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Northern agitation provokes racism in South

Oct 2 (SO) Radicalisation of Tamil politics is turning out to be a critical problem for the country’s political sphere, as the govt has already embarked on a comprehensive mission to bring about reconciliation and accountability. This trend aims to derail the govt’s plans for reconciliation, while causing fear and suspicion among Sinhala-Buddhist sections in the South. This may trigger a political resistance in the South against attempts toward reconciliation and accountability, while driving the North more..

All cast aside - but the stethoscope!

Oct 2 (SO) The Hippocratic Oath is solemnly parroted when medical interns become fully fledged doctors. It is a long oath and there are several versions, ancient and modern, but within it come these sentiments: “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to lying and wrong doing. I will keep pure and holy both my life and my art.” And, there is much more about selfless service, healing the sick always, being blameless as far as possible. more..

Rising from the ashes, Jaffna library writes new chapters

Oct 2 (Hindu) Vasantha Sriskantharajah is dreading next summer. It’s not the Jaffna heat that is worrying her. What she is not used to is being away from the collection of books she has seen grow at the Jaffna Public Library through decades of war and recovery. In April 2017, Ms. Sriskantharajah, library’s longest serving employee, will retire after completing 33 years of service. “I cannot imagine how that is going to be, more..

Protest against settlements in North

Oct 2 (ST) My dear Wiggie, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you had given leadership to some kind of a protest in Jaffna that led to shops closing and public transport coming to a halt. Well, if your idea was to get some attention, you seem to have succeeded, because everyone is talking about this now. To start with, Wiggie, I was really disappointed to hear that your protest was called Eluga Thamil which means Arise, Tamils. Remember, last year we had a similar more..

Onna Babo Billo Enawa

Oct 2 (ST) Sitting through a discussion on Taxes and the Public and listening to how confused Sri Lankans are and fearful of the taxman reminded me of that childhood favourite song Onna Babo Billo Enawa.  Loosely translated, it means Children, beware of the bogey-man. Taxman or the Inland Revenue Department is so distant from society not because people don’t want to pay taxes but because the mere mention of the word taxes puts the fear of God or the bogey-man into you. more..

Ishara , Nimali triumph with new SL records

Oct 2 (CT) Pole Vaulter Ishara Sandaruwan and middle distance runner Nimali Liyanarachchi rose to the occasion when they shattered Sri Lankan records in the 42nd National Sports Festival continued at Duraiappah Stadium, Jaffna yesterday. Sandaruwan who set the National record with 5.00m clearance last July at Diyagama at the National Championship, started by vaulting 4.60m. He gradually cleared 4.74m and 4.84m and then more..

Record breaking Musaeus win after 5 years

Oct 2 (SO) Musaeus College won the annual regatta with traditional rivals Ladies College after five years when they swept the board at the 13th bilateral rowing championship held at the Colombo Rowing Club, Beira Lake waters yesterday. Musaeus who won the Flippper Trophy in the Under-18 category of the National Rowing championships concluded recently dominated the regatta securing eight wins out of the ten events to chalk up a tally of 39 points to Ladies’ 13. more..

World beaters deserve greater slice of the pie

Oct 2 (ST) Carrom is one success story we could boast of in International Sports. It’s a game that is catching on with its tentacles spreading worldwide at a steady pace. Yet, in our own land, its step-motherly treatment, in comparison to other Sports, is most undeserving. Let us go through the ups and downs this carrom tale. Nishantha Fernando (Current World Champion): I have been competing in local and international Carrom tournaments for the past 27 years. more..

AG gives People's Bank ultimatum to explain

Oct 2 (CT) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe has submitted an audit inquiry to the Board of Directors of the People's Bank demanding replies within two weeks concerning the digitization of the bank's accounting and other processes. AG had called for a report on any review made in the process of procuring equipment for the digitization process, and if it was not done, the reasons for it, & whether members of Technical Committee more..

Cricket’s latest Superhero

Oct 2 (Island) Cricket’s finest writer, Sir Neville Cardus, once wrote, Like the British constitution, cricket was not made: it has 'grown’. For a century and a half, the great game of ours has produced several superheroes from Sir Don Bradman to Sir Viv Richards and our own Aravinda de Silva. While Bradman owns a career average that is unlikely to be equaled, Richards remains the indisputable king of batting. Two decades ago, Aravinda helped to put a tiny island on the world map more..

Nimali discriminated: Coach

Oct 2 (CT) Sujith Abeywardena, Nimali's coach, said Nimali had to undergo step-motherly treatment and was severely discriminated before she set a new SL record yesterday. According to him, Nimali still trains in a ground which is similar to a buffalo park. "Nimali had lots of problems. Early on it was financial, and then no proper training facilities. Sooriyawewa has a cricket stadium but nobody plays cricket there. In contrast there are several int'l medal winning athletes but no proper athletics ground" more..

Solving traffic congestion: Corporate survey for flexi-hours work

Oct 2 (SO) A survey of big companies is to be conducted by the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project office with the CCC, to decide how to introduce flexible work hours as a part of initiatives to overcome delays caused by the worsening traffic congestion, which city planners say reduces economic efficiency. “We want to run a survey – targeting big companies which have a large number of workers,” more..

Sri Lankan gift teas in China hit by corruption crackdown

Oct 2 (ST) High-priced special Ceylon Tea has hit an unusual barrier for the wrong reasons in China: A govt crackdown there on civil servants receiving special gifts perceived as corruption and bribery.  Some of these specialty teas retailed at between US$300 – 500 each with high-end packaging were sold in the Chinese market as gift teas ending up in the hands of top government officials in the form of gifts, Tea Exporters Association Chairman Rohan Fernando said. more..

India-Pakistan stand-off: Economists say no immediate effect on Sri Lanka

Oct 2 (SO) Sri Lanka will not suffer grave economic downfall owing to the tense situation between India and Pakistan, economists predict. However, there may be a trickle down impact on the country if the situation continues and will be a setback to the govt’s efforts to revive trade within the region. “Whether this will be something more than a short-term situation or not remains to be seen. If the issue continues the whole geo-political uncertainty will prolong and that could have an impact on more..

Bankrupting Sri Lanka in Style: Perpetual Treasuries profit shocks markets

Oct 2 (ST) Bond trader Perpetual Treasuries hit the headlines this week, for the third time in 19 months, with a phenomenal post-tax profit of over Rs. 5 billion in the year ending March 2016, far above market trends.  The company – owned by the son-in-law of former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran – made a killing compared to a low post-tax profit of Rs.57 million versus (Rs. 532.2 million in end March 2015) by Capital Alliance, more..

JVP harnessing mass support

Oct 2 (CT) The JVP is planning a massive agitation campaign aimed at opposing what it claims is the govt's hidden agenda of selling State enterprises. Party leader and MP Anura Dissanayake said that they were harnessing the support of many civil society groups, employees of State enterprise considered at risk of being privatized, trade unions and activists to launch a large-scale agitation campaign. The MP warned that among the State enterprises that were in danger of being more..

Wife killer sentenced to death

Oct 2 (CT) A 21-year-old man who was charged with killing his 17-year-old wife, Anusha Gayani alias Ganga after taking her to Pidurutalagala mountain peak was sentenced to death Thursday by the Appeal Court judge Wayambe and former Judge of Nuwara Eliya when the suspect pleaded guilty to the charges. Suspect after taking the victim to the mountain had stabbed her with a knife and strangled her before burning the body. Accused was Indika Kumara of Devolegama, Munuwangoda. more..

Cancer rates zooms doubling 1980s figures

Oct 2 (SO) Male and female cancers have surged in the past four decades with health officials saying that the rates were similar to Western countries. Cancer prevalence in SL soared from 31.6 in 1995 to 70.9 in 2006 per 100,000 of the population. It also accounted for 27% of all newly diagnosed cancers among females in 2006. 80% of the cancers had four risk factors identified by WHO - unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, alcohol & more..

6.6 million vehicles pack Lankan roads

Oct 2 (CT) The Department of Motor Traffic (DMT) says the total number of registered vehicles in the country now stands at 6.6 million. According to DMT sources over 300,000 new vehicles had been registered with the DMT from January to August this year in addition to over 200,000 motorcycles and 35,000 three-wheelers. There has been a marked decline in the import of vehicles due to the higher import duty and higher interests rated on finance for vehicle purchases. more..

State crooks sidle up to high posts committee

Oct 2 (CT) Controversy has been sparked by a news leak that 54 heads of State institutions have written to the Parliamentary Select Committee on High Posts seeking confirmation of continuity in their positions, Parliament sources said. According to these sources, the Chairmen of two leading State banks are among the 54. Sources said the issue had erupted after serious questions being raised recently about unsavory actions of certain heads of State institutions whose names are on the list. more..

Fort Detrick, Sri Lankan labs work together to fight disease

Oct 2 (FNP) Researchers from Fort Detrick are collaborating with a lab in SL to understand a dangerous, poorly understood disease. Bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei — generally found in Southeast Asia and northern Australia — causes an infection that is difficult to treat and can be fatal, according to Mohan Natesan, a scientific investigator at US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick. more..

Franchise for beggars, gypsies

Oct 2 (CT) The Elections Commission is looking at ways and means of ensuring that beggars and gypsies are also enabled to exercise their voting rights with effect from 2017. Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said these two groups will soon be included in the new voting register that is being compiled as part of the programme to provide voting rights to every citizen in the country. He said the Commission had also made it possible for everyone living in more..

Human rights activist grilled at airport

Oct 2 (ST) Human rights activist Ruky Fernando on his way for an international seminar in Britain was questioned at the BIA by the intelligence service, a civil rights movement said. Mr. Fernando was on his way to attend a human rights session at Britain’s York University when he was questioned for about one and half hours, said Keerthi Tennakoon, Executive Director for CaFFE. Mr. Fernando was released a few minutes before the flight after the intervention of lawyers.  more..

Airbus: SriLankan works out compromise

Oct 2 (ST) The debt-ridden national carrier SriLankan Airlines has re-negotiated the termination of the three A 350 Airbus lease contract with one of the world’s largest airline leasing company, AerCap as they were not suitable for existing routes and too expensive to maintain, officials said. The leasing company has agreed to reduce the termination fee to US$98 million from $154 million, Sri Lankan Airlines official said. more..

SLRFU to become Sri Lanka Rugby

Oct 2 (ST) Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) is on the verge of taking three vital decisions in the coming weeks according to its Secretary Nazim Mohamed. Among the intended decisions the most significant will be the change of the name of SLRFU, which will be re-branded to Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR), followed by the election of a new Treasurer. Both these decisions are likely to come into affect soon after the SLRFU Annual General Meeting, which is to be held on Nov 1. more..

Three 5-year terms instead of two 10-years for Diyawadana Nilame

Oct 2 (ST) The term of office of the Diyawadana Nilame (DN) will be restricted to three terms of five years each, under the amendments to the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance which Parliament is set to approve on Tuesday. At present, the DN can hold two successive 10-year terms, if elected, and re-contest after a break. However, the present DN, Pradeep Nilanga Dela, who was re-elected for his second term in September 2015, will be allowed to hold office for a 10-year term, more..

President presents 11-page draft for lasting national reconciliation

Oct 2 (ST) Just after his successful visit to the UNGA sessions in New York, President Sirisena went before his ministers on Tuesday to try to win approval for a National Policy on Reconciliation. This policy, spelt out in an eleven-page document, acknowledges “the principle of power-sharing as the means of reaching a political settlement, which would address the grievances and aspirations of all communities as more..

Chaotic pluralism

Oct 2 (Island) My conversations with individuals and institutions over the course of last week highlighted what a few in govt and many more outside already know and fear. Since Jan 8, 2015, politics as usual has trumped the promise of a new political culture, captured best by the yahapalanaya brand. This was expected, though to see and live through it is no less depressing. A friend succinctly flagged salient features of the challenge at a meeting held to trace the contours of more..

Balance sheet of the Unity Govt

Oct 2 (Island) Twenty months ago a decision was made that changed the course of our country.  Many factors contributed to what happened next.  Many individuals, organizers and in the end the majority of the voters played important and even crucial roles in how things unfolded.  However, if one man had not taken an all-important decision, we may not be where we are today and indeed we may have been even poorer. Only a man endowed with immense courage, self-confidence, sense of purpose more..

Three new Airbuses: Govt faces financial turbulence, but no action against culprits

Oct 2 (ST) It is easily one of the worst losses suffered by the Govt but it had little or no say over the issue. Cabinet Committee on Economic Matters (CCEM) has decided to negotiate the termination loss for a SriLankan Airlines order in Feb 2013 for three brand new A 350-900 aircraft for anything between between Rs. 10.99 billion and Rs. 12.45 billion. New aircraft ordered by previous management were due in 2020/21. more..

Abuse of university quota system: Offending officials, students to be sacked

Oct 2 (ST) A countrywide probe is underway to nab education officials, principals, teachers and students who collaborated in abusing the quota system for university admission, officials said yesterday. They said those who helped students to fraudulently register in schools to sit the G.C.E. (A/L) examination from areas outside their original district of study and gain university admissions would be hunted down. more..

TNA blows hot and cold

Oct 2 (NS) General Secretary of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Leader of the Ilankai Thamiz Arasu Katchi (ITAK), Mawai Senathirajah said that the grievances expressed by the people at the Ezhuga Thamizh (Tamils Arise) event, organized by the Tamil People’s Council (TPC), were legitimate. However, he admitted that the party did have reservations due to the manner in which it was conducted. more..

Pen conquers sword

Oct 2 (CT) After about six years, the mystery of one of the most controversial murder cases is about to be unravelled. The exhumation of veteran journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge's remains took place on 27 Sept. Ceylon Today spoke to Attorney-at-Law Athul Ranagala, representing Wickrematunge's family, to ascertain the progress of the case. After the CID released composite sketches of two suspects believed to have been more..

Looking beyond drought

Oct 2 (CT) Sri Lanka is once again gripped by a severe drought. It has already affected several dry zone areas, leaving all living beings including humans, animals and plants helpless. North Central Province has been particularly hard hit, with farmers struggling to adapt as their crops fail. They do not have enough water for daily use. Their wells have dried up. They have to walk miles and miles under the scorching sun to fetch more..

‘Trust vital to make ETCA work’

Oct 2 (SO) India is excited and looks forward to signing the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) agreement with Sri Lanka which could benefit enormously from a large market, Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the media at the conclusion of a two-day visit to SL last week. She said relations between the two countries have always been strong, conducive and full of mutual trust. more..

Sri Lankan PM heads south to Waikato

Oct 2 (ZB) Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is heading to Waikato to see a Fonterra factory after already noting New Zealand farming is impressive. He'll have a look around Fonterra's processing site at Horotiu and will meet the co-operative's chairman, John Wilson. "New Zealand really is far ahead on agriculture. We have a lot to learn," Mr Wickremesinghe said on Saturday. more..

'SL could face power shortage in 2018'

Oct 2 (DM) Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) sounded a warning that unless the CEB implemented the approved generation expansion plan on time Sri Lanka would face a power crisis by 2018. Director General of the PUCSL, Damitha Kumarasinghe stressed that the demand for electricity was on the rise and the PUCSL had warned about a possible power shortage in 2018. “Therefore, the timely implementation of more..

Reservoir water levels drop, authorities warn of drastic measures

Oct 2 (SO) Due to the prevailing drought, water levels of the main reservoirs have dropped to half its capacity, with authorities warning that drastic measures may need to be taken if water is to be continuously released from the reservoirs for power generation. Director of Major Dams at Mahaweli Authority, said that the situation was bleak with water levels dropping to 40% of the total capacity at many of the reservoirs. more..

Another scandal reported at HSBC; forex law violations under probe

Oct 2 (ST) HSBC Sri Lanka allegedly violated exchange control regulations by opening offshore current accounts in its Maldives branch for domestic corporate sector clients who used the SL Govt’s External Commercial Borrowing Scheme (ECBS), investigations have shown. The regulator, Central Bank of SL, is now looking into the matter. The ECBS was available from January 2013 to December last year. more..