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Mahiyangana Mosque closed after threats

July 20 (CT) Uva Province Minister, Anura Vithanagamage, has allegedly threatened the trustee of the Mahiyangana Mosque against holding Jumma prayers, Minister Rauff Hakeeem, Leader of the SLMC said in a statement. The Masjidul Arafa Mosque in Mahiyangana was closed yesterday, subsequent to the threats. “The Mahiyangana Mosque has been targeted for over a week, in what appears to be the latest in more..

'LTTE fronts collecting funds'

July 20 (CG) Minister G.L. Peiris said that that there are continuing fund raising activities carried out by LTTE front organizations and reiterated the importance of sustained vigilance in this regard. He said this during a meeting he had with a visiting delegation for Relations with Countries of South Asia in the European Parliament. Prof. Peiris acknowledged the ongoing co-operation on counter-terrorism, and judicial action taken by several member countries of the EU against more..

Dual citizenship law submitted for AG’s approval

July 20 (CT) The drafting of a new legislation to make provisions for the granting of dual citizenship to the Sri Lankans residing abroad has been completed, an official attached to the Department of the Legal Draftsman said. The draft legislation has already been submitted to the Attorney General's Department for the review. Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Planning, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, said the amendment would be tabled in Parliament, once it is endorsed by the AG. more..

Polls chief won’t shut the door on European monitors

July 20 (Island) Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday scotched claims that the Elections Secretariat wouldn’t invite polls monitors from the European Union and Commonwealth countries due to opposition by some political parties. He said that the EU and Commonwealth countries, along with two Asian monitoring group, had deployed personnel in Sri Lanka during parliamentary polls on many occasions. more..

CHOGM: Opera of the politicians

July 20 (CT) Even before the so-called CHOGM can begin, there appears to be a certain backstage debate taking place regarding accreditation of truth seekers from overseas. A week ago, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said, some foreign journalists who in his opinion are a threat to 'National Security' will be debarred from entering the country for the Summit. Then, a contrary remark came from Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, that all media personnel who wish to cover the more..

Indifference towards attacks on Muslims

July 20 (CT) Organized attacks on Muslims which began almost two years ago continue unabated while the govt remains indifferent, impatient Muslims thinking of turning to streets to highlight their grievance and Muslims worldwide closely monitoring developments here. Growing feeling within the Muslim community is that though these attacks look isolated, but they are well organized and coordinated with ulterior motive. The deliberate employment of few Buddhist monks in the more..

Striding along the celluloid of the mainstream

July 20 (NS) With his recent accolade for Best Director at the Madrid International Festival for the film ‘A Common Man’ starring screen legend Sir Ben Kingsley, Sri Lankan filmmaker Chandran Rutnam is breaking new ground in the sphere of Sri Lankan filmmaking. In an interview with The Nation Rutnam speaks candidly of his sentiments about his latest accomplishment, insights about his craft and other related topics. more..

GNOA threatens fresh strike, claiming harassment

July 20 (Island) The GNOA warned that it would resort to a strike next week if the Health Ministry harassed the nurses who had participated in Wednesday’s token strike. GNOA President Saman Ratnapriya said that the Ministry had asked for the names of nurses who struck work on that day. In a letter to the Health Secretary, Ratnapriya has said the GNOA sees it as an effort to intimidate the strikers. more..

Sinister moves to bring back former union leader

July 20 (SL) The SLFP trade union members affiliated to Milk Industries of Lanka Company (MILCO) are at loggerheads with their former union leader who has commenced a signature campaign to oust the present trade union leader. The SLFP trade union members on conditions of anonymity said the former trade union leader is now collecting signatures of two-thirds of the union members to expel the present leader to which the SLFP more..

CaFFE suspects delaying tactic

July 20 (CG) The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) suspects the govt is engaged in a delaying tactic by not inviting international election monitors for the provincial council elections in September. CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon said that deploying foreign observers at the last moment, where they do not understand the context in which the elections are held, often leads to confusion and more..

Sri Lanka's murky casino taxes stirs controversy

July 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's main opposition has slammed proposed tax breaks for casinos to be operated by James Packer's Australia based Crown group and said the plans will be opposed in parliament. Sri Lanka's investment promotions ministry published a preliminary notice on tax breaks for Lake Leisure Holdings, where Packer's Crown group is expected to invest and another project by John Keells Holdings. more..

SC orders female inspector be promoted as WASP despite lack of inches

July 20 (ST) She was told by Police higher ups that she was not tall enough to be a gazetted officer. Woman Inspector Bimshani Jasin Arachchi went before the Supreme Court (SC) to challenge the long arm of the law which had discriminated against her. The SC upheld her plea and she will now become an ASP. the Bench ordered her promotion to the rank of woman Assistant Superintendent to be back dated to 2007. more..

Stop prosecution of De Jure CJ: Lawyers tell Govt

July 20 (FT) Lawyers’ Collective in a statement alleged that it reliably learns that the Govt was in the process of instituting criminal prosecution against the CJ, Shirani Bandaranayake, shortly. “The recommencement of the hate campaign against her in the State media is an indication of this intended action,” it said. Following are excerpts from the statement: The State media is known to be operating in close collaboration more..

Deliberate attempts to spread panic about provincial police powers – DPF

July 20 (AD) Accusing leaders of certain govt coalition parties of spreading “unnecessary panic” regarding police powers for Provincial Councils, the Democratic People’s Front today said that any provincial administration obviously needs police powers to handle law and order in the society. They are trying to create panic by giving an exaggerated unrealistic idea about provincial police powers, Deputy Leader of the DPF, more..

Gotabhaya in Uganda

July 20 (NV) The Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has jetted into the country to promote bilateral security among both nations. Rajapaksa was received by Uganda’s State minister of Defense, General Jeje Odong at Entebbe Airport on Friday. The SL High Commissioner to Uganda, Vellupillai Kananathan, said the defense secretary is here on a working state visit and would spend five days in Uganda. more..

NPC polls: Govt. wary of US motives

July 20 (Island) Many an eyebrow has been raised over a recent visit undertaken by a Colombo based US diplomat, to the Vanni region where discussions with the TNA focused on the forthcoming first NPC election, army occupying public buildings, election monitoring process, security to candidates as well as the military interfering in civil administration. Polls Chief is expected shortly to announce the polls date. more..

Sri Lanka never understands sane advices

July 20 (CT) Shivshankar Menon, National Security Adviser of India, visited Colombo from 8 – 9 July, 2013 to participate in the 2nd NSA-Level Meeting on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Although security conference was the main purpose of Shivshankar’s visit, he also took the opportunity to convey India’s concerns about attempts made by the Sri Lankan government to dilute 13 A by robbing provincial councils powers over land and police. more..

Flipside of the Wigneswaran coin

July 20 (CT) Following the TNA’s decision to field C.V. Wigneswaran as the Chief Minister Candidate for the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council election, ‘Thinakkural’, a Tamil daily, carried a front page cartoon depicting the “unanimity” with which Wigneshwaran was selected. In the cartoon, Mavai Senathirajah, who was the other contender for the CM candidacy, was seen ushering Wigneshwaran to the centre stage, holding his hand, while other TNA MPs were singing, dancing and more..

Obama nominates Indian-American as pointperson for South Asia

July 20 (IANS) On the eve of Vice President Joe Biden's visit to India, President Barack Obama has nominated Nisha Desai Biswal, an accomplished Indian-American administrator, as America's new point person for South Asia. When confirmed by the Senate, Desai will become the first person of Indian or even South Asian origin to head the South Asia bureau of the State Department, which oversees US more..

'Fuel subsidy won with sacrifice of lives is being slashed'

July 20 (LT) The paltry fuel subsidy that was obtained with sacrifices of lives of fishermen too has been slashed states the President of All Ceylon Fisheries Federation Nihal Galappaththi. He said, “About 250,000 to 300,000 fishermen depend on the fuel subsidy for their industry. The fishermen fell from the pan to the hearth when fuel prices were raised. A fuel subsidy was won after fisher folk carried out struggles sacrificing their lives. The subsidy given was not at all sufficient. more..

‘Govt. always discourages illegal travel’

July 20 (DM) The External Affairs Ministry yesterday said that the Sri Lankan government as a policy had discouraged illegal travel and would further use all possible modes to dissuade illegal asylum seekers, while claiming that it needed more time to study the ban on such asylum seekers. “The Sri Lankan government has always been against this sort of activity, as much as it is illegal it outs the lives of those travelling through boats at very great risk. Therefore as a policy we have taken all more..

TNA finalises seat allocations

July 20 (DM) The TNA has finalised the seat allocations for the coalition members of the alliance in the north for the provincial council elections. The agreement was reached following three days of deliberations among the coalition party members in Jaffna. The TNA had already agreed on nominating former Supreme Court Judge C.V. Wigneswaran as the Chief Ministerial candidate for the Northern Provincial Council elections. more..

Three Lankans arrested in France

July 20 (CG) A young Sri Lankan woman, her husband and her lover have been arrested in France after the woman attempted to kill her son and commit suicide, the French media reported today. The 28 year old woman had attempted to kill her child born from an illicit affair with a Sri Lankan man. The woman had been in an affair with the man since 2010. She had attempted to commit suicide but did not want to leave the child alive as she felt there would not be anyone to take care of the child. more..

Fake note from Judge at Expressway gate

July 20 (LB) A magistrate has lodged a complaint with the police after a Rs 1,000 note used by him to pay the fee at a toll office of the Kottawa Interchange on the Southern Expressway, had turned out to be a counterfeit currency note. The Angunakolapelessa Magistrate, arriving from Galle, had attempted to exit the expressway from the Kottawa Interchange at round 10pm Friday night, when the cash machine at the toll office had detected that the Rs 1,000 used to pay the fee was a dud note. more..

Sisu Diriya provides over 425 scholarships for Jaffna students

July 20 (MoD) Under the "Sisu Diriya" Educational Scholarship programme over 425 scholarships were distributed among students of Jaffna at a function held at the Weerasingham Hall in Jaffna recently. During the event each student received a bank pass book with a deposit of Rs. 5000.00 along with a valuable stationary pack. Selected students from low income families residing in the 51 Division region more..

Wide spread incidents of extortion taking place throughout the country – LfD

July 20 (CT) ‘Lawyers for Democracy’ views with alarm the wide spread incidents of extortion that is taking place throughout the country. The recent incident where the manager of a plantation was murdered and the statement released by the Planters’ Association reveals the several cases of extortion and intimidation that has taken place in the plantation sector. Forcible acquisition of land from lawful owners and even state lands is fast becoming like bribery and corruption more..

‘Savings Fiesta’ a success, says Com Bank

July 20 (Island) The Commercial Bank has achieved a record increase in public deposits in June this year, as a result of its country-wide ‘Savings Fiesta’ promotion, which encompassed its entire network of 232 branches and service points, the bank said in a statement. The Bank said that the principal objective of the Savings Fiesta was to promote the saving habit mong the general public. A noteworthy aspect of the Savings Fiesta programme was the extent to which individual branches and their staff more..

'Casinos, prostitution no tonic for tourism'

July 20 (DM) Western Provincial Councilor Udaya Gammanpila said the tourism industry in Sri Lanka could not be developed by setting up casinos, legalising prostitution or by turning Sri Lanka into a nation drenched in alcohol. He expressed these views at the inauguration ceremony of the 2013 Handicraft Exhibition held at the Colombo Public Library. He said the tourism industry was going astray with these new suggestions more..

Govt. fishing in troubled waters – Premadasa

July 20 (Island) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa claimed that fishermen around the country would not trust the insurance and pension scheme introduced by the Fisheries Ministry. Premadasa said he had attended 49 funerals out of 53 fishermen killed in stormy Southern seas recently, but only four of those fishermen were covered by the insurance scheme. "They told me that they could not trust the government as it had lied to them about a fuel subsidy," Premadasa said. more..

Ethnic riddle in Sri Lanka

July 20 (ENS) President Rajapaksa has announced that his government will accept the recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) regarding steps to be taken to bring about ethnic reconciliation through devolution of powers to the provinces. Senior minister Nimal Sripala De Silva will be the chairman of the PSC. The PSC has started working on a wrong note. The UNP, JVP, TNA and the SLMC have, for their own reasons, declined the invitation to join more..

Hard line asylum stance won't stop them leaving, but may stop them arriving

July 20 (SMH) Australia's new “hardline” refugee resettlement policy will not stop young men in Sri Lanka boarding boats to seek asylum, but it may stop them from trying to come to Australia. The announcement by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Friday that asylum seekers who reach Australian waters would be resettled in Papua New Guinea has made prominent news in all major newspapers in Sri Lanka. more..

Statue of Jade Buddha for Universal Peace arrives in Japan

July 20 (FT) The statue of the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace was ceremonially placed at a special opening ceremony held on Friday, 12 July at the Sojiji Temple in Tsurumi, Kanagawa prefecture organised by the Theravada Buddhist Association in Japan in association with Venerable Yalagamuwe Dammissara Thero, Chief Priest of the Hachi-oji Temple in Japan and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Tokyo. The statue will also be placed for viewing in Saitama and Ishinomaki in Japan. more..

'Status elevation ups debt vulnerability'

July 20 (DM) The changing debt dynamics as a result of Sri Lanka graduating to lower middle income status has increased the country’s debt vulnerability, and the situation could aggravate to a crisis unless the government takes remedial measures to address the situation, a leading economist in the country said. According to Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, the govt is now borrowing at over 6 percent and sometimes even at 9% or 10% through treasury instruments. more..

GK depositors appeal to Kotelawala

July 20 (ST) In a dramatic turn of events in the collapsed Golden Key Credit Card Company saga, a group of disgruntled depositors are making valiant attempt to persuade former Ceylinco Chief Lalith Kotelawala, the main culprit in the drama, to make some commitments to repay their security deposits even after four years and six months have passed without any response from him. They visited the residence of Mr. Kotelawala at more..

Pilgrim traffic resumes to Bodh Gaya

July 20 (ST) Travel agents in Colombo last Wednesday resumed issuing tickets for travel to Bodh Gaya after a 48-hour suspension since the July 7th attack on the Mahabodhi Temple in the Bihar state of India. Travel Agents Association President Saman Premakumara told the Business Times that they had resumed issuing tickets for pilgrim traffic to Bodh Gaya after local authorities said it was safe to travel to the site. The Sri Lankan High Commission in Delhi on Thursday more..

Triumph set to wrap around your man next!

July 20 (ST) Triumph International plans to entice Sri Lankan men to get intimate with their new clothes range set to roll out in two years time when they introduce the “HOM” lingerie to the Colombo market, which is struggling for increased competition. Set to hit retail stores in Colombo and around the country in either 2014 or 2015, the brand’s General Manager for India and Sri Lanka Shalindra Fernando said they would be rolling out this new collection of men’s brand to the local market along with more..

Sri Lanka 2013

VIDEO: Govt hoping to buy Tamil vote by improving living standards - Nirj Deva

July 20 (AD) The Sri Lankan govt is hoping that by working very hard and expending vast resources to improve the living standards of the people in the North and East that they will get away with the problem of sharing political power, says a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Sri Lankan-born Niranjan Devaadithya, also known as Nirj Deva, stated that govt hopes they can “buy” the affection and the goodwill and the electoral vote of the Tamil people by improving their living standards. more..

Seven Ex-UNP MPs file petitions against disciplinary action

July 20 (CT) Mt. Lavinia Civil Appeal Court yesterday issued an injunction preventing the Disciplinary Committee of the UNP from taking action against a group of MPs who crossed over to the govt, until 1 August. The Court also issued notice on Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe and the members of the Disciplinary Committee to appear before Court on 1 August. Former UNP MPs, Lakshman Seneviratne, Earl Gunasekara, Praba Ganeshan, more..

Sri Lanka thrash SA by 180 runs

July 20 (CI) It was not exactly 624 but Kumar Sangakkara's century would have brought back memories of his 2006 record-stand with Mahela Jayawardene for South Africa's bowlers. Sri Lanka's talisman magical year continued as he notched up the highest score by a Sri Lankan batsman at home, his own highest score, went past Ian Bell as the second highest run-scorer in ODIs this year and took his 2013 average to 75.55. more..