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House proud

Feb 15 (SMH) For a style-savvy insider's guide to the area in and around the southern Sri Lankan city of Galle, there can be few better-placed sources than Sydney business owner Tony Bannister. The founder of fashion forecasting agency Scout, Tony fell in love with Sri Lanka while on holiday six years ago and has just put the finishing touches to his own slice of paradise, a deluxe holiday rental, Ivory House.That Tony's partner happens to be the general manager of one of London's five-star more..

Prison escapee caught after 17 years

Feb 15 (AD) A convicted murderer who had been evading arrest for over 17 years after escaping from the Welikada Prison has been apprehended in the Pulasthigama area in Polonnaruwa. A man in question was arrested by Polonnaruwa Police in connection with a murder in 1987 before being tried at the Anuradhapura Court and convicted. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison from Sept 17, 1996. However, the inmate escaped from prison on July 22, 1997 and had gone into hiding more..

Secretary Defence inspects Colombo development projects

Feb 15 (MoD) Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa made an inspection visit to review the progress of the housing complexes nearing completion and the Abdul Gafoor Building in Main Street, Colombo today (13). He also reviewed the progress of the Estate 54, Estate 66 sites and gave necessary instructions to the officials entrusted with the constructions. more..

Children’s safety at school: Who is responsible?

Feb 15 (ST) Despite the recent accident at Ananda College where a student was killed when he was pinned against a wall by a turf roller, school authorities still do not seem to take the safety of students in their care seriously. The Sunday Times captured a few incidents where children were in situations where they appeared to be at risk. A particular incident captured by our cameraman was an instance at a school in Panadura where children were seen at the of top of more..

Video: White vans active again, Sunil of ‘Wanatha’ abducted

Feb 15 (LT) Samaraweera Sunil, a resident of 34th ‘Waththa’ at Wanathamulla, who had been active in the struggle against the move to destruct houses and arbitrarily remove residents from the area, has been abducted by an armed group today. Residents in the area agitated against the sinister act. Personnel of security forces had come to the ‘Waththa’ looking for abducted Samaraweera Sunil on the 13th say residents. Residents engaged in an agitation at Dematagoda Railway Grounds more..

Sri Lanka 2013

Wigneswaran's statement is food for thought

Feb 16 (SO) When President Rajapaksa first took office in November 2005, Sri Lanka's economy was in a near state of collapse as terrorism was at its peak. Over 20 million Sri Lankans lived in mortal fear due to the ruthless terror unleashed by the LTTE. At the time over half a million Tamils in the North and the East were forcibly held as a human shield by Tiger terrorists. Although there are a myriad of godfathers and human rights champions today who are weeping buckets of more..

A five star democratic farce

Feb 16 (SL) Election campaigns for the provincial councils of the Western and Southern Province kicked off even before the nomination lists were officially released thus making it the first violation of the Elections Law. Other violations followed soon with an Opposition candidates car being fired on in Sri Lanka’s Wild South and a worthy dressed in military uniform intimidating hapless policemen who know better than try to enforce the law on future law makers. more..

'I did not parachute into politics'

Feb 16 (SO) Young, ambitious and outspoken politician Hirunika Premachandra speaks of her dreams in her political career in an interview. Q: The death of a politician is now a qualification and short-cut by kith and kin to launch a political career, even by those who lack dedication, interest and the will to serve the people. Can you differentiate yourself from this category? A: In countries like - India and SL- this is a more..

Oh Keheliya!

Feb 16 (NS) A few weeks ago The Nation exclusively reported that Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella or someone in his personal staff had benefited from an irregular transaction to the tune of Rs 3.3 million. A few days ago, while briefing the media on Cabinet decisions, a journalist asked the minister ‘whether the attacks launched on him by a ‘Government-controlled newspaper’ recently reflected friction between him and higher echelons of the Government.’ more..

SriLankan’s travails

Feb 16 (Island) Most Lankans are only too well aware that SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier, is loaded with debt and is a heavily loss making operation. There are undoubtedly reasons for its predicament including the cost of fuel. It has unveiled plans to re-fleet at massive cost to enable it to overcome its predicament in an industry where returns in relation to capital invested are slender at best. We can only wish it well and fervently hope that good money is not being thrown after more..

'Differences more marked when in opposition'

Feb 16 (SO) UNP and the SLFP are the two most formidable political forces since the parliamentary democracy was introduced in the country. Both these parties have ruled the country over thirty years apiece since independence under different leaders. However, the UNP had never remained stagnant in the Opposition for more than one parliamentary term prior to 2001 General Election. more..

Geneva: Focus on damage control now

Feb 16 (ST) By the Indian Minister of External Affairs meeting a team of visiting Sri Lankan journalists in New Delhi this week, the public here had the benefit of a clearer picture of the Indian position on the anti-Sri Lanka resolution coming up before the UNHRC in Geneva next month. When the Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs visited the Indian capital hardly a fortnight back, the customary media statement was not issued by his office. The local media that faithfully carry more..

Polls chief’s search for level playing field

Feb 16 (ST) My Dear Mahinda Deshapriya, I am writing to you because you have in recent days assured us that you will be holding free and fair elections next month for the Provincial Councils in Basnaahira and Dakuna and we are all waiting to see how you would do that. As far as I know, Mahinda, for an election to be free and fair, all the parties and candidates should contest in a level playing field with no candidate or party having an advantage over another. more..

'Govt. not focused on HR issues'

Feb 16 (SL) JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti is of the view that the govt is not focused on dealing with the Human Rights issues faced by the country and is instead focusing on using the UNHRC sessions to be held in Geneva to gain more votes at the upcoming elections. He says that while the JVP had advised the govt from the very beginning on setting up credible investigations in a bid to find solutions to the issues within the country, more..

March of folly or opportunity?

Feb 16 (NS) March is about ‘Geneva’ and has been for the past several years. March is also time for opinions from all quarters about how to handle ‘Geneva’. Naturally policy decisions and choices will be called ‘correct’ by some while others would use the word ‘folly’. The word in the street regarding ‘Geneva’ (which is, for those who might wonder, about human rights and violations thereof, allegedly, by Sri Lanka, along with candy-words such as reconciliation and accountability) is more..

Warning: Debate on smoking might not sizzle

Feb 16 (NS) The House sits this week from Tuesday to Friday. There are two important debates listed for Tuesday and Wednesday. The debate on new regulations introduced under the Land Acquisition Act is scheduled for Tuesday while the debate on three regulations under the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act is scheduled for Wednesday. On Thursday the time has been allotted to debate on two Regulations under the National Aquaculture Development Authority Act. more..

'We should have listened to Jayantha'

Feb 16 (Island) Former captain and current Chairman of Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya says country’s cricket officials should have backed SLC Chief Jayantha Dharmadasa who warned of dire consequences if SLC didn’t support Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which initiated the much criticized changes to the governance of ICC last month. After attending the January 9th ICC meeting in Dubai, Dharmadasa told SLC’s more..

UNP comes out of the closet on Geneva

Feb 16 (SL) For the first time since the end of the war, the UNP, took a strong stance on Thursday with regard to the international pressure faced by the Sri Lankan govt on the reconciliation front. Issuing a statement on Thursday, the UNP said the govt should carry out a credible internal investigation into the alleged human rights violations, especially in the final phase of the war. “This is a situation which could have been easily avoided had the govt heeded the calls of the UNP and many others who more..

'Sri Lanka Under-19 can be dark horses'

Feb 16 (Island) The Sri Lankan team can be a dark horse in the ICC Under-19 World Cup currently underway in the UAE, according to their coach Naveed Nawaz. Sri Lanka won both their warm-up matches against India and Namibia before beating New Zealand in their first game of the tournament on Friday. Nawaz was pleased with their wins against the defending champions India and New Zealand. "The victory against India was huge, considering we lost to them in a close encounter in the semis more..

'Nothing can be published about corruption in the first family'

Feb 16 (Island) Interview with Mangala Samaraweera. Sunday Island (SI): Why would the people of this country  want to vote for the UNP at this point in time? Mangala Samaraweera (MS): Because the country is facing an unprecedented crisis as far as governance, democracy and the economy is concerned and the UNP is the only party with the proven track record, the vision to provide the alternative that more..

India’s snub to Lanka: 'We’re not brothers, we’re just pals'

Feb 16 (ST) Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday delivered a telling snub to Lanka when he declared to a visiting Sri Lankan media delegation in his New Delhi office: “We are not the big brother, we are just partners” In one cutting sentence he effectively severed the umbilical cord that had stretched across the Palk Strait for centuries binding both nations in a special relationship of goodwill and cooperation born of a broad common cultural heritage. more..

Staying out – it’s not rugby sir!

Feb 16 (ST) The excitement prevailed at Reid Avenue Royal Complex from the quarter-final stage of day 2 of the Under 18 Schools Sevens tournament. What looked like another drab event turned thumbs up as Trinity, Dharmaraja, Isipathana, Kingswood, Royal and St. Peter’s entered the quarter-final stage. It was obvious that schools and leading rugby playing schools draw crowds. The games would have been more exciting if most of the twelve leading teams took the field. more..

The inside story of South Africa’s betrayal

Feb 16 (ST) Let’s call them the chokers. Well! At least for some time, they have been called that in the world of cricket. Yet, so far in cricket history, they have managed to achieve it through their deeds within the peripheries of the boundary line, but this time it just happened to spill over. There was a cause for the battle. The enemy was called the Big Three. The fighting force was dubbed as the Small Three and a key player in this group more..

Suzuki Alto replaces Maruti 800 in Sri Lanka

Feb 16 (ST) Maruti Suzuki India’s action of bringing the curtain down on the 30-year saga of the Maruti 800 model will not hinder Sri Lanka’s Maruti car market as its agent Associated Motorways (AMW) has already replaced previous models with the new ‘Suzuki Alto 2013’. While the Maruti 800 model was a fast selling car in the past, the company is now marketing newer models of ‘Suzuki Alto’ which is very popular among middle class families in the country, AMW Group Managing Director Samantha Rajapaksa said. more..

President declares open 749th Nenasala

Feb 16 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the island's 749th Nenasala (Wisdom outlet) in the premises of the Pitigala Vidyatilake Mahapirivena on 10th Feb. Chief incumbent of the Pirivena Venerable Yatadolamatte Mahinda Thero also graced the inauguration of this Nenasala which is in the area under the Elpitiya Divisional Secretariat in the Galle District. The Nenasala Telecentres set up island-wide including the Northern (59) and Eastern (88) provinces more..

SB’s son in the QAAC

Feb 16 (SL) As Minister of Higher Education, S. B. Dissanayake appointed his elder son Narada Dissanayake as the Administrative Secretary of the Quality Assurance and Accreditation Committee (QAAC), many education unions expressed their concern over the appointment. The QAAC is a committee set under the Ministry of Higher Education to maintain the standards of the degree programmes offered by the more..

Polling hours to be changed?

Feb 16 (SL) Election Commissioner is considering opening the polling centres at eight in the morning instead at seven. “The majority of the officers on election duty are female officers and they find it inconvenient to travel by seven in the morning to the polling centres and therefore we are considering opening the polling centres by eight in the morning,” Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said. However he added that this is still an idea and may not be implemented during more..

Taxes lifted on small lorries and trucks

Feb 16 (ST) Sri Lanka’s goods transportation sector using small lorries and trucks is being affected by ad hoc tax increases of the Treasury hurting small businessmen and Indian and Chinese vehicle importers, motor traders said. While the tax on trucks in Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Pakistan is around seven per cent, in Sri Lanka it is around 49 per cent and the highest in the region, they said adding that this sudden tax hike may be targeted specially to hurt import of Indian vehicles. more..

Probe into SriLankan Airlines’ high-flying act

Feb 16 (ST) The Civil Aviation Ministry has begun a probe into recent arbitrary travel schedules at SriLankan Airlines allegedly due to top level management decisions and called for an explanation from the national carrier on these issues. Civil Aviation Ministry Secretary Dr. Ravindra Ruberu said that they have called for explanation from the national airline regarding the airline’s diversion to Singapore and would be more..

Hotelier shot at farewell party

Feb 16 (SO) A hotel owner who threw a farewell party to his friends in the business community was shot and dumped on the rail track in a gruesome murder reported from Rideegama, Kurunegala on Friday night. The 39-year-old victim Disanayaka Arachchilage Anuruddha Bandara also known as ‘Kalu Malli’ was a father of two, the police said. He had thrown a party to his fellow hoteliers and businessmen to celebrate the completion of the rent period of the hotel premises. more..

Boats released by Sri Lanka reach home

Feb 16 (Hindu) Four boats released by the Sri Lankan navy, which it seized six months ago near Katchatheevu along with 35 fishermen, reached here on Saturday. When 35 fishermen from Pamban in Ramanathapuram district were fishing near Katchatheevu on August 25 last year in four mechanised boats, they were arrested by the Sri Lankan navy and taken to the island nation along with the boats. Though the arrested fishermen were freed following efforts by the Central and more..

Jaffna fishermen lose hope in tussle with Tamil Nadu counterparts

Feb 16 (Hindu) It has been almost two decades since S. Koteeswaran lost his right leg when the Nalavy St. Peter’s Church in Jaffna was bombed allegedly by the SL Air Force. About 125 civilians were killed. Getting by with a prosthetic leg fitted a few years later, the 47-year-old fisherman says he is now suffering more than ever before because of Indian trawlers, which have nearly wiped him out of business. “My leg hurts very badly more..

No more new licences for casinos or betting centers

Feb 16 (Island) Commissioner General of Inland Revenue, Ms. Mallika Samarasekera said last week that no new casinos or betting centers will be registered under the Betting and Gaming Act No 40 of 1988. "There won’t be any more new registrations in the future", she said. She said that newspaper advertisements were placed last year calling for registrations before the deadline of June 30, 2013 deadline. The objective was to register the existing ones following the Amendment to the more..

Moragoda in Delhi to assess Indian situation

Feb 16 (Island) Former Minister Milinda Moragoda, on a short visit to India at the invitation of the Indian government has met with senior Indian officials and politicians from both the govt and opposition to make an assessment of the situation there. He will be reporting his impressions to President Rajapaksa upon his return, these sources said. Moragoda who will return to Colombo today met with India’s National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon and Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh more..

Urgent moves to avert power-cuts

Feb 16 (ST) Fears of a breakdown in electricity generation and resultant power cuts have prompted the Govt to appoint a ministerial team to come up on a “high priority” basis with proposals to avert a crisis. The committee, chaired by Minister Tissa Vitharana, includes Ministers P. Dayaratne, Susil Premajayantha, Champika Ranawaka, John Seneviratne, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Mahindananda more..

Garment factory employee, 19, ‘steamed’ to death at workplace

Feb 16 (ST) A 19-year-old garment factory employee died of burns after being exposed to a steam machine at his workplace in Dabagahawatte, Minuvangoda, on Wednesday, a corner’s inquiry was told. The victim, M.P.R. Dileepana was a machine operator in a garment factory in Minuwangoda. Lasantha De Silva, another machine operator at the factory, who witnessed the incident, at the inquiry, said that, on the morning of the fateful day, Dileepana had informed the supervisor more..

'In cricket, it is foolish to even think of fighting India'

Feb 16 (DH) World Cup winning former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has criticised the new draft that brings in drastic changes to the International Cricket Council giving the cricket boards of India, England and Australia overwhelming power and revenue. Ranatunga blamed the boards of India, England and Australia for putting pressure on the rest of the boards to pass the recommendations. An unconvinced Ranatunga of ICC’s revamp, remarked: more..

Duminda chased out of Wanathamulla

Feb 16 (CT) UPFA MP, Duminda Silva, was chased away by the people of Wanathamulla yesterday, when he had visited the area to intervene in the matter regarding the abduction of an activist identified as Sunil. The people of the area had become incensed upon the arrival of Silva and had ordered him to get out of the area at once. Silva was seen attacked with glass bottles, slippers and stones by the people. more..

Monk complains to HRCSL against BBS

Feb 16 (CT) Chief Prelate of the Mahiyangana Mahaweli Aramaya, Ven. Watareka Vijitha Thera, has complained to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) that his life has been threatened by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS). According to the complaint, the Thera was being threatened by the BBS over the last six months, due to his action in establishing religious harmony in the area. The Thera said the BBS chased him and attacked him. "However, the HRCSL told me that they more..