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Minister Susil orders full-scale probe

June 20 (SL) Following last week’s The Sunday Leader expose on illegal gem mining licences issued by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority to ineligible parties with political affiliations, Minister Susil Premjayantha has ordered a full scale investigation into the allegations. Under the headline ‘Gems Galore for the Correctly Connected’, this newspaper exposed as to how several gem mining licences had been issued to several parties more..

India tie-up may have kept sea disaster at bay: Expert

June 20 (NIP) Dulip Jayawardena, a Sri Lankan expert who had worked at the Economic Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCSP), says the recent disaster off the south Lankan coast in which more than 54 fishermen perished, could have been prevented if Lanka had tied up with the Indian Meteorology Department. “It could certainly have been prevented if Lanka had integrated its monitoring system with that of India, which more..

Pakistan, Lanka agree to boost ties

June 20 (PO) Federal Minister for Ports & Shipping Senator Kamran Michael met Sri Lankan High Commissioner H. Jaylath Weerkoddi in his office. The High Commissioner congratulated the Federal Minister upon assuming his portfolio. The Minister thanked the High Commissioner. They exchanged their views about strengthening ties between the two countries in the ports and shipping sector. The Minister appreciated Sri Lankan more..

'Amendments to 13-A only via PSC'

June 20 (Island) The govt said that any alterations to the 13th amendment would be effected only via the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to be set up. It requested other parties to take part in PSC proceedings. That move, it added, was in keeping with the LLRC recommendations. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the UNP and the TNA had not nominated their members to the PSC and that was why there was a more..

'Over 1,600 refugees left for Lanka since Jan 2012'

June 20 (NIP) With monetary aid from the UNHCR, more than 1,600 Sri Lankan Tamils living in Tamil Nadu as refugees have returned to their country so far since January 2012. Officials of the UNHCR, who have their field office in the city, said that about 1,264 Sri Lankan Tamils, who were living in special camps across the State, had returned through voluntary repatriation to their country between Jan and Dec 2012. more..

Farmers duped again, price of fertilizer jacked up - UNP

June 20 (Island) The govt promised farmers a 50 kilogram bag of fertilizer at Rs.350, but they have been duped once again with the price being jacked up to Rs.500, the UNP. Anuradhapura District UNP MP Chandrani Bandara said that fertilizer was just one of several essentials that have skyrocketed in price in recent years. It was the women of the house who had to make ends meet at the end of the day, but more..

Don’t let Sri Lanka tweak 13A, says TNA

June 20 (ENS) India should take “measures” to ensure that the Sri Lankan govt does not succeed in robbing provincial councils of certain powers under the 13th amendment, a delegation of Sri Lankan MPs said here on Wednesday. “We hope that India will take measures to arrest the trend and reverse the process and hold Sri Lanka to its word (of going beyond the 13th amendment),” M A Sumanthiran, member of more..

Officials complicit in human trafficking

June 20 (CG) The United States has urged the Sri Lankan govt to investigate and prosecute govt officials suspected of complicity in human trafficking. The 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report released by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, said that Sri Lanka needs to improve efforts to investigate and prosecute suspected trafficking offenses. It said that the Sri Lankan govt made limited progress in its more..

The other side of low interest rates and Central Bank sponsored lending policies

June 20 (CT) The Central Bank cut its lending rates – the rate at which it eliminates the banking system’s excess liquidity known as REPO rate and the rate at which it pumps money to banks known as Reverse REPO rate – by a mega 0.5% in May 2013. Thus, REPO and Reverse REPO now stand at 7% and 9% respectively. The purpose of this rate cut was, as the Bank had announced is “to stimulate the domestic economy, particularly in the light of the gradual moderation in headline inflation more..

Ranil disqualifies himself!

June 20 (CT) Given the dog in the manger autocracy of the UNP leadership, the news when it came on Monday, wasn't all that surprising. In juicy newsbytes, breaking news SMS' revealed that the Party's Working Committee had decided to expel 21 members of local bodies including two Provincial Councillors. Reportedly, the sole voice of dissent had come from the Member of Parliament from Hambantota, the contrary presence in the Committee. The decision, apart from more..

Climate change to determine economic growth

June 20 (IPS) The Monetary Board of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank, tasked with keeping the island’s economy on an even keel, does not only keep tabs on exchange rates, gold prices and inflation – it also has an eye on a less obvious indicator of economic stability: water levels in the country’s main reservoirs. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal last week told a group of journalists in Colombo, that the Board pays more..

'Govt. took action to increase women’s representation in Parliament'

June 20 (Island) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament that the govt had taken action to increase the women’s representation in Parliament by putting forward necessary recommendations through a Parliamentary Select Committee, but the Opposition’s assistance was needed to make it a success. He was responding to a question raised by UNP MP Sajith Premadasa. The Minister said that proportional representation system had discouraged women from contesting elections and more..

Five nabbed with heroin worth over Rs 8 m

June 20 (DN) Special Task Force (STF) officers arrested five suspects with more than a kg of heroin valued at over Rs 8 million in their possession in Maharagama and Ratmalana. A STF team headed by I P Sagara Kulasekara conducted a raid at a location on the Maharagama-Piliyandala road on Tuesday afternoon and arrested three suspects with 566.570 grammes of heroin packed in polythene sachets printed with a label Shakthi Chilli Powder. An electronic scale, two 9mm bullets, more..

Longing for homeland

June 20 (ENS) Naan thavazhndha mannai marakalai, valarndha mannai marakalai… (I have not forgotten the soil where I crawled as a baby and grew up) – The soulful tune of 62-year-old V Ganesh appeared to have stirred up so many memories of lost homes and lives well lived that the small assembled group of inmates at the refugee camp for Sri Lankan Tamils in Gummidipoondi on the outskirts of the city momentarily fell silent. more..

Only natural food at public functions soon

June 20 (Island) A list of recommended natural food for all public organizations would be issued soon. The organizations would in future be required to order only such natural food for conferences, seminars and workshops. The availability of junk food at important events, organized by the public enterprises, had done more harm than good as they led to contracting of non-communicable diseases, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. Around 219,000 persons were admitted to hospitals per more..

Sri Lanka stocks close flat

June 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed barely changed Thursday with the market showing marginal gains, helped by foreign buying in to a index heavy stock, brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index closed 02.21 points higher at 6,211.44, a 0.04% gain and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 03.54 points lower at 3,492.14 down 0.1%. Turnover was 3.4 billion rupees up from 343 million a day earlier. Foreigners being net sellers contributed 84% for today’s turnover. more..

VIDEO: Govt must ‘come clean’ on casino project – Harsha

June 20 (AD) The UNP today stated that it’s not willing to accept the explanation given by Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena with respect to the casino that is being set up in Colombo, that it is only an integrated development project. “There is enough documentary evidence to show that this investment by crown is not only an integrated development project, it is also a casino,” UNP MP Harsha de Silva said, referring to more..

Sri Lanka needs environmental friendly power generation - Basil

June 20 (GDI) Minister Basil Rajapaksa has stressed the importance of environmental-friendly power-generation needed for future investments in Sri Lanka. The Minister Rajapaksa said this when he discussed Sri Lanka’s future energy requirements with representatives of the Natural Resources and Energy Agency of Japan’s Economic, Trade and Industry Ministry and of Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) at the Ministry Office Colombo, more..

From Sri Lanka to Sweden

June 20 (ENS) Charles Forman is a Lankan Tamil refugee living in Sweden. He gives a glimpse of his experiences: “I was 17 when the struggle started in Sri Lanka. My involvement in politics brought me lot of problems. My father was attacked and I was warned that the women in my family would be raped. I went to Bahrain as a worker and stayed there until 1989. “When I visited my country in 984, there were a lot of clashes between LTTE and Sinhalese and I was caught by the police in Colombo more..

MR for code formulated by media

June 20 (CG) President Rajapaksa says an all-inclusive code-of-ethics for the media should emerge from within the industry. The President’s office quoted the President as saying that the govt is simply playing a supportive role on the matter. HRW has yesterday said that the new media code proposed by the Sri Lankan govt contains overbroad and vague language that could have a severe and chilling effect on free speech. more..

More exchange controls to be relaxed

June 20 (ST) The Govt is considering further relaxation of foreign exchange controls to boost investor confidence, Exchange Controller P.H.O. Chandrawansa said. “We have changed some regulations and we want to change some more in the future,” he told the Sunday Times. He declined to reveal in which areas additional amendments would be made, saying they were still under consideration. The Central Bank last week removed several foreign exchange controls. more..

SLT joins govt. to eradicate dengue

June 20 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the leading telecommunications service provider in the country and mindful of setting the mark as a socially responsible corporate citizen, organized dengue prevention programmes in the company premises island wide in line with the Government of Sri Lanka’s dengue prevention efforts. Under the leadership and guidance of Group CEO of SLT, Lalith de Silva, dengue prevention programmes were conducted in all SLT premises more..

India to dispatch Menon

June 20 (CG) India is to send National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon to Sri Lanka next month for talks with President Rajapaksa and other govt officials. The meeting will take place amidst the backdrop of moves by the government to repeal the 13th Amendment to the constitution. Menon is expected in Colombo on July 7 to discuss bilateral and regional issues including the 13th Amendment to the constitution. more..

Nugegoda brothel busted

June 20 (CG) The police busted a brothel operating in Nugegoda in the guise of an Ayurvedic center, the police media unit said today. The police said that the brothel had been operating on the top floor of the two storied building at Pagoda road in Nugegoda. On a tip-off recieved by the Mirihana police the raid was carried out at the location and several people were arrested. Among those arrested was the Manager of the premises, four women and another man, the police media unit said. more..

Five Lanka Tamils shifted to Tiruchy special camp

June 20 (ENS) Five inmates of the special camp for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Chengalpattu were shifted to a new camp in Tiruchy on Tuesday. The move comes amid the government’s decision to hand over the Chengalpattu and Poonamallee camps to the State prisons department. The special camp in Chengalpattu, which is under the control of ‘Q’ Branch police, had 43 Sri Lankan Tamils facing charges in various cases. On Tuesday, around 9 pm, five inmates — P Ela Nehru (44), more..

Media Minister explains about constitutional amendments

June 20 (GDI) The 13th Amendment to the constitution and the Indo Lanka Agreement were imposed on the country without the consent of the people. However, the sovereignty of the people is supreme. Therefore, the govt has focused the attention on bringing in certain amendments to the 13th amendment as it suits to the country in the present situation. This was stated by the Minister Keheliya Rambukwella addressing the more..

International schools to be regulated

June 20 (CG) Cabinet has approved a proposal to regulate International schools and private schools operating in the country. The proposal to regulate International schools and private schools operating in the countrymade was made by the Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardena. The govt says a number of International Schools are presently functioning in the country and they have been registered as business ventures under the Board of Investment or Companies Act. more..

Eleven indictments against Gnanasara Thera

June 20 (CT) General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera today rejected 11 indictments filed by the Attorney General, for carrying out an attack on Calvary Church, Araliya Place, Talahena. The Thera denied his involvement when the case was taken up for hearing by Colombo High Court Judge, Shiran Gunaratne. Athula Seneviratne, W.M. Sudubanda, Tamara Beatrice, A.K. Denzel Premakumara Perera, C.S.C. Kandanaarachchi, T.K. Somadasa, more..

Seven casinos to be re-located to Colombo casino zone

June 20 (ST) All casinos located in Colombo – seven in all – are to be re-located to the special casino zone declared by the Govt at the D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha – Beira Lake area. This special area has been set up to attract high-spending tourists to the country, offering various entertainment options. Colombo has seven licensed casinos currently operated by businessmen Dhammika Perera and Ravi Wijeratne, more..

Two schoolboys among 7-man burglar gang arrested

June 20 (Island) Two 17-year-old schoolboys were among a newly formed seven-member gang of burglars arrested by the Police on Tuesday. The gang was arrested over a number of burglaries in the area, to the tune of Rs. 1.6 million. The burgled items included gems, gold jewellery, 10 mobile phones and a number of SIM cards. According to the Beruwala police, who conducted investigations into a series of burglaries carried out by the gang, during the last couple of weeks, more..

Study favours citizenship for Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu

June 20 (Hindu) An academic study undertaken in refugee camps for Sri Lankan Tamils in the State makes a case for granting them Indian citizenship as a human obligation. Although the State govt has been providing them with temporary housing, free medical care, and education up to secondary level, cash doles, subsidised rice, clothing material and utensils, for their survival, employability remains a problem in the absence of social integration and they face an uncertain future more..

Xplore World - SriLanka 3

DJ Harith says be honest with yourself

June 21 (NS) The name Harith Kotandeniya will surely ring a bell in those who frequent night clubs in Sri Lanka. He carved a name for himself in the music industry as a DJ earning the love and trust of music lovers in the entertainment industry. Harith was equally known in the hotel scene in Colombo till he migrated abroad some years ago for good. At present he lives California in USA with his wife Eriko. Harith was good enough to grant The Nation an interview when the request was made more..

Stormy weather

June 21 (NS) It’s been just over a week since that fateful evening when the angry seas turned on the fisherfolk who set out to earn their livelihoods. While much of the publicity was directed at the firefight between the Meteorology Department and the Fisheries Department as to who should take the blame and responsibility, it created such a media sensation that the plight of the families of the victims hardly came into the spotlight. In the different coastal areas where the victims once lived, more..

Garbage separation to be popularised

June 21 (SO) The mountains of garbage in the outskirts of Colombo city and adjoining areas created headlines in the media during the past few months as garbage in Colombo became a controversial topic. Protests over the mountains of garbage raises many issues with regard to the management of solid waste. The CMC, the biggest municipal council in the country generates nearly 600 to 700 metric tonnes of garbage daily, more..

Last men standing, still standing defiant!

June 21 (CT) The Leader of the UNP held a threat of taking severe disciplinary action against those who took part in the mass rally held on 18 October 2012, organized by the Maha Sangha with the attendance of the General Sarath Fonseka. The former Army Commander had all of a sudden not only become persona non grata for the govt and the Rajapaksas, but also a source of severe irritation and frustration to the UNP and its beleaguered Leader. This unlikely phenomenon of one-time presidential more..

Dangers of riding a tiger

June 21 (CT) Logic, level-headed thinking and coherent action are not the forte of Sri Lankan politicians in power and their hangers on the periphery of the political theatre in Colombo. Otherwise, we would not have been witness to the slapping of a terrorism case on Azath Salley, a former Colombo Deputy Mayor and a person by virtue of his position, said to be close to the powers that be. Also, we would not have been made privy to plans to abolish the much-maligned 13th more..

Media Ethics and the Govt

June 21 (SL) The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession are called ethics. Some say that ethics are referred concepts that decide right and wrong. All this point out that ethics is a criterion that decides a person’s conduct. Ethics are framed according to religious beliefs, culture and general acceptance. Despite many ethics have become laws, what is particular is that they are not more..

Lessons that TNA and JHU can learn

June 21 (SL) If there is something that stands out on the government’s decision to legislate now (only) on withdrawing the President’s powers on the merger of two or more provinces is an object lesson in coalition politics. Some of the coalition partners, including those of Northern Tamils and Muslims, have thwarted the simultaneous bid to withdraw the ‘veto power’ of individual Provincial Councils to stall parliamentary legislation on subjects in the ‘Concurrent List’, which the vociferous TNA more..

State sector jobs for Northern youths

June 21 (DN) The govt provided state sector jobs to over 6,000 persons in the North, Minister Douglas Devananda said. He said the vacancies were advertised in the newspapers and from the applications received, the most suitable were selected following interviews. Devananda participating as the Chief Guest at a ceremony at Weerasingham Hall in Jaffna to mark the handing over of appointments to 375 minor employees in the health and agricultural sectors, said more..