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Colombo outer circular expressway ready next year

Oct 6 (Island) Construction work on the expansion of the Southern Expressway, from Galle to Matara and the Colombo Outer Circular Expressway have reached the final stages and would be completed by 2013, Deputy Minister Nirmala Kothalawala said. The Colombo Outer Circular Highway extends from Kottawa, through the Homagama, Kaduwela, Biyagama, Mahara and Wattala Divisional Secretariat areas, more..

Sri Lanka hikes tobacco taxes

Oct 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka has raised tobacco taxes from Oct 6, a notice posted on the island's customs office showed, to raise extract more money from citizens and cut a budget deficit stemming from unchecked state spending. The tax hike came ahead of a budget for 2013 to be presented in parliament on Nov 8. In Sri Lanka taxes on citizens can be raised without consultation outside the annual budget through a so-called midnight gazette literally while citizens are sleeping, more..

Sri Lanka’s policy towards witnesses is revenge, not reconciliation

Oct 6 (CT) He looks like any other short dark balding Tamil man, wrapped in a thick fleece against the unfamiliar chill. A political refugee from northern Sri Lanka, now he lives in a tranquil landscape of pine trees and glaciers on the Atlantic Coast. Nobody in his country of refuge knows his past or gives him a second glance but back home patients, who owe him their lives, discretely visit his relatives to offer thanks. For them he’s a hero. ‘Call me Niron: I have to be careful. more..

India’s ‘LTTE’-Worries

Oct 6 (CT) There are certain things that just won’t stay under. Like rubber balls. In water. They pop up. It has to do with the properties of matter. Laws of physics. Like nationalist sentiments, i.e. sentiments associated with identity, let’s say. No, it’s not about the LTTE. Certain things die and are not reborn. Like the JVP. The name can survive and can be used as flag, but the politics can never be the same, except as farce (as Karl Marx famously put it in ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’). more..

Solhiem tells govt to address Tamil issues

Oct 6 (CG) Former Norwegian Minister and special peace envoy to Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim, has urged the govt to address Tamil issues. Speaking at the launch of the book ‘Still Counting the Dead’ written by former BBC correspondent Frances Harrison, Solheim said that the Govt of Sri Lanka must take immediate steps to reach out to the Tamil community. He said that if the Govt is serious about reaching out to the more..

Hema’s circuitous route back to the UNP

Oct 6 (LT) few months ago Mr. Hemakumara Nanayakkara aimed a massive criticism against the govt and resigned from all the govt posts. Speaking to the media he said he was prepared to build a ‘broad force’ against the govt. Meanwhile, he formed a political party named ‘Mawbima’. Later, he said several parties have come forward to build a ‘broad force’. However, he also held discussions with UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Finally, on an invitation from Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe more..

Chandrasena appointed Dy. Minister

Oct 6 (Island) UPFA MP S. M. Chandrasena, who recently resigned as Minister of Agrarian Services and Wildlife to pave the way for this brother S. M. Ranjith to become the Chief Minister of the North-Central Province, was sworn in as Deputy Minister Agrarian Services and Wildlife by President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. Chandrasena was sworn in as the Deputy Minister, with President Rajapaksa retaining the Ministry portfolio himself. Chandrasena resigned his Ministerial portfolio on more..

Motor Traffic Dept identifies hidden sickness as major cause of accidents

Oct 6 (CT) With the increase in the number of motor traffic accidents, plans are underway to introduce a new traffic plan based on models used by several foreign countries to minimise fatal accidents. Motor Traffic Department Commissioner General, S.H. Harischandra, said the traffic plan, which is termed as a mixed model, will also include amendments to the Motor Traffic Act. He said they are currently conducting a study on the more..

National Reading Month: Public Library offers free membership

Oct 6 (DN) The National Library and Documentation Services Board has declared the month of October as the National Reading Month. Accordingly, the National Library has decided to offer its free membership to the public during the National Reading Month. The National Library sources said that they were to offer 10,000 one year free memberships during the National Reading Month which falls this month. All Sri Lankans, irrespective of any limitations are eligible for membership. more..

Highest level mediation for North-Central crisis

Oct 6 (LT) A most powerful minister in the govt and several other ministers have mediated to resolve the crisis that has sprung up in the North – Central Provincial Council say reports. According to a very reliable source the govt has decided to resolve the issue as allowing the conflict that has arisen between former chief minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake and the govt to continue would bring adverse results for the govt. Accordingly, the group of ministers have had more..

FUTA willing to compromise

Oct 6 (DM) The FUTA said today that they are willing to compromise the demand for a 6% allocation of the GDP for education ahead of a key meeting with Minister Basil Rajapaksa scheduled for today. President of the association Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said the GDP allocation wont form the crux of their demands. “We didn’t expect the govt to accept our demand of a 6% allocation, however, we have managed to educate the public through our trade union action more..

12th GSR in Colombo recognizes potential of cloud computing

Oct 6 (Island) The 12th Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) held in Colombo concluded on Thursday with endorsing a set of regulatory Best Practice Guidelines designed to provide a framework for innovation, investment and competition in cloud infrastructure and services while at the same time ensuring protection of consumer interests. International delegates who participated in the three-day Symposium more..

‘ Divineguma’ will make NGOs redundant - Basil

Oct 6 (SM) With the implementation of the ‘ Divineguma bill’ the operations of Non-govt Organizations will automatically cease, says Minister Basil Rajapaksa. The Minister was addressing the 15th Assistant. Officers delegates Conference of the All Ceylon Samurdhi Development and Agricultural Research, in Battramulla yesterday. The Minister pointed out that according to the provisions of the Bill, the Civil Society organizations in the villages would be strengthened once again. more..

'Sri Lanka addressing demanding issues including reconciliation'

Oct 6 (DM) The Japanese govt said that Sri Lanka is focusing and addressing the cogent and demanding issues such as rehabilitation, reconciliation, and resettlement, among others, particularly in the North and East. In a message to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Japan and Sri Lanka, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Koichiro Gemba enunciated the more..

Postal service being privatized – CPSU

Oct 6 (CT) The Ceylon Postal Services Union (CPSU) alleged that the Postal Department is being privatized and that it has shut down several main post offices islandwide. President of CPSU, Jayantha Wijesinghe, accused the Department of converting several main Post Offices into Sub Post Offices. Up to now 15 main post offices have been shut down, he said, adding that as a consequence the agency post offices owned by the private sector have become popular. “We heard that most of the govt post offices will be sold to private more..

Severe differences in Fonseka ‘Alliance’

Oct 6 (SM) Although Mr. Sarath Fonseka has expressed to various media institutions that the ‘Opposition Political Alliance’ being set up under his leadership would for the first time be presented before the people on the 18th at Colombo’s Hyde Park, the Eksath Bhikku Peramuna states that this is not correct. The Eksath Bhikku Peramuna is organizing the Colombo Hyde Park rally. In a written statement to media institutions which published Mr. Sarath Fonseka’s version, the National more..

Nightingales warn of protest

Oct 6 (Island) The govt Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) yesterday warned that it would resort to a protest opposite all government hospitals on Wednesday (10) if the govt fails to resolve ten of their pressing issues. GNOA president Saman Ratnapriya said that their demands included the implementation of a sample project for a five-day work week for nurses in the Wayamba province. Despite the sample project being handed more..

Of appointing and firing principals

Oct 6 (CT) The Public Service Commission (PSC) advertised for the posts of principal to several schools, including Vidyaloka Vidyalaya, Galle, through newspapers. Bandula Jayasinghe, a Grade I Principal of Devapathiraja Maha Vidyalaya, Ratgama, applied for one of those vacancies. He was more than qualified for the post. F. Welage, the acting principal of Vidyaloka Vidyalaya, too applied for the same post. Welage is a Grade III principal. However, the PSC finally chose Jayasinghe more..

UNICEF to partner with Dialog Star Points

Oct 6 (Island) Dialog Axiata joined hands with UNICEF to support their efforts in preventing child abuse through Star Points, Sri Lanka’s largest loyalty rewards network. Through this partnership Dialog Axiata’s 7.5 million loyal customer base will be able to donate their Star Points to show their solidarity with UNICEF’s efforts to break the culture of silence and indifference towards child neglect, violence and abuse. Funds generated through the Star Points rewards will contribute to more..

Mahela plays down Gayle factor

Oct 6 (Reuters) Mahela Jayawardene played down the Chris Gayle factor in Sunday's World Twenty20 final saying the West Indies team was not just about the swashbuckling opener from Jamaica. The left-hander destroyed Australia in Friday's semi-final with an unbeaten 75 off 41 balls, studded with six massive sixes and five fours. Australia captain George Bailey said after his team's loss that Sri Lanka's title hopes will be over if the hosts failed to dismiss Gayle cheaply on Sunday. more..

Mannar Magistrate’s averment of Minister interfering with the CID - challenged

Oct 6 (AT) When the case No B /408/ 2012 was called in the Magistrate Court of Mannar yesterday before the Additional Magistrate R.S.A. Dissanayake , Defense Counsel M M Zuhair, PC who was the lead lawyer for Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen, pointed out that the reference the Mannar Additional Magistrate has made in his order in the previous day (24) was absolutely unwarranted, uncalled for, and was more..

Suspect to be produced in Court

Oct 6 (CT) The suspect, who was arrested for damaging the property of the Bangladesh High Commission in Colombo during a protest, was ordered to be produced before the mediation board by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court, on Friday (05). The order was issued after the Cinnamon Gardens Police produced the suspect before Colombo Chief Magistrate, Rashmi Singappuli. The Magistrate also directed the police to take necessary steps to settle the case amicably. more..

No CEB power for T20 cricket : Minister

Oct 6 (DM) Minister Champika Ranawaka yesterday said that the CEB did not supply power to International Cricket Stadiums where ICC World T20 cricket matches are being played due to the precarious situation in power generation. He said individual managements of Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapaksa, Pallekele and R. Premadasa Cricket stadiums had made arrangements to purchase power from private power suppliers more..

113 food poisoned in SL Embassy in Jordan

Oct 6 (AN) Dozens of Sri Lankan nationals on Saturday were rushed to various hospitals in Amman after suffering from food poisoning at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Amman, a security source said. The majority of patients are domestic workers who were at the Sri Lankan embassy at the time symptoms of food poisoning showed. 113 Sri Lankans were rushed to Prince Hamza, Al Bashir, and University of Jordan hospitals for treatment after suffering symptoms of food poisoning, more..

Sri Lanka lightning kills two Chinese tourists

Oct 6 (AFP) A lightning strike in central Sri Lanka killed two Chinese tourists and injured three others Saturday while they were outside during a thunderstorm, police said. A bolt of lightning hit the mountainous area where the tourists were on a sightseeing tour in Haputale, a picturesque tea-growing region, police said. "A Chinese man and a woman were killed and three other tourists were injured and we have rushed them to hospital," a police official in the area said more..

Dr. P. Saravanamuttu on UN team visit

Editorial: FUTA plays into hands of bankrupt politicians

Oct 7 (SO) The Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) and the Federation of the University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) are making a mountain of a molehill on the so-called crisis in the country’s education sector. They recently conducted two protest marches to woo public sympathy by projecting a gloomy picture on the country’s education. Surprisingly, none of these dons or student union leaders dares to explain the crisis that they have been projecting. more..

Editorial: Sovereign equality and the need for astute diplomacy

Oct 7 (SL) Minister G.L. Peiris has in his address to the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly insisted that settlement of international disputes should be based on the principle of sovereign equality of nations enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations even though this principle is being increasingly flouted by powerful nations at critical moments. Prof. Peiris cannot be faulted for doing so for this is the sole bulwark left for less powerful nations to seek cover from more..

'SL among the world’s best in human rights'

Oct 7 (SO) Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the firebrand of Sri Lankan left politics, is a national leader who felt the heartbeat of the downtrodden. Vasu started his political career in the 1950s as an active member of the Samasamaja Youth Movement and soon became its leader. In 1970 he entered Parliament for the first time representing Kiriella. Since then, he represented the Ratnapura district in Parliament on many occasions. more..

Editorial: Imran’s new World Cup quest

Oct 7 (NS) Today Sri Lanka will battle the West Indies for the World Cup, the T-20 one that is. This is Sri Lanka’s 4th ‘World Cup’ final in 5 years and expectations will naturally be high for Mahela and his boy to deliver. No pressure though, for we are a nation that celebrates victory wildly, cheers the winners and accepts defeat without going crazy. The Final is being played just over a week after a long protest march from Galle to Colombo by agitated academics. Cricket (like all forms of more..

Editorial: Oh, our universities – Learn from Singapore

Oct 7 (LB) Times Higher Education World University rankings (2012), which were released last week provided yet another sad indictment of the crumbling state of affairs of the institutions of higher learning and research in this country. Rather predictably though, not a single Sri Lanka university made it into the top 400 universities in the world. According to another ranking formula of global universities, known as Webometrics, the University of Colombo more..

Postal Dept moves with the times

Oct 7 (SO) The Govt has extended all possible assistance to improve Sri Lanka's film industry. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga have given a helping hand to the industry. Due to the advent of Bollywood, Hollywood and Kollywood movies and TV stations the competition in the film industry is high. It is time to produce films to conform to international standards to satisfy the more..

Editorial: Self delusion?

Oct 7 (Island) We do not know what the result of yesterday’s talks between representatives of the govt and Federation of University Teachers Unions (FUTA) will be as this is being written. But like all people of goodwill, we do hope that some sort of solution will be forthcoming. This imbroglio has dragged on for too long and President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his govt cannot be unaware of what it is costing students already in universities and those aspiring for entry. more..

Editorial: Divineguma Bill - Signs of authoritarianism

Oct 7 (ST) Moves to set up a Divineguma Department estimated to be worth more than Rs. 80 billion by bringing together the existing Samurdhi Authority, the Southern Development Authority and the Udarata Development Authority (the successor to the Kandyan Peasantry Commission) have seemingly run into a judicial-political storm. A storm in a teacup it may be eventually, but as our Political Editor seems to think, the Govt is determined more..

Fair demand has always won – Lalkantha

Oct 7 (SL) JVP Politburo member and Head of the National Trade Union Center (NTUC), K. D. Lalkantha says that the large-scale extortion and exploitation in the existing socio-economic system and the lack of a properly structured production based economy have resulted in an increase in cost of living. He explained that the public and private sector workforce and the farming community amounting to 13.9 million persons are engaged in a massive production process more..

Govt. navigates judicial challenge

Oct 7 (LB) Throughout the last week, the government has been successfully navigating a judicial challenge issued vis-à-vis the Divineguma Bill. The govt machinery had been working overtime to pass the disputed bill in provincial councils as per the Supreme Court ruling. By the end of the week, the bill has been passed by eight out of nine provincial councils. At the Cabinet meeting, the president also turned down a proposition made by Minister S.B. Dissanayake that the Bill be presented in Parliament as an urgent bill, thereby more..

Constitutional Imbroglio: Why the judiciary is blameless

Oct 7 (Island) The brawl outside the JAIC Hilton where an army major was NOT assaulted refused to die a natural death and it kept surfacing in the media throughout the past week. The media is obviously angry. The military types are just seething with fury not so much at the innocent, misunderstood maligned ministerial brat who never assaulted anybody but at the army officer who never got assaulted but has injuries on his head. For our part, the present columnist watched more..

Kumar Sangakkara

Gung-ho attitude dragging FUTA issue endlessly

Oct 7 (NS) The crisis in Sri Lanka’s higher education sector is dragging on seemingly endlessly. University academics are still on strike demanding both a wage hike and an allocation of six percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for education. This is not the first such strike action by university teachers and will probably not be the last but this particular campaign is significant because of the degree of interest - and support for its demands - that it has generated. more..

TNA’s Delhi visit raises hope of PSC getting off the ground

Oct 7 (NS) With aspirations for control of the Eastern Provincial Council effectively buried due to a UPFA-SLMC tie-up, the TNA sought to recover lost ground by resurrecting ‘talks about talks’. The TNA claimed that the party would participate in the proposed parliamentary select committee (PSC) on finding a political settlement if the Indian govt could guarantee that an agreement would be reached at the committee. A TNA delegation is set to hold talks with high ranked officials in more..