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Why this govt is right, economically

Aug 16 (CT) I am not a fan of many policies of this govt; its penchant for unchecked power, dismantling independent institutions and suppression of fundamental freedoms. I would identify myself as a liberal realist and my opposition to the regime over many of its illiberal policies is born out of my conviction. However, my opposition to some polices of the govt on its political front does not prevent me finding myself being largely in agreement with its conduct in the economic front. more..

Defence Seminar 2014: Focus on development

Aug 16 (SO) The stage has been set for Defence Seminar 2014 which is to be held from August 18-20 in Colombo. It is being organised by the Sri Lanka Army. Over 350 delegates including 133 foreign delegates from 43 countries are expected to be partners in this learning experience. Themed 'Sri Lanka: Challenges to a rising nation' the Defence Seminar 2014 hopes to shift focus towards development and prosperity. more..

Those who should have (but haven’t) considered what Niemoller said!

Aug 16 (CT) When I received from a friend a piece about the very recent investigation of the ethnicity of a prominent member of Sri Lanka’s publishing community by her local constabulary, I was struck by the fact that this lady was one among those whom I’d already categorized (stereotyped?) as among those who disapproved of Sri Lanka’s slide into fascism but who’d done nothing about it and would continue in that same indifferent mode. To say that the content of her letter was more..

Champika Ranawaka should not be another fisherman in troubled waters

Aug 16 (CT) My attention is drawn to Dr Kumar David’s piece in CT, “Champika Ranawaka’s Double-edged Book Launch,” for the simple reason that this Minister intrigues me with his doings and his public speeches. He has often been contradictory and that adds to the mystery of the man. We keep wondering. As Kumar David says, here is a young political leader and a significant Minister at that. He is blessed with higher education and is therefore exposed to the universals of life. more..

'Fencing wild life parks will kill 80 of Sri Lanka's elephants'

Aug 16 (CT) Q: You have said, in some brief comments made to the CT in its 4 Aug edition, that the national plan for solving the human-elephant conflict, proposed by the Wildlife Department at a cost of five billion rupees, has zero probability of success, and that it flies in the face of all scientific evidence. Would you elaborate? A: Based on the CT's article, the plan is to 'link' a number of wildlife parks with 'corridors' and more..

Editorial: Thus spake India’s Prime Servant

Aug 16 (Island) Modi magic continues. Delivering his first Independence Day speech extempore yesterday without taking cover behind a bullet-proof screen at the historical Red Fort packed to capacity with children and grownups alike, PM Narendra Modi, as usual, mesmerised his audience. Those who expected sabre-rattling and warnings to India’s enemies were disappointed. He sensibly addressed some burning issues his country was faced with, especially poverty, high incidence of rape, more..

Sri Lankan Muslims at the crossroads

Aug 16 (Island) An article by Ameena Hussein seems to be getting wide currency among Muslims, more than one of whom has sent me copies through the internet. It is a superb example of the New Journalism started by Truman Capote and Tom Wolfe, in which the techniques of creative fiction are used in journalism. The article brings home to the reader what it means to be a SL Muslim today with an immediacy and poignancy that would not be possible through straightforward reportage. more..

Herath's pledge, turn and prestige

Aug 16 (CI) Teams that visited Sri Lanka in the noughties witnessed their fair share of spin-bowling magic. Each series, teams would arrive confident that they had seen enough slow-motion footage of Muttiah Muralitharan's wrists to unravel his tricks. "We just need to play him off the pitch, on the back foot," went one theory. "The key is to counter him with the sweep," claimed another. Nothing really helped. more..

Herath races to 250, Sarfraz keeps scoring

Aug 16 (CI) 57: Number of Test Rangana Herath has taken to reach 250 wickets. He is fourth quickest on the list of spinners to take 250 wickets, after Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble. Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria also took 57 Tests to complete 250 wickets. 20: Five-wicket hauls that Herath has taken in Tests; he is only the seventh spinner to take those many five-fors. Overall, 21 bowlers have taken 20 or more five-wicket hauls in Tests. more..

Sarfraz Ahmed to the rescue

Aug 16 (CI) Pakistan's famously unpredictable batting tripped up on day two at SSC, as they lost their four best batsmen for 30 runs after the top order had provided a strong platform. The slump had Pakistan reeling at 140 for 5, handing control of the game back to Sri Lanka. Pakistan entered the second and final Test with a clear intention to win to square the series. Day one went well but Rangana Herath's five-for grounded them on the second, though a solid 93-run partnership more..

'Younis wicket turning point' - Herath

Aug 16 (CI) Rangana Herath marked out Kaushal Silva's sharp work to dismiss Younis Khan as a key moment on Friday, after Pakistan finished the day 76 runs adrift, with four first-innings wickets remaining. Younis was batting on 13 when he defended a ball from Herath, but though he controlled the shot well, the ball struck his toe and shot up towards Silva at silly point, without hitting the ground. The fielder made a quick grab, then more..

Droughts in Ancient Sri Lanka

Aug 16 (Island) Droughts and destruction caused by them in ancient Sri Lanka seem to have been more serious in certain instances than at present. The first reference to a drought in the chronicles is found in connection with the legendary story of Dutthagamani (B.C. 161-137). The Theepavamsa refers to the famine caused due to the drought as bulu kana seya. According to all the texts the famine was restricted to a particular area called kotta in the highlands. more..

August in Kandy

Aug 16 (CT) If you could not make it to the great pageant – to take part or watch the Kandy Esala Perahera, do not be disappointed. A trip to Kandy during any time of the year can be an adventure and an enthralling experience. Mother Nature abounds in its green mountains and valleys, rivers and lakes, parks and gardens. Winding roads traverse the hills to reach its furthermost corners. There is a certain aroma of history, culture and art in the air in Kandy that, in my view, is best experienced in more..

Partner like no other?

Aug 16 (LMD) Australia has always been a champion of civil liberties, political rights and economic freedom, while ranking high for its quality of life, health care and education. Being the world’s 12th-largest economy, it has displayed sufficient muscle in global politics and trade, to push for fairness and justice. For Robyn Mudie, her role as High Commissioner for Australia in SL is about maintaining and developing constructive more..

GK repayment plan faces cash flow crisis

Aug 16 (ST) CJ Mohan Peiris’s action to step down from the Golden Key (GK) case with the CIESOT order pending has affected GK company’s cash inflow of around Rs.5.4 billion from the intended sale of CIESOT shares in Ceylinco Insurance, a director of the company Dushanthi Hapugoda said. The company had planned to raise another sum of Rs. 7.32 billion through the seizure and sale of assets of former GK directors including CIESOT shares to complete the final phase of paying 41% of more..

Checks and balances

Aug 16 (FT) The term ‘checks and balances’ is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as follows: “Counterbalancing influences by which an organisation or system is regulated, typically those ensuring that power in political institutions is not concentrated in the hands of particular individuals or groups.” Webster Concise Encyclopaedia elaborates it further as follows: “Principle of government under which separate branches are empowered to prevent actions by other branches and are induced to more..

Explaining mirage of GDP growth optimism

Aug 16 (DM) Optimism about Sri Lanka’s future growth abounded at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s economic summit held last week. The running refrain was that Sri Lanka doubled its gross domestic product (GDP) per person between 2004 and 2009, will repeat that success by 2015 and from there go on achieve a US $ 7,000 GDP per person by 2020. These statistics are impressive and create an impression of tremendous growth. more..

SLT 1st half Group net profits up by 28% to Rs. 3 bn.

Aug 16 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) released its company and group financial results for the 1st six months of 2014. Group comprises the holding company SLT and its 07 subsidiaries including the mobile arm Mobitel. The group recorded Rs.31.39bn revenue during the 1st six months of the year with 8% growth compared to the same period of the previous year. All the operational segments of the group have contributed to this growth; i.e. Fixed Telephony, Mobile & Others. more..

Sri Lanka and Vietnam should work towards free trade deal: Envoy

Aug 16 (CT) Sri Lanka and Vietnam should look start working on a free trade deal Hanoi envoy to Colombo said as intra-Asian economic activity was tipped to eclipse the rest of the world. Vietnam's Ambassador to Colombo Ton Sinh Thanh who is ending his term of office in Colombo this month said bilateral trade between the two countries have grown at an average of 30% over the last three years, which was the fastest with any country in South Asia. more..

Colombo to be transformed into Asia’s biz hub

Aug 16 (Island) Deputy Director, Urban Development Authority, Nihal Fernando, speaking to a wide cross section of business personnel at the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka said plans were very nearly ready to transform Colombo into the busiest location in South East Asia. High rise hotels, housing condominiums, shopping malls, the already established race course buildings refurbishment and another wide range of more..

Asian Paints appoints Sangakkara as brand ambassador

Aug 16 (DN) Asian Paints, one of the world's leading decorative coating companies on Tuesday, announced Cricket Icon Kumar Sangakkara as brand ambassador. Commenting on the 3-year agreement with Asian Paints, Sangakkara said he was excited at the opportunity to be a part of Asian Paints. Under the agreement with Asian Paints, Sangakkara will be endorsing products from an extensive portfolio of popular brands, including several that are unique in the local markets. more..

YMMA delegation meets Palestinian Ambassador

Aug 16 (FT) Delegation of the National Council of YMMA of Sri Lanka met the Palestinian Ambassador Zuhair M.H. Dar Zeid at his Embassy. The Ambassador profusely thanked the people of Sri Lanka for the love displayed towards the Palestinians; the gifts and show of support, in spite of their difficulties. YMMA Secretary Nawshad Jainudeen said no goods will be collected henceforth by YMMA Maligawatte. Whatever milk powder, biscuits and tea collected for the more..

Sri Lanka Army opens high altitude athletic training center atop Piduruthalagala

Aug 16 (SLA) The ‘High Altitude Training Centre,’ (HATC) atop Piduruthalagala, the newest and exceptional project of the Army, considered to be perhaps the only one in kind in the whole of South East Asia, was inducted into the skills of marathon running Friday afternoon during a brief ceremony, headed by Commander of the Army, the pioneer behind realization of this state-of-the-art Centre for long running training. more..

India releases 16 Sri Lankan fishermen

Aug 16 (DN) India released 16 Sri Lankan fishermen who were in custody in Karnataka State in South India. The Fisheries Ministry stated that early arrangements will be made to bring them back to Sri Lanka. A Fisheries Ministry spokesman said another batch of 23 Sri Lankan fishermen are still in custody in Andhra Pradesh, South India and efforts are being made to obtain their release. He said 12 Sri Lankan boats are also under the custody of Andhra Pradesh. more..

Car catches fire on Marine Drive

Aug 16 (Island) A car caught fire yesterday morning on the Marine Drive at Bambalapitiya, but it was doused before being reduced to ashes. The Police said that the car driven by its owner had caught fire near Western Hotel, while he was heading towards Colombo around 9.50 a.m. He had jumped off the car to save his life, having seen smoke emanating from the engine. Fire fighters who arrived in a few minutes doused the fire completely but the vehicle had been badly damaged. more..

'India to restore rail link to Jaffna by mid-Oct'

Aug 16 (ENS) India will be fully restoring the Colombo-Jaffna rail link by mid-Oct this year, said S D Moorthy, the Indian Consul General in Jaffna, in his Independence Day address at the North Sri Lankan Tamil town. “Yal Devi”, the iconic train, which used to ply between Colombo and Jaffna till it was destroyed sometime in the 1980s during the war, will greatly ease travel between North and South Sri Lanka. more..

Top class karting at Kart Fight 2014

Aug 16 (DN) The Kart Fight 2014, a National Karting Event was held at this track for the first time last week. The Kart Fight 2014, organized by Carlton Motor Sports Club, Asian Motor Racing Club (AMRC) and Sri Lanka Karting Circuit was held in a festive manner. The event organizers had received over 105 entries, a lot more than expected for this inaugural event. The events had been categorized under eight classes, four of which saw non license holders competing with each other more..

'SLFP won't abolish Exec. Presidency'

Aug 16 (CT) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has no intention of abolishing the Executive Presidency, according to SLFP General Secretary and Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena. The Minister was responding to a question, at a media briefing yesterday (15) at the SLFP Headquarters, Darley Road. He was responding to a question about the initiatives taken by leftist ministers to abolish the Executive Presidency before the next presidential election. more..

JVP to blow the lid

Aug 16 (CT) JVP is planning to expose the academic and professional qualifications of those who have been enrolled to the foreign service, on the basis of cronyism and overlooking merit. These appointments have been made based on cronyism and political affiliation, claimed JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. He noted that appointments made in the foreign service devoid of merit, deprived a fundamental right more..

A divine blend of ancient wisdom for peace and union

Aug 16 (Hindu) An exhibition of Buddhist Bhoti and Islamic Calligraphy is being organised by the International Buddhist Confederation – IBC – in collaboration with the India International Centre in a bid to promote inter-faith understanding as its core agenda. They are also making an attempt to highlight the universal nature of basic goodness of all religions, interdependence and responsibilities. The ongoing show at IIC Annexe concludes on August 18. more..

Ehalepola Walawwa refurbishment in progress

Aug 16 (DN) The refurbishment and conservation of the historic Ehalepola Walawwa-the residence of Ehalepola Adikaram has been initiated on the directions of the Defence and Urban Development Ministry. The Walawwa located in Kandy will be developed as a tourist attraction at a cost of Rs 300 million, said Central Provincial Urban Development Authority Director Lalith Wijeratne at a press conference at the Defence Ministry Media Centre in Kollupitiya yesterday. more..

India beefs up defence ministry representation in Sri Lanka

Aug 16 (ENS) Apparently in view of the strategic importance of Sri Lanka in the context of the increasing influence of China on it, and the existence of strong ties with Pakistan, India has beefed up the Defence Ministry’s representation at the Indian High Commission here. Col Gurinder S Klaire has been appointed as Deputy Defence Advisor to assist Defence Advisor Capt Prakash Gopalan. With this, for the first time, there is more..

Court of Appeal issues restraining order on CAA

Aug 16 (Island) Court of Appeal yesterday issued an interim order, restraining the Consumer Affairs Authority and its Chairman, acting in pursuance of Direction No. 49, gazetted on February 24, 2014. Direction No. 49, prohibits the import, storage and sale of specified goods, without security stamps, supplied by an authorised service provider. The manufacturer and importer will not be able to sell their goods if the authorised provider delay the supplying of security stamps. more..

Kidnapping of Dinidu: Four suspects further remanded

Aug 16 (Island) Galgamuwa Magistrate Ruwan Dissanayake further remanded till August 20 four suspects who allegedly kidnapped four-year-old Dinindu Yashen to obtain a ransom last month. They are Sanath Chathuranga (27) of Kuliyapitiya (main suspect), Dinesh Priyashantha (23) of Galkulama, Sanjeewa Wijekoon (21) of Galgamuwa and K. K. Manjula (32) of Galgamuwa. The child was rescued by the Criminal Investigation Department a few days after the incident. more..

Union wants President to thwart Customs move

Aug 16 (Island) All Ceylon Customs Service Union (ACCSU) yesterday wrote to President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking his intervention to thwart an attempt to breach the international law and the Customs own Act by handing back Rs. 100 million worth of red sandalwood detected by Customs on November 22, 2013 in a 20 foot container at the Colombo Port to its original owners after imposing a meagre fine of Rs. 5 million. more..

NGOs: The middle path solution

Aug 16 (DM) The Defence Ministry’s Secretariat for NGOs last month issued a controversial and internationally criticized order banning NGOs and INGOs from conducting media conferences, workshops or training for journalists and issuing media statements. The Secretariat’s Director and Registrar D.M.S. Dissanayake alleged that certain NGOs were going “beyond their mandate”, whatever that was supposed to mean. He warned that NGOs should not get involved in such more..

A strategy for NGOs to work without foreign aid

Aug 16 (DM) It is not incorrect to work with foreign assistance if one is doing the right thing. So, we have to fight against any attempts to restrict such assistance. But there are advantages too in working with less or no foreign assistance. What are these? If a programme depends on local strength, strength of the people and benefits of working with nature then the local people will monitor the work more carefully and there should be more answerability to the people. Planning and decision making more..

'Call a spade a spade'

Aug 16 (FT) Q: What are your remarks on the recent COPE interim report? A: In our last annual report we had a proposal to issue quarterly reports. Because when the report comes out it is outdated and there is no point even discussing it. Therefore to include timeliness we proposed releasing quarterly reports. Chairman D.E.W. Gunasekera has assured next report will be out in Sept. That is a good development & it means we are catching up. more..

'Muslims pose a threat in Sri Lanka'

Aug 16 (OI) Just like in Burma, the recent years have seen the unrest between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority on the upswing in Sri Lanka. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, general secr­etary of the Sri Lankan ultra-nationalist Buddhist organisation Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)—Sinhalese for Buddhist Power Force—actually claims to perceive an international Islamic conspiracy that aims at marginalising the Buddhists in Sri Lanka. more..

Ten years after the Tsunami

Aug 16 (SOS) 32 year-old Yalini’s neatly-tiled home in Kayankerny, Sri Lanka, is a safe haven and comfort for her family ten years after the devastating Tsunami of 2004. “On that fateful day a decade ago, my mother and my aunt had gone to the sea shore for sand quarrying work. Around 8 am I heard people screaming and running away from the sea; very soon the water rushed forth and I saw my mother being swept away by the more..