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Beauties of politics and politics of beauties

Feb 13 (SL) Politics, contesting and winning elections is not about “showing off power and wealth…or, about (wanting) to outshine each other… What is important is your ability to change people’s lives…Popularity alone will not sustain… It is important the present system changed…The public must set high standards while choosing their future representatives…” These are not words of wisdom from a veteran politician, who is already on retirement-mode, mostly forced than more..

Celebration of 66th Independence Day in Sweden

Feb 13 (IL) The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Stockholm held the 66th Independence Day celebration at the Embassy premises on Saturday. The official ceremony commenced with the National Flag being hoisted by Ambassador Oshadhi Alahapperuma amidst the beating of ‘Magul Bera’ followed by the recital of the National Anthem. Traditional Oil Lamp was lit by the Ambassador, staff members and members of SL community. more..

Promises of renewal and hopes of reconciliation

Feb 13 (TI) As I sat to have my breakfast in the Harbour Room of the Grand Oriental Hotel on the last day of my stay in Colombo, I noticed the ship that was being loaded with containers in the harbour below was ready to leave. Indeed, it did so within minutes of my taking a seat. My short stay in Colombo was made so much more enjoyable by the view of the harbour. I could see ships of all sizes coming and going all the time. I understand that the port of Colombo is the busiest port in more..

Sumanasiri powers SL Under-19 to three-wicket win

Feb 13 (Island) S. Thomas’ College batsman Thilaksha Sumansiri held middle-order batting together with a valuable half century, as Sri Lanka Under-19s concluded the Youth World Cup warm-up matches with a three-wicket win over Namibia Under-19s at Sharjah Cricket Stadium yesterday. Chasing 193 to win Sri Lanka lost four wickets for 66 runs but a valuable 5th wicket stand between Priyamal Perera and Sumanasiri helped steady the innings. While Kusal Mendis scored 37 runs more..

Drought leads to water cuts in Colombo North Save water – NWSDB urges

Feb 13 (CT) A water cut will be imposed in the areas of Mahara, Wattala, Ja-ela, Biyagama, Dompe and Peliyagoda from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. from 13-16 Feb, NWSDB, announced. Secretary to Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage, Amarananda Abeygunasekara, commenting on the decision to curtail supply of water, said there would be the possible risk of water supply being interrupted, if the dry weather were to continue in the country. more..

Moeen's grace adorns Lions' wasteful day

Feb 13 (CI) England were hoping to find something a little different from their next generation but the way England Lions carelessly collapsed after tea on the opening day in Pallekele suggested their wider pool of players are capable of the same fallibility as their senior colleagues. A commanding position at tea was flipped into a slippery situation with the loss of two wickets in two overs. Two more strikes in the half hour after the restart and England's strong standing had been swept from them. more..

Mithun Perera sizzles, takes lead

Feb 13 (Hindu) Mithun Perera jumped to the top of the leaderboard with a seven-under in the first round of the PGTI Eagleburg Open at the Eagleton-The Golf Resort here on Wednesday. The Sri Lankan shot eight birdies and a bogey to establish a two-stroke lead. Delhi golfers Naman Dawar and Vinod Kumar finished the day in joint second place. Mithun Perera, who won PGTI’s previous event held at Colombo last week, pulled ahead of the field, sinking five consecutive birdies from more..

UN to address challenges to Northern development

Feb 13 (Island) While the Lankan state has made ‘impressive progress’ in addressing the development needs of the Northern Province, it is a priority for the UN and the UNDP to ‘address further challenges to human and socio-economic development’ in the province, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant Administrator & Director, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific Haoliang Xu said, more..

Forest attraction: Can SL use ecotourism for sustainable forest management?

Feb 13 (DM) Tucked away amidst a tea plantation and bordering the Deniyaya side of the Sinharaja rainforest is a unique ecotourism venture that could hold valuable lessons on the future of forest-based ecotourism in Sri Lanka. The ‘Rainforest Eco Lodge’, owned by a unique consortium of respected Sri Lankan corporates such as MAS, Dilmah and Aitken Spence, has been able to bring a new appreciation to the value and preservation of the Sinharaja Rainforest - both locally and globally more..

John Keells & Cold Stores transfer land to Waterfront Properties

Feb 13 (Island) John Keells (not JKH) and Ceylon Cold Stores in separate Stock Exchange filings yesterday announced that Waterfront Properties, the project company undertaking JKH’s mega property development had received "several of the requisite approvals for the project" and that a decision has been taken to "commence work on the project." The casino factor remains a grey area not dealt with in the filings. Most of the land to be utilized for the project belongs to John Keells, more..

Land Relations Board to settle disputes in North & East

Feb 13 (FT) The Justice and Law Reforms Ministry will establish a Land Relations Board to clear up controversies regarding land issues in the north and east, the Govt said. Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem told a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) gathering that such a board would help resolve land disputes between civilians and military as well as between people. The project will also be supported by the UNDP. more..

Sri Lanka dodges volatility

Feb 13 (WSJ) Sometimes it’s best not to listen to the IMF. At least that’s what the governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka says. While many emerging markets are reeling from the mass exodus of foreign capital out of their economies, Ajith Nivard Cabraal says his economy is insulated from the turmoil in part because he didn’t follow IMF advice. IMF urged Sri Lanka in recent years to take advantage of cheap borrowing costs by expanding the amount of govt debt foreign investors could buy, more..

'I will not support UNP this time' - Salley

Feb 13 (NS) General Secretary of the National Unity Alliance (NUA) and former Deputy Mayor of Colombo Azath Salley said he will not support the UNP at the upcoming Western and Southern PC polls. Salley alleged that the UNP was not interested in forming a government but was only supporting the existing Govt. He also expressed his displeasure over the functioning of the UNP Nomination Board. “The Nomination Board is not nominating proper candidates to the polls. more..

Canadian convicted in Tamil Tiger arms smuggling ring apologizes

Feb 13 (NP) A Canadian awaiting sentencing in New York for his role in an arms smuggling ring that sought missiles and assault rifles for Tamil Tiger rebels has apologized and asked to be released with time served. “This was my fault, my mistake,” Piratheepan Nadarajah acknowledged in a brief letter to U.S. federal judge who will sentence him next month. “Remorse has been carved in the depth of my heart.” more..

Govt. mulls stringent penalties for polls law violations

Feb 13 (Island) The govt was planning to amend existing laws to increase the severity of penalties for election regulation violations, SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena said. He said though the electoral system had changed, penalties for election law violations remained archaic. They were in keeping with 1947 General Election Ordinance, he said. As an example, the fine for some offences was still Rs. 100, he said adding it was a huge amount in 1947, but not today. more..

Pensions Dept. massive fraud: Files handed over to Police

Feb 13 (DN) Files relating to a massive fraud by certain officers at the Pensions Department were handed over to the Maligawatta Police by department officials yesterday. Those officers involved in the fraud had forged signatures and used forged documents to withdraw massive amounts of money from the Widows and Orphans Pension Scheme. Maligawatta Police began investigations into the massive fraud, Pensions Department Director General Sunil Hettiarachchi said. more..

'Sri Lanka, China FTA expected to conclude this year'

Feb 13 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris said that the Sri Lanka-China free trade agreement was expected to be concluded before the end of this year. "The feasibility study is on the verge of completion. It will be a landmark, historic achievement since the Rubber-Rice Pact in 1952," Peiris said before wrapping up his four-day visit to China. Sri Lanka has set a 7.5% economic growth target for 2014. more..

62,115 packets of expired children’s food seized

Feb 13 (CT) A food preparation centre on Hanwella Road, Kaduwela was raided on Tuesday by the officers of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) and seized 62,115 packets of expired children's food. The food items including potato chips, potato crackers and other snacks were imported from Bangladesh, and were worth Rs 5.5 million. Investigations had confirmed that the food was of a lower standard and not safe for human consumption. When importing food into the country, more..

NSSP given preference numbers despite complaint

Feb 13 (CT) Candidates contesting under the Nawa Sama Samaja Party (NSSP) were given preference numbers even though a complaint had been lodged against the Party for submitting false information in the nomination list of the candidate in the Gampaha District, the Returning Officer for the area, J.J. Ratnasiri said, and added that he had no authority to reject the nomination lists. He also said the nomination lists submitted by the NSSP had contained the relevant details. more..

'Successfully countered false propaganda'

Feb 13 (PTI) Sri Lanka said it has successfully countered "false propaganda of adversaries, both international and local" ahead of a UNHRC resolution over alleged human rights violations during its final stages of war against LTTE. Lanka said it is doing what is required to see a triumphant end to UNHRC resolution. "We are doing what is needed to be done to ensure victory for the country. We do not want to make those action public", more..

IPL auction: The missing Sri Lankan link

Feb 13 (Hindu) At a reserve price of Rs. two crore, Mahela was the second player on the block. Just that when auctioneer Richard Madley mentioned the former Sri Lankan captain’s name, the room lapsed into silence. Dubiously Mahela became the first player to remain unsold. As the day progressed, Mahela wasn’t alone in the rejection-bag and startlingly he had company in fellow players from the Emerald Isle with Angelo Mathews, Dilshan and others finding no buyers. more..

Complaint of inferior quality fuel: CPC launches probe

Feb 13 (Island) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is investigating a complaint that inferior quality low sulphur fuel has been imported for the Kerawalapitiya power plant. CPC Managing Director Susantha Silva, contacted for comment, said that the CPC had launched an investigation as doubts had been raised about the quality of a fuel consignment. However, he said that the contents of the stock so far checked had not confirmed doubts. The probe was continuing, he said. more..

UK MPs, Diaspora focus on travel ban, assets freeze targeting Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (Island) Senior representatives of Tamil Diaspora have discussed sanctions against Sri Lankan govt representatives with Foreign and Commonwealth officials in the House of Commons on Monday. Discussion followed consultations British officials had with US Assistant Secaretary of State for Asian Affairs Nisha Biswal a week before. In spite of some differences among various Diaspora groups, more..

Turning royal farmer into a TNC beggar

Feb 13 (DM) The National Movement for the Protection of Sri Lankan Farmers and Seeds on Tuesday held a meeting attended by representatives of scores of farmer organisations which unanimously decided to reject the proposed new Seed Act under which tens of thousands of farmers will be compelled to buy their seeds from trans-national corporations (TNCs). They decided to send a petition meet or President Rajapaksa to request him to withdraw the proposed legislation under more..

The Punching Bag called Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (DM) The ‘Productivity’ of the so called ‘war’ has not ended. At first the so called ‘war’ spawned a breed of carpet baggers known as `conflict resolutionists’ who made a literal ‘killing’ off the war. They were closely accompanied by members of the so called ‘Tamil Diaspora’ who, from the safety of the foreign countries in which they lived, encouraged the continuation of the violence in Sri Lanka from which Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers and all others who were resident in SL suffered. more..

Confounding UNHRC at the ballot box

Feb 13 (DM) After the closing of nominations for PC elections on Feb 6, Colombo district secretary read out the list of the names of political parties that tendered nominations. Seemingly unintentionally, he could not mention the UNP, the main opposition which has a formidable base in the metropolitan areas of Colombo. Former Western Provincial Councillor Manju Sri Arangala, who heads the UNP team contesting the election, more..

NGJA: No action against corrupt official

Feb 13 (SL) Questions are being raised as to why the Chairman, National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) is not taking any action against a corrupt official of the Authority despite the Presidential Investigation Unit recommending the suspension of his services. Meanwhile, Senior Assistant Secretary to the President Rajapaksa, Saman Waduge too in a letter to Secretary Environment and Renewable more..

Mosque in Dehiwala ordered to close down

Feb 13 (CT) The National Shoora Council (NSC) comprising prominent Muslims and religious organizations, has expressed dismay at the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs, directing the Divisional Secretary, Dehiwala, and the police, to close down a mosque in Dehiwala, despite the Divisional Secretary having no authority to do so. "Some foreign govts have openly threatened action at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva more..

GMOA protests against SB’s Gazette

Feb 13 (CT) The GMOA yesterday denounced the gazette notification submitted by the Ministry of Higher Education to grant approval to non-State universities sans the verification by the governing authorities. Media Spokesman for GMOA, Dr. Naveen de Soyza, without disclosing any names in particular, described the gazette as an additional move to endorse and facilitate a particular campus in Malabe. more..

Yasas says his teledrama has been banned

Feb 13 (DM) Popular actor turned politician Ravinda Yassas charged that there could be a political motive behind the sudden ban of the TV Drama ‘And Company’ which is being telecast over a private TV channel. He said that he could not think of any other reason for the sudden banning of the drama. He is already in the political fray and is contesting the elections to the WPC on the Sarath Fonseka-led DP ticket. more..

UNP reformists mobilise grassroots in H’tota

Feb 13 (Island) Former Western Provincial Councillor Shiral Lakthilaka says the UNP reformists including two MPs held meeting in Hambantota last Monday in a bid to reinvigorate the party. He said that two MPs—Ratnapura District MP Thalatha Athukorale and Moneragala District MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara—former Matale District MP Ranjith Aluvihare, a former Central Provincial Councillor, former Southern Provincial more..

Video: UNP, JVP cautiously optimistic after meeting Polls Chief

Feb 13 (DM) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said today that the Elections Commissioner has agreed to provide more vote counting officers for the upcoming provincial council elections to ensure transparency and credibility of the vote counting process and also to allow the political parties to open an office at every counting centre to carry out their election-related activities. Elections Commissioner has admitted that more..

Pro-Sri Lankan Tamil protestors besiege UNICEF office in India

Feb 13 (ENS) Hundreds of people belonging to various Tamil nationalist outfits, led by the May 17 Movement, were arrested after they attempted to besiege the UNICEF office in Adyar condemning the UN for not ordering a transparent international inquiry into the genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils during the final stages of conflict in the island in 2009. The protesters condemned sending of cricket bats and black boards rather than life saving more..

Sri Lanka envoy calls on Namibian President to discuss US resolution

Feb 13 (NE) Sri Lankan Special Envoy to Namibia yesterday said his country would not accept any ‘country-specific’ resolutions by the U.N., because such resolutions are aimed at targeting specific countries for narrow political reasons. Sri Lanka’s Minister Dilan Perera, was referring to U.S. plans to sponsor a third resolution on Sri Lanka’s human rights record at the UNHRC next month in Geneva, Switzerland. more..

Australian Senate backs war crimes probe in Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (AD) As the international community prepares to vote at the UNHRC on a war crimes investigation for Sri Lanka, Australian Greens have moved a successful Senate motion calling for Australian govt to support the independent investigation. “Australian Senate has sent a powerful message to the UN and international community about supporting an international independent war crimes investigation in SL,” more..

Politicians’ sons enjoy life, poor children suffer - Hearth

Feb 13 (Island) JVP propaganda secretary and MP Vijitha Herath has accused the govt of squandering public savings in state banks and thereby paralysing the national economy. Addressing a pocket meeting at the residence of JVP candidate contesting the Western Provincial Council elections, Jude Christopher in Bopitiya, on Tuesday, the Gampaha District MP said that SriLankan Airline was in debt to the tune of 25 billion rupees and it had been bailed out with public funds. more..

Tackling the polythene and poster menace

Feb 13 (CT) The headline story of yesterday’s issue of this paper, which highlighted the obscene quantity of polythene and paper likely to be used by candidates in the upcoming elections, is indeed mindboggling, both in terms of resources wasted and the adverse impact on the environment. The article, quoting the Director General of the Central Environment Authority (CEA), estimated that around 2.7 million kilograms of polythene would be used by the 3,794 candidates, more..

President’s brother throws hat into ring

Feb 13 (CT) “Late March 2, Anura Bandaranaike, a senior SLFP MP and brother of President Kumaratunga, announced that he wants to be the next SLFP presidential candidate. Bandaranaike’s announcement was an early one: Sri Lanka’s next presidential election will take place in either late 2005 or late 2006. (The exact timing of the election depends on how a complicated dispute concerning the length of President more..

Sri Lanka stocks close lower

Feb 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka stocks close 0.02% lower for the second consecutive day with diversified stocks losing ground. All Share Price Index closed 1.09 points lower at 6,083.39, down 0.02%. The S&P SL20 closed 11.20 points lower at 3,325.76, down 0.34%. Turnover was 665.01 million rupees, up from 548.63 million rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 76 firms closing in the red against 94 gainers. JKH topped the turnover contribution with 133.83 million rupees of market transactions more..

The Spin-Masters of Colombo

Feb 13 (CT) Spinning yarns is an integral component of Rajapaksa governance. “Those who cannot tolerate the country’s growth after the eradication of terrorism are trying to take me to the electric chair”, thundered President Rajapaksa, with an eye on elections. International Criminal Court has no competence to impose capital punishment, irrespective of the gravity of the crime. Even if President Rajapaksa is extradited, tried and convicted by the ICC, he cannot be sent to more..