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Anura Kumara Dissanayake is a capable leader: TNA

Feb 13 (CT) The TNA congratulates the JVP and Anura Kumara Dissanayake on his assumption of office as the third leader of the JVP. “Mr. Dissanayake is a capable leader, whose appointment strengthens the progressive forces of this country.” says TNA. The TNA said; “The JVP has struggled to alleviate oppression and suffering, especially in the South, and Mr. Dissanayake has dedicated himself to that cause. more..

Sri Lanka rupee steady as state banks come to rescue amid importer dollar demand

Feb 13 (Reuters) Rupee ended steady on Thursday ahead of policy rate decision as state-run banks sold dollars at a flat rate to counter dollar demand from importers and foreign equity outflows, dealers said. The spot rupee closed at 130.83/87 per dollar, little changed from Wednesday's close of 130.82/85. Dealers said the two state banks through which the central bank usually directs and intervenes in the market defended the rupee by selling dollars at 130.85 rupees. more..

PC polls: President to give UPFA candidates guidelines

Feb 13 (Island) President Rajapaksa has summoned all SLFP electoral organizers and local govt heads to Temple Trees today to give them guidelines for the UPFA campaign of the forthcoming Western and Southern PC elections. SLFP General Secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that the meeting would be held at 6.00pm at the Temple Trees today. "Guidelines for campaigning without violating election laws will be given by President Rajapaksa at the meeting," he said. more..

Sri Lanka opposition slams govt for resolution in UNHRC

Feb 13 (PTI) The opposition on Thursday blamed the govt for a resolution that the country is expected to face in the UN rights body next month over alleged war crimes during the campaign against Tamil Tiger rebels. "The country is at a precipice and the govt bears full responsibility for our country's current plight," main opposition UNP said. Party was referring to US plans to move a resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC more..

Maritime Silk Road Vs. String of Pearls

Feb 13 (TD) Gamini Lakshman, Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs, is in China this week, where he met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vice President Li Yuanchao. According to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry, the leaders agreed to “fully expand maritime cooperation and jointly build the maritime silk road of the 21st century.” The “maritime silk road” concept first emerged during President Xi Jinping’s first trip to Southeast Asia last October. more..

Heroin menace: Cabinet responsible - UNP

Feb 13 (Island) Some Cabinet ministers were telling the public how crimes should be tackled but all those in the govt connected to the recent high profile heroin case had gone scot free, the UNP charged. Senior Vice Chairman of the UNP, Lakshman Kirielle MP, said that a Minister had called for the hanging of those found guilty of peddling narcotics. "There is no point bellowing rhetoric to impress the gallery, when the biggest heroin dealers are found within govt ranks. more..

Sri Lanka detains 29 Indian fishermen as fishing row continues

Feb 13 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's navy detained 29 Indian fishermen on Thursday as tension continues to brew between the two countries over poaching. 29 fishermen and seven boats were noticed by the navy while on routine patrol and they had been escorted to the northern part of SL and handed over to police. "Fishermen were engaged in fishing in SL's territorial waters using methods that are banned by local law," more..

Crocs stray towards garbage dumps In search of food

Feb 13 (CT) Environmentalists warn the public to stop dumping garbage in public places, as the rubbish that collects attract crocodiles. Recent incidents of crocodiles straying into public places have being areas, where there are garbage dumps close by. Member of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Galle, Nadeeka Hapuarachchi, told Ceylon Today that, wherever a human- crocodile conflict has being reported, inevitably, there has been a garbage dump in the vicinity. more..

TNA says there are more graves

Feb 13 (CG) TNA says there are more mass graves in the North and East which have yet to be uncovered. TNA leader R. Sampanthan was quoted in the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper as saying that he has the evidence regarding the location of the graves and will reveal it at the right time and the right place. His comments come even as excavation continues on a mass grave in Mannar where the police claim bodies of people killed by the LTTE had most likely been buried. more..

SL 'hurt' by Indian visa on arrival exclusion

Feb 13 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's govt expressed " serious concern" and "hurt" here on Thursday over India's decision not to allow Sri Lankans visa on arrival. Responding to questions, Sri Lanka govt Minister Keheliya Rambukwella noted he is personally disappointed and it was a move that will "leave a bad taste" but stressed that greater diplomatic engagement was needed to resolve differences between the two governments. more..

Lanka mulling to be a medical tourism brand

Feb 13 (AT) Merging its latest tourism arrivals to its modernizing healthcare, Sri Lanka is mulling to be a medical tourism destination next-while also opening a new niche service niche in its surging exports. “Due to the support of well-trained, high quality healthcare professionals, availability of treatment centres as well as pharmaceuticals, we are witnessing the emergence of a new sector, that is medical tourism, contributing to our service exports” said minister Rishad Bathiudeen more..

Venusha's death, result of military discipline

Feb 13 (SM) The death of the student in Sir John Kothalawala Maha Vidyalaya, clearly exemplifies the catastrophic result of the attempt to introduce military discipline to the schools by developing a military mentality, says the Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU). Principal of the school who is alleged to be responsible for the death, has underwent military training. CTU points out that the Education Ministry has issued specific circulars regarding the disciplinary mechanism in a school more..

'PC polls ideal for people to express solidarity with MR'

Feb 13 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa today said that with the Geneva sessions coming up in March, the forthcoming Western and Southern PC polls was a good opportunity for the people to show that they were still with the govt and President Rajapaksa. Mr. Rajapaksa made these statements at the election campaign launch of WPC candidate Udaya Gammanpila in Colombo. “We have rehabilitated 12,800 LTTE cadres more..

UN resolution against Sri Lanka ‘counterproductive’ - MCSL

Feb 13 (AD) Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) today expressed deep concern regarding the media furor over the proposed UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka in Geneva next month. “In view of the Sri Lankan Govt’s stated commitment to implement the recommendations of the LLRC which has been accepted by Sri Lankans and the International community, it is unclear how the proposed resolution will productively bring about the much needed changes in our country,” the MCSL said more..

Over 75 PC-owned double cabs used for electioneering

Feb 13 (SM) The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) has written to the Commissioner of Elections today (13) asking him to prevent the misuse of 75 double cabs, sky blue in colour, belonging to Southern and Western provincial councils which have been deployed to local government authorities in election held areas. In the letter, CaFFE reiterated that government vehicles should be used only for activities benefitting the people. Following is the text of the letter: more..

SL slams int'l community on 'inconsistent' policies ahead of fresh resolution

Feb 13 (Xinhua) Under censure for its human rights record, Sri Lanka's govt hit back at the international community on Thursday, blaming it for "inconsistent" policies. Sri Lanka will be facing a third resolution in as many years on its human rights record that includes war crimes allegations at the UNHRC next month. Sri Lanka ended a three-decade war with the LTTE in 2009 but has since been dogged by criticism on accountability, more..

'I too would be served with the same spoon'

Feb 13 (LT) He too would have had to face the same fate if he had attempted large changes in his ministry as the former Minister of Education in North-Central Province Peshala Jayaratne had attempted to do says the Secretary General of the SLFP, Minister Maithripala Sirisena. He said this participating in the ceremony held to open a new office of the Minister of Cooperatives, tourism and Village Development of the North-Central PC Peshala Jayatane at Polonnaruwa. more..

UNHRC told to act on Lanka

Feb 13 (CG) Amnesty International, has in a written statement to the 25th session of the UNHRC, said that the Council must help Sri Lankan victims of human rights violations. The statement, which was made public ahead of next month’s session in Geneva, said that thousands of victims of human rights violations and their families have been denied justice, truth and reparation, as the Sri Lankan govt concentrates its efforts and resources on blocking a credible international investigation of alleged more..

Sri Lanka raises age limit of maids abroad

Feb 13 (GN) Female Sri Lankan domestic workers must be aged 23 to accept employment abroad, according to the Sri Lankan govt. Age limit was earlier set at 20 years. The change, now in effect, seeks to ensure young mothers stay in their home country longer before accepting jobs overseas, officials said. “The child of a female domestic worker seeking overseas employment should not be less than 6 years of age. more..

Woakes puts Lions in firm control

Feb 13 (CI) There are a number of this England Lions squad that have taken a hefty knock from international cricket. Injury, unfortunate selection and underperformance have befallen them. They have all been forced back into cricketing purgatory having been briefly shown through the pearly gates. Chris Woakes has had a double dose. His run of 13 one-day internationals was ended last June and his Test debut in August deterred the selectors from including him in the Ashes party more..

South Korea pledges to share development experience with Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (Yonhap) South Korea's PM on Thursday pledged to share the country's development experience with Sri Lanka so as to contribute to the country's economic expansion. Chung Hong-won said in a meeting with Basil Rajapaksa, the island country's economy development minister that Seoul will share experiences gained by the Saemaeul Movement. Rajapaksa is in the country as a special presidential envoy. The movement translates into the "New Village Movement" in English and more..

China: Want Sri Lanka's partnership in building maritime route

Feb 13 (HT) China on Thursday said that it wants Sri Lanka to be a close partner in building a new maritime route to bring the two countries closer and promote marine activities, including cooperating in rescue operations in the Indian Ocean region. China's top leadership proposed the new maritime cooperation, named '21st century maritime silk road' to the visiting Lankan minister GL Peiris and suggested that both countries more..

Michele Sison chortles (privately)

Feb 14 (NS) I read somewhere that some Cabinet ministers are peeved that I am in the habit of inviting heads of state institutions for chit-chat over coffee, tea, wine or whisky. They are upset, I heard, that I ask them about developments taking place on the ground. They are upset that I don’t inform them of these invites and neither do these ladies and gentlemen. They say I summon them. I don’t do that. I just say ‘drop in for a chat’. Of course I have no illusions and neither do they, more..

A very dark glass darkly

Feb 14 (NS) My series on the history and development of the language called Sinhala (of which this is the third episode would have been dry as dust if not for the fallible scholars of Sri Lanka. If those worthies hadn’t gazed upon it through the glass darkly of their flawed comprehension, Sinhala wouldn’t have been half as interesting. Today, we have Leslie (R.A.L.H) Gunawardana with his glass darkly act. In 1995, discussing the Vallipuram inscription he said “The identification more..

All in the name of facebook

Feb 14 (SO) “I was reprimanded by the principal as there were some pictures of me in my facebook page” she told her parents, She had taken a lot of time to say this as she was sobbing uncontrollably” her mother said. Have people forgotten that we were told not to trust everything we read or see on television or on facebook and even on the internet? Handy advise especially when reading facebook news, seeing as how it functions more..

An open letter to Central Bank Governor

Feb 14 (CT) Dear Nivard, In the context of urgings by several parties in the public interest, as you are aware, a Seminar was conducted, Jan 31, on the subject ‘Repetitive Debacles of Finance Companies’. To be honest, I do not have much dealings with finance companies, except in the past, when assets of Directors were sold in one instance, and in another instance where property of an Associated Company was sold, to settle all Depositors under the supervision of Central Bank. more..

Why did Biswal add corruption to war crimes charge sheet?

Feb 14 (CT) Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs in the US Department of State, Nisha Desai, had wanted to meet President Rajapaksa during her recent visit to the country. Diplomatic sources revealed that she was carrying a strong message from America to be given to President Rajapaksa. However, Mahinda, who had already got wind of what was coming, had cleverly avoided seeing her. Though she was unable to deliver the message to Mahinda, more..

Starlets left in anguish after nomination letdown Ruwanthi asks Why? Why? Why?

Feb 14 (CT) Actresses Ruwathi Mangala and Gayesha Perera and singer Judith White (Ginger) had their political ambitions dashed on wednesday (5), when they were left out of the UPFA nomination lists for the upcoming provincial council elections. They believed their nominations to be fait accompli. While Gayesha refused to talk to the media and Judith had a close confidante answer all her calls. more..

Character of the conflict and accountability

Feb 14 (CT) Neville Ladduwahetty has written an interesting but controversial article to The Island newspaper (11) titled “Accountability in non-international armed conflicts.” His title expresses his view on the character of the conflict but not the conclusion. It is more interesting to note his conclusion which he begins by saying, “The belief among many is that a national inquiry with focus on accountability would be in the best interest of Sri Lanka. more..

Editorial: Scumbags and ‘rifles’

Feb 14 (Island) Two dogs at the same bone seldom agree. So goes a popular saying. How bad the situation becomes when hundreds of feral dogs fight for a single bone goes without saying. We will see them in action in the run-up to the upcoming PC polls. Now that the preferential vote numbers have been issued, most candidates in the fray are sure to run amok brandishing poniards, scimitars and guns in a bid to secure as many votes as possible. There won’t be an election; there will be a fiercely more..

විස වුන පලතුරු

Hearings of the commission to inquire into the complaints regarding missing persons

Feb 14 (GV) The letter I send you is from a Collective of Families of Disappeared Persons who engaged in the govt’s disappearences commission. It highlights a number of problems in the commission process. Govt has promised to carry out a number of LLRC recommendations, including a “critical” recommendation to establish a commission to investigate disappearances. Information in this letter indicates that the commission’s investigative process is seriously flawed. more..

Balancing Valentine’s Day with Poya Day

Feb 14 (FT) On 14 February, people (especially the youth) will be celebrating Valentine’s Day all over the world. Sri Lankans consider Valentine’s Day as a concept imported from the West. For marketers, this is a great opportunity to increase their sales as there will be more demand for flowers and gifts as well as hotel rooms on this day. Yet, the concept of Valentine’s Day, its history and the beginning are different from the present day celebrations. Valentine’s Day (Saint Valentine’s Day) is more..

Today is Navam Poya

Feb 14 (SO) Over the past century, we have witnessed the spread of a new kind of belief system that started mostly in Western Europe and the United States. Like other ‘religions’, this new doctrine has its own priests and places of worship, and has its beliefs about what a ‘meaningful’ life is and how to get it. This new religion is known as consumerism, its priests are the marketers and advertising agencies, its places of worship more..

GDP growth and income disparities

Feb 14 (DM) There is a controversy with regard to the alleged upward revision of the growth rate of quarterly GDP by 0.5% from 5.5% to 6%. This has created some doubt in the public mind as to the accuracy and reliability of estimates of National Accounts. On the one hand attempts have been made to downplay this issue by making out that the GDP is only an estimate and an approximation. Through this downplaying the more important issue of who benefits from the increase in the more..

Special blessing for vehicle carrier

Feb 14 (Island) K-Line, Japan’s third largest shipping line, in terms of sales, further inderlined its confidence in the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), with the maiden call of its M/V ‘NOCC OCEANIC’ RO/RO vessel on Feb 11, with a cargo of 248 domestic use vehicles from Bombay. To mark the maiden call of the vessel,a special religious service was organized by K-Line’s Sri Lankan agent, ABC Shipping, on board the vessel to bless it and the crew, with the participation of more..

Marketing of false patriotism and phony righteousness

Feb 14 (CT) Heroes are born every minute. Events can give birth to victims too, every second. A very few, in fact a handful in all history, do have the real DNA of a real hero. History also bears testimony to the most ironic phenomenon of turning yesterday’s hero into today’s ‘also-ran,’ and tomorrow’s traitor. One fine example could be found in our own midst: Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Just prior to 18 May 2009, on the threshold of a more..

Jetwing Hotels dominates top 25 Sri Lankan hotels list

Feb 14 (ST) The Jetwing hotel chain has found a place in the top 25 Sri Lankan Hotels list, a media release issued by the company stated. Jetwing Hotels is now the largest resort chain in the island with 21 properties within the country. Four Jetwing properties have been listed in the recently published Top 25 Hotels in Sri Lanka by TripAdvisor as part of their 2014 Travelers’ Choice Awards, th release stated. In third place comes Haridra Resort and Spa by Jetwing, located in Wadduwa. more..

Bangladesh need aggressive, but responsible batting - Coach

Feb 14 (CI) Bangladesh are slowly mastering the Twenty20 approach to batting but as Wednesday night showed, they are still prone to getting their calculations wrong. Unlike Sri Lanka, who found a way back in Chittagong after losing their way in the middle overs, Bangladesh usually go down quickly when they face a good spell of bowling, which in Twenty20s, can also be a single over. Tamim Iqbal fell to a superb Angelo Mathews catch while Shakib Al Hasan and Nasir Hossain fell at more..

Ananthy Sasitharan in Geneva Departure kept secret following threats

Feb 14 (CT) Northern Provincial Councillor, Ananthy Sasitharan, who arrived in Geneva on Wednesday, began to engage in discussions with officials of the UNHRC yesterday. Ananthy's travel plans were kept under wraps until her departure from Colombo on Wednesday, following the anonymous calls she had received asking her to cancel her plans to attend the 25th UNHRC sessions in Geneva in March. more..