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Go Bananas !

Nov 2 (Island) Shunting between two countries, to make the best of retirement, both beautiful islands, one which shaped the modern world and the other which is full of potential but yet to deliver, I often ‘go bananas’ witnessing the unfolding events in both places. Perhaps, I should not use this term as some consider it to be a slang term though others consider it an idiom with the meanings ‘go crazy, get very angry or become very emotional’. more..

Innovating under duress: Implications of the Global Innovation Index for Sri Lanka

Nov 2 (GV) Sri Lanka was ranked at No 98 among 142 countries worldwide in the Global Innovation Index 2013 (GII 2013) released in July. The ranking in 2012 was 94. GII 2013 looks at 142 economies around the world, using 84 indicators including the quality of top universities, research spending, availability of microfinance and venture capital deals. It gauges both innovation capabilities and measurable results, and also places them in a broader socio-political context. more..

Anyone but Ranil: A three step comeback for UNP

Nov 2 (NS) Mental habits, however damaging, die hard. Having spent many years erroneously attempting to achieve peace by placating Prabhakaran rather than prevailing over him, the UNP has been repeating the error of searching for a solution while retaining the problem: that party is seeking to overcome its chronic crisis by equivocation and placation of Ranil Wickremesinghe, rather than by decisively rejecting him. This is not the profile of a party that the electorate would more..

Journalism is not ‘dog eat dog’ world

Nov 2 (CT) Journalism is not supposed to be a ‘dog eat dog’ world, but there are always scribes who have made it seem so. That is not a unique Sri Lankan phenomenon either. However, Sri Lanka has recently seen this self-destructive trend gathering momentum. On Wednesday, the Asia Pacific Director of the International Federation of Journalists, Jacqueline Park, another international delegate and the Convener of the FMM, more..

A haunted nation: The CCNH document

Nov 2 (CT) Another important contribution towards fudging the issue, whitewashing the Government and putting much of the blame on the victims themselves, was the document issued by the Citizens’ Committee for National Harmony (CCNH). This group comprised several of Colombo’s best known intellectuals of the day including Fr. Tissa Balasuriya and Godfrey Goonetilleke (see Some Impressions of 1983, Centre for Society and Religion, Dossier No. 103 of 1st Nov 1984). more..

CHOGM: India between ‘devil and the deep blue sea’

Nov 2 (CT) India being a prominent member in the Commonwealth, which also staged the last Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010 , Indian PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, appears to be wedged between the ‘devil and the deep blue sea’ when it comes to the question of his attendance at the CHOGM in Colombo later this month. As the TN State Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution brought by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram last week, urging India to boycott more..

CIFL ran like a Ponzi scheme, CB audit in 2011says

Nov 2 (ST) Central Bank, in a 2011 July on-site audit of the accounts and affairs of crisis-hit finance company, Central Investments and Finance (CIFL), made a scathing attack on the management and the way the company was run. “Currently with no earnings from 61.4% assets concentrated in real estate, CIFL is dependent on new deposits to meet expenses and repayments, thus operating as a ponzi scheme,” more..

Editorial: Waiting for Dr. Singh

Nov 2 (Island) Indian PM Dr. Manmohan Singh continues to blow hot and cold about attending CHOGM with days to go for the grand event. Stories are floated from time to time that he is coming, but New Delhi has so far remained noncommittal. India is known for its eleventh hour diplomatic moves. What is unfolding, in our book, has the trappings of Beckett’s absurdist play, Waiting for Godot. Why the Indian leader is dilly-dallying may be understandable, as some political observers more..

Manmohan faces the yoga of CHOGM

Nov 2 (Island) Dr. Manmohan Singh is known to start his day very early. This is hardly surprising from the load of work he has each day. He has long believed that much of his success as an academic and later in the politics of the Nehru dynasty, especially in pleasing the current leader of the Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, is his practice of yoga every morning. As usual he walked into the small yoga room at his residence "Panchavati" at 7 Race Course Road in New Delhi this morning, more..

Relatives of Sri Lanka's abduction victims press David Cameron for talks

Nov 2 (Guardian) Relatives of the victims of abductions blamed on Sri Lankan authorities have called on David Cameron and other western leaders to meet them during the CHOGM in Colombo next month. "Sri Lanka is not worthy of this summit but as it is happening I ask the leaders who come here to meet each other to meet us too, the relatives of the disappeared. It is the smallest thing they could do to help us," more..

World Finance awards NDB the ‘Best Banking Group in Sri Lanka’

Nov 2 (Island) The UK based World Finance magazine has rated NDB Group as the ‘Best banking group in Sri Lanka’ for 2013. World Finance is a highly acclaimed international business journal that is renowned globally for its accuracy, credibility and wide readership. The prestigious accolade recognizes the Bank’s commitment to continued excellence and the group’s overall financial performance. Having begun operations over 30 years ago, NDB was originally a specialized bank more..

SLIM gears for ‘People’s Awards’ 2014

Nov 2 (Island) The Sri Lanka Marketing Institute (SLIM) announced that its hallmark award show "SLIM-Nielsen Peoples Awards", which recognises brands and personalities that have made a profound impression on the people of Sri Lanka, will be held for the eighth year at the Water’s Edge in February2014. The awards ceremony is organized in partnership with Nielsen Sri Lanka. The SLIM-Nielsen Peoples Awards, widely known to be one of the most eagerly anticipated more..

Appropriation Bill 2014 challenged in SC

Nov 2 (FT) For the second consecutive year, the Govt’s estimate of expenditure has been challenged in the Supreme Court after it was placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on 22 Oct. The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) challenged the provisions of the Appropriation Bill for the financial year 2014 as being unconstitutional. In its Petition CPA challenged the constitutionality of Clause 5,6,7 and 2(1) b of the Bill. more..

Basil lauds Practical Action for 25 years of service in SL

Nov 2 (FT) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that an immense service has been rendered for the development of Sri Lanka through Practical Action, which has functioned as a European NGO throughout the past 25 years. He declared that his gratitude is expressed for the service made by the organisation in order to strengthen that economy of Sri Lanka and a precedent was taken from the institution for certain development projects presently being implemented by the govt. more..

Deepavali fosters harmony among communities: President

Nov 2 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, while wishing Hindu devotees a happy and peaceful Deepavali today, notes that the special significance of the day was that it fosters spirituality and harmony among communities. Full text of the President’s message: "The Festival of Lights, Deepavali, symbolises shedding the light of knowledge over the darkness of ignorance, leading to the triumph of good over evil. "The Hindus of Sri Lanka join their fellow believers the world over more..

Testing times for talking trio!

Nov 2 (FT) Talks on proposed reforms to the UNP’s leadership structure progressed yesterday, with the key trio agreeing to meet again on Monday morning to finalise a set of proposals to be put before the Working Committee that will convene the same evening. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe met with MPs Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa at the Leader’s Jawatte offices last afternoon for crucial talks more..

Sacked Sab. Uni students appeal to Court

Nov 2 (Island) Sixteen students of the Sabaragamuwa University have complained to the Court of Appeal that the Vice Chancellor of the University had cancelled their studentship without holding a proper inquiry into the allegations against them. The petitioners have been suspected of harassing six female students at the female hostel. The petitioners wanted the Court to quash the decision of the university authorities to cancel their studentship. They said that the action more..

JVP signals general strike

Nov 2 (Island) Chairman of the Inter Company Employees’ Union former JVP MP Wasantha Samarasinghe warned that a general strike was a certainty if the govt disregarded 21 demands it had forwarded to be considered in budget proposals for the next year. He said that the govt had called for proposals to prepare the budget 2014. "Accordingly, we have submitted 21 demands to be taken into consideration. These demands are solutions for the economic woes of the working people. more..

Visa on arrival for int’l journalists

Nov 2 (CT) The Ministry of Media and Information, with a view to ‘speed up operations,’ has decided on issuing on arrival visas for international journalists, who had not been able to obtain Sri Lankan visas, to cover the upcoming CHOGM in Colombo. “Those journalists, who had not been able to obtain visas either online or through Sri Lankan missions abroad, are eligible to be in Sri Lanka under the ‘on-arrival-visa’ category, if they are more..

Thugs assault policeman outside DIG office

Nov 2 (DM) A policeman who attempted to prevent a foreign woman being sexually harassed by three youth was allegedly assaulted by them in front of the Kandy DIG’s office, police said. The injured police sergeant was admitted to the Kandy General Hospital. He was on duty at the DIG’s office when he had noticed the three youth sexually harassing the foreign woman. The miscreants had pounced on the police sergeant when he came up to them and attempted to save the helpless woman more..

Say it already

Nov 2 (IE) By dithering so long over confirming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's attendance at the Commonwealth meeting in Sri Lanka, the government has not merely allowed greater space for Tamil Nadu politicians to spin a competitive spiral by calling for a boycott. It has also allowed a trivialisation of the public discourse on India's foreign relations and commitments to multilateral groupings. A fortnight ago, amid high-pitched political rhetoric from Tamil Nadu, the PM had reassured more..

Women home after Sri Lankan detention

Nov 2 (AAP) Two Australian women are relieved to be back in the country after being detained in Sri Lanka for two days of "harrowing" questioning. International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia-Pacific director Jacqui Park and her deputy Jane Worthington were detained and had their passports confiscated. The pair had taken part in a press freedom meeting in Colombo. The Sri Lankan govt accused the two of engaging in more..

‘Lanka-China FTA not a blindsided rush’

Nov 2 (AT) Forthcoming FTA with China is not a blindsided move but is a process involving studies and even relevant stakeholder consultations. “We are still at initial study phase and we will not finalise product lists without consulting Lankan stakeholders such as various Chambers and industries” assured Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, the oldest Industry Chamber in the country on 31 Oct. Minister was addressing a delegation led by Gamini Gunasekara (new Chairman, CNCI) on 31 Oct more..

What has happened to ‘Sampoor’ agreement? – Ranjan Jayalal

Nov 2 (LT) Why does the govt hide the ‘Sampoor agreement’ without showing it the country and trade unions asks the General Secretary of CEB Employees’ Union Ranjan Jayalal. He has stated this to a daily newspaper and has further said that the agreement and the plan of the Sampoor power station should be revealed to the people, the Parliament and trade unions if it is not to be another ‘Norochcholai power station’. “It is the people who have to bear if any loss or destruction more..

'Britain is a glossy apple...but the core is rotten'

Nov 2 (DM) Even as a child he had a very grown-up sense of thrift, responsibility and generosity. Offered a party for his seventh birthday, Thavisha Peiris instead insisted his parents spend the money on something more permanent. ‘He was just a little lad but he said, “No, I won’t have a party. We could use the money to build the wall of a house instead”,’ recalls his father Sarath Peiris. ‘We’re a hard-working family and that was more..

UNP to split in two?

Nov 2 (CT) A group of disgruntled UNP MPs are planning to set up a new political party, if a leadership change is not agreed upon at the UNP Working Committee meeting to be held on Monday, 4 November and the talks between Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sajith Premadasa and Karu Jayasuriya fail. The dissident MPs, who are mooting the plan to set up a new party, said they would also lobby for the support of other political parties in order to launch a united front against the govt. more..

‘SL Tamil journalist was captured, killed’

Nov 2 (Hindu) A video clip from No Fire Zone, a Channel 4 documentary to be released on Nov 3, has put the spotlight on Sri Lanka yet again, weeks before the CHOGM. According to a report on the website, the young woman shown in the footage as being captured by men in army fatigue, and later lying unconscious or dead with a gash across her face is Isaipriya, a newsreader for LTTE’s television channel who, the Sri Lankan govt reportedly maintained, had died in combat. more..

Five elections due in 15 months

Nov 2 (Island) The govt has decided to hold five elections within 15 months, beginning January next year, sources said. There would be two national elections, two PC elections and a local govt election. The Western and Southern PCs would be dissolved in the first week of Jan 2014 and elections held in mid March, Uva PC would be dissolved in the first week of July and elections held in the first week of Oct. more..

Rape victim can be readmitted to school

Nov 2 (CT) The Counsel from the Attorney General’s Department yesterday submitted to the Supreme Court that a girl, who had been raped by the former Chairman of the Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha and was subsequently expelled from her school by the principal, can be readmitted to school. The Supreme Court heard a Fundamental Rights petition filed by the girl and her mother, who sought readmission to school. In their petition, they stated that after the rape incident, the girl had been unable to more..

IFJ condemns detention of Asia-Pacific Directors

Nov 2 (CT) The Brussels based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned yesterday the detention of Asia-Pacific Director, Jacqui Park, and Asia-Pacific Deputy Director, Jane Worthington, in Sri Lanka. The two have been allowed to leave after being detained without charge since Wednesday, 30 October, IFJ said in a statement.Park and Worthington were detained at a press freedom meeting in Colombo and were held in their hotel and subjected to lengthy more..

Govt aware of voices of opposition on CHOGM: Chidambaram

Nov 2 (Hindu) Union Ministers from Tamil Nadu have highlighted the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils while indicating their opposition to PM Manmohan Singh travelling to Colombo for the CHOGM. Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram confirmed that the govt was “aware” of voices of opposition from Ministers from Tamil Nadu, but declined to identify them. At the same time, he drew attention to Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson more..

Govt. cannot gamble with our country

Nov 2 (DM) With the casino issue now suspended and put under the gambling table till the Commonwealth Summit is held, most independent political analysts believe the Rajapaksa regime will somehow reintroduce the gazette notifications not so much because it supports casinos but moreso because the country is virtually bankrupt and borrowing more to repay debts. Last week under intense pressure from leaders of all religions, opposition parties and civic action groups, more..

Lessons not taught in our school curricula

Nov 2 (DM) With no thought for differences in race or religion a group of children from Vakarai spent three happy days as guests of a Colombo school. How did this all happen? It was a project of the Familian Outreach - the social service arm of Holy Family Convent Bambalapitiya. The school in Vakarai - Kandalady Arunthathy Vidyalayam is a govt school. The link between the two schools was created by the Sri Lanka Army. Initially the students of the Familian Outreach visited the Vakarai school more..

How would we define a ‘Missionary’?

Nov 2 (DM) Fear of missionaries is as old as fear of ghosts and ghouls. Some would gladly equate missionaries with the latter. I have no special regard for either religion or missionaries. While living uncomfortably with the view that both may be necessary evils (‘uncomfortable’ because living with evil, however necessary, isn’t a sound proposition), it is vital to keep your perspective on such issues. An incident a few weeks ago, when more..

Preme' era Casinos and no more

Nov 2 (DN) Minister Wimal Weerawansa yesterday said the present govt has not given the green light for any casino in Sri Lanka, except for those which were permitted under President Premadasa's UNP govt. He added that the present govt will not issue licences for the setting up of new casinos in the country under any circumstances. The Minister was speaking at the opening of a new Sanghawasa at Moratuwahena Sri Bodhirukkarama Temple more..

The administration’s choices with TNA

Nov 2 (SL) The Administration’s desire to host the a global event, the CHOGM suddenly forced the administration to heed and take note of international opinion and global standards, especially on ethnic minority and human rights. Now the Indians, who had long been reduced to wringing their hands in despair at their diminishing leverage with their near abroad Colombo govt, even as the Chinese moved in as the Sri Lankan Govt’s more..

NHSL leads by example in e-waste collection and disposal

Nov 2 (ST) Amidst the treatment and care being provided to patients, there is a different kind of activity taking place at the National Hospital (NHSL) in Colombo these days. The staff meticulously locating and collecting electronic waste (e-waste), not only from within the hospital, but also from their homes, to be handed over tomorrow (Oct 28) for proper disposal. This is an initiative of the Toxicology & National Poisons Information Centre at more..

Education Ministry cultural procession to mark CHOGM

Nov 2 (DN) The Education Ministry will conduct a Perahera potraying cultural values of Commonwealth countries, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. The pageant will be held tomorrow under the patronage of President Rajapaksa and with the participation of diplomats of Commonwealth countries. The procession will signify various cultures, heritages and inherent qualities of the 53 Commonwealth countries more..

Bus fare increase comes with promise of better facilities

Nov 2 (ST) As a bus fare hike comes into effect next week moves are underway to upgrade passenger facilities, Private Transport Services Minister C. B. Ratnayake said. He said improved facilities would be introduced within a month along with the drafting of a new bus fare policy. “Cabinet has granted approval to appoint a Ministerial Sub Committee to prepare a bus fare policy based on the standard of the bus service. more..

Darkness will be dispelled

Nov 2 (Island) In a message to mark Deepavali, the All Ceylon Hindu Congress (ACHC) says: "Another Deepavali falls on Saturday 2nd Nov 2013 and Kantha Sasdi fast (observed praying to Lord Skanda for 6 days) is due to start on Sunday, Nov 3, and continue till Nov 8, 2013. "When we light lamps and pray on Deepavali our fervent hope is that the light will dispel all the darkness and our life will be brightened. more..