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'Ranil supporting Executive Presidency'

May 1 (CT) Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, is mistaken if he thinks he can win the presidential election by garnering the vote s of the minority communities, the Jathika Paura said. Western Provincial Councillor, Shiral Lakthilaka, said the main opposition party had 'no organization at the grassroots level' and added: "In the aftermath of the war, the Sinhalese-Buddhist vote base has become very important. more..

Systematic Sinhalisation in the North?

May 1 (SL) A systematic attempt to ‘Sinhalise’ areas in the North, especially in Vavuniya is underway, opposition parties charge. Members of the TNA and even the DPF said that in some instances Sinhalese families were being settled in predominantly Tamil areas with state support. Meanwhile, the govt claims that it is internally displaced Sinhalese who are being resettled in the Northern Province. more..

Wimal accuses PB for current crisis

May 1 (DM) Whenever Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera formulated something he always created a crisis in the country, Minister Wimal Weerawansa charged yesterday. “He was responsible for formulating the new electricity tariffs,” he said. He charged that Dr. Jayasundera was someone who created crisis in the country and the new electricity tariff formula which charges less from the rich and more from the poor was more..

'Unprecedented electricity shock hits 85% of workers'

May 1 (Island) The govt’s May Day gift in the form of a shocking electricity tariff hike, has delivered a devastating blow to 85% of public and private sector workers. The UNP MP Gayantha Karunathillake said that in 2010, a family of four required Rs.18,000 per to live, according to statistics. In successive years the figure was raised to Rs.23,000, Rs.35,000 and Rs.40,000 respectively. But, 80% of govt employees still drew a monthly salary of more..

Public sector real wages fall, private sector rises: CB

May 1 (Island) While the nominal wages of employees in both the public and private sectors increased in 2012, only private sector employees (in the formal and informal sectors) saw their real wages increase, after adjusting for inflation, the CB said. "The increase in both nominal and real wages was significant among the employees in the formal private sector whose wages are governed by the Wages Boards Trades. more..

Sri Lanka cigarette sales drop 14% in weaker economy

May 1 (LBO) Ceylon Tobacco Company said cigarette sales dropped 14% in the March 2013 quarter from a year earlier, but profits dropped only 1.8% to 1,463 million rupees helped by wider margins. The firm reported earnings per share of 7.81 rupees for the quarter. CTC, a unit of British American Tobacco, said sales dropped 14% in "challenging economic conditions" and smokers contributed 15.1 billion rupees to more..

Dialog says submarine cable will give high speeds

May 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Dialog Axiata which is in a consortium of telecom firms that is building a submarine cable system running from Malaysia to the Middle East through South Asia said it would increase international connections. "Dialog’s investment in a submarine cable system leads on from our aggressive commitment to deliver the fastest and most advanced telecommunications technology to Sri Lanka." group CEO Hans more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka enhance trade ties

May 1 (Nation) The fifth Technical Level Meeting on Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) was held in Islamabad from April 29-30, wherein both the countries emphasised upon the need to enhance the existing level of trade and commerce through greater interaction. The meeting was co-chaired by Munir Qureshi, Secretary Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan, and Anura Siriwardena, Secretary, Ministry of Industry & Commerce, more..

Power tariff hike to dominate rallies

May 1 (ST) The recent electricity price hike has emerged as a new issue to be taken up by political parties at this year’s May Day rallies. Among the other problems that will be addressed are the cost of living and failure of the Govt to find a political solution to the ethnic issue. The UPFA led by the SLFP, and the JVP will hold their rallies in Colombo. The UNP has opted for three meetings at Pitakotte, Kurunegala and Badulla, while more..

Editorial : Making May Day matter

May 1 (CT) May Day appears to have lost its meaning in today’s context, becoming yet another opportunity for politicians and political parties to hog the limelight and show to the world how popular they are with the working class, never mind the myriad issues plaguing that class. A guest columnist, elsewhere in these pages, has summed up the situation succinctly by equating May Day to a total eclipse of the workers. The undermining of the workers’ interest on this day is more..

NPC elections: Important step in the process of national reconciliation

May 1 (CT) The announcement by President Rajapakse that the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) Elections will be held in September this year gives rise to the hope that at long last the process of devolution set in motion in 1987 will proceed towards completion. Despite increase in the intensity of the voices that have been raised against the holding of elections to the NPC in recent times, it is a welcome decision of the Govt to give effect to the scheme of devolution that more..

'Electricity tariff hike can be rallying point for common Opp. front'

May 1 (Island) The Democratic Party said that the growing resentment over unprecedented electricity tariff increase could be transformed into a mammoth political campaign. War winning Army Commander retired General Sarath Fonseka heads the recently recognized political party. The govt was withering under heavy pressure with ministers accusing each other of proposing the latest electricity tariff hike, Ketagoda said. more..

Loose monetary policy to widen savings-investment gap

May 1 (DM) The likely loosening of the monetary policy will increase the savings - investment gap, which narrowed to 6.6 percent of GDP or Rs.503 billion in 2012, increasing the dependency on foreign financing to feed the investment hungry nation, a global bank alerted. “While policymakers maintained a tight monetary environment in 2012, likely loosening in 2013 will keep the saving-investment gap elevated,” Standard Chartered Bank in one of its recent reports said. more..

Sri Lanka hospital to build Rs 850mn lab

May 1 (LBO) Lanka Hospitals, a fee levying hospital that is 65% state controlled will build an 850 million rupee laboratory that provide diagnostic test for over 500 diseases that are now unavailable in Sri Lanka, an official said. Lanka Hospitals CEO Lakith Pieris said a 10,000 square feet laboratory will be set up on the seventh floor of the hospital building. He said the lab will offer diagnostic services for 500 new diseases including some test for cancer that are not available. The project is expected to start in more..

Media blamed for increasing child abuse, rape

May 1 (Island) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) alleged that the electronic and print media were responsible for the increasing number of child abuse and rape cases in the country. Addressing the workshop on ‘sensationalisation of mass media on child protection', NCPA Chairperson Anoma Dissanayake questioned as to how the NCPA could put an end to child abuse and rape when the media more..

Sri Lanka's first 'carbon neutral' conference in September

May 1 (LBO) The first conference in Sri Lanka to be certified as 'carbon neutral' will take place in September, when a regional economic policy conference will be held in the island, organizers said. Sri Lanka's Institute of Policy Studies said the the South Asia Economic Summit, held for the sixth successive year has been certified as being carbon neutral by Carbon Consulting Company, a UK based firm. "Climate change is a critical issue for all countries in this region," more..

Airport Customs nab woman with 16 gold buckles worth Rs. 4.8 mn

May 1 (Island) The Airport Customs nabbed a 51-year-old woman attempting to smuggle out 16 gold buckles, worth Rs. 4.8 million, while en-route to India on Monday night. The suspect was from Ragama and was to board a SriLankan Airlines flight, UL 141, scheduled to take off for Mumbai at 11.55 on Monday night, when she was nabbed, Sri Lanka Customs Director Leslie Gamini said yesterday. The contraband was hidden in a special compartment in her luggage, he said. more..

20th death anniversary of former President R. Premadasa today

May 1 (Island) The late R. Premadasa, the second Executive President of Sri Lanka, was assassinated on May 1, 1993, by a suicide bomber strapped with explosives, during the UNP May Day procession in Colombo North. His 20th death anniversary falls today. He was born at No. 12, Dias Place in the Keselwatta Ward, San Sebestian’s Hill, Colombo 12 on June 23, 1924, to the Buddhist family of Richard Ranasinghe more..

Charred body of 15-yr-old girl found

May 1 (Island) An extensively burnt body of a 15-year-old school girl was recovered from a shrub jungle, out-side her home at Udadumbara, by the police on yesterday morning. Acting on information received from a resident of the area, police visited the scene and commenced investigations. The deceased has been identified as Ruwanthi Kausalya Dissanayake, daughter of a retired army personnel and a Samurdhi Niladhari of the division. Ruwanthi Kausalya was a GCE O/L student more..

AIFCF spells out hardships of fisher folk

May 1 (CT) The cost of maintaining and repairing fishing vessels is expected to increase when the new hike in the electricity tariff becomes effective, the All Island Fishing Community Federation (AIFCF), said. A member of AIFCF, Edmon Andrahennedige, said when the electricity tariff hike becomes effective, it is bound to impact on the lives of the fisher folk. In anticipation of the increased rates, certain products and services have already gone up in price. "For example, the price of more..

Manilal plans legal action against FIFA

May 1 (AP) Former FIFA executive committee member Manilal Fernando plans to appeal his eight-year ban from football. In a statement issued by his lawyers on Wednesday, Fernando said he was "naturally disappointed" with the suspension announced by FIFA on Tuesday and still hadn't been told what provisions of the ethics code he'd breached. "Mr. Fernando is confident that he will clear his name. He is prepared to take more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka’s travesty of democracy

May 1 (Independent) The special value of the Commonwealth is that it brings together nations in many different phases of development, which view current affairs through the prism of their own experience. At best, this makes it a forum of impassioned and significant debate, in which mutual understanding can be enhanced. But when tolerance of alternative ideas gives way to indifference or cynical acceptance of what should be loudly denounced, the organisation risks more..

11 Sri Lankan fishermen arrested in Andhra Pradesh

May 1 (PTI) Eleven Sri Lankan fishermen were today arrested when they illegally entered the waters near Kakinada sea port in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district. "The eleven Sri Lankan fishermen came in two boats with some equipment to venture into the sea. They entered illegally into the waters," Kakinada Marine police said. Besides arresting the fishermen, two boats and some fishing-related equipment were seized, they said. The state govt had earlier announced 45-day ban on fishing more..

Sri Lanka's rocketing electricity prices bite hard

May 1 (BBC) There's big controversy in Sri Lanka over a sudden and very large jump in domestic electricity prices. Ordinary people, already suffering from regular and difficult rises in the cost of living, are now seeing their bills rise by 50%, 90%, even up to the biggest hike 127%. And the poorest people are seeing some of the biggest rises. Down a narrow alleyway, behind and almost hidden from an affluent street in central Colombo, the houses more..

Azerbaijani FM to visit Lanka

May 1 (CG) Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will pay official visits to India and Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry told Trend news agency on Wednesday. According to the ministry, Mammadyarov will visit India on May 2-5 and Sri Lanka on June 5-8. The minister will hold meetings with representatives of the two countries’ leadership. A wide range of issues relating to the development of bilateral relations in a number of areas will be discussed.

Galle Bishop warns of Buddhist Taliban

May 1 (CG) The Bishop of Galle has warned of threats posed to religious minorities by some groups including the Bodu Bala Sena which he has termed as a “Buddhist Taliban” operating in Sri Lanka. The Fides Agency reported that Bishop Raymond Wickramasinghe, the Bishop of Galle, had raised the concerns in a message sent to the agency. Bishop Wickramasinghe fears that – a few years after the end of the civil war – a new violence can tear apart society. For this reason he has decided to more..

Tourist police to be beefed up

May 1 (Island) Amidst the increase in tourist arrivals since 2009, sexual harassment against tourists had spiked dramatically in Sri Lanka, Police reports reveals. According to the Acting Director of Tourist Police, SSP Maxie Procter, 20 sexual harassment cases had been recorded, including one rape last year. In 2008, only two sexual harassment cases involving tourists were recorded, he said adding that in 2009 the more..

Delft Island ferry service resumes

May 1 (CG) A passenger ferry service between Delft Island and Kurikatuwan in the Jaffana mainland resumed today after a lapse of several years. The ferry service was launched at a function held in Jaffna with the participation of top officials from the Navy and the Government in the area. According to reports from Jaffna, the new ferry service was commissioned by the Navy and the Road Development Authority. The island’s area is 50 km and it is roughly oval-shaped. more..

Pakistan smuggler still at large

May 1 (Island) Sri Lanka Customs tightened vigilance at the BIA and MRIA as the Pakistani national, who tried to smuggle into the country 30,000 vials of Depo–Provera, a birth control drug, hidden in a container of potatoes last Friday, may attempt to flee the country. Head of the Sri Lanka Customs Revenue Task Force, Director of Customs, Mali Piyasena told The Island that a special team of Custom officials had been deployed to nab the mastermind of the illegal import. more..

Millions attend May Day rallies in Sri Lanka

May 1 (Xinhua) Millions of Sri Lankans took to the streets in Colombo to celebrate May Day in style on Wednesday with President Rajapaksa telling the nation that his policies have brought economic gains for the common people. An estimated 2 million people flocked to Colombo, mostly ferried by govt stuff using State-owned busses, which began their slow stroll in the afternoon to make their way to the Campbell Park and hear the President's speech. more..

A historian who liked admiration too much

May 2 (NS) Leslie (RALH) Gunawardana, (not to be confused with Vivien’s husband Leslie Goonewardena) was a historian specializing in the ancient period (500 BC to 1232 AD) of Sri Lankan history. He was a historical revisionist who aspired for admiration from a certain school and got it. His 1979 essay, “The People of the Lion” was reprinted in the Social Scientists’ Association (1984) and became a guiding star in an enterprise, which sought to deconstruct Nationalist ideologies more..

Another high-voltage tariff jolt

May 2 (NS) It seems quite apparent that our political leadership has lost its marbles. Else how could the authorities even entertain the idea of increasing electricity tariffs which are already unaffordable and among the highest in the world? Clearly, such an excessive hike imposes an unfair and unnecessary financial burden on the consumers who are already overburdened with the soaring cost of living. In evidence now are the padded costs and already excessive electricity rates which are more..

On the not so natural rise of electricity prices

May 2 (Island) One of the many conspiracy theories that has emerged with regard to the anti-Muslim campaign of the Bodu Bala Sena and others is that it is an attempt by the Govt to distract people from other concerns, primarily the state of the economy. If so, it isn’t working. Last week’s increase in electricity tariffs hasn’t been overlooked by anybody in SL. However, the Govt has succeeded in convincing a fair share more..

Bitcoins: Can it challenge the mighty Dollar?

May 2 (CT) Should currency issue be a state monopoly? Not necessarily as evidenced in ancient India and Lanka and new evidence emerging in USA and other Western countries in the form of a new digital coin labelled ‘bitcoins’ or BTC for short. In the ancient Indian economy some 2,400 years ago, as described by Kautilya in his textbook on economics, The Arthashastra, issuing coins for exchange was not an exclusive monopoly of the king. The private people were also in the business of more..

The English are reverting to Tribalism

May 2 (SL) The English are becoming quite tribal. Not that they weren’t before. We recall the patriotic poetry dinned into us at school even in the immediate post Independence years soon after the sun had set on the British Empire: If I should die think only this of me That there is some corner of a foreign land That’s forever England. The English in the past two or more decades, particularly in the company of Sri Lankans did not recall their English heritage. They were British. more..

Thoppigala monument opens untrod roads

May 2 (SO) Thoppigala which was once called Baron's Cap during the pre-independent era is nestled amidst ravishingly and naturally landscaped lush paddy lands bordering natural and manmade water ways. Thoppigala is situated 40km Northwest of Batticaloa which was for many years not accessible due to LTTE activities. The war heroes toiled through the day and the gloom of the night in peril and pain for more..

Islamic culture and the challenge of Buddhist fundamentalism

May 2 (Island) When I heard about the Boston explosions I had many hopes. First, I hoped that my teacher, who is at Harvard, was safe. Second, I hoped no one was killed. Third, I hoped there was no any Muslim connection to the explosion. Finally, I hoped Boston, one of my favourite American cities, liberal, leftwing, cosmopolitan and intellectually bent, was not disrupted by any fundamentalist attacks, internal or external. I found out soon enough that my teacher was safe. more..

Geneva: From ‘roasting’ in ‘87 to toasting in ‘09

May 2 (CT) Let’s see what an independent and authoritative source has to say about May 2009 Geneva and the role of Sri Lanka’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative at the time. In its 8th-14th August 2009 issue, the prestigious journal The Economist (London) referred to “…Dayan Jayatilleka, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Geneva, who warded off the threatened UN war-crimes probe in May [2009]…” (‘SL after the war: Behind the Rajapaksa Brothers’ Smiles’, more..

We want justice, not brochures

May 2 (CT) UK MP, Simon Danczuk, described Sri Lanka as a 'romantic paradise unsafe for tourists' and said British tourists should keep away from the island and Danczuk who was in Sri Lanka recently, in a bid to seek justice for the murdered Red Cross worker, Khuram Shaikh, and his girlfriend, Vcitoria Tkacheve, who was gang raped in a tourist resort in Tangalle in December 2011 said yesterday, that no matter how much more..

Editorial : Syria - Sinners stoning sinners

May 2 (Island) President Barack Obama is behaving more like a restless hawk than a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Accusing the beleaguered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of carrying out chemical attacks on the western backed rebel forces, he has threatened stern action. However, having bitten off more than he can chew on the military front and struggling to get out of the Afghan imbroglio, Obama is not likely to resort to direct action against Syria. He is apparently trying to frighten Assad into more..