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Rain insufficient to reduce fuel adjustment charge

May 9 (Island) CEB Chairman W.B. Ganegala said that consumers couldn’t be given immediate relief in spite of some hydro catchment areas receiving considerable rain over the past few weeks. "As we are still using thermal power heavily to meet the demand, there is no likelihood of reducing the fuel adjustment charge (FAC) let alone doing away with it," Ganegala said. The CEB Chief was responding to a query by The Island. more..

Sri Lanka won't oppose casino in Packer's $400 mln Crown resort

May 9 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will not oppose the casino planned for a $400 million mixed-use resort being developed by Australia's Crown Resorts if it is operated using an existing license held by a local partner, a top govt official said on Thursday. The govt's latest stance on casinos is contrary to what it said on April 25 when Australian gambling tycoon James Packer's Crown project was approved by the country's parliament. more..

Embilipitiya schoolboys’ affair

May 9 (CT) The case of 32 schoolboys from Embilipitiya, which came at the tail end of mass disappearances in the late 1980s, brought poignantly to the outside world the shocking depths of brutality to which this country had descended. This publicity did help the parents, who were of very modest social position from the rural Deep South, in their 9-year saga for justice, in defiance of the obduracy of the State. Trial verdict salved the conscience of a nation darkened by the JVP more..

Still waiting for a labour charter!

May 9 (CT) It seems like eons ago when in September 1995, under the stewardship of the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the then Minister of Labour, introduced the National Workers' Charter to the Parliament. Charter promulgated as State policy in the field of labour and labour relations provides, in categorical terms, provisions relating to Basic Human Rights, Freedom of Association and the Right to Organize and Bargaining Collectively. more..

Sri Lanka's March exports up 26%, 1Q 15.7%

May 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports rose 26% from a year earlier to 1,060 million US dollars in March 2014 with apparels rising 31.9% to 454 million rupees. Tea exports rose 19% to 154 million rupees. Industrial exports were up 25.5% to 784 million US dollars. The ministry quoting EDB data said exports rose 15.7% to 2.8 billion US dollars in the first quarter of 2014, from last year's 2.36 billion US dollars. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close higher

May 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed to a near 11 month high on Friday with the turnover recording a 23 month high. All Share Price Index closed 9.14 points higher at 6,284.87 up 0.15%. The S&P SL20 closed 10.50 points higher at 3,457.26, up 0.3%. Turnover was 7.14 billion rupees, up from 935.21 million rupees a day earlier with 118 stocks close positive against 64 negative. Expolanka Holdings closed flat at 10.30 rupees with five off market transactions of 6.27 billion rupees more..

UNP waiting for Wimal’s next move

May 9 (Island) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said that the party was watching with interest Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s threats to leave the govt and, therefore, was unable to make further comments, but they were attempting to resurrect the UNP to face a snap parliamentary or presidential election and also the Uva PC polls. Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that he was told that Weerawansa sounded very serious about his threat of leaving the govt, but one could only guess more..

'I have a valid licence to rear elephants'

May 9 (DM) Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage rejected allegations that he was rearing an elephant without a valid licence and claimed he was in possession of a valid license to rear an elephant. He had informed the Speaker, Judicial Service Commission Secretary, Parliament Secretary General and the Govt Chief Whip in writing that he had a licence for the elephant. He also claimed that he had more..

Sri Lankan rupee rises to over 10-month high as Central Bank allows gain

May 9 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee ended 0.06% firmer on Friday at its highest level in more than 10 months, as the central bank did not intervene and allowed the currency to appreciate amid steady inflows from remittances and exporter dollar conversions in the absence of credit demand and imports, dealers said. The rupee closed at 130.42/44 per dollar, its highest close since June 28, and firmer from Thursday's close of 130.50/52. It has gained 0.14% in the last two sessions. more..

Diploma holders to be appointed to teach English

May 9 (Island) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament that his ministry would recruit diploma holders instead of graduates to fill 1,047 vacancies though it was in contravention of the provisions of the Teacher Service Minute. He said that the approval of the Cabinet had been sought for that purpose. The minister, responding to a question raised by UNP MP Sajith Premadasa, said that there were 1,047 vacancies for English teachers in govt schools. more..

Lankan terror suspect tailed US consulate officials

May 9 (TOI) Sakir Hussain, the suspected ISI agent arrested in the city on April 29 had been tailing US consulate officials and looking for unoccupied buildings in the vicinity, probably for an attack, investigators said. Police have included the names of two Pakistan diplomats in Colombo — Siddiqui, counsellor at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo, and his associate Boss, alias Shah — in the FIR. more..

Japan’s parliamentary vice minister for foreign affairs to visit Sri Lanka

May 9 (GDI) Mr. Seiji KIHARA, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan will be arriving today to further strengthen the long-standing ties between Japan and Sri Lanka. During his visit, Mr. Kihara will call on President Rajapaksa, and meet Minister Basil Rajapaksa, and other Govt officials to explore new avenues of bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Mr. Kihara will visit the Colombo Port and the National Blood Centre which were constructed with more..

'Empowering youth critical for global progress'

May 9 (DN) It is apparent that the problems of youth, as a significant group of the world population, have to be adequately addressed, not only for global development to progress, but also to enable them to add value to the development process, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said. Addressing the WCY youth delegates at the main plenary session on Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the BMICH, Weeratunga said empowering young people's more..

Speed limit on trains; further delays imminent

May 9 (DN) Fresh instructions by the Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) to locomotive operatives to follow stipulated speed limits mentioned on key points along railway lines is expected to result in further train delays in future, officials said. An official at the Railway Control Room told the daily Nation that locomotive operators had been instructed to follow the stipulated speed limit following the recent train collisions in Pothuhera and Aluthgama. more..

Sri Lanka, Pakistan hold defence talks

May 9 (CG) 2nd round of the annual Armed Forces Staff Talks between SL and Pakistan commenced at the Joint Staff Headquarters in Pakistan this week. Armed Forces Staff Talks were initiated in 2012 to promote professional and mutually beneficial relations between the Armed Forces of the two countries. Talks are designed to improve bilateral cooperation and understanding between the Armed Forces through direct and open exchange of facts on matters of mutual interest. more..

Wimal accuses the 'three rulers'

May 9 (SM) Minister Wimal Weerawansa says that two, three persons cannot be allowed to rule the country and things would always not work out in a happy go lucky manner. Weerawansa was speaking at an interview with the 'Lankadeepa'. Not directly naming these 'two, three persons' , the minister has said that even children of the country know who they are. Emphasising that the war was won through a joint effort, the minister has rated the management of the govt as 'zero'. more..

Another contract issue shakes SLC

May 9 (DM) Day-to-day operations at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has reportedly fallen into chaos as a delayed employee assessment has prevented nearly half of the total SLC cadre being deprived of new employment contracts, and technically out of jobs at the moment. SLC Executive committee had appointed a committee to make an evaluation of the staff, after some ex-co members had raised questions about massive cadre, more..

Muslim trader's shop torched in Aluthgama

May 9 (SM) Three Buddhist monks and an angry mob of at least 250 persons have set fire to a shop of a Muslim trader in the town of Aluthgama. The shop was set on fire after the mob charged that the brother of the owner had molested a child. The owner of the shop - Mohommad Nayeem Khan has said that this was a conspiracy against him. Khan has said that his brother who was arrested over child molestation charges was released on bail after all video footage taken inside his shop was more..

Sri Lanka enjoying peace says envoy

May 9 (CG) Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, Prasad Kariyawasam says Sri Lanka is enjoying peace, stability and economic progress. He was speaking at the launch of Lanka Darshanam a Malayali language travelogue narrative on Sri Lanka, written by popular Malayali writer, poet and social activist S.P. Namboothiry, which was released in Delhi. Addressing the gathering at the launch, Kariyawasam said that SP’s book is timely since Sri Lanka is now enjoying peace, more..

DIG Anura Senanayake next governor?

May 9 (DM) DIG Anura Senanayake is tipped to be the next governor of the Northern Province. “The term of office of the present Governor of the Northern Province General G.A Chandrasri ends on June 30. Speculation is rife that DIG Anura Senanayake who is expected to retire by that time would be made the next Governor of the Northern Province,” said. “Anura Senanayake wields a great amount of trust more..

Ensuring youth rights needs proper framework--experts

May 9 (Xinhua) Experts said here at a seminar in the sidelines of WCY 2014 that proper framework is necessary to ensure youth rights. Alejandro Alvarado, president of the Iberoamerican Youth Space, a coalition of international, regional and national youth organizations, said that there should be a common understanding as well as a common framework for youth rights that are being discussed, adding the absence of a framework can lead to pressure. more..

Four including soldiers sentenced over three-wheeler theft

May 9 (AD) Two persons including former army Special Forces soldier were sentenced to 15 years while a former airman and a former army soldier have been sentenced to 12 years rigorous imprisonment over the armed robbery of a three –wheeler. Charges were filed before the Anuradhapura High Court by the Attorney General against the suspects in connection with the theft of the vehicle on April 26, 2006 in Kekirawa. When the case was taken up today, more..

Railway work-to-rule campaign angers passengers; drivers demand security

May 9 (AD) Locomotive drivers say that they cannot operate trains without proper protection from the police and army, following today’s assault on the driver of a Colombo-bound train by a mob of angry passengers. The attack, which had disrupted services along the main railway line for nearly half an hour this morning, was reportedly carried out due to the train traveling at a ‘very slow’ pace. Chandana Lal, Treasurer of more..

Indian naval vessels to prevent ISI infiltration from Sri Lanka

May 9 (PTI) Three Naval patrol vessels arrived at the Navy jetty here today in the backdrop of information that Pakistan's ISI could infiltrate India from Sri Lanka through the sea. Officials who confirmed the arrival of the three vessels, however, refused to give any further information. The ships could be meant for strengthening presence of navy in the region and prevent infiltration of ISI agents by sea from Sri lanka. Only two days ago, a senior official of Tamil Nadu Coastal more..

Infant brought to life, later dies

May 9 (DM) The infant born prematurely at the Kurunegala Hospital during the nurses’ strike was pronounced dead but later discovered to be alive had died shattering the hopes of everyone. The infant’s mother Chandanie Kulathunga, who is a resident of Periyakulam in Anamaduwa entered the Anamaduwa hospital after completing 26 weeks of gestation for the delivery of her baby. As her case appeared to be a matter of concern she was transferred to the Kurunegala hospital more..

Sri Lanka says democracy was secured

May 9 (CG) Govt says despite two insurrections in the South and the 30 years of conflict in the North and East, govt was able to operate govt institutions and hold elections to ensure democracy and the parliamentary system in the country. Speaking at the World Youth Conference today minister Mahinda Samarasinghe pointed out that “since Sri Lanka is a multi-national and multi-cultural country, we want to more..

The silence of animals: On progress and other modern myths

May 10 (CT) John Gray has been Professor of Politics at Oxford, Harvard and Yale; and Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics. He has now given up these posts and turned to writing full time. ‘Silence‘, a slim volume of about two hundred pages, is a wide-ranging iconoclastic work, taking in its sights both religion and the secular. Gray rejects the Humanist idea that human beings are the site of some kind of unique value in the world. more..

The failure of the media, civil society and the ‘moderates’

May 10 (GV) SC [FR] 97/2014 is a Fundamental Rights application currently pending before the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. FH the Petitioner is an 11 year old Muslim girl who has named amongst others her school Principal as a Respondent for violating her Fundamental Rights by preventing her from attending school attired in a ‘punjabi’ kit. Long before the war, in 1980 Mr M D D Peiris the then Secretary to the Ministry of Education issued a circular permitting Muslim girls to attend more..

Walla patta a potential cash crop

May 10 (NS) Smuggling is not a new phenomenon in this country, or for that matter, in this world. It’s an activity that is illegal, yet carried out worldwide. From drugs to people, smuggling is carried out due to various reasons, mainly for the large sums of money involved. Sri Lanka too faces its own problems pertaining to smuggling rackets operating locally and internationally. People smuggling was an issue that was of great more..

Chinese in SL: Why not welcome them?

May 10 (CT) JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti complains that the Chinese would soon become the newest ethnic group in Sri Lanka. He told Parliament on Tuesday that the mainland nationals are brought here in droves to work in the Chinese funded mega development projects and that some of them have married local women, settled here and have children. "The Chinese have learnt to speak Sinhala while their local wives speak Mandarin," he said. It sounds like a perfect case of assimilation more..

The story of an other woman

May 10 (CT) If, like me, you were a Sri Lankan Tamil — in that order — the approach of the Eighteenth of May does to your system unpleasant things that you find difficult to deal with, or to even put in words. Those with excessive imagination use sophisticated language to describe the events leading up to that day: “Structured Genocide” and “Humanitarian Operation” are the two ends of the scale. Not in that league, my best summary of the Eighteenth of May is in the form of a question more..

Re-visiting the Rajapaksa Hegemonic Project

May 10 (GV) The UPFA regime has accomplished an unprecedented hegemonic political power, consummated by landslide electoral victories: Presidential election, January 2010, Parliamentary Elections March 2010 and the subsequent PC elections, except, crucially in the North. They have consolidated their rural voter base in a remarkable fashion. As the opposition claims, these electoral victories have been achieved more..

Celebrating Vesak, commemorating the dead

May 10 (CT) 'Let Dhamma dawn in Jaffna' is the slogan on the main banner that has been put up near the Jaffna Public Library by the Security Forces with the creation of a Vesak Zone in the heart of Jaffna. The Vesak Zone is put up annually in Jaffna since the war came to an end in 2009. It has replaced the High Security Zone where pitched battles had previously taken place between the Security Forces and the Tamil militants making Jaffna a 'ghost city'. more..

Editorial: Prez on Twitter

May 10 (Island) The govt is busy recasting its image as a youth-friendly administration. It has just hosted an international youth conference and gained a great deal of international media exposure. It has even allowed a group of undergrads to protest opposite Temple Trees without having a bath courtesy of the police water cannon unit. Meanwhile, President Rajapaksa has denied reports that his govt is planning to ban or impose restrictions on social media popular among the youth. more..

Boston Lanka: May 10, 2014

From political autocracy to economic autocracy

May 10 (FT) It was reported in the Daily FT that Jonathan Alles, CEO of Hatton National Bank, sounded an alarm on the consequences of proposed consolidation of the financial sector. He said: “It is not that I am negative and don’t see this as an opportunity, but I’ll just say that at the end of the day we will mess it up right royally.” On the following day he made a statement emphasising the fact stated in the above statement as well that he and the bank are supportive to the consolidation initiative more..

5th anniversary of May 2009: Blocked transition to sustainable peace

May 10 (FT) I write from a particular standpoint (derivative and illustrative of a distinct worldview), best delineated by a critical observer rather than by myself. Izeth Hussein, literary critic and former Ambassador wrote in ‘After Geneva, What?’: “Between 1995 and 2000, and even more during the years of the peace process, the widespread assumption was that the LTTE could never be defeated militarily. There were very few dissentient voices against that conventional wisdom more..

'Govt. has not fulfilled Mahinda Chinthana promises'

May 10 (FT) Minister Wimal Weerawansa who dropped a political bombshell last week threatening to pull out from the Rajapaksa regime reveals the country’s economy is about to collapse, the President is powerless, the country has failed to take measures to defeat separatism and racism and there is lack of good governance. Weerawansa, who locked horns with the Finance Secretary, charged that Dr. P.B. Jayasundera has hijacked the more..

Packer comes in for the fight

May 10 (Island) The recent street fight Down Under between James Packer, of would be casino fame in Sri Lanka, and his erstwhile friend David Gyngell, has shed new light on the fighting tradition of the Packers. As SMH has reported James Packer has a tradition of fighting that goes a long way. James (Casino) Packer’s father (Cricket buyer) Kerry, along with Kerry’s brother Clyde, are known to have been involved in a late-night brawl in 1960 with a gang of thugs hired by Rupert Murdoch. more..

Sri Lankan Muslims at a cross-roads - 1

May 10 (Island) My last two articles in The Island were under the title Making sense of the Bodu Bala Sena, focusing in both of them on the anti-Muslim campaign of the BBS. There is now a view, still at the incipient stage but which can soon gain wide currency, that the BBS is on the way out. The argument is that extremist movements such as the BBS have no staying power in Sri Lanka, and that the forces of Buddhist moderation are now working to bring about the quick demise of the BBS more..