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Samurdhi Housing Lottery winners not paid

July 24 (CT) The winners of the Housing Development Lottery conducted among the Samurdhi beneficiaries, had not been paid a colossal sum of Rs 138 million due to them. This was exposed in the AG's report, which states the said sum of money has been remaining idle from April 2012. These details were revealed in the report regarding the Samurdhi Authority 2012 accounts, forwarded to Parliament by the AG. It is also mentioned that this sum remains unpaid more..

Asylum seekers exploit UNHRC presence, Sri Lankan women

July 24 (Island) In spite of Sri Lanka not being a signatory to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees hence not legally responsible to accept political refugees, some of those arriving in the country seeking political asylum elsewhere through the intervention of the UNHCR are marrying local women to secure citizenship here. Official said that the govt was seriously concerned about the growing number of foreigners getting married here to avoid being deported in case they failed in their more..

Albright report slams Sri Lanka

July 24 (CG) A report compiled by a committee chaired by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has criticised the international reaction to Sri Lanka during the final stages of the conflict despite embracing the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept. R2P focuses on preventing and halting genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. Released by the US Holocaust more..

Four enterprises make 98% of total loss

July 24 (CT) Of the 72 public institutions, four State enterprises account for 98% of the total loss, the COPE, revealed in its report presented to Parliament, yesterday. COPE has investigated 72 public enterprises with a commercial basis and of them, 16 were running at a loss in the year 2011. Among the 14 institutions that COPE has identified as continuously making losses for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, are: CPC, SriLankan Airlines, Mihin Lanka, Ceylon Fisheries Corporation, more..

Ranil cancels London tour

July 24 (CT) Leader of the UNP, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has cancelled his London tour after Mawbima and 'Sirasa' exposed his plans for a vacation overseas, when there is a Provincial Council election scheduled a few weeks away. Wickremesinghe has also cancelled the UNP Group meeting scheduled to be held in Parliament yesterday, and had attended Parliamentary sessions. Mawbima exposed that Wickremesinghe had booked air tickets for a tour to London more..

COPE expose rocks Parliament

July 24 (FT) Parliament was rocked yesterday by COPE which tabled an explosive report exposing the precarious situation of State enterprises and called for urgent action and non-interference from the Executive. COPE Chairman D.E.W. Gunesekera said massive losses were threatening the collapse of key State institutions including the country’s electricity supplier and national carrier that could have a ripple effect more..

'Ministers want to contest on UNP ticket'

July 24 (Island) The UNP said that it was govt members who were defecting and not the other way about. General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake said that the Rajapaksa regime was spreading false rumours that UNPers were to join them ahead of the three Provincial Council Elections due in September, with a view to stemming the exodus from its side. Many former PC members including Ministers had sought nomination on the UNP ticket and they were being considered, more..

Sri Lanka holds rates, state credit easing

July 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka is holding its policy interest rates at 9% to give money to banks with credit to state starting to ease, which will help private borrowing, the Central Bank said. Sri Lanka's private borrowings and investment have been crowded out and investments by heavy govt borrowing from banks and chronic large losses in state enterprises. Sri Lanka's has cut rates in 2013 amid fears of higher inflation and currency weakness and also cut a statutory reserve ratio in July, more..

European monitors: Polls Dept. still undecided

July 24 (Island) The Elections Department has decided to bring in observers for Provincial Council elections from South Asian Election Authorities Association, Asian Election Authorities Association and Commonwealth Observers Association. Elections Chief said that they had already invited Asian and South Asian election observers and expected to send an invitation letter to the Commonwealth monitors soon. more..

JVP threatens legal action over unpaid EPF dues at SLTB

July 24 (Island) JVP-led trade union of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) demanded the remittance of Rs. 3,400 million, deducted from employees to the Employees Provident Fund or face legal action soon. General Secretary of the Union Sepala Liyanage said that according to an internal audit report of the SLTB, it had not remitted Rs. 680 million to the EPF from June 2010 to May 2011. He said the arrears had increased to Rs. 2000 million by the end of May 2012, according to the COPE more..

Teacher, husband threatened by disgraced Councillor

July 24 (CT) Following the recent controversy where school teacher, Priyani Herath, was forced to kneel in front of the students, by the former North-Western Provincial Councillor, Ananda Sarath Kumara, the Navagattegama Police have received a fresh complaint from the teacher's husband, claiming that Kumara had threatened them. Kumara has been accused of threatening the couple at a function held near their home. OIC of the Navagattegama Police, IP K. Jaufar, confirmed that investigations more..

COPE wants urgent action to prevent collapse of public sector

July 24 (Island) The COPE has, in its second report released yesterday, warned that the govt should take immediate steps to implement its recommendations to bring about "radical changes in the existing policies’ to prevent the collapse of 72 public enterprises. The report presented to Parliament by its Chairman, D.E.W. Gunasekera points out that 16 out of these 72 institutions have been identified as loss more..

Editorial: Using or losing our heads in sports

July 24 (DM) A best-selling American author Malcolm Gladwell in his latest sensational and explosive book has called for a ban on the popular American football–similar in nature to the rugby football we play but governed by different rules – because the regular bashing of young men’s heads at matches and practice sessions is known to be causing serious brain damage or a degenerative neurological disease similar to Alzheimer’s. Addressing the Pennsylvania State more..

Conducting National Inquiries at international standards

July 24 (DM) Over the past 20 years, national human rights institutions in the Asia region have pioneered the use of national inquiries as a way to investigate and respond to a range of complex, systemic human rights issues. In Sri Lanka a national Inquiry has not conducted up to date but preparing for the first ever national Inquiry in the near future. National inquiries are one of the most effective strategies available to national human rights institutions for investigating more..

Domestic violence becoming a ghastly trend

July 24 (SL) Startling and highly disturbing research findings reveal that a woman is raped every 90 minutes in Sri Lanka. The research was carried out by women’s rights pressure group, Women For Rights (WFR) recently, and has determined several alarming statistic relating to women in Sri Lanka. These include an increase in domestic violence reports, rise in child abuse reports, a drop in female representation more..

Lankans say, ‘our cops are corrupt’

July 24 (ST) Mounting reports of corruption has prompted Police Chief N.K. Illangakoon to warn of stern action against his men. His remarks came after a Transparency International survey revealed that most Sri Lankans believed the police force was a corrupt public institution. They also came in the wake of the arrest of the Officer in Charge of Crimes in Trincomalee for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 10,000 from a more..

Muslim MPs seek President’s intervention to reopen mosque

July 24 (Island) All 18 Muslim MPs belonging to several political parties have decided to make a joint appeal to President Rajapaksa to intervene to reopen the Mosque in Mahiyanganaya for Ramadan prayers. Senior most Muslim Leader in Parliament and Cabinet Minister A.H.M. Fowzie has invited the Muslim parliamentarians representing the various political parties like the SLMC, ACMC, NC, SLFP, UPFA for a meeting at the Parliament more..

President opens Biyagama Water Treatment Plant

July 24 (GDI) Quenching the thirst of Gampaha District people. The highest investment among development projects is being made for water supply projects said President Rajapaksa. He emphasized that their intention was to transform Sri Lanka into the best country that provides pure water to every person. President was speaking at the opening of the Water Treatment Plant located at Pattiwala, Biyagama in Kelaniya, Tuesday. more..

Treasury Secretary ignores summons

July 24 (CT) Treasury Secretary, Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, failed to present himself at the Colombo High Court yesterday, despite having received summons to do so, in connection with whopping Rs 3,990 million, Value Added Tax (VAT), fraud case. Dr. Jayasundara had issued a letter to the Court, through an associate, claiming he had no personal knowledge of the matter. The sole suspect in the case so far, former Deputy Commissioner, more..

'Will throw full weight behind TNA'

July 24 (DM) TULF leader V. Anandasangaree will contest the elections to the Northern Provincial Council from the Kilinochchi district on the TNA ticket after returning to active politics breaking a long silence. A veteran politician Mr. Anandasangaree said that he made this decision to reestablish his connection with the people. “I have been an MP for the Kilinochchi district and there are lots of things which have been left undone. more..

Nurses' union petitions HRC

July 24 (CT) The All Ceylon Nurses' Union (ACNU) handed a petition to the Human Rights Commission, protesting the negligence related to the Nurses' Service Minutes. Secretary of the ACNU said, "Since 1984 the Nurses' Service Minutes that were in operation had many shortcomings. However, the revised version that was prepared in 2010 with the promise of addressing these shortcomings is even more flawed." more..

70 Sri Lankan boat people rescued

July 24 (Xinhua) 70 Sri Lankans attempting to illegally migrate to Australia were rescued by the intervention of the navy here on Wednesday. The people attempting to illegally migrant were rescued off a fishing vessel by merchant ships in international waters after the Sri Lankan navy sent out messages, navy spokesman said. "We believe that the fishing vessel left the southern seaport of Galle earlier this week. more..

TNA doubts polls being free or fair

July 24 (CT) The TNA expressed its doubts about having a free and fair election in September, to the visiting five-member British Parliamentary delegation in Kilinochchi, yesterday. TNA's Jaffna District MP and ITAK's General Secretary, Mavai Senathirajah, along with two other TNA MPs, S. Sritharan and E. Saravanabavan, met the visiting British MPs from the Labour and Conservative Parties, at the TNA office in Kilinochchi. more..

Key opposition member joins govt

July 24 (Xinhua) A leading member of Sri Lanka's main opposition on Wednesday resigned from parliament and joined the govt ahead of provincial council elections scheduled for September. UNP member Dayasiri Jayasekera told parliament that he would be contesting the north western provincial council elections on behalf of the govt. He criticized his party leadership and said that he was compelled to resign as the party had no future after losing more..

Who is the govt afraid of?

July 24 (CT) The paranoia of the govt hierarchy, it appears, has reached new and bizarre heights. There is no other explanation for the latest proclamation by the Polls Chief, who as revealed in the headline news report in Tuesday's edition of this paper, has made it mandatory for nominees for the Provincial Council elections, to affix an affidavit 'swearing he or she respects the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and unequivocally opposes any attempt to divide the country.' more..

Another opportunity to overcome 30 years of mistrust

July 24 (CT) This week marks the 30th anniversary of the worst manifestation of inter-ethnic conflict that set Sri Lanka on an irreversible path of civil war that pitted two armies representing the state and rebels against each other. Inter-ethnic trust and social relationships were sundered, it seemed for all time, when violent mobs went on the rampage, and the security forces stood by inactive for the most part. As the days of that fateful week past, most of the Tamil population living in Colombo fled more..

'SLFP proposal removes police and land powers, but replaces them with nothing'

July 24 (CT) “Dr. K. Vigneswaran, a member of the APRC Experts Committee, told us that Tamils do not believe that devolving powers to the district level will meet their aspirations. The concept of the merged Northeast Province speaks to their need for security and for proper representation, he said. Tamils fear that the Districts, whose heads are to be appointed by the President, will be subject to manipulation by more..

A little bit of Sri Lanka coming to Denville

July 24 (NJH) Gardner Field will be the site of the 38th Sri Lanka Day, an event that exhibits the culture of the country known as “the tear drop of India,” at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3. The event is sponsored by the township, in conjunction with the Sri Lanka Association of New York. The event is free and is open to the public. The day’s events will feature Sri Lankan food and other products, a free medical clinic, and an historical USA V. Sri Lanka cricket match, as well as “Sri Lankan Idol.” more..

Sri Lanka stocks close flat

July 24 (LBO) Stocks closed flat on Wednesday with large cap stocks making losses, brokers and dealers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index closed 05.10 points lower at 6,079.14 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 12.02 points lower at 3,448.11 down 0.35%. Turnover was 291million rupees. While in the equities market, foreigners brought 118 million rupees worth shares while selling 11 million rupees of shares, in a day that 67 stocks advanced and 125 stocks declined. more..

As extreme weather hits harvests, food buffers could help – experts

July 24 (Reuters) A wry smile is the only answer Punchibanda gives these days when asked how much harvest he expects from his rice paddy. Punchibanda has made a living from rice farming for nearly 30 years, all of it coming from a half-acre plot he owns in Pinnamankada, the remote village where he lives in Polonnaruwa district. A few years back, the 47-year-old farmer could readily give a figure of 1,500-2,000 kg of paddy rice more..

Woman sergeant, male constable interdicted over escape of suspect from cell

July 24 (Island) A woman sergeant and a constable attached to Madampe Police Station have been interdicted for dereliction of duty which allegedly resulted in a drug dealer in the area escaping from the police custody. The suspect is wanted in connection with several crimes in the area and on Monday, he escaped mysteriously from the cell he was locked up in. The inquiry being conducted by the Chilaw Assistant Superintendent, Sanath Wickramasuriya is to yet to establish more..

Special bus services for Madhu pilgrims

July 24 (Island) Minister Kumara Welgama said that a special SLTB package bus service for Madu pilgrims would come into operation on August 12,13 and 14. Interested groups from Colombo, Moratuwa, Kalutara, Ja-Ela, Negombo, Wennapuwa and Chilaw could book buses straight to Madu. This service would be operated in addition to the normal daily bus services provided to the people. In the previous year Madu Pilgrims had to go up to Madawatchchiya and use a shuttle service operated by more..

UNP MP's property not a paddy land

July 24 (CT) The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the Commissioner General of Agrarian Development, to declare that the 235 perches of land bearing Deed No. 1640, located in Kaduwela, belonging to a UNP MP, is not a paddy land. The Bench comprising CJ Mohan Peiris and Justices Chandra Ekanayake and Priyasath Depmade the declaration after considering a Fundamental Rights application filed by more..

Korea provides Rs.7.5 bn. for several development initiatives

July 24 (GDI) The Govt of Korea has agreed to provide financial assistance of Rs.7.5 bn for various development initiatives, having considered their relative importance and expected long term benefits hrough its Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of the Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank). Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of the Exim Bank of Korea will provide a sum of Rs 3.3 bn for the establishment of Colombo Central Vocational Training Centre more..

Sri Lanka's tourism revenue increases 21.9% in 1st 5 months

July 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has earned nearly half a billion U.S. dollars from its booming post-war tourism industry, which is an increase of 21.9 percent for the first five months of this year, latest data showed. On a cumulative basis, earnings from tourism during the first five months of 2013 recorded a growth of 21.9%, to 484.3 million U.S. dollars, the Central Bank said in its external sector report. This growth is compared to the cumulative earnings of 397.1 million U.S. dollars received from more..

Total nears Sri Lanka study contract for deepwater oilfields

July 24 (BN) Total SA (FP), Europe’s third-largest oil company, may win a contract from the Sri Lankan govt in a month to study the prospect of oil and natural gas deposits deep off the island’s fabled white-sand beaches. Eni SpA (ENI) of Italy has also expressed strong interest in the blocks located in waters more than two miles deep, said Saliya Wickramasuriya, director general at the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat, which more..

Sugarcane Research Institute Board functioning illegally

July 24 (CT) Mystery envelops the manner in which the members of the Board of Directors of the Sugarcane Research Institute (SRI) continue to hold office illegally, despite a directive from the President's Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga, that the Board should be revamped. The order was given in the wake of the former SRI Director, Prof. C.S. Weeraratne's written complaint to Weeratunga, stating, the manner in which the Board was appointed three years ago, and still more..

Spin fast becoming the bane of SA's ODI game

July 24 (CI) One of the more stunning statistics in ODI cricket is South Africa's record in Sri Lanka. The teams have now played 12 completed matches on the island. Out of those, South Africa have won one. Their captain in that game was Kepler Wessels, and current chief selector Andrew Hudson opened the batting. In almost two decades since, they haven't even come close to the hosts, and so far in this series, they have been outplayed just as comprehensively. more..

USAID to develop new livelihood program for vulnerable groups

July 24 (USE) In order to support further reconciliation of the Sri Lankan people, the U.S. Embassy, through its development office of USAID, is designing a new livelihoods project that aims to increase household incomes in the dairy, poultry and horticulture sectors. This initiative seeks to reach women-headed households, those relocated due to the conflict, and other vulnerable groups. The goal is to link household production with more..

GMOA to hold Kegalle patients to ransom

July 24 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday announced a token strike in Kegalle on Thursday accusing former Karawanella hospital director Dr. Indika Jagoda of assuming functions of the Regional Director Health Services Dr. Gamini Seneviratne without authority. The GOMA Branch union would launch a taken strike in protest of the action by Dr. Jagoda on July 25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., GMOA Committee Member Dr. Nalinda Herath told a medical conference more..