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FUTA turns uni lecturers into labourers

May 26 (Island) The ‘general strike’ called by the JVP and supported verbally by the UNP last Tuesday was a joke with minister Nimal Siripala de Silva even telling the JVP to call more strikes like that because it improved attendance in govt departments. There was however an unfunny aspect of the strike which should engage our attention. When the JVP’s trade union leader K.D. Lalkantha later read out a list of institutions that had not worked due to the strike, prominent among more..

'PC system is illegal and failed to address North East problems'

May 26 (SL) JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thero says the party was looking at people’s support before looking for govt support for its draft motion to amend the Constitution and repeal the Provincial Council system in the country. He observed that the party’s decision to make such a move was based on many reasons that range from the illegal manner in which the Constitution was amended to establish the Provincial Council more..

13th amendment: Implementation possible only through consensus

ay 26 (SL) Sri Lanka’s Great Game, ‘devolution’ or more precisely the 13th Amendment, has once again kicked off and is being played with much vigour. We are reminded of the performances of great players of the past: S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, J.R. Jayewardene, Colvin R. De Silva, S. J. V. Chelvanayakam and many others. There is one factor common to all these politicians: they all vacillated in their position not particularly for political advantage but for their own political survival. more..

Projected tourism boom translates into more major hotel projects in Sri Lanka

May 26 (Island) There should never be a compulsory condition of retirement. It is work that keeps a person fit, mentally alert and active. There is always something new to learn with each passing day. Naturally, there has to be an end. That day will come. But till then, if retirement is to be unavoidable, the end will come sooner than expected, says Nimal Premasiri, Chairman/Managing Director, N&A Group of Companies. "Twenty years ago, I had no job. I applied for a job in the Middle East. more..

Boston Lanka: May 26, 2013

Walking the rounds during Vesak

May 26 (CT) A jingle keeps reverberating in Kumari's ear. She hears it in her mind thus: "Yamang Selo, yamang Selo, Vesak balanna" and as snatches of song usually do, it ends there with no other lines being recollected. And Kumari thinks if she is Selo walking around looking at decorations and pandals and kuudu and all that, she'd better look out. Unlike the Christmas song of 'You'd better watch out, you'd better take care' it's not Santa who's watching to curb his present giving more..

Why is everything so static

May 26 (SL) Nothing in Sri Lanka, except the war, has ever really changed. This is a constant complaint I hear about all the time. So let us examine some of these things. At the risk of being shot at again, let us start with the Prisons system. Actually there cannot really be any kind of a system. For all the hype and hyperbole of prisons reform only superficial change has taken place. Not substantive and significant change. The superficial change at the Prisons is that a small more..

Govt in a quagmire of crises

May 26 (SL) The govt is now riding from crisis to crisis – the issue of facing intensifying anti-govt protests by the opposition political parties and the people has now been further compounded with reported cracks appearing within the govt over the much talked of 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The campaigns launched by the trade unions and opposition political parties have now become an irritant to the govt. more..

Govt., TNA play ping-pong with HR violations

May 26 (ST) The resolution passed against Sri Lanka last March at the UNHRC, may be over and done with, but questions about the state of human rights (HR) in the country continue to dog the Govt, as was evident in Parliament last week. The HR issue came up during an adjournment debate moved by the TNA last Tuesday, when questions were raised about why the Govt decided to reject the US-led resolution, and has done little to address the issues highlighted in it. more..

The Spirit of Buddhism and its prevalence this day

May 26 (Island) White, orange, red, yellow, blue – flowers in profusion, flags and lanterns, white clad crowds seated sedately, bana preachings and pirit chanting and then in the evening garish pandals, generous dansalas, music and crowds. This is Wesak. The religious days are over. Tonight will witness the milling crowds jostling to sight-see decorations and listen to the stories of the pandals. This will continue for around three days more and the country will then subside to its usual more..

Apparel factories move to labour-surplus villages

May 26 (ST) Sri Lanka’s apparel industry, in a major shift from the late 1970s Free Trade Zone (FTZ) model of growth, is seeking state approval to move out factories in the zones to labour-surplus villages. The plan is slightly similar to the 1990s model by former President R Premadasa who set up the 200-factories programme aimed at rejuvenating the village economy. “We are encouraging apparel factories to move out of more..

Sri Lanka requests report on human trafficking bust

May 26 (SL) The Minister of External Affairs had not yet received official word about the arrest of members of a human trafficking network in the Dominican Republic last week. The National Investigations Department (DNI) of the Dominican Republic apprehended Sri Lankan Canadian Karunanithy Nallathamby in Sosua, Puerto Plata and has identified him as the group’s leader. Others arrested include Kanthaany Siresh (alias Sriram Kannan) Ganesh Mahenderan (alias David more..

Sri Lanka online search up as much as 25 times : Google

May 26 (ST) Online search queries in Sri Lanka for all categories, from beauty to automotive to telecom, have gone 12 to 25 times, according to Anand Tilak, Google South East Asia’s Regional Manager for Agency Relations and Sales Development. Speaking at the LBO LBR Summit on “Building Resilient Brands” in Colombo this week, Mr. Tilak also revealed that local viewing of his company’s YouTube video streaming service has also gone up by four times over the last two years. more..

4,000 rooms pre-booked for CHOGM

May 26 (CT) The govt has already pre-booked in excess of 4,000 rooms within the city limits of Colombo from 7 to 17 Nov, with Rs 25 million in public finances expected to be spent on hosting 54 Heads of Govts of the Commonwealth nations. This is in addition to Rs 1.1 billion that is earmarked for importing 55 of the latest edition Mercedes Benz S400 hybrid cars. The govt will be hosting in excess of 50 Heads of Govts of the member states more..

Man dupes Museum suspects

May 26 (SL) A man had duped three suspects, who are in prison over the Colombo National Museum theft, and got Rs. 50,000 from a family member claiming he could secure their freedom. The man had pretended to be an officer from the AG’s Department and had informed the suspects that in order for them to be set free they need to pay the AG’s Department and the Police CID. According to investigations the man had approached a son of one suspect in Orugodawatte and asked for more..

Jayasundera: Juggling country’s finances

May 26 (ST) Decision-making on the country’s finances is either bizarre, plain stupid, indifferent or just arrogant. At a time when Sri Lanka’s coffers are bone dry, the Govt offers duty free cars for former provincial councillors. Earlier this month cabinet approval was given, according to media reports, to a proposal to give duty free permits to former provincial council members after sitting members were given this benefit. While the second category are politicians who have been rejected by more..

Leftist ministers meet TNA

May 26 (CT) The three Leftist ministers in the govt, Tissa Vitarana, D.E.W. Gunasekera and Vasudeva Nanayakkara have expressed solidarity with the TNA in fully implementing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Leader of the LSSP and Minister Prof. Vitarana, General Secretary of the Communist Party (CP) and Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera, and Leader of DLF and Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara, more..

Colours of Vesak light up the city

May 26 (ST) Rain was not a spoiler as Vesak celebrations unfolded in Colombo city and the suburbs with Buddhist flags, colourful lanterns and kudus fluttering in the breeze and pandals lighting up the night sky. Apart from the usual food and beverage dansals there were a couple of unusual ones, a spectacle dansala and dry rations dansala that added diversity. On Friday people were seen flocking at the dry rations dansala in Maharagama where two kgs of rice and two coconuts were more..

Salley discuss concerns with envoys

May 26 (SL) Former Colombo Deputy Mayor Azath Salley said that he had discussions with the US Ambassador and Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka regarding concerns over his security. He said that he briefed the envoys on his recent arrest and release and also discussed concerns about the failure by the govt to give him security. Salley says he fears there is a threat to his life as he does not have security. He says he hopes to meet with the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) to more..

Airconditioned trains to Kandy from tomorrow

May 26 (SO) The Railway Department will tomorrow launch its first train service with airconditioned compartments for passengers travelling between Kandy and Colombo, after its first run from Kandy to Colombo, General Manager of the Railways B.A.P. Ariyaratne said. “We are launching this airconditioned train service targeting the crowds visiting Kandy during the weekends”, he said. After the train service begins tomorrow from more..

Broader access to professional careers a priority today says Prof. Peiris

May 26 (Island) The twin objectives of enriching the pool of talent available in Sri Lanka and making professional services of higher quality available to the corporate sector in the country have been well catered for by the work of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (CMA) since its incorporation by an Act of Parliament four years ago, Minister G.L. Peiris said recently. He was speaking as chief guest at the induction of Professor Lakshman R. Watawala as the first elected more..

‘I didn’t mean any specific opposition to JHU’s stand’

May 26 (Island) In the light of his statement that he was personally not in favor of any political party carrying out a campaign against the govt, former JHU leader, MP Ven. Ellawala Medananda thera said yesterday that he did not mean to specifically oppose the stand adopted by the incumbent JHU leadership. "Nobody should forget that if not for President Rajapaksa’s courageous leadership, the country would not have been liberated from 30 year curse of terrorism", he said. more..

Swindling of state revenue: Customs raids curbed

May 26 (ST) Customs officers have been curtailed from carrying out lightning raids on those swindling state revenue. Customs Director General Jagath Wijeweera has said that “whenever a necessity arises to conduct a raid, a written submission must be made elaborating the need.” He has said that a “Writ of Assistance” must be obtained from the respective director in charge. The move has angered Customs officers. more..

Unloading of crude oil delayed

May 26 (CT) The resumption of operations at the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery, which was shut down after the crude oil stocks in the country ran dry, has been further delayed due to a damage caused to a connection line out of the Colombo Harbour, after a ship arrived in the harbour with fresh crude oil stocks. An oil tanker arrived from Oman on 24 May, but the delay in unloading due to the damage in the pipelines has now placed the CPC at the risk of paying US$ 30,000 per day to more..

CB sells Rs 10.6 B worth Treasury Bills

May 26 (CT) Within a period of two weeks, the Central Bank has sold Rs 10.6 billion worth Treasury Bills. Of the total of Rs 10.6 billion, some Rs 2.2 billion worth bills will mature in the coming three months, and bills worth Rs 3 billion and Rs 5.4 billion are scheduled to mature in six and 12 months respectively. "The selling of such a large number of Bills at high interest rates indicates the grave downhill slide that our economy is undergoing at the moment," former Vice Chancellor of more..

SLC to lose Rs. 700m

May 26 (SL) The Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) is on the verge of losing at least Rs. 700 million after a dispute arose between the national cricket team sponsors. A meeting was held last Thursday between SLC, the management of Dialog Axiata and the Sri Lanka Tea Board to sign the team sponsorship agreements. Dialog Axiata and the Tea Board had bid to be the new national team sponsor with effect from July this year replacing the more..

Sri Lanka and India mull visa on arrival

May 26 (SO) Sri Lanka and India have agreed to a bilateral consular dialogue to discuss the visa on arrival that would lead to a visa-free regime between the two countries. India’s High Commissioner in Colombo Ashok K. Kantha said that Sri Lanka and India must work towards a visa-free regime since a two-way flow of tourists reinforces friendly ties between the two countries. He said India’s policy has been to facilitate Sri Lankan travellers to India with a liberal visa regime for all types of more..

Nalanda principal under investigation for alleged misuse of College funds

May 26 (ST) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption has opened an investigation into allegations of corruption against Colombo Nalanda College Principal Wasantha Jayasundare. Initially, an investigation was launched by the CID, following a complaint by a group of old boys of the college, that the principal had utilised college funds for personal use. Allegations also have been levelled against the principal for collecting exorbitant amounts of money from parents more..

Govt. going ahead with NPC polls; 13th A intact

May 26 (ST) India’s serious concerns have prompted the Govt to promptly clear the gathering storm clouds that threatened to mar the successful conduct of the November CHOGM in Colombo. Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa set out the official Govt position on the important issues on Wednesday. They are: •The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections, as previously announced, will in fact be held in September. more..

Editorial: Cornering Sri Lanka

May 26 (NS) On May 22, a MoU was entered between the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of the USA and the Trincomalee Urban Council (UC) for the use of the UC premises for a period of five years. The facility, named ‘American Corner’ is purportedly for public information activity. The US Embassy has already set up 2 such facilities, one in Kandy and another in Jaffna. The Ministry of External Affairs is yet to comment on the legality of these operations. more..

The much-hyped general strike

May 26 (NS) The much talked about ‘general strike’ launched against the electricity price hike fizzled out on Tuesday and despite participation in some sectors, did not have the crippling effect its organizers had predicted it would.The ‘general strike’ was touted by the Opposition as the first step towards dislodging the government from power and if the response to that call is any yardstick, the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance is likely to be in office for many more years. more..

Sri Lanka, US in diplomatic row over Iran oil

May 26 (ST) Sri Lanka and the United States are embroiled in a diplomatic row after Washington accused Colombo of violating US sanctions on Iran. The issue was raised at last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting by Minister Basil Rajapaksa. He said the US had communicated it to the Govt. President Rajapaksa, who chaired the meeting, was to remark that small countries in the Asian region and said “there was nothing more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

May 26 (ST) Minister Wimal Weerawansa is vary when it comes to dealing with elephants, be it the political type in the form of the UNP or friendly ones at a temple ceremony. Hence he feeds a pineapple to an elephant fully conscious it may stretch its trunk suddenly towards him. This is in his new role of donating elephants. It is a far cry from donating houses to the needy. NNF Leader and Minister’s new role came this week. more..

CID called in to probe Friday’s massive blaze at LCL Warehouse

May 26 (Island) The CID had been called in to probe Friday’s blaze at the LCL Warehouse at the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), which caused extensive damage and completely destroyed the imported cargo of over 300 consignees worth hundreds of million rupees, officials said. "The total loss suffered as a result of the fire has still not been estimated, but goods and property more..

‘US set to launch electronic war from Trincomalee’

May 26 (NS) Political analysts warned that setting up information and activity centers, known as ‘American Corners’, in the country would pave the way for the US to interfere in the country’s sovereign affairs, this time on Sri Lankan soil. The USA has been in the forefront of moves to censure Sri Lanka in multilateral fora, as evident in the resolution against the country at the UNHRC in March 2013. The US Embassy in Sri Lanka more..

1000 cc ‘big bikes’ on public roads despite police warning

May 26 (ST) High-powered motorcycles with engine capacity as high as 1000 cc will soon be allowed on roads under normal laws despite a warning by the Police Traffic Chief that there could be more road deaths and criminal activity. A senior Transport Ministry official said a gazette notification would be issued soon for such motorcycles to run on public roads. Earlier the Govt issued a special gazette notification to enable owners of more..

Unions vow to prevent fee-paying medical students squeezing out others

May 26 (ST) Student unions attached to medical faculties country-wide vow to intensify protests against the University Grants Commission’s decision to open undergraduate medical courses to fee-paying Lankan students with foreign qualifications. “There have been previous enrolments of children of Sri Lankan diplomatic personnel and foreign diplomatic personnel here as well as students from SAARC countries more..

Wesak, A good time to ponder

May 26 (SL) This week when we commemorate the life of the Buddha, that incomparable teacher, it will be appropriate to ponder the present state of a nation, which was blessed with his teachings about two hundred years before the birth of Christ. The civilizing effect on the people living on this island of a doctrine so compassionate and yet intellectually challenging is undeniable. Among other things it has ensured a relatively orderly more..

'Need to back ourselves and perform'

My 26 (CI) Former Sri Lanka captain, Mahela Jayawardene feels Sri Lanka will be severely tested during the ICC Champions Trophy. Sri Lanka are in Group A with host England, Australia and New Zealand, three countries that bank on pace for success, and they open their campaign on June 9 against New Zealand in Cardiff. "It's a tough group in those conditions but what we have to think of [is] how we've played in such more..

Debate over 13A resurfaces

My 26 (CG) With the elections for northern Provincial Council scheduled to be held in September the debate over the 13th Amendment to the constitution has resurfaced. The govt has said that no move at this moment to amend the constitution and repeal the 13th Amendment. However JHU leader Champika Ranawaka said he will submit a private member’s motion in Parliament this week against the 13th Amendment and more..