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More rice imports to meet shortage

Aug 17 (ST) Govt has instructed the CWE to import more quantities of rice from India or Pakistan to meet a shortage caused by the drought. Rice imports were allowed due to the shortage but the quantities were found to be insufficient. The Finance Ministry forecasts that 15 per cent of the paddy harvest will be lost this year. In the meantime, Sri Lanka is to revise the economic growth rate to around 7.4% from targeted 7.8% if the prevailing drought leads in severe crop more..

Did Sanga just say goodbye to SL Cricket?

Aug 17 (AM) After his second inning’s dismissal in the second test match against Pakistan, Kumar Sangakkara, the most accomplished batsman produced by Sri Lanka, lifted his bat and waved to the crowd as if it was his last test innings in Sri Lanka. Although thousands of supporters who were gathered at the SSC this morning were ready to accept Mahela’s retirement from test cricket, Sangakkara’s "strange wave" more..

Junaid to miss rest of the second Test

Aug 17 (CI) Pakistan fast bowler Junaid Khan has been advised rest and will not play the remaining days of the second Test at the SSC. Junaid was hit on the right side of the head by a bouncer from Dhammika Prasad in the 91st over of Pakistan's innings on Saturday but he continued batting and was unbeaten on 13. However, he needed medical assistance when he reached the dressing room and lost his balance. The bowler missed two sessions of play on the third day as he was more..

Sri Lanka’s 10 rupee notes no more

Aug 17 (ST) Sri Lanka’s 10 rupee notes are going out of circulation following the Central Bank’s (CB) decision to stop printing this lower denomination currency replacing it with 10 rupee coins, officials said. Most of these notes are disfigured and the Central Bank is now issuing coins to all banks replacing the old notes, a senior official of CB currency management division said. The CB has placed a massive order to mint a series of 10 rupee coins featuring important land marks of more..

Pakistan tumble towards big defeat

Aug 17 (CI) It is hard to imagine what Pakistan would have felt in the morning when Saeed Ajmal got one to kick up from length on Kumar Sangakkara and had him caught at short leg. There would have been the elation of seeing the back of one of the world's most prized wickets, out for just five runs on the day, after a threatening 107-stand. There would have been a resurgence in belief that Pakistan could, somehow, sneak up on SL, more..

Chennai protesters demand boycott of Sri Lanka Defence meet by India

Aug 17 (ANI) Workers of Chennai's Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) party today staged a protest demanding that India should boycott the Defence meet scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka between August 18 and August 20. The protest was organized post the recent controversy where the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry website posted a derogatory article against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister (CM) J. Jayalalithaa, resulting in an uproar among the CM's supporters in Chennai. more..

BBS to present its own Sinhala-friendly presidential candidate

Aug 17 (AM) BBS General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera said his organization would field its own presidential candidate at the next election if mainstream parties failed to come up a "Sinhala-friendly" candidate. BBS General Secretary told that the organization will prepare a set of proposals based on the Sinhala Buddhist ideals for prospective candidates. This will be then presented to President Rajapaksa and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe. more..

Sri Lanka’s business-like army moves into dairy farming

Aug 17 (ST) The Sri Lankan army, involved in business and economic activity since the May 2009 end of the conflict, is aiming to be one of the country’s largest milk producers. As it expands its contribution to GDP growth – not through salaries, wages and expenditure on military hardware but real economic activity, the army has established its own Directorate for Agriculture and Livestock to promote agriculture and dairy more..

Video: 28 injured after army truck collides with bus

Aug 17 (AD) At least 28 persons have been injured and hospitalised after an army truck and a private bus collided at Inamaluwa Junction on the Badulla-Habarana Road this morning, police said. The army truck was traveling from Habarana to Dambulla when it collided with the bus, arriving from the opposite direction, at around 7 am today. 25 passengers of the bus, including 10 women and a female student sitting for her Grade 5 Scholarship Exam today, were wounded in the accident more..

Lalkantha says if Ranil contests, JVP will contest too

Aug 17 (AM) JVP will also put forward a candidate if UNP national leader Ranil Wickremasinghe contests the next presidential election, WPC Member K.D. Lalkantha has stated. He says that it will not necessarily be a member of the JVP. The party may put forward even someone outside it, he has told. Lalkantha has mentioned that there is a belief among the public that a opposition common candidate will be able to defeat President Rajapaksa in the next presidential election. more..

President calls for a report on dissenting cabinet ministers

Aug 17 (AM) Presidential Secretariat has called for a special report on cabinet minister who dodge propaganda activities of the SLFP. President Rajapaksa has made this move in a context where the ruling party is heavily preparing for a national level election in the near future, most probably a Presidential election. Vernacular newspapers on Monday stated that some ministers of the cabinet, who are disillusioned with more..

AG instructs Police not to use speed guns as evidence against offenders

Aug 17 (AM) The Attorney General has instructed the police not to use speed guns (radar speed meter) as evidence against the speed driving offenders when they are prosecuted for reckless driving. The Attorney General has decided to cancel his previous determination in which he directed the Police to use speed guns against the speed driving offenders since the relevant authorities failed to fully implement the speed limit regulations stipulated by Supreme Court in 2008. more..

Ex-cop’s gang of six caught selling land acquired on forged deeds

Aug 17 (ST) A gang led by an ex-policeman, who were involved in forging deeds and acquiring land in Colombo belonging to persons currently living overseas, has been arrested by the Colombo Fraud Bureau, a senior police officer said. Investigations commenced when a Sri Lankan doctor living in the UK was alerted by a friend that his 17-perch block at Aloe Avenue, Kollupitiya, had been illegally acquired and occupied by a garment factory, Senior DIG Anura Senanayaka said. more..

No Indian fisherman in Sri Lankan jails for first time this year

Aug 17 (PTI) For the first time this year, no Indian fisherman is in any Sri Lankan jail, following the release of 94 fishermen on Saturday by the island nation. Officials said hundreds of Indian fishermen had been apprehended by the Sri Lanka navy while fishing in their waters and with the release of the latest batch, none of them is now in Lankan custody. The fishermen issue is a very emotive one for both the countries. more..

50 northern undergrads’ Jaffna-Colombo ‘cyclathon’ raises funds for heart surgery

Aug 17 (ST) Flagged off after seeking blessings from the Nallur Kovil in Jaffna, around 50 undergrads of Jaffna University who set off Friday on their cycles for a worthy cause to raise funds for those needing heart surgery in the north, are on their last lap today. They will arrive in Colombo this afternoon, and joined by the ‘Peddle Pushers’, wind up their cycling marathon at the Royal College Skills Centre around 4 pm. The Jaffna undergrads are cycling to raise funds for the more..

Senathirajah to be appointed ITAK leader

Aug 17 (SL) The General Secretary of TNA and the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), Mavai Senathirajah is to be appointed as the leader of ITAK at the next national convention of the party, sources said. The national convention of ITAK will be held from September 6 to 9 in Vavuniya and a decision has been taken to appoint Mavai Senathirajah as the leader of the party. Sources said that the decision was supported by the current leader of the party R. Sampanthan. more..

Questions over huge coal deal

Aug 17 (ST) Ministers this week deferred a Cabinet paper to procure coal for the Lakvijaya plant at Norochcholai after questions were raised about the manner in which a Singapore-based company was chosen for the tender. “No decision was taken by the Cabinet,” Power and Energy Ministry Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando said. “The decision was postponed for next week.” Authoritative sources said there were more..

Raging seas and broken promises

Aug 17 (ST) Over the past few weeks, sea erosion at Ratmalana displaced several hundred families in the area. They were earlier victims of the 2004 tsunami. This week area residents who lost their houses to sea erosion, launched a protest demanding alternative dwellings to replace their homes destroyed by erosion. They said, they and their children had been left helpless as they have no place to go. The agitated villagers added they do not want the food packets and more..

Magistrate orders closure of jaggery factory

Aug 17 (ST) Kayts Magistrate S. Leninkumar this week ordered the closure of the Kayts jaggery factory after it was revealed that the factory used an agricultural chemical fertiliser harmful for human consumption. The Court learned that the fertiliser has been issued under the Divineguma Scheme to the factory that comes under the Kayts Farmers’ Development Society. Kayts PHI K. Sanjeevan said on a tip-off, the factory was inspected and 125 kilogrammes of jaggery made using more..

Sabaragamuwa Uni students complain to HRC

Aug 17 (SL) Students of Sabaragamuwa University have lodged a complaint with the Human Right Commission of Sri Lanka over the arrest of the two Tamil students by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID). Rasindu Jayasinghe, the leader of the Students’ Movement of the Sabaragamuwa University said that, the students had lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on the 9th of August against the more..

Regular heroin detections point to spiralling problem

Aug 17 (ST) The drug menace appears to be fast spreading its tentacles across the country with more than 35 kg of heroin being detected by police and Customs on a monthly basis for this year. On Wednesday a 19 year old student from Galle doing his A/L exam was arrested for possessing 800mg of heroin. His companion a 19-year-old youth was also arrested for having 1600mg of heroin on him. Following up on a tip off received in March last year bore results on Thursday when police more..

Minister hits out at European nations

Aug 17 (CG) A top Govt Minister has accused European nations of assisting the LTTE to build its international network. Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa claimed that Europe always wanted to destroy Asian nations and have more power in the world. The Minister noted that EU countries kept on attacking President Rajapaksa and attempted to place hurdles before the development of the country. He said Europe like America is not happy with the defeat of the LTTE as they could not achieve more..

'I agree with offering Sajith a rightful place'

Aug 17 (SM) Chairman of UNP Leadership Council, Karu Jayasuriya, has stated that he also completely agrees with providing Sajith Premadasa with a 'rightful place' in order to rejoin him with active politics of the party. He made these comments in response to an inquiry regarding the reports which claims that Sajith Premadasa has stated that he wants deputy leader’s position if he is to join the election campaign of Uva province. more..

COPE’s control over public enterprises

Aug 18 (CT) An eternal debate between LSSP leader Dr. N.M. Perera and Minister of State and Deputy PM J.R. Jayewardene in Parliament during 1965-70 had been on Parliamentary control over State-owned limited liability companies. The latter was fond of creating them – one such creation was Salusala Ltd. – as alternative to traditional public corporations because those limited liability companies, in his opinion, possessed greater commercial freedom to operate. more..

View from Ritigala - by mahasona

Aug 18 (NS) The USA invaded Iraq on a pretext. The USA messed up that country and then ‘left’. Now the USA is back. The USA has returned because of the ISIS, we are told. ‘Targeted strikes,’ Washington says. We know that when the USA says ‘Targets’ it includes innocent civilians, children, elderly people and so on. Let’s leave all that aside. ‘No quick fixes in Iraq,’ Obama says. Let’s read that as follows: ‘We are not going to pull out any time soon’. But here’s what it is all about. more..

'Rs. 700m for child protection centres in the North, East and South'

Aug 18 (SO) The Child Development and Women's Affairs Ministry plans to introduce various welfare measures for women and children. Several women and children programs were now functioning across the country, Minister Tissa Karaliyadda said. He said that stringent legal action will be taken against those who abuse children and violate their fundamental rights. If a person is found guilty of carrying out propaganda on websites more..

Do NGOs have moral obligations for accountability and transparency?

Aug 18 (CT) This is undoubtedly a controversial matter and at least the Friday Forum (FF) should have refrained from jumping into this controversy while issuing its belated statement – “Democratic Governance, Voluntary Associations and People’s Rights” – against the Defence Ministry circular intended to coerce the NGO activities. The threat to the NGOs came in early July and this is mid or rather late August! No doubt that the threat is continuing and therefore the FF statement is more..

Regulating private medical practice proved wanting

Aug 18 (NS) The sudden death of a doctor while undergoing cosmetic surgery has raised serious concerns regarding the licensing of medical specialists in the country and is an issue which requires urgent remedial measures. The death occurred during preparation for cosmetic surgery at a private clinic by a doctor who claimed to be a “specialist”. These credentials are now being questioned: qualified plastic surgeons have claimed the accused doctor was not a specialist. more..

'Modern Maritime Silk Route: Opportunities and challenges for Sri Lanka'

Aug 18 (CT) Peradeniya University 's Deputy Vice Chancellor and Senior Professor of Geography, of the Department of Geography, Prof. Shantha Hennayake talks to Ceylon Today about the historic background of the modern Silk Route, its regional parameters and the unprecedented economic and maritime vistas and challenges that it could offer Sri Lanka in the current context. Q: There has been debate on the more..

Unbridled power is robbing the poor

Aug 18 (Island) The common refrain of supporters of an all powerful unchallengeable Executive Presidency (EP) has been: "What does the common man care about abolishing EP; all he/she is concerned about is the cost of living, children’s schooling; decent housing". Sycophants chant: "SI-CC talk against EP is a game played by the Colombo elite. The farmer, the fisherman and the city worker take no notice". The truth however is that the EP-perfidy costs Punchi Banda in the more..

Money laundering

Aug 18 (Island) The phrase "money laundering" encompasses a variety of methods adopted by individuals and institutions to bring into the domain of respectable "white money" such assets as they have acquired by unlawful means. Basically, there are four routes that are followed in the white-washing of "black money". These are: Route 1 - Making and investing black money locally; Route 2 - Making black money locally and transferring it overseas; Route 3 - Making black money more..

HR activist Kaushal assures unbiased probe

Aug 18 (CT) Soft-spoken human rights activist, Padma Shri Avdhesh Kaushal, of Uttaranchal, India, who will soon be in Sri Lanka as part of the advisory panel to the Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons, is the Chairperson of Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (an NGO) and has known President Mahinda Rajapaksa since 1999. He assured he would try to undertake a truthful more..

Plunging interest rates & senior citizen

Aug 18 (Island) There is no avoiding the reality that falling interest rates, now down to a single digit in most instances, is hurting a significant segment of the population. The majority of those affected are senior citizen belonging to the middle class whose heart rending pleas are published on and off in the correspondence columns of the newspapers. They have been hit by a double whammy as the Americans call it because on one side their incomes are falling while the cost of living, more..

Editorial: From King to Brown

Aug 18 (Island) Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, apparently at his wits’ end, was compelled to declare a state of emergency and clamp a curfew on Saturday in a desperate bid to restore order amidst protests and widespread looting following the killing by a white policeman of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, about a week back. Protests in Missouri are racially charged but the looting is obviously being carried out by anti-social elements making the most of the situation. more..

'Unfair to compare Sri Lanka with USA'

Aug 18 (CT) Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, in an interview, said it's unfair to compare real infrastructure development costs in Sri Lanka with that of the USA, though, in the case of the former it was six times more than that of the latter. He added that poverty is measured as per the minimum calorie consumption of a citizen in Sri Lanka. Q: Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama had said in Parliament on 24 July that real income more..

Softlogic boosts 1Q bottom line by 22%

Aug 18 (FT) Softlogic Holdings’s Group profit before tax has improved 36% to Rs. 294.9 million in the first quarter FY15 in comparison to a year ago. Profit for the period during the first three months of FY2014/15 amounted rose by a 22% to Rs. 225 million. Consolidated revenue increased 14.6% to Rs. 8 b with strong performance reported across all business segments. Healthcare Services maintained its leading contributory position followed by Retail, Financial Services, ICT and Automobiles. more..

Many questions for Pakistan's batting

Aug 18 (CI) The tale of the Pakistani batting slump is nothing new. A combination of poor shot selection, insecurity, lack of confidence and a fear of Rangana Herath led to a familiar story repeating itself at the SSC. Pakistan was given a target of 271 to chase down in four sessions but it took only one session for their batting to unravel to an extent where victory was only a remote possibility. The famous victory in Sharjah this January is a one-off in recent years as Pakistan have rarely been strong chasers. more..

Beauty before Basketball

Aug 18 (ST) With her radiant smile and charismatic personality, the slim, tall Chulakshi Ranathunga was crowned Siyatha Lux Miss World Sri Lanka 2014 at the grand pageant earlier this month. Still basking in her moment of glory, Chulakshi sat down for an interview amidst a hectic schedule, to share her thoughts on the pageant and more importantly to talk of how she is gearing for the Miss World contest to be held in December in more..

Sampath Bank profits up

Aug 18 (CT) Sampath Bank recorded a profit after tax growth of 67.5% during the first half of 2014. The post –tax profit of the bank during the 1H 2014 was Rs 2.68 billion, as compared to Rs 1.6 billion, achieved in the corresponding period in 2013. "Apart from the drop in net charge against pawning advances (interest losses at auctions and impairment) by Rs 407 million, strong improvements in net fee and commission income (Rs 273 mil), net trading income (Rs 225 mil), more..

Syrian corporates look to Sri Lanka

Aug 18 (CT) As unrest continues in Syria, its large firms are seeking other destinations to invest in, including Sri Lanka."As countries, Gulf economies are richer than Syria but when it comes to individual countries' private capital volumes, everyone knows that Syrians are way ahead and much more liquid than private capital in Gulf region. The main issue now is that the Syrian industrial community is on the lookout for an investment hub due to the current unrest in Syria. more..