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Editorial: NGOs put on Procrustean bed?

July 12 (Island) The govt has drawn heavy flak for a host of restrictions imposed on the NGO sector. The UNP has condemned them as part of a sinister campaign to stifle democracy. The US has also frowned on them. NGO activists have let out a howl of protest and even vowed to resist the govt move. NGOs are multiplying like rabbits in this country. Everyone seems to want to form an NGO, prepare some project reports, obtain funds from foreign govts and live in clover while seeing more..

JAT enters the realm of maternal care

July 12 (Island) JAT Holdings Managing Director Aelian Gunawardena said JAT Holdings would be a subscribing catalyst to the establishment of a Training Simulation Center because of the alarming incidence of maternal deaths locally. Minister of Health Mithripala Sirisena, present as chief guest, quite unfortunately did not speak, nor did he wait to answer questions. But departed prematurely. Establishment of this training facility would cost approximately Rs. 30 million. more..

Quicker pitch gives South Africa hope

July 12 (CI) Sri Lanka's city of the future. Where beautiful four-lane highways and herds of water buffalo co-exist in strength. Where wild elephants rule the roads, and three-foot cobras are among the pedestrians. Where vast flocks of birds have, for thousands of years, thoughtlessly chosen to migrate right where the Sri Lankan authorities would build an international airport. But it is not just the impromptu safari opportunities in SL's more..

PM says NGOs had armed the LTTE

July 12 (CG) PM D M Jayaratna says some NGOs had armed and assisted the LTTE during the war. He made this comment when speaking in Parliament on the controversy over the circular issued by the NGO Secretariat of the Ministry of Defence. Jayaratna insisted that Govt was not violating the constitution or human rights through the circular which was sent to all the registered NGOs this week. He said that in recent times the intelligence units had unearthed information on some NGOs more..

'Galle Harbour earns profits'

July 12 (Island) Making the fivefold hub concept of ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ a reality in maritime sector, the Port of Galle that has been in operation with no proper implementations plan for a long time, has started to earn a greater income aiming huge profits. Minister Rohitha Abygunawardena, making a special statement to the press at the ministry premises on these latest developments said that the loss of Port of Galle in 2008 was Rs 279 million and the Port of Galle had to sustain all expenses and more..

23 Sinhala Buddhist organizations reveal the 'truth' about clashes in Aluthgama

July 12 (CT) 23 Buddhist organizations have issued a joint statement, which they claim to be the true story behind the Aluthgama clashes. They also expressed disappointment over the manner in which the media reported the incident saying it was evident that a media censorship imposed by the authorities prevented the media from reporting the truth. The organizations are: All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, Colombo Young Men's more..

Secretary Defence graces Ranaviru Real Star Mission - IV

July 12 (MoD) Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa participated at one of the concluding rounds of the unique 'Ranaviru Real Star' Mission IV held at the Sri Lanka Air Force Base in Ratmalana yesterday (10). Chairperson of Defence Ministry's Seva Vanitha Unit Mrs. Ioma Rajapaksa was also present at the reality musical show held exclusively for Tri Forces personnel. Ranaviru Real Star reality show began in 2010 to set a platform for more..

Commercial Bank extends support to Eastern entrepreneurs

July 12 (Island) 125 entrepreneurs of the Eastern Province were provided with valuable information relevant to their businesses, at two programmes conducted by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon recently. The two programmes conducted in collaboration with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, were held in Batticaloa and Ampara and covered 'Entrepreneurship Development and Financial Literacy' for SME's in the region. 65 entrepreneurs from Batticaloa, Valachchenai, Kattankudi, more..

15 cases of Market Misconduct investigated by SEC in 2013

July 12 (Island) Several minor offenders who had been involved in suspected price manipulation, insider dealing and front-running in the SL Capital Market were warned to refrain from engaging in such trading practices in the future, SEC Annual Report 2013 revealed. "A director of a public listed company was strongly advised against trading in his company shares prior to potential price sensitive information being released to the market. more..

Rs. 400 million white elephant at the Health Ministry

July 12 (Island) The Government Nursing Officer’s Association (GNOA) yesterday urged the Health Ministry to use, without further delay, the Medical Supply Management Information System (MSMIS) which had been set up over five years ago. President of the GNOA, Saman Ratnapriya said the MSMIS had cost the govt Rs. 400 million. The computer network had been set up to prevent waste of drugs and medical equipment and curb bribery and corruption. more..

Sri Lanka gains access to innovative natural disaster-linked WB funds

July 12 (Island) Sri Lanka has become the first South Asian country to access an innovative form of World Bank financing that gives immediate access to funds after a natural disaster. The World Bank has agreed to provide Rs.13,260 mn development policy loan (DPL) to Govt of Sri Lanka with a Catastrophe Differed Drawdown Option (CATDDO), which is a line of credit that can be drawn on partially or in full if a country declares a state of disaster after a natural disaster. more..

BBS Gnanasara Thero to visit Australia next week: A disgrace to Buddhist ethics

July 12 (AT) Leader of SL's extremist Buddhist organization, BBS, controversial monk Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero will reportedly travel to Australia at the end of next month. He is to participate in meetings and religious functions in several cities of Australia. Many Australian Sri Lankans are perturbed that whatever message this monk carries and promotes, his language and behaviour does not befit Buddhism more..

Penalty on Lankan fishermen gives T.N. counterparts fright

July 12 (Hindu) Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF) has taken exception to a judicial magistrate court at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh levying a fine of Rs. 15 lakh on 41 Sri Lankan fishermen and eight boats while ordering their release. The court passed the order on Wednesday, and the boat owners from Sri Lanka paid the fine on Thursday, ARIF president U. Arulanandham said here on Saturday. The court imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 each on 41 fishermen and more..

Namal Rajapaksa retires from Sri Lanka National Rugby Team

July 12 (DN) MP Namal Rajapaksa has announced that he will no longer represent Sri Lanka's National Rugby Team according to his secretary Champika Karunaratne. He captained Sri Lanka in the Asian Rugby Championship in May this year against South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan and PhillippinesLast year he captained Sri Lanka in the Serendib Cup Tri-Nation Tournament against Poland and Madagascar. Namal Rajapaksa, a fine ruggerite has contributed immensely to Navy and more..

Fourth crude oil ship in Colombo, but unable to unload

July 12 (DM) A ship laden with 90,000 MT of crude oil had arrived at the Colombo Harbour on Thursday mounting the number of anchored crude oil ships to four and accumulating the unloaded crude oil in them to 290,000 MTs. It was revealed that three ships that arrived on May 20, June 10 and 18 were already anchored without being unable to unload the crude oil due to a broken buoy in the supply pipeline since May 23. more..

Cash payments increased to help asylum seekers return home

July 12 (SMH) Abbott govt has admitted it hiked the size of payments to asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru to remove any "barrier" for them to return home. During the final Manus inquiry hearing into the fatal violence during February, Immigration Department representative Mark Cormack confirmed 317 asylum seekers had returned home since July last year. He said the decision to offer increased financial assistance was decided at the end of March and implemented two months later. more..

Mervyn accused of securing suspect’s release

July 12 (Island) A school teacher yesterday complained that the Athurugiriya police had released a youth taken into custody for grabbing her daughter’s hand in public. Mrs. Lalani Pushpa Jayanthi said the suspect had fled when her son intervened to protect her daughter. She said that after she had reported the incident to the police the suspect and his father stormed their house and assaulted her son injuring him. He is being treated at the Koswatte hospital. more..

Khuram Murder case: Verdict on July 18

July 12 (DM) The verdict on the Khuram Sheikh murder trial and the raping of his girl friend in a Tangalle resort, was fixed for July 18 by Colombo High Court Judge who heard submissions of lawyers for 33 days within a period of three and a half months. Former Tangalle PS Chairman Sampath Vidanapathirana and five others have been charged over the killing of the British national and raping of his girlfriend at the Tangalle Resort more..

JVP and Rathana Thera differ

July 12 (CT) Differences of opinion have surfaced in the discussion the JVP had with JHU MP Ven. Rathana Thera about the 'Way forward for the country' set of proposals drafted by the Thera. K.D. Lal Kantha, JVP Politburo Member, said they were at present carefully studying the set of proposals made by Rathana Thera to determine whether the proposals incorporated measures for a complete overhauling of the Executive Presidential system or if they would exert a deterrent more..

Uva PC dissolved Polls Chief in the dark

July 12 (CT) Uva Provincial Council was dissolved with effect from midnight yesterday, but Elections Commissioner, Mahinda Deshapriya said that he had not been officially informed of the dissolution. Uva Province Governor Nanda Mathew said he had directed the Govt Printer to announce the dissolution, through a Gazette Notification. I received the instruction from CM Shasheendra Rajapaksa at around 8.30 am and my letter to the Govt Printer went at about 9.30 am more..

Hakeem warns of radicalisation after riots

July 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka's most senior Muslim politician Friday warned that his govt's failure to restrain Buddhist monks accused of sparking religious hate attacks will foment Islamic extremism and threaten security. Minister Rauf Hakeem said he had been under intense pressure from supporters to quit President Rajapakse's coalition after it failed to prevent last month's deadly religious violence. 4 people were killed & 80 wounded more..

Let all voices be heard

July 12 (DM) Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, has said that liberty depends on the freedom of the press and that it cannot be limited without being lost. George Orwell an English author deeply committed to democratic socialism and a sharp critic of totalitarianism has said that freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticise and oppose. In the light of the proclamations made by these western thinkers more..

Spiritual power to secular power

July 12 (DM) A topic that is being discussed today is being reviewed in the light of the Theravada monastic discipline and the 2600 year history of this country. Primarily a Buddhist monk is a full time student of spiritual quest and as such the rules of moral behaviour binding him are much more rigorous. It has been observed that a good many number of young Buddhist monks and a few older ones seem to engage in politics of this country. They seem to express the view that the secular more..

Esala: The month of religious festivals

July 12 (DM) In the snowy peaks of Himalayas and in the valleys of Ganga, Yamuna and Brahmaputra in Dambadiva- ancient India trees in the natural vegetation were laden with fruits and flowers during the month of Esala and it had been a festive season from time immemorial. This festival had been celebrated in ancient India even before the time of Gautama Buddha. Mention is made in Buddhist literature about a festival called more..

FAO Assistant DG meet northern farmers

July 12 (FT) Hiroyuki Konuma, FAO Assistant Director-General (ADG)/Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific visited Sri Lanka from 8 to 10 July. Konuma, accompanied by FAO Representative for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Beth Crawford, visited FAO programs in the Kilinochchi District in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The project areas had been badly affected by the prolonged civil war. more..

No cardamom trees on Knuckles Range please

July 12 (ST) Keep cardamoms out of Knuckles, is the fervent plea not only of a researcher but also of an erstwhile small-time cultivator of this spice. “Disregard the clamour to re-introduce cardamom cultivations within the World Heritage Site of Knuckles Range forests, for the devastation would far outweigh the benefits,” stresses researcher Pradeep Samarawickrama, who has spent many a long night & day in the area. more..

Hate speech laws may threaten freedom of speech

July 12 (SL) The govt has called for legislators to draft laws which deal with certain areas of social media in order to curb hate speech and has declared that it will take stern action against those who use social media to promote communal and religious hatred. In the wake of the incident at Aluthgama, many see the need to take action against those who practice hate speech and incite communal violence. more..

A further delay likely to derail Aussie-funded e-passport project

July 12 (Island) An Australian-funded project meant to introduce a new Sri Lankan passport with biometrics could go awry due to a further delay in awarding contracts, well informed sources said. In accordance with an agreement involving the project implementing agency, the International Migration Organization (IOM), specific work would have to be complete by end of September this year. more..

Sri Lanka records 113 new HIV/AIDS cases in first half of 2014

July 12 (Island) Sri Lanka has recorded an increase in the number of HIV/AIDS cases and health authorities are warning that most of the cases are among the male population, engaged in foreign employment. National STD/AIDS Control Programme Director Dr. Sisira Liyanage revealed that some 113 people had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in the first 6 months of this year alone compared to 90 in the same period last year. more..

Asylum seekers' first thought: Thank-you letter

July 12 (SMH) The 41 asylum seekers aboard the Sithumina fishing vessel who were picked up by Australian navy and returned to Sri Lanka on Monday were so grateful at first for their treatment that all of them signed a handwritten letter of thanks. "We are the asylum seekers from Sri Lanka," says the letter that was written by 14-year-old Jasmine Saparamadu. "We were going to New Zealand and had 41 people on board. more..

Scott Morrison attacks critics of Sri Lanka

July 12 (TA) SCOTT Morrison has lashed out at 'increasingly shrill' critics of Sri Lanka, accusing asylum-seeker advocates of using boatpeople to pursue a political agenda of internationally isolating the once war-torn nation. On his return from Sri Lanka yesterday, the Immigration Minister said that isolating Sri Lanka would only harm economic growth and increase the prospect of more people-smuggler boats coming to more..

Ranil says NGO gag violates rights

July 12 (DM) The banning of NGOs from holding news conferences, workshops and training journalists is a blatant attempt by the Govt to control all NGOs, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. He said this move was a negation of the rights conferred under the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mr. Wickremesighe who made a statement in Parliament said the Govt in 1980 passed more..

FUTA strikes conciliatory note after positive missive from Ministry

July 12 (Island) The FUTA decided against resorting to an immediate strike as the Higher Education Ministry had responded positively to their demands. FUTA Executive Committee member Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that the teachers had decided to resume academic and administrative duties at the Rajarata University. Dr. Dewasiri, addressing a media conference at the Open University soon after more..

MFA gives ideological justification for NGO restrictions

July 12 (CT) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in its own volition perhaps has come forward to give justification for the NGO restrictions announced by the Director/Registrar of the National Secretariat for Non-Governmental Organizations (NS-NGO). Anyone can guess who is behind this despicable effort. After the issue of the restrictive circular, even the Defense Ministry spokesman was shy in defending the circular. But there was no shame on the part of the MFA to do so. more..

The return of the Patriarch!

July 12 (CT) The Northern Province Governor, General G.A. Chandrasiri, was yesterday reappointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a move that would not impress the Northern Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran and the ruling TNA. Of course, the appointment of the Governor is the prerogative of the President, which explains as to why we have some losing candidates and other individuals who lack substance, basking in those otherwise important public offices. more..

To save our beautiful coastline

July 12 (CT) It is a sad truth most of us have had to accept; the gorgeous coastline that surrounds our island has been under threat for many years now, from coastal erosion and other factors that have left very little of the beach for livelihood and enjoyment. Over the last century, countries with coastlines have been finding solutions to conserve their beaches, with the assistance of state-run organizations, NGOs and independent more..

Army recruits first batch of Tamil tradesmen from Mullaitivu

July 12 (Island) Army on Wednesday recruited its first batch of Tamil youth from Mullaitivu as tradesmen. Earlier, army recruited 30 female Tamil civilians in the area, who were willing to join the army and they now have started their career in the army after undergoing successful training. The newly enlisted batch was addressed by Major General A.S. de Z Wickramaratne under direction of Security Force Commander, Mullaitivu, Major General Jagath Dias. more..

‘BBS anti-national project aimed at destroying Sinhala-Muslim amity’

July 12 (Island) The National Shoora (Consultative) Council (NSC), a grouping of national level Muslim Organisations, including a cross-section of the community’s intelligentsia and activists said yesterday that it was not surprised that the BBS had called for the NSC to be banned. President of the NSC ,Tariq Mahmud said that the BBS statement exposed it as anti-national project, dedicated to destroying centuries of peaceful amity and co-existence between Sinhalese and Muslims more..

World Population Day emphasis on ‘Investing in Young Persons’

July 12 (FT) While great emphasis has been placed on other segments of the population in the past, the youth has now come into the spotlight. While there is a demographic transition taking place, a large number of young people occupy the space in the world and several actions are necessary to fulfil their needs. With today being World Population Day, an event that aims to shed light on population issues, this year a timely more..

Rear Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, the new Chief of Staff of Sri Lanka Navy

July 12 (SLN) Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, has been pleased to appoint Rear Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, as the Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy with effect from 07th July. Rear Admiral Wijegunaratne takes up the post of Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy as it fell vacant when Rear Admiral Jayantha Perera, who held that post, was promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral and appointed as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy. more..