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Esala pageant Continuing an age-old tradition

Aug 2 (FT) …That they may honour these Gods, and procure their aid and assistance, they do yearly in the Month of June or July, at a New Moon, observe a solemn Feast and general Meeting, called Perahar. The greatest Solemnity is performed in the City of Cande… The priest bringeth forth a painted stick, about which strings of Flowers are hanged, and so it is wrapped in branched Silk, some part covered, and some not; more..

Sri Lanka Muslims at the cross roads

Aug 2 (Island) I argued in my last article that the world is becoming a unit, and that what happens inside a country today carries with it an external dimension to a far greater extent than it did in 1983. I argued further that the Sri Lankan Muslims have no alternative to using that external dimension to safeguard their lives and legitimate interests. They have no alternative partly because the civil society is not yet effective enough to pressurize the Govt into giving fair and equal more..

Editorial: Lajja!

Aug 2 (Island) NWP Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera and UNP MP and Uva chief ministerial aspirant Harin Fernando drew a great deal of flak for coming to blows during a recent television debate and critics lost no time in tearing into all politicians. Within days of that incident came news of an ugly clash at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL). July 30, 2014 has been described, in some quarters, as the darkest day in the history of the medical profession in this country. more..

Living our dream in the wilds

Aug 2 (ST) When my explorer buddy Minol Peiris and I finished our A’Ls, we could not wait to kick start our life as campers. Surfing the net, we came across the Lakdasun Forum ( and a trip report to a mountain called Havagala. The pictures were so stunning, we felt we just had to see it ourselves. So after much preparation we fixed the second weekend of January 2014 for the expedition. more..

Is it the real need of the hour?

Aug 2 (NS) Those who talk about human rights and war crimes have been the jokers in this world. Any small incident could be described as a “war crime” or “human right violation”. But it all depends on the way you look at it. Suppose if you want to punish a wrong doer, sometimes you may not have patience to wait until the law takes its action. If you take the law on to your hands for the betterment of the future generation, critics say it is wrong, but the people who got protected out of more..

the case for self-reliance

Aug 2 (LMD) Some nations may have the ability to survive without international trade, but is that feasible in the long term? Can a nation become completely self-sufficient with little or no change to its people’s standard of living? Sri Lanka’s production economy is being encouraged to reach a level of self-sufficiency that will eliminate the need for costly imports. How would that impact the economy? And is the Government willing to close the economy, and refuse trade with more..

Doctors in a saucy fury

Aug 2 (Island) Doctors of both sexes must be having saucy times within and outside their practice of medicine. With their commitment to healing of the sick, one does not grudge them the pleasures or excitement of such experiences. But the sauce that flowed in his week’s clash between doctors of rival "trade union" groups at the National Hospital, Colombo, is not the stuff of such pleasure and relaxation. more..

Natasha Hariharan speaks out about how our politicians are abusing power

Aug 2 (LMD) Q: What’s the good, bad and ugly here, in Sri Lanka? A: While infrastructure is being strengthened around the country, natural resources are being utilised efficiently, foreign investment is forging ahead and tourism is flourishing, the country’s debt is massive. Sri Lanka is being forced to implement lenders’ expectations. There’s also an increase in human and drug trafficking, which has resulted in the abuse of women and children. Politicians are also abusing power more..

Combating human trafficking: Role of multiple stakeholders

Aug 2 (FT) Human trafficking is the form of modern day slavery. It involves trafficking men, women and children for forced labour and sex work. Trafficking in persons is considered to be the second largest criminal industry in the world. It is being second only to drug trafficking. This is growing and has become a grave issue across the globe. Human trafficking in a nutshell is deception, recruitment, transportation and exploitation of men, women and children. In ancient times, when the man was not as more..

Modi’s election is popular in Sri Lanka

Aug 2 (FT) TNS Lanka’s latest nationwide poll reveals that at least half of the people living in Sri Lanka believe that “Narendra Modi’s election as PM is positive for Sri Lanka,” magazine says. It adds: “They view the incumbent Indian PM as a supporter of Sri Lanka, and one who maintains a cordial relationship with President Rajapaksa.” But respondents are “largely against the Govt taking further measures to appease the Indians.” more..

'Strategic approach a must'

Aug 2 (CT) The Government of Sri Lanka with its ambitious target of US$ 2.5 billion FDIs for 2014, should have a strategic approach to achieve the target without which it would not achieve the desired results, Economist Siddhartha Nanayakkara said. "People are still talking about the decades-long conflict that dampened the economy. We must now move forward. The country needs to strive beyond excellence towards true economic prosperity. At present, Sri Lanka has been blessed with more..

Dipped Products Group maintains momentum with new facility

Aug 2 (FT) Leader in the global non-medical rubber glove market, Dipped Products PLC, a subsidiary of the Hayleys Group, posted steady financial performance in 1Q 2014-15. In a filing to the Colombo Stock Exchange, Dipped Products reported a turnover of Rs. 8,741 m and a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 441 m for the quarter ending 30 June 2014. Profit After Tax (PAT) for the period was Rs. 305 m. It is noted that plantations sector financial year changed to 31 March more..

All set for Colombo Centenary International Scout Jamboree

Aug 2 (FT) Sri Lanka is ready to host one of the biggest international jamborees in the world to be held from 1-7 August at the Ygro Camp site in Madampe. Over 400 overseas participants from 20 countries will present in addition to a large contingent of local delegates. Ceremonial opening of the Colombo Centenary International Scout Jamboree (CCISJ) will be on 2 Aug at 4:30 pm. International Day will begin on 4 August more..

Treasury mulls granting incentives for poultry exports

Aug 2 (ST) Request for export incentives by poultry producers has received a favourable response from the Treasury at the 2015 pre-budgetary meeting held recently. The Treasury is considering a proposal made by poultry producers to grant them with some concessions to export chicken and eggs, so that the excess supplies in the market can be reduced. It was pointed out to the Treasury officials that feed millers will be encouraged to buy a substantial volume of more..

Five more senior journalists to be honoured this year

Aug 2 (Island) The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL) has honoured five senior journalists with Lifetime Achievement Awards under the annual Journalism Awards for Excellence Programme which is now in its 15th year. The five journalists include three from the Sinhala print media, one of whom is a senior photo-journalist, one from the Tamil media and one from the English media. Each year, TEGOSL honours five veteran journalists with Lifetime Achievement Awards in recognition more..

Drug lord’s wife and mother-in-law arrested

Aug 2 (Island) Police Narcotic Bureau on Thursday, arrested the wife and mother-in-law of notorious drug trafficker Samantha Kumara alias Wele Suda in connection with the biggest drug haul detected by the STF in recent history. It was seized on June 12 near Kelaniya along the Biyagama road. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the Wele Suda’s wife Gayani Priyadarshani and mother-in-law Gunawathi had been arrested from more..

Beedi, cheaper alternative for the ‘poor man’

Aug 2 (ST) Customs statistics indicate that beedi volumes have risen from 1.1 billion sticks in 2007 to 3.2 billion sticks in 2013, a growth of almost 200% over the past six years. Interestingly the data also depicts a 13% decline in the cigarette volumes during the same period of time – 4.6 billion sticks in 2007 to 4.0 billion in 2013. Furthermore, approximately 42% of the estimated 7.2 billion Sri Lankan tobacco market is now controlled by beedi, making it an unseen threat. more..

The quest to find Sri Lanka’s best surfers

Aug 2 (RB) The southern shores of the small island of Sri Lanka have been awash with creativity and virtuosity as the country's top surfers battle it out in the waters of Mirissa Beach and Galle. During three days of competition for the first round of Red Bull Ride My Wave which were hosted earlier this year by the Costa Rican Diego Naranjo, the surfers from the east coast trumped their counterparts from the south. The east’s surfers got their noses ahead during the opening day of more..

Health Minister fumes as drug frauds surface

Aug 2 (Island) Some drug suppliers committing large scale frauds by selling the same kinds of drugs at different prices to hospitals are to be called upon by the Health Ministry to explain why they have done so. Minister Maithripala Sirisena warned all local drug suppliers who had sold the same kind of drugs at Rs. 10,275 to one hospital and at Rs. 1,468 to another. It has been revealed that another drug supplier sold a drug to a more..

Big draw for CCC Economic Summit

Aug 2 (FT) With an excellent agenda which had attracted close to 450 participants by Monday 28 July, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has been compelled to close registrations for the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2014. The Chamber, which organises the summit on an annual basis, had initially premeditated to register 350 participants, but went further to accommodate 450 plus participants, taking into consideration the high demand from interested parties. more..

Pakistan Test squad leaves for Colombo

Aug 2 (AFP) Misbah-ul-Haq-led Pakistan Test squad leaves for Colombo today to play a two-match series against Sri Lanka starting in Galle on Aug 6. Besides the 15-member team, the squad also inclu­des a 10-member team management. Former Pakistan captain Moin Khan is the manager of the team while another ex-skipper and fast bowling legend Waqar Younis has returned as head coach. Former Zimbabwe batsman Grant Flower will be making his maiden trip with the team as batting coach. more..

Mosquito-repellent newspaper to protect readers from dengue

Aug 2 (JN) A Sri Lanka publisher plans to put out a special newspaper issue this month that will act as a “mosquito repellent.” Paper will be printed using ink mixed with insect-repelling oil and will carry an article on how to prevent dengue fever, a disease spread by mosquitoes. The special issue will be published by the Sinhalese-language daily Mawbima. Mawbima has printed prototype papers using ink with oil from citronella, more..

Govt. to provide drought relief to 11,459 families

Aug 2 (DN) The govt has implemented a number of accelerated programs to provide concessions to 11,459 families affected by the prevailing drought. Many people face immense difficulties as their daily income has been curtailed by damages to their crops. Such families will be identified and alternative livelihood programs will be started for them. Members of such families would be included in micro development projects such as renovating small irrigation canals, rural roads, etc. more..

Four sugar factories to be developed

Aug 2 (FT) The Ministry of Sugar Industry Development has taken steps to develop Kantale, Hingurana, Sevanagala and Pelwatta sugar plants with the view to increasing local production up to 40% of the annual sugar requirement of the country by 2020. Accordingly, 27,567 hectares of land belonging to Kantale, Hingurana, Sevanagala and Pelwatta sugar plants will be leased out for a period of 99 years to Lanka Sugar Co. Ltd., which is a 100% Govt-owned company, to increase its more..

Rampant militarisation of state apparatus

Aug 2 (Hindu) Early in July, Defence Ministry sent out a rather short letter to NGOs asking them to stop, with immediate effect, engaging in “unauthorised activities”. The July 7 letter, which renewed concerns over freedom of speech, was issued by the National Secretariat for NGOs functioning under the Ministry of Defence. Secretariat’s unconventional list of “unauthorised activities” comprised press conferences, more..

Dentists appeal to GMOA trustees to bring about peace between their two factions

Aug 2 (Island) Governmental Dental Surgeons’ Association has appealed to the trustees of the GMOA to intervene in the current crisis caused by the selection of office bearers of the GMOA for the year 2014/2015 and take action to solve the issue amicably. The GDSA letter addressed to the GMOA trustees reads: "The Govt Dental Surgeons Association has been working very closely with the GMOA for a long time and has fought and won many issues in the health sector. more..

DMK president M Karunanidhi condemns Sri Lankan article

Aug 2 (PTI) Slamming the derogatory article on the SL Govt defence website, DMK President M Karunanidhi demanded that the Centre convey its strong condemnation as it had 'besmirched' both the TN Chief Minister and the Indian PM. "Centre should convey its strong condemnation to Sri Lanka. The derogatory article has not only insulted the Chief Minister of TN, but also the Indian PM," Mr Karunanidhi said, rallying behind his arch-rival Jayalalithaa on the issue in a rare gesture. more..

Kidnapped boy rescued in Galgamuwa

Aug 2 (AD) Four-year-old Danidu Yashen, who was abducted earlier this week, has been rescued by the CID in Galgamuwa, SSP Ajith Rohana said. Danidu Lanakanath Kumara was abducted on Monday night by a group of persons, who also assaulted his father after breaking into their residence in Meegalewa. Mahinda Kumara, a rice miller, father of the abducted child, in his statement to police stated that his son was abducted more..

MEP will fully back MR’s Govt

Aug 2 (CG) The Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) gave its full backing to the Govt and its development activities and vowed to stand against international attempts on Sri Lanka. MEP leader and Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, speaking at the 21sy National Convention of the MEP today, said that the party will now allow the country to be divided. He recalled that following the end of the war with the defeat of terrorism the country has become stable both economically and politically. more..

Police tighten screw on PC Saman

Aug 2 (CT) Controversy surrounding the Southern Expressway incident involving Deputy Minister Hemal Gunasekera and PC Suminda Saman, aggravated with the latter being summoned to the Mirihana Police on 6 August. Police have informed Suminda that numerous complaints had been made during his tenure as a Police Officer. Earlier PC Suminda Saman, who had stopped Deputy Minister on Southern Expressway for speeding, had been reprimanded and assaulted. more..

Champika Ranawaka to spill the beans

Aug 2 (CT) Minister Champika Ranawaka is to reveal details about illegal secret transactions and other corrupt deals committed by govt politicians and senior govt officials, on 5 August. he has compiled a book titled, Power and political power, which records in detail, with evidence, how politicians and officials in power and the petroleum sector were responsible for many acts of sabotage and irregularities causing massive losses to more..

Doctors need emergency surgery

Aug 2 (DM) Next to the priesthood, the healing art or heart of medicine has been considered as a sacred vocation with medical doctors taking the Hippocratic Oath saying, “I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity… I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity, my colleagues will be my sisters and brothers. I will maintain by all the means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession”. These and other sacred oaths were more..

The Dilemma of a Minister

Aug 2 (DM) Minister of Health has gone on record as saying that the "Health Ministry is surrounded by four types of racketeers. They are multinational milk powder companies, multinational drug companies, multinational cigarette and alcohol companies and corrupt officials bribed by those multinational companies. The ministry can face this challenge successfully only if all support it - especially the media.” According to Minister Sirisena, the ministry is engaged in a significant amount of work to more..

Aftermath of Amirthalingam Assassination: Attempt to absolve LTTE

Aug 2 (DBS) An official delegation representing the LTTE was engaged in negotiations with the Govt of President R Premadasa in Colombo when Former Leader of the opposition A. Amirthalingam and his colleague Vettivelu Yogeswaran were assassinated by a tiger hit squad on July 13th 1989.The assassination caused much embarrassment to the Premadasa regime which initially embarked upon more..

TN politicos unite over SL’s bid to slight CM

Aug 2 (ENS) The flippant article posted on an official Sri Lankan Defence Department website on Friday brought political outfits from across the spectrum together to speak out in one voice on an otherwise contentious issue. Political leaders raged through the day not only at the tone of the article over the row surrounding the frequent arrest of Tamil Nadu’s fishermen, but also against the less-than-tactful portrayal of CM more..

Britain keeps on mounting pressure

Aug 2 (SL) The British Govt is continuing to mount pressure on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and has released an updated human rights report claiming rights violations had taken place between the months of April to June this year. The report noted that serious communal clashes took place when violence erupted between Muslims and Sinhala Buddhists in the south western coast. Majority of the attacks were against Muslims. more..

Dialogue between ethnic parties in Parliament: Convergence or divergence?

Aug 2 (ST) Half the political parties (11 of 21) in the Sri Lankan parliament can be termed ‘ethnic parties’: that is, explicitly or implicitly, they represent a specific ethnic group. To what extent do ethnic parties talk to each other and manage to advance inter-ethnic understanding? is a pioneering online platform that monitors and ranks all the proceedings and actors in parliament. more..

When Jayewardene wanted to hang Prabhakaran

Aug 2 (IANS) Sri Lankan president J.R. Jayewardene asked Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi in 1986 to hand over Tamil Tigers chief V Prabhakaran to him so that he could hang him in Jaffna. Jayewardene made the request to Gandhi during the SAARC summit in Bangalore, reveals former Congress leader K. Natwar Singh in his autobiography, One Life is Not Enough. Natwar Singh was then a member of Gandhi govt. more..

Widespread forest fires a burning issue among environmentalists, conservationists

Aug 2 (ST) Over 400 hectares of forest have been destroyed by fire this month raising serious concerns among environmentalists. While they warned of serious repercussions on both the biodiversity and the eco tourism industry, authorities say ignorance, inadequate funding and the inability to apprehend perpetrators were major obstacles to controlling the situation. Of the 400 hectares gutted by these fires, 236 hectares were destroyed more..

Ravi: 625,000 tourists spend average of USD 8.06 per day

Aug 2 (Island) Going by the govt’s own statistics the tourists who were claimed to have visited Sri Lanka in the first five months of this year spent only USD 8.06 each, the UNP said. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake MP said that the official figures indicated that 625,000 leisure travelers had come to Sri Lanka between January and May and total tourist earnings during that period was USD 893 million. more..