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Sri Lanka enjoys increased inflows

July 23 (FT) The Central Bank on Friday said the country’s external sector continued to remain stable with increased inflows to the Current Account as well as the Financial Account of the Balance of Payments (BOP). It said earnings from tourism and current transfers by way of workers’ remittances increased notably, strengthening the Current Account. The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded increased foreign investments reflecting improved investor confidence. more..

Murder victim's family tell of heartbreak

July 23 (Stuff) Sameera Battelage dreamt of bringing his parents to New Zealand, but instead it was Victim Support that paid for their flights so they could sit face to face with his killers. The Sri Lankan couple sat supported by family during a month-long murder trial in the High Court in Christchurch, but had to step outside as the most gruesome details of their son's death emerged. There were tears and sighs of relief more..

Colombo agonises India

July 23 (PO) “The Govt of Sri Lanka has approved the Atomic Energy Authority of Sri Lanka to conduct a pre-feasibility study of using nuclear energy as a viable option beyond 2020 for power generation with the technical cooperation of the Agency.” This was the statement made by Minister Champika Ranawake at the 54th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Now circumstances reveal that Sri Lanka is budging forward to materialize that statement. more..

COPE requests wider powers

July 23 (DN) The report of the COPE which evaluated the performance of over 248 public enterprises will be presented to Parliament today. This is the first time that COPE has investigated such a large number of public institutions. The report has also made a number of recommendations to ensure the smooth functioning of such institutions. COPE chairman D.E.W. Gunasekera said a majority of public enterprises registered under the Companies Act are running at a loss more..

Fishermen leaders get invite for talks with Sri Lankan counterparts

July 23 (TOI) In a promising development, the fishermen leaders here received an invite to visit Sri Lanka and hold talks with their Sri Lankan counterparts. The fishers, however, urged the state govt to facilitate this meeting so that the resolutions passed by the fishermen groups are implemented. According to the fishermen leaders, they received a letter from a Sri Lankan official who acted as the translator of Minister Basil Rajapaksa, more..

Committees of conscience in war affected areas

July 23 (DN) The North East Inter-faith Forum for Reconciliation (NEIFR) has launched a programme to establish ‘Committees of Conscience’ in the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Ampara, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar and Puttalam Districts. The launch of the first Committee of Conscience in the Anuradhapura District, took place at the Anuradhapura National Tourist Resort Auditorium recently. The Chairman of the forum Ven Welimuwapothana Piyaratana Nayaka Thera more..

PS Chairman sells PS double cab for Rs 375,000

July 23 (CT) The meeting conducted by the Pathahewaheta Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) turned to a debate recently, when a story of a UPFA Member and a vehicle belonging to Pradeshiya Sabha became the focus of discussion. UPFA Member, Saman Dharma Sri Bandara said the Chairman S.B. Rajanayake, had sold the double cab (registration No. 53-4738) to a businessman staying close to his (Rajanayake's) house. "The value of the vehicle was earlier estimated at Rs 800,000. more..

SLFP local politicians to expose errant seniors

July 23 (Island) Some of the SLFP local govt politicians summoned for a meeting with the party leadership at the Presidential Secretariat on July 31 in view of the involvement of several ruling party Pradeshiya Sabha members in criminal activities are likely to complain to President Rajapaksa against some ministers, if they are permitted to articulate their grievances. A member of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha, said that they were more..

Bar EP Zonal Directors from exam duties

July 23 (CT) The Sri Lanka Educational Administrative Services Union (SLEASU) has demanded that the Commissioner General of Examinations bars several Zonal Directors of Education of the Eastern Province who are reportedly conducting private tuition classes for GCE A/L students, from being involved in exam duties. The SLEASU has raised concerns that should the aforementioned Zonal Directors be allowed to be present in the exami halls, there is a risk more..

Karunaratne laments over missing coach

July 23 (ST) Sri Lanka’s badminton and London Olympics standout, Niluka Karunaratne, revealed that his preparation for the forthcoming Badminton World Championships in Guangzhou China has been greatly stymied by the absence of national coach Shankar Annamalai, a predicament he says the Sri Lanka Badminton Association has yet to resolve. Annamalai is currently on annual leave back in his native Malaysia, and were he not to return, Karunaratne will have to face the daunting more..

Sri Lanka hooked on substandard Indian drugs from blacklisted manufacturers

July 23 (ST) Some of the Pharmaceuticals imported into the country, mostly from India, are repeatedly failing to comply with quality standards, and authorities are facing difficulties in withdrawing them from the outlets after the quality tests are done. In 2012, over 110 drugs have failed to comply with the standards, while this number has reached 54 in 2013. In January alone, 13 varieties have been recalled more..

Tuition masters arrested for printing currency notes

July 23 (CT) Police have arrested two English language tuition masters for allegedly printing fake currency notes in a house in Poddala, Galle. Poddala Police said the men were arrested on a tip off. Police said Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 denomination forged notes printed by the suspects are presently in circulation. They also said the suspects had revealed that they had printed forged notes to the tune of Rs 200,000. Police said a previous court case over printing forged notes more..

Health Secretary 'terrorizing' nurses

July 23 (CT) All Ceylon Nurses Union (ACNU), charged that the Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Dr. Nihal Jayatilake, has been 'terrorizing' nurses and has launched a witch-hunt against those who took part in trade union action. ACNU President, Saman Ratnapriya, said that during the islandwide trade union action launched by the nurses on 16 July, the Secretary had ordered that the names of those who had participated in the strike be submitted to him. Going by the names on the list, more..

Parties supporting 13A in coalition talks

July 23 (DM) The ruling UPFA Govt’s constituent parties, which support the full implementation of the 13th Amendment are currently discussing the ways and means of fielding candidates under a common alliance. Discussions are currently underway among the SLMC, the Citizens Front and other constituent parties to contest the upcoming elections to the provincial council under a common alliance. more..

Agriculture Ministry wants to end dependence on imported seed

July 23 (Island) Sri Lanka’s weak vegetable, fruit and pulse breeding industry had left the country with no choice but to spend vast sums of money on importing seeds and breeding stock, which would impair the future growth of the country’s entire agricultural sector, Agriculture Ministry Secretary W.A Sakalasooriya said. He said that the country imported around Rs. 2,000 million worth of vegetable, fruit and pulse seeds including 2,000,000 MT of maize seeds at a cost of about more..

Mother of Noori estate killing main suspect arrested

July 23 (Island) The mother of the main suspect in the killing of Noori Estae Deraniyagala early this month was arrested by the police on Saturday afternoon for threatening a woman believed to have provided information to the police about the crime. Suspect, Siriyawathie, is the mother of Amila Wasantha Wijesinghe, who is the chief suspect in the killing of Noori Estate Superintendent Nihal Perera (71) on July 04. She was due to be produced before Deraniyagala Magistrate. more..

CEB’s controversial power purchase agreements under microscope

July 23 (Island) A high level-five member committee headed by Central Bank Deputy Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe has been appointed to look into the terms and conditions of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with Independent Power Producers (IPPs) as they account for more than Rs. 12 billion of CEB funds annually. Power and Energy Ministry, Secretary, M.M.C. Ferdinando took steps to appoint more..

'Wary' Sri Lanka refuses to give power to provincial chiefs

July 23 (DM) Days after a favourable result in the Bhutan polls gave New Delhi some relief, the foreign office is set to face another crisis, also involving elections in the neighbourhood. Despite India stridently insisting that Sri Lanka has to fully devolve powers to provincial leaders following upcoming polls in the post-war Tamil north, Colombo is refusing to budge - with Minister Basil Rajapaksa asserting that crucial portions of the India-installed 13th Amendment will have to be "sacrificed". more..

Launch of jumbo report further delayed

July 23 (Island) The launch of the reprint of the report on the first countrywide survey on elephants, conducted in 2011, will be further delayed, according to senior officials of the Department of Wildlife Conservation. The first print of the report was destroyed due to some shortcomings and infighting in the department, according to sources. Last December, the department gave the green light for printing 500 books at a cost of Rs. 500,000. The Director Operations and Director, more..

Pledge of patriotism

July 23 (CT) All candidates contesting in Provincial elections, scheduled for September, should affix an affidavit with their nomination, swearing that he or she respects the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, and unequivocally opposes any attempt to divide the country, Elections Commissioner said. He said the affidavit is mandatory, and two copies of the same should be submitted with each nomination. more..

Legalising tuition means school educaton has failed

July 23 (DM) National Education Commission (NEC) Chairman Lakshman Jayatilaka said last week that the NEC would recommend to President Rajapaksa to introduce a mechanism whereby school teachers would provide private tuition to students after school hours. Explaining the rationale behind the idea, Prof. Jayatilaka had said it was a well-known fact that most tuition masters who conducted classes for GCE O/L and A/L students did not even have O/L and A/L qualifications, while teachers more..

Politics of sleepwalking

July 23 (DM) The virulent attack by a state-run television channel on reputed writer, translator and media activist Gamini Viyangoda on July 14 is another decisive (and derisive) step in the state’s top-priority project to create obedient, soulless artists and journalists who will work like robots to promote a singular, uniform culture functioning as its propaganda and information tool. Gamini Viyangoda is one of the few remaining dissenting voices against this monolithic onslaught against the more..

Dramatist defends Edward Snowden

July 23 (WSWS) Acclaimed Sri Lankan dramatist and filmmaker Dharmasiri Bandaranayke has responded to the WSWS campaign indefence of whistle blower Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor. The Obama administration has unleashed an unprecedented international witch-hunt against Snowden, cancelling his passport, charging him with espionage and pressuring countries to deny him asylum. more..

Flying Fish: Fins clipped before flight

July 23 (ST) The uproar caused over the screening of the film Igilena Maluwo (Flying Fish) at the recently held French Film Festival at the BMICH in Colombo has snowballed into a major controversy with the CID probing if the producers of the film violated the conditional authorisation given to them by the Defence Ministry to film actors in military uniform. A senior CID official said that an investigation has commenced and more..

Fulfil budget promises

July 23 (CT) Estate workers who have contributed to the economy of the country for many years, but are being treated as second class citizens, staged a protest in Deltota town demanding that promises made in the last budget be fulfilled. The protest was organized by the People's Campaign for Estate Workers' Land Rights (PCEWLR). Convener of PCEWLR, Linus Jayatileke said though it was promised in the more..

Remembering Sri Lanka's Black July

July 23 (BBC) Thirty years ago, Tamil separatists stepping up militant attacks in northern Sri Lanka killed 13 soldiers who reported for duty only a day earlier. Over the next few days, mobs of the Sinhalese majority took revenge, killing between 400 and 3,000 Tamils around the country and triggering a civil war that lasted 26 years and sent hundreds of thousands of Tamils into exile. The BBC's Charles Haviland reports on the more..

Northern Expressway made longer with political detours

July 23 (SL) The proposed Northern Expressway, which was initially planned to go along the railway line from Walpola to Bulugahagoda, is to be changed due to alleged political interference. To save certain properties including a petrol shed/service station, bank building and a reception hall in Batuwatte, the original plan has been changed resulting in a detour through Narangoda Paluwa that will add nearly 1.5kms more more..

How wartime force is being turned into a peacetime force

July 23 (DM) Outgoing Army Commander General Jagath Jayasuriya who will be the next Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) spoke to Daily Mirror on a wide range of key untapped developments already underway and responded to a number of allegations levelled against the Army. The second longest serving Army Commander in the country pointed out that no one could criticise the role played by the troops. more..

Bibile drug policy, a non-starter – Docs

July 23 (Island) Prof. Senaka Bibile Memorial Foundation Association Convener Dr. Jayantha Bandara said the govt’s efforts to implement the Senaka Bibile National Drug Policy had come a cropper. Dr. Bandara said: Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has said on many occasions that a new draft bill is being prepared by a committee appointed by him. In the same breath, he says that the draft bill is ready and more..

Museum suspects given bail

July 23 (CG) The Colombo Fort Magistrate Gihan Pilapitya granted bail to the suspects in Colombo Museum robbery case. All except the main suspect were freed on Rs. 1 Million personal bail by the Magistrate when they were produced in court today. The Colombo National Museum was broken into in March last year and some historic items belonging to country`s last kings were stolen. Among the items stolen were more..

Deeds of army-vacated lands to owners next month

July 23 (DM) Jaffna Security Forces Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe said the deeds of lands once occupied by the Army would be handed over to the owners by the Land Ministry beginning from next month. The first phase would begin next month with the Land Ministry identifying the respective owners. “We have vacated all the lands and houses we were once occupying and we have moved into the Palaly Cantonment,” more..

Uganda, Sri Lanka to share military operations

July 23 (NV) President Yoweri Museveni has held talks with the visiting Sri- Lanka Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajabaksa. The meeting at State House Entebbe on Monday was also attended by Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Uganda Vellupillai Kananathan. The President and his visitor discussed bilateral relations including co-operation in the areas of military and defence. The two countries further discussed sharing more..

July: Many reasons to keep calling it Bloody & Black

July 23 (CT) Waking up to a misty, cold morning on Monday 25th July, I listened to the day’s first “Thevava” (තේවාව) of Dalada Maligawa, the pinnacle of Buddhism in this “Land of Gauthama Buddha”. Looking down at the Kandy town from the front garden space of “Satyodaya” on Pushpadana hillock, the town was seen just breaking out of its long night slumber. The morning breeze carried the drum beats of the Thevava across the silent town waking up men, women and children into more..

Family tree in politics: Negation of democracy

July 23 (CT) Dynastic politics is not alien to this part of the world. Indeed, it has been a curse that stagnated, and in fact, reversed the democratic evolution of South Asia, despite the initial promise that the sub-continent held at the outset of their independence from the British Raj. During their reign, colonial Britain, the first liberal empire in the history of human civilization, embarked on an extensive series of democratic experiments, and finally, by the time of their departure, more..

Mahinda’s devolution proposals were Sarath Silva’s brainchild

July 23 (CT) “Most parties represented in parliament, including several elements of the ruling coalition, have come out publicly or privately against the governing SLFP draft devolution proposals. The Sinhalese nationalist JVP has also attacked the plan, saying it is contrary to the President’s anti-federalist 2005 election campaign manifesto, which the JVP accepted when it supported him. The opposition UNP is more..

'Show children seamy side of life, teach them dangers of alcohol and smoking'

July 23 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday urged parents to take their children to the Maharagama Cancer Institute and Angoda Mental Institute during school holidays scheduled to commence next month. Minister Sirisena said parents usually took their children to places like the Zoological Gardens and the National Museum. It was their responsibility to let their children have a glimpse of the seamy side of life as well, he added. The sight of little children dying of cancer more..

Atrenta expands R&D operations in Sri Lanka

July 23 (BW) Atrenta Inc., the leading provider of SoC Realization solutions for the semiconductor and consumer electronics industries, announced today that Dr. Ajith Pasqual, who serves as the Head of the Department of Electronic & Telecommunication Engineering at the University of Moratuwa, has joined Atrenta's Technical Advisory Board. “Sri Lanka has been a highly productive addition to our worldwide R&D locations,” said Dr. Ajoy Bose, CEO of Atrenta. more..

Sri Lanka disaster stocks dangerously low

July 23 (IRIN) Disaster relief stocks across Sri Lanka are dangerously low, experts and officials warn. “There are gaps we need to fill, especially on stocks like tents and medicines that cannot be procured at short notice,” Sarath Lal Kumara, assistant director of the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), the main govt body tasked with early warning and relief work, said. The pre-positioning of emergency supplies is more..

Train services to Beliatte within 2 years

July 23 (GDI) Construction work of the Matara-Kataragama Railway track from Matara to Beliatte is now underway. Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama said that train services from Matara to Beliatte will be started within two years fulfilling a long standing aspiration of the people of the South. He added that the extension of the new railway line from Matara to Kataragama is a flagship project in the development plan of the Govt. Speaking at a function held at SLTB Depot in Matara, more..

Grand beginnings and pathetic realities

July 23 (CT) Bentota, Miriswatta and Bogahagodawatta were named as 'Fishing Villages' by then Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Mahinda Rajapaksa who is now the President of the country. The 'Sausirigama' village includes 42 houses and was inaugurated on 31 July 1999. However, the souvenir plaque erected on the inaugural day is now covered with moss and the construction work is left neglected. The two well constructed large water tanks built at a more..