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Enigma of English education

July 2 (DN) Sri Lanka is no different in this regard. English in our country has become the passport to opportunity, and an essential requirement for almost every profession. And for better or worse if you can speak English you win respect as a person having knowledge of the world outside. But what is the ground situation? Let us review 3 simple examples. Every child in our country learns English from Grade 3 till Grade 13. more..

A cry from the wilds of Mannar

July 2 (ST) Tread very carefully when leaving a development footprint on this island, for it could do more irreparable and irrevocable harm than good, urge environmentalists. While in some parts of Mannar Island which covers about 195sqkm any development or human intrusion could crush hundreds of bird-eggs scattered on the ground, in other parts it could be a danger to the mammals, such as spotted deer, feral horses and donkeys which roam the area. more..

Sri Lanka with Hillary as President

July 2 (CT) It is hard to imagine what a Donald Trump presidency might bode for Sri Lanka because Trump makes a virtue of avoiding fixed positions on foreign policy – and he lies. We might surmise that Hillary Clinton as President would probably be bad for Sri Lanka because we can examine her track record as Secretary of State at the time that GOSL (Govt of SL) was trying to defeat the LTTE. Clinton chaired the UN Security Council session on 30 September 2009 when more..


Tamils gave Prabhakaran the revolver to kill Tamils

July 2 (CT) The violence in Sri Lanka raged for 33 years, starting from the declaration of war on May 14, 1976 at Vadukoddai by the Tamil leadership and ending in Nandikadal on May 18, 2009 when Velupillai Prabhakaran’s body was found floating in the murky waters of the Lagoon. This war has been described in different ways, depending on the political orientation of the describer. It was, however, commonly described as an ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. more..

Bens, Ave Maria bag overall titles

July 2 (Island) D.S. Senanayake College, Meerigama athlete Chamal Kumarasiri and Poornima Gunaratne of Leeds International School, Panadura were adjudged the best athletes at the Western Province Schools Athletics Championship concluded at Diyagama on Friday. While St. Benedict’s College, Kotahena won their second athletic title within eight days when they won the boys’ overall championship, Ave Maria Convent, Negombo bagged girls’ overall championship more..

10,000 Neela Haritha Villages program

July 2 (PMD) Inauguration ceremony of the National Program to build 10, 000 eco-friendly Haritha Suhuru villages (Smart villages), island wide, within the next four years, under the program Neela Haritha Lassana Lanka (Beautiful Green Lanka), was held under the patronage of President, at the Sanasa Education Campus in Paragammana, Kegalle, today (1). World leaders, at the Climate Change Summit held in more..

Tolerating antics of maverick politicians

July 2 (NS) Thinking of antics of Lankan politicians one would wonder whether Palitha Thevarapperuma has started from where Mervyn Silva stopped. Mervyn was famous for his antics and boorish behaviour during the Rajapaksa administration and the behaviour of such people, no doubt, contributed to the downfall of that govt. But when Yahapalana govt came into power many thought that the era of such antics was over. Now they have been proved wrong with the emergence of politicians of more..

The mission towards the missing

July 2 (NS) The issue of persons who were reported to have gone missing during the final stages of the war continues to be a small obstacle in the post-war scenario. The presidential commission to investigate into Complaints of Missing Persons had requested govt to extend its mandate by another year, owing to the enormous workload that was associated with the whole process. The mandate of the commission ends on July 15. Its chairman, Justice Maxwell Paranagama on numerous occasions more..

Irate artistes stage protest drama; Akila skips

July 2 (Island) Dramatists held a protest on stage while State Drama Festival award ceremony was underway at the Western Province Cultural Center in Colombo last evening. They condemned the govt for its failure to settle the ongoing tug of war between Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs Ministry, much to the detriment of the interests of artistes. The event had been organised by the National Art Council now coming under more..

Powerful England look for final flourish

July 2 (CI) At the midway mark at The Oval on Wednesday evening, it appeared Sri Lanka had done enough to at least stretch England by putting more than 300 on the board in a match reduced to 42 overs per side. Yet it became another canter as Jason Roy plundered 162 to add another notch to the team's storied 12 months in white-ball cricket. It means that the series is decided heading into Cardiff, creating one of those dead bilateral matches that is vexing those in charge of more..

The President participates in anti-torture demonstrations

July 2 (CT) Human Rights Commission of SL marked the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in a rather unusual and impressive way. It organized a demonstration with participants carrying placards that said, Stop Torture. President Maithripala Sirisena, was among the demonstrators. There were also other officials, including senior police officers, who wore armbands with the words “Stop Torture” on them. Schoolchildren were also among the participants. more..

Video: ‘Appointing CB Governor: No need to wait for Ravi's return’

July 2 (DM) The Purawasi Balaya Organisation (PBO) said there was no need to wait for the return of Minister Ravi Karunanayake to finalize the appointment of Central Bank's new Governor because the CB did not come under the purview of the Finance Ministry anymore. PBO member Joseph Stalin said Central Bank was under the purview of the PM and accused the govt of wasting time by waiting for the FM’s arrival. more..

Sri Lanka’s U-turn

July 2 (TS) 2015 was a miraculous year for SL. It saw a change in govt in Jan 2015. Maithiripala Sirisena was elected President defeating firmly entrenched Mahinda Rajapaksa in spite of the latter getting a majority vote in 16 predominantly Sinhalese districts. The five districts in the predominantly Tamil N&E Provinces and the Central district of Nuwera Eliya tilted the balance in favour of Sirisena who had defected from the Rajapaksa Cabinet to challenge his leader. more..

SL importing fewer used Japanese cars

July 2 (Nikkei) Exports of used Japanese automobiles to Sri Lanka could fall by roughly half in unit terms because of import duty hikes implemented since October, the head of the auto importers' association said. SL was the biggest importer of used Japanese cars by value in 2015, ranking sixth overall in unit terms. But it took in just 1,066 used Japanese vehicles this May -- down 70% from a year earlier. Prices of used midsize vehicles sank 14% to 1.45 million yen ($14,128). more..

President joins HRC’s anti-torture campaign

July 2 (FT) President Mathripala Sirisena on Thursday joined the public march organised by the Human Rights Commission of SL launching its Anti-Torture Campaign to eradicate torture, especially under police custody. HRCSL organised march under the theme Stop Torture commenced at the office of the Human Rights Commission at Kynsey Road, in Borella and ended up at the Independent Square. more..

CTSU alleges Dy. Minister assaulted prinicpal

July 2 (DM) Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) alleged that Deputy Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma had assaulted the principal of Meegastenna Primary School in Matugama, while he was forcibly enrolling 9 students to the school. CTSU Chief Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe alleged the principal was admitted to the Nagoda General Hospital after being assaulted by deputy minister. “The deputy minister staged a protest for several days and he has pressurized many of more..

Even survivors don't classify offences as sexual violence

July 2 (ENS) Zubaan’s latest book, The Search for Justice: The Sri Lanka Papers comes at a time when Sri Lanka would like nothing better than for the world to forget the wartime atrocities during the final stages of the war. All the more reason to grab the book, the latest in the feminist publisher’s series documenting and studying sexual violence and impunity. Urvashi Butalia, founder of the Zubaan publishing house, said, “The Sexual Violence and Impunity (SVI) Project was more..

‘Uncertainty about aid hampers return of Sri Lankan refugees’

July 2 (Hindu) Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran has said that a large number of Tamils, displaced from Sri Lanka during the civil war and now living in India as refugees, are prepared to come back but the uncertainty about assistance is preventing them from returning. “Those who have returned from India are saying that they have not received any aid from govt or non-governmental organisations more..

Sri Lanka must stay the course

July 2 (Hindu) The frequent human rights updates in Geneva provide an occasion for the world to discuss Sri Lanka’s post-war situation, especially the progress made in investigating the excesses during the last phase of the civil war that ended in 2009. Until last year, the country considered the process hostile and inimical to its interests. Now, with a new govt in Colombo, there has been constructive engagement with the international community and Sri Lanka says it is looking for ways to more..

Probe on mysterious media release

July 2 (DM) Govt Information Department’s Director General Ranga Kalansooriya said a probe has been launched under the directives of Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka and Secretary Nimal Bopage on the release of a media statement without the approval of a high ranking official. A media statement on the appointment of the next Central Bank Governor under the letter-head of Govt Information Department was issued earlier today. However, Dr. Kalansooriya said the statement was false more..

Electoral reforms first: Majority of parties against move

July 2 (DN) A majority of political parties were against the proposal only to have the electoral reforms first as a Constitutional Amendment, Steering Committee member said. Some SLFP members were recently pushing for electoral reforms as 20th Amendment to the Constitution. “Most of the parties expressed their objection to this proposal at the Committee meeting and they were of the opinion that they need comprehensive reforms. more..

State hotel institute earmarks plans, ups intake

July 2 (ST) The govt this year is targeting over 180,000 jobs in the tourism industry with a new skills training programme that has commenced alongside opening five more hotel schools around the country. SL Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) Chairman Sunil Dissanayaka said that they have enhanced the student intake and looked at faculty development, and enhanced the hotel schools network. SLITHM is looking at providing the required staff of 23,360 in all hotels more..

Catamaran story portal by Tamil and Sinhalese journalists now online

July 2 (FT), a story portal by Tamil and Sinhalese journalists, is now online. The website is intended as an open network and will feature background information and analysis in both languages alongside a selection in English. The first articles published on the new portal includes a feature on the lost cultural identity of Sri Lanka’s Adivasi people, the ongoing plight of local war widows and one village’s fight to get a decent road in their town. more..

AG Department workers take to streets to push govt over National Audit Bill

July 2 (Island) Close on the heels of Auditor General (AG) Gamini Wijesinghe's spat with the govt over state borrowings exceeding the prescribed limit, Department has launched an unprecedented campaign to pressure govt to introduce the National Audit Bill. The department insisted that the Bill must not be diluted to deprive AG’s authority over public finances. There has never been a previous instance of a Dept more..

No interference from PM : Auditor General

July 2 (DN) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe refuting media reports that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was interfering with his duties, said yesterday he discussed an issue over an audit report with the PM at the Parliamentary complex. He said he later met Minister Ravi Karunanayake at the latter’s ministry to discuss the same issue. “Nobody forced me to have a discussion with them. I decided to have a discussion with them to sort out the issues over an audit report,” he said. more..

Stolen statue of St. Anthony found

July 2 (Island) The stolen statue of St. Anthony was found at Kattuwa area in Negombo on Thursday. It had been left under a bridge. The Parish Priest of Dalupatha Church Rev. Fr. Don Jude Lakshman brought the statue back to the church. About 16 gold chains on the statue had gone missing. The 200-year-old statue had been placed at the St. Antony’s Church at Dalupatha by some European missionaries. A drug addict the police are looking for in connection with the theft has fled the area. more..

Parliament blind to suffering of masses: UNP stalwart

July 2 (Island) President's Counsel Srinath Perera alleged that parliament had been primarily interested in the well being of its members and former members and was blind to the suffering of those struggling to make ends meet. UNP WPC member pointed out that in accordance with a system adopted by parliament, former members received corresponding increase to their pensions when pay hikes were given to MPs. more..

Justice Ministry gets cracking over filling of vacancies in mediation boards

July 2 (Island) The govt would fill the vacancies in the mediation boards countrywide as more than 200,000 complaints were being inquired into by them, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said. He said of them 50% of complaints had been sorted out through mediation during last 25 years. There were 329 mediation boards in the country, but vacancies remained in Gampaha, Badulla, Kegalle, Trincomalee, Mannar and Puttalam Districts’ medication boards at present, he said. more..

Sri Lanka probing reports of two nationals held hostage in Dhaka: Deputy FM

July 2 (EN) Sri Lanka is probing reports of at least two nationals held hostage at a café in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka, Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva said. "Our Deputy Chief of Mission in Dhaka in touch with Police regarding the two individuals suspected to be among the hostages in the café," de Silva said. Gunmen have stormed a restaurant popular with expatriates in the diplomatic quarter of the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka and has taken around 20 people hostage, more..

Impasse over CB Governor appointment continues

July 2 (FT) A political impasse over the appointment of a new Governor for CB continued for a third day, even as analysts began to warn the crisis could bring the 8 Jan coalition to the brink of fracture and create instability in financial markets. Coalition Govt remained deadlocked on the appointment by the end of day yesterday, 24 hours after term of controversial Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s term officially ended on Thur. more..

No toxic chemicals for green Sri Lanka

July 2 (DM) One of the important moves for which the National Govt is being widely praised is the 3-year mission to produce the nutritious food we need in SL itself and make Sri Lanka a Wasa Wisa Nethi country. An important step in this is the gradual reduction of the use of expensive imported agro-chemicals, some of which are toxic. Today marks 39th anniversary of the 1977 general election where UNP led by J.R. Jayawardene swept to victory with an unprecedented 5/6th majority. more..

While we plot Sri Lanka exit…

July 2 (DM) In Nov 1917, as Commissar for Foreign Affairs of Soviet Republic, Leon Trotsky was tasked to negotiate the nature of the peace accord with the German Imperial High Command. Delegation led by Trotsky, even as it was negotiating the terms of the peace treaty with the German Govt in Brest-Litovsk that December, distributed leaflets to the German troops urging them to revolution. Brest-Litovsk Treaty cost Soviet Republic Finland, Ukraine and its best grain lands. more..

UNP stands for abolition of exec. presidency

July 2 (DM) President Maitripala Sirisena committed to abolish the executive presidency when seeking office at the election in January, last. But, he is reportedly in a dilemma now as to how it should be done. First, his SLFP is not for its total abolition at the moment. At the recent Central Committee meeting of the party, the matter was taken up for discussion. The seniors put forth their views in this direction. more..

Mangroves are a natural barrier against marine depredation: Expert

July 2 (ST) It was a fascination with scuttling mud-crabs (Scylla) with their vicious pincer-claws and their shells sporting anything from a deep mottled green to a dark brown that led him to mangroves, a love of which has persisted over the years. Not being satisfied with just studying mangroves, Dr. Donald Macintosh has become a strong advocate, flying from country to country, to spread the message on their importance. more..

SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem faces political challenges in East

July 2 (DBS) The Central bank Governor crisis has been dominating the political landscape at a national level for the past few weeks. However other issues too have surfaced at sub – national level. For instance the question of Muslim political leadership has been causing much controversy at a regional level in the Eastern province. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is the acknowledged premier political party of the Eastern Muslims. more..

Veyangoda, A disaster waiting to happen

July 2 (SL) The risk posed by improperly managed conventional ammunition storage facilities is massive and as recent events have shown, it can result in large numbers of casualties, widespread destruction of infrastructure and the disruption of the livelihood of entire communities. Acquisition of funding for ammunition safety management projects is sometimes difficult and as a result safety is compromised. more..

'Auditor General's report is an opinion'

July 2 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella, commenting on the controversy surrounding the sale of Central Bank bonds and the Auditor General's report on the matter to the COPE, said the AG’s report was an opinion and maintained that Arjuna Mahendran was innocent because in none of the cases filed against him had he been found guilty. He said Mr. Mahendran was educated at Oxford and Harvard Universities and had compromised more..

Muslim law reforms report to be finalized

July 2 (NS) The Committee to Consider and Propose Reforms to the Muslim Matrimonial Law and Upgrading of Qazi Courts in Sri Lanka is scheduled to finalize their report containing remedies for problems and issues in the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, No. 13 of 1956, and hand it over to Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe soon. Committee Chaired by former SC Judge, Justice Saleem Marsoof was appointed more..

Sale of Bonds incurs loss of Rs. 1.6 Bn: AG

July 2 (DM) Auditor General's report states that the Central Bank authorities are responsible for failing to prevent the huge loss of Rs.1.6 billion in the controversial bond issue. He submitted his report to the COPE. It states that in the sale of Central Bank bonds on February 27 last year an estimated loss of Rs.889 million could have been averted while Rs.784 million could have been averted in the sale of bonds on Mar 29, 2016. more..