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Journalists who fled can return?

Apr 21 (SL) The Media Ministry says journalists who fled the country claiming their lives were at risk, can return to the country as there is no such threat. Media Ministry Secretary Charitha Herath said that even journalists who spoke against the govt at the UNHRC in Geneva can still return to Sri Lanka. Herath said that the govt had not forced any journalist to flee nor did it threaten anyone. “We have not blacklisted any journalist,” more..

Demon behind Chronic Kidney Disease has entered SL homes!

Apr 21 (NS) Four agro-chemicals banned by the govt for being a primary cause of the Chronic Kidney Disease in North Central Province, have already penetrated into the meals of vast majority of Sri Lankans, Dr. Channa Jayasunama, Lecturer at the Dept of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine of Rajarata Uni said. “These pesticides pollute the groundwater in the area. This pollutes valuable water resources. more..

Sri Lankan navy arrest more Australia-bound boat people

Apr 21 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan navy on Sunday arrested 80 people off the northern town of Jaffna as they were heading to Australia by boat, navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya said. He said that the illegal asylum seekers, all minority Tamils, were spotted by navy boats north of Point Pedro and in Jaffna. Among those on the boat were 38 men, 18 women and 24 children, the navy spokesman said. more..

Editorial : For the sake of making some noise

Apr 21 (CT) News reports that the UNP is to institute legal action against the govt or the power utility, reveals in appalling relief, the sheer bankruptcy of the leading national opposition party in Parliament. At a time when the public is distrustful of the govt and its wasteful ways, and has major concerns about the independence of the Judiciary, the responsibility of the Opposition is not to seek easy recourse or fight the common man’s battles in the courtrooms of Hulftsdorp. more..

Ceylinco claims insurance market leadership

Apr 21 (Island) Ceylinco Insurance, which claims market leadership in both general and life insurance in the country, has complained of rampant price undercutting in the non-life industry segment with the practice "at extremely unethical levels in motor insurance." "The new entrants to the insurance industry too have adopted the practice of undercutting for the sake of remaining in the market, which allows them to comfortably eat into the market share of larger and more established more..

WikiLeaks: A Maldivian residing in Colombo arrested for Male’s bomb blast

Apr 21 (CT) “A blast in Male’s Sultan Park on the afternoon of September 29 wounded 12 foreign tourists. Foreign Minister Shahid told Ambassador the same day that the Govt of Maldives (GORM) was shocked by the incident and does not know who was responsible. Eleven arrests have so far been made in connection with the incident. The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has said that the blast showed the ‘Govt has more..

Let’s not do this: A wee note to Dr Jayatileka and Mr Seneviratne

Apr 21 (CT) An excellent piece in the New York Times today talks about ‘Monks Gone Bad’, describing a corrupt and violent Sangha that uses hate speech and abuse against minorities and is helmed by leaders who resemble fatuous politicians and not the ‘birds of the wing’ that the Buddha wanted his mendicant followers to be. I am not here to point out the contradictions between Buddhism as taught and Buddhism as practiced, the ingloriousness of Buddhist praxis more..

Child’s death in locked car mars Avurudu celebrations

Apr 21 (ST) A four-year-old boy from Kochchikade, Negombo died after being left in a vehicle without any ventilation as his parents were busy preparing for the New Year celebrations in the worst of more than 50 accidents involving children during the festive period, hospital authorities reported last week. The Avurudu also ended in tragedy for a family when a neighbour began shooting at them for having let off fireworks that landed in his garden. The four-year-old child, who had been more..

Motor vehicle registration drops in first two months this year

Apr 21 (ST) A near 40% drop in the registration of new motor cars has been recorded during the first two months of this year when compared with the corresponding period last year. The registration of motor cars both petrol and diesel for the first two months of the current year was 2894 while it stood at 5336 during the first two months of 2012. There has also been a sharp drop in the registration of motorcycles, three-wheelers more..

Havelock City forging ahead amid new risks

Apr 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's 'Havelock City' a mixed development with multi-tower apartment complex with more than 100o untis and commercial space said it is forging ahead despite emerging risks from a state move to restrict foreign ownership of property. "..[T]he regulatory changes contemplated by the Govt on foreign ownership of property could have an adverse impact on the real estate sector and is a concern to the Company," the firm told shareholders in the annual report. more..

Bandula lashes out at ex-CJ, teacher unions

Apr 21 (NS) Minister Bandula Gunawardena yesterday lashed out at teacher unions and former Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake for various issues that have plagued the education sector in the recent past. The minister made these remarks in response to allegations made by the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) that the government was attempting to induct nearly 800 ‘political stooges’ into the permanent cadre of the Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service. more..

'CHOGM will go ahead as scheduled'

Apr 21 (SO) Despite various false allegations levelled against Sri Lanka by local bodies with vested interests including the LTTE rump calling upon the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group to suspend the country from the Commonwealth, everything was in place to hold the next CHOGM in Colombo in November, Deputy Minister Neomal Perera said. He was commenting, on a recent resolution adopted by the more..

Colombo University VC’s chair still vacant

Apr 21 (NS) The govt yesterday yet again claimed the appointment of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo would be made ‘soon’. Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, Dr. Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne said it was up to the President to make the appointment to the post, now that the UGC has submitted the names of the candidates to him. Dr. Nawaratne added he believed the appointment would be made soon now that the recommendations were with the President. more..

FUTA set to take Colombo on May Day !

Apr 21 (NS) A ‘manifesto’ prepared by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) will be distributed to participants at various rallies to be held in Colombo on May Day, according to its President. Speaking to The Nation, FUTA President Dr Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said the manifesto would explain FUTA’s stance on the ‘crisis affecting the country’s education sector’. He added the document was currently being prepared and would be distributed on May 1. more..

Country lacks half the drugs it needs

Apr 21 (NS) While the GMOA and the UPFA Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA) alleged that there was a telling shortage of at least 50 per cent of drugs in the country including a life saving heart drug called frusimide and cancer drugs, the health authorities were trying to cover it up stating that there was no such shortage. The two top unions related to State health institutions claimed that an acute shortage of a large more..

AEA conducts radioactive material study

Apr 21 (DM) The Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) is conducting a survey to measure radioactive material present in Sri Lankan soil as a precautionary measure in case there is a leakage in the Kudankulam Power Plant in India. AEA Chairman Dr. Ranjith Wijewardena said they were planning to gather data of the existing radioactive material and their levels so that the AEA could compare these results with the data gathered after any leakage of radioactive material. He said these results more..

Two senior journalists no more

Apr 21 (ST) Two senior journalists, Hemachandra Nanayakkara (80) and M.C.A. Hassan (81) passed away this week. Mr. Nanayakkara who died on Tuesday after a brief illness received his education at the Jaffna Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya while living with his businessman uncle in the northern capital. He was trilingual and began his professional career in 1955 as Jaffna Correspondent for the then ‘Times of Ceylon’ Group. He was also a Provincial Correspondent for the Virakesari newspaper more..

Tangalle rape victim speaks out

Apr 21 (CG) A woman raped at a hotel in Sri Lanka has spoken for the first time of the attack in which she was badly beaten and her British boyfriend was killed. Victoria Tkacheva, 24, a Russian languages graduate, fears that the men responsible for her rape and the murder of Khuram Shaikh, a 32-year-old Red Cross worker from Rochdale, will not be brought to justice. One of the eight suspects who were arrested but later more..

President saddened over China quake

Apr 21 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a condolence message to the President of China Xi Jingping said he was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of life and devastation as a result of the earthquake in the Sichuan Province of China. The President said that while natural disasters and their consequences are beyond human control he is certain that the Chinese people will courageously face it and recover in the shortest possible time under the Chinese President’s leadership. more..

Muslim mom told to remove ‘Abaya’

Apr 21 (SL) The mother of a sick child at Lady Ridgeway Hospital says that she was asked to remove her ‘abaya’ (cloak) when she visited the hospital to see her child. The mother, whose child was diagnosed with dengue fever, visited Lady Ridgeway Hospital on April 13 at around 9.30 p.m. At the time she visited the hospital she said the nurse on duty at the Admission desk had asked her to remove her abaya if she wanted to enter the hospital premises. Upon querying why she more..

Civilians lose land

Apr 21 (SL) The govt is to acquire a large area of land in Vavuniya to build a permanent military camp. The owners of the land located in close proximity to the A9 highway have already been informed of this move. The Ministry says the land acquisition is being carried out legally and the owners will be compensated accordingly. Tamil political parties had raised objections to the presence of army camps in the North more..

Global exports among Sri Lanka’s immediate concerns – Dr. Mathai

Apr 21 (CT) The shrinking exports in relation to global exports are among Sri Lanka’s immediate concerns, and during the past two years there were problems in the global economy, some of which still continue, said IMF Resident Representative Dr. Koshy Mathai. He further stated that although the Western economy was growing slow, the Eastern economy was growing fast; but Sri Lanka’s exports to these destinations were much smaller than to the west. more..

Under-19 Youth ODI: Sri Lanka take lead in rain-affected match

Apr 21 (CI) Sri Lanka Under-19 took a 1-0 lead over Bangladesh Under-19 in the five-match Youth ODI series, after they were declared winners by 62 runs, according to the Duckworth-Lewis method. Rain interrupted the second innings, with Sri Lanka at 133 for 4, within reach of Bangladesh's 138-run target. The visitors were declared winners as they had to score just 72 runs in the same number of overs according to Duckworth-Lewis method. The match was called off at 3:40pm, due to persistent more..

Packer ponders bet on move into Sri Lanka

Apr 21 (Age) Sydney Harbour development Barangaroo is not the only casino project on James Packer's radar. The billionaire has notched up three trips to Sri Lanka in the space of six weeks signalling his interest in the island nation, which is positioning itself as a gambling hub for its larger neighbour, India. A spokesman declined to comment about potential investments in Sri Lanka but there is no denying Mr Packer's growing more..

IPL playoffs likely to shift out of Chennai

Apr 21 (CI) The IPL is likely to shift the first two playoff matches out of Chennai, the venue listed in the original schedule. That decision is likely to be taken at the IPL Governing Council meeting in Chennai on April 22 in the wake of mounting pressure from various franchises, who are adamant that not having the option to pick their Sri Lankan players reduces their strength considerably at Chepauk. Under political pressure from the Tamil Nadu govt to not allow Sri Lankan players more..

Lanka in or out: Crucial CMAG meeting on Friday

Apr 21 (ST) The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meets on Friday (26) in London to discuss issues related to the CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka in Nov. Though a venue change is not an item on the agenda, diplomatic sources in London say there was nothing to preclude the issue coming up under “any other business”. No member country of the Commonwealth has formally called for a venue change, and the Commonwealth Secretariat was proceeding with arrangements to hold more..

Anuradha Cooray finishes 14th in London Marathon

Apr 21 (AD) Sri Lanka’s Anuradha Cooray placed 14th with a timing of 02:17:53 in the London Marathon completed a short while ago. Over 35,000 runners took part in the marathon. Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede won the men’s race, chasing down Kenya’s Emmanuel Mutai in the closing stages to cross the line first in front of Buckingham Palace. Kebede, who like most competitors wore a black ribbon in honor of the Boston victims, more..

Thoughts turn to group 1 after three years in two

Apr 22 (SL) IT is hard to recollect the first week of any past April being more eventful than the oneseenin the first seven days of this month. It was the national Sri Lanka rugby team’s memorable success in the March31-April6 Asian Five Nations Championship that set the ball rolling. Whilst the success elevated the country to Asian rugby’s High Five hierarchy, it also won us the right to run for a place in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Overwhelming each of our three opponents more..

Command responsibility? Yes! but what about the ‘foot soldiers?’

Apr 22 (SL) With the temperature rising around the issues dealt with recently at the UNHRC meeting in Geneva, the matter of ‘command responsibility’ is being bandied about increasingly in connection with any transgressions that might have occurred during the final days of the campaign to annihilate the LTTE. Since, apart from anything else, that debate has been entered by many commentators, the real kind as well as the ‘wanna-be’ variety, I would like to deal with the issue of denial of human and more..

Rajarata University opens Medical and Allied Sciences Faculty amidst challenges

Apr 22 (SO) A few days ago the first batch of doctors passed out from the youngest Medical faculty of the country joined the National Health Service. Started with fragments of a faculty, these students achieved their aim with sheer dedication and courage in due course creating a fully fledged medical faculty that was created in the recent past of the history in Sri Lanka. A medical student comes with dreams, aspirations and with a load more..

Sri Lanka condemned in multiple international reports

Apr 22 (DBS) During the new year holidays, the International Bar Association put out a report titled “A Crisis of Legitimacy: The Impeachment of CJ Bandaranayake and the Erosion of the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka”. It is important for bodies purporting to represent the legal profession not to convey the impression of being a kangaroo court lest it undermines the confidence of the people in the legal system. People expect a certain clinical rigour from bodies made up of the legal fraternity. more..

The Idiotic Gene

Apr 22 (DBS) Economic punches and developmental disappointments might have bruised and battered Mahinda Rajapaksa’s once enormous popularity among Sinhala masses. Yet a considerable part of it still endures. There is nothing outlandish about this; despotic leaders are usually popular, for a while, before the devastating costs of their rule become manifest. V Pirapaharan was popular in his time. So was Adolf Hitler, until the Americans’ daylight carpet-bombing of more..

Stopping the carnage on Lankan highways

Apr 22 (ST) I had just returned from Sri Lanka after attending the Thurstan College vs. Isipathana College 50th big match encounter at the SSC cricket grounds. I spent 11 memorable days in Colombo and Galle with my schoolmates of both schools, whom I met after some considerable time. During my visit, I noticed a substantial improvement to road infrastructure largely thanks to Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s more..

A heartbreaking story: ‘Agape Orphanage’ ripped apart

Apr 22 (CT) I am a Sri Lankan lady 72 years of age and was residing overseas for 12 years. Upon returning to Sri Lanka in 2007, I visited the Agape Children’s Home in Tissamaharama – an orphanage run by Rev. Dayaratne (Parish Priest of the Assembly of God Church) and his wife Sister Mala. I offered to work at the Home as a volunteer, handling the administration and also to teach English to the children. During this period I was touched to see the way the children were brought up as one more..

Venerable voices: Stirrings of a sleeping conscience ?

Apr 22 (CT) In the 1930s and ‘40s educated urban Buddhist monks launched a movement of rural development, proclaiming that their work is not ritual but “social service”. They achieved some successes in the early period of their work, but by the mid-1940s this largely social and economic movement had deteriorated into a majoritarian political movement that identified the island with Buddhism and the Sinhala ethnic group, thereby marginalizing the minorities. more..

Rs 155.26 B shortfall in tax revenue for 2012

Apr 22 (CT) The Govt tax revenue for 2012 fell short by Rs 155.26 billion from a projected tax revenue of Rs 1,000.559 billion, amounting to a shortfall of 15.526% in the revenue, the Central Bank report reveals. As a result, the total govt revenue as a percentage of GDP declined significantly to 13% in 2012 compared to 14.3% recorded in the previous year and 14.7% projected in the budget entirely due to the decline in more..

Three fundamental economic challenges

Apr 22 (ST) The three most important challenges facing the economy are the containment of the fiscal deficit, lessening the trade deficit and reducing the public debt: especially its foreign debt component. Unless there is significant progress in reducing these, the resultant economic instability would hamper sustained economic growth. The most important economic objective of the govt should be to reduce the fiscal deficit from the current 6.4% of GDP to around 5% in the next few years. more..

Ensuring Migrant Workers’ Rights: Regional Frameworks Could Hold the Key

Apr 22 (Island) In the wake of the execution of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana Nafeek on 9th Feb 2013, accused of smothering an infant in her care in Saudi Arabia, the human rights of migrant workers have come to the forefront of the policy discussion on migration. This article discusses what the next step needs to be in developing a comprehensive governing framework for migrant labour, and argues that collective action is the strongest tool in the arsenal of sending countries in more..

Banks give govt. Rs. 95bn in new loans, private sector gets only Rs. 17.4bn

Apr 22 (Island) Latest data released by the Central Bank shows that govt crowding out of the private sector has eased in February with the govt borrowing Rs. 95 bil during the first two months of this as against Rs. 17.4 bil by the private sector. New private sector loans from the domestic banking sector grew by Rs. 12.1 bil in Feb 2013, as against Rs. 5.3 bil in Jan, while govt borrowings from domestic banks grew by Rs. 39.6 bil in Feb, more..

Editorial: A voice of sanity

Apr 22 (Island) Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera is one of the few UPFA politicians who have the courage to engage in self-criticism and express views that are at variance with those of the ruling coalition. Others go all out to defend the indefensible and cut pathetic figures in the process. They are even trying to justify the latest solar plexus punch Citizen Perera has suffered at the hands of the CEB! Stressing the need for curtailing waste, Minister Gunasekera has called for increasing the more..