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Vanniyas of SL vs Vanniyars of South India

Dec 13 (NS)I got a query from Tissa Devendra regarding my previous piece, “Memories of the Vanni, Vaddas and Vanniyas”. “Do you mean to say that the Vanni was peopled by a slow influx of Vanniyar caste infiltrators from South India?” he asked. I told him that it’s simplistic to imagine Sri Lanka as a setting where South Indian concepts and conditions get duplicated en mass as if traced by carbon paper. There were in-migrations orchestrated by the medieval central Sinhala states that more..

Sri Lanka has potential to be aviation hub

Dec 13 (SO) Sri Lanka recently celebrated the completion of one hundred years since the commencement of aviation services. This coincided with a landmark development in aviation-related infrastructure through the construction and launch of the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA). It is highly desirable at this juncture to find out the probable potential the aviation industry holds for the overall more..

Why and how our leaders failed us...

Dec 13 (CT) In a most intimate sense, the author of Arthashastra (Science of political economy), believed to have been written in the 4th Century BC, had painted a masterpiece of political craft on a canvas whose brush marks and intricate lines go beyond the mundane, probes deep into that region of intelligence, which is possessed by the rarest of the rare and depicts a superlative effort of intellectuality and sublime brainpower devoid of emotion and pettiness. more..

Ethnic politics, my foot (hurts)!

Dec 13 (SL) Who cares if Sri Lanka loses! Or, who cares if the Sri Lankan Tamils living in Sri Lanka lose! Post-CHOGM, it’s politics as usual, near and far alike, with each one vying with the other(s) to score a debating-point. Let the nation and its people, the Tamils who have suffered enough, go to dogs! Amen! Let’s begin where it all began. The first and only elected Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran has boycotted the District Development Council meeting, because it had a representative of more..

The niqab and the University of Moratuwa

Dec 13 (GV) My name is Fathima Sahar, a first year student at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Moratuwa. I am one of three students who are affected by the ban on the niqab by the University. I thought of writing this because our side of story has been literally ‘veiled’ away from the public. The media that reported the issue only spoke to the University authorities and did not contact us. more..

Could the GDP figures be bogus?

Dec 13 (CT) GDP (Gross Domestic Production) is the most common measure of all “goods and services” produced in a country. Since GDP corresponds to the goods and services produced, in general, this figure corresponds to the annually increased wellbeing of the people the country or in any province. Hence politicians usually quote the percentage of GDP growth to prove the increased wellbeing of citizens. TNA MP Sumanthiran said in the parliament that Minister G.L. Peiris, more..

2014 Budget: Impact and expectations

Dec 13 (CT) The 2014 fiscal proposals place significant emphasis on fiscal consolidation mainly by tightening tax policy measures while continuing the pattern of relatively high growth of state expenses witnessed in the past eight fiscal agendas of the incumbent govt. A development framework upheld by the state was set in motion through four consecutive post war budgets from 2010 to 2013. Its basic approach was grounded on raising the growth of the economy through more..

Poverty in the Wanni

Dec 13 (LMD) Its early morning in Mankulam, and I’m driving along the A9 – the road is paved, in marked contrast to the giant potholes that dotted the track a decade ago. It looks more like one of those new highways that have come up elsewhere in the country. This one is not as busy, but drivers need to be mindful of cyclists and cattle straying onto the road. I am here to cover the PC polls, as are many other journos. more..

Editorial: Towards a kudu hub

Dec 13 (Island) In a dramatic turn of events, PM aide, Keerthi Sri Weerasinghe who intervened to help a Pakistani drug smuggler clear a container with a large consignment of heroin secreted therein has resigned. He has claimed that he issued a letter to the Customs for that purpose as he thought the main suspect was a genuine importer. He seems to have taken the public for suckers. Investigations need to be conducted to find out whether he has issued similar letters previously. more..

Dr. Upali Pilapitiya: High priest of Ayurveda

Dec 13 (Island) The untimely death of Dr. Upali Pilapitiya, the renowned and highly respected ayurvedic physician, a former secretary of the Ministry of Ayurveda and a former director of the Bandaranaike Institute of Ayurveda, Nawinna and one of the most sought- after ayurvedic physicians of this country, is a great loss to Sri Lanka. Especially to numerous patients spread throughout the country who benefitted immensely from his wide knowledge and rich experience in more..

Energy cost swallow WTC in Fort

Dec 13 (ST) The normal energy cost of the World Trade Centre (WTC) in Colombo amounts to Rs. 48 million, 80% of the total cost of running the WTC. The balance 20% – only Rs. 11 million – is spent on maintenance, staff salaries and bonuses. Developer and Manager of WTC said that by their energy saving methods they have now been able to cut down the energy cost by Rs. 8 million and they spend Rs. 40 million on energy, more..

Largest Rs. 10 b listed debenture issue by NDB oversubscribed

Dec 13 (FT) Acknowledged as the largest listed corporate debenture in the country, NDB’s Rs. 10 billion debenture issue was oversubscribed yesterday, having reached the necessary outcome within 10 minutes of its opening. With four types of A+ debentures to choose from under three tenures – ranging from five, 10 and 12 years, the bank issued 50 million rated, unsecured, subordinated, redeemable debentures at Rs.100 each with an option to issue a further 30 million debentures more..

IFS scholarship programme empowers Sri Lankan university students

Dec 13 (Island) In a proactive bid to support Sri Lanka’s IT student base, global enterprise software developer IFS is investing over Rs. 10 million during 2013-2014 on a scholarship programme for IT students in Sri Lankan universities. Under the program IFS will be providing living allowances for underprivileged students at all the major Universities in Sri Lanka. By providing a needs-based scholarship IFS makes it possible for the best students to achieve academic excellence, more..

Dialog dazzles as first and only Apple iPhone partner in Sri Lanka

Dec 13 (FT) Dialog announced it will offer iPhone 5s, the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world, and iPhone 5c, the most colourful iPhone yet, to customers beginning on 13 Dec, 2013. The announcement follows Dialog being appointed the first and only Authorised Partner and Service Provider for Apple iPhone in Sri Lanka. Following the establishment of the partnership between Apple and Dialog, more..

Ceylon Today and McDonald's make newspaper history!

Dec 13 (CT) Ceylon Today, the innovative newspaper in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with McDonald's, celebrated 'Ceylon Breakfast Day' yesterday by giving away 5,000 breakfast meals free to its loyal readers. Picture shows a youth who won a free meal enjoying his breakfast while reading Ceylon Today. To mark this pioneering initiative, Ceylon Today provided a scratch card, which is yet another first in the history of newspapers in Sri Lanka. more..

SEC issues directive on adoption of Code of Best Practices on Related Party deals

Dec 13 (FT) The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) at its 326th meeting held on 28 Nov, decided to adopt the Code of Best Practices on Related Party Transactions attached hereto on identified timelines and terms of adoption as specified hereunder. SEC directed the Colombo Stock Exchange to adopt the Code of Best Practices on Related Party Transactions subject to the terms of adoption as specified in the following manner; All Public Listed Companies are required to more..

India resolving bottlenecks for more imports from Sri Lanka

Dec 13 (FT) India said yesterday it was taking several measures to facilitate greater imports from Sri Lanka under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) following representations made on various bottlenecks. Issues pertaining to Customs procedures, higher quotas for garments, import licenses for processed meat products and plant quarantine for fruits were among those being addressed. more..

Preview: Pakistan's shot at No. 1 ranking

Dec 13 (CI) Mohammad Hafeez had been confident his side would head into the tour with more momentum, and Pakistan's victory in the first Twenty20 proved him correct. Pakistan's senior bowlers were sharp, quick-witted and collected, and their batsmen unruffled, as they chased 146 with five balls to spare. Sri Lanka may be the top-ranked Twenty20 side for now, but Pakistan were clearly the better-drilled and more fluent outfit, after their tough series against South Africa. more..

Trains to carry automobiles

Dec 13 (DM) The Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) and a leading vehicle manufacturing company in Sri Lanka launched a special vehicle transporting system by using a train with several cars from Polgahawela to Hunupitiya Railway station in Kelaniya today. A senior officer for the SLR said this system would reduce the vehicle transporting cost, time and the mounting traffic on roads with heavy vehicle carriers. “As per the first ever launch, we transported four cars and we hope to expand the facilities more..

FTZ&GSEU protest against KEPZ wage hike

Dec 13 (Island) The Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ & GSEU) has strongly protested to the Board of Investment (BoI) on its decision to approve the annual salary increase of Rs. 1000 per month to employees in the Katunayake EPZ (KEPZ) as proposed by the Manufacturers Association in the KEPZ without due consultations with worker representatives. more..

Exams department courier forgot duty

Dec 13 (Island) The Parish Priest of the Methodist Church in Kandapola found a parcel, containing GCE O/L exam question papers, lying on a wall of the church yesterday. He promptly handed it over to the police and averted a crisis. Investigations have revealed that the parcel was given to an employee of the examinations department to be handed over to the exam centre at the church. The employee, who had gone to the church on his motorcycle, had left the parcel, containing more..

'World getting to know true SL situation'

Dec 13 (DN) Sri Lanka will participate in the forthcoming UNHRC sessions in Geneva in March 2014 against a background where the international community is getting increasing enlightened about the country's true situation as regards human rights, Minister W D J Seneviratna said. "Although there have been many misrepresentations and distortions about the situation in Sri Lanka- especially on the part of some Western countries where the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora is influencing the more..

Summon Lankan High Commissioner: CM

Dec 13 (Hindu) Accusing the Sri Lankan Navy of responsible for the arrest of 140 Tamil Nadu fishermen in 24 hours, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa urged PM to take an “immediate strong diplomatic initiative, including intervention at the highest level.” In her letter to Dr. Singh, the Chief Minister said Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi should be summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and our strong protest lodged. more..

Ranil launches The Truth about the 2014 Budget book

Dec 13 (FT) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the Govt’s 2014 budget had provided relief only for dogs and the country’s richest 1$. Speaking at the launch of his book, ‘The Truth about the 2014 Budget’ at a reception hall in Kirulapone, Wickremesinghe said that the Govt was lying about being unable to provide jobs to unemployed youth because of the war. “Both late President J.R. Jayewardene and late President R Premadasa created industrial zones during more..

Bilateral talks will help solve fishermen issue: Indian Coast Guard

Dec 13 (TOI) Strong bilateral talks between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka will be helpful to resolve the ongoing issue and the resolutions should be acceptable to both the parties, said Vice Admiral Anurag G Thapliyal, director general of the Indian Coast Guard. He visited the coast guard station in Mandapam on Thursday to inaugurate the new administrative building on the station premises. The new building, constructed at a cost of Rs 1.98 crore will accommodate the administrative activities more..

Regulations on drug prices, milk powder stocks from 2014

Dec 13 (FT) The Govt will establish regulations on pharmaceuticals pricing and monitor the milk powder stocks held with distributors from January next year, Minister Johnston Fernando confirmed yesterday in Parliament. According to Minister, the price control which is considered a key responsibility of the Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives will help maintain price stability and eradicate scarcity. more..

Sri Lanka insurance outlook stable despite underwriting losses: Fitch

Dec 13 (LBO) Fitch Ratings said the outlook for Sri Lanka's insurance sector was stable despite many insurers making underwriting losses and uncertainty over the effects of regulatory changes. The rating agency said intense price competition in motor has kept the combined ratio's of many insurers above 100%, indicating that before investment income indicating that expenses and claims were higher than earned premiums. Sri Lankan insurers are expected to separate life and more..

Wanathamulla residents file FR petition

Dec 13 (CT) The Organization for Protecting the Ownership of Houses in Wanathamulla, will file a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka against the demolition of their houses in the Wanathamulla area, today. Legal adviser of the organization, Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala, said the FR petition had been drafted as the UDA had issued application forms to enable the residents of the said area in Wanathamulla to apply for new houses, more..

PM on heroin shipment from Karachi

Dec 13 (Island) Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne told Parliament that he admitted that his coordinating secretary had done wrong by issuing a letter to secure the release of a container of heroin imported to the country from Karachi. He said that he had made a request to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa seeking permission to make a special statement in Parliament but decided not to do so, on instructions from more..

Top Japanese conglomerate shifts business to Sri Lanka from China

Dec 13 (FT) A top Japanese conglomerate is relocating its selected foam operations to Sri Lanka from China and thanks to the conglomerate’s new operation, Sri Lanka is now saving millions in forex volumes that are otherwise sacrificed on import of soft foam used for apparel. More importantly, the Tier 1 global supplier also says it is ready to set up world class automotive component production in Sri Lanka – with latest Japanese technology. “Japanese giant INOAC’s new venture with a $ 20 m more..

National Award for popularising Science and Technology for Rajarata scientist

Dec 13 (FT) Dr. Faiz Marikkar was one who received National award of Prof MTM Jiffry Memorial Award for popularising Sciences and Technology 2013. The awarding ceremony was held at the BMICH recently and it was awarded by the National Science Foundation. He also received Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Sri Lanka (TOYP) award for his outstanding academic accomplishment. An old boy of St. Aloysius College, Galle, Dr. Marikar is one of the more..

More time to report disappearances

Dec 13 (DN) Commission appointed by President Rajapaksa to investigate complaints regarding the disappearance of persons in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to facilitate the implementation of LLRC recommendations has decided to extend the closing date for (receiving) complaints till Dec 31 this year. Although the Commission earlier announced Nov 31, as the closing date for complaints, its members more..

Bill Gates lauds Lanka's anti-Malaria program

Dec 13 (DN) American business magnate, investor, programmer, inventor and philanthropist Bill Gates had stated that reaching the elimination level of Malaria is a significant victory achieved by Sri Lanka, a Health Ministry spokesman said. According him, Gates had said this when he met Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala in Washington during a recent meeting organized by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund / GFATM). more..

UNP says law should be equal to all, including PM

Dec 13 (Island) UNP Colombo District MP Sujeewa Senasinghe demanded, in Parliament yesterday, that the Prime Minister’s coordinating secretary, who issued a letter seeking the release of a container that smuggled heroin from Karachi should be arrested immediately. The MP said a separate investigation should be held with regard to the coordinating secretary. "This container had brought in 250 kilos of heroin. It is equivalent to five bags of cement. This should be investigated. more..

‘Latimar House principles a necessity, beneficial to Lanka'

Dec 13 (Island) UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe claimed that some UPFA ministers didn’t know what was good for the country as well as the govt. President’s Counsel Rajapakshe said that he was dismayed by the UPFA’s opposition to his motion seeking consensus on the removal of judges, of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, in accordance with the Latimar House Principles already adopted by several more..

Can Akashi play his cards right for SL?

Dec 13 (DM) The 82 year old Japanese diplomat is back in the news in Sri Lanka, returning to the country for his 23rd visit, in an effort to assist the govt in Colombo to deal with a brewing international storm over allegations of war crimes and human rights violations. Yasushi Akashi arrived in Colombo on Sunday and will spend five days in the country. His official capacity is as ‘Representative of the Govt of Japan for Peace-Building, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. more..

Iconic face of modern Buddhist monk

Dec 13 (DM) A 10-old boy from Matara was taken up to Colombo by Ven Galaboda Devananda Nayake Thera and handed over to Ven. Vacissara Nayake Thera of Gangaramaya. The well- known monk Ven. Morontuduwe Sri Dhammananda read the young boy’s horoscope and determined that he was suitable for ordination as a Samanera. The wise Venerable said he was ‘a saviour who should be ordained for the welfare of everybody”. Eight days after his arrival in Colombo, on Nov 8, 1954, more..

'I had absolutely nothing to do with heroin'

Dec 13 (DM) In a fiery scandal which erupted recently, the Coordinating Secretary to the Prime Minister was alleged to have intervened to release a heroin container from the Customs. In the light of the scandal, Keerthi Sri Weerasinghe had tendered his resignation to Prime Minister and Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs D.M. Jayaratne. However, he said in his resignation letter that he had no more..

SL hopes to spur offshore E&P activity

Dec 13 (OM) In an aggressive bid to develop indigenous hydrocarbon resources, Sri Lanka is set to lease 13 blocks in the Cauvery and Mannar basins next year, along with six ultra-deepwater "joint study" blocks to the east and south of the island nation, each ranging from 18,000 to 26,000 sq km. The blocks in the Cauvery basin range in size from 2,403 sq km in the shallow waters of the Palk Straight, between SL and India, more..

'We have given freedom to the media'

Dec 13 (GDI) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella request Sri Lankan media not to belittle the coordination and cooperation between the President and the Heads of Media Institutions. Heads of Media institutions meet President once a month and what is a wrong of that? he queried and added that it is just a discussion between the President. Minister expressed these views in Parliament when the House took up the committee stage debate more..