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Shanghai plate shows up flaws in Borneo Bowl

Oct 1 (SL) Sri Lanka's triumph in the Shanghai Sevens Plate competitionlast week is a significant improvement on its Bowl success three weeks before in Borneo.The Shanghai conquest was over Asian rugby’s second- tier nations, as against success over level-three opposition in Borneo. And the upshot: we finished fifth-best in last week’s competition, from a lowly ninth three weeks ago. The rise, on face value, is commendable andgives the SLRFU bragging rights at least more..

Minorities in opposition to “The Regime”

Oct 1 (SL) One cannot but be fascinated by the goings on in Sri Lanka where there are two diametrically opposed views expressed, often by the same people. To be specific, one talks about the level of support for the President and the other about the broad disenchantment with regard to his regime’s sins of omission and commission and the distress caused thereby. We had one poll, conducted within goodness knows what parameters, that said that Mahinda Rajapaksa had in excess of a 90% approval rating. more..

'2013 Budget: Curtailing Govt spending inevitable'

Oct 1 (SO) The 2013 Budget will inevitably be a tough one as the govt is compelled to stem expenditure to maintain macro economic stability which is under pressure from adverse global conditions and domestic issues, economic analysts said. Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne of the University of Colombo said that a tough budget with major limits on govt expenditure can be expected in terms of economic policies to achieve more..

The elusive game changer in Sri Lanka’s politics

Oct 1 (DBS) However much the Opposition in general or the UNP in particular, tries to dislodge the present incumbent regiment, they will not succeed unless and until they find a game-changing issue. If an issue is found that has the potential for changing the game, the issue itself will find a leader to lead the followers towards the change that is so desired. On the one hand, President Mahinda Rajapaksa presently sits pretty on one game-changing issue – the war victory. more..

Human rights in Sri Lanka: between the UN and the US

Oct 1 (DBS) As the 21st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (HRC) ends on 28 September 2012, ongoing human rights developments in Sri Lanka will undoubtedly linger in the minds of many. Observers will look forward to the country’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review, which will take place this November, and to the National Report the Sri Lankan govt has submitted for consideration. Yet it is next year’s HRC session that is particularly intriguing. more..

FUTA’s “6% for education” in Sri Lanka: Sensible or sensational?

Oct 1 (GV) “It was mainly symbolic”, is how FUTA President Dr. Ranjith Dewaisiri characterized the group’s demand of “6% of GDP for education”, which has now gained national attention. This was in response to a question posed by an audience member during ‘THE FORUM with Eran’ held this week featuring Dr. Ranjith Dewasiri, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha (MP) and Eran Wickramaratne (MP). The FUTA President’s comments were more..

Who will respond to the distress call of the JSC of Sri Lanka?

Oct 1 (CT) This distress call is not from a sinking ship but from the supreme body that represents the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) of Sri Lanka, which is desperately stating that the independence of the judiciary is under threat from the executive. The Asian Human Rights Commission has for years warned that democracy in Sri Lanka is sinking and this distress call from the JSC is one of the final indications of how fast it is sinking. If Sri Lanka has any friends left in more..

The suffocating grasp of an emergent dictatorship

Oct 1 (CT) The madness fanned by Gobles and fired by Nazi student organisations, reached a frenzied climax on the night of 10 May 1933 when the nation’s great libraries were stripped of radical, socialist, pacifist, culturally alien and Jewish books, and piled on bonfires, lit as Germany careened to censorship, culture control and eventually the most naked of all Twentieth Century dictatorships. No nation that permits the state to crush its knowledge workers can long survive. more..

Putting paid to the govt’s false claims: The new IDPs in Sri Lanka

Oct 1 (GV) Editors note: On the day Menik Farm was officially closed, an urgent memo was circulated widely on the fate of the IDPs from Keppapilavu. The memo adds vital context to the following story, which also needs to be read in light of Govt and Ministry of Defence claims that, 1.there are no longer any IDPs in Sri Lanka. 2.that they have all been resettled. 3.that phrases like “IDP, relief camps & refugee camps” more..

Tea industry grapples with lower crop

Oct 1 (FT) The tea industry is continuing to struggle with lower crop, estimated at a four year low during the first eight months of the year. Asia Siyaka said tea production for the period January to August 2012 is at a four year low of 214 mil kilos and is down 3% on last year’s eight month total of 221 mil kilos. This was despite the crop in the month of August being nominally higher at 25.38 mil kilos as opposed to 2011’s corresponding month’s revised figure of 25.36 mil kilos. Asia said the occasional showers recorded in the higher elevations supported more..

Towards reducing the fiscal deficit

Oct 1 (ST) The importance of containing the fiscal deficit and progressively decreasing it to a manageable level is an accepted govt policy objective. There is no better expression of this resolve than the Treasury’s reiteration that, despite a fiscal deficit of 4% in the first half of this year, that it would achieve the targeted fiscal deficit of 6.2% of GDP this year. With the slowing down of the economy, reduced tax revenues and expenditure overruns, this would be a daunting task. more..

July budget deficit expands 46%

Oct 1 (Island) Although it is too premature to deduce what the final outcome would be, data available for the first seven months of this year suggests the govt is more likely to miss the 6.2% of GDP budget deficit target by the year’s end having reached 5.6% of GDP as at end July 2012, which is also an underestimation with economic growth downgraded to 6.8% last week. Govt expenditure growth raced ahead twice as more..

Editorial: Of that timely saffron offer

Oct 1 (Island) The govt has adopted the proverbial carrot and stick approach in trying to deal with the FUTA on strike. Minister S.B. Dissanayake has offered to pay the striking dons their salaries for the last three months if they report for work on Monday or Tuesday. The FUTA, which completed a long protest march on Friday, has rejected the minister's offer out of hand contemptuously. While the govt and the FUTA are playing some game of chicken with the university crisis worsening, more..

T20 IND v PAK: Steady India thrash anxious Pakistan

Oct 1 (CI) India-Pakistan matches - never mind the tournament context - often tend to be a contest as much of nerves as of cricketing skills. Keeping in with recent times, where India have tended to come out the mentally stronger side, Pakistan's batsmen tried too hard and imploded to waste a dream start and post the lowest total of the Super Eights stage of this World Twenty20. Virat Kohli, who had scored 183 in his previous match against Pakistan, more..

Market mocks maligners!

Oct 1 (FT) Despite certain reservations since the 20 July Presidential Forum, with capital market stakeholders net foreign inflow has soared by Rs. 8 b to record Rs. 31.7 b and market capitalisation by Rs. 417 b. Making warnings of foreigners exiting following Presidential intervention or alleged mafia-supportive changes at SEC of little credence, the Colombo Bourse has seen net inflows rising by Rs. 8 billion apart more..

Tourism boom expected to boost exports

Oct 1 (Island) With Sri Lanka expecting the tourism sector to become one of the largest foreign exchange earners the sector is also expected to assist the exports of the country. According to recent research the sector is expected to invest Rs. 127.2 billion, and account for 700,000 jobs, the total contribution of the sector is expected to reach Rs. 1020 billion and further strengthen the export sector by exporting goods worth Rs. 244.6 billion. The total contribution of the travel and tourism sector more..

Clinical Morgan plays by numbers

Oct 1 (CI) Few England batsmen have ever been charged with so much responsibility in a major one-day tournament as Eoin Morgan. 'Set It Up For Morgs' is England's consistent refrain. Now he is about to face his toughest test. If he is to plot England's route into the semi-finals in Pallakele, he must somehow find an answer to a Sri Lanka side moving insistently forward with the support of a raucous home crowd and to the happy sound of rhythmic drumming. Shane Watson, more..

Govt. could handover plantations to workers

Oct 1 (Island) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe warned that country’s tea and rubber industries had a herculean task ahead of them in order to remain sustainable and that the govt was considering the option of allocating plantation lands to the workers, who could sell their produce to the regional plantation companies. "Don’t forget, the government owns the plantation lands," the minister told planters at a recent forum. more..

Galle district doctors call off strike action

Oct 1 (DN) The strike action launched by Galle district branch of Government Medical Officers' Association throughout the district's hospitals and medical institutions demanding the arrest of Galle Mayor upon a complaint made by the Municipal Medical Officer of Health to the Galle Police was called off with immediate effect following Police legal clarifications over the disputed matter. The Galle Municipal MOH had lodged a complaint to the Galle Police alleging that Galle Mayor Methsiri more..

Buddhism, or whatever it is

Oct 1 (BP) The standard authorities tell us that Theravada Buddhism developed in Sri Lanka about 2,000 years ago, filtered into Southeast Asia soon after, and became dominant from the 13th century AD after new infusions of teachings from the Lanka Mahavira school. This story is very generally accepted but has one wrinkle: the term "Buddhism" was not invented until the 19th century and "Theravada Buddhism" not until the 20th. Some scholars have grown uneasy about pushing more..

President to grant 2,500 scholarships to migrant workers’ children

Oct 1 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will hand over scholarships to 2,500 children of migrant workers today in recognition of the contribution of the latter to the country’s economic well - being. Monetary rewards too will be offered for their outstanding achievements in the field of education. The concept of awarding scholarships to migrant workers’ children was mooted by the President as the Labour Minister in 1996. more..

‘Sri Lanka must drive reforms like India’

Oct 1 (FT) One of Sri Lanka’s respected business professionals who sits on many Govt and private sector Director Boards Rohantha Athukorala called on the private sector to take a more proactive role to support the Govt in the implementation of radical reforms to drive the economy to a new growth model, like what India is currently doing, if we are to reverse the trend witnessed recently where Sri Lanka dropped in its World Economic Forum rankings from number 52 to 62 on its competitiveness of nations. more..

Pleasure trip ends in watery grave

Oct 1 (SO) The tragedy which took place last Saturday when a boat capsized in the sea off Beruwela, drowning five people and causing injuries to two women is an eye opener for everyone including hoteliers and tour operators who organise events without paying heed to safety precautions. It was when a group of persons on an excursion were returning on a boat after seeing the Light House at Beruwela around 4.30 p.m. that disaster struck. The boat which was overloaded with 13 passengers turned turtle when restless passengers more..

Rear Admiral Weerasekara seeks early retirement

Oct 1 (Island) Rear Admiral (RA) Thusith Weerasekara has sent in his retirement papers. The Commandant of the Volunteer Naval Force announced his retirement plans in the immediate aftermath of RA Jayanath Colombage being appointed the 18th Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy. The eastern commander Colombage succeeded Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake. On his appointment as Commander of the more..

Mervyn accuses Mawbima

Oct 1 (CT) Minister Mervyn Silva has accused our sister paper ‘Mawbima’ of plotting against him and said that no one can bring him to his knees. He alleges many false news articles had been published against him and his son, in an attempt to bring disrepute to him. However he said although these articles are aimed at tarnishing his image, his soul and good heart cannot be tarnished. The Minister alleged the Mawbima Editor, Thushara Gunaratna is one of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s stooges, more..

Pretty undergrad found dead in well

Oct 1 (Island) A body of a beautiful undergraduate of the Sri Jayawardenepura University, Erosha Harshani Randombe (26) was found in a well yesterday. The body was discovered by an aunt of the victim, from a well near her house at Ellamulla village in the Welipenna area. Harshani was married to a military person, but at the time of the incident her husband had not been at home. The police have yet to determine whether she committed suicide or it was a case of foul play. more..

Sri Lankan pitches are changing

Oct 1 (TOI) The help for fast bowlers in Sri Lanka has given a new twist to the competition of the 4th edition of the ICC World T20. It is unlikely that any non-sub-continental team has slept easily over the prospect of facing Muralitharan on Sri Lankan wickets. But 'the times they are a-changin' as Bob Dylan sang and Sri Lanka have learned to play to their strength after Murali's retirement. Sri Lankan wickets used to be tailor-made for more..

Indo-Pak clash stirs Lankan passion

Oct 1 (DS) At noon when the media bus started its trip from the Singhalese Sports Club, the headquarters of Sri Lanka Cricket, towards Premadasa Cricket Stadium, the city streets were almost deserted as Sunday is the weekly holiday in the country. And that was why it took only ten minutes to reach the destination, which is not the case on regular office days. The surrounding areas of the stadium also gave the impression of being a tranquil place at that time. more..

Heart Walk marks World Heart Day

Oct 1 (DN) A ‘Heart Walk’ and several other events were held under President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s patronage yesterday to mark World Heart Day. The events, jointly organised by the Presidential Secretariat and the Sri Lanka Heart Association (SLHA), began with the ‘Heart Walk’ yesterday morning from the Presidential Secretariat to Temple Trees. Schoolchildren, Tri Forces personnel, private and state hospital workers, sportsmen and women and artistes participated. President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa led the walk. more..

T20 SL v ENG: SL well placed, but many permutations remain

Oct 1 (CI) Neither of these teams will quite know where they stand until West Indies have played New Zealand in the first game of the day. There are various scenarios, ranging from the reasonably simple to the very complicated, but it is fair to say Sri Lanka are handsomely placed with the advantage of a strong net run-rate after their massive victory against West Indies. If Sri Lanka win they have nothing to worry about. more..

India to launch housing project for Lankan Tamils on Oct 2

Oct 1 (IE) India is set to provide financial assistance and technical expertise to the most vulnerable section among the Sri Lankan Tamils so that they can build their own houses. The project is expected to be launched on October 2. This is part of New Delhi’s commitment to build 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka for the ethnic minorities. The vulnerable section is expected to include women, elderly, those suffering from illness, and the economically weaker section. more..

Basil highlights Norway aid to develop rural sector

Oct 1 (Island) Despite the global economic downturn and the drought experiencing in some part of Sri Lanka, the country would achieve good results in economic development this year too and that trend would continue for some years, said minister Basil Rajapaksa when he met the New Norwegian Ambassador. Norwegian Ambassador Grete Lochen paid a courtesy call on Minister on late last week and discussed the future economic and trade relationship between the two countries. more..

'Lanka gets thumbs-up on Human Rights'

Oct 1 (DN) Sri Lanka's Human Rights record has been described by member countries of the UN as having reached an "ideal" position to be identified with international Rights standards, representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, former Attorney General Mohan Peiris said yesterday. He said only a very few countries have reached this level in terms of Human Rights development in recent times. more..

Two more gold bottoms detected at BIA

Oct 1 (Island) Two Indian nationals were nabbed by the customs at the BIA while they were attempting to smuggle out Rs. 5.9 million worth of gold biscuits hidden in their person. They were arrested while waiting to board a Chennai bound SriLankan Airlines flight on Saturday morning. The customs officers said that they had been arrested at two different times and the first suspect had four gold biscuits in his person weighing 408 g worth 2.9 million rupees while the other had six gold biscuits more..

Gem rush in Embilipitiya

Oct 1 (CT) Eleven residents of Embilipitiya who were apprehended after they attempted to dig the bund of the Chandrika Tank in search of gems, were remanded by the Embilipitiya Magistrate’s Court, yesterday. The suspects were remanded till today after they were produced before the Embilipitiya Chief Magistrate, Rashantha Jinadas. A tense situation mounted at the Chandrika tank after more than a 1,000 area residents attempted to remove soil from the bund in search of precious stones, on Saturday (29) afternoon. more..

Green MMC winks for red light district

Oct 1 (Island) Will prostitution be legalised in Colombo with the setting up of a red light district within the city limits? Views to this effect was expressed by UNP MMC Nadeel Malagoda at the Monthly Council meeting of the CMC last Thursday. He said that it was only his personal view and not that of the UNP. He said that there were several cases of women and children being raped all over the country and the setting up of a red light district would help prevent sex crimes more..

Editorial: Past, present and future

Oct 1 (DM) Days circled in red carry much more weight than what is signified in fanfare and celebration. They are there to remind the nation of its responsibilities and each individual the essence of humanity. Elders and children are two of the most vulnerable sections in society who badly need their voices to be heard and their predicaments to be remedied. More often than not, their dilemmas are those that are created by social and economic influences rather than the inherent more..

Challenges for FUTA and changing nature of social movements

Oct 1 (CT) FUTA strike…… yes, this started as a trade union action but today it has penetrated the virtual boundaries in which it started, and has evolved to become a social movement in Sri Lanka. What is important about this phenomenon is that in the post-war Sri Lanka it has created a space to believe in peoples’ power: to believe that in present Sri Lanka there is a possibility for people to mobilize in passive resistance against unjust more..

New revelations over death of army major

Oct 1 (LB) New theories have emerged on the unfortunate death of an army major which took place a week ago as police conduct investigations to ascertain if he had committed suicide or if he had been murdered. Army major Nalin Sampath Kumara who was attached to the Saliyapura army camp died under tragic circumstances on Sept 18. The incident took place in the Thihagoda area when he had gone to meet his fiancée. The truth is still shrouded more..

Prisons cleared by STF raid

Oct 1 (SL) A group of about 500 from the Police Special Task Force and the Terrorist Investigation Unit raided the Colombo Remand Prison about 1.45 pm on Monday the 24th on a request made by the senior administration of the Prisons. They had received information that for a long time prisoners have been using drugs and mobile phones inside the prisons. This was the first time in the history of the prisons that an armed group of soldiers conducted an operation of this nature inside more..