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Sharma backs Lanka as CHOGM host

Apr 27 (CG) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma says Sri Lanka would be hosting the 2013 CHOGM in November, as planned, and that no member govt had indicated that it wishes to change the venue. The decision made by leaders in 2009 and confirmed in 2011 still stands. “It is a collective decision that it [CHOGM] will take place in Colombo and the date of it is in November,” he said. more..

Editiorial: Well said, old cricketer!

Apr 27 (CT) Retired Sri Lanka cricketer Thilan Samaraweera deserves a pat on his back. Not that he needs one. He would have had plenty as a player who played his part without a complaint, although it was a tragedy that he had to leave the scene at a time his performance levels had fallen which he modestly acknowledged. Samaraweera, in an interview with the internationally acclaimed website Cricinfo, said that he was well aware of how finances had been squandered and more..

Sri Lankan reflections on Siva: A response to Hoole

Apr 27 (CT) As a Sri Lankan, I reflect on Siva, the Lord Most High. I enumerate several of his names, allude to His grace and describe his ancient shrine in Trincomalee, East Sri Lanka. The intent is to celebrate His place in the Sri Lankan Tamil inheritance. Siva presides over our destiny amidst our turbulent history. Siva, God almighty, has many names in the Hindu tradition. The 9th century Tamil text, the Tiruvachakam, uses several to designate him. Amongst others, Siva is called the more..

Bombing at Boston Marathon evokes memories of Jeyaraj Fernandopulle

Apr 27 (DBS) Explosions at the iconic Boston Marathon Event in the USA has sent shock waves causing the Western media to focus intensively on the global phenomenon described as terrorism. In Sri Lanka there was a feeling of Déjà vu as the Island nation had also experienced bomb blasts at a Marathon event five years ago. It was on April 6th 2008 that a suicide bomber of the LTTE targeted a marathon race event at Weliveriya more..

The electricity tariffs, populism and smarter consumption: Some reflections

Apr 27 (CT) In midst of the noise of populist political posturing on the electricity tariff increase, there has also been, as always, a considerable amount substantial discussion on the issue. While a number of OpEds have been edifying, and of our legislators, Harsha de Silva‘s lone, yet richly informed analytical voice has been most stimulating, I do feel there is an aspect of the matter that has still not drawn attention. In the paragraphs below, I will attempt to delineate this. more..

West bound B’desh cargo to be channelled through Colombo

Apr 27 (Island) Bangladesh has expressed willingness to divert some of the cargo it sends to the West thorough Singapore via the Colombo Port. The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary, Shahidul Haque, who concluded a five-day official visit to Sri Lanka on Wednesday, said that he had informed the Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) between the two countries, of the willingness of businessmen in his country to use the Colombo port, which would help save money and time. more..

Govt. readies for Northern poll

Apr 27 (DM) SLFP, the largest ally of the ruling coalition, will call for applications from prospective candidates soon to contest the elections for the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) in September, party officials said yesterday. The SLFP-led alliance will handpick 19 candidates for the Jaffna district, eight for the Mannar district, and eight for the Mullaitivu district, nine for the Vavuniya district and seven for the Kilinochchi district. more..

UPFA MP bemoans electricity hike

Apr 27 (CT) UPFA Parliamentarian for the Kalutara District, Vidura Wickremanayake, said with the increase in electricity tariffs, the prices of many other goods and services for which electricity is needed, would go up. “This is unavoidable,” he said. Wickremanayake, who is also the Chairman of the Horana Divisional Committee of the Horana Divisional Secretariat, so remarked at the monthly co-ordinating meeting of the Horana Divisional Secretariat. more..

200 kidney patients awaiting surgery have died

Apr 27 (LT) About 200 kidney patients who had been registered for surgery have died due to not carrying out surgeries at National Kidney Transplant Unit at Maligawatta despite having all the facilities including specialist doctors, equipment and nursing staff say reports. More than 600 patients had been registered for surgery at this unit and after the death of 200 of them without getting the surgeries they needed due to improper and inefficient management of the unit, 400 more patients are in stand-by more..

'Some TN political parties object to TELO resolution'

Apr 27 (DM) Leading Tamil Nadu political parties have raised objections to a resolution adopted by the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) at its recent convention calling for a political solution that falls short of a separate state, party officials said yesterday. TELO had its annual convention at Vavuniya last week and adopted a resolution, among others, calling for the re-merger of the North and the East and more..

President urged to ground Mihin Air

Apr 27 (Island) The Public Movement Against the Electricity Hike (PMAEH) yesterday urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to do away with the recently imposed electricity tariff revision by closing down the Mihin Airways which, it said, gobbled up some Rs. 20 billion annually. The PMAEH which comprises members of public corporations and civic organizations said it had informed the President that the 20 billion wasted could be utilised for turning around the debt ridden CEB. more..

New Year Celebrations – Manila

Apr 27 (GDI) The Embassy of Sri Lanka together with the Philippine-Sri Lanka Friendship Association held Sinhala Tamil New Year celebrations at San Lorenzo grounds, Makati on Sunday (21). The Sri Lankan community in the Philippines, members of the Philippine-Sri Lanka Friendship Association, members of the Philippine-Sri Lanka Business Council and well wishers were present at the occasion. Ambassador Nawalage Bennet Cooray wished the participants a prosperous more..

Sri Lanka loses 0.5% of GDP in taxes from state worker car permits

Apr 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka has lost 38.5 billion rupees in potential revenues from imported vehicles due to tax-slashed permits given to state functionaries, a govt estimate showed. The finance ministry estimated that another 8.5 billion rupees in revenues was lost in 2011. The 2012 amount was exactly 0.5% of gross domestic product. In 2012 Sri Lanka's tax revenues fell to 13.2% of GDP from 14.5% a year earlier, more..

Abortion drugs worth Rs 30m found inside potatoes container

Apr 27 (AD) Customs officers today seized a container of potatoes imported from Pakistan after discovering 30,000 vials of a drug, used during abortions, concealed within the shipment. A Pakistani national who is suspected to have imported the medicinal drugs, which is said to be worth around Rs 30 million, has been arrested, Director of Customs Mali Piyasena said. The discovery was made by officers of the Customs Revenue Monitoring Unit upon inspecting more..

Sis-bro defraud millions on bogus computer purchases

Apr 27 (ST) A woman executive at a private firm and her brother were taken into custody after they allegedly defrauded five leading companies of an estimated Rs 28 million in bogus computer purchases, a senior officer with the CID said yesterday. The suspects are alleged to have used the credit facility of the firm the woman suspect was attached to, and purchased some 250 plus laptops and 48 computer units from these companies, before bolting, he added. more..

'Hypocritical' govt ignoring Sri Lankan abuses: Greens

Apr 27 (SMH) Greens leader Christine Milne has accused the govt of placing domestic politics ahead of human rights by refusing to boycott the coming CHOGM in Sri Lanka. And Amnesty International says the violations there should be more seriously considered when Australia is forming refugee policies. Its campaign co-ordinator, Ming Yu, said a new Amnesty International report to be released on Tuesday, titled more..

Sri Lanka’s Hotel Show returns in July

Apr 27 (ST) South Asias largest, comprehensive and most eagerly looked forward hotel products exhibition, “Hotel Show 2013’ is scheduled to be held in July 26-28 in Colombo, the 15th anniversary of this once-in-two-years event. The ‘Hotel Show’ is organised by the Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association (CHSGA) in partnership with Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services. The organisers said over the years, the bi-annual exhibition has gained immense recognition and more..

Rescued Lankan refugess sent to TN

Apr 27 (ENS) As many as 88 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, who were rescued from being trafficked to Australia, were sent to refugee camps in Tamil Nadu in two buses on Friday. Sleuths attached to City Crime Branch (CCB), District Crime and Intelligence Buereau (DCIB) and Coastal security police on Thursday had busted the racket. The refugees included 29 men, 22 women, 18 boys and 19 girls. The accused - Doringten (40), Nikson Darwin (38) from Thiruvallur district in Tamil Nadu, more..

Canada fury at Sri Lanka choice for Commonwealth talks

Apr 27 (BBC) Canada is "appalled" that Sri Lanka has been chosen to host the CHOGM in November, its foreign minister says. John Baird said Sri Lanka had failed in the fundamental Commonwealth values of "freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and good governance". Sri Lanka dismissed Canada's objections, saying Commonwealth members had agreed the summit could go ahead. Sri Lanka's army defeated more..

Corporation passes spl resolution thanking CM for ban on SL players

Apr 27 (DC) The Chennai corporation on Friday passed a special resolution thanking chief minister J. Jayalalithaa for banning Sri Lankan cricket players in Chennai during this IPL season and also for cancelling the Asian Athletics meet in the capital city. Reading out the special resolution, mayor Saidai S. Duraisamy emphasised that whenever the Tamils had a problem, it was the AIADMK supremo who took up measures to address and respect Tamil sentiments. Even recently, the TN Assembly more..

Sri Lanka level series in rain-hit game

Apr 27 (CI) Sri Lanka Under-19s stormed back into contention in the five-match series by beating Bangladesh Under-19s by six wickets in the rain-affected fourth game in Mirpur. After rain interrupted play towards the end of the Bangladesh innings, the visitors were set a target of 197 runs from 29 overs. They reached the target in the 23rd over, thanks to Chamika Karunaratne's unbeaten 49 off 47 balls, which had five fours and a six. His job was made slightly easier by Sandun Weerakkody, more..

Cockermouth School cricketers tour SL

Apr 27 (BBC) It started off as a pipedream, but students from a Cumbria school have returned from a "once in a lifetime" cricket tour of Sri Lanka. The group from Cockermouth School arranged the trip with support from teachers and a Sri Lankan professional playing club cricket in the town. They raised thousands of pounds to help fund the cost and donated equipment to their hosts. Luke Skilbeck, 16, said everyone on the trip had more..

Editorial : Saving power, the only solution

Apr 28 (SO) The demand for power is increasing worldwide and more and more countries are turning to alternative energy sources to cushion the impact of sky-rocketing crude oil prices in the international market. Electricity was once considered a luxury and only affluent people had access to electricity while a major portion of the country's population depended on kerosene to light up their homes. Less than 65% of households mostly in the urban and semi-urban areas had electricity when more..

Editorial : Mother of all crises

Apr 28 (SL) The lights are going out in Sri Lanka which once held the promise of being the Miracle of Asia. For the past four years, the country has been going from crisis to crisis, each subsequent crisis being disastrous enough for the damage of the one before to be put aside but not forgotten. The current power crisis, however, appears to be the Mother of All Crises. Even if the Rajapaksa regime manages to ride over this crisis, they will be deeply scarred. The power hike is estimated to be over 65% more..

'Govt formulating rules, regulations to curb corruption'

Apr 28 (SO) The most senior parliamentarian representing the Kegalle district, Athauda Seneviratne, who had held a number of portfolios in the past and presently functions as the Senior Minister for Rural Affairs, expressed his views on a number of issues at an exclusive interview. Excerpts of the interview: Q: You are a very senior politician who had held different portfolios such as Deputy Minister, Provincial Chief Minister and more..

Sparks in the House as Opposition comes alive by candlelight

Apr 28 (ST) The recent electricity price hike seems to have injected some life into the main oppositionUNP, that for too long, has been groping in the dark, trying to find its way as an effective opposition in Parliament. At least some members of the UNP managed to display their displeasure at the price hike, by voicing their opposition loud enough to bring sittings to an abrupt end on Tuesday, while on Wednesday, they held a candlelit vigil in the Chamber, which lasted about an hour. more..

SL gets Commonwealth show-and-tell opportunity!

Apr 28 (Island) Who would have thought it was possible for Sri Lanka to beat off the challenge from Canada within the Commonwealth? But they have. So the CHOGM will be held in SL in November after all. After the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting which was held last Thursday, there is no other meeting of the Commonwealth where there is the possibility of discussing the venue of CHOGM, so it’s now a certainty that this event will be held in Sri Lanka. more..

'No politician has attempted to influence me or my staff'

Apr 28 (SO) Excerpts of an interview with Elections Commissioner General, Mahinda Deshapriya in view of the upcoming provincial council elections including the Northern PC polls expected in September this year. Q: There are three upcoming PC elections within this year, in the Central, North Central and North Western Province, what are the preparations? A: The Electoral Register in Operation is for 2012. more..

Editiorial: May Day Signals

Apr 28 (ST) One would have thought that the President, who is also the Minister of Finance, made a slip when he divulged almost a ‘state secret’ during his meeting with national newspaper editors and electonic media heads this week that had the Govt not raised electricity prices, the economy would have collapsed. One must, therefore, assume that it was something the President wanted the people to know – that the country’s economy is in rather dire straits. Notwithstanding the rosy picture of more..

Playing political power games

Apr 28 (ST) My Dear Pavithra, I thought I must write to you because the entire country appears to be blaming the increase in electricity rates on you and no one seems to realise that you were given this thankless job only a few months ago. Some people are behaving as if you and you alone are responsible for the electricity rates increase and they are finding fault with you as if the increased revenue from the rate increase in electricity rate will go to your pocket! Don’t worry, Pavithra, the truth more..

'Workers should come out and agitate against govt'

Apr 28 (SL) Head of the UNP’s Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) and MP Dr Jayalath Jayawardena says the rising cost of living is the result of the sins of the UPFA govt that include bribery, corruption and inefficient management of finances. He observed that workers should come out and agitate against the present dictatorial, undemocratic govt. “There are so many common areas that all trade unions could come more..

Life insurance penetration as a percentage of GDP still stands low

Apr 28 (ST) Although there’s a growth trend seen in life insurance penetration of nearly 4.3% year on year to Rs 26 billion in the first six months of last year (based on total population), the life insurance penetration as a percentage of GDP stands at as low as 0.5% for the same period, a TKS Securities said. However with the prevailing mid digit inflation environment the outlook for life insurance remains positive with the growth in per capita GDP, rapid urbanization, aging population and more..

Duminda shows struggling Sri Lanka how miracles work

Apr 28 (NS) MP Duminda Silva who was given bail on Wednesday left the hospital where he was receiving treatment and met President Rajapaksa directly, before going to his residence. A media company owned by his brother announced that he was cured by a ‘miracle’. It became the news of the week eclipsing the tariff hike on electricity. CEB’s decision to impose a tariff hike, with the govt’s blessings, had provided the Opposition to rise from the ashes and approach the masses after more..

'TU movement has been able to fight against govt'

Apr 28 (SL) JVP politburo member and Head of the NTUC, K.D. Lalkantha says that the trade union movement has been able to fight and win the demands of the working people. However, he noted that organized struggle could win and there’s a need to bring all struggles to one broad platform. “We need a programme where there’s a joint trade union struggle to win common demands,” Lalkantha said, adding that such a more..

Editiorial: The price of hosting CHOGM

Apr 28 (Island) The last hurdle in hosting the CHOGM meeting in Sri Lanka in November was cleared in London last week when the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group concluded its meeting. The Summit venue had been decided long ago and although some countries like Canada were anxious to shift elsewhere, partly due to electoral pressure mounted by sections of the Tamil diaspora whose concentration in certain areas permitted disproportionate influence, more..

Editiorial: What’s sauce for Canada…

Apr 28 (NS) Canada, it is reported, has joined the United States in calling for the removal of Richard Falk, a UN human rights rapporteur who opined that American policies were the impetus of the Boston Marathon bombings. Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird officially called on the UNHRC to remove Falk from his position, arguing ‘Falk’s consistently mean-spirited comments cast a dark shadow over the United Nations and what it can accomplish. Comments like these do a great disservice to more..

MR faces wrath of party and people

Apr 28 (SL) That the Rajapaksa govt’s glory days are fast coming to an end was evident by looking at the events that unfolded last week. The Rajapaksa govt was jubilant last week that Sri Lanka was not included in the agenda of the CMAG meeting in London. Canada, after attempting to raise the issue of Sri Lanka during the discussion on other matters at the CMAG meeting, has announced that a high level delegation would not attend the more..

Hirunika shocked at Duminda’s release

Apr 28 (SL) Hirunika Premachandra said that UPFA MP Duminda Silva’s release was a clear sign of misleading the judiciary. She said that there are doubts over the country’s current state of law. “Already supporters of my father and even our family have been threatened by certain parties. I was surprised to see visuals of Duminda Silva as if he had not even undergone such a serious operation, while the courts were told that he had not fully recovered and that he had to be placed in a more..

Monks fear conspiracy

Apr 28 (SL) The Ravana Balaya, a Buddhist organization blamed over some of the recent attacks on Muslim institutions, has lodged a complaint with the Buddhasasana Ministry claiming there is a conspiracy. The Ravana Balaya has given a letter to the Secretary of the Buddhasasana Ministry saying there is a conspiracy against Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The organization urged the Ministry to take action against those conspiring against Buddhism and Buddhist monks. more..

Govt hunts for more taxpayers

Apr 28 (ST) The govt, worried about dwindling revenue, is looking for new taxpayers with plans to reduce the taxable income levels to bring more public and private sector employees into the net. At a recent Finance Ministry meeting, it was proposed to lower the tax free income threshold per month to Rs. 400,000 from Rs 600,000 per annum which means that more people in this lower income bracket (around Rs 33,000 per month) more..