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President urges UPFA candidates to ensure holding of a free and fair election

July 19 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has emphasized that candidates of the SLFP and all affiliated parties of the UPFA contesting under the UPFA should ensure to hold a free and fair and peaceful election. This was stated by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. He said that the President made these comments at the cabinet meeting yesterday morning. The President has mentioned that it is necessary to hold a peaceful election enabling the people more..

Uthayan Editor grilled by CID

July 19 (CG) The Editor of the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper was questioned by the CID over a news report regarding army commander Jagath Jayasuriya. CID officers from Colombo had visited the Jaffan newspaper office yesterday and taken the Editor to the Jaffna police station and questioned him for some three hours. The Tamil newspaper said that its Editor was quizzed by two CID officers regarding the news item which appeared in the newspaper on the 11th of this month. more..

Big navies wary of ‘Sea Tiger’ type tactics – SL

July 19 (Island) The Sri Lankan military yesterday said that LTTE tactics continued to trouble naval forces all over the world, though the group’s naval wing, the Sea Tigers, no longer posed a threat. Although there hadn’t been any conclusive evidence of the Sea Tigers sharing their experience and expertise with foreign terrorist elements, navies remained wary of possible attacks using LTTE tactics, a senior official said. He was commenting on the US Navy firing, more..

Chairman of the UGC ordered to appear before Court

July 19 (NF) The Supreme Court today ordered the Chairman of the UGC Professor Gamini Samaranayake to appear before Court to explain why the order given by the Court with regard to the Z-score issue had not been carried out. This order was issued by a three judge bench of the Supreme Court. This was when a motion filed by the Ceylon Teachers’ Union to expedite the implementation of the verdict on the Z-score was taken up this morning. more..

Sri Lanka war-affected entrepreneurs to be recognised

July 19 (LBO) Entrepreneurship awards by a Sri Lankan business chamber will include two new categories this year to recognise women running small enterprises in the former war zone and disabled entrepreneurs. Sri Lanka's 30-year ethnic war which ended in 2009 left thousands of people disabled on both sides of the conflict and women widowed especially in the north and east which bore the brunt of the violence. The new awards are part of the 'Sri Lankan more..

Namal denies smuggling people

July 19 (CT) Responding to allegations leveled against him, MP Namal Rajapaksa denied involvement in illegal operations of a human smuggling ring that transports asylum seekers to Australia. “I am being targeted falsely by most of the Tamil websites, for the benefit of the Tamil Diaspora, in an attempt to bring disrepute to the country. I am involved in many projects including the rehabilitation of the youth in the North and East areas. We conduct workshops for around more..

Four SLFPers sacked over rape allegations

July 19 (DM) Four members of the SLFP including the Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman have been sacked from their posts and the party over allegations of having molested children and women. Minister Maithripala Sirisena said today they had taken strict disciplinary action against provincial council members and chairmen who are alleged to sexually molested women and children. more..

'All communities treated equally and without bias'

July 19 (DM) The govt had not discriminated any community during the resettlement process, Resettlement Authority Chairman B. H. Passaperuma stressed while dismissing allegations of neglecting Northern Muslim refugees. Responding to claims made by several concerned Muslim groups about the neglected state of Muslim refugees, Mr. Passaperuma said it is the vast amount of resettlement projects carried out for the Tamil IDP families, that is interpreted as ‘desertion’ of more..

'Practise patriotism with restraint'

July 19 (CT) If patriotism is not practised with restraint, it could cause more harm than good, former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka told a meeting of party activists and representatives of several social organization from the Maharagama electorate. “Many so-called patriots are racial bigots suffering from chauvinism. They do not display humanitarian concern towards different ethnic groups. Such people can be classed among Idi Amins and Hitlers of this world. They are unfit to engage in politics,” more..

Sri Lanka to launch the feasibility study on the Northern Expressway

July 19 (N360) Sri Lanka has decided to launch the feasibility study on the proposed Northern Expressway which will link Colombo capital with the once war torn northern district of Jaffna. Accordingly, the contract for the consultancy services to carry out the feasibility studies for the phase 1 of this project will be awarded to SMEC International of Australia. Cabinet of Ministers have already given their approval more..

Disabled war veterans want entitled benifits

July 19 (DM) A group of disabled war veterans yesterday charged that they are not being given the benefits that they are entitled to, due to the short sighted moves of the Medical Board of the Sri Lanka Army. The group which is called ‘Society of aggrieved disabled army war heroes” said yesterday at a press conference that a group of soldiers who were disabled during the war have been made to retire as any other lay person which denies them the benefits enjoyed by disabled soldiers. more..

Sri Lanka stocks up 1.4 -pct: rupee firmer

July 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka stocks ended a five day losing streak and close up1.42 percent Thursday in a broad based rally while the rupee firmed against the spot US dollar, brokers and dealers said. The Colombo All Share Price Index gained 68.47 points to 4,891.11 up 1.4 percent and the S&P 20 Index of large cap stocks closed up 0.6 percent to 2760.18. In forex markets rupee closed around 133.10/30 to the US dollar in the spot market up from 133.45/55 levels a day earlier. more..

Sri Lanka hopes to repatriate illegal asylum seekers

July 19 (Xinhua) In order to battle the problem of illegal migration, Sri Lanka establishes a national committee to repatriate those Sri Lankan nationals living illegally abroad. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Sri Lanka has entered into several bilateral arrangements with a number of countries to regulate the repatriation of Sri Lankan asylum seekers who are residing in those countries without authorization. more..

'Sexual abuse now an epidemic'

July 19 (DM) UNP MP Rosy Senanayake said that sexual abuse against women and children have now reached epidemic proportions “child rape, and sexual abuse against females have reached epidemic proportions, a woman, a student and not even a four year old toddler is spared by these creatures who take sexual pleasure in abusing them” she said. Senanayake speaking at a joint press conference organized by ‘Women for Women’, together with representatives of many other womens rights groups more..

Over 3000 candidates for PC polls

July 19 (CG) The elections department says nominations were received from 91 recognized political parties and 88 independent groups to contest the elections in the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provinces in September. However the nominations filed by two recognized political parties and two independent groups were rejected by the elections department. As a result 89 recognized political parties and 86 independent groups consisting of a total of 3078 candidates have more..

Five-year jail for quacks

July 19 (Island) The govt intends to introduce new legislation whereby, under that law, any person practising medicine illegally could be jailed for a minimum of five years instead of being fined Rs, 5,000. Minister Maithripala Sirisena would submit a Cabinet paper soon to obtain approval for the introduction of the legislation. According to a survey more 40,000 illegal practitioners (quacks) were practising medicine in the country. more..

China exports trains to Sri Lanka

July 19 (Xinhua) A total of 120 trains were shipped from the port city of Qingdao in east China's Shandong province to Sri Lanka on Thursday. The Diesel Electric Multiple Units, manufactured by CSR Sifang Co. have a maximum speed of 120 km per hour, according to the company. The shipment is the third delivery from the company to Sri Lanka. The company exported 180 trains to the country from 2000 to 2008. CSR Sifang Co., Ltd. is a leading rolling stock manufacturer based in Qingdao.

Sri Lanka commends India for LTTE ban

July 19 (PTI) Sri Lanka today praised India for continuing with the proscription of the LTTE for another two years. 'This is a very good action by India as a friendly govt', minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters. LTTE was banned in India in the aftermath of the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. Though the LTTE was defeated and virtually decimated by the Sri Lankan forces in 2009 when its supremo V Prabhakaran was eliminated, the ban continues. more..

Ranil consolidates position

July 19 (DM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today consolidated his position at the party helm , after the party’s Working Committee did away with the annual secret ballot for the election of its leader and other office bearers, and instead decided to hold it only once in six years. It was also decided that the appointments to the posts of General Secretary, Treasurer and Chairman would be done at the discretion of the party leader. more..

Korean job applicants to get good news via SMS

July 19 (Island) The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE) has taken steps to forward the Korean job offers to the youth awaiting them no sooner the SLBFE received it from Korea via SMS, the SLBFE chairman Amal Senadhilankara said. He said that SLBFE would also take steps to send other necessary information to the Korean job seekers via SMS. He added that the SMS would allow the job holders to get information easily and quickly without any expenses. Mobitel has more..

Visa Fees for Foreign Scholarship Students waived

July 19 (GDI) Cabinet approval has already been granted to implement the 100 scholarships scheme by the Ministry of Higher Education for foreign students in 48 identified countries, from the year 2012 onwards. On a proposal made by Minister S.B. Dissanayake, Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to waive the visa fees for scholarship recipients from the SAARC countries and to charge only 50 percent of the visa fees for scholarship recipients of other countries.

Sri Lanka Debrief 19 07 2012

Power corrupts, but we need the darn electricity

July 20 (NS) In our country, opportunities for abuse are endless. There appear to be no rules to protect consumers as the utilities giants continue to gouge them. A pensioner put it very pithily when describing the Ceylon Electricity Board, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the Sri Lanka Telecom: “They are the biggest snakes on Earth.” I agree, because all monopolistic behemoths, whose jobs are to ensure the workings of the nation’s basic infrastructure, have failed pathetically to do so. more..

Protecting national heritage

July 20 (NS) The week ending from tomorrow (16) is the National Archaeological Week. The annual symposium of the Department of Archaeology was also held during this week. All these coincide with the date of origin of the department – July 7. However, local media has recently been speaking about the archaeological sites of the country from a different point of view – i.e. treasure hunting. Vandalizing of archaeological sites and treasure hunting has noticeably increased during the last few months. more..

Sending ministers home will not solve crisis

July 20 (NS) There is plenty of slogan shouting in the country’s streets today calling on Ministers S.B. and Bandula to resign immediately. Both these ministers are experienced and have held different ministerial posts during their political careers. Why should they resign? The FUTA, Trade unions in the education sector, and student unions affiliated to the JVP all say the same thing regarding this issue. The reasoning is that the Z-Score formula which serves to assess more..

'Bull-headed arrogance of Vellahla politics and violence'

July 20 (LB) Before proceeding any further it should be emphasized that the focus of these essays has been on the Vellahlas because no other factor or entity wielded the kind of power in northern — and subsequently in national — politics as this self-adulating and self-destructive caste. The Vellahla factor, incidentally, is the most under-reported, under-explored, under-estimated and marginalized force in Sri Lanka political science, ignored even by the leading more..

The family jewels are hanging for all to see. How will they hide the loot?

July 20 (SL) The Party sets itself up as a defender and protector of virtue and tries hard to convince people that in a terribly corrupt system those at the top are clean and upright – but that is simply not the case – the rot goes right to the top”. Do you think those words are a description of Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe or some tin-pot banana republic? Actually the answer is it was a recent description of the ruling party of China. The very same country that Sri Lanka has more..

Is it Wonder of Asia or mania?

July 20 (DM) The Rajapaksa Govt echoes that Sri Lanka is stepping towards the Wonder of Asia. The definition of the term Wonder of Asia does not seem to have circulated within the govt itself. In the absence of a clear-cut definition on Wonder of Asia it appears that the characters within the govt have resorted to pronounce their definitions as they deem fit. In terms of the definition outlined by the Urban Council Chairman of President’s very own hometown Tangalle, more..

An exclusive Muslim list of candidates

July 20 (DM) The run up to the Eastern Provincial Council Elections has once again exposed the lack of a clear political vision or strategy among Muslim political actors. In the weeks leading up to nominations there were a number of statements from Muslim politicos as well as news items which painted a conflicting picture of what the Muslim political parties had in mind for the forthcoming elections. The Eastern Province being an area having an almost equal mix of the three more..

Stand Athwart Censorship in Sri Lanka

July 20 (GV) In Tom Stoppard’s superlative play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Ros shouts “Fire!” and when questioned by Guil, Ros reassuringly responds, “It’s all right – I’m demonstrating the misuse of free speech. To prove that it exists.” After surveying the audience with “contempt”, Ros says, “Not a move. They should all burn to death in their shoes.” Now consider the next example, which is as famous as it is hackneyed in free speech/expression debates. more..

'Threats and intimidation have already started'

July 20 (DM) TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran spoke to the Daily Mirror on the TNA preparations for the EPC Elections, the commitment of the party to the Parliamentary Select Committee and the Militarisation of the North. Q. When it comes to the upcoming local govt elections, what will be your campaign strategy? A: Basically door to door, through newspaper and we will also have public meetings. In the East, when we have it as a province, more..

Violent rulers; violent mores; violent nations

July 20 (SL) In post-war Sri Lanka, violence is everywhere. Over 700 children were raped/abused in the first six months of 2012 – a horrendous rate of four a day. Murders (including custodial murders) are so common they barely make the news. In post-war Sri Lanka, violence is becoming the method-of-choice to resolve a conflict, fulfil a desire, deal with an opponent, enrich oneself or just vent out. The extent to which the virus of violence has infused the national-bloodstream can be gleaned from two recent outbursts of intra-Buddhist conflict. more..

Taking it to the streets

July 20 (CT) Last week, university dons around the country took to the streets asking people to sign a one million-signature petition demanding that the authorities safeguard the state-funded education system of the country. In Kandy, some famous professors and academics from University of Peradeniya turned up in the middle of the city and explained to people why they were asking people to sign the petition. The preamble to the petition reads: “Education is a primary feature of all human societies today. more..

Boston Lanka News: July 19, 2012

The reason of protest

July 20 (CT) 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. University academics are up in arms. Teachers complain of grievances. University students boycott lectures as though their lives depend on it. The non-academic staff of the universities have shown up in Colombo in considerable numbers to register objection. more..

Editorial: A dangerous trend

July 20 (Island) Some lawyers went berserk last November, smashing up as they did furniture in the Colombo High court, when the judgment in the White Flag case was delivered. The judges were insulted and had to be removed to safety. Arguing that anyone who had issue with courts over judgments could always appeal instead of breaking chairs or hurling abuse at judges in court houses, we cautioned in these columns that such action would set a very bad precedent unless the more..

Hyatt ends hiatus

July 20 (FT) The long-awaited Rs. 20 billion Hyatt management venture recommenced yesterday in what aims to be the Colombo’s biggest hotel and tallest building in Sri Lanka. The 43-storey venture, which will have 475 rooms and 90 luxury residential suites, will be built by Sinolanka Hotels and Spa, according to its Chairman Gamini Senarath, who delivered the welcome address at the ceremonial recommencing of work at what was previously a Ceylinco investment more..

Stock Market: What can the President do?

July 20 (Island) A senior stock market analyst says President Mahinda Rajapaka has little options at his disposal to lift the falling stock exchange, warning that relaxing regulations and interfering with ongoing investigations into market malpractice would not help the bourse in the long run. "The only option available to him is to advise all industry stakeholders to promote the CSE globally. The EPF cannot lift up the bourse by investing in dud stocks and banks most definitely will not invest in the stock exchange because it would be bad for their more..

Sri Lanka ‘A’ suffered a humiliating eight wicket defeat

July 20 (CI) Seamer Elton Chigumbura's career-best spell of 6 for 24 bowled Zimbabwe A to the final of the tri-series in Harare. Sri Lanka A needed a victory to have a chance of reaching the final but were rolled over for 81 by Chigumbura, virtually ending their chances. The early wicket was provided by Tendai Chatara, who took 2 for 27, and Zimbabwe kept taking wickets thereon as Chigumbura destroyed the middle order. Vusi Sibanda and Craig Ervine ensured Zimbabwe did not slip after more..

Sri Lanka given Boxing Day Test at MCG

July 20 (Island) Sri Lanka will play the prestigious Boxing Day Test Match at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) later this year, 17 years after the infamous no balling of champion spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in 1995 in front of over 55,000 spectators. It will be Sri Lanka’s second appearance at the venue for the traditional Test Match. Cricket Australia also announced that Sri Lanka will play a three match Test series this time although the country’s previous two visits to more..