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The Sunday Leader apologises to minister for publishing his death threat

Oct 22 (IFEX) shocking turn of events, newspaper The Sunday Leader has formally apologised to defence minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa for reporting that the minister had threatened the then editor with death. "It is unbelievable that The Sunday Leader has apologised in front of the Sri Lanka Press Council to defence minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa for more..

Palmyrah trees, toddy and Jaffna’s cottage industry

Oct 23 (NS) For centuries, Palmyrah and Palmyrah products have played an integral part in the lives of those in the North. Therefore, the North is also known as the Palmyrah jungle (Panai marak kaadu). Beyond Vavuniya, acres of Palmyrah trees adorn either side of the A9 road that leads to Jaffna. The unique factor about the tree is that almost all parts of it can be used for human needs. The Palmyrah palm of Jaffna is found in the Northern parts of more..

Danger of a mounting foreign debt

Oct 23 (NS) The external debt of Sri Lanka has been increasing very rapidly in the last few years. It has increased considerably in the first seven months of this year from Rs.2.33 trillion at the end of last year to nearly Rs.3 trillion. The increase in the foreign debt could lead the country into a debt trap, where the debt servicing costs are so high that the govt would need to borrow in order to service the debt. Consequently, the foreign debt and its servicing costs would continue to spiral upwards. more..

Hajj pilgrimage unites Muslims

Oct 23 (SO) Muslims in Sri Lanka and Muslims world over will celebrate the Hajj festival next Saturday. Muslims celebrates this day to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim's sacrifice to Allah. The Hajj pilgrimage takes place from the seventh to the 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah, which is the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar which is more..

Pistol whipping justice in Sri Lanka

Oct 23 (DBS) There is little doubt that the casual dismantling of Sri Lanka’s democratic institutions, as much as a pack of cards is routinely shuffled by seasoned card players, calls for deeply reflective thinking rather than shotgun reactions. Indulging in outbursts of fury against the administration and predicting regime change, as if the structure of authoritarian rule that has been so carefully built post war can be destroyed in the twinkling of an eye as it were, may be personally satisfying but more..

All PCs should have been consulted before Bill came to House

Oct 23 (DBS) When the Divineguma Bill was taken up by the Supreme Court on Thursday to determine its constitutionality, counsel for a petitioner said that for the very reason the Supreme Court had decided that the Divineguma Bill should not have been placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on August 10, it should not have been placed on the Order Paper for the second time on October 9. M.A. Sumanthiran appearing for Jaffna MP M. Senathirajah told Court that more..

What recent national census reveals

Oct 23 (NS) The preliminary report on national census, based on March 2012 statistics has been released, and it is considered to be the first comprehensive national survey since 1981. During the days when terrorism reined the country, the Dept of Census and Statistics had not been able to carry out an accurate survey and as a result, certain data used in the past, for matters pertaining to population had been based on hypothetical assumptions and extrapolation. more..

Political activity stifled; Authoritarian agenda swells

Oct 23 (CT) The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) launched a campaign in Colombo on 11 October to fight harassment and attacks on political activity in the North, especially in Jaffna, by state authorities, namely the military and the police. The launch was supported by a persuasive video of widespread anger about abductions and arbitrary arrests and included sound bites from Mano Ganesan, JC Weliamuna, Nirmal Dewasiri, Vickremebahu, Lal Wickrematunga (Lasantha’s brother) and more..

University Dons, Doctors and capitalist society ruled by Mahinda chinthanaya

Oct 23 (CT) We hear that if the university dons get a higher pay and other benefits that doctors are prepared to launch their struggle. Latter should be looked after by the state, if not we are in for trouble. It is and interesting question. Why is medical care subsidized by welfare states and under socialism? The answer is quite obvious in that medical care requires highly trained practitioners and state-of-the-art technology to provide the absolute best care. Such trained practitioners and technology is more..

Looking to the horizon with bigger dreams

Oct 23 (ST) For the six nominees for the ‘The Ray’ award, there was that really long moment just before the winner was announced–that moment of nail-biting tension; of pressing suddenly clammy hands together and trying to maintain a calm demeanor. For 50-year-old Waidiyarathna Karunatilake, however, the excitement was just beginning, as he emerged the star of the night, clinching the inaugural ‘The Ray’ award for more..

Why that 6% is in need

Oct 23 (LB) Tn his The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire addresses the issue as to how education could be socialized as a tool of mass empowerment. What are the ways in which knowledge can be meaningfully distributed to generate consciousness? What does it mean to open out such avenues in the decentralization of power (and knowledge as power)? The answers to these, in a sense, can be sought in what I consider is a phenomenal text of all times: George more..

The arms of authority – respect is reciprocal under the Constitution

Oct 23 (LB) The first woman Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka was appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as part of his prerogative under the Constitution. Much was made of this recognition and acclaimed as a first for women around the world and rightly so. But no sooner had the president invited the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to meet with him, it appeared to observers that legal circles including the Judiciary were waiting to seize an opportunity to more..

SEC accuses Vignarajah of ‘malicious’ claims; Harsha runs to his defence

Oct 23 (ST) Claims and counter claims flew across the media this week with good governance activists and opposition economists pitted on one side and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on the other. The issue was over the recent SEC decisions to extend credit to brokers and lift a time-bound ban on brokers and their associates trading in their shares. Governance activists like K.C. Vignarajah have raised more..

Editorial: Govt.'s watery grave?

Oct 23 (Island) Water has been responsible for the rise and fall of many an empire the world over as historians tell us. It has also been the cause of bloody wars where thousands have perished. It is said to be life. But, it could also be death in some cases and, therefore, should be handled with care. Prabhakaran, who boasted of leading the world's most ruthless guerrilla outfit, met his waterloo owing to his careless handling of water. He made a colossal blunder by closing the Mavil Aru more..

Lanka banking sector loans-to-deposit ratio highest in the region

Oct 23 (Island) The country’s banking sector has lent out almost 90% of its deposits, making its loans to deposit ratio one of the highest in the region, a research report released by NDB Stockbrokers said. "The loan: deposit ratio of the Sri Lankan banking sector has significantly increased from 2009 onwards as the growth in loans exceeded the growth in deposits. It is clear that the exceptional loan growth in 2010 and 2011 was facilitated by more..

'Fiscal, monetary policies not helping export growth'

Oct 23 (Island) A senior economist argues that both fiscal and monetary policy of the country have not helped the export sector which has seen a decline in competitiveness over the years. Expenditure consolidation, public debt reduction, a flexible exchange rate regime and attracting more FDIs are also necessary in order to boost the country’s export earnings. While the govt has shown some improvement on the fiscal more..

Exploring Sri Lanka

Oct 23 (BL) Some things are worth battling any vertiginous 
tendencies for — and the view from the top of Sri 
Lanka's Sigiriya rock fortress is one of them. I will myself up the last 50 steps, watched by a row of curious monkeys, as schoolgirls dressed in white skip ahead, their long dark plaits bobbing behind. The 360 panorama of flat, wooded countryside and glistening lakes below takes my mind off my trembling legs. Soaring, sheer-sided out of the plains, Sigiriya — the 370m hardened magma centre of a volcano that eroded more..

Lubna meets Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister

Oct 23 (KT) Shaikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, today met with Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs G.L. Peiris on the sidelines of the ‘World Energy Forum 2012’ which kicked off today in Dubai. The meeting discussed ways to strengthen the economic and investment partnership between the UAE and Sri Lanka and to boost the UAE’s investments in the island state. The two sides also discussed ways to promote the strong bilateral cooperation more..

Sri Lankans call for UN help over abductions

Oct 23 (BBC) Family members of disappeared people in Sri Lanka have urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to intervene and help them find missing relatives. They sent their appeal to mark 1,000 days since the disappearance of an anti-establishment cartoonist-cum-journalist, which remains unsolved. There are still reports of kidnappings, or attempted kidnappings, every month. The govt and security forces deny abducting people. more..

Sri Lankan refugees take part in dengue rally

Oct 23 (Hindu) In an attempt to spread awareness of dengue and its prevention, Anbalayam and Lebara Foundation recently organised a campaign at the Kottapattu Sri Lankan Refugee camp. The campaign, which made displaced children within the camp its main focus, was flagged off by N.Jeyamani, Special Deputy Collector, Kottapattu Sri Lankan Refugee Camp. Ms.Jeyamani said dengue was a viral fever that was now challenging the society and keeping communities in more..

‘Sri Lanka, good case study in food security’

Oct 23 (DN) Sri Lanka is a good case study for other countries in the region to find out how a country changed its position from one dependent on food imports to a country self-sufficient in rice, Senior Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama said. He made this observation at the commencement of the two day Global Research Capacity Building Programme on Supporting Policy Research to Inform Agricultural Policy in South Asia by the Global Development Network in Colombo yesterday. more..

Teachers led by ‘colonels’ to march on Edu. Ministry

Oct 23 (Island) Principals and teachers of the State-run schools are scheduled to march to the Education Ministry with several demands tomorrow, according to a JVP affiliated trade union. The govt recently enlisted 30 Class 1 Principals Brevet Colonels. General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union Mahinda Jayasinghe said the protest march would start from the Ayurveda roundabout Rajagiriya and end more..

Luxury train service launched

Oct 23 (DN) Sri Lanka Railways launched a new luxury class train service from Colombo Fort to Nanu Oya. Transport Deputy Minister Rohana Kumara Dissanayake officially launched the new luxury train service at the Colombo Fort railway station at 8.10 am last Friday. The luxuary train will leave Colombo Fort at 8.10 am daily and reach Nanu Oya by 2 pm. On the return trip, the train will leave Nanu Oya at 2.50 pm and reach Colombo Fort by 8:47 pm. The (S -12) power-set imported from China consists of one luxury carriage, three class two and more..

Netherlands-funded hospital for Hambantota

Oct 23 (DN) A hospital complex funded by the Netherlands govt and an International School will soon come up in Hambantota, MP Namal Rajapaksa said. He was addressing the inaugural meeting of Ruhunu Magampura Janamadya Padanama at Beliatta. He said the bus stand at Hambantota will be rented out and a new fully fledged bus stand will be set up at Siribopura. Rajapaksa said the setting up of a monorail will be delayed since it requires US dollars 40m for construction, instead more..

British govt accused of wasting money on 'half empty' chartered deportation flights

Oct 23 (Independent) The Govt has been accused of wasting taxpayer money by continuing to commission chartered deportations flights to Sri Lanka at a time when the High Court is regularly issuing injunctions banning the removal of Tamils because they are at risk of being tortured. Most of the recent charter flights this year, which can cost up to £250,000 a time, have left Britain more..

Environmentalists demand legal action against illegal camp sites

Oct 23 (Island) Welcoming the steps taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to remove all unauthorized campsites inside National Parks, environmentalists yesterday urged the govt to take legal action against the unauthorized campsite operators and other responsible govt officers. Environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardane said, under the flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance, Section 5, 6 and 6 (a) the Wildlife Department more..

Water tax: Govt more neo-liberal than UNP ever thought - Dr. Harsha

Oct 23 (Island) The govt has proved that it is more neo-liberal than what the UNP ever thought by the imposition of the well water tax, UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said. Responding to allegations that the water tax was brought in as a proposal by the abridged UNF govt of 2001-2003, he said that the Regaining Sri Lanka programme, which was proposed by that govt had a policy of conserving water under a separate clause named: more..

Defence Secretary to meet EAM officials

Oct 23 (DN) Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa will meet External Affairs Ministry officials shortly to discuss how Sri Lanka could coordinate efforts with the Australian govt to address the illegal immigration problem also involving Sri Lankans. The External Affairs Ministry has requested a meeting in this regard with Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. External Affairs Ministry more..

Lanka politics threatens ties with India

Oct 23 (TOI) The ongoing one-upmanship between the Sri Lankan govt and TNA, which represents a vast majority of Tamil population in the island nation, has taken a dangerous turn with many within the govt, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa's brother and defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, demanding that the 13th amendment to the Constitution, a product of the Rajiv Gandhi-Jayewardene 1987 accord, be repealed altogether. Though the 13th amendment, which more..

Wife accuses Sakvithi of raping her

Oct 23 (DM) Financial scammer Sakvithi Ranasinghe was indicted before the Colombo High Court by the Attorney General on charges of committing rape on a minor girl at Mouint Lavina during the period March 30, 1998 to Feb 28, 1999. Sakvithi Ranasinghe was accused of abducting the minor girl Kumari Anuradhini, who was below the age of 18 years at the time, from her legal custodian J. Ariyaratnage on March 30, 1990 and sexually abusing and raping her at Mount Lavinia. more..

'Hunger for alternative energy must not increase hunger for food'

Oct 23 (PRIU) Countries must bear in mind that in search for alternative energy sources agricultural land of today and tomorrow must not be used. We must not let the hunger of alternative energy lead to an increase in hunger for food. The use of food crops for fuel production must be avoided to prevent the spread of today’s threat to food security caused by turning food crops into fuel crops. more..

Police arrests Sri Lankan who stole Rs.43 million from an Italian Businessman

Oct 23 (AT) Police had recently arrested a suspect alleged to have stolen nearly 250,000 Euros (Rs.43 million) from an Italian Accountant cum Businessman in the city of Brescia. Earlier the Italian businessman Antonio Rose had send an email to IGP N.K. Illangakoon seeking advice on the matter. Subsequently, said that the suspect was arrested. The suspect presented himself as 'Harendra Bandula Lokuge' in Italy and more..

3 ex-LTTE in national shooting pool

Oct 23 (SM) From the rehabilitated former LTTE cadres, three of the best shooters have been selected to the National Shooter’s pool. 135 LTTE cadres who were active members in LTTE armed units, who after the war surrendered to the govt. forces and were currently undergoing rehabilitation under the govt. programme, have now been assessed for their sports capabilities to represent national sports pools. Here, Kanakasanthuram Rajeevan, Thayabaran Thaventhiran, more..

Ministry writes on Well water tax

Oct 23 (Island) Replying our yesterday’s lead story headlined, ‘Dinesh opposes govt’s proposed well water tax’, the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management says it is of the opinion that certain facts of that news report need correction and also further clarification. The Ministry has said: "Firstly, it has to be explained that the underground water deposits is an invaluable resource to Sri Lanka and it is our duty and more..

Thevarapperuma to quit active politics

Oct 23 (Island) Kalutara District UNP MP Palitha Thevarapperuma, who, along with a number of others, has fallen foul of the party leadership over attending the Oct 18 Hyde Park rally, said yesterday that he had decided quit politics and pay more attention to personal matters. Thevarapperuma is among a number of elected members, including three MPs, two PC members and at least a dozen local govt members, suspended by the party for attending the rally organised by the UBF, more..

SriLankan launches inquiry

Oct 23 (CT) SriLankan Airlines will initiate an inquiry into an incident where President Mahinda Rajapaksa had to change the aeroplane scheduled to fly him to Dubai, due to a leak in the air conditioning vent. A.N. Wickramasinghe, Chairman, SriLankan Airlines told Ceylon Today that instructions were given to airline officials to conduct an immediate inquiry into the incident. It has now come to light that due to the technical error, the President’s tour was delayed by one hour. more..

Sri Lanka betters Doing Business ranking

Oct 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka has bettered its ranking to 81 from 89 in an ease of doing business ranking compiled by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation by computerizing key processes. "Sri Lanka implemented the most regulatory reforms among the eight economies covered in South Asia, helping to create a better environment for local entrepreneurs," the IFC said. "It marks the first time since 2005 that a more..

Editorial: Time for water-tight patriotism

Oct 23 (DM) During the past few decades several countries have gone to war to gain control of dwindling oil and natural gas resources. The Soviet Union’s shameful invasion of Afghanistan and the wars by the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq were obviously meant to gain control of the vast energy resources. Economic analysts have warned that in this decade or the next the world is likely to see similar full-scale wars to gain control of the dwindling fresh-water resources. more..

Lanka-Japan ties Strong but not Deep Enough?

Oct 23 (DM) Japan has long been a close friend of Sri Lanka, or more like a ‘true friend’ if one may add. While regional superpowers fiercely compete to secure resources, assert their geo-political superiority and desperately attempt to include Sri Lanka under their sphere of influence, the Japanese diplomatic attitude vis-à-vis Sri Lanka seems to set itself apart from the rest. Japan and Sri Lanka established diplomatic ties on April 28, 1952 more..

Arrests over seized fishing boat

Oct 23 (LB) Sri Lankan authorities have informed the Australian government that a group of men stole a fishing boat off the Sri Lankan coast and are heading to Australia. Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Australia, Thisara Samarasinghe, said that two fishermen who were pulled out from the water said that their boat was stolen and the crew was pushed overboard. An unidentified group believed to be asylum seekers attacked more..