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From the Floor: A lesson in sacrificing

Apr 13 (NS) While the entire country was enveloped in celebrating the biggest sports victory in 18 years with national team winning the T20 World Cup in Dhaka last week, Parliament too decided it was worthy to pay tribute to those who brought home glory. The decision was made at the party leaders’ meeting held last Tuesday to bring the national team to the House and move a motion of tribute. Thus, the national team was invited by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to Parliament on Wednesday and more..

'Govt. not afraid, will not bow down'

Apr 13 (CT) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, lambasting the UNHRC for calling for an international investigation into alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, said if a Panel of Experts (PoE) is allowed to come to Sri Lanka, their activities will be monitored and that the government will not allow the Panel to record statements from individuals and organizations that have a record of discrediting Sri Lanka globally. more..

The exodus from Koggala

Apr 13 (NS) Several miles towards Matara from the city of Galle, one arrives at the village of Koggala. It is in fact a strange ‘hybrid’ between a village and a city. A Free Trade Zone with some factories, several hotels and an airstrip give the air of modernization to the area. But, just beside these modern buildings, you can observe the villagers, fishing, farming, engaging in trade, gathering firewood and carrying out the chores of the normal village life. If you travel by road or rail to Matara, more..

House in rare display of unity pays tribute, fetes Lanka’s T-20 World Cup champs

Apr 13 (ST) There was a rare show of unity in Parliament this week when legislators from all sides came together to pay tribute to the T-20 Cricket World Cup winning team who were invited to the Speaker’s Gallery of the House as special guests on Wednesday evening, and feted for their historic achievement. The players were given a red carpet welcome as they made their way through the public entrance of Parliament to be escorted to the VIP Gallery, from where they listened to more..

Saffron robed destroyers of Sinhala-Buddhism

Apr 13 (Island) Can there be a more loathsome sight on earth than that of rampaging Buddhist monks in saffron robes? The sight is made doubly loathsome, because a ‘rampaging monk’ is a contradiction in terms – something that cannot be. The Buddhist expectation is that a monk in particular will have at least an outward demeanour of restraint. Those familiar with the Vinaya rules will know how much emphasis is placed on maintenance more..

President’s World Cup revelry

Apr 13 (SL) Political appointees in the State sector, over the past few decades, have jeopardized transparency and integrity of the Govt service, making it one of the most corrupt sectors in the country’s economy. As the present regime gravitated heavily towards strengthening the State sector, many believed that the govt would take measures to rescue the Govt service from political appointments and undue political influence. Much to the disappointment of the citizenry of the country, more..

A South East Asian Solution for the Muslims

Apr 13 (Island) I want to argue in this article that the best prospect for the Muslims to live in peace, amity, and co-operation with the Sinhalese would be to emulate the Chinese example in South East Asia, notably in the Philippines. It will be now widely acknowledged, unlike in the past, that Sinhalese -Muslim relations have become highly problematic. It is certainly true that historically the Sinhalese and the Muslims got on famously well together – there is an excellent book on more..

The Modi wave Vs. Sri Lanka

Apr 13 (SL) The much anticipated elections in India is now underway and many are of the view that once the dust settles the ‘Modi Wave’ will have the edge over the current Congress Govt. BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi have become hugely popular in India and in the event the BJP does win, in Sri Lankan many are wondering what impact it will have on the Sri Lankan issue. more..

Helitours upgrades fleet

Apr 13 (ST) The Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) run commercial helicopter operation under Helitours was currently flying with new aircraft purchased mid last year. The new fleet of helicopters were purchased mid last year for the SLAF and which would be used as and when required by Helitours, Wing Commander Gihan Seneviratne said. However, he refused to divulge the total fleet capacity of Helitours. He noted that the aircraft had seating capacity of upto 30 passengers more..

Startling details of previous dealings and irregularities of GK revealed

Apr 13 (ST) Startling details of previous dealings and irregularities of the now defunct Golden Key Credit Card Co. have been revealed in a research carried out by one of the members of the action group Anurika Widanagama into activities of GK by perusing the Ernst and Young audit report. According to findings of Miss Widanagama the company was registered three times as the Golden Key Credit Card Company Limited, Golden Key Company Private Limited and more..

Coke’s accumulated losses top a billion, but company confident of future

Apr 13 (Island) With net assets of Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka less than half its stated capital, the company has summoned an extraordinary general meeting on April 28 to discuss this situation with shareholders as required by Section 220 of the Companies Act No.7 of 2007. A summary of income statements and balance sheet that has been sent to shareholders indicates that the company had lost Rs.275.2 million during more..

Kitul promotion week ends on a high note

Apr 13 (Island) Week-long kitul promotion and consumption week ended on April 6 with the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development promoting awareness of the nutritional, medicinal and health values of kitul products among tourists, exporters, school children, university students and the public including hotels and airlines to popularize and promote kitul products including kitul treacle and jaggery. V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary to the Ministry more..

Fixing interest rates by fiat: Is it desirable?

Apr 13 (Island) The Central Bank last week fixed the maximum rates of interest payable on deposits by the Licensed Finance Companies by with effect from April 1, 2014 under powers conferred on it by the Finance Business Act No.42 of 2011.  The maximum interest rate that could be offered for savings deposits is 11.01% per annum for one year or less and 12.01% for one to three years and 13.51% for over three years. Senior citizens can be paid 1% more. more..

Govt completes the raising of entire $1.5 bln bond budgeted for 2014

Apr 13 (ST) Sri Lanka this week raised another US$500 million long term international sovereign bond to finance counterpart funds required for various development projects and to maintain cash flows as the (earlier) $1 billion bond raised by the Central Bank four months ago is fully exhausted on ongoing projects, informed sources said. The Times exclusively quoting official sources as saying in a January 19th story that the Central Bank more..

Like Taliban, Tamil Tigers had pro and anti-peace factions

Apr 13 (ITN) Most international terror syndicates have some characteristics in common and when it comes to the recent in-fighting reports among the pro and anti-dialogue Taliban factions, it might well be a replay of the major fracturing between the two wings of the Tamil Tigers in March 2004 or about five years before this much-dreaded insurgent group was banished from its presence by the Sri Lankan establishment. The eastern wing of the Tamil Tigers was spearheaded by more..

Falling interest rates, dilemma of senior citizens

Apr 13 (ST) Something terrible seems to be happening to our country which the govt appears to be hiding from the people. Are our country’s finances in the doldrums? Central Bank goes public with deposit rate caps on finance companies. Very reliable finance companies that were operating for almost 40 years and paying reasonable interest rates to their customers are now almost in confusion about future operations. National Savings Bank that paid 16% a few years ago more..

Supreme Court orders immediate removal of CIESOT’s Board of Directors

Apr 13 (Island) Supreme Court has ordered the immediate removal of the Board of Directors of CIESOT Pvt. Ltd., the biggest single shareholder of Ceylinco Insurance, and directed the stakeholders, H.D.K.P. Alwis and E.T.L. Ranasinghe to appoint Golden Key (GK) Chairman, Priyantha Fernando and up to four others as nominated by him as members of the newly constituted board. Fernando, a former Deputy Governor of more..

Extra buses deployed during New Year

Apr 13 (NS) SLTB will deploy special transport facilities for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year to every destination from April 7 to April 20. “SLTB is ready to cater to extra number of passengers in the festive season. Charges will be the same,” said SLTB Deputy General Manager Sarath Kumara. Meanwhile, National Transport Commission announced that they will arrange 1,200-1,600 buses for long-distance services from Bastian Mawatha, Fort and Central Bus Stand. more..

New anti-rape laws proposed

Apr 13 (SL) Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs Tissa Karalliyadda has proposed new laws to crackdown on the number of rape cases. As part of the proposal, he has suggested that rapists be bound by law to marry a victim if she gives her consent to court. Legally, a girl can marry only after passing the age of 18. Under the proposed law, a rapist will be forced to wait until an underage victim reaches the legal age limit to marry and will then need to marry her. more..

Compulsory medical tests for resident visa applicants

Apr 13 (ST) A compulsory health assessment will be introduced to resident visa applicants to Sri Lanka in an attempt to eliminate imported cases of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. Under the first phase of the project, the Ministry of Health is to introduce the health assessment to those who apply for renewal of a resident visa, according to Dr. Susie Perera of the Migrant Health Secretariat more..

Thavarajah to be sworn in as a UPFA Northern PC

Apr 13 (Island) Thavarajah, who led the UPFA team at the last NPC elections, is expected to be sworn in before the President after the New Year holidays, says Douglas Devananda, Minister and the Secretary General of the EPDP. Thavarajah was appointed a council representative by the Commissioner of Elections on April 9, 2014. Kamalendran, who contested the last NPC elections through UPFA ticket as an EPDP member and polled highest number of preferential votes, more..

UNP’s John Amaratunga says Members of Parliament are lethargic

Apr 13 (NS) Thursday’s adjournment of Parliament due to the lack of quorum in the House has not been taken by any party as a serious matter for consideration. Nation’s effort to inquire into the responsibility of people’s representatives in Parliament also proved futile as only the UNP responded. Veteran politician, UNP MP John Amaratunga said, “Members of the Parliament were lethargic on adjournment debates and that’s why they did not turn up. more..

USD 3.25M Avurudu Bonanza for newly elected PC members

Apr 13 (SL) Govt has cleared vehicle permits to the value of USD 3.2 million to be given to newly elected PC members. Each member will receive vehicle permits to the value of USD 50,000 each. Accordingly, 44 newly elected PC members in the Western Province and 21 members in the Southern Province will receive the permits. This is the first time that so many newly elected PC members will be receiving vehicle permits. more..

Vasan says BJP silent on Sri Lanka

Apr 13 (CG) India’s Union Minister G K Vasan said cracks had developed within the BJP-led NDA in Tamil Nadu owing to the BJP’s silence on Sri Lankan Tamils issue. Vasan said the BJP in its manifesto had clearly mentioned about construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya but uttered no word about Sri Lankan Tamils or about the attacks on Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy when its allies in TN were highlighting all these issues to show the Congress in a bad light. more..

'Our hands are tied'

Apr 13 (SL) The Buddhasasana Ministry does not have the required powers and authority to take action against those who create religious disharmony and promotes violence between religions, Minister M K B Dissanayake said. Dissanayake stated that his ministry cannot mediate or intervene in instances where certain religious groups act in a disruptive manner. “If any disciplinary action is to be taken, it must be done by the relevant Chief Prelates of the relevant Nikayas. more..

UN panel will be monitored – Govt.

Apr 13 (CT) Sri Lanka will closely monitor the UN Panel of Experts (PoE) and those they are going to talk to in Sri Lanka, if the govt decides to give the panel permission to visit Sri Lanka. Govt Spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella warned that if the PoE works contrary to the govt's plans and activities, then serious questions would be raised on their presence in the island. "We reject the resolution, we reject the PoE if they work more..

Govt. in touch with Modi – Keheliya

Apr 13 (CT) The govt is holding a series of talks with all mainstream political Parties and leaders in India, including Narendra Modi. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said, the govt is having discussions with Modi as speculation is rife that he would be the next Prime Minister of India. When questioned the minister, whether, considering India abstaining from voting on the US resolution, a person like Narendra Modi would adopt a different stance on the Sri Lankan issue, he said more..

BBS menace: UNP calls on Muslim ministers to sit independently in Parliament

Apr 13 (Island) The only way the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) menace could be controlled was for all the Muslim Ministers to sit independently in Parliament, the UNP said. UNP Chairman Kabir Hashim MP said that some Muslim ministers had threatened to boycott the legislature in protest against  the latest campaign by the BBS over  the resettlement of Northern  Muslims who had been driven out of the North by the LTTE in 1990, the majority of whom continued to live in camps. more..

Multimillion dollar Avurudu gifts for Hambantota

Apr 13 (ST) As another National New Year dawns, the movers and shakers of UPFA Govt will be heading south. Ministers, military top brass, senior bureaucrats, commoners and family members will be there to greet President Rajapaksa at his ancestral home in Meda Mulana, just 32 kilometres from Tangalle. The area, like other parts of the Hambantota District, is all Rajapaksa heartland. That no doubt is reason for this more..

Our New Year Resolution

Apr 13 (CT) During this time of the year an entire nation comes together as we Sri Lankans revisit our cultural roots. We pay obeisance to our elders, visit our relatives, friends and the extended family and indulge in some of the delicious local delicacies which we would not dare to partake on other days, being paranoid over cholesterol. After a long and tedious year, Avurudu gives weary souls and the nation at large a break and a fresh start. Avurudu is the time that families reunite after more..

Quebec and India: A tale of two elections and still more lessons for Sri Lanka

Apr 13 (Island) India has just started the five-week long ritual of its 16th national election. In Canada, the Province of Quebec last week had its one-day election after less than a month of campaigning. The outcome of the Indian elections is widely expected to be a defeat for the ruling Congress alliance and victory for the opposition BJP alliance. The results in Quebec were a huge surprise with the governing Parti Quebecois of French Canadian separatists suffering a crushing defeat and more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Apr 13 (ST) TNA Northern Provincial Councillor Ananthi Shashitharan is perhaps one among few opposition politicians who have come under severe criticism from the Cabinet of ministers.This came after her speech at a side event during last month’s UNHRC sessions in Geneva. Speaking in English though not cohesive, Ms. Sasheetharan claimed there was “genocide” in Sri Lanka. more..

‘Malingering’ Malinga mocks at his critics

Apr 13 (NS) Fast bowler Lasith Malinga certainly had the last laugh at his detractors, who have been hounding him since he decided to quit Test cricket and concentrate on the other two formats of the game to prolong his international cricket career, when he proudly lifted the second World Cup title won by Sri Lanka in 18 years in the ICC World Twenty20 final at Dhaka on Sunday. Hounded and harrassed by fans and more..

Tiger vs Tiger: 10th anniversary of revolt led by eastern LTTE leader Karuna

Apr 13 (DBS) Ten years have passed since the once dreaded LTTE experienced an internal politico-military revolt spearheaded by its erstwhile Eastern regional commander Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan alias “Col” Karuna. The revolt lasting six weeks from March 3rd to April 11th 2004 was ruthlessly suppressed through military means by the mainstream LTTE led by tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

JBS vows to expose BBS using video footage

Apr 13 (NS) The Jathika Bala Sena (JBS) expects to hold another press conference soon where it intends to ‘expose’ the real face of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), JBS General Secretary Ven. Watareka Vijitha Thera said. Vijitha Thera reiterated his allegation that BBS General Secretary, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera had threatened to cut him to pieces if he made any more statements to the media. more..

Newcomer unfolds petals for New Year

Apr 13 (ST) Erabudu is the flower of the Avurudu season but you will hardly be able to find erabadu these days. Instead, rosy trumpet (tabebuia) flowers bloom, marking the onset of the New Year season. This is the famous sakura flower season in Japan with thousands of cherry trees in full bloom. Cherry trees shed their leaves in winter and in spring become fully covered by white or pink blooms, making a spectacular show more..

EU advises govt

Apr 13 (ST) The European Union (EU) has advised the Sri Lankan Govt to pursue efforts of inclusive and comprehensive reconciliation with all relevant stakeholders. The EU office in Colombo said that close cooperation with and technical support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) could make a positive contribution to the reconciliation process. Govt has so far said it will not more..

National lottery sellers slam online lottery

Apr 13 (ST) A major protest campaign has been launched by state-run lottery sellers, calling on President Rajapaksa to cancel the new online lottery which began operations this week. The protest came as a major clash was simmering between sellers of the state-run lotteries and the agents of the private online lottery. Some 45 booths for the new online lottery have been set up in Colombo alongside state-run lottery ticket more..

UNHRC probe likely in June

Apr 13 (CT) The UNHRC-proposed international probe into Sri Lanka's alleged human rights abuses, purportedly committed during the period covered by the LLRC, is likely to get underway in June, a top UN source said. Accordingly, the setting up of the required mechanism, which is still not very clear, will be concluded by May end, paving the way for a full-fledged inquiry. According to the US-backed resolution adopted on more..

Britain to continue its push for international probe against SL

Apr 13 (Island) In the backdrop of Sri Lanka opting not to cooperate with the UNHRC resolution, the British govt warned that it will use its position in the Geneva-based key human rights body to actively press for an international investigation.  British Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire said that "the international community now has a duty to act, and we will be using our position on the more..