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Book review: Sri Lanka's Secrets

Dec 5 (WT) Sri Lanka's Secrets is a must-read, particularly for Australian politicians and officials involved in the formulation of foreign and immigration policy toward Sri Lanka. The author, Trevor Grant, details the final cruel days of the thirty-year civil war in Sri Lanka during which the Sinhalese armed forces murdered tens of thousands of innocent Tamil men, women and children. The tightly written and moving text is supported by graphic photographs conveying more..

CMC in a knot over lab testing

Dec 5 (Island) Colombo Municipal Council warned that it would be forced to bring in a resolution against the outsourcing of several laboratory services provided by the council laboratory in testing food and water samples etc. A council member said that at present unofficial instructions had been issued to several star hotels, restaurants and eateries in the city to have tests done at a private laboratory. "Council has not taken a decision to outsource tests which also provides revenue. more..

Sri Lanka to send water to Maldives

Dec 5 (CG) Sri Lanka is to provide assistance to the Maldives which is suffering from a water crisis. Sri Lanka had been approached for assistance and arrangements are being made to respond to the request. “100,000 water bottles will be sent. The first batch will be sent tonight,” the External Affairs Ministry spokesman said. A fair breakout inside the Maldives Water and Sewerage Company’s Generator Unit yesterday more..

Beruwala: Rajitha’s house burgled

Dec 5 (Island) Former Minister Rajitha Senaratne’s house in Beruwala was burgled on Wednesday night, while the watcher was away. The house is said to have been taken on rent for the political campaign of Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena. The intruders had entered the house by removing a rear side window of the two storeyed building. Five files, some packets of milk powder and a tablet computer had been removed. Value of the stolen items was Rs. 117,000, more..

Lorry vanishes with 300 bags of sugar

Dec 5 (CT) A lorry transporting 300 bags of sugar, to Jaffna, has gone missing according to two traders, who had hired the vehicle to transport the goods from Colombo to Jaffna. The two wholesale traders had jointly arranged a lorry to transport 300 bags of sugar from Colombo to Jaffna. Lorry left Colombo with the cargo on 30 November and the driver along with the cleaner were in touch with the two traders. However, contact was lost when the lorry reached Puttalam sources said. more..

Australia toughens up immigration but lets in more refugees

Dec 5 (AFP) Australia's conservative govt on Friday further tightened c laws, introducing controversial temporary visas for refugees which do not grant permanent settlement in the country. The amendments to the Migration Act narrowly passed the lower house Friday morning after a stormy late-night debate in the upper house Senate. Temporary protection visas (TPVs) grant refugees protection for up to 3 years but more..

President outlines govt's efforts to help differently abed persons

Dec 5 (GDI) President told the gathering that disabilities should not be considered as obstacles to emerge victorious in life. He said that there are scientists, literati, politicians, entrepreneurs and professionals who have come up in life despite disabilities. He pointed out that the people who are not seeing the existing development moves can be really considered as disabled groups. Some opposition elements are pretending not to see the ongoing development. more..

I got gastritis due to CBK: Anura Yapa

Dec 5 (DM) Newly-appointed SLFP General Secretary and Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said today he came down with gastritis during the Presidency of Chandrika Kumaratunga because they had to keep eating short eats while waiting for her for hours. “Food had to be given when we had to wait for more than three hours because of her delay to attend meetings. I even got gastritis after eating so much short eats while waiting for her,” the minister said during a breakfast meeting more..

CID grills Ranjan over phone call

Dec 5 (CG) CID has recorded a statement from UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake over a telephone call which was made by an unidentified caller during a live television debate this week. Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamaga had lodged a police complaint over the telephone call and media reports today said that it had been made using a telephone number registered with the UNP MP. In the incident, an unidentified man had made a call to a more..

Remove banners, cut-outs: Polls chief

Dec 5 (DM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has sent out instructions to all local govt institutions to remove cut-outs and banners put up in connection with the forthcoming presidential elections. Even though the power to remove these would be vested with him only after the handing over of the nomination papers, on Dec 8, the Elections Commissioner has instructed the local govt authorities to remove them. The commissioner had also given instructions to the CMC to more..

BASL to take legal action against CMC

Dec 5 (AM) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) said that they will file a case against the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Mayor A.J.M. Musammil, if he fails to take down the election posters and cutouts by next Monday. The Bar Association on Wednesday sent a letter of demand against the CMC Mayor demanding him to take immediate steps to remove the large number of ‘illegal’ propaganda hoardings of President Mahinda Rajapakse within the municipality of Colombo. more..

Video: BBS not for Maithri or MR

Dec 5 (DM) Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) said today it would not support the Common Candidate because of the past and present activities of the members of his alliance. BBS National Organizer Ven Vitharandeniye Nanda Thera told the BBS convention at Hyde Park that they would neither back the government. “Chandrika Kumaratunge is behind the common candidate. So we cannot trust Maithripala Sirisena as well,” more..

Ranjan says move to arrest him

Dec 5 (DM) UNP MP and popular actor Ranjan Ramanayake today rejected the allegation that he had made the defamatory phone call to Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage during a TV talk show and said it was a fabrication and a ruse to arrest him. Mr. Ramanayake said it was an excuse to take political revenge against opposition politicians and arrest them and said he was prepared to go to Court and prove his innocence if Mr. Aluthgamage filed legal action against him. more..

Asylum seeking family detained in Perth to be sent back to Nauru

Dec 5 (PN) UP to 25 families seeking asylum in Australia will be sent back to Nauru on flights tomorrow, including one family living in detention in Perth. Refugee Rights Action Network is tonight protesting the Department of Immigration plan, which involves sending 44 children back to the offshore detention centre and processing facility on Nauru. It includes one family being held in detention facilities near Perth Airport. Tamil parents, who fled SL eight months ago and sought asylum more..

Diesel and kerosene oil used to set fire, says forensic report

Dec 5 (DM) Forensic report in the context of the murder of 80 persons alleged to have committed by LTTE in the year 2006 in Mullaitheevu, Oddusuddan, Inthimadu and Samalankulam areas reveal that diesel and kerosene oil had been used to burn the dead bodies. “We were able to gather this information during our investigations in Inthimadu area on Tuesday” said the Forensic Experts. They continued their investigations in more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa and the seven dwarfs

Dec 6 (CT) The Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunge, explained to me how it happened. In 2010 the President had wanted to put this brother too into Parliament, but he had scoffed at the idea and said the prospect did not interest him. However, he had added that, if the President wished to give him other responsibilities too, he would be pleased to look after Urban Development. So, after the election, the Ministry of Defence was renamed the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, more..

Which is more evil?

Dec 6 (Island) Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke (Nov. 27) and Mr. Nihal Amarasekere (Nov. 28) in your newspaper weighed against the alternative and endorsed rule by someone they trust. Dr. Jayatilleke was quite clear in his mind. " I would reluctantly take my chances with the status quo. I for one am not convinced that the former combination (Chandrika and Ranil) is the more desirable". The more desirable combination is ‘Mahinda (with his clan)’. Both writers are heavyweights: more..

International day of disabled persons: Dec 3

Dec 6 (SO) Disability: The word conjures up many meanings to many persons. Yet what hurts and prevents disabled persons from enjoying a normal life to its fullest potential most, is the prejudice and stigma that labels them. It is prejudice that disables the disabled. Not their disabilities. For whether they are mentally, physically or economically disabled, given skills and training according to his or her specific disability, more..

Let us build up a children-friendly world

Dec 6 (FT) Manpower is an important living resource that occupies a prominent place in the world. Among many categories that constitute manpower, children are the most valuable asset that a nation owns. Just as precious as children are for parents, similarly the children’s generation is important and an invaluable asset for a nation. Children are the future of mankind. Present children are the future citizens who are expected to undertake democratic, economic and social responsibilities more..

Scandalous corruption in the public sector

Dec 6 (FT) It is being alleged that the cancer of corruption has reached unprecedented levels and is fast-spreading and taking hold of our country as never before. In the circumstances Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera needs to be thanked and congratulated for having given proper leadership to the Committee on Public Enterprises and exposed the horrendous frauds that Govt institutions have been involved in. The Report exposes an absolutely scandalous situation; yes we do owe a deep debt of more..

Today is Unduvap Poya Day

Dec 6 (DN) That the Bo tree sapling was brought to Sri Lanka from India by Arahant nun Sanghamitta is common knowledge. Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, as famously known, is a sacred fig tree in Anuradhapura said to be a sapling from the historical Bodhi tree under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment. The sapling belongs to the southern branch of the original Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya. Planted in 288 BC, the Bo tree is more..

Reflections on the political crossroads

Dec 6 (Island) First of all let me add my own tribute to all the others on the stunning political skill shown in the choice of Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate. The tribute for this, according to public perceptions, should go primarily to Ranil Wickremesinghe and Chandrika Bandaranaike. It is worth a song and dance because political skill of a high order has been for the most part been conspicuously absent from our politics. MS is a true son of the rural soil, to a far greater extent more..

Editorial: A question of intelligence

Dec 6 (Island) One of the world’s pre-eminent astrophysicists, Prof. Stephen Hawking, has issued an apocalyptic warning which has received wide publicity the world over. We have never been short of doomsday prophets predicting that the end is near, but Hawking is different. Dependent as he is on artificial intelligence (AI) for communication owing to motor neurone disease, Hawking insists that ‘the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race’. more..

Maithripala: From paddy field to Parliament to presidential candidate

Dec 6 (ST) Maithripala Sirisena, the man who is set to challenge incumbent President Rajapaksa at the January poll, once spent more than 18 months in jail over suspected links with the JVP– a link that was later proved, he did not have. He joined the SLFP while he was still in school but Mr. Sirisena’s long and chequered political history is not widely known to the public. Until he came forward as Mr. Rajapaksa’s main challenger, more..

Incumbent President is not a darling of minority voters anymore

Dec 6 (CT) Presidential election 2015 is getting heated now and an unexpected arrival of the General Secretary of the SLFP as the common candidate has shaken the ruling of UFPA and the chance of winning the third term by the incumbent President. Even before the arrival of the popular grassroot man of SLFP’s Maithripala Sirisena’s arrival, analysts were predicting the outcome based on two groups of voters such as important of ethnic minorities and mustering the Sinhalese more..

Mums in Colombo: More power to strong women building relationships

Dec 6 (ST) You’ve got a new baby and a mortgage to pay for, so what is it gonna be? Returning to work or staying home to raise Junior? Today’s stay-at-home mom (SAHM) is nothing like what you are familiar with which makes you forget everything you’ve heard about stay-at-home moms. A new generation that is more empowered is starting own businesses, blogging and working at home. Mums in Colombo, a Sri Lankan online forum for mothers, including mums-to-be and grandmothers, more..

'Ministry had no role in the release of five indian fishermen'

Dec 6 (CT) Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries, Dr. D.M.R.B. Dissanayake, believes that Sri Lanka has fulfilled 95% of requirements of the European Union in order to lift the ban on fish imports from Sri Lanka, unless the EU is politically motivated. While noting that several plans will come into effect to prevent Sri Lankan fishers from encroaching on territories, he also said the issue of Indian fishermen encroaching into SL waters more..

Healthguard sets the benchmark for pharmacies

Dec 6 (CT) There are many components in the healthcare sector i.e. state medical care, private medical care, dispensaries run by doctors etc. However, a key component of this very important sector is pharmacies, that dispense medicines prescribed by medical practitioners. The pharmacy is the point where patients meet their cure and for that very reason, the pharmacist dispensing life-saving medicines from behind his counter becomes of vital importance. more..

Child Development Officers boost childcare standards in plantations

Dec 6 (Island) Children in estates managed by Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) are now in the trained, capable and caring hands of 1,350 Child Development Officers (CDOs), 563 of them with nationally-recognized Diplomas. These CDOs have contributed to marked improvements in child nutrition and health, school attendance, pre-school education standards, attendance of children at Child Development Centres, knowledge of parents on health and education and more..

Over 1.2 mln elders in Sri Lanka don’t have access to bank credit

Dec 6 (ST) Following the tsunami disaster in 2004 which caused devastation to life and property in Sri Lanka, the micro finance concept has taken a firm foothold in the country to build the lives of those who were severely affected by the tragedy. Central Bank (CB) Assistant Governor D. Wasantha said the CB has forwarded a set of proposals to the Legal Draftsman’s Department on the Micro Financing Act which will soon more..

Rural Sri Lankan entrepreneur develops adjustable coconut plucking pole

Dec 6 (ST) While Sri Lanka’s rural innovative technological talent is wide ranging compared to the talent pool in urban areas, there is need for a process of identifying and promoting them to start up businesses. This is the very task that has been undertaken by the National Science Foundation (NSF), which operates under the purview of Ms Anusha Amarasinghe, its Director General. To prove their attempts and in a bid to muster the virgin talent of the rural people, more..

Changing economic strategies most vital

Dec 6 (NS) The Presidential Election is at present the concern of everyone. Many ideas are mooted by patriotic persons and most are of the opinion that many changes have to be done. Some changes suggested such as changing the Constitution is something that cannot be done within a short space of time. The demand on everyone’s lips is that the Executive Presidency should be abolished. It is said that the powers vested in the Executive President have enabled a dictator to emerge and more..

CMC gets aggressive with thosai kades

Dec 6 (ST) Colombo vegetarian cafe owners have a month to clean up their act after being shamed at a public meeting by photographs of their filthy establishments. Four in five of these outlets, commonly known as thosai kades, have very poor hygienic conditions, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) said. Its inspectors have been visiting the outlets over the past month, and last week the Sunday Times accompanied them more..

Tokyo Cement expatriate directors dispose shares

Dec 6 (CT) Japanese nominee Board members of Nippon Coke and Engineering Co, Akira Ikematsu and Hiroki Tsukigawa disposed of 28,500 shares of Tokyo Cement, at a price of between Rs 61 and 64 on Monday. On 27th Nov they disposed of 250,000 shares at a price of Rs 60 to 60.60.Ikematsu was recently appointed, on 16th Sept. In the annual report for the year ended 31st March 2014, the company said, "the Tokyo Cement group was committed to invest in Sri Lanka's future". more..

Kantale Sugar Factory re-opened after 20 years

Dec 6 (GDI) Kantale Sugar Factory which had been shut down for 20 years was re-opened on Thursday benefiting around 25,000 farmer families. The initiative was taken under the Mahinda Chinthana Future Vision of soliciting a vital contribution to the national economy, from the factories that have been shut down. The intention of the Ministry is to increase the annual production of the Sevanagala and Pelwatte sugar factories from the present 6% of consumption to 20% by the year 2020. more..

SL looks to Chinese offshore bond market

Dec 6 (WSJ) Sri Lanka may become the next country to take advantage of the burgeoning Chinese offshore bond market. “We are considering the tapping of the renminbi bond market and have obtained some preliminary advice on this matter from investment banks,” Ajith Cabraal Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said. Sri Lanka’s potential offering would follow deals by the U.K. and the Canadian province of British Columbia. more..

The centrality of Economics in Sri Lanka

Dec 6 (EAR) The focus of this paper is to highlight the need for economic independence combined with political support of India when seeking autonomy in the context of Tamils in Sri Lanka. In the quiet of an international storm of human rights brewing at the UNHRC which started an investigation into alleged violations of international law this past March where hearings have begun in Geneva1 and Presidential Elections, SL has been able to sustain its economic growth which is a testament to its strength. more..

Sri Pada season begins

Dec 6 (Island) Sri Pada season 2014/2015 commences today with the dawn of Unduwap Full Moon Poya Day and will continue till Vesak Full Moon Poya in May 2015. Govt has carried out several development projects in the Sri Pada route and in the Sri Padasthana to provide facilities to pilgrims. Police have cautioned the pilgrims to avoid bathing in streams and rivers in the area as several deaths were reported during the last season. The pilgrims are advised to refrain from more..

Colombo pushes for swap of fishermen

Dec 6 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan govt may consider releasing the 38 Indian fishermen in its custody if the 40 Sri Lankan fishermen currently detained in Indian prisons are released, the Sri Lankan govt has said. “We have requested the Indian govt through our Foreign Ministry, and discussions are on with the Indian High Commission in Colombo,” acting Fisheries Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne told The Hindu on Thursday. more..

Grads complain over promotion chances lost

Dec 6 (ST) About 10,000 graduates who have received teacher appointments two to six years after being recruited are demanding the Education authorities add the total years to the teacher service. Ceylon Teachers Services Union (CTSU) Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said these graduates were recruited in 1994, 1995, 1999, 2005 and 2008 with the highest number – 3,056 graduates – in 1999. Protest opposite the Education Ministry this week by Graduates demanding authorities more..