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NWP ministers to oppose Johnston

Sept 8 (CT) A group of ministers from the North- Western Province has recently decided to make representations to President Rajapaksa against Minister Johnston Fernando. The ministers have come to this decision amidst increasing complaints against the minister for alleged election law violations in the Province, where his son Johaan is seeking political office for the first time. Following the 62nd Convention of the SLFP, two rounds of discussions have already taken place more..

Welikada report to Pillay

Sept 8 (SL) The Welikada prison riot report is expected to be handed over to the Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera this week. He said that the recommendations of the report will be made available to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay if she so requires it. Gajadeera, who was out of Colombo last week, said that he expects to receive the report this week with the signatures of the entire committee which more..

Delegation heads to Geneva

Sept 8 (SL) The govt has decided to send a delegation for the 24th session of the UNHRC which begins this week in Geneva. External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatillake said that a four member delegation will be sent for the session. “A high level delegation will not be sent for this session. There is no need for that. In March next year we will send a high level delegation,” he said. SL’s Ambassador to Geneva Ravinatha more..

Election law: A dead letter

Sept 8 (ST) With the date of the elections in the Central, Northern and North Western provinces drawing closer, candidates mainly from government-allied political parties are flouting election laws. In Matale, election-related violence left a campaign office in ruins, while in Puttalam, supporters of the SLMC were observed pasting posters in broad daylight. Usually, violators of this particular election law use the cover of darkness to put up publicity material on public walls. more..

Liquidity lifebelt for troubled finance companies

Sept 8 (Island) The Central Bank has announced the implementation of a Liquidity Support Scheme (LSS) for any licensed finance company facing liquidity problems enabling such companies to revive and restructure their operations. A statement from the bank said that liquidity support would be provided via the LSS of the Sri Lanka Deposit Insurance Fund and would be granted on case-by-case basis after assessment of the liquidity position of the concerned licensed finance company by the CB. more..

Foreigners heavily involved in scams, frauds and passing counterfeit currency

Sep 8 (ST) A businessman and regular overseas traveller, last month received an email that he was a winner of the ‘Barclays Mega Fortune Award’ in UK, and was entitled to a lottery prize money of 700,000 Pounds, or over Rs 140,000 million. The businessman believed that it was from a draw at the Singapore airport, as only recently, he had purchased over US$ 100 worth of liquor, and was entitled to two draws. more..

Mega housing project in Waligamam

Sep 8 (SO) The Govt has launched a mega housing project jointly with the Indian Govt in Waligamam North Divisional Secretariat Division in Jaffna consisting of 1,000 housing units. Construction work on 40 housing units has already been completed and the others are in progress, Waligamam North Divisional Secretary Kanagaraja Sri Mohanan said. Beneficiary families have been selected on a point scheme. A beneficiary family should obtain 10 points to claim a housing unit in the scheme. more..

Sri Lanka equities on show in Hong Kong

Sep 8 (LBO) Eleven Sri Lanka-listed companies and top financial sector officials will meet investors in Hong Kong Monday to draw more investment to the country. Sri Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission which is co-hosting the forum with the Colombo Stock Exchange said more than 100 are expected to attend the forum. Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal, SEC chairman Nalaka Godahewa and CSE chairman Krishan Balendra will make presentations at the seminar. more..

Foreign military personnel to participate in Sri Lanka armed forces' joint field exercise

Sep 8 (SLA) The joint military ‘Exercise - Cormorant Strike IV - 2013’, with more than 2698 tri-service personnel, together with over 40 foreign military participants and observers from six countries, will get underway during Sept 11 - 23 in the eastern areas of Kadiraweli, Vakarai, Thrikonamadu, Thoppigala, Narakamulla and Batticaloa of the security force headquarters, East. This mock Field Training Exercise (FTX), more..

Election Dept. laments over sleeping candidates

Sep 8 (NS) The majority of candidates, who have failed to declare their assets and liabilities for the forthcoming Provincial Council elections, are from independent groups functioning as ‘proxies’ of recognized political parties, Elections Department officials and election monitors said. An official at the Department of Elections pointed out it had been an established practice of recognized political parties to put forward candidates from such groups as a political tactic. more..

Audio: Samarasinghe ready to go

Sep 8 (CG) President Rajapaksa’s special human rights envoy, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe says he is ready to go to Geneva for the UNHRC session which begins tomorrow if the need arises. Samarasinghe says so far he has not been asked to go and the Sri Lankan Mission in Geneva will handle the responses on behalf of Sri Lanka. He said that officials from the Attorney AG’s Department will be in Geneva to assist the Sri Lankan Mission headed by Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinghe. more..

SL to release 107 rehabilitated LTTE cadres

Sep 8 (PTI) Sri Lanka will release a total of 107 rehabilitated LTTE cadres tomorrow, leaving only 232 former Tamil rebels to be reintegrated into the society. The country's rehabilitation officials said today the 107 former Tamil Tigers would to be released tomorrow in Vavuniya. "They are to be released after a successful programme of vocational training," said Maj Gen Jagath Wijethilake, Army's top rehabilitation official. more..

Job opportunities for Kilinochchi youths

Sep 8 (NS) Recommencement of train services to Kilinochchi will provide job opportunities for war-affected youth, Govt officials said. Train services to Kilinochchi will commence on September 14 after 28 years. Media Secretary to the Transport Ministry Sujith Withanapathirana said that the recommencement of train services would provide job opportunities to youth in Kilinochchi. “Substitute labor for the Railway Department will be from Kilinochchi,” he said. more..

CMC laments shortage of Food Inspectors

Sep 8 (NS) Health officials have expressed frustration over the shortage of Food Inspectors in light of recent controversies over food contamination. Chief Medical Officer of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said the CMC was handicapped due to a shortage of Food Inspectors that had become a stumbling block when carrying out tests pertaining to contaminated food products that are being marketed. The CMC is now equipped with only one Food Inspector more..

Video: Ajith P. Perera demands Ajith Nivard Cabraal’s resignation

Sep 8 (AD) UNP MP Ajith P. Perera today demanded that the Governor of the Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal step down from his post immediately, and accused the latter of leaving out data on malnutrition from Central Bank reports. Ajith Nivard Cabraal is saying that information regarding malnutrition in the country has never been included in an Annual Report of the Central Bank, Perera said. He was referring to an instance more..

Ranjini's case 'very unusual', says review judge

Sep 8 (CT) A Tamil refugee's time as an 11-year-old runaway who joined Sri Lanka's civil war was ''surprising and, presumably, very unusual'', according to a review of the ASIO decision to deem her a threat to Australia's national security. But Ranjini's early indoctrination into the Tamil Tigers and her later disavowal of the cause after fleeing to Australia - insisting she just wanted to raise her three children - was not enough to overturn the ASIO finding. The retired judge charged with more..

Video: President assures the Muslims

Sep 8 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today assured the Muslims in Sri Lanka that he will do all he can to protect them. The President said that the government has not only stood up for Muslims in Sri Lanka but also for Muslims in other countries as well. Speaking to Muslims in Kandy today the President said that when he was elected President he gave an assurance that the LTTE will be defeated and democracy will be restored in the country and he did exactly that. more..

Basil to resign from key project

Sep 8 (CG) Minister Basil Rajapaksa says he will step down from a key development project in the north and hand it over to the new provincial council administration which will be elected at the September 21 elections. Speaking in Vaddukkoddai today the Minister said that he will stop handling the Uthuru Wasanthaya (Northern Spring) project following the elections. The development program currently operates more..

Daya Mina awareness walk ‘We can do it’

Sep 9 (SL) Disabled’ is a very negative word which focuses on the inability of certain persons owing to natural causes or accidents and fails to highlight their abilities despite their deficiencies which in fact every human person experiences in varying degrees. Hence we ought to avoid labeling people as disabled simply because they possess a higher degree of deficiencies than many of us. ‘Daya Mina” is a Centre run by the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary who are determined to more..

Our 7s Rugby on the rise, but for how long?

Sep 9 (SL) Sri Lanka’s Asian Rugby Sevens ranking at the close of the 2012 season was sixth; so, to finish fourth in the first of the four-tournament 2013 series, in Kuala Lumpur last week, kindles hope of ending on a higher perch come November when the ongoing series concludes. With three more tournaments yet to complete, predictions can be risky. So, any optimism about an elevation in our ranking in 2013 must be guarded, though, honestly, it’s difficult to resist the feeling more..

'UNP wants to bring prosperity to the people'

Sep 9 (SL) Renuka Herath – UNP candidate for the Central Province (CP), said that their election theme is simple. “In the CP we want to establish a proper and effective Provincial Council system. The reason is that during the past we have seen that it has been governance overwhelmed by corruption and malpractices instead of being of any service to the people; it was the individuals in power who have gained and made merry,” more..

Making Navi Pillay a Heroine?

Sep 9 (DBS) Navi Pillay got the goat of most Sri Lankans last week during her visit here but did she deserve the mass hysteria that broke out – particularly in the media? Those who wanted to register themselves in the role of ‘patriots’ had to say something devastating about Pillay for public consumption. And Pillay too was as devastating, unlike what a diplomat should be, according to that famous quotation: “A diplomat is a person who would tell you ‘go to hell’ and more..

Fate strikes a cruel blow on pretty woman

Sep 9 (SO) Unknown to man, destiny plays strikes on him. Pretty Leelawathi Pushpakumari, 49, of Avissawella would never have imagined that she would die at the hands of a killer. No one would have ever dreamed that this beautiful lass with lovely long hair and good looks would end the way she did. Pushpakumari married the love of her life, who was a minor employee in a factory close to her home. He was Pailige Ariyaratne, 53, from Delgoda. After marriage, Pushpakumari settled down more..

'I cannot cancel candidacy of law violators'

Sep 9 (CT) Less than two weeks remain for the Provincial Council elections to select Councillors to the Northern, Central and North-Western Provincial Councils to take place. Incidents of election law violations have been increasing by the day, with the latest and one of the most serious being the alleged kidnaping and assault of a campaign financier of a UPFA candidate. Ceylon Today spoke to Commissioner of Elections, more..

The state of Lankan democracy: A look through the Australian prism

Sep 9 (CT) I read with interest some opinions expressed in the Island newspaper over the issue as to whether Sri Lanka can now call itself a democracy or dictatorship. For us Sri Lankans domesticated in Australia it is opportune to join this debate at a time like the very present when General Elections are to be held on Saturday, the 7th of September. Election behavior is a good sample expression of the wider political culture that prevails in any country. Look at the situation prevailing here and more..

Billion rupee crisis: Central Bank failed once again to safe guard depositors

Sep 9 (CT) In fact I wrote this article on August 15, 2013 and was saved in my computer hard drive at 3.51 p.m. I wrote the first paragraph as follows. “Please correct me if I am wrong in this analysis. In fact I wished to be wrong here. My objective here is not to make public and depositors pessimistic about the financial institution they trusted. Trust is an essential element for banks and financial institutions especially that entertain deposits. The trust of customers, especially depositors is important more..

Sinhala and Tamil soon from Google Translate

Sep 9 (ST) A web-based translation algorithm offered by Translate will soon be available in Sinhala and Tamil, according to Ann Lavin, Google Asia Pacific’s Director of Public Policy and Govt Affairs for Southeast Asia and China. The keynote speaker at this week’s SLASSCOM CXO Breakfast Briefing in Colombo, one of the main themes put forward by Ms. Lavin’s presentation was the need for careful thought when it came to the regulation of more..

Navi Pillay visit: Indecent proposal, hasty proposition

Sep 9 (DBS) At the end of the day, the much-publicised and equally important week-long visit of UNHRC chief Navi Pillay will be remembered for two wrong reasons. One is for Pillay’s observation that Sri Lanka is moving increasingly towards ‘authoritarianism’. Coming from a senior UN diplomat, it is bad enough. By his own standards, Minister Mervyn Silva set a new bottom-line for crudity, when he said what she had said. It’s likely that the UNHRC chief was so very deeply more..

Benefits and costs of economic infrastructure development

Sep 9 (ST) The development of the country’s physical infrastructure has been a striking achievement in the post-war period. Improvement and development of the road network, increasing power generation, the construction of bridges, development of ports and the improvement of railways have been an important aspect of economic development in the last four years. This is in contrast to much of the deterioration in economic infrastructure since the 1960s. more..

Randeniya, Rumeshika bag Best Athlete awards

Sep 9 (Island) Ranabima Royal, Gannoruwa hurdler Supun Viraj Randeniya and sprinter Rumeshika Rathnayake of St. Joseph’s Balika, Kegalle won the Best Athlete awards as the 83rd Sir John Tarbet Senior Schools Athletics Championship ended with Maris Stella College, Negombo and Ratnayake Central, Walala, winning the Boys’ and Girls’ Overall Championships respectively, at the Sugathadasa Stadium more..

Editorial: Syria - A game of chicken

Sep 9 (Island) In what may be described as a dramatic turn of events, Russia has pledged to back Syria in the event of a foreign military strike. This undertaking has been given by no less a person than President Putin himself, who, addressing the media on the sidelines of the G-8 Summit, dismissed the claim that the Syrian forces were using chemical weapons as a ruse by the anti-Assad rebels to pave the way for a foreign-led attack. President Obama has not budged an inch. more..

Higher education at the crossroads

Sep 9 (Island) Most tourists to Sri Lanka wisely avoid driving and prefer to leave this aspect of their visit to a Sri Lanka driver experienced and familiar with the local rules, or lack of, and typical Asian driving cultural norms. Crossroads that either do not have traffic lights or a policeman on duty become a free-for-all with every vehicle trying to outdo every other vehicle in getting across. In some ways the higher education system is rapidly becoming a similar free-for-all with a wide range of more..

Lifeline for distressed Licensed Finance Companies

Sep 9 (FT) The Central Bank has come with a lifeline offer for distressed finance companies subject to several conditions. Central Bank said with a view to sustaining financial system stability and enhancing public confidence in the financial system, it has decided to implement a Liquidity Support Scheme (LSS) for any licensed finance company (LFC) that faces liquidity constraints, thereby enabling such LFCs to more..

Second Asian Buddhist Culture Festival on Sept 25, 26

Sep 9 (DN) Arrangements are being made to hold the Second Asian Buddhist Culture Festival at the Pallekele Buddhist Centre on September 25 and 26, Economic Development Deputy Minister S. M. Chandrasena said. He said the theme of the festival will be ‘Buddhist Art’. The Asian Buddhist Culture Festival is very important to strengthen ties between Buddhist countries, he said. The summit will be organised under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he said. more..

Cultural Triangle staff used for election propaganda work

Sep 9 (FT) Around 250 officers and other staff attached to the Cultural Triangle which functions under the Ministry of Cultural Affairs are being used for election propaganda work, Transparency International Sri Lanka has complained to the Commissioner of Elections. In a letter to the Commissioner, TISL has given details of findings by TISL’s Protection of Program to Protect Public Resources (PPPR) staff on how these officers and staff are utilised for election work. more..

HRC issues guidelines to Police on PC elections

Sep 9 (FT) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has issued a set of guidelines for the Police to follow during the upcoming provincial council elections. The HRCSL said it has issued the guidelines recognising the right of every citizen to vote, to freely engage in political activities and the right to free and fair elections under the Constitution and international human rights norms. All the Police officers are to observe the more..

Lanka’s poverty headcount falling – KPMG

Sep 9 (Island) The economic performance of Sri Lanka over the past years, have been consistent and moderate. "Sri Lanka’s poverty headcount is declining significantly and leads the South Asian HDI with high literacy rates. Lanka’s Prosperity Index ranking has also improved" said Denushika Ruwankumar (Manager, Transaction and Restructuring Services, KPMG in Sri Lanka) on 4 September, a press communiqué issued by the Ministry and Industry and Commerce noted. more..

Tea brewed to perfection

Sep 9 (ST) Like to enjoy a nice cuppa of steaming hot tea brewed to perfection? Then await the ‘Tea Café’ to be launched next month by an industry veteran who is simultaneously organising what is seen as Sri Lanka’s first training course in ‘tea tasting’. “When we were having a family discussion on the tea café concept, the idea of a course also emerged,” said Niraj de Mel, an industry expert with 36 years of experience in the tea business. In a newspaper advertisement last week, more..

'TNA has given Mahinda Rajapaksa a topic to talk during elections'

Sep 9 (LT) “The aim of TNA is not to find solutions for the issues of the common man, specially for the masses in the North but to gain power for a group of elite and act according to the instructions of India. Also, we believe the election manifesto presented by the TNA, despite not having any benefits to the Tamil masses, gives a massive advantage for Rajapaksa’s govt. For, the TNA has given Mr. Rajapaksa, who did not have any more..

BASL team to study armed forces’ role in quelling protests

Sep 9 (FT) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) had appointed a three-member committee to look into the legality of deploying armed forces to disperse protestors. The BASL sources said that issuing a gazette notice, the Govt has authorised the deploying of security forces – Army, Navy and Air Force – to disperse protests instead of deploying the Police. A three-member committee headed by President’s Counsel Shrinath Perera had been appointed by the BASL to inspect more..