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‘Where are Sharma’s manners?’

July 19 (FT) Opposition MP Mangala Samaraweera reacted strongly to the lack of a response from the Commonwealth Secretariat to his letter highlighting the deteriorating democratic standards in Sri Lanka three months before it is scheduled to take leadership of the international grouping. He said Sharma was yet to grace him with the courtesy of an acknowledgement to his letter dated 5 July. “I wrote to the Secretary General not only as a concerned citizen, but also as a former Foreign Minister more..

CLA urges Rudd to boycott Sri Lanka

July 19 (LW) The president of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) is calling on Kevin Rudd to boycott the upcoming CHOGM meeting in Sri Lanka. The CLA supports a boycott, claiming the controversial removal of Sri Lanka's chief justice shows a lack of judicial independence and transparency in the country. “Now Rudd’s back in it’s very important to see how he reacts because going to [CHOGM in] Sri Lanka is giving it the tick of approval; it would make a mockery of more..

No EU monitors for north

July 19 (CG) The European Union (EU) will not be sending monitors for the provincial council elections in the North, a visiting EU delegation said today. Jean Lambert, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with the Countries of South Asia, said that the EU usually monitors major elections and in the case of the elections in the North there was not enough time to prepare for it. Speaking at a social gathering more..

Rugby: Sri Lanka lures Bay stars

July 19 (BPT) Sir Gordon Tietjens and Matua Parkinson will feature at Sri Lanka's two-week festival of sevens that begins in Colombo next week. With the support of Sri Lanka's President Rajapaksa, whose son is a very good sevens player, the tournament has attracted international players from Fiji, Samoa, South Africa, US, Kenya, Australia and New Zealand. It is hoped to increase the depth of rugby in the country of 20 million people. Parkinson leaves today and will play in a team that more..

20 transferred from Deraniyagala Police over killing of Estate Manager

July 19 (FT) Twenty Police officers attached to the Deraniyagala Police Station have been transferred with immediate effect over the murder of Nooriya Tea Estate Manager Nihal Perera, whilst authorities are looking for four more suspects. The Police have arrested 18 people including the former Chairman of Deraniyagala Pradeshiya Sabha Anil Champika Wijesinghe and the suspects have been remanded until 24 July. The superintendent of the tea estate, Nihal Perera, 71, was hacked to death more..

Krrish Towers deal: Now, MoD asks UNP to name bribe takers, giver

July 19 (Island) The Defence and Urban Development Ministry challenged the UNP to reveal the identity of the official whose life was allegedly under threat for ‘accepting USD 4 million, on behalf of two powerful persons in the govt, as an inducement to grant a further extension of time to Krrish Towers to complete the payment on the Fort land lease agreement’. In response to our lead news item, Man who took USD 4 m for two govt more..

FUTA locks horns with Colombo University registrar

July 19 (Island) The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) has planned to stage a protest against the Registrar of the Colombo University, for allegedly violating the agreement between university teachers and Minister Basil Rajapaksa. FUTA President Dr. Ranjith Dewasiri said that the Colombo Uni Registrar had not allowed the teachers to hold a media conference at the Faculty Club of the university last week by directing marshals to prevent journalists from more..

Chandralekha thanks police for arresting PSD men

July 19 (Island) Popular singer Chandralekha Perera yesterday thanked the police for arresting the 11 Presidential Security Division personnel who had allegedly stormed her Kahathuduwa residence, cut off her long tresses, threatened and tortured her and her husband before causing severe damage to her house on January 26, 2000. The intruders also shaven the head of her singer husband Rukantha Gunatillake and driven away his jeep worth several million rupees. more..

75% duty waiver for CHOGM limos

July 19 (CT) The govt is planning to grant a 70-75% duty waiver to vendors and vehicle importing companies to bring down luxury limousines for the forthcoming CHOGM. "We are looking at the possibility of using vendors to import the limousines and we will decide on this from among a number of options we have on these aspects of the conference, as this is the first time a CHOGM conference will be hosted in an more..

IUSF protests against student suppression

July 19 (CT) The Inter University Students' Federation (IUSF) held a protest opposite the Fort Railway Station yesterday, against suppression of student activism in universities. Approximately 700 university students took to the streets and shouted demands urging the attention of the authorities. Police stood on guard, armed with riot gear and water cannons. "The student suppression within the national university system reached its pinnacle in the past few months. more..

New traffic scheme will stay, say the police

July 19 (Island) The Police have decided to go ahead with their new uniflow traffic scheme in Colombo, which came into operation at Maradana yesterday, in spite of public protests. The new scheme, according to some motorists from Maligawatte to Grandpass, took them at least 30 minutes longer to reach their destinations as they had to travel along congested narrow roads. They complained that they would have to waste more petrol/diesel, which would mean more more..

'Cannot risk a parallel army in North'

July 19 (Hindu) Despite India’s efforts to persuade Sri Lanka to fully implement the 13th Amendment in the island’s northern province, the Rajapaksa govt appears firm about not handing over some powers, including those related to police and law enforcement, to the Tamil minority. Revealing the extent to which absence of trust remains an obstacle to ethnic reconciliation in Sri Lanka, Minister Basil Rajapaksa — who visited more..

Forums and seminars must reach the grassroots

July 19 (DM) The newspapers are full of information about public forums, seminars and conferences organised by industrial bodies discussing the economic prospects and how the country should proceed to attain economic progress that was withheld by a war that dragged on for nearly 30 years. Sri Lanka’s premier business chamber, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce also recently organised an economic forum, which is an annual event of its calendar. more..

Forsaking solitude for the hustle and bustle of politics

July 19 (DM) Retired Supreme Court Judge C.V. Vigneswaran emerged from the shadow of a long and distinguished judicial career this week to be named as the TNA chief ministerial candidate at the elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). In a country where judges of its highest court have spent their retirement in dignified silence and away from the hurly burly of politics, Justice Vigneswaran creates history by becoming the first Supreme Court Judge to contest elections. more..

Most Lankans believe living in urban areas makes them ‘modern’: RCB survey

July 19 (ST) Most Sri Lankans who perceive themselves as modern prefer living in urban areas than rural or semi-urban areas. However, people who consider themselves as traditional prefer living in rural areas, according to a new study done by the Colombo-based Research Consultancy Bureau (RCB). The research agency this time ventured into studying Sri Lankans, the trends and patterns to define a modern Sri Lanka. more..

Soldier's marriage bonds Sinhalese, Tamil communities

July 19 (KSA) Sirimal Prasanga, 22, a soldier in the Sri Lankan Army, was stationed for duty in Mullaitivu, a northern town where fighting raged between the military and the LTTE until 2009. Sirimal, from the country's majority Sinhalese community, never thought he would find his wife from the Tamil community while serving in the north. He fell in love with Mary Theresa, 20, from Mulliyaveli village near Mullaitivu. more..

‘TNA should not boycott PSC with prejudice’

July 19 (DM) Velayutham Dayanithi more commonly known as Daya Master said the 13th Amendment could be an ideal starting point for the devolution of power. During an interview with the Daily Mirror, he spoke of the upcoming election, his manifesto and the development work carried out by the govt. He also spoke of allegations of military presence and land take over among others during this interview. more..

Opportunities created for corruption

July 19 (SL) In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa in September 2012, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) had proposed a list of recommendations to curb corruption at all levels in Sri Lanka. It was also highlighted that ‘the rapid development of infrastructure in the country under the Mahinda Chinthana based development initiatives has enhanced the risk of corruption at all levels’. Human rights lawyer J.C. Weliamuna more..

Harsha blasts Govt. for casino tax holidays

July 19 (DM) The Govt has in a gazette notification granted 10-year tax holidays to Lake Leisure Development Project of casino tycoon James Packer and Iconic Integrated Resort Project of John Keells Holdings to build and operate Mixed Development Projects with casinos, UNP MP Harsha De Silva said today. Dr. De Silva who is also a well-known economist said after the tax holiday, the profits earned by the Company would more..

UK still concerned on Lanka

July 19 (CG) The British Govt says it still has some concerns on human rights related issues in Sri Lanka. An update on Sri Lanka by the Foreign and Commonwealth office in its human rights report states that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka between April and June saw both positive and negative developments. The update says: The UK welcomed the Sri Lankan Permanent Representative’s announcement to the EU more..

We don’t need CEPA any longer: Basil

July 19 (Hindu) Sri Lanka will not need the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India any longer, as both countries had moved on, said Minister Basil Rajapaksa. According to him, the Sri Lankan business community felt it did not need CEPA as they had found good markets. In any case, he said, India did not make things easy for Sri Lanka, as, on the one hand, while it seemed like India was more..

'Final decision on N-E lands by end 2014'

July 19 (DM) The Land and Land Development Ministry is to take a final decision on the 250,000 plots of land in the North-East before the end of 2014 in accordance to the LLRC recommendations, subject Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon said. He said the govt had decided to take over 6,381 acres of land in the North under the expansion programme of the Palaly High Security Zone and adequate compensation and more..

'We are having a time managing jumbos in our ranks'

July 19 (Island) Amidst rumours that several UNPers were to cross over to govt ranks ahead of the three Provincial Council Elections scheduled for September, the govt said that they were already having a time managing the defectors within their ranks. Asked if UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera would also join the ruling UPFA, the Minister Keheliya Rambukwella who himself was a defector replied more..

European lawmakers press Sri Lanka to probe war crimes

July 19 (EUB) European parliamentarians Friday asked Sri Lanka to deliver on promises to investigate allegations of war crimes and ensure ethnic reconciliation more than four years after crushing Tamil separatists. A delegation of EU lawmakers requested Colombo ensure accountability in the face of what the UN calls "credible allegations" of up to 40,000 civilians killed in the final battles in 2009. more..

Bribery, Real estate and Cheap People

July 19 (CT) The story doing the rounds in the Colombo circles about a large bribe solicited from a foreign Real Estate developer is a sobering reminder that the “miraculous country”, the much used unction for our self-image notwithstanding, those reputed evils of the third world, bureaucratic buffoonery and corruption are still very much part and parcel of our system. We may speed on Sri Lanka’s one and only (southern) highway in our European made Lamborghinis (with their V12 engines!) more..

These exam paper blunders are unforgivable

July 19 (CT) Is there no end to the woes of the Department of Examination? Having muddled through the GCE Ordinary Level examinations, blundered big time with the release of the Advanced Level results and confused everyone with the Z-score conundrum in the past two years, the Department seems to be heading for another major mess up, this time for the want of some decent proof-reading. The print media fully realizes the enormous value placed on proof-reading. more..

Video: Vaas case: Confusion in Court

July 19 (DM) Confusion prevailed at the Colombo Magistrate’s Court today when four suspects informed the Magistrate that the lawyer making submissions on their behalf was not retained by them nor did he represent them. The four policemen who are in custody on charges of having killed a businessman said they were not represented by Counsel Anura Ranasinghe after State Counsel Wasantha Perera who made submissions more..

Sri Lanka foreign reserves drop in May

July 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign reserves dropped to 6.6 billion US dollars in May from 6.85 billion US dollars in April partly due to due payments to the IMF and falling gold prices. The Central Bank said it repaid 225.5 million US dollars to the IMF and was hit by valuation losses of 312 million US dollars on gold and currency movements. This year more than 500 million US dollars in foreign reserves have to be repaid to the IMF. The Central Bank which made profits on gold trading over several years more..

Trincomalee to be developed as a Metro City

July 19 (GDI) Trincomalee Outer Circular Road Project - Proposal Submitted by the Hunan Road & Bridge Construction Group Corporation of China. Sri Lanka government has identified Trincomalee to be developed as a Metro City in the Eastern Region. As a part of this task, an outer circular road to the city of Trincomalee is to be constructed to provide proper accessibility from various directions. Cabinet approved the proposal made by President, in his capacity as the Minister of Ports and more..

An uncommon bilateral series

July 19 (CI) As Sri Lanka's next ODI assignment in a year of Test avoidance rolls around, against South Africa, fans may be beginning to feel more than a touch of limited-overs fatigue. Neither team has played a Test since March and there have been no major triumphs for either team in ODIs either. The fact that this tour could have been so much better, had the Tests not been postponed to make way for a now kaput more..

COPE Chairman justifies bailout for SriLankan

July 19 (CT) Chairman of the COPE, Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara, said yesterday the Treasury is justified in using taxpayers' money to bail out SriLankan Airlines in paying its arrears to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). Minister Gunasekara said COPE is not concerned whether the money spent to settle the debts comes from the Treasury or any other institution. "What matters is the debts of the institutions are running into billion of rupees and they have to be settled," more..

Beware of fairness creams from Thailand, China

July 19 (Island) The Toxicology National Poison Information Centre (TNPIC), of the National Hospital, yesterday warned the public against using fairness creams as most brands contained high concentration of mercury, which is detrimental to their health. TNPIC head Dr. Waruna Gunathilake said that research carried out by them found that all Thai and Chinese products contained a high concentration of mercury. "Mercury can inhibit the natural pigment of the skin, Melanin, more..

Exports down 1.5%, apparel up in May

July 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports fell 1.5% to 793.9 million US dollars in May 2013 from a year earlier, but apparel exports rose 2.1% to 318.9 million US dollars. Agricultural products exports fell 6.8% to 197.9 million US dollars in June from a year earlier, rubber products were down 8% to 68.0 million US dollars. In May imports fell 1.7% to 1,548.8 million US dollars in June with consumer goods falling 0.7% to 266.6 million dollars more..

Govt to help northern private bus owners

July 19 (Island) The government has undertaken to solve the problems faced by the northern private bus operators. Private Transport Minister C.B. Ratnayaka said that he had held a discussion with private bus owners from the Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mulaitivu, Vavuniya and Mannar districts recently and would take action to solve many of their problems. The bus operators had told him that many buses were operated without valid route permits. The govt had taken action to construct more..

CP doctors on 24-hr token strike

July 19 (DM) Doctors at all govt Hospitals in the Central Province have launched a 24-hour token strike from this morning, GMOA spokesman Dr. Naveen de Soysa said. Dr. de Soysa said that the Central Province Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa had insulted the doctors at a review on maternity and child care held in Nuwara Eliya and disrupted the review which is held once every three months. He said GMOA would decide further action by this evening depending on the progress and more..

Ignominious homecoming for ex-Tamil Tigers

July 19 (AFP) For Tamil Tiger rebels who survived Sri Lanka's civil war, perhaps the most difficult part of the conflict was yet to come - the ignominy of returning home in defeat. Sri Lankan filmmaker Asoka Handagama's latest film Ini Avan explores the aftermath of the 26-year war following its "catastrophic" end four years ago. In one scene, a former militant returns to his village from a rehabilitation camp to be greeted with more..

'All teacher trade unions will rise up if nomination given to teacher punisher'

July 19 (LT) All teachers’ trade unions would rise in protest against any decision to give nominations to the former provincial councilor who punished a lady teacher by getting her to kneel in front of her students and school staff says the General Secretary of Lanka Teacher Services Union (LTSU) Mahinda Jayasinghe. “The former provincial councilor who created quite an uproar by getting a lady teacher to kneel down as a punishment expects to get nominations to contest the more..

Sri Lanka cement market to pick up in second half: Holcim

July 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's cement demand will pick up in the second half 2013, ending a slump that began in 2012, Philippe Richart, head of Holcim (Lanka) Ltd, a unit of Swiss based group said. He said cement volumes were 7-9% down in first half. "And we expect the second half to be better, where last year was a little bit of a decline," he said. "So overall we think the market this year would be probably minus 2%." In 2012 the firm posted revenues of 20.1 billion rupees. more..

Australia now closed to boatpeople: PM

July 19 (AP) Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has warned that all refugees who arrive in Australia by boat will be resettled on the South Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea as his govt struggles to stem an influx of asylum seekers. Rudd and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill signed an agreement in Brisbane on Friday that will enable Australia to deport refugees to its developing neighbor. more..

Health Minister pays glowing tribute to JMOs

July 19 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena recently paid a glowing tribute to the judicial medical field of Sri Lanka, which he said was held in high esteem, because the judicial medical officers were not involved in corrupt practices. The profession had not lost its reputation. The public had recognised the judicial medical officers, who were privileged to work in coordination with the police, the Attorney General’s Department and other high officials, the Minister said, adding that more..