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Strong winds and heavy rains: Met Dept.

Aug 23 (Island) Heavy rains were experienced in most parts of the country from early hours to well past late evening yesterday. Office workers in main cities were stranded in the morning and evening while vehicular traffic came to a standstill due to a number of roads leading to the Colombo city being flooded. Meteorological Dept and Disaster Management Centre issued severe weather warnings of strong winds. more..

SF has no faith in short-term projects

Aug 23 (Island) DP Leader and former Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka insists that he has no faith in coalitions meant to achieve short term projects such as consensus on a common presidential candidate to face incumbent President Rajapaksa at the next presidential election. Asked to comment on a recent statement attributed to Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera of NMSJ regarding the organisation decision to field a common more..

Rudra’s TGTE to protest outside UN

Aug 23 (CG) A Tamil diaspora group based in the US says it will stage a protest during the scheduled visit to New York by President Rajapaksa next month to address the UN General Assembly. Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) led by V. Rudrakumaran has written to UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon urging him to publicly censure Sri Lankan govt for denying direct access for the victims of international crimes in Sri Lanka to UN more..

Domestic war crimes probe: Int’l panel receives briefing from military

Aug 23 (Island) Chairman of the International Advisory Panel (IAP) appointed to advise a presidential commission inquiring into alleged atrocities committed during the conflict, Sir Desmond de Silva has been briefed by top security forces commanders as regards the operations conducted during eelam war IV, with the focus on the last phase. The period from January to May, 2009, is considered the last phase. more..

Dananjaya makes history at world championship of public speaking

Aug 23 (AM) Dananjaya J Hettiarachchi won the World Championship of Public Speaking at Toastmasters International Convention. This is the first time a Sri Lankan has been able to win this award. Each year, the Toastmasters International Convention culminates in the International Speech Contest, the final speech contest which crowns the World Champion of Public Speaking. A panel of experienced Toastmasters judges evaluate more..

'Sri Lanka must ensure justice for Tamils'

Aug 23 (IANS) PM Narendra Modi today urged Sri Lanka to ensure "equality, dignity, justice and self-respect" for its Tamil minority. Mr Modi made the appeal when a six-member delegation of the TNA, Sri Lanka's main Tamil political party, called on him. "The prime minister stressed the need for a political solution that addresses the aspirations of the Tamil community for equality, dignity, justice and self respect within more..

Enough of the diagnoses, bring on the cure!

Aug 23 (CT) For a long time now, writers focusing on Sri Lankan ethics or morality of some description have described, often at great length, what ails the body politic in this country. I cannot, in all conscience, exclude myself from this lot. However, now that we’ve seemingly plumbed the depths of the ocean of corruption and violence that is Sri Lanka today, isn’t it time that we sought solutions, no matter how minor or temporary, to our homeland’s predicament? more..

Governance role of bank remuneration committees

Aug 23 (FT) After the recent crises surrounding the global financial sector, there has been a big push to expand the scope of board remuneration committees. The intention is to strengthen corporate governance in all financial institutions, especially preventing exorbitant packages being given to top management at its own instigation. After 2008, new Regulations have been introduced; particularly, ever since the controversial case at Walt Disney and the bonus scandals surrounding many more..

Land suitability evaluation for rubber in North and East

Aug 23 (DM) As the Ministry of Plantation Industries is promoting extension of rubber growing in the dry zone, particularly in the North and East of the country, it is important to discuss the subject of land evaluation and selection for rubber. Mere selection of few trees for experiments and say that the entire North and East are suitable for rubber is not acceptable. People in those regions cannot afford to waste their more..

Sri Lanka hosts international water seminar

Aug 23 (OW) The 3rd International Conference on “Community and Water Services” was inaugurated at Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy in Pallekele on Friday. Conference organized by the Water Supply and Drainage Ministry under the theme of “Water - Community Development and Prosperity” will continue till August 24. This 3 day conference is aiming to provide a platform for sharing knowledge, strategies and best practices and to promote dialogue, mutual more..

A carpenter in crime

Aug 23 (Island) The Unsolved Crimes Unit of the Negombo Police recently took into custody a carpenter who had burgled two houses and stolen gold jewellery and electronic equipment. Investigations have revealed that the suspect, a married man with children had a paramour and in order to maintain both families he had started burgling houses. The value of stolen articles was around Rs 500,000, the police said. The police said that the suspect was living in a rented house more..

Floating Market inauguration postponed

Aug 23 (SM) The ceremonial opening of the 'Floating Market' in Pettah which was to inaugurated this evening (22) has been postponed due to adverse weather, the UDA says. The market was to be ceremoniously inaugurated by Minister Maithripala Sirisena as the Chief Guest at 6pm today. The once polluted canal, part of the Beira Lake running along Bastian Mawatha is now a clean and odour free place giving a pleasing more..

Borella residents oppose UDA move

Aug 23 (CG) A group of petitioners from “34 Watta”, Wanathamulla, Borella have filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal against the UDA and other actors challenging a directive issued by the UDA ordering them to move from their homes to an alternative location provided by the UDA or accept the compensation proposed by the UDA, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) said. The petitioners who have title deeds to the lands dating back to 1979 assert that the UDA is acting outside more..

Pathfinder Blueprint for accelerating economic growth and enhancing prosperity

Aug 23 (FT) The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) has embarked upon a process to develop a ‘Blueprint’ for accelerating economic growth and development through a coherent strategy and reform program. The primary rationale is to bring to the attention of politicians the need for introducing a reform agenda in their forthcoming presidential and parliamentary election manifestos. In this connection, the PF is planning to hand over the final Blueprint to the leadership of all the political parties more..

Minister Rajitha refuses to accept COPE findings on CFC

Aug 23 (Island) Declining to accept the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation’s (CFC) loses mentioned in the fourth Interim Report released by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), Fisheries Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the CFC was gradually reducing its loses during the last four years without a single rupee from the govt. According to the COPE report the CFC had suffered loses up to Rs. 75 million during 2013. more..

FAO praised for rehabilitating Pookulam tank

Aug 23 (Island) The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) says in a statement that rehabilitation of Pookulam tank by it and EU has brought relief to farmers experiencing difficulties during the continuing drought. The statement quoted President of Thevipuram B Farmers Organisation, Kandaiya Krishnapillai as having said: "I am 63 years old. This is the second worst drought that I have experienced in my life time. The first one was in 1973. If our tank had not been more..

I’m isolated – Maithripala

Aug 23 (LT) “The Ministry of Health has various directors and generals in large numbers. However, when I, as the Minister of Health, participated for this function not a single general or for that matter even a soldier has come. Today, I feel lonely,” says the Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena. He said despite allocations have been passed to buy equipment necessary for hospitals, officials follow a policy of marking time and he doesn’t know the reason for it. more..

DHL Express excited about Govt.’s five-hub strategy; sees key

Aug 23 (FT) Yasmin Aladad Khan, the Senior Vice President for Southeast Asia and South Asia of DHL Express, the world’s leading cross-border express services provider, was in Sri Lanka last week for the first time. Her visit was hot on the heels of DHL Express recently uniting the management of two of the world’s fastest growing regions – South East Asia and South Asia. During her visit Yasmin met with customers and more..

Jolly tours bring UPFA & UNP councilors together

Aug 23 (LT) The Chairman, UPFA and UNP councilors of Ja-ela Pradeshiya Sabha are to undertake a tour to Malaysia using funds of the Pradeshiya Sabha say reports. The group includes 16 councilors and the Pradeshiya Sabha has allocated Rs.130,000 from public funds for each councilor. They have also passed US$50 for each councilor. Councilors of the UPFA and UNP have voted for the proposal for the tour. Only the JVP councilor of the Pradeshiya Sabha Keerthi more..

Divi Neguma is a national movement implemented by public and private sectors

Aug 23 (FT) Minister Basil Rajapaksa stated that the Divi Neguma program is not a program confined to a single ministry, but a national movement jointly implemented by the public and private sector including the NGOs. Therefore, the assistance of all quarters is essential for its successful implementation. Rajapaksa was addressing an awareness program on the implementation of the sixth phase of the Divi Neguma program conducted on 18 August at Ape Gama premises, more..

No apparent owners for baby jumbo rescued at Matale

Aug 23 (ST) Police claim the baby elephant rescued from Matale last week was transported from a house belonging to the Kandy Mayor Mahendra Ratwatte. “According to testimonies of the apprehended driver and the mahout, the baby elephant was being transported from the household of the Mayor of Kandy,” Matale Police OIC Wimal Shantha said. Mayor Ratwatte was not immediately available for comment. more..

CCD gets 31 tip-offs on illegal weapons

Aug 23 (Island) Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) has so far received 31 tip-offs regarding the persons in possession of illegal firearms in the Western and other provinces. SSP Ajith Rohana said that most of the culprits were in the Western Province and they would be arrested soon. The unit had nabbed two suspects in Pindeniya and Kegalle recently and they had been prosecuted. One of them was a ruling party member of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council, Imitiaz Cader. more..

Errant elbows, and Priyanjan's shuffle

Aug 23 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara had just arrived at the crease when he drove hard at a wide one from Junaid Khan. He connected well, but hit it uppishly, to the right of Fawad Alam at cover. Alam flew horizontally and grabbed the ball with his right hand, but his - and Pakistan's - joy only lasted the few fractions of a second that elapsed till he landed, the impact of his elbow against the outfield causing the ball to pop out of his grasp. Dinesh Chandimal came into this match with some form behind more..

Customs confiscated 75kg of gold at BIA in 6 months

Aug 23 (NS) Around 100 people have been detained at the BIA in Katunayake during the first six months of this year after they were detected trying to smuggle gold out of the country, Sri Lanka Customs revealed. Customs Media Spokesman Leslie Gamini said Customs officials had confiscated a combined total of 75 kilograms of gold from these individuals. Total value of the gold amounts to Rs.300 million, more..

Training for sportsmen and athletes in British Army to be explored

Aug 23 (GDI) Possibilities for exchange of sports programmes and sports training opportunities between Sri Lanka Army and British Army are to be explored in the future through diplomatic channels in the UK as a result of extensive discussions that ensued when Dr Chris Nonis, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner for UK called on the Commander of the Army, Daya Ratnayake at the Army Headquarters. Dr Nonis who arrived in Sri Lanka in order to make concluding remarks at the more..

Lack of proper National Wage Policy blamed for most problems

Aug 23 (Island) GMOA said the concept of a National Wage Policy introduced in 2006 on the recommendations of Tissa Devendra and Lionel Fernando salary reform committees had not been implemented. GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said the GMOA Executive Committee on August 21 had unanimously decided to bring to the notice of President Rajapaksa that for want of a sound National Wage Policy wildcat strike, agitations against salary anomalies, personality clashes more..

Maqsood, Fawad power Pakistan in stunning chase

Aug 23 (CI) Three-fourths of the way through this first ODI, the match seemed to be over as a contest. But just when the spectators at Hambantota might have resigned themselves to watch the game drag itself to a stultifying finish, Pakistan staged one of those incredible revivals that sprinkle 50-over cricket with that dash of magic. The protagonists in this drama were Sohaib Maqsood and Fawad Alam, who added 147 runs for more..

Former LTTE Colonel pleads guilty for Janaka Perera assasination

Aug 23 (AM) A former ‘colonel’ of the LTTE has pleaded guilty for the assassination of former Opposition Leader of the North Western Provincial Council Major General Janaka Perera. Shanmuganathan Suthaharan of Chenkaladi in Batticaloa District has pleaded guilty for the assassination when he was produced before the Anuradhapura High Court judge Sunanda Rathnayake yesterday. The sentence on Suthaharan will be delivered on Sept 5. more..

India to build new Cultural Centre and Municipal building for Jaffna

Aug 23 (Island) The Jaffna Municipal Council was planning to construct a new building and a fully-fledged Cultural centre with funds granted by the govt of India, Mayoress Yogeswari Patkunarajah said. She said that Cabinet approval had been granted for the construction of a new building to meet present day needs of the ratepayers of Jaffna at a cost of Rs. 780 mn and the Cultural Centre at a cost of Rs. 1,030 million. Patkunarajah, who heads the EPDP-led administration of more..

Potato farmers mashed by imports

Aug 23 (ST) A special commodity levy imposed on potato imports has failed to help local farmers due to the increasing cost of cultivation, farmers claim. Potato cultivators in the Uva province fear losing their livelihood as they could not compete with the prices offered by big-time potato importers. The Ministry of Finance and Planning recently imposed a special commodity levy for imported potatoes and large onions. more..

WPC to ban tuition on Poya days & Sundays

Aug 23 (DM) Western Province CM Prasanna Ranatunga has decided to prohibit private tuition on Full Moon Poya Days and Sunday mornings as done by Central and Sabaragamuwa Chief Ministers Sarath Ekanayaka and W.J.M. Lokubandara. At a function to mark the distribution of Rs.100,000 to daham pasals in the Western Province under the ‘SarudhamArunella’ programme, he said laws will be introduced in the WP to prohibit private tuition on Poya Days and Sunday mornings. more..

Ranil turns to cricket before elections

Aug 23 (CG) The UNP has decided to promote cricket by organising games in Colombo and outside while focusing on establishing a UNP led Govt. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that historically the party had focused a lot on sports and as part of this the youth front of the UNP staged a cricket event in Colombo today. He said the youth wing will stage similar cricket events in other districts and pick the best teams for future matches while games will also be staged for seniors which more..

Red Light on revenue

Aug 23 (DM) A confidential report by a cabinet subcommittee states that Sri Lanka’s tax revenue is only 11% of the GDP for last year and that the govt revenue as a percentage of the GDP has been on the decline, therefore the estimates for 2015 are unrealistic and unachievable under the existing tax regime. Report states that there has been a shortfall in revenue even in the first quarter of this year, leaving govt’s development goals in disarray. more..

Blending security and development

Aug 24 (SO) Jordan's Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al Hussein, a seasoned human rights campaigner, will take over from Navi Pillay as the UN High Commissioner for Human rights from Sept 1. It is earnestly hoped that the new UNHRC chief would act in an impartial and transparent manner while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all UN member countries. Prince Hussein has a huge responsibility to restore the UNHRC to its pristine glory and protect original principles more..

The solution is in Colombo not New Delhi

Aug 24 (SL) A delegation from the Tamil National Alliance is scheduled to visit New Delhi to meet the all-powerful Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his newly appointed ministers and other officials. The new prime minister’s foreign policy, particularly to his South Asian neighbours, is expected to be different from the previous Congress governments but three months after his election, when he effused goodwill to neighbours, changes if any, are hardly discernible. more..

'UPFA victory assured'

Aug 24 (SO) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the people of Uva Wellassa were grateful, politically mature and cannot be fooled by fabricated stories and media gimmicks. Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer said that the UNP was no threat whatsoever to the UPFA at the upcoming Uva Provincial Council Elections, because the people have no faith or confidence in the UNP. There is no vibrant leadership in the UNP more..

Sajith’s move(s)

Aug 24 (NS) The faith of South Asian people in dynastic rule is astounding considering all the braggadocio about democratic traditions. There have been the odd ‘outsider’ of course but by and large the political stories of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and as of late the Maldives have been about fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers and sisters. It’s not a two generation thing either, for there are grandparents and grandchildren as well. more..

Targetted sanctions; the new weapons of war

Aug 24 (ST) Sanctions are the necessary middle ground between war and words, said Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General. Today, sanctions are widely used as a political tool to impose the will of some countries upon others, without the commitment of troops or military hardware. The United States takes the lead. Its list of designated persons is more than 500 pages long and there are separate sanctions regimes for countries. The Office of the US Treasury unabashedly states that more..

'President doing much for the North'

Aug 24 (SL) There were reports of protests staged in India against the leader of BJP, Subramanian Swamy’s recent visit to Sri Lanka to participate at the Defence Seminar held in Colombo. In an interview conducted on the sidelines of the seminar, Swamy told reporters that such petty acts would undoubtedly impact on Indo-Lanka relations. “Now it would be a one-to-one between the PM of India and the President of SL, more..

Come on, common candidate!

Aug 24 (ST) My Dear Common Candidate, I thought I must write to you — whoever you are — because everyone is searching high and low for you these days. Despite various reports about various people from time to time, no one seems to have found you yet — and time is running out because Mahinda maama may soon call for elections. I am told that you may come in the form of someone from the Green camp who contested twice and lost, once to Satellite because Velupillai injured her more..