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Immolation monk's last rites spark protest

My 26 (AFP) About 200 Sri Lankan Buddhists blocked traffic in the capital Colombo on Sunday to protest after authorities rejected a state funeral for the country's first ever monk to self-immolate. Bowatte Indaratna, 30, succumbed to his burn injures Saturday after calling for an end to cattle slaughter and proselytisation in the nation. "We staged a sit-down demonstration near Temple Trees demanding a state funeral at more..

Monks threaten suicide

May 26 (SL) Buddhist monks attached to the Sihala Ravaya have threatened to commit suicide if the government ignores a set of demands put forward by them. Deputy Chairman of the Sihala Ravaya the Ven. Puliathe Sudharma Thero said that a 16 point proposal has been given to President Rajapaksa. He said that they hope to seek a meeting with the President to discuss the proposals and are expecting a positive response. Among the proposals is that all religions in Sri Lanka must more..

The 13A conundrum

May 26 (CT) The govt won’t be happy to be in the position it is in today. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the ancillary Provincial Council Act, an outcome of the Indo-Lanka Accord that required the govt to devolve power to the provinces, was passed by a two-thirds majority in Parliament in 1987 as an amendment to the 1978 Constitution. A contentious modification since inception, 13A is now being challenged by the JHU, a partner in the govt coalition group in the Courts of law, more..

Adele Balasingham is living comfortably in Southern England — Lord Naseby

May 26 (Island) Lord Naseby said that the creator, recruiter and organizer of Tamil child soldiers in Sri Lanka, Mrs. Adele Balasingham lives comfortably in Southern England. "It was the Tamil Tigers who created, recruited several thousand child soldiers and put them in the frontline so they died first", he said. Lord Naseby, the Chairman of the All Party British Sri Lanka Parliamentary Group, in a letter to British more..

Electricity price hike, token strike and mass protests

May 26 (CT) As the events unfolded in the month of May, culminating in mass protests and one day token strike on 21 May, the price hike in the electricity consumption charges undoubtedly has proved to be a rallying point of general masses against the Rajapaksa regime irrespective of the concessions announced at the May Day rally by President Rajapaksa. The concessions were meagre, only applicable to the vastly low electricity users while the general price hike remained more..

Road mishaps a major killer in Sri Lanka

May 26 (Island) Road accidents continue to claim a heavy toll in terms of human lives. With the war over, road mishaps have now become a major killer. Most of the road accident victims are in the age group of 19-25 years, according to police statistics. The surge in road mishaps has become a global topic with scores of innocent lives lost. That was why the UN declared 2011-2020 the Decade of Action for Road Safety. In Sri Lanka, the Automobile Association observed "Road Safety Week" more..

All’s not sweet with the sugar

May 26 (CT) Sugar may be sweet but questions have risen over its safety following the revelation that stocks of white sugar imported to the country contain significant levels of cadmium, one of the elements identified as being responsible for kidney failure, that has gone unnoticed so far. Reportedly the finding by the Ministry of Agriculture has not been taken seriously, with the focus being on detecting arsenic in more..

Hi-fi con-woman dupes millions from gullible victims

May 26 (ST) Police are investigating the activities of a suspected female confidence trickster, who is alleged to have duped several unsuspecting victims into parting with millions of rupees for lucrative interests for their deposits. According to complaints received at the Mirihana and Kohuwela Police, the suspect, who maintains a plush lifestyle, is alleged to have befriended the would-be victims and even visited their homes, persuading them to part with their money. more..

'ACMC has reservations on vesting of land and police powers with PCs'

May 26 (Island) The General Secretary of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) Y.L.S. Hameed said that his party has reservations on vesting of land and police powers with the Provincial Councils (PCs). With the Northern Provincial Council polls expected to be conducted in September this year, the continuity of land and police powers in the statute books notwithstanding its non-implementation has taken center stage with sections of the government clamoring for the more..

Irresponsible journalists added fuel to bikkhu’s fire

May 26 (NS) Mass Media and Information Ministry expressed grave concerns over the conduct of TV journalists, who recorded a statement from Ven. Bowatte Indaratana Thera, a few minutes before his self-immolation on Vesak Day. Ministry Secretary Charitha Herath said, “They must have taken some preventive measures as a responsible media organization”. The 30-year-old bikkhu, who was also a former local govt more..

CCI demands Infrastructure Development Fund

May 26 (NS) Outdated Economic models and theories adopted by The Treasury of Sri Lanka are highly ineffective in today’s fast moving world, the Chamber of Construction Industry (CCI), President, Dr. Surath Wickramasinghe charged. Speaking at the inauguration of the ‘Build SL International Exhibition and Trade Fair’, he highlighted the importance of an Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) similar to the IDF in India and many other regional counterparts, more..

'Vehicle import duty reduction will boost growth'

May 26 (SO) The sale of vehicles of all categories has dropped by around 40% this year due to the staggering import duty, said Ceylon Motor Traders Association, Chairman, Tilak Gunasekera. He said that vehicle sales would slump by over 50% by the end of this year due to the high import duty. Vehicle registration last year fell by around 40% to 360,000 units. The Association called upon officials to retain the duty ratio on single cabs but to-date there has not been a favourable response. more..

Govt. slashing CHOGM cost, limousines to be hired

May 26 (ST) The Govt may rent luxury cars from foreign companies and import them to Sri Lanka on a carnet or temporary permit scheme for re-export after use during the Commonwealth summit to be held here in November. It will also get vehicles from ministries, departments and corporations on similar basis. While the Govt has said there are no plans to import a dozen brand-new Rolls Royce cars, each valued at about US$ 300,000 (duty free) and more..

Ex LTTE member holds meeting in US

May 26 (CG) A former LTTE member has held a conference in the US on behalf of the self proclaimed Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) where he announced the declaration of the ‘Tamil Eelam Freedom Charter; in the presence of several supporters. A press statement by the TGTE said that Tamil groups from around the world, coordinated by the TGTE, initiated the process of drafting the Freedom Charter, through extensive consultation from Tamils worldwide. more..

Monk accuses BBS of assault

May 26 (CG) A Buddhist monk has accused the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) of violating his right to freedom of expression and assaulting him. The venerable Malawwe Kalyana Dhamma thero said that members of the BBS verbally abused and then assaulted him when he attempted to stage a peaceful protest outside the BBS headquarters at Thunmulla last Wednesday. He said that the protest was over a request he had made to the BBS for a house to keep several orphans more..

Non-stop protests against power tariff hike

May 26 (CT) “There will be non-stop street protests till the recently increased electricity tariff is cancelled. We will open the eyes of those who ridicule public opinion against electricity price hike.” This was the warning issued by NTUC President, K.D. Lal Kantha, who not only deemed the token strike on 21 May a definite success, but also claimed it was the first time in recent history, that public, private and estate sector workers, more..

Govt. paving the way for private refineries

May 26 (CT) Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Sarath Amunugama’s Port Development Act (PDA) has given the go-ahead for foreign investors to import tax free crude oil into the country and construct their own refineries, trade unions alleged yesterday. Speaking to Ceylon Today in the wake of Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa’s assurance that the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery would be recommencing operations on 24 May, Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) Petroleum Branch General Secretary, more..

President’s Fund disbursements in 2011: 60% for heart surgeries

May 26 (ST) More than Rs. 500 million from the Rs. 815 million that was given as medical aid by the President’s Fund in 2011 was spent on heart surgeries, according to the Auditor General’s Report on the Fund submitted to Parliament last Tuesday. The money was given for 4,310 surgeries done in 2011, as opposed to money given for 4,266 heart surgeries in 2010. A little over Rs. 49 million was given for kidney transplants and another Rs. 105 million for cancer treatment. more..

DCD in Milk Powder No one cleared yet!

May 26 (NS) Health Ministry officials denied any imported milk powder brand had been ‘cleared’ of Dicynadiamide (DCD) despite aggressive media campaigns carried out by the importers. A text message purported to have originated at the Health Ministry was circulated among the public last week informing that the World Health Organization (WHO) had conveyed to the Ministry that DCD was not present in imported milk more..

Japan to build coal-power plant in south

May 26 (ST) Sri Lanka’s latest coal power plant will be set up in the Southern Province with Japanese assistance, CEB Chairman W.P. Ganegala said. The plant, expected to generate 500Mw of power, would cost US$ 500 million. A location had not yet been selected and surveys were underway. Work on the project was expected to begin by the end of this year and it would be completed in one and half years. Japan had made the offer when President Rajapaksa visited that country in March. more..

Private bus unions at loggerheads

May 26 (CT) The National Transport Commission (NTC) is set to call for explanation from inter-provincial bus operators over the strike organized by the All Island Private Bus Owners’ Federation (AIPBOF) on 20 May. NTC Chairman, Roshan Gunawardane, said steps will be taken to cancel route permits after considering the explanations of the bus owners who engaged in the strike. Gunawardane said, once the bus strike was announced they informed owners not to more..

Colours of Vesak

May 26 (CT) Hundreds upon hundreds of white lanterns, strung up by the Sri Lankan armed forces, adorn the roadways in Colombo and its suburbs, in commemoration of the Birth, Enlightenment and the Parinibbana of the Buddha. Preparations were in full swing, right up to the day preceding Vesak with traditional white atapattam lanterns being strung up first, with parallel lines of Buddhist flags swinging in between them, more..

Carlton kids to Visakha from Secretary’s list

May 26 (SM) The secretary of the Education Ministry has issued a letter requesting to admit four children to the Grade one classes of Visakha Vidyalaya in an illegal manner, ‘Ravaya’ reports. Citing sources of the Education Ministry, the paper reports that two are children of high ranking officials at the Presidential Secretariat and the other two are children from the Carlton Pre-schools. It is revealed that they have not even applied earlier for the admission to the Visakha Vidyalaya. more..

476 typhoid infected food handlers in Colombo

May 26 (CT) Some 476 food handlers, out of the 5,000 who have been screened by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), during the first four months of the year, have been found to be infected with typhoid and paratyphoid, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, the Chief Medical Officer of Health of the CMC said. All the patients have been medically treated on the instructions of the CMC and have gone back to their respective work stations, having recovered completely, he added. more..

Sri Lanka state, SOE, bank borrowings top Rs100bn in March

May 26 (LBO) Bank credit to state enterprises and central govt surged to 100.6 billion rupees in March 2013 from 36.7 billion a month earlier, perhaps the highest ever in a single month. The central govt borrowed 65.1 billion rupees from the banking system including 20 billion rupees in Central Bank credit (printed money), while state owned enterprises borrowed another 33.5 billion rupees, indicating the pressure on state finances. more..

Headgear ban signals return to the gory past

May 27 (SL) Off with the headgear, the world body for amateur boxing (AIBA) has ruled, rendering obsolete boxing’s ubiquitous piece of gear since the 1980s. The ban, effective as of next month, AIBA says, is a bid to reduce the number of head injuries, which, ironically, was the same reason given for introducing the gear in the first place. Another reason advanced by AIBA for discarding headgear is that it obscures the peripheral vision of boxers, making it difficult to sight blows aimed to more..

Reengineering the Nation

May 27 (DBS) During his recent Uganda tour, President Rajapaksa was reportedly enchanted by the servile conduct of the Ugandans he came into contact with. According to the political column of last Sunday’s Rivira, the Lankan President asked his Ugandan counterpart, “When we look at them (Ugandans) it is clear that they have a very obedient nature. How did you manage to make them so obedient?” President Musevini’s response was that this servility was a relic of the Colonial ethos, more..

Electricity Protests: Losing Trust and Unplugging the Refrigerator

May 27 (Island) The increase in electricity tariffs has united a wide array of trade unions, civil society and political parties in a protest that manifested on the streets last week. There have been so many sudden changes announced to the electricity tariffs in the last couple of months that is it is now difficult to tell whether the protest is a metaphorical case of Dover Beach with "confused alarms" and "ignorant armies" or whether more..

Tiger ‘ghosts’ haunt as govt allies warn against northern elections

May 27 (NS) Last Sunday, the nation celebrated the fourth anniversary of the defeat of the world’s most dangerous terror outfit; the LTTE at the Galle Face Green with the participation of President Rajapaksa and dignitaries. The President addressing the Security Forces and the public at the Galle Face Green assured that he will continue to fight against the anti-Sri Lankan forces and will neither allow any force to grab a single piece of land nor divide the motherland. President added that after the more..

Culture, Nationalism and ‘Cultural Nationalism’

May 27 (DBS) The parliamentary exchanges on the UNP joining the PSC should once again set off the thinking on the contours of a national discourse to the ‘national problem’. It should not end with the forum where the issues are to be debated and decided upon. Instead, it should address the ‘basic issues’, where ethnic perceptions differ wildly. It is more so if the ground realities are considered. They are different from the political perceptions projected for consumption for both the local more..

'Sri Lanka expects integrity and impartiality from UN'

May 27 (SO) Minister G.L. Peiris told the TNA to shake free of the notion ‘that it is the international community that is going to frighten us, intimidate us and impose a solution on us.’ “I tell the Hon. R. Sampanthan on the Floor of this House that it will never happen,” the Minister asserted, wrapping up a debate on the adjournment motion moved by TNA leader R. Sampanthan on the UNHRC Resolution against Sri Lanka, more..

BBS and Vesak!

May 27 (CT) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is alleged to have warned that those who do not adhere to the BBS’s preference with respect to how Vesak should be commemorated will be caned. The BBS finds the festivities associated with Vesak, especially the frills, the color, the play of puppeteers and other kolam objectionable. Instead, the BBS advocates a deeper engagement with the dhamma and a temple-based commemoration. Vesak commemorates the themagula, the three most significant more..

Muslim: The identity on trial!

May 27 (CT) Logically, it is right to say “I am a human” when the question “who are you?”, is posed, which tries to identify the real “us”. But technically it may not be right, because this apparently simple question requires an answer within the context in which it is asked. In a multi-ethnic country like Sri Lanka or elsewhere if the question is asked to a Muslim person from Sri Lanka it should not be answered equivocally. For instance, I happened to be faced with the question in London once more..

Aggressive Mumbai end title drought

May 27 (CI) Kept alive by Kieron Pollard's fighting 60 off 32, the Mumbai Indians bowlers attacked their way to a first IPL title. Mumbai were struggling at 52 for 4 in the 10th over, but Pollard batted through the innings to take them 148 even as wickets kept falling as the other end. Lasith Malinga and Mitchell Johnson then were too good for the Chennai Super Kings batsmen, yorking and bouncing them out. more..

A friend betrays friendship for love

May 27 (SO) It was a case of a friend having immense trust in another. Madushika and Thushari were two friends who never hid any secret from each other. They lived in the same boarding at Andankulama in Trincomalee. Madushika Priysdarshani, 28, was a resident of Nuwara Eliya. She studied amidst hardships to be an English teacher. Eventually she was appointed as a teacher at a school in Trincomalee. As she was not a resident of Trincomalee she decided to stay more..

Reform or privatise loss-making public enterprises

May 27 (ST) The uproar against the electricity price tariff increase has brought to the forefront, inter alia, issues regarding the management of the CEB, its persistent losses, pricing of electricity and priorities in govt expenditure. The public interest about the administration and efficiency of the CEB should be broadened to a concern on the efficiency of all public enterprises. Losses in public enterprises are a critical economic issue. There should be a continuing discussion on the causes of more..

Giving teeth to crocodile connection from the past

May 27 (ST) It was a unique find and the obvious question that follows is still hidden in the dim mists of time. The layers of earth just inside the northern entrance to the 4th century AD Jethavanaramaya at Anuradhapura which unearthed their bounty during excavations in the 1980s leaves open the question: Why? The bounty came in the form of 50 teeth of different kinds of animals including crocodiles. more..

Ceylon Oxygen launches largest air separation plant in Sri Lanka

May 27 (ST) Ceylon Oxygen’s recently established Air Separation Unit (ASU) in Colombo is the company’s second and the largest air separation plant in Sri Lanka further reinforcing Ceylon Oxygen’s position as the leading industrial and medical gases player in the country, according to Niran Pieris, CEO of Ceylon Oxygen. He said “the plant is also very energy efficient, allowing us to lower our energy input costs and also pass on the savings to our customers”. more..

First-ever EC-Council Cyber security summit in Sri Lanka

May 27 (FT) As cyber security threats skyrocket and not even a day passes by without a cyber security breach on a corporate or a government entity on its IT infrastructure, the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants (EC-Council) will hold a top cyber security summit in Sri Lanka on 25 June. The summit will comprise a breakfast meeting with CEOs of top corporations and senior officials of the Govt, Cyber Security Summit for IT professions targeting senior officials from more..

'Govt.’s high 8% growth hopes untenable'

May 27 (FT) The UNP yesterday warned that new evidence had emerged to suggest that the Sri Lankan economy would grow by only 6.8% in the medium term, despite projections by the Govt that growth rates would remain in the 8% plus range. UNP MP and Economist Dr. Harsha De Silva told a news conference yesterday that the latest report by the IMF had used technical analysis to show that there had been no structural shift more..