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Apparel sector calls for single digit VAT

Feb 2 (NS) Acting Chairman of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Noel Priyatilleke last week requested the govt to introduce a transparent single digit VAT system terming it to be ‘an absolute necessity for the economy to grow’. Addressing the Post Business Session that followed the 10th Annual General Meeting of JAAF, Priyatilleke said that if not for the introduction of the suspended VAT scheme, due to the complexities attributed to VAT administration system including more..

Buddhism being destroyed from within

Feb 2 (Island) Usual bogey has been drawn out and paraded: the conspiracy theory. Spouted out on platforms is the ominous term videshi kumanthrana/foreign conspiracy to destroy Buddhism in SL. This is supposed to strike fear in the majority of the Sinhalese that their religion is being destroyed and to ignite fire to resist such a move. But ask anyone and 19 on 20 will tell you that it is a baseless war cry, an excuse for excesses and the destruction and elimination of other more..

Higher Education Ministry goes for two novel concepts

Feb 2 (SO) Higher Education Ministry will introduce two novel concepts named student-outcome based education and student-centred learning in 15 universities from this month to produce skilled graduates with theoretical and practical knowledge to suit the present day needs. Ministry will conduct a dialogue among university professors and lecturers to implement these concepts. more..

Mel Gunasekera

Feb 2 (LBO) On the morning of the first Sunday of February 2014 I felt as though the ground I stood on suddenly disappeared. I learned from a tweet that my friend and leading economic journalist Mel Gunasekera had been murdered in her home. How could this happen? She was in the prime of her life. She was not sick. She was not run over by a bus. She was stabbed and killed in her home, a place I had dropped her off at. How could this happen? Let posterity settle the why question. more..

Powerful President dithering in the South, Powerless PC resolving in the North

Feb 2 (Island) Last Sunday I alluded to Geneva anxieties. Since then things have got sillier and more complicated at the same time. On Monday, the NPC, that has not been able to do anything worthwhile after its election in Sept, passed a resolution calling for international investigation into the last stages of the war, and for erecting a memorial at Mullivaikal to honour the civilians killed there during the war’s final phase. Council also decided to send Councillor Ananthi Sasitharan as more..

Veteran medical administrator takes over LRH: Appointment sanctioned by PSC

Feb 2 (Island) In the backdrop of protests by a section of employees against the removal of Dr. Ratnasiri Hewage as the acting director of the Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH), the Health Secretary explained that a permanent appointment to head LRH was made by Public Service Commission (PSC) in accordance with the Establishment Code. Acting appointments cannot go on forever and if the incumbent does not have the requisite more..

8 fishermen detained by SL Naval personnel

Feb 2 (PTI) Eight fishermen in two mechanised boats were detained by Sri Lankan Navy personnel while fishing near Katchateevu islet, 'Q' branch officials said today. They were part of a group of about 4,000 fishermen who had put out to sea from this coastal town and Jegathapattinam and Kottaipattinam hamlets last night, they said. The officials said the Sri Lankan naval personnel came in three boats to the spot and detained the fishermen and their boats. more..

Domestic violence triples

Feb 2 (SO) "Domestic violence has tripled in recent years. Around 25- 35 women visit our Crisis Centre daily for help", Ms. Sumithra Fernando, a spokesperson for Women In Need, (WIN), a leading NGO which spearheads eliminating domestic violence against women since the 1980s, said. "Last year alone over 60,000 women sought help from WIN centres. There is a 50% increase with some areas showing a high of around 60% - biggest number being in Colombo, Anuradhapura, more..

India wants Sampur Coal Power Project expedited

Feb 2 (Island) India has called for the 500 MW Sampur coal power plant, its largest funded project in Sri Lanka, to be expedited as it was crucial to addressing the country’s energy needs. Pointing out that many other projects in diverse areas were in various stages of implementation, Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha said that fast tracking the construction of the Sampur power plant in Trincomalee would serve the SL people more..

Family members of missing people say police misled them

Feb 2 (ST) Some family members of missing people have charged that police officers in civvies diverted them to an alternate office while they were waiting at the Kilinochchi Kachcheri to give details to the commission probing the whereabouts of missing people. Civilians complained to Kilinochchi GA that policemen had directed them to another office 100 metres away, claiming that it was also part of the commission office and they could lodge their complaints about disappearances and more..

Journalist assaulted at rugby match

Feb 2 (DM) Sports journalist Shanaka Amarasinghe was reportedly assaulted today at the Navy rugby grounds in Welisara following the Navy- CR rugby match this evening, and a Police complaint is now being lodged. Amarasinghe who has been a promoter of rugby for over a decade as a player, referee and a sports journalist, said he was assaulted within full view of the military police. “I was walking towards my car after the game and one person grabbed my hand and said more..

Wigneswaran blames Mahinda

Feb 2 (CG) Northern Province CM C.V Wigneswaran has blamed President Rajapaksa for the resolutions submitted at the NPC last week. Wigneswaran said that the resolutions could have been avoided had the President given ear to what the NPC members were asking for. “The Resolutions are the outcome of the heightened feelings among our members for which the President alone is the sole cause. more..

Coroner says hotel manager’s negligence led to guest’s death

Feb 2 (ST) A hotel manager in the suburbs of Colombo who prevented a seriously ill person being removed to hospital until his relations arrived, was severely warned by Colombo Additional City Coroner, Ashroff Rumi last Friday. He also directed that the hotel which is located on an island in the Bolgoda Lake should have adequate facilities including the service of a doctor at nights and the services of a boat to transfer any patients if any of the guests fall ill. more..

Prasanna Jayakody’s ‘28’ wins NETPAC at Rotterdam Film Festival

Feb 2 (NS) Prasanna Jayakody’s film ‘28’ has won the NETPAC Award at the 43rd Rotterdam International Film Festival. The NETPAC Jury (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) awards the best Asian film in the IFFR 2014 Official Selection. The Jury consisted of Paul Agusta, filmmaker, film critic and poet from Indonesia; Defne Gursoy, film critic and writer from Turkey; and Anu Rangachar, program director of the Mumbai Film Festival, India. In selecting the film, which more..

'Heroin cheaper than milk powder in SL'

Feb 2 (AD) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe today said that the Rajapaksa regime has set another Guinness World Records and that Sri Lanka is now the only place where a packet of heroin is cheaper than a packet of milk powder. The prices of powdered milk were increased from midnight yesterday with the price of a 400g milk powder packet being increased by Rs 61 while the 1kg pack was increased by Rs 152. more..

Stabbed MP undergoes surgery in Sri Lanka

Feb 2 (MN) Maldivian Democratic Party MP Alhan Fahmy has been flown to Sri Lanka for surgery after being stabbed yesterday evening. The Feydhoo constituency MP’s brother Azbaan, said Alhan’s condition is “very serious” – he had been in surgery for over three hours as of 4pm today. “I think it is an organised political attack, because Alhan doesn’t have any other issues,” said Azbaan. “Somebody is politically unhappy with him, otherwise there is no other reason.” more..

40 election related complaints

Feb 2 (AD) The Elections Secretariat says that it has so far received 40 complaints in connection with the forthcoming Western and Southern PC election. Of the total complaints 28 are from the Western Province while the rest are from the Southern Province. A majority of the complaints are regarding the misuse of state-owned vehicles, the use of state property and officials for political activities. Complaints pertaining to transfer orders are also among them, the Elections Secretariat said. more..

Anura Kumara new JVP leader

Feb 2 (CG) JVP has appointed MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake as the new party leader. Appointment was approved at the party convention held today and he replaces Somawansa Amarasinghe as the party leader. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that the appointment of Anura Kumara Dissanayake as the new party leader was unanimously approved. Amarasinghe, meanwhile, said that he will continue to work for more..

Govt responsible for death of student undergoing leadership training - CTU

Feb 2 (AD) The Govt should accept responsibility for the death of a student yesterday after falling ill while undergoing leadership training, says the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU). Sandaruwan Jayaratne, who was selected to the Jaffna University, passed away after being admitted to the Kandy Hospital due to a sudden illness while undergoing leadership training at the Gannoruwa Army Camp. The student from Nochchiyagama in Kudawewa was selected to university after sitting for the G.C.E. A/L more..

Batting, fielding challenges for Bangladesh in Chittagong

Feb 2 (CI) The previous time Bangladesh suffered a four-day defeat was against Zimbabwe in April last year. They bounced back successfully and won the second Test to level the series. A similar comeback is hoped for from Bangladesh in the second Test against Sri Lanka, after they suffered an innings defeat in the first game in Mirpur. Key to their chances of a comeback would be their batting. There have been five Test centuries each at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium more..

Sangakkara expects Bangladesh fightback

Feb 2 (CI) Sri Lanka will anticipate stiffer resistance from Bangladesh in Chittagong, despite the feebleness of their Mirpur loss, batsman Kumar Sangakkara said. The hosts had failed to exert pressure on Sri Lanka for significant periods in the first Test, and were bowled out cheaply in both innings as they continued to offer rash strokes. The Bangladesh bowlers had only dismissed six Sri Lanka batsmen more..

Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe to contest

Feb 2 (SM) The JHU has decided to nominate Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, a pioneering frontman of the party, to contest from Colombo district on the UPFA ticket at the upcoming elections for the western provincial council. The high command and the central committee of the JHU have taken the decision to field its current national organizer and propaganda secretary at the polls. This will be the first time that he will be contesting an election in his 20 years in politics. more..

Pension impersonators to be taken to task

Feb 2 (SO) Those who impersonate govt pensioners and state employees who indulge in malpractices would be dealt with severely from this year. Department of Pensions and the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs will deploy over 150 experienced investigators to nab the offenders. Instances when millions of public funds have been misappropriated have been reported. Director General of Pensions Sunil Hettiarachchi said that there are 539,000 pensioners at more..

Uni student dies during leadership training

Feb 2 (CG) The military says the university student who died yesterday while undergoing leadership training, had been ill. The university entrant who was undergoing the “Leadership and Personality Development” joint training programme at Sri Lanka Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (SLEME) training school of the Army at Gannoruwa, passed away yesterday while receiving medical treatment at Peradeniya Teaching more..

Ginger, Garlic, Goraka, Bandakka, Watakka forthcoming political soups!

Feb 3 (SL) There is an ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times” and that is exactly what all voters will face in the forthcoming Provincial Council elections. We have certainly experienced the antics of the clowns and comedians in the different ruling political parties over the years but reading the line-up of potential candidates for slots in the SLFP, JVP, UNP and others including independent candidates makes me remember the circus that came to town. more..

Kandy SC and Havies moment of truth; One will drop out of race

Feb 3 (SL) IT’S D-day for two main contenders for the 2014 League title. The outcome of today’s second-round meeting between Havelock SC and Kandy SC, defending league and knockout champions respectively, will decide which one of the two drops out of the title race. To say it in more specific terms; with the ending of the 14-week league just three weeks away, today’s loser at Nittawela will find itself in an irretrievable position to challenge table leaders Navy, more..

Chandimal's reckoning looms

Feb 3 (CI) Though the 'bromance' in the Sri Lanka camp has now built to near cringe-inducing levels, two young batsmen disagree vehemently on one thing. One, a 22-year-old, has hit an unbeaten ton and a fifty in three innings at Test level, all against Bangladesh, mainly on generous decks. The other, 24, has had 26 completed innings across all internationals in roughly the last 10 months, and has only more..

Letting the military in

Feb 3 (CT) Last week, ten uniformed soldiers under the command of a uniformed lieutenant, were caught felling teak trees in a forest reserve in Ampara. The soldiers claimed that the purpose of their illegal enterprise was to collect timber to build a barrack! Serving military-personnel engaging in criminal pursuits (ranging from fraud and robbery to murder and rape) is becoming a common Lankan phenomenon. Little wonder that the Sinhala-South is beginning to have second thoughts about more..

Kirimandala: Our female Stars in gold rush

Feb 3 (CT) Can we make sense of this widespread attack on the rush of cine and tele-cine actresses onto the political stage in Lanka in time for the Provincial Council elections? Examine this phenomenon a little critically and you will find that the jeering and sardonic criticism does say more about the critics than about their victims. It is all publicly displayed hypocrisy. It is also misogynistic. It is in bad taste. It is unfair. The latest to stage an attack is the Island feature writer, more..

'US resolution not against people of SL'

Feb 3 (CT) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), one of the leading Tamil Diaspora organizations in the UK, has taken up a major initiative to lobby for a US resolution, which is expected to be taken up by the UNHRC in Geneva in March. GTF Spokesperson, Suren Surendiran, says the US does not work on the Tamil Disapora's pressure and adds, "The US resolutions are not against the people of Sri Lanka. more..

Economic development and structural changes since independence

Feb 3 (ST) 66 years since regaining independence have been years of structural changes in the economy and economic and social transformations. There have been many achievements as well as emerging concerns. Sri Lanka’s post-independent economic development transformed a predominantly agricultural economy at the time of independence in 1948 into a diversified one where agriculture accounts for only about 11% of national output, services 59% and industry 30.4% of GDP. more..

Friend turns deadly foe

Feb 3 (SO) Darkness surrounded them all the while, a tiny speck of light fell through a small orifice on the side of the roof. Hunger pangs surrounded them from morning to night. The hard floor was their abode . It was a five by ten rectangle of hard cement. They ate a ladle of rice served with some watery gravy while being seated on this hard concrete which gave them cramps all over the body. They were dressed alike in off white long shorts and a banian- type shirt. more..

'Fishing-a multi-billion dollar business for India'

Jan 2 (SO) Navy Commander Jayanath Colombage told the media how the fishermen's issue involving Sri Lanka and India will be resolved. Q: In which way did the the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) contribute towards the discussions between the Fisheries Ministers of both countries and to prevent poaching of Indian trawlers in Sri Lankan waters? A: SLN is a stakeholder because we function under the Ministry of Defence and we are the guardians more..

‘Silver for jewellery craftsmen at reduced prices’

Feb 3 (Island) Minister Douglas Devananda at a ceremony held at Neelawala Village in Pathahewaheta Divisional Secretariat Division on Jan 21, said that action has been taken to supply silver requirements of the jewellery craftsmen at a very much reduced price than those prevalent in the local market, through the National Crafts Council which functions under his ministry. The ceremony was held to mark the opening of the "Neelawala Jewellery Village" developed at a cost of more..

PC elections: A pot of gold for actresses and singers

Feb 3 (Island) Popular actresses and female singers are like bees now rushing in for the golden pot of politics considered a fountain of lucrative jobs with incredible allowances, bonuses and fringe benefits and more after retirement than in the case of a high-ranking public servant or a mercantile executive. The work of a politician does not involve hard work, provides an easy-going life with long breaks of rest, and protection and security provided by the govt over the ordinary voter. more..

New regimental headquarters of military intelligence corps declared open

Feb 3 (MoD) The new Regimental Headquarters of the Sri Lanka Army Military Intelligence Corps (MIC) was ceremonially declared open by Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the presence of Commander of the Army Lieutenant General RMD Ratnayake at Karandeniya today (31). A drive past Guard Turn Out presented arms to the Chief Guest on arrival before a Guard of Honour at the new more..

Lankans avoid travel to crisis-hit Thailand

Feb 3 (ST) Sri Lankan travellers are seen avoiding Thailand owing to the political crisis there and Malaysia is becoming the next best option for leisure travel, industry officials said. Suresh Mendis, CEO of Classic Travels, one of the largest outbound travel companies, said travel to Thailand has virtually come to a standstill in the past 3-4 weeks. Thailand is the most popular destination for Sri Lankan leisure travellers and incentive groups, according to VMS Travels & Tours CEO Sasi Ganeshan. more..

'Sri Lanka not out of the woods yet'

Feb 3 (Island) With 8.2 billion dollars in reserves, amounting to five months' purchasing power, the Sri Lankan economy is moving up, but there are knots and snags. Investors will take a second look because of uncertain signals growing out of myriad constraints influencing growth, a well known economist said. Former Director, Economic Affairs Division, Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, keynote speaker recently at the Sri Lanka - Italy Business Council more..

Nepal Army Chief visits Northern Province

Feb 3 (SLA) General Gaurav Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, Chief of Army Staff of Nepal, presently in Sri Lanka with a delegation at the invitation of his SL's counterpart, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake went to Jaffna on Sunday where he met the Jaffna Security Force Commander before he visited Nallur Hindu Temple and several other places. The visiting Nepal's Army Chief and His Spouse Mrs Rohini more..

Neanderthals in disguise

Feb 3 (Island) We thought the habit of holding one’s ancestors responsible for one’s flaws, lapses, foibles etc was peculiar to Sri Lankans who also blame one’s faults on one’s mother, of course in disparaging terms, triggering, in some cases, even stabbing and shooting incidents. Now, scientists are blaming Neanderthals for some disease causing genes in modern-day humans; they say the transfer of those bad gene types occurred when our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals. more..