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Cattle wreak havoc on national parks,deprive wild animals of fodder

July 6 (Island) Wildlife Resources Conservation Minister Wijithamuni de Zoysa has given an assurance that all national parks and the animals in them will be protected and alternative land provided for cattle to graze, but thousands of cattle still invade the parks and deprive othe animals of their food, according to environmentalists. Grazing and man-made forest fires have been on the rise in the national parks. more..

Health Minister heads tender overseeing committee to eliminate malpractices

July 6 (Island) The Health Ministry has decided to take stern action against contractors and suppliers who after wining tender bids fail to deliver the goods or construct buildings on time. Any supplier or contractor who constantly delays the supply of drugs or fails to construct a building on time will be blacklisted, according to the Health Ministry. In a bid to eliminate the Health Ministry tender board malpractices a high level more..

'Bring Lankan Tamils into mainstream'

July 6 (LM) India’s external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Friday urged Sri Lanka to fully implement its pledges to integrate the minority Tamils into the country’s political mainstream as the island-nation announced polls to the predominantly Tamil-dominated Northern Province in September. The minister conveyed the message to minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is on a visit to India, the ministry of external affairs said more..

Sri Lanka, Maldives to boost ties

July 6 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka and the Maldives on Saturday discussed the possibility of boosting ties between the two countries. The discussion took place between visiting Maldivian President Mohamed Waheed and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The two sides discussed the upcoming presidential elections in the Maldives and the political situation leading up to the polls. Waheed is in Sri Lanka with a Maldivian delegation more..

Audio: Polls chief meets parties

July 6 (CG) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya had discussions today with a few political parties including the TNA regarding the upcoming elections in the North. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that the talks focused among other issues on the displaced voters. He said that the Elections Commissioner is expected to call for nominations for the elections on July 11 and then announce the date for the polls. more..

'Scrapping 13A will spell doom for govt.'

July 6 (CT) Minster Rajitha Senaratne, warned if the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was scrapped, the govt would be 'finished.' He also said, "There cannot be any question of scrapping the 13th Amendment, because the govt will have to leave power if they do so." Minister also noted, "These so-called nationalist groups that are against the 13th Amendment are not nationalists, but chauvinists," and added, more..

Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Solomon Islands established

July 6 (Island) Sri Lanka and the Solomon Islands established formal diplomatic relations on July 3. SL’s Permanent Representative to the UN Dr. Palitha Kohona signed the Joint Communiqué on behalf of Sri Lanka, while Permanent Representative of the Solomon Islands to the UN Collin D. Beck signed on behalf of Solomon Islands. Dr. Kohona spoke of the similarities in the experiences of Solomon Islands and Sri Lanka more..

‘India-Sri Lanka ties moving forward smoothly'

July 6 (PTI) Sri Lanka today said its ties with India are at a high pedestal and are moving forward smoothly. “Our dialogue with India is continuing. Basil Rajapaksa was in India yesterday. The two govts enjoy mutual understanding,” Minister G.L. Peiris said. He was replying in response to a query whether Colombo had come under pressure from India on the ongoing impasse over its plans to amend the 13th amendment. more..

Public fathers and private sons

July 6 (CT) A minister's son misbehaving and causing public upheaval is not an alien phenomenon. In fact, the present state of the country almost certainly suggests the recent exhibition of tumult will not be the last that we hear of. Yet, this is no ordinary case. Sons of ministers have been brought to the limelight after unruliness at night clubs. VIP offspring have coloured newssheets by assaulting referees on the sports field. But, a minister's son wearing the Sri Lankan more..

A Guilty Diaspora

July 6 (CT) A guilty Tamil “Diaspora” (incidentally a name they have given themselves and originating from the Jewish cause) is doing a great deal of harm to the cause of the Tamil People of Sri Lanka. The ongoing agitation and the open statements about achieving their own separate country within Sri Lanka are leading only in one direction. It is going to turn the small minority of “rational” Sinhalese people against the Tamil cause. The Tamil people form a minority in this country. more..

Garment industry tottering at the seams without GSP+

July 6 (LBT) The garment industry is in jeopardy and according to industry experts, the main reasons are, losing the GSP extended by the European Union; taxes that amount to about 20 per cent of the product cost, increasing power tariffs, lack of skilled labour, etc. Commenting on the GSP Plus facility extended by the European Union, he said that although discussions had surfaced as to reapply for the concessionary facility more..

Buddhists who are willing to change their point of view

July 6 (CT) A few months ago The Sunday Time’s Talk at the Café Spectator column ran a snippet on President Rajapaska’s response to a journalist who had found the President exercising on his head in a room at Temple Trees. The President, with his characteristic flare for turning every situation into a joke, had said; “mang beluwe oluwen hita gaththama kohomada mata rata penne kiyala”. During times of turmoil and crisis, real gems of wisdom surface in the guise of black comedy. more..

Dwayne Bravo suspended for one match

July 6 (CI) Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies captain, has been suspended for one match after being fined a second time within 12 months for maintaining a slow over-rate. He will miss the crucial tri-series match against Sri Lanka on Sunday. West Indies were ruled one over short of the target at the end of match against India in Port-of-Spain for which the match referee, Jeff Crowe, fined Bravo 20% of his match fee and his team members, 10% of their match fees. more..

Railway trade unions threaten to strike again

July 6 (AD) Railway Professional Trade Unions have decided to launch a 48 hour strike from midnight tomorrow, based on several demands including a wage hike. A total of 11 trade unions attached to the Railways Professional Trade Union Alliance are expected to take part in the strike action. Discussion held with relevant authorities for over 3 hours yesterday were futile as it failed to provide solutions to their grievances, more..

CEB pundits bungle, says energy expert

July 6 (Island) The CEB has saved Rs. 36 billion due to the heavy use of low cost hydro power during the past six months or so and if it had acted prudently it could have added another Rs. 3.5 billion to the tally, says a energy expert. Energy Forum Executive Director cum former Consultant to the Power and Energy Ministry Asoka Abeygunawardena said he strongly believed that the benefits should be passed on to the consumers. He said CEB could easily do so during the latter part of the year. more..

Suspects arrested in Deraniyagala

July 6 (CG) The police have arrested 4 suspects so far over the attack in Deraniyagala in which a superintendent of an estate in the area was killed, the police media unit said today. The police said that six police teams have been deployed to arrest several others wanted over the murder. At least 15 men who had arrived in a jeep last morning at the estate had attacked the 71 year old man identified as Nihal Perera. The police said that two others who were believed to be the security officers of more..

Sri Lanka to go ahead with constitutional reforms

July 6 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan govt said Saturday it would go ahead with proposed constitutional reforms despite opposition being raised against the move from some quarters. India had raised strong objections to diluting powers in the 13th Amendment to the constitution which was created following an agreement reached between India and Sri Lanka in 1987. However, Minister G.L. Peiris said that India's views on the 13th more..

The various Norwegian agencies that supported BBS personnel

July 6 (CT) When I wrote some weeks back about the supposed Norwegian involvement with the Bodhu Bala Sena, I had not seen the clarification which the Norwegian Embassy had put on its website about the allegations. Having read it, I am more than ever convinced that the Norwegian govt and its embassy have not behaved badly, but also that they, and also the Sri Lankan government, must go more carefully into the matter and check on what exactly has been going on. more..

Provincial White Elephants and Saddantha White Elephants in Colombo

July 6 (CT) Recently our former colleague President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga has twittered that (a) administratively the 13th Amendment is a white elephant; (b) it must be viewed from the citizens’ angle (c) devolution should be to the lowest possible level; and, (d) at sub-national level Provincial Councils (PCs) have not served the purpose. He is not alone in saying so. A President’s Secretary may declare so to initiate a dialogue; or to ‘drop’ the PCs, and more..

Direct your Navy not to trouble us, Indian fishermen tells SL minister

July 6 (ENS) Members of local Fishermen’s Association on Friday met Minister Basil Rajapaksa in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum requesting him to direct his country’s Navalmen not to disturb them while fishing in the Palk Strait. Devadass and Sesudass, representing the Association, appealed to Basil, the younger brother of SL President, to give instructions to the Navy not to disturb them while fishing in the traditional more..

Lankan servant steals sponsor's cash

July 6 (CT) A Sri Lankan man, who works as a domestic worker for a Kuwaiti citizen, was arrested for stealing KD 6,500 from the vehicle of his sponsor in Riqqa area. According to sources, the Kuwaiti citizen filed a case against his domestic worker at Riqqa Police Station, explaining to security-men that he had started his vehicle and placed the money in his vehicle in front of the suspect. He then went back into the house to change his clothes. When he returned to his vehicle, he was shocked more..

Playing with fire, again

July 6 (CT) ‘Nationalist Collective’ is the latest Rajapaksa-concoction, a toxic brew of fanatics and opportunists, ladled together in an effort to convince Delhi that Sri Lanka is being inundated by a spontaneous anti-devolution wave. Addressing its inaugural rally, Galagoda-Atte Gnanasara Thero raised the banner of militant Sinhala-Buddhism: “This is not the time for Buddhist monks to meditate in temples…. If politicians are going in the wrong direction, we have a sacred right to step in”. more..

Mixed reactions on nominations of ex-ltteers

July 6 (DM) JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva asked what was going to happen to the hundreds of Tamil youth under indefinite detention for alleged war crimes committed on the instructions of top LTTE leaders like Thamalini, KP and Daya Master. The three former LTTE leaders are expected to be nominated by the UPFA for the Northern Provincial Council elections to be held in September. The ruling UPFA’s decision to more..

UPF opposes amending 13A

July 6 (CT) The Upcountry People's Front (UPF) is opposed to any moves by the government to dilute or amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, its Leader V.S. Radhakrishnan said. He said, with these amendments, the minorities would lose whatever limited powers they would have in the Provincial Councils, under the present Constitution. He also said his Party has sent a letter to the President regarding these matters. He also said the chances of the members of the more..

Importers call for Gold Card System re-introduction

July 6 (DM) Country’s importers renewed their call to bring back the Gold Card System where selected importers could enjoy preferential treatment when clearing their cargo, doing away with the existing system where all importers are treated alike. Gold Card System was abandoned five years ago for the reasons best known to the Department of Customs. “What we are asking the Customs is to select importers with very good track records so that they do not have to go through the same hassle more..

Suspects in acid throwing case enlarged on bail

July 6 (DM) The three suspects, Susiri Wickramasinghe an Ayurveda doctor of Minneriya, Nuwan Kumara an army soldier from Nittambuwa and W A Thositha a fish vendor from Kelaniya, who were in remand for nearly five months on charges of throwing acid on the NCP Ayurveda Commissioner Kumara Alwis and critically injuring him, were enlarged on bail under strict conditions yesterday by the Anuradhapura Chief Magistrate Judge more..

NPC: Prudence prevails for now

July 6 (GV) Finally, a pragmatic perception, however episodic, of reality– and a prudent policy move results. With President Rajapaksa’s decision to announce the holding of the election to the Northern Provincial Council after almost a quarter of a century (taken together with the re-arrest of the suspects in the murder of the Trinco 5), Sri Lanka seems about to take a significant step in the right direction; the next logical step forward – deferred imprudently for four years– after the victory over more..

Doctors reattach severed hand

July 6 (CT) A team of doctors attached to the Trincomalee Hospital have performed a successful surgical operation to reattach a hand that had been completely severed from a man’s wrist, on 26 June. The team headed by surgeon Rohan Sirisena of Trincomalee Hospital, performed the surgery and this is the first time such an operation had been performed at the hospital. Dr. Sirisena commenting on the surgical operation said, “This is the first of its kind surgical operation done at more..

Five year ban for Sri Lanka umpires

July 6 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket will slap a five year ban on umpires Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage for their role in the fixing scandal that rocked the sub-continent soon after last year’s T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka while third accused Gamini Dissanayake will be warned and demoted. Sri Lanka had remained untainted thus far when it came to fixing but the latest development will force local officials to rethink their stand and more..

Power bills triple, users at a loss for answers

July 6 (ST) The new electricity tariff has tripled power bills across the board, from domestic users to service providers. Domestic consumers complain that even when they have kept usage to the reduced-rate band of 60-180 units their bills have shot up. Business owners stress that they are sacrificing net profits in order to meet the higher charges, and say custom would fall off if they were to increase the price of their services to recoup the losses. W. Shu 54, a resident of Wellawatte, more..

'US charge of human trafficking by overseas job officials noted'

July 6 (ST) The Govt was taking serious note of a US statement that accused officials and agents in the foreign employment industry of complicity in the trafficking of persons to foreign countries, a senior official said. “We are examining the statement made by the US Secretary of State John Kerry and will respond appropriately at the very earliest”, External Affairs Secretary Karunatilleke Amunugama said. He added that a similar statement was put out by the Australian Govt earlier this year and more..

Ten Sports bags SLC broadcast and production rights until 2020

July 6 (IC) The Sri Lankan cricket board's long-term TV rights partner Taj TV, the Dubai-based owners of the leading sports channel Ten Sports, have clinched both the TV broadcast rights and production rights for matches played in Sri Lanka until 2020. SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said that Ten Sports emerged as the clear winner following lengthy deliberations and negotiations with several interested parties who had bid more..

President's clarion call

July 7 (SO) President Rajapaksa's assertion last week that international relations are marred by self-interest of the states and their struggle for power is an eye-opener to one and all. He told the extraordinary session of the National State Assembly of the Seychelles that colonialism, which Sri Lanka had fought and freed the nation from a few decades ago, is now making a comeback in a different form in today's global scenario. He said that a new power bloc is emerging, more..

Chicken don’t eat their own soup

July 7 (SL) There were no codes of ethics, ‘sacred manifestos of political leaders’ or the maddening amount of human rights regulations to protect the interests of the people or the nation, a few decades ago. Sri Lankan children from the kindergarten stage and thereafter were taught by their parents and school about lajja and baya (shame and fear) about doing things that are ‘not good’ and the need to follow the basic requirements of their religion. That advice got the vast majority through life more..

'TNA is solely dependent on Tamil Diaspora'

July 7 (SO) Minister S.B. Dissanayake’s impressive journey from the rural backwoods of Hanguranketha to the national legislature was not on the primrose path. It had its ups and downs. Known among his near and dear as “SB”, he was deeply conscious about his unsullied rustic identity. Nevertheless he is adept in tip-toeing the political minefield. The Minister said the people of the North have begun to admire more..

Beware of approvers!

July 7 (NS) Transgressions are often accompanied by approval. Approval comes in the form of justification. It can also take the form of dismissal through trivializing, i.e. of the ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘he was not drunk, he was sleep-walking’ kind. The magnitude or otherwise should not however warrant dismissal and this is probably why the adage ‘punishment should fit crime’ came about. Serious transgressions require heavy punishment, petty thievery warrant exaction of minor retribution. more..

Reconciliation needs more time, president opines

July 7 (NS) It may appear as if there is confusion in the ranks of the govt regarding the controversial 13th Amendment to the Constitution: some oppose it, others wish to retain it, some want more powers added to it, and others want its powers curtailed. This week, however, there were indications as to which option the govt would take. It came from Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. He said that Sri Lanka ‘should not listen to India’ in evolving a solution to its reconciliation issues. more..

13th Amendment to Constitution not the solution - ACMC

July 7 (SO) The securing of seats by the Muslims at the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council Elections will be affected if the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) goes it alone, said Y.L.S Hameed Secretary General, All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC). Q: The SLMC has a strong vote base in the North. Would the SLMC be a challenge to your party at the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council Election? more..

Watch your step when dealing with India

July 7 (ST) Politics is a bundle of contradictions and double-speak and it was on display in full this week as President Rajapaksa sent his brother, Basil as a special envoy to brief the Govt of India on the 13th Amendment having said earlier in the week that he gave promises only to the Sri Lankan people and not to the international community. Though not admitted as such, it is patently clear that it is New Delhi’s pressure that has made Colombo back off from implementing what it proposed to do in more..

Nightwatchman cameo or family innings?

July 7 (ST) My Dear Keheliya, I thought I must write to you because you seem to be in the news again these days. Although it appears as if it is for the wrong reasons, I suppose you must believe that any publicity is better than no publicity-and you are unlikely to reach these dizzy heights again! As for this incident where young Ramith is supposed to have tried to open the cabin door of a British Airways aircraft thinking it was the toilet door, I have heard you say that it is only a minor incident. more..