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Diyawanna boat service highlights beauty of Parliament

Feb 12 (SO) The three decades of terrorism in Sri Lanka distanced many institutions, from the people as the terrorists were on constant alert to find a loophole in the system to accomplish their terror objectives by mingling with the common masses. Therefore, people had to confine their recreational activities to a limited number of places which were accessible to them. The serene waters of Diyawanna Oya which impressed the more..

Saving the UNP from itself

Feb 12 (DBS) When analyzing the classic mess that the UNP, once known as the ‘Grand Old Party’ (GOP) finds itself in today, one cannot ignore a serious but latent feature of the proportional representation system that was introduced with the 1978 Constitution. The prime motive behind the Proportional Representation (PR) system was, according to its architect and author J.R. Jayewardene, the perpetuation of the UNP in power. If MPs are elected according to the PR more..

The middle managers of ethnic cleansing

Feb 12 (GV) There is a popular saying amongst the Tamils, “even if one grazes chicken (which is really a non existent work), it should be grazed in the govt”. Employment in the govt sector is coveted for the respect it commands in society and the social security it provides to the individual in terms of permanency and pension benefits. There are other economic and social benefits as well. From the peon to the level of the director, all govt employees who are bachelors are able to bargain bigger more..

Police involvement suspected in the burning of Mother Mary statue in Avissawela

Feb 12 (DBS) Was the Police directly or indirectly involved in the arson attack on “Mother Mary” statue that was erected by Catholics in Avissawela? The suspicion of the Khakied guardians of Law and order being involved in the incident has been strengthened by the didgraceful conduct of the Avissawela Police after the arson attack. A 13 feet high statue of the Virgin Mary made of fibre-glass was torched by “unknown”persons between more..

The Rajapaksa regime is boxed-in

Feb 12 (CT) The theme of this essay is the need for a multisided and flexible long-term approach that is free from narrow isms and prejudices in countering the threat to the rule of law, decency and democracy posed by the Rajapakse Regime (RR). The essay distances itself from three categories of people, all good anti-RR folk, but I think tactically, strategically of psychologically a bit on the wrong track; the talk-&-write only verbal champions of democracy, the ultra-left radicals who proclaim that more..

Sri Lanka’s political lab rats

Feb 12 (CT) Each time I hear the term “Sinhala Buddhist” uttered in today’s context I can’t help but feel an uneasy sense of foreboding tingle up my back. To me it sounds like a time-bomb waiting to explode. As a Sinhalese and a Buddhist by faith I have every right to ask “What on earth is a Sinhala Buddhist anyway? Is it a branch of the Sinhala race? Is it another nationality in Sri Lanka under the Buddhist flag?” For I’m confused! We are today nothing but a nation of dysfunctional lab-rats more..

'Protesters should be investigated for ISI links'

Feb 12 (CT) Sri Lanka should do its best to eschew terrorism and the international community should help the island nation to crush terror and those who fan the flames of separatism such as Vaiko should be arrested and investigated, Indian Janatha Party Leader, Dr. Subramanian Swamy said. Harvard scholar, economist and former Indian Cabinet Minister said that mischievous elements within India have aided SL’s more..

Colombo, seventh least expensive city in the world?

Feb 12 (SL) Wednesday morning we nearly fell off our hansiputuwa. The govt owned Daily Noise’s headline screamed: Welcome to Colombo, and had as the lead story that Colombo was the seventh ranked ‘least expensive city in the world’ by the prestigious Economic Intelligence Unit. The other two ‘independent’ dailies too had the story on the front page but displayed it less prominently. We waited for the next day for the usual hoopla, ‘We told you so, etc.’ and bashing of the cynics, more..

Editorial : Of that trial balloon

Feb 12 (Island) The present govt’s attitude towards unbridled powers provided for by the JRJ Constitution is similar to that of a hypocritical clergyman towards sex, which he enjoys in private and condemns in public. The self-righteous SLFP politicians never miss an opportunity to bash and demonise JRJ even posthumously and frown on the draconian methods he employed to achieve self-aggrandizement, but there is nary a provision in his Constitution which they themselves have more..

Vehicle Imports decline 21% in 2012

Feb 12 (Island) The vehicle imports statistical analysis of the Ceylon Chamber finds that the expenditure on import of vehicles and parts has declined by 21% in 2012. This is after experiencing robust growth of over 200% in 2010 and 86% in 2011. Expenditure on vehicle and parts imports accounted for 8% of total imports in 2012 compared to 10% in 2011. "A number of factors contributed to this decline. The Govt increased excise tax more..

Doors open to undergrads – SB

Feb 12 (DN) The JVP and the Jatika Peratugami Pakshaya are trying to create a wedge between the Sinhalese and Tamils, Minister S B Dissanayake said. He said they are using university students as cats paw to achieve their objectives. The minister was speaking at a ceremony at the UGC to mark the assumption of duties by former University of Colombo Vice Chancellor Prof Kshenika Hiriburegama as the UGC chairman. He said university students can discuss their more..

Lankan artists participate Haryana Craft Mela

Feb 12 (Island) A 30-strong group of Sri Lankan artistes are participating in the annual Suraj Kundh International Craft Mela, organized by the government of Haryana, in India. The Crafts Mela began on February 1 and will end on February 15. The group comprised 15 handicratfsmen from the National Crafts Council and a troupe of 12 dancers from the National Youth Council. The organizing authorities of the Suraj Kundh International Mela had named February 12 as Sri Lankan Day. more..

Northern Jaffna peninsula to be fully connected to national grid power

Feb 12 (ST) Northern Jaffna peninsula will be connected to the national grid by end of this year. Priyantha Gunesekara, General Manager, CEB-Northern Province, said that peak power demand in the northern province was as follows; Jaffna: 40.5 Mega Watts, Kilinochchi: 2.4 MW, Mullaitivu: 2.3 MW, Vavuniya: 11.3 MW and Mannar: 5.6 MW. Grid Substations in Vavuniya, Kilinochchi are available and Chunnakam is planned more..

Sri Lanka's new-look Test side must include these players

Feb 12 (IC) As Sri Lanka prepares for its new selection committee to take up the reigns, under the chairmanship of Sanath Jayasuriya, speculation continues to mount over who will be selected for the upcoming year. Below is a list of 15 players that should be selected for the Test side. A mix of youth and experience will assist Sri Lanka groom youngsters and still remain competitive. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka will only play a handful of Tests this year. Nonetheless, this will be more..

'Heavy traffic' runs down UGC web

Feb 12 (CT) The website of the UGC ( which posted the Z-scores of the 2011/2012 GCE A/L exams on Saturday has been inaccessible due to heavy traffic, since the scores were posted. Separate minimum Z-scores have been released for the new and old syllabi. Additional Secretary of the UGC, Dr. Priyantha Premakumara confirming that the website cannot be accessed, said admission letters will be posted to the students by 15 March, as the process is more..

India assists Sri Lanka language programme

Feb 12 (KSA) As Sri Lanka rebounds from a decades-long civil war, many hope the government's much-heralded policy of trilingualism will play a key role in the reconciliation process. Under the plan, English will serve as a lingua franca, providing a bridge between the nation's Sinhalese-speaking majority and the minority Tamil community. Turning this vision into reality will require a substantial increase in the number of more..

Mother seeks justice

Feb 12 (DM) Giving evidence at the inquiry into the death of a five-year-old girl at the Colombo Nawaloka Hospital, the mother today pleaded in Court not to let the investigations into the death of her daughter is covered up by the money power. The 40-year-old Indumathi Ekanayake a resident of Heiyantuduwa told Colombo Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne that she was making such a request because similar tragedies could happen to other patients in the future. The Magistrate more..

Driving licences in 60 days

Feb 12 (CT) The period between the written test and the practical test to obtain a driving licence will be reduced to 60 days from the current 90 days, the RMV stated. Commissioner General of Motor Traffic S.H. Harischandra said, the Ministry of Transport hopes to issue a Gazette notification in this regard before the end of March 2013. "Once a person applies for a driving licence, he/she will be informed to sit the written examination within a maximum period of one week. more..

Hathurusinghe warns TNA MP

Feb 12 (CT) The Jaffna Security Forces (SF) Commander, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, has threatened legal action against the TNA MP and the Uthayan newspaper publisher, E. Saravanabawan, for false reportage. News reports in the Uthayan and Thinakkural had allegedly accused the govt and the Army of being responsible for the attack on the Thinakkural distributer in Kopay last week, and held the more..

Rogue Divisional Secretaries to be sacked

Feb 12 (DN) Steps have been taken to remove the Divisional Secretaries found to be engaged in professional misconduct from the Divisional Administrative Service following disciplinary inquiries and other investigations into the public complaints which have been received against certain Divisional Secretaries, Minister W.D.J.Senevirathne said. “The professional misconduct of a few divisional secretaries are adding a black mark to the whole public service. more..

Chartered Accountant’s currency smuggling bid thwarted

Feb 12 (Island) A vigilant Customs officer, at the departure terminal of the BIA, foiled an attempt by a young Sri Lankan Chartered Accountant to smuggle out Rs. 3.3 million in foreign currency to the Maldives on Sunday evening. A high ranking Customs officer said that the smuggler was a frequent traveller to Male from Colombo as he was an accountant in a Maldivian company based in Colombo. He was searched on suspicion by the officer, Assistant Superintendent of more..

New Deduru Oya reservoir to be filled by August

Feb 12 (Island) Sri Lankan engineers were solely responsible for the construction of the Deduru Oya project and not foreign engineers or technology, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. Around 5,000 farming families in the Kurunegala and the Puttalam districts would be able to obtain safe drinking water and water for irrigational use. About 90% of the project had been completed and it would cost Rs. 6,200 million to complete, more..

Sathosa Motors sole dealer of Land, Range Rover

Feb 12 (DN) Sathosa Motors PLC (SMOT) announced to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) that they are taking on the sole rights to sell, distribute and service the Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles in Sri Lanka. The exclusive distributor for Land Rover in Sri Lanka will be SML Frontier Automotive. which is a joint venture between Sathosa Motors and Sheran Fernando. The investment by Sathosa Motors PLC is in line with the company’s strategic view of creating a pool more..

Decision tomorrow on re-opening Moratuwa Uni. sections?

Feb 12 (Island) Vice Chancellor of the Moratuwa University, Prof. Ananda Jayawardena, said that they would decide on the date of re-opening the Engineering Faculty and the Institute of Technology after the Faculty Board meets tomorrow. He said the decision would be taken after studying the recommendations, of the Faculty Board, on the security situation. "We held meetings with parents of the students last week," he said adding that parents were made aware of the situation in more..

'Fight together, campaign separately'

Feb 12 (Island) An eleven-member UNP-led joint Opposition alliance, which was formalised in Colombo yesterday, said that their main objectives included ousting the Rajapaksa govt and restoring the rule of law. The grouping includes the Nava Sama Samaja Party, Maubima Janatha Party, TNA, Muslim National Party, DPF, United Socialist Alliance Ruhunu Janatha Party, Eksath Janatha Peramuna and Nidahase Wedikawa. more..

Local politico goes nuts over school

Feb 12 (DM) Making a complaint with Horana police, the principal of Horana Sri Medhankara Maha Vidyalaya had complained that the statement made by the school girl alleging that she picked coconuts in order to raise funds to paint the school buildings was due to the influence e of an area politician. The school Principal K. Senaratne had told police that the concerned politician had done so in order to defame him and the school. The principal further complained to the police that more..

President meets head of RAW but not any other Indian leaders

Feb 12 (LT) It is reported that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has had a discussion with Alok Joshi, the head of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the main external intelligence agency of India. .President had this half an hour long discussion with the head of RAW during his two day pilgrimage to South India, According to reports the discussion had taken place at Sri Pathmawathy Guest House in Tirupati. During this visit President Rajapaksa had not met any political leaders in India. more..

Outright purchase only way to get Sandakada Pahana back from UK

Feb 12 (DN) The only option available to acquire the Sandakada Pahana moonstone in UK to the country is to purchase it from the auctioneer, says Archeology Dept Director General Dr Senarath Dissanayaka. The piece of semicircular granite slab, measuring 8ft by 4ft and weighing about almost a tonne, which is believed to be a native Sri Lankan artifact from the Anuradhapura era, is to be put up for sale in London on April 23. more..

Tri-lingual school for Vavuniya

Feb 12 (DN) Hambantota District Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa yesterday laid the foundation stone for a fully equipped Tri-lingual school to be built at Bogaswewa, Vavuniya to accommodate 3,000 students. The school to be named Mahinda Rajapaksa Vidyalaya built on a 20 acre plot of land will have all features needed by a modern educational institute. The school will have classes from grade 6 upto grade 13 and enable students to pursue education in all three languages. more..

Future president has to reach consensus

Feb 12 (CT) UNP MP John Amaratunga yesterday reiterated UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's sentiments expressed at a public meeting in Matara, that if someone wants to become the president of the country in the future, that individual has to come to an agreement with the incumbent President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. "Obviously, nobody can become the president if he does not have such support," Amaratunga added, defending his leader Wickremesinghe. Amaratunga argued that more..

Police withdraw case against schoolgirl

Feb 12 (CT) The case filed against a 13-year-old school girl, who is charged with stealing eight coconuts from a private land, was withdrawn yesterday. Horana ASP Abeyratne Dissanayake withdrew the case filed against the student, even though the case is pending, and is scheduled to be heard on 22 Feb. The girl, attending a school in Horana, was compelled to steal the coconuts from a private land to pay the Rs 800 demanded by the school, more..

Laws to ban sale of land to foreigners

Feb 12 (DN) Laws are to be introduced shortly to ban the sale of lands to foreigners, Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said. He said the Land Ordinance would be amended to give effect to the new law on a directive of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry is to bring in two new draft bills pertaining to land ownership. The Minister said the amendments to the Land Ordinance would be made, parallel to those new laws. more..

Debt ridden CPC spends Rs. 10 mn to welcome new Minister

Feb 12 (Island) The CPC has spent Rs. 4.2 million to colour wash its Sapugaskanda complex to welcome new Petroleum Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa today at 10.00 a.m. The overtime payment to about 400 workers, who had colour washed the refinery, for four days was estimated to be Rs. 3.2 million. The Corporation has also purchased 35 flower pots to beautify the place for the event, at Rs. 3,200 each. In addition drivers, clerks, security officers and executive staff more..

Govt. ignores warnings, goes ahead with Sampur

Feb 12 (Island) Despite claims, by energy sector experts, that Sri Lanka would lose between Rs. 10 billion and Rs. 14 billion annually, the govt will go ahead with the controversial Power Purchase Agreement of the 500 MW Coal Power Station in Sampur, Trincomalee. Senior CEB engineers said that a unit of electricity produced at Sampur would cost Rs.18 as against Rs.13 from the first coal powered plant at Norochcholai. more..

Editorial: Justice without mercy is a tyranny

Feb 12 (DM) The reported theft of coconuts by a schoolgirl to find the money to pay for colour-washing her school premises and the subsequent ordeal she had to undergo especially from the law enforcement authorities has hit media headlines. The report had drawn the attention of President Rajapaksa who instructed Ministers of Education and Justice to probe and take action against anyone responsible for this pathetic incident. Confusion and contradictions are confounding this report more..

The creation of a superior class of citizen

Feb 12 (DM) Since the sudden “fizzling down” of the hyperactivity in Hulftsdorp and following several weeks of reflection; I’ve finally decided to answer questions like “why are you now silent”, “so what will (y’all) do next” etc. coming from many quarters. I must heed my conscience and at least try to offer an answer to those that rallied around our call to protect the Rule of Law and the Independence of the Judiciary, risking much at times. I’ve wondered why we couldn’t keep quiet, why I didn’t say “no” more..

Luxury lifestyle of Ceylinco’s Kotelawalas

Feb 12 (SL) The luxury lifestyle of the failed promoters of the Golden Key Credit Card Company (GKCCC) – Lalith and Cecille Kotelawala continues unabated and with apparent disregard of the plight of over 9,054 depositors who jointly, severally and individually lost a staggering Rs. 26 Billion when GKCCC ran aground in 2009. In a further attempt to shield the principal behind this scandalous company, a new set of more..

Rural education in crisis: How to take teachers to schools

Feb 12 (ST) As experts cite the dearth of subject teachers as one of the main reasons for poor GCE O/L exam results in rural schools, many of them also call for an overhaul of the teacher service which is riddled with irregularities. Experts said Examinations Department statistics showed that students from rural areas obtained lower averages than students from urban schools and attributed the poor performance of rural more..

Sri Lanka holds rates to contain price gains while aiding growth

Feb 12 (BN) Sri Lanka left interest rates unchanged for a second month as it seeks to damp price pressures while supporting economic growth. The Central Bank kept its reverse repurchase rate at 9.5% and the repurchase rate at 7.5%. Seven of nine economists in a Bloomberg News survey predicted no change. Two forecast a quarter-point cut in both rates. The island’s inflation accelerated to 9.8% in January, more..

Close abandoned mines call goes viral in Ratnapura

Feb 12 (Island) Gem miners in the Ratnapura district have been requested to close all abandoned mines to prevent the spread of Japanese encephalitis or brain fever. The appeal to miners was made by the Ranapura district health services. A large number of abandoned gem mines and non-decaying solid waste, such as yoghurt cups, clay pots and other discarded utensils, had led to an increase in the mosquito density more..