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SL relay team retain their place in World Championship

July 28 (Island) The men’s 4x400 metres relay team members, who reached qualifying standards for the IAAF World Championships in Pune early this month, retained their places for the Championship in Moscow as they won the first five places at the selection trial held at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday. The Asian Athletics Championship 4x400 metres relay bronze medallists, Dulan Priyashantha, Dilhan Aloka, Kasun Kalhara Seneviratne and Anjana Gunaratne more..

'Govt will never adopt COPE recommendations'

July 28 (SL) UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who was the former Chairman of the COPE speaks out on the failure of COPE to fulfil its mandate. Rajapakshe is of the view that the Chairman of COPE will never be able to submit a complete report, since he is a Minister in the govt and that entails collective responsibility and as a result, he will never indicate that his colleagues are embroiled in corruption. more..

From the Floor: Sex, lies and politics

July 28 (NS) Last week in Parliament was an eventful one with Dayasiri Jayasekara resigning from his seat that he held for nine years. The eventful happening was the two oversight committees looking into the utilisation of funds in the state institutions –COPE and PAC, releasing their investigation reports. The two reports are considered among the harshest ever indictments recently meted out to public sector known for its lethargy, shiftlessness and inefficiency, aside from more..

The collapsing wonder of Asia

July 28 (Island) Two events that occurred last week highlighted the strange position that the present govt finds itself in – politically it is unassailable but administratively, it’s teetering on the brink of imminent collapse. Kurunegala district MP Dayasiri Jayasekera’s crossover from the UNP to the govt last Wednesday came as no surprise. He and the leadership of his party were working at cross-purposes from the very moment he entered politics from the Kurunegala district in 2001. more..

Vaas, Malinga on bodyline course

July 28 (ST) A major rift is growing between the current Sri Lanka fast bowling coach Chaminda Vaas and Limited Overs specialist fast bowler, slinger Lasith Malinga, according to cricket insiders. The Sunday Times learns that differences between the two Lankan champion bowlers have reached a crisis point and the sparks are penetrating right into the dressing room. Chaminda Vaas, by far the most consistent more..

Lest we forget

July 28 (Island) The 30th anniversary of the July 1983 riots which blackened the contemporary history of this country as never before passed last week with insufficient notice taken of a horrendous event about which the whole country must hang its collective head in shame. We are glad that Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran, National List MP of the Tamil National Alliance, made a parliamentary speech on the subject. This was given deserved prominence in yesterday’s issue of The Island. more..

Dayasiri opts for ‘bluer’ pastures with credibility in question

July 28 (ST) The buzz had been in the air for some time that UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera was contemplating crossing over to the Govt. After months of speculation, it finally happened on Wednesday. But the bitterness with which Jayasekera made his final speech in Parliament, which was followed by an unexpectedly vicious attack on him by some of his UNP colleagues, was another classic example of the well-known adage that there are no permanent friends or more..

Recovering GK billions in banks overseas ‘next to impossible’

July 28 (Island) The recovery of billions of rupees in Golden Key (GK) funds stashed away in banks overseas may never be possible due to the inadequacy of existing banking regulations coupled with the tough secrecy clauses maintained by these global financial institutions, senior officials warned. "There is no hope and all what we can say is that the huge volumes of cash siphoned off to accounts in foreign countries are beyond more..

Hosts seek to arrest SA's momentum

July 28 (CI) After South Africa asserted some control over their fate in Sri Lanka, on what was perhaps the driest pitch of the tour to date, it has now fallen to the hosts to arrest the momentum their opponents have gleaned from a big victory. South Africa's batsmen appeared to have finally cracked the answer to the slow surfaces that sunk them in the first two matches, as they sought to graft securely before embracing aggression very late in the innings. Lonwabo Tsotsobe then provided more..

SL’s political kettle sings Dayasiri tune

July 28 (NS) The last week was full of political events. The acceptance of deposits and nominations for the provincial councils were the major highlights. Accordingly, Janasetha Peramuna, and several independent groups have handed over their nominations on the very first day (25) of the nominations. Sri Lanka Labour Party also joined in the process on Friday. While these things were taking place silently, the major political happening was Dayasiri Jayasekara’s resignation from more..

'UK investors wary of coming to SL'

July 28 (CT) The impeachment of the former Chief Justice, the taking over of the underperforming companies by the govt, matters dealing with land ownership and lackadaisical legal system are seen as 'threats' by the UK investors to doing business in Sri Lanka, Deputy British High Commissioner in Colombo, Robbie Buloch, said. "This is the reason why there is no UK businesses flooding Sri Lanka as expected after the war," more..

Decent and humane future

July 28 (AN) This refers to news reports that Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to appoint a commission to look into disappearances that occurred during the island nation’s civil war. The move comes as Sri Lanka faces rising international criticism for failing to investigate alleged war crimes during the final stage of the quarter century-long war, which ended in 2009. The announcement gains significance as the Sri Lankan govt prepares to host the CHOGM in November. more..

Bar Council alarmed about criminals with political patronage

July 28 (Island) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka at a Bar Council meeting held yesterday noted with concern the alarming increase of criminal activity by those blessed with political patronage. The council unanimously agreed to ask all its branch associations to appear free of charge on behalf of the victims. According to BASL President Upul Jayasuriya, "the council discussed with grave concern that instances exist of judicial officers also having being brought under pressure more..

Gota asks Northerners to shun those who backed LTTE terror project

July 28 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa urged the northern electorate to shun those who had been overtly and covertly supportive of the LTTE terror project for personal gain as well as due to fear, particularly since the launch of the Norwegian-led peace initiative in Feb 2002. Whatever the Opposition propagandists and a section of the international community say in the run-up to the first NPC polls scheduled more..

Ireland comfortably beaten by Sri Lanka

July 28 (IT) Ireland lost their first big test of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 qualifiers at Merrion Cricket Club today, as they went down to a eight-wicket defeat to tournament top seeds Sri Lanka. Having been put in to bat, the home side’s top order was blasted out by some fine bowling and only a 10th wicket stand that took a leaf out of Australia’s book against England of late helped them to a total of 62 for nine off their 20 overs. Kim Garth did claim the wicket of opener Chamari Atapattu more..

Opportunity for youngsters to deliver

July 28 (Island) In building a match-winning total or when chasing tricky targets, the national cricket team has heavily depended on the three senior batsmen. When they fail, the team too fails as it was showcased during the third ODI that Sri Lanka lost to South Africa on Friday to end their impeccable home record against the Proteas. The Sri Lankans hadn’t lost an ODI at home to the Proteas in two decades and in that period they had won 11 games in a row. That winning streak ended on more..

Nalaka Godahewa exits Colombo Land as Krrish probe continues

July 28 (ST) Nalaka Godahewa, the top official whose name transpired in the secret pay-off pertaining to the Krrish development project in Colombo, last week stepped down from the Colombo Land and Development Co (CLND) which he chaired. An official statement from the company said Prof. Krishan Deheragoda has taken over as the new chairman with effect from July 19. The company said Dr. Godahewa stepped down more..

Suppliers of coloured paracetamol and aspirin beware

July 28 (SO) The Health Ministry will take stern action against suppliers of coloured paracetamol and aspirin to dupe patients. “Only white paracetamol and aspirin are permitted to be sold under the Drugs Act. If a pharmacy, person or shop sells these tablets in colour, they will face prosecution”, a spokesman for the Consumer, Drugs and Devices Authority (CDDA) said. “We have sent out circulars authorising our officers to seize the drugs and take the offenders to court”. more..

New legislation to regulate micro finance companies

July 28 (ST) Legislation to regulate and supervise microfinance institutions, including finance companies and banks accepting deposits from the public, will be introduced in Parliament. The initiative comes from President Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning. He has recommended to ministers a three-tier system. In tier one, large MFIs (micro financing institutions) will come under direct supervision and examination by the Central Bank. more..

CHOGM bill soars: Ministers want super-luxury vehicles after summit

July 28 (ST) The Govt will import a fleet of luxury vehicles for use by leaders attending the CHOGM in Colombo in November. The choice now is between full option BMW 7 series and Mercedes Benz S class vehicles. Immediately after the summit, the Govt proposes to sell these vehicles by public auction and recover the funds. However, some ministers have already made requests from the UPFA leadership to allow more..

No response from Govt. to proposals - JVP

July 28 (NS) JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that the govt had not responded to the recent proposals on the national question put forward by the party. He emphasized that the JVP had presented the proposals to the people hoping that the people’s pressure would force the govt into action. Herath further stated that foreign elements such as India have been able to interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal matters because the govt has not properly established the rights of the Tamil community more..

SriLankan flight damaged while landing

July 28 (ST) An incident where a SriLankan Airline aircraft was damaged while landing at the BIA last week is being probed, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Chairman Rohan Daluwatte said. He said initial investigations indicated that a pilot error caused the accident. The aircraft was damaged in the rear-end area and has been grounded for repairs. As part of the investigation the flight readings would be sent to Singapore or France to ascertain the cause of the accident. more..

Mattala made free port to give it life

July 28 (ST) Areas surrounding the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport have been declared a free port in the latest bid to attract business to this multi-billion rupee venture. There will be exemptions from customs duty, exchange control and import-export regulations, in terms of an order signed by President Rajapaksa as Minister of Finance and Planning. The order for declaring the MRIA premises as a bonded area more..

Dayasiri denies receiving money

July 28 (SL) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara denied that he had received a financial package as inducement to crossover to the Govt side. “These allegations are levelled against every member who crossed over from the UNP,” Jayasekara said, adding that they were playing ‘baila’ in making these accusations. Jayasekara added that he resigned his Parliamentary seat honourably in order to contest the Provincial Council elections. “Why should I get money for doing that?” he asked. more..

Aged death row prisoners considered for release

July 28 (CT) The President has instructed the Department of Prisons to explore the possibility of releasing senior citizens, who are on death row. Accordingly, all detainees, aged over 60 years, who have spent more than 10 years in prison after being sentenced to death, will be considered for release. Minister Chandrasiri Gajadheera and Commissioner General of Prisons, Chandraratne Pallegama, have been instructed by the President to process documents in order to release old inmates, more..

After Jayasekera’s political circus, UNP must unite or face more disasters

July 28 (ST) “Mal Maama” sang to soothe ears and was so charming that he won the hearts of most colleagues at the Law Faculty of the Colombo University in the 1990s. He developed a taste for politics whilst serving as one of the coordinating secretaries to his one-time professor, G.L. Peiris, now the irrepressible Minister of External Affairs. He was then Minister of Constitutional Affairs, National Integration and Justice. more..

Permanent gates installed parallel to temporary gates

July 28 (SO) The installation of permanent gates, bell and lights at unsafe level crossings across the country is now under way parallel to the program initiated by the Police to install temporary gates at unsafe crossings, General Manager of Railways said. He said more than 90% of unsafe rail crossings have been provided with temporary gates under the program launched by the Police Department and the Railway Department is providing training for those assigned to man the gates. more..

National drugs policy still missing

July 28 (NS) At a time when leading multinational pharmaceutical corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are embroiled in allegations of corruption, a National Drugs Policy is yet to be introduced to monitor the quality of imported drugs. The need for a national pharmaceutical policy was raised even recently after GSK admitted that some of its senior executives in China were involved in a 3 billion Yuan (320 million Pounds) bribery case. The Chinese authorities have accused GSK of more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

July 28 (ST) “Machang, Dayasiri keeyatawath aanduwata yanney nehe (Dayasiri will not join the Govt at any cost),” declared UPFA MP Uditha Lokubandara when he met UNP’s Harin Fernando at a temple in Haputale. They both represent the Badulla District. “Athathata? Kawda umbata kiuvey (Is that so? Who told you),” asked Lokubandara. Fernando replied that it was none other than Dayasiri Jayasekera. more..

High-class brothels parading as health centres raided

July 28 (ST) At least 36 women and girls in their early teens were arrested by police during a series of raids on upmarket brothels in Colombo and its suburbs in recent weeks. The raids were carried out on plush residences located at Mount Lavinia, Maradana, Horana, Kirulapone and Kalubowila where the brothels functioned cleverly disguised as health centres dealing in local native treatment, a senior police officer said. more..

'I will lobby hard, even perhaps at CHOGM'

July 28 (CT) British Parliamentarian, Simon Danczuk, who was in Sri Lanka with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) delegation last week told Ceylon Today that Sri Lanka will be made answerable to the murder of his constituent, Khuram Shaikh, if the trial does not see a possible end before Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to take place in November. Following are excerpts: more..

Foreign arbitration in Sri Lanka

July 28 (CG) Sri Lanka has proposed that it be used as a venue for international arbitrations, the External Affairs Ministry said. The proposal was made by External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris when he met Hugo Sieblesz, the Secretary General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. Minister Peiris had said that there is a greater role for Sri Lanka as the venue for international arbitrations. more..

Foreign employment agents to protest against new regulations

July 28 (ST) The private foreign employment industry will come to a standstill on Wednesday in protest over several recent decisions taken by authorities, which officials say are necessary to safeguard workers at every level and to reduce recruitment of female domestics. Faizer Maickeen of the Association of Licensed Foreign Employment Agencies (ALFEA) said that some new regulations of the SLFEB is not practical and more..

'Less developed nations will look to emulate Sri Lanka'

July 28 (OW) Sri Lanka becoming the 'Wonder of Asia' is no longer a dream with the country experiencing rapid development in every sector and its benefits being equally distributed to all parts, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. The President recalled that in the past there was a notion that the country should emulate its fast developing neighbours such as Singapore and South Korea. more..

Questions over CPC’s Rs 160 B worth tar stocks

July 28 (CT) Mystery surrounds a stock of 80,000 barrels of tar worth Rs 160 billion that is in the custody of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) at present, when the maximum monthly requirement for sales is a mere 200 barrels. “This is indeed ludicrous where the CPC has a stock of 80,000 barrels worth Rs 160 B at Rs 20,000 apiece and it is continuing to import for reasons which is best known to the management, more..

Commonwealth polls observers due here early August

July 28 (SO) The first team of Commonwealth election observers will be in Sri Lanka in the first week of August to cover the pre-election phase of the September Provincial Council elections, a senior official at the Elections Department said. The Commonwealth will deploy three teams to cover the Provincial Council elections during the pre-election, on the polls day and the post election period to compile a comprehensive report more..

Pillay to give report

July 28 (SL) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is expected to submit a report on her Sri Lanka visit to the UNHRC in Geneva when it meets in September. Pillay will address the Council on its opening day when it meets for its 24th session from 9 to 27 Sept. A spokesman at her office confirmed that she will be in the country from Aug 25 and end with a press conference on the morning of Aug 31. more..

British delegation hails progress in Sri Lanka

July 28 (Xinhua) A British parliament delegation which toured Sri Lanka ahead of the CHOGM in November on Sunday hailed the progress in the country following the end of the war. Head of the delegation, British MP Eleanor Laing, expressed hope for Sri Lanka's future, saying that one cannot compare human rights in Britain to human rights in Sri Lanka as the island suffered 30 years of war. "There is a lot of hope for the future. more..

Is July still black? – Sinhalese factor in the aftermath ff Black July

July 28 (CT) Thirty years ago, there was a July that turned out to be black. The blackness of that July was made up of discriminate and indiscriminate violence against Tamil civilians, state-sponsored terrorism coupled with the inaction of armed forced, impunity and immunity seamlessly enjoyed by goons and killer squads all over the country etc. Reasons, consequences, ramifications and repercussions of the infamous black July have been discussed over and over again for the last three more..

Retired SC judge Wigneswaran: A new Tamil Moses

July 28 (CT) I thought of a Moses title to this essay because Ratanajeevan Hoole from his hiding place in USA made a comment that Wigneswaran starts and ends his talks with something in Sanskrit that no one in the audience understands. Hoole is in the habit of criticizing Hindu Vellalas stating that he is a Pentecostal Christian belonging to a “lower” Tamil caste in Jaffna. But as a professed “Tamil Moderate” he is still happy with the TNA decision to “force” Wigneswaran to contest for the NPC-CM job. more..