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Tuition: To attend or not to attend

Nov 23 (CT) Tuition is the norm in Sri Lanka now. Private classes mushroom in every nook and cranny in the country. There are all kinds of tuition classes: hall classes, group classes, individual classes, theory classes and revision classes. The view of students, teachers and parents regarding tuition however differ. Many school teachers for instance believe that tuition affects the 'teaching–learning' process of schools. more..

The ‘people’ are on the move!

Nov 23 (FT) Many visitors to Colombo during the recent Commonwealth meeting, particularly from Australia, UK and Canada, which are known as target countries for illegal immigrants, can be excused for wondering why a Sri Lankan would want to be in that sorry category. Just look at what he is leaving behind! His capital city is sparkling clean, green, landscaped with plenty of facilities for outdoor activity. The state-of-the-art stadiums in which the locals indulge their passion more..

CHOGM: A much deeper conspiracy?

Nov 23 (FT) CHOGM 2013 – a perfectly organised event – is over, as is all the effort for the showcasing of Sri Lanka, albeit overshadowed by focus on alleged human rights violations by the host nation. Prince Charles – representing the Queen, the Head of CHOGM – chose to be a friend who has visited this country more than once, like his royal mother and father. He acted not like a prince but a king. His PM, however, choose to act like a twerp and bounder, with a Billy Bunter like appetite more..

When a mother dies 3 generations suffer

Nov 23 (ST) It is a heart-rending photograph of a humble ‘family’ taken before their half-built home, adjacent to their cadjan-thatched mud hut. Although there are three generations in this photograph, one crucial member is missing – the mother. Prevention of maternity deaths has become the quest of the Sri Lanka College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SLCOG), with Prof. Hemantha Senanayake at the helm. more..

Princelings and Nepotism

Nov 23 (CT) In the context of the recently-concluded CHOGM in Colombo, for which delegates from Britain and her former British colonies were in town, it is a good time as any to look at important issues on succession to power and the route to economic development. Princeling is a word which emerged out of China, the Middle Kingdom. During the time of the Emperor, senior courtiers close to the Forbidden City’s Palace often lobbied directly with the Emperor, the Empress, senior concubines and more..

Thought control in a failed democracy

Nov 23 (CT) Will the people vote for Rajapaksa again? Will he be able to take the country forward into a globalized modernity and further the values of democracy, justice and equality? If your answer is yes, then it may be that you are subject to modes of govt control that you are as of yet unaware of. MahindaSri Lanka has no free press, and as demonstrated by the impeachment this January, no independent judiciary. The last standing pillar of our democracy lies in our ability to vote more..

British Council launches brand new libraries in Jaffna and Colombo

Nov 23 (FT) The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. The organisation’s purpose is to create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. Operating in over 100 countries, the British Council has been present in Sri Lanka for over 60 years with offices in Colombo and Kandy. more..

Editorial: Budget and elections

Nov 23 (Island) The public has a binary view of budgets. If they grant relief they are good; else, they are bad. The public sector employees are disappointed that they have not got a salary increase. All that they have got is a meagre allowance of Rs. 1,200. Pensioners have received Rs. 350 to Rs. 500 extra. With that money the elderly needing geriatric care cannot even buy a handful of antibiotics! So, it is only natural that the budget has come as a disappointment to more..

Cameron strips in a glass house

Nov 23 (Island) David Cameron arrived at 10 Downing Street a tired and dejected man. It was a couple of days after his antics in Colombo, which seemed to put him in good spirits despite political worries back home about the inroads of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), and the UK’s massive phone tapping together with the NSA of the USA. An aide who brought him a stiff one to cheer him up asked him what the worry was. "Damn it, after all what I did in Colombo and Jaffna, more..

Ambassador Hangawatte elected VP of UNESCO General Conference

Nov 23 (FT) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to UNESCO, Professor Karunaratne Hangawatte was unanimously elected as a Vice President of the 37th session of the General Conference of the UNESCO at the inaugural plenary session on 5 Nov, in Paris. In the afternoon of 8 Nov, he chaired the General Policy Debate of the General Conference at which several Ministers of Education, Higher Education, Culture and Science took the more..

Sri Lankan tea doomed if country decides to shift to low price producer

Nov 23 (ST) The Sri Lankan tea industry, to sustain its position in the world market as the producer of ‘Pure Ceylon Tea’, must make a (conclusive) decision to be the source of single origin high quality teas, at a premium price. This is the consensus of the tea factory owners in this country as reflected by Kalana Dahanayake, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tea Factory Owners Association (SLTFOA), when he addressed the 22nd AGM of the association held at Water’s Edge, Battaramulla, last week. more..

After CHOGM 2013

Nov 23 (Island) Possibly the recently concluded CHOGM will come to be regarded as unique. This seems to be the first time that the host of an international meeting has been put in the dock. The core values of the Commonwealth, solemnly affirmed in its Charter a few years ago, centre around democracy and human rights, but the host Govt of Sri Lanka has shown contemptuousness towards democratic principles in recent years and over a much longer period it has had a stinking record on human rights. more..

Paradise Isle: A dress-to-kill budget

Nov 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka has increased import taxes on all food and alcohol, but in a generous gesture allowed completely duty free imports of luxury neck ties and bows so that the new crop of "executives" can dress to kill. Import cess tax was increased on truffles (HS code 20.03) in order to promote "local value addition," although it is not clear who grows the exotic fungi in Sri Lanka. Almost all imported food and beverages have been hit by higher taxes in the latest more..

Sri Lankan entrepreneurs meet Channel 4 News team

Nov 23 (Island) A team of Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs led by the members of Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) recently met the Channel 4 News team for a discussion to brief them on the other side of the Sri Lankan human rights story and the post-war reconciliation efforts and strategic implementation for economic development. For the first time, the Channel 4 News team headed by Foreign Affairs Correspondent- Jonathan Miller, had a chance to meet the Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and to listen to more..

Emirates and Aitken Spence to enhance visitor convenience

Nov 23 (Island) Emirates holidays, the tour-operating sector of Emirates airline announced their partnership with Aitken Spence Travels on Wednesday. Divisional Senior Vice President – Destination and Leisure Management, at Emirates, Marc Bennet said, that the appointment of Aitken Spence Travels would enhance market potential for inbound tourist traffic to Sri Lanka. Additionally, he said partnership with Aitken Spence was the first in a long term expansion strategies of more..

Sri Lanka's electricity utility turns around

Nov 23 (LBO) State-run CEB has around with a 17 billion rupee profit up to September 2013 but it was yet to pay down bank borrowings, a finance ministry report said. CEB has earned revenues of 142 billion rupees for the nine months and was projected to earn 198 billion rupees in revenues by year end. In 2011 Sri Lanka went into a balance of payments crisis mostly due to a central bank accommodated credit bubble involving bank financing for electricity and petroleum. more..

Celebrating 60th anniversary of German-Sri Lankan diplomatic relations

Nov 23 (AT) To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the commencement of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Germany, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Germany is organising many events in Germany. On the initiative of the Ambassador for Sri Lanka Sarrath Kongahage, the Embassy has organised a harpsichord performance, which was performed by the renowned Sri Lankan Bach specialist Prof. Preethi De Silva in collaboration with the University of Arts, Berlin at the Faculty of Music of the University of Arts, Berlin. more..

David Cameron challenged to justify arms sale to Sri Lanka

Nov 23 (Guardian) David Cameron must explain why the govt has allowed machine guns and assault rifles to be exported to Sri Lanka despite his recent highlighting of the country's human rights abuses, the head of the Commons weapons watchdog has said. Sir John Stanley, chairman of the arms export control committee, said the govt has a "questionable" approach on arms exports to Sri Lanka. The senior Conservative MP said it was "not credible" for ministers to claim the £8m of weapons exported to Sri Lanka more..

Tangalle PS chairman pleads not guilty, released on bail

Nov 23 (DM) The Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Sampath Vidanapathiranage and five others today pleaded not guilty before the Colombo High Court to the killing of British tourist Khuram Sheikh Zaman and sexually assaulting his partner Victoria Alexandrovna at a Tangalle holiday resort, and were released on the previous bail granted by the Tangalle Magistrate Court. The Court Mudaliyar read over seventeen charges indicting the suspects. more..

Boycotts, Confrontations, Free Boats and Sri Lanka’s Atrocities

Nov 23 (GE) It’s only been four years since the bloody 26-year civil war ended in Sri Lanka. Accusations of war crimes and ongoing atrocities are far from over so it was quite surprising to hear that the 2013 Commonwealth meeting was to be held in Colombo this year. Ahead of the Nov 15 Commonwealth Summit, Canadian PM Harper announced that he would be boycotting due to the mounting evidence of continued human rights violations throughout Sri Lanka. more..

The mood is bullish in Colombo

Nov 23 (Indrus) Seldom has an issue concerning India’s external relations raised such hue and cry as the decision it needed to take regarding participation at the level of the prime minister in the recent CHOGM in Colombo. This may look odd because the CHOGM is not an international event of earth-shaking consequence and India’s prime minister, in fact, skipped the event on five such occasions out of ten in the past decades. So what was the brouhaha about? It all boils down to two arguments more..

Rs.100 million worth of sandalwood seized

Nov 23 (Island) Customs Preventive unit together with Bio Diversity, Cultural and National Heritage Protection Unit (BDCNHPU) detected four tons of ‘Pterocarpus Santalinus’ Red Sanders or red sandalwood worth 100 million rupees inside a 20-foot container at the Colombo Port yesterday, while it was in transit to Dubai. Customs Director General Jagath P. Wijeweera said that the detention had been made on a tip-off. more..

'Budget full of rhetoric but nothing tangible'

Nov 23 (Island) Describing the budget 2014 as a damp squib, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said it was full of rhetoric, but lacked any tangible steps to tackle the crisis confronting the country’s economy. Commencing the second reading of the budget debate he said it was a calculated hoax on the people. According to the prevailing financial regulations, govt should submit a mid-year fiscal position report prior to the presenting of the budget proposals. more..

Video: MTD collects Rs.250 Mn from special registrations

Nov 23 (DM) The Motor Traffic Department said it had collected about Rs.250 million from the special vehicle registrations introduced recently. The new vehicle registration includes three English letters. “The previous registration had two English letters. New systems include three English letters starting with CAA. The CAA category has already been booked and so are the first 3000 numbers in the CAB category,” Commissioner General of Motor Traffic S.H. Harishchandra said. more..

'Cameron only met those out to discredit Govt'

Nov 23 (DN) I couldn't help but wonder why British PM David Cameron did not meet a single govt official in Jaffna during his hurried visit to the Northern Province, but, met only those political elements that as a rule have gone the extra mile to discredit the govt under any given circumstances, NP Governor G A. Chandrasiri said. He said this on being asked whether he, as the Governor of the Northern Province explained the situation or more..

Demand for qualified technicians in automobile industry - Dullas

Nov 23 (DN) The country has a demand for qualified technicians in the automobile industry, Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. He said there are only 20,000 qualified technicians for over three million vehicles which are in a running condition in the country. "Over 150 vehicles have one skilled technician in the country," he said. The minister said the govt has created a number of alternative avenues for youths who are unable to excel in the conventional education system. more..

Special gazette bans catching of thresher shark

Nov 23 (Island) A special gazette banning the catching of Thresher Sharks, known as Kasa Mora in Sinhala, was presented to Parliament yesterday. The gazette notification was presented as regulations introduced to the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act No 2 of 1996. The prohibition of catching Thresher Sharks will be applicable to fishing boats operated in Sri Lankan waters or high seas and anchored in a Sri Lankan Port. The notification says: "No person shall catch more..

Govt's CHOGM bill at Rs 15.8 B

Nov 23 (CT) The govt has spent a whopping Rs 15.8 billion on the recently concluded CHOGM, opposition charged. Spending money of this magnitude for a meeting of this nature should have some sense of proportion where 54 Mercedes Benzes were imported for the 54 Heads of Govts, but only 21 arrived, UNP MP, Ravi Karunanayake, speaking during the budget debate said. "This is the amount the govt has spent and we want more..

Speaker warns five Ministers

Nov 23 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa warned five ministers who had a discussion inside the chamber disturbing the conduct of Parliament yesterday. The ministers warned were Rajitha Senaratne, Tissa Karaliyadda, S.M. Chandrasena, D.E.W. Gunasekera and Janaka Bandara Thennakoon. The ministers got together in the fringe areas between third and fourth row benches near the seat of Minister Thennakoon during the question time and had a discussion while more..

555,284 criminals in the country

Nov 23 (CT) The number of Island Reconvicted Criminals (IRCs) registered and unregistered have now increased up to 555,284, as per available records. 43,193 of the above number are registered IRCs, with 869 of them being women. The number of criminals, who have undergone punishments on less than two occasions, is at 322,488 and among them there are 20,480 women. There are 148,441 convicts who were not fingerprinted and sentenced to suspended sentences with 13,813 of them more..

Tough times ahead for Sri Lanka in Geneva

Nov 23 (Island) With the UK declaring its intention to move the UNHRC against Sri Lanka at its next session in March, 2014, in the wake of the US being re-elected to the UN body, Sri Lanka was now facing an unprecedented broadside at the UN body, officials as well as diplomatic sources said. The UK, too, won a place in the 47-member council. Altogether 14 countries secured seats in the council. They are Algeria, China, Cuba, more..

The truth and torture of commissions and omissions

Nov 23 (DM) This country has known commissions. There have been commissions of inquiry and commissions of the taking kind, kick-backs in other words. There have been omissions too of various kinds. We’ve had leaders who didn’t know or didn’t care to do the stitch-in-time. There have been governments that opted for never, rather than late. Commissions have resulted from omissions. Commissions, paradoxically, have also been marked by omissions; exercises in futility have they more..

Cameron bungling his foreign policy

Nov 23 (DM) The CHOGM which ended on Sunday without a hitch was a remarkable feat for Sri Lanka considering the massive forces of the Tamil diaspora and International NGOs doing their damnedest to sabotage the event, nationally and internationally. They were aided and abetted by the mighty forces of Britain and India, along with Canada and Mauritius, which, at their worst, created some negative headlines. PM Cameron’s megaphone diplomacy struck a strident and menacing note. more..

Petition filed by 292 disabled soldiers taken up

Nov 23 (CT) Justice Anil Gunaratna of the Court of Appeal yesterday issued notice on respondents in a petition filed by 292 disabled soldiers, who complained of not receiving their entitlements, which were due when they were released from the army with disabilities, returnable on 20 January 2014. or Payment and Records, Brig. W.G.L. Padmakumar, Adjutant General, N.G.C. Dias, Director Personal Administration, more..

Boycott’s kidney pie and Jayasuriya’s prophecy

Nov 23 (ST) I met Geoffrey Boycott the other day and talking about the proliferation of Twenty20 and one-day cricket to the detriment of Test cricket, the famous son of Yorkshire was of the view that “too much off a good thing is not good for you”. Boycott who was on his way to Australia for the Ashes, said: “My favourite dinner when my mum was alive was steak and kidney pie. But if she gave it to me every night, by Friday I would be fit to more..

'An empty document & a hollow murmur'

Nov 23 (LT) The ninth budget of the Rajapaksa regime is an empty document and is merely a hollow murmur which would create new issues said JVP MP Anura Dissanayaka. He said, “The ninth budget of Rajapaksa regime indicates it doesn’t have the ability to find solutions for long term and short term issues confronted by the masses. The regime is not prepared to divert from the vicious economic policy it is following more..

EAM plays down Chinese comment

Nov 23 (CG) The External Affairs Ministry (EAM) has played down the recent comments made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Sri Lanka saying the comments had been taken out of context by the media. An official at the EAM said that China had not made any direct statement to the effect that Sri Lanka must investigate alleged human rights abuses. Earlier this week the Chinese Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying that more..

Rs.1 bn supplementary estimate to cover CHOGM expenses

Nov 23 (Island) The govt submitted a supplementary estimate to the tune of Rs. 1,089,819,500 for Parliamentary approval to cover expenses incurred by several departments and ministries for the CHOGM 2013. The supplementary estimate was presented to the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. The Ministry of Defence and Urban Development has asked for Rs. 316,800,000 to cover expenses incurred on purchasing more..

Budget 2014: Public servants duped again, CoL to rise further - Eran

Nov 23 (Island) The UNP accused the govt of having duped the public servants again. UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne said that the Cost of Living (CoL) allowance of Rs. 1,200 to the public sector, which President Rajapaksa announced in Thursday’s budget speech, was no substitute for a salary increase, when inflation was taken into consideration. For a person who drew a monthly salary of Rs. 20,000 the CoL provided by the more..

Suspected cop killer shot dead

Nov 23 (Island) A 30-year-old ex-army commando deserter arrested over the killing of a constable attached to the Matara police anti-vice squad and his wife, was shot dead yesterday morning, when he allegedly attempted to shoot police personnel taking him to recover a hidden arms cache. Constable W. G. Sunil was shot on his head while his wife, Apsara, was clubbed to death by the suspects on the night of November 16 at more..