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Arundhika telling lies -Wediwardane

June 8 (DM) Journalist Manjula Wediwardane, who is living in France has denied UPFA MP Arundhika Fernando's claims that he had introduced disappeared journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda to the politician in France. "It is a lie, and i have never met Arundhika Fernando in France," Wediwardane told BBC. He however said that he saw Arundhika in 2007 in Colombo and after that he never saw him. Wediwardana also told BBC that Arundhika had given a telephone call to him when the latter more..

'Sri Lanka’s expanding relations with Africa'

June 8 (MEA) It is a great honour for me to address you on ‘Sri Lanka’s expanding relations with Africa’ at an event of celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the founding Organization of the African Unity which is now known as African Union (AU). On behalf of the Govt of Sri Lanka, I take this opportunity to convey our sincere best wishes for the 50th Anniversary of the African Union and wish every success in her future endeavors more..

Pillay’s impending SL visit, an eye-opener

June 9 (SO) Human rights and reconciliation are bandied about by some Western countries to intimidate Sri Lanka after the Security Forces liberated the country from the grip of LTTE terrorism. Rather than hailing Sri Lanka's singular achievement, which set an example to the world in eradicating terrorism, certain international organisations and Western countries pontificated on reconciliation and human rights to appease LTTE cohorts in their countries. more..

President and Govt must lead from the front

June 9 (SL) The recent flurry of activity involving the 13th Amendment is obviously directed towards the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election that is likely to be held soon. Politics is all about winning elections whatever the noble sentiments that are expressed about an election. On the other hand those involved in making of constitutions will point out that winning elections should be kept apart from the adoption of vital constitutional amendments in national interests. more..

'Changes to 13-A vital'

June 9 (SO) Simple and easy-going, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella is a friend of the media fraternity. His authoritative but soothing voice won the hearts of journalists at the weekly Cabinet press briefing. The Minister said that the total strength of the country’s media personnel may be around 5000. But we can’t let 20 million people in the country suffer because of them. They should have recourse to redress if the media has more..

It is customary to bury the dead

June 9 (NS) A form of drama that emphasizes the absurdity of human existence by employing disjointed, repetitious, and meaningless dialogue, purposeless and confusing situations, and plots that lack realistic or logical development. That’s the description of a particular form of drama called ‘Theater of the Absurd’. In the 21st Century, where confusion has been globalized courtesy finely orchestrated media campaigns whose sole objective is to justify crimes against more..

Some home truths from PBJ

June 9 (Island) Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera was re-asserting the self-evident when he said that State-owned enterprises need competent managers, not political appointees. He has gone public with the assertion that govt should desist from making such appointments and that competent people be charged with the responsibility of running these enterprises. It is unlikely that his wise counsel will find takers in the political establishment that has long taken for granted more..

'JHU not ready to reach compromise on 13-A'

June 9 (SO) Minister and JHU General Secretary, Champika Ranawaka explains why his party objects to the 13 Amendment and the compromises the JHU would like to make for reconciliation. Q: What is the JHU’s stance on the 13th Amendment? A: We are for the abolition of the Provincial Council system and total repeal of the 13th Amendment. There are two main reasons for our argument. Firstly, the manner in which more..

Rising trend of tinkering with judiciary

June 9 (NS) The arrest of Homagama District Judge Sunil Abeysinghe on charges of bribery must surely rank as the lowest point in the history of the country’s judiciary even if there is much controversy and speculation over the incident. The accused judge, like any other citizen of this country, is entitled to the presumption of innocence if and until he is proven guilty. Therefore, the matters related to his particular case will not be commented upon. The recent convulsions in Sri Lanka’s judiciary more..

The smoking gun and the UN arms treaty

June 9 (ST) A landmark treaty was introduced at the United Nations this week — the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Sri Lanka has been a victim of this arms trade, both at the hands of state and non-state actors who supplied arms to a guerrilla group that wreaked havoc on this country for three decades. But Sri Lanka is not among the 67 countries that placed their signatures on this treaty aimed at regulating what is estimated to be an annual US$ 60-85 billion global trade. more..

'President and govt going against solving ethnic issue'

June 9 (SL) TNA MP Suresh Premachandran says the govt is compelled to hold the Northern Provincial Council elections, but that it would be useless to hold the elections after amending the 13th Amendment and reducing powers vested with the provinces. He observed that there won’t be a need for a Provincial Council system if the govt goes ahead with its proposed amendments to the 13th more..

Colombo University as a revolutionary ‘liberated zone’

June 9 (Island) The uncertainty that prevailed for quite a while over the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor (VC) for the University of Colombo, was ended several days ago with the appointment of Dr Kumara Hirimburegama to the post. Probably never before has the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor taken so long and generated so much controversy. What followed the appointment was even more unprecedented. The FUTA issued a two week ultimatum to the newly appointed VC more..

Govt firm on amendments to 13A and northern elections

June 9 (NS) A six-member Indian delegation led by the deputy leader of the Indian opposition Bharatha Janatha Party (BJP) in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad arrived in Sri Lanka on Tuesday for a five-day visit. The Indian daily ‘The Hindu’ reported that the delegation’s visit was not sponsored by the Indian Govt, but is being watched keenly by the Indian govt since the opposition-led team is to meet all the top Sri Lankan leaders. This is a time when the UPFA regime’s Cabinet Ministers more..

Beyond Boston with Saroj Pathirana

Tainted ethics

June 9 (ST) My Dear Keheliya, I am writing to you because I thought I must do so soon. I heard that you are proposing a ‘Code of Ethics’ for the media and from what we have heard about this ‘code’, we may not be able to write anything at all, if you have your way! It is not that this ‘Code of Ethics’ is unnecessary. As you said, we have 26 television stations, a 108 newspapers and 225 MP, not to mention 66 ministers so there must be some code to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected. more..

Both sides playing media games

June 9 (ST) Any debate on media-freedom related issues in Parliament, almost always results in much finger pointing, but little agreement on how the independence and standards in the media within the country can be maintained and strengthened. Ruling party MPs see all the vices associated with the media being committed by organisations that are privately owned, while Opposition legislators see the State media as the main offender. So, on Wednesday, when Parliament debated more..

'Govt’s stance will further divide the communities'

June 9 (SL) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake says that while implementing the 13th Amendment is legal, the govt’s attempt to remove land and police powers from the Provincial Council system would create a problem. He noted that the agreement to devolve power was aimed at the entire country and not only the North and that the Provincial Councils if active would at least somewhat address the ethnic issue. more..

Rajapaksa Govt: Medamulana doctrine of chaos at work

June 9 (SL) The Mahinda govt after remaining silent on its stance on the devolution of power and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, last week sent out a clear signal that there was no chance of seeing the full implementation of the controversial piece of legislation under the administration. The administration has been silent on the issue of devolution of power or even the holding of the Northern Provincial Council election. In fact, the Rajapaksa govt has been looking at more..

NZ can be more than quietly confident

June 9 (CI) The phrase "quietly confident" captures New Zealand's approach to almost any international assignment, and Brendon McCullum used it again ahead of their Champions Trophy opener. On the surface, there is perhaps no reason to be so quiet about it. They have just felled the hosts, England, in a three-match series, have an opener in incredible form, and even without Daniel Vettori - who is doubtful for the match - possess an attack capable of troubling any top order. more..

Sri Lanka openers reclaim '96 spirit

June 9 (CI) Sri Lankans can be a strange people. It's the height of impoliteness to decline a meal when visiting friends, but only after you have initially placed a soft refusal. "No, we couldn't possibly bother you, and we've got to run anyway," becomes a four-hour visit that's split in half by the first goodbye, and then a string of secondary farewells that interject conversation over the next two hours. Bus drivers alternate between more..

Match 3: England seal easy win over Australia

June 9 (CI) England and Australia locked horns for the first time this summer and Edgbaston, basking in golden sunshine for its 100th international match, was able to celebrate the start of the sequence with an emphatic England victory. The Champions Trophy tie - or Ashes prelim, if you prefer - fell to England by 48 runs. Until England took control, it was a cagey, tactical affair - for the neutral perhaps the least enthralling match in the tournament so far. But who knows, it might be that more..

Gaming: A Case for Hard Headed Realism Vs Moral Hypocrisy

June 9 (Island) Growth has stalled and the country’s fortunes have become overly dependent on foreign remittances to support domestic consumption and finance imports. Sri Lanka has achieved middle-income-country status and this has also been reflected in the aspirations of the people. They are no longer willing to be satisfied with 4%-5% growth rates and the slow pace in the rise of their living standards associated with this. The shift in consumption patterns triggered by over more..

Task Force poised to seize Rs. 1.3b worth assets of GK directors

June 9 (Island) With last week’s acquisition of a prime Colombo property owned by Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala, the special Golden Key (GK) Task Force led by the DIG (CID) is poised to seize more assets and properties worth over Rs 1.3 billion belonging to the nine directors of this collapsed Ceylinco subsidiary in the weeks to follow, officials said. "More valuable assets have already been identified and the Task Force more..

JKH annual report silent on mega development plan

June 9 (Island) John Keells Holdings, Sri Lanka’s top conglomerate, now preparing to embark on a mega development project within the Colombo city has maintained near silence on these plans in the company’s annual report released last week. The only reference to the project is a single sentence in Chairman/CEO Susantha Ratnayake’s message where he says: "Progress continues to be made on our plans for a large scale development on one of our existing sites." more..

Preview: NZ v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy

June 9 (CI) New Zealand are the David Ferrer of cricket. They are the good, friendly triers. They try to make up for lesser talent compared to the big boys with honest effort. Of course, plain honest effort does not get you the big titles. But more often than not, it gets you towards the closing stages of the big tournaments: the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, the extremely occasional final. Once there, they are widely expected to make way for the Nadals or the Australias. more..

NSB chairman sacked for ignoring PBJ order

June 9 (ST) National Savings Bank (NSB), Sri Lanka’s main state-owned savings bank, is going ahead with a controversial US$ 1billion bond through HSBC Bank, after its chairman Sunil Sirisena was sacked for failing to heed a directive by the Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera to expedite the process. In a surprise move, the services of Mr. Sirisena, a reputed administrative officer who retired and was appointed as more..

CPC, CEB to breakeven this fiscal - Treasury

June 9 (NS) Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance and Planning has recently said that it expects the two heavily loss making state-owned entities, the CPC and the CEB will reach a breakeven level in their operations during 2013/2014. Releasing its 2012 Annual Report, the Ministry said that with low cost 600MW coal power plant being commissioned in 2013 and having re-negotiated the 15-year-old power purchase agreements while giving weightage to the prevailing circumstances and more..

MP Arundika ready to testify

June 9 (ST) UPFA MP Arundika Fernando says he is ready to make a statement to the CID on the statement he made in parliament regarding the whereabouts of missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda. Fernando says he came across Eknaligoda in France in 2011 when he had gone to visit a friend and journalist Manjula Wediwardana. “When I was at Manjula’s house, a bald man came there. I was told that it was Prageeth Eknaligoda. I have now heard that he has moved to Britain more..

Met Department blunders

June 9 (CT) A catastrophic blunder of epic proportions caused by the Department of Meteorology in not providing periodic weather updates in the wee hours of Saturday, resulted in at least 35 fishing boats going missing in the Southern coastal belt, where at least eight fishermen were found dead by last night. There were over 17 who went missing, while six were rescued by the Sri Lanka Navy and a further eight by the Sri Lanka Air Force, more..

Southern beaches sizzle on hotels’ price war

June 9 (ST) Hotels in the south are in the throes of a price war in the wake of a drop in summer arrivals this year. “We are all the time looking at pricing to suit market conditions,” Aitken Spence Head of Hotels Malin Hapugoda said adding that “the price war is on the beach and to a lesser extent on the round-trips.” He noted that some of their competitors were “really cutting” prices and this was expected to continue as most arrivals were moving into smaller guest houses and smaller hotels. more..

CMC unable to pin garbage cleaner racket dodging work

June 9 (NS) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is at a loss to check what its Commissioner, Badhrani Jayawardena described as a long running problem of its cleaners or minor employees ducking work after marking their attendance. Municipal cleaners failing to remove garbage periodically have become a common problem, extending to other areas, and even contributing to the increase in dengue which has claimed thousands of lives in the past few years. Jayawardena said that the more..

Row over commercial licences for SLAF pilots

June 9 (ST) The Sri Lanka Air Force has requested the Civil Aviation Authority to exempt its pilots from written knowledge exams when granting commercial licences —a departure from internationally-accepted standards. Informed industry sources said the Air Force’s insistence on this matter had placed the CAA in a quandary. “We hear that letters have gone up and down,” said one source. Any pilot wishing to fly civilian more..

TNA doubts polls will be held

June 9 (SL) The TNA expressed doubt regarding the holding of the Northern provincial council elections in September this year. Although President Rajapaksa had announced that elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) would be conducted in September this year, ahead of the CHOGM scheduled for November, the Elections Commissioner has not been notified as yet. Expressing his concern regarding the govt’s delay in making the announcement TNA MP more..

'Public should not rely on milk powder'

June 9 (NS) In the wake of the string of controversies on milk powder, the Health Ministry says the public should not rely on milk powder as there are various other alternatives. Although direct substitutes for milk powder do not exist, it is advisable to substitute milk powder with fresh milk which is definitely superior to milk powder in nutritional content, Health Ministry Spokesperson W.A.D. Wanninayake said. Locals are used to having a glass of milk every morning and more..

France says no evidence at all of Ekneligoda living there

June 9 (ST) France said yesterday there was “no evidence at all” to suggest that journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, who disappeared in Sri Lanka three years ago, was living in that country. “We have no official confirmation whatsoever,” a spokesperson for the French Embassy in Colombo said. The UPFA’s MP Arundika Fernando told Parliament that Ekneligoda was living in France under disguise. In a clarifying statement on more..

Lankan doctor wins top UK Health Service Award

June 9 (Island) Dr. Lilantha Wedisinghe, a specialist trainee in Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, received the Excellence Award for "Creativity and Innovation" at the National Health Service Dumfries and Galloway’s Annual Awards ceremony recently. He was the Principal Investigator of the Dumfries and Galloway Cervical Screening Study. For the first time in Scotland, the research team has offered self- sampling for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) more..

Port fire: Legal action against importer of chemical

June 9 (ST) Action is to be filed against the company which imported a hazardous chemical without properly declaring it, resulting in last week’s fire at the Colombo Port on May 24, Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena told the Sunday Times. He said the chemical which was to be stored with other hazardous cargo was stored with the general cargo, sparking off the fire. He said the cargo which contained the imported chemical had no markings indicating that they were transporting it. more..

Rajapaksa takes major gamble on NPC issues

June 9 (ST) Internal fissures have prompted the Cabinet of Ministers to discuss again on Thursday the exclusion of two key provisions in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and related issues. At last Thursday’s meeting, Cabinet Secretary Sumith Abeysinghe circulated to ministers two sets of documents. Both were signed by Minister, G.L. Peiris, who is also a professor of law. Both related to more..

Economic summit to assess Lanka's export potential

June 9 (SO) The 14th annual Sri Lanka Economic Summit to be held from July 9-11 in Colombo will discuss Sri Lanka’s export strategy in one of its sessions. The Government policy framework has targeted to raise the rate of growth in exports to double that of GDP growth, but exports as a percentage of GDP in 2012 was half of what it was in 2000. The share of exports of Sri Lanka as a percentage of world exports has also declined over the years to reach 0.06% by 2011. more..

Finalising wards system in LG areas put off

June 9 (SO) Finalising the wards system in Local Govt areas in accordance with the amended Local Govt Elections Act has been postponed for the end of the year as public and volunteer organisations need more time to discuss it further, Secretary to the Provincial Councils and Local Govt R.A.A.K. Ranawaka said yesterday. He said although the National Committee was appointed to demarcate and name the wards under each Local Govt body by May 31 it was postponed as more..