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The quality of mercy

Feb 19 (KT) Three men, who had appealed to the president of India for mercy, had received no answer to their petition for 11 years. Long delay made them approach the apex court, contending they had suffered protracted mental, de-humanising agony. Court stuck down the death sentence, commuting it to life imprisonment. Humane gesture comes after another one in 1998. That was made by Rajiv Gandhi’s wife and daughter who intervened to save the life of a 4th accused, a woman. more..

Dialog records Rs. 5.2 b net profit for FY 2013

Feb 19 (FT) Dialog Axiata announced its consolidated financial results for the year ended 2013 on Monday. Financial results included those of Dialog Axiata PLC and of the Dialog Axiata Group post-consolidation with subsidiaries Dialog Broadband Networks (DBN), and Dialog Television (DTV). The Group demonstrated strong revenue growth across mobile, international, digital pay television, tele-infrastructure and fixed line businesses to record consolidated revenue more..

'Takers unlikely for Pillai call'

Feb 19 (DN) Reacting to news published in the British Telegraph that the UN human rights chief Navi Pillai has 'called for an international war crimes investigation into alleged alleged human rights abuses in the final stages of the hostilities in 2009', Deputy Minister Neomal Perera said, "It is likely to change into a move seeking the establishment of a domestic mechanism to investigate allegations of war crimes as more..

8000 kg of potatoes destroyed

Feb 19 (Island) Over 8,000 kilos of potatoes found to be unfit for human consumption were destroyed in Metotamulla by the Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council and Environmental Police yesterday. The spuds had been imported from Pakistan. Chief of the Public Health Department, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that the potatoes had been taken into custody from two stores in fourth Cross Street by the Colombo Central MOH office. more..

CMC grass paving project draws flak

Feb 19 (CT) The CMC, while admitting there was an issue pertaining to the grass block paving project it had initiated and outsourced for implementation, particularly in the vicinity of the CMC, said the contractor concerned will be held solely responsible to rectify the problems that had arisen in this regard. The project has also been funded by the World Bank. According to the stipulations laid down in the implementation of the project, an Australian variety of grass was to be planted. more..

'MR determined to save millions from tobacco menace'

Feb 19 (DM) Not withstanding the legal wrangling and other obstacles involving the enactment of Prevention of Tobacco and Alcohol Act, President Rajapaksa was firmly determined to introduce amendments to the Act to save millions of Sri Lankans from the menace of tobacco and smoking – the young generation in particular – Prof. Carlo Fonseka said. Addressing the media on the eve of the new anti tobacco and smoking more..

Ranil: Is sea being reclaimed to build a formula track?

Feb 19 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that the govt was planning to reclaim land along the coastal areas in Colombo and Gamapha districts to build a formula car race track. He demanded to know what right the Sri Lanka Ports Authority had to reclaim the sea to build a plot of land of 500 acres. Participating in the debate on Regulations under the Land Acquisition Act he said: "How are you planning to compensate for the acquisition of land to reclaim the sea? more..

On Sri Lanka, UN slow read-out, no follow-up

Feb 19 (ICP) On Sri Lanka, this UN says one thing and then does another -- or does nothing at all. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Sri Lankan Youth and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma and Ambassador Palitha Kohona on February 18. Inner City Press attended the photo op, as sole independent media, then asked Ban's top two spokespeople "for a read-out of the Secretary General's 3:30 pm meeting with Sri Lanka minister Dullas Alahapperuma, more..

UNP blocks Gazettes on hotel projects

Feb 19 (FT) The casino issue took centre stage in Parliament yesterday when the UNP vehemently objected to passing new Gazette notifications that failed to clearly state the objectives of three proposed mixed development projects. Opposition criticised the Govt’s attempts to sneak in new Gazette notifications announcing three controversial strategic development projects. Three projects planned for D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha, more..

Kulasekara ruled out of Bangladesh tour, Asia Cup

Feb 19 (CI) Sri Lanka seamer Nuwan Kulasekara has been ruled out of the rest of the Bangladesh tour and the Asia Cup with a groin injury. He will be replaced by another seamer, Dhammika Prasad, who is expected to join the squad on Wednesday. Kulasekara sustained the injury during the first ODI on Monday in Mirpur. He had bowled six overs for 38 runs in the match that Sri Lanka won by 13 runs. He is also in the World T20 squad, which will also be played in Bangladesh. more..

Man tries to kill lover For refusing to accompany him

Feb 19 (CT) An individual who poured kerosene on his paramour and dragged her to the railway tracks after setting her on fire, and had thereafter tried to strangle her, after placing her on the railway tracks, was arrested by the Mt. Lavinia Police. He was subsequently remanded until 4 March by Mt. Lavinia Magistrate and Additional District Judge, Rangajeewa Wimalasena. The suspect has been identified as Samantha Fernando. On the morning of 17 February, the suspect had more..

JVP alleges UDA acquires land unlawfully

Feb 19 (Island) JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament that land acquired after demolishing houses and business places in Colombo had not been done under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. He said people were being evicted and their houses and business places demolished in the Colombo City. That resulted in loss of their livelihood as well as their property. more..

BOC extends its reach to Victoria, Seychelles

Feb 19 (Island) Moving another step forward in fulfilling its strategic aspiration of becoming Sri Lanka’s International Bank, the Bank of Ceylon opened its newest international branch in Victoria, Republic of Seychelles recently. The new Seychelles branch was opened by the Seychelles Vice-President Danny Faure, Finance Minister Pierre Laporte and the Bank of Ceylon General Manager D.M Gunasekara. Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles Ms.Caroline Abel, more..

Rasaputra wants to be Chief Minister

Feb 19 (Island) Former Education Minister of the SPC Chandima Rasaputra claimed that it was the right of the people of Matara to have the next Chief Minister of the Southern Province from their district. Former Chairman of the Airport and Aviation Authority said that there had been six SPC elections in the past and the March 29 poll was the seventh Southern Provincial Council election. In the first and second instances the Chief Ministership (CM) of the Province had gone to the Galle District and more..

Higher Education Ministry Sec. draws flak

Feb 19 (Island) GMOA General Committee member Dr. Navin de Soyza alleged that though President Rajapaksa had instructed Secretary of the Higher Education Ministry Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne to cancel the Special Gazette Notification issued on 2013-8-22 No. 1824/21 under the University Act and again issued the amended notification Jan 31, no action had been taken by the Higher Education Secretary to issue another more..

SCB and Arpico launch first retail co-branded credit card

Feb 19 (FT) Sri Lanka yesterday received its first-ever retail co-branded credit card with the alliance sealed with a handshake and a replica of the card between Standard Chartered Bank and Arpico Supercentre. The card, providing a host of benefits to the loyal customers of both institutes, is expected to create a new culture in retail and banking in the country. Standard Chartered Bank Sri Lanka CEO Anirvan Ghosh Dastidar speaking at the launch held at Hilton Colombo Residences more..

'Govt. spent Rs. 413 m on cricket ground administration'

Feb 19 (Island) Govt had spent Rs. 413 million as administrative expenditure of seven cricket grounds during the past five years, Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told Parliament. The cricket grounds were R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Dambulla International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, Galle International Cricket Stadium, Welagedara Cricket Stadium, Surrey Cricket Ground, and Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium. more..

Ministerial delegation to South Africa to study reconciliation model

Feb 19 (DN) A delegation led by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva will visit South Africa from Feb 20 to 21 for discussions with the South African govt and the ruling African National Congress Party. Delegation's discussions will be primarily in relation to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the aim of understanding the manner in which that exercise can help in SL's own reconciliation process, more..

BBS will back Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera

Feb 19 (CT) General Secretary, ofthe Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, said his organization would back Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera if he comes forward as an independent candidate at a Presidential Election. He said, "We have information to confirm that the Cardinal is behind the move to bring Sobitha Thera forward as a common candidate. If this in fact turns out to be the case, we will oppose this move. We also challenge the TNA and those Christian more..

First State-owned Gamma centre opens

Feb 19 (DN) Minister Basil Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the opening of Sri Lanka's first multi - purpose Gamma radiation workshop at the Biyagama Investment Zone on Feb 17. The aim of this centre is to use conducive nuclear technology for the social and economic development of the country. Minister Rajapaksa said that the ultra technological sector will extend a massive contribution to Sri Lanka's economic development. Minister Champika Ranawaka said that more..

Gammanpila apologises to Polls Chief

Feb 19 (DM) Colombo district UPFA chief candidate for the election to the WPC Udaya Gammanpila said that he apologised to EC Mahinda Deshapriya for the participation of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the function to mark the launch of his election campaign. However, he remarked the Defence Secretary, being a political appointee, had every right to participate in election rallies or meetings. more..

Global warming too close for comfort

Feb 19 (DM) Some of the worst ever ice, snowstorms and floods in several parts of the United States, Britain, Japan and other countries provide devastating evidence of the effects of climate change due to global warming. The Govt and people of Sri Lanka, instead of just watching this floody hell on television, need to take urgent and effective action to avert such a calamity or catastrophe here too. Our sister paper the Sunday Times on February 16 reported that the Cabinet had more..

Sextortion is an in-thing today

Feb 19 (DM) Bribery and corruption has become a way of life in Sri Lanka. It has permeated every segment of activity however insignificant it may appear to be. It transpires that the biggest offenders are in the education, police and health sectors. Although the financial element in bribery and corruption is still reigning supreme despite the risks non-tangible demands for bribes to grant favours are also emerging in considerable numbers. Sextortion is a new form of sexual black mail more..

Trafficking the Western Province

Feb 19 (SL) The drug menace have become a core issue in the country, mainly in the Western Province as it has become the hub for drug trafficking. Amongst the foremost drug traffickers are ruling party politicians who are involved in the ‘business’ unabatedly. Although it is as such, there are many instances where genuine officers attached to the country’s law enforcement authorities who want to eradicate drugs from the society have more..

'Our Vision' presented to FUTA

Feb 19 (LT) ‘Our Vision’, policy framework of JVP adopted unanimously at 7th National Convention was symbolically presented to President of FUTA Chandraguptha Thenuwara by the Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka at the Public Library Auditorium yesterday. General Secretary of FUTA Dr. Rohan Fernando, Former President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri and several members of more..

Speaker conveys to Education Minister shocking bill given to each schoolchild

Feb 19 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa informed Minister Bandula Gunawardena that children of Weeraketiya schools had been asked to pay Rs. 50,000 each for the cost of painting their schools. Speaker said that when Minister was responding to questions raised by UNP MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara who pointed out that the schoolchildren were being forced by the administrations to pay for the development more..

'Nobody is talking about regime change in Sri Lanka'

Feb 19 (ST) UK strongly hinted this week that the resolution on Sri Lanka that it will co-sponsor at the UNHRC next month will include a call for a credible, domestic investigation into allegations of war crimes. “I think, first of all, the resolution will be updated to reflect the current situation and current issues of concern,” said John Rankin, British High Commissioner to SL. “A particular issue of concern is the attacks we have seen on more..

SA appoints Ramaphosa to deal SL issue

Feb 19 (DM) Adding more muscle to its role in Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process, South Africa has officially appointed Cyril Ramaphosa who headed the African National Congress (ANC) delegation that negotiated the end of apartheid with the white govt in 1991, as its envoy to deal with Sri Lanka on the matter, a minister said yesterday. After the first democratic election in 1994, Mr. Ramaphosa became a MP and more..

No rains but no drought, says Met Dept

Feb 19 (Island) Drought like conditions were prevalent in many parts of the country, but there was no drought yet, the Meteorology Department said yesterday. Duty Meteorologist K.D. Sujeewa said that there would be a slight change in prevailing weather conditions with the beginning of much awaited first inter-monsoon rains at the end of the month. He said: "There is no drought in the country yet. In February every year, more..

Police arrest and release Sihala Ravaya monk

Feb 19 (CT) A Sihala Ravaya monk, Ven. Dhammananda Thera, was arrested on Tuesday afternoon, in front of the Colombo Fort Railway Station, when a tense situation arose on the third day of the organization's protest, fast and satyagraha, calling for an immediate ban on cattle slaughter in Sri Lanka. He was subsequently released by the Fort Police. Member of the Sihala Ravaya, Ven. Puliyadde Suddhamma Thera, more..

Canadian court rules against terror expert Rohan Gunaratna

Feb 19 (IANS) The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), which sued Sri Lanka-born terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna for linking it to the LTTE, has been awarded $53,000 by a Canadian court. In a February 2011 article published by Lakbima News, Gunaratna was quoted as saying: "The LTTE is operating under the name of the Canadian Tamil Congress, which is the main LTTE front organization in Canada." more..

'Threats had led to House TV feed cut'

Feb 19 (DM) Live telecasts of Parliament proceedings have been suspended by PEO TV CEO following threats he had received from certain persons against whom some MPs had made allegations during debates, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa informed the House. “Certain individuals against whom MPs had made allegations during parliamentary proceedings had phoned the PEO TV chief and threatened him with legal action if more..

Rajiv Gandhi murder: TN to free plotters

Feb 19 (BBC) Govt in Tamil Nadu state has decided to free seven people convicted of plotting the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. All seven were members of the Tamil Tiger rebel group. Gandhi's murder in May 1991 was seen as retaliation for his having sent Indian peacekeepers to Sri Lanka in 1987. Announcement came a day after the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of three convicts, more..

UNP’s Leadership Council fails the first test

Feb 19 (CT) At a time when the UNP needs to show some semblance of sense and sensibility, it has predictably done the exact opposite. The appointment of Colombo District MP, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, a Johnny come lately to the Grand Old Party, to the Leadership Council in place of Thalatha Athukorala, who stuck to her guns and refused to have anything to do with the contentious body, certainly smacks of madness. The appointment, while deemed a slap on the face of the more..

SB hegemonism: Ideological cloak for an economic agenda and a racist state

Feb 19 (CT) Nobody is likely to disagree when I say that the hegemonic or leading ideology in Lanka for more than half a century has been Sinhala-Buddhism; forget whether it good or bad, this is just a simple fact. In the early 1970s SB had to share a place in the ideology pantheon with socialistic aspirants (coalition govt and the JVP), and in the 1980s with JR style neoliberal economics. The 1990s and first half of the 2000s was a potpourri where other aspirants for a place in more..

WikiLeaks: Should SL be treated as a villain or as a country wiped out a terrorist group?

Feb 19 (CT) “With IDP camps in Sri Lanka coming under civilian control, the issues now facing the international community were ensuring access, improving conditions in the camps and encouraging repatriation, said Frebort. A meeting of the co-chairs would be useful, he said, noting that U.S. had indicated that July 7 would be a good date for a co-chairs meeting. Moran (European Commission’s James Moran) noted that more..

Sri Lanka shares close down 0.5%

Feb 19 (LBO) Stocks close down 0.59% retreating for the fifth consecutive day with losses in the index heavy tobacco and diversified stocks. All Share Price Index closed 35.42 points lower at 5,986.24, down 0.59%. The S&P SL20 closed 6.27 points lower at 3,281.77, down 0.19%. Turnover was 714.64 million rupees, up from 604.12 million rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 124 firms closing in the red against 58 gainers. JKH topped the turnover contribution with 271.56 million rupees more..

TNA briefs UK High Commissioner

Feb 19 (CG) The TNA today briefed the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka John Rankin on issues related to the North. The briefing lasted for some two hours during a visit to Jaffna today by the British High Commissioner and officials from the political division of the High Commission. TNA delegation included TNA MPs Mavai Senathirajah, E. Sarawanabavan and TNA provincial council members. The British High Commission in Colombo said that Rankin was touring Jaffna more..

66th Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka celebrated in USA

Feb 19 (USE) A historic opportunity has arrived for the sons and daughters of Sri Lanka living in the US to support their motherland, says Jaliya Wickramasuriya, the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the US. Addressing nearly one thousand Sri Lankan-Americans gathered at the auditorium of the University of DC on Feb 8, 2014, the Ambassador expressed that their solidarity with Sri Lankan people is needed more than ever at more..

Sri Lanka rupee steady; state banks' dlr sales offset importer demand

Feb 19 (Reuters) Rupee ended steady on Wednesday as state banks sold dollars to offset demand for the U.S. currency from importers and on stock-related outflows. Spot rupee ended flat at 130.85/90 per dollar. "The rupee continued to be on bid and there were not too many sellers," said a currency dealer. Dealers also said the forward market was active in the absence of an effective spot market. Spot-next or 3-day forward ended at 130.93/131.00 per dollar. more..