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Duminda hits out at Hirunika

May 8 (CG) MP Duminda Silva hit out at Hirunika Premachandra today, accusing her of attempting to use him to gain publicity. Speaking to reporters outside court today, Silva said that Hirunika was attempting to use him to build her political career. Silva was speaking after the case into the killing of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was taken up at the Colombo Magistrates Court today. “Im telling Hirunika not to climb on me like a leach and do politics,” he said. more..

Shock at verdict in maid case

May 8 (GDN) Rights activists have criticised Bahrain's justice system after a maid who was allegedly beaten up by her employer was ordered to pay BD590 for running away. Sri Lankan Sushila Jayathilaka, 49, fled the Bahraini's home in Hamad Town early last year following 10 months of mistreatment. She later filed a case against her employer with the help of the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS). more..

School students grab journo’s camera

May 8 (CG) Students of a leading school in Maradana grabbed a video correspondent of Hiru Television and took his camera when he went to video an incident at the school. According to journalists from Hiru TV, the students had later returned the video camera after erasing the video footage taken by the cameraman. The cameraman had gone to the school to look into reports that the students were protesting in the school and lighting firecrackers. When the cameraman had gone more..

Fish market extortion file to Parliament

May 8 (ST) The file pertaining to the complaints received by the Police regarding the incidents of extortion in the fish market in Peliyagoda was sent to the Solicitor General for advice nearly two years ago but so far instructions have not been received so far regarding the case, Parliament was told today. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena revealed this in response to a question raised by DNA MP Sunil Handunnetti pertaining to the Peliyagoda fish market extortion racket. more..

SLC writes to Indian board about early release of IPL players

May 8 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has written to the BCCI, asking whether some Sri Lanka players could be released early from the ongoing IPL to prepare for next month's Champions trophy in England, according to SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga. The Sri Lanka board had been mulling whether to recall some of the underperforming players - who are not central to their IPL teams' plans at the moment - more..

FUTA accuses govt. of politicising universities

May 8 (Island) The govt would do to the university system what it did to the judiciary of the country, President of the FUTA, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said. Hee said that universities were highly politicised at present especially in the appointment of academics to key posts. For example, teachers of the Peradeniya University had vacated their voluntary posts for nearly six months to protest the appointing of a political henchman as the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Dr. Dewasiri said. more..

'Going after sprats as well as sharks'

May 8 (GDI) The Chairman of Commission to Investigate Allegations of Biribery or Corruption Justice D.J. De S Balapatapendi on Tuesday said that the Commission has been given full freedom to discharge their duties as specified in the Act. He said that they are working towards achieving the objectives of the commission and that the investigation officers attached to the Commission are working wisely protecting the dignity of the Police. He also emphasised that it has been more..

Sri Lanka exports down 2.8% in March

May 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka exports fell 2.8% to 837 million US dollars in March 2013 from a year earlier, but apparel was up 5% to 344.5 million US dollars. Agricultural exports were also up 0.5% to 209.7 million US dollars with tea up 1.9%to 129.1 million US dollars. Rubber product export revenues were down 9.4% to 73.1 million US dollars. Imports were down 16.8% to 1,541.5 million US dollars, with consumer goods down 25.5% to 255.7 mill more..

Searching for ethics in a five-month war

May 9 (NS) Of the many tangled and intertwining issues that are bound to sprout from the 33-year-old war there are only two serious questions worth asking for those pursing reconciliation, peace, justice, understanding the past and, above all, the ethics of the overwhelming violence that impacted on all communities: 1. Was the war declared by the Tamill leadership in the Vadukoddai Resolution of May 14, 1976 necessary? 2. What did the Tamil leadership, which insisted on waging war and more..

The BBS that my mother likes

May 9 (NS) I am the legitimate issue of a woman who unabashedly claims to admire the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). This affords me a critical perspective into the issue, without which everyone is floundering like headless chickens. There may be other people, whose mothers, etc. harbor soft spots for the BBS. But because they are not me, they would either try to keep these mothers in the closet or, in contradistinction, empathize with these soft spots; whereas I…Well you shall see. more..

Ninety-minute drive from Colombo to Matara

May 9 (SO) "To provide an adequate and efficient network of national highways, to ensure mobility and accessibility at an acceptable level of safety and comfort, in an environment-friendly manner for the movement of people and goods in the socio-economic development of the nation", was the mission of the Ministry of Highways when it completed the National Road Master Plan (NRMP) in 2007, after a great effort was made for more..

Is Pranab Mukherjee MR’s guardian angel?

May 9 (CT) It is no secret that the assurance the govt received that CHOGM will definitely be held in Sri Lanka as scheduled carried India's imprimatur. Speculation as to who in the Indian polity pulled it off for President Rajapaksa gained considerable interest in the local political guessing game. Now, it has come to light through sources at the Ministry of External Affairs, the knight in armour, who came to the rescue was none other than Mahinda's erstwhile friend, Pranab Mukherjee, President of India. more..

Giving nothing as a May Day present

May 9 (SL) President Rajapaksa, the political magician pulled a rabbit out of his hat. Before May Day he was being lambasted and pulverized by the Opposition and even those on his own side, although in whispers. But after May Day his critics, though not silenced, are on a low key. His May Day present to workers was in reality nothing but making them believe that they have been given something big. It reminds us of a political yarn way back in the early seventies about a by-election in the more..

A ghost from the past

May 9 (CT) After Sri Lankan troops crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels in a final, bloody battle near the North-Eastern coast in May 2009, visions of prosperity across the country were bandied by the triumphant Colombo regime. Slogans that satisfied the ruling establishment, under the grip of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, were unfurled. The South Asian island was promoted as a ‘Wonder of Asia’ to attract foreign investors and visitors. more..

White flags, Fonseka and eroding confidence after the conflict

May 9 (CT) The beginning of the implosion of the President’s pluralistic vision, which had led him to sideline Sarath Fonseka and his hardline views in the aftermath of the war, began I believe with Fonseka’s effort to remake his image. He did this through his interview with the Sunday Leader where, assuming the Americans were right in their report of what he had said in Ambalangoda in August, he did a 180 degree turn, and accused his erstwhile superiors of having done what earlier he had more..

Land, ethnicity and the military defining a power balance

May 9 (CT) On former military commander and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s arrest, a Karachchi based defence and political analyst, Ali K. Chishti was quoted in Pakistani media as saying, “The military is not happy and watching the developments very cautiously.” Adding that some of the serving Generals found the situation, “very embarrassing”. It is said and quite openly too in political circles, no civilian govt could function on its own free will, when the Pakistani military more..

Songs and sarongs: The birth of Lankan calypso

May 9 (ST) When the La Ceylonians first got on stage some 50 years ago with their strange and, to many, ‘laughable’ outfits, they were greeted with boos, catcalls and jeers. Dressed in sarongs, waistbands, garlands, short sleeved batik shirts, straw hats and barefoot, there were shouts of “ado Taxi Karayas, Rasthiyadu Karayas, Malu Karayas”, recalls Noel Brian Ranasinghe, founder and mentor of the band. more..

Strategic limitations in prayers and pilgrimage

May 9 (CT) President Rajapaksa did not allow some of the issues in the relationship with India to come in the way of his recent pilgrimage to Buddha Gaya and Tirupathi. And India, on its part, has been extending the courtesies due to the Head of a State whenever he visits that country. These visits reflect a maturity in the relations between the two neighbours separated by the narrow Palk Straits. Surprisingly, however, there has been no formal bilateral State visit to the Indian capital by more..

More diplomatic exchanges between Lanka and Singapore

May 9 (DN) Visiting Ministerial Consultant of Singapore Ang Mong Seng said he will formulate a mechanism to forge and enhance diplomatic exchange programmes between Sri Lanka and Singapore when he called on PM D M Jayaratne on May 2. He said Singapore which was lagging behind Sri Lanka economically in the 1980 decade had forged ahead as a vastly developed country and Sri Lanka could gain many economic benefits through co-operation with Singapore in the economic more..

Boston Lanka: May 09, 2013

Editorial: Private bus operators’ latest ruse

May 9 (Island) Now, private bus operators want Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa appointed Secretary to the Private Transport Services Ministry. President of the Lanka Private Bus Operators Association (LPBOA) Gemunu Wijeratne made this request at a media briefing. Gotabhaya, one of the few efficient public officers, was instrumental in ridding the country of its biggest problem—terrorism. Therefore, we believe, he is the person best suited for the task of tackling highway terrorism more..

Reserves inch up as govt. borrowings surge

May 9 (Island) Debt heavy gross official reserves grew by US$ 19 million to US$ 6,689 million as at end March 2013 from US$ 6,670 million a month earlier, with govt borrowings surging at 49%. End March reserves had grown by US$ 12 million since reaching US$ 6,877 million as at end December 2012. As at end December 2012, debt and short term inflows amount to 95% of reserves. Total govt borrowing alone, at US$ 5,256.9 million, amounted to around 76.44% of reserves. more..

Sri Lanka’s WC winning stars ripped off by player agent!

May 9 (Island) A controversial player agent, well-known for his nefarious activities over the years, has attempted to con three members of the 1996 World Cup winning team, ‘The Island’ learns. The player agent, who enjoys the support of certain members of the current cricket team, but has been badly exposed in recent months, has attempted to play out as much as US$, 30,000. Former captain Sanath Jayasuriya, his more..

30 TN fishermen released by Sri Lankan court return home

May 9 (PTI) Thirty fishermen from Rameswaram, who were set free by a Sri Lankan court after being arrested by the island Navy in April 2013 on charges of poaching, arrived at Rameswaram on Wednesday. The fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on April 6, 2013 while fishing near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to the island republic, for allegedly entering into Lankan waters. A court in Mannar on Wednesday ordered their release following which they were handed more..

Logiventures expands automotive logistics operations in Hambantota

May 9 (Island) Logiventures, the logistics services subsidiary of the Hayleys Group, has invested in eight acres of land in close proximity to the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota to build a state-of-the-art logistics hub to support its vehicle transit facility, which opened there in June last year. The expansion of the company’s automotive logistics operations in Hambantota will enable Logiventures to offer vehicle importers a wide range of services ranging more..

SLPA Chairman elected 3rd Vice President of IAPH Asia/Oceania region

May 9 (FT) Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Dr. Priyath B Wickrama has been unanimously elected the third Vice President of the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) for the period 2013 to 2015. Wickrama was officially inducted into this position at the IAPH World Conference held in Los Angeles, USA recently. Dr. Wickrama becomes the first Sri Lankan to be elected to an IAPH presidency position. more..

Despite severe shortage, 600 PSM graduates idle

May 9 (Island) The Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM) yesterday warned that they would launch a work-to-rule campaign if the Health Ministry fails to recruit PSM graduates. PSM General Secretary Saman Jayasekara said there were 600 PSM graduates, from three batches, awaiting jobs in the govt health service. Jayasekara said that the Cabinet had given its approval for their recruitment in February. However, the Health Ministry had been dragging its feet in making the more..

Ananda Col. students protest against new principal

May 9 (Island) Students of Ananda College, Maradana yesterday afternoon launched a protest against the new principal by shouting and exploding firecrackers in the school. Police spokesman SP Buddhika Siriwardana said that the incident had occurred around 12.30 p.m., during school hours. Though the students launched the protest against the new principal, he had not come yesterday to assume his duties as principal. The former principal had resigned from the post a few days ago. more..

Court rejects panel to examine Duminda’s health

May 9 (DM) The Magistrate inquiring the non summary trial against MP Duminda Silva and thirteen others over the killing of former Presidential advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra observed that calling for a panel of medical specialists to determine the condition of Mr. Silva’s health was unnecessary. Additional Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage made this observation after considering the submissions made by the counsels for more..

Sri Lankan court orders release of Indian fishermen

May 9 (PTI) A Sri Lankan court today ordered release of 30 fishermen from here, arrested last month by Island Navy on charges of poaching, according to Fishermen Association sources. President of Pamban Fishermen's Association U Arulanandam said they have received a communication stating that a court in Mannar has ordered the release of the fishermen, arrested on April 6 while fishing near Katchatheevu. Magistrate of the court Aananthi Kanagaraj had also more..

Tamil activist's house attacked

May 9 (LB) A Tamil activist in Jaffna has complained that his house was attacked Tuesday night by an unknown group. C.V.K. Sivagnanam, the co-secretary of the ITAK which is the strongest party of the TNA said an unidentified group of people pelted stones at his house around 11:45 p.m. on May 07th damaging the house. Sivagnanam, who is also the chairman of the Jaffna district NGO council, has expressed intentions to contest the upcoming Northern Provincial Council election. more..

'Queen's summit no-show is message'

May 9 (AFP) The decision by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II not to attend a Commonwealth summit later this year in Sri Lanka is related to the island nation's poor human rights record, the main opposition said Wednesday. The November meeting has been mired in controversy, with Canada threatening to stay away unless Colombo investigates suspected war crimes committed by its troops in 2009. more..

Laws for bus colours

May 9 (DM) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama told Parliament today that laws would be brought to make it compulsory to paint private busses in blue, CTB busses in red and school busses in yellow. He said it had been decided to have a specific colour for the private buses so that they could be identified easily. He said blue was chosen for the private busses as it was pleasing to the eye. He said these new legislations would be presented to the House soon. He added that the govt had more..

Mayor promises to fix drains in Colombo

May 9 (Island) Pelting rains experienced in Colombo last Monday recently caused many roads in the city to be inundated. Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil said that the CMC was attending to all complaints and every measure was being taken to minimize flooding of the city. He said that the storm water project funded by World Bank to the tune of US $75 million, which got underway in 2010, would be completed next year. It also included the upgrading of the road network and city beautification project. more..

Harsha slams low and unsystematic Govt. tariffs

May 9 (FT) Low and unsystematically introduced tax tariffs on selected sectors are losing the Govt millions of rupees in revenue but taxes for essential goods remain unjustifiably high, charged UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva in Parliament. He insisted that the Govt has failed to generate the necessary revenues to propel the economy as predicted and the revenue target, which stood at 23%, has declined to 11%. more..

Police want people to blow whistle on mosquito breeders

May 9 (Island) Police Environmental Unit Head, SP Quintes Raymond, warned owners of business places and apartments, heads of govt or non-governmental organisations and heads of households against having potential dengue breeding places within their premises. If he received any complaints or information of dengue breeding places, he would take immediate action to rush to the spot and take legal action against the offenders under the Environmental Protection Act. more..

Fishermen warned to avoid Eastern, Southern seas

May 9 (Island) The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the Meteorology Department yesterday issued a warning for fishermen to avoid the Eastern and Southern sea areas of the country as the inclement weather worsens. Meteorologist–in–charge Anusha Warnasuriya said that a low pressure area had formed to the East of Sri Lanka and was located about 800km to the East of Hambantota. Therefore, the sea areas beyond 300km from Hambantota would experience more..

Ravana Balaya threatens to disrupt screening of TN films

May 9 (CT) Secretary of Ravana Balaya, Innekande Saddhatissa Thera threatened to stop the screening of films starring Tamil Nadu actors such as Vijey, Kamal Haasan, Sarath Kumar or Rajanikanth, saying "We will not say it unless we can actually do it." The Thera made his sentiments known at a meeting with Chairman of the National Film Corporation, Asoka Serasinghe, yesterday. Ravana Balaya handed over a more..

Insurance not compulsory for Lankan maids

May 9 (AN) Saudi employers will not join a social insurance scheme providing coverage for them and their Sri Lankan domestic workers, until issues over its implementation are resolved. This has been agreed by the island nation’s umbrella recruitment body after requests from the Saudi Embassy in Colombo. The insurance scheme provides protection for both employers and workers traveling to the Kingdom for the first time. For domestic workers it includes payouts for death, more..

Court rejects CEO’s anticipatory bail plea

May 9 (DM) While rejecting the anticipatory bail plea filed on behalf of the former CEO of the Deyata Kirula National Exhibition 2013, the Colombo Fort Magistrate observed that public displeasure could be created if he granted anticipatory bail over a fraud that took place at a nationally important exhibition, attended by hundreds of thousands of people. Magistrate Thilina Gamage further observed that the arrest of suspect Kanthi Gunawardana, an Additional Secretary to the Ministry of more..