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Hunt for suspected Sri Lankan asylum boat called off

June 13 (TA) The Australian Maritime Safety Authority announced it had called off a three-day search for the boat, believed to have sailed direct from Sri Lanka. The boat, first spotted on Wednesday last week, was seen motoring under its own steam 480km northwest of Cocos Islands and 3500km northwest of Perth. When it failed to arrive at Cocos, Customs and Border Protection sent a RAAF plane to look for it. The boat was not found and the operation referred to AMSA, more..

'Sajin gave helicopter for media coverage and not to save fishermen'

June 13 (AD) The death of dozens of fishermen who lost their lives during adverse weather conditions that prevailed over the island a few days ago is a ‘national tragedy’, UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapakshe stated. He explained that this was reason why he along with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe and UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake decided to attend some of the funerals of the fallen fishermen in Balapitiya. more..

A master at making artistes taller

June 14 (NS) Some people prefer to be unsung heroes. These selfless individuals make a living by providing the support services to those who perform and steal the limelight. People in the arts field know the requirement of a manager. This role can be played in the form of manager, coordinator or organizer, but there is a difference when Sudhamsiri (Sudham) Pahalagama, a person renowned for organizing skills, gets involved in this role. Sudham does it to perfection. more..

Where doctors feed, counsel and treat the ill

June 14 (NS) People contribute to society in many ways. Yet, only a very few do so without harboring selfish intentions like earning fame or money. Those at Gangula Vedha Medura, situated at Hirana in panadura, treat patients and practice medicine without demanding payment. A panduru pettiya (Donation till) allows patients to contribute as much money as they would like, while patients who cannot afford to contribute are not left untreated. B. Somadasa Fernando and his son more..

Private hospitals spell out 'blood money' costs

June 14 (SO) "It is a blatant lie to say that we get blood free of charge from the National Blood Transfusion Service at Narahenpita and charge exorbitantly from patients", Prof. Lal Chandrasena of the Nawaloka Hospital reacted when contacted him to get more clarifications on last Sunday's front page news item "Private hospitals extract blood money from patients". Prof. Chandrasena, Head of Laboratories at the Nawaloka Hospital said more..

Ethics is a traditional homeland without claimants

June 14 (CT) The self-immolation of Ven Bowatte Indraratnana Thero raised many questions. Whatever the late Thero’s intentions may have been, it is unlikely that ‘media ethics’ or lack thereof was something that prompted the horrifying act. That, however, is what we are left with. The action or rather inaction of those who may have been able to prevent the tragedy, especially the journalist who was ‘in the know’ has spurred much debate on what really constitutes ‘responsibility’ for people more..

Ranil can try his luck later, six months later

June 14 (CT) In political science, keep the mind razor sharp and tongue as piercing as a dagger; no quarter should be yielded to blunderers; the world is infested with too many mutts. The art of politics, on the other hand, is the craft of getting as much as can be realistically extracted in a given conjuncture. The objective of principled politics is to permit only morally flawed compromises that are unavoidable. Was this last the psychology of the drafters who put together the constitutional proposals unveiled more..

Where is the code of ethics for MPs?

June 14 (Island) It would be funny if it weren’t so disgusting. In the week that the Govt distributed a code of ethics for journalists, one of its MPs made possibly the most unethical statement of the year. I am of course talking about Arundika Fernando and his claim to have seen missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda in France. I don’t know about you, but if I had been introduced to the man who has become the symbol of the more..

Editorial : 13-A and Catch-22

June 14 (Island) The SLMC has, after weeks of dillydallying, written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa that it cannot be party to any move to dilute the Thirteenth Amendment or legislate for preventing a possible re-merger of the North and the East. This decision has come as no surprise. There has been a demand for a Muslim majority council with jurisdiction over noncontiguous Muslims dominated areas in the East in case of a permanent merger of the northern and eastern provinces. more..

Stripping PC powers and toying with a PSC

June 14 (Island) The Rajapaksa govt has in recent weeks put into high gear its post war Northern or Tamil policy and this policy has been marked by generally trying to reduce the level of devolution that exists in the country under the 13th Amendment. What currently exists as devolution is also only a partial implementation of the 13th Amendment, since in practice neither police nor land powers have been vested with the provinces since the inception of the Councils. more..

Boston Lanka with Sarath Kumarasinghe

Constitutional change based on ethnic mistrust is no solution

June 14 (SL) Suddenly the 13th Amendment and the provincial councils set up under it are said to be a threat to the country’s unity. The provincial council system has been denigrated by the very critics who now seek to weaken it further as being akin to white elephants. Chief Ministers of the provincial councils themselves have complained bitterly about the weakness of the devolved institutions they presided over. A key source of weakness has been the near total dependence of the provincial councils on more..

What can India possibly do if 13A is amended?

June 14 (CT) The question on everyone's mind these days is how India will react to the much talked-about proposal to introduce amendments to the 13A. Obviously, President Rajapaksa thinks India can do nothing. The bilateral agreements signed by the Sri Lankan Leader with his Chinese counterpart during the former's recent visit to that country, provides a clear indication that the national security of Sri Lanka has been underwritten by China, as enshrined in the agreement to enhance more..

Muslim women protest to prevent UDA demolishing their homes in Karapitiya

June 14 (DBS) Tension prevailed in the Galle suburb of Karapitiya on June 12th when Muslim women protesting the intended demolition of their homes by the UDA demonstrated in front of bulldozers and succeeded temporarily in prevented their dwellings being wrecked. The dramatic incident where around 25 Muslim women bravely sat down or lay down in front of four bulldozers that were getting ready to mow down their homes more..

SL v Eng: A win born of belief

June 14 (CI) Everywhere Sri Lanka go now, their captains are asked the same question. "Those three big names in your top four, all over 35 - aren't they getting past it now?" Four months into his leadership, Angelo Mathews already trots out clichés about class being permanent. Perhaps after the old hands set the night alight at the Oval, those doubts will abate for a time. What Sangakkara, Mahela and Dilshan have secured for Sri Lanka is not just two points on the table, more..

Sidelining coach Nanda a grave injustice

June 14 (Island) Leading sports officials of the Ministry of Education stated wrong to send a team of girls for an international event without a lady chaperon from the Education Ministry. Responding to queries with regard to the controversial inclusion of a Sports Ministry official as the lady chaperon for the IAAF Youth World Championships, Director of Sports, B.A. Abeyratne and Project Officer-Athletics Sriyani Kulawansa both admitted that it was wrong to send a team of girls for an more..

Sri Lanka gaming tax to be on par with the rest of the world: minister

June 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's gaming taxes could be made to be on par with the rest of the world, minister Lakshman Abeywardena said amid queries why gaming levies are being brought down. He said casinos were now located haphazardly in Colombo and some were near schools and in a recent budget a clear policy had been laid out that they will be brought to a single location. "So in the future there will be designated zone by more..

Marine Drive gets new hotel, department store at US$40 M

June 14 (ST) Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is bracing itself for a US$40 million, new 270 room luxury hotel and department store in Colombo on the Marine Drive by furniture manufacturer Damro. Located in Kollupitiya on one-and-a-half acres of land, Marino Sands would be in a 12-storey building comprising three basements for parking and two floors for a department store and expected to open in 2016. The new hotel would be operated as a BOI project monitored and supervised by the UDA and more..

13 Lankans, 26 entries to roar at 60th Cannes Lions festival

June 14 (FT) Each year, around 11,000 members of the global creative communications industries come together to be inspired and educated at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the world’s greatest celebration of creative communications in all its forms. Over seven days, from 16-22 June 2013, the whole creative industry will meet at Cannes, France to learn from the best and celebrate the work changing the communications landscape. This year marks a momentous year as more..

Sri Lanka to host Commonwealth Heads despite human rights concerns

June 13 (NZH) Foreign Minister Murray McCully said Sri Lanka's hosting of the CHOGM in November will focus international scrutiny on what progress it is making on human rights and reconciliation issues. He met President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week in a visit to Sri Lanka, as well as Foreign Minister Professor GL Peiris and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa (brother of the president). more..

Lack of swing exposes England attack

June 14 (CI) Well, that makes things interesting. England's defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka leaves Group A intriguingly poised: the final round of games has become a quarter-final in all but name. But the forecast for Sunday is far from wonderful. England are scheduled to play New Zealand in Cardiff and, if it rains throughout, net run-rate will decide their fate. It will be of little consolation to England that this Champions Trophy is proving as entertaining as it is unpredictable. more..

'Seed production standards should be maintained'

June 14 (DN) In yet another attempt to fan the flames of communal disharmony, the Udayan newspaper had carried a story quoting a speech by Kilinochchi District Secretary Rupawathie Kethieshwaran that measures are in place to take action against persons manufacturing agricultural products illegally in the Kilinochchi district. Udayan had reported this speech in a manner that arouses communal disharmony. Commenting on this, Kilinochchi District Secretary said more..

Vass threatens CID officers

June 14 (CT) DIG Vass Gunawardene, who is being investigated for his alleged involvement in the murder of millionaire businessman, Mohamed Shiyam, had bragged that he is a killer, and had threatened to retaliate against the CID officers who had arrested him, the CID informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate Court, yesterday. “I knew you were going to do this. But, you cannot keep me inside (in detention) forever, more..

SB would have been a farmer- JVP

June 14 (DM) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena and Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake would have been unheard of if there had been no free education in the country, said the JVP yesterday. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said at media briefing that Mr. S.B. Dissanayake would have been a farmer if not for free education. He charged that it was such people as these who were selling degrees at Rs 150,000 each today and thereby scrapping the free education system. more..

Lankan granny into Guinness Book

June 14 (CT) Apullanalada Ukku, 116 years, is the reigning oldest person in the world, after Japanese national, Jiroemon Kimura, (also 116 years), who held this record earlier, died on 12 June. Ms Ukku, living at No. 82 A, Bulathgamuwa, Mawanella, in the Kegalle District, has now secured a world record as the longest living person in the world. The National Identity Card of Ukku Amma of Bulathgamuwa is 977960037 V. Based on the data in the NIC, she was born on 22 August, 1897. more..

'Growing US interests in asia could affect SL'

June 14 (DM) The United State’s establishment of a base in the Maldives could change the complexion of the sub-continent region as there is likelihood of its growing interest in the region by aligning more with India; thus causing a factor which may affect Sri Lanka, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said yesterday. He said this while delivering a lecture for students following the National Interest Module of more..

'SB is the culprit'

June 14 (CT) The JVP claimed yesterday to have in its possession, photographic as well as audio taped evidence of Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake, ordering the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Dr. N.L.A. Karunaratne, to take immediate action against a group of students taking part in a protest at Wijerama Junction, Nugegoda on 5 June, when the vehicles carrying the minister and the VC were briefly obstructed by the protesting students. more..

Beer commercial withdrawn

June 14 (DM) The Japanese brewery that made a beer commercial with ‘Sigiriya’ as the backdrop has decided to stop using the commercial after discussions held at the Japanese Embassy with officials of the Archaeological Department. As instructed by Minister Jagath Balasuriya, the director general of the Archaeological Department, Senarath Dissanayake had apprised the Japanese Embassy of the issue and urged that the controversial commercial be withdrawn. more..

SL v Eng: Sangakkara's stunning hundred keeps Sri Lanka alive

June 14 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara has never got his hands on a major ICC one-day trophy. Neither have the other outstanding players of this Sri Lanka era - Mahela, Malinga or Dilshan. But they will believe there is still time after Sangakkara's magnificent unbeaten 134 from 135 balls pulled off an improbable run chase against England by seven wickets with 17 balls to spare at The Oval. Only India had ever pulled off more..

Deyata Kirula 2014: President wants planners to involve local population

June 14 (DN) President Rajapaksa requested stakeholders responsible in programme planning for the Deyata Kirula National Development programme 2014 which will be held covering Kegalle, Kurunegala and Ratnapura districts to ensure the maximum participation of the local population in their tasks. "It is compulsory to ensure that the planning of development projects and their implementation is done through public participation rather than being confined to high level decision makers", more..

Sri Lanka represented at the Shangri-La Dialogue 2013

June 14 (GDI) Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa led the Sri Lankan delegation to the 12th Asia Security Summit, the Shangri-La Dialogue 2913 held in Singapore. The delegation included Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya - Commander of Sri Lanka Army, Ms. Kshenuka Senewiratne - Additional Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs and Rear Admiral Jayantha Perera - Director General Operation of Sri Lanka Navy. more..

Dons abandon trade union action against Colombo VC

June 14 (Island) The Colombo University Teachers’ Association (CUTA), which at the end of May threatened an all-out strike within two weeks, if newly appointed Vice Chancellor did not step down from the post, have given up their demand as they lack support. University sources said that the scheduled strike would not be staged due to the faculty teachers’ unions not supporting the trade union action. A section of Colombo University more..

11th Power Sri Lanka 2013 expo kicks off

June 14 (CT) CEMS-Global Conference and Exhibition Management Services and CEMS Lanka the multinational exhibition organizer since 1992, with its operations in seven countries and organizing over 37 exhibitions per annum; in its efforts to organize the most important and much needed trade shows in South and South-East Asia, is pleased to bring its Premier International 'Power series of Exhibitions' once again to Sri Lanka as the '11th Power Sri Lanka 2013 International Expo' more..

Customs decline to name big smuggler

June 14 (Island) Customs at the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), who made the first ever big detection of an attempt to smuggle into the country gems and jewellery valued at more than Rs. 30 million, yesterday refused to divulge the name of the smuggler. All the Customs were willing to reveal was that the would be smuggler was a leading Colombo businessman and that he had been released after being fined Rs. 2.5 million and the valuables confiscated. more..

DEW, Vasu, Tissa oppose Govt. proposals to dilute 13A in writing

June 14 (FT) The socialist alliance within the ruling UPFA coalition yesterday submitted a cabinet memorandum laying out their reasons to oppose the Government’s moves to revise and dilute the provisions of the 13th Amendment. The Memo was submitted by Ministers D.E.W. Gunasekera, Tissa Vitarana and Vasudeva Nanayakkara of the Communist Party, the LSSP and the Democratic Left Front respectively. more..

Central Bank may take more measures to get lending rates down

June 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank could take more steps to reduce high lending rates if commercial banks do not fall in line with monetary policy rate cuts. Nandalal Weerasinghe, deputy central bank governor, said lending rates remain too high despite trims of 75 basis points in policy rates since December. The high rates are crimping the island nation's growth, he said. His comments come two days after the central bank told commercial banks to cut the rate charged on credit card more..

Indonesian police arrest 43 Lankans

June 14 (CG) The police in West Java, Indonesia arrested 43 illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka today. They were arrested after being detected at the Sindangbarang highway in South Cianjur, Antara News reported. The illegal immigrants chose the road via South Cianjur to the southern coast of Java from which they planned to cross to their final destination Australia`s Christmas Island. The illegal immigrants would be handed over to immigration authorities in Sukabumi. more..

19A to defuse 13A!

June 14 (FT) The Govt will attempt to change the Constitution for the 19th time next week with an amendment that will repeal provisions that permit the merger of provinces under the 13th Amendment, despite strong opposition from constituent parties within the ruling coalition. The Cabinet of Ministers that took up the two amendments to the 13th Amendment which sets up the provincial councils again during a stormy and more..

No bridge but political goons over troubled waters

June 14 (DM) With a presidential committee probing the worst ever tragedy in Sri Lanka’s fishing industry, and ministries or departments blaming each other for the troubled waters over fishing, we wish to focus today on a serious threat to democracy in the aftermath of this calamity. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and a party delegation were visiting Balapitiya to meet the families of victims, when Mr. Wickremesinghe was attacked by some goons who were allegedly organised or provoked by more..

Draft code of Media Ethics: Throwing baby out with bath water

June 14 (DM) The Ministry of Mass Media and Information has recently proposed a Draft ‘Code of Media Ethics’. Upon reading the preliminary draft which has been made available selectively, I would like to highlight certain immediate concerns about this step by the Ministry. These concerns are primarily made for the preservation of an essential element of democracy; the freedom of the Media. There shall be no specific comment on the content of the Draft Code at this juncture as more..