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The multiple cult at Kataragama

Aug 17 (SO) Leonard Woolf, the imperialist sophisticate, renowned for his metropolitan cultural outlook, could not help but be overwhelmed by the spirit of the ‘sacred’ that pervades the shrine at Kataragama. The cult of God Skandha, at this forest haven, elicits frenzied fervour from those individuals at the lowest scale in society up to Kings, rulers and the elites at the top rungs. From the far past the cult of Skandha continues to extend more..

NDB bank profits soars, group profits dip

Aug 17 (Island) National Development Bank PLC (NDB) saw net profits surge 292 percent to Rs. 6.86 billion during the six months ended June 30, 2013, but group profits fell 4 percent to Rs. 1.8 billion, interim financial results showed. The Net Interest Income of the bank recorded a growth of 29% over last year. The bank’s Interest Income grew by 34% compared to the corresponding period of 2012 supported by a 14% expansion in its loan book over the comparative period. more..

Did TNA attend a TGTE event?

Aug 17 (DBS) While it is by no means the place of a uniformed officer, however highly placed, decorated or both, to comment on the peaceful political conduct of members of parliament and/or of academics, the story told by the new Chief of Defence Staff, to the effect that Mr Sampanthan and Mr Sumanthiran attended an event of or sponsored by the so-called Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) is – if true—deeply distressing in several respects and warrants condemnation. more..

The long wait for a good catch!

Aug 17 (CT) For over two decades, they suffered due to the ravages of the war, with strong restrictions being placed on their fishing activities, especially deep sea fishing in multi-day boats. But now, there are other issues: One is the govt's apprehension that the local fisher folk are complicit in the ongoing saga of people risking their lives on tiny boats and trawlers to approach other countries as refugees. But that's a political issue more..

‘True story of Grandpass’ or true face of Champika Ranawaka?

Aug 17 (CT) It is obvious from the article published by Champika Ranawaka, in the Daily Mirror, titled “Grandpass: The True Story,” that he has an intimate knowledge of and interest in what others have termed as a ‘despicable act of thuggery and intimidation’ in the name of religion in Grandpass. He obviously is a stakeholder on the wrong side of the fence to come so unashamedly in defending the acts of violence and religious-racial hatred against the Muslims. more..

Elephant on the table: The vast majority of the Sinhala nation

Aug 17 (CT) In this article, the fourth on this subject, I wish to assert that if the right thinking people of the Sinhala Nation join in the world-wide effort currently underway for an international independent investigation of the Mullivaikkal massacre, it will not only be achieved sooner rather than later, it will also end the culture of impunity that is prevalent to this day. A culture of impunity that is only too evident in the recent assaults on the Muslim people and the Weliweriya killings. more..

Lakmali qualifies for women’s javelin final

Aug 17 (Island) National record holder Nadeeka Lakmali earned a place in the final of the women’s javelin with a throw of 60.39 metres, in the qualifying rounds of the discipline at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, on Friday. She cleared the distance in the third attempt, after producing 56.12 and 59.09 metres respectively, in her first two attempts. Her throw of 60.39 metres placed her 12th overall and seventh in more..

Caught on camera

Aug 17 (Island) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has sent a CCTV footage which, according to him, contains evidence of police inaction during a recent mob attack on a mosque at Grandpass, to IGP N. K. Illangakoon. The former insists that the latter has promised to order a probe if allegations against the police could be substantiated. This is an interesting development. Minister has also said, in his letter to the IGP, that there are several people who saw ‘armed hoodlums attack the mosque, more..

National question; is it not time to move on?

Aug 17 (DBS) Sri Lanka has many “national questions”. Law and order issues, constitutional issues, political accountability issues and several others that could all be termed national issues although the issue that is commonly referred to as the national question is the ethnic issue associated with minority empowerment and granting of equal rights through the concept of self- determination, specifically for the Tamil community in the country. While some may argue that it is time to more..

Rauff Vs Basheer: Internal strife in the SLMC

Aug 17 (DBS) This column shifts its focus away from the TNA this week and turns the spotlight on the SLMC instead. The premier political party representing the Muslims of Sri Lanka is once again in the grip of an intra-party crisis with the time bomb of split cum defection ticking away. The name of that bomb threatening to explode is Basheer Segu Dawood! 53 Year old Basheer Segu Dawood is the “Thavisaalar” or Chairman of the SLMC. more..

Kotagala plantation to expand rubber cultivation to Cambodia

Aug 17 (N360) Kotagala Plantation, a firm coming under Lankem Ceylon has decided to set up a 15,000 hectare rubber plantation in Cambodia. According to the Chairman of the Lankem, A. Rajaratnam, planting rubber in Cambodia is expected to begin at the latter part of the ongoing financial year with crops expected approximately within six to seven years. “The area that finally will be cultivated in Cambodia is nearly four times as large as the company’s cultivations in more..

UK extends over £ 20 m support for humanitarian work in Sri Lanka

Aug 17 (FT) Monday, 19 August is World Humanitarian Day, the UN-designated day which recognises all humanitarian workers, and was established to mark the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, when 22 people lost their lives. The UK has given over 3.8 billion rupees since the start of 2011 to help Sri Lanka’s post-war recovery. British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin, commented on the tenth anniversary of more..

Sri Lanka policy rates kept flat, external sector to be watched

Aug 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka has kept policy rates steady in August with inflation moderate but the external sector will be watched closely amid currency turmoil in trading partners, the Central Bank said. The Central Bank said inflation fell to 6.1% in July from 6.8% in June and price increases were expected to remain in single digits for the rest of the year which was good for international and domestic investor confidence. more..

The annual Nanumura Mangallaya of the Tanivelle Devalaya today

Aug 17 (Island) The annual ‘Nanumura Mangallaya’ of the Tanivelle Devalaya, Madampe will be held today, where over 5,000 devotees are expected to participate. The festival will start early morning and continue till evening. This great shrine is situated at the 62nd k.m. post along the Colombo-Puttalam main road, just at the entrance to the salubrious suburb, called Madampe. It is a common sight to see multitudes of people belonging to various nationalities and religious denominations more..

OMG Pettah! Freezing a fast vanishing landscape

Aug 17 (FT) The Collective of Contemporary Artists (CoCA) held another innovative exhibition that looked at capturing for posterity the complex entirety of Colombo’s hustling and bustling Pettah culture through its very own depictions of art and sound. With large scale development plans in the pipeline, there are concerns that the landscape will forever be changed once the Government gets the ball rolling with the Outer Colombo Ring Road project. In this light, the artists of CoCA more..

Lokuarachchi questioned by SLC on fixing scandal

Aug 17 ((AFP) Sri Lanka all-rounder Kaushal Lokuarachchi had been questioned by the local governing body of the sport, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), in connection with the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) scandal. “He has already explained the circumstances. He has not been charged with match-fixing, but he is accused (by the ICC) of failing to report an improper approach,” a source close to Lokuarachchi told AFP. more..

Colombo not yet ready to take up apartments; may face a glut : Analyst

Aug 17 (ST) Colombo is not yet ready to take up many apartment units and if all its proposed developments come at once, the city would face a glut of apartment units, making it difficult to market these condominiums to the locals at present given its pricing, analyst says. “In a way these projects getting delayed is a good thing and a gradual addition of capacity is needed when the city matures,” Danushka Samarasinghe, Director TKS Securities (Pvt) Ltd, said. more..

Military should approach soldiers not the people

Aug 17 (AHRC) Yesterday (15) people from Rathupaswela, Weliweriya, were asked to go to the army camps in order to record evidence from them. The people did not want to go to the camps for obvious reasons. Previous reports revealed that the people are afraid that those who are witnesses to the events which led to the killing of three persons and assaults on many others would become targets of reprisals. Some people sought the help of the Human Rights Commission of SL which, more..

Indians coy on fishermen's issues

Aug 17 (DN) Although it was agreed that the India - Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries should meet on a regular basis, at least once every six months, as agreed between the two countries during their previous meetings, the Group has not met since its last meeting held in Colombo on Jan 13-14, 2012. The Daily News reliably learns that Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has urged Delhi to engage in the process of the more..

Has Sri Lanka Cricket the right perspective?

Aug 17 (CT) The series against South Africa is done and dusted. Many accolades came Sri Lanka’s way for the drubbing they gave the Proteas in the just concluded One Day International series 4-1. It all boiled down to veteran number three batsman Kumar Sangakkara. There is something spectacular about that name. It is not only that Kumar scored plenty of runs in that series with 169 out of a total of 320/7 at the Premadasa Stadium in the First ODI on July 23, but which he followed with 91 more..

Male nurse climbs tree in support of KTH matron, theatre sister

Aug 17 (Island) A male nurse, serving at the Kandy Teaching Hospital, yesterday climbed a tree and threatened to jump from it if the Health Ministry refused to revise its decision to remove a theatre sister and matron. The Health Ministry took the decision following a protest by the GMOA demanding that the theatre sister and matron be removed due to insubordination. President of the All Ceylon Nurses’ Union (ACNU) S. B. Mediwatta said that nurses had been obstructing more..

President declares open the Wahalkada at Tissamaharama raja maha viharaya

Aug 17 (IL) President Rajapaksa declared open the Wahalkada at the Tissamaharama Raja Maha Viharaya, which was constructed in memory of their deceased parents, father D.A. Rajapaksa and mother Dandina Dissanayaka, this evening (16). The President accompanied with Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa representing Rajapaksa family at the ceremony. more..

President requests local industrialists to win the overseas market

Aug 17 (SLBC) President Mahinda Rajapakse says opportunities for local entrepreneurs at the international market have widened due to Sri Lanka's positive diplomatic relations built up with many countries. Therefore, Sri Lankan industrialists and entrepreneurs should be ready to compete with the international market protecting Sri Lankan identity. The President made these remarks at a meeting with a group of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs held in the Temple Trees yesterday. more..

Plea for ban on Madras Café dismissed

Aug 17 (Hindu) The Madras High Court bench here on Friday dismissed a petition seeking ban on the release of Bollywood movie ‘Madras Café’ in Tamil Nadu. In his petition, C. Ezhilarasu, an advocate, said the movie was a political thriller set in the backdrop of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. The petitioner alleged that the film, which is slated to be released worldwide on August 23, portrayed the LTTE cadre as terrorists. He claimed that Sri Lankan president Rajapaksa financed the movie more..

Lankan student wins top award in UK

Aug 17 (BN) A Student has been awarded the top accolade at a high-profile international conference in Bolton. Chathurika Kannangara, a University of Bolton PhD student, won the Heinz von Foerster Award at the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC) conference — held outside of America for the first time. A panel of experts award the prize to the person who has made the most significant contribution to the conference. more..

Two held for smuggling gold from Sri Lanka

Aug 17 (Hindu) Two men, including a man from Kodiakkarai, were arrested for transporting smuggled gold from Sri Lanka. The men were caught while transferring possession of 3.5 kg of gold that was to be eventually handed over to a man from Dindigul, the police said. One of the arrested men, Subramanian of Kodiakkarai, is the brother of Arivazhagan who was instrumental in the smuggling of 21.5 kg of gold that was seized mid-June, while in transit from Kodiakkarai. more..

'Shilpa 2013' now at BHICH

Aug 17 (GDI) Minister Basil Rajapaksa declared open the National Handicraft Festival “Shilpa 2013” Thursday at the BMICH in Colombo. This year's event under the theme 'Celebrating Sri Lanka's handicraft Heritage' aims to improve the handicraft and small and medium scale industries in accordance with the Mahinda Chintana. Shilpa 2013, organized for the ninth consecutive year, displays around 1,500 high quality products selected from provincial and district competitions. more..

Japanese Princess here on Monday

Aug 17 (DN) Princess Tsuguko of Takamado, the eldest daughter of Japanese Prince Takamado will arrive in Sri Lanka on a four-day visit from Aug 19 to 23 in response to an invitation extended by President Rajapaksa and First Lady during the latter's visit to Japan in March this year. Princess Tsuguko was born on March 8, 1986 to Prince and Princess Takamado and celebrated her coming of age in March 2006. more..

Indian intel on Sri Lanka

Aug 17 (CG) An Indian intelligence report has found that some Pakistani elements are using Sri Lanka to enter India and may pose a threat. Times Now TV reported that it had got an intelligence report stating that Lashkar-e-Toiba, Tehrik-E-Taliban and LTTE elements may also join forces. However the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs of India R.P.N Singh had told the television station that he has no information on the matter. The Indian TV report said that Indian intelligence more..

Sri Lanka-Belarus to avoid double taxation

Aug 17 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Belarus have recently held discussions on reaching an agreement to avoid double taxation on income. The negotiations between the two countries were held at the Ministry of Taxes and Duties in Minsk, Belarus from 5th to 9th Aug 2013. Sri Lanka's Finance and Planning Ministry said the negotiations between Sri Lanka and Belarus on Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income more..

Lower inflation to support Sri Lanka's sovereign rating: S&P

Aug 17 (LBO) A low inflation level maintained by central bank is likely to support its credit rating in the future, a senior sovereign credit analyst at Standard & Poor's said. Sri Lanka's inflation eased to 6.1% in the 12 months to July from after spiking to 9.8% in February following a steep depreciation of the currency over the past 12 months. Central Bank Governor said that inflation had been kept at single digits for 4.5 years more..

Minister behind excessive import of arecanuts

Aug 17 (CT) Sri Lanka Customs has claimed a government minister is behind the excessive import of dry arecanuts into the country, one of the two key ingredients of baabul, a banned substance here. Customs sources confirmed, container loads have been brought into Sri Lanka recently, on behalf of importers from Matale, Kandy and Kurunegala areas, indicating certain trends in imports. At present, eight container loads are stored at the Customs warehouse for clearance. more..

Govt. targets US$11.5 B from tea, apparel and rubber exports

Aug 17 (CT) The govt is aiming at a whopping US$11.5 billion revenue target from apparel, tea and rubber sectors in Budget 2014, which is to be presented to Parliament in November. This decision was arrived at after a meeting with the representatives of all exports sectors, who met President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees, yesterday. The meeting was held to deliberate problems in various sectors and their expectations from Budget 2014. “President listened very attentively more..

Estate superintendents resign in fear of arrest

Aug 17 (Island) Superintendents of state owned and managed estates have begun to resign from their jobs fearing arrest over non payment of their workers’ retirement benefits. On Thursday, the Superintendent of Kumarawatte Estate in Moneragala was arrested by the police there on a Court order for non payment of EPF, ETF and gratuity following action filed by Labour Department officers to recover the outstanding dues. more..

Changing face of Buddhism?

Aug 17 (CT) Not so long ago, when the religion was described as a cause for conflict, Buddhists begged to be different. Buddhist devotees pointed out that Buddhism was not a religion, but a philosophy. At the heart of the Buddhist teaching are benevolence and tolerance. No time in the history Buddhists resorted to violence to propagate the message of the Lord Buddha. It is in this historical context that the spiral of violence that we have witnessed recently is disturbing, and in fact, more..

Black July: Circumstances leading to the magistrate’s inquest

Aug 17 (CT) The Emergency Regulations, the latest of which were gazetted a week before the violence, on the 18th of July, provided for the disposal of bodies without inquest. The circumstances of the inquest tell us something about the atmosphere. One factor that may have prompted the inquest is very likely that Jansz’s attempts to take the injured to the Accident Service had resulted in the bodies ending up in the Medico-Legal Mortuary. It is notable that the Army had been initially more..

UNP protest a flop

Aug 17 (CT) Despite the boastful rhetoric of UNP Parliamentarians, Ruwan Wijewardene and Harin Fernando, that 25,000 people would take part in the protest organized by the Movement for Unity on 14 August, only an estimated 700 people had taken part in the protest. The participants had expressed their displeasure to the UNP MPs for not being able to garner the support of a large number of people for the protest. more..

Our democratic right to protest

Aug 17 (SL) If I was asked to describe, in one word, the Sri Lankan populace today, it would be apathetic. No feeling, no interest, enthusiasm or concern. A nation that is listless, indifferent and unconcerned. Oh yes, we grumble and we mumble, we groan and we moan. But that is pretty much what we do. We watch the news on TV and we are surprised, horrified, and sometimes even indignant. But we do not venture beyond our couches and more..

Highway bribery

Aug 17 (SL) Two policemen on duty at Mundalama in the Puttalam district stopped a luxury bus heading to Point Pedro from Colombo. The bus did not have a valid route permit. The two policemen demanded from the conductor that they be paid Rs. 300 each to avoid being taken to courts. What the policemen did not know was that the conductor was a police decoy deployed to arrest bribe-taking policemen. The operation was part of a more..

N’cholai shutdown to cost CEB dear

Aug 17 (Island) With the CEB deciding to shut down the country’s first coal-fired power plant at Norochcholai on Wednesday, August 21, for its long delayed annual maintenance, differing opinions have surfaced on the resulting additional cost to the loss incurring institution. One party claims that the 40-day maintenance would cost the CEB some Rs. 32 billion, while the other says it will not be more than Rs. 12 billion. more..