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Commercial Bank begins renovation of Sri Pada steps

June 29 (Island) Commercial Bank has begun work on renovating two sections of the steps to the summit of Sri Pada for the benefit of thousands of pilgrims who make the trek up Sri Lanka’s holy mountain. The Bank’s CSR Trust has allocated substantial funds for the project, which entails repairs to the steps between lamp posts 192 to 212 and 247 to 260, on the stretch leading up to Seetha Gangula. The work in two phases is due to be completed in December, more..

Forex scam: CB checks on money changers

June 29 (ST) Authorised money changers have come under Central Bank scrutiny following allegations that they are siphoning off vast amounts of foreign currency. Authorised dealers are required to hand over the foreign currency they buy to the Central Bank and obtain proceeds in Sri Lankan rupees. As part of the investigations, Central Bank officials are visiting authorised money changers incognito to check whether they are more..

Ferial apologizes to Ven. Seelaratana thera

June 29 (Island) Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Singapore, Mrs. Ferial Ismail Ashraff has apologized to Ven. Battaramulle Seelaratana thera, the leader of the Janasetha Peramuna for the "inconvenience caused when he visited the mission". The prelate complained that, even after he was kept waiting for half an hour, the First Secretary of the mission did not meet him. He had wanted to personally hand over a letter to the High Commission regarding a Buddhist religious ceremony. more..

The Rajapaksas and the demobilized patriots

June 29 (Island) When Mahinda Rajapaksa was first elected to power in 2005, he won on a patriotic vote. Many national minded people feared that a UNP victory would mean complete capitulation to the western powers and even division of the country. After assuming power, Rajapaksa govt exceeded the expectations of the patriotic masses and not only finished off the LTTE in record time but even while the war was in full swing, they began a development thrust unseen since British colonial times. more..

Bribe-taker Ahtisaari to probe Sri Lanka

June 29 (NS) Serious questions have arisen over the inclusion of Finnish politician Martti Ahtisaari in the panel of experts appointed by UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay to assist the international inquiry panel on SL. Ahtisaari was the 10th President of Finland (1994–2000), Nobel Peace Prize laureate and UN diplomat and mediator, noted for his international peace work. Ahtisaari served as UN Special Envoy for Kosovo, more..

Travel & Tourism health threat in Sri Lanka

June 29 (eTN) Sri Lanka has become a dangerous tourism and business travel destination. This is not because of any political situation, but Dengue fever claimed 50 lives and infected 17,000 people. It may put the country’s important and sensitive tourism industry in danger if the current outbreak continues. CMC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruwan Wijeyamuni said peaks of dengue outbreaks are experienced in June and July and a lack of preventive measures will drive tourists away. more..

All-round Udarata ease to big win

June 29 (CI) A 30-ball 50 from Shehan Jayasuriya, followed by an incisive performance from Udarata Rulers' bowlers, helped the team to a 55-run victory against Western Troopers for their second straight win of the tournament. Udarata, put in to bat, scored at more than seven an over right from the start as the openers Dhananjaya de Silva and Upul Tharanga raced to 55 in 7.2 overs. Troopers fought their way back into the contest by dismissing both batsmen in successive overs, but more..

Bribery Commission DG transferred

June 29 (CT) Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, Lakshmi Jayawickrema, has been transferred to the Presidential Secretariat with effect from 24 June. No reason had been given for her transfer. Inside sources said they were surprised at her transfer as she had performed her duties well and was methodical in her investigations, following the necessary legal procedures, more..

Finds noodles being dried on the roof

June 29 (CT) A factory in Sedawatte, Grandpass, manufacturing noodles using expired ingredients and unhygienic methods of preparation was raided by the officers of the CAA. The officers confiscated 25,000 kg of noodles which were at valued at Rs 3 million. The factory had not only been using expired ingredients but had also used unhygienic methods to make the noodles. When the officers had arrived at the factory, they had found workers drying the noodles on the roof of the factory. more..

Sri Lankan authorities to crack down on vehicle assembly rackets

June 29 (ST) Sri Lankan authorities are to crack down on vehicle assembly rackets being carried out by businessmen who operate automobile assembly plants after importing parts from countries like Japan and China, official sources revealed. These assembled vehicles are sold in the local market at a price lower than the actual price with taxes, a govt official said, adding that this fraudulent practice deprives the state of much needed tax revenue for the country. more..

BASL to seek order to exhume bodies of Aluthgama victims

June 29 (SL) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) is to submit an application to court and seek an order to exhume the bodies of the Muslims who were killed during the recent riots in Aluthgama and Beruwala and investigate the circumstances that led to their deaths after suspicions were raised over the postmortem reports. Following a meeting held yesterday the BASL said it had decided to ask the court to direct more..

Panel to strengthen coastal security in India

June 29 (Hindu) The district administration and police have decided to constitute a standing committee to share intelligence, strengthen coastal security, prevent smuggling and human trafficking through sea route. The decision to set up the committee, comprising representatives from various security agencies, was taken at a meeting chaired by Collector K. Nanthakumar last week. The meeting discussed the need for strengthening coastal security following specific inputs that more..

Sri Lanka shuts terror door on Pakistan

June 29 (TOI) Sri Lanka has banned visas on arrival for Pakistanis after investigations showed that jihadist groups targeting India were using Sri Lanka as a transit point. Lanka is also one of the few countries that extended such a facility to Pakistani nationals. A bomb blast in a Chennai train in May revealed new plots against India by Pakistan-based jihadist groups using Sri Lanka and Maldives as transit points. A multinational investigation including Malaysia zeroed in on a Lankan national, more..

UNP hits back at threats against Mangala

June 29 (Island) UNP responded to statements made by the army and police spokesmen that MP Mangala Samaraweera revealing "state secrets" would be investigated and he may be prosecuted, with Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga saying that a govt that had politicized the entire public service was now politicizing the military. "We will proceed to draw the attention of the parliament and International more..

Buddhist groups lament police inaction

June 29 (NS) Over 20 Buddhist organizations in a joint communiqué expressed their deep disappointment and dismay over the conduct of media on the recent clashes in Aluthgama. Statement has been endorsed by the Convener of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) on behalf of over 20 Buddhist organizations that met on June 22. However, the only issue they had raised in the statement was the sequence of events which led to a series of tragic incidents in Beruwala more..

Sri Lanka says no to IOC

June 29 (SL) Govt has rejected an offer from the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to upgrade the facilities at the Sapugaskanda oil refinery. Minister Susil Premjayantha said that the govt will require USD 400 million to upgrade the Sapugaskanda refinery and USD 1.5 billion to build a new one. IOC had expressed interest in the govt’s plans to refurbish the island’s only refinery that will cost USD 2 billion. “We have expressed our interest,” Suresh Kumar the IOC’s Colombo chief said. more..

5-star wonder of Asia: Dream or nightmare?

June 29 (ST) An uneasy calm has returned to areas hit by ethnic violence in and around the southwestern coastal junction town of Aluthgama. Armed commandos of the Police STF and Army personnel stand guard at almost every hundred metres in Dharga Town, along the Matugama Road, the worst hit. Their Buffel armoured trucks, with V-shaped bottoms to minimise damage from landmines during the separatist more..

Sarachchandra: A Renaisance Man

June 29 (Island) Born at the cusp of the 20th century, at a moment when the cross influences of colonialism, nationalism, and Buddhist revivalism had a powerful impact on the psyche of Sri Lankan intellectuals, - generative as well as conflictual — the life and work of Ediriweera Sarachchandra, represents a transformation of these forces into works of path breaking scholarship and brilliant creativity. His erudition was legendary, and his influence on generations of students more..

What awaits those on death row?

June 29 (Island) "If the crime has shocked the conscience of the public and if it’s a crime for which the public would not want the perpetrator to walk out as a free man, the death sentence would not be commuted to life imprisonment," Mrs. Kamalini de Silva, Secretary to the Ministry of Justice said, briefing us on one of the important criteria adopted by the special committee appointed by the Minister of Justice to assess over 450 convicts waiting on the death row which it cannot accommodate. more..

For your eyes only: The spy battle

June 29 (ST) A ding-dong battle has broken out between the administrative boss and the operational chief in a spy organisation. The boss, insiders say, is livid and now ‘returns to sender’ some of the reports that reach him at various hours including midnight. The reason for this? The boss complains that they are not “credible” but the operational chief says, “I cannot just give him what he wants. I have to report on what we learn.” more..

Arson burns out 25 acres of precious forest

June 29 (ST) Fires deliberately lit in the jungle caused one of several man-made fires that have burned out 25 acres of precious forest in the past fortnight. The army yesterday joined fire-fighting efforts in Horombuwa, the latest of several recent blazes. People going into the jungle to collect tobacco leaves had reportedly set fire to the jungle. “There have been several fires in the past two weeks, with five incidents being reported from more..

Pensioners given gratuity option; but TUs threaten to strike

June 29 (ST) Despite President Rajapaksa’s orders to revert to the old system, pensioners are to be given two options to obtain gratuity — through a bank loan or from their respective state institution. The decision to introduce the new system was taken to expedite gratuity payments which were now subject to long delays, Public Administration Ministry Secretary P.B. Abeykoon said. He said the gratuity loans given by the Bank of Ceylon, more..

Soon a 3D view of the stars, planets at the Colombo planetarium

June 29 (ST) Visitors to the Colombo planetarium, that is undergoing a facelift, will soon have a three dimensional or 3D view of stars and planets. The Ministry of Technology, Research and Atomic Energy has made a Rs. 200 million investment to upgrade the 49 year old planetarium, that is presently closed to the public. During the past month all educational presentations of the planetarium had to be halted more..

Kandy Esala Perahara to begin on July 27

June 29 (GDI) The Kandy Esala Perahera will be held from July 27 to August 10. The Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela Bandara said that the Esala Perahera in Kandy will begin on July 27. He said the four devale peraheras will be held from July 27 to August 1 with the kumbal perahera from August 1 to 5 and the grand Randoli perahera from August 6 to 10. Randoli perahera will be held on August 10 and thereafter the water cutting more..

Tiger leader's early life and village

June 29 (CT) Prabhakaran was born in a fishing village. Wind that blows through the village is salty. No one can escape from that wind. Although the wind is salty, salt does not deposit on your skin. What can be the reason for this? In fact, we must ask from Prabhakaran. But he is no more. He is dead, or to put it more accurately, he was killed. He has only spared us some memories. They are two kinds of memories, thoughts & materials. more..

'Sri Lanka inflation to be 2.8% in June 2014'

June 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's inflation would be 2.8% in June and the country now had strong economic growth and a stable exchange rate, Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera said. He told a forum of Sri Lanka's key exporters and importers Friday that as he walked into the forum he got a text message that inflation in June would be 2.8%. "International rates. And last five months plus this month we are having inflation below 5%," more..

'News blackout backfired on govt'

June 29 (NS) JHU General Secretary Minister Champika Ranawaka criticized the unofficial “news blackout” imposed by the govt on mainstream media with regard to Aluthgama and Beruwala clashes saying the move completely backfired on the government, causing enormous harm to the country’s image overseas. “This is the age of social media, of citizen journalism. Nearly everyone has a mobile phone. more..

Private legal study programs under scrutiny

June 29 (NS) Law College Principal Dr. Jayatissa De Costa, who is also the Registrar of Council of Legal Education, said that regulations with regard to all legal study programs conducted by private institutions and universities, will be revised. However, Despite uncertainty whether the legal study programs conducted by private institutions and their affiliated universities will gain acceptance, the institutions are still recruiting new students. more..

'Damages caused by recent riots Rs 400 M'

June 29 (CT) This week, President Rajapaksa approved Rs 200 million for the rebuilding of Dharga Town, Aluthgama and Beruwala areas which on 15, 16 and 17 June had seen the brunt of the violent racial, communal and religious riots and clashes, which saw the death of two Muslims and one Tamil, injuries to many, the destruction of countless business properties, the displacement of communities, the arrest of many persons and more..

Rajiv probe agency yet to get extension

June 29 (AA) The Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA), which is investigating the conspiracy angle in the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, is yet to be given an extension by the new govt even though its term ended May 31. The ministry of home affairs (MHA), it is learnt, has put up queries to the CBI, which is the nodal agency, for MDMA. The CBI has responded. The MDMA, set up in 1998, has always been getting regular extensions under the previous governments. more..

Can services provide sustainable economic growth?

June 29 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawaka recently stated that we cannot avoid the middle income trap and enjoy sustainable growth unless we expand our economy to produce manufactured goods without confining our attention to the expansion of services. The service sector accounts for 58% of our GDP; with agriculture accounting for 11% and industry for 31%. Even out of the 31% industry, the manufacturing sector accounts for only 17% of the GDP. more..

Ada Cartoon

28 arrested for assaulting Buddhist monk

June 29 (AD) Police today said that 28 persons including 14 women and a teenager have been arrested after a group of villagers allegedly assaulted the Chief Incumbent of the Sri Munasingharama Buddhist Temple in Hatale, Panwila. The attack had reportedly taken place due to a dispute between the Buddhist monk and the villagers. 27 suspects have been remanded until July 3 after being produced at the Teldeniya Magistrate’s Court while the other suspect, more..

Uva PC to be dissolved on Thursday?

June 29 (NS) Sources close to the govt revealed that the Uva Provincial Council which is to end its official term on Sept 26, will be dissolved on July 03. The Nation also learns that the UPFA govt has already planned to have fresh elections in September. Uva Province Governor Nanda Mathew said that he had not been informed by the Chief Minister of the province on such a move. “The letter of consent should be given by the Chief Minister to dissolve the council. more..

Ranil says only a few are extremists

June 29 (CG) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says only a handful of Buddhists and Muslims both inside and outside Sri Lanka are extremists. Speaking at an event today, the UNP leader also blamed the Govt for the spread of religious extremism inside the country. Wickremesinghe noted that religious extremism has become a global threat to reconciliation and coexistence among communities. more..

Ministerial posts are not important – Rajitha

June 29 (LT) Minister Rajitha Senaratna who had filed a case in the Supreme Court regarding theft of foreign funds received as aid for Hambantota during the tsunami disaster in 2004 has become a political figure that come out with controversial statements. After coming out with his views frankly on communal riots created at Aluthgama and Beruwala, he has taken a step forward in explaining his stand in an interview he has given to a weekend newspaper. “No one can terminate my political career. more..

Eyesore at Maligawatte

June 29 (NS) Last week The Nation carried pictures of Armed Forces personnel and Health officials on duty at Maligawatte area during the three-day Dengue Prevention Program from June 20 to 22, conducted by the Emergency Dengue Prevention Presidential Task Force. However, only seven days after the program, The Nation came across a mosquito-infested canal smack in the middle of Maligawatte. How the Colombo Municipal Council and Dengue Prevention Presidential Task more..

Polly expects a cracker in Sri Lanka

June 29 (IOL) Proteas will have a scrap on their hands when they tackle Sri Lanka’s Lions over the next month. The Lankans, fresh off a first Test series’ triumph in England, will fancy their chances, especially on their own surface. Former Proteas’ captain and all-rounder, Shaun Pollock, said this week that the Sri Lankans would take a lot of heart from their successful jaunt in England. Having hung on to force a draw in more..

Ramazan fasting begins today

June 29 (LT) Muslims in Sri Lanka will start the month of Ramazan fasting from today. The fasting period commencing after sighting the new moon will last for 30 days. Ramadan (also known as Ramadhan or Ramzan) is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is a time when Muslims around the world focus on prayer, fasting, giving to charity, and religious devotion. The last third of Ramadan is a particularly holy period, as it commemorates when the Koran's (Qu'ran) first verses were more..

Two Northern villages celebrate FIFA 2014

June 29 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s first well-planned mega development “Northern Spring” arrived in Adampan, Mannar on 28 June with no less than a kick-off in celebration of the FIFA 2014 cup. A new play-garden for children and a newly upgraded sports venue with amenities was jopened in Adampan, Mannar by two leading figures of the Northern Province, Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran and Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Vanni MP on Saturday. more..