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'Nothing in pitch warranted scores that low'

Aug 3 (CI) A succession of rash strokes and an inability to handle pressure brought Sri Lanka's downfall in the first Twenty20 in Colombo, captain Dinesh Chandimal has said. Having restricted South Africa to 115 for 6, Sri Lanka mustered only 103 for 9 in their 20 overs, on a surface that presented no great obstacle for scoring runs. Sri Lanka had been 72 for 3 in the 14th over, but lost six wickets for 23 runs thereafter more..

Sri Lanka: Beware of a quasi-military rule!

Aug 3 (CT) The Rajapaksa regime increasingly appears to consist of twin forces within it, one civilian and the other military. The so-called UPFA govt is only a façade for the regime which is based mainly on the military and the bureaucracy. The UPFA even with the old left parties within it only have a decreasing influence on the civilian part of the regime. The Parliament with a feeble opposition appears to supply humour and entertainment to the cynical public these days. more..

Black July: Thondaman & Muttetuwegama

Aug 3 (CT) The clearest statements about the violence giving the lie to Jayewardene’s line of a spontaneous Sinhalese uprising came in early August from S. Thondaman, a cabinet minister and leader of the CWC representing the Hill-Country Tamils, and from Sarath Muttetuwegama, the only Communist Party MP. Thondaman’s statement carried in the Sun of 3rd August and also in the Island, was titled “None but the blind can avoid shedding tears” more..

Media groups outraged

Aug 3 (CG) Media rights groups have expressed outrage over reports that some journalists were attacked while carrying out their duties in Weliweriya during the protest for clean water. The Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Sri Lanka Journalists’ Trade Union (SLJTU), in separate statements condemned the attack on the journalists. SLJTU said that journalists and camera crew who were covering the protest were prevented more..

'Feels nice for us to put pressure on them' - du Plessis

Aug 3 (CI) South Africa captain Faf du Plessis said the plans his attack had drawn up for Sangakkara, Dilshan and Thisara Perera, whom they had identified as key batsmen, were vital to South Africa's 12-run victory in the first Twenty20. Sangakkara has been in the limited-overs form of his life in the past two months, and though South Africa were unable to dislodge him, they succeeded in keeping his strike rate in check for much of the innings, as they took wickets at the other end. more..

Weliweriya protest: Monk speaks on behalf of affected people

Aug 3 (Island) The people living in Weliveriya, were asking for a human right or dire human need, without which survival was impossible, Sri Lanka Environmental Congress Chairman (SLEC) Ven Madampagama Assaji Thera told The Island yesterday. He said that they personally conducted a survey in ten affected villages and found that the water was contaminated. He added that the Public Health Inspectors in the area too admitted the ground water was contaminated. more..

Bharatha killing: soldier gives evidence

Aug 3 (DM) An STF soldier giving evidence in the non-summary trial into the killing of former presidential adviser Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and three others in Mulleriyawa said MP Duminda Silva who came to the Rahula Vidyalaya polling booth at Angoda in a motorcade assaulted candidate Prasanna Solangaarachchi’s the sister-in-law. STF soldier S.M.S. Kumara made this assertion before Colombo Additional more..

Audio: Mervyn blames Gampaha politicos

Aug 3 (DM) Minister Mervyn Silva charged that politicians in the Gampaha District had failed in their duty in resolving the crisis that had erupted regarding the contamination of drinking water. “I’m not afraid to say this, if the politicians had taken necessary steps to prevent this at the right time or had listened to what I said these deaths or injuries could have been averted,” he said. “I might be charge sheeted for making this statement but I am ready to answer them,” more..

Appoint an independent commission on Weliweriya – Bar Association

Aug 3 (CT) “We do not see any valid reason to call the Army for assistance. Further there is strong grounds to show that the normal procedure adopted to disperse a crowd was not followed and it is clearly seen that persons who were running away were pursued and attacked by entering private premises and places of worship.” says the BASL Standing Committee of Rule of Law. Issuing a statement its Chairman Lal Wijenayake says; It is unlikely that an extraordinary action such as calling more..

Sri Lanka Dipped Products says not causing water pollution

Aug 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Dipped Products, a top glove exporter says its factory is not polluting groundwater but production has been halted until further tests are carried out by authorities. Dipped Products is said to produce five percent of the world's non-medical rubber gloves with the Weliweriya factory producing 45% of its output. Protesting villagers had blamed the factory for polluting well water. more..

An artificial island in Hambantota for tourism

Aug 3 (GDI) Sri Lanka Ports Authority is to create an artificial island for the first time near the Hambantota Port to be used for tourist activities. The historic project would be undertaken by Sri Lankan Engineers attached to the Ports Authority. The feasibility studies in this regard have been done and the Ports Authority is awaiting the final clearance from the govt. Ports Authority officials said that they are looking at creating an island of minimum five acres. Project is funded by China Exim Bank more..

India seeks release of fishermen

Aug 3 (CG) Puducherry Chief Minister N Rangasamy has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to take steps to ensure the release of all fishermen, including those from Karaikal, apprehended by the Sri Lankan forces. This was revealed by the CM, when the representatives of Karaikal fishermen, led by National Fish Workers Forum general secretary M Ilango met him on Friday. The representatives, led by National Fish Workers Forum leader more..

'Present govt the most savage in the world'

Aug 3 (AD) Accusing the govt of answering pleas for drinking water by raining down bullets on innocent people, the UNP today said that the ruling regime has proven by action that it is the worst and most “savage” govt to ever exist in the world. Condemning the govt’s reaction to a simple request made by the residents of Rathupaswala, UNP stated that the entire world should denounce this inhumane and more..

Lankan boat reaches Australia

Aug 3 (CG) Two groups including sixteen Sri Lankan asylum seekers reached Christmas Island in Australia today after a long journey at sea. It is believed the Sri Lankan group began its journey before Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s July 19 announcement that people arriving by boat without a visa have no hope of being settled in Australia. Authorities’ initial belief was that the Sri Lankans – including two little girls and a baby – travelled from their home country in more..

Audio: Army chief assures fair probe

Aug 3 (CG) Army Commander Daya Ratnayake says the army cannot react to various claims being made over the Weliweriya incident and so action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigations carried out by the army board of inquiry. Speaking to reporters after meeting the chief prelates in Kandy today, Ratnayaka said that there may be reasons for the way some people reacted during the tensions in Weliweriya. However he said if there was some unfairness experienced on the part of the more..

Second protester dies in water dispute

Aug 3 (AFP) A second protester died from wounds suffered when troops fired on villagers demonstrating against contaminated water supplies, police said, as tensions remained high in the area. Heavily armed police and Special Task Force commandos were still in the the village of Weliweriya following Thursday's shooting and locals reported people were fearful of leaving their houses. "People are afraid to go outside of their houses more..

Tap SL's expertise to crush global terrorism

Aug 4 (SO) Many countries have done their utmost to crush terrorism but failed. Even the most powerful armies in the world, with sophisticated modern weapons, have come a cropper in their attempts to crush global terrorism. Sri Lanka's valiant Security Forces, perhaps, may not have had the luxury of modern weapons and techniques used by their counterparts in the so-called big countries, but crushed terrorism admirably well. The true sons of our soil had proved their mettle more..

Making of a Constitution

Aug 4 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s announcement last week that land and police powers would not be devolved under the 13th Amendment brings back all the political hip-hopping and waltzing on the political firmament in recent weeks back to square one where all the problems began. Land and police powers were issues that resulted in the Big Bang of Sri Lankan politics in 1958, which resulted in the two communities drifting apart as it is still drifting. more..

'Infighting drove me back to SLFP'

Aug 4 (SO) One conjures up the image of a “Sonduru Minisa” in the politician Dayasiri Jayasekara. Suave but forthright, in pithy Sinhala he confessed that the “kepilla” within the UNP forced him back to his political “Maha Gedara”, the SLFP. Despite the heat and vitriols of politics, aesthete Dayasiri kept his cool until the day he stirred a hornet’s nest in bidding goodbye to the UNP. Former UNP stalwart and UPFA candidate for the more..

Let’s Bhutanize Sri Lanka

Aug 4 (NS) The term ‘Bhutanization’ was first used in relation to Sri Lanka by the late Rajiv Gandhi. This was when he was India’s Prime Minister and in that capacity arm-twisted a beleaguered J.R. Jayewardene into signing an agreement that did nothing for Sri Lanka and indeed was crafted in a way that it could not do anything for Sri Lanka. The gloating is evident in the term used, especially considering the nature of Indo-Bhutan relations. The political term relevant was ‘protectorate’. more..

A fiery gunslinger finally bottled by a Dirty Dozen

Aug 4 (ST) My Dear Malaka, I am writing to you because I was extremely shocked to hear that you had been assaulted at a department store car park in broad daylight. I know that for many it would be just another assault, but I think there is more to it than just that. I am relieved to hear that you escaped serious injury with only a few bruises to your pretty face but to me, this incident may be the first indication of a major change in the rule of law and order as we know it in this country and more..

'Indirect and direct revenue by CHOGM to top Rs.10 billion'

Aug 4 (SO) With a little more than three months to go for the CHOGM 2013, the largest gathering of state leaders in Sri Lanka after the Non Aligned summit in 1976, the Task Force set up at the BMICH to coordinate between state agencies and their overseas counterparts is turning into a beehive of activity. The Sunday Observer met Monitoring MP, Sajin de Vass Gunawardena who is overseeing the CHOGM preparations by the Task Force more..

Casinos may turn tables on Lanka

Aug 4 (ST) Four years after the war ended, Sri Lanka is far from achieving its tourism targets. Revenue from the sector is flat and none of the usual gimmicks has worked. Investment isn’t booming either other than from two competing state actors, India and China. These are, of course, “investments” of a different kind. So the Govt has taken to pinning its hopes on casinos. It is like throwing the last dice. It estimates that upmarket gaming centres will attract waves of more..

Weliweriya and its aftermath

Aug 4 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s office sent out an urgent press release on Friday evening titled "Govt. and Opp. Parties solve Gampaha water crisis." Rajapaksa is the SLFP’s Gampaha district leader and it is natural that he should take serious note of what happened last week when the military was deployed to disperse a massive protest against alleged contamination of ground water by a factory in Weliweriya that has been operating since 1976. Rajapaksa had invited MPs, Provincial more..

'13th Amendment is UNP’s brainchild'

Aug 4 (SL) John Amaratunga, Chief Opposition Whip while admitting that there are certain drawbacks in the 13th Amendment, stresses that the main principle was devolution of power. Pointing out that if the TNA is not willing to participate in the Parliamentary Select Committee, the UNP too would avoid it, Amaratunga notes that the JVP is not a party that could ever come into power to bring about devolution. more..

Their words don’t hit, they ‘kill’

Aug 4 (NS) Parliament meets this Tuesday, and this week’s Parliament sittings will be limited to three days as Friday is a public holiday. Debates scheduled for the week are not promising enough. It is scheduled to take two Orders under the Special Commodity Levy Act for debate on Tuesday. On Wednesday Resolution under the Customs Ordinance is listed to be taken up for the debate while Thursday could be important with a full day adjournment debate has been allocated on more..

UPFA and UNP focus on discipline as provincial elections hot up

Aug 4 (NS) President Rajapaksa sent a special message to TNA’s Northern Province chief ministerial candidate C.V. Wigneswaran last Tuesday. President briefing media heads at his usual monthly breakfast meeting said that the govt hadn’t changed its stance on police and land powers. He very clearly mentioned that police and land powers will remain with the central govt as usual. President Rajapaksa added that those powers were not implemented with the more..

'The country needs a new vision, A paradigm shift'

Aug 4 (SL) JVP Leader Somawansa Amerasinghe says that the set of proposals presented by the party to address the national issue is the first step towards a permanent solution. Pointing out the failures of successive capitalist govts to address the crux of the national issue he noted that the proposal to set up People’s Councils at micro level, while eliminating the concept of Provincial Councils would encourage people more..

US takes holier-than-thou posture

Aug 4 (NS) The Unites States Embassy in Colombo was busy this week expressing ‘concern’ about killings that had occurred in Deraniyagala. The excuse the world’s superpower gave for being so dismayed was that they had occurred in the vicinity of an estate managed by an American company. “We urge a swift and thorough investigation and prosecution,” US Embassy Information Officer Juliana A. Spaven was quoted as saying, as if the Sri Lankan legal system needed more..

Customs bust major online vehicle racket

Aug 4 (ST) Customs have busted a major online vehicle-import racket involving a nonexistent company which was working in connivance with a leasing company owned by a leading private bank. Vehicles had been advertised online in the name of a dummy company at slashed prices which were about Rs. 300,000 less than the market price of a vehicle. Customs spokesman Leslie Gamini said they were probing the transaction which had resulted in huge losses to the country more..

Harsha de Silva reveals Victoria’s secret

Aug 4 (Island) Govt of J. R. Jayewardene swept to power in 1977. Jayewardene introduced a new constitution, together with a free market economy and a powerful executive presidency modeled after that of France. It made Sri Lanka the first South Asian country to liberalize its economy. Since 1977, the Sri Lankan govt has been implementing privatization and an open economy for global competition thereby encouraging more..

CCC and the Politics of Commerce

Aug 4 (Island) The banner headline of the financial section of The Island, caught this writer’s attention. The headline went as follows: "Exporters raise red flags, ask for GSP+". This article quoted a comment by the outgoing chairperson of the export section of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Ms Dawn Austin, addressing the 16th AGM of the Exporters’ Association last week to the effect that the exporter community had been excited at the news that the govt was planning to re-apply more..

Rathupaswela riot and the hostage-taking syndrome

Aug 4 (Island) Many reports have been written about how unjustifiable force was used to disperse protestors in Rathupaswela in the Gampaha district who were protesting the contamination of the ground water in their area. The cause of the protest undoubtedly had merit. Residents in about ten villagers in the Gampaha district had noted a sudden increase in the acidity in the ground water in the area which they thought was due to industrial effluents being released into the environment more..

Merrill Fernando looks at moving speciality tea business to India

Aug 4 (Island) Accusing Tea Board officials of "indifference and lethargy," Merrill J. Fernando, the Founder of Dilmah Tea, told shareholders of Ceylon Tea Services, his listed company, that he was looking at relocating his business of exporting specialty teas imported from China, South Korea and India and re-exported after value addition here to Coimbatore (in India). Fernando said that this was a small business but more..

Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2nd T20I: Preview

Aug 4 (CI) Having been happy with their ODI wins and confident with their top ranking in Twenty20s, Sri Lanka have suddenly been given a rude start on this tour. In Faf du Plessis' words, South Africa put pressure on the hosts for a change, and found their batting order brittle. Sri Lanka had not played their top XI, focusing instead on player development, but despite handing repeated chances to the young batsmen in their ranks, the next-generation are yet to produce a match-winning knock more..

Penal rate-cut to dent banks?

Aug 4 (NS) The recent decision by the Central Bank to impose a cap on penal interest rates charged on loans and advances by banks, finance and leasing companies is likely to have a detrimental effect on banks, a recent report by an Equity Research firm has suggested. According to a Banking Update published by TKS Securities the ceiling imposed would impact banks negatively where they need to cut down the current penal interest rates of 5.0%-6.0% (average rate charged by more..

Night of the scribes

Aug 4 (ST) The annual Journalism Awards for Excellence- 2012, held last Tuesday was not only a happy celebration as those who excelled in the field were feted for their achievements but also an occasion when the media fraternity came together in a spirit of fellowship and camaraderie. In addition to recognising the high achievers in the print media, at the 14th consecutive awards night held last Tuesday at the Mount Lavinia hotel, more..

KAMA fires two bouncers

Aug 4 (NS) The two security personnel who attacked a 21-year-old youth at KAMA Colombo on July 6, while on duty, have been dismissed from employment, the Management of the nightclub said. Furthermore, commenting on speculations with regard to the legality of the club which is allegedly operating under a suspended liquor license, the official asserted that Kama Colombo, has already filed a court case against Hubert Siripala Jayakody, the landlord of the respective property, more..

94% of IT security breaches go undetected!

Aug 4 (NS) More than 94% of IT security breaches are not detected by companies who are victims, but are notified by third parties, a top official from HP Enterprise Security, the largest IT security research company in the world revealed in Colombo recently. “That, in other words, means that most companies are not even aware of the breach until third parties inform them. It would naturally take 416 days to detect a breach, if you are to detect them by your own systems. more..

Cigarette sales drop, but govt.’s revenue up

Aug 4 (Island) Despite a 7.3% volume drop in cigarette sales, Ceylon Tobacco Company had contributed Rs.32.7 million in taxes to govt coffers in the first half of the current calendar year, the company announced on Friday. This was a 5% increase in tax revenue despite a 7% volume decline in cigarette sales, the company said. The govt last week further increased taxes on cigarettes and alcohol ahead of the budget. more..