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Waking up to migrant employment through Rizana Nafeek

Jan 17 (GV) Much is written on Rizana Nafeek’s extremely unfortunate fate in Saudi Arabia. Some written with anger let loose on the govt and some on licensed agencies and every one else who could be dragged in. But to discuss SL migrant labour, one has to leave emotions aside and start off with a factual explanation of what this whole issue is. An extremely deprived, poor Muslim family from Muttur, decided to find some stability to their living by sending their 17 year old eldest daughter for more..

Response to 'Racing tanks with Bicycles: A parable of ‘reconciliation’ in Sri Lanka'

Jan 17 (GV) In the wake of a Project where essential school items, bicycles and other items were donated at the Seeniyamottai resettlement village in December 2012, much discussion has taken place in public forums as to certain concerns it raises including in the recent article in ‘Groundviews’ by Amal de Chickera (read Racing Tanks with Bicycles: A Parable of ‘Reconciliation’ in Sri Lanka). Sri Lanka Unites as a movement would like to reply and to clarify some of the mistaken assertions. more..

Better regulatory environment needed to boost FDI flows

Jan 17 (Island) With much-needed foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows well below expectation, the country needs a better regulatory environment, investment and infrastructure quality and a better ranking in the World Bank’s index measuring the ease of doing business, a research report highlights. The govt had forecast FDIs to reach US$ 2 billion in 2012, but the Central Bank estimates the actual to be a little more than more..

Editorial: Of Harpers’ barbs

Jan 17 (Island) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has fired the first salvo against the impeachment of Chief Justice. No sooner had Parliament resolved to remove CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake from office than PM Harper called for her reinstatement. His call may have raised many an eyebrow in diplomatic circles as it is tantamount to an attempt to interfere in another country’s internal affairs, but it has certainly warmed the cockles of the hearts of the defenders of more..

Letting the extremists in again

Jan 17 (Island) The execution of migrant worker Rizana Nafeek in Saudi Arabia touched the hearts of people around the world. That a girl of 17, left to care for a baby, in addition to being charged with the supervision of the other children of the household, plus the cooking and cleaning, should be punished – let alone beheaded – for what could well have been an accident, was appaling. Equally distressing was the careless attitude of the Govt. Appeals were made to the king, but it was negotiations more..

Parliament Green opened for public

Jan 17 (MoD) Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared opened the Parliament Green today evening (15) for public use. The widespread green ground of 15 acres synthesis the greener cleaner concept of Colombo city's development. The open space and urban public outdoor ground in the midst of Battaramulla city gives panoramic view of the Diyawanna Lake and the Parliament complex more..

Substandard canned fish in CAA custody

Jan 17 (CT) A stock of 50,000 cans of substandard canned fish has been taken into custody by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) yesterday at a wholesale storage at Nawa Nuge Road, Peliyagoda. The value of the stock was estimated to be more than Rs 5 m and consisted of cans weighing 155g, 230g, 425g, 850g and 3kg. "The stock has been imported from Chile, and both inner and outer layers of the packages have been damaged, thus exposing the tins to the elements. more..

SriLankan promotes MICE in ‘Paradise’

Jan 17 (Island) Sri Lanka’s vast stretches of golden-sandy beaches, glittering blue warm water oceans, lush green vegetation, ever-flowing rivers and cool crisp mountain air, are beckoning, not only the leisure seekers but also the MICE fraternity that is looking for exotic locations to meet for business, the country’s national carrier said. SriLankan Airlines’ latest 44-paged, handy-sized MICE brochure just unveiled, describes the diverse attributes that Sri Lanka has to offer as a more..

New law to detain suspects for 48 hours

Jan 17 (DM) Parliament will enact new legislation next Tuesday to enable the police detain a person who has been arrested without a warrant for 48 hours before producing him or her before a magistrate instead of the normal 24 hours. The Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) that provides for such a move was presented to Parliament on October 11 last year. It is now listed in the parliament order book more..

Navy enlists 2 females from Mullikulum as Teachers

Jan 17 (FT) The Navy enlisted Miss EMI Croos and Miss KA Croos of Mullikulum as teachers under a special scheme. The letters of appointment were handed over to them by Commander North-western Naval Area last week at the Mullikulum Church in the presence of Rev. Father Newton Dewa and School Principal Devarajan Jayapalan. Miss EMI Croos and Miss KA Croos were teaching at Mullikulum Roman Catholic School as volunteers prior to their enlistments in the Navy as more..

Tamil medium Year Five Schol cut off marks out

Jan 17 (DN) The cut-off marks for the Year Five Tamil medium scholarship exam were issued by the Education Ministry yesterday. The highest cut off mark for boys schools has been allocated to DS Senanayake Vidyalaya, Colombo 7, which stands at 168 marks. The highest cut-off mark for a girls school has been allocated to Bathiudeen Balika Maha Vidyalaya, Kandy which stands at 166. The highest cut-off mark for mixed schools has been allocated to Zahira Muslim Central College, more..

Supreme, Appeal Courts judges’ vehicles searched

Jan 17 (Island) The legal and political fraternity condemned the search of Supreme and Appeal Court judges’ vehicles entering the apex court premises in Hulftsdorp yesterday. The cars of judges were searched by the Marshall. They said that the Marshall had the authority to check everyone entering the courts complex, but in the case of judges he could do so only on a directive from the CJ. It is learnt that the BASL, more..

Nirupam Sen to deliver Lalith Athulathmudali Memorial Oration on 29 Jan

Jan 17 (FT) The Lalith Athulathmudali Memorial Oration on “The Emerging Doctrine of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ and the nature of the United Nations” will be delivered by well-known diplomat and UN Advisor Nirupam Sen, who was also a former Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka on January 29, at the BMICH at 6 p.m. The Memorial Oration has been organized by the Lalith Athulathmudali Foundation. Athulathmudali is considered one of the most more..

Gamma technology to help exporters

Jan 17 (FT) The Atomic Energy Authority is to utilize Gamma Irradiation technology to increase the income of large and small scale exporters of agricultural products and other industries. Applications of gamma radiation is being used for a variety of important uses such as medical product sterilization, microbial disinfestations of food products and spices, radiation preservation of food and for the development of new industrial materials. In addition to commercial operation, more..

Sri Lanka's National Security website hacked

Jan 17 (eHN) A Hacker with twitter handle "@ThisIsGame0ver" has hacked into the official website of Sri Lanka's Media Center for National Security. The Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) was established for the specific purpose of disseminating all national security and defence-related information and data to the Media and the public from one co-coordinated centre. The hack was announced in Twitter. As per the mirror more..

SLFP lawyers say new CJ not guilty of corruption

Jan 17 (Island) Newly appointed Chief Justice Mohan Peiris was not guilty of any charges as claimed by the opposition political parties, lawyers attached to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party said yesterday. Addressing a media conference at the Mahaweli Centre, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Nidahas Lawyers Organisation Champani Padmasekara said that until he was proved guilty of alleged charges no one could point a finger at him as a corrupt official. more..

Sri Lanka's Edge Hotels and Resorts to start small luxury chain

Jan 17 (LBO) Edge Hotels and Resorts, a new small luxury hotel chain has signed agreements to start two hotels, with four more planned, Sri Lanka's state investment promotion agency said. Sri Lanka's Board of Investment, which gives tax breaks to investors did not disclose any investment values for the hotels. The first property Reefs Edge Hotel and Villas will be built in Uswetakeiyawa. It will have 23 rooms and facilities for events including a 300 person banquet hall. more..

Mervyn hatching a plan to get back lost post

Jan 17 (CT) Minister Mervyn Silva, who was asked by the President to step down from the Kelaniya Organizer post, has apparently launched a covert operation to get back into the post, highly placed sources alleged. It has been revealed that Silva is attempting to contact influential people in the area over the telephone to solicit their support, in order to retain his organizer post. The sources also alleged, a son of the owner of a famous more..

Azwer claims threat to life

Jan 17 (CT) UPFA National List Parliamentarian, A.H.M. Azwer, yesterday alleged his life is in danger as he had received 'several' death threats over the phone since Monday night. Azwer, a member of the Parliamentary Council, which replaced the Constitutional Council under the 18th Amendment, said the first call came on Monday night allegedly saying his life would end, if he signed the appointment of former Attorney General Mohan Peiris to the office of Chief Justice. more..

Hindu Congress boycotts State Thai Pongal function

Jan 17 (CT) President of the All Ceylon Hindu Congress (ACHC) boycotted the State-sponsored Thai Pongal Festival at Temple Trees yesterday, citing the plight of the Tamil people in the North and hurtful comments made by certain sections of the govt. President of the ACHC, Kandiah Neelakandan said the decision to boycott the State ceremony was taken due to certain comments made by a government minister and as a sign of solidarity with the Tamil people suffering in the North. more..

Sri Lanka holds rates to slow price gains as growth sputters

Jan 17 (BN) Sri Lanka left interest rates unchanged to damp price gains and bolster economic growth. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka kept its reverse repurchase rate at 9.5% and the repurchase rate at 7.5%, it said in a statement today. All seven economists in Bloomberg survey predicted no change in the repurchase rate. Six forecast no change in the reverse repurchase rate and one a cut to 9.25%. Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said more..

Railway employees gear for strike action

Jan 17 (CT) Railway employees issued a warning to the Minister of Transport, Kumara Welgama, yesterday, saying they would stage an island wide, 56-hour, token strike on 22 January unless their salary anomalies are settled. Convener of the Joint Trade Union Alliance (JTUA) of railway employees, Janaka Fernando, said they were expecting to launch a 56-hour token strike from midnight 22 January till 6 a.m. on 24 January unless their salary issues are settled. more..

Hakeem not at fault – AG

Jan 17 (CT) Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem, is not responsible for the law entrance exam conundrum, as he does not get involved in the exam at any stage, Attorney General Palitha Fernando said. "Minister Hakeem had nothing to do with it, as he doesn't get involved in any stage of implementation or marking of the papers. I think it is very unfair that a communal analysis has been done on the matter," Fernando said. He also said the Department of Examinations set the papers more..

Thai Pongal celebrated at Temple Trees

Jan 17 (IL) The National Thai Pongal Festival was held on a very grand scale under the patronage of President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa at the Temple Trees today (16). The celebration area was decorated with flowers and other colourful traditional decorative items and Kolam was also drawn in the premises. The President and First Lady were garlanded and warmly received in traditional manner on more..

8 million mobile phones smuggled into SL

Jan 17 (Island) The TRC will introduce a new system to block illegally imported mobile phones. TRC Director General Anusha Palpita said that all imported mobile phones should be registered with the TRC and they were required to meet certain safety regulations. "The Commission will give a certain time period for registration. Those who fail to follow the TRC’s rules will face permanent disabling of their phones by blocking the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers more..

Army deployed against corruption

Jan 17 (DN) The Army will be deployed to rehabilitate and develop 3,200 tanks and reservoirs in the North Central Province. This follows a request by North Central Province Chief Minister S. M. Ranjith. Samarakoon made to President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Chief Minister Samarakoon said henceforth, the contract system would be done away with in rehabilitating the tanks and reservoirs in the region. The North Central Provincial Council would release the funds, more..

President deaf to critics, say observers

Jan 17 (AFP) His sacking of chief justice may have prompted new international condemnation, but analysts say President Mahinda Rajapakse is not merely impervious to foreign criticism — he thrives off it. Already cold-shouldered by the West after the bloody end to an ethnic conflict, Rajapakse drew further flak this weekend by sealing the impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake and then installing a govt adviser in her place more..

Editorial: Rebuilding justice

Jan 17 (DM) Those who said and believed that justice was even-handed would not have heard of the country called Sri Lanka. The govt, for the last few years, let its people get a glimpse of its multi-faceted course of justice in which the fundamentals are conveniently excluded and swiftness is a luxury granted solely for the selected few. And Rizana Nafeek was not one of them. Rizana marched to death after having been in prison for almost eight years; during which the govt did not make more..

Lankan Youth in post-war peace building

Jan 17 (DM) Can youth play a central role in securing a permanent peace? To answer this question it will help to ascertain whether youth played a role in generating conflict in the first place. In the case of Sri Lanka, it cannot be clearer: Initial youth uprisings which planted the seeds of the three-decade ethnic conflict are a fact in our country’s history. Both the ignition of the ethnic conflict and the JVP insurrections have stemmed from our Universities as well as from other sections of more..

Neighbour threatened by Dil-scoop

Jan 17 (SL) A mother of two daughters claims that cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan – who is her immediate neighbour – is threatening her to sell him her house and that all complaints regarding this to the police have fallen on deaf ears. Renuka de Costa, who lives in the house adjoining Dilshan’s, accuses the cricketer and his wife Manjula Thilini for making her life miserable wanting to buy her house for a lesser amount. more..

Human activities driving reptiles to extinction

Jan 17 (ST) Habitat loss is impacting severely on reptiles, both terrestrial and freshwater, in Sri Lanka and other tropical regions while nearly one in five reptilian species in the world is threatened with extinction, an important study has found. This first-ever global analysis of the extinction risk in reptiles, published in Elsevier, a leading international science and health information magazine, also highlights knowledge gaps more..

Sri Lanka's emerging strongman

Jan 17 (WSJ) While Pakistan's judges try to oust their elected leaders, elsewhere in South Asia an elected leader is busy ousting judges. We're talking about Sri Lanka, where President Mahinda Rajapaksa sacked the country's Chief Justice over the weekend. This week, Mr. Rajapaksa installed one of his advisers in that post, and the fear is South Asia's newest strongman is now unstoppable. CJ Shirani Bandaranayake's more..

'Bankrupt JVP making hilarious allegations against Ranil'

Jan 17 (Island) The UNP said that the JVP had gone totally bankrupt and was making hilarious allegations against its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to the effect that he had backed the impeachment motion against former CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake. UNP General Secretary Tissa Atttanyake said that it was the UNP that had played a leading role in defending Bandaranayake during the PSC inquiry into 14 allegations more..

Lawyers dismiss impeachment unconstitutional claims

Jan 17 (Island) In the wake of President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointing former Attorney General Mohan Peiris as the new Chief Justice, a group of lawyers, representing five lawyers’ associations, dismissed the claim that the former CJ, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake was removed unconstitutionally and the appointment of new CJ was not in line with the Constitution. Addressing the media at BMICH, a senior lawyer and the president of the more..

Anti-national forces using diversionary tactics - Dy Speaker

Jan 17 (DM) Sri Lanka, although a politically stable country, has not yet reached its development potential mainly due to attempts by anti-national forces that unnecessarily highlight certain incidents such as the impeachment of former CJ Dr Shirani Bandaranayake to damage the country’s image and act as the cats-paw of local and foreign forces hostile to the country, Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said yesterday. more..

SF invites ousted CJ to form new party, topple govt.

Jan 17 (Island) Former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka has renewed his call to ousted Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake to join forces with him to form a new political party and topple what he calls the dictatorial Rajapaksa regime. Gen Fonseka said that the ex-Chief Justice, like him, too had become a victim of the present regime and there were many more people in the same predicament as they. more..

South Asia’s largest Fisheries Harbour in Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (GDI) President Rajapaksa will declare open Friday, South Asia’s largest fish export hub, the Dickowita fisheries harbor constructed at a cost of 51 million Euros. This harbor will be the one with the highest standards in the region. 41 Million Euros for this project was funded with a soft loan by Netherland and the harbour consists two terminals for local and international operations. The harbour Basin with a depth more..

'PMC no threat to State medical colleges'

Jan 17 (CT) The Malabe private medical college (PMC)'s teaching hospital is nearing completion and the hospital will be opened next month, according to PMC Director, Dr. Sameera Senaratne. Despite the protests and agitations over the new PMC by academics and students of the State medical college, Dr. Senaratne said that the new teaching hospital for the PMC will start off with 750 beds while they propose to have a total more..

GTF confirms meeting Mangala

Jan 17 (CG) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a London based Tamil Diaspora group seen by the govt as being supportive of the LTTE, has confirmed that it met UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera recently. GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran says the meeting was however private in nature. “Understandably, it was viewed with suspicion. Firstly, this was a meeting that wasn’t a formal GTF meeting but was private in more..

Editorial: Maximum use of executive powers

Jan 17 (CT) It is ironic that the very parties that vehemently opposed the Executive Presidency, when it was first introduced by then President J.R. Jayewardene , should be now basking in its powers, doing exactly what they warned would happen 35 years ago – destroy democracy. The SLFP and prominent leftists who are part of the ruling UPFA were in the forefront of the opposition, decrying the Executive Presidency as a menace, a monster and as a system that would destroy more..