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Private media forced to survive

July 18 (CG) TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran says some private media institutions are being forced to tow the government line in order to survive. Speaking at a discussion organized by the Sri Lanka Journalists Trade Union (SLJTU) today which was attended by Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella as well as opposition members and others, Sumanthiran said that one newspaper which is owned by a TNA member has now begun to attack the TNA in the newspaper. more..

Down with the presidency – Ranil

July 18 (FT) Making a resolute stand on the abolishment of the executive presidency, the Opposition Leader pledged to support a draft constitutional amendment to repeal the powers of the presidency with immediate effect after years of oscillating on the issue. “The system has to go,” UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said, during a panel discussion moderated by MP Eran Wickremaratne on achieving “constitutional more..

Standards set for local spices prior to export

July 18 (DN) The Commission on International Food Standards will introduce standards for locally produced spices under the direction of Health Minister Miathripala Sirisena. This will be done with the intention of promoting the demand, popularity and reputation of Sri Lankan spices, a Health Ministry spokesman said. According to the spokesman, hereafter the standards to be introduced by the commission will be applied for Sri Lankan spices when exporting them. more..

Beware of vipers in Colombo!

July 18 (Island) The number of Hump nosed vipers, particularly Merrem’s Hump nosed viper bites has increased in the Western Province due to the reptiles increasingly coming to the area along with vegetables, fruits and flower pots, from rural areas, says the Country’s leading herpetologist, Anslem de Silva. He told The Island that the National Poison Centre had brought to his notice that there were many Hump nosed viper bite victims in the Western Province. more..

Lakmali improves on SL record for third time in three weeks

July 18 (Island) Asian Championship medallist Nadeeka Lakmali improved on her own record for the third time in less than three weeks, as she won the women’s javelin at the Army Volunteer Forces Athletics Championship, with a throw of 60.64 metres at the Sugathadasa Stadium. Lakmali cleared the record distance in her first attempt to improve on her previous best mark of 60.16 metres, which she established 10 days more..

Sri Lanka's latest housing income expenditure trends

July 18 (LBO) The Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) is my favorite among all the surveys done by the govt. Where else do you get information as granular as how much Kelawalla fish people buy? Given the ICT Agency’s stated commitment to open data, I was expecting data in Excel at least, sadly, not so. And the first results are partial. No Kelawalla prices. Just whatever they thought would be of interest. Before I got my teeth into it, I got a call asking for my views. more..

‘Health Ministry clueless about number of docs’

July 18 (Island) The GMOA has faulted the Health Ministry for its continuing failure to maintain a proper database on doctors. GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said the matter had been raised periodically over the years, but to no avail. Although there were around 17,000 doctors in the country neither the Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka nor the Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala knew the exact figures of doctors serving in govt. hospitals, more..

Army awaits cabinet nod for profit making ventures

July 18 (DM) Outgoing Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya said the Army was awaiting cabinet approval for the Army to form an entity that could venture out into profit-making business. “We are involved in development projects right now and are supporting them. This is a service we provide. Manpower and equipment will be available once these projects are completed, that is why we are planning to form such an entity,” he said. more..

Rs. 39 m Deyata Kirula fraud case to be referred to AG

July 18 (FT) The statements given by two suspects before the Magistrate regarding a Rs. 39 million fraud at the Deyata Kirula exhibition site in Ampara are to be forwarded to the Attorney General for his advice, the CID informed Court yesterday. When the case pertaining to the matter came up before Colombo Fort Acting Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage, the two suspects Kanthi Gunawardana, the former CEO of Deyata Kirula National Exhibition 2013, and Sarath Chandra Ekanayake, more..

Indian Ayurvedic drug firm to set up outlet in Sri Lanka

July 18 (Hindu) Oushadhi, the State government-owned Ayurvedic medicine manufacturer, is likely to establish its outlet in Sri Lanka. According to Oushadhi chairman Johny Nelloor, arrangements are in place for the proposed expansion of its activities. He was speaking at the State-level launch of the kits prepared by Oushadhi on account of the onset of the Malayalam month of ‘Karkidakam’. Mr. Nelloor said that he had represented the company at a seminar on Ayurveda that was recently held more..

Shiral, Maithree challenge expulsion

July 18 (Island) Southern Provincial Council (SPC) Member, Maithri Guneratne has complained to the Court of Appeal against a decision of the UNP Working Committee to expel him from the party. The petition said that the decision had been conveyed to him by a letter dated June 17, 2013. The petitioner has appealed to the Court to squash the decision of the party and declare that he continued to be a member of the SPC. more..

Uniformed cop dragged to SP’s office

July 18 (Island) The Negombo Mayor Anthony Jayaweera, who was charged with the obstruction of the duties of a police sergeant by abusing, threatening and pushing him after holding him by his uniform, was produced before Negombo the Magistrate A.M.P.N. Amarasinghe and released on Rs. 10,000 cash bail and Rs. 200,000 surety bail. The suspect allegedly fled after causing an accident. When the victim ordered him to stop the vehicle he had threatened, abused and pushed him, more..

Laggala PS chairman’s son remanded over shooting

July 18 (Island) Laggala Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Dharmasiri Kannagara’s son Leslie was yesterday arrested by police and remanded after he had accidentally shot and injured an eight-year-old boy with his father’s gun. The incident had occurred in Kiwulawadiya after a heated argument erupted between a group of men from Wilgamuwa, who arrived in a three wheeler and the PS Chairman’s son. The PS Chairman’s son, Leslie, had opened fire at those in the three wheeler, but more..

Chandimal becomes youngest Sri Lanka ODI captain

July 18 (CI) Dinesh Chandimal will become Sri Lanka's youngest ever ODI captain, at 23, after being handed the reins for the first two matches against South Africa in Colombo. Regular captain Angelo Mathews was unavailable after earning a two-match suspension for an over-rate offence in the West Indies tri-nation series. Lahiru Thirimanne was named vice-captain. Jehan Mubarak earned a recall, four years after his more..

Doubts as Sri Lanka says Commonwealth meeting open

July 18 (CPJ) As Sri Lanka prepares to host the biennial CHOGM in Colombo in November, some journalists have wondered whether they will be able to access the summit given the island nation's abysmal press freedom record. On Saturday, a subcommittee of the government taskforce organizing the summit issued a press release stating that "Sri Lanka is committed to providing full media access" and that it "welcomes all journalists to cover this very important summit." more..

New South Korean visa category to be introduced

July 18 (CT) A new visa category titled E10, in addition to the existing E9 category, will be introduced to Sri Lankans engaged in the fisheries industry, to continue with their jobs in South Korea, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said. Discussions have been held between Minister Dilan Perera, visiting General Manager of the South Korean Fisheries Information and Communication Department, Lee Seung Young, and two other officials representing the South Korean more..

Krrish Towers deal: Man who took $ 4 m for two govt. bigwigs threatened – UNP

July 18 (Island) The UNP called for a high level investigation into a complaint by an official that his life was under threat for accepting USD 4 million on behalf two powerful persons in the govt, as an inducement to grant a further extension of time to Krrish Towers to fully pay up on the Fort land lease agreement. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that the official concerned was trembling in fear and had complained to the authorities and the more..

Kachchateevu Island: India will reclaim it very soon warns UNP

July 18 (Island) While the govt has locked horns with India over amending the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the latter would very soon reclaim the Kachchateevu Islands, the UNP warned. Despite protests from Tamil Nadu and a pending court case, India had conditionally ceded Kachchateevu to Sri Lanka, due to the diplomatic efforts of past Lankan govts, but the Rajapaksa regime had allowed relations to deteriorate in the post war era which could lead to an unfortunate and more..

Four teachers suddenly transferred

July 18 (CT) The Education Ministry yesterday issued arbitrary and sudden transfers to four teachers, who were due to give statements against the Principal of Royal College, Colombo, to the Public Services Commission (PSC) today (18), teachers unions alleged. According to the Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU), 12 teachers had lodged complaints with the PSC against the Principal of Royal College, Colombo, levelling charges of fraudulent and corrupt activities. more..

Protests over French film festival

July 18 (AFP) Hundreds of govt supporters protested outside the French embassy on Wednesday over a film festival which included a local movie considered by Sri Lanka's military to be insulting. Demonstrators chanted anti-French slogans, denouncing the Sinhalese-language movie "Flying Fish" and the embassy for showing it at the French film festival organised to coincide with Bastille Day celebrations. more..

Where are the statesmen, gone with the wind?

July 18 (DM) The criminalisation of politics has reached dangerously high proportions during the past few months with at least 10 local council members, many of them chairmen, being arrested on charges of murder, rape, bribery, corruption and other crimes. The latest crime was reported from Laggala where a Pradeshiya Sabha chairman's son was allegedly involved in an incident which led to the shooting of a little child. That is why it is not surprising that a London-based peace group more..

Rehabilitation of Koggala lagoon now almost on the verge of going barren

July 18 (DM) The cerulean Koggala lagoon was once a haven to a rich ecological system. It was also a beauty which was described with much fondness by the famous author Martin Wickramasinghe in his masterpieces such as Madol Duwa. However, human intervention has changed the fate of the lagoon as it is on the verge of going barren. Its former glory and the serene beauty are highjacked by the ever increasing salt water intrusion and attempts are now underway to reverse more..

'Did not intend to insult security forces'

July 18 (CT) Director of the recently banned film, Flying Fish, Sanjeewa Pushpakumara, said it was not his intention to insult or to portray a defamatory image of the security forces of Sri Lanka in any way through the film. "Instead, my only intention was to present the realistic circumstances of war-torn lives artistically and truthfully from a broad humanist angle. The inspiration for this film is derived from the more..

'A solution based on trust'

July 18 (DM) When he decided to contest as the TNA’s Chief Ministerial candidate at the upcoming Northern provincial poll, it was not the first time that former Supreme Court Judge, C. V. Wigneswaran became a newsmaker. A brilliant legal mind, renowned for causing ripples while he was a member of the upper Judiciary and even after retirement, for his forthright speeches and judgments dispensed in the true spirit of law, more..

'China strongly supports Lanka’s sovereignty and integrity'

July 18 (DN) China strongly supports Sri Lanka’s endeavours in protecting sovereignty, territorial integrity, stability and in pursuing development, said Chinese Ambassador Wu Jianghao. In a special speech at the Chinese Embassy in Colombo yesterday on President Rajapaksa’s State visit to China and the development of bilateral relations for the future, the Ambassador stated that this visit marked more..

'Market reaction to Fed tapering worries exaggerated'

July 18 (WSJ) The market reaction to the threat of the Federal Reserve tapering its stimulus program later this year has been “exaggerated,” especially since many policymakers have already prepared for the possibility, the head of Sri Lanka’s central bank said Wednesday. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, said it’s no surprise the Fed would need to scale down its asset purchases at some point. more..

Farmers mustering strenght to find solutions

July 18 (SL) Although they are responsible for nourishing the nation, the farmers of Sri Lanka remain among the lowest income earners. Faced with a gamut of problems ranging from indeterminate prices of paddy to retracted fertilizer subsidies— to which the govt has paid little or no heed— the farmers associations of Sri Lanka are coming together to form a broad movement in order to make their individual voices more..

GNOA claims strike a success

July 18 (Island) The Government Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) claimed that their strike, launched in hospitals countrywide, was a success. GNOA president Saman Ratnapriya said that the strike was a 70% success with nursing services in hospital OPDs, theatres and special treatment centres being affected. GNOA Media spokesman for the Matara General Hospital Asoka Kumara said that on normal working days more..

'No barrier against foreign media'

July 18 (CT) The powerful Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, said yesterday that foreign media personnel would be free to come to Sri Lanka to cover the CHOGM and there would be no 'obstacles' nor 'barriers' against visa issuance to them. Rajapaksa said reporters from London, in an indirect reference to former BBC correspondent Frances Harrison and Callum Macrae of the No Fire Zone fame, are also free to more..

'Teacher mentally unstable'

July 18 (CT) Former member of the North-Western Provincial Council (NWPC), Ananda Sarath Kumara, who was recently embroiled in a controversy, over allegedly forcing a school teacher to kneel before him, for having disciplined his daughter, demanded the teacher be examined by a psychiatrist, claiming she was mentally unstable. He vowed he would quit politics if his claims regarding her sanity were proven wrong. more..

'Adverse criticism of CHOGM stems from jealousy'

July 18 (Island) Those who were criticizing the govt for hosting the CHOGM 2013 had chosen to ignore the benefits that would accrue to Sri Lanka from it, Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said yesterday. He said that the UNP had mocked the then Sirimavo Bandaranaike government in 1976 for hosting the Non Aligned Summit, claiming it as a wedding of Kaffirs (Kaperinge Magula). more..

Ramith Rambukwella fined 50% of his tour earnings over plane incident

July 18 (AD) Sri Lanka A team cricketer Ramith Rambukwella will be fined 50% of his tour fees following an incident on a British Airways flight bound to London, sources confirmed. The player was given a stern warning concerning the incident as well. A Sri Lankan cricketer later confirmed by Sri Lanka Cricket as Ramith searching for the lavatory on a trans-Atlantic flight allegedly caused panic among passengers when he tried to open more..

The mixed choir

July 18 (CT) I’m not a religious person. I don’t go to church very often. But I was in church last Sunday because my beautiful and talented Hindu friend invited me to listen to her choir at an event titled HymnFest ’13 – a festival of hymns for brass, organ, choir and congregation. So there I was at the quaint old St. Andrew’s Scots Kirk, Kollupitiya, listening to the powerful voices of a very ethnically mixed choir, including my Hindu friend. When everyone is dressed in nondescript black, singing in more..

KOICA trains trainers of disabled youth

July 18 (Island) A Sri Lankan delegation comprising Secretary of the Ministry of Social Services Mrs. Emelda Sukumar, 14 Directors and heads and instructors of vocational training schools, under the Ministry, will shortly return from South Korea after having followed a programme on capacity building for Instructors in Vocational Training Institutes for the Disabled Yos in its socio-political thinking. Cinema is an 'art.' more..

Jaya rebukes Karuna's action on Katchatheevu island

July 18 (PTI) Lashing out at her arch rival and DMK president M Karunanidhi for moving the Supreme Court seeking retrieval of Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today termed it as a "political opportunistic drama" to hood wink people of the state. She accused Karunanidhi of doing little to prevent ceding of the island through a pact in 1974 by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi more..

NCP edu. bigwigs fail to pass the buck to Govt. Press

July 18 (Island) Education authorities of the North Central Province yesterday visited the Govt Press in Colombo to find out how the answers too were printed on the Sinhala language and literature question paper of the term ending test on Tuesday. North Central Province Education Ministry Secretary R.K. Premasiri said that he along with the Provincial Education Minister Peshala Jayaratne, the provincial education director and other officials went to the Govt Press, but they had refused to more..

Ministerial progeny vie for PC polls candidacy

July 18 (CT) Sons of seven MPs and ministers of the SLFP are said to have faced the interview held on Tuesday to select candidates for the forthcoming North-Western and Central Provincial Council elections, party sources disclosed. Accordingly, sons of Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake, and Deputy Minister Nandimithra Ekanayake appeared for interviews with the intention of getting candidacies for the Central Provincial Council elections. more..

Sri Lanka pledges unrestricted media access to high profile Commonwealth meeting

July 18 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan govt will make the final decision on which media personnel will be allowed to cover the upcoming CHOGM, a minister said, adding that controversial journalists will also be allowed to apply. Concerns have been raised that media personnel critical of Sri Lanka's human rights record and allegations of war crimes including Channel 4 journalist Callum McCrae who directed the controversial documentary more..

ACNU to begin awareness campaign

July 18 (CT) The All Ceylon Nurses' Union (ACNU) will begin a one-month-long awareness campaign in 100 hospitals, before engaging in stronger trade union action, demanding the government to introduce and implement a Nurses' Service Code. ACNU President, H.M. Madiwatta, said nurses will launch intense trade union action, if the Nurses' Service Code is not implemented. He said the government had repealed the service code, which has been in existence since 1984. more..

KOICA trains trainers of disabled youth

July 18 (Island) A Sri Lankan delegation comprising Secretary of the Ministry of Social Services Mrs. Emelda Sukumar, 14 Directors and heads and instructors of vocational training schools, under the Ministry, will shortly return from South Korea after having followed a programme on capacity building for Instructors in Vocational Training Institutes for the Disabled Youth. Three-week long project began on July 7. A spokesperson for KOICA said that the programme had been designed to more..