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'Govt. has wrong taxation policies'

May 23 (CT) Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera said the socialist political parties in the UPFA have been continuously advocating towards changing the govt's irregular fiscal policies. Excerpts: Q: The policies of the present govt such as the electricity price hike indicate the govt has no feelings towards the common man. Their policies are similar to the UNP polices. Under the circumstances, can you continue your affiliation with the UPFA? more..

The question of religious pluralism and unity in Sri Lanka

May 23 (CT) The issue of enforcing unity among the people in Sri Lanka has become a controversial debate on account of the birth of divisive force of religions. Ancient history of Sri Lanka establishes that there were two nations and two religions, viz, Buddhism and Hinduism. With the passage of time Muslims came as traders and introduced Islam. Later they were followed by the Westerners who introduced Catholicism and Christianity. Though there were some incidents of more..

Lessons (not) learnt and reconciliation spurned!

May 23 (CT) Are Sri Lankans getting into the same mind-set of the Zimbabweans under Mugabe? One wonders when reading about the unravelling comical events in the country. We need to understand why Mugabe is often revered by those who live, or have lived, in previously colonized nations. He literally fought for the independence of his country from an oppressive occupying govt and won. As a British colony a white minority group prospered and had held sway over national decisions with their more..

The proxy war against 13A

May 23 (FT) To mark four years since the end of the military conflict and the defeat of the LTTE, the ‘victorious’ Govt of President Rajapaksa held its annual Victory Day parade last Saturday. This year, the Govt moved to remove the concrete island dividing the lanes on Galle Road facing the Galle Face Green, to make room for the military march that was to feature bigger rows of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder, in the more..

Editorial : Tuesday’s strike - A post-mortem

May 23 (Island) The outcome of Tuesday’s strike has come as a huge disappointment for the Opposition as well as the hapless public who hoped and prayed that the govt would buckle under pressure and reduce power tariffs. The trade union alliance responsible for the strike promised to paralyse the public, private and estate sectors and bring the government to its knees, but nothing of the sort happened. It obviously overestimated its strength and made a fatal mistake; more..

Emerging signs of anti-China sentiments

May 23 (CT) Even before Sri Lanka gained independence, the country drew a certain amount of disapprobation from the US and the West due mainly to the Leftist political leaders and their adherence to theoretical political systems that were shunned in those countries. Incurring India's displeasure was the result of J.R. Jayewardene's short-sighted policies and arrogant demeanour in his interaction with that country. During the 1977 elections, JR and his bandwagon went round more..

'Sri Lanka needs CEPA more than India'

May 23 (Island) Outgoing Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha says Sri Lanka needed to enter into a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between the two countries, more so than India did, because economic growth prospects are linked with that of Asia and the ASEAN grouping. "The rest of the world does not wait for us. India has signed CEPAs with many other countries. more..

‘Lake House’ in cess pit

May 23 (LT) ‘Lake House’ is a newspaper institution that belongs to the govt. It was established in 1927 and was a private enterprise until it was taken over by the govt in 1973. The general view is that since it was taken over ‘Lake House’ has been used to wash soiled clothes of the govt. D.R. Wijewardene, the founder of Lake House, recruited renowned writers and intellectuals to his media institution to popularize its newspapers. Martin Wickramasinghe, one of Sri Lanka's greatest authors and intellectuals, more..

Hingurana sugar factory in operation

May 23 (DN) Reconstructed Hingurana sugar factory closed for over 15 years owing to terrorism, ceremonially commenced crushing at an auspicious time after religious observances on May 19 in the presence of a large gathering. Senior Minister P Dayaratna participated as chief guest. Provincial Minister Wimalaweera Dissanayake and COO of Browns Group Rimoe Saldin inaugurated sugar production by feeding bundles of sugarcane to the crushing machine. more..

SLT’s 100Mbps super-fast broadband internet goes live

May 23 (Island) Celebrating ‘World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) last week, Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) announced the soft launch of its VDSL2 (Very-High-Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber Line 2) advanced fixed broadband technology. The addition of this new tech means the company’s broadband users could expect speeds of up to 100Mbps. SLT has plans to expand the services to other regions as well by more..

'Free education, health help people gain recognition'

May 23 (DN) Sri Lanka is the only country which provides free education and health services for the people. The excellent free health service has helped to increase the life span of the people and reduce the infant mortality rate and this has made the people to gain international focus and attention, said Minister Sarath Amunugama. He was addressing the gathering at a ceremony held to mark the handing over of a new ambulance valued at Rs 11 million to the Hadabowa Rural Hospital more..

Maliban reassures customers its milk powder safe

May 23 (Island) Maliban Milk Products reassured its consumers that their products were free of dicyandiamide. CEO of Maliban Lakshman Weerasuriya said that the milk powder, imported from the Murray Goulburn Cooperative Company and packed in Sri Lanka, had been certified as "100% free of DCD." He said that his company had taken urgent measures to have the milk powder tested in the UK and made Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MGC), aware of the situation. more..

Harsha urges Govt. to hire cars for CHOGM VVIPs without purchasing

May 23 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva suggested the govt should “hire vehicles including the proposed 12 Rolls-Royce Ghost motor cars” for the upcoming CHOGM instead of making outright purchases at a possible “over invoiced price,” which is a waste of public money for a period of a few days to “drive around the VVIPs”. “When a Rolls-Royce was bought to Sri Lanka on 17 January this year, the value was US$ 175,000. more..

Smallholders abandon tea for cinnamon

May 23 (Island) Tea smallholders, who account for nearly 70% of Sri Lanka’s tea production, said they wanted to shift to planting cinnamon as they were incurring huge losses due to the non-availability of fertilizer and the recent wage hike. Several tea smallholders have already made the shift. Two members of the Tea Factory Owners’ Association said that their fertilizer go-downs were empty and fertilizer supplies to tea small holders were seriously impaired. They said lack of fertilizer would more..

WPC votes to cancel parking fees

May 23 (CT) The Western Provincial Council (WPC) passed a regulation preventing private companies, such as private hospitals and super markets, from charging parking fees. The proposal made by UNP Western Provincial Councillor, Niroshan Padukka, was passed with the approval of all the members of WPC. Speaking to Ceylon Today, Padukka said, since the WPC has approved his proposal, it only requires the approval of Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, to implement the regulation. more..

India launches housing project in Eastern Province

May 23 (HCI) The Indian Housing Project was launched on the ground in the Eastern Province today jointly by Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India. In events organized at three different locations in Batticaloa district, certificates were handed over to some of the selected beneficiaries. Minister Basheer Segudawood, Deputy Ministers M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, V. Muralitharan, Governor of Eastern more..

Coast Guard to receive 26 Karaikal fishermen released by Sri Lanka

May 23 (Hindu) The Coast Guard will receive the 26 Karaikal fishermen, who were ordered released by the Magistrate court in Sri Lanka, at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) on Thursday morning after handing over nine Sri Lankan fishermen with their two boats to the Sri Lankan Navy. Coast Guard sources here said Rani Abbakka, an inshore patrol vessel, had already left Chennai for north Palk Bay with the nine fishermen and their two trawlers for their repatriation. more..

Ex-CJ’s case: Herath moves SC against AG’s appeal

May 23 (Island) JVP MP Vijitha Herath yesterday complained to the Supreme Court that the Attorney General, who was not a party in the Court of Appeal Writ Application by the former Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the Judgment of the Court of Appeal, in respect of the Writ Application. The respondent, Yapa, had not received any papers, including the petition, affidavit of annexure pertaining to the ‘instant’ appeal. more..

Sri Lanka president's son faces rugby misconduct claims

May 23 (BBC) Sri Lanka's rugby authorities are investigating President Mahinda Rajapaksa's rugby-playing son after claims that he assaulted a referee. One report says Rohitha Rajapaksa has been suspended from the game but the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) denies this. Witnesses said they saw Mr Rajapaksa, 22, physically attack the referee after his side lost a match this month. Rugby is the island's most more..

Parliament in the dark over spate of new borrowings by Govt

May 23 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said Parliament was in the dark over the spate of new loans approved by Cabinet. Sri Lanka will take a “fresh loan of US$ 580 from China Development Bank” within the next few days, revealed Dr. de Silva yesterday in Parliament, taking the members by surprise. According to him, President Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance has submitted a Cabinet Paper seeking approval for this agreement with China Development Bank and it will be more..

SriLankan Airlines launches ‘Upgra‘d’ e-auction for biz class

May 23 (FT) SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, has introduced Upgra‘d e-auction, which gives passengers the opportunity to bid for Business Class upgrades online. Upgra‘d is an extremely user-friendly online procedure, where an Economy Class ticket holder booked on a SriLankan flight operating to any SriLankan online destination can place a bid for an upgrade by filling in and submitting an e-form available in the website. It opens up an array of Business Class more..

'Govt. trying to arrest UNP MPs'

May 23 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the govt was getting ready to arrest a number of UNP politicians who participated in a workshop coordinated by the Friedrich Neumann Foundation. He said that the issue would be taken to international fora and the MPs who attended the workshop had been accused of trying to overthrow the govt. "Yes, we are trying to topple this govt but that is through democratic more..

IPL players to arrive late in England

May 23 (Island) Although the adverse effects of the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament have been continuously highlighted, the authorities have not prudently dealt with the issue, since the tournament’s inception in 2008. In another turn of events, it emerged on Wednesday that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had given permission to players involved in the IPL to arrive late in England, for the ICC Champions Trophy. The IPL final is scheduled for May 26, and while the Chennai Super more..

NPC polls to be held under present Constitution – Yapa

May 23 (Island) The govt yesterday laid to rest speculation that it was contemplating another amendment to the Constitution ahead of the Northern Provincial Council Election (NPCE). It said that election would be held in September under the existing 13th Amendment. The NCPE would be conducted under the present electoral system, Minister Anura Priyadhashana Yapa said. He noted that there would be no postponements and the polls would be held in September on a date to be more..

'Mahasangha should be well-informed of plots to rouse communal tensions'

May 23 (DN) The Mahasangha should be more concerned and well-informed about a situation being plotted to rouse communal tensions and create a crisis situation among religions and sects of the same religion to breach the religious harmony in the country. It is evident that certain NGOs are drafting agendas to dislodge the place given to Buddhism in the constitution. But the govt will never allow these forces to achieve their more..

Emirates to increase flights from Colombo

May 23 (FT) Emirates will increase capacity on its services to Colombo from 30 June 2013, with the addition of three more flights per week, the airline announced yesterday. The addition of three more services, which will operate between Dubai and Colombo on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays, will increase the number of flights between the two cities to four each day on those days, and take the total number of weekly Emirates flights serving Colombo to 31. The additional Colombo-Dubai flight more..

Cabinet nod for $ 800 m loans

May 23 (FT) Cabinet approval has been given for nearly US$ 800 million worth of projects to continue the Govt’s infrastructure development. Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that a MoU would be signed between the Govt and China Development Bank Corporation for US$ 580 million to continue infrastructure projects in 2013. The Cabinet paper, which was presented by President Rajapaksa, outlined that the MoU would be valid for three years and would be used to finance more..

JHU claims Indo-Lanka Agreement not valid

May 23 (CT) The Indo-Lanka Agreement, which culminated in the advent of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the Provincial Council System was signed under duress by the late President J.R. Jayewardene, which makes the Agreement invalid, the JHU declared yesterday. JHU Legal Representative Udaya Gammanpila, dispelling the 'myths' held by some people regarding the 13th Amendment said, "Some believe more..

Health sector ‘better than ever’ on strike day

May 23 (Island) During the so-called national strike, led by the JVP on Tuesday, all main govt hospitals in the Colombo District, as well as those in Anuradhapura, Badulla, Polonnaruwa, Hambantota, Karapitiya, Matara, Kandy, Peradeniya, Batticaloa and Ampara, had been better than on normal days. Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilake had made inquiries from govt hospitals countrywide on their worker turnout and had been reassured that health services were "better than ever." more..

Electricity bills rise despite promised relief

May 23 (DM) Despite assurances by the Govt that those who consumed less than 60 units of electricity would not see an increase in their electricity bills, a consumer from Moratuwa complained that the bill he received on Tuesday for this month, had doubled even though he had consumed less than 60 units. Mr. V.S.K. De Mel who did not use any electric appliances but only used electricity for lighting said he had received the bill issued by the Lanka Electricity (LECO) on Tuesday which more..

Now, UN intervenes in land issue in North

May 23 (Island) Head of the United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Agnes Asekenye-Oonyu, on Tuesday flew to Palaly, where she discussed the issue with Security Forces Commander, Jaffna, Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe. Ms. Asekenye-Oonyu was accompanied by the deputy head of the mission, Mark Prasopa-Plaizier. The Jaffna Commander had explained the circumstances under which more..

Dismal general strike a defeat for masses

May 23 (DM) Trade union actions and public protests are organized to win worker-rights or demonstrate the anger and the dissatisfaction of the working class against extreme measures adopted by the rulers. There are enough examples in world history as well as in Sri Lanka’s contemporary history about the struggles carried out by the working class, where they had won their rights and even extended their fight to topple repressive govts. But it seems that the recent trade union more..

Sex education in Sri Lanka

May 23 (DM) It is horrifying that in this day and age, that this super scientific, all things bright and splendour for one age, that 43 girls were pregnant in a girls school in Kandy area. It is high time we adopted a wholly positive approach to sex education, instead of grudgingly throwing a few tit bits of information in an atmosphere of moral gloom. We should also teach about the sexual mores of our society, and of other societies. Bertrand Russel quotes “The right rule is simple, more..

‘I am not happy about how the northern land issue is being handled’

May 23 (DM) EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda and Minister speaks to Daily Mirror on a wide range of issues from the planned Northern Provincial Council election to the alleged land-grabbing in the north. He stood against the LTTE even during the height of terrorism. He survived many a suicide bomb attack that targeted him. He is a former militant who underwent training. He joined the democratic stream after the signing of more..

LLRC’s better way to mark war’s end

May 23 (SL) There have been weeklong rehearsals at Galle Face Green to prepare for the victory day celebrations of May 19. This is special to Sri Lanka. Not all countries would celebrate the end of a war that pits two armies representing two sections of their people as a victory. An example would be Canada which today is taking the lead in the British Commonwealth to ensure that Sri Lanka follows Commonwealth more..

All victims: No winners, no vanquished

May 23 (ST) Sri Lanka is paying a heavy cost of the human-elephant conflict which hasclaimed more than 1,500 elephants and around 700 human lives during the past decade. Last year 66 human deaths and 252 elephant deaths were recorded. The past week saw five incidents in which poor farmers and elephants died in this ongoing conflict. The majority of the incidents were reported from North Western Province, Uva more..

Hotline for public complaints: Mervyn

May 23 (ST) Minister of Public Relations and Public Affairs, Mervin Silva, said that the ministry has decided to introduce a new hotline to which the public can make their complaints to. Further explaining the ministry secretary, Cashian Herath, said that operators who can communicate in three languages will be at work to take in every compliant. “For this we are going to introduce three hotlines and through this people can make their more..

Kotelawala Defence University granted degree-awarding status

May 23 (CT) The Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) has adhered to the guidelines set by the UGC for degree-awarding universities, and is thereby entitled to award State-recognized degrees, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, said. He said Minister Maithripala Sirisena's proposal to enable the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to register the KDU under the Medical Ordinance to practise medicine and surgery more..

'Sri Lanka should have more strikes to boost attendance'

May 23 (LBO) Opposition parties should call more general strikes to improve attendance among state workers, a minister said following a failed strike over an electricity price hike. "Usually attendance of govt workers is about 90%," Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage, told reporters Wednesday. "But yesterday attendance was 94%. If the opposition does this everyday more state workers will come to work." more..

Govt. MPs also participated in Naumann workshops: UNP

May 23 (DM) While condemning certain media reports labeling UNP MPs as traitors for cooperating with Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), the UNP said earlier today that members in the govt had also closely worked with the FNF. “The FNF had organised events and workshops for both the govt and the opposition politicians. Even Keheliya Rambukwella and Mahinda Samarasinghe had participated at FNF organised events,” more..