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Bringing politics to the stage: Observations on post-war political theatre in Sri Lanka

May 26 (GV) During the summer of 2010 I was tasked to assist a foreign post graduate student to conduct her research on Sri Lanka’s post war theatre. As part of this research we interviewed around 20 theatre practitioners from the English and Sinhala theatre in Colombo to encapsulate how the theatre and its practitioners are responding to the contemporary political issues in the post-war context and the to obtain their opinion on the state of theatre in Sri Lanka. more..

Meeting India’s concerns to sustain new relationship

May 27 (Island) Sri Lankan govt sees in the Indian PM-elect Narendra Modi a new opportunity to win India over to its side. President Rajapaksa has made sure that he will be off to a flying start with his decision to be present at the swearing in of the new Indian PM, who had tweeted that it was a great pleasure to talk to the SL President when he made his congratulatory call. It is clear that the Sri Lankan govt leadership senses, or believes there is, a resonance with the new Indian leadership. more..

'Token strike decision is to awaken the ministry'

May 26 (NS) The FUTA recently announced a token strike alleging that the Higher Education Ministry was still silent on several demands put forward by the union. President, FUTA, Dr. Chandraguptha Thenuwara explained the reason behind the token strike and the situation prevalent within the Higher Education system. Q: FUTA had announced a token strike on June 3. You had also put forward six demands. more..

Editorial: When the Centre can hold

May 27 (Island) Cometh the hour, cometh the man! Narendra Modi has been sworn in as India’s 15th Prime Minister. He who began life as a humble tea vendor has secured the topmost elected position in the world’s largest democracy. His stellar rise in the world of politics red in tooth and claw is truly remarkable and inspiring. His task now is to live up to people’s expectations. Meanwhile, a noticeable absentee at Modi’s oath taking ceremony on Monday was Tamil Nadu CM J. Jayalalitha, more..

Aitken Spence profits up 11.7%

May 27 (CT) Conglomerate Aitken Spence reported a profit attributable to shareholders of Rs 3.7 billion for the year ended 31 March 2014, up 11.7% over the previous year’s profit of Rs 3.3 billion. Profit before tax was Rs 5.4 billion and profit after tax was Rs 4.5, recording growth of 7.6% and 5.5% respectively. The diversified group’s annual revenue declined marginally to Rs 36.6 billion whilst earnings per share improved by 11.7% to Rs 9.04 for the financial year. more..

Sri Lanka commercial vehicle registrations slip in April, motor cycles up

May 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's commercial vehicle registrations continued were sharply down from a year earlier, especially trucks in April 2014, though motor cycle sales were up. Motor cycle sales rose 18% to 17,031 in April 2014 from a year earlier. Two years ago in April 2012 the financing share of motor cycles was only 45.9%. The ratio had climbed to 62.9% by April 2014 as prices rose due to rupee depreciation and taxes. more..

Duration of Health Professions Training Programmes

May 27 (Island) The Senate of the University of Peradeniya has reportedly decided at its meeting on May 21, that the duration of the degree programmes in the allied health sciences (AHS), offered by the university’s Faculty of Allied Health Sciences will be four years in duration in the future. The writer fervently hopes that the other universities in Sri Lanka would follow suit and conduct their AHS programmes over a similar period of time. Incidentally, the report that more..

Retail confidence still low

May 27 (CT) The bourse slumped to its lowest turnover in two months and the ninth in the year to date, whilst making pyrrhic gains in market indices due to advances in the stock prices of CTC and Nestlé, the bourse’s second and third largest capitalized stocks, on low volumes. On a Rs 291.3 million turnover, the ASPI, yesterday over Friday increased by 0.20% to 6,293.02 points while the S&P SL 20 Index gained by 0.10% to 3,462.89 points. “Profit taking and investors staying more..

Lankan football plunges deep into the rut

May 27 (ST) Officials representing Football Leagues islandwide, affiliated to the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL), gathered yesterday at the National Football Training Centre in Baddegana to attend a discussion and seminar on Development of Football. Over 200 representatives from nearly 70 Football Leagues were present at the discussion as they collectively condemned the act of six former and present FFSL officials which more..

Monetary Board effects fresh restructuring in The Finance

May 27 (FT) Central Bank last night announced a new wave of restructuring to stabilise The Finance PLC and improve its attractiveness for any interested strategic investor. In a statement the CB said the Monetary Board at its meeting held on 26 May decided to implement the second phase of restructuring of The Finance Company (TFC), in order to stabilise the company further, and move it to a profitable level. In terms of the provisions of the Finance Business Act No. 42 of 2011, more..

State Mechanism for Village to Village, Home to Home Programme

May 27 (GDI) Minister Basil Rajapaksa stated that the President has arrange for the state mechanism to be taken to the doorsteps of the rural community under the implementation process of Village to Village, Home to Home National Programme. The present Govt has taken action to increase the strength of state employees from .6 million to 1.3 million in order to strengthen the public service and this programme will ensure mobilization of their skills and desire to serve the people. more..

'H’tota Port workers paid only 1/3 drawn by their Colombo counterparts'

May 27 (Island) Workers at the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MMRP) in Hambantota were paid only one third the salary that their counterparts at the Colombo Port drew, the UNP charged. R. Yogarajan, who was one of five UNP MPs who visited the MMRP on a fact finding mission recently said that the govt had claimed it generated employment for the rural masses but the small number who more..

South Asian leaders at Indian high table

May 27 (Hindu) As 8 leaders from SAARC and beyond took the front row at PM Narendra Modi’s swearing-in, there was a rare feel-good atmosphere in a tense region that is home to 1/4 of the world’s people. Apart from PM Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan and other SAARC leaders and representatives, PM Navin Ramgoolam of Mauritius was present. New Indian PM’s speed diplomacy, and the readiness with which his invitation was accepted,, has boosted India’s centrality to the region. more..

'President takes hand in improving Batticaloa district economy'

May 27 (DN) Batticaloa district's economy had improved by 11%. President Rajapaksa had taken special interest in developing infrastructural facilities of the Batticaloa district, said Secretary to the Treasury P.B. Jayasundera. He was speaking at a meeting of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs of the Batticaloa district in Batticaloa. He said that road development, education, health and sanitation, livelihood developments, construction of bridges and renovation of tanks have been taking place more..

Five boys get pinned between two school vans, one dies

May 27 (Island) An eight-year-old student of De Mazenod College, Kandana succumbed to injuries he sustained after he and four of his friends got stuck between two vans face to face in the college’s vehicle park yesterday afternoon. Of the other four students aged eight and nine, who were rushed to the Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama, along with the deceased, one of them has been discharged more..

‘BJP leaders have hurt Tamils’

May 27 (Hindu) The police removed 21 Naam Tamilar Katchi members and 13 members of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi for staging protests against the visit of the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The police said that the Naam Tamilar Katchi cadre protested in front of the Bangalore-Ernakulam Express around 1 p.m. at Coimbatore Junction. Likewise, the police also removed the 13 VCK cadre who staged a protest at the North Coimbatore Railway Junction. more..

VVS Lanka to tap huge Chinese gem market

May 27 (DN) VVS Lanka Holdings has taken the initiative to promote Sri Lankan gemstones through one of their subsidiaries Blue Diamond Jewellery Worldwide. "We work with experienced craftsmen, professionals and specialists in gem and jewellery sourcing. We intend to expand our business areas including solar energy business and invest in the capital market and hotel business apart from our jewellery business," its Chairman Henry Xia told the Daily News Business. more..

DPL passports: Immigration says it followed circular

May 27 (DM) All passports recognized with diplomatic status have been issued in adherence with the circular issued by the Presidential Secretariat in 2006, a top official said responding to recent claims made in parliament that more than 2,000 diplomatic passports had issued on an ad hoc basis. The official, responding to allegation parliament that passports are only issued upon recommendation by govt sources more..

Rajapaksa’s gesture renews fishermen’s hopes

May 27 (Hindu) The fishing community and fishermen leaders are elated at reports from Sri Lanka that all 14 fishermen from TN, who were arrested on charges of drug trafficking, will be released. U. Arulanandham, president of the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), quoting his sources in Colombo, said the Sri Lankan authorities were taking steps to release all 14 fishermen after President Rajapaksa ordered their release, as a goodwill gesture, more..

Sounds of Silence in Colombo on June 5

May 27 (DM) The CMC had decided to ban the tooting of vehicle horns on Thursday, June 5 which coincides with World Environment Day, as an initial step to reduce sound pollution in the Colombo city. CMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni said the decibels of sound levels that vehicle horns make would also be inspected on Environment Day when they travel through Colombo. He said this was the first awareness programme in the city to alert drivers about sound pollution. more..

Top govt. schools have violated circular

May 27 (DM) The principals of some leading govt schools appear to have violated the Education Ministry circular by admitting students from international schools for their GCE A/L studies, particularly in the English medium. The Education Act, which regulates free education, provides for the offering of local syllabi only at govt schools and govt sponsored private schools to prepare students for the GCE O/L Exam and the GCE A/L Exam. more..

'Modi committed to protect rights of Sri Lankan Tamils'

May 27 (PTI) PM Narendra Modi is committed to protect the rights of Sri Lankan Tamils, Union minister Pon. Radhakrishnan said. "Modi is committed to save the life and rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka," Radhakrishnan, who was inducted as a Minister of State in the new govt said. Replying to a query on the opposition of Tamil parties to the invitation of SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Modi's swearing-in ceremony, he said the govt is concerned about the problems of Tamils more..

Lanka Sathosa intervenes to bring down vege prices

May 27 (CT) Lanka Sathosa will be selling vegetables below the market price at 50 of its outlets in Colombo and its surrounding suburbs from today. This initiative was launched, by Sathosa Chairman Nalin Fernando, to allow Sathosa consumers to purchase vegetables at a reasonable price. Minister Johnston Fernando had asked Nalin Fernando to come up with a price control mechanism for vegetables. This request was made as the minister had received several complaints over more..

JHU warns of dangers

May 27 (CT) JHU, which met Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera yesterday, has warned that there could be serious repercussions if changes are made to the Executive Presidency, without reforming the country's electoral system. Ven. Sobhitha Thera, together with a few party members, including lawyers Jayampathy Wickremaratne and Ravi Jayawardena, met JHU delegation, led by Minister Ranawaka, more..

A Chief Minister's folly

May 27 (DN) UPFA MP A.H.M Azwer said that Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneshwaran declining President Rajapaksa’s invitation to join his delegation to participate in the swearing-in ceremony of Indian PM elect Narendra Modi reaffirms that he has given into pressure of radical elements and extremist forces who are still active in the Northern Province. “He has fallen in line with Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha who has also refused to participate in the swearing-in ceremony,” more..

UNP LC nominates Harin to lead Uva PC Polls campaign

May 27 (Island) UNP Leadership Council (LC) has nominated MP Harin Fernando to lead the party’s campaign at the Uva PC Election, which was due to be held soon. The LC which met in Colombo on Sunday had discussed a few names, but eventually settled for Harin, the sources said adding that it was initially reluctant to nominate the Badulla District MP, since it was felt that he would be more useful in Parliament. "With General Elections expected to be held early next year, we decided to release more..

IUSF furious over UGC head functioning as director of private medical college

May 27 (Island) Working as a director of a non-state medical college, recognised by the UGC while being the head of UGC was not unethical or illegal, UGC Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama said. She was responding to IUSF claim that it is not suitable for the person, who is handling the top post of the governing body of the state universities to be appointed as a director to promote a private university. more..

For full justice, implement the Witness Protection Bill

May 27 (DM) While we need to be concerned about the human rights of convicted prisoners and of those in remand custody we need to give as much if not more concern to the victims of crime and the witnesses who testify to it. Three weeks before the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka last year, the Cabinet approved draft legislation to protect victims and witnesses of crime, a key recommendation of the LLRC and repeatedly called for by rights activists and the United Nations. more..

Undying passion gives birth to the wave-less boat

May 27 (DM) A young schoolboy is seen meddling with a jumble of wires, batteries and switches. His brows are knitted in concentration and he is completely focused on the task at hand. His goal is to build a mechanical doorbell for his home which does not have electricity. After hours of hard work, he straightens up to test his creation. A wide, joyful smile spreads across his youthful face when the doorbell emits a shrill buzzing sound. That happened nearly four decades ago and more..

‘The govt. misled academics’

May 27 (DM) Q: When FUTA called off the three-month strike in 2012, it was accused of exploiting the 6% figure to merely attract public support for the academics’ struggle to increase wages. With such a past, do you feel the public will rally around FUTA this time? A: Calling off the strike didn’t mark the end of our struggle. We were compelled to momentarily give-up the trade union action as the students were suffering due to more..

Drug rehab more focused now

May 27 (SL) Drug addiction is a disease that has plagued this country for a very long time and it was much easier for everyone to ignore the issue and think that putting the addicts behind bars was the best solution. However drug addiction is not a crime and in fact those addicted to this deadly habit are victims. But changing the mindset of the public takes time. The stigma attached to substance abuse, as well as more..

Unions on the war path, warn of crippling action in coming weeks

May 27 (ST) The country could face a number of crippling strikes in the coming weeks, trade unions have warned adding that several demonstrations and protest marches have been planned island wide. On June 3, the FUTA will launch an islandwide token strike, its president Chandragupta Thenuwara said. 3,000 member strong FUTA has cited several demands including removal of conditions in research allowance, more..

Minister calls for a balance between growth and environmental protection

May 27 (Island) At a time Sri Lanka has expedited its pursuit of development goals, Minister Susil Premajayantha advocates a balance between development requirements and environmental protection. Addressing the ‘International Biodiversity Day’ national ceremony at the ministry last week under the theme ‘Island Biodiversity’ the minister stressed the importance of preparing an Island Biodiversity Management more..

'People-smugglers now eyeing New Zealand'

May 27 (AFP) People-smugglers are looking to target New Zealand now that Australia's tough border protection policies have effectively "closed down" that country to asylum-seeker boats, PM John Key said Tuesday. While the voyage to New Zealand from places such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka is potentially far more perilous than trying to reach Australia, Key said people-smugglers and asylum-seekers were willing to take the risk more..

Army conducts mine awareness programs

May 27 (SLA) Nearly 200 civilians, exposed to mine risks in Nagarkovil West and Kudatthanai areas were alerted to mine awareness lectures after summoning them to common centers in respective areas. Those two awareness programmes, conducted by 10 Field Sri Lanka Engineers under the Disaster Mitigation Project got underway in Nagarkovil and Kudatthanai where those civilians were educated on land mines more..

LTTE suspects arrested in Malaysia brought to Sri Lanka

May 27 (AD) The three LTTE suspects who were arrested by authorities in Malaysia were brought to Sri Lanka last night and are currently in custody, police said. Interpol had previously issued ‘red notice’ for the arrest of the men, suspected to be members of the banned terrorist outfit, on charges of attempting to revive the LTTE. Sundaralinga Raja, Mahadevan Kirubaharan and Selvathurai Kirubananthan were arrested more..

President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Modi Meet in New Delhi

May 27 (GDI) President Rajapaksa and new Indian PM Narendra Modi met for bilateral talks this morning at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, where the President was warmly welcomed by the PM. Two leaders had an in-depth discussion of issues of mutual concern. President Rajapaksa described the initiatives Sri Lanka has taken with regard to rehabilitation, resettlement, reconstruction and the ongoing reconciliation process more..

UN urges better protection in Lanka

May 27 (CG) “The Government of Sri Lanka must boost the efforts it has made in recent years in order to prevent exploitation and abuse of Sri Lankans migrating abroad for work, during the recruitment stage, while in service in the destination country, and upon return to the country,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau said today. At the end of his first official visit to Sri Lanka, more..

Pope confirms to visit Sri Lanka in 2015

May 27 (DM) Pope Francis confirmed Monday that he will visit the Philippines in January next year as well as Sri Lanka for two days, but gave no definite dates and details. Philippine Catholic Church officials have reportedly invited him to visit the Philippines, with a trip to typhoon-devastated Leyte as the highlight of his visit. Early this year Palo Archbishop John Du was quoted as saying that “the Holy Father might just come" adding that more..

The democratic route to a third term

May 27 (CT) TNA’s proposal to make Wigneswaran the common candidate at the next Presidential Election was a pleasant surprise to me. It was pleasant because it echoed my belief that with the expanding vistas and liberalism of our younger generation, a Northerner would become our Head of State by the middle of the century. But it is clearly evident that we have not attained that level of maturity as a Nation, so far. If the TNA’s nominee is not acceptable, Sumanthiran wants to know more..