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JVP, SLMC to decide on no-confidence

Feb 23 (SL) The no-confidence motion, submitted to Parliament by the UNP last week against the Govt on the drugs issue, has obtained the backing of some political parties. Democratic Party (DP) said it will back the no-confidence motion in Parliament while the JVP and SLMC said they will discuss the matter within their respective parties and take a final decision. DP, Deputy Leader MP Jayantha Ketagoda said that his party is more..

Paddy harvest drops, rice prices rise

Feb 23 (ST) An estimated 35% drop in the paddy harvest expected in the current season is showing an upward trend in the prices of rice, Agriculture Ministry Secretary, R.M.D.B. Meegasmulla said. He said the prevailing drought conditions had affected the harvest in some of the main paddy growing districts including, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala and Ampara. “We have enough paddy stocks for a few months, but more..

NATA agitates over CTC’s dogged stance

Feb 23 (NS) The National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) expressed its agitation over Ceylon Tobacco Company’s (CTC) statement in not heeding the regulations by Parliament to print the pictorial warnings on the packets of cigarettes covering an area of 80%. CTC on Feb 21, said in a statement that despite the regulations on graphic pictorial health warnings, CTC will continue to produce and supply its products more..

Official Language Policy implementation at snail’s pace

Feb 23 (NS) The pace of implementing the Govt’s Official Language Policy has been far from satisfactory, Minister Vasudewa Nanayakkara said. He admitted Govt had not gone speedily enough when it came to ensuring language equality in the country. He also acknowledged that not a single prosecution had so far been conducted with regard to language violations. “This is a matter for AG’s Dept and they have to advise us. more..

'Andaman and Nicobar Islands a potential terror hub'

Feb 23 (PTI) Are the islands of Andaman and Nicobar potential terror hubs? Yes, feels the administration of the Union Territory, which has said the possibility of LTTE cadre trying to make them a safe haven cannot be ruled out. The administration has also conveyed to the government that foreigners from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand and Sri Lanka often intrude into the archipelago. The Home Ministry has told the Parliamentary more..

Karzai postpones Lanka visit

Feb 23 (CG) Afghan President Hamid Karzai has postponed a planned visit to Sri Lanka following the killing of 19 Afghan soldiers in an assault by Taliban militants. “The Afghan president is saddened by this tragic incident, and therefore he postponed today’s official trip to Sri Lanka,” Karzai’s office said in a statement. The govt also confirmed that six soldiers were missing after the attack in the eastern province of Kunar, more..

Sri Lanka in haste to learn reconciliation

Feb 23 (CT) A Sri Lankan Govt delegation, which was visiting South Africa from 20 to 22 February, to study the South African reconciliation process had not received a formal invitation from their South African counterparts, sources said. However, when contacted South Africa's Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, he said, "The delegation came on their own interest to meet the more..

'Govt’s PR skills can’t fill empty stomachs'

Feb 23 (DM) As the provincial council election campaign is getting sharper each day, public attention on the candidates contesting these elections get equally sharp. It is more so when the kith and kin of former prominent politicians contest to follow the footsteps of their family legacy. Today we bring to you two new faces, hailing from opposing political backgrounds, to give you a taste of who they are and what they want to do for the people once elected. more..

Off The Record

Feb 23 (CT) These days one Cabinet Minister is seen blaming the govt hierarchy very angrily due to a caste issue. The minister they say is in a love with a woman, but the affair is a famous secret as both the minister and his paramour are married. Somebody had asked the girlfriend recently whether she was not ashamed to associate with a so-called 'low caste' man like the minister. The girlfriend had promptly reported the story to the minister, who began to fume. more..

Sri Lanka elected Chair of UNIDO’s Multilateral Diplomatic Committee

Feb 23 (IL) Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka was elected the Chair of the Multilateral Diplomatic Committee (MDC) during its 7th meeting held in Vienna yesterday. The MDC was established by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in 1991. The Permanent Representative of Nigeria Ambassador Abel A. Ayoko was elected its Vice-Chair. The MDC is composed of more..

Lieutenant Colonel arrested with heroin suspended

Feb 23 (AD) A Lieutenant Colonel attached to the Pampemadu army camp in Vavuniya, who was arrested on charges of heroin possession, has been suspended by the Sri Lanka Army. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya stated that the Lieutenant Colonel in question has been stripped of all posts held in the army, as per the orders of the Army Commander. He was arrested last evening by a special North Central Province police team with 3 grams of heroin in his possession. more..

You want to know what impunity means to poor people in rural Sri Lanka?

Feb 23 (Island) Some nights ago, we were provided with very practical proof of what the abandonment of anything resembling law and order means to poor people straining every sinew to make a living for themselves and their families. As is almost traditional around these parts, those of us who own a few Durian trees that bear fruit, lease those trees out to people from the neighbourhood at fruiting season. While the net returns are probably far less than what might have been realised by more..

Diplomats fear Australia will wreck UN probe into Sri Lankan war crimes

Feb 23 (CT) Diplomats preparing for the UNHRC next month have expressed concern Australia is working to 'actively undermine' a push for an international inquiry into human rights abuses in Sri Lanka, because of Australia's eagerness to co-operate with the country's leaders on asylum seekers. PM Tony Abbott announced in November his govt would give Sri Lanka two Bay-class patrol boats, at a cost of $2 million, more..

Kapila costs millions to SriLankan Airlines

Feb 23 (SM) The CEO of SriLankan Airlines Kapila Chandrasena has caused a loss of millions to the company, reports say. The particular loss has occurred after a SriLankan flight which departed to Frankfurt in Germany has returned without a single passenger (empty). Due to a strike launched by the security officers at the Frankfurt Airport the flight had been unable to board passengers after reaching the said airport on Friday. The number of passengers expected to board the flight more..

GL meets with Maldivian President in Male

Feb 23 (Island) Minister G.L. Peiris, who led the Sri Lanka delegation, had a discussion on the sidelines of the 25th Session of the SAARC Council of Ministers, held in Male, with President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom of the Maldives. President Abdulla Yameen, in the course of his address to the Council, made the following observation: "It is time that we, as a region, stand up to demand our worth in the international arena. It is time that we stand up for each other, protect each other, and more..

Sri Lanka warns of US “threat”

Feb 23 (CG) Sri Lankan Govt today warned that the United States Govt can pose a threat to the entire South Asian region. Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara urged South Asian countries not to leave room for the U.S. to pass a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC next month. The Minister warned that the U.S. may attempt to use the resolution to force a change of Govt in Sri Lanka. He said that interfering in Sri Lanka’s domestic more..

MR warns parents about Facebook dangers

Feb 23 (DM) President Rajapaksa has warned parents and teachers against the social media network Facebook and requested them to be more vigilant about the children who use it. Speaking at a function at Mindodaya School in Hettipola,, President claimed that he warned the parents about the Facebook issue three to four years ago. “If we let the children go down the wrong path it would not do the country any good. I brought up the Facebook issue three or four years ago. more..

Discussion on 'Marine Safety & Minimising Oil Spill Damage'

Feb 23 (Island) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) in association with the Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) will organize a discussion on "Marine Safety and Minimizing Oil Spill Damage" on March 5. The objective of this discussion is to create awareness amongst participants on the importance of having access to quick response oil spill equipment. The discussion is targeted at highlighting the important issues related to the consequences of Sri Lanka more..

'Govt. levies unjust taxes on people to maintain colossal cabinet & their kith & kin'

Feb 23 (LT) The govt that prepares to give billions in long term tax relief for multi billionaire gambling moguls like James Packer to establish gambling dens in the country levies high taxes for essential consumer goods including little child’s packet of milk powder and with the money thus collected is maintaining a colossal cabinet of ministers and their kith and kin that is a burden for the country says the Leader of the JVP more..

Saree entangled in motorcycle wheel kills young teacher

Feb 23 (Island) A young mother met with a tragic end when she was hurled onto the road after her saree got entangled in the rear wheel of her husband’s motorcycle and was run over by a heavy vehicle. Punya Hindagolla (28), a mother of a child, was riding on the pillion to board a bus to Zahira College, Matale, where she taught English. The mishap occurred around 6.10 am on Friday at Ibbagamuwa Yakkala junction in Galewala. The young teacher was run over by a tipper, more..

Gold worth Rs 18 Lakh seized

Feb 23 (ENS) Barely three days after gold ornaments worth Rs 22 lakh were seized from eight Sri Lankan passengers at Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), Customs officers of the Air Intelligence Unit, on Saturday, seized 628 grams of crude gold ornaments from seven Sri Lankan passengers who arrived at the airport. The seized gold, according to the Customs officials, is worth around `18.73 lakh. The seven passengers, who were detained by authorities, had arrived in more..

Sri Lanka Sends SOS for international help

Feb 23 (DM) Sri Lanka has sent an SOS to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), requesting for an international official to help the country with the Sports Law reforms, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. “We appealed to the IOC to send down one of their officials immediately to Sri Lanka to help us with drafting new sports laws as required by them. We decided that this was the best course of more..

Youth pays Rs. 1500 without getting a kiss

Feb 23 (DM) A youth arrested for proposing to kiss a young woman at the Galle Face Green on Valentine’s Day was ordered to pay a fine of Rs.1,500 by a Colombo Court. The complainant, a resident of Wellawatte had gone to the Galle Face green along with her friends on Valentine Day (14). In her complaint to the Fort police, she alleged that an unknown person who met with her face-to-face asked her for a kiss, making her uncomfortable and embarrassed. more..

Facelift for Giragama Walauwa and old Kandy buildings

Feb 23 (ST) After years of haggling over heritage sites in Kandy, the Central Cultural Fund, together with the Kandy Municipal Council and the UDA, is to restore Kandy’s old buildings, starting from Giragama Walauwa, which dates back to the Kandyan kingdom.The authorities have allocated Rs. 7.2 million to rehabilitate the building at Yatinuwara Veediya, formerly Brownrigg Street. The historic building is in a dilapidated condition, although four shops operate in it. more..

Lanka to tell India: Catch fish in our waters, but use our ports to export it

Feb 23 (ST) Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen would be able to fish in waters belonging to the two countries if a new idea mooted by the Govt makes headway at the next round of talks between the two sides next month in Colombo. On the sidelines of opening of a new aqua culture project in Trincomalee, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said they would seek to engage in a joint collaboration between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen. more..

'Present plight spurred Govt. into action'

Feb 23 (CT) Govt suddenly became active on the South African reconciliation process due its present plight, TNA Leader, R. Sampanthan said. He said, "South African reconciliation process was taken up more than two years ago and both the Govt of Sri Lanka and TNA had paid visits to South Africa more than a year ago. However, unfortunately, the govt showed no interest or enthusiasm then, but suddenly became active on the South African reconciliation due to its present plight. more..

Don’t allow muslimization of legal field – JHU

Feb 23 (SM) Justice minister Rauff Hakeem is plotting secretly to muslimize the legal field, govt affiliate JHU charges. The accusation has come in a statement issued by JHU media secretary Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, who is contesting at the western provincial council polls. According to him, there is a grave imbalance in granting posts in the Justice Ministry, even in justices of the peace postings, admissions to the Law College and all other matters coming under the ministry. more..

Audio: Fingerprints automated from tomorrow

Feb 23 (DM) The Sri Lanka Police is to introduce an automated fingerprint system in order to identify those involved in criminal activities, police sources said. "The Police Department is going to introduce the new system from today," SSP Ajith Rohana said at a media briefing today. He said the Police Department currently had fingerprints of some 500,000 criminals or persons related to any kind of criminal activity. more..

Relocating Wanathamulla residents Govt. ready to reconsider payment scheme

Feb 23 (CT) UDA said the govt is willing to reconsider the repayment scheme on the apartments it has built at Wanathamulla, to be distributed in lieu of the land it is usurping in the area. UDA Chairman, Nimal Perera, said that according to the fresh proposals brought in by Defence Secretary, the residents will have to agree to pay only a single payment of Rs 50,000 upfront and a rent of Rs 2,530 monthly for a period of 30 years, to be eligible for ownership. more..

Sri Lanka to first to join Global Partnership on Business and Biodiversity

Feb 23 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s Business and Biodiversity (B&B) Platform has emerged as the first from South Asia to gain membership of the Global Partnership on Business and Biodiversity (GPBB) established under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands and the European Union are the other initiatives that have joined the partnership. Australia, India, Namibia, Portugal, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain and more..

Global TU official pledges to get GSP+ restored

Feb 23 (ST) A global trade unionist yesterday pledged to campaign for the re-instatement of the European GSP+ concessions but at the same time called on the Govt to shift its position on several issues such as workers’ and human rights and working environment. Ruik Raina General Secretary of IndustriALL, an international trade union with some 50 million members across 138 countries, said that the authorities need to more..

Fertiliser shortage and Tea Industry

Feb 24 (SL) It was reported that Sri Lankan plantations have been hit by an acute shortage of fertiliser. It is detrimental to the industry resulting in loss of crop, reduction of green leaf quality and decrease in number of paid days for workers. According to the govt, the country is experiencing adverse effect of the use of chemical fertiliser and therefore, agrochemicals were introduced to increase crop production. We know that it is necessary to increase productivity. more..

‘Noon tide toll’

Feb 24 (CT) Romesh Gunesekera has several books to his credit including ‘Reef’ which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and has been translated into several languages, including Chinese. Not many other Sri Lankan, English-language, literary texts have received such reader and critical attention. ‘Noon Tide Toll’ (hereafter NTT) consists of short stories, vignettes, divided into North and South. The narrator, Vasantha, retired from a state corporation at age of 55; more..

'A/L Technology stream makes headway'

Feb 24 (SO) Sri Lanka was able to make a change in its education system in the year 2013 by introducing the technology subject stream for the A/L students, putting an end to the conventional system which was adapted for decades. Though it was introduced in 2013 that was in high demand during the past two or three decades as the conventional education system could not cater to the much needed human resources required for more..

‘Only a pawn in their game?’

Feb 24 (CT) Commenting on the wave of popular unrests which began in 2011 and swept across countries from orient to occident, Joseph Stiglitz opined that “there was a common understanding that in many ways the economic and political system had failed and that both were fundamentally unfair”. 2011 was, in general, a quiet year in Sri Lanka. Majority Sinhala community still dreamed of the peace dividend and believed that the regime would deliver developmental success just as it did more..

The UN must introduce secret balloting for its voting

Feb 24 (SL) In any election where a “free vote” is expected to be exercised, certain norms of conduct are essential to be followed to make the election free and fair. For example, if a candidate or his agent were to “treat” (or bribe) a voter with some inducement or benefit, or threaten the voter with some dire consequences unless the voter supports the particular candidate, such behaviour would be evident that the voter has not been able to exercise his vote “freely”. more..

Drastic changes proposed to renovate the heritage city to attract more tourists

Feb 24 (CT) Galle is different from all other declared heritage sites in the island, for therein lies a unique site within which hundreds find their homes and office premises, justifying its identity as a 'living heritage'. Yet, the old town of Galle and its fortifications have remained controversial due to their management and conservation issues, as more alterations are carried out within the universally valued site. more..

Lessons from past economic development experience

Feb 24 (ST) The economic development experience of post-independent years provides ample lessons and guidelines for economic policies for the future. Ignoring these, as well as the development experiences of other countries, could limit the country’s development potential. Pragmatic economic policies based on economic development experience rather than ideology and political populism is vital for economic development. Healthy macroeconomic fundamentals, more..

Govt. sidesteps queries on public finances used for President’s trips abroad

Feb 24 (ST) The fact that Parliament has been relegated to a mere rubber stamp is not exactly news, but going by the growing disregard Government shows to issues concerning the use of public finances, by sidestepping questions relating to how Sri Lanka’s taxpayers money is being spent, one wonders how exactly the Legislature can be expected to exercise its Constitutionally enshrined powers of control over public finances. “Parliament shall have full control over public finance,“ more..

On the heels of the wild beauties of Delft

Feb 24 (ST) They are the living “landmarks” of rugged Delft, inextricably linked with this island located in the Palk Straits across from the Jaffna peninsula. With an arrogant toss of their heads, manes and tails flying, they gallop along the coastline, daring anyone to come up-close. They are the wild horses which are such an integral part of Delft that one adorns the island’s symbol, along with a cow and a fish. more..