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Labour leaders flex muscle, stage walkout

July 5 (Island) All Trade Union representatives in the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) staged a walkout of the meeting held at 3 p.m. yesterday for the first time in the history of the council. General Secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union (CMU) Bala Tampoe told The Island that the walkout had been staged in protest against the failure on the part of Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge and his ministry to give due consideration to crucial issues affecting more..

Blok brings Glengarry Glen Ross to Colombo

July 5 (FT) Gehan Blok is not an unfamiliar name in Sri Lanka’s theatre circles. He’s done his fair share of roles, his most recent being a quite convincing portrayal of ‘Sorbier’ in Jean Paul Sartre’s existentialist drama ‘Men Without Shadows’. His acting pedigree however doesn’t stop there, having being involved in quite a number of productions before that as well. He is one of those veteran thespians whom Colombo will be seeing much more of from now through his own brand more..

Numbers Game: The Sri Lankan challenge

July 5 (CI) One of the key strengths of the South African team over the last several years has been their ability to play well and win away from home. Since the beginning of 2007, they've played 12 Test series overseas and haven't lost a single one, winning eight and drawing four. (The drawn ones have all been in India and the UAE.) No team has been anywhere near as impressive in overseas Tests during this period: South Africa's more..

MLTs split over allocation of cadre

July 5 (Island) The Sri Lanka Society for Medical Laboratory Science (SLSMLS) warned of a shortage of medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) at the Bio Chemical Laboratory of the National Hospital, Colombo. President of the SLSMLS, Ravi Kumudesh said that specimens had to be performed within four hours. However due to the need for more MLTS in the laboratory forced them to store the specimens under refrigeration for the tests to be performed a day later. more..

No UK visa for SL star high jumper

July 5 (SM) Sri Lankan high jumper Manjula Kumara, who has been selected to represent the island at the upcoming Commonwealth Games has been refused UK visa, reports say. The visa has been refused over his previous conduct, reports add. The 20th Commonwealth Games is to be held in Glasgow, Scotland and will kick off from July 23. The Sri Lankan contingent will feature 10 athletes. Manjula is a gold medalist and the national record holder of the high jump event. more..

Appeal to IGP not to deport 4 Tamil Tiger suspects

July 5 (KP) The Cabinet must direct IGP Tan Abu Bakar to carry out a full and thorough investigation into individuals alleged to be Tamil Tiger separatists. This comes after four Sri Lankans were arrested by Malaysian police yesterday and alleged to be trying to revive the separatist Tamil movement in Sri Lanka. MP M. Kulasegaran said if the govt was concerned about the revival of the separatist movement, Malaysian police should be more..

Exposing debt trap: Prof. Vitharana does laudable service

July 5 (ST) Last week many readers were drawn to a statement made by Senior Minister Tissa Vitharana in the Business Times article captioned “Sri Lankan banks moving towards severe debt trap”. The Minister has made his comments at a media conference held by the LSSP, a constituent party of the ruling govt. Our past experience in coalition politics of the country points to many instances where constituent parties have levelled accusations and passed strictures to more..

Aluthgama violence: 124 arrested

July 5 (CT) A total of 124 persons have been arrested in connection with the recent Aluthgama and Beruwala riots, Police Media Spokesman, SSP Ajith Rohana, said yesterday. Of those arrested, 95 were identified as Buddhists while 29 were Muslims. A total of 99 persons had been produced before a magistrate and 52 were remanded, while 47 had been released on bail, SSP Rohana said. Police had released 25 persons on police bail, without having them produced before a magistrate,

Another pyramid scheme busted

July 5 (ST) Around September last year, Malin, a businessman from Beliatta, received a phone call from his elder sister who happily informed him about the “really high” returns she was receiving from an “investment” at a company called Panora Advertising. She talked about receiving some Rs. 40, 000 a month from this company. His sister had heard about Panora from a relative of her husband. This relative was recruiting members of his more..

Farmers clash with officials; Police move in

July 5 (Island) A group of recipients of Mahaweli lands clashed with govt officials and security personnel at the Shalika Hall in Dehiattakandiya on Thursday. Dehiattakandiya police summoned anti-riot squads and brought the situation under control. The protesters were asked to solve their problems through negotiations without resorting to violence. Shalika Hall had suffered considerable damage due to the clash, the police said. Around 7,000 persons had been asked to gather at the Shalika Hall more..

No fuel shortage in the country – CPC

July 5 (GDI) There would be no fuel shortage in the country owing to the Friday’s sudden burst of a pipeline of a buoy located at Uswetakeiyawa that connected to the Muthurajawela oil storage facility, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation sources said. Deputy General Manager (Operations), Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited (CPSTL) Lalith Hettitantirige said that the there were sufficient fuel stocks at Kolonnawa and Muthurajawela storage terminals. more..

Malaysian authorities hunt for more LTTE members

July 5 (PTI) Malaysian authorities are on the hunt for more members of the outlawed LTTE after a crackdown on the Tamil militant group led to the arrest of seven persons in the last two months in the country. Four suspected Tamil Tigers, including a man allegedly involved in the 1999 assassination attempt on the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga, were arrested on Thursday. Detention of the four in Serdang, more..

Australian Foreign Minister rejects UN criticism of asylum seeker policy

July 5 (SBS) Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has defended the Abbott govt's asylum seeker policy after the UN said it was "profoundly concerned" by reports on the treatment of Tamil asylum seekers. "Australia abides by its international obligations and will continue to do so, but we will also restore our border protection laws to ensure that people do not die at sea," she said. "There is nothing humanitarian about encouraging people smuggling trade to put people on unseaworthy boats." more..

'Grill Hakeem'- Gnanasara thera tells CID

July 5 (AM) BBS Galagodaaththe Gnanasara thera has informed the CID to question SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem over violent clashes in Aluthgama, Beruwala and Dharga Town. While giving a statement to the CID, Gnanasara Thera had said that it was not him but Minister Rauff Hakeem that they should be investigating. Thera has further made claims that not only Minister Hakeem but other Muslim leaders too who "have shed crocodile tears and made deceitful claims" in front of more..

Uva PC dissolved on Monday

July 5 (DM) Uva Provincial Council will be dissolved on Monday, a reliable govt source said. He said the term of office of the Uva PC was to end in September but the govt had decided to conduct elections early expecting a resounding victory. UPFA had 25 members including four bonus seats; the UNP had seven and the JVP one member at the previous elections to the Uva PC on August 8, 2009. Badulla District has 609,966 registered more..

Unite to beat Western conspiracies

July 6 (SO) A few Western countries and a section of the international media have gone to town to capitalise on the recent unfortunate incidents in Aluthgama and Beruwala to project a dismal picture on Sri Lanka. This comes at a time the controversial UNHRC panel is trying to stage Navaneethan Pillay's pre-set drama. The UN investigation on allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka is uncalled for and the nation is being punished for defeating world's most ruthless terrorist group. more..

The costs of pleading the fifth

July 6 (NS) Americans of the United States are familiar with the term ‘Pleading the fifth’. It refers to the 5th Amendment to the Constitution which, in popular understanding, gives witnesses the right to desist responding to questions if it was felt that the answer would contribute to self-incrimination. It has been used so often, in and out of court, that ‘pleading the fifth’ in common understanding in fact yields what it was designed to hide: incrimination. Now in US courts it is standard practice for more..

'A true SL identity-the need of the hour'

July 6 (SO) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that some politicians throughout history contributed to racial discord for political gain. In our neighbouring country India, this has never happened. That is why they have a united India. The Minister said there are many more races in India in comparison to Sri Lanka and nearly 64 languages are spoken, but the manner in which the Indian politicians conduct themselves has led to more..

Don’t dismiss the South African initiative

July 6 (CT) In the presence of South Africa, a free-thinking and free-acting Giant, Sri Lankan leaders, both in the govt and the opposition political parties, except perhaps the UNP, are behaving like mere Lilliputians. One can expect such cowardly cringing from quasi-racist organizations such as JHU the pseudo nationalists outfits such as the NFF, and even the JVP to a certain extent, for they are forever embroiled in parochial, narrow and shamelessly short sighted local politics, more..

South Africa wary of spin and heat

July 6 (CI) A tour to Sri Lanka typically involves turning tracks, talented tweakers, heat and humidity. South Africa thrive on pace and bounce and the weather at home is rarely extreme. Overcoming those factors present the main challenge when the series begins on Sunday. Last July, the visitors had succumbed to spin and stifling heat to lose the ODI series 4-1 and caused intense introspection about their fifty-over strategy. Some of the reasons for their underperformance were self-explanatory. more..

Tilvin Silva on why the bell rang in the hand

July 6 (CT) Several factors led to the JVP deciding to join hands with the Chandrika Kumaratunga-led SLFP to help the latter run a probationary govt. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva reveals all in an interview. Q: The JVP launched itself into coalition politics by lending its hand to the SLFP to run the govt for probationary period. Who paved way for that? A: The proposal of probationary period for the govt was set out by Comrade more..

Refuge for refugees

July 6 (ST) A World Refugee Day came and went on June 20 without much ado. Sri Lanka has the unique distinction of being a refugee exporter and refugee importer, so to say. Additionally, it is also a country that has its own domestic refugees, known as IDPs (Internally Displaced People). Thus, it is a subject that the country is all too familiar with and there probably does not need to be a single day to commemorate this event; every day is a Refugee Day in Sri Lanka. more..

When silence breeds hatred

July 6 (ST) Mahanayake hamuduruwane, I thought I must write to you because everyone seems to be talking about Buddhist monks these days and the names of some Buddhist monks are being heard more often than the names of politicians in relation to certain incidents. Much has happened in the past few weeks, hamuduruwane, and I am not sure whether you are aware of it, but most of the blame for what happened at Aluthgama has been attributed to a speech made by one hamuduruwo from more..

No stroll for favourites Sri Lanka

July 6 (CI) When South Africa were in Sri Lanka for ODIs last year, the visitors barely took breaths between comments about the heat. That is a little like going to Moscow and complaining people mostly spoke Russian. Maybe the men at SLC took note and chose to provide their team optimal advantage. Perhaps they are just sadists (which some Sri Lanka fans would not find surprising). more..

Sri Lanka engineers globally recognised

July 6 (SO) Today the world is amazed as to how Sri Lanka's ancestors built huge reservoirs such as Parakrama Samudraya and how the country put together a flawless irrigation network which helped the country to be self sufficient in agriculture. Even to date it is a mystery as to how our ancestors built huge castles and erected towering statues. The self sufficient lifestyle backed by the amazing engineering skills were forcefully made to rot by the colonial rulers who wanted to suppress more..

Cinnamon Air completes first year of scheduled domestic air services

July 6 (ST) Cinnamon Air, Sri Lanka’s premier domestic airline this week completed one year of scheduled passenger operations. The airline, operating in code-share with SriLankan Airlines, conducted its first scheduled domestic flight between the BIA and Koggala Lagoon on 1st July 2013 and has grown significantly since then. In a statement Cinnamon Air said over the past year it has carried over 4000 passengers on 900 scheduled flights to eight regular destinations and operated over more..

Heads roll at IRD in shake-up after failure to meet revenue targets

July 6 (ST) With the tax collection targets gone awry by Rs.44 billion in the first five months this year, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has been directed towards a major management and administration re-structuring process making changes in tax collection divsions and rolling some heads. These changes in the higher administration structure come a few months or weeks before the impending retirement of the Commissioner more..

After China, Sri Lanka mulls more FTAs

July 6 (NS) Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Dr. P.B. Jayasundera has hinted at the possibility of Sri Lanka signing its next Free Trade Agreements with countries such as Japan and Korea once the proposed free trade agreement with China currently under negotiation is signed. Addressing the 44th Annual General Meeting of Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council (SLSC) held recently Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said that the island has a new investment climate that is able to accommodate new ideas more..

Seeds, greed and TNCs

July 6 (ST) The debate over multinationals taking over the businesses of countries at the lower end of the wealth table using the power of money and politics has now (in the Sri Lankan context) swung to the very essence of the survival of mankind. According to civil society and farmer activists, multinationals or transnational corporations (TNCs as these global companies are known) producing the chemicals used in the (world) wars of the past, are now in the forefront of the pesticides more..

Ministers call for abolition of Executive Presidency

July 6 (CT) Ruling UPFA's annual two-day workshop for the govt Parliamentarians began at the Hotel Cinnamon Bay in Beruwala last Monday. It was a full house with practically all party MPs and Ministers attending it with much enthusiasm. The formal introductions over, the Secretary to the Finance Ministry, Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, who was at the centre of a controversy in govt political circles recently more..

No immediate need to evacuate Lankans from Iraq

July 6 (SO) Around 1,000 Sri Lankans in Iraq are not in immediate danger and the Embassy in Bagdad was still functioning to receive any distress calls, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry confirmed. “Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Sumith Nakandala, an Attache H.S. Premasiri and the Ambassador’s Personal Assistant M. Maharoon are still at the Embassy in Bagdad’s high security zone, Director Public Communications Division of the External Affairs Ministry A.M.J. Sadiq said. more..

Holcim AGM under cloud

July 6 (NS) Holcim (Lanka) Limited had its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 20 and minority shareholders of the company charged that the company management and board of directors over the way the AGM was held. Minority shareholders claimed that the AGM, which was held at the Puttalam Cement Works Plant, had completely neglected the minority shareholders and it was “purposely done to shut their mouths at the event.” Just after the AGM, a section of minority more..

Confusion over UAE contracts for domestic workers

July 6 (ST) Absolute confusion reigned in Sri Lanka last week in the sector dealing with migrant workers after UAE authorities introduced a new ‘unified’ contract for domestic workers, officials said. The new contract, effective since June, is an agreement between the employer (sponsor) and the worker and doesn’t need the authentication of the embassies of the sending countries. Nearly 12,000 females went to the UAE in 2013 to work more..

Out of bounds: asylum-seekers in Sri Lanka

July 6 (TNS) While asylum seekers have been known to originate from Sri Lanka in large numbers seeking a better life in western countries, it is a little unusual for the island to make the news for hosting them. An influx of asylum seekers from Pakistan to Sri Lanka has created such a situation, and has caught the UNHCR and others unprepared, it seems. The suspension a week ago of the visa-on-arrival facility for Pakistani nationals travelling to Sri Lanka signalled that the issue had more..

Police go all out to seize illegal firearms

July 6 (SO) Police Department will launch a countrywide program to combat the emerging trend of gun culture created by underworld elements, SSP Ajith Rohana said. This was decided on due to the growing threat posed by armed gangs operating in the underworld who had been involved in various crimes such as robbery, contract killings and drug trafficking. A series of shooting incidents were reported during the past few months where several people including two local govt members more..

Refugee council warns Tamil asylum seekers' lives in danger

July 6 (ABC) Tamil Refugee Council claims at least 11 people who Australia has reportedly handed over to the Sri Lankan navy have been tortured by that country's intelligence services. It has been a week since the Tamil community, refugee supporters and the media last heard from a boat close to Christmas Island carrying 153 Tamil asylum seekers. They reportedly are, or have been, aboard an Australian Customs ship and, despite more..

Higher Education Ministry to identify innovative talents

July 6 (SO) The Higher Education Ministry will introduce a novel concept called Inter-university Innovation and Invention Competition to identify the innovative talents of university students, professionals and the public to take their inventions to the international market. The theme of the competition “Solutions, Ideas, Innovations, Inventions and Products (SIIIP)” would recognise the innovative talents of students, professionals and the public in the field of IT, services, more..

7 Injured as train derails near Bambalapitiya station

July 6 (ST) Three compartments, including one carrying a group of tourists, of the Matara-Maradana train, yesterday derailed near Bambalapitiya railway station at 6.20 p.m, leaving seven commuters injured and extensive damages to the carriages. One of the derailed compartments was operated by a private company which undertakes bookings from tourists. At the time of the incident seven of the 17 foreigners who had booked into the compartment, were on the train as 10 of them had got off more..

'Ramaphosa's next move based on Sri Lanka's response'

July 6 (CT) South Africa's (SA's) Deputy Foreign Minister Ismail Ebrahim said that South Africa considers the UNHRC's panel of experts' probe, on alleged human rights violation, as a separate entity and issue. He said SA delegation headed by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, which arrives in Sri Lanka tomorrow, is mainly to assess 'what's going on in the country and the cause behind all problems Sri Lanka is facing.' more..

Badminton selectors brand NOC an absolute joke

July 6 (NS) The selection committee of the Badminton Federation of Sri Lanka has branded as an “absolute joke” the inclusion of a women’s badminton player purportedly by the controversial National Olympic Committee (NOC) for this month’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. The women’s player referred to is Nadeesha Gayanthi who was not selected as she fell below performance at trials. The players selected on merit and performance were Thilini Hendahewa more..