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Wildlife tales for Sri Lanka kids, courtesy Udaipur naturalists

June 15 (TOI) The Indian school curriculum does not have a text book to connect the school children with nature and wildlife, but Sri Lanka may boast of one soon, and that too sourced from India. A group of Montessori schools in Sri Lanka has recommended 'Tales from the Wild', a collection of 12 short stories on wildlife and nature, for children of both junior and senior classes to be introduced from the next academic session. The book by Udaipur-based conservationists Arefa Tehsin, more..

Scientists welcome glypohsate ban: But stocks sufficient for 15 yrs already imported

June 15 (Island) Local agrochemical company will be prohibited from importing herbicide glyphosate with effect from June 11. A special gazette notification signed by Minister Ravi Karunanayaka was issued on June 11 to that effect. Describing the ban as a victory for the people, Kidney Disease Research Scientist Dr. Channa Jayasumana said that leading agrochemical companies were controlling Sri Lanka’s agriculture by making farmers dependent on harmful agrochemicals. more..

No pact with UNP, says President

June 15 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday assured the SLFP that he hadn't signed any agreement with the UNP in the run-up to the Jan.8 presidential election. He had quit the previous govt to pave the way for the coming together of 49 organizations to bring about the politico-social change expected by the people, he added. President was addressing the inaugural meeting of a fresh initiative to unite party held more..

'22% of people lack housing facilities'

June 15 (GDI) Minister Sajith Premadasa has revealed that about 22% of the people in the country are experiencing hardships due to the lack of housing facilities. He has queried as to what privileges had been received by the ordinary persons in society during the previous regime. He has also queried as to what had happened to the money spent on MIG aircraft, multi-barrel rockets, Kafir jets and modern military hardware, when six years had passed since ending the war. more..

President says ready to follow SWRD path of sacrifice

June 15 (DN) The sacrifice made by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike in the course of political and social transformation is again required by the country, President Sirisena said. “I am dedicated to make the changes the country requires placing even my life at stake,” he said. “Every politician worldwide who made political transformations had to face challenges, even sacrificing their lives. I am dedicated to gain the required social, economic and political transformation in the country more..

Cinnamon Grand incident: Doctors rule out food poisoning

June 15 (DN) In a major development, specialist doctors treating patients who were hospitalized following an event at Cinnamon Grand Hotel on Friday ruled out the possibility of a food poisoning. "Most of the patients complained that they had cough and breathing problems when they consumed soup as the first course of the dinner. It was too early to decide it was food poisoning because such issues could more..

Help voters clean the house

June 15 (DM) Now it is time for our political party leaders to walk the talk. The time for nominations for the forthcoming general elections has come. The quality of politicians elected to Parliament has been evidently deteriorating. Even many Parliamentarians themselves had admitted the same in public. One UPFA MP, who now is a staunch supporter of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, once told Parliament that drug barons, thugs and rapists had entered the House. more..

Constitutional Coup No Confidence Motion: how ludicrous in its logic

June 15 (DM) In a mature democracy, a govt (Or for that matter, a PM) cannot and should not be impeached simply because the Opposition can do so or garner enough votes to do so. The elected representatives of the people are expected to act with responsibility and restraint; that is more so, when a new govt, even a minority one, has its legitimacy underwritten by 6.2 million voters in a recent election. The composition of the incumbent Parliament, which is dominated by old-guard, more..

President graces 2014 Raigam Tele'es Awards Festival

June 15 (GDI) The 2014 Raigam Tele’es Awards Festival was held for the Eleventh occasion on a grand scale at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre on Friday night. President Maithripala Sirisena graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Many MPs and artistes were present. Raigam Lifetime Award was given to veteran artiste Cyril Wickremage. Most Popular Actor was Saranga Disasekara while Most Popular Actress was Udari Warnakulasuriya. more..

Colombo to launch scheme for widows

June 15 (Hindu) With reconciliation being high on its agenda, the Sri Lankan govt has decided to launch an empowerment scheme for widows in the country and extend the implementation of a self-employment programme to former members of militant groups. Of about 6.95 lakh widows in Sri Lanka, approximately 6.67 lakh belong to the age group of 40 years and above. Even though exact details are not more..

Mixed reactions as Diaspora is roped in

June 15 (SL) The decision by the Govt to engage with the Diaspora and get them involved in some of the post war activities in Sri Lanka has drawn mixed reactions. Minister Mangala Smaraweera’s recent visit to London to meet the Tamil Diaspora groups was debated mainly due to lack of transparency established initially. Even though, the idea was presumably to explore ways in which the Sri Lankan Diaspora could assist more..

Immediate infusion of Rs 500m to resuscitate crisis-hit Negombo Hospital

June 15 (ST) Health Ministry has pledged an immediate Rs. 500 million to the crisis-hit Negombo General Hospital, where patients were evacuated two weeks ago after its seven-storey building was deemed unsafe. The funds were to build temporary facilities and also for repairs. While the funding was promised by Minister Rajitha Senaratne, at a meeting on Thursday with administrators, consultant doctors and more..

Sri Lanka purchased over US$ 2.2 billion worth arms

June 15 (CG) The total value of arms purchased by Sri Lanka in the last couple of years was USD 2.2 billion, according to data collected by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Russia, including the former Soviet nations, is the biggest source of arms for China and India – the two Asian giants. China, in turn, is the largest source of arms and ammunition for Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. more..

High Court grants bail to Basil

June 15 (AD) The Colombo High Court today granted bail to former Minister Basil Rajapaksa. The Judge also granted bail to former Economic Development Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilaka, former Director General of the Divineguma Department, R.R.K. Ranawaka and Divi Neguma Regional Director Bandula Thilakasiri. The suspects were enlarged on a cash bail of Rs. 100,000 and four personal bails of Rs. 1 million each. more..

'Former Indian leadership must answer'

June 15 (CT) Northern Provincial Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan has requested the former Congress regime leaders in India to reveal the true situation with regard to the surrender of the LTTE cadres including her husband Elilan at the last phase of the war in Wanni in 2009. She said the former Congress regime Minister P.Sivasithamparam, former Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and President Pranab more..

MR Rally: Rajitha - Udaya battle numbers

June 15 (CT) Minister and member of SLFP, Rajitha Senaratne stated that only 25 SLFP MPs attended the Pro-Mahinda Rally on Friday though the Pro-Mahinda faction claimed the figure was 62. Senaratne who also rubbished claims indicating the attendance of an enormous crowd, added that the people were with the President. "There were 212 buses in which people were transported there. There were over 200 vans. more..

Eric Solheim back in Sri Lankan affairs

June 15 (DM) The former Norwegian Minister Eric Solheim, who acted as the peace facilitator between the govt of Sri Lanka and the LTTE at that time, shared his experience in engaging the Diaspora at a meeting in London, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in Parliament. Mr. Solheim acted as the peace mediator between the govt and the LTTE mainly during the 2002 / 2004 period. more..

'Depreciating rupee without export growth is ludicrous'

June 15 (EN) Sri Lanka will not devalue the currency in a bid to support exporters as the move will increase inflation without necessarily boosting exports, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Interest rates have been kept low to make it possible for exporters to invest more. "We want to ensure the the export boom takes place," he said. "Because until such time there is no point in having an open exchange rate. more..

Sri Lankan scientists launch innovation dashboard to track R&D

June 15 (EN) Sri Lankan scientists have launched a web-based tool called the Sri Lanka Innovation Dashboard to provide up-to-date information about the island’s science, technology and innovation work that policymakers and businesses can use. The tool aims to overcome reluctant among the island’s scientific community to share information and highlight innovations so that research and development efforts can be better commercialised and used for policymaking. more..

Maithripala, Ranil & The democratic aspirations of the people

June 15 (CT) One of the main reasons why the people in Sri Lanka decided to topple Mahinda Rajapaksa regime on January 8 was its excessively authoritarian character in governance. Hence, people expected more democratic governance from the new regime. What we understand by ‘democratic change’ may be problematic as democracy is, as Wendy Brown says, “among the most contested and promiscuous term in our modern political vocabulary” (Undoing the Demos). more..

Sri Lanka's Tamils still waiting for answers

Stocks edge up to over 1-week high

June 15 (Reuters) Stock index rose to a more than one-week high on Monday, led by telecom shares and on foreign inflows, but turnover was lower as many investors were cautious about risky assets ahead of a parliamentary election. Stock index ended 0.25% up, or 17.69 points, at 7,078.97, its highest close since June 5. "Sellers are not that desperate, they are holding on," said a stockbroker asking not to be named. "The political uncertainty remains with delay in announcing elections." more..

SupremeSAT license to be expanded

June 15 (EN) SupremeSAT (Pvt) Ltd, a Sri Lanka based satellite company will be allowed to offer more services, the telecom regulator said. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Sri Lanka said he firm will be licensed for International transit service. Public could make representations or objections to the regulator until July 12. Supreme SAT has said it has co-branded Chinasat 12, a geo-stationery satellite owned by China Satellite Communications Co. Ltd. more..

'Tax bills delayed over opposition brinkmanship'

June 15 (EN) Tax hikes proposed in a budget for 2014 were delayed over opposition brinkmanship, though he was personally in favour of calling their bluff, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. "The opposition does not help us get the revenue," Karunanayake told foreign correspondents in Colombo. "No point blaming us. We are a minority government. We know it. We cannot dare the system beyond a certain point." more..

Institute of Hospitality Chairman calls for greater professionalism

June 15 (Island) Chairman of the Institute of Hospitality (Sri Lanka Chapter) Sidath Kodikara upon his re-election to the office for the second successive year urged it’s stakeholders for enhanced cooperation to achieve greater professionalism and said that the aim of the institute for 2015 was to empower all resource personnel in the industry towards professional recognition and accreditation. "Tourist arrivals to SL are expected to continue its current growth more..

Portrait of a peacebuilder: Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne

June 15 (HP) Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne leads one of the world's most admired development initiatives: the Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya movement. Inspired by Buddhist principles and founded (in Sri Lanka) by his father in 1958, Sarvodaya has pioneered village level development for 57 years. Many ideas that Sarvodaya advanced decades ago, like participatory engagement of communities, were looked at askance as revolutionary and impractical, but today are accepted as central more..

Video: Will make written request to dissolve house: UNP

June 15 (DM) The UNP would make a written request to President Maithripala Sirisena to dissolve Parliament. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ajith P. Perera said that the UNP had decided to make a written request for the dissolution of Parliament in accordance with the resolution passed by the party’s working committee recently. Mr. Perera said UNP would also remind President in writing that he would have to honour more..

Institutions vs. educated

June 15 (CT) Sri Lanka since independence in 1948 has had her lot of visionary lawmakers. Four years after independence, US leaning Ceylon as Sri Lanka was then known, saw its Commerce Minister R.G. Senanayake successfully negotiating the Rubber-Rice Pact with Red China, despite seeming objections from its powerful ally, thereby possibly averting a food crisis. That however, couldn't avoid the hartal that ensued the following year in 1953 due to his govt raising the price of more..

Court of Appeal dismisses Fonseka’s petition

June 15 (AD) Court of Appeal dismissed the petition filed by DP leader, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, seeking an order to reclaim his lost Parliamentary seat and revoke the appointment of MP Jayantha Ketagoda. In 2011, Ketagoda became a MP to fill the seat left vacant by the imprisonment of Fonseka who was sentenced to serve a three- year jail term by a military court. Petitioner claimed that Fonseka is eligible to be reappointed in his position, since all charges have been dropped against him. more..

Sri Lanka and Pakistan's arranged marriage

June 15 (CI) Some time over the past decade, in a way both subtle and inevitable, Pakistani and Sri Lankan cricket embraced the familiarity, intimacy and resignation of an arranged marriage. For most of the outside world, their relationship is probably defined by the 2009 terrorist attack. Yet perhaps the greater truth has been what has happened since. Since 2011, what used to be a biennial cycle of Test tours has become more..

DV Upul released on bail

June 15 (AM) Southern Province Minister D.V. Upul was released on bail by Colombo Magistrate Courts a short while ago. The CID arrested him on June 8 following nearly eight hours of questioning on a controversial statement he recently made. At a recent meeting in Hambantota, Upul threatened that he is waiting for the return of Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM so that he could watch the police officers of the Financial Crimes Investigations Division being stoned to death. more..

Port city writ fixed for support

June 15 (DM) The Court of Appeal today fixed for support a writ application filed against the Chinese funded Colombo Port City Project. Attorney General today informed the court that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report had been obtained only for the first stage of the project so far and that no EIA had been obtained for the second stage of the project. Upon asking what action the govt had taken in this regard, the AG said that a Cabinet Sub-Committee had been appointed to look into more..

Zeid wants mechanisms in place by Sept

June 15 (CG) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says he expects mechanisms for accountability and reconciliation to be in place in Sri Lanka ahead of the Sept session of the UNHRC in Geneva. Making a statement on the opening day of 29th session of the UNHRC in Geneva today, he said that the new Govt in SL has passed a constitutional amendment which, more..

Eminent educationist urges Muslim women to guide the young

June 15 (CT) The eminent educationist Deshabandu Jezima Ismail has called upon Muslim women to take up leadership in the societies they belong to, and guide the younger generation of Muslim women in the right path to lead an exemplary life. The former Chancellor of the South Eastern University Jezima Ismail also emphasized the importance of establishing a National Women Soora Board to look into women's interests. Deshabandu Jezima Ismail, who has been adjudged as more..

Video: The country will split into parts soon, says Abayathissa Thero

June 15 (AD) The country will split into parts in near future due to the govt’s move to shutdown army camps in the Tamil majority Northern Province, Ven. Medagoda Abayathissa Thero said. Abayathissa Thero also condemned the new govt’s decision to prepare an officially accepted decoration flag. “The cabinet has approved a proposal to appoint a committee to prepare an officially accepted decoration flag. This is something we never wanted to happen,” Abayathissa said. more..

Small parties insist on the double vote

June 15 (ENS) As a condition for supporting the 20 th. Constitutional Amendment (20A), which embodies electoral reforms, Sri Lanka’s small parties and parties of the minority communities, want the inclusion of the double vote system. Under the double vote system, every voter will be given two votes - one to choose an individual candidate, and the other to choose a political party. Announcing this condition here on Monday, more..

SL growth steady at two-year low of 6.4%

June 15 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's economy grew at an annual 6.4% in the first quarter of this year, the same pace it recorded in the last three months of 2014 and hovering at its slowest pace since the first quarter of 2013. The industrial sector expanded by 6.5% year-on-year and the services sector by 7.5%. The agricultural sector edged up 0.7%. Economic growth picked up to 7.4% last year, slightly higher than 7.2% in 2013, but below the central bank's estimate of 7.8%. more..

Gagan Bulathsinhala Air Force Commander

June 15 (MoD) President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed Air Chief Marshal Kolitha Gunathilaka as the new Chief of Defence Staff and Air Marshal Gagan Bulathsinhala as the new Air Force Commander. The President handed over the letters of appointment to the new officers today at the Presidential Secretariat. Mr. Kolitha Gunathilaka joined the Sri Lanka Air Force as a Cadet Officer in 1980. He received his education from St.Thomas College Bandarawela and Royal College more..

Video: Romesh returns to Sri Lanka

June 15 (Chortle) Romesh Ranganathan is making a travelogue for BBC Three exploring his Sri Lankan roots. The comic has cancelled his Edinburgh Fringe run so he can film the six-part series, which has the working title Romesh's Return Ticket. He announced the series on social media this morning, tweeting: ‘Pleased to be able to announce that I am being deported for a new series for @bbcthree.’ more..

Kotakethana double murder: AG appeals against the verdict

June 15 (AD) The Attorney General on Monday appealed the Court of Appeal to reconsider the verdict issued by the Colombo High Court in the 2012 murder of a mother and daughter in Kotakethana, Kahawatta. The Colombo High Court last month acquitted the three accused in the case due to lack of evidence. Delivering its verdict on the high-profile case today, the court stated that the evidence against the three suspects was insufficient to tie them to the murders. more..