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Audio: Govt slams TNA

July 24 (CG) The govt has criticised the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) over the comments it has been making on the situation in the north. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha said that while the govt is engaged in developing the war ravaged areas the TNA is attempting to destabilise those efforts. He said that while the TNA talks so much about the Tamils in the north they themselves are either staying in Colombo or their family members are overseas. more..

Parties busy finalising candidate lists

July 24 (Island) With the Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya announcing that nominations will be accepted for the PC polls to the Central, Northern and the North-Western Provinces from tomorrow most of the mainstream political parties like the SLFP, LSSP, CP, UNP, TNA, SLMC, JVP, CWC, NUA, UPF, JHU and NFF are busy selecting their candidates. The govt concluded its selection of candidates more..

Sri Lanka to become a cement exporter

July 24 (GDI) Sri Lanka is to become a cement exporter to South Africa, Kenya and other African countries. A new cement grinding plant for this purpose would be set up in Hambantota by next year. This will be a Sri Lanka-Pakistan joint venture with a Rs. 2 billion investment. Ruhunu Lanka Cement who would be the joint partner in Sri Lanka for this project said that the plant will be built on an eight acre land outside the Hambantota harbour area which they hope to acquire. more..

Northern bankers become debt collectors

July 24 (CT) Officials of State and private banks in Jaffna have launched a special programme to rope in customers who are absconding without repaying loans obtained from the banks. With the end of the civil strife in the North in 2009, several banks came forward to grant loans as livelihood assistance for those who are engaged in agricultural activities in the North. Loans were also granted for fishing activities. Both State and private banks, which were competing to expand their banking activities more..

Video: I will join Govt; Dayasiri

July 24 (DM) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara said that he would be making a special statement in parliament today at 2.00 PM and inform of his resignation from parliament and thereafter will contest for the Chief Ministerial Post on the UPFA ticket. “I will resgin from parliament today and thereafter will contest for the Chief Ministerial post for the NWP elections under the UPFA” he told Daily Mirror Online a shortwhile ago. more..

JVP vows to abolish PC system

July 24 (DM) The JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said his party would abolish the provincial council system under a JVP govt and that it would restore the rights of all communities. He said that it was high time to end the debate on the 13th Amendment and hold talks on Sri Lanka’s economy, social condition and culture. The JVP today launched a book on methods of resolving the national question. Mr. Amarasinghe said the authorities weren’t giving enough prominence more..

Govt promoting casinos

July 24 (CG) The UNP claims the govt is promoting casinos on a grand scale. UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said that casinos are being promoted despite objections by the religious dignitaries as well as civil organizations. “The govt says that licenses have not been given to anyone to open casinos. Gamblers of the stature of James Packer are investing to develop the tourism industry and to build large hotel complexes, but they fail to reveal that these hotels are being built for casinos,” more..

Chinese firm to build $1.4 bln Port City

July 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka has signed a deal with a Chinese company to build a $1.4 billion city complex on reclaimed land near the harbour of Colombo. The state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will reclaim 230 hectares (568 acres) next to the new Colombo South port, said SLPA chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrama. He said the SLPA finalised a deal under which China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) will more..

CPC to recover debts with interest soon

July 24 (Island) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is planning to charge an interest on money state institutions owe it unless repayment is made within the stipulated two-month credit period as the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has faulted the loss incurring petroleum giant for not recovering its dues on time. CPC Managing Director Susantha de Silva told The Island that the CPC would not spare any institution in recovering debts with interest. more..

Sri Lanka to reduce troops from North

July 24 (PTI) The Sri Lankan Army today announced its plans to further reduce the presence of military from northern Jaffna peninsula, a former stronghold of the LTTE, as the region prepares for provincial polls. "A decision has been taken to move troops from thirteen small military camps located in the Walikamam sector of Jaffna District to the Palaly Cantonment, thereby further reducing presence of troops in that area", Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, the military spokesman said more..

Video: It was a deal: UNP

July 24 (DM) At a news conference soon after MP Dayasiri Jayasekara ended his media briefing the UNP said he crossed over to the govt to further his personal agenda and not because of differences with the party leadership. “This was a deal, various people cross over for various reasons; some have crossed over for financial gain or when faced with criminal cases or other offences. This is also one such crossover,” UNP MP Ajith more..

The benefits of yoga are multifaceted

July 25 (NS) When one thinks of Yoga, one would imagine the pretzel like postures a person practicing Yoga would do. But for someone who experiences Yoga, it’s a way of life. Yoga is an integrated means of synchronizing the mind and body. It strikes a balance by combining Asanas (the physical postures) and Pranayama (breathing exercise) in a combination of movement and meditation to reach a state of harmony and healing in a day –to-day life. A popular misconception about the Asana’s more..

Thirty years ago, today

July 25 (GV) Thirty years ago today, my parents were heroes. Until yesterday, I didn’t even know this. My mother who worked in Fort back then, saw buildings going up in smoke, tyres burning and the chaos. Her Tamil colleagues were given priority office transport and sent home first. One colleague, a Tamil lady with a nose ring and a large pottu refused to take it off despite everyone urging her to do so – for her own safety. My mother and her boss decided that it would be best if they dropped more..

My dream is to educate the children of the North - KP

July 25 (SO) Speculations and criticisms pour in with the news that three former LTTE frontliners including its ex-leader Kumaran Padmanathan alias KP are preparing to contest the forthcoming Northern polls. While the news is getting hotter and arguments are brewing, the Sunday Observer secured an interview with KP. Sitting on a mat in the palm thatched hut, KP was enjoying a story-telling session with a few dozen more..

Kandy’s majestic pageant and the morning after

July 25 (NS) The clock keeps ticking and time keeps moving, and it is that time of the year when one knows there is going to be knocks on the doors without notice. It’s that time of the year when the streets of Kandy become ‘jam- packed’ in the evening. Unlike, other days, when the streets are haunted and empty by evening, it is that time of the year that is right round the corner. The demand to see the Kandy Esela Perahera has always been the same, and the enthusiasm has not waned. more..

I wasn’t around in ‘83

July 25 (GV) “No one came to the house”, he said, “but I did get threatening phone calls in the middle of the night”. With so many Tamils staying in his house, I had asked him whether people came home to threaten him. I spent my morning today (July 23rd) with my grand uncle, Sam Wijesinha, a former Secretary General of Parliament and a veritable encyclopedia of information. I wasn’t around in ’83 and as we marked thirty years today, I was keen to hear from someone who was. more..

A day in the life of a Betel seller

July 25 (CT) “Betel leaves have a history of its own. From betel quid to a sheaf of 40 leaves, it is involved in our society and our life. For this mother, it is a way of life. Betel leaves are bread and butter on her plate. Living in Athurugiriya with her eldest son, 75-year-old Mary Nona travels all the way to Borella every single day just to sell her betel leaves. Choosing to live with her husband instead of in her hometown Matara, Mary Nona has more..

Pursuit of revenge is not path to justice

July 25 (CT) In our favourite bar yesterday (21) afternoon, I was having a beer with my usual drinking partner, the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow, Sivapuranam Thevaram. “That was a horrific photograph, no?” he started the conversation. He didn’t have to be more specific. I knew instantly that he was talking about the photograph taken thirty years ago at the Borella bus station, supposedly by Atta / Raavaya employee Chandraguptha Amarasinghe. The photograph was of a more..

Fear and the predicament facing Muslims

July 25 (CT) A Muslim lecturer friend some time ago described a troubling moment. The incident took place when he pulled into the parking lot of a supermarket with his wife few weeks ago. As they got out of the car, a group of men standing by first stared at his wife, who was wearing a headscarf, and then looked intently at him. In a split second, his day was disturbed; he reflected on this moment for quite some time. Was this a harmless gaze or did it reflect a change in attitude more..

Mathews returns, Mubarak retained

July 25 (Island) Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews returns to the team after being left out of the first two ODIs against South Africa due to an ICC suspension for maintaining a slow over rate during the tri-nation competition in the West Indies earlier this month. The selectors have named a bloated squad of 16 for the next two ODIs adding Mathews to the 15-member squad that was named for the first two ODIs. more..

Vannila Aththo’s example

July 25 (Island) Elections are usually the times when public resources, especially vehicles, are abused most, as is common knowledge. It is one of the main charges polls observers make in their reports against govt politicians. But, the deplorable practice continues unabated under all dispensations and every election leaves many vehicles damaged; some of them even go unaccounted for in addition to the criminal waste of fuel worth millions of rupees. This kind of blatant violation of election laws more..

COPE advice helped raise nine public bodies

July 25 (DN) Nine public enterprises have been able to show commendable progress whilst making profits and another 38 institutions have increased their profits, having pursued the recommendation of the previous COPE report, stated Minister DEW Gunasekera presenting the second COPE report in Parliament. The report drew attention to the need to enhance the quality of leadership of public enterprises through the appointment of professional, experienced and skilled personnel. more..

Dayasiri’s defection drama

July 25 (FT) “Harima dukayi (very sad)” muttered a senior SLFP legislator, almost to himself inside an elevator at the Parliamentary complex two days ago. The implication could not be clearer. After months of speculation and back and forth, President Rajapaksa had finally clinched the deal by afternoon on Tuesday to ensure the defection of UNP MP and popular politician Dayasiri Jayasekera to the ruling coalition. more..

David Peiris Motor Co. assembles two & three wheelers at H’tota plant

July 25 (Island) David Pieris Motor Company’s newly constructed factory in Ranna, Hambantota is indeed a wonder here in the backwoods Sri Lanka as it takes just two hours to completely assemble a Bajaj three wheeler, which many Sri Lankans would have not dreamt of few years back. During a recent media visit to the factory, which has the capacity to turn out around 425 a day, we learnt that some 280 employees were involved in the assembling process daily, out of which, more than 80% of more..

Thirty years of conflict : One cannot expect perceived benefits overnight

July 25 (Island) Q: You entered hospitality industry at a very young age and achieved instant success at a time when the industry was not doing well. How do you look at the industry today. A: The conflict still on, The way one looked at tourism and hospitality industry then was completely different from now. Thanks to the President for achieving peace. I don’t think one can emphasise enough just how much impact it has on the outlook of the country. It is tremendous and there are more..

TISL urges prompt action on COPE report

July 25 (FT) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) called for prompt action on the findings and recommendations from the COPE released on Tuesday. “TISL believes that by exposing the weaknesses of public enterprises in the COPE Report 2013 and making recommendations on how improvements can be effected, the COPE has taken a positive step forward, and requests the President and more..

Mawbima stories proved true

July 25 (CT) Mawbima, had continuously in the recent past, revealed the divisive policies of the UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the events leading to the crossing over of Dayasiri Jayasekara, to the govt ranks, proving that the stories revealed in this regard were in fact, true. On 18 July, Mawbima revealed that Wickremesinghe had taken a strong stand, vis-à-vis rumours that were afloat, of Dayasiri joining the govt, stating that, "If Dayasiri wants to leave the party let him to do so. more..

30 years later, Sri Lanka at a political crossroads

July 25 (HP) Thirty years on since Sri Lanka's infamous Black July riots, the country has reached a political crossroads. In those three decades ethnic violence has engulfed the country, leaving its society divided. With the war having ended in 2009, the country and its leaders have the opportunity to pursue the path of reconciliation. The efforts, however, are being thwarted by all involved, neither party is willing to compromise, leaving the country's future looking bleak. more..

'Female cricketers likely to have been subjected to extortion regularly'

July 25 (IC) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials may have been earning kickbacks for some time now from female players representing Sri Lanka women's national cricket team. Sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage commented on the issue after it was revealed recently that women's team skipper Shashikala Siriwardena had made an official complaint to SLC, informing them of an alleged extortion attempt by the manager more..

Agitating carpenters attack Jeevan with empty bottles

July 25 (CT) Carpenters who staged a protest in Moratuwa yesterday, attacked Postal Services Minister, Jeevan Kumaratunga, with empty water bottles, when he visited the area to speak with them. Nearly 2,000 carpenters from Moratuwa and the Rawathawatta areas, who are reportedly feeling the impact of their trade being in the doldrums, due to furniture prices plummeting, marched to the town in protest, demanding the govt to provide them some tangible relief to overcome their difficulties. more..

Suspension of Maithree, Shiral from UNP: AC takes up petitions today

July 25 (Island) The petitions filed by two Provincial Council members of the UNP against their suspension from the party will be called before the Court of Appeal today. The petitioners are Attorney-at-Law Maithree Gunaratne of the Southern Provincial Council and Shiral Lakthilaka of the Western Provincial Council. They have complained that they have been subjected to a malicious inquiry by the Board of Inquiry of the party and notified of a suspension over the allegation that more..

Mihin airline director wages up amid losses

July 25 (LBO) State-run Mihin Lanka had doubled rewards to director in "sitting fees" to 11.2 million while making losing around a billion rupees a year since 2008. The COPE report said Mihin Lanka had lost 1,300 million rupees in 2009, 1,221 million rupees in 2010 and 940 million rupees in 2011. In the meantime its directors who were paid 5.4 million rupees in 2008 had been rewarded with 11.2 million rupees in 2011. more..

Parents demonstrate against Principal

July 25 (CT) A group of parents of students attending Meepawala Amarasuriya Vidyalaya in Galle, staged a large demonstration in front of the school recently demanding the removal of the principal. The protesters claimed the school, which was known for its maintenance of discipline, had declined in standards due to the present principal's poor administration. The placards carried by the protestors had slogans that read – 'authorities wake up,' 'rescue the school at least now,' more..

Wrong questions in mid-term test paper

July 25 (CT) 17 out of the 20 questions in the mid-term test paper on health, given to a school in the Piliyandala area are completely wrong, the Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU) alleged. CTU General Secretary, Joseph Stalin, said the Piliyandala division comes under the purview of the Western Province Education Ministry, and that it should pay better attention to the educational activities in the Province. He blamed the Education Ministry's focus on publicity campaigns instead of more..

Sinking survivors say they will try again

July 25 (BT) Survivors of yet another asylum seeker boat sinking on Wednesday say Australia’s new hardline stance against people smugglers will not dissuade them from trying to enter the country. Eight people drowned when a boat carrying more than 100 asylum seekers sank off West Java, including three children. Police rescued 122 people from the wreckage of the wooden boat, and another 38 swam to more..

Sri Lanka is good example for Russia to follow

July 25 (MT) Sri Lanka — an Ireland-sized island just south of India, not far from the equator — isn't an obvious source of insight or inspiration for Russia. Russia's economy is nearly 20 times that of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is as reliant on importing commodities as Russia is on exporting them. Replace the Russian winter's snow with palm trees, and you'd have a general picture of Sri Lanka. Its cuisine is as spicy as Russian food is bland. Sri Lanka produces tea — and Russia drinks it. more..

Exhibition marks anniversary of riots that sparked Sri Lankan War

July 25 (NTD) An exhibition in Colombo marks the 30th anniversary of the 1983 Black July riots, which sparked three decades of bloody conflict. A long and bitter civil war only ended in 2009 after more than 25 years of violence. The executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives says the events of 30 years ago seem to be reoccurring. "Now that we have passed the 30-year mark, we need to reflect and write about the paucity of events and commemorative events that more..

Banking system under threat as CEB, CPC and Mihin on verge of collapse: COPE

July 25 (Island) The COPE warned that state-owned enterprises such as the CEB, CPC, Mihin Lanka and others are on the verge of collapse which could threaten the stability of the country’s banking system. "The severe losses of the CEB, Mihin Lanka etc. had been due to the under-selling of their services for not being able to pass the burden on to the General Public. If this situation is not addressed promptly, the institutions like more..

Once lost, now found: Lankan Tamil family reunites after 17 yrs

July 25 (Hindu) After 17 years and myriad troubles, a Sri Lankan Tamil family was reunited in the city this week. Dinesh (23), Dirani (20) and Dennis (19), who bid goodbye to their mother, Pushparani in 1996 at the Sevalur Sri Lankan refugee camp, met her just a few days ago. The three siblings underwent a series of harrowing ordeals – they lived on the platforms of Chennai Central Station for a few days, went hungry for days together and would have been sold off by a man who said more..

Unclaimed shipment belongs to murdered businessman

July 25 (CT) The Revenue Task Force (RTF) of Sri Lanka Customs, which launched an investigation into an unclaimed container that had not been cleared or inquired about for over two months, believes the consignment consisting of shoe-parts had been imported by murdered businessman Mohamed Shiyam from Bambalapitiya, under another person's name. The RTF had detained the container under suspicion as no one had come forward to claim it for over two months. more..