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Editorial: An onerous task

June 27 (Island) Civic-minded people are coming forward, as never before, to help cleanse politics. Among them are civil society activists, captains of industry, trade unionists, university dons and priests. Their active participation in this kind of social movement has been possible because both the govt and the Opposition are in crisis and too weak to hold their own. But, the problem with such ad hoc campaigns is that after functioning as pressure groups in times of crisis more..

SL's caution sleep-inducing, but effective

June 27 (CI) Elsewhere on planet cricket, thrill-a-minute fun is on the rise. New Zealand have their well-stocked slip cordon. Michael Clarke is the archduke of funk. Even England, whose cricket so closely resembled hospital food you could almost hear the flatlining heart monitors as Alastair Cook captained, have lately found zest for the game in one format at least. Bangladesh, as well, have discovered a more consistent version of their flamboyant selves. more..

Injured Wahab out of SL Test series

June 27 (CI) Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz has been ruled out of the remainder of the Test series in Sri Lanka, after he suffered a hairline fracture on the knuckle of his bowling hand on the first day of the second Test. With both Wahab and the injured Haris Sohail being withdrawn from the squad, the PCB has drafted in batsman Babar Azam and left-arm seamer Rahat Ali as replacements. Azam, 20, made his international debut during the historic series against Zimbabwe last month, more..

'Thrived with every match I played' - Yasir

June 27 (CI) Before the Test series started, Zulfiqar Babar confidently predicted that Yasir Shah would take more wickets than him, and Yasir's bowling numbers so far have emphatically proved him right. In just eight months, Yasir has made his journey from oblivion to become the fastest Pakistan bowler to take 50 Test wickets, surpassing Pakistan's coach Waqar Younis. Yasir said he was happy to achieve the record which would further strengthen his confidence. more..

Researchers hunt for Glyphosate substitute

June 27 (NS) Ban on the controversial Glyphosate has prompted the Tea Research Institute (TRI) to step up research activities to find alternate chemicals that could be used as weedicides by the Tea sector. Govt banned the chemical recently since it was largely believed that CKDu was caused by the usage of the chemical. However, the tea industry opposed the ban stating that it would affect them since more..

Analysts caution against giving up on H'tota

June 27 (NS) Following the Govt’s announcement that it was in the process of reviewing several projects including the Hambantota hub concept, independent analysts have warned that giving up on the concept would add more debt to the country. Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahedran recently stated that the Govt was in the process of reviewing the Hambantota logistics hub adding that trying to improve the existing harbor and airport facility in Colombo would be a better option. more..

SL-Pakistan Friendship Ramazan Bazaar

June 27 (Island) Sri Lanka-Pakistan Friendship Association in collaboration with the High Commission of Pakistan will hold its 3rd Ramazan and Eid Trade Bazaar on Saturday, 27 June at the Dutch Burger Union, No. 114, Reid Avenue, Colombo 4. High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj Gen Syed Shakeel Hussain will be the chief guest on the occasion. Following the huge success of its first and second Ramazan and Eid Trade Bazaar, the SL-Pakistan Friendship more..

Ghosts of war give way to development in SL

June 27 (IPS) It is an oasis from the scorching heat outside. The three-storey, centrally air-conditioned Cargills Square, a major mall in Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna town, is the latest hangout spot in the former warzone, where everyone from teenagers to families to off-duty military officers converge. Once a garrison town with army checkpoints at every street corner, nervous soldiers armed to the teeth would patrol the streets more..

Sri Lanka to implement capital loan scheme for tea; guaranteed price for rubber

June 27 (LBO) Cabinet has decided to implement a capital loan scheme for the tea industry and a guaranteed price scheme for the natural raw rubber. Loan scheme will be implement for all owners of tea industries through all State and Commercial Banks. Cabinet has approved to provide an interest concession of 2% from the Treasury for such loans for a period of two years for the relevant financial institutions. Cabinet has also decided to introduce a price scheme for the natural raw rubber more..

Loss-making Sri Lanka plantations companies supported by parent firms

June 27 (EN) The collapse in commodity prices have cause such severe losses at Sri Lanka’s regional plantation companies that some of them have to be supported by their parent firms through cash infusions. The Planters’ Association, which represents 20 regional plantation companies growing tea, rubber and oil palm, said their collective losses were 3.4 billion rupees in 2014. PA Chairman Roshan Rajadurai said the downturn in tea and rubber prices had been steep and sustained, more..

One fifth of births low weight in Sri Lanka

June 27 (Island) Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Dr. Renuka Jayatissa, addressing a media awareness forum on the role of media in promoting nutrition, said at present one fifth of the births in the country were low birth weight babies and the Nuwara Eliya District was the worst affected. One third of babies born in the district were of low birth weight, she noted. Low birth weight babies faced a higher risk of obesity and or NCDs more..

When Kithruwan’s brain freezed

June 27 (Island) Sri Lanka middle order batsman Kirthruwan Vithanage has come under intense criticism for his shot selection during the ongoing Test series against Pakistan. Already under fire for poor shot selection in the first Test in Galle, many expected Vithanage to be left out of the playing eleven for the second Test. But skipper Angelo Mathews defended the young batsman saying that he needed to be given more opportunities to establish himself in the side. more..

Ministry bans Spray Cola

June 27 (DN) The Health and Indigenous Medicine Ministry has banned the imported soft drink Spray Cola. Food Advisory Committee officials are conducting raids on shops with Police assistance to check if the drink is sold in shops, Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala said. He said if there are any containers in the harbour with the drink, they will be sealed. The drink contains a special chemical which intoxicates persons consuming it. more..

CAA lands in noodles soup?

June 27 (NS) This past week the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) directed Customs to suspend imports of rejected Maggi Noodles from India, since it was alleged that the batches contained high levels of Monosodium Glutamate. The CAA had taken action based on a letter supposedly sent to them from the Indian High Commission in Colombo, a claim which the Commission vehemently denies. more..

Cereals storage complex in Anuradhapura

June 27 (DN) Anuradhapura Upuldeniya Cereals (pulse) Storage Complex will begin its business on July 1. The centre would make a revolutionary change in the field of cereals storage. World Bank has offered financial assistance for the project. Upuldeniya complex built at a cost of Rs. 300 million, is the first such storage complex in a chain of stores envisaged to be constructed, including Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Ampara, Matale and Moneragala. more..

Kaushal vows not to repeat mistakes

June 27 (Island) Opener Kaushal Silva had batted exceptionally well in Sri Lanka’s first innings in the second Test and was looking set to score a second century in the series when he was run out for 80. Silva, who has had a few issues with running between the wickets, pushed one to mid-on and set off for a single. He attempted to get back, but slipped and was run out. "I am disappointed with the way I got out. I will not repeat that mistake again. That time I had the wrong judgment. more..

RTI Bill dead

June 27 (NS) Right to Information Bill (RTI), one of the cornerstones of President Sirisena 100-Day program, is effectively dead as far as the current Parliament is concerned, the govt has conceded. When contacted regarding the status of the bill, Minister Karu Jayasuriya said he did not believe that the draft bill could be tabled in Parliament before its dissolution. Pointing out that the govt had to shelve initial plans to table the bill in Parliament as more..

Rumeshika, Vidusha Show continues

June 27 (CT) Sprinter Rumeshika Rathnayake and Triple Jumper Vidusha Lakshani continued their record breaking streak in the 26th National Youth Sports festival held at Diyagama yesterday. Vidusha who holds the National record for the triple jump set a new meet record and personal best in the long jump with a 6.04m jump in the girls under 20 events. Lakshani hailing from Newstead Girl's College, Negombo, trained under renowned coach Philip Ranjith - immediately took off more..

Lebanon’s immigrant domestic workers remain vulnerable to abuse

June 27 (AJ) At a meeting of domestic workers in the Wata El Msaytbeh neighborhood on a sleepy Sunday, 20 women from Asian and African countries gathered to do what seemed impossible just a few months ago: Create an action plan for a newly formed union to protect the rights of domestic workers. In the Middle East, where domestic work is rarely classified as labor under the law, a formal proposal in late December for Lebanon’s govt to form a union for domestic workers more..

Probe into children’s cancer drugs: CID makes breakthrough

June 27 (Island) A special investigation undertaken by the CID has revealed severe procedural shortcomings, especially in the procurement of expensive drugs for Maharagama Cancer Institute. Nugegoda Magistrate court hearing a case in respect of purchasing Pegylated Asparaginase 3750 IU injection (Oncasper) was recently told of the flaws in the system. Oncasper has been given only to child cancer victims more..

'120 people succumb to heart diseases daily'

June 27 (CT) Consultant Thoracic Heart Surgeon Dr. Namal Gamage of the Karapitiya Hospital, said that around 120 persons die of heart attacks daily. He however added that, the lives of around 70% of these persons can be saved through open heart surgery. He also said, a majority of those who die of heart ailments are in the age group of 40-70 years and that amounts to 65% of the total number of deaths due to heart disease. The number who succumbs to heart diseases has increased more..

PS member complains of brothel near school

June 27 (Island) Actor turned Pradeshiya Sabha member, Saman Weerasinghe, has complained to the Sapugaskanda police that a brothel in the guise of an Ayurveda treatment centre is being set up near Sapugaskanda Girls’ School. He said that the owner of the brothel had claimed that he had the blessings of the govt. When the complainant, some villagers, a police officer and another Pradeshiya Sabha member visited the place they were allegedly threatened by its owner. more..

Ports Minister vows to go ahead with Colombo Port City project

June 27 (Island) The govt would not abandon USD 1.4 billion Colombo Port City project though its work had currently been suspended owing to some issues, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga told Parliament. He said that there were certain issues to be addressed and remedied first before resuming the work on Port City project. "One such issue is sea erosion in Wattala and Mount Lavinia areas expected to be caused by this project. more..

Death sentence on staff sergeant proves vibrant judiciary: Army

June 27 (DM) The conviction and death sentence imposed on an Army Staff Sergeant on Thursday clearly indicated that Sri Lanka has an independent and exceptional judicial system, Army Spokesman Jayanath Jayaweera said. He told a media conference held at the Information Department that the govt would not hesitate to bring to book any armed forces personnel with prima facie evidence against them of having committed acts of crime, violence or corruption. more..

Popular canned fish tin company in hot water

June 27 (DN) Panadura Additional Magistrate Sadun Vithana imposed a fine of Rs. 30,000 each on four directors of a popular canned fish import company in Colombo, when they pleaded guilty of violating rules and regulations of the Consumer Protection Act. The directors and two other employees were brought before court on June 25. The Magistrate imposed a fine of Rs. 100,000 on the canned fish import company. He also imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 each on the two employees when more..

Parliament dissolved; Election on Aug 17

June 27 (Island) President has set the stage for an early general election by dissolving parliament at midnight yesterday. Several hours before the announcement was made Election Secretariat scheduled a media conference for Saturday. Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya will brief the media regarding the forthcoming poll. General election will be held on Aug 17, while nominations will be accepted between July 6 and July 15. more..

Drug policies based on health and human rights

June 27 (DM) Narcotics such as heroin, cannabis (Ganja), hashish and cocaine are like weapons of mass destruction because through a process of mass deception they destroy the lives not only of millions of drug addicts but also their families. That means the destruction of the nucleus of society and thereby society itself. Yesterday the world marked the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking with the theme being, “Lets develop our lives, our communities and more..

Aided and abetted by political godfather Posse of middlemen dominate maize prices

June 27 (DM) Maize is an essential component of chicken feed. It is considered the most important coarse grain grown in around 30,000 hectares of land. It is second in extent to land cultivated in paddy. Maize is a major feed grain and a standard component of livestock diets. However, with the emergence of a stockist industry, maize farmers are facing a disturbing situation in purchasing maize from stockists and not farmers. In order to look deeply into the issue, more..

Monk at the centre of sandalwood scandal

June 27 (ST) The villagers of Nakolagane in Galgamuwa are up in arms against alleged moves by the chief monk of the Purana Raja Maha Viharaya to hand over large tracts of forested land to a multinational company. Around 600 acres, believed to belong to the viharaya, are allegedly to be handed over to the multinational company to be cleared and developed into a sandalwood (handun) plantation over a period of three years, more..

Govt wants to review ban on Tamil Diaspora organizations listed as terrorists

June 27 (DBS) SL’s ebullient Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera is currently in the forefront of a move to review and possibly remove the ban imposed on certain SL Tamil Diaspora organizations and individuals designated as terrorist under provisions of the United Nations Act No 45 of 1968. LTTE and 15 other organizations functioning on foreign soil were proscribed as foreign terrorist organizations by Gazette Extraordinary more..

Corrupt politicians won't be allowed to contest - Ajith Perera says

June 27 (CT) Despite the failure to bring in electoral reforms as promised, the govt will not allow corrupt politicians to contest the forthcoming general elections, Deputy Minister, Ajith P. Perera said. Despite the failure to pass the 20th Amendment due to lack of support in Parliament, the party leaders of both the UNP and the SLFP will not give nominations for corrupt politicians to contest in the upcoming elections, he reiterated. more..

Maithri and Mahinda rally support for upcoming polls

June 27 (DM) The dissolution of Parliament became imminent yesterday when President Sirisena asked SLFP MPs holding perks in his govt to get ready for the general election. For the first time, the President put forth his direct words on the planned dissolution. He summoned all these members including Ministers Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, S.B. Navinna, M.K.D.S. Gunawardane and others for this meeting amid heightened pressure by more..

Compensation only to non-violent prisoners: Welikada Prison riot report

June 27 (CT) The Ministry of Justice said that compensation will be paid to those prisoners who were injured in the 2012 Welikada Prison riot, only if they did not engage in violent activities, as recommended by the Committee of Inquiry appointed to look into the riot. "While compensation will only be paid to the families of those who did not take part in any violent activities, Committee further recommended to review more..

Rajapaksa’s plans for polls

June 27 (Hindu) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is keen on getting the views of leaders and members of the SLFP and the party’s allies before taking any decision about his participation in the Parliamentary polls, Dilan Perera, SLFP spokesperson, said. “He is willing to do anything to keep the party united,” the spokesperson replied, to a query whether the former President would agree not to contest in the elections on more..

Commercial High Courts in disarray

June 27 (DM) The Commercial High Court, the only court which has jurisdiction into specialized areas of Law in the island, is in complete disarray, following the shuffling of judges at least 5 times during the past six months. As a result cases heard before the judges have been transferred and re-transferred to and from different courts and different judges in accordance with the sporadic changes made. more..

Summon Constitutional Council, it’s legally constituted now says SLMC

June 27 (Island) The SLMC said that the objection window as regards the appointments to the 10-member Constitutional Council (CC) had lapsed and it was now a legally constituted body. Leader of the SLMC and Minister Rauff Hakeem Rauff Hakeem, called on Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to urgently summon a meeting of the CC and appoint all the Independent Commissions established by the 19th Amendment more..

Speaker tells COPE to table bond scam report on July 7

June 27 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa instructed Chairman of the COPE D.E.W. Gunawsekera, MP to present a report or to make a statement to Parliament on the Treasury bond scam when it met again on July 07. MPs were expecting that the COPE would release an interim report yesterday. However, it was not presented during the time allocated for the presenting of papers, opposition MPs brought it to attention more..

Sri Lanka national polls cost may be equal to campaigning in one district

June 27 (EN) Candidates in some of the larger districts may spend as much as 4 billion for their campaigns, which is about the cost of holding the election in the entire country, Elections Chief Mahinda Deshapriya said. Tax payers will fork out the cost of staging the August 17 election, eight months after paying about 3 billion rupees for holding presidential election. "Presidential election cost about 3 billion rupees, more..

20A shall be rejuvenated through local govt elections

June 27 (CT) Amendment 20 sought to introduce a mixed member method of electing parliamentarians. Few people seem to be aware that we already have a mixed member electoral system in place for local govt. An Act to amend the local govt elections using a mixed member method was passed in 2012, largely away from the eyes of media and civil society. The January 2016 election may give Sri Lankans their first taste of a mixed member election, since, as we just found out, more..

From Mirusuvil to Mullivaikkal

June 27 (CT) Justice has been served on eight murdered Tamil civilians in Jaffna after a lapse of nearly 15 years. Soldier responsible for their killings was sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court on Thursday. These murders had taken place at Mirusuvil, Jaffna, on 12 Dec, 2000. While questions may rightly be raised as to why it took Court such a long time to deliver justice to the Mirusuvil victims, nevertheless, the fact is that though there was no speedy justice delivered, more..