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Murali magic at The Oval

Jan 5 (CI) The Test at The Oval in August 1998 was a defining match in Sri Lanka's development, their first Test victory over England away from home. Sri Lanka had by then proved themselves to be a cricketing nation of note. Two years previously, they had won the World Cup with a daring and fearless brand of cricket, besting the legendary Australian side in the final. Despite this, the ECB deigned to award Sri Lanka just a solitary Test. This travesty persisted until 2002, more..

Lankan troops on alert amid storm warning

Jan 5 (PTI) Sri Lankan troops have been placed on alert to assist in disaster relief as people living in coastal areas in north and northeastern parts of the island were warned to move inland as stormy weather hit the country. "Troops stand ready to assist disaster management officials if needed," Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, said. This was following warnings issued by the Department of Meteorology on an atmospheric depression forming about 250 km to the east of more..

US sends envoy to Sri Lanka to discuss war crimes claims

Jan 5 (AFP) Officials say a top US envoy will travel to Sri Lanka on Monday to discuss allegations of war crimes ahead of a UN review of Colombo's human rights record. US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice Stephen Rapp will spend five days in Sri Lanka discussing rights and reconciliation following the decades-long separatist war, the US State department said. Mr Rapp will meet with govt, political and civil society more..

UDA planning resettlement of Colombo’s shanty dwellers

Jan 5 (ST) The UDA has drawn up plans to re-settle more than 67,000- shanty families living in and around the metropolis, over the next three years a senior official revealed yesterday. These families will not be moved out from their original locations, as the flats will be constructed in the same areas, UDA’s Urban Regeneration project head E.A.C. Priyashantha said. Presently some 14,768 flats were nearing completion and another 30,000 would be added before the end of 2017. more..

Rough seas scuttle Aussie kayak bid around Sri Lanka

Jan 5 (AFP) Strong winds and rough seas Sunday scuttled a bid by two Australian kayakers to circumnavigate Sri Lanka, the Disaster Management Centre said. The two men identified as David Rowlands and Ian Pexton got into trouble off Mullaittivu on the northeast coast and were helped by local military personnel, said centre director Sarath Kumara. "The weather was very bad at the time," Kumara said. "There was a severe weather warning in that area from the morning more..

Jordanian King, Sri Lankan president discuss ties, region

Jan 5 (Petra) His Majesty King Abdullah II and visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday discussed ways to cement the ties between Jordan and Sri Lanka, in addition to other issues of common interest and regional and international issues. King Abdullah stressed the need to bolster the friendship and cooperation between the two countries in economic, commercial, investment and other fields. more..

HK 7s’ & A5N Package: Handle With Care

Jan 6 (SL) THE Rugby Union’s rather ecstatic reaction to news of Sri Lanka’s inclusion in the Hong Kong leg of IRB’s World Sevens Series next March is understandable. Being re-invited after five years to what unarguably is the world best Sevens rugby competition surely does excite emotions – never mind that Sri Lanka once had enjoyed permanent presence in the Hong Kong Sevens. That was, however, in times when the intended purpose of hosting the event was not so much the hope more..

UNP's LC and why it won't work...

Jan 6 (CT) Councils of leadership, presidiums, politburos, triumvirates and duumvirates, irrespective of the personalities involved, are all recipes for retardation of the decision-making processes of any organization, political or not. They have never worked to the full satisfaction of the framers of such councils and emergence of one single leader is inevitable in the medium and long run. However, there is one marked distinction in the raison d'ętre, of the LC of the UNP. more..

Hazardous radioactive container rejected at Colombo harbour

Jan 6 (SO) Handling radioactive material knowingly or unknowingly could cause serious consequences and a milder exposure could lead to a cancer. A deeper exposure could eventually cause severe organ damage or ultimately death. Sri Lanka had a near miss when a container full of radioactive material arrived at the Colombo Port recently that could have caused a disaster if not for the mindful handling of the Customs officials. more..

Multiple crises means change has to take place

Jan 6 (SL) As the New Year gets underway, the main concern for the general population is the rising cost of living and the inability to earn enough. But the govt will dispute this assessment and will be able to show national income statistics that bolster its claim that post-war Sri Lanka has entered into the ranks of middle income countries, albeit at the entry level. The shops in the towns are well stocked with goods of all description and from many countries. Cheap Chinese products seem to be within more..

Bouncer meets deadly end

Jan 6 (SO) He was a young man in the prime of his life. He was well built and good looking. The twenty-one-year-old Samith Harindu CoKooray was an only son, much loved by his parents. He was known as Ryan to his friends and lived in Buthgamuwa Road Rajagiriya with his parents and four sisters. Ryan was an obedient child ever willing to help those around. He had a string of friends who enjoyed his company. Ryan did not show much interest in his schoolwork. more..

The JHU's stay in the govt

Jan 6 (CT) The UNP and the JVP are two contrasting political parties, with the former being a liberal capitalist party and the latter a Marxist socialist party. Hence, these two parties rarely reach consensus on policy issues. However, changing history, both these parties were able to take a common stand on one issue, that is the JHU leaving the govt. Both parties want the JHU to leave the govt before criticizing the same. more..

Tribunal delivers Sri Lanka’s guilty verdict

Jan 6 (CT) A tribunal of 11 eminent judges has unanimously found the Sri Lankan govt guilty of the crime of genocide against ethnic Tamil people. Sitting in Bremen, from December 7 to 10, the Second Session of the Peoples’ Tribunal on Sri Lanka found that the crime of genocide has been and is being committed against the Eelam Tamils as a national group. I was invited to appear before the tribunal as an expert witness on the treatment of Tamils from Sri Lanka by the Australian govt. more..

Re-defining “Outlandish”

Jan 6 (CT) When last I looked in my rather moth-eaten dictionary the word “outlandish” had, beside it, “adj. looking or sounding very strange.” While it is the word that comes to mind most readily when one views the goings-on in the Debacle of Asia, in the context of Sri Lankan “reality” is much of what we see on a day-to-day basis “strange?” After all, as someone once said, “Everything is relative, though one sometimes wishes that one’s extended family wasn’t!” Where in any nation wearing more..

'I will not even give my dog in marriage to Duminda'

Jan 6 (CT) There is a section of the population who believe that controversial politician Duminda Silva and Hirunika Premachandra – locked in a legal battle over the murder of the latter’s father – to be an ideally suitable couple. Several Facebook users have even suggested that the duo should bury their hatchet and marry each other. But a defiant Hirunika Premachandra declares: “I will not even give my dog in marriage to him”. more..

President’s New Year gift to TNA: Resolution of two thorny issues in North

Jan 6 (CT) The Cabinet met at Temple Trees for the first time in the New Year last Friday. Friendly banter and laughter enlivened the festive air that pervaded the place. Everyone, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, appeared to be in an unusually gay mood. The President, who wished the ministers a happy New Year in the typical oriental fashion, looked around inquiringly. A broad smile lit up his face as Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara walked in carrying a large cake. more..

Arpico Finance to raise Rs. 149 m via Rights

Jan 6 (FT) Arpico Finance Company has announced a Rights Issue to raise Rs. 148.75 million to boost its capital. The Rights Issue will be on the basis of two new shares for every three held and will be issued at Rs. 50 per share. Company’s share last traded at Rs. 100 last week and its net asset value per share is Rs. 110 as at end September 2013. The current stated capital of Arpico Finance Company is Rs. 96.3 million. Funds raised via Rights will be used to boost Tier 1, long term capital more..

Volunteering Sri Lankans

Jan 6 (ST) During Sri Lanka’s peace process in 2002-03, an effort was made to garner the support of (a section of) the Tamil diaspora to craft a development plan for the north. It was coordinated by the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), widely perceived at the time as a pro-LTTE organisation and later decreed by the Govt as nothing but an LTTE front. While the intention here is not to praise, complement or glorify more..

Editorial: Sanity prevails

Jan 6 (Island) The Grade Five Scholarship Exam will not be scrapped, the Cabinet spokesman has said. But for immense pressure the media, the Opposition and opinion leaders jointly brought to bear on the government it would have gone ahead with its harebrained project and done away with the only avenue available for hundreds of thousands of children to secure admission to leading schools. The govt has done itself a big favour with weeks to go for provincial elections. more..

‘Civilians’ in Sri Lanka’s armed conflict

Jan 6 (Island) Sri Lanka’s detractors claim that it should be held accountable for the violations committed during the final stages (Jan to May 2009) of the conflict. The issues that dominate this claim are: 1. High number of "civilians" killed during this period. 2. Indiscriminate firing into No Fire Zones (NFZs). 3. Denial of humanitarian aid to those in the NFZs by deliberately under-estimating their numbers. Issues of distinction between "civilians" and those directly participating in hostilities, more..

Should Sri Lanka's chief selector Jayasuriya step down?

Jan 6 (IC) Imagine for a moment what would have transpired if, during his playing days, Sanath Jayasuriya was prevented from playing in the IPL because a selector felt that his performances for SL were unsatisfactory. Jayasuriya, as he has done on numerous occasions in the past, would have sought the help of the country's president or another politician to get his way. SL cricketers today have no such recourse against more..

Global economy key factor for 2014 economic show

Jan 6 (ST) Global economic and political developments could determine to a large extent the economic performance this year. In as much as there are favourable international developments that would benefit the economy, there are possibilities of external shocks impacting adversely on the economy. Weather too could have an influence on the economy. Global economic conditions show signs of improvement with Western economies moving towards economic recovery. more..

Empowering Youth: Road to reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Jan 6 (EAR) Even though in biological terms we all belong to a single species referred to as humans, there is no homogeneity within the human society and this could be attributed to phenotypic variances, a factor influenced and conditioned by genetic and environmental dynamics. This heterogeneity manifests itself in a variety of forms including but not limited to gender differences, physical differences, linguistic and religious differences, as well as ethnic and political differences. more..

Environment Ministry to designate areas for safe sea bathing

Jan 6 (ST) Environmental Ministry will soon designate areas for sea bathing around the country, to ensure the safety of persons using them. Marine Environment Protection Authority under purview of Central Environmental Authority will conduct water tests to ensure that it was safe for bathing. “We have conducted tests in several main areas used for sea baths and found quality of the water to be unsuitable. more..

Prisoners on roof asked to step down

Jan 6 (DM) A group of 33 condemned prisoners protesting atop the Bogambara prison in Kandy have been asked to step down, for their requests to be considered. Speaking to Daily Mirror the Commissioner General of Prisons Chandraratna Pallegama said from the discussion held this morning between prison officials and the Ministry of Justice it was decided that the requests of the prisoners could only be considered if they broke their fast and stepped down. more..

LIOC agrees to switch to Octane 92

Jan 6 (SL) Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) has agreed to switch to Octane 92 petrol from Octane 90 after the Govt decided to impose a total ban on selling and distributing Octane 90 petrol. Managing Director of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Susantha De Silva said that, while CPC had started distributing Octane 92 petrol since January 1, a request was made for LIOC to do the same. De Silva said that LIOC had agreed to the request and has now stopped distributing Octane 90 petrol.

Some organisers accused of engineering budget defeats

Jan 6 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, before leaving on an official tour of Israel, Jordan and Palestine, met the heads of local bodies in crisis owing to the defeat of their budgets. Govt sources said that the no other political party had faced a similar situation, though SLFP seniors sought to play down the issue. UPFA MP Shantha Bandara alleged that the UNP was trying to cause animosity among the UPFA members. more..

Reckless Navy driver’s vehicle collides with express train

Jan 6 (NS) One person was killed and seven were injured after a train collided with a Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) vehicle last morning. 5 persons out of the 8 victims in the accident are from the SLN. The Vavuniya – Colombo express train had collided with the SLN vehicle around 4.30am yesterday (4). The accident had taken place at the railway crossing at Jaffna Junction in Anuradhapura. Police elaborated reckless driving on the part of the driver of the SLN vehicle as being the reason for the crash. more..

Mangala’s burglar not a stranger

Jan 6 (CT) The 21-year-old youth, alleged to have sneaked into MP Mangala Samaraweera’s house at Keselwatte, Panadura, was someone who had been a frequent visitor to Samaraweera’s house, the police said. It has come to light that the suspect had stolen the laptop computer in question several days earlier, while the robbery of the bottles of whisky had been committed on the day the complaint was made to the police. Police said that doubts had emerged over the possibility of the thief jumping more..

'Prabakaran did’nt agree for ceasefire'

Jan 6 (DM) “During the final phase of the war, India urged Prabaharan to stop fighting and if he had listened to it, he would still be alive” said Indian Finance Minister P. Chithambaram, on Saturday. He was responding to questions on several matters related to Indian political situation, murder case of Rajiv Gandhi, coming general election and was also questioned on the last stages of war between LTTE and Sri Lankan govt. more..

Inefficient administrators to blame for drug shortages – Health Ministry

Jan 6 (SO) The frequent medicinal drug shortages in hospitals are due to inefficient administrators, misleading information and drug cartels, health sources said. “Most drugs are freely available. The Medical Supplies Division (MSD) has already imported stocks for the next three months,” Health Ministry media spokesman W.A.D Wanninayake said. He said patients themselves were at times to blame for the so-called shortages reported in the media. more..

Adam Investments opens state of the art garment factory in Kongala, Hakmana

Jan 6 (FT) Adam Investments Ltd was incorporated in 2011 by Chairman Dr. Gulamhusein, to focus on key growth industries that play a pivotal role in the country’s economy. Adam Apparels, a major company that functions under Adam Investments, is a premier manufacturer and exporter of garments for leading global fashion labels. For three decades this company has contributed to the largest export earning industry in the island, which despite local and international challenges, more..

New rules for mining, but room for abuse

Jan 6 (ST) The Govt has introduced regulations to govern the mining, trading in and export of minerals, including graphite, but has omitted exploration. It has also introduced a committee to determine the market value of mine output and the percentage of royalty payable by those seeking such licences. The changes, which were gazetted on Thursday, replace certain sections of the earlier Mining (Licensing) Regulations promulgated more..

Now, some UNP rebels say Ranil could win

Jan 6 (Island) Some former disgruntled UNP MPs who seem to have made up with the party hierarchy are now of the opinion that only Ranil Wickremasinghe could steer the UNP to victory at a future presidential election. These MPs who wished to remain anonymous said that the UNP could defeat President Rajapaksa at the presidential election and only Wickremasinghe was capable of doing so. They said the UNP voter base had declined since 1977 with the party losing more..

Nurses unions clash over appointments

Jan 6 (Island) The Govt Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) President Saman Ratnapriya yesterday pointed out that out of 1995 nursing appointments given on January 1, thirty eight appointments had been fraudulent. He alleged that it was a great injustice meted out to the Nursing Diploma recipients, because it was Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) President Ven. Muruttetuwe Ananda Thera, who had influenced the govt to post 38 nurses close to Colombo. more..

Drugs smuggling son puts PM in fix

Jan 6 (ENS) The alleged involvement of Sri Lankan Prime Minister D M Jayaratne’s son and his coordinating secretary in the smuggling of 250 kg of heroin from Pakistan has thrown the spotlight on drug smuggling, drug use and the nexus between high-level politicians and the drug mafia in the island nation. Out of the 250 kg seized, 100 kg were to be for local use and the rest for re-export to the UK, Canada and Turkey. more..

Interruption-free power service promised

Jan 6 (NS) There will be no power cuts in the foreseeable future, says Power and Energy Media Secretary Sisira Wijesinghe. He said that on the contrary, the year will see significant improvements in the power and energy sector as stated at a discussion held recently. The discussion was held on January 1 between Minister of Power and Energy Pavithra Wanniarachchi and other officials among who were Ministry Secretary MMC Ferdinando and CEB Chairperson WB Ganegala. more..

Motor-cycles for local councillors

Jan 6 (SO) North Western Province (WPC) Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara will take steps to provide official motor cycles to representatives of local bodies in the Kurunegala and Puttalam districts of the Province to motivate them to fulfilling their services to the public more efficiently and expeditiously. The councillors would also be offered with All-Island JP posts so that they can help the public better in their day-to-day official requirements. CM intends holding mobile services at more..

Thousands evacuated

Jan 6 (CT) People living along the North Eastern coastal belt were being evacuated as of last night as a major tropical cyclone, that is expected to make landfall in Jaffna, threatened strong sea waves. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) yesterday advised people living in coastal areas from Mannar, Jaffna to Trincomalee to move 100 metres towards inland as there is a risk of strong sea waves. more..

North tops bank branch density!

Jan 6 (FT) Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal pointed out post-war north becoming the highest in banking density to critics of lack of inclusion. During his presentation of the Central Bank’s Road Map for 2014, Cabraal said that within four years, banking density ranking of the Northern Province (NP) rose to the highest from being the lowest previously. Banking density (bank branches per 100,000 population) in the NP was 21.5% by end 2013 as opposed to 9.9% in 2009. more..