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Are Sri Lankan Universities In Dire Straits?

Dec 14 (CT) “Over the last 30 years, our universities, failed to carry out any world class research, any validated scientific study, or produce a noteworthy publication, to capture the attention of the international academia.” The above observation appeared in an article which was written by Darshani Wimalasuriya under the caption of “Sri Lankan Universities In Dire Straits.” True, I agree with her but disagree with the most of the reasons she cited for above situation. more..

DSCSC Graduation ceremony held

Dec 14 (MoD) Student officers of the tri forces who had successfully completed Course No 7 of the Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) Sapugaskanda received their Degree certificates at the Graduation ceremony held at the college auditorium today (13). Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Planning Dr. P B Jayasundara was the Chief Guest while Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was present as the Guest of Honour. more..

Modi storm in the Mmaking

Dec 14 (CT) A threadbare discussion is yet on, whether the Modi phenomenon seen on December 8th was a wave or just a gust. Many are laboring the point that there was no wave. Post-election, some see a storm in the making. Before the debate runs its course, a more devastating second landfall will overtake the first. Since the storm is already formed, watching its intensity can only be awaited. It cannot be preempted or deflected, nor can it be abated. more..

From Mutur to Geneva

Dec 14 (CT) The Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) is the successor to the Russell Tribunal which investigated American war crimes in Vietnam. Set up in 1979, its aim is to “make up for the moral and political shortcomings of states as instruments for the achievement of justice”. Last week, at the end of its second session on the Lankan war, the PPT concluded that Colombo is guilty of ‘crimes of genocide’ against the Tamils and that ‘both the United States of America more..

EPF shock: 'More than 11.78 million contributions not remitted'

Dec 14 (Island) The Employment Provident Fund had not received the contributions of 11,781,593 members as at Dec 31, 2012, according to a document tabled in Parliament. The document was tabled by Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge. Action was being taken to recover the relevant contributions immediately after the unpaid accounts had been identified through inquiries conducted by Labour Officers in the field and through complaints received by the Fund. more..

I earned money by selling permits – Mahindananda

Dec 14 (LT) ‘Lankatruth’ revealed that the value of assets bought by Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage in his wife’s name was nearly Rs.90 million. Already, a complaint has been filed at the Bribery Commission regarding the Minister’s assets. In an interview the Minister had with a weekend newspaper he had said he earned Rs.60 million by selling vehicle permits. He has said he got six vehicle permits and he sold them for Rs.60 million. He also has said he gets an annual income of more..

Speaker Rajapaksa, too, complains of not being compensated

Dec 14 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament that he, too, was entitled to compensation paid to farmers whose crops had been lost owing to the recent floods but he had received only seed paddy. All the farmers whose paddy crop had been destroyed were entitled to compensation in addition to seed paddy, but had not received his dues, the Speaker said. Speaker made these remarks when an argument on compensation paid to farmers flared up between UNP MP P. Harrison and more..

Having overcome terrorism, now we stand undivided – President

Dec 14 (AD) Sri Lanka has now entered an era of peace, having overcome the threat of terrorism, and the country now stands undivided under one flag, says President Rajapaksa. “Sri Lanka has now entered an era of peace, having overcome the threat of terrorism, which plagued the country for over three decades. “Now we stand undivided, under one flag, committed to achieving sustainable economic prosperity, to be shared by all communities,” more..

The Southern polity: The JVP and the SLFP

Dec 14 (CT) The UNP Govt had handled the opposition with such cavalier disdain from 1977 that the SLFP and JVP were impatient to get at the UNP with any weapon that came to hand. They were quick to harp on the Indo-Lanka Accord as a gross betrayal of Sri Lankan sovereignty by the UNP Govt. But this was again a purely opportunistic position. In its first statement following the violence of July 1983 the SLFP Central Committee had ‘appreciated the offer of assistance more..

No amicable solution so far to attacks on Indian fishermen: GK Vasan

Dec 14 (PTI) Union Shipping Minister GK Vasan today regretted no amicable solution has so far been found to the issue of frequent attacks on Indian fishermen, allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy, despite several steps taken by the Centre. "The Union Government has been taking several steps on the issue of Indian fishermen who were allegedly attacked by Sri Lankan Navy.Despite that so far there has been no amicable solution to solve the issue", he told reporters on more..

Major heroin bust in Hikka

Dec 14 (CG) The police arrested three people and seized 10 Kg of heroin from a house in Hikkaduwa. This was the largest amount of heroin seized from the Southern Province so far, the police media unit said today. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the heroin was found following an operation launched by the police anti-narcotics bureau. The police spokesman said that a Liberian national arrested recently had been grilled on heroin found in his possession. more..

Cardinal placed before monks

Dec 14 (CG) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) says most politicians in Sri Lanka including those in the Govt listen to the Cardinal more than they listen to the Chief Prelates. BBS general secretary Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara said that politicians in Sri Lanka pretend to respect the teachings and advice of the leading Buddhist monks in the country. Gnanasara said that in Sri Lanka there are 33 monks of higher ranks but the Cardinal is given more prominence than all 33 monks. more..

10 things to do in Colombo

Dec 14 (Hindu) Just a hop and a skip away from the Indian peninsula, Colombo is the cherry in the delectable pie that is Sri Lanka. Clean, green and beautiful, Sri Lanka — this emerald droplet in the Indian Ocean — is currently No.1 on the Lonely Planet’s top 10 must-visit destinations of 2013. For shoppers, adventurers, vacationers and itinerant travellers, there’s something here to whet everyone’s appetite. Imagine waking up to early morning views of a rain-drenched promenade by the sea. more..

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India under new UK visa regime

Dec 14 (Island) India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are among countries which have been brought under an unprecedented visa regime to pave the way for all visa applicants to be charged online in US dollars with effect from Monday. Online application and payments for visas to the UK was a global change undertaken by UK Visas and Immigration. The operation was being rolled out in UK visa application centres around the world, more..

Over 100,000 land issues

Dec 14 (CG) Minister of Lands and Land Development Janaka Bandara Tennakoon says over 100,000 land issues remain to be resolved in the North and East. Speaking in Parliament today, the Minister however said that addressing most land issues however have been hampered owing to ongoing court cases. He said that some 22,408 land related issues have already been resolved in the North and East but another 125,950 land issues are yet to be resolved. The Minister insisted that more..

‘Gotafication’ harms biodiversity – Susil

Dec 14 (LT) The biodiversity of the environment is drastically harmed due to various beautification processes carried out without proper planning says the Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy Susil Premajayantha adding that plants such as ‘Madan’ and fauna such as water rail (Korawakka) and hare have become rare species in Colombo due to the random processes carried out. The Minister says the beautification processes carried out at present such as filling of paddy fields, more..

Sri Lanka pledges mutual ties with Kenya

Dec 14 (DN) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has pledged his government’s commitment to work with Kenya in building a dynamic partnership that will benefit the people of the two countries. President Rajapaksa, who is in the country for a state visit, said Kenya and Sri Lanka have identified and will sign agreements on several areas of cooperation during his visit. The Sri Lankan President commenced his state visit by joining more..

Police Narcotics arrest 148,966 persons in drug raids

Dec 14 (CT) The Police Narcotics Bureau have arrested 148, 966 persons in various raids and investigations conducted from 1st of January 2011 to December 2013, Police Media Spokesperson SP Ajth Rohana told during a media briefing today. He went on to say that around 385 Kg of heroin, 176.718 Kg of weed and 30 Kg of other drugs have been seized during raids conducted from 2011 to present (2013). SP Ajith Rohana requested the public to inform the Police Narcotics Bureau more..

Sri Lanka - Pakistan Naval Chiefs meet

Dec 14 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Pakistan navies have agreed to team up to strengthen the maritime security of the region at a meeting held between the two navy chiefs today. Naval Chief of Pakistan Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila who is currently on an official visit to Sri Lanka met Sri Lankan navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage at the Naval Headquarters Friday. The two naval commanders held bilateral discussions on a range of issues including further strengthening more..

Video: Mangala says ‘media terrorists’ cannot see faults of govt

Dec 14 (AD) UNP says that “media terrorism” exists in the country today and that certain media organizations emphasize only on nonexistent problems within the UNP while turning a blind eye to the corruption in the govt. UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera, stated that on one side there is state media and that there is no point in talking about them while on the other side certain “Mudalali” are using the media for their own political agendas. more..

Scholarship lure for Colombo elites

Dec 14 (GDI) ELITE scholarships worth as much as $67,000 will be offered to 40 undergraduates studying abroad in the 2014-15 trial of the New Colombo Plan. In Canberra yesterday, the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop launched trials of the plan for Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. The long-term ambition is to make study and internship in the Indo-Pacific region "a rite of passage" for Australian undergraduates. The opposition spokeswoman on foreign affairs, more..

Tamil Tragedy: A Case for equality before the law

Dec 14 (WT) Congress recently created the Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka. The Caucus was initiated by efforts of Congressmen Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Danny Davis (D-IL). The objective of the Caucus is to bring the attention of the American public to the Tamils in Sri Lanka and their plight. Major world powers have no interest in the struggle of the Tamil, largely because Sri Lanka has little strategic value or natural resource, like Libya, Iraq, Syria or Iran. more..

I am becoming a single-Mahindananda

Dec 14 (DM) While claiming that he is becoming a single, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage who is currently under a cloud for allegedly threatening his estranged wife, denied allegations levelled against him. “I have never threatened her at any point for any reason. I will always protect her because she is the mother of my two children" he said in a wide ranging interview. Explaining his side of the events that unfolded during the last week, more..

Hard-earned peace will not be compromised

Dec 15 (SO) The UN has come out strongly against human rights violations and its UHHRC has been exerting undue pressure on Sri Lanka, highlighting only the final phase of the country's battle against terrorism. While turning a blind eye to the human rights violations of the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan and the American drone attacks in Pakistan like a toothless tiger, UNHRC chief Navi Pillay has evinced extraordinary concern about the human rights violations of more..

Keep the Camel out of our tent

Dec 15 (SL) A foreign policy of a country is said to be a projection of the national interests of a country. Unfortunately Sri Lanka’s foreign policy for decades has been the projection of petty internecine quarrels among political parties that have left open the doors for interference by foreign powers. This pathetic state of affairs continues despite the predicted Armageddon Sri Lanka is likely to encounter in Geneva in March next year at the next sessions of the UNHCR. more..

'Electricity for all by end of next year'

Dec 15 (SO) President Rajapaksa has introduced principled politics and launched a massive development drive countrywide instead of giving false pledges to the people so said Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi. She that the UNP and the JVP cannot hoodwink the people as the people were aware that the President would fulfill their requirements through the allocation of funds from the Budget. more..

The PM’s predicament

Dec 15 (Island) PM D.M. Jayaratne, a veteran politician, is a disarmingly simple man who does not attract enmity or hatred towards himself as some of his colleagues do. Few, therefore, would have taken pleasure at his current embarrassment over a senior official on his personal staff writing a letter to the customs calling for the release of a detained container which was subsequently found to contain what has been described as the biggest single consignment of heroin ever detected in SL. more..

‘Chit System’ must go now

Dec 15 (NS) Two days ago the Police Narcotics Bureau seized 10 kg of heroin from a house in Hikkaduwa following information furnished by a Liberian citizen arrested at the BIA. It is said to be the biggest ever heroin haul detected in the Southern Province. That’s a lot, yes, but still miniscule when compared with the 131 kg detected at the Colombo Port not too long ago. The magnitude of the Customs’ detection is all the more significant because of the suspected more..

'Govt must clean up their back yard'

Dec 15 (SL) Numerous incidents have taken place where various groups have taken the law into their own hands, and others have used weapons in their possession to openly slay their opponents. In recent times, we have witnessed a breakdown of law and order. The TNA has pointed out that, while drugs were not a common concern in the North, large stocks of drugs have been discovered in the North. more..

Law is King or King is Law?

Dec 15 (ST) The legal fraternity, or at least most Colombo-based lawyers and judges, enjoyed a convivial evening on Friday at the annual Voet Lights Society dinner as the year draws to a close. Those present could reflect on the good humoured barbs, especially at the expense of the judiciary. They might be left with the thought if a joke can also be a serious thing. It was also the end of a year that began in turmoil with the unceremonious impeachment of a sitting Chief Justice and more..

D.M PM: The time to stay or go?

Dec 15 (ST) My Dear Di Moo, I thought I must write to you because, all of a sudden, you seem to be in the news, more so than even Mahinda maama. That all this is because of some silly little container of heroin that was imported to the country makes it still more fascinating. Di Moo, if you are one of those who believe that any publicity is good publicity, you must be a happy man. Why, there are some who are demanding your resignation and then there are others who want you arrested-it seems more..

'The tip of the Iceberg'

Dec 15 (SL) While the govt claims to be taking measures to curb the menace of drugs in the country, drug smuggling has taken a new turn with even the country’s PM allegedly linked to these incidents. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake expressed his sentiments regarding the recent developments. He claimed that the govt aims to fool the people by making empty promises, while allowing certain groups to carry weapons and more..

Parliament is sinking

Dec 15 (NS) Everybody in this country knows that Parliament is sinking. Not only it is sinking but also cracks widening in the building complex had compelled the powers that be to call for a team of experts a couple of months back to do a full check up and give a situation report. The team comprised of architects and building experts found that the building complex had sunk one and half inches from its original position. The reasons for the sinking had been identified as parking of heavy vehicles more..

Narendra Modi and Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (Island) After the Indian state legislature elections in the states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and the Union Territory of Delhi, it seems very likely that Narendra Modi, the controversial BJP chief minister of Gujarat will be the next PM of India. Congress Party was routed in all four states and even in Delhi, the BJP has got the highest number of seats, but failed to get a clear majority because of a new party the ‘Aam Aadmi’ which has just come on the scene. more..

Growing opposition to casinos, poll reveals

Dec 15 (ST) Hundreds of people from all walks of life responded this week to a BT-RCB poll on the mega casino issue with a combined vote of 70% saying it was a ‘bad’ development for the country. In the most successful, ever, email poll conducted by the Business Times which drew nearly 600 contributions, respondents had many things to say on the issue, reflecting a dire need for the govt to call for an open debate on more..

Budget battles rage in Pradeshiya Sabhas

Dec 15 (SL) In a feverish attempt to reverse this disastrous trend, the Presidential Secretariat started a fresh inquiry into the matter. Despite various attempts made by the senior members of govt to prevent the erosion at the local govt level, last week too, the ruling party continued to lose budget votes of several important local govt institutions. One of them was the Embilipitiya PS whose Chairman was M K Amila, son of the late provincial councilor M K Ranjith, also known as Chandi Malli. more..

Mone to relaunch Ultimo following SL deal

Dec 15 (TS) BRA tycoon Michelle Mone is preparing to relaunch her ­Ultimo underwear range to target overseas sales and unveil a model to replace Argentine actress Luisana Lopilato as the “face” of the label. The revamp, which will take place next month and is costing a six-figure sum, will be ­accompanied by an “aggressive marketing campaign”. The move comes just months after Mone sold a majority stake in her MJM International empire to Sri Lanka-based swimwear more..

Heroin smuggler was PM’s buddy

Dec 15 (NS) PM D.M.Jayarathne has come under immense pressure from constituent parties of the Govt as well from the Opposition to resign from his position and disclose his relations with the ones who are involved in the heroin scandal. The matter was raised in Parliament by the UNP and the JHU last week and representatives from both parties questioned Prime Minister DM Jayarathne’s silence on the matter. more..

Strong appetite for listed corporate debt

Dec 15 (Island) There has been a strong appetite for listed corporate debentures with a clutch of offers that have recently been made being over-subscribed and snapped up on the opening day, financial analysts noted. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal confirmed that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) had been taking substantial stakes in these issues locking in long-term funds at attractive interest rates in the context of falling rates. The insurance industry too has been interested in more..

Debate on media: Story does not fit the headline

Dec 15 (ST) Usually a Parliamentary debate on the state of the media would have the Govt on the back foot. But at the Committee Stage debate of the Ministry of Mass Media and Information last Wednesday, there were more opposition members questioning the crediblity of certain sections of the media while govt members had to come to their defence. UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya, who opened the debate devoted much of his speech to take on a media organisation which he accused of more..