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Constitutional tangles in an election year

Jan 2 (FT) On 19 November 2010, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had been President elect for 10 long months since the 26 Jan poll, took his oaths on the steps of the Presidential Secretariat. The entrance to the historic building that housed the first Parliament of independent Ceylon had been transformed on that November morning. At the auspicious time of 10:16 a.m., emerging from behind an enormous backdrop of the rising sun, more..

Editorial: Of MR’s swipe

Jan 2 (Island) Critics of Sri Lanka’s human rights situation are either uninformed of the ground situation here or sympathetic to the LTTE, President Rajapaksa has said in a newspaper interview. With a little over two months to go for the next UNHRC session in Geneva, where Sri Lanka is expected to face another condemnatory resolution moved by the US, his swipe is obviously aimed at undermining the credibility of his detractors. President Rajapaksa never misses any opportunity to more..

Prospects for Human Rights and Reconciliation in 2014?

Jan 2 (Island) Both the world and SL most probably enter the New Year with melancholy. Of course we greet each other to the contrary, hoping that everything would go well. Formidable challenge before the world in 2014 or for the years to come would be the ‘global warming’ and the consequent or unrelated ‘natural disasters’. We lament about them when they occur and then conveniently forget about them all, engaging in our own day to day preoccupations, mostly conflictual. more..

Indo-Lanka sugar refinery in Hambantota awaits SDP status

Jan 2 (ST) Moving away from the policy of promoting local sugar production, the govt is to grant Strategic Development Project (SDP) status for a sugar refinery with provision to import raw sugar. India’s Shree Renuka Sugars is waiting for tax concessions under the Strategic Development Act to start the project. The company has entered into a 25-year agreement with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to start building a sugar refinery more..

'Need to play first hour well' - Younis

Jan 2 (CI) Younis Khan, who scored his 23rd Test hundred on Wednesday - equalling Javed Miandad on the list of Pakistan batsmen with most centuries - said Pakistan will need to add to their substantial lead in the first hour to give themselves a good chance of taking control in the Test. Younis' hundred, along with Misbah-ul-Haq's fifth Test century, helped Pakistan take a 123-run lead over Sri Lanka on the second day of the Test, recovering from 83 for 3 to a solid 327 for 4 at close. more..

Central bank to cut key rates by 50 bps

Jan 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank is expected to cut its key policy rates by 50 basis points on Thursday, a Reuters poll showed, after keeping them steady for two months at multi-year lows. The central bank has lowered key rates by 125 basis points since December 2012 to stimulate economic growth. It has also used other measures to ease monetary policy, including cutting commercial banks' statutory reserve ratio (SRR) by 200 basis points from July. more..

Qatar Airways commences 777 operations to Colombo

Jan 2 (FT) Qatar Airways increased capacity to Sri Lanka, with one of its triple-daily-flights to Colombo, expanded from a narrow-bodied Airbus 320 to the airline’s flagship wide-bodied Boeing 777. The larger Boeing 777 will offer flat-bed seats in Business class and passengers in every seat across the Business and Economy Class cabins will experience a fully interactive personal audio and video entertainment system. more..

Plantations should go for multicropping systems

Jan 2 (DM) Multiple cropping is not a new subject, although it is not popular in the plantation areas. It is the practice of growing two or more crops in the same space during a single growing season. The various patterns of multiple cropping reflect essentially two underlying principles - growing individual crops in sequence- sequential cropping- or growing crops simultaneously. Crops are grown sequentially one after another so that time is used to obtain more production or crops more..

Opportunity for A/L qualified to become Graduate Chemists

Jan 2 (Island) Late applications are now being entertained by the Institute of Chemistry Ceylon to enable students who have qualified at the A/L exam to follow at a very low cost and without any delay the Graduate ship Programme in Chemistry offered continuously for the past 36 years at a Special (Honours) Degree level. This programme which has enabled the production of almost 1000 Graduate Chemists for national development was very recently formally accredited by more..

Sri Lanka need more Tests to nurture pace-bowling talents

Jan 2 (CI) Sri Lanka have not played many Tests recently (as the batsmen had made abundantly clear on day one), but in their most recent away series in Australia, they had endured many days like the second day against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. Days when the opposition lead expands almost as if it was a birthright. Days when even the rare good balls miss the edge, and the few chances that do come are squandered in the field or by the more..

Launch of the second volume of the Kadirgamar Review

Jan 2 (FT) The Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS) launched its Annual Journal, the ‘Kadirgamar Review’ on 1 Jan 2014. Launched in 2012, this year the Institute published its second volume. The Kadirgamar Review is a scholarly journal published annually. It aims at providing a multi-disciplinary research platform and enhancing understanding in international relations, foreign policy and diplomacy within more..

100,000 sachets of black henna past sell-by date seized

Jan 2 (Island) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) yesterday took into custody over 100,000 sachets of black henna past date of expiry at Grandpass area. Spokesman for the Ministry of Co-operative International Trade (Co-OIT), Nipun Ekanayake said that henna which was of a different brand had been repacked. There were also 15,000 tubes of lipsticks, over 1000 types of creams and 1,500 other cosmetics which included body sprays, colognes and perfumes. more..

With BJP in tow, Vaiko now against Sethu project

Jan 2 (TOI) Political exigencies could even redefine ideologies. This seems to be the case with MDMK leader Vaiko, one of the strongest proponents of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project. On Wednesday, Vaiko changed tack, saying he has decided to reconsider his party's stand on the Sethusamudram project on environmental grounds. During his annual interaction with the media on the first day of the New Year, Vaiko, who more..

No proper price for sweet potatoes, say cultivators

Jan 2 (DN) Sweet potato cultivators in Matale district and Mahaweli system G area are in difficulties due to the lack of a reasonable price for their sweet potato cultivation. Over 10,000 kg of sweet potatoes are transported to the Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre daily but the prices are low, cultivators said. Farmers said they have to spend over Rs. 75,000 to cultivate an acre while the yield is limited only to 4,000 kg. They said according to the existing price level in the market, more..

South Asia’s emerging dilemmas

Jan 2 (Island) Very rightly, international fora on South and South West Asia are focusing on the Indian Ocean and issues growing out of it and this trend must be hugely welcomed by commentators the world over. When speaking in terms of ‘commentators’ one also has in mind the so-called ordinary people who take a lively interest in International Relations although they are generally ignored and not addressed by the ‘intelligentsias’ of the world. more..

Ranil loyalist crosses over to govt

Jan 2 (Island) Southern Provincial Council Galle District UNP member Krishantha Pushpakumara alias Raththaran yesterday crossed over to the SLFP after meeting President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Carlton, Tangalle. Pushpakumara was part of the mob that attacked the anti-Ranil Wickremesinghe reformist march in Matara. Pushpakumara said that he would formally join the SLFP tomorrow by taking up its membership. more..

Special program to protect sharks

Jan 2 (DN) The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has launched a special program to protect sharks that are facing the threat of extinction. Accordingly, the ministry has prepared a special plan for the protection and management of sharks called the Sri Lanka National Plan of Action for protection and management of these sea mammals. Ministry has implemented this National Plan in collaboration with the National Aquatic Resources Development Authority (NAQDA), more..

First school term begins today

Jan 2 (DN) The first school term for the New Year begins today. Accordingly, all schools except for those being used for GCE O/L answer script evaluation will open today. The answer script evaluation is in progress at 81 schools countrywide and hence the first term of these 81 schools will begin on January 9. The Education Services Ministry will launch a program to provide over one million school students with a free mid-day meal and a glass of milk. more..

Rathika Sitsabaiesan not under house arrest

Jan 2 (Yahoo) Scarborough-Rouge River MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan has issued a statement denying Sri Lankan media reports that she was under house arrest in her former home country SriLanka, where she has been visiting family.​ Canada's High Commission in Colombo told Sitsabaiesan that there was no arrest warrant in her name, she said. "I recently arrived in Sri Lanka to visit my extended family and visit the places that were once more..

'Keep up with the govt development drive'

Jan 2 (AT) Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga asked the public servants to be efficient to keep up with the govt’s development drive. Addressing a simple ceremony to mark the New Year at the Presidential Secretariat, he said the Secretariat staff should set an example to more than a million public servants by dedication, commitment and efficiency. Year 2013 has been a remarkable year for Sri Lanka. The country saw the opening of the second International Airport at Mattala. more..

Diaspora to strengthen TNA

Jan 2 (CG) The Tamil Diaspora is prepared to work with the TNA to help strengthen their voice in the international arena this year. A leading Diaspora group said that it hopes the Northern Provincial Council will be given the opportunity to address at least some of the pressing needs of those in the area. The clear political mandate given by the Tamil people to the TNA, at the elections to the Northern Provincial Council in September, strengthened our hopes for the future. more..

NCPA hotline calls exceed 61,000

Jan 2 (CT) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) had received 61,080 calls to its hotline, 1929, from Jan to Nov 2013, NCPA Chairperson, Anoma Dissanayake said. Of the calls they had received on the hotline, nearly 8,000 were about child abuse. She said, however, approximately 1,000 of such complaints were found to be false. "NCPA had received many calls regarding counselling children. more..

Al-Sheik Al Baghdadi visits Sri Lanka

Jan 2 (Island) His Holiness Al Haj As Seyed As Sheikh Afeef Uddin Al Gaylani, the 18th Direct Descendent of As Shiekh Abdul Cader Al Gaylani (Ralf) Sultanul Awliya and the Direct Descendent of Holy Prophet Muhammed Sayyidina Rasool (Saw) and the Chairman of Board of Trustees of ‘AL WARISEEN’ Malaysia and Head of Darul Jailani International, has arrived in Sri Lanka on a very short visit to meet his Mureeds, Muffibbeens and well wishes. more..

CEB gets heart burn with Norochocholai

Jan 2 (Island) A section of technical experts of the CEB expressed concern over the recent breakdown of the condenser worth some Rs. 20,000 million, within the short existence of just two years of the commissioning the first coal power plant at Norochcholai. They said such problems should not be taken lightly, especially when its second phase was about to be commissioned between January 15 and 20. "With the 300MW first phase all sorts of problems were experienced and more..

'Disasters hit 1.6 mn people, but Met equipment remains outdated'

Jan 2 (Island) Billions of rupees had been wasted on govt propaganda exercises but the Meteorological Department was not properly equipped and the Disaster Management Website, too, remained outdated due to lack of funds. UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne said it was shocking that despite a total of over 1.6 million people being affected by disasters in the last two years, the Rajapaksa regime could not find just more..

NDB spices-up Sri Lankan Cinnamon industry

Jan 2 (Island) As part of its continued efforts to enable local industry, NDB recently carried out a special programme to empower the Cinnamon growers, exporters and Cinnamon related product manufacturers. To create national consensus towards developing regional players in the Cinnamon industry, NDB teamed up with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Spices & Allied Products Producers’ & Traders’ Association (SAPPTA) and the Galle District Chamber of Commerce to more..

Cleaner sea bathing areas soon

Jan 2 (CT) A new programme to bring bathing/swimming areas, near the coastline, to international standards and environmentally sensitive procedures, has been launched, Minister Susil Premjayantha announced. He added, “with the increase in population along the coast and the establishment of hotels and factories, the level of water pollution too has increased. This had made most of the coastline not suitable for bathing.” According to the programme, water samples more..

Drugs: OIC being grilled by CCD

Jan 2 (Island) Colombo Crime Division is grilling Wellampitiya OIC Bandara Munasinghe on a seven day detention order from the Hulftsdorp magistrate to ascertain how he got drugs and hid them in the almirah in his official house. Meanwhile his wife, a former Woman Police Constable, was taken into custody yesterday soon after the husband’s arrest and she is being interrogated. She was arrested following more..

Hope and choice in the New Year

Jan 2 (DM) As we moved into 2014, some people lavishly spent more than Rs. 20,000 per head for a few hours of revelry while many others were rummaging through garbage bins. Therefore, right-thinking citizens of the country have to reflect on what is wrong and what needs to be done to restore an equitable and just society. However trying the political and socio-economic situation may be, we need to have hope for a new dawn with a new vision and goals, new values and principles, more..

Lakshman Kadirgamar and problems of the post-colonial world

Jan 2 (DM) On Dec 16, 2013 a seminar on ‘Democracy, Sovereignty and Terror: Lessons from Sri Lanka on conflict resolution’, was held at the Nobel Institute in Oslo Organized by NOREF – Norwegian Peace-building Resource Centre in memory of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. The speech was delivered in the hall where the Nobel speeches are delivered. The following are excerpts from the speech made by Sir Adam Roberts (Emeritus Professor of more..

‘Full throttle’ lobbying spree to meet possible UNHRC challenges

Jan 2 (DM) The New Year dawned, and the country is slated to experience pressing political and diplomatic challenges in 2014. Main among them is the session of the UNHRC scheduled for March. The govt is bracing for the event, and already appointments have been sought with the member states for a lobbying-spree ahead of the session. The UNHRC will appraise Sri Lanka’s progress on the implementation of matters more..

Australian graphite explorer granted new graphite concessions in Sri Lanka

Jan 2 (PI) MRL Corporation recently made the application for an additional 367, 1 square kilometre graphite licences in Sri Lanka, 18 of which have now been approved. All applications lie in proven graphite provinces with workings dating back in excess of 70 years. The Pujapitiya project area, where the initial claims have been secured, is south of the government owned Kahatagaha / Kolongaha Mining Operations, more..

Be merry but avoid the verry this season

Jan 2 (ST) Three-year-old Ashmika Shenal of Puttalam will see in the New Year nursing a face full of injuries—the result of a road accident involving a drunk driver. After attending church on Christmas Day, Ashmika and his family were visiting relatives when a speeding motorbike, ridden ironically by a policeman under the influence of liquor, knocked down the little boy. The policeman, attached to the Puttalam station more..

HRCSL seeks greater powers

Jan 2 (SL) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has sought greater powers including the right to hold National Inquiries in a proposed amendment to the Human Rights Act submitted to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. HRCSL Commissioner Dr Prathiba Mahanamahewa said the draft was approved by the Board of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka that consists of five members. more..

Sajith accuses govt of coming up with cockeyed arguments

Jan 2 (Island) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa said that if education ministry had abolished the Grade V scholarship exam on grounds it caused undue stress in students, the govt would have to abolish the GCE (O/L) and GCE (A/L) exams too as those exams also caused tremendous stress. He said that the govt’s effort to amend or abolish the Grade V scholarship exam would affect rural students who studied under more..

Separate sanctuary for stray cattle, goats in Delft

Jan 2 (Island) Plans are underway to set up a separate sanctuary for stray cattle and goats on the Island of Delft off Jaffna peninsula. This follows a lengthy discussion between Wildlife Resources and Conservation Minister Wijith Vijithamuni de Zoysa and Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda last week where the former agreed to a proposal to the effect made by the later. more..

'Abolishing Grade 5 scholarship exam, death blow to free education'

Jan 2 (Island) The UNP charged that the govt was trying to destroy free education, which was introduced way back in 1940, by abolishing the Grade five scholarship exam. Karunasena Kodituwakku, the UNP’s organiser for Kolonnawa, said that it was in 1940 that a committee of leading politicians and educationists headed by the late C.W.W. Kananangara had, after deliberating for an year formulated the four pillars of education, more..

Sri Lanka expects 7.2% growth in 2013, US$7.1bn in forex reserves

Jan 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy is expected to grow 7.2% in 2013 with inflation recorded at 4.7% and foreign reserves at 7.1 billion US dollars, the Central Bank said. Sri Lanka originally expected 7.5% growth for 2013. "Available leading indicators show that real GDP (gross domestic product) growth is set to record around 7.2% growth for 2013," the Central Bank said in its monetary policy statement. more..

Rathika says she was warned

Jan 2 (CG) Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan says she was warned by Govt officials that she could face arrest or deportation but denied reports that she was under house arrest. Caitlin Workman, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs, said in an email Wednesday that the Canadian High Commission has “spoken with relevant Sri Lankan police and immigration authorities all of whom have more..

End of the road for Malinga?

Jan 2 (DM) Sri Lanka’s cricket administrators, selectors and everyone who matters including the country’s political hierarchy have finally run out of patience with Lasith Malinga’s indifferent performances since of late for his country’s national team and have taken a collective decision to send the star bowler a strong signal about his future with the Sri Lanka team by dropping him for the forthcoming Bangladesh tour. more..