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'We will ask PM to get out'

Dec 29 (CT) General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera yesterday claimed he would not hesitate to depose Prime Minister, D.M. Jayaratne, himself, if the heroin allegations against him are proved. “If the investigations reveal that the Premier is in any way connected to the heroin scandal, then we will not hesitate to tell him to ‘get out.’ If he doesn’t step down, then we will take to the streets against him,” he noted. more..

'Need to play a minimum of 8-10 Tests a year'

Dec 29 (CT) Q: You played your last Test in January 2013 against Australia. How do you motivate yourself between games? A: We had two Tests against Bangladesh which I couldn't play because of an injury. It's unfortunate that we haven't had much Test cricket but once we start, we'll probably have quite a few in the next 15-18 months. The main thing is to get focused and control what we can, rather than mull about things we can't. more..

Tennis battles on despite the big bills

Dec 30 (SL) IT’S just the way it is: our sporting public makes judgement on other sports by the benchmark set by cricket. That is, if a sport cannot compete in the international arena the way cricketdoes, then, the public is plain disinterested in that sport. A typical example is Rugby which enjoyed a huge following, 60s through 90s, with inter-club games attracting audiences far in excess of cricket’s premier tournament matches. But with entry to Test cricket in 1982 and 1996 World Cup triumph, more..

Why you need the Jesus of Christmas!

Dec 30 (SL) Do you find yourself doing the things you shouldn’t and not the things you should? Do you find that the good you do and the changes you are determined to make are undermined by none other than yourself? Are you frustrated that you just cannot do the good you always want to but instead end up doing the opposite? If this is you, then like all of us, you too have an incurable disease within you. The bad news is that there is no cure for it—no person, no doctor, no scientist, no teaching, more..

'Sajith should be CM candidate for South'

Dec 30 (SL) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake says the recently concluded convention of the UNP is demonstrative of the unity of the party and its way forward. He says the party has now unanimously endorsed four principal resolutions upon which the party will outline its future strategies. While saying the party has to make sure that its most popular members spearhead the election campaigns, he reiterates that Sajith Premadasa, who claims more..

In defence of Grade V Scholarship Exam

Dec 30 (CT) Grade V Scholarship Exam has been under heavy criticism for a long time. It escalated when media reported that several parents tortured their children who failed to pass the exam. In response to the criticism, Minister of Education announced, that he has decided to abolish the exam from 2017. Although I respect Minister Bandula Gunawardena as one of my teachers, I am reluctantly compelled to campaign against his decision as I am duty-bound to do so. more..

2013: Year of political sin and sinners

Dec 30 (CT) They say that 13 is not a very auspicious number. Originating perhaps from the Last Supper, which had only 13 partaking of it with Jesus Christ at the centre, the numerical 13 has been plaguing many a member of families who occupy seats of power and influence and they have more often than not, tried to avoid this numerical with a sense of fear. Due to this, especially in relation to the ominous forebodings it had surrounded itself right throughout the history more..

'I’m not an LTTEer'

Dec 30 (CT) Bishop of Mannar, Dr. Rayappu Joseph, in an interview with Ceylon Today says he has always been accused of being an LTTE supporter by senior ministers of the government and adds that he thinks Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, who recently accused him of being a spokesperson for the LTTE, is misusing his position as the government spokesperson, using official platforms to utter personal opinions. more..

Will the South African model of TRC suit SL?

Dec 30 (CT) Many seem to think that an inquiry of the type of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is appropriate to be applied to the post war reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. This is based on a mistaken belief that TRC provides a magic formula which could be advantageously applied to the Sri Lankan situation or any other situations arising from conflict. Who are the advocates of this? Doesn’t one see the Western hand in it now picked up especially by more..

Sri Lanka to sign US $ 2 BN worth FDI deals

Dec 30 (Island) Investor Services Department of Board of Investment (BOI) has now been relocated at the 6th Floor of the World Trade Center, Colombo 1. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena formally opened the premises recently. The Investor Services Department presently facilitates nearly 1000 BOI companies, by processing imports, exports documentation and verification of import and export cargo. He said that Sri Lanka will sign US$ 2 billion worth Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) deals, more..

Chandimal, Thirimanne have points to prove

Dec 30 (CI) Just as he did with the bat 17 years ago, Sanath Jayasuriya has blazed a trail in his 11 months as chief selector. Less than two weeks into his tenure, Jayasuriya's panel had appointed Sri Lanka's youngest Test captain, and placed a 23-year-old at the helm of the Twenty20 side. Sri Lanka have also batted to an unprecedented depth under his watch, and the joke among fans is that pioneer Jayasuriya has more..

The call of destiny kills innocent girl

Dec 30 (SO) Does destiny play a role in our lives?. This is a question that baffles many . We mean education , employment, marriage, sickness and even death, are they all guided by destiny? Even minor instances and slight mishaps we face in our lives such as bumping into an old friend. Is every single step of our lives guided by destiny? These are the questions that keep revolving round the minds of many. The following story about the tragedy that befell Madushani once again more..

On foreign investments and exports

Dec 30 (CT) We may now allude to our economists’ belief that FDIs assist to overcome the shortage of capital in the host economy (assuming for the moment that there is a shortage of domestic capital to which we shall return later) and hence tend to bridge the gap in aggregate investments and savings. The true nature of these ideas can be drawn out based on the quantitative and qualitative impact of foreign investments on the Sri Lankan economy. A look at the composition and more..

Prabhakaran’s undercover mission

Dec 30 (NS) Young Indian journalist Tamil Prabhakaran (22), who was arrested earlier this week in Kilinochchi on charges of filming and photographing military installations, was not the innocent Indian ‘tourist’ he claimed to be, and may be a pawn in a larger plot to revive separatist ideologies in the North, The Nation learns. Our investigation gives rise to suspicion that Prabhakaran may have been using his connections with MDMK more..

New fish in a dirty pond

Dec 30 (Island) Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is reported to have looked askance at the practice of film and sports personalities taking to politics on a part-time basis. True, some people tend to prostitute their popularity and wallow in politics, which has become the last refuge of every scoundrel so that they will be ‘more equal than’ others. However, the fact remains that players and artistes cannot enter politics without being invited by political parties. more..

Free education and poverty alleviation

Dec 30 (Island) I admire my colleague, Dr. P.G. Punchiheva’s dedication to our mutual roots as evinced by his letter to The Island of Dec 28, under the title "Scrapping of Grade 5 Schol Exam: some issues". I have myself expressed my reservations on the proposed move to cancel the Fifth standard scholarship exam in my article on ‘I without FYE’. But, I have not dealt with the stipend normally paid to children below the poverty line when they get through the exam. more..

'7 firms now in automotive assembly here'

Dec 30 (Island) Export cess on rare earth/mineral sand were introduced to safeguard our industries and no less than seven firms are now active in automotive assembly industry. "To safeguard domestic industries and to ensure a continuous supply of raw materials for local industries, we introduced exports cess on selected items. 7 companies have ventured into the automobile assembly industry with a local value addition more..

Mohan quits SLIC

Dec 30 (FT) CEO Mohan De Alwis is leaving Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) by this week. Official sources said that De Alwis has given his resignation with effect from 31 December 2013. He was appointed MD/CEO in May 2010. In recent weeks he has resigned from several Board positions held by virtue of SLIC shareholdings in select listed companies. Seylan Bank and The Lanka Hospitals Corporation last week announced De Alwis’s resignation with effect from 20 Dec. more..

Ending 2013 with signs of economic recovery, expectations and policy concerns

Dec 30 (ST) At year’s end there are signs of an economic recovery. Higher growth in the third quarter and an improved export performance in the second half of the year lend hope of a better economic performance this year than earlier expected. However fundamental weaknesses in public finances, large foreign borrowing, lack of reforms that promote private investment and reduce public inefficiencies and import substitution policies remain serious constraints to growth. more..

Rs. 900 m monthly saving for UL with removal of 5% PAL on jet fuel

Dec 30 (FT) The removal of the 5% Port and Aviation Levy on fuel purchased by SriLankan Airlines from 2014 is certain to have a positive impact on the national carrier. CEO Kapila Chandrasena said that relief by way of PAL removal means a Rs. 800-900 million saving per month. On an annualised basis the saving works out to Rs. 10.8 billion. Jet fuel accounted for 47% of SriLankan Airlines’ operating expenditure. more..

Former Police rugby/soccer star SSP Jayah (Rtd) no more

Dec 30 (Island) Former Sri Lanka Police rugby and soccer star T.H. Jayah (76) expired yesterday, at National Hospital. The burial took place at the Mabola Muslim burial grounds at 4.00 p.m. yesterday, amidst a large gathering. Jayah joined the Police Department in 1958 as a Constable and retired as an SSP in 1998. He sat for the Sub Inspector’s exam and got through with flying colours. Since 1961, he played rugby for the Police under several captains as a fly half until 1974, more..

DTI facility, great help to Customs House Agents

Dec 30 (DN) The introduction of the Direct Trader Input (DTI) facility for the submission of Customs declarations enables Customs House Agents to submit their Customs declarations (Cusdec) directly to the Asycuda World System to assess the taxes payable, Customs Superintendent Sudath Silva said. "Once the taxes are assessed, the importer/exporter can pay the same either to the Bank of Ceylon or the People's Bank before coming to the Customs for document processing. more..

Atchchuveli Industrial Estate to be opened next month

Dec 30 (FT) The Atchchuveli Industrial Estate will be completely developed in 2 stages and under the 1st stage 24 acres will be fully developed before end of January 2014 said Minister Douglas Devananda. During an observation tour to the Atchchuveli Industrial Estate recently, to look into the work presently in progress. Minister instructed the relevant officials to attend to all the work deemed necessary to start the 1st stage more..

Mawbima’s 12-question challenge to Wijeyadasa

Dec 30 (CT) UNP National List MP and President’s Counsel, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, addressing the 55th National Convention of the Party, has said if he has a challenge for Mawbima, it is to ask the newspaper to answer the questions he wanted to ask. Mawbima has a counter challenge for Rajapakshe. It wants him to answer 12 specific questions in public, without ducking under the covers of Parliamentary Privileges. The questions that Mawbima wants to ask are: more..

Landfill inside Bellanwila bird sanctuary

Dec 30 (CT) Efforts taken since Friday by the Young Zoologists’ Association (YZA) and the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) Attidiya Office towards thwarting the filling of a land of nearly 100 perches inside the Bellanwila Bird Sanctuary, belonging to the Attidiya marsh and wetland, have been to no avail. While five perches had already been filled in the last wetland left in Colombo, at the time of intervention, the filling of the balance 95 perches however had been nearly completed more..

Sri Lankans ‘need not flee’

Dec 30 (DA) The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia says Sri Lankans no longer have any reason to flee to Australia as the country moves towards reconciliation. Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe attended a Sri Lankan community event at the weekend, paying tribute to the contributions of Sri Lankans to Wagga, where about 100 Sri Lankan families call home. Sri Lanka is a nation scarred by a decades-long civil war more..

Win gives SL a chance at U19 Asia Cup

Dec 30 (National) Sri Lanka put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the semi-finals of the Under 19 Asia Cup on Sunday after beating Malaysia by 255 runs at the Abu Dhabi Cricket Council Oval 2. It was a perfect response from the south Asian side after they lost their opening game to Afghanistan by three wickets.They now have to beat Bangladesh, who lead Group B on four points from their two wins. Even if they win, their net run-rate will decide their fate. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil held

Dec 30 (Hindu) The Rameswaram Police have arrested a Sri Lankan Tamil, who tried to clandestinely return back to Sri Lanka from here. Police said N.Arundavanathan (42) hailing from Silavam village in Puttalam district was moving in a suspicious manner at the railway station, when the temple police, on a tip off from the Railway police, arrested him. ‘Q’ Branch police said he was in possession of 860 US dollars and Rs. 8,000 in Indian currency and had made enquiries with more..

Sri Lanka faces New Year pressure over rights

Dec 30 (IPS) When the American Centre in Colombo held a memorial event honouring the late South African President Nelson Mandela, the first few questions at the question and answer session had nothing to do with the great freedom fighter. The questions raised at the meeting Dec. 20 were about how South Africa could assist Sri Lanka set up its own national healing process. During the CHOGM in Colombo, more..

Cambodian monks outraged by Buddha relic loss

Dec 30 (SMH) Cambodia’s monks are furious and have taken to the streets to protest the theft of precious Buddha relics including a golden urn said to contain the cremated ashes of Buddha himself. Monks from 10 of the country’s provinces have signed a petition calling for the resignation of the Ministry of Cults and Religion chief Min Khin over the robbery of artefacts from the Oudong mountain temple 40 km north-west of Phom Penh that was once a city of royalty for past kings. more..

UNP dissidents to protest again

Dec 30 (SL) Replicating the protest march which led to a clash in Matara, the UNP dissidents are to organize a fresh ‘anti-Ranil protest march’ from Kandy to Colombo in mid March, a UNP dissident said. During the protest march, the UNP dissidents are to demonstrate their disappointment with the party leadership and the Leadership Council – which they term as an impotent body that backs Wickremesinghe’s leadership. UNP Southern Provincial Council member more..

2.5 mln tourist target unlikely in 2016

Dec 30 (ST) Sri Lanka Tourism is in a frenzy to grab whoever might land in the country as a tourist as they face the unlikely prospect of reaching 2.5 million arrivals by 2016. The country is currently targeting 1.5 million arrivals next year but there is a possibility this would change as this year’s target of 1.25 million also appears unreachable. Projections identified by Sri Lanka Tourism previously of achieving 1.5 million visitors for more..

CHOGM and Budget gives a boost to confidence in economic opportunity

Dec 30 (FT) Last month we speculated that confidence in economic activity perhaps could improve after the CHOGM in Colombo and the 2014 Budget. It did. The Perceived Economic Opportunity Index (PEOI) finally saw some positive upward movement recording the highest level since December last year; again boosted by the Budget. While respondents continued to state their disappointment in the high cost of living and inability to save, the optimism came from their more..

Police arrest 54,000 for selling narcotics, moonshine

Dec 30 (Island) The police had, in 2013, arrested 54,000 persons for selling narcotics and illicit liquor, the health Ministry said. Small trade stalls, in the vicinity of urban and rural schools, had been found selling various narcotics to the school children. Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that in order to discourage the use of narcotics and widespread alcohol consumption, he would submit a Cabinet paper seeking approval to declare 2014 as ‘Alcohol Free Society’ year. more..

Sri Lanka home internet access at 11.4%

Dec 30 (LBO) About 11.4% of households in Sri Lanka have internet access at home, with 9.2% accessing through other means with communications centres were playing a key role, official data shows. The highest internet access was in the Colombo district at 26.9% of households with 15.2% having access from elsewhere followed by Gampaha at 16.7% of households with home internet and 9.2% from elsewhere. more..

500 Tsunami houses empty for 7 years

Dec 30 (SL) The authorities have not yet taken any measures to distribute 500 houses built for tsunami affected families in Ampara by Saudi Arabia, TNA Leader Asath Salley said. He said that it has been nine years since the funds were allocated and seven years since the housing project was completed. Meanwhile, with the houses not being distributed, they are now in a dilapidated state. Following a case filed by the JHU, a court order was issued when the project was initiated instructing more..

Potuvil Suffi shrine destroyed

Dec 30 (Island) A Muslim shrine at Potuvil, belonging to the Suffi sect was attacked by a fundamentalist Islamic group last Friday with the promise that a mosque would be built on that spot within three months. Chairman of the Islamic Solidarity Front (ISF) Reyyaz Salley told The Island that about 50 to 60 persons had attacked the 300-year-old shrine. He claimed about 10 to 15 shrines and 25 mosques had been attacked all over the country by the extremists in recent years. more..

CHOGM Benzes sold for Rs 35 M each

Dec 30 (CT) The govt has sold the Mercedes Benzes that were imported for the CHOGM at Rs 35 million each, the Treasury said yesterday. “There was an unprecedented demand for these Benzes, which were imported by the Bank of Ceylon, for the visiting Commonwealth Heads of State and Govt and we have sold them,” Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Dr. Suren Batagoda, said. He also said the other motor cars imported more..

Does the feeling of belonging to an ethnic community make one a mental patient?

Dec 30 (CT) Dr. E. W. Adikaram is a much respected humanist and the article under discussion is one of his most famous ones with a wide appeal to both the English and Sinhala reader. It has been pointed out that Dr. Adikaram’s “hallmark was the spirit of inquiry and courteous engagement”. The following comments are made in the same spirit. In this article, Dr. Adikaram uses the term nationality to mean the national identity of Sinhalese, Tamils, and Telegus etc., more..

The year that was

Dec 30 (CT) The clock’s ticking away and we have but a few hours left to savour the year that is 2013. The end note, bringing in its wake a host of unpalatable incidents, the most indigestible being the alleged involvement of the Prime Minister’s office to smuggle in 261 kg of heroin and the Rathupaswala shooting incident, where a peaceful agitation for drinking water resulted in wanton bloodshed, does not make for happy reflections of the year that was. more..