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Editorial: Govt. defending the indefensible

Aug 8 (Island) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has reportedly made an attempt to justify brutal military crackdown on a villagers’ protest at Weliweriya. Army and the police, he has claimed, acted in self defence. The govt seems to have taken the public for suckers. While the govt is doing its damnedest to mislead the public, the UNP wants an international probe into the Weliweriya killings. Yes, there has to be a thorough investigation, but why on earth should it be international? more..

Alarming increase in HIV positive cases

Aug 8 (Island) Medical experts said that HIV positive cases continued to show an alarming increase in Sri Lanka. Director of the Health Ministry’s National STD/AIDS Control Programme (NSACP) Dr. Sisira Liyanage said that homosexuality was partly responsible for the prevalent rate of HIV and AIDS in the country. He said that the country had witnessed an increase in reported cases of HIV and AIDS this year. more..

Learning from Sri Lanka

Aug 8 (ET) With the drawdown of the US and Allied forces in Afghanistan approaching fast, there has been a sudden surge of terrorist attacks across Pakistan. The recent deadly assaults on the DI Khan central jail, the ISI office in Sukkur and in the thoroughfares of Parachinar are chilling reminders of the outreach and ease with which the perpetrators of these attacks are operating. The government, while drawing up a counterterrorism plan, is at the same time, mulling over the idea of staging an more..

Ignoring oppression just not cricket

Aug 8 (M&G) In the three months I have been in South Africa, most of the people I've met - the students and professors in the university I'm based at, taxi drivers, people in pubs, passengers in buses and church workers - have heard only one thing about Sri Lanka: cricket. Not about the war, tourist attractions or "Ceylon tea". Yet, with South Africa's recent tour of Sri Lanka, more South Africans are talking about Sri Lanka and cricket. Several have told me the international cricket more..

Rameswaram fishermen meet Minister over Lankan visit

Aug 8 (Hindu) A delegation of Rameswaram fishermen met Minister for Fisheries and Chief Secretary at the Secretariat in Chennai on Wednesday and discussed among other things, their visit to Colombo to hold talks with their Lankan counterparts and find a solution to the fishing problem in the Palk Bay. A five-member delegation, accompanied by U. Arulanandam, President of the Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen more..

BBDO Lanka celebrates two years rooting for Sri Lanka

Aug 8 (CT) BBDO Lanka, the Sri Lankan affiliate of the global BBDO network, celebrated its second anniversary along with clients and a number of distinguished guests in characteristic form — rooting for Sri Lanka. They cheered the Sri Lankan team at the R. Premadasa Stadium as Sri Lanka played against South Africa in the first of three twenty-twenty matches that concluded South Africa's Tour of Sri Lanka 2013 on 2 August. BBDO Lanka Managing Director, Santosh Menon said more..

Welgama blames JRJ Constitution for undesirables in politics

Aug 8 (Island) Minister Kumara Welgama said that drug peddlers, bootleggers and bar owners were dabbling in politics. "They call us ‘machan’ and this type of attitude could be due to the Constitution of the late J.R. Jayewardene." He was speaking at the inauguration of a water supply scheme in Bopitiya. He said such people had entered politics without having a sound education and knowing the meaning of politics. For that he blamed the elections system introduced by President Jayewardene. more..

Sri Lanka steps up fight against scourge of child abuse

Aug 8 (BBC) One of Sri Lanka's top legal officials is calling for moves to strengthen the country's judicial system to deal with an increasing number of child abuse cases. Statistics revealed last year showed that in 2007, there were 3,548 serious offences against children. In 2011, there were 4,480 such offences. Deputy Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanne told the BBC that criminal procedures introduced more than 30 years more..

'Weliweriya incident part and parcel of life'

Aug 8 (FT) Taking a dismissive stance on the tragic death of three youth in Weliweriya allegedly shot by the Army, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris was adamant that it would have no effect on the CHOGM. Responding to questions over the international community expressing concern over the deaths the Minister insisted that the Govt was doing all that it could and expressed confidence that no heads of State would be dissuaded from attending CHOGM by the incident. more..

Prank callers to be taken to task

Aug 8 (CT) Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament that some persons have given false telephone calls to the hotline of the Department of Examinations, alleging there had been mistakes and errors in the question papers of the ongoing GCE A/L exam, and he had handed over the numbers to the CID to trace them. He said, two operational room numbers and one hotline number had been publicized by the Department of Examinations for the public to make any complaint, more..

Packer is a bully, under threat Harsha complaints in Parliament

Aug 8 (FT) Relentless criticism of a mega casino project in Colombo and the ongoing exposure of controversial deals between the Govt and Australian casino mogul had resulted in threats and intimidation for Opposition lawmakers, UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva complained to Parliament yesterday. De Silva, who has been a vocal critic of the James Packer casino development project on D.R. Wijewardane Mawatha more..

Acid attack victim Ayur. Comm. regains sight in one eye

Aug 8 (Island) North Central Province Commissioner General of Ayurveda Dr. Kumara Alwis, who came under an acid attack early this year and lost sight in both eyes, yesterday left the Colombo Eye Hospital having regained the sight in his left eye. Dr. Alwis left for a relative’s house in Kalutara accompanied by his wife, who was with him during his entire hospitalisation of over five months. He had to undergo several operations under the care of Dr. Charith Fonseka. more..

Audio: Cattle slaughter: 'I’m ready to act'

Aug 8 (DM) While condemning the slaughtering of cattle, Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva said today he was committed to stop cattle slaughtering at any time. “I do not have a specific time or date to stop slaughtering. I do not mind even day or night. I am there to act against this. We need to put an end to cattle slaughtering,” he said. He was speaking after visiting Hunupitiya Kelaniya, where a van transporting cattle without permit, was raided this morning. more..

Ranil answers Dayasiri

Aug 8 (Island) Politics is an unhurried journey where one should move with prudence and patience. But, Dayasiri Jayasekera failed to realise this truth, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament. Making a special statement, the Opposition Leader, quoting Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thích Nhit Hanh said, "We all have only a little time on earth and we should move slowly. Dayasiri failed to realise this." more..

Massive rise in pawning

Aug 8 (CT) The amount of money obtained by the public, who throng gold jewellery pawning centres at commercial banks and financial institutes, in the first five months of this year, aggregates to a whopping Rs 633 billion. Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, told Parliament that from commercial banks alone people have obtained loans amounting to Rs 599 billion by pawning gold jewellery during the quoted period and it amounted to 20% of total loans released by the banks. more..

SC concludes Angulana murder appeal

Aug 8 (CT) A five-judge Supreme Court Bench yesterday concluded the hearing of Angulana murder case appeal and reserved the order. The Bench comprising Justices Shiranee Tilakawardane, Chandra Ekanayaka, Sathya Hettige, Priyasath Dep and Eva Wanasundara, ordered lawyers of both parties to submit their written submissions on or before 18 September. Indrawansa Kumarasiri, T.V.T. Newton, Dhammika Nihal and Janapriya Senaratna, all attached to Angulana Police, more..

NPC polls: Candidates’ commitment to unitary status a prerequisite

Aug 8 (Island) All those contesting the first Northern Provincial Council polls, had to furnish a letter each reiterating their commitment to the unitary status of the country in accordance with the ‘Seventh Schedule’ of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, the Election Secretariat said. The Sixth Amendment was introduced on August 8, 1983 in the wake of the outbreak of Eelam War I. ‘Seventh Schedule’ was applicable to all elections, more..

SLPA opens Colombo Port Expansion Project to public for five days

Aug 8 (FT) Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has extended an opportunity to the public to visit the newly opened Colombo Port Expansion Project (CPEP). Following instructions by President to the Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena, SLPA Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama has acted according to the necessary instructions, to facilitate this opportunity to the public. Accordingly, citizens will be able to visit CPEP from 8 to 13 August 2013 during 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. more..

Weliweriya priest says army went on rampage

Aug 8 (Island) Parish priest of Weliweriya, Rev. Fr. Lakpriya Nonis said that there were gunshots embedded in a concrete post and a wall of his church. He said: "MP Sudarshani Fernandopulle visited the church yesterday and inquired what had actually happened last Thursday. So, we told her how people had been attacked even after they had run into the church and the adjacent convent premises to seek refuge." Condemning the army’s conduct and the way people had been more..

CHOGM will help to enlighten Sri Lanka's investment potentials

Aug 8 (GDI) Addressing a media conference yesterday, Minister G.L. Peiris said that getting to host the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) is a great opportunity acquired by Sri Lanka as a nation. The CBF that will take place in Colombo in November in conjunction with the CHOGM is seen as a great opportunity for Sri Lanka to enlighten the world about the investment potentials in the island. more..

Are we producing Mugabes or Mandelas?

Aug 8 (DM) When white minority ruled Rhodesia was liberated some three decades ago and emerged as the free Zimbabwe, the revolutionary leader Robert Mugabe was widely hailed as a hero like Nelson Mandela of South Africa. But with power and absolute power apparently going to his head and corrupting absolutely, Mr. Mugabe’s re-election as President recently is seen by most democratic activists in Zimbabwe and by most democratic countries as a huge fraud manipulated in more..

A mission for underprivileged women

Aug 8 (DM) For most people who make a difference in the world through volunteerism, the mission to which they became devoted emerge from their own experiences. The decisive factor that led Pearl Stephen to open the first shelter for women in Sri Lanka in 1984 was the sad story of her own mother. Her Indian mother crossed the border into Sri Lanka by taking a train to Dhanushkodi, and then a boat to Talaimannar operated by then Indian Railways. Her mother had to suffer a lot more..

Politics move on while masses lose track

Aug 8 (DM) A sudden message was delivered to the office of the Leader of the House of Parliament last Tuesday, calling for arrangements to conduct a party leaders’ meeting immediately at 5.00pm on the same day. The meeting, normally scheduled for the third sitting day of every parliamentary week, was advanced to the very first day of this parliamentary week after the UNP asked for a special debate on the incident in more..

'More deaths if law isn’t changed'

Aug 8 (SL) In an ominous statement, the Chairman of Buddhist group Sinhala Ravaya, Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana Thero told The Sunday Leader that the group was willing to go as far as death to ensure that cattle slaughter is banned in Sri Lanka, hinting that more monks would immolate themselves, mimicking a recent incident. “A Buddhist monk has already given his life for the cause,” Ven. Dayarathana Thero said, more..

Ancient kings fight climate change

Aug 8 (IPS) Life for a widow with young children in Sri Lanka’s poor agrarian areas can be harsh. Families in remote areas like Anuradhapura barely eke out a living through paddy cultivation or through vegetable and other crops planted in cleared jungle shrub – Chena cultivation as it is called. Both are backbreaking work in the hot sun, but working in the Chena can test the physical endurance of even the fittest. more..

Wildlife officials log onto online sale and smuggling of exotic fauna

Aug 8 (ST) Wildlife officials have commenced investigation into social media pages, free online classified advertising sites and websites for possible smuggling of indigenous fauna, following a recent raid in Colombo. Acting on a tip-off and using two young men as decoys, Wildlife officials raided a house that was also a sales point situated in Kirulapone, Colombo 6. The Wildlife officials had observed the suspect’s Facebook page and more..

Eran slams new commodity levies

Aug 8 (FT) Replacing the dipping non-tax income with new levies, especially those imposed on consumer items, will not help the Govt to manage the economy but only aggravate internal problems, Opposition lawmakers warned yesterday. Referring to the recent tax increase on gold when he joined the debate on the Resolution under Section 10 of the Customs Ordinance relating to import duties, UNP MP Eran Wickremaratne told Parliament more..

Ex-Minister's son's case puts Sri Lanka in fix

Aug 8 (ENS) A writ petition filed by the son of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in the Court of Appeal to get his family land in Jaffna back from the army, has put the Rajapaksa govt and the Lankan armed forces in a spot. If Sriraghavan Kadirgamar’s, the former minister’s son, claim to his property in Maveddipuram in Tellipalai area is conceded by the courts, the govt’s plan to regularise the war-time occupation more..

'Companies should not shy away from basic disclosure'

Aug 8 (Island) Top Sri Lankan corporates and banks increasingly use advertising as leverage to prevent media institutions from publishing basic disclosures such as financial results and ratings in order to maintain squeaky-clean brand images at the expense of the public. The Island Financial Review took this up at a press conference hosted by international ratings agency Fitch. The media should address this problem in the interest of the more..

Sri Lankan Airlines set for direct service to Seychelles and Nairobi

Aug 8 (eTN) The government of Sri Lanka and representatives of the Sri Lankan Airlines have announced that the airline will introduce direct services to Seychelles in October 2013. The airline will operate three return services per week from Colombo to Seychelles and subject to regulatory approvals, offer a through service to Nairobi. The announcement was made in the offices of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Transport, more..

FUTA demands Army Chief, Defence Secy. resign over Weliweriya incident

Aug 8 (Island) University teachers yesterday demanded that Army Commander Lt. Gen. Daya Rathnayake and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa resign from their posts over ordering the army to fire on innocent civilians who were protesting against the contamination of their well water allegedly by a factory. President of the FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that it was a joke for more..

Dark deeds of Tamil Tigers come to light after 4 years

Aug 8 (KT) Four years after the end of the war, the Sri Lankan police have arrested a man who revealed the gruesome torture and murder of over 85 prisoners, most of them Tamils, by the Tamil Tiger terrorist group. Last Saturday the police nabbed a Tiger suspect evading arrest, who provided detailed accounts of massacres of prisoners of war and renegade Tiger combatants, committed by the Tamil Tigers. more..

These violations cannot be ignored

Aug 8 (CT) There are no two ways about it. Misuse of State property for personal or political gain during election time or at any other time is illegal, immoral and just plain wrong. Yet, govt buildings, vehicles and even staff time and labour continue to be used by the political party or parities in power, conspicuously so during polls campaigns. The Opposition questions these transgressions only when they are in the Opposition, and commit the same contraventions once they come into more..

Sri Lanka stocks close flat

Aug 8 (LBO) Stocks closed flat Thursday with losses in in the large cap stocks and some banking stocks, brokers said. Colombo All Share Index closed 0.13 points higher at 6,151.92 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 09.71 points lower at 3,470.16 down 0.28%. Turnover was 285 million rupees with over 11 million shares traded. Foreigners brought 57 million rupees worth shares while selling 24 million rupees of shares, in a day that 79 stocks advanced and 93 stocks declined. more..

Selectors must manage Chandimal's captaincy workload

Aug 8 (CI) When Dinesh Chandimal was named Sri Lanka's Twenty20 captain in February, chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya justified his decision with these words: "We thought that it would be too much for Angelo Mathews, to give him the Twenty20 captaincy as well. We wanted to allow him to concentrate on the Tests and ODIs." At the time, the irony in his statement eluded many. After Sri Lanka's 2-1 home loss to South Africa, more..

Sri Lanka’s Black July: A family’s tragedy in Colombo

Aug 8 (CT) We now give the experience of an ordinary family in Colombo. V was then a 12-year-old girl living in a road off Allen Avenue, Dehiwela. Elder to her were two boys Arunan (24) and Ahilan (21). Her father was a registrar at the Supreme Court. Arunan was working for Suzuki Motorbike agents from where he participated in motor races held at Katukurunda and won prizes. Ahilan, who had studied at Royal College, got interested in a Left-leaning political group against his more..

Over 35,000 vehicles handled at Magampura Port since June last year

Aug 8 (DN) The Ruhunu Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port handled 35,317 vehicles since June 6 last year, Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said. Of the 35,317 units of vehicles handled by the Port, 20,657 were domestic vehicles while 14,655 were transshipment vehicles. During this period, 95 ships had reached the harbour. 17 ships are scheduled to reach the harbour this month. The ships will carry motor vehicles and other cargo, which are for local use and transshipment. more..

'Police inaction caused mayhem in Weliweriya'

Aug 8 (CT) The tense situation in Weliweriya got aggravated as a result of the police not listening to the people in the area and not dealing with the public complaints received against a private company, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara, said. He pointed out, the people are of the view that police have refrained from taking suitable action against the owner of the private company, although several complaints were more..

Pavithra announces country’s gas potential

Aug 8 (Island) Sri Lanka had the fullest potential to commence Liquid Natural Gas Power plants soon, Power and Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniararchchi said. The Minister, during her visit to the Yugadanavi Dual Cycle Thermal Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya on Tuesday, said that the plant would be converted into a Natural Gas Power Plant in the near future. She said that in keeping with President Rajapaksa’s vision, sustainability and maintenance in the power sector would be the key requirement more..

Abbas hails ties with Lanka

Aug 8 (CG) Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has hailed the ties between Sri Lanka and Palestine after Dr. T. Jayasinghe, the Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Palestine was decorated with the “Order of the Star of Jerusalem”, one of the highest levels of honors awarded to distinguish persons in recognition of the exemplary performance of functions while serving in Palestine or abroad. President Abbas reminisced his two visits to Sri Lanka and his meetings with President Rajapaksa who more..