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Hans Billimoria

Modi’s challenging task of resolving India’s daunting economic problems

June 2 (ST) India’s economic problems are enormous. Any expectation that Narendra Modi could resolve them quickly is wishful thinking. Yet the massive political victory and Modi’s economic achievements in Gujarat have led to high expectations. However, a massive political victory is different to achieving economic success. Reviving a state economy is quite different to economic development of a large country of over a billion people with 28 state governments. more..

Is the Open Economy the cause of our moral degeneration?

June 2 (Island) The causes for the escalation of murder and killings, thuggery, robbery and plunder, narcotic drugs trade, prostitution, theft of public property and so on in our country have nothing to do with the openness of the economy or the nature of Capitalism. They are due entirely to our negative political system where heaps of money has to be spent to get elected and criminals have to be hired for election campaigns. Moneys so spent have to be recouped by the elected MPs and more..

Ringtones becomes lucrative business for middlemen at the expense of song producers

June 2 (ST) The new category of ringtone agency companies are earning millions of rupees by selling popular songs to mobile companies to convert it as ringtones in mobile phones at the expense of songwriters, Sri Lanka song producers alleged. Ringtones are high-quality music and audio tracks that a mobile phone user can play when someone calls the number. Instead of hearing a normal ringing tone, callers can listen to more..

Editorial: Feeling like death warmed up

June 2 (Island) One in three children and one in four adults in Sri Lanka suffer from iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), making it the most critical micronutrient-related deficiency in the country, UNICEF has said. We have reported recently quoting several senior physicians that IDA is a serious health issue which needs to be tackled as a national priority. IDA has been found to cause various health problems as is common knowledge; children and adults affected by it are more..

Burning of Jaffna Public Library: Whodunit?

June 2 (CT) Who burnt the Jaffna Public Library (JPL)? This has been a vexed question ever since this most unfortunate incident took place on that fateful night of May 31-June 1, 1981, exactly 33 years ago. Different versions have been put forward and various academics and ‘righteous’ persons have been accepting versions they were gullible enough to accept or believe what they preferred to believe for questionable reasons. I am urged by a sense of duty to my country to make known what more..

President to appoint task force to tackle killer kidney disease

June 2 (Island) A Presidential Task Force is expected to be appointed shortly to tackle the rapidly spreading chronic kidney disease. It will comprise 15 Cabinet Ministers, 15 secretaries to ministries and several top academics with President Rajapaksa as chairman. Chronic kidney disease research team headed by Dr. Mrs. Kamani Wanigasuriya said that the time had come to take action to prevent the disease as it snuffed out more..

Failure in Maths: iron deficiency can be one cause

June 2 (DN) Around 40% of students fail mathematics in Sri Lanka. Iron deficiency can be one of the leading causes for this as iron is required to develop intelligence in children, UNICEF nutrition specialist Dr. Renuka Jayatissa said. She said one in every three children in Sri Lanka suffer from anaemia while one in every four adults suffer from the same. “One in every six children below the age of two suffer from anaemia. Over 90% of brain development in children take place during more..

Expolanka posts net profit up 23%

June 2 (FT) Expolanka Holdings recorded revenue of Rs. 54.4 billion and net profit of Rs. 1.57 billion for the financial year 2013/14, achieving YOY growth of 23%. The net profit attributable to equity holders of the Group reached Rs. 1.43 billion in comparison to the Rs. 1.06 billion recorded during the corresponding period last year. “Expolanka has come a long way on an incredible journey of success. Today in keeping with our daring to do attitude we take our Group business to more..

Sri Lanka opens London Stock Exchange

June 2 (FT) Sri Lanka on Friday livened up the London Stock Exchange (LSE) as the country was symbolically partnered for the market opening. The move by the LSE was to mark the highly-successful Investor Forum in London, in which it was also involved. LSE’s ties with Sri Lanka got a big boost when it acquired MillenniumIT, the capital markets software specialist. LSE is powered by solutions developed by MIT as well. more..

SLASSCOM releases Salary and Benefit Survey 2014

June 2 (CT) The Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) together with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have published the SLASSCOM Salary and Benefits Survey for the fourth consecutive year. IT/BPM staffs are much sought after today not only in the outsourcing industry but also in more traditional industries such as Banking, Insurance, Manufacturing, Tourism, Telecoms and so forth. This report provides an in-depth analysis of the emerging HR trends more..

Air Chief Marshal Terance Gunawardena passes away

June 2 (MoD) The 8th commander of the Air Force Air Chief Marshal Terance Gunawardena passed away 30th of May. Groomed in the early days of his life at Wesley College, Terrence Gunawardena joined the Air Force on 31st Dec 1959 and was commissioned in 1961. Refrred to, within close circles, as 'Terry', he served as a squadron pilot in many squadrons. He was also a pioneer in the early jet era flying Jet Provost and MiG 17 jets. His rise through the ranks was made colourful by more..

Sri Lanka sees emerging market entry in 2015 on IPO outlook

June 2 (BN) Sri Lanka’s chief securities regulator said he aims to get the country’s stocks into the MSCI Emerging Markets Index as soon as next year. Nalaka Godahewa, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the island nation needs a company to list $500 million of equity to become eligible for promotion to the emerging-market index from the frontier-market gauge. “If one or two large existing more..

Three years after Cowdrey Lecture Sanga gets another standing ovation

June 2 (Island) Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara received a standing ovation at Lord’s following his articulate Cowdrey Lecture three years ago. He remains the only Sri Lankan and the only current player to have delivered the prestigious annual lecture on the state of the game. On the field, however, Sangakkara had failed to achieve any significant milestone at the Home of Cricket and that was put to rest on Saturday as he made a match winning century at Lord’s during a crucial more..

Report direct to hospital heads, docs tell midwives

June 2 (Island) The GMOA General Committee sent letters to all Provincial Health Directors, Regional Health Directors and the Hospital Directors to work in accordance with the Establishment Code Section XXX V 11-1-3 which had vested power on the institutional heads to keep the midwifery register with them. Dr. Nalinda Herath pointed out that the GMOA did not want to interfere with the affairs of the another trade union, but it was a matter of national interest to intervene to resolve the problem more..

War dead in SL: British HC won’t clarify statements in House of Commons

June 2 (Island) British High Commission in Colombo declined to verify whether British lawmakers had consulted it as regards accountability issues in Sri Lanka during Eelam war IV before making statements in the British Parliament. British HC said that it couldn’t respond on behalf of British MPs. HC was responding to a query whether Siabhain McDonagh (Mitcham and Morden-Labour party) had consulted the diplomatic mission more..

'Sri Lanka to be benefited from the Silk route'

June 2 (ITN) Sri Lanka is to get many benefits according to the Silk route concept introduced by China. Senior Minister Sarath Amunugama says that he paid a special attention in this regard. He said this after arriving at the BIA following the completion of the Chinese tour. Minister Amunugama said that he went to a meeting in Guwangshu. A new concept, Silk route has been introduced under the leadership of the Chinese President. Buddhism has been propagated along this route. more..

Schoolgirl stabbed by boyfriend

June 2 (Island) An 18-year-old student of a school in Ankumbura was stabbed with a pair of scissors last Friday by her ex-boyfriend for allegedly breaking up with him. She was rushed to the Kandy General hospital with a serious wound and underwent an emergency operation. She has been injured on her shoulder. She is now recovering in the ICU of the hospital. Hospital sources said her life was out of danger. The 22-year-old suspect had attempted to run away after stabbing, more..

Mayor vetoes TNA's Prabhakaran memorial

June 2 (DN) Jaffna Mayor Yogeswari Pathgunarajah successfully prevented attempts by the TNA to commemorate the death of LTTE leader V Pirabhakaran at Mullavaikkal, our sources say. In the face of strong opposition and objections of the Jaffna Mayor, the TNA had to cancel their plans to commemorate the LTTE leader's death anniversary. Under the pretext of commemorating the dead, plans were being made to rouse more..

Immense potential for exports to Iraq

June 2 (FT) Sri Lanka has immense potential to increase exports to Iraq, but to make the most of this opportunity the nation should further reduce instances of indirect shipments to that country, the Iraq Embassy to Sri Lanka said. Iraq Ambassador Kahtan Khalaf noted: “Bilateral relations between Iraq and Sri Lanka are very strong and solid. There are so many areas which we can work on and there certainly is a lot of potential, especially in the oil, trade and agriculture sector. more..

London Investor Forum concludes on a high note

June 2 (CT) In order to showcase the opportunities available in the capital market of Sri Lanka the CSE and the Securities and SEC held an Investor Forum on 30 May at the Savoy Hotel London. Forum, which was organized in association with the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Bloomberg, received an unprecedented response. Over 150 fund managers attended the forum. Keynote Address was delivered by Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal where Macro Economic outlook and more..

PSC to TNA: If you won’t come, make submissions

June 2 (DM) Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), mandated to evolve constitutional proposals, has requested the TNA to make submissions on its stand if it cannot attend regular sessions. The govt took steps to appoint this PSC last year to evolve political proposals to resolve the national problem with the consensus of all the parties represented in Parliament. However, the UNP, JVP and TNA, as opposition parties, more..

Diverting of Iranamadu waters put on hold

June 2 (SM) The project to divert the waters of Iranamadu tank in Kilinochchi to fulfill drinking water requirements in Jaffna has been put on hold following strong objections by farmers. Provincial agriculture minister S. Iyinkaraneshan said that the postponement is pending a response to a request made to the ADB to change certain conditions in the said project. He said the project was expedited after an ADB warning the Rs. 20 billion allocation would be withdrawn if there was any delay. more..

No secular state under common candidate

June 2 (CT) National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ), which is canvassing to field a common candidate for the forthcoming Presidential election said its candidate would not be standing for a secular state. Media Secretary of the NMSJ, attorney-at-law, Ravi Jayawardana said its candidate will have the singular focus on the idea of abolishing the Executive Presidency. Convenor of the NMSJ and Chief Incumbent of Kotte Sri Naga Vihara, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera more..

'I will enter politics from Colombo'

June 2 (AM) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said he will enter politics one day, at the discretion of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Speaking to 'Deshaya', Defence Secretary has said although he does not have personal interest in politics, he is ready to take up the challenge if and when the President wants him to do so. "however, I will not contest from Hambanthota. I will contest from Colombo," more..

Petition to ban Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)

June 2 (AT) Voices against Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is growing louder and louder and it is being urged that the militant Buddhist outfit be banned forthwith. A petition campaign has demanded, “Stop the extreme group of monks called BBS who ignites the religious hatred, enmity and violent oppression against Muslims and other minority religious groups in Sri Lanka.” Central theme of the petition which is now in circulation urges “No Hatred.” This petition aims to gather opposition to extremist BBS more..

Dengue mossies change shifts

June 2 (Island) A recent research conducted by the Department of Zoology of the Kelaniya University had revealed that dengue mosquitoes had changed their stinging times. Dengue mosquitoes had once been active from 7 am to 9 am and from 3 pm to 5 pm. But, now, they stung humans from 10 am to 12 noon and from 2 pm to 4 pm. The dengue mosquito had been earlier known to lay eggs only in clean water, but the recent research had found that the mosquitoes laid eggs even in unclean water, more..

UN drafts probe team for Sri Lanka

June 2 (FT) UN team probing major human rights abuses by both sides during the last seven years of the Sri Lankan war will comprise at least 13 members, supervised by two experts, including at least one high profile personality in the international arena. The experts and sections of the investigation team, which will include forensic experts to study digital evidence, will travel to Sri Lanka and the Asia Pacific, North America and Europe over the more..

Press release diplomacy puts Lanka in a mess

June 2 (DM) Since the end of the war against ruthless terrorism in May 2009, Sri Lanka’s foreign policy and mainly our policy towards India has been mishandled or messed up to an such an extent that the Rajapaksa govt once again finds itself on a collision course with India’s new PM Narendra Modi whose personal charisma led his BJP to the most resounding election victory in three decades. When Mr. Modi’s landslide victory was announced last month many UPFA govt leaders were more..

Economic crises, social instability and environmental catastrophe

June 2 (DM) The title of this short essay is intended to capture the essence of the present human predicament in an increasingly integrated world. To an ever increasing proportion of the world’s population today, sudden shocks emanating from economic crises, social turmoil and environmental disasters have become commonplace. So much so, a growing body of research today is focused on human resilience – the capacity of human populations and social systems to adapt to more..

'We don’t want this govt. toppled'

June 2 (DM) NFF Leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa during an interview with insisted that his recent salvoes fired against the govt were not aimed at toppling the incumbent regime. Instead, he said the ideology behind such salvoes was to ensure the govt continued in power. He denied the notion that the current political tension with the regime was scripted. Q: Minister this govt has two policy documents, namely the more..

LTTE human smuggling links

June 2 (SL) The LTTE engaged in human smuggling, drug trafficking, bank and financial fraud and a range of other criminal activities to fund their operations. The LTTE used their own and other human smuggling networks to move its leaders, members and their families to other countries. The favoured destination for LTTE families to move were North America (Canada, US), Europe (UK and continental Europe) and Australia & NZ. more..

BlackRock boost for Sri Lanka

June 2 (FT) The world’s largest fund manager BlackRock on Friday declared that a host of positive factors makes Sri Lanka a compelling place to invest and “now is an excellent time” to do so. “It is only in the past 18 months that we have put serious capital to work (in Sri Lanka) and that is why I would say now is an excellent time to invest in Sri Lanka. I am very positive about the outlook of the Sri Lankan economy. more..

Dy. Minister Gunasekera denies involvement

June 2 (Island) Deputy Minister Hemal Gunasekera claimed yesterday that it was not fair to blame him for an attack by an unidentified gang on a police constable at Bombuwala on Saturday night. Constable Suminda Saman (42) had been driving his car on his way to work at the Kottawa police post on the Southern Expressway when a group of persons who travelled in pick-up truck forced him to pull over. He was thereafter dragged out & assaulted. more..

Scott Morrison says no conclusions can be drawn from Sri Lankan’s death

June 2 (TA) SCOTT Morrison has defended the Coalition’s treatment of asylum-seekers, warning against drawing broader conclusions from the fatal self-immolation of a young Sri Lankan man. Leo Seemanpillai, 29, a member of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority living in Geelong, is believed to have set himself ablaze on Saturday while waiting on officials to determine his bid for Australia’s protection. more..

C’wealth adjusts programmes to cope with Canadian cut

June 2 (ST) The Commonwealth Secretariat is still making adjustments to development programmes to cope with the withdrawal of Canadian funds in protest over Sri Lanka’s Chairmanship of the Commonwealth Organisation, a spokesperson said. The Canadian Govt announced in April that it was suspending its voluntary contribution of Rs. 1.2 billion to the Commonwealth Secretariat. “While Sri Lanka is Chair in Office, Canada’s more..

Sex-Education as a compulsory science subject

June 2 (CT) Sex-education will soon be taught to students from Grade 10 onwards as part of a compulsory science subject. This move is being enacted by the Ministries of Health and Education. Sex-education is right now being taught as part of the health science subject and it only focuses on the human reproductive system's anatomy and functions. In light of a rise in sexual intimacy amongst youth and the increasing number of more..

'No problem giving Police powers to the North'

June 2 (CT) Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera said while he had no problem with the govt deciding to give Police powers to the Northern Province, he felt giving the same powers to the other Provinces was not advisable due to the ill repute of politicians. He added that 13th Amendment should be implemented with Police powers given to a Central Police Commission and land given to the Land Commission through a land policy. more..

Bad weather claims over 13 lives

June 2 (CG) The bad weather experienced in most parts of the country since last night has claimed over 13 lives, the police and disaster management officials said. Among those killed were five people from a landslide in Agalawatte. Flooding in Kalutara killed and affected several people. The navy meanwhile said that relief and rescue teams have been sent to the affected areas to help the displaced families. more..

Govt will not assist probe

June 2 (CG) The Govt says it will not assist the UN investigation into alleged war crimes abuses committed during the war in Sri Lanka. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says the Govt position has been that it does not accept the U.S. resolution under which the investigation on Sri Lanka was approved. Rambukwella said that since the resolution has been rejected there is no question of any process affiliated to that being assisted. more..