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Defence Seminar 2014

Aug 24 (NS) The fourth annual defense seminar organized by the Sri Lanka Army was held in Colombo amid much pageantry and fanfare. In the words of the Army itself, the event was ‘aimed at inspiring discourse on the rise of Nations after a conflict with the objective of showcasing Sri Lanka’s progress in development and reconciliation’. The three-day gathering having concluded has left one with time and space to reflect, giving rise to questions such as what Sri Lanka more..

'We have a good relationship with US'

Aug 24 (NS) Newly appointed Ambassador to the United States, Prasad Kariywasam says that Sri Lanka continues to maintain a cordial relationship with US despite its concerns on Sri Lanka’s human rights issues. He stated that he had held discussions with US President Barrack Obama and several officials of the US State Department with regard to strengthening the bilateral relationship. Kariyawasam who was in SL more..

Rohan Gunaratne throws some punches

Aug 24 (NS) Parliament last week could have been just another week without anything special to talk about but for a special lecture organized by the Sri Lanka Parliamentary Journalists’ Association (SLPJA). The lecture was delivered on Wednesday (20) by Prof Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies affiliated to the Nanyang University of Singapore. more..

All eyes on Delhi for support

Aug 24 (SL) It is now clear that the government is likely to win the support of Indian PM Narendra Modi through the support of Dr Subramanium Swamy, who is known to be a close friend of Sri Lanka. Even when the bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka were strained towards the end of the former PM Dr Manmohan Singh’s tenure in India, Dr Swamy vehemently defended the govt of Sri Lanka and President Rajapaksa. While the govt was trying to develop an equation with PM Modi, more..

UN probe witnesses being paid?

Aug 24 (SL) Speaking of the UN led investigation on war crimes and human rights issues at the Defence Seminar organised by the Sri Lankan Army, Minister G.L. Peiris claimed that there are instances where people are being paid to give evidence. Several civil society activists and Tamil political leaders expressed their opinion to The Sunday Leader about the statement made by the minister. No necessity for anybody to pay more..

Second ODI moved to Hambantota

Aug 24 (CI) The second ODI between Sri Lanka and Pakistan has been moved to Hambantota and brought forward to 26 Aug, after the Premadasa Stadium outfield was left waterlogged by 48 hours of continuous heavy rain. More bad weather is expected in Colombo over the next few days, making a recovery unlikely for the ground, as well as putting play in doubt on match day. SLC had considered moving the match to Dambulla, where the third ODI is to be played, but because more..

Sivajilingam accepts amendments

Aug 24 (SL) Northern Provincial Council Member of the TNA M.K Sivajilingam says he is open for amendments to the motions that he submitted to the Northern Provincial Council at its 14th session last week. Sivagalingam said that members of his party had not rejected his motions but only suggested amending some wordings. “Some of them expressed their views on the practicality of calling for investigations since 1974 as it requires covering a long period of time. more..

Otara, Mahela, Sanga etc.. take up Ice Bucket Challenge

Aug 24 (DM) Several local celebrities including politicians, singers and cricketers took a dousing during the past few days in the name of raising funds for various charities by being part of the Ice Bucket Challenge that has taken up the online sphere by storm. Among the local celebrities who have participated in the challenge and posted the videos so far includes Otara Gunawardena, Iraj Weeraratne, Bathiya Jayakody, more..

Achieving a trade surplus in 2020: A challenging task

Aug 24 (ST) An important objective of the Govt is to achieve a trade surplus by 2020. This key objective, according to Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera, is to be achieved through two strategies: Import substitution and increased exports. This is a challenging task given the trade deficits of more than US$ 7 billion in recent years and exports being only about 45 per cent of the value of imports. However, aiming for a trade surplus is a laudable objective that must be backed up by policies that more..

Major scale Japanese investments in SL

Aug 24 (GDI) A discussion on Japanese investments in Sri Lanka between the Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Thadai Suki, Chairman of Japan Sri Lanka Enterprise Committee, took place recently at the Ministry premises. Minister Basil Rajapaksa expressing his views at the discussion stated ” We have been enjoying very successful business relations between us for a long time. At the same time, Japanese Govt made major scale investments in our country. more..

SLC crisis defused for time being

Aug 24 (ST) The SLC conundrum that erupted into a major administrative controversy last week, took a positive turn when its President Jayantha Dharmadasa decided to indefinitely postpone the proposed stakeholders gathering which was to be presented under the banner “Proposal for Development of Cricket”. A major war of wits erupted between SLC President Dharmadasa & its Secretary Nishantha more..

Ebola precautions at Mattala airport and seaports

Aug 24 (SO) Steps to prevent the entry of the Ebola Virus disease (EBV) at the Mattala airport and all seaports are now under way. Health officials said that the screening program for new arrivals from mainly West African countries, will be extended shortly to the Mattala airport and other entry points such as seaports and harbours islandwide. “This is an added precaution against the disease entering the country. Apart from those arriving by plane there are several sailors who had visited more..

12-member team plans grand National Day show in President’s hometown

Aug 24 (ST) Next year’s 67th national day celebrations on Feb 4 will be held in President Rajapaksa’s ancestral village of Weeraketiya. The venue will be the Rajapaksa Maha Vidyalaya grounds which could accommodate 30,000 visitors. The Cabinet has appointed a 12-member Committee headed by PM D.M. Jayaratne to prepare a programme and monitor arrangements. Its other members are Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Ministers W.D.J. Seneviratne, Bandula Gunawardena, more..

JVP shuts door on UNP common candidate

Aug 24 (NS) JVP will not support a UNP candidate at the next presidential election. The JVP’s WPC Member and former MP KD Lalkantha reiterated that a UNP member or representative cannot be the common candidate for the next presidential election. Lalkantha stated that as of now, two candidates have more or less declared their candidacy for the next presidential election, namely President Rajapaksa and more..

Police completes Chilaw torture investigation

Aug 24 (NS) The Police have concluded the special investigation into the alleged torture of 29-year-old Sanjeewa Edirisinghe, a resident of Panirendawa, Madampe by officers attached to the Unresolved Crimes Unit of the Crime Branch of the Chilaw Police Headquarters. Police Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said he will be able to reveal the findings of the investigation this week. An Assistant Superintendent of Police from the area had been appointed to look into the case. more..

UNP in turmoil once again

Aug 24 (NS) The UNP is heading towards yet another crisis with Hambantota District MP and former second-in-command Sajith Premadasa making a bid to regain his Deputy Leader post, but stating that certain conditions had to be met. While both party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the head of the Leadership Council Karu Jayasuriya have openly acknowledged that Premadasa has an important role to play, the current party structure stand in the way of his aspirations. more..

OHCHR strengthens probe

Aug 24 (SL) The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has strengthened its investigation on the war in Sri Lanka, by adding more clauses to the terms of reference (TOR) which includes a clause on the assistance expected from foreign governments, and the basis under which findings of the investigation will be accepted. The new clauses note that consistent with the practice of other UN more..

Rameswaram fishermen call off Pamban bridge siege agitation

Aug 24 (Hindu) Rameswaram fishermen, who have been on an indefinite strike to secure their boats impounded in Sri Lanka, dropped their plan to lay siege to the Pamban bridge, scheduled on Saturday, following appeals from officials. Leaders of 11 fishermen associations called off the agitation as revenue and police officials pointed out that it would cause inconvenience to pilgrims and tourists visiting the island, and a Sri Lankan delegation, led by the Fisheries Minister, more..

Indo-Lanka discussions to expedite drug raids successful

Aug 24 (NS) Senior police officials of both India and Sri Lanka have held special discussions aimed at expediting drug raids. The discussions between the two delegations took place in New Delhi on August 20 and 21. The two parties reached agreement on several key issues at these discussions. Accordingly, they have agreed to speedily exchange intelligence information related to the drug trade, to conduct rapid raids based on such information and also to identify and take action when more..

War-ravaged and abandoned Atchchuveli Industrial Zone reopens in Jaffna

Aug 24 (ST) The once-abandoned Atchchuveli Industrial Estate in Jaffna, the north’s biggest industrial zone at one time until the war ruined all hopes, reopens on Wednesday after a massive overhaul and infusion of capital that is set to finally stimulate small and medium scale businesses in the post-war era. The rehabilitated and modernised Small and Medium Industrial Estate at Atchchuveli, Jaffna of the Ministry of Traditional Industries more..

Rs. 4b. for CSR but many projects unsustainable

Aug 24 (LBT) Forty private sector entities collectively spend Rs. 4 billion annually on CSR programmes across this nation, according to a study, but many of these programmes have, over the years, been unsustainable due to various reasons. In the recent decade the private sector has greatly increased the amount of resources allocated to activities classified as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR, which is interchangeable for Corporate Citizenship, is linked to a company’s Triple Bottom Line more..

Visa on hold for US Journo

Aug 24 (SL) External Affairs Ministry says a request for a visa by a Delhi based US journalist has been put on hold as the time is not conducive to approve his visit. South Asia Correspondent for The New York Times, Gardiner Harris, had tweeted saying he had applied for a Journalist visa in June to visit Sri Lanka but he is yet to be granted the same. A spokesperson at the External Affairs Ministry confirmed that a request had been received from Gardiner Harris to visit Sri Lanka to more..

Govt slams NPC, TNA

Aug 24 (SL) The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) is not interested in developing the North or working for the people, but instead it is on a political drive to discredit the govt’s efforts, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, said. Minister accused the TNA of using the 13th Amendment for their political goals. “If the provincial councils in all other areas can work without police powers, why is it that only the TNA is harping on this issue? more..

'Sri Lanka army will quit north, if we’re mum'

Aug 24 (DC) Struggling to recover from successive poll defeats and plagued by internal strife, TNCC’s popularity has hit the nadir. But then, state president B.S. Gnanadesikan has done better than most of his predecessors. The advocate-politician exudes confidence that his party is a still force to be reckoned with in TN. Apart from attributing the poll defeat to national level anti-incumbency and charging the Dravidian parties of exploiting Lankan Tamils for political mileage, more..

Embilipitiya Mill: Huge deal like waste paper

Aug 24 (ST) In 2011, Ministers approved a project where the Embilipitiya Paper Mill owned by the National Paper Company Limited was given on a thirty year lease to an Australian firm, Perth Engineering and Maintenance. The precincts covered 44.7 acres and the agreement was for Rs 400 million. This was after the Chief Government Valuer valued the machinery and the vehicles. The deal was signed by the Australian firm’s local offshoot, Aus-Lanka Paper Company. more..

Drug war: Deal with UN

Aug 24 (ST) A shift in narcotics trafficking patterns from land-based routes across the Central Asian region to maritime channels and Colombo becoming a strategic hub have prompted the Govt to sign an agreement with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In terms of the agreement, the UNODC will “develop mechanisms and provide support” with the help of foreign navies to help Sri Lanka accept a limited number of more..

Rains affect over 1,000 in three districts

Aug 24 (NS) According to the DMC 1,350 persons and 330 families have been affected by the severe weather conditions that have prevailed over the island. Nuwara Eliya, Galle and Trincomalee districts are highly affected by the storms. It has been reported that 35 houses in the Trincomalee district are partially damaged due to adverse weather conditions. Landslide warnings had earlier been issued for Galle, Matara, Kalutara and Kegalle districts due to adverse weather conditions. more..

Construction work upto 90 metres of 350 metre ‘Lotus Tower’ completed

Aug 24 (ST) The 350 metre high, 11-storied tower called ‘Lotus Tower’ is now under construction in a rapid pace with the strict supervision of the TRC. TRC Director-General Anusha Pelpita said that construction work upto 90 metres of the tower has been completed with the whole structure to be completed by June next year. He noted that he is personally monitoring the construction work by visiting the site twice weekly. The total cost will be in the region of US$104 million which more..

US probes monitoring MP’s huge deals with PR firms

Aug 24 (ST) Revelations in the Sunday Times in the past two weeks have prompted a review of mandatory information forwarded to the US Department of Justice by public relations (PR) and lobbying firms assigned by Sri Lanka using vast sums of public money. The FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) Unit of the US Justice Department said it would conduct a re-scrutiny. Timothy Pugh of the Unit functioning more..

Preparing for future drought

Aug 24 (Island) Two monsoons bless this island of ours although they no longer arrive with clockwork precision as used to be the case some decades ago. There is no need to labor the reasons why as they are too well known to bear repetition. The fact that we have been seeing some rain in the last couple of days would lull many of us into complacency that the long drought that had caused so much hardship to our countrymen living in the worst-hit areas has finally ended. more..

Leaving home for university

Aug 24 (Island) I well remember the terrible pain that started in my heart and went to my head 25 years ago when we left my younger son at the Katunayake airport to take his first step to a university in America. The JVP were at the height of their disruption of civil society with no set aim except to create mayhem and to murder those who disobeyed their orders. Fear psychosis was engendered and boys, we felt, were particularly vulnerable, targeted as JVP conscripts. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Aug 24 (ST) Wamey inney Premadasa. Dakuney Inney Ranil or on the left is (Sajith Ranasinghe) Premadasa and on the right is Ranil (Wickremesinghe), guffawed President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Tuesday. It was after the Foreign Correspondents’ Association (FCA) gave a large, framed picture of two elephants fighting at the Yala National Park. Occasion was a breakfast meeting the FCA held with him at Temple Trees. more..

LIOC urges transparent pricing

Aug 24 (NS) The Chairman of Lanka IOC (LIOC), Makrand Nene says it is of great importance that the Sri Lanka Govt evolves a transparent pricing system for fuels which would not only benefit the public but would also pave way for systematic infrastructure development in the energy sector. According to the LIOC management, there remains minimal correlation of local prices to International world market prices, more..

The anatomy of the beauty salon death

Aug 24 (Island) How a partially lit room decorated with dusty artificial flowers on its walls and instruments stored in a broken old refrigerator with a modified dental chair serving as an operating table becomes a ‘surgical theatre’ remains a question. With no emergency tray at hand holding equipment such as ambu bag, ambu masks, ET tubes, IV canulae, butterfly cannulae, needles and syringes or emergency drugs, more..

Solid waste project generates stink

Aug 24 (NS) Director General, Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Dr. Saranga Alahapperuma refuted a claim that an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) had been done for a project that would dispose solid waste in the metro Colombo area dumping it in Aruakkalu, Puttalam. Alahapperuma said that it was still in progress. The project has already irked environmentalists as well as residents in Araukkalu. more..

Teacher unions contradict each other

Aug 24 (NS) Frictions have appeared between the Ceylon Teachers’ Services Union (CTSU) and the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) regarding claims that the 2012 Grade Five Scholarship exam paper had been leaked prior to the exam. Secretary of the CTSU, Mahinda Jayasinghe said that they are confident that Minister Bandula Gunawardana will have to resign from his post, once they prove that the this year’s more..

Keeping it within the family, turning the House into an heirloom

Aug 24 (ST) What enables a politician to get elected, and how important is it that he comes from a dynastic family: that is, where an immediate family member or close relative is already in political office at the national or provincial/local level? Analysis by, online platform that monitors and ranks all the proceedings and actors in Parliament, shows that dynastic influence maybe increasing in Sri Lanka’s Parliament. more..

Innovation offers hope in Sri Lanka’s poverty-stricken North

Aug 24 (IPS) In this dust bowl of a village deep inside Sri Lanka’s former conflict zone, locals will sometimes ask visitors to rub their palms on the ground and watch their skin immediately take on a dark bronze hue, proof of the fertility of the soil. Village lore in Oddusuddan, located in the Mullaitivu district, some 338 km north of Colombo, has it that the land is so fertile, anything will grow here. 30 years of civil war in the Northern Province, more..

Sporadic showers and thunder storms not alleviating drought

Aug 24 (Island) The existing severe drought in areas including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Mannar, Batticaloa, Monaragala, Badulla and Hambantota will prevail till the inter-monsoon period in early October despite sporadic showers and thunderstorms experienced in certain areas. Such sporadic showers had no impact on the water levels in the tanks in the North Central areas. "Parakrama Samudra has only a 38% of its more..

Fishing dispute: Minister rejects Swamy’s call for temporary permits

Aug 24 (ST) Fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratna rejected a call to allow Indian fishermen to fish in Sri Lankan waters on a permit system for three years. He was responding to a call by BJP senior leader Subramanian Swamy who made the suggestion at a seminar organised by the Defence Ministry in Colombo this week. “There is no possibility of agreeing to such a request. Nobody can take an arbitrary decision on this,” Dr Senaratne said. more..