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I know this is the Miracle of Asia, but ….

Oct 11 (CT) To complete the title of this column, let me add “is it also the land where suspension of disbelief is absolute?” The journalists, in the English media at least, have been uttering platitudes that would justify their inclusion in one of the “Forums” of self-righteousness that seem to be so accepted in middle-class Colombo, Sri Lanka where the word “hypocrisy” appears to have disappeared from the Oxford English dictionary. What has provoked my outburst? more..

India is committed to assist Sri Lanka

Oct 11 (CG) Indian Govt today reiterated its continuing commitment to assist in Sri Lanka’s development with Indian assisted projects in Sri Lanka amounting to around US$ 1.63 billion. President Rajapaksa, Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardana, and High Commissioner of India Y.K. Sinha, jointly inaugurated a Language Lab at the Wayamba National College of Education, Bingiriya. Speaking on the occasion, more..

PCB chief assures Lanka country now 'safe' for playing international cricket

Oct 11 (ANI) Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Shahryar Khan has reportedly assured Sri Lanka of foolproof security arrangements for the visiting teams as he visited the country on the last leg of his tour of South Asian cricketing nations. Shahryar went on the trip to improve coordination and forge friendly ties between cricket boards of the four South Asian cricketing nations. He met Sri Lanka Cricket Board president Jayantha Dharmadasa in Colombo and discussed more..

Voting facilities for overseas Lankans not practical: Polls chief

Oct 11 (ST) A request to consider provision for Sri Lankans living overseas to vote at future elections has been turned down by the Elections Commissioner on the grounds that the move was ‘not practical’ and would need amendments to existing laws. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that the issue was raised at a meeting with political party secretaries and representatives, but said it was not practical as Returning Officers would have to be sent to more..

Virgin coconut oil exports come to a boil

Oct 11 (ST) The growing popularity for virgin coconut oil overseas has brought a remarkable rise in exports – but Sri Lankans are yet to recognise its benefits. Exports in the first seven months of this year brought in close to Rs. 2,500 million, up from Rs. 1,500m in the whole of last year. “This is a 146% increase compared to last year. There is a demand for Sri Lankan virgin coconut oil from US, Europe, Japan & South Korea. more..

Towards a family policy beyond nepotism

Oct 11 (CT) Since 2010 the Ministry of Social Services has been engaged in the development of a family policy for Sri Lanka. At face value this is a laudable task and one that should be supported by all. On closer examination however a number of fundamental issues arise which cannot be ignored if this exercise is to benefit its intended beneficiaries – those families which are struggling to make ends meet and live together and which are disintegrating as mainstream ‘development’ more..

Hudhud storm may affect Jaffna seas

Oct 11 (CG) Department of Meteorology says the severe cyclonic storm named “Hudhud” which is in the Bay of Bengal has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and was located about 900 km to the North-east of Jaffna this morning. The storm is moving towards India but under the influence of the system, increase of wind speeds over the island (particularly in the Northern areas) and in the surrounding sea areas is possible. Several spells of showers will occur in the Western, more..

Sabaragamuwa undergrads attacked

Oct 11 (AD) The supporters of a ruling party politico are behind the attack on a Satyagraha campaign in Pambahinna, last night, says the Convenor of the Sabaragamuwa University Students Union, Rasindu Jayasinghe. “Some students have witnessed and we have received information that the group was accompanied by the supporters of a ruling party Provincial Councilor,” said Jayasinghe. Some 12 students who were engaged in more..

SB announces eradication of inhuman ragging from universities

Oct 11 (Island) Minister S.B. Dissanayake listed eradication of inhuman ragging from the university system as one of his biggest achievements. He said that they had now been able to remove in-human bullying of fresh entrants to universities very successfully. Minister Dissanayake was addressing the inaugural session of the SAARC workshop on ‘Innovations in Higher Education’ at the Global Towers Colombo 6. The two – day workshop is jointly organised by the SAARC more..

Army Commander sets out restructuring plans

Oct 11 (SLA) Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, addressing the troops at the ceremony, held today (10) on account of the Army Day and 65th Anniversary at the MoD grounds, assured that the ongoing Army restructuring programme would provide more and more welfare facilities and elevate the qualitative aspects by improving the Army’s organizational module, training and armament under those three spheres. more..

Fonseka says he will shy away from common candidate race

Oct 11 (AM) Leader of the DP Sarath Fonseka reiterated that he would not extend his support to a common candidate at the next Presidential election. Fonseka was the common candidate of the opposition at the Presidential election in 2010 – where President Rajapaksa was re-elected to power with a resounding majority. “We will not support a common candidate if it puts our party in jeopardy, but we are willing to support a candidate who more..

Party based elections differ from personality based elections

Oct 11 (CT) It can be a Local Govt election, Provincial level election or a Parliamentary election. But when talking about presidential elections it is completely a different demography. Individuals play a major role in this process. They may be attached to different political parties, but the verdict will be based on the performance of that individual. Some parties say we will disclose the name of the Common Candidate today. Some say in a weeks-time. Some say in a month. more..

'Sri Lanka gets US$1.3 bn in FDI by October'

Oct 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka is estimated to have received about US$ 1.3 billion of foreign direct investment by Oct 2014, investment promotions minister Lakshman Abeywardene said. For 2014 Sri Lanka targeted US$ 2 billion of investments and the minister said it is likely the target will be met. However 640 million dollars of investment is still lacking to achieve the targets. “We have already spoken to Shangrila and ask them to bring 50 million before December for their third land. more..

Sri Lanka’s pensioners to get a digital ID

Oct 11 (LBO) Department of Pensions launches a digital identity card for pensioners in partnership with Sampath Bank. The official launch of the card held 9th September 2014 at Pensioners ’Resort in Kelaniya with the participation of over 3000 pensioners to mark the Pensioners’ Day. Over 600,000 pensioners in the country are expected to benefit from the Digital Identity Card in their banking transactions, the banks said. more..

Sarath N.Silva’s dangerous game

Oct 12 (Island) Last Wednesday in a statement to the Daily Mirror, former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva put out a new set of arguments against Mahinda Rajapaksa being able to contest a presidential election for the third time. The Daily Mirror article was titled "MR can’t seek opinion on 3rd term: Ex-CJ". The gist of the former CJ’s new argument was: (a) The President cannot seek the opinion of the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of seeking a mandate for a third term. more..

Budgets, gazettes & lollipops

Oct 12 (Island) Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera went public last week claiming that the forthcoming budget will be development rather than election oriented. Perhaps he is right to the extent that seeni bola traditionally proffered by politicians seeking re-election have been so much in evidence in recent days and weeks and there may well be no need to offer more inducements to the voters in the budget. It all began with the launching of the second phase of the Norochcholai coal power plant more..

'President will not overstay mandate'

Oct 12 (SO) Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said all those who talk about the third term of President Rajapaksa had not even served a single term. This is nothing new but only shows their inability. He said that as long as the people want President Rajapaksa as President, there is no one who can stand in the way. There is no candidate who can face upto President Rajapaksa as a presidential candidate. more..

SB’s teaching methods

Oct 12 (NS) The Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake doesn’t mince his words, this everyone knows. Integrity is not his strongest suit. He has a loose tongue which has got him into trouble many times, even earning him a jail sentence on one occasion. Just the other day, after students of Sabaragamuwa University tried to block him from attending the opening of a new hostel, ‘SB’ blurted out, ‘ඡන්ද කාලේ නිසා ඉවසනවාත්ව නැත්තම් අට්ටාලවලට සලකන හැටි අපි දන්නවා’ more..

Electing criminals as representatives of the people

Oct 12 (SL) A regrettable feature of South Asian politics is the emergence of criminals as representatives of the people. In the last Indian legislature, 1/3 of the members were those with a criminal record, according to Indian Association for Democratic Reforms. Criminal record of the parliament elected in March this year is not available yet. Other democracies in the region including SL probably are no exceptions and we do not have a watchdog like in India to tell us who’s who. more..

'Do they have the right to come down hard or soft on other countries?'

Oct 12 (SL) Following the recent visit to meet Pope Francis, the President told the Sri Lankans living in Italy that the government would not allow the international community to interfere into our domestic affairs and would solve our own problems. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the government has maintained the same position throughout. more..

EAM like a madhatter’s dinner party

Oct 12 (ST) There is nothing so deafening as the External Affairs Ministry’s continued silence on the resignation of Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in no less a capital than London, on a complaint that he was assaulted by a Government MP designated as ‘Monitor’ to the very same Ministry. The honourable thing for any ‘Honourable’ Minister in charge of the Ministry to do would be to inform the country of the circumstances that had led to this unprecedented event. more..

A slap in the face of Mother Lanka

Oct 12 (ST) My Dear Chris, I thought I must write to you because, in the last few weeks, your name has been in the headlines virtually every day although very few people had heard of you before that. Ah, what fame a mere slap in the face can bring, even though it is in fact a slap in the face for the whole country! There are those who wonder what you were doing as our representative in London, when you were in fact a medical doctor and not a career diplomat of the Foreign Service. more..

Boston Lanka: October 12, 2014

Baseless argument to cover political bankruptcy

Oct 12 (SO) An unwarranted debate on whether the incumbent President could seek a third term in office opened when a former Chief Justice aired his views on his interpretation of the clauses in the Constitution. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution entitles President Mahinda Rajapaksa to seek a third term in office. It is crystal clear that President Rajapaksa could not only contest the next Presidential election but also any number of such elections. more..

Fazil Marija quits Sri Lanka team training

Oct 12 (NS) Sri Lanka rugby Sevens captain Fazil Marija has quit training with the team ahead of the third and final Leg of the Asian Sevens in Beijing, China next week and taken wing to Australia. Marija has in a notice to the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) said he had to attend a “very urgent requirement” and left. It was unclear whether Marija will be back to make it for the final Asian Sevens meeting with the Sri Lanka team but a spokesman for the SLRFU said more..

‘Govt should address charges by UNHRC'

Oct 12 (SL) SLMC feel that the govt of Sri Lanka should address the charges levelled against them by the UNHRC and provide credible answers to these charges instead of trying to take on an arrogant stance. SLMC MP Hassan Ali said that while the govt claims to be able to handle its own domestic issues, they have been silent and unable to deal with extremist elements such as the BBS in spite of them creating many issues that more..

Lessons from Incheon

Oct 12 (ST) Some years ago I was at Isipathana College on a weekday, chatting up with a teacher during the school interval. Something that I noticed at that point never left my memory. Down the school yard several little boys were running in motion. While on the trot, they were passing an object that looked like a shoe, but in reality they were working the three-quarter line in imaginary rugby, yet the move had cohesion and rhythm. I just thought to myself this is how legends were born. more..

Budget 2015 prelude for Presidential election

Oct 12 (NS) The Parliament met twice last week-Thursday and Friday- and there was nothing so important than deciding the dates for the budget 2015, for it had been considered as one of the indications of things to come in next couple of months. With the months ahead regarded as a prelude of a presidential election, everyone was keen on the dates assigned for the budget debate. The budget will be presented to parliament by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on October 24. more..

'UNHRC is simply evaluating Sri Lanka’s compliance to a covenant'

Oct 12 (SL) The UNHRC, which is currently meeting in Geneva, reviewed the situation in Sri Lanka last week. The Committee raised several concerns during the review, including issues related to impunity, torture and freedom of expression for which the Govt delegation gave its responses. Amnesty International (AI) was among the human rights groups and organisations which made submissions to the Committee. more..

If they do they are damned and if they don’t they are damned

Oct 12 (SL) The UNP has been check-mated: They were forced to issue a statement that President Rajapaksa putting himself forward for a third term was perfectly acceptable, thereby putting forward the message that no matter who contests, the UNP will go forth with confidence. It was a classic case of “if they do they are damned and if they don’t they are damned.” That probably put paid to former Chief Justice Sarath Silva’s attempt to have the Court stop Mahinda Rajapaksa – or more..

Dirty linen from foreign affairs held up, for now

Oct 12 (ST) On two consecutive days this week in Parliament, JVP’s Parliamentary Group Leader MP Anura Dissanayake was prevented from raising a question in Parliament regarding the altercation between SL’s former High Commissioner to London, Dr Chris Nonis and Monitoring MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, late last month in New York. Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody initially refused to allow the JVP MP to raise the issue, stating that it referred to the conduct of a fellow MP, more..

Development Budget with ‘election goodies’ thro’ Gazettes

Oct 12 (ST) The 2015 budget speech with a development outlook targeting the improvement of rural economy and infrastructure will be confined to highlighting the country’s current status of the economy, revenue and expenditure, proposals formulated to ensure development by creating more livelihood and employment opportunities, food security, energy security & environmental safety with particular emphasis on low income & poor more..

Mobitel launches pension disbursements via mCash service

Oct 12 (SO) The national mobile service provider Mobitel, launched a new facility for pension disbursements via its already popular mCash service in partnership with the Pensions Department. President Rajapaksa unveiled the Pension Disbursement facility via the mCash service as an added benefit for retired government employees. Through this service pensioners can now receive their pensions directly into their mCash Account for greater convenience. more..

Vehicle trans-shipment picks up at Hambantota port

Oct 12 (ST) Vehicle trans-shipment and import operations are picking up at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port in the South with 161 car carriers calling up to September this year, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) sources revealed. A senior official of the Authority said that the Hambantota port had trans-shipped 97.233 units and also unloaded 19.628 vehicles for the local market since January to September 2014. Some 116,861 vehicles were unloaded during this period. more..

Aussie university raises doubts over ICC integrity

Oct 12 (ST) Has the ICC stolen or copied a system that was developed by the University of Western Australia (UWA) to detect and remedy illegal bowling actions and is it manipulating this method to please the Big Three. These questions have arisen following a report circulated among Sri Lanka Cricket Executive Committee members. Sunday Times has a copy of this report. The report quotes UWA authorities as claiming that more..

Take us into confidence, tea exporters urge govt.

Oct 12 (NS) The Chairman of the Tea Exporters Association (TEA), Rohan Fernando last week urged Sri Lanka’s policy makers to take the members of the Association into confidence vowing that the assurance alone could propel the industry to reach greater heights. Addressing the 15th Annual General Meeting of the TEA held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel recently with the participation of Minister of Plantation Mahinda Samarasinghe, Fernando said that in difference to most others, more..

CIFL depositors face new crisis

Oct 12 (ST) Depositors of the failed Central Finance and Investments (CIFL), given some hope by the Central Bank (CB), have been stumped by a possible misunderstanding that their problems are over. At a recent meeting between the CIFLDA (CIFL Depositors Association) and the CB, the latter appeared to indicate that if the association withdraws its case in court, the CB will find an investor and provide matching funds to revive the company. Following this ‘assurance’, more..

'I'm Common Candidate'

Oct 12 (CT) UNP, on Friday, proposed and seconded Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the common candidate from the single largest Opposition political party. When the 20-member committee, appointed to assist in the presidential election, met, deputy leader Sajith Premadasa asked Wickremesinghe whether he could confirm his intention to be the Party's presidential candidate. more..

Karunaratne ton powers Sri Lanka A

Oct 12 (CI) Dimuth Karunaratne's 18th first-class century lifted Sri Lanka A to a strong position at the end of the first day against West Indies A in Hambantota. At stumps, the hosts were 261 for 2, with Lahiru Thirimanne unbeaten on 85. Choosing to bat, Sri Lanka A were dealt an early blow when their captain Upul Tharanga was caught behind off seamer Shannon Gabriel in the fifth over. Tharanga's dismissal brought Thirimanne to the crease, who combined with Karunaratne for more..

No objection

Oct 12 (CT) Convener of the National Movement for Social Justice, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, in an exclusive interview with Ceylon Today, said if UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe can muster the support of all others they have no problem in supporting him as the common candidate. Asked about his views on the suitability of Wickremesinghe to contest the incumbent President, the Ven. Thera said as the main Opposition Party, the UNP had every right to field a candidate. more..