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PM raises questions on ‘Ravana’ being an idol for Buddhist organizations

Aug 7 (AM) PM D M Jayaratne yesterday slammed the Ravana Balaya Buddhist organization by asking “How ‘Ravana’ could be an idol for a Buddhist organization?” The PM yesterday made these remarks at a press conference held in Colombo to respond to the allegations leveled against him by the Ravana Balaya organization. “While he might have been a great man who achieved many feats, he was also an abductor of a woman, which is against Buddhist ideals”, the Prime Minister said. more..

Sri Lanka's debt management improves, central bank data show

Aug 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's govt has improved its debt management, reaching its debt-to-GDP goal for year's end by mid-year, data released on Thursday by the central bank showed. However, analysts said the govt has been encouraging state-owned banks to borrow on international capital markets. And a week ago, the IMF said medium-term sustainability depended on Sri Lanka's "judicious use of foreign borrowing". more..

UN rights body seeks entry to Sri Lanka despite govt's refusal

Aug 7 (PTI) The UNHRC panel to probe alleged human rights abuses during final stages of armed conflict in Sri Lanka will continue to seek access to the country despite its refusal to allow them into the nation. The Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was empowered by the UNHRC resolution late March to carry out an independent investigation into alleged rights abuses during Sri Lanka's final stages of the war with the LTTE which ended in 2009. more..

Turkish embassy goes to court

Aug 7 (DM) Colombo Fraud Investigations Bureau (CFIB) is probing a complaint made by a secretary of the Turkish Embassy in Colombo alleging that a Sri Lankan had committed criminal breach of trust to the tune of Rs. 3.8 million after undertaking to renovate a building to operate the Embassy office. In his complaint, he said that since March 1, 2013 the Turkish govt operated the embassy office in Colombo in Union Place. When it was looking for a permanent place for the office, more..

Video: Rajitha to sue BBS for Rs. 1 bn

Aug 7 (DM) Minister Rajitha Senaratne today said he would institute legal action to the amount of Rs.1 billion against BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera over allegations made by him. “I met the President and he told me that this was not an attack on me but rather a conspiracy against the govt through a clear ploy of the accusers liaising with Norway. I have decided to sue the BBS Secretary for one billion rupees more..

Facing (apparent?) failure

Aug 8 (CT) The above observation was made by a friend, a Sinhalese Buddhist, whom I’ve met only through the written word. She is one who has fearlessly stood up for abstractions such as justice, equality and decency. She and others like her, be they Burgher (Pieter Kenueman comes to my mind), Tamil, Sinhalese or Muslim, have stood up for such ideals because the absence of these abstractions has a real, physical, impact both on individual human beings and on society in general more..

Editorial: When one door is closed …

Aug 8 (Island) The UNP has offered to give Minister Maithripala Sirisena’s anti-tobacco campaign a boost. UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has proposed an amendment to the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Act No 27 of 2006 to circumvent a recent Supreme Court ruling that limited the printing of pictorial health warnings to 60 percent of the display areas of cigarette packets. The apex court decision came in the wake of a unanimous parliamentary resolution that more..

Rural bridges countrywide bring villages closer to cities

Aug 8 (SO) A long cherished dream of the rural population is at last becoming a reality. The program to build 1210 rural bridges island-wide in accordance with the Mahinda Chinthana Vision is a step forward from Maga Neguma to Gama Neguma for revitalising the rural sector to which belongs 75% of the country's population. Today the rural bridge building program has spread to 160 Secretarial Divisions of the island under more..

Tears of a war victim and the cruelty of Sri Lankan forces

Aug 8 (CT) Ainkaran volunteered in a hospital in the contested North East of Sri Lanka when the govt began its final offensive on the Tamil separatists. It was 2009, and the outlook was grim for the LTTE. The cadres had set up fortified settlements far behind the frontline in order to escape the artillery of the Sri Lankan Army, but there were some shells, with a range of 3-5km, that could still reach even these safe havens. As the fighting intensified and the shells began to fall, more..

‘Winning the Peace’ taking a back seat

Aug 8 (Island) For the sensitive of Sri Lanka, July could be the ‘cruellest’ month of the year.If these sensitive few happen to be members of the older generation of this country, they could not possibly avoid reliving harrowing memories of Black July 1983, which marked a wrenching turning- point in the politico-social history of Sri Lanka. It may not be considered ‘politically correct’ by some sections to recall the terrfying and traumatic events of Black July any more, but more..

Conflicts, development & religious objectives

Aug 8 (NS) Post war Sri Lanka has been vigorously concentrating efforts on marketing the country as a safer destination for tourism and investment, targeting foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Obviously, these were two prerequisites for the boost of post war economy. Understandably, these targets were unlikely to materialize unless the longterm economic stability is ensured and the post war reconciliation efforts are completed. more..

Why Sri Lanka is not a meritocracy

Aug 8 (CT) I happened to find a piece which appeared in the Guardian newspaper sometime back on the politicization of the US Foreign Service under the Obama Administration. The article titled " US diplomats cry foul as Obama donors take over top embassy jobs" describes in graphic detail about the Obama administration's parceling out of plum diplomatic postings to President Obama's top fund raisers. The Guardian quoted one unnamed diplomat likening the practice to more..

India, Sri Lanka and BRICS

Aug 8 (SL) Whether or not the protagonists have looked at it that way, Western commentators, if not their governments, seem to have been looking at the recent BRICS Summit in Brazil as an emerging challenge to the post-War, post-Cold War global order, starting with the financial sector. Nowhere else is this more visible just now than in and on Sri Lanka, where political perceptions of individual BRICS member-nations on the UNHRC-led probe into ‘accountability issues’ differ, and more..

Where have all the young men gone?

Aug 8 (GV) Q: Who is the missing person? A: Father, mother, brother, grandmother, grandfather, younger sister, older sister and her three children. An eerie silence followed these words that was only broken by the panicking cameramen rushing to record the story about to unfold. The complainant recalled escaping the large round up that took place around 5pm. There was a lot of commotion that night, tyre-burning smells more..

Is Karu for a united or unitary state?

Aug 8 (CT) Sometime ago UNP's Karu Jayasuriya launched his official website with much pomp and pageantry amidst a distinguished gathering. However, when one logs into his website now, it could be seen that the site has not been updated for weeks and months. Normally, a politician who aspires for higher positions, like leadership in a political party or a country, should keep his supporters and the people informed through his website and other available more..

Ven. Upananda appointed Chief Monk of North America

Aug 8 (Island) Ven. Dedunupitiye Upananda Thera of the Sri Sumanaramaya of Udammita in Veyangoda has been appointed as the Chief Sanghanayake in North American region covering the US, Mexico and Canada. Arrangements have been made to confer the honorary title ‘Dharamadhuta Shastra Naipunya’ on him to mark the appointment at a ceremony to be held on August 11. Born on May 24, 1967 to U.W. Seneviratne of Dedunupitiya in Thumpane PS more..

Silva, the businessman, Tharanga, the best friend

Aug 8 (CI) Test openers are a singular breed, they say. They walk in when opponents have a clear advantage. The quicks are fresh and their appetite undiminished. The seam is hard and the pitch, often, soft. It takes a peculiar mix of moxie and masochism to watch a snarling Dale Steyn or a towering Mitchell Johnson bearing down on the crease, smoke pouring off their backs, and still want to be at the other end. more..

Pakistan bet on improved Sarfraz

Aug 8 (CI) Pakistan have struggled to find a wicketkeeper who can consistently contribute with the bat since Kamran Akmal was discarded. But they seem to be closer to filling that gap with Sarfraz Ahmed improving his batting returns in recent matches. On the second day of the Galle Test, he scored a crucial 55 to make sure Pakistan didn't waste the foundation they were given on the first day. Pakistan's wicketkeepers have averaged 22.64 over the past five years, more..

Younis at home in Sri Lanka

Aug 8 (CI) 5: Number of Pakistan players with two Test centuries in Sri Lanka - Inzamam-ul-Haq, Saeed Anwar, Shoab Malik, Azhar Ali and now Younis Khan. 871: Number of runs Younis has scored in Sri Lanka, the second most by an away batsman, after Sachin Tendulkar. 4: Number of 50-plus partnerships for Pakistan's sixth wicket from 2011 - the fewest for any team. Their average sixth-wicket stand in this period (21.81) is the worst for any team. West Indies, who are next (29.14), more..

FCCISL launch of Turning Point International Investor Forum Tall order

Aug 8 (CT) With the country struggling to attract the required foreign direct investments needed to establish sustainable economic growth over the long-term, the govt has noted that such investments would have to reach US$ 5 billion by 2016, after touching just US$ 913 million last year. The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) organized an international investor forum more..

Virtusa in 24% y-o-y revenue rise

Aug 8 (Island) Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ GS: VRTU), a global business consulting and IT outsourcing company that combines innovation, technology leadership and industry solutions to transform the customer experience, reported consolidated financial results for the first quarter fiscal year 2015, ended June 30, 2014. Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2015 was $112.3 million, an increase of 1% sequentially and 24% year-over-year in reported currency. more..

A blow-by-blow commentary of the mob attack on families of disappeared

Aug 8 (GV) 3.15pm: On the 4th of August a private sharing of experiences session organized by civil society inside the Centre for Society and Religion [CSR] is disrupted by an organized gang led by what appeared to be a group of Buddhist monks. Sri Lankan law enforcement authorities are present on location approximately 10 minutes after the gang disrupted the meeting. It is possibly one of fastest response times by Sri Lankan police to a 119 emergency phone call. more..

Cathay Pacific enhances services with new non-stop Colombo-Hong Kong flights

Aug 8 (FT) Cathay Pacific Airways yesterday announced that it will enhance its services from Sri Lanka by operating four non- stop flights to Hong Kong commencing 27 October. The enhancements will make Cathay Pacific the only airline to offer a scheduled direct flight to Hong Kong out of Colombo. The existing thrice-weekly service via Bangkok will allow the airline to operate daily flights from Colombo. more..

‘Prospects high for Takaful insurance in SL’

Aug 8 (DN) Takaful, the Islamic Insurance Industry boasts healthy prospects in Sri Lanka and Amana Takaful is very ambitious of playing a leading role in the Islamic insurance industry in Sri Lanka, Amana Takaful CEO, Fazal Gaffoor said. He said they believe in principles of sharing and mutuality and Takaful is a departure from a conventional type of insurance. In Sri Lanka, there is a growth in demand for Islamic insurance over the recent years. The economic upsurge during the post war period more..

Water Management in Singapore and SL

Aug 8 (Island) In order to ensure the sustainable use and efficient management of water resources, it is helpful to have information on the available water resources, how it is changing over time in quantity and quality, the present and future demand for water resources, and how climate change is impacting the overall situation of available water resources. The Water Information System for Sri Lanka aims to provide a web-based framework with access to information on water resources in Sri Lanka. more..

Lankan owned Dubai Marriott Al Jaddaf hotel opens

Aug 8 (DN) The first ever five star hotel built and owned by a Sri Lankan living overseas, Marriott Al Jaddaf Hotel will be officially opened on September 15 in Dubai. The soft opening of the hotel was held last January. The hotel was built for one of the world’s largest Hotel Chains, Marriott USA and would consist of 351 rooms and 128 apartments. The hotel is the second building in the UAE after the SL Embassy to more..

Asylum: my 157 clients' ordeal highlights Scott Morrison's hypocrisy

Aug 8 (Guardian) In 1976, when I was a young boy, I recall seeing The Voyage of the Damned, a movie about the tragic 1939 voyage of SS St Louis, which carried German Jewish refugees on board. The passengers were denied asylum by Cuba, and sent back to Europe. It is estimated that 600 of the 937 passengers on the SS St Louis died in Nazi concentration camps. So when I was asked to assist 157 Tamil asylum seekers who made their way to Australian shores last June, I was taken back more..

Father of Triple Bottom Line John Elkington in Colombo next month

Aug 8 (FT) John Elkington, considered the father of the world-famous Triple Bottom Line, will visit Sri Lanka next month thanks to an initiative by premier telecom service provider, Dialog Axiata PLC. A world authority on and a dean of sustainability and corporate responsibility, Elkington originated the term ‘Triple Bottom Line,’ which is today synonymous with sustainable development agendas the world over. Elkington is due on 1 Sept. He has written and co-authored over 17 books more..

SLFP won’t field Muslim candidates: To facilitate post-poll pact with partners

Aug 8 (Island) In the wake of two UPFA constituents, the SLMC and the ACMC contesting the Uva PC poll on their own, the SLFP has decided against fielding Muslim candidates in a bid to facilitate a post-election alliance with the two parties. SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem and ACMC leader Rishard Bathiudeen decided to contest on the two-leaf symbol of the Democratic Unity Alliance (DUA) after having formed an alliance, which also more..

DFCC’s Rs. 5 b debentures snapped up

Aug 8 (FT) DFCC Bank’s Rs. 5 billion debenture issue yesterday closed on its official opening day itself following an oversubscription. The bank said it has received applications for over Rs. 5 billion and the issue closed yesterday whilst the basis of allotment will be notified in due course. The issue involved 30 million senior, unsecured, redeemable, rated debentures of Rs. 100 each with an option issue a further 20 million debentures in the event of an oversubscription of the original amount. more..

Call for rule of law, governance intensifies

Aug 8 (CT) The rule of law, governance and transparency are essential in helping industries to face challenges, create more wealth, create more quality jobs and move globally, a senior businessman said. Speaking at a panel discussion at SL Economic Summit, John Keels Deputy Chairman, Ajith Gunawardena said, "Tax incentives are not going to drive the industries. The cost of not having transparency, governance and rule of law actually drives away the attraction." more..

Colombo University joins financial irregularities band

Aug 8 (CT) The report of the COPE has identified that there were financial irregularities, amounting to Rs 203,650,541 at the University of Colombo alone and despite declarations that Sri Lankan higher education sector is making great progress, there are massive financial irregularities and a deterioration of standards in many of the higher education institutions. In addition, many institutions are attempting to lower the more..

NHSL: Rotten carrots for docs, bad spuds for patients

Aug 8 (Island) A stock of rotten carrots had been found in the kitchen of the doctors’ canteen at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. The public health department Tuesday commenced inspection of govt and private hospital canteens following several complaints from the public. Acting Food Inspector Lal Kumara said that inspections had been initiated under the guidance of the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuny. Kumara said that the PHD had received complaints more..

Jilted lover who stabbed his fiancée arrested

Aug 8 (Island) Cinnamon Gardens police yesterday morning took into custody a man who had stabbed his fiancée inuring her near the Colombo Museum, after 22-year-old woman said she wanted to leave him. Investigations have revealed that they had a heated argument while travelling in a trishaw and the driver had asked to them get off.  The attack had taken place thereafter, police said. The suspect has said in a statement to the police that on being told that she was leaving him more..

'Govt meddling in banks destroys value'

Aug 8 (DM) Increasing govt interference in banks destroys their value because the poor governance makes it difficult for such banks to raise capital at competitive rates, a top HSBC official said. According to HSBC Asia Pacific Director Naina Lal Kidwal, governance is a key issue in public sector banks. “Yes, govt-owned banks can raise money but why are they not able to raise at the same rate as the private sector banks? more..

Sri Lanka to pave A5 road from Badulla to Chenkaladi with an investment of $140 mn

Aug 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka will rebuild 151.3 kilometers of road from Badulla to Chenkaladi with an estimated cost of 140 million US dollars, a statement said. The road will be rebuild with funds taken from OPEC fund for International development and the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) with the balance contribution being made by the Govt of Sri Lanka. Peradeniya – Badulla –Chenkaladi road which opened in July 2002 links eastern province and the central province in the Island. more..

JVP leader brings plight of drought affected to Parliament

Aug 8 (Island) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissnayake told Parliament that more than a million people in eight provinces were suffering without water to drink and the govt had not taken steps to help them. He said delayed southwest monsoon rains had caused immense problems to people in the dry zone of the country. There had been no rain for the past ten months in those areas. Relevant authorities should have anticipated such adverse climate conditions and taken necessary more..

'No process in selecting the 3 experts'

Aug 8 (CG) The Govt or President Rajapaksa did not follow any process when selecting the three experts appointed to advice the Missing Persons Commission in its investigations on the war. Minister G.L Peiris told Parliament that President Rajapaksa selected the three experts after he felt they were suitable for the job at hand. He said that UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon and UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay, had more..

President to visit Pakistan later this month

Aug 8 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will visit Pakistan later this month to hold bilateral discussions, the External Affairs Ministry stated. A Joint Press Statement issued on the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Foreign Secretary level talks held Wednesday in Islamabad stated that during President Rajapaksa's visit, the leaders of the two countries will take stock of the bilateral relations and identify potential areas for cooperation to the mutual benefit of the countries and the people. more..

Pakistan denies claims on Sri Lanka

Aug 8 (CG) Pakistan has firmly denied claims one of its diplomats in Sri Lanka was involved in spying on India and planning terror attacks in Chennai. About the Indian media allegations of a Pakistani diplomat in Colombo involved in spying India and planning attacks in Chennai, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said that it is an effort to create a wedge between Pakistan and Sri Lanka as the two countries have excellent relations with fruitful discussions on more..