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Unhealthy signs of the Health Sector

Aug 7 (CT) When the clamour for additional funding for the education sector is just beginning to quieten down (not necessarily resolved) a slow stirring is beginning in the health sector, with its trade unions alleging that a whopping Rs 5 billion had been lopped off this year’s financial appropriations for the sector. This is reportedly in addition to a grave shortage of funds, required for the day-to-day upkeep, the State hospitals are already experiencing. more..

'Largest illegal election hoarding at Gampola'

Aug 7 (AD) The largest illegal election propaganda hoarding for the upcoming North Western, Central and Northern Provincial Council polls is currently being displayed on the Gampola-Nuwara-Eliya road, CaFFE said today. The Gampola police are providing security for the alleged hoarding which is being displayed on the old bridge on the Gampola-Nuwara-Eliya road, CaFFE Executive Director Ranjith Keerthi Tennakoon said in a statement. The statement added that the CaFFE had more..

Preaching taboos will go nowhere

Aug 7 (DM) Sri Lanka is a country which is known to have ‘flourishing’ within it, four of the great religions of the world, namely Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. If shows of piety were something to go by, Sri Lanka would doubtless be a genuine ‘Dharmadweepa’. However, Sri Lanka is a country where criminal activity is at its height and is now hitting records that are wholly unprecedented. more..

'Fonterra products marketed in SL safe'

Aug 7 (Island) Fonterra-branded consumer products, including Anchor and other milk food, in Sri Lanka were safe, Fonterra said in a statement issued yesterday. It said: "None of Fonterra’s consumer branded products in Sri Lanka was affected by the quality issue announced by the New Zealand Co-operative on 3 August 2013. This was an isolated issue, affecting three batches of a specialised wholesale dairy ingredient – Whey Protein Concentrate 80 (WPC80). more..

Weliweriya shooting, family bandyism and the presidential system

Aug 7 (CT) Presidency, of course is the problem! We are all concerned about the day to day happenings in the country, not so much of the Deraniyagala killing, but mostly of the Weliweriya shooting at present. The latter has overtaken by the former. But we should not lose sight of the larger picture and the key structural issues behind our predicament, if we need to genuinely seek solutions to our problems. Only passing comments on structural issues, either way, might not be more..

China invited to attend Commonwealth business forum in Sri Lanka

Aug 7 (Xinhua) China will be among non- Commonwealth countries that will attend the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) hosted by Sri Lanka in November that hopes to attract one billion U.S. dollars in investment for a post-war economy, officials said here on Wednesday. The Commonwealth Business Council will be held on the sidelines of the CHOGM, which is the highest decision making body of the 53-member more..

Sangha demands govt. reveal why army was deployed

Aug 7 (Island) In the wake of public agitation over the brutal killing of three unarmed civilians, including two schoolboys, at Weliweriya, the National Sangha Council (NSC) yesterday demanded that the government tell the country why the army was deployed to settle a Pradeshiya Sabha problem and who ordered them to shoot unarmed, peaceful protesters, who were only demanding that the government provide a speedy answer to their drinking water problem. more..

More than 8,116 persons displaced by stormy weather

Aug 7 (Island) More than 8,116 persons continued to be displaced due to floods and stormy conditions in eight districts during the past three days. The Met. Department said more windy conditions could be expected countrywide due to the cyclone, ‘JEBI’, near Vietnam. According to latest figures, issued by the DMC, 8,116 persons, belonging to 2,383 families, were affected due to floods in the Kegalle, Colombo, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Ampara, Batticaloa and Monaragala Districts. more..

Sri Lanka plans aircraft repair hub

Aug 7 (AD) Sri Lankan Airlines announced today plans to set up a regional aircraft repair hub with the help of German carrier Lufthansa. The aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul operations will be a centrepiece of the new $209 million MRIA which opened in March. Sri Lankan Airlines said it was working out details with Lufthansa AG’s maintenance arm, Lufthansa Technik, to open the repair facility at the more..

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister to visit India

Aug 7 (ENS) Even as the issue of Indian fishermen and the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils continues to boil, Foreign Minister G L Peiris will be visiting New Delhi later this month. Peiris will be reaching here for a day-long visit on August 18, with the invitation letter for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the CHOGM in Colombo from November 15 to 17. While sources did not say if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will accept it, there was indication that the decision to participate will be taken later. more..

SEC to ask debt issuers to allow small investors

Aug 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's securities regulator said companies who are selling tax free listed debt will not be allowed to exclude small investors by setting high million rupee minimum subscriptions in the future. Several companies set minimum subscription levels of a million rupees to listed debentures where banks were among the largest buyers. The high threshold kept out small investors. SEC chairman Nalaka Godahewa said a minimum level of 10,000 rupees had been proposed more..

Christopher Perera: Top Chef at Inter-Continental Toronto Yorkville

Aug 7 (LR) Yorkville is considered to be the most high-end district in Canada, home to the most expensive stores, and an exclusive area regularly frequented by top celebrities. At the heart of the district is the hotel InterContinental Toronto Yorkville where Sri Lankan-born Christopher Perera is the Executive Chef. Perera credits his success to his motherland where he learned the art of hospitality. more..

Pavithra wants to clean up CEB

Aug 7 (Island) Minister Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi says she would not hesitate to take stern action against any official who has any hand in bribery or corruption within the CEB. Addressing an Educational Training Workshop, at the CEB headquarters on Monday, the Minister said she was keen to put an end to financial irregularities as she strongly believed in proper financial management within the Board as it would be a key factor in passing the benefit down to the consumers. more..

Princess Tsuguko to visit Sri Lanka

Aug 7 (CG) Princess Tsuguko (27), a member of the Imperial House of Japan and the eldest daughter of Prince Takamado and Princess Takamado, will visit Sri Lanka from August 19 to August 23. She is to be a guest at the Perahera Festival, Sri Lanka’s largest traditional festival, Japanese media reports said. She will also visit the world heritage sites by the helicopter. Princess Tsuguko met President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his wife when they visited Japan this year. more..

Loss making Sri Lankan airline to buy 10 aircraft to become profitable by 2016

Aug 7 (Xinhua) Loss making national carrier SriLankan has signed a 1.3 billion U.S. dollar deal with Airbus to purchase ten aircraft and become profitable by financial year 2016/ 2017. The debt burdened airline, which operates 21 aircraft to 32 destinations, has been struggling to beat competition, SriLankan CEO Kapila Chandrasena said. Attempting to explain the company's loss of 208 million U.S. dollars last year, more..

SLFBC Committee to facilitate promotion of trade and investment with France

Aug 7 (FT) The Sri Lanka – France Business Council (SLFBC) which functions under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce held its 9th Annual General Meeting at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently. The Council was inaugurated on 4 February 2004 with a primary objective of promoting trade, investment, tourism and services between Sri Lanka and France and to promote mutual understanding and strengthen the relationships between Sri Lanka and France. more..

Champions League T20: Sri Lankan tourney to pick final team

Aug 7 (PTI) Sri Lankan cricket selectors on Wednesday named four teams comprising the cream of national cricketers to play in a new Twenty20 tournament with an aim of nominating a side to compete in the Champions League T20 to be held in India in September. The new makeshift tournament has been announced in place of Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL), which will not take place this year due to non payment of guarantee fees by the respective franchises. more..

India serves démarche on Sri Lanka over jailed fishermen

Aug 7 (Hindu) Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam was summoned to the South Block on Wednesday and a formal démarche made against the large number of Indian fishermen languishing in Sri Lankan custody for periods up to two months. The démarche reflected India’s exasperation over the absence of any movement on the release of the fishermen despite several high-level interventions. more..

Weliweriya tarnished army image

Aug 7 (CG) The campaign of the pro LTTE diaspora tarnishing the image of the Sri Lankan Army labeling them as an army of genocide, received a boost from Weliweriya incident, UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said today. He said the incident has created a good opportunity to the evil forces which are waiting to weaken Sri Lanka’s security forces. “The incident in Weliveriya has become a key subject locally as well as internationally. We do not intend to get cheap pleasure politically from this incident. more..

Court allows SJP withdraw petition

Aug 7 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday pointed out that the ‘Sinhala Jathika Peramuna’ (SJP) is not a registered political party. Hence., Court cannot entertain a petition, filed under the name of that organisation. The Court was referring to a Writ Application filed by that organisation, requesting the Court to prohibit the holding of the Provincial Council Polls in the North. They had said that the area was not yet demined and the people who were entitled to vote more..

'Govt not concerned'

Aug 7 (CG) The govt says it has nothing to hide and welcomes the visits of high profile foreign dignitaries to Sri Lanka including the north ahead of and during the Commonwealth summit in November. Minister Professor G.L Peiris said that most high profile foreign visitors who had been to Sri Lanka in recent times have found that the actual ground situation is not what is projected by some people overseas. more..

Keells Super goes Mobile!

Aug 7 (DM) With Sri Lanka having to experience a mobile penetration that’s close to the entire population of the country coupled with the increasing growth in internet access via handsets and smartphones, Keells Super brings mobile shopping for the first time in its industry, adding greater ease and convenience to its shoppers. The launch of the mobile commerce site comes as an extension after its immense success of its pioneering e-commerce website more..

Importer dollar demand pulls Rupee down

Aug 7 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee ended weaker on Wednesday due to importer dollar demand as the central bank, eager to hold the greenback below 132.00 rupees, forced dealers to shift to forward trades. Some dealers said they moved to one-day forwards instead of spot trade after the central bank's earlier direction to banks not to accept bids above 131.60 rupees per dollar. The one-day forward ended weaker at 131.72/78 per dollar from Tuesday's close of 131.73/75. more..

Dilshan keeps faith in young batsmen

Aug 7 (CI) Sri Lanka's misfiring middle order has been the cause of most concern in the 2-1 Twenty20 series loss to South Africa, but Tuesday's Man of the match Tillakaratne Dilshan has said the youngsters' failures do not necessarily bode ill for the team's future. Dilshan's 74 not out from 51, was Sri Lanka's primary propellant in a chase of 164, in which three young players - Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo more..

The ‘faculty’ of Senarath Alwis

Aug 8 (NS) Colombo University has many faculties and each faculty is made of many departments. There is no faculty or department called ‘Senerath Alwis’, but he is nevertheless an institution in that university. Rising to the post of Acting Director at this academic institute, Senerath has done yeoman service to the community and country as well. ‘The Campus’ has been his second home for 27 years. This is unlikely to change for many more years to come because even after retirement more..

60th Anniversary of Hartal ‘53

Aug 8 (NS) In a remarkable coincidence, two weeks before the 30th anniversary of the Black July ‘83, we are coerced to discuss the 60th anniversary of another catastrophe, the August Hartal’53, the first popular uprising against a regime in the post independent Sri Lanka, that left nine dead, hundreds injured and unprecedented devastation of state property. Cabinet was embarrassed to seek ‘refuge’ on board British warship ‘HMS Newfoundland’. The uprising forced the govt to bow down to more..

Colombo, only regional port with deep-water terminal

Aug 8 (SO) Ancient history reveals that Sri Lanka was one of the biggest trading hubs in the world in that era. Produce such as rice, cinnamon, gems and even iron and other commodities were exported mainly from the harbour at Magampura or Hambantota. However, with European invasions, this pattern was completely reversed and the then Ceylon was slowly converted to an economy which had to depend on foreign handouts. more..

Weliweriya and the challenge of demilitarizing the North

Aug 8 (GV) Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, a former military spokesman and decorated combat officer, assumed duties on the 1st of August as the 20th commander of the Sri Lanka Army. No former commander ever assumed duties under more inauspicious circumstances for barely had the ceremonial takeover of command concluded than straightaway came reports that the Sri Lanka Army had clashed with unarmed protesters in Weliveriya, with scores injured and several dead. more..

A Notebook from Namibia

Aug 8 (DBS) Stepping out of the plane, breathing in the Namibian air and witnessing its relatively distinctive environment; all of those instances were impactful factors that constructed my first impressions of Africa. In which, I had first built the foundation of T.I.A. – “This Is Africa”. After taking three separate grueling flights to the continent, it felt absolutely relieving and refreshing to finally be able to set foot on African soil. In addition, for the first time in awhile, there had been a reverse role more..

Bullets for water: Militarization comes home

Aug 8 (CT) They had every reason to feel confident and safe, to expect consideration and justice. They were almost exclusively Sinhalese and predominantly Buddhist. They would have supported the military wholeheartedly (quite a few would have kith/kin in uniform) and rejoiced in the defeat of the LTTE. Many would have done the victory-tour, eating shellfish in Jaffna, worshipping at Nagadeepa, laying flowers at the monument more..

Why should people place trust in central banks?

Aug 8 (CT) In a recent training workshop for central bank officers of a neighbouring country, a participant raised a very important question: Why should people trust central banks and accept the money which those banks issue to people as something valuable and useful? When the question was posed to the audience, the answers given were of two types but closely related to each other. One answer was that central banks are owned by sovereign govts and therefore the trust which people more..

Divisive role of religion grows despite Buddhist teachings

Aug 8 (Island) The most likely point of new inter-community conflict at the present time is between those who espouse nationalist Buddhism and the Muslim community. Although not widely reported, the attacks against Muslim places of worship and Muslim owned businesses are continuing. In a six month period from January to June this year, at least 155 anti-Muslim incidents were reported by the Secretariat for Muslims. The attitude on the part of those who are aggressors is that they can more..

Baila, Baila

Aug 8 (CT) A celebratory function of food and dance is rarely complete until the gathering has rollicked and jerked to some fast-paced Baila tunes. "Baila is a unique blend of poetry with African rhythm," says Ann Sheeran, referring to the music as infused with European modernity and Afro-Iberian popular music in Sri Lanka; at any venue where dancing is involved, the evening falls flat without a final round of singing and dancing known as more..

Right to rebel, time to rebel!

Aug 8 (CT) Flying Fish, a movie about the monstrosity of war was banned because it was claimed to demoralize the govt forces and depicted them in a negative light. Weliweriya proves that we do not need films and literature to understand how cruel, inhuman and destructive wars are, but most of all it proves against whom wars are fought, from Nandikadal to Baghdad. It is interesting that the Army and the govt is playing the same tune it did in 2009, the war was grander and more..

JVP proposals for national unity are superficial

Aug 8 (FT) The JVP proposals to resolve the national question were published in a Sunday newspaper on 28 July 2013. They are suggesting elected People’s Councils for the Tamil people where they live in a compact community as in the Northern Province. I give them below: “iv. The new approach for the solution to the national question must be taken by establishing rights of the people on the basis of equality and by guaranteeing democratic rights and by providing special more..

Boston Lanka with Ranjan Ramanayake

Aitken Spence 1Q pre-tax profit up 2% to Rs. 937 m

Aug 8 (FT) Diversified blue-chip Aitken Spence Plc yesterday reported a pre-tax profit of Rs. 937 m for the first quarter, a growth of 2.1%, over the previous year, while the Group’s profit attributable to shareholders of the parent grew by 4.1% to Rs. 667 m. The Company reported that the revenue for the first quarter declined by 11.3% to Rs. 7.64 b, while earnings per share for the quarter stood at Rs. 1.64, an increase of 4.1% over the corresponding period in the previous year. more..

Four youngsters better long-standing 400m record

Aug 8 (Island) A record which stood unbroken for more than two decades at the Sir John Tarbet Junior Athletics Championships was bettered by four athletes in four separate heats of the Under-15 boys’ 400 metres on the third day of the championship here at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Diyagama yesterday. Supun Nimansha of Gurukula College, Kelaniya, Sangeeth Weerakoon of Sri Parakrama MV, Dunukedeniya, Dilruk Jayakody of Maris Stella College, Negombo more..

Death by a thousand cuts

Aug 8 (FT) In a shell shocked village in Gampaha, a once loved military is in disgrace. For a newly installed army commander, an officer of repute and courage, the horror of the Weliweriya tragedy happened on his first day on the job. Stony silence from the upper echelons of the Rajapaksa Administration for an entire week following the chaos, is ample proof that the country’s ruling elite knows just how damaging the more..

Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka

Aug 8 (ENS) The Pakistani political leader Khan Abdul Wali Khan (son of Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan) was asked few years ago by a journalist: “Are you a Pakistani, a Muslim or a Pathan?” Wali Khan replied that he combined all three. The journalist persisted and asked Wali Khan what his primary identity was. Khan responded, “I am a Pakistani for 30 years, a Muslim for 1400 years and a Pathan for 5000 years”. The multiple identities of South Asians, an intrinsic feature of the socio-cultural profile of the more..