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How to save education in Sri Lanka

June 14 (CT) Education is the gateway to the future and has become an integral part of our society and the global village in total. From Neem tree schools it has expanded to high tech institutes and universities. However the universalisation and capitalisation of education began in the last phase of the 20th century literally ruined the quality of education in total. It has produced a series of nerds that memorise books rather than authentic thinkers and creative people. more..

Why Sri Lanka is losing over UN panel visit

June 14 (CT) Obviously, the govt is in a catch-22 situation over the impending investigation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay early this week informed the government of the appointment of an investigative team headed by Sandra Beidas and asked permission for the team to visit the island in the coming weeks. If the govt grants the request by the high commissioner that would amount to, at least some degree, more..

'Harin will contest General Election on UPFA ticket'

June 14 (CT) UPFA MP Udith Lokubandara, son of current Sabaragamuwa Province Governor W.J.M. Lokubandara, who was appointed to this post by UPFA Leader and President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, in an interview with Mawbima said that the current position which he enjoys is not because of his father, whom he claims is a member of the Opposition UNP. Below are excerpts of this interview. more..

What should parliament do about the UNHCR inquiry

June 14 (CT) Govt has taken up the position that UN has no mandate to inquire into the alleged violations of human rights during the war and that it is an encroachment on our national sovereignty. At the UN’s founding Conference in 1945 this is what President Truman said “ We all have to recognize, no matter how great is our strength that we must deny ourselves the license to do always as we please.” Of course the USA has not always followed Truman’s suggestion. more..

Convergence on over-centralisation of power

June 14 (SL) The issue of over-centralisation of power has grown more prominent in the aftermath of the 18th Amendment, which restored to the President the total powers of appointment to the highest bodies of state, including the judiciary, public service and security forces. The overwhelming power of the Presidency, where the President is for all practical purposes above the law, is increasingly being seen as a major problem. If the governance framework is altered, all sections of more..

The law in quest for justice

June 14 (SL) The police investigation teams are still looking for clues to arrest unidentified offenders who assaulted a police constable and those who set fire to the officer’s car in the 20-acre area, Bombuwala in Dodangoda. The preliminary inquiries into the incident have already been concluded, and the investigation teams are now focusing on the secondary level investigation based on scientific evidence, police said. more..

Editorial: Trigger-happy guardians

June 14 (Island) There has been another serious allegation against the police that they shot dead a motorcyclist in Pasyala at point-blank range on Wednesday night. The police insist that they opened fire on him as he sped away defying their orders to stop. An eyewitness, however, has said the victim stopped as ordered and the shooting was unprovoked. He has also claimed that the two policemen involved in the incident were drunk. The matter is now before courts and more..

Deceived by damnable deceit

June 14 (NS) Cynics contend that facts don’t matter in Sri Lankan politics? The majority of our politicians seem to lie with impunity, brushing off the condemnation of the citizens reminiscent of a horse’s tail swishing away flies. Strangely enough many voters cocooned in ideology will believe anything that reaffirms their views and ignore anything that contradicts them. We observe so many of them notorious for their estrangement from the truth, being continuously elected. more..

Karunaratne's light flickers

June 14 (CI) In F. Scott Fitzgerald's seminal novel The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby stares long into the night at a single green light. On occasion, he reaches out and grasps at it, but catches nothing but air. The light is at the other end of the bay, where the love of his life lives. She is Gatsby's greatest desire, but when the story ends, she and he remain apart. The green light shone brightly for Dimuth Karunaratne at Lord's. more..

Partnership to protect free expression online

June 14 (GV) I am both proud and pleased to welcome the launch of Project Galileo by CloudFlare, for which the Centre for Policy Alternatives – the institutional anchor of this site – is a global launch partner. As noted in CloudFlare’s blog post announcing the launch of the new initiative, Project Galileo’s goal is to protect free expression online. Sites can participate in Project Galileo if they meet the following criteria: They are engaged in news gathering, civil society, more..

The great puzzle of British values

June 14 (Island) The UK Education Secretary Michael Gove’s decision, supported by PM David Cameron, that UK schools should teach British values has led to much controversy in the UK, and also become a puzzle for teachers in that country. It is inevitable that we in Sri Lanka look back at the past week in trying to figure out this puzzle, when recalling how the England cricket captain and his team members looked at the "spirit of cricket". There seemed to be little doubt that to Alistair Cook, more..

The War Within

June 14 (IE) Machismo is mostly seen as a measure of manliness. In 2012, Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage developed that thought into a film, set against the backdrop of the 25-year-long Sri Lankan civil war. “War and conflict are the highest manifestations of masculinity and show the degree of manliness in a person,” says Vithanage, whose latest film With You, Without You (Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka) explores more..

Prior grateful for lucky break

June 14 (CI) Matt Prior had his heart in his mouth when Sri Lanka reviewed a second-ball lbw appeal against him on the first afternoon at Lord's. It came down to a matter of inches, with his back leg a fraction outside the line. Prior survived, vowed to make the most it, and the end result was a bustling 86 in his first innings back after being dropped and having to battle an Achilles injury that he feared may not prove beatable. Much of Prior's scoring was done on the opening day, more..

England encounter the pleasure and the pain

June 14 (CI) Second day at Lord's provided a picture of the future England face: the exciting parts and the potential problems. There was a double hundred from Joe Root, England's first since the final Test of the 2011 season against India which signalled a drying up of the daddy hundreds. Then there was fun and frolics from the lower order as they batted without inhibition with England careering along at more five an over. Then it was all eyes on the new shape of England's attack. more..

Full moon lures thousands of blood donors

June 14 (WHO) To mark World Blood Donor Day 2014, thousands of volunteers have turned up at a centre in Colombo, to donate blood in what is being claimed as South Asia’s largest blood drive. Sri Lankans attach special importance to the act of blood donation. “Because most Sri Lankans follow Buddhism, blood donation is religiously and culturally accepted and very much a valued concept,” says Dr Namal Bandara, more..

Eshan’s personal best wins Sri Lanka a silver

June 14 (Island) Sprinter Himasha Eshan produced his personal best to win the silver medal in the boys’ 100 metres dash on the second day of the 16th Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Taipei, on Friday. Eshan clocked 10.49 seconds to finish behind Japan’s Takuya Kawakami, who returned a time of 10.47 seconds to clinch the gold. The race was expected to be much faster, with at least four sprinters who had previously clocked sub 10.50 seconds lining up for the final. more..

Bridging the lacuna between Sinhalese & Tamils

June 14 (AT) Conscious of the fact that during the 26 war in Sri Lanka brought significant divisions, heartburns, physical trauma, inflexible beliefs within the two major ethnic communities - Sinhalese and Tamils - in Sri Lanka, and that military conclusion of the war with the domestic defeat of the Tamil Tiger militant movement that did not totally bury the notion of territorial division between the two ethnic groups as a panacea for all Sri Lankan ills, the Most Venerable Mawarale Bhaddiya Thero, more..

Heightened fears over Sri Lanka’s vulnerability to foreign debt

June 14 (CT) Sri Lanka may be more vulnerable to foreign debt than generally believed, amid rising foreign borrowings by both the State, State enterprises and also private entities, economists have said. MP Harsha de Silva, said when parameters developed by UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific were applied to overall external debt; Sri Lanka appeared to be in safe zone according to official calculations. more..

Cannes Festival: largest Lankan delegation to participate

June 14 (Island) Nine young outstanding marketing communications professionals from Sri Lanka’s advertising and marketing fraternity have been selected to represent Sri Lanka at the annual Young Lions Competitions and the Roger Hatchuel Academy in Cannes, France in June 2014. Commenting on this year’s competition, Ranil de Silva, Sri Lanka’s representative for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity said," Being able to have the largest number of SL more..

NDB, British Council boost language skills of teachers

June 14 (CT) At a recent event, 179 English teachers from over 87 govt schools were awarded the 'English for Teaching' qualification validated by the British Council. This was a result of a special project to enhance the language and teaching skills of Secondary English Language Teachers of Govt Schools jointly delivered by NDB and the British Council. As a responsible corporate citizen, NDB has dedicated itself towards making meaningful benefactions to the society through more..

Day 2: Sri Lanka solid after Root's double-ton

June 14 (CI) Dip your bread, Joe Root will have been told since childhood on batting days like this. Like Oliver Twist, he dipped his bread and then asked to dip it some more. Sri Lanka did not possess a bowler with the capability to scold him. The outcome was that he launched England's Test summer at Lord's by becoming the fourth-youngest England batsman to hit a Test double-century, a poster boy for a new generation. more..

With poise, without prejudice

June 14 (Hindu) Sleeping with the enemy is not a new theme for the purveyors of potboilers but what if the boy and girl come from communities who were actually at war till yesterday and are still nursing scars. Most filmmakers either tend to push real conflicts under the carpet or romanticise it, but celebrated Sri Lankan director Prasanna Vithanage tries to walk the razor edge and has come out with the right blend of intensity and melancholy without taking sides with Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka more..

CEMS-Global USA’s ‘Sri Lanka International Auto Show 2014’ kicks off at SLECC

June 14 (FT) ‘Sri Lanka International Auto Show 2014’, a professional International Auto Show for the automotive world of Sri Lanka kicked off at the Sri Lanka Exhibition & Convention Centre yesterday. The International Show has been organised by CEMS-Global Conference & Exhibition Management Services – USA in association with ‘CEMS Lanka’, a Multinational Exhibition Organiser. The show will run till 15 June daily from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Minister Kumara Welgama MP inaugurated the event more..

Pakistan awards scholarships to Sri Lankan students and journalists

June 14 (GDI) The Govt of Pakistan through its High Commission in Sri Lanka has awarded SL Rs 2 Million worth of educational scholarships to 71 students of O/L and A/L and 12 promising working journalists under the second Phase of Jinnah Scholarship Programme 2014. The ceremony to award Jinnah Educational Scholarship 2014 was held at Ananda College, Colombo on Thursday evening under the auspices of the more..

Gotabhaya visits Mihintale Aloka Pooja

June 14 (MoD) Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited the 52nd Mihintale Aloka Pooja ceremony organised by the Lake House today (12). He visited Mihintale during his visit to the Sandahiru Stupa where blessed precious treasures were placed in view of dome constructions in the morning session. President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the Aloka Pooja at the sacred Mihintale Viharaya yesterday which will continue until 14th June. more..

Two ex-cops plead guilty to homicide

June 14 (Island) Two ex-police constables who pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in a 21-year-old case were sentenced to two years in jail by the High Court Judge of Kandy, Manilal Waidyatilake. Ex-police constables Nandasiri Katugastota and Manel Gedara Nilaratne had been indicated with the murder of Aluthgeda Kirineris (54) of Keerangamuwa Wahakotte near, Galewela by assaulting him with clubs on or about October 02, 1992. more..

President Rajapaksa Arrives in Bolivia

June 14 (GDI) President Rajapaksa arrived in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, Friday to attend the Summit of Heads of State of the Group of 77 and China (G77+China). He was welcomed at the Viru Viru International Airport with military honors and received by the President of Bolivian Senate Eugenio Apaza and SL’s Ambassador in Cuba Sarath Dissanayake. This is the first time a SL head of state is visiting South American country. more..

Seneviratne gets top PCCSL post

June 14 (ST) Former Secretary General of Parliament, Nihal Seneviratne has been appointed Chairman of the Dispute Resolution Council (DRC) of the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL), following the resignation of Sam Wijesinha. The appointment was made by the PCCSL Board of Directors this week. Mr. Wijesinha, who served as DRC Chairman since the inception of the PCCSL in 2003, was appointed Chairman Emeritus by the Board of Directors. more..

CBSL clarification on govt external debt

June 14 (Island) The recent press release by the Public Debt Department (PDD) highlighted the improvements in govt’s external debt position. These improvements are well documented in the Central Bank Annual Report 2013 under Section 6.4 (pp. 176-180) and in Appendix Tables 105 to 113 and in Special Statistical Appendix Table 7, where the external debt of the govt expressed as a per cent of GDP shows a decline to 34.1% in 2013 from 36.5% in 2012. However, a few commentaries that more..

Lord Naseby rises in Lanka’s defence

June 14 (Island) One of Sri Lanka’s best friends in the UK, Lord Naseby, has once again punched holes in the British policy towards Colombo and questioned why London was working against democratically elected govt here. Lord Naseby delivering a speech at the British House of Lords on Wednesday said: My Lords, first, I compliment her Majesty’s Treasury on what it has achieved for our economy- secondly, more..

Ten kilos of explosives seized in transit

June 14 (DM) A lorry driver was taken into custody today from a location close to the clock tower in the Anuradhapura Town while he was allegedly transporting 10 kilogrammes of explosives, 500 detonators and 40 metres of fuse cord, police said. They said that a special police team led by North Central DIG Ranjith Padmasiri had made the detection on a tip-off. The driver was a 52-year-old man from Nochchiyagama, who was also identified as the owner of the lorry, police said. more..

Chandrika returns on 29 June

June 14 (CT) Former President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, who left the country to avoid a bad period, is to return on 29 June, a reliable source said. Kumaratunga left the country two months ago after having crucial discussions with relevant parties, regarding the common candidate of the Opposition, at the next Presidential Election, which is likely to be held in November 2014. According to her horoscope, her malefic period had ended with Jupiter entering into Cancer. more..

UNHRC ­probe: UNP to move amendment to govt’s parliament resolution

June 14 (Island) UNP said that its participation in next week’s debate on a resolution to be moved by the govt seeking parliamentary approval to call on the UNHRC not to proceed with a war crimes probe against the Sri Lankan military would depend on the acceptance of an amendment it was planning to move. UNP MP John Ameratunga said that UNP’s involvement in the debate on govt’s motion would depend on its amendment being entertained. more..

Probe on food outlets on long distance bus routes

June 14 (DN) An investigation by Health Department officers has determined that food outlets on long distance bus routes were substandard and fell into the category 'C'. The food outlets and processing centres were graded by the Health Ministry as 'A' (places with 75 points and above), 'B' (50-75 points), 'C' (25-50 points) and 'D' (0-25 points). "We consider outlets graded 'A' and 'B' to be very good and satisfactory respectively, those graded 'C' and 'D' as not satisfactory and bad respectively. more..

Police trace heroin haul to Tigers

June 14 (Island) SSP Ajith Rohana said that the suspects taken into custody along with more than 85 kilos of heroin on Wednesday had close links with LTTE elements active overseas. The duo had been posing off as top businessmen in Colombo, he said. Investigations had revealed that the drugs were regularly supplied to the suspects now in custody by LTTE supporters who were making a strong bid to revive the now decimated LTTE and heroin was the main source of income of the Tigers, more..

Pillay fires fresh salvo!

June 14 (FT) UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay has expressed ‘deep regret’ about Sri Lanka’s announcement that it will not cooperate with the investigation into alleged war crimes and major rights violations during the last seven years of the war, to be launched by her Office next month. “The High Commissioner deeply regrets the Government’s categorical statement to the UNHRC on Tuesday that it will not cooperate more..

The only way forward for our politicians

June 14 (DM) The standard of politics has declined so much in Sri Lanka that we must seriously consider the need for high educational qualifications for those who wish to enter politics at parliamentary, provincial and local council levels. In most other important fields – ranging from medicine to engineering – anyone who wishes to practise needs to have a degree from a recognised university. Whatever the criticism against him maybe, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe recently more..

‘Mankading’ the almost invincible

June 14 (DM) In recent weeks, Sri Lankan cricketer Sachithra Senanayake has leapt into the limelight from being a relatively low-profile national sportsman into the newspapers, websites and television screens of the international media. Senanayake’s sudden flight to fame began when he was reported by the umpires and the match referee for a suspected illegal action during the fourth one-day international against England at cricket’s headquarters, Lords. more..

Are outdated poultry food being sold?

June 14 (SL) At a time when the CAA is taking legal action against traders that sell food items and medicine not fit for human consumption, startling revelations have come to the fore as to how Sri Lanka Customs, which is a govt institution, has sold nine containers of poultry food recently which is unfit for animal feed. This has raised many eyebrows as to why SL Customs sold more than 15 months old stock of 200,000 kg more..

Paying the price for roads, houses built without care

June 14 (ST) Short-sighted development has exacerbated the misery caused by the rain-floods. The rainfall, especially in the Kalutara District, was the highest the country has received in decades. With no experience in receiving such high falls in a short period of time authorities were unprepared to deal with the situation. According to Meteorology Department, this was the highest recorded rainfall since 2003. more..