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Editorial: Arresting the rot in politics

July 25 (Island) Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has stressed the need for Sri Lankan politics to undergo a radical shake-up while calling for electoral reforms and reducing the term of Parliament to four years, among other things. He has, we believe, struck a responsive chord with the discerning public. Only the Opposition politicians get such brainwaves from time to time but, unfortunately they are without any means of putting their brilliant ideas into action. more..

Mahinda before fire in the North

July 25 (CT) When former President D.B. Wijetunga met people at his retirement home in Kandy, he used to say that his engagement with the Southern Provincial Council was a folly. UNP was never strong in the South. The UNP strategy at the Southern Provincial Council election finally paved way for Chandrika to come to power. But Wijetunga did not understand it at that moment. In warfare also it is advised to lure the enemy into a field in which you are strong. more..

Soured relationships hinder reconciliation

July 25 (NS) One month after the unrest, Dharga Town is now buzzing with a lot of reconstruction activities. Houses and shops that were damaged are being renovated and rebuilt by the security personnel. On the outside, everything looks calm, though there is still a significant security presence. Those affected have slowly started to move on with their lives, but memories of harrowing experience they faced are still afresh. more..

Ramaphosa and Govt’s Policy shift on Reconciliation

July 25 (GV) Several weeks after Cyril Ramaphosa, Vice President of South Africa and Special Envoy of President Zuma to Sri Lanka, arrived in Sri Lanka to assist us in our search for durable post war peace and reconciliation, it is possible to observe several tactical moves by the Rajapakse Administration with regard to its post war reconciliation policies or the “North and East issues” as the Mahinda Chinthanaya, the Way Forward, manifesto of 2010, calls Sri Lanka’s unresolved ethnic problem. more..

Commission of Inquiry & int'l advisers: Would that save the domestic process?

July 25 (CT) One day, when the chroniclers of the recent Sri Lankan history, write about the country's probable capitulation at the UNHRC, they would tell about a series of lost opportunities – and a series of belated govt initiatives, many of which, were too little, too late. Last week, one such initiative was announced, though, it seemed to have lost its allure, having being held back for nearly five years. Issuing a Gazette notification on 15 July, President Rajapaksa expanded the mandate of more..

Yapa speaks up on petroleum and politics

July 25 (FT) Minister of Petroleum Industries vows to revive the troubled industry and commence the much-delayed upgrading of refinery facilities within the next three months. Petroleum Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa asserts that losses incurred by CPC have been reduced during the past two years. “This year we can run with the operating profit. That is our intention and we are working on that.” more..

Resources department misleading Public

July 25 (Scoop) Adding to a series of unconstitutional restrictions placed on the legitimate activities of the NGOs, the Director General of the Department of External Resources (DGDER) has now published a Notice, "advising" the public on the legitimate activities of the NGOs. Having examined carefully the contents of the Notice, we state that the Notice is misleading and needs to be clarified. Lawyers Collective wishes to place the following facts and legal positions before more..

Mahela joins Gavaskar and Lara

July 25 (CI) 34: Test hundreds that Mahela Jayawardene has made, having drawn level with Sunil Gavaskar and Brian Lara. Jayawardene needs two more centuries to catch up with Rahul Dravid, who is the only other batsman within striking distance of Jayawardene given that the Sri Lanka batsman only has a maximum of five more Test innings before retiring. Kumar Sangakkara also has 36 Test centuries, but is likely to end up above Jayawardene in this list. more..

SSC's Superman does it again

July 25 (CI) A palm-lined beach, a curry swimming in coconut milk, and spiked with red chilli - though this Sri Lanka team enjoy their travel, there is nothing quite like returning to the comforts of home, they said, as they began their first assignment on the island this year. But so far, they have not made the best of being in Sri Lanka. They were undone in the ODIs, on a turner in Colombo, then at windy Hambantota. more..

Govt initiative makes OHCHR probe redundant

July 25 (Island) It is clear from the text of the UNHRC Resolution A/HRC/25/L.1/Rev.1 of March 26, 2014 cited below that the expanded mandate of the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons would make any investigation by the Office of the OHCHR redundant. Paragraph 2 of the text to UNHRC Resolution "Calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of more..

Special loan scheme for external undergraduates from People’s Bank

July 25 (Island) People’s Bank now offers a special loan scheme for undergraduates who register for degree courses conducted by the Centre of Distance and Continuing Education of the University of Kelaniya. The MoU regarding this venture was signed between the Kelaniya University and People’s Bank at the Vice-chancellors Office of Kelaniya University. Representing the People’s Bank and the University of Kelaniya, CEO/General Manager of people’s Bank, more..

Port Authority given green light to setup Cargo Village

July 25 (CT) After more than two-and-a-half years of waiting, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority has received the green light from the government to construct the proposed 'Cargo Village' which would ease cargo dispatch. The 'Cargo Village' is expected to be completed within the next two-and-a-half years, with a connecting rail line. Currently the Colombo Port is facing difficulties in dispatching containers due to the single exit which was more..

Brigitte Bardot Foundation supports Embark and animal welfare

July 25 (Island) Embark, the unique community animal welfare initiative, has received support for its large scale sterilisation and vaccination programmes in Sri Lanka from Fondation Brigitte Bardot (the Brigitte Bardot Foundation), the leading animal protection organisation in France. Established in 1986 by Brigitte Bardot, the former French fashion model, actress, singer and well known supporter of animals, the Foundation has been working for the welfare and protection of animals more..

Yacht and houseboat tourism to be promoted

July 25 (ST) Boat building, tourism and fisheries combined together would bring in a new lease for Sri Lanka’s leisure industry soon as things are worked out to have Maldives-styled luxury boats for tourists to spend their holiday. Neil Fernando, Chairman, Boat Building Technology Improvement Institute Lanka speaking at the launch of Boat Show and Fisheries Exhibition 2014 held in Colombo said that in the Maldives there are about 450 charter boats operating and tourists come to Maldives, more..

Rs 2.2 M on food and tea in three days

July 25 (CT) The National Gem and Jewellery Authority has spent Rs 2.2 million on food and tea during the three days in which a land auction was held in Thammannawa, Kataragama, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, alleged in Parliament. This was revealed when the MP raised questions on the auction of the gem land at Thammannawa in Kataragama. Minister Susil Premajayantha, in his is reply said the amount was spent over a year. more..

Sri Lanka will 'set the pace' for India in milk yield and quality

July 25 (DR) Sri Lanka will soon 'set the pace' for neighboring India in terms of milk quality and yield, Australia's largest livestock exporter, Wellard Rural Exports, has claimed. The National Livestock Development Board (NLDB), a Sri Lankan Ministry of Livestock and Rural Community Development agency, drafted in Wellard Rural Exports to help increase the country’s milk supply and reduce its reliance on imported milk powder. At the time, Sri Lanka was around 15% self-sufficient, more..

Different means to same inadequate end for Tahir and Philander

July 25 (CI) It had reached the time of day when even AB de Villiers was getting tired. An hour before the scheduled close, he had to chase a ball from slip to fine leg. De Villiers darted after it, collected and hurled it in but then could exert himself no more. He flopped onto his back, lay spread-eagled on the turf and even shut his eyes briefly before labouring back to his position. In that small moment in which de Villiers showed that he too is human, he summed up how two of his team-mates may have been more..

Sri Lanka debt, interest costs, among highest in the world: Moody's

July 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka has a strong record in debt repayment, but interest costs and debt levels are high compared to revenues and private external commercial borrowings are adding to state borrowings, a report by Moody's a rating agency said. "The Sri Lankan govt has maintained a default-free debt repayment record on both official and private creditor debt, even throughout the long civil war," Moody's said in a report more..

'Recruit youth to combat dengue, relieve tri-forces of burden'

July 25 (Island) The Deputy Commissioner Colombo MC (Health), Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam yesterday proposed that the Health Ministry recruit youth who had completed their GCE A/L examination to be trained in mosquito control work. Dr. Kariyawasam said that the shortage of required human resources in local governments institutions such as the Colombo Municipal Council was one of the main impediments to house-to-house inspections and dengue control. more..

For West, Rajapaksa is Sri Lanka’s Modi

July 25 (AA) It is a measure of Sri Lanka’s return to “normal” democratic politics that conspiracy theories are once again resonating in Colombo. Compared to the situation just three years ago when “politics” continued to centre on the 30-year-long bloody civil war that mercifully came to an end in May 2009, the sub-text of political discussions today is the presidential election, due some time in early-2015. It is not that the unending tensions between the Central govt in Colombo and more..

'Children's health vital for nation's progress'

July 25 (DN) While noting that children's health is vital for the nation's progress, President Rajapaksa stressed that he strongly believes that proper nutrition helps give every child the best start in life. He asserted the above at the launching of "Nutrition for a Healthy Life," the national nutrition promotion program for school children at Mahanama Maha Vidyalaya, Thirappane in Anuradhapura district. more..

JVP asks why damages were not being claimed from supplier

July 25 (Island) The hose of the buoy that burst while unloading oil at the Colombo Harbour on May 23 had been purchased from an Italian company six months back and the question was why the govt hadn’t asked that company to pay demurrage charges for delays caused to oil tankers by the burst, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake asked in Parliament. The hose that had been purchased from the Italian company had a three-year warranty and demanded to know from more..

CRI scientists to assist coconut development in Tanzania

July 25 (Island) A memorandum of understanding (MOU) to assist Tanzania in coconut development was signed between the government of Sri Lanka and the United Republic of Tanzania at the Ministry of External Affairs, Colombo on July 21. Jagath Pushpakumara, Minister of Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development signed the MOU on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka and Bernard K. Membe, Foreign Minister of Tanzania signed on behalf of Tanzania. more..

Jayalalithaa asks Modi to ensure visas for UN probe team to Lanka

July 25 (TOI) TN chief minister J Jayalalithaa expressed surprise over media reports that suggested that India denied visas to the UN Investigation Committee looking into human rights violations in Sri Lanka and requested PM Narendra Modi to intervene. UNHRC met in Geneva in March and mandated an international investigation into the human rights violations in the island nation during the final stages of civil war. more..

Tenaga Car Parks launches solar powered CALE parking metres

July 25 (Island) ‘Tenaga Car Parks, the pioneer in parking, traffic management and consultancy services in Sri Lanka, introduced Solar Powered Parking Metres by the name of CWT Compact to the parking industry of Sri Lanka. The machines were launched and implemented at Baron Jayathilaka Mawatha Colombo as part of a pilot project amidst a distinguished gathering on July 24. A press release says: ‘The introduction of the parking metre to Sri Lanka is a result of the exclusive partnership more..

Professions Supplementary to Medicine to strike from Aug. 08

July 25 (Island) The Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM) said the Health Ministry would be given time till August 8 to solve their grievances including Class One and Special Grade promotions and if the authorities failed to meet that deadline there would be a strike. General Secretary of the Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM), however, that they would first consider the pledge given in writing by the Health Secretary during the previous strike on July 17. more..

SC refuses to grant leave to proceed in fundamental rights violation case

July 25 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday refused leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation application filed by UNP MP for Badulla District, Harin Fernando and UNP PC member Mihilal Munasinghe. They had complained that the Elections Commissioner violated people’s right to franchise by arbitrary shifting three Provincial Council seats from the Badulla District to the Moneragala District. more..

Income increased by only 0.5% – Harsha

July 25 (CT) Ever since Mahinda Rajapaksa took over the govt in 2006, the real income of a household has only increased by 0.5%, said UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva, in Parliament. He made this observation when Deputy Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama revealed the average income of households since 2006. Deputy minister said, the mean nominal income of a household (of four people) in 2006/07 was Rs 26,286, in 2009/10 it was Rs 36,451 and in 2012/13 it was Rs 45,878. more..

Landmark climate change project launch

July 25 (DN) The Economic Development Ministry and UNDP Sri Lanka yesterday marked the official launch of the project under the Environmental Sustainability and Disaster Resilience Program, Strengthening the Resilience of Post Conflict Recovery and Development to Climate Change Risks in Sri Lanka. The occasion was graced by Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Resident Representative, UNDP Sri Lanka Razina Bilgrami, Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka, more..

Coalition for change of Constitution!

July 25 (FT) The civil society movement leading the charge on axing the presidency yesterday unveiled a six month post-electoral roadmap for constitutional change by a common candidate, creating momentum for broad opposition consensus on the issue. Marking a major milestone in the movement to field a single-issue, common opposition candidate at presidential polls likely early next year, the Movement for Social Justice more..

Swamy slammed over Sri Lanka visit

July 25 (CG) India’s Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi president T Velmurugan has questioned the locus standi of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramaniam Swamy visiting Sri Lanka and having discussion with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on strategic issues. In a statement released in India, he said that Dr. Swamy had led a five-member delegation (BJP Committee for Strategic Action) and probably discussed the feasibility of Sri Lanka establishing marine research centres in India. more..

Customs dragging feet over recent drug bust?

July 25 (Island) Customs had so far handed over only two suspects to the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) in connection with the consignment of heroin in three plastic moulding machines on Monday night, Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said last night. The Customs took into custody four suspects. SSP Rohana said that he did not know whether the owner of the company, Glamour Fashion, under whose name the moulding machines were imported from Pakistan had been arrested. more..

Boycott won’t deprive GoSL of chance to counter charges

July 25 (Island) The OHCHR Spokesperson Rupert Colville said that the Sri Lankan govt could provide comments on both the oral statement and comprehensive report in Sept and March 2015, respectively, though it wasn’t cooperating with the investigation. Colville was responding to a query as regards a July 5, 2014 dated letter sent by Human Rights chief Navanethem Pillay to Minister G.L. Peiris more..

Get ready to sue tobacco companies

July 25 (DM) If there has ever been a good fight it is the struggle of the anti-tobacco lobby against tobacco companies. They were fighting against heavy odds. This is true in other countries too. The profit-making ethic by definition rebels against even the slightest loss. When the long-term advantage is considered it makes perfect economic sense to employ massive resources to counter any moves that cut in on the profit-making action. This is why, for example, Washington is infested with more..

Will Harin be the pointer in the barometer?

July 25 (DM) In the last two weeks, UNP MP Harin Fernando has constantly been in the news. It is very likely that he will continue to do so, as he takes on a formidable challenge, running for Chief Minister in the Uva Province. The task facing Fernando is a gigantic one. Not only is he running for office with a handicap because he will be contesting from the UNP which has lost all major national, provincial and local elections over the past ten years, he will also be running against former Chief Minister more..

‘Hands of Poverty’ ripping off millions

July 25 (SL) While many NGOs operating in Sri Lanka are engaged in helping those affected by the war to recommence their lives, even their efforts are tarnished due to the actions of a handful of unscrupulous elements who are trying to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of these people and also the generosity of donors. In one such case investigated by The Sunday Leader, this NGO registered under the Divisional Secretariat by more..

Accidents, derailments don’t deter travellers

July 25 (ST) Around 6 p.m. on a working day evening, a tsunami of commuters overwhelmed the Colmbo Fort Railway Station. The women run towards the platform where the Colombo Fort-Polgahawela train was waiting; their hairdos askew, holding up their saris, pushing agaist each other trying to get on board. The men sprint towards the train, their leather brief cases flying besides them. Some manage to get on board; more..

Sri Lanka migrants' voyage of desperation

July 25 (AJ) Seated in a tea shop on a beach in Sri Lanka's western coastal town of Negombo, Viganamoothy looks around nervously before checking his phone. He has made several calls in a space of fifteen minutes. He finally looks up and apologises: "I am sorry but my job is no more than a telephone operator." Viganamoothy, a former middleman who was arrested for people smuggling in 2011, was given two options, more..

Couple arrested for fraud on UK visa

July 25 (CG) A married Sri Lankan couple who applied together for UK visas were arrested for using deception in their applications and unofficially tampering with their passports. The applicants were referred by the UK Visas and Immigration to Fraud Investigations Bureau police in Colombo, the British High Commission in Colombo said. The visa applicants had attempted to conceal previous UK refusal stamps in their passports more..

‘21 million people owning 22 million mobile phones’

July 25 (Island) ‘Sri Lanka’s population of 21 million owns 22 million mobile phones, 4.7 million motorcycles and 1 million scooters, which indicate there is something noteworthy happening in the country, Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said. Amunugama said so speaking as chief guest at the first International Digital Marketing Conference held at Kingsbury Hotel, conducted by Synergy School of Marketing, more..