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'27 intelligence officers are behind BASL president'

Aug 11 (AM) Senior DIG Anura Senanayake today said before Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya that he would take the full responsibility for the security of Upul Jayasooriya, President of the Sri Lanka Bar Association. He also added that 27 intelligence officers have been deployed to ensure his security. The senior Police officer informed the court that they were operating in civil clothes, without revealing their identity. more..

French tourist hit by dump truck, while chasing after thief

Aug 11 (Island) A French tourist chasing a snatch thief who ran off with her handbag containing Rs. 60,000 in cash and a digital camera worth around Rs. 235,000 was knocked down by a dump truck near the Lankaramaya Temple in Anuradhapura sacred city on Saturday. The victim identified as Flore Laurence is being treated at the Ward No 40 of the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital. She is a French national residing at Mount Evelyn in Singapore. The 26-year-old unmarried tourist more..

Imported Big Onions and Potatoes to cost more

Aug 11 (DM) The special commodity levy on imported big onions and potatoes was increased from August 12 and August 15 respectively. The Finance Ministry said the special commodity levy for imported big onions was increased from Rs.10 to Rs.25 a kilo while the levy on imported potatoes was increased by from Rs.5 to Rs.15 a kilo. It said the import levy was increased to safeguard the local farmers whose produce is expected to reach the market in a week’s time. more..

Sri Lanka launches Ceylon cinnamon certification to promote exports

Aug 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka has launched an internationally accredited certification for cinnamon, its main spice export, aiming to uplift an image like its main export, Ceylon tea, and exploit growing in global market. The ‘Pure Ceylon Cinnamon Global Certification” is also registered in key markets of USA, EU, Peru and Colombia, said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. “Sri Lanka exports good quality products to more..

Woman who tried to smuggle heroin for husband in remand nabbed

Aug 11 (Island) The Anuradhapura Prison authorities on Saturday nabbed a woman who tried to smuggle in 300 mg of heroin hidden inside a piece of cooked chicken in a lunch packet to her husband in remand custody due to his inability to pay a fine for possessing drugs. The woman suspect (26) is a resident of the Industrial Zone in Anuradhapura. Her husband was caught by police for possessing 450 mg of heroin. When produced before Chief Magistrate of Anuradhapura, more..

Lottery seller pays Rs.1000 for ticket with a prize of Rs.100,000

Aug 11 (Island) A handicapped lottery seller of Etimale, Moneragala who cheated a 15-year-old boy who went to him to check a lottery ticket with five winning numbers which carried a prize of Rs. 100,000 by paying the winner only Rs. 1,000 stating that only three numbers had tallied was let off with a warning by the police, instead of legal action due to the kindness of the victim and his family. The father of the child who had bought the ticket had sent the son to the lottery agent to more..

Ajmal reported for suspect action

Aug 11 (CI) Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal has been reported for a suspect bowling action, following the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. As per ICC regulations, Ajmal will have to undergo testing of his action within 21 days, but can continue bowling until the results of the test are known. The match officials' report cited concerns over a number of deliveries that were considered to be suspect and concluded that the bowler's action more..

Seminar on Jaffna Development takes place

Aug 11 (GDI) Media play an important role in increasing public awareness and it is the duty of the media to report the correct situation with regard to govt's development programmes said the Minister Douglas Devananda. He was addressing the Provincial Journalists at a Seminar held at the Jaffna District Secretary's Office, today. The Seminar was organized by the Govt Information Department to create awareness among media personnel on govt's development programmes. more..

'Private bus income drops by 50%'

Aug 11 (Island) Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne said that the daily income of private bus operators had decreased by 50% in addition to the money lost due to extortion and embezzlement. Wijeratne, however, said that there had been around 65% increase in female passengers traveling in private buses, but more and more male bus commuters had opted to use alternative transport modes such as motorcycles, office vans and three-wheelers. more..

China hails friendship with Sri Lanka

Aug 11 (CG) China says the current China-Sri Lanka relationship maintains a sound momentum of growth. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said this when he met with G.L. Peiris, the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka on the sidelines of the series of Foreign Ministers’ meetings on East Asia cooperation in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. Wang Yi said that the current China-Sri Lanka relationship maintains a sound momentum of growth. more..

‘Public must be educated on cancerous ingredients in betel chew’

Aug 11 (DN) The public should be educated on the cancerous ingredients in a betel chew such as arecanut, lime and tobacco, Health Deputy Minister Lalith Dissanayake said. “Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) have become one of the main health challenges for Sri Lankans today. Cancer is one of the leading NCDs. People do not think that a betel chew is not healthy because it is a part of the culture,” the deputy minister said at the inauguration of the International Conference on more..

Drunken takes drug lord’s car out, rams it into prison wall

Aug 11 (Island) A drunken constable attached to the Borella police on around 11.30 p.m. on Saturday took away a car in the police custody over a drug related case and rammed it into wall of the Welikade Prison. The reserve policeman had been taken into custody by the Maradana police along with the vehicle but no action had been taken against him. Sources said that the policeman had been on a drinking binge and some policemen had taken the ill-fated car out to bring savouries for more..

Cricketer in hot water over 'lady' troubles

Aug 11 (AM) Sri Lanka Cricket is now exploring the possibility of conducting a disciplinary inquiry against national player Kithruwan Vithanage for breaching the disciplinary conduct for players during the first test match against Pakistan in Galle. It was alleged that a female secretary of the SLC had walked into Vithanage’s hotel room in the night during the first test match in Galle. The incident, according to SLC sources, more..

Sampath Bank wins prestigious CSR Award

Aug 11 (DM) Sampath Bank has won the prestigious Best Community Program Leadership Award, in Asia Responsible Business Excellence awards 2014 held in Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore with the participation of top business leaders from different parts of the Asia. Its entry has been selected for the award out of 2,500 entries from different part of Asia. Sampath Bank has been awarded this International award for its unstinted commitment and dedication as a socially responsible corporate citizen in more..

Uva preference numbers today and tomorrow

Aug 11 (AM) Preferential numbers will be given to the candidates who contest for the Uva PC today and tomorrow, deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohammed stated. He mentioned that the preferential numbers in the Moneragala District have already been assigned and work was in progress in Badulla District as well. A total of 294 candidates from 10 political parties and four independent groups will be contesting for the Uva Provincial Council election from Badulla District. more..

Sri Lanka says US giving false views

Aug 11 (CG) The Sri Lankan Govt says the Security Message for US Citizens issued by the US Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security on 8th August creates a false and alarmist view of the conditions prevalent in Sri Lanka. External Affairs Ministry said that the right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest are important values in a democracy, and the public in Sri Lanka have the liberty to exercise these more..

President opens Sangavasa building of historic Udawaththa Kale Sri Rama Viharaya

Aug 11 (GDI) President Rajapaksa on Sunday declared open the newly renovated Sanghawasa building of the historical Sri Rama Vihara in Udawatta Kele, Kandy. Maha Nayake of the Asgiriya Chapter Most Venerable Udugama Buddharakkitha Thero delivering a special sermon said President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only leader at present to build up a righteous society in Sri Lanka and no one can deny this reality. Thero further said that the President is showing significant interest in more..

Scattered showers break drought in some areas

Aug 11 (Island) Some of the drought hit parts of the country received showers and the CEB hydro generation reached almost 50% for the first time during this year. Generation was at 14,986 MWh yesterday or in other words hydro dispatch reached 47.25% as against the recent average 21.82%. Reservoir Storage level in Maussakelle was 96. 2%, Castlereigh 84.1% and Kotmale 85.2%. Meanwhile, scattered showers were also experienced during the past 36 hours in the North, North Central, more..

U.N. Human Rights chief says access not a must for Sri Lanka war crimes probe

Aug 11 (Reuters) The United Nations can conduct an effective investigation into reports of war crimes in Sri Lanka without visiting the country, said U.N. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay, reacting to a govt decision to deny investigators entry. SL govt forces have been accused of widespread human rights violations in the final stages of a 26-year civil war against ethnic Tamil separatists which ended in May 2009. more..

MR should take responsibility on errant ministers: BBS

Aug 11 (DM) The BBS Organisation said today President Rajapaksa should take the responsibility for action of errant ministers and vowed it would tame them if the President failed to correct them. “The President cannot shy away from taking the responsibility for the action of ministers. We cannot allow him to mollycoddle everyone including the wrongdoers. If he fails to correct those behaving incorrectly then we will have to tame them,” Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera said. more..

TNA ready to resume direct talks

Aug 11 (CG) The TNA says it is ready to resume direct talks with the Government, provided the Govt does not place preconditions. TNA group leader R. Sampanthan told the BBC that the Govt must stop making demands ahead of talks. He also said that it is unfair for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to blame the TNA for the stalled talks. The TNA continues to boycott the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on the National issue as it feels that process will not bear fruit. more..

Over 150 new complaints in Mannar

Aug 11 (CG) Over 150 people gave written complaints to the Missing Persons Commission when it held public sittings in the Mannar District over the past four days. Secretary to the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons, H.W. Gunadasa, said that in all, 157 new complaints had been received from the areas where sittings were held in Mannar. Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons more..

In defence of the Executive Presidency

Aug 12 (CT) The campaign to abolish the Executive Presidency has come a long way. The people who once defended the Executive Presidency, campaign for its abolition now. Similarly, the campaigners who initiated the anti-Executive Presidency campaign, defend it now. There is a solitary party which has been defending the Executive Presidency since its inception – the JHU. In fact, this is not the first article in this column written in defence of the Executive Presidency. more..

Be Alert!

Aug 12 (CT) Fast on the heels of the National Secretariat for NGOs issuing a circular purporting to limit the activities to their legitimate mandate, which has been discussed in this column earlier, the Director General of the Department of External Resources has placed a notice in the newspapers – under the alarmist caption ‘Be Alert…’ and subtitled ‘Notice to all Govt officials, civil society organisations and general public’. This advisory on alertness comprises nine paragraphs. more..

Going green Laws to be executed in SAARC region - CJ

Aug 12 (SO) Chief Justices from the SAARC region and Environmental Law experts from around the globe arrived in Colombo last week to discuss the new environmental rule of law and the creation of required machinery to ensure that it is is effectively executed within the SAARC countries. “The underlying objective is for the region to stay green while achieving the feats of technological developments enjoyed by the West,” more..

Sri Lanka: Heading towards systematic stratocracy

Aug 12 (CT) Five years on from the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, the international community’s patience with the govt in investigating gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law is exhausted. It comes almost five years after the end of Sri Lanka’s protracted and bloody civil war—a conflict that saw the death of tens of thousands of civilians and the ‘disappearance’ of thousands more. And it comes because no one has been held accountable more..

Rain spoils Jayawardena farewell

Aug 12 (CT) The expectation of the Galle Test match was not just a good performance or possibly a win for Sri Lanka but an unforgettable send off for one of Sri Lanka's true cricketing sons, Mahela Jayawardena. The last such a send off at Galle was a fairytale ending when Muralitheren finished his career. It was not just a victory for Sri Lanka but the way the script was written. Murali to grab the last wicket which was also his 800th and then Sri Lanka to complete the win! more..

War Literature –in a Recent Publication

Aug 12 (Island) I wrote an article on war literature in this column in May this year on war as it appeared, and appears, in the West in the English Language and how it changed, starting from WWI and proceeding through Vietnam to the recent wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan that had American and British soldiers in the battlefields. Patriotism and the honour of giving your life for your country eroded and the misery of war was more..

When press releases become propaganda

Aug 12 (GV) How the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2014 was reported in Sri Lankan media reads as a cautionary tale when dealing with press releases. The report was brought to my attention upon reading an ‘article’ in the Daily FT titled ‘World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2014: Sri Lanka top in South Asia. The Daily FT is an award-winning newspaper, whose Editor-in-Chief is Nishthar Cassim, one of the country’s most senior and respected journalists. more..

Editorial: Zoo keepers or torturers?

Aug 12 (Island) There are many people who wouldn’t scruple to make others go through hell if there was money in it for them. Such is their callousness as well as insatiable greed for dosh. The same is true of some state institutions. Many are the outfits that come to one’s mind including the CEB, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board and the CPC. But, this comment is not about those exploitative ventures but the National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka. more..

Darshini Thiagarajan

Govt. actions need to be consistent locally and internationally

Aug 12 (Island) The govt has criticised sections of the diplomatic community for getting involved in events targeting a particular region and community which lead to volatile situations and urged the diplomatic community to be more conscious of local sensitivities when attending events of an emotive nature. This has followed the growing interest that some embassies have been demonstrating in ensuring that civil society space for dissent is not restricted by the govt. more..

Sanga regains prestigious number one rank

Aug 12 (Island) Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara has regained the number-one Test batting spot in the ICC Player Rankings for Test Batsmen following his 10th double century in the Galle Test which Sri Lanka won by seven wickets to lead Pakistan by 1-0 in a two-Test series. Sangakkara, who won the ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Cricketer of the Year awards in Colombo in 2012, scored 221 and 21 in the Test, which earned him 31 ratings points that, in turn, helped him to dethrone more..

Karunaratne returns to Test squad

Aug 12 (CI) Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne has been called up to Sri Lanka's Test squad following a three-match layoff after the England tour. Binura Fernando, an uncapped 19-year old left-arm seamer, has also been added to the squad for the second Test against Pakistan, but is essentially there to perform 15th man duties. Sri Lanka team manager Michael de Zoysa said Fernando is unavailable for selection. more..

US$ 811 M creamed off for debt servicing

Aug 12 (CT) The money market's excess liquidity declined by a massive Rs 105,597 million (US$ 811.16 million) at yesterday's trading, due to Government of Sri Lanka's (GoSL's) foreign debt servicing commitments. This comes in the backdrop of Central Bank's latest data reporting that Sri Lanka's external debt commitments for the 12 month period ending 31 May, 2015 will be US$ 6,370.16 million, equivalent to 70.8% of Sri Lanka's external reserves (US$ 9 billion) as of date. more..

TKS Group completes merger exercise

Aug 12 (Island) The TKS Group announced that it had completed the integration of two of its finance sector holdings, TKS Finance Limited and Asian Finance Limited. The merger was initiated with the approval of the Boards of Directors and shareholders of both companies and the Central Bank in June this year. This is one of the first mergers to have been completed under the CBSL’s ongoing push for consolidation to reinforce the country’s financial sector, more..

Arbitrary policies bust the auto trade

Aug 12 (CT) Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association Chairman stressed concerns over the current policies which used the automobile industry as a frisky tool to harmonize intensified stress caused by other economic instabilities. The automobile trade today is the most affected and most sensitive trade especially at the hands of the policy makers. It is unfortunate that, today the automobile industry is used as a frisky tool more..

England Lions beat Sri Lanka A

Aug 12 (CI) To many observers, the England Lions top six contesting the Royal London triangular series against Sri Lanka A and New Zealand A loses little in comparison with the senior side as jostling for position begins in earnest with the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand barely six months away. Four Lions batsmen have already made hundreds in the tournament with Ravi Bopara and James Taylor the latest to achieve the standards set by Alex Hales and Jonny Bairstow. more..

2015 budget: Political impulses stronger than economic imperatives

Aug 12 (ST) The practice of discussing proposals with a cross section of people and interest groups before the preparation of the budget is ostensibly a good one. It could elicit people’s difficulties and some budgetary proposals may take these into account. However, such popular discussions are likely to be mostly requests for reliefs without due consideration of fiscal resources or national priorities. These representations are likely to bring out the hardships faced due to increasing more..

SEC punishes corporate Adam for discreetly seeking forbidden fruit!

Aug 12 (FT) Capital markets regulator the SEC yesterday acted swiftly to punish new kid on the block Adam Investments (AINV) for violating rules and discreetly selling a 31% stake in PC Pharma (PCP) for an unethical gain. The SEC directed the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) to cancel the sale of the 31% stake or 31.46 million shares in PCP by AINV at prices ranging from Rs. 2.10 per share to Rs. 2.90 per share. more..