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'Investors concerned over objections to casinos in Sri Lanka'

May 2 (LBO) Investors have expressed concern over objections to large resorts which were given tax breaks under a strategic investment law to which casinos have been dragged in, deputy investment promotions minister said. SL's main opposition as well as Buddhist nationalist party within the ruling coalition have spoken out against three large 'integrated resorts' which were given sweeping tax breaks, saying casinos would more..

US is disappointed with Sri Lanka

May 2 (CG) The United States (US) says it is disappointed with the Sri Lankan Govt over its failure to take adequate and meaningful steps to support accountability and reconciliation over the past four years. US Assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal, speaking before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, said that in Sri Lanka, while the brutal conflict more..

Muslim MPs seek MR’s intervention

May 2 (CG) A group of Muslim MPs, including several Ministers, have written to President Rajapaksa urging him to bring an end to the hate campaign carried out against Muslims by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Sihala Ravaya and the Ravana Balaya. At a meeting convened by the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) recently, Muslim MPs of all political parties met and resolved to work together in facing the numerous more..

Nirvanaless: Asian Buddhism’s growing fundamentalist streak

May 2 (WP) To many Americans, Buddhism is about attaining enlightenment, maybe even nirvana, through such peaceful methods as meditation and yoga. But in some parts of Asia, a more assertive, strident and militant Buddhism is emerging. In three countries where Buddhism is the majority faith, a form of religious nationalism has taken hold: In Sri Lanka, where about 70% of the population is Theravada Buddhist, a group of monks formed the Bodu Bala Sena or the Buddhist Power Force more..

Dear President Rajapaksa, bring back the universities to its early glory

May 2 (CT) Dear President Rajapaksa, I was a twice-born Fulbright scholar, not twice born in the classical Hindu sense but as one who has had two memorable creative periods as a Fulbright scholar. The first Fulbright award was when I was a young and naďve student in 1956 but it helped transform my intellectual life as an anthropologist. And then much later in 1993-94 as a senior scholar on leave from Princeton University but by now recognized as a well-known but somewhat controversial more..

Are we living in a world of barbarians?

May 2 (CT) National Child Protection Authority’s (NCPA) Special Police Unit (SPU) is in search of a woman for pimping her underage daughter. Offence had been taking place for two years. Girl is 15 years and attends school. Perhaps the news may not trouble you much since this kind of incidents has already been reported many times in this country. But you may not believe that the father of the girl child is also the father of her own mother. more..

May Day celebrated sitting on a powder keg

May 2 (CT) Another May Day has come and gone with political slogan shouting and all that which is associated with such rallies. Perhaps, for the first time in the Grand Old Party's nearly 70 years of existence, its leader was missing at the UNP rally, opting instead to celebrate Spring, at the MIT. Ruling UPFA Govt under President Rajapaksa had its rally at Campbell Park, Borella, while the main Opposition Party had that of theirs, sans its Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at Ampara. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.4%

May 2 (LBO) Stocks close 0.4% higher Friday with tobacco and diversified stocks gaining amid strong foreign selling. All Share Price Index closed 24.77 points higher at 6,248.44 up 0.4%. The S&P SL20 closed 17.62 points higher at 3,435.81, up 0.52%. Turnover was 1.31 billion rupees, up from 1.23 billion rupees last Wednesday with 131 stocks close positive against 76 negative. Expolanka Holdings closed 40 cents higher at 10.70 rupees with market transactions of 195.61 million rupees more..

Sri Lanka arrests Aust-bound boat people

May 2 (AAP) Sri Lanka's navy has arrested 54 would-be illegal immigrants in the first major detection of boat people heading to Australia this year. A fishing trawler was detected on Friday with the passengers, including 11 women and 13 children, off the island's north-eastern coast of Mullaittivu, navy spokesman Warnakulasuriya said. "The trawler was intercepted by navy patrol craft 20 nautical miles east of Mullaittivu," more..

Wallapatta caught being smuggled out through courier service

May 2 (Island) Customs officials at the Air Cargo Export terminal, Katunayake, last Sunday detected 4.9 kg consignment of wallapatta when it was about to be exported to Dubai via a courier service. Customs media spokesman Leslie Gamini said that they would call the directors of the courier service and inquire whether they were aware of the items being exported from Sri Lanka to Dubai on flight FZ 558 scheduled to depart on the same day, declared as incense sticks (Joss Sticks). more..

Sri Lankan rupee weaker in importer dollar demand; seen steady

May 2 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee ended weaker on Friday due to light importer dollar demand in dull trade, but dealers expect the currency to be stable in the near term as private sector credit demand remained sluggish. The spot rupee ended at 130.60/65 per dollar, weaker from Wednesday's close of 130.61/63. "We have seen light importer demand," said a currency dealer. Both the stock and foreign exchange markets were closed on Thursday for May Day, a public and bank holiday. more..

'IT service exports higher than estimated'

May 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign revenues from software and business process outsourcing are higher than officially estimated, but growth is constrained by talent shortfalls, an industry body which has done its own survey said. Central bank has estimated revenues from 'computer services' at 604 million U dollars for 2013, under a standardized balance of payments presentation. SLASSCOM said it had done its own survey. more..

Five arrested over Mawanella gem theft

May 2 (DM) Five persons have been arrested in connection with a theft of gems that took place at a hotel in Mawanella on Monday. A man who had come on the pretext of purchasing gems allegedly fled in a car with nine gems during the transaction from a hotel at Pahala Kadugannawa in Mawanella on Monday. Police earlier arrested the broker who had come with the suspect. The main suspect who fled with the gems, the driver of the car and another in disguised as an Arab Sheikh who had more..

President calls GMOA Chief to get first hand info

May 2 (Island) President Rajapaksa has telephoned President of the GMOA Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya following his comments on the pathetic sight of bystanders photographing and videoing passengers injured after two trains had collided head-on at Pothuhera on Wednesday. Dr. Padeniya was travelling to Anuradhapura in the ill-fated Deyata Kirula intercity train, leaving behind his official car in Colombo to conduct lectures at the Medical Faculty of the Rajarata University, more..

UK says Sri Lanka media harassed

May 2 (CG) The British High Commission in Colombo says the Sri Lankan media continue to face harassment and intimidation and the island continues to drop down the World press Freedom Index. “Across the world, journalists face constant threats because of their work. Many journalists in Sri Lanka work against a similarly difficult backdrop: harassment and intimidation continue. Sri Lanka continues to drop down more..

Tokyo Cement recognised by Japanese Ambassador

May 2 (WC) Ambassador of Japan, Nobuhito Hobo, has commended Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) for its services in contributing to the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and Sri Lanka. Tokyo Cement was established in 1982 when the late A.Y.S. Gnanam, former Country Manager of Mitsui Company Limited, Mr Asano and Mr Komath Subara, President of Mitsui Mining Company, recognised the potential of Trincomalee, as a cement manufacturing hub. more..

Five Pothuhera railway employees interdicted over the rail tragedy

May 2 (Island) Five employees attached to Pothuhera railway station were interdicted following the head-on collision of two trains in close proximity to the station on Wednesday morning. They had been tasked with changing tracks, police said, adding that the driver of the Deyata Kirula train was not responsible for the tragedy. The driver of the ill-fated Pallai bound Deyata Kirula train said that on seeing the other train on the same track he had applied brakes, which failed to function. more..

'Finance sector consolidation not an ad-hoc move'

May 2 (DM) Consolidation of the banking and non-banking sectors is not an ad-hoc arrangement but is part of an overall strategy and is being done at the most suitable time for the country, CB Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. He pointed out that certain Latin American countries such as Argentina, Venezuela etc. had to bring consolidation up at a time when they had no choice but to do so, since they were under stress. more..

Police apathy will increase while extremists run riot

May 2 (CT) The Lawyers' Collective, while calling for an independent police free of political interference, demanded that the unconstitutionally established Special Religious Police Unit, meant to look into complaints regarding religious matters, be disbanded. They added this would further exacerbate the deterioration of the rule of law, leading also to increased religious discontent. The rule of law should also be strengthened, they said. The absence of provincial police services and more..

Ella-Wallawaya road temporarily closed due to threat of landslides

May 2 (NS) Disaster Management Center(DMC) warns residents of Badulla, Nuwara Eliya and Kandy districts to be alert in the next 24 hours as heavy rains and thus landslides are expected. The DMC's Deputy Director (Media), Sarath Lal Kumara said, "Also the areas between Diyatalawa - Haputale and Idalgashinna - Ohiya have also had some landslides due to heavy rain." He further expressed that Ella Wellawaya road will be closed until further notice due to threat of landslides in the area.

Five foreign universities to start work next year

May 2 (DM) Govt has laid down plans to set up ten ‘foreign universities’ in Sri Lanka by 2020, under its ambitious target of making Sri Lanka an ‘international hub of excellence in higher education’ and five of them will start work next year, officials said. University of Central Lancashire in Britain and the Raffles University of Singapore have already started their projects of setting up branch campuses in SL in Mirigama and Negombo respectively. more..

US embassy announces grants program to support youth in Sri Lanka

May 2 (USE) U.S. Embassy in Colombo announces the Youth Empowerment Grants Program to fund projects for Sri Lankan youth. The main objective of the grant program is to support innovative, small-scale, cutting-edge projects developed and implemented by and/or for young people between the ages of 15-25 in the areas of educational development, environment issues, community development, civil society building, human rights, youth enrichment activities, health and more..

'A society is needed where working masses receive benefits of their labour'

May 2 (LT) A society where the working masses receive the benefits of their labour should be created and it could be done only under Socialism says the President of All Ceylon Trade Union Federation and Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP K.D. Lal Kantha. He said this addressing the mammoth May Day rally of the JVP held at BRC grounds yesterday. He said, “We have gathered here today to commemorate workers who struggled for an eight hour working days 128 years ago. more..

More contaminated bottled water detected

May 2 (Island) Public Health Department of the CMS said it had banned two batches of bottled drinking water (BDW) taken from the Pettah bus stand as they were unfit for human consumption. Legal action had been taken against two traders retailing BDW at the Bastion Mawatha private bus stand in Pettah following the City Analyst’s report which said that the bottles contained poor quality bottled drinking water. more..

Sri Lanka slips to 7 in Test rankings

May 2 (CG) Sri Lanka have slipped to seventh place in the latest ICC Test rankings from 6 but continues to maintain its number 3 position in the latest ODI rankings. The news report said that Australia have returned to the No.1 Test ranking for the first time in nearly five years, after the ICC’s annual rankings update. Despite not having played a Test since their series win over South Africa in the first week of March, the Australians have edged ahead of South Africa because the rolling nature of more..

Pavithra takes up Mervyn's job

May 2 (SM) Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi was seen kneeling on the stage and paying her respects to President Rajapaksa who was the guest of honour at the SLFP’s May Day celebrations yesterday in Colombo. Earlier, this was a task taken up by minister Mervyn Silva. Speaking at the UPFA May Day Rally, President said that though the opposition attempted to reverse the course of the country together with imperialists after failing to come to power, there will be no room more..

'James Packer is coming to Sri Lanka'

May 2 (AD) Ravi Wijeratne confirmed that James Packer would continue to stay with planned mixed development project at D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha in Colombo by the ‘Lake Leisure Holdings where he too is a main stakeholder and that Packer has not taken any decision whatsoever to abandon this decision. “The Australian media have based their reports on Sri Lankan media reports. Apart from these James Packer has more..

The day media lost its soul

May 3 (CT) We in Sri Lanka have little to celebrate on the International Press Freedom Day, which falls tomorrow. Sri Lanka's abysmal rankings in media freedom have been documented in a number of international press freedom indices. Sri Lanka ranks 162nd in the Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index, one slot ahead of Saudi Arabia and one behind Rwanda. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in its Impunity Index ranks SL as the 4th worst place for journalists. more..

I am a Sri Lankan Muslim extremist!

May 3 (CT) I am a Sri Lankan national by birth, a Muslim by faith and an extremist who would go all the way (to the extremes) to protect humanity, to uphold unity, to establish justice and rule of law, to protect all religions, their adherents and their places of worship etc… Now with LTTE defunct, racist forces backed by the power hungry ruling class have created this myth of ‘Islamic extremism’ TO DIVERT ATTENTION from the theft of multi-milllion dollars of public money and the abuse of the judiciary more..

Big wigs behind ruthless racket to be exposed

May 3 (SO) In the wake of a major internet based human kidney racket involving doctors in private medical institutions in Sri Lanka and donors from India, Minister Maithreepala Sirisena called for a comprehensive report from Private Hospitals and Development Director Dr. Mrs. Kanthi Ariyaratne last week. Sri Lankan police and the Health Ministry has offered help to investigate the racket of which the lid was blown off more..

Badiou’s Event and the defeat of the Tigers: A brief response to Dayan Jayatilleka

May 3 (GV) What follows is a brief rejoinder to my friend, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, whose use of the philosophy of Alain Badiou, in his recently published article “Plato’s Cave in the Indian Ocean: Elite Failure in SL”, I find somewhat problematic, at best, or downright misleading, at worst. I shall not, however, engage with the properly political analysis of this insightful piece, for the rationale of writing this down are neither in opposition nor in agreement with those views. more..

Who planted the bombs in Chennai train?

May 3 (CT) Two low-intensity improvised explosive devices (IED) exploded in two adjacent sleeper coaches of the Bangalore – Guwahati tri-weekly super fast express just as the train streamed into the Chennai Central station around 7.15 AM on May 1. One young woman was killed and 14 others were wounded in the explosions. The city waking up to May Day holiday was stunned. And national media fed on increasingly stale diet of election news went hammer and tongs to dissect it. more..

'Sri Lanka needs third Tamil political force'

May 3 (CT) The Chief Minister of the United North-eastern Province, Varatharaja Perumal who fled Sri Lanka fearing for his life in March 1990, is of the view that Sri Lankan Tamils are in dire need of an independent third political force. Claiming that nobody in their right mind should have wished the LTTE a war victory given its violent past and lack of respect for democratic values, Perumal insists that SL Govt has committed more..

The legacy of late S.J.V. Chelvanayakam

May 3 (CT) "He died like Moses himself without reaching the promised land. But the vision he saw, he leaves behind as the heritage and challenge to his people," this spiritual sentiment was gently expressed by Rt. Rev. D.J. Ambalavanar, who performed the last rites of Federal Party Leader, Samuel James Velupillai Chelvanayakam in April 1977 in Jaffna. It was for the first time Jaffna had seen an unprecedented gathering of mourners at the funeral of S.J.V. more..

Place your bets!

May 3 (FT) It is indeed very unusual for a proposed business venture, however large, to go before the Legislature of a country for approval. Usually such investments are handled by the various Govt agencies under the supervision of the regulators. If things go wrong, the investor goes to the judicial system for redress. To ask for legislative approval could only mean that the investors in the three projects concerned are seeking more assurance, and in this case one from the legislators more..

Creating a super-rich wildlife destination

May 3 (ST) Imagine your goal was to create the perfect location for wildlife tourism. Sri Lanka would be a good example how to go about it. You want to keep it small so that tourists don’t have to travel too far from one location to another. But not too small as small areas don’t have many animals and also cannot hold on to their animals. An island would be good as isolation allows species to evolve into new species. An ancient start would help. more..

Editorial: Carts and wheels

May 3 (Island) Reminiscing of what the late President J. R. Jayewardene had said of himself and his strong-willed, ambitious deputy Prime Minister R Premadasa many years back, Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil has compared UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa to the wheels of a cart. The duo, perennially at loggerheads, should get together for the party to move forward, the Mayor has argued, at Thursday’s commemoration of more..

Making sense of Bodu Bala Sena - II

May 3 (Island) In my article of April 26 I wrote that that article was meant to be no more than notes towards making sense of the Bodu Bala Sena, a large and complex subject requiring in-depth treatment. In the present article I am continuing those notes because the BBS problem seems to have moved to the forefront of our political consciousness, replacing the position earlier held by what many Sri Lankans believed to be UNHRC diabolism. I believe that the reason why more..

'Performing in England is the ultimate thing'

May 3 (Island) National cricket team left the island yesterday for a two month tour of the UK. The Sri Lankans will start their campaign with two ODIs against Ireland in Dublin before arriving in London on May 9th. Sri Lanka will play three warm-up games prior to the one off T-20 International and five ODIs. The two Tests take place in June. Former captain Marvan Atapattu who will coach the side after Paul Farbrace left the job in a hurry more..

Toying with holy objects only kills their holiness

May 3 (Island) Some Buddhists express dismay about Naomi Coleman, a tourist from the UK, being deported a few days back because of an image of Buddha tattooed on her upper arm. While we regret all inconveniences Naomi had to endure on her visit in Sri Lanka, in this regard, some explanation is still necessary to discern what can be the Awakened One’s standpoint regarding his statues, images and tattoos. Ms. Coleman who is said to be a Buddhist had mentioned that she had a good more..