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UK-based Muslims stage demo demanding ‘safeguarding of rights’

May 11 (Island) In an unexpected turnaround, Sri Lankan Muslims living in the UK staged a demonstration against the Sri Lankan govt demanding that their rights as well as those of other minorities be safeguarded. The agitation was held opposite the Sri Lankan High Commission in London last week. It is common that pro-LTTE Tamils to demonstrate against Sri Lanka. Non-Sri Lankan Muslims in the UK protested against Sri Lanka on an earlier occasion, but this was the first time more..

Management compelled Lakbima editor to resign

May 11 (NS) Former editor of Lakbima newspaper, Saman Wagaarachchi stresses that his resignation from the post was not a sudden or pre-planned decision, but he was compelled to take such a decision by the company management. He said that his ‘removal’ had opened the eyes of media personnel who are wishing for a discourse on a meaningful media freedom. He said that the two incidents which are spoken of more..

Packer’s casino plans hit by election jitters

May 11 (ST) The govt’s decision to ban casinos in three new integrated luxury resorts including Australian billionaire James Packer’s Crown Colombo Casino was influenced by possible elections plans this year. They said there was concern that there could be eve of election protests both from constituent parties and the opposition which would create a negative picture for the ruling party, they said. The Australian billionaire was to invest US$350 million to build a 36-story more..

JVP willing to discuss NMSJ draft

May 11 (Island) JVP has expressed willingness to discuss the draft of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) headed by Chief Incumbent of Kotte Naga Vihare, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera on Thursday morning, political sources said. JVP group leader in the WPC, K.D. Lal Kantha confirmed that an official invitation of the Nayake Thera has been accepted by the party to discuss several crucial issues affecting the interests of the people of the country. more..

Wigneswaran as common opposition candidate against MR?

May 11 (Island) The TNA wants those wanting to field a common candidate at the next presidential election to consider the suitability of its Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said that the UNP, the JVP as well as the DP should clearly state their position on this issue. Although President Rajapaksa categorically ruled out a presidential election as early as next January, at a recent meeting more..

Time for Alastair Cook to get tough says Aravinda de Silva

May 11 (SE) Beating Scotland in a friendly in the northernmost outpost of the game would not normally be seen as a marker for the rest of the season. But for captain Cook it marked a new beginning - even though one Sri Lankan great reckons England are still very much a work in progress. He survived the cull of players whose reputations were for ever damaged in the winter and hit 44 in an opening stand of 83 with Ian Bell against the Scots. Bell top-scored with 50 to lay more..

National database on women to be set up

May 11 (SO) Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs will set up a national database on Sri Lankan women in collaboration with the Census and Statistics Department, Computer Science Department of the University of Colombo and the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration. The Ministry took this initiative due to the need to have a correct database on women to harness their contribution to develop the country after empowering them socially and economically. more..

Wigneswaran rejects common candidacy

May 11 (CT) Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, has declined suggestions that he become a common presidential candidate, claiming he is not power hungry. Sources close to Wigneswaran commenting on recent suggestions, which surfaced in political circles, to make him a common presidential candidate, said the CM had claimed he did not know whether to laugh or to cry, more..

Three wheelers freewheeling with no tough laws in sight

May 11 (ST) Passengers continue to be duped by three wheeler drivers while three wheeler accidents remain an all-time high because of the failure to implement the tough regulations promulgated last year. The country has over 800,000 three wheelers with a majority in the Western Province. Last year’s gazette included over 15 regulations recommended by Minister Kumara Welgama. The Motor Traffic (Motor Tricycle) regulations that were gazetted last year under the Motor Traffic Act include, more..

'Engine drivers have a responsibility to the public'

May 11 (SO) Railway engine drivers should try to do their maximum while following rules and regulations as they also have a responsibility not to inconvenience the public by delaying trains, said General Manager of Railways (GMR) B.A.P. Ariyaratne. While condemning any form of assault on engine drivers engaged in trade union action after informing the management in writing, Ariyaratne said that it is not possible to provide police protection to every engine driver more..

More foreign companies get tax holidays

May 11 (ST) Govt now wants to give attractive tax and other concessions to two Hong Kong firms which want to build apartment units, club houses, shopping complexes and car parking facilities along R.A. de Mel Mawatha (Duplication Road) in Kollupitiya for US $250 million. The rationale for the project, according to Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, is for the “promotion of tourism.” He says in a memorandum to his ministerial more..

'I have a cordial relationship with President'

May 11 (CT) Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, told Ceylon Today he has a cordial relationship with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, he said there are attempts being made to undermine the legitimate functions of the NPC. "Whether these are carried out at the behest of the President or without his knowledge I do not know," said Wigneswaran. He said, in his discussions with the President, he had expressed many positive undertakings. more..

Sri Lanka in no hurry to disclose details of proscribed organizations

May 11 (NS) Sri Lanka will not rush the process of providing details of organizations and individuals recently proscribed by the country, External Affairs Ministry said. But the Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that steps had been taken by Sri Lanka to provide information about 16 organizations, including the LTTE, and 424 individuals that were proscribed by Sri Lanka. However, a high ranking official of the Ministry said that information on organizations and individuals proscribed by more..

Weerawansa’s open revolt rattles Govt. as it prepares for elections

May 11 (ST) Like a roulette wheel, partners in the UPFA Govt have gone into a spin over the controversial casino issue. The latest is the NFF led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa, often dubbed as the mouthpiece of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on controversial issues. His colleagues even identify him as the point man to raise planted questions at weekly ministerial meetings to pave the way for Rajapaksa’s critical intervention. more..

Ensure safe food and water at dansalas

May 11 (SO) Volunteers setting up dansalas for Vesak have been asked to ensure that the food and water they serve is safe and meets health standards. “We have told them to ensure that the food is uncontaminated and fresh”. “If they use polluted water and spoilt vegetables and fruits the meals and drinks they serve will be sub-standard and those consuming it will end up with diarrhoea, dysentery and other bowel diseases. This will negate benefits from this meritorious deed“, more..

Govt funds to check child abuse

May 11 (SO) Child protection centres and a National Counselling Centre would be set up for victims of sexual harassment said Minister Tissa Karaliyadda. He said his ministry has decided to set up child and women's development units in every divisional secretariat to assist such children and women. Govt has provided Rs. 1,742 million for this year to check child abuse and violence against women in addition to RS. 700 million that has been allocated to the Ministry of Child Development and Women's more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

May 11 (ST) External Affairs Ministry now has a “Human Rights Division” masquerading as a “Human Rights Taskforce”; or, a “Human Rights Taskforce” masquerading as a “Human Rights Division.” Those who set it up cannot seem to decide. Human Rights Division or Human Rights Taskforce, whichever, sources say, was set up earlier this year as an excuse to continue employing several 'CHOGM consultants'. more..

TRC head ‘selective’ and ‘inconsistent’

May 11 (NS) After months of conspicuous silence over his position on the blockage of Colombo Telegraph, former diplomat and rights advocate Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala has decided to step down from his position as member of the Director Board of Dialog Axiata, one of several internet service providers that has blocked the said website. Although the site had been blocked by other prominent internet service providers, more..

John Keells Holdings integrated resort starts raising foreign debt

May 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Waterfront Properties, a unit of John Keells Holdings that is building an integrated resort has started raising foreign debt with Standard Chartered being appointed advisor. Standard Chartered Bank had given the first 100 million US dollars, as bridging finance for the first phase of the project, lender said in an announcement. A larger volume of medium term finance within the next 12 months, more..

Golden Key wants to secure balance 50% of CIESOT shareholding

May 11 (Island) The board of directors of Golden Key (GK) is expected to move the Supreme Court (SC) to secure ownership of the balance 50% of the shareholding of CIESOT Pvt, the biggest single shareholder of Ceylinco Insurance, citing the alleged irregular transfer of these shares to two stakeholders on March 31, 2009. The critical issue of wresting control of the remaining shareholding, with the sanction of the SC, was discussed at length more..

Engine drivers’ go-slow signals frustration for rail commuters

May 11 (ST) The ongoing ‘Work-to-Rule’ campaign by railway locomotive drivers is set to affect hundreds of thousands of commuters during the forthcoming Vesak holidays, as a solution to the simmering crisis is yet to be reached, trade unionists warned. Train drivers silently backed by other railway staff, kept up their trade union action this whole week, inconveniencing thousands of rail commuters. more..

SL woman who lived in Canada for 14 years facing deportation for missing Passport

May 11 (CTV) A mother of two who has lived in Metro Vancouver for 14 years is facing deportation after she was arrested by border officials in April. Ibarra, who moved to Canada from Sri Lanka at age 15, is married to a Canadian man. They have two boys together, ages 7 and 10. “It’s really devastating to think that she could leave us, she could leave me, the family could be split apart,” said husband Eliseo Ibarra. more..

Fierce hunt for brazen cop killers

May 11 (ST) Constables Chandana Sampath and Ajith Weerasuriya were on traffic duty on the Kurunegala-Dambulla road on Monday night, close to the Badagamuwa forest reserve popularly known as Koskele (jak tree jungle). They took over duties around 10pm and began carrying out routine checks on vehicles using this road which links up important trunk roads from Jaffna and Trincomalee with the rest of the country, more..

President meets the Bishop for talks

May 11 (CG) President Rajapaksa met Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith for talks at the Bishop’s House, the President’s office said. The meeting comes following the return to Sri Lanka of a delegation of Sri Lankan Catholic Bishops led by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith after meeting Pop Francis at the Vatican. At the meeting with the Pope it was reported that the Pope had mentioned about a visit to Sri Lanka in January next year. more..

Tobacco company tries to subvert pictorial warnings

May 11 (NS) “The tobacco company uses part of its huge profits to do its damndest to subvert and sabotage tobacco control in the country. One specific instance is by hiring the best lawyers in the country to delay as long as possible, implementation of Pictorial Health Warnings (PHWs) on cigarette packets required by Article 11 of the FCTC. It is in this area that the Minister of Health has consistently provided dedicated and inspiring leadership more..

Packer is coming; but has paid only 20% for the land

May 11 (ST) Australian casino mogul James Packer’s resort in Colombo Fort is yet to receive UDA approval as the investors have paid just 20% of the total value of the property on which it is to be built. The land, which is located in the corner of D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha and Sir Chittampalam A Gardiner Mawatha, is valued at Rs. 2.4 billion, UDA Chairman Nimal Perera said. 10% of this was first paid seven years ago, more..

Youth, the barometer of change

May 11 (CT) Youth has been the yardstick by which change is generally measured since time immemorial. And in each phase of history change has stood as the sole 'absolute' when everything else has been measured in 'relative' terms. This concept of 'relativity' was in fact given proper enunciation and profoundly expressed by the Buddha, long before Albert Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity. So it is greatly significant that the very movers of this change-concept, more..

The judicial mind and judicial matters in SL

May 11 (Island) What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind. You might cynically apply this old aphorism to the judicial mind and judicial matters in Sri Lanka. Increasingly, the grey matter of intelligence, erudition, wisdom and independence is becoming too scarce in Sri Lanka’s judicial mind, and what can you do when you hear of judicial matters such as the now customary cavalier appointments to the Supreme Court, except shrug and sigh: Never mind! more..

The good, the bad and the embarrassing

May 11 (CT) The trials and tribulations were immense for the Organizing Committee, as challenges began to mount at the World Conference on Youth (WCY). However, overseas delegates claimed that the conference had not been anything short of fabulous. The WCY attended by youth delegates from 159 countries, top UN officials and several ministers from overseas came to a close yesterday following a sensational display by more..

War in Europe and instability in Lanka

May 11 (Island) As Ukraine and Europe inch closer to war there will be huge consequences (will moribund global capitalism benefit or further decline?) and contradictory effects on Lanka. War in Europe is not inevitable but military brinkmanship with a hard-to-predict momentum is unfolding. Ukraine in its present form is finished; what next? Civil war seems unavoidable and Russian intervention in some form, exactly how and when is still not clear, is assured. more..

Five robbery suspects arrested

May 11 (DM) The Kalutara Division criminal investigations unit yesterday arrested five suspects who were allegedly involved in a series of robberies in the area. SSP Ajith Rohana said the suspects were arrested on charges of robbing cash, jewellery and other valuables by threatening victims with firearms. Police said the suspects were arrested on information received by the police following raids carried out in the Welipenna, Uragasmanhandiya and Homagama areas. more..

Pregnant & lactating mothers left high & dry

May 11 (Island) With widespread reports of Thriposha being openly sold to pregnant and lactating mothers, instead of being distributed free of charge as per govt policy, health officials last week called for a systematic mechanism to stem the growing corruption. Even the media has reported instances where this highly nutritious food supplement is being sold to poor people by unscrupulous elements who have cashed in more..

Japan score unbeaten century against SL

May 11 (ST) Favourites Japan thrashed Sri Lanka at 132-10 in an Asian5Nations rugby test match which also served as an IRB 2015 Rugby World Cup Qualifier, at the Nagoya Mizuho Ground in Nagoya, Japan yesterday. Sri Lanka, who suffered their heaviest defeat at international level, trailed 0-68 at halftime while scoring during the dying moments of the game through a converted try and a penalty. The win saw Japan record their third highest score and third biggest winning margin more..

Sri Lanka not the only deficit tea producer

May 11 (Island) Reduced quantities of tea in world auction centers would mean price increases would be sequential, were very nearly universal views of most brokers end last week. They said price trends were better than the same period last year but reduced crop would mean less tea on retailer shelves and a counter productive phenomenon of increased costs would emerge nullifying the price pluses. Heat and scanty rains spoiled cropping opportunities in Assam; similarly Nilgris, and more..

Kingsbury chokes

May 11 (NS) Kingsbury Colombo maintained that there was nothing wrong with its ‘Foie Gras’ promotion for Mother’s Day despite calls from animal rights activists and members of the public to take the dish off the menu due to claims that it is derived through extreme animal cruelty. The issue stemmed from the hotel’s decision to include ‘Foie Gras’ (French for ‘fatty liver’) as a dish on its ‘Mother’s Day’ promotion. more..

No exam paper leak at AIS - Edexcel

May 11 (NS) Regional Director Asia of Pearson, Premila Paulraj says that no complaints have been received regarding the alleged leak of Edexcel exam papers. Principal of the Asian International School, Priyanthi Seneviratne, was recently removed from the post allegedly due to a controversy involving leaked exam papers. Last week news reports forewarned that if the controversy involved Edexcel exam papers, it would inevitably affect many educational institutes around the world more..

ICTA opens 46 new Nenasala centres island-wide within 3 months

May 11 (Island) Within a short span of three months, 46 new Nenasala centres were opened island-wide, the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) announced. At present, ICTA has set up 765 Nenasalas island-wide, including the Northern and Eastern Provinces, under the 1,000 Nenasala project based on a novel concept of President Rajapaksa. The objective of the Nenasala initiative is to extend the benefits of Information and Communication Technology more..

Video: Seven cops arrested over death of teenage suspect

May 11 (AD) Seven police officers, including a Sub-inspector, attached to the Kandaketiya Police Station have been arrested over the death of a suspect and were subsequently remanded by court today. On May 07 five suspects were arrested by Kandaketiya Police on charges of engaging in illegal excavations in search of buried treasure in the Ketawatta reserve area. A Sub-inspector, 4 police constables, a civil security assistant and more..

Sri Lanka to discuss arrest of fishermen

May 11 (CG) Sri Lanka is to discuss with India the arrest of a group of Sri Lankan fishermen who crossed into Indian waters, the Fisheries Ministry said. The issue will be discussed at the scheduled Indo-Lanka fishermen talks in Colombo tomorrow. Second round of fishermen level talks will be held at the SEDEC office in Kynsey Road Borella tomorrow morning with the participation of fishermen representatives from India and Sri Lanka and officials from both Govts. more..

'Fundamentalists in the govt'

May 11 (CG) Minister says there are fundamentalists within the Govt who work according to their personal agendas. Minister Jayarathne Herath says the fundamentalists speak on religious issues but their main goal is to win votes. He said that the public had never accused the SLFP of racism and never rejected the party over similar lines. However he says now some people who joined the SLFP led govt are fundamentalists and are damaging the middle line taken by more..