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Australian minister under fire for not meeting Tamil groups on Sri Lanka trip

July 10 (Reuters) An Australian minister came under fire on Thursday for not meeting Tamil leaders on a visit to northern Sri Lanka, only days after Australia returned a boat of asylum seekers, including Tamils, under its hardline border security policy. Some of the 41 Sri Lankans intercepted and sent home by Australia said on Tuesday they had been mistreated by Australian Customs, accusations Immigration Minister more..

Brutal assault, illegal arrest: Undergrads take police to SC

July 10 (Island) Twelve university students arrested by the Kirillapone police on May 16, 2014 consequent to a Satyagraha in front of the UCG have moved the Supreme Court against brutal assault and illegal arrest. They had been protesting against the reduction of the duration of the academic period of the Degree on Allied Health Sciences from four years to three years. They were backed by 300 other undergrads. more..

Turning back boats good says Navy

July 10 (CG) The navy says Australia’s decision to turn back asylum boats is a good move and that most people who go by boat and seek asylum in Australia are going for economic reasons and not political reasons. Newly appointed Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera said that there is a reduction in the number of people attempting to travel illegally by boat and seek asylum in Australia. more..

Threats, reality and bluster...

July 10 (CT) In what can only be described as the questionable gambolling to the preposterous, the 'quit demand/threat' issued by UNP MP, Palitha Thevarapperuma, has taken on a laughable twist with Minister Mervyn Silva, now blustering he would resign if the IGP takes up the gauntlet thrown by the UNP MP. To keep things in perspective, the MP who became an unwitting victim during last month's Aluthgama riots, demanded that the IGP resign from his position owing to his failure to more..

Aba Saranai and the scourge of theocratic politics

July 10 (CT) ‘Eat, Pray, Fast’ was the title of a photo-essay in the Foreign Policy magazine marking the beginning of the 2013 Ramadan season. The pictures provided a glimpse of the wide and varied spectrum of global Islam – from the hip young protestors of Turkey breaking fast in the Gezi Park to a fully-covered woman outside a mosque in India. This rich variety is inadmissible to two sets of people – anti-Islamic extremists and Islamic extremists. The rigid and counter-reality notion of more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka shares close up 0.8%

July 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's shares closed 0.83% higher with tobacco stocks gaining amid strong foreign buying, brokers said. All Share Price Index closed 55.02 points higher at 6,668.86, up 0.83%. The S&P SL20 closed 29.08 points higher at 3,735.14, up 0.78%. Turnover was 2.36 billion rupees, down from 2.89 billion rupees a day earlier with 122 stocks closed positive against 77 negative. Nestle Lanka closed 4.50 rupees lower at 2,077.10 rupees with an off-market transaction of more..

'SL's tourism facilities need improvement'

July 10 (Island) Sri Lanka’s tourism sector should build awareness about the Island’s tourism attraction and also improve its tourism facilities, if the country needs to attract more Japanese tourists to the country, says Kiichiro Iwase, the First Secretary and Head of Economic Cooperation section of the embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka. "Tropical climate, attractive tourist spots, food and comfortable atmosphere are some of the key factors that attract Japanese tourists to Sri Lanka," more..

NGO: Ramasamy brazen as he is backed up by Tamil Tigers

July 10 (KP) Two police reports have been lodged against Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy over his “bring on May 13” remarks. One of the groups also alleged that Ramasamy was brave as he is “backed up by the Tiger Eelam separatist group from Sri Lanka”. The reports were lodged by two non-governmental organisations (NGOs), namely Pertubuhan Barisan 33 Malaysia and Penang Cyber Taikor, more..

Sri Lanka rupee steady at over 1-year high; stocks hit 33-month high

July 10 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee was steady at its more than one-year high on Thursday as inflows from remittances and exporter dollar sales offset importer demand for the greenback. Dollar buying by state banks, however, put the local currency under pressure. The rupee was at 130.23/24 per dollar, its highest level since June 27, 2013 hit in the previous session. One-month forward premiums fell to 10/20 cents, the lowest since Aug. 19, 2011, compared with Wednesday's 22/28, more..

Hafeez dropped for Sri Lanka Tests, Younis recalled for ODIs

July 10 (CI) Mohammad Hafeez has been dropped from Pakistan's Test squad for the forthcoming tour to Sri Lanka. The selectors have recalled Younis Khan to the ODI squad, while Umar Akmal, who last played Test in September 2011, has been called up for the longer format after nearly three years in place of Hafeez. Hafeez has been struggling in Test cricket and was dropped from the squad for the South Africa series in the UAE last year. However, he was recalled for the Tests against more..

Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister in India for key talks

July 10 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister has arrived in India to hold bilateral talks on a range of issues including a simmering fishing dispute and a political solution to an ethnic issue, the govt said on Thursday. Minister G.L. Peiris will meet with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj for talks on Friday. This is the first official discussions between the two ministers after the new Indian govt came to power in May 2014. more..

Harcourts demands Rs.500 million from CAA for 'Publicity Misfire'

July 10 (AM) Harcourts (Pvt) Ltd had sent a letter of demand to the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) demanding Rs.500 million for loss and damage caused by the publicity misfire involving the 'raid' that was carried out by the CAA, The raid was conducted on the property maintained for storing of expired pharmaceuticals, drugs and cosmetic devices. They also claim that due to this incident their company was insulted in front of both digital and print media. more..

Sri Lanka foreign financed domestic credit share among highest in Asia

July 10 (LBO) Countries with high levels of externally financed domestic credit should be careful about loose monetary policy, a report by Standard and Poor's which found Sri Lanka to be most exposed in the region after New Zealand said. Several Asian countries including China were loosening policy in response to a slowing economy, but loosening policy could increase financial risks even though it may lift short term growth, the rating agency said. more..

Sri Lanka: Export Powerhouse?

July 10 (TD) Magam Rahunapura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port, a deep sea bunkering, logistics and industrial facility under construction on Sri Lanka’s southern coast, will define the trajectory of the nation’s postwar economy and the fiscal legacy of the ruling Rajapaksa family. Poised to capture a share of the lucrative shipping lanes west of Malacca and east of Suez, the port, now in its final phase of construction and scheduled for more..

Sri Lankan woman run over by car in UAE

July 10 (E24|7) A 52-year-old Sri Lankan woman was killed after she was run over by a car while she was crossing the road in Umm Al Quwain. Police said the accident took place on Tuesday night and blamed the 58-year-old driver on the grounds he failed to notice the woman and her friend as they were on the road. Police and civil defence joined hands to pull the woman after she was squeezed under the car but she died on the way to hospital. Her 42-year-old Sri Lankan friend more..

Ancient script cited as spark for exodus attempt

July 10 (TA) A Buddhist monk gives a prosperous Sri Lankan Sinhalese man an ancient text with directions to buried treasure, and the serial political and underworld harassment that follows leads him to take his wife and three children on an ill-fated journey to safe asylum. Such is the fantastic tale Hemantha Kuruppu, 40, one of 41 asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka Monday, recounted yesterday from a safe house as Australian lawyers and refugee advocates explored more..

Shanghai's Tourism & Trade Business Forum creates more opportunities for Sri Lanka

July 10 (GDI) During the first seven months of year 2014 Sri Lanka tourism has attracted more than the total number of Chinese travellers attracted during the whole last year, which is definitely an encouraging sign for the industry. From the tourism and trade perspective we see China as a huge potential market with particular interest in Shanghai as the commercial and financial capital. These observations were made by more..

Malcolm Fraser would find no Nazis in SL

July 10 (TA) IT is a crying shame that a country that has dragged itself up by the bootstraps from twin ruthless Marxist and ethnic insurgencies that devastated its economy and killed almost 200,000 people during the past 45 years should become a pawn in the game to bash the Australian govt over its anti people-smuggling strategy. Those who demonise Sri Lanka are acting on misinformation fed to them by a manipulative pro-Tamil Tiger terrorist lobby that makes political gain more..

Rajapaksas to take over Temple of Tooth?

July 10 (SM) The President has initiated a special mission to appoint Uva Chief Minister Shashindra Rajapaksa to the revered position of the Diyawadana Nilame of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, internal sources from the Temple say. At the present, Shashindra Rajapaksa functions as the Basnayake Nilame of the Kataragama Devalaya as well. Formerly an office of the Royal household, today the Diyawadana Nilame remains a prestigious position, enriched with over 2000 years more..

Video: Harin wants full ‘Wada Pitiya’ clash shown; Dayasiri objects

July 10 (AD) UNP Parliamentarian Harin Fernando today said that he deeply regrets what had happened between him and North Western Province Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, during the ‘Wada Pitiya’ political debate show telecasted live on TV Derana last night. The programme came to an abrupt end after a fight broke out between the two opposing party politicians, formerly fellow MPs of the UNP, during a commercial break. more..

Vasu says good NGOs should be allowed to interact with Media

July 10 (AM) Commenting on the ban imposed by the govt on NGO press conferences, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said the NGOs who operate within their mandate should be allowed to interact with media without any obstacle. "If they are within their mandates there should not be any problem in holding public briefings and press conferences" the Minister said while adding that he is a staunch supporter of freedom of media. "I do not agree with acts that diverge from democracy", he said. more..

Sudharama Nettikumara temporally released

July 10 (DM) Colombo Fort Magistrate today temporally released businesswoman Sudharama Nettikumara and determined that she should appear before Court once she received a notice regarding a case where she was alleged to have committed a criminal breach of trust amounting to Rs. 5 million. Filing a motion before the Magistrate Thilina Gamage, President’s Counsel Rienzie Arsecularatne who appeared for the businesswoman submitted to Court that his client had not been more..

Unfit, sloppy on field and with attitude issue

July 10 (DM) Sri Lanka national cricketers and Sri Lanka ‘A’ team cricketers are woefully short of optimum fitness levels and would have to undergo more intensive training regimes specifically designed to enhance fitness levels before the World Cup starting in six months, a secret document circulated among top SLC officials revealed. The document compiled by SLC’s Head of Cricket Operations Carlton Bernardus more..

Dy External Affairs Minister reveals close cooperation with Australia

July 10 (Island) Deputy External Affairs Minister Neomal Perera told Parliament yesterday that Sri Lanka and Australia had strong relations and a mutual understanding about the problem of Sri Lankan illegal immigrants. "We are making a joint effort to solve this problem," he said. He was responding to a series of questions raised by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake who made a special statement on the recent arrest of two boatloads of illegal immigrants by Australian authorities. more..

UAE lifts ban on import of chicken and eggs from Sri Lanka

July 10 (ST) The UAE govt has announced the lifting of the ban on Sri Lanka’s export of chicken and eggs to the UAE market with immediate effect. UAE had previously imposed a blanket ban on Asian countries including Sri Lanka, covering the export of chicken meat and eggs due to Notifiable Avian Influenza (NAI). Sri Lanka made a presentation to the Animal and Agricultural Affairs of the UAE Ministry of Water and Environment to lift the ban, as Sri Lanka is now free of Avian Influenza. more..

Video: Rathana Thera meets UNP; discuss Executive Presidency

July 10 (DM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today said his party hoped to reach consensus with regard to the abolishing of executive presidency after having discussions with other political parties and organisations. He expressed these views following a meeting with the National Council for a Better Tomorrow, headed by the Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera over the abolishing of the executive presidency. more..

Muslim ministers condemn claims of terrorism and extremism in Sri Lanka

July 10 (AM) Issuing a joint statement a short while ago five Muslim ministers of the government have refuted claims of terrorist and extremist groups within the Muslim community of Sri Lanka. Five ministers of the ruling party namely Rauff Hakeem, A H M Fowzie, Rishad Bathiudeen, Basheer Segu Dawood and A L M Athaullah have signed the letter on behalf of the Muslim community. In the statement they added that such unfounded attributions would only add more salt to the wound. more..

Govt’s policy of silence led to ruin - JHU

July 10 (SM) A policy of silence by authorities has led to the majority Buddhists of the country being subjected to international disgrace under the Rajapaksa regime, alleges govt affiliate JHU. In a letter to president Rajapaksa, JHU leader Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera says no investigation or legal action has been initiated against remarks by minister Rauff Hakeem and other Muslim leaders, made against the country and the Buddhists. It demands to know the reasons, and more..

Govt defends move on NGOs

July 10 (CG) Govt has defended the circular issued by the Director of National Secretariat for NGO on the conduct of legitimate activities by NGOs. A statement by the External Affairs Ministry said that as required by the regulations in the country, all NGOs registered with NGO Secretariat are liable to submit annual Action Plans containing details of the activities which would be undertaken in the forthcoming year for approval. more..

Freedom of expression and association of NGOs under threat in Sri Lanka

July 11 (CT) The circular ‘order’ issued by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on 7 July 2014 with the objective of prohibiting the NGOs conducting “press conferences, workshops, training for journalists and dissemination of press releases” undoubtedly is the most intrusive directive issued so far by any govt since independence without any reason of emergency or war (internal or external) in the country. It is issued without any regard to the country’s Constitution (1978) and more..

Karu and the story of the ‘shrivelled monkey’s paw’

July 11 (CT) A traitor will never display signs of his character because he is a coward. He is never kind but pretends to be friendly. He never cares what happens to his leader. A political party leader is much safer from the enemy than from a traitor. The enemy battles from outside and the traitor stabs him from inside. A political traitor is a person who doesn't care for anyone, anything or his country. He would do anything to achieve his goal. Patriotism stands at a distance to traitors. more..

Powering the wings of teenagers

July 11 (SO) You may be a father, mother or guardian of a teenager but are you aware what their activities are at this moment? The society and technology have given them many an option to enjoy life. It is true that they are in a transitional period of their life and also in a society rocketing towards a techno based world and they also want to move with it irrespective of the rank their parents hold. But parents must ensure that their more..

Every Sri Lankan should be a Jihadi

July 11 (CT) Be they political leaders or men in robes, if a non-believer understands it as a concept of terror, then it would only expose their ignorance and fear of the fastest growing religion in the world. Considering the recent events, my attitude arising from my steadfastness in my Islamic faith would be far more harmless compared to the lethal tactics of the ruling class and their politicized armed forces using monks in suppressing my right to practice my faith in this isle where I was born! more..

The elusive Common Candidate

July 11 (SL) Those named to be prospective runners to be the Opposition’s ‘common candidate’ may be following the ‘Sheathed Sword’ stratagem of the 5th Century BC Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu: Greatest of victories are those that are not fought. Astrologers, the final arbiters of the auspicious times where marriages, military operations and even cricketing events should take off— predict that the next presidential elections would take place early next year. more..

When a proper copper comes a cropper

July 11 (NS) Some five decades ago, the Police was a proud ‘apolitical’ force. No one for a moment doubted then that policing and politics were kept separate. One of the most enviable aspects of our society during those spacious times was the rule of law and order and an efficient judicial system. It was an era which inspired confidence in the common man that there was a rule of law in place which was equal to all. more..

Responding to Aluthgama

July 11 (GV) Imagine a country, an island in the Indian Ocean. Let’s call it Serendib (ooh, the irony). Imagine further: several groups, including those named Limat, Milsum and Alahnis, populate the island. A long war ended there some five or so years ago. Nevertheless, peace gives it a pass. Just the other day, a Limat woman, raped repeatedly by the Serendibian military over a period of years, managed to escape the country and tell her story abroad. It made international headlines – more..

FDI, debt servicing, bald facts

July 11 (CT) Analyzing some of Central Bank (CBSL) statistics vis-à-vis foreign direct investments (FDI) and foreign debt servicing may not look palatable to the ordinary public. With a GDP of US$ 65.4 billion as at last year, CBSL statistics showed that foreign debt servicing in the year ended 30 April 2015 would shoot up to 9.7% of GDP, from 5.8% of GDP as at the end of the 2013 calendar year. Meanwhile, FDI, a key debt free inflow, lagged behind at 1.4% of GDP last year, more..

Nimal Siripala on Ramaphosa visit, intl. conspirators and freedom of speech

July 11 (FT) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva admitted there are both Sinhala and Muslim extreme groups in the country and stressed that the Govt is trying to defuse both sides, which is not an easy task. Expressing his views about the recent visit of the South African Vice President, Minister said that the visit enabled Cyril Ramaphosa to witness whether there is discrimination in our country towards any ethnic community. more..

Is it the NGOs in Sri Lanka that need straitjacketing?

July 11 (GV) Just as a criticism of the Ministry of Sports or the Cricket Control Board, are in no way a critique of Sri Lanka’s cricket team or its sportsmen and women, I must clarify that my critique of the Defense bureaucracy is in no way a critique of the Sri Lankan armed forces. The low growl of the Defense bureaucracy in the direction of the NGOs is a dangerous portent. A growl could be followed by snarl and then a bite. What applies to the NGOs could then be tried out more..