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Wimal on his continuing role with govt....

July 22 (CT) Leader of the NFF, Minister Wimal Weerawansa, at a discussion held recently, was reported to have reached a consensus on tipping the scales in favour of Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera contesting the presidential elections as a common candidate. He explains the reality behind the media reports, and why he thinks the recently appointed three-member international advisory panel to guide the Presidential more..

Taking the sting out of executive presidency?

July 22 (SL) After a break, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has reportedly revived talks on the need to ‘topple this dictatorship’ (of President Rajapaksa?) through democratic means. He has in mind ‘well-organised’ struggles by political parties and civil society groups from the grassroots-level. It’s unclear if he wants these ‘democratic struggles’ in addition to the earlier, better-spread demand for an ‘imminent end’ to the existing scheme of Executive Presidency — or want it as more..

Where in-fighting generates fervour & power: ISIS today, LTTE yesterday

July 22 (GV) “Division and in-fighting will sap and weaken any organisation or ideological current.” This formulation (mine) may seem a common-sense dictum. Let me challenge this notion with another dictum: “fratricidal militant fission sparks dedication, skill and organisational power.” The recent, explosive expansion in Syria and Iraq of Sunni militants under the banner of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) can be placed alongside the rise of the LTTE among Tamil militants more..

The numbers didn’t add up but sketches did

July 22 (ST) Barbara Sansoni was 11 years old when she met Maria Montessori. Having fled to India after being exiled by Mussolini during WWII, Maria’s school in the Olcott Garden Bungalow already had a small complement of students. Now, here was this child in need of her guidance. Barbara, enrolled close by in a boarding school in Kodaikanal, was a poor student. A bad case of dyslexia had left her struggling to read and write and more..

MR shows the door to fence-straddlers

July 22 (CT) "If you cannot remain in the govt, you are free to leave. The door of this govt is like that of a barber salon that allows anyone to step in or step out." This is a statement President Rajapaksa has been often making by way of a message to disgruntled Ministers in the govt. The President had occasion to repeat this statement when the Cabinet met last Thursday morning. And it was obvious to all Ministers that the President directed this statement at Minister Navin Dissanayake, more..

Sri Lanka’s anti-Muslim violence

July 22 (CT) The recent rampage by Buddhist bigots against Muslims at Aluthgama and Beruwala resulting in the death of three persons, and injuries to 80, rendering over a thousand people homeless is a defining moment for Sri Lanka. The headline “Country has a responsibility to promote Buddha Sasana” in the govt-owned Daily News report on the President’s speech on July 3 eloquently summed up the President’s priorities. Addressing at the higher ordination ceremony of Buddhist more..

Bio-gas plants for domestic & industrial use

July 22 (CT) Central Environment Authority (CEA) is taking steps to protect the environment from contamination and pollution. It insists that large, medium and small scale industries set up waste water management systems in factory premises. This decision comes in the wake of environment activists urging the authorities to minimise pollution. Producing biogas using household waste is also recommended. more..

Of Gonawala Sunil, Ranil, Shriyan and Sriyani…

July 22 (CT) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing an organization of good governance last Wednesday in Colombo charged that there was a complete breakdown in the rule of law and noted that 'family rule' had destroyed the country. These two aspects become quite interesting when it is spoken by a person like Ranil Wickremesinghe. 'Family rule' derives from family bandy-ism in Sri Lanka's politics. Any breakdown in the rule of law stems from political backing more..

SL external debt sustainability: Intervention by practical economist keeps the debate live

July 22 (CT) In a welcome move, an economic analyst writing under the penname ‘Practical Economist’ has responded to this writer’s previous articles on Sri Lanka’s external debt sustainability highlighting the misleading conclusions of a press release issued by Central Bank’s Public Debt Department or PDD due to data incompleteness. These articles could be accessed by visiting the following links: first: here; second: here; third: here. The intervention of Practical Economist more..

Modi wants 'excellent' relations with Sri Lanka: Swamy

July 21 (PTI) PM Narendra Modi wants "excellent" relations with Sri Lanka, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said as he met President Rajapaksa here today and underlined that the end of the LTTE campaign in this country had ensured the security of India too. Swamy, the chairman of the BJP Committee for Strategic Action, is here to deliver a talk on 'India under Modi: relevance for the region and the world'. more..

Heroin discovered inside grinding machines in Orgodawatta

July 21 (AD) Three industrial grinding machines packed with heroin were seized at the Orgodawatta container yard by customs officers a short while ago, in what is believed to be the largest haul detected in the country. The industrial grinding machines had arrived in the country from Karachi, Pakistan. A suspect has been arrested with the machinery and is currently in the custody of Sri Lanka Customs. The two Clearance Officers responsible for clearing the equipment are also in custody, more..

Docs on sick leave campaign against colleague’s arrest

July 21 (Island) Doctors at the Wathupitiwala Base Hospital had been on a sick note campaign since Saturday in protest against the arrest of a female doctor attached to the same hospital over a road accident, All Ceylon Medical Officers’ Association (ACMOA) said yesterday. ACMOA Secretary Dr. Jayantha Bandara said that they had taken up the issue with IGP N.K. Illangakoon. Police on Saturday took into custody Dr. Malika Gunaratne serving at the Wathupitiwala Hospital more..

India rejects visa for UNHRC committee investigating Sri Lanka

July 21 (NF) Five countries expressed its objection to the UNHRC’s international investigation into Sri Lanka. These countries are India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Maldives. Commissioner of the SL Human Rights Commission, Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa stated that India has rejected to provide visa to the investigations committee to enter the country. “They have appointed a committee comprising 13 individuals and 3 experts. more..

Rajapaksa welcomes new BRICS Bank

July 21 (AD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today welcomed the formation of the New Development Bank (NDB) by the five Brics countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — at the 6th BRICS summit in Brazil, saying it will assist emerging nations significantly. “Sri Lanka welcomes the initiative of BRICS leaders to establish a new Development Bank. It will assist emerging nations significantly,” Rajapaksa said in his Twitter account. The group of emerging economies signed more..

The grey slender loris: Conservation success

July 21 (BBC) The grey slender loris is found only in Sri Lanka and parts of India. Human activity is threatening the habitat of this nocturnal primate, but one site in Sri Lanka is now seeing a boost in numbers. Hotel Jetwing Vil Uyana in central Sri Lanka put development plans on hold when the animals were discovered there in 2010, and now runs a successful conservation area to protect them. Resident naturalist, Chaminda Jayasekara, runs the site. more..

MP Nilwala Wijesinghe flees before arrest

July 21 (AD) Police today said that UNP MP Nimal Wijesinghe, popularly known as Nilwala Wijesinghe, who has been accused of assaulting a Grama Seva officer, has fled from his residence and the area. Wijesinghe is charged with assaulting Ananda Wimalasiri, the Grama Seva officer in-charge-of the Kurunegala-Ambakote 617 division. A police team had visited the MP’s residence today in order to arrest him, more..

No home advantage in World Cups

July 21 (CI) When MS Dhoni hit the six towards long-on to win the 2011 World Cup, it was the first time in cricket's history that the winning side was playing in front of its home crowd. I was reminded of this fact during the recently concluded football version of the same event, where home nations have won six out of 19 tournaments. Home advantage is a well-discussed and dissected facet of sport, and it holds true in almost all kinds of sports. The presence of supporters, more..

Eranga out of Colombo Test

July 21 (CI) Sri Lanka fast bowler Shaminda Eranga has been ruled out for the second Test against South Africa, due to the hand injury he sustained in Galle. He was fielding at mid-off when he tore the webbing between the thumb and index finger of his right hand on day one of the first Test. He was immediately taken to hospital, and had eight stitches sewn in and bowled only nine overs in that match. Dhammika Prasad and left-armer Chanaka Welegedara are in the Sri Lanka squad as more..

Bandula makes another ‘farcical’ calculation

July 21 (AM) Despite his previous statement that an ordinary family in Sri Lanka can live a period of one month with Rs 2500, Minister Bandula Gunawardena has now stated that an average family needs at least Rs 3500 for their monthly expenses. He has made this remark while participating in a radio interview. He added that according to the present economic situation he is compelled to ‘update’ his previous statement. more..

Ranil wants parliamentary and PC polls held on the same day

July 21 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Friday, proposed that parliamentary and PC polls should be held on a single day to avoid waste of time. Speaking to media representatives at Asgiriya Temple in Kandy late Friday evening UNP leader Wickremesinghe said that much time was wasted on elections. At least five months of the year were spent on Provincial Council elections. Time could be saved by holding parliamentary provincial council elections on the same day, he said. more..

BOI briefs Tel Aviv on Sri Lanka Investment opportunities

July 21 (Island) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka recently engaged in promotion of investment at an important event held in Tel Aviv, Israel. BOI Chairman Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera briefed the business community of Israel on the potential Sri Lanka has to offer to Israeli investors. His presentation covered Sri Lanka's strategic position, business friendly climate and attractive regime of incentives offered to investors. He was assisted by Duminda Premaratne, Deputy Director more..

SL sees $307mn govt securities outflow

July 21 (Reuters) Offshore investors sold 40 billion rupees worth of Sri Lankan govt securities last week, but the central bank said this would not affect the rupee. The total foreign holding in govt securities in the week ended on July 11 stood at 509.59 billion rupees, of which foreign investors sold 7.9%. The sudden outflow reduced the foreign holding in total outstanding govt securities to less than the 12.5% threshold set by central bank. more..

President expresses condolences over MH17

July 21 (Xinhua) President Rajapaksa has conveyed condolences via twitter to families on the loss of loved ones on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. The president sent messages via twitter to the Prime Ministers of Netherlands and Malaysia, saying prayers of the Sri Lankan people are with them during this difficult time. "Please convey my condolences to the people of Malaysia on the loss of loved ones on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17," he tweeted to PM of Malaysia Najib Razak. more..

Sri Lanka conducts global environment facility project

July 21 (Island) Sri Lanka conducted the country’s second National Dialogue for Global Environment Facility (GEF) financed projects and programmes last week under the patronage of Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premayantha. The first National Dialogue was held around 12 years ago in Colombo. Established in 1991 by the UN the GEF is the largest funder of projects to improve the global environment. The GEF has allocated USD10 bn for more than 2,800 projects over more..

Khuram’s brother glad about verdict, will keep watch

July 21 (CT) British national, Naseer Shaikh speaking with great sadness over the murder of his brother, Khuram Shaikh, in Tangalle two and half years ago, says he has come to terms with the 20 years of rigorous imprisonment imposed on the four accused by Colombo High Court. However, he said there is no closure of the case since he knows the convicts will file an appeal in 14 days and he would be watching the development closely. more..

An alternative analysis of Aluthgama

July 21 (CT) Ethno-religious identity groups are formed in a structurally antagonistic pattern through specific historical processes. The Buddhist and Hindu revival movements which emerged in Sri Lanka in the middle of the 19th Century are the bases of present ethno-religious groupings. Sinhala ethnicity is defined in opposition to, or structured against, Tamil and Muslim ethnicities. Sinhala ethnic sentiment is, therefore, hostile towards Tamils and Muslims. ‘Structured against’ does not mean more..

Rupee weaker on importer dollar demand

July 21 (Reuters) Rupee fell on Monday due to importer dollar demand, and the currency could face some downward pressure in the future on a possible pickup in imports. Dealers, however, said they did not see any impact on the rupee due to $307 million in outflows from govt securities a week earlier. The rupee was traded at 130.30/33 per dollar at 0838 GMT, weaker from Friday's close of 130.28/30. Early last week, the rupee had closed at its highest in more than a year. more..

UNP and SLFP told to work together

July 21 (CG) UNP and the ruling SLFP have been urged to work together on the national issue. Senior Minister D.E.W Gunasekera said that the national issue cannot be resolved without the two main political parties working together. “A national issue cannot be resolved without the main political parties working together,” he said. He recalled that former PM and SLFP leader Sirimavo Bandaranayaka worked with the then UNP more..

Two fires destroy 300 acres of forest

July 21 (Island) Two forest fires that raged in Moneragala and Medirigirya destroyed around 300 acres on Friday and Saturday. A fire that broke out on Friday evening at Kankanam Hela Kanda in Dambagalle DS area in Moneragala destroyed around 100 acres of forest. The fire spread on Saturday, destroying valuable trees including satinwood and halmilla in the reserve. It was the fifth time a fire has broken out in the Kankanam Hela Kanda forest within one week. more..

Prison officers to face investigation over shielding Tangalle murderer-rapist

July 21 (CT) Just days after the verdict given on the murder case of British aid worker Khuram Shaikh, the Prisons Department has stated that UPFA strongman and former Chairman of Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha, Sampath Chandrapushpa Vidhanapathirana – the main suspect found guilty of murdering the British aid worker and raping his fiancé – maybe able to walk out a free man in 12 ½ years instead of undergoing the full term of 20 years as per the judgment. more..

'Parliamentary authorities have become puppets of the executive' - UNP

July 21 (AM) UNP charged that the administration of the Parliament is deliberately delaying action on privilege issues raised by UNP MPs. UNP MP Ajith P Perera said the privilege issue they raised on the clash which took place in Hambanthota has not yet been presented before the privileges committee of Parliament. "It is the duty of the administration of Parliament to take measures to bring these matters before the Privileges more..

Grama Niladaris to protest against assault

July 21 (Island) More than 100 Grama Niladaris in the Ambakotuwa Division in Kurunegala will protest today against an attack on one of their colleagues by Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Nimal Wijesinghe, who crossed over from the UNP to UPFA. The victim, 29 year-old Sanath Ananada Wimalsena had not issued a permit to a supporter of the parliamentarian for felling a Jak tree. The MP argued with the Grama Nildari, slapped him and kicked him in the stomach. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.5%

July 21 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.51% higher with diversified stocks gaining despite net foreign selling. All Share Price Index closed 34.32 points higher at 6,756.52, up 0.51%. The S&P SL20 closed 29.17 points higher at 3,768.15, up 0.78%. Turnover was 904.71 million rupees, down from 1.30 billion rupees last Friday with 132 stocks closed positive against 66 negative. DFCC Bank closed 30 cents lower at 165.40 rupees with an off-market transaction of 162.00 million rupees changing hands more..

Ada Cartoon: Miracle of Asia

Stormy weather over western slopes of Central hills

July 21 (Island) Strong winds would hit the Central hills especially on the western slopes in addition to heavy showers today, Emergency Operations Unit of the Disaster Management Centre and the Meteorology Department warned. Meteorologist-in-charge Anusha Warnasuriya said that it was as a result of reactivation of the South West monsoon. She said that few showers would also occur in the Western, Sabaragamuwa and Central provinces and in the Galle and Matara Districts. more..

Act tough on treasure hunters

July 21 (CT) The media has off and on been reporting on treasure hunters being arrested by the police for digging archaeological sites looking for hidden treasure to make quick money. All sorts of people, including businessmen, exorcists and monks have been arrested, produced before the Courts of law and punished. However, despite the punishment handed down by the Courts, which is often limited to fines, the activity goes on unhindered as the lure of money is greater. more..