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No rains till mid September: Met chief

Aug 10 (Island) Mr. Lalith Chandrapala, Director General, Department of Meteorology, was pessimistic of the current drought affecting many parts of the country ending soon explaining why rains, if at all, may only be expected in mid-September. "What we are experiencing now is a dearth of rain during the South West monsoon (late May to September) during which rainfall is expected in the south western quarter of more..

2013 A/L Economics paper ‘imported’ from London

Aug 10 (NS) The GCE A/L Exam has continued its habit of creating controversies. Last year, there were several issues that arose. But a new controversy regarding the last year’s exam has come to light recently. This issue is a serious case of copying, not by the candidates sitting for the paper but by the panel which sets the paper. It has been revealed that an alarming 21 out of 50 questions in the Economics Paper I at last year’s GCE A/L more..

Rishad again bypasses Treasury, seeks funds from more countries

Aug 10 (ST) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen who recently secured Rs US$ 1 million after a direct call for funding from Pakistan has also approached other foreign govts for money. Minister has written to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan requesting funds to resettle displaced Muslims in the Northern Province. This is despite clear Finance Ministry instructions that foreign project funding must only be canvassed through it's External Resources more..

The impact of war on demography and the implications for women

Aug 10 (Island) The two drivers of a country’s population are natural increase (the difference between births and deaths) and migration increase (the difference between immigration and emigration). While it should be obvious that Sri Lanka’s population has been affected by both natural and migration changes throughout its history, it is also useful to keep in mind that enumerating the island’s population began only under British rule in the 19th century. more..

'Only 15% of 300 irrigation tanks in drought-hit areas full'

Aug 10 (Island) "Three hundred irrigation tanks in the areas affected by the drought are only 15% full," confirmed Eng Mrs. Badra Kamaladasa, Director General of Irrigation, said. "There are 300 major and medium reservoirs serving the dry zone areas from Puttalam to Hambantota," she explained. "Of these there are 72 major reservoirs. In areas like Trincomalee, Ampara and Batticaloa the town supply is complemented by our reservoirs, and serves some of the domestic requirements. " more..

The Man with the plan

Aug 10 (Island) When I came back from Germany in 1994 after 18 months - half my term as ambassador - by which time President Premadasa had been killed and the UNP had lost by one seat, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe took over. At the time he was looking for a new face. I didn’t even know him that well though I had met him several times at various meetings. He asked me to join the UNP. I said "No". But the papers at one time more..

About the Legal Profession and the Judiciary

Aug 10 (Island) Hon. The Chief Justice, and Other Judges, the Attorney General and Mr. Upul Jayasuriya, President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Ladies & Gentlemen. When I was asked to speak a few words on behalf of the lawyers being felicitated today, I felt both humbled and privileged. I felt humbled because there are others in this group who are far more competent, knowledgeable and able than I to give this talk. I felt privileged because of the opportunity given to me more..

Veddha community holds celebrations in Dambana

Aug 10 (NS) The Aadivasi people of Sri Lanka celebrated the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People in Dambana last Friday with various Veddha groups from areas around the country such as Waakare, Rathugala, Pollebedda, Henanigala along with their leaders in attendance. However, unlike previous years the commemorative event was held without govt sponsorship. Veddha Chieftain Uruvarige Vannilaaththo said he decided not to accept govt funds for the event as more..

Ministers form common front against Bodu Bala Sena

Aug 10 (AM) A group of cabinet ministers are now exploring the possibility of forming a common front against the BBS and its General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera. The Ministers had discussed the possibility of forming a group in the wake of the scating attack launched by Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera against Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratna. Previously, the BBS General Secretary more..

Minister appoints committee to review Medicinal Drug imports draft Bill

Aug 10 (ST) A high-level committee has been appointed by the Health Minister to review the controversial draft Bill for the appointment of a national authority to regulate the import of medicinal drugs and devices. Minister Maithripala Sirisena presented this Bill to the Cabinet in March, but there were widespread protests by pharmacologists and health action groups who said the Bill was seriously flawed and a distortion of Professor Senaka Bibile’s Essential Medicines concept. more..

Robbers strike lightning conductors for rare metal

Aug 10 (ST) Organised gangs have struck old lightning conductors in search of copper plates that they believe turn into a valuable metal over the years, the Sunday times learns, although many officials say there is no scientific basis for this theory. Disaster Management Centre Director General (Retd) Major Gen. L.B.R. Mark said it is believed that these men make colossal amounts of money by selling them. He added that there is a theory that lightning over a long period of more..

President talks to Sanga and Thisara on Cricket crisis

Aug 10 (AM) President Rajapaksa has spoken to Sri Lankan star cricketer Kumar Sangakkara and national player Thisara Perera over the phone about the crisis simmering in the country's cricket administration. Sangakkara has made President Rajapaksa aware of the problems involving some senior officials of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and several prominent ket players in the national cricket team. more..

Ten thousand gymnasts from rural level to National level!

Aug 10 (Island) Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage directed the Sri Lanka National Gymnastic Association to implement a programme to improve and expand gymnastic Island-wide from rural school level to National level, as gymnastic has been identified as a game that could win more medals in Asian and South Asian level, the Ministry of Sports said. Addressing the award ceremony of the 50 gymnastic coaches who successfully completed the Higher Certificate programme more..

Sri Lanka hope Sachithra Senanayake allowed to return against England

Aug 10 (Guardian) Sri Lanka are hoping to have their controversial off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake cleared to return to cricket in time for the seven-match one-day series against England in November. Senanayake played a key role in Sri Lanka’s one-day series win in England in May – including the “Mankad” run-out of Jos Buttler in the deciding match at Edgbaston – before his action was declared illegal by the ICC. He has flown to Perth to undergo a remediation programme with more..

Central Bank Reserves cross US $ 9 billion mark

Aug 10 (SO) Gross Official Reserves of the Central Bank crossed the US$ 9 billion mark on August 8, for the first time in history. Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves by end May 2014 amounted to US$ 8.8 billion, equivalent to 5.9 months of imports, while total foreign assets which include foreign assets of the banking sector amounted to US$ 10.2 billion. Sri Lanka aims to increase its gross reserves to US$ 10 billion by end-2014. more..

SLMC denies Opposition allegations

Aug 10 (SO) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) General Secretary M.T. Hasan Ali MP denied Opposition accusations that the govt in a ploy to scatter Muslim votes, permitted two of its Muslim allies to contest the Uva PC polls on their own. SLMC formed an alliance with three other Muslim parties, including the All Ceylon Muslim Congress led by Minister Rishard Bathiudeen, at the request of the local Muslim communities and not at the instigation of the Government, Ali said. more..

The nowhere people

Aug 10 (Hindu) On Friday, Aug 1, the Australian govt secretly transferred 157 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers to the Nauru Detention Centre. While staying in refugee camps in India, they had taken a boat from Puducherry to reach Australia but were intercepted in the middle of the ocean near Christmas Island by navy patrol boats in June. For close to a month, the group, which included around 50 children, was held in an Australian vessel before being sent transferred to Nauru. more..

Rajapaksa family names being bandied by jumbo thieves

Aug 10 (CT) Environmentalists have voiced concern over elephant thieves using the Rajapaksa family names, to illegally catch and keep baby elephants from the jungles. In an audit query, prepared by Auditor General's Department, Deputy Auditor General A.H.M.L. Ambanwela says a Grama Niladhari W.H.M. Cooray has said that when he inquired about two baby elephants, kept by more..

BOI goes hi-tech and broadens facilities to attract investors

Aug 10 (ST) Govt has set a target of US dollars 2.5 billion as foreign direct investment for the Board of Investment (BOI) by the end of the year, but so far only a sum of US dollars 780 million has been invested, a senior official of the Board said. BOI Director General E.A.J. Edirisinghe said that to achieve this target the structure of the BOI has been revised and revamped. “An investor will not be willing to visit Sri Lanka two or three times to finalise his investment. more..

Tamil outfits stage black flag demonstration against BJP leader Subramanian Swamy

Aug 10 (PTI) About 50 activists of TPDK were arrested on Sunday when they tried to stage a black flag demonstration against BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for his alleged "support" to Sri Lanka and its president Mahinda Rajapaksa on the issue of Tamil Eelam. Led by its secretary Manoharan the activists gathered in front of priavate college, where Swamy had come to attend a function, and raised slogans against him, amid the presence of large number of police. more..

Hotels Corp. spends Rs. 1.8 bn.refurbishing rest houses

Aug 10 (Island) Ceylon Hotels Corporation (CHC), owners of a string of well located rest houses in various parts of the country, has invested over Rs.1.4 billion in developing/refurbishing these properties but is carrying accumulated losses of Rs.1.18 billion in its books with current liabilities exceeding current assets by Rs.495.4 million raising questions on its going concerned status. more..

A National Sports Museum to be established

Aug 10 (GDI) Ministry of Sports has taken steps to establish a National Sports Museum in Vicinity of the Independence Square at the premises of the ancestral home of the Late Mr. F.R. Senanayaka, to educate the future generation about the core values of sports, to exhibit and preserve trophies, souvenirs and also sports related literature of leading sportsman / sportswomen of international fame in Sri Lanka etc. One of the main objectives of opening this sports museum is more..

Pradeep out of Test series after injury

Aug 10 (CI) Nuwan Pradeep has been ruled out of the ongoing two-Test series against Pakistan after twisting his ankle at a practice session on Saturday. "Nuwan twisted his right ankle while fielding at practice and had to be helped off the field," Sri Lankan manager Michael de Zoysa said. "He is unable to put his foot down. "He has gone back to Colombo for a scan but it is unlikely that he will take any further part in the series. Most likely he will be out for at least two to three weeks." more..

Video: One is enough: Gemunu

Aug 10 (DM) The existence of two transport Ministries had caused the degeneration of the public transport industry and therefore both ministries should be streamlined into one formal ministry, the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) said. The existence of two ministries- the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Private Transport Services –was unnecessary, LPBOA President Gamnu Wijerathne said. more..

Lankan aid raped by 'trusted' cab driver

Aug 10 (E24|7) A Sri Lankan housemaid was abducted and raped by a taxi driver who was described by her friend as a “trusted” man, a newspaper said on Sunday. The maid had phoned her friend and asked her if she knows a driver who will take her to the Sri Lankan embassy and bring her back to her employer’s house. “Her friend gave the phone number of an Indian taxi driver who she said can be trusted. Instead of taking her to the embassy, the driver took her to an apartment more..

PBJ defends tax regime

Aug 10 (NS) Responding to those concerned about the declining govt tax revenue as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in recent times, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Dr. P. B. Jayasundera last week defended the prevailing tax policy of the government terming it a ‘long-term tax expansion strategy’. Addressing the opening session of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2014, Dr. Jayasundera argued that although alternate choices are there, more..

Sri Lanka beat rain to win after Herath's six

Aug 10 (CI) Rangana Herath conjured six wickets on a day-five pitch that carried little threat and Sri Lanka hunted down 99 in a dramatic chase under the constant threat of rain and fading light. A big, dark cloud hung over the ground as Sri Lanka closed in but relented just long enough for Angelo Mathews to swat an unbeaten 25 off 13 and drag his side home with under five overs remaining. Just after Mathews tapped Junaid more..

More to Carlton Sevens than glitz

Aug 11 (SL) THE hype and hoopla heralding the two-tournament Carlton Super Sevens, the first of which concludes today at Galle, might’ve been a touch over-the-top, but not inappropriate, nonetheless. The event after all is unique: no tournament in our rugby’s century-plus history has ever managed to assemble such a large collection of world-renowned players on Sri Lankan soil. The fare served doubtless will be world-class, the like of which you get to see only on your television more..

SC verdict can revive devolution discourse

Aug 11 (SL) ven while clarifying the constitutional position in the matter, the recent Supreme Court verdict that Chief Secretaries of Provincial Councils came under the administrative supervision of the national-level Public Service Commission (PSC) and Chief Ministers cannot issue circulars (‘orders’?) binding them may still have the potential to revive and expand the scope and content of the dormant political discourse on power devolution. The continuing US-driven UNHRC process more..

'Landslide victory for UPFA'

Aug 11 (SO) UPFA will record a landslide victory in the coming Uva PC Election. The people who were victimised by the LTTE have rallied round the Govt. There won't be any challenges in winning this election, Minister Jagath Pushpakumara said. He said that the Govt has implemented large scale infrastructure and livelihood development projects in the province after 2005. Compared to the era prior to 2005, the province has more..

Neville Jayaweera’s writing of prime worth

Aug 11 (CT) Engaging his incisive powers of intellect with deadly effect, Jayaweera has brought forth a work to make a lasting impression on readers. The clarity with which his discernments are crafted, the passion with which his convictions are canvassed and the limpid style in which they are presented are strikingly remarkable. In ethnic relations, reaching back to millennia past and telescoping his mind to ages hence, the real as he sees it is painted with rare honesty. more..

Common candidate debate

Aug 11 (CT) Local Buddhists believe that when the king, the ruler, is not righteous (dharmika), the three fears (thun biya) – epidemics, starvation and evil spirits – can take place in the country. Therefore, a Dharmika king is considered a blessing for the state in Buddhism. However, the irony is that the local Buddhists, with this great knowledge in them, largely have kept electing adharmika (unrighteous) kings (omnipotent executive presidents); or perhaps, the kings (executive presidents) more..

'JVP manifesto based on capitalist reforms'

Aug 11 (CT) Q: How do you see the JVP today, as a former general secretary? A: It is a difficult question. I had ideological differences with the JVP when I quit the party. After that the JVP went a long way. It aligned with the capitalist SLFP and held Ministerial posts. Then it quit the alliance and again brought the present regime to power. JVP has been functioning for a long time deviating from its initial stance. more..

Common candidate: A needle in a haystack

Aug 11 (NS) The date for the Uva PC elections have been announced but it is clear that the poll is merely a dress rehearsal for the major national elections - presidential and general - which are both due in 2016 but are very likely to be held next year, with the presidential election taking precedence. That has thrown up the scenario of the ‘common candidate’, an issue ignited by the call from sections of society for the abolition of the Executive Presidency. With a presidential poll expected soon after Pope more..

View from Ritigala - by mahasona

Aug 11 (NS) Jadeja and Anderson had a spat during a cricket match. Jadeja was fined, Anderson was not. That’s the black and white of the new world order or, if you want to call it that, ‘The Big 3 Dominated ICC’. Nothing ‘new’ about it, one might say. Anyway, India objected. The fine was withdrawn. Anderson benefited from the fact that the ‘action’ was not caught on camera. India is now whining about the absence of cameras. Hold on, hold on! Isn’t this the same country that more..

New directives to prevent SIM card abuse

Aug 11 (NS) Director General, TRC, Anusha Palpita says that all mobile service providers have been given time till end of this year to streamline the process of SIM card issuance and to ensure that their respective dealers do not issue cards under the name of an existing customer without his or her knowledge, or consent. Palpita stated that the companies have been given some time to address the issue as it could not be done overnight. more..

Jayalalithaa raised to kick up dust for Lanka

Aug 11 (ST) The moment Narendra Modi became Prime Minister designate of India, the Lankan Govt’s official spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, could not contain himself with glee at the prospect of TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa being negated in the new power equation and getting her comeuppance. From his weekly rostrum he declared to the media that with Modi winning handsomely, the central govt’s dependence on Jayalalitha had considerably lessened and was even nonexistent. more..

Crude intimidation of legitimate protests

Aug 11 (ST) The modus operandi of this government in cracking down on legitimate dissent and protest would be truly farcical if it was not so deadly. What is the govt frightened of? First mobs of Buddhist monks are used to ferment and arouse hatred between communities. Now, much like instant noodles, we have ‘instant civil society organisations’ formed out of nowhere and used with crude intent to disrupt civil society work. What exactly is this government so afraid of? more..

Galle revels in perfect day

Aug 11 (CI) A kite had taken flight above Galle Fort when play began on the final day. Blue, green, red and yellow, with a diamond head and a flared bottom, it sailed just above the clocktower, multi-coloured tassels streaming behind. July and August are kite-flying months in Sri Lanka, when wind comes strong off the sea. Each different style of kite is named after an animal. This one was a maaluwa - a fish. more..

Editorial: Music maketh a full man

Aug 11 (Island) The therapeutic benefits of music have been known to humans for millennia though the scientific studies thereof are of relatively recent origin. Archaeological evidence has surfaced that even prehistoric humans, perhaps inspired by the mellifluous sounds of feathered entertainers, experimented with fashioning musical instruments out of animal bones etc. Those troglodytes, perennially troubled by atavistic fears, must have enjoyed the soothing effect their own kind of more..