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Bury the past with the dead!

Nov 1 (SL) It may sound impolite and crude when it comes to remembering the memory of the dead. It will be more so for the immediate family of each of those dead persons – wife and husband, parents and children, siblings, uncles and aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces – as only South Asia can understand and appreciate. If that was the intention, it is not how it has ended up getting projected and promoted. The reverse is the truth. Or, so it seems. What was sought to be revived by a more..

Backward schools... impoverished families

Nov 1 (CT) After spending several years in Scotland, I decided to return to my native country, Sri Lanka, as peace had finally dawned after decades of war. In February 2013, I found employment with SJMS Associates, a firm of Chartered Accountants based in Colombo. Before long, I received an invitation from the SJMS Welfare and CSR Society, asking me to join with some of the members on a weekend journey to the Northern regions of the country to participate in an educational programme more..

Facelift for Moneragala district and environs

Nov 1 (SO) The Govt has implemented a large number of livelihood and infrastructure development projects in the Moneragala district. Most of these projects are complete, Moneragala Additional District Secretary E.K.A. Suneetha said. She said that attention has been focussed to develop human resources through education. The goal of sustainable development can be achieved only when infrastructure and more..

Celebrating a year of outstanding achievement

Nov 1 (CT) Extolling the virtues of his students' for their all round excellent performance, the Deputy Chairman of Gateway College, Dr. Harsha Alles, said his school had an open mind to embrace any good educational practice from any part of the world, despite his school modelling its curriculum according to the English system of education. He was addressing the 16th Awards Day of the school held at the BMICH on Sunday. "For us at Gateway, today's awards ceremony is more a celebration more..

Women and children in the North: Sexual harassment, grievances and challenges

Nov 1 (GV) In Sept 2013, Watchdog travelled to the Vanni and met with survivors of sexual violence, women’s rights activists and representatives of women’s groups. This report is based on information provided during interviews conducted with them, Human Rights organisations based in the North and Colombo and Govt sources. During our interactions with these groups, we learnt of a disturbing trend of minors being subject to sexual violence over the last several months. more..

Sri Lanka’s Commonwealth Summit and the international media

Nov 1 (AC) In the run up to the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka there is burgeoning media attention on the human rights abuses and suspected war crimes the host nation has tried to conceal. Many hope the attention will keep Sri Lanka accountable and also facilitate progress on human rights and good governance. While media scrutiny during the Summit is indeed important, if the regime in Colombo is to be made more..

Future with solar power; covert moves to sell Norochcholai plant

Nov 1 (CT) With alternative energy sources improving their economic performance virtually by the day, combined with the USA accessing more and more domestic sources of crude oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing technology, the state of play in the power sector has undergone a revolutionary change. South Asia’s power producers are faced with mammoth problems with galloping consumption of electricity. Conventional energy generation is in a mess in most South Asian countries, more..

Demonising the enemy to seem self-righteous

Nov 1 (DM) The Committee for the Protection of Journalists – CPJ has released a list of 19 ‘journalists’ it claims to have been killed since 1992 in Sri Lanka. CPJ says that 1008 journalists were killed since 1992. It includes 151 in Iraq, 30 in India, 73 in the Philippines, 27 in Brazil, 17 in Tajikistan, 16 in Sierra Leone and 53 in Pakistan, while the Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka says 41 media activists were killed. 2012 marked a horrific year for journalists and more..

Beyond Boston with Lionel Bopage: Part 2

SL’s domestic investment strategy not sustainable: Prof. Indraratna

Nov 1 (DM) Sri Lanka’s strategy of meeting domestic investment requirements through borrowing cannot be sustained for much longer, according to SLEA President Prof. A.D.V. De S. Indraratna. “The gap between domestic savings and domestic investment was manifest in the corresponding trade deficit and was met largely through borrowings. This cannot go on much longer without either getting into a serious debt crisis or cutting down gross domestic investment. more..

Why not a representative police service

Nov 1 (CT) I refer to the statement issued by SSP Mr. Ajith Rohana, calling into question the statement made by the Chief Minister of the NPC. Police spokesman Rohana has said that nowhere in the world were personnel recruited to police forces on the basis of ethnicity, language, caste or creed. True, appointments are made on the basis of qualifications and suitability not on race or creed. But in a plural society where there are several ethnic and religious groups there is a case for more..

Northern railway on track

Nov 1 (CT) "We never thought there would come a day when we could travel to Colombo by train, after terrorists put a stop to the Jaffna-Colombo train by blasting the rail track at Kokavil, Kilinochchi on 19 January 1985," a thrilled Northerner said. "It was actually one of our dreams to see the Northern railway recommences its journey, and we can now look forward to the day it will come true very soon, said Sivagnanam, more..

Dayasiri wants to put up solar-powered fences

Nov 1 (CT) Chief Minister of the North-Western Province, Dayasiri Jayasekara, is seeking funds from the Central Govt coffers to erect solar-powered electrical fences to solve the human-elephant conflict in the area. He said, solving the ongoing conflict between the people and the elephants in his Province is a priority, and as a long-term solution, he has decided to erect electrical fences in the conflict areas. He conceded that in the past, short-term preventive methods such as more..

Commonwealth Business Women’s Forum assists 200 SMEs

Nov 1 (Island) The newly formed Commonwealth Businesswomens Leadership Group (CBLG) was supporting and encouraging 200 Small and Medium Scale enterprises to develop their economic potential, the organizations Chairperson Janaki Kuruppu said on Wednesday. Addressing a news conference in Colombo, she explained that their services were available countrywide including the North and East. Kuruppu, who was also the head of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, said that more..

Touchwood harvests settlement in Court

Nov 1 (FT) Touchwood Investments PLC sought leave from Court to pay the investors of Agarwood plantation in Thailand whose Harvest Agreement Certificates have been issued by the company being wound-up (Touchwood Investments) according to the proposed settlement plan. The case filed by K.A.D.L.P. Nanayakkara came up before Colombo Commercial Court yesterday. Counsel for Touchwood said the settlement of Agarwood investors would be more..

Colombo must help expats’ kids

Nov 1 (AN) Sri Lankan expatriates working in Gulf countries are major contributors of valuable foreign exchange to their home country. The govt should provide them more recognition. These men and women toil in foreign countries, leaving behind their dearest family members back home. It is unfortunate that state authorities in Sri Lanka do not take timely steps to address their grievances. There are occasions when children of expatriate workers studying in Gulf are forced to more..

A welcome judgment

Nov 1 (Island) In what may be described as a bold move to deliver a troubled bureaucracy from the clutches of unscrupulous politicians, the Indian Supreme Court has asked public officers not to carry out verbal orders given by their political bosses. Our special correspondent in New Delhi says, in his report, quoting analysts that ‘the apex court of the world's largest democracy is seeking to put an end to frequent transfers of upright civil servants by wily politicians’. more..

Casino gazettes no show at Cabinet

Nov 1 (FT) Contrary to media reports, the new gazettes on the gaming industry hadn’t come up for discussion at the Cabinet meeting presided over by President Rajapaksa. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the Cabinet didn’t take up the matter when they met this week. At the centre of Sri Lanka’s attempt to open up the country to the lucrative casino industry are massive tax concessions proposed for a US$ 350 million more..

Tea exporters want duty-free vehicles

Nov 1 (NS) The Tea Exporters Association of Sri Lanka (TEA), an umbrella body representing Sri Lanka’s major tea exporters as part of their proposals submitted for Budget 2014 have recently requested the government to consider providing them with duty free vehicle permits. Accordingly, the exporters in their Budget proposals have called to provide at least two to three duty free vehicle permits from the USD 40,000 category to the top 30 largest exporters. more..

3 TN fishermen attacked and looted

Nov 1 (TOI) Three fishermen from Nagapattinam travelling in three separate boats were allegedly attacked by Sri Lankan fishermen on Wednesday night. On their return on Thursday, they complained about the incident to the coast guard authorities here claiming that the SL fishermen had taken away their entire catch and tore off the fishing nets. Wednesday's incident has triggered tension among the fishermen in the coast, as the attack came from the SL fishermen and not the navy. more..

Lankan caretaker swindled X-Files star

Nov 1 (DM) Rs. 10.6 million belonging to popular X-Files actress Gillian Anderson and her husband had been misappropriated by the Sri Lankan caretaker in charge of their property, the CID submitted before a Colombo Court. In the case at the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court, the SL caretaker Anura Bandara was charged with having misappropriated Rs.17.8 million from the SL properties owned by Ms. Anderson. more..

An uncommon disrespect for human rights

Nov 1 (HP) The Commonwealth of Nations was established in 1949 during the decolonization process of the British Empire. Meeting biennially in various of the fifty four member states, the Commonwealth is a voluntary and equal association of nations that is theoretically bound by a shared respect for sixteen core values. The CHOGM this year is scheduled to occur from 10-17 Nov in Colombo, Sri Lanka and will make an overt mockery of several of those core values. more..

Sri Lanka’s tragedy

Nov 1 (Telegraph) The agony endured by the loved ones of missing people can scarcely be imagined. Instead of being allowed to grieve and come to terms with their loss, they must live in suspense without knowing the fate of a child, wife or husband. Sri Lanka will host a Commonwealth summit in a fortnight, yet the country has more “outstanding cases” of disappearances than anywhere in the world apart from Iraq. No fewer than 5,676 names appear on a UN list: more than in Argentina more..

All countries subjected to ‘UPR process’

Nov 1 (Island) Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in New Delhi Prasad Kariyawasam said that the UNHRC had to establish a special mechanism called Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as there was a requirement to examine all countries. HC Kariyawasam said that the UPR process would allow the examination of all member states of the UN equally. The UN General Assembly created the UPR on March 15, 2006. more..

SL 'suspects' tell of rape and torture

Nov 1 (DNA) Sri Lanka's security forces are still raping and torturing suspects as David Cameron and 50 world leaders prepare for a Commonwealth summit in the country, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday. The Prime Minister and Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, have confirmed that they will both attend the gathering in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, from Nov 15. The country has 5,676 "outstanding cases" of disappearances - more than any other apart from Iraq. more..

Kenya win after four losses

Nov 1 (CI) Kenya broke their duck against Sri Lanka A in the fifth match in Colombo, as they first sparked a middle-order collapse, then produced their best batting performance of the series, to sneak home off the last ball. Seam-bowler Nelson Odhiambo's three wickets were instrumental in dismissing Sri Lanka A for 134, before Morris Ouma struck 64 off 55 to propel the successful chase. Odhiambo struck in his first over to remove Danushka Gunathilaka, who had been impressive for more..

More than 30,000 health sector employees on strike today

Nov 1 (Island) The Joint Council of Nursing, Professions Supplementary to Medicine and Paramedics warned that over 30,000 govt health employees would resort to a token strike today demanding that the govt increase their allowances in proportion to doctors’. President of the Association of Govt Medical Laboratory Technologists (SL AGMAT) affiliated to the professions supplementary to medicine Janaka Nishantha said more..

India construction expo seeks Sri Lanka participation

Nov 1 (LBO) Organizers of India's Excon 2013, touted as South Asia's largest construction equipment fair say Sri Lanka's construction industry and component makers can benefit from taking part. The show will have 900 exhibitors including 200 construction equipment makers from outside India. "We would like Sri Lankans who are in the construction industry to visit us," Glenville da Silva, from Volvo India, said. Volvo, which has a factory making construction equipment in India, more..

Thavisha Peiris murder: Two arrested

Nov 1 (BBC) A man and a teenager have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a pizza delivery driver in Sheffield. Thavisha Lakindu Peiris, 25, was found dead by colleagues in his car in Southey Crescent, Sheffield, on Sunday. He had been stabbed in the chest. He had been making his final delivery for Domino's Pizza before he was due to start a new job as an IT consultant. South Yorkshire Police first arrested a boy, 17, on Thursday evening and a man, aged 25, later the same night. more..

SL expels foreign media rights activists

Nov 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka expelled two Australian media rights activists for violating visa conditions, minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Thursday, a day after they were detained while speaking with local colleagues. He said the two Australians, Jacqui Park and Jean Worthington, had come into the country as tourists but were engaging in "anti-govt activism" in breach of their visa conditions. "We have no personal more..

Five journalists threatened in Valikamam

Nov 1 (CT) Five newspaper journalists have lodged a complaint with the Coordinator of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission in Jaffna, T. Kanagaraja, claiming their lives are in danger following a press coverage they had carried out on Monday in Valikamam North, Jaffna, where some persons were involved in demolishing the remaining houses within the HSZ. According to Kanagaraja, the journalists are S. Nitharsan (Thinakkural), S. Tharsan (Uthayan) S. Rajasekaran (Valumpuri), more..

Sri Lanka inflation at 6.7% in October

Nov 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka's consumer prices rose 6.7% in October 2013 from a year earlier, accelerating from 6.2% in September, the state statistics office said. Colombo Consumer Price Index rose 0.2% in the month to 176.1 points in the month. Sri Lanka's inflation has been stable for several months and the index fell for two straight months in August and Sept. Sri Lanka's central bank cut policy rates amid call by the International Monetary Fund to keep policy unchanged. more..

TN voices unite as anti-CHOGM pitch hits crescendo

Nov 1 (ENS) The anti-CHOGM chorus has reached its crescendo following reports that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to attend the meet in Sri Lanka brushing aside demands from TN to boycott it. Painting the Congress as the villain, political reaction is marked by anger witnessing a fresh bout of statements highly critical of the Centre’s decision. DMK president M Karunanidhi said if the PM decides to attend more..

Cabinet nod for 7 sectors for investment push during Commonwealth biz forum

Nov 1 (FT) Cabinet yesterday approved a list of sectors that will be focused on to attract investment during the Commonwealth Business Forum in Colombo next month. The Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF), which is being held on the sidelines of the CHOGM, has been set a target of attracting US$ 2 billion in investment to Sri Lanka. A Cabinet paper submitted byMinister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene outlined seven sectors that will be highlighted to investors during the CBF. more..

UNP to get CHOGM invite in due time

Nov 1 (FT) The Government yesterday gave assurances that the main Opposition would be invited to attend the CHOGM and insisted that holding protests was their prerogative. Responding to charges from the UNP that it has not been invited to attend the CHOGM, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella noted that all Parliamentarians would be invited and as part of that the UNP would also be allowed to participate. “There is no custom of sending invitations months ahead. more..

'No talk of summit in letter to Singh'

Nov 1 (ENS) C V Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of Northern Province has denied that he had written to Indian PM Manmohan Singh urging him to attend the CHOGM. CM’s private secretary A Suntharalingam in a statement said: “I write on the direction of Justice C V Wigneswaran, Chief Minister, NPC. He wants me to inform you that the personal letter of thanks sent by him to the PM of India had nothing to do with CHOGM. more..

A ‘Hidden Agenda’ behind the revival of halal protests

Nov 1 (DM) Bodu Bala Sena recently told media that their priority is Halal. This is quite a statement, one would say, given the issues the country is currently afflicted with. The ever- increasing cost of living, the law and order which has continued to go down the drain, the rocketing number of rape and child abuse cases and the newest fiasco, luxury casinos, appeared to have not disturbed the so-called protectors of the Buddha Sasana. "So it is ironic that Bodu Bala Sena is prioritising more..

Cameron seeking to ease domestic political pressure

Nov 1 (DM) While the decibel level of the lobby against Sri Lanka hosting the CHOGM rose appreciably this week, British PM David Cameron waded into the controversy, even though he has chosen not to heed the ‘boycott CHOGM’ call. Cameron was to say, at a media briefing after meeting with Burmese human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi that he plans to have “some very tough conversations with the SL govt” on the sidelines of the CHOGM. more..

Foiling drug smugglers: An unenviable task for Customs

Nov 1 (DM) A bag with unusual rivets was the only one still moving on the conveyor belt at the Katunayake Airport for nearly two hours. A customs officer who was on duty at the arrival lounge noticed the suspicious bag and removed it to the room occupied by the customs duty officer. It was locked and had the airline tag with the name of the passenger given as Matilda Fernando. The officer checked the list of passengers arriving on more..

'Rs 200 million spent on leadership training a waste'

Nov 1 (CT) There is no difference in attitude or behaviour between undergraduates who went through the leadership training programme and the undergraduates of a few years ago who were not compelled to go through the programme, university academics said. Lecturer at the Colombo University and President of the FUTA, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said he sees no tangible difference or improvement in the behaviour of students who more..