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Beyond Boston with Shyamon Jayasinghe

Story of travellers and travelees takes Michelle on a winning journey

July 12 (ST) For the first time in the history of the Miles Franklin Award the shortlist comprised only women writers – among them Sri Lankan born author Michelle de Kretser. Though she has never been in the running before, Michelle’s ‘Questions of Travel’ went on to win the prestigious award, which recognises the novel ‘of the highest literary merit’ that also ‘presents Australian life in any of its phases.’ Speaking on behalf of the panel of judges, Richard Neville hailed the book as more..

PB tells IMF ‘Northern Expressway will be Sri Lanka’s next landmark’

July 12 (FT) Finance Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera has told visiting IMF Asia Pacific Department Director Anoop Singh that Sri Lanka’s next landmark will be the $ 1.5 billion Northern Expressway. This description was in response to Singh’s poser to Dr. Jayasundera as to the former’s query on what will be Sri Lanka’s next landmark. During his keynote address at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Summit on Wednesday, Dr. Jayasundera said that the IMF official, more..

'No help from India in international arena if Sri Lanka fails to implement 13A in full'

July 12 (DBS) A firm “no nonsense” message from Indian Prime minister Manmohan Singh has been conveyed to President Rajapaksa by Indian national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon during his breakfast meeting with the Sri Lankan head of state on Tuesday July 9th 2013. According to informed Indian sources the message from Manmohan Singh had indicated that New Delhi expected President Rajapaksa to implement more..

Sweet success of bitter veggie

July 12 (ST) It can be cooked, sliced thinly, fried and made into a tangy sambol or put into a blender and turned into a juice. It is said to have been the favourite dish of a king – none other than the last monarch of Kandy, Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe. Although of high value with praises being sung about this humble vegetable, many are put off by its bitterness. The thought of downing a bitter glass of juice to ward off diabetes which many vouched for, led to a pioneering Microbiologist more..

All things good at the Water’s Edge

July 12 (ST) There are many knowledgeable consumers in Sri Lanka who don’t want their foods filled with pesticides or preservatives. Increasingly they are looking for healthy, natural foods and household products. They also want to “buy locally” and support rural communities. This is where The Good Market, a place for ethical producers and ethical consumers to team up, comes in. Explaining how all this started, Achala Samaradiwakara, Organiser, The Good Market says that more..

SLJTU condemns attack on scribe

July 12 (CG) The Sri Lanka Journalists’ Trade Union (SLJTU) has condemned the assault on a journalist attached to the Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna on Thursday night. SLJTU urged the authorities to effectively address the attacks faced by journalists, to ensure speedy justice and to safeguard the professional rights of the media workers in the country. The newly formed media trade union also wrote to Minister more..

Premier League changes from next season

July 12 (ST) As predicted Sri Lanka Cricket Inter-Club Premier Cricket Tournament season for 2013/14 will continue with 14 teams in the top tier. But according to highly informed sources it is likely to be further amended for the coming season. Earlier it was reported with confirmation that the top segment of the SLC Inter-Club Premier Cricket Tournament will include a ‘Super Eights’ stage after the number of teams being chopped down to eight from the existing 14. more..

J’pura Uni. Don faults the system, not curriculum for skills woes

July 12 (FT) A senior professor of a top local university yesterday said the academic curriculum should not be blamed for graduates not being up to industry requirements. As opposed to a common perception that what is required by industries are not extended by the universities, a senior professor at the University of Sri J'pura, Ajith Abeysekera, charged that issues prevail in the entire setup of the education sector in Sri Lanka and not the curriculum of local universities. more..

Court-room style forum on electricity tariff hikes

July 12 (FT) Several witnesses were summoned to testify before a People’s Tribunal last week that was investigating whether the recent increase in electricity tariffs in the country was justified. The three-hour public forum entitled ‘Is the electricity bill justified?’ was conducted courtroom style, was organised by Transparency International Sri Lanka and held at the J.R. Jayewardene Centre in Colombo 7 last week. more..

Customs seize over Rs. 22.5 m worth cigarettes

July 12 (DN) Customs sleuths at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday seized 2,250 cartons of cigarettes consisting 900,000 sticks valued at over Rs. 22.5 million, imported on a false declaration, addressed to a deceased person in Colombo 12. Customs Media Spokesperson Lesley Gamini said the importer of the consignment of 15 packages had submitted a false declaration to the customs saying the stock contained denim material weighing 1,393 kgs. more..

'Performance appraisal of public servants, a must'

July 12 (DN) The performance appraisal of an employee's performance on his/her assigned duties and responsibilities is a must to gain success in all sectors, especially to forge effective working relationships, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said. He was delivering the keynote address at the National Conference on Good Governance and Performance Management System for Public Service in Colombo yesterday. The event was jointly organised by the more..

Govt. thwarts Rosy’s move to get more women

July 12 (CT) The govt objected to granting leave for UNP MP, Rosy Senanayake, to present a private member's Bill, citing it has not followed the accepted procedure. When Senanayake rose to present the Bill, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, pointed out that any Bill or amendment to a current Act should be referred to the Attorney General and should accompany the AG’s observations, before presenting it in Parliament. more..

Lanka rejuvenates a crucial export setup, moves for mega ‘Expo 2014’

July 12 (FT) Sri Lanka has rejuvenated a crucial export mechanism using more than 400 top private sector personnel to man the direction of its export sectors and sub sectors. It also kicked-off the next biggest event in the country’s export calendar, Expo 2014. “The export sector contributes 17% to the GDP. However, this sector has become more and more challenging for us. Therefore it is now time that we enhance our on-going market and product diversification even further. more..

Sri Lankan court extends remand of 8 fishermen

July 12 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan magistrate court on Thursday extended the remand of the eight fishermen from Tamil Nadu – who were apprehended off Mannar – until July 25. On June 15, the Sri Lankan Navy apprehended the fishermen on charges of engaging in illegal fishing activity. After a 45-day ban on fishing observed by fisher folk in Tamil Nadu -- that ended in June – the problem has resurfaced. Fisher folk from both sides have sought governmental intervention more..

Karunanidhi sceptical about Sri Lanka promises

July 12 (Hindu) Given Sri Lanka’s track record of reneging on earlier commitments, it remains to be seen whether the country will fulfil its promises made to National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon during his recent visit to Sri Lanka, DMK president M. Karunanidhi said. Referring to Mr. Menon’s assertion after his meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa that Colombo should fulfil its commitment to India and more..

Bahrain looks to boost ties

July 12 (CG) Bahrain is keen to boost ties with Sri Lanka, the Bahrain News Agency reported following a meeting between the Bahrain Government spokesperson and Sri Lanka’s new envoy to the country. Bahrain Minister of State for Information Affairs and the Govt’s Official Spokesperson Samira Ibrahim bin Rajab met the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Bahrain Anura Rajakuruna. The Bahrain minister stressed Bahrain’s keenness on promoting bilateral relations and bolstering cooperation more..

Martial artist, professor is full of gratitude

July 12 (JN) There was once a Sri Lankan boy who had always wanted to visit the country where the story of Oshin--a girl from a poor family who eventually achieved fame and success through hard work and perseverance--was set, and so he came to Japan 25 years ago. Naturalized as a Japanese citizen in 2005, he has since been filling his days with appearances on TV and radio programs, and by delivering in lectures nationwide. He is Nishantha, whose Japanese name is Kiichi Tahara, more..

'Sri Lanka's hotels overcharging for rooms'

July 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka's hotels are overcharging for rooms in an attempt to cash in on growing visitor numbers after a decades-long war. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said some hotels had hiked up room rates 10-fold since the end of the war in 2009 without improving service. "Soon after the war, the industry took off and people started investing in hotels. Existing hotels which were charging $50 to $60 suddenly increased more..

TNA divided over Northern CM post

July 12 (CT) The leaders of the TNA are split over selecting the Chief Ministerial candidate for the Northern Provincial Council (NCP) polls. The leaders of the five constituent parties in the TNA met yesterday to pick a Chief Ministerial candidate for the NPC polls and the names of former Judge of the Supreme Court, C. Vigneswaran, and Jaffna District TNA Parliamentarian, Mavai Senathiraja, were taken into consideration at the meeting, Alliance sources said. more..

Sri Lankan pilgrims given nod to visit Indian temple after blasts

July 12 (Xinhua) The Mahabodhi Temple in India, which was bombed, was open to the public on Thursday, the Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said here in a statement. On the morning of July 7, the sacred Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya in Bihar suffered a series of low intensity blasts. Immediately following the explosions, President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued a statement condemning the attacks. "The Mahabodhi Temple is now once again open to the public. more..

India v Sri Lanka, tri-series final: Iceman Dhoni breaks SL hearts

July 12 (CI) Leave it to me, he says. I want to take this to the last over. Me against one man. One on one. I know I am better than the last man the other team can put up against me. Once again, MS Dhoni reduced a lost match into a one-on-one contest with an opposition bowler, and knocked off the 15 required in just three hits. You could see the bowler - Shaminda Eranga, 9-2-34-2 until then, wickets of Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli more..

Agents responsible for welfare of female migrant workers

July 12 (CT) Foreign employment agents, who recruit women workers without properly screening the backgrounds of the employers in the Middle Eastern countries, will be solely responsible to pay the workers’ compensation. The employment agents will also have to take responsibility for payments in cases such as, issues pertaining to any unwarranted ill-treatment committed on the housemaids by their employers during their working period in those countries. more..

Angelo Mathews rues batting failure after loss in final

July 12 (IBN) Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews lamented his side's batting display in the final as India narrowly beat them at Port of Spain, Trinidad to win the Celkon Mobile Cup tri-nation series on Thursday. Put into bat, the Sri Lankans were bundled out for 201 in 48.5 overs, with Kumar Sangakkara's 71 and Lahiru Thirimanne's 46 the only notable contributions. In reply, India were made to sweat thanks to some impressive bowling by the Lankans as Rangana Herath picked up 4 more..

MPs imbalance over economy at summit

July 12 (FT) Govt and Opposition MPs yesterday crossed swords over the state of economic development and the future at a platform created by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Economic Summit. During a lively and entertaining final session of the third day of the summit, MPs exchanged multiple ideas and traded barbs about how to manage Sri Lanka’s economy. Ruling party politicos hailed the post-war growth as more..

We do it Premadasa’s way

July 12 (CT) Government Spokesman and Media Minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, yesterday defended the government decision to have only its members in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the 13th Amendment, citing an example of the PSCs during the Ranasinghe Premadasa Presidency. He said President Premadasa also had a system of having PSCs, which had representation of political parties according to the percentages of MPs represented in the House. more..

'Khuram Shaikh’s partner was not raped'

July 12 (CT) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said in Parliament the female accompanying Khuram Shaikh, the British National who was killed at a resort in Tangalle in 2011, was not raped or subjected to sexual harassment. Answering an oral question posed by UNP MP, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Gunawardena noted Shaikh's 23-year-old Russian partner, Victoria Alexandravona, had only received serious injuries as a result of being assaulted. MP Jayasekara asked whether there was another more..

Govt. mulls referendum

July 12 (CT) The govt will go in for a referendum to get the consent of the people on whether changes to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution will be necessary, Minister, Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday. He said the govt has also decided to let the 19th Amendment go through the motions of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), which began its sessions on Tuesday. Rambukwella was responding to more..

The circus of commissions and committees

July 12 (DM) Many headlines these days have been on the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to study the 13th Amendment and changes proposed by some parties in the ruling UPFA, while one party the JHU has even introduced a private members’ motion with a 19th amendment proposing major changes to the 13th amendment. The UPFA’s socialist parties have strongly opposed any changes to the 13th Amendment while Minister and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda said more..

Sleepwalking and the culture of impunity

July 12 (DM) Hot on the heels of many controversies surrounding several ministerial offspring, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons last week, when his son cricketer Ramith Rambukwella was embroiled in an unsavoury incident. "The current incident involving Rambukwella (Jnr.) again brings into sharp focus the indiscipline that prevails among ruling party politicians. This is closely linked to the culture of impunity they are now associated with, more..

'Youth stamped down UNP will engage youth'

July 12 (DM) UNP National Youth Front chairman and Gampaha district MP Ruwan Wijewardena spoke to Dailymirror on how the UNP hopes to engage the fervour of Sri Lanka’s youth and provide them suitable employment. He also spoke about the repercussions for the govt if it failed to resolve the national question by way of a political solution. Wijewardene also expressed his views on accountability by politicians and the media. more..

Police ‘have no clear strategy’ to limit accidents

July 12 (ST) Young drivers with little road experience are a significant cause for the horrifying road toll, the Automobile Association said this week. Police were also blamed, with a top transport expert declaring that police had no effective strategy for attacking the causes of road accidents and merely reacted to individual accidents. AA Secretary Devapriya Hettiarachchi said driving licences were being issued to young people without more..

All must live as one family - President

July 12 (DN) Sri Lanka is not a big country to divide into several parts as other countries. People in all parts of the country, including the North and East should live together, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. "The people in all parts of the country including the North and East should shed narrow political ideologies and live together as a single country," the President said. He said the govt led by him has taken serious efforts to more..

MILCO factory facing closure

July 12 (SL) Controversy surrounds the manner in which the Milk Industries of Lanka Company Private Ltd (MILCO), which was once a profitable institution, has been converted into a cash strapped establishment. Accusations have also been levelled against Minister Arumugam Thondaman for using MILCO funds for his personal benefit and for allowing MILCO Chairman, Sunil Wickremasinghe to ruin the institution. more..

China to give Lanka deep sea fishing vessels

July 12 (Island) China had agreed to give assistance of Chinese investors to provide deep sea vessels to Sri Lanka to step up fishing which has slowed down as there were not enough vessels and equipment, the Fisheries Ministry said. The Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development Ministry was responding to a news report that Sri Lanka had permitted Chinese vessels to operate under the Sri Lankan flag. more..

Polls chief expects foreign monitors

July 12 (CG) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya expects foreign monitors to be present for the Northern Provincial Council Elections in September. Addressing the media today, Deshapriya said that it is an accepted international practice for foreign monitors to be present at key elections. He noted that there is no law that foreign monitors should be or should not be invited for local elections. more..

FUTA-Colombo VC showdown on the cards

July 12 (Island) The FUTA accused the Colombo University administration of violating an agreement it had entered into with university authorities last year before calling its 100-day strike. FUTA members held a media briefing near the Colombo University’s Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha entrance as the university administration prevented media personnel from entering the university premises to attend a press briefing more..

Import Tax on Big Onions doubled

July 12 (GDI) The Finance Ministry said that the special import tax on big onions has been doubled to Rs.30 per kilogram with effect from today from the current tax of Rs. 15 per kilogram. This measure has been taken to ensure good prices for the local big onions which are now being received in large quantities in the market. Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka will stop big onion imports by 2015 when SL becomes more..

Wijeyadasa takes felling of 67,000 trees to HRC

July 12 (Island) President’s Counsel Wijayadasa Rajapakha complained to the Human Rights Commission against Ministers Dayashritha Tissera and Susil Premajayantha over the move to fell 67,132 trees. The other respondents cited in his complaint are Secretary to the State Resources and State Enterprises Development Ministry W.M.B.U. Dissanayake and Secretary to the Renewable Energy and Environment Ministry more..

Two Chinese firms get first stage of $ 1.5 b Northern Expressway

July 12 (LBO) A top Chinese toll road company has landed deal to build and run a 1.5 billion US dollar expressway from Colombo to Kurunegala, which could be Sri Lanka's largest single foreign investment to date. The cabinet of ministers had given the nod for China Merchants Holdings and China Merchants Hua Jian Highway Investment, a top toll road operator in China to plan, design, finance, construct and operate more..