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'EPF, ETF investments: Policy guidelines followed'

June 25 (SO) Investment policy guidelines were followed when monies of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees Trust Fund (ETF) were invested, Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said in Parliament last week. He made this observation in response to a special statement by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe under Standing Order 23(2) in Parliament. He said: “I wish to give a comprehensive reply to the matters more..

Off-beat poser: 'With a king size shawarma on a 'Gasaa', can Gota dump this regime ?'

June 25 (CT) A few days ago, I ran into a school pal a few years junior, at a Colombo pub, after almost two decades. His first reaction was that I should stop writing against the Rajapaksas. At least wait till MR is elected again. “You’d then lose the purpose of writing, anyway.” he told me. Not me alone, but the other two with me also perplexed by his straight spat, we got chilled into a foamed larger and sat silent. But then, this sent us completely off the rocker. more..

Thuggery: Silence amounts to consent

June 25 (CT) Julampitiye Amare is not an anomaly. And that is the definitive statement of the culture of immunity that describes thugs and thuggery, assassins and assassination in Sri Lanka over the past several decades. The court observed that the man had not been arrested despite dozens of warrants being issued. That’s not news. What’s news is that the Police had the gumption to say ‘Only five warrants were issued’, as though the smaller number somehow explain inability to more..

A veritable epidemic of govt goons

June 25 (CT) Is this Govt comprised solely of underworld characters and law breaking Ministers? We may be forgiven for answering this far from rhetorical question in the positive for a multitude of persuasive reasons. Week after week, we hear of underworld thugs who violate the law and escape with impunity. The latest is Julampitiye Amare identified by eye witnesses as being involved in the recent attack on a rally of the JVP more..

Post-war Sri Lanka’s thought Police

June 25 (GV) As mentioned by TSA, the govt has prepared a lengthy, heading-less, and inappropriate questionnaire (in poorly written and, at times, incoherent Tamil) which has been used to obtain information about ex-combatants before they leave Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centres (PARCs). The document appears to place no genuine emphasis on emotional wellness at all; one need not be a mental health professional to see that. No information was was given as to why more..

Failed agreement wreaks havoc in education

June 25 (NS) University students island wide have been left high and dry due to the ongoing strike by non- academic staff. Two rounds of discussions were held between members of the Non-academic staff Trade Union Alliance and the Labor Commission last week during which, it was agreed to reach an agreement. The entire university trade union leaders agreed to proceed according to an agreement. Educational and other activities in all universities across the island came to a halt more..

'I have a voice, I raise it when required'

June 25 (SL) Q: You are one of the most senior politicians in the country. How do you see the current political situation? A: There are lots of challenges for the country, but there are opportunities as well. All countries in the Asian region have now become emerging economies. Sri Lanka is a small country with a lot of potential. However, there are areas that need to be addressed. The country depends currently on Western Europe and the US for more..

International widows’ day celebrations of 2012 in Nedunkerny

June 25 (GV) A group of war widows in the Nedunkerny region of the Wanni District celebrated the International Widows’ Day on 22nd June, 2012 at the conference hall of the Nedunkerny Pradesa Sabai. This meeting was organized by an NGO in collaboration with the relevant officers of the Divisional Secretary of Nedunkerny who had arranged for the distribution some material for income generation activities provided by NGOs. The funds for this meeting was provided by more..

Katuwana killings - gone is not the bullet-ridden past

June 25 (NS) Violent attacks on innocent unarmed people have become common at recent times though violence hand in hand with political rivalry is not of recent vintage. Killing two people and injuring many others who were attending a meeting of the JVP at Katuwana in the Hambantota District brought back unholy memories of political violence that rocked the country years back. It was a small ‘pocket meeting’ held at the garden of Ranjith, Hardiwatte, Katuwana last week and more..

Unravelling an ancient secret

June 25 (ST) The tea-break was over and the team had just reassembled at about 11 in the morning in the pit at the smaller cave of Pahiyangala, Bulathsinhala, for a research excavation. What they did not realize was that they were about to stumble onto an ancient secret. As they gently, very gently and meticulously, with tiny brushes swept away the earth (no big trowels or mammoties for them), while physically blowing away the dust, excitement mounted. more..

Editorial: Telling the messenger what to say

June 25 (Island) The Opposition, or a section thereof, has taken exception to what it calls inadequate press coverage of parliamentary proceedings. It is of the view that backbenchers' contribution to vital debates does not get conveyed, the way they should be, to the public as a result. There may appear to be some lapses on the part of the national press as regards the manner in which the parliamentary proceedings––or those of other political institutions for that matter– are more..

JKH buys more land for mega project

June 25 (FT) Premier blue chip John Keells Holdings (JKH) has recently acquired 60 perches of land adjoining its head office in Glennie Street in Colombo 2 at a cost of Rs. 5 million per perch in a deal worth Rs. 300 million. The price paid for the latest acquisition to further expand its land base of around 10 acres is in line with the FY12 valuation of Ceylon Cold Stores land in Colombo 2. The value in the previous year was Rs. 3.5 million per perch. JKH holds the estimated more..

Q1 budget deficit 2.8% of GDP

June 25 (Island) The budget deficit for the first quarter of the year reached 2.8 percent of GDP with revenue growth slowing down and expenditure growth racing ahead, data released by the Central Bank last Friday. The govt’s fiscal deficit target for 2012 is 6.2 percent of GDP. This could be a worrying sign with the deficit almost nearing the halfway mark of the full year’s target in just three months. Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera has said that more..

Eleven treasure hunters caught in the act

June 25 (Island) The Nochchiyagama police nabbed eleven persons while digging up a ‘Biso Kotuwa’ (Sluice gate) of an ancient tank at Katupathweva, Horuvilagama in the Wilpattu National Park on Friday (22). Police found three bottles of a chemical liquid used to dissolve motar and concrete, books containing esoteric charms, excavating tools and equipment, items needed to make religious offerings in the possession of treasure hunters. A small lorry belonging to more..

SLFP concludes campaign to rejuvenate party in East and Sabaraganuwa

June 25 (Island) The SLFP successfully concluded its recent two day campaign to rejuvenate and reorganize the party at the grass root level in the three districts of Amparai , Batticaloa and the Trincomalee in the Eastern Provincie and the two districts of Ratnapura and Kegalle in the Sabragamuwa Province on Saturday and Sunday, said Minister W.D.J.Seneviratne. The party re-organization campaign was led by Cabinet Ministers and their deputies to more..

SB, stumbling block to solving university problems – JVP

June 25 (Island) The JVP yesterday alleged the Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake was purposely delaying solutions to the problems of university teachers and the non-academic staff. Addressing a press conference, JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that they would fully back the on-going strike launched by the university non-academic staff and university teachers’ strike scheduled to commence on July 04. more..

TJV vows to block full implementation of 13A

June 25 (Island) Thunhela Jathika Vyaparaya (TJV) would not allow the full implementation of the 13th amendment to the Constitution on the grounds that it would serve to divide Sri Lanka racially, its leader and Chief Adhikarana Sanganayake if Sri Rohana Sangaha Sabha, Omare Kassapa Thera, said. Addressing the opening ceremony of the head office of the TJV at No 230, Vewa Para, Boralesgamuwa last week (21), Kassapa Thera said the nine provinces were not an administrative system which more..

Hungary to provide scholarships to Sri Lanka

June 25 (DN) The Hungarian govt has turned its attention to providing a series of educational scholarships to Sri Lanka following a meeting between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Hungarian President Janos Ader on Friday. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The scholarships on health education, such as, medical and dental health, received much focus, according to reports reaching from Brazil. more..

Divi Neguma weekly fairs to be opened country wide

June 25 (FT) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said developing weekly fairs throughout Sri Lanka under the Divi Naguma Sathipola concept will make Mahinda Chinthana vision a reality since sathipolas had served the island’s economy as barter exchange centres in towns and villages through the centuries and thus became part of the nation’s culture and lifestyle. He made this observation when he opened the modernised more..

Suspects in nine-year-old murder arrested

June 25 (CT) Police arrested four suspects, including a woman, in connection with a murder that took place nearly nine years ago. The diseased, K.A.H. Bandusena, was a resident of Embilipitiya, and was married to suspect Ganegedara Indrani (43), a resident of Mahawela, Millawana area. They had one child. The female suspect has been remanded till 2 July by order of the Naula Magistrate. The deceased and the suspect had been having family disputes for quite some time, and one day, nine years ago the wife had conspired more..

Construction tenders for US$ 350mn BIA phase 2 this week

June 25 (Island) The govt will call for tenders this week for the construction of the ambitious JICA-funded Rs. 4.7 billion Second Phase of the Bandaranaike International Airport, seeking to double passenger handling capacity to 12 million per annum by 2015. "We have sent all the documentation to the Ministry of Aviation, which will seek the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers for the civil works after which we will be advertising for contractors his week," more..

JVP plans to take Katuwana case to SC

June 25 (CT) The JVP is planning to take the Katuwana issue to the Supreme Court citing police negligence in carrying out duties assigned to them. JVP MPVijitha Herath said they are planning to file a petition in the Supreme Court soon, as perpetrators of the Katuwana double murder are still at large. “Joolampitiye Amare – the man identified as the main suspect in the Katuwana killings – appeared in courts. Until he surrendered to court, police failed to arrest him. more..

President returns after successful visits to Cuba, Brazil

June 25 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in the country yesterday after completing successful official visits to Cuba and Brazil where he participated in the UNCSD, Rio+20 in Rio de Janeiro. In Cuba prior to the Rio+20 summit, the President met Cuban leader Raul Castro and held discussions to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. President Rajapaksa, arrived in Brazil on Tuesday and addressed the Rio+20 summit on Wednesday. more..

40 years on, Sri Lankan repatriates’ woes continue

June 25 (Hindu) Papathi, who is in her 50s and living in a ‘labour line’ constructed by authorities in Guernsey here, does not have many demands to make. Her constant refrain: “Can you tell someone to get our houses repaired?” Papathi is one of 3,850 permanent women-workers who have been provided with employment and housing by the Tamil Nadu Tea Plantation Corporation (TANTEA), a State govt-controlled organisation. There are 6,100 permanent workers and 2,800 casual workers, more..

National Mosquito Control Month begins today

June 25 (DN) The first National Mosquito Control Month declared by the Health Ministry in collaboration with the Presidential Task Force on Dengue will begin today and continue until July 25, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. The decision for a Dengue Control Month was taken at a meeting with the Presidential Task Force during the Dengue Week. The inauguration ceremony will be held today in Malpura, Chilaw under Minister more..

GMOA branch president condemns young docs maligning consultant

June 25 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Batticaloa branch union condemned the activities of several doctors who were engaged in campaigning against consultant anaesthetises. President of the GMOA Batticaloa Teaching Hospital Branch, Dr. S. Mathanalagan said that a few medical officers, who had completed their diploma in ‘Critical Care,’ had accused consultant anaesthetises of not being qualified to manage the intensive care units (ICUs). more..

Whatmore upset by DRS absence

June 25 (CI) At the end of the third day of the Galle Test, the mounting umpiring errors, several of which hurt Pakistan, prompted their coach Dav Whatmore to question why the Decision Review System (DRS) was not in place for this series, when it had been for Sri Lanka's home Tests against England earlier this year. Whatmore added his voice to the growing chorus that DRS should be uniformly implemented across all series. To examine the inconsistent implementation of technology, you only need to go back to March more..

No more IOM IDs for ex-Tigers

June 25 (CT) The govt has directed the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to halt the issuance of accreditation cards to ex-LTTE cadres, who have completed the govt rehabilitation programme. Accordingly, the IOM has decided to suspend the ID issuing process. Under the instructions of the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff, the military is in the process of collecting the already issued IDs from the rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres. more..

Hakeem urges to strengthen anti-piracy efforts

June 25 (DN) Sri Lanka considers sea piracy as a serious security problem which must be addressed and dealt with forcefully, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said. Hakeem, president of the 50th annual session of Annual Asian African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO), said at the 51st annual session in Abuja, Nigeria, the escalation of sea piracy attacks in the waters off Somalia, the Horn of Africa and in Asia has emerged as a major more..

ADB Director General in town

June 25 (FT) Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) new Director General of South Asia Department Juan Miranda will visit Sri Lanka from 25 to 27 June, where he is expected to meet with top Govt officials and representatives from the private sector to discuss ADB’s development assistance to the country. During the visit, Miranda is scheduled to have consultations with senior Govt officials from key ministries on ADB’s operations in Sri Lanka, while pledging ADB’s continued support for more..

STF busts massive refuse tea racket

June 25 (Island) The police Special Task Force took into custody two huge consignments of refuse tea being prepared for export at two locations on Saturday, having kept the illegal operation under surveillance for some time. The first detection was made at Malwana on Saturday morning where two container loads were taken into custody while 69,000 kilos of refuse tea were being loaded into them at a warehouse. The second detection was made at Mattakkuliya more..

A 24 hour CEB strike

June 25 (LT) About 15,000 employees of the Ceylon Electricity Board will engage in a 24 hour strike action from midnight on the 3rd. The decision to carry out the strike action was taken due to the failure by authorities to respond to demands made by employees to remove anomalies that exist between salaries of executive officers and non-executive employees in the CEB said the Committee Member of the CEB Joint Trade Union Alliance Ranjan Jayalal. He said employees would not hesitate to more..

Julampitiye Amare’s grandson arrested

June 25 (Island) The CID on Saturday arrested the grandson of Geegana Gamage Amarasiri alias Julampitiye Amare, the Chief suspect in the attack on the JVP pocket meeting at Hadiwatte, Katuwana on June 15. Second suspect K. U. Danushka Chaturanga was produced before Walasmulla Magistrate, Saliya Channa Abeyratne and remanded till an identification parade on July 07. Julampitiye Amare, who has been accused by the JVP of being behind the attack which killed two of its supporters at the meeting more..

Govt. turns down India’s offer to develop the Palali airport

June 25 (DM) The govt has turned down India’s offer to develop the Palali airport and instead decided to handle it under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, it is reported. After the war was over, India undertook several projects in the North and among them was the development of the Kankesanthurai harbour. India in addition came forward to modernize the Palali airport, but the agreement was not signed. However, it is learnt that more..

Case of missing sailors: One-time Northern Commander cleared

June 25 (Island) Rear Admiral S. M. B. Weerasekara remains the Commandant of the Volunteer Naval Force (VNF), to which he was transferred in the wake of the Chundikulam incident, though he was cleared of misconduct as regards the disappearance of four sailors following a clash with Indian fishermen in late March, 2011. Navy headquarters took stern disciplinary action against two Lieutenants, including the officer-in-charge of the Chundikulam detachment and more..

JVP union opposes move to privatise SJH medical lab

June 25 (Island) JVP affiliated all Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe claimed that the management of the Sri Jayawardenapura hospital was planning to privatise the hospital’s main laboratory and patients would have to pay for medical tests at commercial rates. The main dispensary of the hospital had been given to the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) in 2007, the ACHSU said. Before that the patients could obtain more..

Will Amare get his comeuppance?

June 25 (LB) The shooting at a JVP meeting held in Katuwana, Hambantota on June 15, by a group of men on motorbikes armed with T56 rifles has been much talked about both in homes and the corridors of political power. Two JVP activists, a male and a female, were killed in the incident. The main suspect, Gigana Gamage Amarasinghr alias Julampitiye Amare, surrendered himself to the police on Wednesday and was identified by three of the four witnesses more..

CMC bereft of millions

June 25 (SL) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has failed to collect millions of rupees in entertainment taxes from recent mega musical shows performed by Bollywood stars in Colombo. Sonu Nigam Live in Concert, Udith Narayan Live in Concert and the Carlton Rugby Super Seven 2012 musical show are the three concerts in question where the CMC has failed to collect their revenue. As a result Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil has more..

Waiting game: Hapless heart patients

June 25 (ST) The govt health sector is having serious heart trouble. Even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer in Sri Lanka, the six-storey building of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital to cater to patients with heart disease, is sans heart (cardiac) surgeons, other staff as well as operating theatres, the Sunday Times learns. Built in 2008, although it has two cardiologists and a paediatric cardiologist in place, an intensive care unit and a cardiac catheterization laboratory (cath lab), more..

Striking non–academic staff in crucial talks with authorities today

June 25 (Island) University non-academic staff on an indefinite strike since June 06, demanding recfication of their salary anomalies, will have a discussion with the Labour Commissioner and officials of the UGC today. Media Spokesman of the Inter University Trade Union Joint Committee, Wijayatilake Jayasinghe said that a discussion had been re-cheduled for today as the UGC officials did not come for the last more..