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'Tourism can do without casinos, take an example from Maldives'

Dec 8 (Island) Chief incumbent of the Kotte Naga Viharaya, Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera, said last week that despite objections from the Mahanayakes, other religious leaders and opposition parties, the government was determined to go ahead with the establishment of six casino zones, but it should stop and take note of the good example set by the Maldives. The Maldives had been able to attract over a million tourists in 2012, more..

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013: To honour Mandela is to learn from his example

Dec 8 (Island) One of the most inspiring moments in our life time was watching Nelson Mandela walk out of prison on 11 February, 1990. He looked tall and determined, defiant yet kind. He looked taller than his 6’1" height, even though the 27 years in harsh prison conditions had shrunken his massive 200+ lb frame that he took to the prison. On Thursday, 5 December 2013, Nelson Mandela passed away quietly in his Johannesburg home after keeping an anxious nation awake for several months. more..

Some lessons from Nelson Mandela for reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Dec 8 (CT) Nelson Mandela is no more, but his legacy would hopefully inspire people, particularly the young, for some generations to come all over the world, including Sri Lanka. Some years back, I was delighted to see the translation of his “A Long March to Freedom” into Sinhala and I am not sure who did that admirable task. I am also not sure whether it is also available in Tamil or not. Whatever the situation, the story of his life, his determination to struggle for justice, more..

Heir apparent: Ruwan Wijewardena

Dec 8 (Island) Whilst we waited at the Kynsey road office, we reminisced my namesake at the gate ‘Senanayake’. It was etched prominently on the side. It was a small world and even smaller political sphere we lived in. Though, a little behind schedule, Ruwan Wijewardena MP appeared with a warm smile and a firm handshake to soothingly usher us into his office room. Thanuja continued to set his equipment as I began with my more..

Torture probe postponed

Dec 8 (SL) The National Inquiry on Torture, which was expected to be set in Sri Lanka with the help of the Commonwealth Secretariat, has been postponed indefinitely, sources at the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission revealed. The National Inquiry on Torture was expected to conduct investigations into allegations of torture committed by the government or the armed forces since the final stage of war to the present day. The inquiry was to be set under the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission more..

President to meet Kenyan leader

Dec 8 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will head to Kenya for talks, at a time the Kenyan leadership is facing a trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC). President Rajapaksa will first travel to South Africa to pay his respects to the late South African President Nelson Mandela. From there he is scheduled to head to Kenya and is likely to meet Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who has been charged by the ICC of orchestrating deadly violence in Kenya in 2007. more..

TUs charge CPC would sell 92 Octane at higher price

Dec 8 (CT) Plans to import 92 Octane petrol from 1 Jan 2014, in a bid to replace the 90 Octane category totally, is an attempt to sell petrol at a much higher price, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) trade unions said. Sri Lanka is among the very few countries in the world that still use 90 Octane petrol. The octane rating, or the octane number, is a standard measurement of the performance of motor or aviation fuel. more..

Fonseka to the govt?

Dec 8 (LT) It is reported that an attempt is being made to get the former Commander of the Army, the Leader of the Democratic Party Sarath Fonseka to join the govt. According to information a group of govt stalwarts are having discussions regarding the matter. It is said that the govt plan is to give civic rights to Mr. Fonseka and win him over to the govt before next March. Having Mr. Fonseka, who played a major role in the war against the LTTE, in the opposite camp would be more..

DIG transfers

Dec 8 (DM) Eight DIGs had been transferred with effect from Dec 10 by IGP N. K. Illangakoon, the Police Department said. The transfers had been based on service requirements with the approval of the Secretary of the Defence the Police Department said. Meanwhile, DIG Ratnapura and Kegalle Mahesh Perera, has been appointed as the Police Special Branch DIG and Kithsiri Ganegama who served in the Jaffna District has been transferred as the DIG of Puttlam District, the police said. more..

'Mandela could have remained President until his death, but did not do so'

Dec 8 (Island) Parliament yesterday condoled the death of Nelson Mandela with both sides of the House showering accolades and tributes to the late South African leader. Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said that the govt and people of Sri Lanka and Parliament express their condolences on the passing away of grate South African Leader. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said Mandela had become a larger than life figure and more..

17 held preparing to export 100,000kg of refuse tea

Dec 8 (AD) Police have arrested seventeen persons preparing to export a massive stock of refuse tea in the Indolamulla area today. Dompe Police, acting on information received, carried out a raid on the location and seized around 100,000 kilograms of refuse tea from the suspects. Dompe Police are conducting further investigations regarding the suspects. Meanwhile in a separate incident, a person was arrested for the possession of 19 kilograms and 350 grams of the endemic more..

Man defrauds many seamen

Dec 8 (CT) A man who had allegedly duped a number of seamen, having promised them jobs in international vessels, was arrested by the Mirihana Police. Police arrested the suspect, following complaints lodged with the police by many victims. Reportedly, the racket had been carried out by an agency based in Nugegoda which had offered jobs for seamen on vessels in Malaysia and Singapore. The suspect has defrauded the victims to the tune of over Rs One million. more..

Bus depots go bust with workers unpaid

Dec 8 (ST) Susantha Jayasiri, 37, is worried that he won’t be able to buy his children schoolbooks and shoes next term. Two grocers who gave him food on credit have stopped. He has taken loans from a number of relatives and friends who make sure they drop by his place at least once a day seeking repayment. His daughter’s only pair of shoes, shabby and worn-out, lie drying in the front yard after a scrub. Susantha’s wife will take more..

Global Buddhists come to Bodh Gaya for peace conference

Dec 8 (ANI) Buddhist from across the globe gathered in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, on Sunday to attend a conference, aimed at spreading the message of peace. The conference started with a special prayer session at the famed Mahabodhi Buddhist temple premises in Bodhgaya, Bihar. The conference has been held for the last 25 years. "This annual ceremony has been organising for the last 25 year, more than 25 year and today also as it happened in the morning, we prayed in more..

DGHS should take control of happenings at CDDRA says FOACH

Dec 8 (Island) The Forum for Officers Against Corruption in Health (FOACH) says that Minister Maithripala Sirisena should take a firm stand to ensure there is proper licensing of drugs released to the market for use by patients. Drugs need evaluation and recommendation by its end user specialist consultants before the nod is given for issuance of a license, it said in a statement. There are reports that a particular oncology drug was registered within eight working hours by more..

'India, Lanka enjoy unbreakable bonds'

Dec 8 (PTI) India and Sri Lanka are linked by an unbreakable historical bond as they share a common religion in Buddhism, the Indian high commissioner here said on Sunday. Y K Sinha was addressing a gathering at the opening of the Indian Gallery at the Temple of Tooth, the foremost place of Buddhist religious worship in the central town of Kandy on Sunday. Sinha's comments on Indo-Lanka friendship come amidst prevailing heartburn more..

NLDB Chairman refutes allegations

Dec 8 (NS) National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) Chairman Lt Col RMB Ellegala claimed that the NLDB wasn’t a loss making enterprise, but had made investments for future prospects. Referring to last week’s story in The Nation, regarding NLDB ‘Deputy Chairman’s military rule’ at this institute, Lt Col Ellegala said that someone had provided ‘false information’ to The Nation. However, he failed to send a clarification regarding the issues raised by this newspaper. more..

Anchor Newdale opens its doors to SL

Dec 8 (Island) Anchor Newdale will open its doors to consumers and the general public in Sri Lanka as it launches the Anchor Newdale "Apeyma Kiri Chaarikawa" from the 13th of Dec. "Apeyma Kiri Chaarikawa" is an educational tour on Anchor Newdale dairy processes. The tour will give the public an opportunity to witness first-hand and learn about the journey from grass to glass; beginning with the 4000 farmers who provide milk for Anchor Newdale products, more..

Govt. fails to trace Lalith and Kugan

Dec 8 (NS) The relatives of missing activists Lalith and Kugan claimed that the Govt had failed to ensure justice even after two years after their disappearance. Lalith Kumar Weeraraju and Kugan Maruganandan were two activists of theFront Line Socialist Party (FLSP), a breakaway party from the JVP and were abducted by unknown persons while they were involved in propaganda activities in Jaffna. Family members of Lalith and Kugan more..

Four subjects compulsory for international and private schools

Dec 8 (ST) The Govt will make it compulsory for international and private schools in Sri Lanka to teach Sinhala, Tamil, religion and local history. “We hope to start this programme by next year. Some international schools will do so from January,” Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. He said he had spoken to principals of many schools and they were willing to comply. The Cabinet recently approved a recommendation by Minister Gunawardena. more..

9 including Duminda Silva’s driver remanded over nightclub bouncer’s killing

Dec 8 (ST) Sampath Cooray (21) was two months into his job as a ‘bouncer’ at a nightclub in Athurugiriya last Saturday, when a group claiming to be supporters of a UPFA MP in the Colombo district, ordered the staff to sell them liquor. This was long after the bar had closed. Tharindu and his colleagues refused as the bar had already closed. An argument ensued and the two groups exchanged blows. The visitors withdrew, threatening to return. On the following day, at around 9.30 p.m., more..

Preservatives-laden imported fruits: GMOA calls for tough action

Dec 8 (Island) Amidst mounting concern over the use of hazardous chemicals to prolong the shelf life of imported fruits for as long as nine months, the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) last week warned of a "disastrous situation" if this unhealthy trend was not arrested. "We have taken up this grave issue with the health authorities and are still awaiting a report", says Dr. Nalin Ariyaratne, GMOA’s Assistant Secretary. more..

Three member committee to investigate runaway engine

Dec 8 (NS) Railway trade unions yesterday said they would wait until the inquiry launched by Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) into the phantom train engine was concluded before deciding whether to take trade union action. Convener of the Railway Service Trade Union Alliance, Sampath Rajitha said there was no question that anyone found guilty of wrongdoing in relation to the incident should be punished. “However, we want the committee to ensure that justice is done, more..

Research officers for senior judges

Dec 8 (ST) The Chief Justice, Judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal will soon be assigned Development Officers (Research). The move comes on a recommendation made to the Cabinet of ministers by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In terms of the decision, the Ministry of Justice has been directed to select a group of law graduates with proficiency in the English language from among those have recently been recruited to the Graduate Training Scheme. more..

Sea Street thrives on Black Market Gold

Dec 8 (NS) In a shocking revelation, market sources claimed that more than 50% of the Sea Street jewelery shop owners are involved in trading “black market gold”. Referring to it as ‘Sea Street gold mafia’, the sources said that their major source of income is dealing in black market gold and that the jewelery industry is just a cover-up. Sri Lanka Jewelery Association Senior Advisor K.Shankar vehemently denied that Sea Street is a more..

Flaws appear in 10-team league

Dec 9 (SL) Although the SLRFU initially gave serious thought to restoring the old home-and-away format in the ongoing League tournament, it finally decided to stick with the existing one, albeit for valid reasons, reasons which we’ll take up later. The present format, it will be remembered, was introduced about a decade ago to revive flagging interest in a league tournament rendered meaningless by Kandy SC’s long and unchallenged dominance. more..

Oh, Cameron! Why have you forsaken Tim, Deirdre and Iona?

Dec 9 (SL) The names, Tim Macpherson, Deirdre Higham and Iona Macpherson obviously mean nothing to the Right Honourable PM of Her Majesty’s Govt, David Cameron. But, maybe it is time to remind Cameron as to who they were. Tim was a retired British Army officer and the managing director of the largest malt company in the UK. His wife, Deirdre Macpherson was a talented artist. Iona Macpherson was their 20 year old daughter, and the youngest sister of Louise and Kate. more..

'Govt invited Dr Beyani'

Dec 9 (SO) The visit to Sri Lanka of the UN Special Rapporteur on Displaced Persons is not tied to the Human Rights Sessions in Geneva to be held in March, but is part of the ongoing process between the UN and Sri Lanka, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said, shooting down claims that the UN representative was here to prepare a damning report on Sri Lanka. “This is not the first time that a Special Rapporteur more..

Muzammil's 'neck on the line'

Dec 9 (CT) The President was the Chief Guest at a certain function held in Colombo recently. Another notable guest at the same function was Colombo Mayor, A.J.M. Muzammil. His Party, the UNP, had asked him to show cause for participating in CHOGM, which was boycotted by the Party. This was the first time the President saw Muzammil after CHOGM. A pensive Muzammil was rubbing his neck when the President arrived there. With tongue in cheek, the smiling President asked more..

President refuses to intercede for ministers facing sleaze allegations

Dec 9 (CT) People in the country are now in a state of suspense as to which election will come first. This is due to conflicting media reports that have been reaching them in the recent past. The govt had initially decided to hold the election to the Western Provincial Council (PC) first and later those to the Southern and Uva PCs. The Presidential poll was to follow the three PC elections. Meanwhile, President Rajapaksa had hinted that the election to the Western PC is to be held in more..

Nelson Mandela’s legacy to the world: Some less celebrated aspects

Dec 9 (GV) The death of the moral colossus in the politics of our time has occasioned a worldwide celebration of all things bright and beautiful that he represented in such abundant measure and to such inspirational effect. Not only for his fellow South Africans, but also for the rest of the world, Nelson Mandela personified a superhuman standard of humility, dignity, courage, resilience and forgiveness. more..

Modi wave has struck a chord

Dec 9 (CT) Narenrda Modi is riding the crest of his creation. The wave originating from Gujerat, will in four months have ripple effects in the South as well, reaching up to Tamil Nadu. Seats to be won in the South may be limited, but coalition support pre and post-election can be substantial and may even be enduring. Modi’s whirlwind electioneering had created a stir in India from the day his candidature was announced in September this year. Unprecedented turnouts and more..

The essential Mandela

Dec 9 (CT) In 1993, as South Africa hovered in a twilight time between an Apartheid-past and a post-Apartheid future, two men planned a murder. Janusz Walusz, a neo-Nazi, and Clive Derby-Lewis, a Conservative Party MP, were readying to ignite a racial-civil war to keep Apartheid alive. Their plan was to kill a popular black leader and provoke the already simmering townships into bloody mayhem. The white-majority military will intervene to protect order and white-lives, more..

'Cameron behaved in a politically immature manner'

Dec 9 (CT) Supervising MP for the Ministry of External Affairs, Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, also the confidential financial adviser to the President, says British MP David Cameron behaved in a very politically immature manner when he visited Sri Lanka for the CHOGM and he came out very badly amongst the international community. Q: What is the success story of CHOGM 2013? A: CHOGM 2013 was a resounding success, more..

Benign budget followed by malignant Gazettes

Dec 9 (NS) Soon after the hullabaloo over the Commonwealth Summit, President Rajapaksa presented the budget almost unnoticed. It was widely expected to be an ‘election budget’ with concessions to ease the burden of cost of living but that was not the case. Election or not, the budget did little to appease the concerns of those trying hard to balance their household budgets. Although the budget itself did not impose specific hardships on the general public, a series of gazette more..

Militarising civilian roles in North, shanty clearing of Colombo dominate debate

Dec 9 (ST) As the Committee Stage debate of Appropriation Bill 2014 got under way in Parliament last week, the debate on the votes of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development brought several issues into focus, with Opposition legislators questioning the role of the military which is engaging in civilian activities, as well as the UDA. ongoing relocation programme for shanty dwellers in the City of Colombo. TNA Parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan speaking during the debate, more..

Women Fight for Their Rights

Editorial: The Modi phenomenon

Dec 9 (Island) It is being widely speculated that the Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) is set to form the next government in India with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. Having ruined its chances of winning a major election, the scandal-ridden Congress-led coalition is clutching at straws in Tamil Nadu in a desperate bid to stay afloat. There has been a mixed reaction to the prospect of Modi leading India, though. If the outcome of a recent opinion survey is anything to go by more..

Play by the rules!

Dec 9 (Island) The Indian Express of Dec 6, has published the following news item under the heading, "North CM on War Path with Sri Lankan Govt": "After a month of cooperation with the Rajapaksa govt, the Chief Minister of Tamil-speaking Northern Province, C V Wigneswaran, has switched to confrontation. On Thursday, Wigneswaran tried to inspect the Hindu temples and houses allegedly damaged by the Sri Lankan army in the Weligama North HSZ more..

‘Sri Lanka Mirror, victim in selective curbing of online news access’

Dec 9 (SM) SriLankaMirror (SLM) has become the ‘latest victim’ in a ‘selective curbing of access to internet news’, the Professional Web Journalists’ Association (PWJA) says. Issuing a media release, the PWJA says : “By now over half a dozen websites from Tamilnet, Sri Lankan Guardian, Lankaenews that carry news and information on Sri Lanka and interactive participation by readers have been blocked from resident Sri Lankan citizens and more..