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Nallur festival begins

Aug 14 (CT) The annual festival of the Nallur Kandasamy Temple in Jaffna commenced with the holy flag hoisting ceremony on Monday. The famous ceremony took place precisely at 10 a.m. inside the gaily decorated temple, amidst the chanting of 'arohara' (hail almighty) by thousands of devotees. The festival will continue for 25 days until the day of the chariot festival on 4 September, followed by the water cutting ceremony and 'Poongavanam' festivals on 5 and 6 Sept respectively. more..

EU concerned over unrest in Sri Lanka

Aug 14 (Xinhua) The European Union (EU) has joined the U.S. in raising concerns over Sri Lanka's political and religious rights after three people were killed in an army shooting and a Buddhist mob attacked a mosque, the bloc said in a statement on Wednesday. The statement comes days after a mob allegedly led by Buddhist monks attacked a mosque in Colombo. On Aug. 1, three youths were killed and around 50 injured more..

Sri Lanka's legal salvo

Aug 14 (TI) It seems India’s troubles with its neighbours will never cease. Even as Pakistan keeps up the pressure on the line of control, another neighbour, Sri Lanka, seems to be gearing up to make India uncomfortable. In Sri Lanka’s case, the issue is a legal one — albeit something that is the internal matter of that country. Sri Lanka has formed a Parliament select committee to review the 13th amendment to its Constitution. A product of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, signed between more..

Vaas’s tab to be investigated

Aug 14 (CG) The Colombo Additional Magistrate today ordered the CID to send a computer Tab used by former DIG Vass Gunawardena to the Colombo University to gather the data stored in the device. The CID is also investigating three mobile numbers used by the former DIG, the court was told today. Nine suspects including Gunawardena and his son Ravindu were further remanded by the Magistrate today till August 27 over the murder of a Muslim businessman. more..

Sri Lanka launches new probe into thousands missing in war

Aug 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president Wednesday ordered a new investigation into the disappearance of thousands of people in the island's northeast during an ethnic war which ended four years ago. The announcement comes just days before UN human rights chief Navi Pillay is due to visit the island, amid international criticism of Colombo's human rights record during the war against Tamil separatists. more..

SC finds ex-OIC guilty of illegally arresting, detaining two monks

Aug 14 (Island) The Supreme Court recently declared that the Venerable Walahahangunewewa Dharmarathana Thera of Rajamaha Viharaya Mihintale and Venerable Mihintale Seelarathne Thera of the same temple had been illegally arrested and detained by Sanjeewa Mahanama, the former OIC of the Mihintale police station, on March 14, 2009. The respondent OIC was ordered to pay each petitioner Rs. 25,000/- as compensation. The petitioners were arrested on the assumption more..

Kulasekara powers Basnahira to final

Aug 14 (CI) An early rolling collapse did not prevent Basnahira Greens from progressing to the Super Fours final, as they defended a modest total to defeat Ruhuna Reds by nine runs. Basnahira were 89 for 8 in the 14th of a 17-over match, but regrouped at the death through Kosala Kulasekara and Isuru Udana to post 120. Their bowlers then tied down a dangerous Ruhuna top order, and though the tail briefly threatened to revive the chase, Ruhuna eventually ran out of steam. more..

'Gold-backed loans defaults to grow'

Aug 14 (LBO) Defaults in Sri Lanka's gold-backed loans will grow and keeping defaulters out of a credit information system increases moral hazard by not discouraging default. Standard & Poor's said in a report that defaults in gold-backed loans in banks covered by the agency was rising. Gold-backed loans grew with rising gold prices, partly due to loose policy by the Federal Reserve which debased paper money, but more..

Wildlife directors who misplaced the elephant book sent home

Aug 14 (SM) The service of an assistant director in the legal division of the wildlife conservation ministry, along with the services of 2 other deputy directors, have been suspended die to the loss of the registration book which contained data of tamed elephants. Subject minister Wijith Wijemuni Soysa said that apart from this, a broad investigation about all other divisions in the ministry is being conducted. Accordingly, minister said that the service of a deputy director who was directly involved with more..

Farmers should learn to handle modern agri machinery - Wijekoon

Aug 14 (Island) With the younger generation shunning active agriculture, field labour would soon become a serious problem in food production. A solution to the problem would be for farmers to learn how to use modern agricultural machinery, stressed the new Director General of the Agriculture Department Dr. Rohana Wijekoon. The latest technology and scientific knowledge of agriculture should be used by the farmer community and all those interested and involved in the more..

Four lecturers at ‘Eelam’ event

Aug 14 (CG) Intelligence information has revealed that four university lecturers have gone to London to attend a pro ‘Eelam’ event organized by the Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE). Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya said that this information came to light during a Security Council meeting in Colombo. He said that among the four lecturers who had gone this month to London is a lecturer from more..

Chandimal powers Uthura to consolation win

Aug 14 (CI) Thilina Kandamby's 54-ball 90 brought Kandurata Maroons to within touching distance of Uthura Yellows' total, but a nerveless final over from Shaminda Eranga saw Kandurata fall short by six runs. Earlier, Dinesh Chandimal scored an unbeaten 93 from 57 to help Uthura post 158 for 5. The loss, however, did not have an effect on Kandurata's standings in the table and their second-place finish has given them a place in the final against Basnahira Greens on August 17. more..

Estate workers not paid, EPF remittances defaulted – Velayuthan

Aug 14 (Island) State-run tea estates had not only failed to pay their workers for last month, but also defaulted on EPF remittances for several years, the Opposition charged. Former Central Provincial Council UNP member K. Velayauthan said that if the Rajapaksa regime could not manage the estates under its command, it should return them to the previous owners. "How could an administration that was unable to develop even the agricultural sector rule a country?" he queried. more..

Sri Lankan opposition activists protest military's killing of 3 civilian protesters

Aug 14 (AP) Opposition and human rights activists in Sri Lanka demonstrated Wednesday to demand that the govt punish those responsible for the military's killing of three civilians during a recent protest seeking clean drinking water. About 1,000 people including opposition lawmakers, rights activists and journalists demonstrated outside the main train station in Colombo. They condemned the deaths of the three civilians and more..

White does not always imply purity

Aug 15 (NS) Watergate is the name given to a political scandal that rocked the United States of America in the early 1970s. It was about a break-in and a cover-up. It led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The scandal also saw the indictment, trial, conviction and incarceration of 43 persons, dozens of whom were Nixon’s top administration officials. The above is from Wikipedia. Wikipedia doesn’t have an entry for ‘Milkgate’. The only association between ‘milk’ and ‘gate’ as more..

Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2013

Aug 15 (NS) 21 years of celebrating Breastfeeding – 2013 sees this momentous landmark achievement when the 21st World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated from August 1 to 7, 2013. During this week the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and breastfeeding advocates in over 174 countries will celebrate World Breastfeeding Week under the theme – ‘Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers!’ highlighting the importance of peer counseling in breastfeeding. more..

'CHOGM, the ideal forum to showcase success story'

Aug 15 (SO) "The world understands that there are no squeaky clean countries. It sympathises with those making an honest effort to improve and it takes time to achieve all our objectives. We must use the CHOGM to effectively showcase our strengths and explain any shortcomings and gain the confidence of our friends and well wishers" so said Sri Lanka's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, more..

Literary post-mortem in Jaffna: Ploughing the wounds of conflict

Aug 15 (DBS) Traveling on A9 highway connecting rest of Srilanka to Jaffna Peninsula, the former rebel runway, now reconstructed as carpet road which shines as Chinese currency running parallel to the new railway track that is an Indian “work in progress” can make your ride feel nails in the air. Even my Sinhalese friend who drove me to Jaffna was embarrassed by the distasteful hoardings of Rajapakshe grandiosely propagating development schemes like “Vadikkil Vasantham ; more..

Political machinations: The abuse of vehicles

Aug 15 (CT) There is some surprise at the Divisional Secretariats I have been visiting regularly over the last couple of years, when I turn up in a rather shabby vehicle, with only a couple of others with me. How shabby it was I discovered when one of the tyres, which were near to bald, went flat between Gomerankadawala and Padaviya Sripura. Fortunately my driver and security dealt with the matter swiftly, despite a jack designed for a motorbike having been given to us instead more..

The Human Cost of Reporting

Aug 15 (LMD) My first footsteps into a newsroom took me into a macho-man bastion, where I remember seeing a quasi-defence correspondent in faded jeans and a white shirt hastily folded up to the elbows banging away on a typewriter. The image would not be complete without a cigarette dangling from the edge of his mouth, and one profanity after another spewing out as he typed away. We all wanted to be that guy. more..

Weliweriya – It is also about service delivery, stupid

Aug 15 (CT) On 1 August, a group of innocent citizens demanding water fit for human consumption ended up paying the price for demanding a service – access to clean drinking water. Three youngsters paid with their lives in the most unfortunate manner and 33 were injured. All because, unarmed but angry, they demanded from the authorities, for a better service delivery. Much has been said and written about the 'Weliweriya incident.' Most of it has been critical accounts on the conduct of more..

Learning from Norochcholai, making Sampur shine

Aug 15 (CT) With the present regime in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s neighbours, much like everyone in this small country, have learnt to expect the unexpected. Take the case of India. It was told hardly a month ago that Lanka wants a local partner in the Indian Oil Company (IOC) project. New Delhi, sees some strategic interest in the Trincomalee Tankages, and the IOC, an Indian State enterprise, entered into an MoU with CPC in 2002 for a 35-year lease of 99 oil tank farms. more..

Which Buddhism will the govt support?

Aug 15 (CT) The latest attack on a Muslim mosque in Colombo is a further sign that the Buddhist nationalist upsurge is continuing to grow and not diminish with the passing of time. While the police belatedly acted to bring the situation under control, its lax approach to apprehending the aggressors indicates the continuation of an apparent govt policy to treat them with deference. The six Muslim ministers of the govt have appealed more..

Whither Sri Lanka ?

Aug 15 (CT) Correct me if I’m wrong, but Sri Lanka seems to be heading in the wrong direction. Since the war ended four years ago, we have been promised endless “miracles”. I am by no means unhappy at the incredible changes in the capital city, which have been long overdue, and are a source of much wonder to returning expatiates and especially those from neighbouring India, who are astounded at how clean and vibrant Colombo looks. Hats off to those concerned for this incredible more..

An island awash with arms

Aug 15 (Island) Sri Lanka has been known the world over for its tea and garments. Rubber, spices etc may be added to the list of its most sought-after exports. But, now we are told, it has been exporting arms as well. No less a person than Indian Defence Minister A. K. Anthony has told the Lok Sabha recently that the Indian armed forces have procured weapon systems from several countries including Russia, Israel, the US, the UK, Poland, Slovakia, Finland and Sri Lanka. more..

New-look Laksala aims for 40% growth

Aug 15 (ST) Laksala, the state-owned handicrafts dealer, outlets is aiming for 40% growth this year compared to last year, according to CEO, Anil Koswatte when he spoke last week at the opening of the new souvenir boutique ‘Laksala Museum Gallery Café’ at the rear premises of the Colombo National Museum. Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Jagath Balasuriya and Jayarathne Herath were among those present at the more..

Beauty in the beast

Aug 15 (Hindu) That morning in 1997, on our first trip to India, my partner and I had just boarded the bus in Jodhpur and taken our seats according to the numbers on our tickets at the front of the bus, when, with much noise and clatter they boarded the bus, a group of well-dressed middle-aged men and women, with that slightly hysterical gaiety of the middle class when they are slumming. All doctors, we soon realised from their conversation. They settled around us according to their tickets. more..

A politician called Roshan Randima (Part 2)

Aug 15 (Island) Despite heavy criticism after his defection to rival club Carlton BC from Colombo BC, National basketball player Roshan Randima is confident that he will be able to bring about a change in local basketball. He is also of the opinion that by sticking with Colombo, he will not be able to pursue the dreams of his other passion which is coaching. Historically, great players have been rewarded for their perseverance. On his way to winning Sri Lanka the Cricket World Cup, more..

The second battle

Aug 15 (FT) Still grappling with the Weliweriya controversy, the Govt was forced to open a battle on another front, this time in Grandpass, Colombo, where agitations and attacks by mobs led by hard-line groups against the Muslim community almost created an opening for outright communal clashes. The old Molawatte mosque, where countless Muslims from the Grandpass area have answered the call to prayer since childhood, more..

Sampath Bank posts Rs. 2.4 b pre-tax profit

Aug 15 (FT) Sampath Bank Group has recorded a profit before tax of Rs. 2.4 billion for the first half 2013, with the bank recording a profit before tax of Rs. 2.26 billion. The post-tax profit of the group and the bank for the same period amounted to Rs. 1.71 billion and Rs. 1.61 billion respectively. The financials of the bank for the period was audited by the external auditors. The above results were achieved amidst many challenges posed by the external market forces, more..

Let them die to maintain the hegemony of western science - II

Aug 15 (Island) Prof. Thattil in his opinion expressed in The Island of 2nd August 2013 states: "Government policy with regard to the problem should not be based on half baked studies and flimsy conclusions. Is reduced use of fertilizer and agrochemicals going to solve the problem? Fertilizer and agrochemicals are used in all parts of the island. If then, why is CKDu predominantly present only in the North Central Province? There may be many other factors involved. more..

Canada urges swift investigation into Grandpass and Weliweriya incidents

Aug 15 (LR) Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom, today (13) issued a statement on the incidents at Grandpass Mosque and Weliweriya protests. “Canada expresses concern over the attack on Grandpass Mosque in Grandpass, on Aug 10. “This is just one of a number of recent and troubling attacks targeting the Muslim community in that country. It is of utmost importance that every person is able to practise more..

COMBank posts Rs. 6.5 b pre-tax profit in 1H

Aug 15 (FT) Commercial Bank has reported gross income of Rs. 34.720 billion and interest income of Rs. 30.168 billion at the end of its second quarter, achieving growth of 12.10% and 22.58% respectively through strong operational growth in the six months ended 30 June 2013. The bank reported pre-tax profit of Rs. 6.508 billion and post-tax profit of Rs. 4.472 billion for the six months, as against Rs. 7.507 billion and Rs. 5.173 billion for the corresponding period of last year, more..

Mother of two killed in Toronto bus crash

Aug 15 (LR) A 52 year-old mother of two was killed yesterday when the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) bus she was boarding was hit head-on by a truck in Scarborough. Relatives told local media Manoranjana Kenagasabapathy was traveling to work at a bank after attending a Hindu temple on Tuesday morning. “The truck crossed into the westbound lanes, mounted the curb, struck a hydro pole, struck the right-front corner of the bus, where a 52-year-old woman was boarding, more..

Video: Army should have acted with responsibility – Rosy

Aug 15 (DM) UNP MP Rosy Senanayake said the army should have acted with responsibility when taking on orders, whoever ordered them to fire at the innocent civilians who protested for clean water at Weliweriya. “The army should know to whom they were firing at, whoever ordered them to do so. They were not terrorists or enemies but innocent civilians. It is a serious situation when those who are responsible in maintaining law more..

Progress can be achieved only with right people in right slots

Aug 15 (Island) Rajini de Silva Mendis is the Chairperson of Ebert Silva Holidays, a leading tour operator and a household name in the country. She is an architect by profession and has taken to the tourism with great passion and enthusiasm. Ms Mendis has launched a campaign on her own to promote the country as a tourist destination. During the interview with "The Traveller" she delved into numerous issues faced by the industry. Q: Ebert Silva’s is a trailblazer and a pioneer in more..

Shorter term benchmark yields flat after four week hiatus

Aug 15 (Island) Three-month and six-month Treasury bills made a comeback at this week’s primary market auction after the Public Debt Department of the Central Bank stopped issuing these tenures four weeks ago, but yields were relatively unchanged. The three-month yield was 8.61% yesterday, down a marginal 2 basis points from 8.63% four weeks ago and the six-month yield was stuck at 9.66% yesterday as it was four weeks ago. 12-month yield stayed flat at 10.56%, more..

'Govt manipulates people’s issues for its advantage'

Aug 15 (LT) The present govt, just as former govts did, is manipulating the issue of the people in the North for their advantage says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Speaking at a seminar held at Hambantota he said, “The issue of the people in the North has approached a critical stage. Just like the previous governments the present govt too has started to manipulate this issue for their advantage. more..

Short film stars Scarborough Tamil seniors

Aug 15 (LR) A short film “Coming to the Past” starring Tamil seniors will be screened at The Bridging Festival presented by Scarborough Arts. The film is eight minutes long, and directed by Sean Frey and Sonja Rainey. “Coming to the Past” stars the Storefront (Kingston Galloway and Orton Park area) Tamil Seniors in the the story is about the journey of a woman lost in a new country, only to come upon memories of a time forgotten. The film is being provided by Jumblies Theatre more..

'Cancellation of South Africa Tests a crime'

Aug 15 (Island) The criticism faced by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), for the cancellation of the three match Test series against South Africa grew thicker, as former captain Arjuna Ranatunga expressed his displeasure. Current captain Angelo Mathews and Kumar Sangakkara had already expressed their disappointment at SLC’s decision and Ranatunga yesterday called the cancelation, a crime. "Cancellation of such a high profile series is nothing but a crime," Ranatunga said more..