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Govt health motive on fertiliser cuts a load of compost, say critics

July 16 (ST) The govt says it imposed fertiliser cuts to reduce the prevalence of chronic kidney disease among the farming community and is urging farmers to change over to using compost. These claims are being contested by critics who claim the shortage is a result of the govt defaulting on payments to fertiliser importers. Companies confirmed last week that the Treasury owed them Rs. 15 billion in outstanding dues. more..

CEB: Faulty agreements electrocute consumers

July 16 (SL) While the CEB constantly harps on the fact that it is suffering continuous losses, it is ironic that the authorities are blind to the fact that there is large scale fraud taking place within its system, yet no one seem to be able to rectify nor take any action to bring those responsible to justice. Instead the CEB has made it a practice to constantly pile the burden of its losses on the consumers, while the large scale daylight more..

No birth certificates, so no school for 150

July 16 (CT) Research carried out by Trainee Graduate Development Assistants has revealed that there are 150 children of school going age not enrolled to any schools the Neluwa Divisional Secretariat (DS) Division in Deniyaya. This was disclosed by Neluwa Probation and Childcare Officer, B. A. H. Thanuja, at the Galle District Child Development Committee meeting, held at the Galle District Secretariat. more..

Video: Govt. dilutes role of women - UNP

July 16 (DM) UNP MP Rosy Senanayake said today the Govt had diluted the role of women in society by preventing the Bill on increasing women representation being taken up in Parliament. She said the Govt was attempting to cover up gender discrimination in the country by hiding behind the excuse that Sri Lanka had the world’s first woman prime minister. “I’m more than happy that the first woman PM was Sirimavo Bandaranaike. more..

Everything fishy about Igilena Maaluwo

July 16 (DN) The Sinhala movie Igilena Maluwa (Flying Fish) directed by Sanjeewa Pushpakumara insults the govt and the Security Forces, Media Centre for National Security Director General Lakshman Hulugalla said. Hulugalla said that the film has been banned in Sri Lanka, and steps have been taken to institute legal action. "The producer has not obtained permission to use Army uniforms. more..

Lankan illegal workers nabbed in UK

July 16 (CG) Five male illegal workers were detained by the UK Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers in Blackpool, England, following an operation at two restaurants in the area. Among the five were two Sri Lankan men aged 21 and 22 who had both overstayed their visas and were working illegally, the British High Commission said. All the men are currently detained pending their removal from the UK. more..

Army chief hails his role

July 16 (CG) Outgoing Army Commander General Jagath Jayasuriya says he transformed the wartime Army to be that of a peacetime one and bringing it on par with the best in the world. Speaking to trrops at the Security Force Headquarters -Central (SFHQ-C) at Diyatalawa Jayasuriya said that tremendous efforts were made to bring back the professional standards of the Army, similar to the times of the 1970s after making most more..

SLMC to contest alone

July 16 (CG) The SLMC led by Minister Rauf Hakeem, has decided to contest the elections for the North, North Western and Central provinces independently and not with the govt. The decision was taken when the SLMC High Command met last night to discuss the SLMC stand on the elections, an SLMC spokesman said. The SLMC has been at odds with the govt recently over the 13th Amendment to the constitution. more..

Avoiding international embarrassment

July 16 (CT) The incumbent regime, by its very design and composition, is paranoid and insecure. And its paranoia and insecurity, naturally, give rise to intolerance. The bouts of paranoia on the part of the govt hit extreme heights during some periodic events on the UN calendar that concerns Sri Lanka, such as the UN Human Rights Council sessions, or lesser and innocuous events such as the screening of Callum Macrae's film No Fire Zone. As the CHOGM comes closer, there appears to be more..

The UPFA’s chronic crisis: What next?

July 16 (CT) It is astounding that the crisis now tearing the govt apart is about the national question. All of us radicals and liberals have theorised that the Sinhala political classes would never risk the wrath of the Sinhala-Buddhist masses by standing up for Tamil rights. What on earth is happening now? The last four weeks have been amazing. It will teach as all to stand aside and bow our heads in humility before history’s complexity and uncertainty. Frailty, sometimes thy name is history! more..

World`s first dengue control unit for people of all ages

July 16 (MED) Sri Lanka has given top priority to disease prevention in accordance with the country’s health policy and the govt is now taking steps to improve all hospitals from the rural to the National Hospital, Colombo. Minister Basil Rajapaksa made this observation when he addressed a meeting held in connection with the opening of the Centre for Clinical Management of Dengue and Haemorrhagic Fever at more..

Colombo-Katunayake Expressway to welcome Commonwealth guests

July 16 (GDI) The 26 kilometer Colombo-Katunayake Expressway will be declared open in September. The construction work of this expressway was started on 18th Aug 2009 and has now been almost completed. The expressway will welcome the Heads of States and other delegates who will arrive to attend the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit and other allied Conferences that are to be held in conjunction with the Summit. The Expressway which starts from Peliyagoda more..

Polls Chief wants assets declarations with nominations

July 16 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has requested all political parties to submit assets declarations, in respect of each of their candidates, when submitting nominations to contest the forthcoming Northern, Central and North-Western Provincial Council polls. Deshapriya had told party general secretaries, at a meeting he had with them, that submitting their assets declarations at the time of submitting nominations would make matters easier for both, the candidates and more..

Video: TNA’s CM candidate doubtful of polls in North

July 16 (AD) Expressing doubt whether polls will be held in the war-torn north, the TNA’s chief ministerial candidate for the province, C.V. Vigneshwaran says that the govt might bringing forth “conditions” which will see that the election does not take place. The retired judge stated that at present the govt has complete control over the Northern Province and that the army is “interfering in everything the local population is doing.” more..

Massive demo on Lanka in TN

July 16 (CG) A massive demonstration is to take place in Tamil Nadu next month over various issues concerrning Sri Lanka, the Tamil Ealam Supporters Organization (TESO) announced today. Tamil Nadu’s DMK party chief M. Karunanidhi attended the TESO meeting on Sri Lanka today together with representatives of several other political parties and groups in South India. At the meeting held in Chennai, TESO members said that the Indian govt must ensure the 13th Amendment to more..

Stocks down 0.1%, rupee weak

July 16 (LBO) Stocks closed down 0.13% on Tuesday with large cap stocks making losses and weakening of the rupee, brokers and dealers said. The All Share Index closed 07.55 points lower at 6,007.65 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 11.02 points lower at 3,386.42 down 0.32%. Turnover was 737 million rupees up from 440 million from a day earlier. In the Forex Market the spot net US Dollar where settlement is made three days ahead weakened as much as 131.45-55 per Dollar, more..

World Bank to Focus on Large Transformational Projects

July 16 (GDI) In a meeting with the World Bank’s Executive Director for Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan Mukesh Prasad yesterday, President Rajapaksa urged the Bank to focus more on large core projects rather than smaller projects that have a lesser impact. Prasad agreed and said that the World Bank too has begun to focus more on larger “transformational projects that have a direct bearing on the goals of the country.” more..

Killing of planter: 19 suspects including UPFA PS chairman re-remanded

July 16 (Island) Nineteen suspects, including former UPFA Deraniyagala Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, Anil Wijesinghe, were further remanded till July 24, by Avissawella Magistrate Anushka Seneviratne, when the abduction and killing of planter Nihal Perera, was taken up on Court yesterday. People in Deraniyagala protested last Sunday urging the police not allow the suspects to obtain bail. Deraniyagala’s new OIC of Police, Inspector Prabath Deshabandu said more..

Ho still lives in the hearts of Vietnamese - DEW

July 16 (Island) Paying a glowing tribute to the father of Vietnam’s independence struggle, Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera yesterday said Vietnam’s former President Ho Chi Minh with great leadership and charisma had enabled the Vietnamese to defeat a formidable country like the US and it was the only country to have defeated America in war so far. "For the Vietnamese ‘Uncle Ho’ is not dead and he still lives in their hearts as the man who unified the country after fighting a war of liberation to more..

Sri Lankan gov't pledges to protect against separatist elements at upcoming elections

July 16 (Xinhua) Pending elections in the former war-torn northern part of Sri Lanka will not be used as an opportunity to divide the country. Minister Champika Ranwaka addressing a gathering of soldier families recalled the sacrifices made by their family members to winning a three decade war in Sri Lanka. In 2009 govt forces militarily defeated the LTTE and the former war-torn north is now preparing for its first PC election more..

Teaching hospital sans endoscopy machine

July 16 (Island) Patients seeking treatment at the Kurunegala Teaching hospital are undergoing untold hardships for want of an endoscopy machine, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) says. GMOA Media Spokesman Dr. Navin de Soysa said that for the last two and half months, the Kurunegala Teaching hospital had been without an endoscopy machine. Therefore, patients had to visit private diagnostic centres to get tests done, but the poor could ill afford it, he said. more..

Sri Lanka good corporate citizens sought

July 16 (LBO) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it has begun the hunt to give the "Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award", in annual awards which is being held for 10th successive year. "The Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award has continuously spotlighted successful and replicable models of important, positive business impact on people, communities and environment," Harin Malwatte, secretary general of the CCC said in a statement. more..

Sri Lankan Speaker's visit boosts ties

July 16 (VN) Hung made the remarks at talks with visiting Speaker of Sri Lanka's Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa in Ha Noi yesterday, July 15. The Vietnamese legislative chief expressed his hope that Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa's visit would further tighten the relationship between the two countries. He congratulated Sri Lanka on its significant achievements in maintaining peace, stability, national concord and reconciliation more..

Families of Lankan crew appeal

July 16 (CG) The families of the crew of the ship MV Albeo, including Sri Lankans, held hostage by Somali pirates have sent out a joint message to Somalia people living worldwide who can have influence on their clans back home to secure the release of their loved ones. MV Albeo sanks last weekend after being held by the pirates since 2010 and information released by the Secretariat for Regional Maritime Security, Somali Contact Group on Counter Piracy and Maritime Security more..

UNP to take disciplinary action

July 16 (CG) The UNP will go ahead and take disciplinary action against MPs Lakshman Seneviratna, Earl Gunasekera, Nilwala Wijesinghe, Upeksha Swarnamali, Prabha Ganesan and Manusha Nanayakkara after the Mount Lavinia Magistrate today removed an enjoining order which was earlier issued against such a move. The Magistrate had issued the enjoining order after the MPs, who were with the UNP but have now aligned themselves with the govt, filed petitions more..

Chandimal to lead SL Board Presidents XI

July 16 (CI) Dinesh Chandimal will captain the Sri Lankan Board President's XI against the touring South Africans on Wednesday, ahead of what may be his first match as ODI captain against South Africa on Saturday. As the vice-captain of the national team, he could be in line to take the reins from Angelo Mathews, who has been suspended from the first two ODIs courtesy an over-rate offence. more..

Sunil Handunnetti told me Eknaligoda is in Belgium - Arundika

July 16 (AD) UPFA MP Arundika Fernando told Court today that JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti has also told him that Prageeth Ekneligoda is living in Belgium. UPFA MP Arundika Fernando stated in parliament on June 5 that missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda was currently living in France. Responding to the opposition MPs who questioned the govt regarding the media and Eknaligoda the UPFA MP stated that the Lankans in France were also aware that Eknaligoda was living there.

Behind the facade of accountability and reconciliation

July 16 (AT) Anxious to escape reprimand by the international community at the next UNHRC sessions and CHOGM, Sri Lanka has arrested 12 persons in connection with the 2006 extrajudicial killing of five Tamil boys in Trincomalee. This however is only a façade. The govt’s actual attitude to ending impunity in Sri Lanka and promoting reconciliation is evident not only in the glaring lapses in the way it is handling this case, but also in the recently-unearthed mass grave in Matale. more..

Tourism expert denies high room costs

July 16 (FT) Dismissing recent charges of overpriced rooms, a tourism industry expert insisted that Sri Lankan hotels are maintaining costs under the minimum rates stipulated by the Govt in 2009. Responding to the statement made by Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena last week on Sri Lankan hotels overcharging on accommodation in an attempt to “cash in” on the rising tourist numbers, City Hotels Association President more..

Shirani’s lawyers cry foul

July 16 (CG) Lawyers appearing on behalf of former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, today raised concerns over two commissioners investigating bribery allegations against her. The lawyers had said that the two commissioners were biased, a lawyer appearing on behalf of the former Chief Justice said. This was said when Bandaranayake appeared before the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption today. Her lawyers also questioned the commission as to who more..

India-backed constitutional move vital for Sri Lanka: Book

July 16 (IANS) A Sri Lankan constitutional amendment done with Indian backing to devolve autonomy to provinces remains "historically significant and indispensable", says a new book by a well known political scientist from the island nation. The 13th amendment, as it is popularly known, provides "a basis for the reconciliation of the Sinhanese and Tamil communities within a united and unitary Sri Lanka," says Dayan Jayatilleka in his "Long War, Cold Peace" (Vijitha Yapa). more..

India should boycott Commonwealth meet in Colombo: TESO

July 16 (PTI) DMK chief M Karunanidhi-led Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) today resolved to stage a state-wide demonstration on August 8, pressing the Centre to boycott a Commonwealth meeting slated to be held in Colombo in coming November, among other demands. A resolution adopted at the meeting of the organisation, revived by Karunanidhi last year, insisted that India boycott the CHOGM more..

Sampanthan and Premajayantha confess

July 17 (NS) Yes, I said it. I said that I was on the LTTE hit list before Mahinda Rajapaksa. In other words, the LTTE was gunning for me before Prabhakaran decided that Mahinda Rajapaksa was a target as or more legitimate that I was. I said, and I quote, ‘I was never a spokesman, proxy or ally of the LTTE, that is completely false and I reject it without any reservation whatsoever.’ There was something I didn’t say. In the Election Manifesto of the TNA in 2001, it was stated, ‘We have consistently more..

A result of government’s inaction? - Part I

July 17 (NS) The first instance where rulers appeared to be instigating violence and disorder in Sri Lanka was recorded in early/mid 1983. Minister of Industries and Technology Cyril Mathews, who had no business in the East, brought in thugs from the South to Trincomalee, and under the protection of security forces, he began a reign of terror. The minister was a close confidante of President J R Jayewardene who allowed him to have his way. JR, who made use of the votes of Tamils, more..

Parliamentary Select Committee: Timely forum to resolve ethnic issue

July 17 (NS) “No security issue for Tamils in Sri Lanka. They live in every nook and corner of the country safely. There are 2.2 million Tamils in Sri Lanka while 1.4 million live in the South. In Colombo alone, there are 2.58 million Tamils. Do they face any security issue? There is a safety issue for the Sinhalese and Muslims who were chased away from the North”, said JHU General Secretary Minister Champika Ranawaka. more..

The Wigneswaran Factor: Sampanthan’s Master-Stroke

July 17 (GV) In this country, it is a rarity to witness really smart politics on strategic issues. We have just done so and got two breakthrough moves on the same issue. The first was by President Rajapaksa who chose to go ahead with the election to the Northern Provincial Council and have a meeting with Mr Sampanthan, the TNA leader. The second was by Mr Sampanthan who worked hard to persuade his coalition to field Justice Wigneswaran as the Chief Ministerial candidate. more..

Is Sri Lanka evolving a three -track policy towards India?

July 17 (DBS) The signing of the ‘Outcome Document’ on trilateral maritime security cooperation between India, Maldives and Sri Lanka in Colombo recently is significant for more reasons than one. The overlapping strategic security concerns of the three South Asian nations in the shared Indian Ocean neighbourhood apart, it may herald the shaping of the post-war India policy of Sri Lanka. To a greater or lesser extent, the same may be true of Maldives, too. more..

Parliamentary Select Committee: A ruse to buy time

July 17 (DBS) UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe insisted that the Govt implements the 17th Amendment, which gives way to the restoration of independent commissions, independence of the Police and the independence of the Judiciary. He pointed out that the UNP was prepared for discussions on devolution if the Govt restored the 17th Amendment. “We are not talking about democracy only for the Tamils in the N&E. more..

Playing a game of smoke and mirrors again

July 17 (ST) At first blush, recent actions of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration on Sri Lanka’s abysmal governance front may cause some who are apt, (or at least pretend thereto), to wear rose coloured lenses to proclaim that there appears to be glimmerings of hope on the horizon. One specific development cited in that regard is the indictment of twelve Special Task Force (STF) personnel for the crime of extra-judicial executions of five students in Trincomalee in 2006. more..

Editorial : Exams and polls

July 17 (Island) The police have reportedly been ordered to arrest anyone who causes disruptions to the GCE A/L exam centres in the run-up to the PC polls scheduled for September. Children prepare painstakingly for years for this highly competitive examination held during the month of August and it is a crime to disturb them in any manner. Elections in this country are chaotic affairs which lead to clashes, bloodshed and curfews. Besides, they are notorious for noise pollution. more..