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Tea industry in crisis: Rising debt threaten closure of factories

Aug 11 (Island) With limited crop on hand, members of the Sri Lanka Tea Factory Owners’ Association (SLTFOA) are in dire straits. Rising costs stemming from low crop and the increasing cost of inputs have all, but restricted routine. "We are facing liquidity problems and eventually the specter of closure", says SLTFOA’s CEO, Gehan de Livera. The industry is now dependent on the tea small holder sector and in consequence some more..

Spotlight on drug companies offering ‘special favors’ to medical specialists

Aug 11 (Island) With tougher laws in the pipeline to curb what Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena described as the "Medical Mafia", the practice of certain medical specialists prescribing costly imported brands of drugs to patients in return for "special favors" by some pharmaceutical companies, including all expenses paid overseas jaunts, has now come under increasing focus, health officials said last week. more..

JSC, BASL in fresh row; judges can’t go to Dhaka

Aug 11 (ST) Five judges of the Court of Appeal have been prevented from attending a judicial training programme organised by the US govt in Dhaka, Bangladesh, later this month, officials said amidst a fresh dispute between the Judicial Services Commision and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka. The training programme focusing on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism has been organised in consultation more..

Noori Estate killing: More arrests made as people still fear a return of the reign of terror

Aug 11 (ST) Two more suspects were arrested in connection with the killing of Noori Estate Manager Nihal Perera raising the total number arrested to 22, while the Special Task Force continues to patrol the area, police said. A senior Police officer in charge of security in the area said that two suspects arrested were relatives of the former Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Champika Wijesinghe alias Athakota. more..

New regulations for three-wheelers

Aug 11 (ST) Commuters now have recourse to the police over errant three-wheeler scooter taxi drivers. New Motor Traffic regulations now effective will enable passengers to complain to the Police, the Consumer Affairs Authority or the Motor Traffic Department, Motor Traffic Commissioner S.H. Harischandra said. The driver has to conduct himself in a civil and orderly manner, should not smoke, should not terminate the hire before he has more..

No escape for poll law violators

Aug 11 (CT) The Commissioner of Elections has decided to press charges against errant election candidates who violate election laws, even after the elections are over and the results are out, exercising powers vested in him under a hitherto dormant provision of the Provincial Council (PC) Elections Act of 1988. The PC Elections Act allows the Elections Commissioner to engage in legal action against candidates charged with more..

Sri Lanka rejects India’s demarche for release of fishermen

Aug 11 (ST) Sri Lanka has rejected an Indian demarche delivered earlier this week for the immediate release of 114 Tamil Nadu fishermen now in custody for poaching in the country’s territorial waters. The Sri Lankan Govt has hit back at India asking that its fishermen stop poaching in Sri Lankan territorial waters, and said that the Indian Govt was not doing enough to stop this poaching that was harming the livelihoods of more..

Sri Lanka lifts curfew as Muslims fear more violence

Aug 11 (AFP) Sri Lankan police lifted a curfew on a Colombo neighbourhood Sunday after a Buddhist-led mob attack on a mosque raised religious tensions and left the Muslim minority fearing further violence. Hundreds of police, including anti-riot squads and elite Special Task Force commandos, remained on alert in the Grandpass district following overnight violence which wounded at least four people. more..

Saying enough is enough

Aug 11 (CT) The latest fallout of the upheaval in the UNP, which in the past weeks saw one of its more popular MPs give up his seat and join forces with the govt to contest the September PC elections, is the decision by two of its Provincial Council members to sit in the opposition benches as independent members. Maithri Gunaratne and Shiral Lakthilaka, Provincial Council members of the Southern and Western Provinces respectively, are both vocal critics of the current UNP leadership, more..

Police say no threat to Jayakody

Aug 11 (SL) The Police claim that former Police Spokesman Priyashantha Jayakody is not under serious threat to the extent that he would need to seek asylum overseas. Police Spokesman SP Buddhika Siriwardena said that Jayakody had only once complained of receiving a threatening telephone call over a case he was pursuing but nothing after that. Jayakody was deemed to have vacated his post in the Police as he failed to report to work after he went to Australia. more..

'Rathupaswela killings: A truly painful experience'

Aug 11 (Island) "We are deeply distressed and shocked about the unfortunate situation that happened in the Weliveriya area with regard to the drinking water problem at Rathupaswela recently. Already three innocent lives have been lost due to this incident. A few others have been warded in the hospital with serious injuries. On this occasion we wish to express, our deepest condolences to the parents who lost their more..

Land grabs: Exultant state V. agonized citizen

Aug 11 (CT) Land grabs i.e. the acquisitioning of land by the State/Military has been in the news more often than necessary throughout this year. This last week we saw it becoming headline news again as we learnt that Sriraghavan Kadirgamar the son of late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar had filed for a Writ of Certiorari in the Court of Appeal to prevent his ancestral lands in the Maviddapuram area, in North Valikamam (which were previously in the HSZ) being taken over by the military for more..

Curfew re-imposed in Grandpass

Aug 11 (CG) A police curfew has been re-imposed in Grandpass as fresh clashes erupted this evening over a mosque in the area. The police said that the curfew will be in force from 6pm this evening to 7am tomorrow. Riot police and the special task force reinforcements have been deployed to Grandpass after mobs clashed again this evening. Earlier some Muslim Ministers had sent a strongly worded letter to President Rajapaksa urging him to take stern action on those responsible for the attack more..

'Grandpass now calm, public being misled'

Aug 11 (AD) IGP N.K. Illangakoon today said that the tense situation which prevailed in Grandpass was completely brought under control by this morning and that steps have been taken to protect the peace in the area by deploying additional troops including the STF. A violent mob attacked a mosque in the Grandpass area last night, resulting in clashes which had left around 8 injured and several houses nearby damaged. more..

Hakeem concerned over inaction on mosque attacks

Aug 11 (AD) SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem has expressed concern over the lack of action that has been taken so far regarding repeated attacks on mosques. A violent mob had attacked a mosque in the Grandpass area last night, leaving at least five people injured and damaging several nearby houses. Police curfew imposed in Grandpass was lifted this morning as scores of police, including anti-riot squads and elite STF commandos, continue to remain on alert in the area. more..

National educators strengthen private sector English education

Aug 11 (Island) The English education sector in Sri Lanka is being enriched by a platform set up by a group of Sri Lankans with strong professional and academic credentials. The team has got together to empower children, youth and adults with communication skills in English, through programs carrying globally-recognized benchmarks. This is a timely initiative mooted by national university academics, senior teachers and corporate trainers who have set up the Rainbow Institute of more..

ACJU under a cloud over moon sighting

Aug 11 (ST) The All Ceylon Jamiathul Ulema (ACJU), once at the centre of a nationwide controversy over halal certification, is now engulfed in a bigger controversy within the Muslim community. This time it was over the sighting of the new moon on Wednesday night to enable Muslims in Sri Lanka to celebrate the Eid festival on Thursday or whether the fast should continue on its 30th day so Eid festival would be on Friday. more..

'Sri Lanka should sustain tourism increases'

Aug 11 (Island) Although there was, hitherto, distinct dependence on exports to sustain Sri Lanka’s economy such phenomenon will in the short run be outmoded because of rising competition in the region, said Senior Minister, Dr. Sarath Amunuganma at the Thames College first-ever Graduation ceremony in Tourism & Hospitality Management, last week. The Minister, the chief guest at the event, said, the govt was laying the foundation for expected influx of 2.5 million more..

Peace committee to meet

Aug 11 (CG) A peace committee will convene in Grandpass today to discuss the violence which erupted last night when a mob attacked a mosque in the area. SLMC leader and Minister Rauf Hakeem had returned to Colombo last night after cutting short his election campaigning in Kandy and spoke to IGP N.K. Illangakoon on the incident. The police said that the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) is investigating the incident. Buddhists and Muslims clashed at Grandpass after the mosque was attacked more..

'Protesting teacher must leave Royal'

Aug 11 (ST) The lady teacher who staged a roof-top sit-in at Royal College, recently protesting her transfer will not be allowed to remain at the school, Minister Bandula Gunawardene said. He said that her transfer to Isipathana remained valid and a departmental disciplinary inquiry would continue. “This was a fair transfer. It is the duty of the Ministry to transfer a teacher who had served for more than 8 years in one school. more..

TNA says Indians can call for boycott

Aug 11 (SL) TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that it was the democratic right of the people in India to call for a boycott of the upcoming CHOGM meeting to be held in Sri Lanka. However he conceded that the country did not appear to have made a decision yet in this regard. DMK Chief Karunanidhi had called on the Centre to take steps towards implementing four TESO-led resolutions which were adopted earlier. Karunanidhi was addressing a massive rally in Valluvarkottam more..

Sri Lanka bans 4 Indian drugs suppliers

Aug 11 (SL) The Cosmetics Devices and Drugs Control Authority has decided to ban four Indian companies which supply drugs to Sri Lanka. Cosmetics Devices and Drugs Control Authority Director Dr Hemantha Beneragama said that the four companies had supplied low quality drugs to Sri Lanka. The drugs are also unsafe, have side effects and do not serve its purpose. The Authority has decided to remove the drugs supplied by those companies which are now in local more..

Kandy Esala Perahera begins today

Aug 11 (GDI) The Kandy Esala Pageant begins today (11) with the first Kumbal Perahera parading the streets of Kandy from 7.31 pm. Around 70 to 80 caprisoned elephants will be featured at the perahera apart from various dance troupes. Perahera of the four Devales will start at 06.42p.m. facing North-West and will come up according to customs to the main gate of the Sri Dalada Maligawa and more..

Around 500 delegates at water conference

Aug 11 (SL) Around 500 delegates will attend the international conference on “Water Cooperation for Community Development” to be held from 16 to 18 August 2013, in Anuradhapura. It will be ceremonially inaugurated by the Minister of Basil Rajapaksa at the invitation of the Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Jointly organised by the Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage, the National Community Water Trust, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board and more..

US concerned over mosque attack

Aug 11 (AD) The US Embassy in Colombo today expressed concern over the attack on a mosque in Grandpass by a violent mob, leaving at least five people injured and damaging several houses. Curfew was imposed while hundreds of police, including anti-riot squads and elite STF commandos, remained on alert in the Grandpass area after the clashes last night. “This incident is particularly troubling in light of a number of recent attacks against the Muslim community in Sri Lanka,” more..

Fresh tensions at Grandpass

Aug 11 (CG) Mobs gathered at Grandpass this afternoon resulting a fresh tensions near a mosque which came under attack last night. Riot police and the Special Task Force were deployed to strengthen security around the mosque and disperse mobs gathering on the streets. A meeting was also held at the Religious Affairs Ministry to reach a solution to the issue. Ministers Champika Ranawaka, Rishard Baduhudeen and more..

Why no apology over civilians killed in North and East?

Aug 11 (SL) TNA MP Suresh K. Premachandran, who lauded Minister Basil Rajapaksa, for apologizing for the death of three civilians in Weliweriya, has questioned as to why the minister or his govt hesitate to extend an apology to the killing of thousands of innocent civilians in the North and East. Premachandran, commenting on Minister’s apology said, he appreciated the minister’s action in admitting the killings of three innocent civilians by the Security Forces personnel. more..

No reduction in electricity prices despite overflowing reservoirs – Pavithra

Aug 11 (LT) Despite the generation of hydro electricity has increased due to torrential rains experienced by catchment areas of hydro power stations, there is no possibility of reducing the price of electricity says Minister of Power and Energy Ms. Pavithra Wanniarachchi. She says the loss incurred by the Ceylon Electricity Board due to the increase in fuel prices has not been settled due to using thermal power during the drought experienced in 2012. more..

Vehicles in poor condition to be off roads until repairs are effected

Aug 11 (ST) The Motor Traffic Department will soon introduce regulations enabling the Police to seize unroadworthy vehicles and produce them in courts and prevent the use of the vehicles until they are repaired, DIG Amarasiri Senaratne said. He said under the regulation the Police jointly with officials of the Motor Traffic Department will carry out spot checks on vehicles on the road to check their roadworthiness more..

Trying our best to speed up Indian fishermen release, says Sri Lanka

Aug 11 (Hindu) While Sri Lanka appreciates India’s concern in regard to the release of its fishermen arrested on charges of poaching, Sri Lanka can only go by its legal processes, the External Affairs Ministry here has said. “India has a right to request Sri Lanka to release its fishermen soon, but they should also respect our processes,” External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatilleke Amunugama told The Hindu on Sunday. A report on this issue, which appeared in The Sunday Times, more..

Ministers complain to President

Aug 11 (CT) As the Provincial Council (PC) election campaigns hit fever pitch, a group of North-Western Province (Wayamba) govt ministers have sought a special probe into defender vehicles sans licence plates, which are being used by armed individuals in the area. The ministers have urged the President to initiate an investigation via the Inspector General of Police (IGP) into the intimidating presence of the mysterious vehicles in the vicinity, govt sources revealed. more..

Solution reached on mosque issue

Aug 11 (CG) A solution has been reached on the Grandpass mosque issue following more than three hours of heated deliberations at the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs this evening. Several Muslim Ministers, Govt Ministers including Ministers Champika Ranawaka and Dinesh Gunawardena as well as UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake took part in the meeting which was also attended by Buddhist and Muslim more..

Is your hard-earned money with Finance Companies safe?

Aug 12 (SL) As a senior citizen retired from the private sector, preceded by a stint in the Middle East, I want to highlight my predicament and utter frustration that I experienced with financial institutions in Sri Lanka for the betterment of those who think of depositing their hard-earned money. I deposited my hard-earned money and gratuity with finance companies, which were approved and being monitored by the Central Bank. Some of my money I deposited with non-registered financial more..

What's absent Manju up to? Making anger in a cage

Aug 12 (SL) Whatever happened to Manju? Last October, the boxer told the world he was coming out of retirement to try and reclaim the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal he was forced to hand back following a failed drug test. On his decision to comeback, he said, his retirement, in 2011, was not of his own free will anyway. After all, with the 2012 London Olympic only a year away, retirement was unthinkable – which was why he was due to present, in 2011, an appeal before more..

UPFA upbeat about winning Jaffna election

Aug 12 (SO) Hailing from the hamlet of Kokkuvil in Jaffna S. Thavarasa went through the mill of politics from the age of 18 on behalf of the Tamil community since 1970s. He closely associated with Douglas Devananda from the date he formed ENDLF and later the EPDP. As a member of the EPDP he first contested the 1994 general election and got the chance of becoming a MP. Subsequently he also represented the more..

Demo-no–crazy won’t work

Aug 12 (SL) Two alumni of the Forward School for Backward Boys, Nodath and Sududath were at their monthly analysis of political events at the usual waterhole. Sududath, a staunch supporter of the Rajapaksa clan had ordered a full bottle of the Golden Water of Life made from the Tree of Life. “Must help our side no Machang? They had to jack up a litre by Rs 50 last week. How to balance the oncoming budget whatever that learned Prof. Carlo may say?” Sududath asked, pouring out a more..

Weliweriya: A massacre of the innocents

Aug 12 (CT) Do the killings in Weliweriya amount to a massacre? A massacre would be a deliberate act of mass murder committed against an unarmed population to terrorize and silence a people. A massacre would constitute a war crime. A crime against humanity. It would be an act of war against the people, in a symbolic and concentrated form. Are the Weliweriya killings legal, as sanctioned and mandated by the Constitution? We were taught that the Constitution is meant to defend and more..

Well-planned attack on Grandpass mosque

Aug 12 (DBS) A well–planned dastardly attack was launched by armed Buddhist extremists against an Islamic Mosque in Colombo on Saturday while “Maghrib”(After Sunset) prayers were in progress. The attack conducted with Police connivance against the Mosque and some Muslim residences in the vicinity came just one day after adherents of the Islamic faith celebrated “Eid Ul Fitr” (feast of the breaking the fast) known more..

Police powers to the provinces and complecency

Aug 12 (Island) I wish respond to Mr. K. Godage’s enquiry in his article in ‘Sunday Island’ of Aug. 4 after studying the relevant sections on provincial policing in the 13th Amendment. Since Manohara de Silva PC has already dealt exhaustively with the dangers of these provisions, looking at it from a legal angle, I do not need to restate them. One has to give some credence to his analysis as no one so far has contradicted the points he made out. In this assay I will try to deal with briefly what more..

Lay community, Buddhism, and the role of virtuous monks in Sri Lanka

Aug 12 (GV) I threw the pot containing my father’s ash to the sea and watched how it drifted away in the current. I had already made up my mind. He was 81 years old, he did his best to serve the society as a teacher, and he saw the fruits of his dedication to raise us. But something started to kick in from within me. It grew and worsened at the departure terminal of the Katunayake airport. I was dipped in a deep sense of sorrow all along the long flight to Boston. The first thing I did was to drive to the more..