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India will certainly welcome back its nationals from Australia: MEA

Aug 7 (PTI) With Australia preparing to send 157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, including 50 children, to India, the government today said it will "certainly welcome back" Indians, if there were any. The govt said that as for others, it will take a call only after seeing if they are within the ambit of international convention that India has signed and that have been integrated into Indian law. Noting that this matter has been addressed by the Ministry of Home Affairs twice, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson more..

Injunction on elected GMOA office bearers lifted

Aug 7 (Island) A restraining order on the election of the GMOA Executive Committee members was lifted yesterday. GMOA Assistant Secretary and Media Spokesman Dr. Navin de Soysa said that the GMOA Executive Committee comprising Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya (President), Dr. Lasantha Jinadasa (General Secretary), Dr. Nath Wijesooriya (Treasurer), Dr. Nalin Ariyaratne (Assistant Secretary), Dr. Navin de Soysa (Assistant Secretary), Dr. Nalinda Herath more..

NFF contests under UPFA banner in Moneragala

Aug 7 (Island) Uva PC election would be held on Sept 20 from 7am to 4pm, the Elections Department announced. Commissioner General of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya said that instructions had already been issued to the Returning Officers in the Badulla and Moneragala Districts to take necessary action to conduct the election. He said not a single list submitted by a political party or an independent group had been rejected. more..

Presidential Election: No hurry to select candidate – UNP

Aug 7 (Island) The UNP says that it was not in a hurry to select its Presidential candidate. There was ample time, General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake said addressing a press conference in Colombo. "We, are yet to pick the person who would be entrusted with the task of sending President Mahinda Rajapaksa home for good. Right now our efforts are focused on forming the broadest possible opposition coalition to not only win the next Presidential Election, but more..

Proper channels to be used withSri Lanka on sensitive issues: India

Aug 7 (PTI) Appropriate channels with Sri Lanka will be used to address issues of sensitive nature, the Ministry of External Affairs said today amid reports of a Pakistani diplomat, posted in Colombo, being involved in a conspiracy to target the US and Israel consulates in south India at ISI's behest. "India and Sri Lanka have a multiplicity of channels to address each other's concern. They may not be always in the public domain," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson told reporters here. more..

Govt of friends & family: Country’s DPL service has become an SLFP branch

Aug 7 (Island) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament that out of 49 posts of heads of diplomatic missions, 35 had been filled with political appointees and the Foreign Service had been converted into an SLFP branch. Moving a motion for a debate at the time of adjournment, he said politicisation of the Foreign Service had paved the way for the current crisis situation in the country’s foreign relations. more..

The politics of crime

Aug 7 (DM) The allegations if not the realities that the criminalisation of party politics has lead to criminals themselves being in politics were shockingly confirmed in the latest dangerous twist in the case where a politician forced a teacher to kneel in the presence of her students in the classroom. This disgusting and disgraceful incident took place in June 2013 when the ruling UPFA’s North Western Provincial Councillor Ananda Sarath Kumara forced teacher Susila Herath to kneel before more..

What’s Ven Sobhitha Thera’s mission?

Aug 7 (DM) Once again the country or at least the Colombo social circuits are eagerly whispering about the ‘Common Candidate’ syndrome. I may be pardoned for calling this a syndrome as it is quite obvious that those who are intricately involved in the process and those who are waiting in the wings to wear the badge of the ‘Common Candidate’ are truly obsessed with the concept. But what the reader must be made aware of is that a system that was introduced by the then UNP Leader more..

SLFP readies for a presidential election

Aug 7 (DM) Confusion reigned in politics for quite some time, as nobody knew exactly which main election will be conducted first by the govt of President Rajapaksa. One section argued that it would be a presidential, and another that it would be a parliamentary election. The SLFP of President Rajapaksa, the key ally of the govt, launched a campaign countrywide to reorganise the party structure at grassroots level. more..

UN says firm on freedom of assembly

Aug 7 (CG) UN has called for the right to peaceful assembly to be protected in Sri Lanka, days after a meeting organised by an NGO with families of the disappeared was disrupted in Maradana. UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that the UN office in New York did not have first-hand details about the particular incident in Maradana. “But what I can tell you is of course that we stand by and continue to uphold more..

'Greater chance of rate cut than hike'

Aug 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank chief said on Thursday there is a greater chance of a cut in key monetary policy rates than a hike, despite the IMF's advice to keep key rates on hold for the near term. The central bank chief's comment came a day after yields on one-year govt debt fell to 6.45%, below the rate of 6.5% at which the central bank mops up liquidity from commercial banks. more..

Pesticides Registrar, Agriculture Department under fire

Aug 7 (SL) The Registrar of Pesticides and the Agriculture Department has come under severe criticism for promoting highly poisonous agro chemical fertilisers and pesticides in the country. Reliable sources in the Ministry of Agriculture, blamed the Office of Registrar of Pesticides, for the unwavering support he extends to the multinational companies that import highly toxic agro chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and more..

Port Authority calls for private investments to build port city

Aug 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's port city to be built on reclaimed sea will be financed with private capital and investors would be free to come up with proposals on how to use the land, an official said. "We do not depend on the government, we do not get any government guaranteed finances,”Priyath Bandu Wickrama, chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) told a forum organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. more..

New option to get UK visas in Lanka

Aug 7 (CG) The British High Commission today announced the launch of a passport pass-back service for UK visa applicants applying at the visa application centre in Colombo from 11 August, 2014. Passport pass-back is a user-pay service that enables customers to retain their passport for the majority of the application processing period. Such an option will be useful for frequent travellers, particularly business more..

COPE findings: JVP demands action

Aug 7 (Island) The JVP affiliated Voice against Corruption (VAC) claimed that though the COPE and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) reports exposed losses and corruption in state ventures, the relevant authorities had not taken action against those who were responsible. VAC Convener Wasantha Samarasinghe said that the majority of members in the COPE were govt ministers and deputy ministers, but more..

Sri Lanka's First Int'l Conference on Oral Cancer begins tomorrow

Aug 7 (GDI) The first international congress on oral cancer in Sri Lanka is scheduled to begin tomorrow in the hill capital of Kandy under the patronage of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena. First International Congress on Oral Cancer, Smokeless Tobacco and Areca Nut, ICOC - 2014 will be held from 8th - 9th August at the Earl's Regency Hotel in Kandy. This is the first conference of this nature to be organized in Sri Lanka. more..

DG Wildlife ready to answer audit queries regarding suspect elephant licences

Aug 7 (Island) Department of Wildlife Conservation was ready to provide information regarding clarifications sought by AG’s Department in an audit query on illegally captured elephant calves, DWC, Director General H.D. Rathnayake said. He said that his department had issued licences on the basis of required certificates. Rathnayake said, "Since 1990s the elephant licences have been issued in this manner." more..

War crimes probe goes ahead with int’l advice

Aug 7 (Island) With President Rajapaksa broadening the mandate of the Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons, the commission will shortly call for information from public as regards new matters under its investigation. Chairman of the Commission retired High Court Judge Maxwell Paranagama said that fresh information would be sought from the public or any other party more..

High profile committee led by Karu to overlook UNP election campaign

Aug 7 (AM) UNP has appointed a committee led by UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya to overlook the UNP Propaganda campaign for the Uva PC election. UNP MP Sajith Premadasa was among the party members who nominated the UNP Leadership Council Chairman as the head of the Uva election committee for the UNP. The committee will be responsible for the election propaganda campaign of the party and will make necessary decisions on behalf of the UNP more..

The utter futility of COPE

Aug 7 (CT) No phrase seems more apt than the juvenile "muchness of the sameness", as one contemplates the interim report of the COPE, presented on Tuesday. For, what is revealed in the report is the "same old, same old" gloomy picture of how the taxpayers' money is being squandered by those who handle many of the State-owned enterprises. The near stupefying nature of the losses caused by the familiar culprits - mismanagement, misappropriation, incompetence, more..

Video: Bill to be submitted to Parliament

Aug 7 (DM) The group calling themselves ‘Voice against Corruption’ today said that it was going to submit a Bill in Parliament to ensure the peoples’ right to information and said that the legal draft of it was being formulated by its lawyers. “People have no access to information that would highlight the corruption and frauds committed by our politicians. Three COPE reports have been issued from 2011 but no one knows what action more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 1.1%

Aug 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed 1.1% higher recording over two billion rupees in turnover with tobacco stocks gaining amid strong foreign buying. All Share Price Index closed 74.92 points higher at 6,908.18, up 1.1%. The S&P SL20 closed 37.24 points higher at 3,790.03, up 0.99%. Turnover was 2.24 billion rupees, up from 1.40 billion rupees a day earlier with 146 stocks closed positive against 69 negative. Chevron Lubricants Lanka closed 2.50 rupees higher at 314.00 rupees with more..

IGP rewards constable a second time

Aug 7 (Island) IGP, N.K. Illangakoon last month presented cash rewards to the tune of Rs. 7.57 million to 388 police officers, who had rendered extraordinary service beyond the call of duty to the police department. The ceremony was held at Criminal Records Division Auditorium, Colombo 7. Constable S.M.A. Padamakumara, (38993) who became a victim of an acid attack in trying to apprehend a suspect, while he was serving at the Dedigama police station, was not applauded more..

Sri Lanka steady after Pakistan post 451

Aug 7 (CI) Pakistan posted their second-highest total in the first innings of a Test in the past eight years as the lower middle order weighed in after Younis Khan's 177. Sri Lanka toiled for five sessions on a pitch that went placid after the first morning and conceded 450-plus in successive first innings in Galle - South Africa had made 455 last month. The hosts lost Upul Tharanga early, but Sangakkara & Kaushal Silva's partnership more..

The Rajapaksa mobocrazy

Aug 7 (CT) For political activists of many generations, the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) was an unfailing haven. It was the place for meetings disallowed everywhere else or discussions which required secrecy. Father Tissa Balasuriya, the founder of the CSR, was a Liberation Theologian of global renown who was once excommunicated by the Vatican for his dissenting views. He often disagreed with the political ideas and projects of those who sought refuge in the CSR. more..

Ven. Rahula appointed Chairman Co-op Society

Aug 7 (Island) Ven. Wanawasi Rahula Thera of Jathika Namal Uyana was appointed the Chairman of the new cooperative society of Palagala recently. Addressing the employees after assuming duties at the inaugural meeting with them, the monk said that the Palagala Divisional Secretariat was one of the least developed areas in the country with minimum infrastructure, but it was blessed with a great deal of natural resources. "Due to bad management in the past the previously constituted cooperative more..

Health Minister recommends sex education as a subject for A/L

Aug 7 (Island) Health Minister, Maithripala Sirisena has recommended the introduction of sex education to the curriculum of the GCE A/L course. Ministry Spokesperson S.M.L. Kumari said that Minister had also suggested the inclusion of teaching the students the importance of breast feeding. Minister had expressed concern regarding the number of women who failed to see the importance of breast feeding. more..

Police probe Sabaragamuwa student

Aug 7 (CG) The police are continuing investigations into a Sabaragamuwa university student with alleged LTTE links, who was arrested following some disturbances in the university recently. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that the student was believed to have been with the LTTE medical unit during the final stages of the war. He says the student had undergone rehabilitation and was subsequently freed before he joined the Sabaragamuwa university. more..

CEA denies COPE allegation

Aug 7 (Island) Officials of the Central Environment Authority (CEA) had visited the proposed rubber gloves manufacturing factory of Dipped Products (PLC) located at Rathupaswala and they themselves had collected the water samples and properly tested them before giving the factory authorisation, CEA Laboratory Services Director P.W.A Wasantha Wijesinghe said. She was responding to the COPE report released on Tuesday, which, among other things, accused the CEA of having granted more..

Ranil accuses govt. of double standards

Aug 7 (DM) UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said there would be no need for foreign experts to intervene in our internal affairs if democracy and an independent judiciary were ensured, the LLRC recommendations carried out and the 17th Amendment re-instated. He said a meeting at which members of foreign diplomatic missions participated was attacked but the govt itself had appointed foreign experts to help and more..

Colombo set for construction boom

Aug 7 (DN) A construction boom is expected in the Colombo city with the implementation of a number of key infrastructure projects which includes the development of road networks, drainage and sewerage systems, electricity and water. According to Senior Consultant of the UDA Weerasena Adhikari, the construction sector is in for a boost in the city with the implementation of a number of mixed development activities and development of the 10 acres plus Manning Market Complex. more..

AIADMK lawyers protest 'presence' of Sri Lankan official at MSSRF

Aug 7 (PTI) A group of AIADMK advocates today held a demonstration in front of the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation here, protesting the reported presence of a Sri Lankan representative in a conference organised by it. They raised slogans against SL President Rajapaksa, protesting against a derogatory article about Jayalalithaa on a Lankan defence website, police said. Police prevented the protesters when they tried to enter the conference venue. more..

Anura Kumara says 'Invisible Hand' is directing foreign affairs

Aug 7 (AM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake accused that the Ministry of External Affairs had gone out of the control of the Minister and an ‘invisible hand’ is running the foreign affairs of the country. He made these grave accusations yesterday at the Parliament, moving an adjournment motion on the malpractices of the Ministry. Before the motion was moved, he Tweeted, “I will move an adjournment motion in more..

CID seeks AG advise to proceed with Gillian Anderson's case

Aug 7 (AM) The CID - which conducted investigation into an incident where Sri Lankan properties belonging to popular American actress Gillian Anderson-starred as Special Agent “Dana Scully” on the X-Files series had been misappropriated by a Sri Lankan - told Court that they were waiting for Attorney General’s advise regarding the case to take necessary legal action against the Sri Lankan suspect. In a complaint before the CID, the American actress had made a complaint more..

Sinhalese asylum seekers launch a hunger strike in Australia

Aug 7 (AM) Eleven of the 21 Sinhalese Sri Lankan asylum seekers at Curtin detention centre have begun a hunger strike. The hunger strike was launched in protest of the long delays in the processing of the refugee claims. Thirteen out of the twenty one Sinhalese at the Curtin detention centre have reportedly been in the center for over two years. Ian Rintoul a spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition said “The shocking bureaucratic delays in processing are one of more..

Faults found in A/L economics paper

Aug 7 (HN) Senior lecturer of Ruhuna University’s Economic Study Unit Nandasiri Keembiya Hetti says that there are shortcomings in the GCE A/L Economics question paper this year. Keembiya Hetti is among the 39 university teachers who put their signatory to a petition sent to the Examination Commissioner General against the removal of 3 professors from A/L question paper making panel. more..

Govt. to bring new Atomic Energy Bill

Aug 7 (NS) The Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) will be split into two new bodies; namely the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board and the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Regulatory Council, as part of the new Atomic Energy Bill that has been presented to Cabinet. Once the Bill is approved, the AEA's functions will be conducted by these two bodies; one responsible for research and the other tasked with implementing regulatory mechanisms, a spokesman for Ministry of Technology & Research stated. more..

'Govt agreed with Minister Wimal only for a discussion'

Aug 7 (HN) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says SLFP and NFF agreed during the recent meeting only to discuss about bringing about a new constitution. He stated this in response to a recent statement made by Minister Wimal Weerawansa who said SLFP agreed to introduce a new Constitution through the Parliament Select Committee. Later journalists questioned the Minister why a discussion is given only to NFF while other ruling coalition’s have also sought such more..

UPFA politician distances himself from threatening letter

Aug 7 (AM) Former UPFA North Western Provincial Councilor Ananda Sarath Kumara, who allegedly forced a school teacher to kneel down in front of her class, has distanced himself from the threatening letter received by the teacher. The former UPFA PC Member who was found guilty of forcing a teacher on her knees at a school in Nawagattegama had visited Nawagattegama Police Station with his more..

Govt to further expand Lanka Sathosa Network

Aug 7 (GDI) Steps are being taken on the directions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to further expand the Lanka Sathosa network covering the rural areas to provide customers a satisfactory service to the customers. Lanka Sathosa had increased its income to Rs.15.28 billion during the first seven months of this year, which is an increase of Rs.900 million over the corresponding period of last year which was Rs.14.38 billion. Through Lanka Sathosa outlets, consumers can buy essential goods of more..