be a confidence booster for the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in September-October in the same country. India play five one-dayers and one-off Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka starting July 21. more..

Sri Lankans rush to flee before deadlock breaks

July 17 (TA) The failure of the parliament to reach a deal on offshore processing created a window of opportunity for Sri Lankan boatpeople, but Sri Lankans are convinced the expert panel convened by the federal government will break the deadlock and forge a solution that will once again shut down the asylum route from South Asia. Amid a surge in boat traffic, a prominent Sri Lankan security expert, Shanaka Jayasekara, said his countrymen and women feared the chance to more..

Ali Baba and his 40 thieves-SF

July 17 (DM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said that the current political culture replicated Ali Baba and his 40 thieves, with middle level politicians following their leaders. “Now the rogues in this country are the middle level politicians, and it very clearly seems like Ali Baba and his 40 thieves. I saw in the newspapers an article in which one politician had said that they should always take advice from the Mahanayakes of this country. more..

'Only criminals are abducted by white vans'

July 17 (LT) When a daily newspaper, after publishing that several ‘white van’ abductions had been carried out during the recent past, had asked the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Gotabhaya Rajapaksa regarding this, he had responded by stating only criminals are abducted by white vans. He had further stated only those who had raped ten or fifteen women have been abducted by white vans and said that when such wrongdoers are removed from society by any means more..

Call for Sri Lankan envoy's expulsion

July 17 (CT) Outspoken Greens senator Lee Rhiannon has demanded Sri Lanka's top envoy be expelled from Australia, branding the former admiral a war crimes suspect. Senator Rhiannon has accused Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Australia, Thisara Samarasinghe, of boasting about stopping asylum seekers in 2009 as they fled the country's brutal civil war. But Australian Federal Police confirmed they had dismissed war crimes allegations against Admiral Samarasinghe more..

Sri Lanka Debrief 17 07 2012

Kandy Market cries for revamping

July 18 (NS) The market place that stands at the centre of the city, close to the Bogambara prison and the clock tower, was constructed with funds provided by the late Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and slated to be declared by him. But untimely death prevented him from doing so. The two-storied building, the brainchild of the late E.L Senanayaka, the then Mayor of Kandy, was completed in 1959. Carrying bags filled with green goods, women toss their heads, more..

Collective consciousness, fair play and violence

July 18 (NS) Two weeks ago (July 1) in the Nation, I wrote of the violent events at Dambulla and Wanduramba exploring the similarities and differences of the terrain of concepts which framed the events. Dambulla was about sacred space, there I said, an idea we owe to British archaeology and its nationalist appropriation, and Wanduramba to another modern idea of false belief that is tied to mass consciousness. more..