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The disappearance of the very concepts of accountability and responsibility

Dec 31 (CT) A reader would certainly be justified in asking what is particularly “rural” about the title of this column. Let me try to explain, even if the preamble proves a tad tedious! The recent kerfuffle over the accountability/responsibility of the Prime Minister, D.M. Jayaratne, in the matter of one of his immediate minions being directly involved in the smuggling of heroin in truly historic proportions, brings a couple of things to public attention (again!) The first of these is the prevailing more..

Mass graves haunt Ranil, Premadasa and Douglas

Dec 31 (CT) Apart from war massacres there lies the question of the military burying bodies of 2000 university students under Batticaloa stadium circa 1990 and in a cemetery in Chemmani and Mannar. Fr. Harry Miller, an American missionary priest, attached to St Michael’s College told this writer in 1995 that the stadium was built over the bodies of these students and a military zone barred from the public. Fr. Miller arrived in Ceylon in 1947 and was a witness to events unfolding since then. more..

Boston Lanka: December 30, 2013

Seizing ethephon-treated fruits- a colossal waste and blunder

Dec 31 (Island) Last Saturday’s’ The Island’ and other media reported prominently that the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) seized some 75,000kg of fruits from the Manning Market in Pettah, mostly banana, papaw and mango that had been directly treated with ethephon for rapid ripening. The question to be asked is whether CAA has enacted legislation and regulations to do so. Is direct ethephon use on fruits legally banned? If not the affected vendors should seek legal redress. more..

Ceylon Chamber, Daily FT partner to host crucial discussion on CB Road Map for 2014

Dec 31 (FT) In a key initiative, the country’s premier private sector lobby the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Daily FT are coming together to host a crucial discussion on the Central Bank’s Road Map for 2014, an important policy document. The popular Road Map, which is an annual feature, will be unveiled on 2 Jan by Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal. The discussion jointly organised by the Ceylon Chamber and Daily FT is the first-of-its-kind on the Road Map. more..

Mathews calls for other bowlers to support Herath better

Dec 31 (CI) Angelo Mathews has challenged the supporting men in Sri Lanka's attack to ease Rangana Herath's wicket-taking burden ahead of the first Test against Pakistan, in Abu Dhabi. Herath has been Sri Lanka's spearhead in the four years since Muttiah Muralitharan retired, and has waged many lone battles as others bowlers were rendered toothless by conditions and the opposition. Since Murali left the game more..

Preview: Pakistan hold aces against under-prepared Sri Lanka

Dec 31 (CI) Appetisers devoured, entrées done, the tour arrives at its main course with fans' appetites well whetted. Five of the seven limited-overs matches have been good contests, and the cricket has largely been absorbing. Sri Lanka have won fewer matches, but they are now boosted by the return of their primary Test match-winner in Rangana Herath, and their best batsman against spin in Mahela Jayawardene. Still, in the UAE, Pakistan hold the pre-series aces. more..

NOLIMIT refurbishes Surgical Unit Ward 1 of Panadura Base Hospital

Dec 31 (Island) NOLIMIT in a continued worthy effort to develop public health sector has completed another CSR initiative by fully refurbishing the Surgical Unit Ward no 1 of the Panadura Base Hospital which would open its doors to the public this week. Known for its valuable CSR initiatives and its active participation in the nation's development, particularly in the field of education, culture and sports, NOLIMIT announced that it reopened the hospital ward with brand new facilities. more..

Credit card market cracks modest rebound after sharp dip in March

Dec 31 (FT) The credit card market is showing signs of a modest revival in recent months, after suffering a sudden slip in March. As per the latest Central Bank data, the active total card base in May amounted to 937,130 up from 926,649 in March when the industry saw the numbers dip substantially as opposed to February, which was a high 960,100. Those tracking regular release of Central Bank data however observed that more..

'World Duty Free' creates Sri Lankan Fever at London-Heathrow and Colombo Airports

Dec 31 (Island) As Sri Lanka was hosting its largest ever international forum, GHOGM 2013 on a grand scale from 10th to 17th Nov 2013, World Duty Free, Sri Lanka and the UK's leading duty free retailer organized special campaigns at both Heathrow and Colombo airports. World Duty Free is the brand name of Autogrill Lanka Limited who is a member of the World Duty Free Group (WDFG). WDFG is one of the world's leading airport retailers who operates over 550 shops in 20 countries more..

Editorial: Britain’s can of worms

Dec 31 (Island) The British govt is planning to declassify some documents pertaining to private talks between PM Tony Blair and President George Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war, according to a news item we publish in today’s World View section. This move is aimed at facilitating the publication of the much-delayed Chilcot report on Britain’s involvement in that conflict, we are told. It is more than ten years since the conclusion of the Iraq war and Britain has not yet made public more..

Harsha slams govt.’s 'slavery policy'

Dec 31 (FT) The Govt is following a new slavery policy which has Sri Lankan women seeking employment in foreign countries, UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva charged. Speaking at a UNP-funded Women’s Empowerment Program, he said the country cannot only depend on a rupee–based economy and therefore has to also depend on a dollar-based economy to reach the expected level of growth as a nation. more..

Citrus Waskaduwa to commence operations in early 2014

Dec 31 (Island) Citrus Leisure PLC announced that its iconic property Citrus Waskaduwa is well on the way to commence operations ahead of schedule in early 2014. The overall product offering of Citrus Waskaduwa has been redefined with added luxury, upgraded facilities and new amenities to provide a high end hospitality offering. Although it was originally intended to be a 4 star property, the latest additions will see it upgraded to a 5 star resort. Commenting on the decision to reposition more..

Low yields, less land, force Sri Lanka to import copra

Dec 31 (LBT) Sri Lanka is compelled to import copra due to poor yields and fragmentation of coconut lands. Biscuit and food item manufacturers have been allowed by the govt to import copra. The island nation, a coconut grower for centuries, has been exploring the possibility of importing copra from India as the prices are low and the yield is high in the neighbouring land. Accordingly, 30,000 tons of copra will be allowed until February next year and importers will be required to pay more..

Local banks disburse Rs.46 bln from Investment Fund Accounts on road projects

Dec 31 (ST) Sri Lanka’s commercial banks have been compelled to contribute to the country’s development process through long term lending from an investment fund created with savings made from tax cuts under a proposal made in the govt’s 2011 budget. The creation of the Investment Fund Account by these banks has promoted domestic contractors to various project financing to undertake construction work. more..

Disaster rehearsal causes pandemonium in Hingurakgoda, Polonnaruwa

Dec 31 (Island) People, in the Hingurakgoda and Polonnaruwa towns, panicked yesterday as the District Disaster Management Centre, in the Polonnaruwa town, conducted a rehearsal for an emergency situation, taking the public by complete surprise. The DMC officials enacted an accident situation around 10.30 a.m. at the 16th mile post, on the Colombo-Batticaloa main road, at Minneriya and transported 85 ‘casualties’, using ambulances and other vehicles, to the Polonnaruwa and more..

Oddities and expectations in 2014

Dec 31 (ST) Is it odd to tell Sri Lankans, mostly politicians, that two wrongs don’t make a right? Often powerful politicians and their ‘favourite’ Sri Lankans get away even with murder on the grounds that whatever wrong – be it corruption, robbing the exchequer, theft, intimidation and harassment – is okay as it has been done in the past. “If they did it (earlier officials) why criticise us,” asked a top govt official, heading an important agency when he was accused of corruption. more..

Survivors struggle

Dec 31 (TW) The change is distinctly perceptible, from the packed Sri Lankan Airlines Chennai-Colombo flight to the crowded streets and high-end cars of the capital city. It may seem that the country is finally emerging out of the shadow of unrest that had settled over it since 1975, when the LTTE began its fight for an independent state for the Tamil people. Move away from the cities, and it is a different story, that of distress and struggle. more..

Pooja at launch of Fashion Bug at Peradeniya

Dec 31 (LBT) Fashion Bug, one of Sri Lanka’s leading retail clothing stores, re-launched its Peradeniya outlet recently with none other than film star Pooja Umashanker gracing the event as the Chief Guest. Pooja spent over two hours in the store, shopping and mingling with the shoppers of Peradeniya who were thrilled and excited by her presence. Pooja ‘wowed’ the crowds by posing for pictures with each and every Fashion Bug customer in the store that day, more..

Apparel industry optimistic of US $4 bn target in 2013

Dec 31 (DN) At end November 2013 apparel exports stood at US $3.876 billion, which was pretty much the level that they were in 2012. Year to date exports are up by 11% and there is optimism in terms of achieving the US $4 billion target for the current year. Chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association, Yohan Lawrence said, "with the current flow of garments for the winter market, generally most businesses have had a busy quarter with fair demand for the winter season. more..

Ranjan to the UNP's election guillotine

Dec 31 (CT) The UNP struggle to find chief ministerial (CM) candidates that the Party deems could be successful at the forthcoming Western and Southern Provincial Council elections, took a dramatic turn yesterday with MP Ranjan Ramanayake, volunteering to resign from his seat in Parliament to contest as the chief ministerial candidate for the Western Province. Ramanayake's entry is tipped to transform the upcoming more..

Lankans dominate Italian city

Dec 31 (CG) Sri Lankan immigrants dominate the Italian city of Palermo and have increased in numbers as compared to previous years, the Palermo media reported. According to data published by the local municipality there are nearly 30,000 immigrants in Palermo with Sri Lankans said to be the highest number of immigrants. At the end of 2012 Sri Lankans accounted for 17.1 of all foreigners in Palermo, which is a 2% increase from 2011, ‘’ website reported. more..

'Sri Lanka's CPC breaks even in 2013'

Dec 31 (LBO) State-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has reached break even status in 2013, after a 60 million US dollar legacy oil derivative cost that went against it. Minister Anura Yapa said the agency is also collecting arrears from state agencies including CEB, SriLankan Airlines and had started paying down its bank debt. In 2013 it had absorbed a 60 million US dollar charge on an oil derivative in a settlement with Standard Chartered Bank and still broken even, compared to more..

Runaway loco: Driver blamed for negligence

Dec 31 (Island) The shunting driver has been found to be at fault by a three-member Committee to investigate an incident where a railway engine ran without a driver for about 15 km on Dec 5. Shunting driver A. Sumanarathne refused to accept his fault at first. But, when the committee produced all the evidence and video footage, he had been left with no alternative but to accept that his carelessness had caused more..

'No decision on scholarship scrap'

Dec 31 (DM) Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the govt had not taken a final decision on abolishing the Grade five scholarship exam. Although the National Education Council had recommended the restructuring of the paper for the years 2014 and 2015, he said the Education Ministry was yet to decide on that aspect as well. “After the recent news that the scholarship exams will be cancelled in 2016 there has been a fair amount of debate regarding the exam itself. more..

G.L off to New Delhi next month

Dec 31 (CG) Minister G.L Peiris is scheduled to visit New Delhi next month on an official visit at a time relations between both countries are at a critical stage. Minister will visit India on January 28 and is likely to met Indian PM Dr. Manmohan Singh apart from meeting the Indian Foreign Minister and others in the ruling Congress party and the opposition BJP. The visit comes as Tamil Nadu continues to push the Indian Govt over the fishermen issue are attempts are underway to arrange talks more..

Cuba pledges support to defeat any UN resolution

Dec 31 (DM) Cuba, a key ally of Sri Lanka, has pledged its support to defeat a possible resolution at the March session of the UNHRC. Cuban Ambassador Indira Lopez Arguelles said that Cuba, as a matter of principle was opposed to any country-specific resolutions because such resolutions were against the spirit of international law. “When a country is singled out in this manner, it is not co-operative. It is an infringement of more..

Sports compulsory to all school children from 2014

Dec 31 (AD) Sports will be made compulsory to all school children from Jan 2014, Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. He stated that the decision was made after research has shown that school children have become increasingly vulnerable to diabetes and other physical ailments due to general inactivity. Aluthgamage also stated that the participation at national level sports competitions has dropped significantly and if sports were made compulsory more..

‘We don’t select presidential candidates at cocktails’ – UNP

Dec 31 (Island) All Buddhist monks affiliated to the UNP would very soon tell Sajith Premadasa that he should join the Leadership Council (LC) without creating conflict and dissension, a senior member of the party predicted yesterday. Former Minister and Kolonnawa UNP organizer, Karunasena Kodituwakku, addressing a news conference, said that Sajith’s condition for accepting his appointment to the LC, which was a request from all monks in the party, would soon be fulfilled. more..

Jaffna-born Canadian woman MP here on fact finding mission

Dec 31 (Island) The govt expects a spate of visits by Eelam activists and foreign politicians, having close relationship with the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora, to the Jaffna peninsula in the run up to the next session of the Geneva-based UNHRC in March 2004. A senior official said that some of them were likely to visit the Northern Province on tourist visa. Official was responding to a query by The Island after the Jaffna born Canadian MP more..

Conflict over counting of conflict-deaths

Dec 31 (DM) A row had developed between the TNA and the Census and Statistics Department over the “Census on human and property damages due to conflict.” The TNA has rejected the census conducted by the State and claims that it will conduct its own census. However, the Census Department states that no one other than the Department can conduct a census in the country. According to the website of the Census and Statistics Department, the present census more..

Playing with people's lives

Dec 31 (CT) The media has for some time now been reporting on the use of harmful chemicals by unscrupulous persons to artificially ripen fruits. Calcium Carbide is known to have been used to ripen bananas for a very long time. The latest instance reported is about the use of a chemical called Ethaphon, which is highly toxic, and is discouraged from being used to ripen fruits. But there is evidence that this chemical, which is harmful to humans, has been used in great more..

'This country is the property of one cartel'

Dec 31 (DM) UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe who has been one of the most vociferous critics of both the govt and the opposition speaks to the Daily Mirror about his views on the newly formed Leadership Council (LC), the allegations of corruption against the govt and much more. Q: You have been a very vocal critic of the LC that has now been set up in the UNP, on what premise are you against it? A: I have not more..

Phone calls, many food items to cost more from Jan. 1

Dec 31 (DM) The price of voice calls will increase by 5%, while a range of imports from rice and spices to certain plant and machinery will become costlier when tax revisions in the 2014 Budget come into effect on Wednesday. But the Govt has dropped a proposal to impose additional NBT or VAT on the local sale of goods that have already been subjected to a Special Commodity Levy (SCL) at the point of import. more..

Elephant killers roam free!

Dec 31 (SL) Unplanned developments within forest areas and unsuccessful elephant drives have become one of the main causes for human elephant conflicts. As a result of ‘acquiring’ forest lands which are elephant habitat areas, elephants have been deprived of food and water. Hence elephants have no other option but to invade the surrounding villages which has led to human-elephant conflict. more..

Expert calls for PSC on ‘Always Breakdown’

Dec 31 (Island) Norochcholai coal power plant, which has come to be dubbed ‘Always Breakdown’, was restored, last afternoon, by a Chinese expert, independently assigned by the builder, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), following a 16-day shutdown. CEB Additional GM, M.C. Wickramasekara confirmed that the issue had been sorted out. The 300 MW plant generated 180 MW of electricity yesterday. more..

Health Ministry stocks enough drugs to cover first quarter

Dec 31 (Island) The Health Ministry said it had taken early action to ensure an adequate stock of drugs for the first three months of 2014. Spokesman for the Health Ministry, Dharma Wanninayake said that it was the first time that the govt health service had been able to stock such a large quantity of drugs sufficient for a period of three months well ahead of time. Medical Supplies Division Head Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe has more..

Attacks on fishermen: Jayalalithaa writes to PM

Dec 31 (PTI) Asking the Centre to take a strong line and prevail upon the Sri Lankan Govt to end "unprovoked" attacks and arrests of Indian fishermen, Tamil Nadu has said such "unabated" attacks "will not make for a congenial atmosphere" for proposed talks between representatives of fishing community of two sides next month. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that more..

New simplified G-V schol model paper likely before Jan. 31

Dec 31 (Island) A model paper, based on amendments to existing Grade V scholarship exam paper, would be sent to schools before January 31, if the National Education Commission (NEC) recommendations are to be implemented from 2014, Commissioner General of Examinations W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said. Addressing the media, flanked by Minister Bandula Gunawardena and Secretary Anura Dissanayake, more..

'Nay' saying SLFP PS members asked to show cause

Dec 31 (CT) General Secretary of the SLFP, Maithripala Sirisena, said SLFP members of UPFA held Pradeshiya Sabhas and Municipal Councils, who had cast their votes to defeat the budgets, must show cause within 14 days, as letters requesting explanations for their said actions had already been sent. Explaining further, the SLFP General Secretary said letters had already been sent to members of five Pradeshiya Sabhas, more..