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Pursuing perfection for CHOGM

Nov 10 (CT) The countdown has begun. With the CHOGM just a handful of days away, Colombo is beginning to take on the mien of a harried housewife, trying to work against the clock to have everything spick and span for the party a few hours away. Or in Colombo's context, get the city cleaned up and smelling fresh before the first delegate arrives. In pursuit of this tangential perfection, the authorities have, while lending the city a grand facelift and removing the unsightl yelements like beggars more..

China cashing on India’s Sri Lanka woes

Nov 10 (CT) Even as the PM Dr Manmohan Singh was finding it hard to make up his mind over attending the CHOGM to be held in Colombo in two weeks from now, China is making the best use of the situation to strengthen its presence in Sri Lanka. China’s intention is obvious: profit from India’s discomfiture in Sri Lanka to occupy India’s strategic space in the island nation. On Oct 24 when the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms Jayalalithaa was moving a resolution asking the Centre to more..

Politicians now trying to send Prof. Carlo Fonseka home — GMOA

Nov 10 (Island) The GMOA charged that moves are now afoot to send home the third successive Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) Chairman also because of his failure to legally recognize SAITM (South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine) at Malabe. The incumbent SLMC Chairman, Prof. Carlo Fonseka has come under flak from politicians for not acting to legally ‘recognize’ to SAITM and not being supportive of more..

Conditional State sector retirement age extension exploited, allege unions

Nov 10 (ST) A Finance Ministry circular pertaining to the retirement age of employees in Public enterprises, has been misused by several institutions, trade unions alleged. Under the circular, the employee is entitled to work until 60, without applying for extension after reaching 55 years. However, the same circular says, “if the appointing authority decides that the extension of service beyond the age of 55 years, should not be granted to any officer, whose efficiency more..

TNA briefs State Department

Nov 10 (CG) The TNA says it had briefed the US State Department on human rights related issues in Sri Lanka. TNA MPs Mavai Senathirajah and M.A. Sumanthiran just returned from the US where they had taken part in en event organized by the Tamil Diaspora. However at the same time the TNA delegation also had a briefing with the US State Department on the situation in the North. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said that among the issues discussed was the progress, or lack of it, more..

Common candidate mooted

Nov 10 (CG) The UNP is considering putting forward a common candidate at the next Presidential elections. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said that the party is having discussions on the common candidate and will make a decision on it later. “We will put forward the best candidate who can win the election,” Kiriella said. The UNP MP, who had last week visited Kandy with UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya to brief the Chief Prelates of the Asgiriya and more..

Pro-Tamil outfits to block entry of Union ministers from state

Nov 10 (PTI) Pro-Tamil outfits pressing for India's boycott of CHOGM in Sri Lanka over the Lankan Tamils issue today decided to block the entry of Union Ministers from the state into Tamil Nadu as part of their agitation to mount pressure on the Centre to skip the meet. A resolution adopted at a meeting of 12 pro-Tamil outfits decided to observe a bandh on November 12 in the district and seek the cooperation of traders and business establishments to down their shutters, more..

Avoid using Sri Lankan coins when making vows in Dambadiva

Nov 10 (Island) The Central Bank has requested travel agencies to advice pilgrims visiting Dambadiva (India) to desist from taking with them Sri Lankan coins to be offered when making vows. The Central Bank has found that a huge quantum of Sri Lankan coins offered by pilgrims at Dambadiva continue to accumulate. This has posed a problem as the money is not legal tender in India and hence, cannot be used for the development of those places of religious worship. more..

Mixed welcome for CHOGM

Nov 10 (ST) Sri Lankans are divided in their view on whether the CHOGM next week will bring the necessary economic and investment benefits to the country, a Business Times (BT) poll this week shows. Respondents which included distinguished, retired civil servants, corporate heads, professionals, students and intellectuals, were however united in the position that the cost of hosting the event was too much for a country like Sri Lanka. more..

Lee did not seek HC support

Nov 10 (CG) Australian High Commission in Colombo says Senator Lee Rhiannon, who was detained and questioned by Immigration authorities at the hotel she was staying in Colombo today, had not sought consular support from the High Commission. Spokesman at the High Commission said that the Mission was aware that she was questioned by SL authorities over an alleged breach of visa regulations. High Commission was in touch with the Senator but she did not seek more..

Sri Lanka visit to promote Games

Nov 10 (PDE) Commonwealth Minister Shona Robison is travelling to Sri Lanka to showcase Scotland to the Commonwealth ahead of the Games next year. She will attend the Commonwealth Business Forum to outline preparations for Glasgow 2014 and carry out a range of engagements which aim to strengthen economic and social ties between Scotland and the Commonwealth. Her visit comes six years since the announcement in SL that Glasgow would host the CG 2004 more..

A costly mistake?

Nov 10 (CT) While the govt has been attracting much criticism over its excessive loan taking for various development projects, it has now come under flak from the opposition for 'incorrectly' renegotiating with China to increase a previously agreed upon interest rate of 1.3% to 6.3% on a loan of US$ 306.7 million taken for the Hambantota Port Project. The UNP, bringing the matter to Parliament, questioned why the govt had renegotiated more..

MK softens stand on India's participation in CHOGM at Lanka

Nov 10 (ENS) In what could be construed as softening of stand, DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Saturday said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reported decision not to participate in the CHOGM in Colombo later this month had given him “solace” to an extent. Karunanidhi, over the last month, had issued numerous hard-hitting statements on the issue, even warning the Congress that it would have to face the consequences if India chose to participate in the meet. more..

Sri Lanka Tobacco monopoly profits, revenues drop

Nov 10 (LBO) Revenues at Sri Lanka's Ceylon Tobacco Company dropped in the September 2013 quarter from a year earlier amid multiple tax hikes showing that demand for the addictive product is not inelastic as earlier envisaged. Profits for the September 2013 quarter was flat at 2.33 billion rupees, barely changed from 2.30 billion a year earlier. In the June 2013 quarter the firm reported earnings of 2.8 billion rupees up from 2.4 billion rupees a year earlier. more..

Regulations on foreign media

Nov 10 (CG) The Commonwealth Secretariat Task Force in Sri Lanka operating under the Ministry of External Affairs says foreign media looking to do non Commonwealth related coverage in Sri Lanka while in the country for the CHOGM, will need to obtain clearance. The announcement comes following fears raised by some quarters in the govt that some foreign journalists may attempt to use the opportunity while in SL to travel to the North more..

Minister’s wife behind Salaka casino!

Nov 10 (SM) The ‘Salaka Regino’ casino that was raided by the organized crime investigation unit of the police on Nov 4 had been run by the wives of a govt minister and a leading businessman, internal police sources say. According to the sources, the casino had operated in the Town Hall area without any disruption on the protection of a top official of the Defence Ministry. The minister in question had sent to his sister-in-law in Italy part of the millions of rupees his ministry had received through more..

UDA entices foreign investors to landmark buildings

Nov 10 (ST) The UDA is hoping to attract foreign investors to lease several landmark old buildings such as the Ghafoor building after renovation. Nimal Perera, Chairman UDA said that the Ghafoor building in Leyden Bastion Road, former Auditor General’s building at Torrington, former Dutch Hospital in Galle and another section Race Course Grandstand are being re-developed with some projects almost completed. “Ghafoor building (built in 1907) will be refurbished and more..

'United, we could achieve almost any goal' - President at the inauguration of CYF

Nov 10 (CGI) The 9th Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF9) was inaugurated by President Rajapakse today at the Magampura Ruhunu International Convention Centre (MRICC) in Hambantota. Speaking at the Forum President said that the theme of the Forum, “Inclusive Development – Stronger Together” is very appropriate as it signifies that united, we could achieve almost any goal. "During Sri Lanka’s tenure of guiding more..

Biggest fora to attract an array of participants

Nov 10 (SO) Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said that 268 foreign institutions and 190 local institutions have already confirmed their participation in the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) at Chaya Tranz, Hikkaduwa from today till Nov 14. The CPF’s prime objective is to give prominence to civil society organisations and create opportunities for dialogue between civil society, the govt and private sectors and youth, the Deputy Speaker who is a member of Sub Committee more..

Security beefed up for CHOGM - Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya

Nov 10 (SO) The CHOGM is one of the largest gatherings of Heads of States and security is a key factor for the success of the meeting. The govt appointed Security and Accreditation Committee headed by Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya has been entrusted with the task of providing security to the delegates. Providing security to a large foreign delegation is not an easy task. In an interview General Jayasuriya elaborated on the role of the committee. more..

'Sri Lanka has not fulfilled its commitments towards Lankan Tamils'

Nov 10 (NDTV) As the controversy over Manmohan Singh skipping the CHOGM intensifies, the Centre today upped the ante with Minister of State in the PM's Office, V Narayanasamy, attacking Sri Lanka for not fulfilling its commitments towards the Lankan Tamils. "As far as my point of view is concerned, I've been telling right from the beginning, though I come from Tamil-dominated area of Puducherry, that people's sentiments are more..

National Interest: Conscience and cowardice

Nov 10 (FE) Before the prime minister decides — if there is still room for a decision — whether he should go to Colombo for the CHOGM or not, he needs to remember the weeks leading up to the election five years ago in the summer of 2009. Sri Lankan army’s total offensive against the LTTE, initiated in January that year, was peaking in April-May. Think about some crucial dates. May 13 was the polling day in Tamil Nadu. May 16 was the day all election results were announced. more..

'Singh's absence not a setback for CHOGM'

Nov 10 (PTI) Sri Lanka today said Indian PM Manmohan Singh's decision not to attend the CHOGM summit here was not a setback and it understood the domestic political compulsions behind the move. "It will not affect the success of CHOGM," Minister GL Peiris said after Singh wrote a letter to President Rajapaksa saying he will be unable to personally attend the summit from Nov 15. "The Indian PM was invited. Sri Lankans would have been happier if he came," said Peiris. more..

UNP slams govt’s Montessori diplomacy

Nov 10 (AD) In the wake of reports that the Indian PM has decided to skip the CHOGM, the UNP today accused Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister and External Affairs Ministry of engaging in “Montessori” diplomacy. They are using diplomatic strategies which usually happen at a Montessori, UNP MP Ajith P. Perera said, adding, that the country has achieved no diplomatic victories under the current Minister of External Affairs. more..

Two games poles apart

Nov 11 (SL) There's been much praise sung last week in celebration of Sri Lanka’s tri-nation triumph over Poland, and all of it deserving. Prior to the last of the six Serendib Cup games, Friday previous, any commonsense evaluation would’ve warned you against betting on Sri Lankaovercoming the Poles.After all, the opening game was “surprisingly’’ conceded to Madagascar, whose 44th standing in the IRB world rankings was five below our own listing at 39th. So,defeating a country eleven slots more..

Hit “double standards” exponents hard

Nov 11 (SL) It would seem that Britain, among some other countries, will attend CHOGM not with the intention of genuine participation for mutual benefit and Commonwealth solidarity, but with the sole purpose of putting Sri Lanka on the chopping block of alleged Human Rights violations and seeking to penalise this country with various sanctions and sundry UNHCR ‘summonses’. Says Cameron, the British Premier: “My decision” is to have some tough conversations with the Sri Lankan govt. more..

'Making Central Province the best, our target'

Nov 11 (SO) Sarath Ekanayake, who was three times the Chief Minister of the Central Provincial Council has got the opportunity to run it for the fourth time following the recently concluded PC election. He says that he has not made his post a 'jewel' at any time and can work keeping his head high even if he loses the post tomorrow. He said that making the Central Province the best province in the country is one of his dreams more..

CHOGM 2013: Anglo-Indo-Lanka ties and tangles from DS to Mahinda

Nov 11 (Island) DS Senanayake’s foreign policy was simple and straightforward even though Dr NM Perera poured scorn on it as: "Anglo mania and India phobia". This controversial starting point of independent Ceylon’s foreign policy reflected the political dominance of a certain worldview espoused by DS Senanayake and his UNP govt in contrast to the alternative thesis advanced by the island’s political Left. There were other considerations in between, especially the political relationship more..

Selective application of the law in rural SL

Nov 11 (Island) I never cease to be fascinated by those who incessantly pillory "Colombians", in reality those who seek to defend the concepts of law and order, the rule of law and basic human rights and who happen to live in our capital city. Their common place of residence provides the horde of Rajapaksa Sycophants with the opportunity to apply this "urban" stereotype to them. What you will NEVER hear from these paragons of probity and virtue is so much as a reference to more..

Forced to sell themselves to survive

Nov 11 (CT) On the streets of Pettah, once the hustle and bustle of the day market is over, with the back roads relatively deserted, prostitutes, an unspoken side of Sri Lanka's society comes forth, take up their trade. Women who have been abandoned by their families, financially desperate or simply forced into the business, walk the streets looking for clients and in the process risk their own safety. With prostitution being illegal in SL, more..

Economists: Mounting debt could constrain growth

Nov 11 (ST) The rising debt burden would be a serious constraint to sustained economic growth. The govt should therefore be more prudent in borrowing foreign funds; they should be on more favourable terms and should be put to productive use to generate tradable goods and services. These conclusions of the technical sessions of the Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) brought out the concern of economists that the mounting debt would hamper sustained economic growth. more..

Diaspora responsibilities: The (Mis)conception of diaspora privilege

Nov 11 (CT) During my visit to Sri Lanka last year, I heard many Sri Lankan communities across the island express grave reservations about “The Diaspora”. For some Sinhalese, “The Diaspora” is dominated by Tamils who uncritically support the Tamil Tigers and their quest to create a separate mono-ethnic Eelam. I also heard from groups of Tamil Sri Lankans living in war affected communities who thought The Diaspora has forgotten them because of their belief that more..

Poachers Protected

Nov 11 (SL) Rampant poaching is reported to be taking place within the Udawalawe and Lunugamwehera National Parks as the Department of Wildlife Conservation and the respective police stations are helpless to take action against the poachers. Although poaching is reported from each and every national park, sanctuary and strict nature reserves in the country, the situation at Udawalawe and Lunugamwehera has become worse and more..

Saga of quintuple murder

Nov 11 (SO) Moving to a new house to start life anew was what 46-year-old Pemawathi and her son Priyantha wanted because they found that there was no opening while they were residents at Mahiyangana. It was a dark and menacing night with the screeching of an owl foreboding ill will. The silence of the night was shattered when the victims began screaming as soon as the suspect smashed their heads with a manna knife. Each time a victim woke up Jagath ensured that he aimed the more..

When the harvest is over

Nov 11 (CT) Earlier this year Punyakante Wijenaike published what she suggests would be her last book. I was immensely sad as I read it, for I remembered reading her first book, half a century ago. That was ‘The Third Woman’, a collection of short stories that I devoured. That was in Kurunagala, I remember, at the old house in which my grandmother had been born. The place, where a cow was brought in to be milked each morning, with the old tennis court going to seed at the front more..

UNP on the same track?

Nov 11 (SL) Last Monday UNP summoned the Working Committee to address the burning issue of the party. A group of UNP Members of the Parliament including Asoka Abesinghe publicly declared that if the committee does not take the decision to change the party leadership at the Working Committee they will take measures to sit separately in the parliament. However, the decisions have been made in favour of Ranil more..

A common candidate?

Nov 11 (Island) It has been reported that the UNP is mulling over fielding a common candidate at the next presidential election. Why it is doing so is understandable. The recent appointment of a leadership council is tantamount to an admission that it is currently without a charismatic leader equal to the task of reviving it, much less steering it to victory at a vital election. Its incumbent leader avoided the last presidential election, having lost two previously. more..

Gloves off slam to C’wealth sham

Nov 11 (ST) Even as Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa rises from his seat this Friday to address the Commonwealth Heads of Government and looks at the carefully prepared speech couched in faultless diplomatic waffle designed to conceal truths with the glossy sheen of falsities, to varnish the sham with saccharine smarmed flourish, he must indeed wish he had it in his power to speak his mind, to give voice to what his heart felt, to say the truth even if it did hurt. more..

Rain end contest after Sri Lanka post 288

Nov 11 (CI) In the first encounter of the annual tussle between Sri Lanka's cricket schedule and the elements, rain came away the winner again, ending the match after 54.2 overs of play in Hambantota. October and November are wet months for almost every region in the country, and just as New Zealand's last limited-overs series in the country was heavily affected by the weather, this one has begun in familiar fashion. more..

Dilshan's scoop addiction

Nov 11 (CI) On a day when Tillakaratne Dilshan appeared to be short of fluency, he seemed addicted to trying one of the most difficult shots in the game - even if it is one of his own devisement. Dilshan scooped one over his shoulder as early as the seventh over, and when Corey Anderson came on to bowl during the batting Powerplay, he appeared intent on playing no other stroke. He sent Anderson's second ball of the 38th over above the keeper, then tried it again next ball, but more..