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No casino, no amendments

Apr 29 (Island) The Congress of Religions yesterday said that it would oppose establishing a ‘casino culture replete with drinking and gambling’ in Sri Lanka. A news release issued by the Congress of Religions said: "We could remember that with the appearance of news that the govt has granted permission to start a five star resort with Casino, all religious leaders and organizations and certain political parties expressed strong protest. more..

'Sinhalese not against power sharing'

Apr 29 (NIE) A survey conducted by Dr Colin Irwin of the University of Liverpool among the Sinhalese on the question of sharing state power with the Tamil minority, has found that the majority of the Sinhalese people are in favour of sharing it, despite the fact that there is no pressure on them to do so after the crushing of Tamil militancy in May 2009. Conducted in 2009, three months before the end of Eelam War IV, and repeated in 2010 more..

Canadian opposition demands action

Apr 29 (CG) The Canadian opposition has written to Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird calling for action over the ban on 16 groups by the Sri Lankan Govt. The New Democratic Party (NDP) in Canada says the ban will prevent some Canadian organizations from supporting and communicating with other organizations in Sri Lanka and disrupt and impede the important work of human rights defenders on the ground. more..

France says Hambantota is on track

Apr 29 (CG) The Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Jean-Paul Monchau says Hambantota is on track with the new infrastructure to offer the necessary setting to attract investments, especially in the Port and in the Airport area. In a statement following a visit to the Southern Province, the French envoy said that he witnessed the development of Hambantota as a logistical hub while visiting newly-developed infrastructures more..

'Sri Lanka saturated with places of worship'

Apr 29 (Island) Secretary to the Religious Affairs Ministry M.D.K. Dissanayake said that there were 20,000 places of religious worship belonging to all faiths and the Ministry strongly felt that the number was sufficient for a country like Sri Lanka. There were 10,000 places of Buddhist worship, 5,000 Hindu temples, 2,500 belonging to various Christian sects in addition to the same number of mosques in the country, he said. more..

Kidney racket & dysfunctional medical laws

Apr 29 (CT) Some unscrupulous Sri Lankan doctors have allegedly made a fortune by luring poor Indian men to sell their kidneys, which were then transplanted in new recipients who coughed up on average 4-5 million rupees for their organ transplants. Information revealed by three Indian agents who were arrested by the Police in Andhra Pradesh is sickening. Police say that the suspects who themselves had sold their kidneys to rogue SL doctors have facilitated the sale of 21 kidneys more..

Microfinance: Rehabilitated

Apr 29 (CT) Dynamic development of Microfinance worldwide continues. Reserve Bank of India recently created history, by granting for the first time a banking license to a microfinance organisation, Bandhan Financial Services. Bandhan was set up in 2001, based in Kolkata and works with ‘socially disadvantaged and economically exploited women’. It has 2,016 branches across 22 states. In Feb 2014 Bandhan had over 5,233,000 borrowers and disbursed Indian Rs. 963 crores of loans. more..

When Facebook love turns sour

Apr 29 (CT) Facebook, the premier social networking site is becoming popular among Sri Lankans day by day. Parallel to its popularity there have also been complaints against it, with countries banning Facebook while some others are planning measures to control it. Situation is not different in Sri Lanka. Number of persons becoming victims of Facebook abuse is on the increase day by day. Four deaths have already been attributed more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.2%

Apr 29 (LBO) Stocks close up 0.23% Tuesday with diversified John Keells gaining amid net foreign buying. All Share Price Index closed 14.31 points higher at 6,186.25 up 0.23%. The S&P SL20 closed 10.98 points higher at 3,405.32, up 0.32%. Turnover was 570.90 million rupees, up from 423.81 million rupees a day earlier with 113 stocks close positive against 72 negative. Union Bank closed 1.00 rupee higher at 21.40 rupees and The Finance Company closed 1.20 rupees higher at 12.20 rupees, more..

Faizer lashes out at BBS by insulting Quran

Apr 29 (Island) Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha, welcoming govt’s move to set up a the special police unit for religious issues, said that it would help curb religious violence. He said that though the laws regarding religious issues already existed in the country, the special police unit would further help implement the law and defuse religious tensions. A lawyer by profession, Mustapha reiterated that the existing laws were adequate to tackle the issues related to religious conflicts. more..

Video: BBS wanted the unit a year ago

Apr 29 (DM) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) requested President Rajapaksa to establish a special Police unit to prevent anti-Buddhist activities more than one year ago, General Secretary of the BBS Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thera said today. “If the unit had been established one year ago, the on going religious issues could have been prevented,” he said. “Now we have a place to lodge our complaints in a responsible place. more..

Bangladesh shippers find Lanka offer of using its ports not fruitful

Apr 29 (FE) Sri Lankan ports want increased connectivity with Bangladesh by offering their transhipment facilities including the newly launched Colombo Deep Sea Terminal. But shipping firms said the move would not yield any positive outcome as Singapore port was much more competitive than Colombo port. They also observed that Colombo port would have to compete with other shipping hubs, including that of Singapore, to grab market shares from Bangladesh. more..

SL rupee weaker on importer dollar demand

Apr 29 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee ended a tad weaker on Tuesday due to importer dollar demand, while dealers expect the currency to remain stable in the near term in the absence of a pick-up in private sector credit. The spot rupee ended at 130.61/63 per dollar, compared with Monday's close of 130.59/61. "A state bank bought dollars, to meet its importer (dollar) demand, possibly to cover oil bills," said a currency dealer. Lower credit demand from the private sector even though key interest rates more..

Bahrain and SL affirm bilateral cooperation

Apr 29 (BNA) Bahrain Minister of Finance Shaikh Al Khalifa described the official visit of President Rajapaksa to Bahrain as a precious opportunity to showcase the Kingdom as a leading regional Islamic and conventional banking hub. Minister in a statement on the side-lines of the Bahrain-Sri Lanka Business Forum at the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) praised existing friendly political and positive more..

Attempt to suspend Hakeem et al: DC gives UNP time to file objections

Apr 29 (Island) District Judge of Colombo Sujatha Alahapperuma gave the UNP time till May 26 to file objections to the plaint filed by Rauff Hakeem and six other members of Parliament of the SLMC. The SLMC contested the last Parliamentary elections, in alliance with the UNP. The defendant UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe and General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake were given time till May 26, 2014. The plaintiff SLMC members has said that they voted with the govt when more..

Aegis sets up new facility in Sri Lanka; to hire 1,000 people

Apr 29 (PTI) BPO major Aegis today inaugurated a new centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka, which will provide employment to 1,000 people in the next one year. The centre, which has an initial capacity of 600 seats, will be expanded to 1,000 direct white collared jobs over the next one year. Additionally, the centre will generate two to three times higher indirect employment, the company said in a statement. "Aegis has been a pioneer in identifying its global delivery footprint, more..

Bigger UNP team to head to Mattala

Apr 29 (CG) A bigger UNP delegation will travel to the Mattala airport and Hambantota port to inspect the two locations this week after the first attempt was disrupted by a pro-govt mob. UNP MP Joseph Michael Perera said that most UNP MPs and provincial members will be part of the delegation scheduled to inspect the port and airport on Saturday. Perera said that as politicians representing the public the UNP members more..

NFF second national convention on Monday

Apr 29 (Island) National Freedom Front (NFF) has organized its second national convention under the theme "Let us defeat those who conspire against our motherland Maubimata Vinakarana Maraugul Paradhawamu at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on Monday the 5th of May commencing from 2.30 pm, its General Secretary Priyanjith Vithana said. Some important resolutions pertaining to international and Sri Lankan context would be ratified on this day, before placing them more..

North CM to take land issue to court

Apr 29 (CG) Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran says the land issue in the north will be taken to court to reach a solution, Uthayan reported. Wigneswaran says the issue of the Government taking over private land or refusing to return private land even after the war has become a contentious issue. Speaking after a meeting held in Jaffna, the former Supreme Court Judge said that with the land issue continuing, the only way it can be resolved in through court. more..

Vaas wants intimidation case mediated

Apr 29 (DM) Ex-DIG Vaas Gunawardena, who is alleged to have threatened three CID officers when being questioned in connection with the killing of businessman Mohamed Shayam has requested that the matter be resolved through mediation, the ex-DIG’s counsel told Court today. Counsel Thusitha Gunawardena appearing for Vaas Gunawrdena told Colombo High Court Judge Devika Tennakoon that Senior Counsel Ananda Hettiarachchi had more..

Teacher who gave 'slipper necklace' gets transfer

Apr 29 (DN) The teacher in a school in Serunuwara, Trincomalee who punished a student for coming to school in slippers by asking the girl to wear the slippers round her neck, was transferred to another school in the area with immediate effect. Eastern Provincial Education Ministry has commenced a special investigation into the incident. According to Provincial Education Secretary L.A.A. Pushpamumara, the investigation is handled by Additional Education Director more..

'Govt. preserving existing communal would is inflicting new wound of religism'

Apr 29 (LT) The govt, just like the beggar keeps his wound without letting it to be healed, is inflaming communalism and is inflicting a new wound of religious intolerance for its existence says the Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP and the leader of its Uva group Samantha Vidyaratna. He said, “Rulers who grabbed power in the country created various disorders to gain wealth and power. It was made a serious communalism by instigating Sinhalese and Tamil masses. more..

Wilpattu dispute: Presidential Task Force allocated lands for Muslims - Mannar DS

Apr 29 (Island) Mannar Divisional Secretary S. Keetheswaran, refuting allegations by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) that Muslim families driven out of the Musali Pradeshiya Sabha Division by the LTTE in 1990, had recently encroached on the Wilpattu National Park, said that it was a Presidential Task Force (PTF) Committee established in terms of the LLRC that had identified the location for their resettlement. more..

NPC wants ban on overseas groups withdrawn

Apr 29 (DM) TNA - controlled NPC yesterday passed several resolutions demanding that the ban of 16 overseas Tamil groups be withdrawn forthwith, Daily Mirror learns. The resolutions, moved by member M.K. Sivajilingam was adopted unanimously. UPFA which is the opposition of the NPC, did not ask for a vote. Instead, it sought to register its protest formally. Govt banned these pro-Tamil groups alleging that they promoted separatism in Sri Lanka with attempts to revive the LTTE. more..

CEB unable to waive surcharge

Apr 29 (CT) CEB said under present conditions the Board is unable to waive off the fuel adjustment surcharge, which was added to the electricity tariff as a temporary measure in February last year. The National Movement of Electricity Consumers (NMEC) recently urged the govt to lift the fuel adjustment surcharge. Advisor to the NMEC, Bandula Chandrasekera who cited that when the fuel surcharge was introduced in 2012, the govt had promised to withdraw it once the more..

Buddha bar angers Sri Lankans in Italy

Apr 29 (IBN) Sri Lanka and Italy are now engaged in a diplomatic row over a bar named 'Buddha Bar'. Sri Lankans in Italy have already urged the Sri Lankan Embassy to take immediate action to remove the name of the 'Buddha' which is being used on the name board of a Bar located at Sala Baganza in Parma, Italy. This bar is said to have been opened recently. Sri Lankans living in the area said they boycotted this bar named as more..

Sri Lanka and Maldives agree to strengthen co-operation

Apr 29 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Maldives have agreed to enhance bilateral co-operation following the successful completion of the official visit to Sri Lanka by Maldivian Foreign Minister (Ms.) Dunya Maumoon at the invitation of Minister G.L. Peiris. Last Friday the two Ministers engaged in bilateral consultations at the Ministry of External Affairs on the whole gamut of bilateral relations including political, economic and cultural and educational spheres. more..

Interpol issues ‘red notice’ on former Parliament employee

Apr 29 (AD) Interpol has issued a ‘red notice’ alert for the arrest of the former treasurer of the Parliament staff thrift society, Pushpakumara Dharmapriya, who is charged with financial fraud amounting to over Rs 16 million. Pushpakumara Dharmapriya’s profile and picture have been uploaded to the Interpol database, which states that he is charged with “cheating and misappropriation, criminal breach of trust.” The suspect had reportedly left the country after more..

Rice harvest to last only till October

Apr 29 (CT) Department of Agriculture announced that the country's rice consumption needs will only be met until October by the Maha season harvest and added that there will be no significant rainfall from mid May until mid September. This will lead to an unsuccessful Yala season, it said. The best option, according to the Department, is to cultivate the 120,000 hectares available in the wet zone of which two-thirds more..

'Gopi was part of political assassination plot'

Apr 29 (NIE) LTTE operative Selvanayagam Kajeepan alias Gopi who was killed on Friday by Sri Lankan government troops, was part of a plot to assassinate a high-profile political leader in Colombo, Dr Rohan Gunaratna, Head of the Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang University in Singapore, told Express. Gopi was gunned down with fellow cadre Sundaralingam Kajeepan alias Theivihan and Navaratnam Navaneethan alias Appan in a confrontation more..

Video: Massive vehicle racket busted by STF

Apr 29 (DM) The elite Special Task Force (STF) busted a massive vehicle racket today when it seized seven vehicles valued at Rs.11 million and arrested the main suspect who was allegedly behind it. The main suspect was arrested along with two other associates during a raid carried out in Kiribathgoda. It was found that the main suspect had been operating under five names in order to carry out the illegal activities. The STF team was led by Inspector Nadeeka Silva. more..

Bahrain, SL in top gear investment drive

Apr 29 (BNA) Sri Lanka seeks Bahraini investment in the hospitality sector, as the country needs to add 35,000 rooms by 2016. Tourist flow in 2013 was 1.2 million. That is expected to touch 2.5 million in 2016, said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. His Bahraini counterpart, Dr Hassan Fakhro said that Bahrain's future economic growth hinges on the manufacturing sector. "This sector is expected to be the primary driver of both revenue and jobs," more..

Protect Sinhala Buddhism from the educated

Apr 30 (Island) Before we proceed, a mistake made in the last week has to be corrected, as it is somewhat serious. Kuhn’s Structure of scientific revolutions was referred to as Structure of scientific discoveries and it is hoped that nobody was misled by that reference. It is a cardinal sin, though it is not a ‘pancanatareeya kamma’, to refer to scientific discoveries, as scientific theories meaning of course western scientific theories are not discovered, and all knowledge is created due to avidya more..

How does a Principle get rooted in a society?

Apr 30 (CT) How can we embody human rights instead of just talking about them? Most of our political discourse is sitting on a doubtful assumption – that we are a democracy and that we all share some collective allegiance to a set of principles. That is just one way of looking at our society. And that puts a tremendous burden on a state which does not seem ready to wake up from its growing slumber and inertia. A better question: Are WE the people awake? Do we really have the benefit of more..

National tsunami drill a success - DMC

Apr 30 (SO) The Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 can be identified as the most devastating catastrophic natural disaster in recent times. When Sri Lanka lost over 40, 000 lives several hundred thousands died in the neighbouring South Asian region making it the worst unexpected attack in centuries. Scientific research programs conducted after the tragedy showed signs that the region could be a serious earthquake prone area in the more..

The Executive Presidency & reform strategy

Apr 30 (GV) Pro-Opposition strategists and ideologues placing their bets on abolishing the Executive Presidency while the Presidential election is less than a year away, is quite as sensible as placing one’s bets in one’s final year at campus, on agitation for the abolition of the university final exams, instead of studiously preparing to face them. The fissure in the ruling coalition which was evident in parliament during the ‘casino vote’ is a significant new development which must more..

2 Years after Not In My Name campaign

Apr 30 (GV) Exactly two years ago to date, Not In My Name (NION) – Sri Lanka’s first web based campaign against violent religious extremism – was created and launched, just under a week after a violent attack on a mosque in Dambulla, led by rabid Buddhist monks. At the time, the situation in the area was very volatile. Despite appeals for calm, there widespread concern whether communal violence would arise in and around Dambulla, as well as elsewhere in the country. more..

'Our fight is for all Sri Lankans': BBS CEO

Apr 30 (FT) The controversial Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Organisation says banning casinos will only worsen the situation. “Our great kings used the same means as ways of increasing country’s income. People in a country with true Buddhist practices will not engage in casinos, gaming and similar activities,” asserts Dilantha Withanage, CEO of the BBS. “There are no terrorists in the BBS. If there are terrorists in the BBS, as a Govt more..

Vigilantism and the Rule of Law

Apr 30 (NS) The BBS, according to some, is a terrorist organization. They call for proscription. The word ‘terrorist’ begs comparison with the greatest terrorist the world has known outside those states that have made terrorism an integral part of foreign policy, namely the LTTE. As of now, it remains a silly comparison. The BBS, for all its provocative statements and belligerence, has not included assassination, suicide attacks, bomb blasts, landmines etc., etc in its curriculum vitae. more..

Who is Cyril Ramaphosa?

Apr 30 (NS) South Africa’s special envoy to Sri Lanka, Cyril Ramaphosa, is to arrive in the island in the near future to discuss the possibility of establishing a system based on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa. Ramaphosa is one of the leading members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and was elected as its Deputy President in 2012. Widely respected as a strategist and negotiator, he is an extremely popular politician in South Africa. more..