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Harin ready to contest Uva PC poll as Chief Ministerial candidate if…

Apr 9 (Island) Badulla District UNP MP Harin Fernando announced that he was ready to contest next Uva Provincial Council election as the Chief Ministerial candidate of the party if all its heavyweights throw their fullest support behind him. He said that he was ready to resign from Parliament only if all leaders of the party including former deputy leader of UNP Sajith Premadasa worked together at the Leadership Council and other party activities. "I am not ready to sacrifice my more..

Gov't slashes taxes on rice as drought forces imports

Apr 9 (Xinhua) Finance ministry slashed taxes on rice imports as the country readies to import rice after a severe drought reduced the prospective harvest by about 50%. Decision came after farmers were told to drastically reduce their rice crops due to a drought that has gripped rice producing areas since the start of 2014. Ministry has requested farmers to reduce rice cultivation by 50% as there was insufficient water. more..

PSM throws its weight behind Allied Health Science undergrads

Apr 9 (Island) Professions supplementary to medicine accused the Health Ministry and Higher Education Ministry of reducing the duration of Allied Health Sciences (AHS) degree by one year to please one trade union in the health sector. General Secretary of the Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine Saman Jayasekera said that the Higher Education Ministry reduced the duration of the AHS degree programme from four years to three as demanded by the GMOA more..

Accusations and counter accusations between nurses and midwives

Apr 9 (Island) Govt Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) accused midwives of jeopardising the services of MOH offices by locking up vaccines and other medical equipment stored in them and taking home the keys. GNOA Chairman, Saman Ratnapriya said nursing sisters and PHIs serving those offices were prepared to stand in to fulfill the services of midwives while they were on strike. However, they were unable to do so as midwives had taken away the keys in MOH offices, more..

How strategic is Sri Lanka?

Apr 9 (CNN) Five hundred years ago as the Spanish and Portuguese empires were carving up the Western hemisphere into colonial spheres, Europe's imperial competition in the Indian Ocean was equally intense. As the first to navigate around Africa's southern cape in the late 15th century, Portugal landed upon India and beyond to Southeast Asia, establishing forts, outposts and colonies alongside the Arabian Sea coastal more..

'Mano Ganesan is a pacifist leader'

Apr 9 (AD) Deputy Leader of the Democratic People’s Front (DPF), Nalliah Kumaraguruparan stated that he has been removed from his post after making his position of the DPF leader clear. He stated that DPF Leader Mano Ganesan was more dedicated to a Sinhalese woman than to the Tamil community while claiming that even though the Democratic was part of the party’s name, he was acting more like a pacifist. He said that Ganesan was constantly vouching for more..

16 Sri Lankan fishermen poaching sea cucumbers off Lakskhadweep nabbed

Apr 9 (TOI) Prompt action taken by Indian Coast Guard based on information provided by the alert Indian fishermen has resulted in arrest of 16 Sri Lankan fishermen who were caught fishing for sea cucumber in India's exclusive economic zone. As per Maritime Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels) Act, 1981 a s well as under Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 as sea cucumber is a prohibited specie under Schedule I of the said Act. ICGS Rajdoot with assistance from more..

'Legal redress for 423 designated for terror link in Lanka'

Apr 9 (PTI) Sri Lankan military today said legal redress would be available for 423 individuals, including 32 Sri Lankans currently residing in India, designated as financiers of terrorism in the country. Sri Lanka last week banned LTTE and 15 other key Tamil diaspora groups for their alleged terror links and prohibited its nationals from making any contacts with them. Some 423 individuals, including 32 Sri Lankans presently residing in India, more..

Opium import halt delivers body blow to indigenous medicine

Apr 9 (Island) Indigenous Medicine Minister Pandu Banadaranayke told Parliament that the production of indigenous medicine had been hit badly as the Ministry of Health had stopped the importation of opium for the past six months. The non production of indigenous medicine had resulted in a shortage of products in the market and the sales outlets that sell indigenous medicine going bankrupt. He said that there were 15 sales outlets run by the ministry and five of them were making losses. more..

'Intellectuals do not engage in politics anymore'

Apr 9 (AD) In this era, intellectuals and those with experience do not get involved in politics, Human Resources Management Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera stated. In an age where money rules everything it is extremely difficult to engage in politics, he stated while addressing a gathering in Galle today. He stressed that those who engage in politics in the modern era must have a suitable knowledge and intelligence to face the complex problems of today. more..

UN cannot probe Lanka says India

Apr 9 (CG) Indian Govt says it is not for the UN to investigate Sri Lanka and that India’s position has always been it is a national prerogative to investigate human rights issues. India also says the recent decision taken to abstain from voting for the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC has given India an opening to work with Sri Lanka more closely on certain issues. India’s Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said that what UNHRC was trying to more..

Ranatunga made the scapegoat

Apr 9 (LT) Thousands of cricket fans have expressed their opposition to Nishantha Ranatunga remaining as the secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket after both Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene exposed that Ranatunga and the chief executive of SLC Ashley de Silva had told the media that they would retire from Twenty20 cricket after the World Cup tournament in Bangladesh. According to what was revealed at the media briefing held at KIA immediately after landing from Bangladesh more..

NFF secures three seats in recent PC polls

Apr 9 (Island) Three members out of seven fielded at the PC elections from the NFF led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa secured victory at respective councils. NFF General Secretary Priyanjith Vitharana said that their members contested under the UPFA banner from Colombo, Gampaha and Hambantota districts won seats in the Western and Southren PCs. He said that former WPC member Roger Seneviratne who contested from the Colombo District polled 44,011 prefrential votes and more..

BBS abuse monk and Muslim cleric

Apr 9 (CG) Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary, the Venerable Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara thero today verbally abused a Buddhist monk and a Muslim cleric after storming the venue of a press conference. The private ‘Swarnavahini’ television showed Gnanasara thero and a group of people preventing the press conference from taking place and verbally abusing a Buddhist monk who was about to brief the media. more..

What is the next step?

Apr 10 (CT) The possibility of defeating President Rajapakse at the next election (or forcing him to abolish the Executive Presidency) is moving towards a 50:50 chance in the context of his setback in provincial elections and an increasingly hostile international environment. However, those who wish to see this happen suffer from congenital inductiveness of how to set about it. The Catholic Cardinal and the kept press have persuaded themselves that the way forward is to bum more..

How the US would read PC Election results

Apr 10 (CT) After the conclusion of the PC Elections, US Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Michele J. Sison, held a hastily arranged meeting with the Chief Prelates in Kandy. In all probability, she may have already read the contents of Mahinda's final political speech, which he had delivered at an election rally, just prior to the polling date. At this meeting, Mahinda had categorically stated, "Irrespective of any decision they will take at Geneva, we will abide only by the peoples' verdict which they will more..

'LTTE fronts ban comes after years of tolerance'

Apr 10 (SO) SL's Permanent Representative to UN Dr. Palitha Kohona said the proscription of 16 organisations under UN resolution 1373 which called for international cooperation for suppressing terrorism financing, was what required now after years of patient tolerance of the actions of these fronts. He however opined that SL ban, to be fully effective, it must be mirrored in the countries where these organisations operate freely. more..

Buddhist monks and JVP fight for besieged Muslims’ rights

Apr 10 (DBS) Abandoned by the govt, Muslim politicians and threatened by Sinhala extremists who are law unto themselves Buddhist monks leading the campaign to solve Muslim squatters’ housing problem at Wilpattu, JVP, fighting for the rights of the Muslims and the Muslims carrying the coffin of a Buddhist monk at a funeral procession provide glimmer of hope for the country torn apart by a few hundreds of Sinhala extremists. I suspect these extremists as mercenaries of local and more..

Let’s not to put the cart before the horse

Apr 10 (CT) It is reported in the Media that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa invited the Leader of the TNA for direct talks over the Tamil Question. While appreciating such a move, it is imperative to look at this move in the context of much discussed reconciliation process of the country. When we put reconciliation into practice, transcending theoretical discourse and adopting a pragmatic and clear approach befitting the Sri Lankan context is vital. Let’s start this discussion by quoting more..

Ranatunga lauds 'special team effort'

Apr 10 (CI) Sri Lanka's first Word Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga has lauded the team's World T20 win as a "special team effort", which bodes well for the future of the team. Sri Lanka's most successful batsman, Mahela Jayawardene, was not among the top-ten tournament run-scorers, while their most penetrative bowler, Nuwan Kulasekara, finished ninth on the wicket-takers' list. more..

Rescuing patriotism from the extremists

Apr 10 (GV) It is almost five years since the military victory of May 2009 brought an end to three decades of armed conflict. Yet, the prospects for securing a stable and inclusive peace in Sri Lanka appear bleak. The first victim of “peace” was the APRC. This long and important process for developing a consensus-based political solution was marginalised and shelved. The second victim is ethnic and religious relations. Emergent Buddhist extremist groups have been allowed to more..

Looking beyond election results

Apr 10 (Island) Govt won the elections in the Southern and Western Provinces convincingly - but that is superficial if the result is analyzed objectively. Eyebrows will be raised if the opposition finds a common candidate for the presidential elections. It may look a cakewalk for the govt but the race can become a serious challenge at a presidential election if a formidable common candidate, who can benefit from a flood of votes from the North against the incumbent, emerges. more..

BBS strikes

Accountability issues and India’s foreign policy considerations

Apr 10 (Island) The ‘talk’ even regionally, and not only locally, currently, could very well be India’s recent decision to abstain when the third US-sponsored resolution on accountability issues in Sri Lanka was put to the vote at the UNHRC. India is on record as having abstained from voting on the resolution for what it saw as its ‘intrusive approach’ to issues in Sri Lanka, besides other reasons that relate more to Indo-Lanka relations, but no less important could be India’s foreign policy more..

Editorial: Killing the sporting spirit

Apr 10 (Island) Sri Lanka’s spectacular win against India in Sunday’s ICC World T20 finals is still being celebrated. The boys who did the country proud have returned, bringing home the much-coveted cup. It will take weeks, if not months, for the euphoria to die down. However, this comment is not about Sri Lanka’s victory. Reports have said that some Indian cricket fans threw stones at Yuvraj Singh’s house in the aftermath of India’s defeat. They were irked by his poor performance more..

Jinxing the game

Apr 10 (FT) President Rajapaksa is a true Sri Lankan hero in many respects. As the Head of Sri Lanka’s first post-war Govt, the Mahinda Rajapaksa story evokes much political romanticism. The quintessential ‘ape miniha,’ he is the Sinhalese hero who started life in a remote southern village and rose to the highest echelons of power in Colombo. Over the course of his 8-year presidential stint, President Rajapaksa has often donned the more..

Sri Lanka Tourism should make hay while the sun shines

Apr 10 (Island) Hundreds of visitors to this years ITB Berlin Travel Exhibition in March were mesmerised by Sri Lanka’s stand which was a model of the entrance to the historic Yapahuwa temple depicting stone pillars They stopped by and were taking photographs. The visitors beaming with smiles were overjoyed by seeing the elephants (not real) at the entrance to the stand which were a great attraction and were taking photographs to their hearts content. But majority of them didn’t bother to walk more..

Indian Coast Guard apprehends Lankan fishermen

Apr 10 (Hindu) The Indian Coast Guard has seized two tonnes of sea cucumber worth over 70 lakh in the international market from 16 Sri Lankan fishermen in Lakshadweep islands, 188 nautical miles off Mangalore. Rajamani Sharma, DIG of Indian Coast Guard and Commander of Coast Guard in Karnataka, said the Indian Coast Guard Ship ICGS Rajdoot apprehended the Sri Lankan boat Colombo Marine on April 7 for poaching on the high seas in Indian exclusive economic zone more..

Illusory Economy versus the Real Economy

Apr 10 (GV) The Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has penned a compelling article entitled “Practical, not Conventional, Wisdom has driven Sri Lanka’s Rebuilding and Reconciliation” which was posted on the official website of the CBSL on Thursday 3rd April 2014 and abruptly removed on Monday 7th April 2014 for reasons best known to CBSL. However, this author has downloaded the Governor’s article more..

SC upholds hereditary right of Kapurala

Apr 10 (Island) Supreme Court on April 4, declared that Pathmasiri Adhikaram of Boralesgamuwa had a right to function as a Kapurala for a period of one month each year in the Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya. Adhikaram had a hereditary right to the post of kapurala in the above mentioned devala. The SC in its recent order upheld the order of the Civil High Court of Appeal of Mt. Lavinia. The Civil High Court had in turn, upheld an order of the District Court of Mt. Lavinia, which said on more..

Odel buys Colombo 7 land for Rs. 800 m; flagship mall coming

Apr 10 (FT) To boost its business, Odel has acquired additional land adjoining its main outlet in Colombo 7 for Rs. 800 million. The company said the newly-acquired land will enable it to carry out an anticipated expansion plan by which it will be able to create a flagship mall in Colombo. The land acquired include premises bearing assessment numbers 17, 17/1, 17/1A, 19, 19A at Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara Mawatha, Colombo 7, adjoining its present premises at Alexandra/Ward Place, in Colombo 7. more..

SriLankan expects US$25mn topline from airline alliance

Apr 10 (LBO) State-run SriLankan Airlines said joining oneworld, a global alliance of airlines is expected bring it 25 million US dollars a year in incremental annual revenues and allow customers easy travel to the Americas. SriLankan is joining the alliance from May 01, after upgrading its passenger support system and some processes to comply with oneworld requirements. SriLankan CEO Kapila Chandrasena said oneworld which more..

Govt. has blessings of Maha Sangha – Basil

Apr 10 (FT) Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development stated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed to seek advice and blessings of the all religious leaders including the reverend Maha Sangha in the developing process of the country since the history records that it has been possible to convert the country into an independent, unified and prosperous country whenever the country was governed by the leaders under guidance of the Maha Sangha. more..

SL’s unsung hero on World T-20 triumph

Apr 10 (Island) Following Sri Lanka’s splendid triumph in the World T-20 over bitter rivals India, players with flamboyance have earned all the accolades. Kumar Sangakkara was outstanding during the run chase, Lasith Malinga was brilliant during the death overs while Thisara Perera’s monstrous hitting helped Sri Lanka to win with ease, but the contributions of left-arm spinner Rangana Herath have gone unnoticed. After being benched for Sri Lanka’s first three games, more..

Govt. overhauls taxes and levies laws to boost revenue

Apr 10 (FT) Tightening the tax collection measures to increase the revenue received at State coffers, govt has amended the Special Commodity Levy Act No. 48 and Companies Act No. 7 of 2007, Default Taxes Act No. 16 of 2010, and Monetary Law Act. Moving the motion in Parliament, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya claimed to offer “more welfare for the public and to further streamline the tax collection” mechanism. more..

Sri Lanka sovereign bond will not impact exchange rate: CB Governor

Apr 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's 500 million US dollar sovereign bond sale this week will impact the exchange rate as the Central Bank is expected to buy the proceeds, though foreign reserves will go up, Governor Nivard Cabraal said. "We would probably take the entirety of the proceeds to the central bank," Cabraal said. "So it is unlikely that it will have an impact on the overall exchange rate." However there was as long term "positive outlook" with foreign reserves expected to reach more..

Massive profits earned by sugar factories post take over

Apr 10 (DN) Sevanagala and Pelwatte sugar factories recorded a massive profit of Rs. 14,860 million in 2013 after these companies were taken over by the govt. These companies were sold by the UNP govt to a close friend for a song. They were taken over by the govt on Nov 11, 2011 fulfilling another pledge in the Mahinda Chinthanava policy framework. Over Rs. 297 million derived from the company’s profits in 2013 were distributed among the employees and the farmers at the more..

Sri Lanka firms get nod to borrow US$335mn from abroad

Apr 10 (LBO) Sri Lankan firms have got the nod to borrow 335 million US dollars abroad 2013 by the Central Bank, while debt markets also supplanted bank loans in 2013, as commercial bank credit to private firms slowed. Official at the Central Bank said its exchange control department under a scheme of approving foreign loans of 10 million US dollars or greater had given the nod to 335 million dollars worth foreign loans. more..

Hail, Hales, and Gayle's angry Gangnam

Apr 10 (CI) Netherlands, Nepal, Ireland, Hong Kong. All delivered memorable performances in this expanded World T20, the opening round adding exotic new flavours to cricket's rather narrow palate. Hong Kong's defeat of the hosts provided the biggest early upset, while Netherlands' outrageous win over Ireland gave them a place in the record books. As the only Associate to progress, Netherlands further enhanced their status with a one-sided thumping of England. more..

2.5 million: Mission impossible?

Apr 10 (CT) The post-war Sri Lankan tourism industry has experienced a significant rate of growth with regard to the number of tourist arrivals. However, this will not be sufficient to reach 2.5 million arrivals by 2016, as per the game plan of the tourism authority. "The tourism oriented promotional campaigns during the past few years have not been consistent, and this has contributed in a major way towards the country underachieving its potential in terms of tourist arrivals" more..