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Grandpass: A glimmer of hope after bedlam?

Aug 13 (Island) Saturday’s mob attack on a new mosque at Grandpass and the attendant clashes have been condemned by all right thinking people. There have been several attacks on mosques and business places belonging to Muslims during the past several months. A pluralistic society is not devoid of tensions among religious and ethnic groups, but they find expression in violence, threatening national unity only when fanatics are given the freedom to act according to more..

$ 104 m Lotus Tower takes root

Aug 13 (ST) The construction work on the Raft Foundation Concrete Pouf of 5000 m3 of the Colombo Lotus Tower (Nelum Kuluna) took place today (9). The Chairman of TRC, Lalith Weeratunga, visited the area at around 9.00 a.m. to observe this event. The foundation to the multifunctional tower, on D. R. Wijewardene Mawatha, was laid by Minister Basil Rajapaksa and President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga early this year. more..

HNB first half profits grow by 15%

Aug 13 (FT) Hatton National Bank (HNB) said yesterday that it has increased its post-tax profit by 12% to Rs. 3.14 billion in the first half whilst group post-tax profit rose by 15% to Rs. 3.4 billion. “The market challenges that prevailed in the first quarter continued into the second quarter as well. Nevertheless, we were able to record strong performance for the first six months of this year. We believe that the market conditions will improve in the second half,” more..

UNP youth boycott Yovun Peramuna

Aug 13 (CT) As the youth of the UNP's Colombo East Bala Mandala had boycotted the meeting held under the patronage of the UNP Leader, Ranil wickremesinghe, and MP, Eran Wickremeratne, on 7 August, the UNP's Colombo East Youth Committee had to be appointed from those present at the meeting, violating the Party's Constitution in the process. The presence of 80% of members of the electoral branches is deemed necessary when a Youth Committee is to be appointed. more..

Trade union wants BOI Chairman removed

Aug 13 (N360) BOI Chief Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera has come under fire from trade union members of the countries main investment body, who demands his removal, as they believes that the Chairman has neglected his duties. In a letter written to President Rajapaksa, the BOI unit of the SL Nidahas Sewaka Sangamaya says Jayaweera during his tenure has not worked towards bringing any foreign direct investments to the country. more..

India purchased arms from Lanka

Aug 13 (CG) The Indian Govt had purchased weapons from Sri Lanka during the past three years, the Indian Lok Sabha was informed on Monday. In a written reply to a Lok Sabha query, Defence Minister A. K. Antony said the three forces have spent over Rs 2.35 lakh crore for procuring weapons systems from several countries, including Russia, Israel, the US, the UK, Poland, Slovakia, Finland and Sri Lanka. As per the data provided by the three Services headquarters, more..

A reluctant regional power

Aug 13 (ENS) At almost every international or regional conference, seminar or workshop one attends, the recurring refrain from foreign delegates is that even as India is historically poised to play a major role in Southeast Asia, it seems reluctant to seize the moment. These are the assessments of not only our immediate neighbours but also of those who come from countries further away and who have long-term ties and interests with India. It becomes imperative, therefore, for us to more..

Three homegrown entrepreneurs decry imported milk powder menace

Aug 13 (FT) Three self-made entrepreneurs yesterday banded themselves against what they called the ‘import milk powder menace’ and called for people to demand for locally made liquid milk. They also challenged multinational companies to reveal any other country that consumes the milk by-product in the same quantities as Sri Lanka. Addressing the media at the historic Independence Square to symbolise the need more..

Flinging the gauntlet down to the Sinhala people

Aug 13 (ST) As the full facts of the mayhem at Weliweriya came to light this week, the brutalities inflicted by the army on protestors and bystanders caught in the melee, was horrifyingly inevitable. It was a natural culmination of all that we had allowed to happen in the preceding years through clear complicity in applauding a Government bloated with arrogance and through equally clear omission coupled with a blind refusal to acknowledge the monster for what it has become. more..

A truly refreshing expereince : SAFA launches a range of Sri Lankan fruit juices

Aug 13 (DM) Hassani Group of companies in Dubai launched its operations in Sri Lanka under their global brand name “SAFA” by partnering with Hayley’s Agriculture for franchised manufacturing and East West Marketing to market and distribute a range of its manufactured food categories such as juices, pasta, sauces, mayonnaises, tomato paste and many more. The lime light of the launch was the unavailing of SAFA range fruit juices which was held at Kingsbury hotel - Colombo. more..

Floral tribute to Ranaviru Hasalaka Gamini’s memorial

Aug 13 (IL) President Rajapaksa visited the Hasalaka area recently (9) and paid his respect and laid a floral tribute to the monument of valiant war hero Hasalaka Gamini Kularatne which was built in the heart of the town. Ranaviru Hasalaka Gamini, the Sri Lankan soldier whose supreme sacrifice saved the lives of hundreds of fellow soldiers when the Elephant Pass camp was under siege of the LTTE in July 1991. more..

Pipe-borne water to Rathupaswala

Aug 13 (FT) The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) announced yesterday that it began lying pipelines for the supply of clean drinking water to 700 families of Rathupaswala, Gampaha on Saturday (10). Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s request, work on this has been expedited under the direction of Minister Dinesh Gunawardene. The water is being supplied from the Biyagama Water Purification Plant to meet the urgent need of the people. more..

Eight Rajarata undergrads suspended

Aug 13 (CT) Rajarata University authorities yesterday suspended eight undergraduates for allegedly influencing and intimidating other undergraduates into boycotting a State-sponsored university cultural event, thereby cracking down on disruptive students. However, university students said the suspension was unfair, and claimed they should be free to choose whether they want to attend university events or not, and that attendance is not mandatory in such events. more..

New laws give botulism inquiry more teeth

Aug 13 (Stuff) A ministerial inquiry into the Fonterra botulism scare will be held under new laws to be fast-tracked through Parliament as the Government moves to restore confidence in our food safety standards in key export markets. The final shape of the probe will be set next week but Prime Minister John Key signalled it would have the power to take evidence and summon witnesses. A bill updating the Inquiries Act was already more..

Veddah Chief gets betel not vehicle

Aug 13 (Island) Recent news reports said that the Cultural Affairs and Arts Ministry had spent Rs 400,000 on 40,000 betel leaves presented to Veddah Chief Uruwarigelage Vannila Eththo to mark the International Indegenous People’s Day, but sources said that the betel leaves had been donated by well wishers. Members of the Veddhah clan said that though the Cultural Affairs Ministry said that it would deliver the promised pickup truck to Vannila Eththo on Aug 9, the officials had failed more..

Debate over Sri Lanka's China-owned container terminal

Aug 13 (LBO) I had a civilized debate on Facebook with a good friend on whether Chinese ownership of the new container terminal at the just inaugurated Colombo South Harbor. He had, in a newspaper interview, called the new port China’s Colombo South Harbor, not our harbor. This spells out my response. It is common nowadays for terminals to be given out on long leases or otherwise to specialized operators. Singapore, one of the leading container ports in the world more..

Pvt. sector raises concerns over budget deficit, debt and governance

Aug 13 (Island) The country’s private sector has begun to raise concerns over the govt’s fiscal performance, mounting public debt and low FDI and export earnings. The govt has made significant macroeconomic gains over the last few years but economists have pointed out that much more needed to be done. The Sri Lanka Economic Association has warned that unless export earnings and FDI flows improved, more..

Johnny takes ministry vehicles for campaign

Aug 13 (LT) The Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade has hired several vehicles to carry out its affairs as 28 vehicles belonging to the Ministry have been sent, on a directive from Minister Johnston Fernando, to Kurunegala District for election propaganda reveals a very reliable source. It is also said that two computers belonging to the Paddy Marketing Board have been sent to an election office of the Minister. Several senior officials of the Paddy Marketing Board have more..

Korean proficiency exam on Oct. 19 and 20

Aug 13 (Island) The 11th Korean language proficiency examination would be held on October 19 and 20 in Colombo, the Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) announced. It said the registration forms, for candidates who wished to sit the Korean language proficiency exam, could be obtained from 22 centres countrywide until Wednesday. The successful candidates would be selected only for jobs in Fisheries and Construction sectors in South Korea. more..

'No bus fare hike, decrease possible'

Aug 13 (DN) There are no plans to increase bus fares while there is a possibility of bus fares being decreased in the near future with the provision of many facilities by the state for the private sector passenger transport service, said National Transport Commission chairman Roshan Gunawardane. He said though some private bus associations make statements on a bus fare hike, only the govt has the authority to decide. more..

Entire family hacked with swords; one killed

Aug 13 (Island) A 24-year-old youth was hacked to death by a four-member gang, led by a next door neighbour. His father, mother and brother, who were with him in their house, too had been attacked with swords and clubs on Saturday evening by the gang which stormed their house at Danketiya, Tangalle. The surviving members of the family had received serious injuries following the brutal attack. Nuwan Chameera of Sangabo Mawatha, succumbed to his injuries in the early hours of yesterday more..

Who handles foreign affairs: States, PMO or MEA?

Aug 13 (DNA) The demarche made by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on the issue of 114 Indian fishermen languishing in Sri Lankan jails and seeking their release is unlikely to draw a single cheer. To the contrary, the MEA’s belated action could be seen as taken under pressure or as one of going through the motions to placate political forces in Tamil Nadu. Apart from casting doubts over the earnestness of the Centre’s action, the way the issue has been handled raises more..

N’cholai doubling output too much to be absorbed

Aug 13 (Island) With the second phase of the of the first coal fired power plant at Norochcholai doubling its current out to 600 MW as it goes into operation in December, the CEB would have to either de-load or stop using hydro power. The second phase in Norochcholai would add another 300MW to the present 300 MW in December and the national grid would, therefore, be getting 600MW from the plant, he said, warning that more..

Not the public, it's you, Mr. Minister

Aug 13 (DM) Two govt ministers last week put the blame on the voters for the criminal and fraudulent activities of politicians. Minister Rajitha Senaratne recently said during a meeting held at the opening of an election office of a UPFA candidate contesting the CPC election that the brainless politician who had forced a teacher to kneel before him had been elected by the people and not by his parents, therefore, the people have to be held responsible for electing corrupt politicians. more..

In Deraniyagala – the terror was real

Aug 13 (DM) Disillusionment produces pain. We can be disillusioned about people, about friendships and relationships. Dreams and hopes can bring disillusionment. We can be disillusioned about politics, religion, about any branch of knowledge, about what we know and don’t know. And we can be disillusioned about geographical places, countries or cities, or the countryside. I remember Deraniyagala as a place full of natural wonders. After a first visit about twelve years ago, I was mesmerised, more..

An all-inclusive plan for national reconciliation

Aug 13 (DM) Central to post-war reconciliation efforts is undoubtedly the political aspect. However, there exists in Sri Lanka, four key strategic points of intervention which ought to be mainstreamed into the national reconciliation project by all stakeholders involved in furthering the imperative of nation building. At a cursory glance, the links between sport and inter-state reconciliation seem abundant. more..

CEB sitting pretty on cheap hydro power, refuses to lower tariff

Aug 13 (Island) A downward revision of electricity tariffs, as demanded by consumer groups, in light of exceptionally high production of cheap hydro power, would not come into being any time soon, CEB officials said. However, CEB Chairman W. B. Ganegala said already Rs. 50 billion in subsidy was given to the consumers and they would take into consideration expenses between January and December, this year, but more..

Rs. 1.5 million extorted from murder suspect by ex-DIG

Aug 13 (ST) Mahara Magistrate Dharshika Wimalasiri ordered former DIG Vass Gunawardena who had allegedly extorted Rs. 1.5 million from Singappuru Sarath – a suspect turned State witness in the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha member Hasitha Madawala murder case, be remanded. The CID produced the former DIG before the Mahara Magistrate following a complaint by Sarath Kumara Edirisinhe alias Singappuru Sarath who more..

The die is cast: Buddhist Sri Lanka faces a casino choice

Aug 13 (Irrawaddy) One word—tourism—glows on the horizon of hope for Sri Lanka. It is reflected in the surfeit of reportage and advertisements in the local press, where the talk of new city hotels in the capital and planned boutique hotels in exotic, tropical settings dominate. This sentiment is understandable, given the manner in which the South Asian nation is being promoted to globe trotters by trend-setting publications. more..

CEB overloaded with electrical engineers

Aug 13 (SL) Has the NSCC and COPE done their evaluations in a responsible and an accountable manner, especially on power sector project proposals in Sri Lanka? According to reliable sources in the CEB, every power project in Sri Lanka after the 80s has been executed with the use of international soft loans or international funds provided either by the World Bank or Asian Development Bank. In the recent past massive thermal power projects more..

Hakeem briefs SLMC on attack

Aug 13 (CG) SLMC Leader Rauf Hakeem has briefed the party high command on the Grandpass mosque issue. Hakeem had briefed the high command for nearly three hours last night including on the investigations being carried out by the police. He had told the party hierarchy that the police had begun using CCTV footage to identify those responsible for the attack on the temporary mosque at Grandpass last Saturday. more..

Statue of late Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar unveiled

Aug 13 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa unveiled a statue of the late statesman and veteran politician Lakshman Kadirgamar on his 8th Death Anniversary today (12) at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS) in Horton Place, Colombo-07. Thereafter Ministers, parliamentarians and the distinguished guests headed by the President offered floral tributes to the statue. more..

Grandpass attack to cover up Weliweriya killings – UNP

Aug 13 (Island) The UNP yesterday accused the government of being up to its old tricks again, by instigating Saturday’s attack on the Grandpass Mosque in an attempt to erase the memory of the recent Weliweriya killings. Public anger had been building up over the army firing on unarmed people in Weliweriya, who were only asking for clean water, UNP MP Harin Fernando told a news conference in Colombo. more..

High acidity in Weliweriya water: ITI

Aug 13 (DM) The Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) said the tests carried out on samples of allegedly contaminated water taken from several villages near Weliweriya revealed the presence of high levels of acidity in the water. However ITI Chairman W. Abeywickrema said it was still uncertain if the acidity was due to a natural process in the environment or caused due to an external factor in the surrounding more..

Govt is behind violent extremism – JVP

Aug 13 (LT) The JVP in a press release states the political power and patronage of the govt was in the background of the extremist violence at Grandpass. It states ‘such incidents are necessary for the govt to repress people’s genuine issues by inflaming religious fanaticism, draw people’s attention elsewhere and to repress anti-govt feeling that has erupted due to the shooting at Rathupaswala. It is govt’s political power and more..

Microscopic hardliners break the amity

Aug 13 (CT) The attack on a Muslim prayer centre in Grandpass in Colombo 14, which itself is a long-standing melting pot of ethnic and religious communities, is disturbing, to say the least. The attack took place a day after the Muslims celebrated the Ramazan festival. In the month of Ramazan, the Sri Lankan diplomatic missions, ministries and private entities hosted their annual iftar, the traditional Muslim break-fast ceremony where people of all faiths are also invited to more..

Sri Lanka’s future: A part of ‘flying geese’ chain or just a ‘sitting duck’?

Aug 13 (CT) At a recent public discourse on the future of Sri Lanka’s economy held at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, an industry leader from the country’s lifeline, the textile and garment industry, expressed confidence in the industry’s ability to successfully outcompete the newcomers to the industry from the region. When pointed out that Sri Lanka, with its rising wage levels, may lose the market to low cost labour countries like Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia, more..

No more Shanie column

Aug 13 (CT) Colombo Telegraph is sad to announce the death yesterday (11) in London of one its recent and most respected columnists, Lankanesan Nesiah. As a writer he used the pseudonym Shanie, a pseudonym derived from all six letters of his surname Nesiah, saying he did not wish to be “white-vanned.” His precision and the use of language through elegantly employed turns of phrase, were clearly from his father, more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.2%

Aug 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed up 0.2% Tuesday following with losses in the last few days with gains seen in the large cap stocks, brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index closed 12.63 points higher at 6,142.87 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 7.88 points higher at 3,459.33 up 0.23%. 6,142.8712.630.21% Turnover was 403 million rupees up from 372 million Monday with over 23 million shares traded in a day that 83 stocks advanced and 93 stocks declined. more..

Stamp to honour Fr. Tissa

Aug 13 (Island) The Philatelic Bureau, of the Postal Department of Sri Lanka, will issue a stamp in honour of Rev. Fr. Tissa Balasuriya (OMI), who passed away early this year. Fr. Tissa was known for his theological work and his efforts to uplift the lives of the poor. Fr. Tissa is the fourth Oblate to receive such an honour from the State. Before that, stamps were issued in honour of Bishop Edmund Peiris, Fr. Marcelline Jayakody and Cardinal Thomas Cooray. more..