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SLMC peeved at being excluded from PSC

June 24 (CT) The SLMC is infuriated over the govt's failure to appoint one of its nominees to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), despite the Party being one of the constituent partners of the ruling UPFA, with a Cabinet Minister, a Deputy and eight MPs. The PSC appointed by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa is led by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and includes ruling party members Ministers G.L. Peiris, Maithripala Sirisena, more..

KP not interested in NPC polls

June 24 (Island) Former procurement head of the LTTE, Kumaran Pathmanathan, alias KP, said that he had no desire to contest the forthcoming NPC election. He said he was not certain who would be appointed the Chief Minister of Northern Province. The political situation in the province was peaceful, he added. Former LTTE spokesman Daya Master said that twenty youth from Jaffna would be contesting the election along with him and among them were lawyers and businessmen. more..

TNA not ready for PSC

June 24 (CT) The TNA said it is not prepared, at present, for the just-appointed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. This follows Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa announcing the appointment of 19 govt members to the PSC that would comprise a total of 31 members, led by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. Meanwhile, the UNP said it will nominate its members after certain issues relating to the PSC are clarified with the govt. more..

'Transfer of Lankan officers unacceptable'

June 24 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt wouldn’t accept the transfer of military officers, now studying at the prestigious Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), at Wellington, Tamil Nadu to any other facility, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said yesterday. Defence Secretary was responding to the ongoing protests in Tamil Nadu against the Indian Central Govt accommodating two Sri Lankan officers at Wellington. more..

Political cronies in diplomatic posts

June 24 (DM) During the past few years the External Affairs Ministry has been so overloaded with unprofessional or non-qualified diplo-muts that Sri Lanka’s foreign policy has been badly messed up or muddled so much so that the Rajapaksa regime is facing one of the worst ever crises in the relationships with India, the US and many countries in the European Union. Analysts of external affairs attribute this mainly to the large-scale appointment of party political cronies to important more..

The Age of Uncertainty

June 24 (DM) Uncertainty has no doubt been an integral part of human life from the beginning of human life itself. Given the fact that uncertainty is a key source of anxiety for human beings, it has understandably given rise to all sorts of social and psychological mechanisms to deal with the phenomenon. The transition from primitive societies dominated by the forces of nature to more modern societies that rely a great deal on collective human interventions to deal with existential problems more..

'I like to think the old Mahinda is dormant within him'

June 24 (DM) One time govt strongman and a man who was considered one of the most powerful Ministers during the tenure of the Former President, and now one of the current regime’s most vociferous critics, speaks to Daily Mirror on the current regime, the alternative he proposes, the fallacy of the 'computer jilmart' and President Rajapaksa, his friend. Q: How has Mangala Samaraweera turned a more..

PC polls coming, but will they be fair, asks Opposition

June 24 (ST) As the Govt prepares to hold elections to the Northern, Central and North Western Provincial Councils, the major opposition political parties such as the UNP and the JVP have cast doubts about the elections being free and fair. UNP media spokesman Parliamentarian Tissa Attanayake told the Sunday Times on Friday already military groups in the North are gathering information about the UNP candidates. more..

Mervyn behind Kelaniya crimes

June 24 (SL) Following revelations on how former DIG Vass Gunawardena extorted money from the Parliamentary Affairs Secretary to Minister Mervyn Silva to avoid taking action against him for the possession of heroin and firearms; concrete evidence has now emerged as to how Minister Silva is having close associations with underworld thugs. Sarath Edirisinghe alias Singappuru Sarath was the then more..

Plagued by Brain Drain

June 24 (CT) Sri Lanka has only 4,000 Specialists in the field of Research and Development (R&D), far less than the UNESCO average for a developing economy of 7,800 and the world average of 18,000 – figures that represent the steady decline in Sri Lanka's ability to foster and retain the much-needed local expertise. Prof. Ajith De Alwis of the Uni of Moratuwa, said, "Some of the researchers are not involved in full-time R&D, more..

Sri Lanka sells US$254mn in 3, 5-year bonds

June 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka had sold 90 million US dollars of 3-year bonds at premium of 400 basis points above the London Interbank offered Rate and 164 million US dollars of 5-year bonds at 415 basis points above Libor, the state debt office said. The debt office, which is unit of the Central Bank said 50 million US dollars of 3-year bonds and 25 million in 5-year bonds paying a 6-month coupon above Libor was offered but orders were more..

'Code of ethics meant to gag media'

June 24 (Island) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa says that a group of bankrupt politicians, notorious for theft, fraud, corruption and raping women have come up with the idea of introducing a code of ethics for journalists to prevent media men reporting the truth. MP Premadasa, addressing a Sasunata Aruna programme held at Poorvarama temple in Nelligoda, Ahungalla in the Balapitiya electorate on Saturday to mark the 89th more..

90,000 war widows in Eastern Province

June 24 (CT) TNA MP, Sivashakthi Anandan, has pointed out that nearly 90,000 war widows are living in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces. He added 50,000 of them were young women from the families of ex-cadres of all militant outfits from the North and the East. He was addressing an event to mark the 23 death anniversary of the founder leader of the EPRLF, K. Pathmanabha, held in Batticaloa last Thursday. more..

MRI finds youth weighing 185 Kgs

June 24 (Island) A 24-year-old youth was found to have a body weight of 185 kgs, when he arrived at the Medical Research Institute (MRI) to participate in its weight reducing programme, launched recently, for overweight and obese persons. The youth was among the 800 persons who went to the MRI for training. According to MRI sources, the young man had been fed junk food by his parents for 20 years. more..

Outgoing envoy reviews EU contributions

June 24 (Island) Education was a primary concern of the European Union, as it was the soul of modern societies, said EU Ambassador/Head of Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Bernard Savage. He made this observation following his recent visit to the EU funded projects in Ampara, Batticaloa and Polonnaruwa. Ensuring that all children were enrolled in school and complete their studies was an essential necessity for the more..

Sri Lanka exports down 6.8% in April

June 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports fell 6.8% in April 2013 to 696.6 million US dollars with apparels falling 14.98% to 275 million US dollars from a year earlier, and exports in first four months down 7.8%. Industrial exports were down 7.5% to 518 million US dollars. Agricultural exports fell 0.9% to 175.6 million US dollars, but tea was up 1.2% to 106.4 million US dollars. Imports rose 5.7% to 272.7 million US dollars more..

Concerns on the draft code of media ethics

June 24 (CT) 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, the writer 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 more..

Are we a bunch of hypocrites?

June 24 (CT) Intriguing word, integrity. Encarta describes it as 'the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards.' Sometime ago, one of our columnists grappled with the word, trying to define its applicability in the context of day to day living, where entrusted power is abused for personal gain and glory, where transparency, accountability, responsibility and other related principles that define good governance are relegated as more..

Sri Lanka told to commence trial over UK national's killing

June 24 (Xinhua) The British govt on Monday raised concerns over the failure by the Sri Lankan authorities to commence trial proceedings into the murder of a British citizen in December 2011. A statement by the British High Commission in Colombo recalled that it has now been 18 months since the murder of Khuram Shaikh and assault on his partner Victoria, while they were on holiday in Tangalle in southern Sri Lanka. more..

GMOA election on June 29; many new faces in the fray

June 24 (Island) A number of new faces are down to contest the election of office bearers at the GMOA Annual General Meeting scheduled for June 29. Some of the office bearers in the parent union would be seeking re-election but they will face opposition from a number of new doctors, the GMOA said. GMOA Committee Member Dr. Nalin de Herath said that current GMOA President Dr. Anurauddha Padeniya would seek another term, while Dr. Saman Abeywardena would aim for the more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.10%

June 24 (LBO) Stocks closed down at 0.10% on Monday continuing its downward trend from the previous week with investors taking profit and losses in the heavy index stocks. All Share Index closed 05.89 points lower at 6,149.38 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 5.73 points higher at 3,472.30 up 0.17%. Turnover was 200 million rupees down from 564 million on Friday. Foreigners brought 77 million rupees worth shares while selling 30 million rupees in a day that 58 stocks advanced and more..

'Easten Province, a tourism goldmine'

June 24 (MEA) A new star class hotel named Eastern Lagoon located in Sinna Uppodai, Batticaloa was declared open by Basil Rajapaksa, last Saturday. The new 45- room hotel with facilities on par with international standards has been built in the middle of an islet in the Batticaloa lagoon and enjoys a picturesque backdrop to it. Minister Rajapaksa said the Eastern Province is a goldmine for tourism and ideally located for tourists. more..

'Customs Dept. to step up role as facilitator'

June 24 (DM) Sri Lanka Customs is looking to improve facilitation procedures in order to support trade and boost revenue, according to Director General, Jagath Wijeweera. “Our new policy at Sri Lanka Customs is one of openness. Instead of acting primarily as an investigator, we are now aiming to step-up facilitation procedures drastically. "We are always open for discussions on any matter or Customs regulations and I invite all concerned parties to come forward and discuss more..

Tamils want devolution says Master

June 24 (CG) Tamils are against the diluting of powers in the 13th Amendment to the constitution, former LTTE media coordinator and now an SLFP candidate for the Northern Provincial Council elections, Daya Master, said. He told the BBC Tamil service that he had conveyed this feeling towards the SLFP when he was interviewed on Saturday as a possible candidate for the elections in September. He says political parties who are opposed to the 13th Amendment, should look at more..

Sri Lankan rupee falls to near 7-mth low; depreciation pressure persists

June 24 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee hit a near seven-month low on Monday, before a state-controlled bank intervened to stabilise the currency, dealers said, amid continuous depreciation pressure due to dollar demand from importers and foreign investors who are exiting in the wake of rising U.S. treasury yields. The lowest trade was at 129.00 per dollar, dealers said, before the currency closed at 128.90/129.00, more..

Police ‘sting’ operation rounds up gang involved in 15m cash and jewellery heist

June 24 (ST) A six-member gang including an Army deserter, that broke into a businessman’s home in Matale last week and got away with cash and jewellery worth about Rs. 15 million, was arrested this week, police said yesterday. They said the suspects from Minuwangoda, Veyangoda, Gampaha and Sigiriya were picked up in a sting operation carried out by a special unit of the Matale Police. A van, a three-wheeler, two motorcycles, a set of handcuffs, one loaded ammo magazine more..

Kurunegala MC UPFA member threatens power tariff protesters

June 24 (Island) The JVP yesterday claimed that UPFA member of the Kurunegala Municipal Council, Abdul Saththar, threatened them when they were protesting against the electricity tariff hike in Theliyagonna, Kurunegala on Saturday. JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath told The Island that the KMC member threatened them using filthy language and ordered them to stop the protest saying "There is no room for protests in the Theliyagonna area." more..

Sri Lankan officials leave Defence training college and TN

June 24 (PTI) Bowing to pressures from Pro-Eelam Tamil outfits and Tamil Nadu Govt over their training in Defence Service Staff College in Wellington in neighbouring Nilgiris district, two Sri Lankan Military personnel left Tamil Nadu this evening. Wing Commander Bandara Dassanayake and Major Harischandra Hettiarachchige were undergoing training in the College from May 27 despite objection from the State Govt and more..

Sri Lanka still a failed state

June 24 (CG) Sri Lanka’s ranking among failed states has deteriorated, based on the findings published in the annual Foreign Policy and Fund of Peace report. The report puts Sri Lanka at 28th position as compared to 29 in the 2012 report. Somalia is the number 1 failed state while Bangladesh and Nepal are better than Sri Lanka with rankings of 29 and 30. If there is one happy story to emerge from this 2013 index, it is the case of Myanmar, which has gone in short order more..

Prasanna powers SL A to four-wicket win

June 24 (CI) A century stand from openers Niroshan Dickwella and Dimuth Karunaratne and an aggressive fifty from Seekkuge Prasanna set up Sri Lanka A's four-wicket win over West Indies A in the first unofficial ODI. Chasing 283, the Sri Lankan openers shared a 138-run stand before Nikita Miller effected the first breakthrough after being brought into the attack. The West Indies bowlers clawed their way back into the game, as Sri Lanka A lost their next five wickets for 85 runs and more..

Plans formulated to increase pipe borne water supply

June 24 (GDI) The govt is to increase the pipe-borne water supply from the current coverage of 44 percent to 60% within the next few years. As part of the initiative, the govt plans to implement 30 priority water supply projects at an estimated cost of Rs.29 billion. The Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage Development said that lack of safe drinking water is leading to increase health problems in the country, especially renal more..

Final decision on Bus fare increase after Thursday

June 24 (DM) A final decision on the private bus fares increase will be taken after the private bus operators submit their proposals to the National Transport Commission (NTC) on Thursday, Private Transport Services Minister C.B. Ratnayaka said. He said that the private bus operators had requested for two more days to submit their proposals to the NTC. Private bus fares were expected to be increased by 8% to 10 from July 1 with the minimum bus fare unchanged at Rs.9. more..

Sri Lankans transferred to Nauru

June 24 (CG) The Australian High Commission in Colombo said that a group of Sri Lankans have been transferred to the Nauru Regional Processing Centre. The group of single adult males departed Christmas Islands on a charter aircraft, escorted by the Australian Federal Police, DIAC staff, interpreters and medical staff. On arrival in Nauru, the group of Vietnamese, Sri Lankan and Lebanese nationals – the 20th transfer to Nauru – were subject to relevant immigration, customs and more..

CPC rejects substandard diesel shipment

June 24 (AD) A ship with 40,000 metric tons of substandard diesel has been rejected by the CPC which has decided to send it back, an official said. The consignment which arrived at the Colombo Harbour from Dubai on Saturday was subject to thorough tests and inspections, the Commercial Manager of CPC A.P. Samaraweera said. The test results had later revealed that the shipment contained more..

Video: Mangala says no ‘Jilmart’ in 2010

June 24 (DM) Former Minister and current UNP strongman Mangala Samaraweera said that there was no computer jilmart’ during the 2010 Presidential Election and President Rajapaksa won the elections with no fiddling of numbers. “No I don’t think so. Frankly, if they could have won an election of that magnitude with computer jilmart they would have loved to have won the last municipal council elections in Jaffna. The entire cabinet was campaigning there, offering various things more..

'Public Service Commission a toothless tiger'

June 24 (NS) Minister Bandula Gunawardena claimed the Public Service Commission was making it ‘virtually impossible’ to take prompt action against wrongdoers in the education sector. He was responding to a question regarding allegations that many principals were disregarding circulars issued by the Ministry of Education instructing them not to collect money from students and their parents as ‘donations’. The practice mostly takes place when new students are admitted to a school, more..

Only selected applicants for UK visa to require financial bond

June 24 (AD) The UK Home Office is planning a one-year pilot scheme from November this year which will require financial bonds from only the highest risk applicants and not all visitors from the selected pilot countries. The British High Commission stated that the pilot is aimed at testing the effectiveness of the bonds as a deterrent against visa abuse, such as overstaying. The bond will be set at £3000 per adult while children under 18 more..

Fitch Downgrades Sri Lanka's NDB to 'AA-(lka)'; Outlook Stable

June 24 (Reuters) Fitch Ratings has downgraded Sri Lanka-based National Development Bank PLC's (NDB) National Long-term rating to 'AA-(lka)' from 'AA(lka)'. The Outlook is Stable. The agency has also downgraded the bank's outstanding subordinated redeemable debentures to 'A+(lka)' from 'AA-(lka)'.'AA' category National Ratings denote expectations of very low default risk relative to other issuers or obligations in the same country. The default risk inherent differs only slightly from more..

Polls for NP, NWP and CP on Sept 21 or 28

June 24 (AD) Polls for the Northern, North Western and Central Provincial Councils will be most probably held on Sept 21 or 28, the Elections Commissioner stated. The polls for the Northern Province, Central Province and North Western Province was scheduled to be held after the second week of September as the bill for voting rights of displaced people was passed, sources at the Election Department stated earlier. The Registration of Electors (special provisions) bill that more..

Structural changes at five state ventures

June 24 (DM) The COPE will present its report on July 20 with recommendations for ‘structural changes’ to the managements of five state institutions with a total accumulated loss of Rs.190 billion as of last year. During its examination, COPE mainly focussed on the CPC, the CEB, the RDA, Mihin Lanka and SriLankan airlines and found them falling short in several areas. COPE examined the audit reports and financial statements of more..