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UNP call for public sector pay hike an election gundu: Govt.

Sep 8 (ST) An adjournment motion moved by the UNP demanding that public sector employees be given a minimum pay hike of Rs 10,000 did not go down well with Govt members when the matter was debated in the House last Wednesday. Govt members saw the introduction of the motion, just days away when public servants cast their postal votes in the forthcoming elections to three provincial councils, as an opportunistic move to win over voters. Not so, argued UNP MPs. more..

SLC Chief needs to put the house in order

Sep 8 (Island) Within a week, cricket’s reputation has been harmed significantly on two instances with two leading figures in the game questioning controversial Sri Lanka Cricket Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga. Kumar Sangakkara’s stunning e-mail to SLC that we published last week questioned the integrity of Nishantha and went on to accuse him of a hidden agenda against the star batsman. Sangakkara went on to mention more..

The info Navi Pillay was fed with

Sep 8 (Island) One of the delegations of local NGOs that presented a memorandum to Navi Pillay during her visit, was the Alliance of Media Organisations made up of the Free Media Movement, the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, the Federation of Media Employees Trade Union, the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance, the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, the South Asian Free Media Association – Sri Lanka Chapter, and the Media Movement for Democracy. more..

Rajapaksa govt gearing to face war in the international arena

Sep 8 (SL) Over four years after the end of the war, the Mahinda Rajapaksa government now has its work cut out in convincing the citizens of Sri Lanka as well as the international community of the work done towards reconciliation and addressing issues of accountability since defeating terrorism. The parting comments made by UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay last week is indicative of the war the Rajapaksa govt is yet to fully face and conquer if it could. Sabre rattling apart, it is now time more..

CB rules on secret foreign accounts being finalised

Sep 8 (ST) The Central Bank (CB) has drafted regulations to relax rules for Sri Lankans owning secret overseas accounts allowing a ‘no questions asked’ policy of bringing back US$5 million and plans to present these proposals to the CB governor next week, sources close to the CB said. Currently, if someone brings money into the country that person needs to sign an asset and liability declaration form. “With the new rules, more..

Discovery Kids launches on SLT Peo TV

Sep 8 (Island) Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific (announced the launch of its eighth channel - DISCOVERY KIDS - in Sri Lanka. The 24-hour kids’ channel will be available from August 30 on SLT PEO TV. PEO TV customers can now enjoy unlimited kids programmes with their children on Discovery Kids on channel 64. Discovery Kids seeks to entertain and educate children with content that sparks their curiosity and helps to develop their cognitive, social, emotional and personal more..

Is history repeating for State Banks?

Sep 8 (ST) The fate of State Banks in Sri Lanka has once again become a widely discussed subject focusing on new reforms. The Govt and the authorities have denied such a move but the various explanations given lead to conjectures due to a suppression of factual information. In such a context it is relevant to recall a similar situation that existed in the early part of the 1990s which even led to a sensitive statement by the then Minister of Finance in Parliament announcing that more..

'We are the legal owners of Pelwatte Sugar'

Sep 8 (Island) There has been no settlement of the dispute over the 'expropriation’ of Pelwatte Sugar Industries by the State, Mr. Harry Jayawardena the Chairman of the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka which is the parent of Pelwatte has said in the DCSL annual report. "The uncertainties surrounding the status of our subsidiary, Pelwatte Sugar Industries, continued to weigh upon the company during more..

Security Forces to protect National Parks

Sep 8 (SL) Minister Vijith Wijeyamuni Soysa has written to the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order seeking assistance to protect National parks and sanctuaries. Minister said that the assistance of the security forces and the police was needed as there are very few wildlife officers. He said that the security forces and the police will be used to crack down on treasure hunting, illegal cultivation of ganja plants inside parks, and the poaching of elephants more..

Quality of leadership matters for a country’s governance, equities expert says

Sep 8 (ST) For a country to grow inspite of the form of governance whether it is democratic or authoritarian, it is the quality of leadership of the country that matters, according to Ruchir Sharma, Morgan Stanley Investment Management USA, Managing Director for Emrging Market Equities and Global Macro. “By looking at 100 countries which have grown by 5% or more in any decade over the last 30 years, half of them were democratic and the other half was authoritarian countries. more..

Religious leaders & civil society back Ven. Sobhitha’s reforms

Sep 8 (Island) Religious leaders including the Mahanayaka’s of all the Nikayas and other Mahanayakas, the Cardinal and other religious dignitaries who had been consulted have unanimously agreed that the present Constitution which is detrimental to the country should be repealed. This was said in a statement issued by the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) seeking a righteous country, rule of law and more..

Arsenic in rice Experts worry

Sep 8 (NS) The Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) is awaiting the report from a laboratory in the United States which will reveal if there is significant inorganic arsenic or heavy metal contamination in rice. Head of the Life Sciences Department at the AEA V.A Waduge cited that the Authority found no “content of arsenic in significant amounts” based on the research conducted at their organization. “However, to be sure that our modes of research and testing conform to international more..

'Only President can reduce Army presence'

Sep 8 (CT) Minister Basil Rajapaksa, said in Jaffna yesterday, the Chief Minister of the Northern Province will not have the authority to reduce the Security Forces presence in the North, only the President holds the power to make such a decision. "Even Parliament does not have the powers to do so," he said, taking a swipe at chief ministerial candidate of the TNA, C.V. Wigneswaran. Minister Rajapaksa, who is on a campaign trail in the North, arrived in Jaffna on Friday evening. more..

Focus on Northern PC poll: Foreign election observers here this week

Sep 8 (Island) Most of 29 foreign pre-polls observers expected to arrive in Sri Lanka by the end of this week will focus on monitoring the final stages of PC election campaigning in the Northern Province. As elections to the Northern PC are being conducted after a spell of almost 25 years, it has drawn the attention of the international community. Hence, the focused interest of pre-polls observers to monitor the happenings, more..

Inner Path Film Festival begins in Delhi to spread the Spirit of Buddhism

Sep 8 (NSI) The Inner Path Film Festival kicked off in the capital to celebrate the essence of Buddhism at ICCR Azad Bhawan Friday with lot of enthusiasm and spirit. The festival was inaugurated by honorable Minister of External Affairs, Shri. Salman Khurshid, who praised the efforts of Aruna Vasudev and NETPAC for their excellent work in spreading awareness about Buddhism and throwing light on those parts of the religion hidden from mainstream consciousness. more..

Intl. school causes traffic mess in Kohuwela

Sep 8 (ST) Two sections of an international school are causing massive traffic jams and bottlenecks against the smooth traffic flow at Kohuwela, municipal and police officials say. This led to Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Deputy Mayor Kesaralal Gunasekera, spending three continuous days – Tuesday to Thursday – this week observing the flow of traffic from 7.15 a.m. to 8.15 a.m. “The police informed me that the kindergarten section with 900 children of this international school was more..

Rs. 2.4 b project to automate Treasury

Sep 8 (ST) A project costing more than Rs 2.4 billion to automate the Treasury will help crack down on tax evaders and help the Govt’s budget financing through improved planning and control. South Korea’s Samsung Corporation has won the award for the project while its foreign component, Rs. 2.3 billion will be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Govt will absorb the local cost of Rs. 30 million. more..

Multibillion road project for Access

Sep 8 (ST) Access Engineering has won Govt approval for a near seven billion rupee project to rehabilitate 23 kilometres of highway from Kadawatha to Nittambuwa on the Colombo-Kandy Road. The move came after the company, which is undertaking a number of projects under the Govt, submitted a proposal. President Rajapaksa, who is also Minister of Ports and Highways, told his Cabinet colleagues “that the Govt had decided to select domestic contractors for the rehabilitation of more..

Police say preliminary probe over

Sep 8 (SL) The police investigating the incident that occurred at the residence of The Sunday Leader Associate Editor, Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema have concluded that it was a clear case of break and entry and robbery. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the suspects had robbed four houses in the Bambalapitiya and Wellawatte areas within a span of two weeks prior to the robbery at Mandana Ismail’s residence. According to him, they are also implicated in two other incidents more..

Angry depositors slam Central Bank as another finance company falters

Sep 8 (ST) Parcelling up the five million rupees he had earned in the Middle East, KPDJ Kumara walked unsuspectingly into Central Investments and Finance (CIFL) in June and deposited the lot. Nobody told him that the company was in distress, or that other investors hadn’t been paid their interest in months. Employees flaunted CIFL’s Central Bank licence and pushed him to hand over his cash. more..

Navy’s Mallikulam community projects praised by Christians

Sep 8 (NS) The handing over ceremony of 26 newly-constructed houses to the resettled families in Mullikulum took place last Tuesday with the participation of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The houses have been constructed by the Sri Lanka Navy under the guidance of the Defence Ministry. Mannar Bishop Rev Fr. Rayappu Joseph, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, Navy Seva Vanitha Unit President Srima Colombage and more..

Burning of CMC documents: Interim report handed over

Sep 8 (NS) An interim report on investigations carried out on the burning of documents belonging to the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has been handed over to CMC Commissioner, Bhadrani Jayawardena, Colombo Mayor, A.J.M. Muzammil said. He said that an investigation on the issue was being carried out by the Chief Internal Auditor of the CMC under his direction adding that the Local Govt Commissioner had submitted an interim report to the CMC Commissioner regarding the incident. more..

TNA spurned many chances to find a peaceful solution

Sept 8 (SO) The TNA which is clamouring for police, and land powers for the NPC today, had rejected a package offered by the Chandrika Bandaranaike Govt that went beyond the powers of the Provincial Councils, Minister Douglas Devananda said. Though the TNA is demanding those powers under the 13th Amendment today they spurned many chances to find a peaceful solution to the problem through negotiations with successive Govts, as they were mortally afraid of the Tiger terrorists. more..

Environmentalists up in arms against amnesty period

Sept 8 (SO) Environmentalists have warned that the amnesty period for those who rear elephants illegally to register them, will have far-reaching consequences as it will promote elephant poaching. The Environment Conservation Trust has highlighted that relaxing laws on illegally domesticated elephants will encourage poachers to pry on baby elephants, and would run contrary to the Ministry’s good intentions. Commenting on the Ministry’s arrangements to levy one million rupees to more..

Jaffna reverberates with nuances of fine arts

Sept 8 (Hindu) Niranjana is the only student in her batch at the fine arts department of Jaffna University who is currently training to play the violin. “How do we oscillate the note ga in the ragam Mohanam without showing the ma ? Isn’t it wrong if the ma is heard?” — When the petite young woman stood up and raised the rather technical question to the artists at a workshop held at the packed Veerasingam Hall in Jaffna town, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Sept 8 (ST) The UPFA Govt has appointed a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to formulate a new political package to resolve the national question. This, however, has not deterred South Africa from continuing its initiatives towards seeking a settlement. The only problem it has faced is the difficulty to meet in Colombo in the pursuit of that exercise. So it did the next best thing — get together select invitees from political more..

PowerGrid seeks 'viable return' for India-Lanka undersea link

Sept 8 (PTI) PowerGrid Corporation is seeking a "viable return" for a proposed undersea transmission cable linking India and Sri Lanka, which has been delayed. The project, with a capacity to transmit 500 MW of electricity, is to be jointly implemented with the Ceylon Electricity Board at an estimated cost of Rs 2,500-3,000 crore and was scheduled to be completed this year. "We have submitted the draft report on the undersea more..

Revealed: How Scots police trained Sri Lankan cops linked to human rights abuse

Sept 8 (HS) More than 3500 Sri Lankan police officers - including some senior commanders - have received training from the Scottish Police College (SPC) since 2007 through projects funded by the UK and Scottish governments. An investigation by not-for-profit research group Corporate Watch also found the SPC is involved in spearheading a project to help to set up a National Police Academy in Sri Lanka. more..

Fonterra wants Sri Lanka to re-analyze its ‘rejected’ milk food samples

Sept 8 (Island) In a dramatic development, Fonterra, New Zealand’s dairy giant, has officially called for an immediate re-analysis of the samples of its milk food stocks, which were rejected and withdrawn from the Sri Lanka market on the basis of alleged dicyandiamide (DCD) contamination, a high-ranking official said. "As we remain convinced that our products were free of any strains of this agricultural chemical, more..

Scores of Lankan seafarers still held captive by Somali pirates

Sept 8 (Island) Of the 52 Sri Lankan seafarers held captive by Somali pirates over the past year or so, some were released from time to time, but the exact number held by these armed men at present is still not known, it was revealed last week. In the latest raid on a cargo vessel, six more Sri Lankan were captured off the Somali coast, but their ship had taken in water during the raid and run aground. The men remain unaccounted more..

Casino magnate Packer’s project back on the cards

Sept 8 (ST) Australian casino mogul James D Packer and his Sri Lankan partners are redesigning their proposed resort in Colombo Fort on the instructions of the UDA, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He said his ministry had to submit four cabinet papers before the deal could be finalised. “There is no delay. They are preparing their plan and redesigning their building now. They have agreed to build two towers,” more..

'Not heading for privatisation, report misleading'

Sept 8 (ST) The People’s Bank (PB) CEO N. Vasantha Kumar has drawn reference to the Sunday Times lead story of September 1, 2013 under the headline “State Bank faces semi-privatisation”. He said, “I would like to place before you the facts and figures in their correct perspective, with a categorical assurance that there are no moves whatsoever to “semi-privatise the People’s Bank or opt for a share issue, either through more..

Pillay to make damning statement

Sept 8 (CT) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, is expected to highlight the possibility of reprisals and attacks on human rights defenders, journalists and communities she met up with during her recent visit to Sri Lanka, when she makes the opening statement at the 24th Session of the UNHRC in Geneva, tomorrow. Pillay is likely to laud the govt for allowing her the opportunity of assessing more..

Mathi says was not forced to resign

Sept 8 (DM) Former Sri Lanka Cricket Vice President K. Mathiavanan issuing a statement regarding his stepping down, said he tendered his resignation from his post due to 'non recognition within the SLC', and dispelled media reports to the effect that he was forced to resign. The former Vice President resigned from his post stating that " There were circumstances beyond my control which compelled me to step down from the contest” more..

Education ministry violates procurement guidelines

Sept 8 (SL) The Ministry of Education is in the throes of entering into an agreement with a world renowned computer manufacturer, violating all established procurement guidelines. In a purchase that appears to be steaming ahead with impunity, the govt of Sri Lanka is set to lose out on a transaction that will cost over Rs 880,000,000. The purchase is being made by the State Trading Corporation (STC). STC are in negotiations with a leading computer company in Singapore. more..

Events of 24th July: What were the Army’s orders?

Sept 8 (CT) Several questions about the role of the Army during the July 1983 violence remain unanswered. The proposition that the cabinet of the day has tried to promote is that the officers had lost control and there was total confusion. But this does not explain why the Army was deployed along Galle Road and was seen abetting the mobs, while often the officers were not to be seen. Would it then not have been more logical not to deploy them? The Commander, General Weeratunge had more..

‘Free zones’ will erode free educaton - FUTA

Sept 8 (NS) The govt’s proposed plan to set up ‘free zones’ for education would pave the way for the slow erosion of free education in the country, President, FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said. He said the FUTA had strong reservations regarding the entire project, which he claimed had sidelined the UGC. The entire process was being overseen by the Higher Education Minister and Secretary to the Ministry, more..

Polls chief to brief his senior officials

Sept 8 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya is scheduled to convene several meetings with senior election officials to brief them on measures to ensure a free and fair PC poll in the Northern, Central and the North-Western provinces. The meeting will be held at the Elections Secretariat at Rajagiriya on Friday, said Bandula Kulatunga, Consultant to the Elections Secretariat. In the morning, Elections Commissioner assisted by the Additional Commissioner of Elections more..

TNA foreclosing its own case

Sept 8 (CT) The concluding paragraph of the Election Manifesto of the TNA put forth for the upcoming NPC elections states, “The lives of our people must be rebuilt while maintaining our distinct identity as a people. We must also regain our political rights as a people,” and goes on to appeal to the Tamil speaking peoples to courageously stand up and demonstrate their resolve by voting for the TNA contesting under ‘House’ symbol of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK). more..

Tokyo to host 2020 Olympic Games

Sept 8 (CNN) Tokyo has been chosen by the International Olympic Committee to host the 2020 Summer Games. In voting Saturday in Buenos Aires, the committee picked Tokyo over the two other contenders, Madrid and Istanbul. The announcement came at 5:20 a.m. Tokyo time, but a large crowd watching on an outdoor video screen burst into cheers. Tokyo previously hosted the Summer Games in 1964. more..