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Nationalist group demands hijab ban

July 8 (Xinhua) A hardline nationalist group in Sri Lanka is calling for the govt to ban the hijab, a traditional dress for Muslim women, citing security reasons, the head of the organization said on Monday. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), which also includes prominent Buddhist monks among its membership, demanded that the govt ban the covering headdress insisting that recent events proved it was a threat to security. more..

Two children die after eating rat poison

July 8 (Island) Two young children died in Kamburupitiya yesterday after consuming rat poison at their home, police said. Kamburupitiya police said that they were two brothers, identified as Oshada Thiwankara (6) and Akila Anuhas (3), residents of Weledeniya, Ransegoda North. They died after admission to the Kamburupitiya Base Hospital. The Police spokesman’s office said that they were admitted to the hospital by their mother around 1.30 p.m. yesterday. more..

Video: ‘Kama’ assault- three including bouncers remanded

July 8 (DM) The businessman and two bouncers (doormen) alleged to have brutally assaulted a 21-year-old youth at the Kama Colombo night club had been remanded till July 11 by the Colombo Fort Magistrate a short while ago. Representing the suspect businessman Ali Asger Shabbir Gulamhusein , Attorney-at- Law , Former Attorney General C.R De Silva PC submitted to Magistrate Thilina Gamage that his client had been assaulted by the complainant and not vice versa. more..

TNA wants international monitors for upcoming polls

July 8 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's main Tamil party has called for international monitors to participate in the upcoming elections in the former war-torn Northern Province of the island. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran told media that foreign monitors would provide an independent evaluation of the provincial council elections and reduce malpractices from the govt. He charged that the govt was already using the army to lobby for votes more..

Sri Lanka rupee weak, excess liquidity high

July 8 (LBO) Rupee weakened Monday and quotes in the spot market dried up following moral suasion dealers said, as high levels of liquidity remained in money markets from a reserve ratio cut. In the spot market where trades are settled two days later, which is usually the most active segment, quotes dried up amid moral suasion, dealers said. But smaller banks, who usually buy at high prices sold dollars at 130.60/70 rupees by a state name that usually acts for the monetary authority, more..

Muslim Council condemns attack

July 8 (CG) The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka vehemently condemned the terror attack on Bodh Gaya’s Mahabodhi temple, which is considered the Mecca of Buddhism and is of deep religious significance to the Buddhists of the world. “Sri Lankan Muslims are deeply saddened and dismayed at the dastardly attack on the sacred Mahabodhi temple and adjoining areas and see this as a blatant act of terrorism perpetuated by senseless individuals. We are indeed relieved that more..

Video: Railway trade unions refuse talks; strike to continue as planned

July 8 (AD) Railway Trade Unions refused to accept an invitation from authorities to hold talks and instead decided to continue its strike action. Convener of the Joint Trade Union Alliance for Railway Employees, Janaka Fernando stated that the union decided to take this decision as the President’s Secretary had requested them to halt their strike action and enter into discussions with the authorities this evening. more..

'Condemn repression of students by govt, the destroyer of free education'

July 8 (LT) The govt’s agenda of destroying free education, which is a property of the masses, should be defeated and all should rally to protect free education states an announcement released by the National Organizer of Socialist Students Union (SSU) Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa protesting against remanding of the convener of IUSF Sanjeewa Bandara on false charges. The announcement states: “The convener of IUSF Sanjeewa Bandara has been remanded till 15th July on charges more..

Four Belgian tourists hurt in road mishap

July 8 (Island) Four Belgian tourists and their driver were injured when the van they were travelling in fell into Batu Oya, after crashing into the railing of a bridge in the Minneriya police area, on Saturday evening. Minneriya OIC, Inspector T.B.W. Palliyaguru told The Island that a Belgian family including father, mother, two sons and a daughter, who were lodging at the Giritale Hotel, were travelling in the van to see elephants on the Habarana–Minneriya road. more..

Convener of IUSF remanded

July 8 (LT) The bail conditions imposed on the convener of IUSF Sanjeewa Bandara were removed by Colombo Fort Magistrate and he was remanded till the 15th. The police had charged him for participating in a students’ agitation and damaging public property while under bail conditions. The Court had released Sanjeewa Bandara on bail when he was charged that he had damaged public property at an agitation more..

Chinese IT engineer saved from drowning

July 8 (Island) Sri Lanka Coast Guard’s (SLCG) life savers on Saturday rescued a 31-year-old Chinese IT Engineer, identified as Zhow Pei, from drowning in the sea off Mirissa. The victim had been enjoying a holiday with a group when he got caught in a strong current. The two life savers of Sri Lanka Coast Guard ‘Rohana’, who were on duty at the time, had brought him ashore safely, an SLCG spokesperson said. With that rescue, the total number of lives saved by the Coast Guard more..

Dayasiri has not informed UNP

July 8 (CG) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera has not informed the UNP that he is leaving the party to join the govt, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. Attanayake said the he had met the UNP MP and yet there was no such indication. He noted that on the contrary Jayasekera had dismissed media reports that he was planning on leaving the UNP. “There were some media reports that he was joining the govt but he has not said anything to us. I saw some reports where he had said more..

Extortion scandal rocks Sri Lanka Cricket

July 8 (DM) A major scandal shook Sri Lanka Cricket as a top cricket official was investigated last week for alleged extortion of money from Sri Lanka women’s cricketers. Sri Lanka women’s cricket team manager A.R.M. Aroos admitted yesterday that he had accepted money from Sri Lanka women’s captain Shashikala Siriwardena but brushed it off as a goodwill gesture on her part some months back and questioned the motive of more..

Special mobile service to issue IDs to voters

July 8 (GDI) A special mobile service to issue National Identity Cards, Birth Certificates and other identification documents to civilians who don't posses them will commence in Kilinochchi tomorrow and continue untill July 11. The mobile service will be held in Sankadapuram Shopping Complex on July 9, at the Karachchi Divisional Secretariat on July 10 and at the Vaddakatchchi Divisional Secretariat on July 11. This is jointly organized by the Department of Registration of Persons, more..

Aitken Spence puts two thermal power plants up for sale

July 8 (DM) Two thermal power plants belonging to Aiken Spence PLC have been put up for sale following the lapse of the power purchase agreements they had with CEB. The two power plants, each with 24MW capacity located in Matara and Horana, were lying idle since March and December, 2012, respectively. “Aitken Spence PLC is pleased to invite proposals from interested parties for the outright purchase of the two plants described here,” the company said in its website. more..

Sri Lanka tightens security for holy tree after Bodh Gaya attack

July 8 (PTI) Sri Lanka today tightened security at Sri Maha Bodhi, one of its holiest sites, a day after terror attack hit Mahabodhi temple in India. Police and clergy held an emergency meeting to discuss security at the Sri Maha Bodhi, or the most venerated banyan tree in the island, in the north-central town of Anuradhapura. "Following the attacks at Bodh Gaya, I have asked police to review security at our temple and make necessary more..

The delusional politics of Sri Lanka and its paradox

July 9 (CT) As the UNCHR conventions in March 2013 closed in, Tamils were gathering momentum to persuade international powers to favourably influence the decision concerning the future of island Tamils. The outcome of the convention disappointed those hoping for an international mechanism capacitated to intervene in the affairs of Sri Lanka. The resolution instead urged Colombo itself to enact an impartial investigation into allegations of war crimes and human rights violations more..

Reconciliation needs more time, president opines

July 9 (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..

Laksala, a profit-making venture

July 9 (SO) In the past, Sri Lanka was infamous for closing down State institutions and selling them to the private sector for a song. Surprisingly, some of these institutions were profitable ventures. The irony is that the private sector companies and individuals who took over them sold what was left and abandoned them or some times ran them for some time, enjoying all the short-term gains and then abandoned them. more..

View from Ritigala - by Mahasona

July 9 (NS) The IUSF can organize protests. Its leaders know how to scream and shout. On occasion, the ‘Anthare’ even threatens to bring down the govt. There’s a question, though. If the ‘Anthare’ is so powerful, why can’t it eliminate ragging from universities? UNP MP, Harin Fernando has developed a new theory about opposition politics. He claims that those who criticize the regime are the first to leave the opposition and cross over to the ruling party. It follows, according to this more..

The first White Van!

July 9 (CT) Whatever is said about life around these parts, “dull” and “mundane” would not be adjectives that one would apply to our existences! A couple of weeks ago, we had a helicopter “buzz” our home. Now, considering we are not even on a flight path of some crop-dusting aircraft, that was a bit of a thrill, even though it was something disconcerting enough that we would far rather have done without the rolling thunder that came close to touching our roof and then disappeared by the time we had more..

It is my right to attend CHOGM

July 9 (CT) Director of the controversial documentary, No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, Callum Macrae, confided to Ceylon Today that he has little chance of coming to Sri Lanka to cover the CHOGM, as certain heads of Sri Lankan missions have warned him that he will be not welcome in the country. However, he insisted, as a media person he has the right to be in Sri Lanka to cover the event. more..

Shutting out civil society critics can send wrong signal to Commonwealth

July 9 (SL) The Sri Lankan govt scored a major political victory over its detractors when the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group decided in April that Sri Lanka would indeed be the venue for the next CCHOGM in November. There was opposition to this decision by some groups in the Commonwealth countries and even by the Canadian govt. The argument against Sri Lanka hosting the next CHOGM was on the grounds that the govt was not following Commonwealth values in its more..

Colombo’s political drama on devolution and Basil’s visit to Delhi

July 9 (DBS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa appears to have taken a pragmatic decision to go ahead with the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election without tinkering with the 13th Amendment (13A). The presidential proclamation made on the election last Friday, has been welcomed by India as it has removed a rider that could have hobbled India-Sri Lanka relations. The NPC will go to polls along with the Central and North Western Provincial councils which have been dissolved. more..

Striking at the very heart of Buddhists

July 9 (CT) Bihar Police launched a manhunt for two more suspects in connection with Sunday's serial bomb blasts in Bodh Gaya, the ancient site of Buddhist worship, following the release of CCTV footage yesterday that indicated the involvement of at least two others in the terror attack. The video footage released showed a man of about 30 years walking inside the Mahabodhi Temple and going up to the blast site, more..

Ailing kidneys, callous hearts

July 9 (Island) Politicians have earned notoriety for their selfishness, inefficiency, arrogance, nosiness and, above all, callousness. Disgruntled public sector workers condemn them at every turn. But, one sees no difference between errant politicians and self-righteous trade unionists whose interests are threatened. All of them do not care a damn about the public interest in pursuing their goals. The National Institute for Nephrology, Dialysis & Transplantation (NINDT), Colombo 10, more..

Kalu calls for regular exposure for ‘A’ team

July 9 (Island) After returning home from a month long tour of the Caribbean, where Sri Lanka played two unofficial ‘Tests’, three 50-over matches and a T-20, the coach of the ‘A’ team, Romesh Kaluwitharana stressed the need for more exposure for the country’s second string cricketers to better prepare them for the challenges of international cricket. "We need to seriously look at providing exposure to our younger players. I know there are financial constraints, but preparing our more..

Sri Lanka swimming in gas & oil – experts

July 9 (Island) Top Sri Lankan professionals in the global hydro-carbon industry with over 100 years of collective experience yesterday launched the country’s first oil and gas exploration and production company, Ceylan Energy, with the intention of co-venturing with multinational oil companies bidding for an exploration licence. The Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat PRDS earlier this year opened the country’s more..

Boutique hotels in South get TripAdvisor certification

July 9 (ST) Southern 4-star luxury boutique hotels, Roman Beach in Hikkaduwa and Roman Lake in Balapitiya have received the 2013 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor since it commenced operations in the past two years, a media release by the hotel stated. Roman Beach in Hikkaduwa is a 4-star luxury boutique hotel overlooking the ocean beginning operations in December 2011, and had become one of the “most talked about, asked about hotels along the coast,” more..

Commonwealth people’s forum can enhance govt’s credibility

July 9 (Island) The significance of international pressure in directing the govt along the path of good governance can be seen in several recent developments. As a member country of the international community, Sri Lanka has many obligations to fulfil, even as it seeks the benefits of being a member of the international community. But for the country, and its political leadership, to reap these benefits that accrue from being an integral part of the international community, more..

Sangakkara, bowlers beat profligate WI

July 9 (CI) Sri Lanka's batsmen, led by Kumar Sangakkara, battled rain interruptions that stretched their innings of 41 overs over two days. Their bowlers seemed to have the match under control when they ran in to a red-hot Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo. That was when rain decided to even things out. A drizzle started, West Indies panicked, went for the D/L par score and lost Simmons. The drizzle stopped, the clouds more..

Stray dog attacks 11 students of A’pura MMV

July 9 (Island) A stray dog, which entered the Anuradhapura Central College yesterday, bit eleven students before being killed by the staff and students. The attack, which took place around 7:10 a.m., left eight schoolgirls and three schoolboys requiring hospitalisation. They were immediately rushed to the Anuradhapura Hospital by the Deputy Principal and the staff. Eight of the students were discharged after treatment, while the other three were warded for further treatment. more..

Correct procedure to pass on benefits of high rainfall to electricity consumers

July 9 (Island) This refers to your news item on CEB’s inaccurate forecasting of rainfall, and the point of view that the benefits of high rainfall should be passed-on to electricity consumers. Forecasting rainfall and inflow to reservoirs is usually based on well established procedures involving probabilistic simulation, and I do not wish to delve into such well-established theories, beyond requesting our expert meteorologists and hydrologists to conduct research to examine whether their forecasting more..

Driver’s claim over Anura’s billion-rupee properties held up in court

July 9 (ST) The driver/ security guard of the late Anura Bandaranaike encountered a delay in his attempt to obtain legal acceptance of a copy of his former employer’s will through which he claims a sizeable inheritance – a claim disputed by Mr Bandaranaike’s sisters. The Western Provincial Civil Appellate Court on Wednesday postponed until Nov 11 the hearing of the appeal by Wasantha Samarasekera in the testamentary case he more..

UNSG’s Youth Envoy impressed by Lanka’s achievements

July 9 (Island) Sri Lanka had recorded a high level of post conflict recovery, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ahamad Al Hindavi said during his four-day official visit to Sri Lanka recently. Since the end of the conflict Sri Lanka had recovered fast to regain lost chances of development and it had set an example to the world in post war recovery and development, he said. In January, Al Hindawi, who is from Jordan, was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as his Envoy on Youth. more..

Rs 160 million shrimp farm to benefit Batticaloa farmers

July 9 (DN) Minister Rajitha Senaratne opened a cluster shrimp farm at Vaddavan in the Vakarai Secretarial Division in the Batticaloa District, constructed at a cost of Rs 160 million funded by the International Funding for Agriculture Development (IFARD) recently. Under the Biyawara scheme, Divisional Secretary Vakarai S Ragulanayaki allocated 120 acre lands for 27 prawn culture recipients. Each of the recipients will get a loan of Rs 250,000 from the Bank of Ceylon more..

Due to tug of war between docs and nurses 200 patients dead

July 9 (Island) More than 156 life-saving kidney transplant operations had been postponed by the Maligawatte Kidney Transplant Centre since 2010. That was to a dispute between the on-call doctors and the nurses attached to the centre. Approximately 200 patients, who were scheduled to undergo kidney transplants, around the country, had died due to the closure of the center, Public Services United Nursing Union more..

Eleven-year-old Sri Lankan detained in Hobart centre

July 9 (ABC) Refugee advocates want the Federal Government to move an 11-year-old asylum seeker out of detention at Pontville near Hobart and into the local community. The Pontville centre has been re-branded as an alternative place of detention by the Immigration Department and is being used to detain almost 300 unaccompanied minors from places like Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iran and Sri Lanka. Authorities say the 11-year-old child is being held along with two cousins, but the more..

No Constitution is static – AHM Azwer, MP

July 9 (DN) No Constitution or an amendment to a Constitution is unchangeable. It is the invincible right of a community to change or amend the Constitution of a country in keeping with the time and need of a community, states MP AHM Azwer, in a release. The release adds: “The American Constitution and the Indian Constitution have been subjected to severe amendments throughout the ages. So, it is harmonious with the thinking of the people and transformation the society to amened more..

Three awards for Rutnam's A Common Man

July 9 (CG) Sri Lankan film Director Chandran Rutnam and his film ‘A Common Man’ won big at the Madrid Film International Festival. An elated Rutnam said that his movie won best Director, best actor and best film at the film festival last night. A Common Man was nominated in four categories, namely Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Rutnam, who is currently shooting his new more..