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Cut the casino crap, start talking nanotech

May 8 (ST) Last Friday the Govt staked all its winnings of goodwill on one turn of pitch-and-toss and came a cropper. It ran out of the good fortune that had shadowed its every step since the defeat of the Tigers five years ago in May. The political gamble did not bust the govt bank but clearly left its’ credibility dented. This time the expected numbers did not show up. Against the consolidated petitioned prayer tendered by the Venerable Maha Nayakes of the three Nikayas and the more..

'Well-managed Public Private Partnership, the need for ailing JEDB and SPC'

May 8 (SO) The state sector tea industry is trying to regrow back into a lush green era. The effort is to turn into a profit- earning entity and be significant contributors to the still in demand Ceylon Tea which is doing significantly well in the world market. Chairman of the Janatha Estate Development Board and Acting Chairman of the Sri Lanka State Plantation Corporation Udayasri Kariyawasam said that the two institutions more..

The executive President: Public office above the law

May 7 (CT) There are very serious allegations being leveled against the govt particularly by the international community about the apparent lawlessness in the country. Some are of a very serious nature including that there is no Rule of Law in Sri Lanka, the fundamental constitutional norm respected by all democracies. In response to these allegations, which include the lack of Good Governance, Separation of Power and Accountability, the govt repeatedly states more..

Next govt must take on corruption

May 8 (CT) India has passed the half-way point in its chaotic elections, where 814 million people are registered to vote. The last polling day is 12 May and results will be announced on 16 May. One of the big questions is how the newly elected politicians will deliver on their campaign promises to tackle corruption. Too often those who speak up about corruption face reprisals and inaction. Take Ruti, a 65-year-old widow, who lives in Neori village. Home to just 218 people, village is located in more..

Galle Fort: Soak in the old and new

May 8 (ST) It is no exaggeration to call the Galle Fort, one of the best day get-aways from Colombo. And it’s just a 45- minute drive away on the Southern highway which makes it an irresistible destination. Pack for a day, put on your walking shoes and grab a hat and of course, that camera! Just passing through or spending the day only? Our new travel series gives you a quick guide to the country’s many great destinations. more..

Now, they are coming for cops

May 8 (Island) In the early hours of Tuesday an unidentified gang abducted two traffic policemen on duty in Kurunegala, assaulted them and shot one of them dead; the other managed to escape. If the police personnel are not safe on public roads, how vulnerable the ordinary people are goes without saying. The motive for Tuesday’s abduction and killing has not yet been established. But, the incident ought to jolt the police into action. A policeman and his wife died violent deaths at more..

Packer behind Mahinda-Abbott friendship?

May 8 (CT) Suspicion is building up with regard to the relationship between casino king, James Packer and the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. Govt introduced a Bill last year that facilitated Packer to start casino clubs in Sri Lanka. However, the Bill was withdrawn from the Parliament agenda due to protest by the Buddhist monks and the patriotic elements in the govt. Recently, the govt passed another Bill titled Strategic Development Project Act, amidst protests of the Mahanayake Theras more..

CNNGo: Sri Lanka

5 years on, where we are now: Reconciliation, rule of law and governance

May 8 (GV) It is five years now after the defeat of the LTTE. As the Govt then claimed it marked the end of terrorism and the beginning of a new era of reconciliation and renewal throughout Sri Lanka. The Govt’s specific goals were the restoration of peace, rehabilitation of the ravages of war, rapid development of all sectors of the economy, the return of the rule of Law and increasing prosperity for all. In the North, as it was admitted, the most severely affected region, more..

Retailers keep away from equity market damaged by industry greed

May 8 (CT) The country's equity market continues to grapple with the lack of confidence and trust as retail investors stay away despite the prevailing low interest rate regime. With the low interest rate regime continuing to remain, people are reluctant to invest in capital market products, which give a high return compared to other investment tools. Ceylon FT spoke to veteran capital market specialist Ravi Abeysuriya to get his views on this. "The fundamental issue which more..

'Counter diaspora influence with strong domestic process'

May 8 (FT) Head of the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka, Ambassador David Daly, speaks about the bloc’s motivations to rigorously pursue accountability, the promotion of human rights and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, underscoring the need for the Sri Lankan Govt to treat the actions at the UNHRC with the seriousness it deserves. Following are excerpts: His replacement Sarangi Thilakasena, also Asst Director, more..

Sanga’s commitment amazes me – Roy Dias

May 8 (Island) Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara’s obsession for training is very well known in cricket circles and no one was surprised when he opted to play two First Class games for County Champions Durham as preparation ahead of Sri Lanka’s bilateral series against England. The prolific left-handed batsman has won many accolades from mates and opponents for his total focus and dedication for the game and yesterday, Roy Dias, who occupied the national cricket team’s more..

Sri Lanka fails to qualify in Junior Fed Cup

May 8 (Island) After losing her third consecutive tie on Wednesday, May 7, against Korea to a score of 3-0, Sri Lanka lost hopes of qualifying for the next stage, in this year’s Junior Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Final Qualifiers, sponsored by BNP Paribas, at Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) reported. Earlier they lost against strong Japan and China and therefore had to end up last in the four-nation Group ‘D’, without winning at least a single set in 9 matches more..

EU-Lanka trade snubs politics!

May 8 (FT) Political ties may be strained between the EU and Sri Lanka over human rights issues, but the private sector appears unfazed as two-way commerce is on the up, laying an ideal platform for the first-ever trade dialogue which kicked off in Colombo yesterday. The unique initiative was primarily aimed at providing support for European Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ECCSL) members’ business in EU region more..

SLI posts Rs. 6.35 bn pre-tax profit

May 8 (Island) ‘With a total asset base of Rs.443 billion, we have been able to achieve a record pre-tax profit of Rs. 6.35 billion for the year 2013, and declare a matchless bonus haven of Rs. 4.4 billion for our life insurance policy holders, SLI Managing Director Piyadasa Kudabalage said, announcing SLI’s financial performance for 2013. "No one else in the insurance industry has been able to post such mammoth profits or declare benefits to life policy holders like we have done. more..

Amunugama outlines govt. development focus at ADB AGM

May 8 (FT) Following is the address by Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, at the 47th Annual General Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Astana, Kazakhstan. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Takehiko Nakao, President of the ADB, honourable members of the Board of Governors, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour to be here on behalf of the Govt of Sri Lanka and to address the 47th Annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the ADB. more..

Rs. 300mn yearly saving by changing lung cancer drug importer

May 8 (Island) Health Secretary Dr.Nihal Jayathilaka said that govt would be able to save Rs.300 million per annum as a local drug agent had been duly issued the import licence to import a highly expensive drug (injection) meant for malignant lung cancer patients. He pointed out that the Health Ministry’s Medical Supplies Division (MSD) had been purchasing the Pacliall (protine bound Paclitaxel) injection at more..

SLIIT commences enrolment for MSc

May 8 (Island) With the aim of equipping students with a well recognized MSc qualification and giving them a cutting edge at their place of work, SLIIT, the premier degree awarding institute, has now commenced enrollment for it’s MSc degree programmes; MSc in Information Technology, MSc in Information Management, MSc in Information Systems, MSc in IT (Specialising in Cyber Security) and MSc Degree in Enterprise Applications Development. more..

PHIs to supervise danselas

May 8 (Island) Public Health Inspectors’ Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL) said it would carry out awareness programmes to ensure food safety at danselas to be held in view of next week’s Vesak. President of the PHIUSL, Upul Rohana said that instructions had been issued to all PHIs to visit danselas while food was being prepared. Organisers of danselas would be issued with instructions as regards food safety, Rohana said, adding that last year over 4,870 dansel organisers consulted PHIs. more..

Govt. to bring new laws against animal cruelty

May 8 (DM) Govt will enact new laws to prevent animals being subjected to various forms of cruelty, Parliament was informed. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella moved an adjournment motion in the House seeking Parliamentary attention on the welfare of animals, either kept as pets or caged in zoos. Mr. Kiriella, in his motion, said the global trend was to close down zoos by releasing animals to their natural habitats. more..

International symposium on Buddhist Jurisprudence 2014

May 8 (DN) The symposium on Buddhist Jurisprudence Sri Lanka 2014, will be held on May 10 at 9 am with the participation of Chief Justice Mohan Peiris. The occasion will be graced by Chief Justice of Bhutan Lyonpo Sonam Tobgye and Attorney General Palitha Fernando, PC at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Centre, Colombo. The event is organised by Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute. This symposium on Buddhist Jurisprudence is a sequel to the international conference organized by more..

Renovated Abhayagiri Stupa to be unveiled on June 13

May 8 (DN) The renovated Abhayagiri Stupa in Anuradhapura will be unveiled and vested in the public for veneration by President Rajapaksa on June 13, said Ven Pallegama Siriniwasa Nayake Thera. He was addressing a meeting to make arrangements for the National ceremony for the unveiling of the Stupa on May 5. Nayake Thera said he would invoke blessings on all including the public who assisted in various ways to restore the stupa to its ancient glory by helping in kind and labour. more..

UNP claims abuse of cess funds collected from exports and imports

May 8 (FT) Imprudent use of cess, which is added to the consolidated funds of the Govt to help fuel the “parasite economic activities,” will “cripple the export industries,” Opposition lawmakers charged in Parliament, when the orders under the Sri Lanka Export Development Act were moved. According to UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne, a cess imposed on a particular industry should be used for the betterment of the same industry rather using it for petty more..

AIA’s suggestions for Sri Lanka to leapfrog from ambition to achievement

May 8 (FT) Head of Asia’s largest life insurer AIA on Tuesday expressed Sri Lanka needs to break away from the middle income trap as it aspires to enjoy the benefits of a developed nation. AIA Executive Director, President and Group CEO Mark Edward Tucker, who was in Sri Lanka this week, said that with the nation standing at the 90th position in the Economic Freedom Index, it should break from its current position if it is to avoid the middle income trap. more..

Mathews optimstic for Sri Lanka v England after Ireland win

May 8 (AFP) Captain Angelo Mathews expects his side to improve quickly once they get used to conditions in the British Isles. Speaking after what proved to be a comfortable 79-run victory over Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday, in the first of two one-day internationals before they arrive in England for a Test match and full ODI series, Mathews admitted it was a sluggish start but was encouraged by the performance. “The guys were a bit scrappy today but to get over the line was a good effort,” more..

New air travel deal sealed with New Zealand

May 8 (NZH) New Zealand has signed a new air services agreement with Sri Lanka. Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the agreement will enable airlines to offer flights from New Zealand to Sri Lanka and then on to other destinations, with tickets able to be sold for either or both sectors. "Today's agreement with Sri Lanka is in addition to 14 new or amended air services agreements recently approved by cabinet," said Brownlee. more..

Athukotale’s transfer raises eyebrows

May 8 (Island) Many eye brows had been raised following the decision taken by the authorities to transfer of Yuvaraj Athukorala, Asst Director (Local Media) of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau to function as the Asst Director Sports and Diaspora little over a month ago. Some sections of the tourism industry said that the authorities have the right to transfer any employee from one department to another, but the fact remains that Athukorale’s replacement should be a person who more..

Gary Wilson says Irish can avenge opening defeat by Sri Lanka

May 8 (BBC) Gary Wilson insists Ireland can regroup from Tuesday's defeat by Sri Lanka to beat the tourists in Thursday's second one-day international at Clontarf. Sent into bat, the tourists were restricted to 219-8 in the chilly Clontarf conditions but the Irish were bowled out for 140 in under 40 overs. "We're confident we have the skills to pull off a win," said Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman Wilson. "We'll be playing on a different wicket with a little more grass on it." more..

Undergrads ignore court order, protest near Temple Trees

May 8 (Island) IUSF yesterday conducted a protest march from Ward Place to Temple Trees in violation of a court order. Protest march started from near the UGC in the Ward Place and reached the Liberty roundabout via Cinnamon Garden, Colombo University, the Thummulla Junction and the Galle Road causing a severe traffic jam in the surrounding roads. Colombo Magistrate ordered 17 students of the IUSF including more..

Australian silence on human rights is our gift to Sri Lanka

May 8 (Guardian) What a photo: the smiling Sri Lankan defense secretary, accused of overseeing war crimes, gifting a premium box of Dilmah tea to the equally cheery Australian immigration and border protection minister, accused of running concentration camps. Apparently, the relationship between the two countries (cricket aside) genuinely could not be closer. For some third-culture kids, immigrants who never really knew where they belonged, perhaps diplomatic camaraderie more..

Sri Lanka, Maldives under scanner as transit point for terror

May 8 (TOI) Sri Lanka and Maldives are under the scanner of India's security establishment as sources and transit points for Pakistan-supported terror elements who may be used to target vital installations in southern India. Both countries were well aware of the emerging developments and have been coordinating more carefully in recent times. Maldives is a place of particular concern because of the radical elements, many of whom got indoctrinated in Pakistan. more..

'No ban liqour consumption in Sri Lanka'

May 8 (DM) Deputy Minister M.K.D.S. Gunawardane said in Parliament that govt could not ban alcohol consumption in the country. He said it could only be controlled through the govt’s ‘Matata Tita’ policy. He was responding to UNP MP Ajith P. Perera. Mr. Perera in his question placed on the Order Paper, asked whether liquor consumption would be banned in Sri Lanka since it was against the Buddhist teaching. more..

Refugee children to be with mothers

May 8 (CG) As jail authorities in Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai refused to lodge in judicial custody two of the five children, arrested along with their Sri Lankan Tamil parents, when they landed near Danushkodi on Monday, all the five children are being lodged at Mandapam refugee camp with their two mothers. As the local magistrate court granted bail to Uthayakala, mother of three children and Ramekka, mother of two children late on Wednesday evening, police would bring more..

Kirula Road to be named after Bernard Soysa

May 8 (CT) Renaming of Kirula Road, Narahenpita, after late Bernard Soysa, will take place tomorrow. Soysa was a former Colombo Municipal Councillor, MP and an acting Finance Minister. The name board will be unveiled by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. A ceremony will be held after the renaming. It will be chaired by Colombo Mayor, A.J.M. Muzammil and attended by Ministers, Prof Tissa Vitarana, D.E.W. Gunasekera and Vasudeva Nanayakkara and former Parliamentary General Secretary, more..

Speaker in a huff threatens walkout

May 8 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa lost his temper in Parliament yesterday and threatened to walk out of the House if both govt and Opposition MPs did not abide by Standing Orders during question time. He took a tough stance against MPs spending too much time on one question and was perturbed by a lengthy answer given by Minister Dilan Perera to a question raised by UNP MP Sajith Premadasa. more..

Who diluted the Act? Bibile’s vision distorted

May 8 (DM) Minister Maithripala Sirisena, addressing a huge meeting in his home base of Polonnaruwa to mark the 25th year of his work as a parliamentarian, thanked the people for enabling him to do so much for the country with one of the great achievements being the presentation of an Act in March to provide for the establishment of a regulatory authority which shall be responsible for the regulation and control of the import manufacture and other matters relating to medicinal drugs. more..

Weerawansa: A new addition to the list of ‘Cabinet Critics’

May 8 (DM) Some cabinet ministers in recent weeks appear to have made a hobby of being critical of the ruling UPFA and the latest to join the bandwagon was Minister Wimal Weerawansa. Weerawansa, the leader of the NFF, this week joined fellow Cabinet Minister Champika Ranawaka in an attack on the government’s policy makers for introducing laws which he too claims will allow the setting up of new casinos. It will be recalled that while Ranawaka and his colleague from the JHU, more..

Rise and fall of the ‘War-Victory’ situation

May 8 (DM) Ahead of an early presidential election, political scene is witnessing new developments, and some of them have been designed in conformity with the current political realities. Euphoria generated by the 2009 war victory, propelled the ruling UPFA to the zenith of political authority. But, this ecstasy has subsided with the passage of time, and the other issues have started taking their toll on the govt. more..

Electioneering with firearms: How great?

May 8 (SL) When the media reported Minister Vijithamuni de Zoysa as stating “I also won the elections in 2001 by showing a toy pistol”, I was reminded of the past, not for his boast or the poor humor created by Eraj Fernando, Mayor of Hamabntota, on pistols; but, because it is an eternal experience, stemming from abuse of power, irrespective of political parties. One may suspect whether the Minister’s statement is more..

PAFFREL calls on political parties to oversee compiling of electoral lists

May 8 (Island) The PAFFREL asked recognised political parties to get involved to check malpractices that take place during updating of the electoral registers by the Elections Department. Elections Department updates the electoral register annually and most probably it will do it again in June through the relevant Grama Niladaris. Executive Director of PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi said that recognised political parties already more..