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Lukewarm response for oil exploration

Dec 1 (CT) The government has extended the field for offshore oil and gas exploration, earlier limited to the Gulf of Mannar, after a second international bidding round for oil exploration licences closed this week. International bidding for oil exploration licences closed last Friday with only two companies from India and Canada submitting bids for three of the 13 blocks on offer, industry sources said. more..

Livestock Development Board in quandary

Dec 1 (NS) Employees of National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) allege that the institution is running losses due to serious administrative lapses on the part of the senior management of the board including the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman of the NLDB. The administration of the board has completely been taken over by the Deputy Chairman, who holds another position in defence establishment, more..

Sri Lankan born NYPD traffic agent killed in truck tragedy

Dec 1 (NYT) A traffic enforcement agent was struck and killed by an industrial street-cleaning truck amid throngs of holiday shoppers in Midtown Manhattan on Saturday in what officials said was most likely an accident. The officer, whom the Police Department identified as Kalyanarat Ranasinghe, was struck at about 2:30 p.m. at 6 East 44th Street near Fifth Avenue, a Fire Department spokesman said. more..

UNP heading for unity at long last or is the bubble waiting to burst?

Dec 1 (Island) With several provincial and national elections expected to be held in the coming months, it appears the UNP is at long last moving towards uniting the pro and anti-Ranil factions, amidst a looming threat that the dissident group led by Sajith Premadasa would continue to rock the boat. The Leadership Council (LC) headed by Karu Jayasuriya managed to ‘tame’ two leading dissidents last week with more..

Jayalalithaa slams India's offer to train Sri Lankan Naval officials

Dec 1 (PTI) Expressing dismay at India's offer to train Sri Lankan Naval officials, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has demanded that the PM review this "insensitive policy of defence co-operation" as it was in "utter disregard" of sentiments of people of the state. "I wish to convey our strong protest against this insensitive policy of defence co-operation with Sri Lanka, which totally ignores the impact it may have upon the more..

Casino raiding police officers transferred without due process, Police Dept. admits

Dec 1 (ST) The Police Dept did not hold inquiries before transferring 23 Organised Crime Division (OCD) policemen for what it called ‘inefficiency’ days after they carried out a raid on an illegal Colombo casino, Police spokesman Ajith Rohana confirmed yesterday. “We didn’t have an inquiry,” SSP Rohana said. “They had been at the OCD for a long time and were transferred on a recommendation of the immediate DIG.” more..

Geoffrey Dobbs leaves country amidst probe on national flag fiasco

Dec 1 (ST) The chief architect of the annual Galle Literary Festival (GLF), British born naturalised Australian Geoffrey Dobbs has been identified as the foreigner who slipped out of the country amidst a probe for disrespecting the national flag inside the Galle Fort during the CHOGM earlier this month. Mr. Dobbs is reported to have placed the national flag upside down in protest of the Australian national flag being more..

Jaliya for Canada, diplomatic tussle for post in Washington

Dec 1 (ST) Jaliya Wickremesuriya, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States, will be the country’s new High Commissioner in Canada. He has served in Washington D.C. a full term of five years (2008-2013). Before that, he also served for two years as Sri Lanka’s Consul General in Los Angeles (2006-2008). External Affairs Ministry sources said Mr. Wickremesuriya was likely to relinquish office in Washington this month. more..

Sri Lanka has a 2600 year-old culture?

Dec 1 (CT) If what has become of Sri Lanka today is the legacy of a “2600-year old culture”, might we have been better off without any culture at all? Ever so often we hear the famous cliché ‘dropped’ by our politicians- “………Sri Lanka’s 2600-year old culture……….” It is a sine qua non statement repeated ad nauseam at many a public and political forum (the most recent being CHOGM) to add ‘weight’ or to perhaps impress otherwise empty utterances. This is obviously done solely to more..

Equating State sovereignty to human rights

Dec 1 (CT) Close on the heels of the David Cameron histrionics on Sri Lanka’s human rights record comes an assurance of sorts from China, which earlier this week underlined its strong, even unequivocal, backing to Sri Lanka by calling on the international community ‘to respect the rights of the Sri Lankan Govt and the people to choose their own path of promoting human rights.’ This assurance was relayed in a statement issued by the Chinese Embassy in Colombo on Thursday, more..

IT experts warn of phone hacking

Dec 1 (SL) In a startling revelation, IT security experts claimed that 99 per cent of sophisticated phones used in Sri Lanka are vulnerable to phone hacking. This includes top level politicians, senior officers of armed services, high profile govt officials and all the other parties who deal with highly confidential information, they warned.“Sri Lanka,” an information security expert said, “is a country that pays zero attention to phone security. more..

Burnt files had no value, says CMC

Dec 1 (SL) The large stack of documents, burnt at the Borella cemetery, were of no value, Municipal Commissioner of the CMC Badrani Jayawardena claimed. She said that investigations carried out by the Department of Local Govt had found that the documents in question were unimportant. Governor Alavi Maulana, the Department of National Archives and the Department of Local Govt had claimed that the documents were not in use and therefore discarding them was not an issue. more..

CAA steps up raids on seasonal products

Dec 1 (SO) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has stepped up raids on consumer products which are in big demand during the festive season. “We have increased the number of raids to 3,000 during the festive season and have begun deploying our inspectors at retail outlets including supermarkets across the country.” They will carry out inspections on all consumer products to check their expiry dates, those sold without labels or have labels that don’t carry details regarding more..

Puzzle over dull institutional interest

Dec 1 (NS) The Chairman of the SEC Dr. Nalaka Godahewa last week said he was a little disappointed with large state-owned institutions as they had in majority kept away from stock market investments during 2013 in comparison to previous years. According to 12 month statistics from Oct 2012 to Oct 2013 compared to the previous year from Oct 2011 to Oct 2012, trading activity by top five govnt-owned more..

Students propose new guidelines on food labelling

Dec 1 (SO) Schoolchildren who participated in a project on Food Labelling conducted by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) have proposed several useful and valuable guidelines which the Authority would consider when introducing new laws regarding food labelling in the future. “We launched this project in 2012 with 26 schools from Colombo. We asked the students in the GCE/(O/L) and A/L classes to do some case studies on food labelling after visiting retail outlets and noting more..

Harry J’s daughter appointed to Spence board

Dec 1 (Island) Diversified conglomerate Aitken Spence announced to the Colombo Stock Exchange on Friday that Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena has been appointed to the Board of Aitken Spence PLC with effect from December 1. She is the first female to be appointed to Aitken Spence Board in its long history and will serve in an executive capacity. The daughter of Spence Chairman Harry Jayawardena, Ms. Jayawardena also serves on the board of Lanka Milk Foods PLC. more..

KP's alma mater demolished

Dec 1 (CT) Nadeswara College in Kankesanthurai (KKS), one of the oldest education institutions in the Northern Province, has been demolished inside the High Security Zone, Northern Province Education Minister, K. Kurukularaja alleged. He said Nadeswara College had to be closed down in the late '80s following the displacement of civilians in the Valikamam North area. more..

Access Projects completes Taj refurbishment

Dec 1 (SO) Access Projects (Pvt) Ltd recently completed the refurbishment of three floors of Hotel Taj Samudra in less than six months, in time for the recently-concluded CHOGM. Access Projects renovated three floors, the lobbies on each floor and 86 rooms, including one presidential suite, an executive lounge and 14 suites. The civil work of the renovation included concrete and masonry work, painting, marble and glass work, door and window, ceiling work, moulding, more..

Saudi diplomat found dead

Dec 1 (CG) A diplomat from Saudi Arabia was found dead inside a swimming pool at an apartment complex in Bambalapitiya this evening. The police said that the diplomat was believed to have suffered a heart-attack and fell into the pool of the apartment complex at Adamaly Place. The Bambalapitiya police ruled out foul play and insisted the diplomat died of natural causes. The police said that further investigations into the death of the 43 year old diplomat are ongoing.

Moratuwa uni bans face veil

Dec 1 (CG) The Moratuwa university says it has banned Muslim students from wearing the face veil owing to security concerns. The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. A.K.W. Jayawardane said that two Muslim girls had made a request to be allowed to wear the face veil, which covers the face except the eyes. However he said the students were informed that the face veil cannot be worn as there are concerns more..

Seven containers of ethanol seized

Dec 1 (SO) Customs Department has launched a major investigation into an attempt to smuggle in a large stock of Ethanol worth millions of rupees into the country in seven container loads declared as tar or technically known as Bitumen. The consignment had come in hundreds of barrels in seven 20 foot container loads arrived at the Colombo Port on November 27 from Malaysia. The goods addressed to a local consignee in Bandaragama had been declared as tar. more..

Dam in danger

Dec 1 (SL) The Samanalawewa Dam has begun to leak and is facing the threat of bursting its banks. A team from the Peradeniya University and CEB officials had warned of a possible breach of the dam. A CEB source who did not wish to be identified said that a huge danger lingers and if the dam bursts the resulting catastrophe could be worse than a nuclear disaster for the people living downstream. He further stated that if a breach occurs, in addition to the danger faced by the people, more..

'Pakistan series a tough challenge' - Ford

Dec 1 (CI) Sri Lanka head coach Graham Ford has said the upcoming series against Pakistan in the UAE will be a tough challenge for his team. Ford added that Pakistan have been on the move of late despite the fact that their home venue is the UAE whereas Sri Lanka have been relatively dormant recently. "The advantage Pakistan's got is that they have played a lot of international cricket in the last six-eight more..

Badrani rejects claims

Dec 1 (SL) Ministry of Foreign Affairs had not promised to pay Rs. 800 million to the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) for the preparation work it carried out ahead of the Commonwealth Summit, Municipal Commissioner of the CMC Badrani Jayawardena said. Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil had previously claimed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs owed Rs. 800 million to the CMC for the tasks undertaken by the CMC to beautify the city in preparation for the CHOGM. more..

Britain waiting for SL’s word on preventing sexual violence

Dec 1 (DM) Britain said that it is awaiting Sri Lanka’s reply on whether the latter will support the issue of preventing sexual violence in conflict. In response to a MP in the British Parliament, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague said, “I discussed with the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka specific support for our initiative, and we await their reply on whether they will support it.” Full statement: “On Sri Lanka, yes we secured the commitment in the Commonwealth more..

Video: Govt donating rice to WFP while Sri Lankans starve – Sajith

Dec 1 (AD) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa today stated that Sri Lanka is following in the path of several of “unimportant” countries and donating money for the development of those countries, while the people of Sri Lanka languish. What the govt should do is launch a clear national policy for securing the safety Sri Lanka’s export companies, he said. He, however, charged that no such policy has been included in the 2014 budget more..

Singer to protest over assault

Dec 1 (CG) Popular baila singer Saman De Silva is to stage a protest outside the Welikada prison on Tuesday over an assault on him by a politician and his supporters. De Silva said that he was assaulted while he was performing on stage at the prison grounds last night. The musical show was held to entertain prison guards and officers and was attended by some politicians including Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera. Minutes after Minister Gajadeera had left, a Govt politician more..

UPFA to probe budget setbacks in councils

Dec 1 (ST) A UPFA committee overlooking local councils will probe the recent defeats of budgets in six local councils controlled by the alliance, Minister C.B. Ratnayake, a member of the committee, said. He said the defeat of the budgets pointed to a power struggle among councillors for the chairman’s post with some members putting their personal interest before the party interest. Mr. Ratnayake said all UPFA councillors had been clearly told that they should not vote against more..

Skyped evidence set to revolutionise courts

Dec 1 (ST) Skype and other technology could become a routine part of courtroom process under plans by the Ministry of Justice – including in the high-profile Khuram Shaikh trial – but gaps in law and expertise need urgent remedy. Secretary to the Ministry of Justice Kamalini de Silva said the ministry was willing to provide courts with any technical support needed. “The Ministry is in the process of finalising a draft bill on victims and more..

Controversy over Kirivehera appointment

Dec 1 (SL) The Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs, Chandraprema Gamage has come under severe criticism of appointing the Venerable Polommaruwe Vachissara Thera as the Acting Chief Incumbent of Kirivehera Rajamaha Viharaya overlooking the Venerable Kobawaka Dhamminda Thera who is next in line to fill the Chief Incumbent position. “We as the dayaka sabhawa are very disappointed as to how a junior monk who is not entitled to hold the acting Chief Incumbent more..

Pen pistol found in Mundalama

Dec 1 (CT) A locally-made seven-inch-long pen pistol, capable of firing 9 mm bullets and live ammunitions, has been found in the possession of a 28-year-old individual in Udappu, Mundalama area, sources from the Police said. The firearm and live ammunitions were seized by the Crime Unit of the Mundalama Police, following the arrest of a suspect, who was reportedly taken into custody over a number of robberies that had taken place in Mundalama and Chilaw areas recently. more..

200 inventions destroyed in BMICH fire

Dec 1 (ST) A BMICH building that served as the media centre during the CHOGM went up in flames yesterday destroying some 200 inventions that had been brought for an exhibition that was about to begin. Minister Champika Ranawaka had arrived to declare open the ‘Sahasak Nimevum 2013’, an exhibition organised by the SL Inventors Commission. Exhibits, awards, personal belongings and furniture were destroyed more..

It’s getting to be like old times

Dec 2 (SL) After the many unequal contests that marked the opening week of the 2013/14 Leagueseason a fortnight ago, it was excusable to harbour misgivings about the future-fare awaiting rugby fans. Happily, though, those doubts were thrillingly banished last week, the league’s second week. The prospects had been anything but cheery in the firstweek, raising fears the 2013/14 championship was likely being cued to re-run the 2012 season, much of which was more..

Human rights standards set by the British

Dec 2 (SL) My sister-in-law, a Tamil national from the North has long harboured the desire to visit her daughter and son living in London for over a decade. The end of the war proved a proper time at which to apply for a visitor visa – preparation towards the much anticipated trip went well over months, as the children awaited the visit of a mother long unseen and a mother who awaited holding her first grandchild for the first time in her life. But, fate or the British visa process decreed otherwise. more..

'Sajith shouldn't have refused Leadership Council'

Dec 2 (SO) The Provincial Council system was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1987 by J.R. Jayewardene's government with the signing of the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord, mainly to solve the long-drawn North and East problem. The desired results were not realised by the first North-East Provincial Council which functioned only for a short period under the Chief Ministership of Vartharajah Perumal; it was finally dissolved by the Central Govt. more..

NPC administration heading for collision with Centre

Dec 2 (CT) A special meeting of the SLFP Central Committee is to be held on 18 December on a directive by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The main purpose of calling this meeting, according to the agenda provided to the members, is to discuss the upcoming election to the Western Provincial Council. However, inside party sources say the move afoot to hold the two national level elections, Presidential and General Parliamentary will also come into focus at this meeting. more..

Where is the calculated foresight in UPFA?

Dec 2 (CT) When cracks appear on the surface, one needs to blow a hammer on the cracks in order to transform the cracks into fissures and fractures. Opening wide the splits so created by the blow of the hammer would eventually lead to a gradual breakdown of the structure, leaving room for a new structure to occupy the space left empty by the broken down one. But for the above process to take place in actual life, one needs a person or persons who see cracks where nobody else finds more..

It takes two to tango

Dec 2 (CI) Two greats look back on 20 years of friendship that has included World Cup heartbreak, a world-record stand, and missing a wedding. So guys, when did the two of you first meet? Kumar Sangakkara: I think we would have been 15 or 16. Mahela Jayawardene: Yes, Kumar lived in Kandy and I lived in Colombo, but we played against each other maybe once or twice when we were at school and then we hooked up when more..

Recasting caste: War, displacement and transformations

Dec 2 (CT) I explore the transformation of caste identity that occurs when the social ties and spatial practices anchoring people to place and each other are torn asunder by war. Achille Mbembe (2003) points out that, spatial relations on the ground are rewritten while occupations rage, territory is fought over and modes of control come into operation. The narratives collected in this study illustrate Mbembe’s insight into spatial relations. It traces the new history forged at the intersection of different modes more..

Sri Lanka Tourism set for another record breaking year

Dec 2 (FT) During the first 11 months of this year, the Sri Lankan tourism industry has surpassed the record breaking 1,005,605 visitors it attracted during 2012, marking another record year of tourist arrivals. Celebrating the achievement, Sri Lanka Tourism on Saturday held a special program at the BIA, where it presented a surprise gift to a Russian tourist couple who arrived in Sri Lanka for a holiday. Tourism Promotion Bureau Managing Director Rumy Jauffer and Director Marketing Madubhani Perera, more..