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Sivagnanam blames Sampanthan for creating ethnic rifts

July 5 (Island) Propaganda Secretary of the newly formed People’s Movement of the East for National Harmony (PMENH) and former EPRLF member Murugesu Sivagnanam blamed TNA leader, R. Sampanthan for what he called creating rifts between ethnic communities in the Eastern Province. Murugesu, a former EPRLF local govt politician, said that Sampanthan kept on changing his position on the national issue. The TNA leader had, he said, earlier backed the LTTE more..

My life in danger – FUTA Chief

July 5 (Island) President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri yesterday said that his life was in danger as the threats against him were continuing. Commenting on university teachers’ strike which commenced yesterday, Dr. Devasiri said that it had been launched as the govt had failed to solve teachers’ problems. He said that he had received a second telephone call on Tuesday threatening him to stop the strike. more..

'Staggered PC polls costlier'

July 5 (Island) Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said that neither the incumbent Commissioner nor the proposed Independent Election Commission would be able to prevent Provincial Council elections being held on a staggered basis. There was no provision in existing laws for him to step in to prevent that, Deshapriya said. The Polls Chief was responding to a query, where he issued instructions to both print and electronic media as regards the polls coverage. Asked whether polls on a staggered basis more..

‘Polls campaign could affect GCE A/L candidates’

July 5 (Island) The Elections Department has warned that PC polls campaign in the Eastern, Sabaragamuwa and North-Central Provinces could adversely affect those sitting the GCE (A/L) exam 2012. Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said that he would discuss the issue with senior representatives of political parties, the IGP and the Senior DIG in charge of the Police Election Secretariat tomorrow. He said that propaganda campaigns could be a major hindrance to more..

Cases against Diyawadane Nilame stayed

July 5 (Island) Central Provincial High Court Judge of Kandy Manilal Waidyatilake yesterday (04) stayed all Court proceedings initiated at the Kandy Additional Magistrate’s Court with regard to four cases filed by a former Basnayaka Nilame against the incumbent Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela. High Court Judge Waidyatilaka recorded the order after considering an application by the Diyawadana Nilame, of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Pradeep Nilanga Dela. more..

Ranil wants ‘right to education’ enshrined in Constitution

July 5 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that the right to education should be enshrined in the country’s Constitution as a Fundamental Right. He said: "We have to ensure that right to free education is protected in the country and to do that we should make the right to education a fundamental right. If the government brings such an amendment, the UNP will support it." more..

Expert Comm. appointed to advise UGC on ‘Z-score’ - SB

July 5 (Island) Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissnayaka told Parliament yesterday that a three-member expert committee had been appointed to advise the UGC on how to implement the directive of the Supreme Court on the calculation of the Z score. "The UGC is working expeditiously to implement the Court’s directive and I can assure your that university admission will begin without delay once this matter is sorted out," the Minister said more..

'Sri Lanka almost paid price for toss gamble'

July 5 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene has said his team almost 'paid the price' for putting Pakistan in to bat in the second Test in Colombo. The Test ended in a draw, but Sri Lanka had come into the final day facing the possibility of being made to follow-on. The result meant Sri Lanka head to Pallekele with their 1-0 lead in the three-match series intact. It was a gamble in a way, but not a very good one, and we almost paid the price for that," Mahela said after the game. more..

SLPL player draft behind closed doors

July 5 (DM) The player draft of the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) T20 will be held today at 5 p.m. at Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo behind closed doors and will be out of bound for media. “Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has taken a policy decision to not allow the media attend the player draft. It will be limited only to SLC officials and members of the SLPL franchises” said SLC’s Head of Marketing and Communications Vajira Dassanayake. more..

Sri Lanka to establish diplomatic relations with 15 African countries

July 5 (GDI) Sri Lanka Govt has decided to establish Diplomatic Relations with 15 African countries. Mauritania, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Central African Republic, Gabonese, Cameroon, Cote d'lvoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Togolese Republic, Niger are the countries. Of the 62 countries that are in the African region 54 are sovereign states and Sri Lanka maintains residential more..

Fitch affirms Sri Lanka at "BB-"

July 5 (Xinhua) Fitch Ratings has affirmed Sri Lanka at "BB-" with the outlook for ratings as Stable, the agency said in a statement here on Thursday. The Country Ceiling has also been affirmed at "BB-", and the short-term foreign currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at "B". "The ratings reflect Fitch's view that the authorities have taken the appropriate action to correct recent pressure on the balance of payments and place it on a more more..

500 Tigers hoping for Eelam: Minister

July 5 (DM) Last Friday’s Vavuniya Prison hostage drama is only the tip of the iceberg and the defence establishments have found some 500 hardcore LLTE cadres with international links in 10 prisons and they are trying hard to revive the LTTE, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday. He told a media briefing that the govt would do its best to identify the assistance coming in from foreign elements to those who more..

Jayalalithaa asks Centre to cancel Sri Lankan Air Force training

July 5 (PTI) Taking objection to the training being imparted to Sri Lankan Air Force personnel at an Indian Air Force base near Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalaithaa urged the Centre to immediately cancel the programme and send the personnel back to Sri Lanka. “At a time when there are voices demanding equal status for Tamils in Sri Lanka, reports about Sri Lankan Air Force personnel receiving training at more..

'Media laws to be amended'

July 5 (DM) The government said today that laws with regard to the media would be amended making the registration of news websites compulsory by law. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that media freedom in Sri Lanka was not under threat. “Free media is not under threat. All we want is to ensure the right of reply for people who may be maliciously targeted by certain sections of the media. It is with this in mind that we directed all news websites be registered,” he said. more..

Editorial: Overnight Buddhas and instant Bodhi Satvas

July 5 (DM) Attaining Buddhahood or Arahathood is not a work of a day. Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka, the mushrooming of Bodhi Satvas has gone out of control. There is no village in the map that has not bred at least one such extra-ordinary creature. Though the accuracy of the Dhamma they propagate is very much in question, they do not seem to be short of followers. The protest that was held in Wanduramba against a religious more..

Sri Lankan stocks slip 0.44 percent

July 5 (LBO) Sri Lankan shares ended 0.44 percent lower on Thursday, on volumes of 25.7 million shares, with turnover driven by Malaysia’s Dialog Axiata Plc, brokers said. The benchmark All Share Price Index dipped 21.97 points to 4,924.61, the liquid25-stock Milanka Price Index eased down 0.35 percent to 4,357.66, while the S&P Sri Lanka index, which tracks the 20-most liquid stocks slipped 0.42 percent to 2,797.39. Thursday’s turnover ended at 332.71 million rupees, more..

Alleged plan to overthrow Govt.

July 5 (CT) Evidence concerning an alleged plan to overthrow the govt have been recovered by engineers attached to the IT Department of the Colombo University, from a seized computer of Sri Lankamirror and Sri LankaxNews, the CID informed the Colombo Magistrate’s Court. The CID informed Court that it required computers and other equipment to be delivered to the IT Department of the Colombo University, to obtain further information regarding the matter. more..

Disabled forces personnel being paid Rs 65,000 each per month - Dinesh

July 5 (Island) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said in Parliament yesterday that 5,626 disabled armed forces personnel had registered with the forces they had served. He said there were 4,952 army, 440 navy, and 234 Air Force personnel categorized as disabled being paid an all inclusive monthly payment of approximately Rs. 65,000. This payment was inclusive of pensions, he said adding that the govt had spent a sum of Rs 2,253.88 million in 2011 alone to pay salaries more..

UNP says govt. militarising schools

July 5 (DM) UNP today charged that the Govt was trying to militarise schools by giving military training and military ranks to school principals. UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said the Govt was also trying to suppress people protests over education blunders by installing principals with military training. “The govt is using various means to stop people from taking to the streets and highlighting the mistakes and blunders in Sri Lanka’s education system,” he said. more..

Bajaj Auto cuts Sri Lankan product prices

July 5 (ET) Auto major Bajaj Auto cut prices of its 2-wheelers as well as 3-wheelers in Sri Lanka in order to bring back volumes lost post the excise duty hike in the country. Sri Lanka accounts for almost 5-7 per cent of the total volumes of the company. The company indicated that they have cut the prices of their 3 wheelers by 10 per cent while the 2 wheeler segment saw price cuts to the tune of 5 - 14 per cent depending on the model of more..

Unions demand probe report on Health Services DG be publicised

July 5 (Island) Public Services Trade Union Confederation yesterday demanded that the govt publicize the findings of a probe conducted by the Presidential Investigation Union (PIU) on fraud and corruption alleged to have committed by the Director General of Health Services. Addressing a press conference, on behalf of the confederation, trade unionist Saman Rathanapriya said that the head of the PIU, Tilak Iddamalgoda had submitted more..

Prof. Thattil heads govt. ‘Z-score’ committee

July 5 (Island) Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayaka told Parliament yesterday that a three-member expert committee headed by Prof. R. O. Thattil, of the University of Peradeniya, had been appointed to advise the UGC on how to implement the Supreme Court directive on the calculation of the Z score. The minister said Vice Chancellor of the Peradeniya University, Prof A. Epasinghe was another member of the committee. The third member wasn’t named. more..

'Religious heads should decide on clergy doing politics'

July 5 (Island) The controlling bodies of the religions should decide whether the clergy, including Buddhist monks, should be allowed to engage in politics, Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said. Addressing a press conference yesterday, Minister Alahapperuma said that according to the Sri Lankan Constitution the clergy, including Buddhist monks, have rights to engage in political activities. more..

Sangakkara returns to the top of the world

July 5 (PTI) Kumar Sangakkara has reclaimed the number-one batting spot from West Indies' Chanderpaul in the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen after another big century against Pakistan in the second Test that ended in a draw. Sangakkara, who entered the Test trailing Chanderpaul by six ratings points, earned 42 ratings points for his magnificent 192 that has put him 36 points clear of the West Indian and just eight points short of once again returning to the 900 points mark. more..

Self employment to Mullaitivu Families under Divi Neguma

July 5 (GDI) The govt is making concerted efforts towards providing infrastructure and other facilities including self employment opportunities for the people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces battered by the war and remained oppressed under the jackboots of the terrorists until recently. In order to incentivize the people in self employment, and enlighten them on the benefits that could be achieved through participating in the Divi Neguma programme, more..

Sri Lankan envoys to learn handling pro-LTTE lobby

July 5 (PTI) Facing flak for failing to counter adverse propaganda against their country by pro-LTTE lobby, Sri Lanka's top diplomats posted overseas have been summoned home to take part in a workshop aimed at helping them better handle the island nation's foreign policy. The External Affairs Ministry officials said the two-day resident workshop will take place at the hilly resort of Diyatalawa this weekend. more..

Report on Katunayake police shooting still not released – Unionists

July 5 (Island) Although a formal request had been made to Secretary to President Lalith Weeratunga to make public the Mahanama Tillekeratne report on the killing of Katunayake Free Trade Zone employee Roshan Chanaka by police in May last year (2011), the document had not been released as yet nor has the request been acknowledged, Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ GSEU) Secretary Anton Marcus said yesterday. more..

‘Discussed with SL Prez steps for Tamils' rehab’

July 5 (PTI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told his government's key partner DMK that he had taken up with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse the steps required for rehabilitation of Sri Lankan Tamils in that country. In his letter dated June 25 to DMK chief M Karunanidhi in response to the latter's objections to the reported controversial remarks of a Sri Lankan Minister relating to Tamils, Singh said he had discussed this matter also with Rajapakse. more..

Police record 700 child rapes this year

July 5 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has seen a rise in the number of underage children being raped or abused this year, the police said on Thursday. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana told Xinhua that over 700 incidents of rape or abuse of children were reported during the first six months of this year. He said this was out of a total of around 900 complaints received by the police this year of women and children being raped or abused. more..

Sri Lanka concerned over Palestine

July 5 (CG) Sri Lanka says it remains deeply concerned about the suffering and hardships the Palestinian people continue to endure, and the grave situation that persists in the occupied Palestinian territory. The Sri Lankan delegation at Human Rights Council 20th Session in Geneva said that the govt is also profoundly disappointed that no tangible results have been achieved for the two-state solution and the realization of the rights of the Palestinian people. more..

Sri Lanka expropriated sugar firms begin to hit tax payers

July 5 (LBO) Two sugar mills expropriated by the state last year has begun to burden ordinary citizens with the finance ministry channeling 557 million rupees from taxes extracted from the people to the firms. A mid-year fiscal report to parliament revealed that 550 million rupees had been given to cover day to day expenses of two expropriated firms, Pelwatte and Sewanagala Sugar Industries. Seven million rupees had also been given to buy a vehicle. more..

Power users asked to conserve energy

July 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka's power users should cut energy use by 10 percent to help avoid power cuts until more rain comes in the inter monsoonal period, power minister Champika Ranawaka said. "We will keep providing power. But if energy is conserved by another 5 percent, it will make it easier for us to manage," Ranawaka told reporters Thursday. "We want state sector private sector and households to save energy." more..

Ministers are like prisoners: Hemakumara

July 5 (DM) Former Presidential Advisor Hemakumara Nanayakkara alleged that Ministers of the govt are like prisoners. “The senior Ministers are like prisoners unable to do what they want to do - even the rest of the cabinet ministers are treated like prisoners. All the funds are concentrated among a few people and many of these Ministers are angry about it. The ministers don’t have any funds to work with,” he said. He said the state machinery was completely ridden with corruption. more..

JVP names heads nomination lists

July 5 (DM) The JVP has announced the names of those who would head the nomination lists of its candidates contesting the forthcoming elections to the three provincial councils. It said former MP Vasantha Samarasinghe would be the chief ministerial candidate for North Central Provincial Council, former parliamentarian Gamini Ratnayake for the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council and former parliamentarian Vasantha Piyatissa for the Eastern Provincial Council respectively. more..

Sri Lanka Debrief - 05 07 2012

Urgent programme to provide relief to drought stricken people

July 5 (GDI) Sri Lanka Government has decided to provide relief to people living in the districts of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa in the North Central Province and in other districts affected by the recent drought. Some of the urgent measures that have been taken are dredging of major irrigation reservoirs in order to increase the water retention capacities, renovation of canal systems, agricultural wells, provision of water pumps to locations where necessary, more..

Sri Lankan firms urged to store data in the ‘clouds’

July 5 (LBO) Sri Lankan firms engaging in large scale data operations could switch to storing information on remote centres over the internet, that could trim costs by up to 70 percent, IT officials said. Popularly referred to as cloud computing, these data centres also lower the price of handling and maintaining physical data storage centres. “A cloud based computing model delivers faster, more efficient services at a lower cost than traditional data centre models,” more..

Sri Lanka considers imposing death penalty on drug traffickers

July 5 (Xinhua) The govt is planning to introduce death penalty against drug traffickers. Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that with the increase in international drug trafficking via Sri Lanka, the president is contemplating the re-introduction of death penalty. According to Sri Lankan law, death penalty can be imposed on drug traffickers, murderers and rapists but it has to be consented by the president. more..

ICT without agency?

July 6 (NS) There is in Sri Lanka an Information and Communications Technology Agency. There are also Ministries of Science and Technology, Mass Media and Information, Telecommunication and Information Technology and incredibly, Technology and Research. In addition, we have the Department of Govt Information. Finally, there is a National Science and Technology Commission. The combined financial and human resources needed to maintain these institutions are significant more..

TNA’s gibberish on Mullikulam

July 6 (NS) TNA’s main platform at present is to vilify the Sri Lankan defence forces as they have very few options after their armed ‘boys’ were pushed out of the political agenda. Their latest fabrication is about 200 IDP families resettled in Mullikulam said to be chased away by the Navy. The TNA MPs are busy in spreading the fiction to their constituents and to the foreign do-gooders who are expected to carry the burden of Tamil separatism for another sorrowful lap. more..