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Excessive use of agrochemicals pollutes groundwater in many places

Sep 27 (ST) Last month, the Sunday Times highlighted that Sri Lanka’s farmers were over-using agro-chemicals, and warned that it could ultimately penetrate into the groundwater. This has now been confirmed by a study conducted by the Water Resources Board (WRB). WRB Director General R.S. Wijesekare revealed that chemical compounds such as Nitrates, Phosphates and heavy metals were found in excess in many places more..

Commonwealth Secretary-General Sharma calls on President Rajapaksa

Sep 27 (IL) The Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma called on President Rajapaksa in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on 25 Sept. The discussion between the Commonwealth and Sri Lankan delegations was mainly based on the upcoming CHOGM - 2013 which is scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in November. Secretary-General, Sharma informed President Rajapaksa more..

'Minister for Tea' pours it on

Sep 27 (TA) Sri Lanka's 'Minister for Tea', Mahinda Samarasinghe, is on a world tour spruiking Sri Lankan tea, the country's biggest export, and recently spent time in Sydney and Melbourne. "Ceylon tea is the best quality in the world and we have an excellent story to tell," the minister told The Australian, pointing to a new $US35 million fund built up from contributions by domestic tea producers that will help fund advertisements for Ceylon tea more..

Canada gets tough on Lanka

Sep 27 (CG) Canada stood firm on its views on Sri Lanka when Commonwealth foreign affairs ministers met in New York yesterday on the margins of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly. The meeting provided an opportunity for ministers to discuss a troubling lack of progress in Sri Lanka and the volatile situation in the Maldives. On Sri Lanka, Canada has repeatedly called for Commonwealth engagement in more..

Democracy is not simply about elections

Sep 27 (CT) The emphatic victory of the TNA at last week's PC elections revealed an inconvenient truth the govt didn't want to hear. Four years after the war ended and despite the many grandiose development plans, it has not only failed to win the hearts and minds of the Northern people, it has also lost their trust. Four years is time enough to reach out to a people looking to rebuild their lives on a foundation of a peace dividend promised by a victorious govt after a near 30-year war. more..

Proud mother delivers two babies from two wombs

Sep 27 (Island) Delica Sirirwardena (20), of Kubukandawala Dambulla, was surprised when she was found to have two wombs. She was anxious throughout her pregnancy. But, her fears proved to be unfounded. She delivered two babies from her two wombs at the Base Hospital, Dambulla on Wednesday. Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr. Sumith Warnasuriya said that the mother had undergone a caesarian operation. According to the specialist, she was more..

Commonwealth endorsement of Sri Lanka is a sham

Sep 27 (Independent) Channel Four has just revealed that on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary William Hague co-hosted a somewhat covert drinks reception in New York down a "dimly lit side street" near the UN headquarters. The other member of the party was Sri Lanka - and no doubt over the clinking of glasses and nibbles the two countries looked forward to their next meeting, in Colombo. There are 50 days to go to CHOGM. more..

Reflections on the NPC elections

Sep 27 (CT) For the progressive forces in the country, the night of 21st Sept would have evoked a mixture of contradictory feelings. The UPFA’s success, despite the slight decline in its vote share in the Central Province, in the elections that take place in the South is worrisome. It underscores how Sinhala Buddhist nationalism obscures the economic woes of the downtrodden people. For many, what happened in the North may appear phenomenally subversive, and therefore more..

C.V. Wigneswaran certainly the CM

Sep 27 (SL) The TNA having decided on the candidature of C. V. Wigneswaran, barring anything untoward – God forbid – he will be the Chief Minister of the Northern Province. Congratulations to him. Reports suggest that all constituent parties wanted Mavai Senathirajah. For anyone can walk into Senathirajah’s house expecting to be spoken to. I gratefully remember my own crisis with the LTTE when Senathirajah, joined by M. K. Sivajilingam, stood up for me and questioned more..

'Kenya massacre highlighted need for C’wealth response to int’l terrorism'

Sep 27 (Island) The massacre of nearly 70 men, women and children in Nairobi, Kenya should prompt the Commonwealth to re-examine its priorities in the run-up to the CHOGM scheduled for November this year, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. Victims included British, Canadian, French and Chinese nationals. Kenya is among the member states expected to attend the three-day conference scheduled to begin on Nov 15. more..

Forgotten woes: Sri Lanka’s neoliberal politics

Sep 27 (OS) Sri Lanka’s 30 war, which ended in May 2009, is fast being forgotten. In the post-2009 context, pressing fundamental rights issues in the island nation have been considerably sidelined. Key players in the international community do not perceive Sri Lanka as a strategic priority. In the most recent development, Colombo interprets its decision to hold a Northern Provincial Council Election on 21 September 2013, after a lapse of some 25 years, more..

Modi puts Lanka with Pakistan

Sep 27 (CG) Drawing a parallel between Pakistan and Sri Lanka’s “ill-treatment” of Indian fishermen, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modion chose to harp on national security and pride in his address at a BJP youth rally in Trichy, his first political meeting in Tamil Nadu since he was anointed the party’s prime ministerial candidate. The hour-long speech on Thursday, mostly in Hindi and high on nationalist spiel, was laced with references to international figures including the Brazilian President more..

Berty Premalal Dissanayake passes away

Sep 27 (GDI) Former Chief Minister of the North Central Province Berty Premalal Dissanayake has passed away at the age of 59. He was born on 15th July 1954, as the eldest child in a family of two Girls and two boys. Entering politics as a secretary of SLFP of Habarana Town Hall in 1972, Berty Premalal Dissanayeka later became the organizer of the Thalawa seat under the guidance of Sirimawo Bandaranaike. more..

Violent deputy principal surrenders

Sep 27 (Island) A deputy Principal, who went missing after assaulting a 15-year-old student, of a school in Sewanagala, for making fun of him with a nickname, surrendered to the Sewanagala police yesterday through a lawyer. The incident had occurred on Sept 20 and the injured student had been discharged on Sept 24 from the Embilipitiya hospital. The suspect fled the area after he was informed that the victim’s father, an UPFA Tanamalwila PS member, launched a fast more..

Stocks close 0.3% higher, rupee steady

Sep 27 (LBO) Stocks closed higher for the second consecutive day, up 0.39% and the rupee ended slightly weaker. The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index closed 22.46 points higher at 5,808.62, up 0.39% and the S&P SL20 closed 9.98 points lower at 3,209.11, down 0.31%. Turnover was down to 409.14 million rupees on Friday from 902.23 million rupees a day earlier with stocks of 134 firms gaining against 48 losers. Foreigners bought 110 million rupees worth of shares more..

IESL Engineering Excellence Awards 2013

Sep 27 (MEA) The Engineering Excellence Awards 2013 was held at the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo recently. The event was organised by the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL) which is the apex body of the Engineering profession in the country. The chief guest at the event was the Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, senior minister Eng. P Dayarathna, MPs Kanaka Herath, more..

Dr. Aluthwewa Soratha Thero passes away

Sep 27 (AD) Most Venerable Dr Aluthwewa Soratha Nayaka Thero, the chief incumbent of the Kataragama Kiriwehera Temple and Chancellor of the Uva Wellassa University, has passed away at the age of 70. The Thero was receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo when he passed away today. Born on April 04, 1943, Dr. Aluthweva Soratha Thero was also the Chief Sanganayaka of Ruhuna Magampaththuwa. He obtained his PhD in 1990 from the Uni of Sri J'pura more..

Young hero Praneeth praised by Toronto Fire Captain, Sri Lanka Consul General

Sep 27 (LR) A Toronto Fire captain and Sri Lanka’s consul general were full of praise for a young hero who sprang into action during a moment of chaos at a community event recently. Praneeth Agalawatte, 22, was quick to calm a crowd and begin CPR after a senior collapsed on stage suffering an apparent heart attack on September 8 at Toronto Maha Vihara Buddhist temple. Close to 100 people were attending a rehearsal event for “Basaka Warauna” an annual celebration for more..

'Implement Senaka Bibile Drug Policy without jeopardizing people’s lives'

Sep 27 (LT) Implement Senaka Bibile Drug Policy without sacrificing people’s lives says the National Organizer of Prof. Senaka Bibile Memorial Organization Dr. Jayantha Bandara. He said, “Prof. Senaka Bibile is a great person who created a drug policy that could be accepted by the whole world. His 36th commemoration falls on 30th September. A critical stage exists in our country regarding medicines. more..

Govt. circular burdens parents with teacher training – LTSU

Sep 27 (LT) The Ministry of Education has issued a circular called ‘School based teacher development programme’ burdening parents with all expenses regarding teacher training. The circular No. 2013/10 & 2013.03.11 issued by the Ministry of Education is a serious threat to free education in the country and it is vehemently opposed states Lanka Teacher Services Union (LTSU). LTSU states according to the circular all teacher training should be institutionalized, school based more..

Sri Lanka president uses his time in U.N. spotlight to lash out

Sep 27 (LAT) From Moammar Kadafi's baffling fantasies to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's room-emptying rants, almost every confab of world leaders at the annual UN General Assembly includes speeches that make people squirm in their chairs. With the Libyan leader deposed and dead and the former Iranian president retired — and Sudan's Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, charged with committing war crimes in the Darfur region, staying away — one of the most awkward moments more..

Video: New Zealand seeks Sri Lanka’s support in bid for UN seat

Sep 27 (AD) New Zealand has sought Sri Lanka’s support in its bid for a seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2015-2016. During discussions held between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in New York Thursday, the latter had requested President Rajapaksa to consider supporting New Zealand for the UNSC seat. “President Rajapaksa told the PM more..

Digambaram’s and not Dayasiri’s defection felt by UNP – Harin

Sep 27 (Island) The impact felt by the UNP due to the defection of National Workers’ Union leader P. Digambaram, to the govt, far outweighed the controversial circumstances under which Dayasiri Jayasekera deserted the party, MP Harin Fernando said. He said that a comparison between the Central and NWPC Polls of 2009 and the ones held last Saturday, clearly revealed that Digambaram, who contested the 2010 General Election on the UNP ticket and later joined the ruling UPFA, more..

Sri Lanka's Pan Asia Bank to get US$20mn from climate funds

Sep 27 (LBO) Pan Asia Bank said it had struck a deal to get 20 mill US dollars to finance green energy, from in global climate fund. The Global Climate Partnership Fund (GCPF) is promoted by the German and Denmark govts; KfW, a development financier and the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank arm. The funds will come as a 7-year unsecured loan. Pan Asia Bank said it was the first time a bank in South Asia had received 7-year funds from the GCPF. more..

Sri Lanka-Iran President's pledge to strengthen ties

Sep 27 (GDI) President Rajapaksa and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani held discussions in New York Thursday. The two heads-of-state, who were in the City on the occasion of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, pledged to further strengthen the already friendly relations between the two countries. President Rajapaksa thanked President Rouhani for Iran’s support to Sri Lanka, particularly in the energy sector and more..

EPDP takes credit for high voter turnout

Sep 27 (CT) Member of the EPDP, Kandasamy Kamalendran (Kamal), who was elected to the NPC on Saturday, said it was the EPDP that reassured the people in the North to believe in democracy, and take part in the election without any fear. Kamalendran, the only EPDP member to be elected to the NPC, said, "I express my grateful thanks to all those who voted for us, accepting our policies wholeheartedly, and to all EPDP comrades and supporters who worked towards our success. more..

Shortage of teachers in Technology stream

Sep 27 (CT) Although the Ministry of Education has introduced Technology for the GCE A/L syllabus, students who have selected the new stream are left stranded, as there is a shortage of teachers qualified to teach the subjects, Ceylon Today learns. In addition to the existing Science, Maths, Commerce and Arts streams, the Education Ministry introduced a new stream this year, giving the students an opportunity to study technological subjects, if they so desired. However, education unionists and more..

PM confident his son will be Chief Minister

Sep 27 (CT) PM D.M. Jayaratna, said President Rajapaksa would appoint his son as the Chief Minister, as he (Anuradha Jayaratna), had secured the highest number of preferential votes in the Central Province, at the recently concluded PC elections. However, internecine clashes between the newly-elected UPFA councillors of the Central Province, over the number of preferential votes each had obtained, more..

SL becoming too expensive for tourists

Sep 27 (ST) A study which gauges the value for money factor of tourist resorts, has seen the Indonesian island of Bali toppling Sri Lanka from the once held top spot as the 'best value' long-haul travel option in a new list of popular holiday destinations. The latest Post Office Travel Money Long Haul Report - which gauges the countries that offer the most in return for tourists' holiday cash - shows Sri Lanka slipping to fifth place behind South Africa, Vietnam and Thailand. more..

SC puts off two appeals against murder conviction

Sep 27 (CT) The Supreme Court yesterday put off the two appeals of Jude Samantha Anthony Jayamaha, who has been sentenced to death for the murder of Ivon Johnson. He was found guilty by the High Court of Colombo and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The Attorney General, aggrieved by the sentence appealed against it in the Court of Appeal, to increase the punishment. Samantha also appealed against his prison sentence saying he is not guilty of the murder charge. more..

Suresh Sriskandarajah, Canadian who helped Tamil Tigers, faces 15-year sentence

Sep 27 (CP) Prosecutors in the U.S. are asking for a Canadian man to serve the maximum sentence of 15 years after he admitted to helping a terrorist group in Sri Lanka. Suresh Sriskandarajah, who earned university degrees in Waterloo, Ont., pleaded guilty in July in Brooklyn, N.Y., to conspiring to provide material support to the Tamil Tigers. The 32-year-old is due to be sentenced on Oct. 28 and written sentencing arguments more..

Ranil must go, NOW

Sep 28 (CT) Analysis and dissecting is not necessary. I am not going to indulge in that paralyzing exercise anymore. Why and how did the UNP lose? The simple answer is: the people didn't vote for the UNP. The verdict is clear. The people have spoken. And those voters who cast their ballots on Saturday, in the three provinces, North, Wayamba and Central, made it clearer than usual. First, in the Northern Province where in the Kankasanturai electorate in 1952, more..

Missing the Commonwealth woods

Sep 28 (CT) With the countdown for the CHOGM getting underway, there is heightened concern laced with speculation over Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's participation in the summit. Delhi offered no commitment when Minister for External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris, formally handed over the invitation to the Indian leadership. He was given a patient hearing. No more, no less. This is in sharp contrast to the reception Prof. Peiris received in Islamabad. more..

First Sri Lankan Super Rugby player could be a Rebel

Sep 28 (TR) Melbourne Rebels CEO Rob Clarke and inaugural captain, now-board member, Stirling Mortlock were both invited to Sri Lanka recently, with the pair eager to explore the dawning of a new horizon in world rugby. Sri Lanka’s love for rugby union and its honeymoon with international players in recent times at the local International Carlton Sevens has reaped rewards, with the Melbourne Rebels pledging their support more..

Are graduates unemployable? The answer is 'no'

Sep 28 (Island) Many like the Minister of Higher Education and his officials such as the Secretary and the UGC Chairman, Vice-Chancellors, lecturers and politicians are puzzled with an issue coined as 'graduate unemployability'. Research data published in the UGC bulletins show that the 'graduate unemployability' prevails across all the disciplines taught at the universities that fall within the UGC purview. The Ministry of Higher Education has shouldered the burden of more..

Sri Lanka: No turning back now

Sep 28 (Island) I like to comment on the piece under the above caption written by R.A Ratwatte and published in your issue of the 24th Sept- soon after the PC election results. It is obvious that the opinions he has (mostly impliedly) expressed are being shared by numerous persons of the Sinhalese, Tamil, and Burgher communities alike. Some of the writer’s opinions are very pertinent and cleverly articulated while some others reflect the voice of an ignorant Westernized class. more..

'UNP has no future with Ranil'

Sep 28 (CT) Diplomat, political scientist and author, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, served as the Minister of Planning and Youth Affairs in the ill-fated North-East Provincial Council in 1988–89. In the aftermath of the elections to the three Provincial Councils, including the NPC, Ceylon Today spoke to Jayatilleka, who is also the former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, about the elections, the dismal performance more..

NPC Elections: Sampanthan’s leadership to TNA and the way forward

Sep 28 (CT) TNA’s overwhelming victory in the NPC has become the talk of the town as it results clearly showcased the aspiration of the Tamil people in the North. Even though the TNA’s victory in the election was predicted well ahead, the final result came as a scathing blow to the ruling UPFA alliance. The reason behind this is that, TNA’s plead to the people in the North to give them not just a win but a two thirds majority was granted emphatically. Given the prevailing situation in the country, TNA’s more..

Whodunnit? Did the TNA win or did the govt lose?

Sep 28 (CT) While the TNA’s defeat of the UPFA in the NPC election was widely expected, the sheer scale of the TNA’s victory was unanticipated. While TNA leaders repeatedly expressed a desire for 30 seats on the campaign trail, in reality, sights were centred on the 26-seat mark that would have ensured a two-thirds majority in the Council. In their recent piece analyzing the results of the election, Gibson Bateman and Rathika Innasimuttu make a number of useful and perceptive points. more..

Felicitation of Ven. Kurunegoda Piyatissa