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Suicides having little to do with FB

Feb 25 (CT) There is this regressive clamour that dominates the public discourse over social media, especially Facebook, which had 1.2 billion active members as of October last year. The emotive and highly sensational critique on the ill of the social media even goes to the extent of proposing a ban on Facebook. The discontent and disillusionment over Facebook emanates from two recent suicides of teenage girls in incidents which, a closer look would reveal, are distantly related to Facebook. more..

'British inmate died of heart attack'

Feb 25 (AD) The cause of death of a British national at the Magazine Prison in Colombo has been confirmed as a heart attack, the Department of Prisons said. Viswalingam Gopidas, who was arrested and imprisoned on charges of aiding the LTTE organization, had suddenly passed away due to an ailment yesterday. Commissioner General of Prisons, stated that the inmate had fallen ill at around 7.30am yesterday and died shortly after being admitted to the prison hospital. more..

More bodies found in Sri Lanka's mass grave

Feb 25 (AFP) Forensic experts have found more bodies in an unmarked mass grave in Sri Lanka's northern former war zone, taking the total number to 80, an official said. JMO Dhananjaya Waidyaratne said excavations resumed on Monday after a short break at the grave site discovered by construction workers in December. The grave is the first uncovered in the former war zone since troops defeated Tamil rebels more..

Nigeria arrive for short Sri Lanka visit

Feb 25 (CI) Nigeria landed in Colombo on Sunday for a nine-day tour during which they will play four Twenty20s. Sri Lanka Cricket said it was hosting the Nigeria national team to "uplift the standard of cricket of the Associate Members of ICC". The tour by Nigeria comes three months after Kenya had played seven Twenty20s in Sri Lanka. The opposition for Kenya had been a strong Sri Lanka A team which included the likes of Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne and Shaminda Eranga. more..

JVP accuses UNP of fighting internal war without taking on govt

Feb 25 (Island) JVP claimed that UNP was not trying to defeat the UPFA at Western and Southern PC elections as their main ambition was to get rid of the Premadasa faction. Addressing a rally at Elpitiya, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that at present the UNP was not fighting against the corrupt govt; instead it was caught in a battle between Ranil and Sajith factions. "Now the people are fed up with the Rajapaksa govt due to unbearable cost of living and corruption," he said, more..

Talks fail; Undergrads to continue with protests

Feb 25 (Island) Undergraduates who are currently performing a Sathyagraha opposite the Galle Bus station and the Galaha Junction in Peradeniya decided to go ahead with their protests as discussions with the Higher Education authorities failed yesterday. A one-and-a-half-hour long discussion at the Higher Education Ministry was attended by Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Navaratne, Chairperson of the UGC more..

Noose tightens on Ravi K.

Feb 25 (CT) Colombo High Court on Monday revealed that the sum of US$ 3 million mentioned in the foreign exchange fraud case, that had been filed against UNP MP, Ravi Karunanayake, and two other defendants by the Attorney General, had been brought to the country illegally. The information pertaining to the US$ 3 million being credited to a private bank in Colombo was verified when the former Additional Exchange Controller, Kumara Perera, testified under the guidance of more..

Sri Lanka stocks end down 0.8%

Feb 25 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.8% lower Tuesday falling 4.5% over nine days amid steady foreign selling, brokers said, while the rupee ended weaker against the US dollar. All Share Price Index closed 47.13 points lower at 5,835.92, down 0.8%. The S&P SL20 closed 27.94 points lower at 3,180.06, down 0.87%. Turnover was 426.93 million rupees, down from 499.40 million rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 118 firms closing in the red against 52 gainers. more..

Sri Lanka, South Africa deepen relations with air services agreement

Feb 25 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka and South Africa have signed a landmark bilateral air services agreement as the latter expressed support to the island over a U.S. resolution calling for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes goes to the UNHRC next week. Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva and South Africa's Minister Dipuo Peters signed the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA), further strengthening diplomatic relations more..

Ban on refueling of buses with passengers on board

Feb 25 (Island) Western Province Road Passenger Transport Authority Deputy (WPRPTA) General Manager Ajith Ranjith asked all private bus operators not to take buses loaded with passengers to refilling stations. It was a punishable offence and he would not hesitate to cancel the route permits of the offenders, he warned. He pointed out that WPRPTA had received many complaints from commuters such as buses not stopping at bus halts and transferring passengers to other buses. more..

CIFL depositors want president to intervene on their behalf

Feb 25 (Island) Some three thousand members of the Depositors’ Association of Central Investment and Finance PLC (CIFL) expressed confidence that President Rajapaksa would intervene to help them recover their capital and interest. The Association’s Treasurer A S M Thambyah told The Island that the President was the best person to solve their problem. Yesterday the depositors gathered near the Buddha statue at Vihramahadevi Park following a discussion at the Public Library auditorium. more..

'Bring victory to people’s voice that represents your voice and that of ours'

Feb 25 (LT) Only the JVP has put forward candidates that take your voice to provincial councils, who do not plunder public money, who are determined, dedicated and could make any sacrifice, who are not afraid of the government and would not betray the people’s mandate for money. As such we ask you to bring victory to people’s voice that represents your voice and that of ours,” says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. more..

JHU calls for increase in Law College intake

Feb 25 (Island) JHU demanded an increase in the Sri Lanka Law College student intake this year. Normally, between 225 and 250 students were admitted to the Law College annually, but this year it had been reduced to 177, JHU National Organiser and Media Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said. He said the JHU believed that there was a conspiracy behind the reduction in the number of students admitted to the College this year as Sinhala students were the most affected. more..

Video: Banning Facebook not practical: MR

Feb 25 (DM) Banning of social media network Facebook, is impracticable as modern technology needs to be used, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at an event held at Keragala Pathmawathie Pirivena on Monday. “Today Facebook is used even at Pirivenas. New technological tools should be used. They cannot be banned. Enforcing laws against them would be futile,” he said. “It’s up to parents to pay attention to the conduct of their children and ensure their protection. more..

Malinga five-for cuts Pakistan short

Feb 25 (CI) Lasith Malinga reasserted his skill for rattling chases in a tight finish, after Lahiru Thirimanne had proclaimed his relevance to the ODI format, as Sri Lanka sputtered to a thrilling win in the Asia Cup opener in Fatullah. Pakistan lost their top order cheaply, surged, collapsed, then surged briefly again, in search of 297, but the total that had been set up by Thirimanne's 102 was 12 too many, despite more..

Lakmal versus Akmal

Feb 25 (CI) Suranga Lakmal had been convinced he'd had Misbah-ul-Haq caught behind, third ball of Pakistan's 35th over. The umpire had been unmoved. Last ball of that over, Umar Akmal defended back to Lakmal, who threw the ball angrily at the stumps. A presumably pleasant exchange ensued. When Lakmal came back into the attack, Akmal spanked him for two fours and a baseball-style six over deep midwicket. Possibly sensing a rash shot, Angelo Mathews kept Lakmal on, more..

Flight to Colombo recalled, red sandalwood smugglers taken off

Feb 25 (IANS) A Sri Lankan Airlines flight from here to Colombo was recalled after it left Tuesday and three passengers were later taken off and booked for smuggling red sandalwood. An airline official said the flight, which departed from here at 9.40 a.m. was recalled on a request by customs officials, who reported presence of a smuggling gang on board the aircraft. The customs officials found that around 90 kg of red sandalwood was being smuggled to Thailand from here. more..

Video: Suicides should not be blamed on Facebook: SYU

Feb 25 (DM) The JVP affiliated Socialist Youth Union (SYU) said Facebook should not be banned or restricted as it could not be blamed for the recent suicides. SYU national organiser and former JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake told a news conference that several govt officials including ministers had in various statements hinted of plans to ban Facebook, the very popular social media network. He was referring to a statement more..

Are we too quick to - Jump on the blame-wagon?

Feb 26 (NS) Can punishment or harsh reprimand drive a school child suicidal? It’s a rhetorical question. The question ‘who is to blame for suicide’ is as old as suicide itself. When Venusha Imandi, a student of Sir John Kotelawala Vidyalaya, Kurunegala committed suicide after being chided by the principal over a photo on Facebook, media was quick to make the best out of a bad situation. The principal’s face was plastered on page one of most papers and a detailed account of more..

Our country, our President, our armed forces, our nation and my defence!

Feb 26 (CT) I shall confine my submission to the current trends in international affairs relating to Sri Lanka with the war against terrorism and how the world look at us owing to the accusations made against us by vested interests with particular emphasis to the UN and whether we have overcome the difficulties and convinced the world that we were justified in doing what we had to do. We are a people created equal, free to think and worship as we feel. We are no longer colonists. more..

Colombo Outer Circular expressway first phase opens next month

Feb 26 (SO) The Outer Circular Expressway to link major expressway projects such as the Southern Expressway, Northern and Kandy expressways and other major roads such as Colombo - Avissawella, Colombo - Kandy and Colombo - Negombo roads through an outer ring of Colombo city is now progressing with the completion of its first phase from Kottawa to Kaduwela. It was decades ago that the idea of reducing more..

I want my President to be honest, articulate, and smart

Feb 26 (CT) There is an adage in Tamil, which goes “Arasan ev valiyoo kudihalum av valiyee”(meaning: whichever way the king heads towards, the subjects also go accordingly). This has very much been the case before, during and after the 23rd CHOGM summit in our motherland, Sri Lanka. Apart from ardent Tamil tiger supporters, almost all Sri Lankans are relieved that the military outfit was defeated to the level that they cannot regroup. But the question as to how quickly the govt would create more..

Wiggie and Mavai have a word-brawl

Feb 26 (NS) It is not uncommon for two people in the same family to have widely divergent opinions. Brothers, after all, have set upon one another from time immemorial. There’s nothing wrong then about two individuals belonging to the same political party quarreling. Politicians quarrel over all kinds of things. There’s the infamous preferential-vote dadi-bidis, the ‘manaapa poraya’ that is. These days we see more intra-party rivalry than inter-party clashes. So when C.V. Wigneswaran contradicts Sampanthan more..

Then came this rural cricket episode

Feb 26 (ST) I wondered it was just hurt; frustration or hope that espoused through his facial expression, though the little guy still had not uttered a word. He just sat there in the summer house of my friend’s bungalow down south in Bentota, when I walked to the place heeding my friend’s request. The story of little Sanjeewa (I just decided to change the boy’s name thinking just in case he one day rockets into stardom) more..

Selling ideology and hope to India

Feb 26 (CT) I first met Arvind Kejriwal in the afterglow of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay being awarded to him, for his contribution to make India’s Right to Information Act a reality. Kejriwal was beginning to enjoy extreme mass appeal, particularly among idealists and youth, and his call for a graft-free India was slowly turning into a political force, ready to agitate. “I represent a desire for positive change as does the moment I represent. We offer a refreshing ideological difference to more..

The Mahavamsa myth

Feb 26 (Island) There is supposed to be a problem in Sri Lanka. It is discrimination against Tamils. As a solution it has been suggested that power should be devolved to the Northern Province and the Eastern Province, which are described as a Tamil homeland, traditional habitats etc., of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The so-called problem had been ‘formulated’ differently over time but in essence it has been discrimination against the Tamils by the Sinhala people. more..

A legend empowers and inspires reflections from Beefy’s Big Sri Lanka Walk

Feb 26 (CT) Sir Ian Botham, England's cricketing legend, is no stranger to Sri Lanka. Having established a keen interest in the development of Sri Lanka, his visit to the country on behalf of Laureus, soon after the Indian Ocean tsunami demonstrated the opportunity for a sports-based project in Seenigama, in the south of the country, which could help uplift the region. Since then, Laureus has worked closely with more..

Will Mahinda be absent from C’wealth Day celebrations?

Feb 26 (CT) Mahinda is scheduled to leave for London on 10 March to attend Commonwealth Day celebrations. Purpose of his participation in the proceedings will be twofold; representing the country as President of SL and also as the Chairperson of the Commonwealth group of nations. Royal Commonwealth Society website has reported the event as follows: In London, Commonwealth Day celebrations are focused around a multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey. more..

Editorial: Children in a whirlpool of despair

Feb 26 (Island) Most Sri Lankans seem to have a death wish, which is evident in the way they drive, ride, cross roads, gobble up heaps of junk food and chugalug drinks injurious to health. It may be their obsession with death that has sent Sri Lanka’s suicide rate through the roof. The last few weeks have seen several tragic incidents where students took their lives, the latest being a teenage girl’s self-immolation on Tuesday. The media stands accused of ‘promoting suicide’ in that wide publicity more..

'We thought we were 25-30 runs short'

Feb 26 (CI) Between innings during their opening match of the Asia Cup, Sri Lanka felt they had fallen short of a winning total against Pakistan. Lahiru Thirimanne had scored a century and added 161 with Kumar Sangakkara for the second wicket. With that in mind, Sri Lanka should have scored "at least 325", according to their captain Angelo Mathews. "I actually think that we were 25-30 runs short, to be honest," Mathews said. more..

SLT profit Rs. 7.4 Bn with 25.9% growth

Feb 26 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom, the leading integrated telecommunication services provider released its company and group financial performance for the financial year 2013, and for the 4th quarter of 2013 with impressive results. SLT group comprises the holding Company Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and six other subsidiaries including the group mobile arm Mobitel. During the year 2013, the group reported Rs.60.1Bn revenue with 5.9% growth when compared to the previous year. more..

Malinga beats Murali to 250 ODI wickets

Feb 26 (CI) The 12-run defeat was the 12th consecutive time that Pakistan failed to chase a target of 250 or more. The last time they chased such a target was against New Zealand in Napier in 2011. Lasith Malinga's five-wicket haul was his sixth in ODIs and his second against Pakistan. This haul was his first five-for in 61 ODI innings - the last time he took a five-for was against South Africa in Paarl in January 2012. Bilawal Bhatti was Malinga's 250th ODI wicket. more..

Sri Lanka’s northern house-funding gap

Feb 26 (IRIN) More than US$300 million is needed for the construction of over 60,000 new homes in conflict-affected north, say aid officials. “There is very little, almost nothing that is coming by way of new funding for housing construction,” Jagath Abeysinghe, president of SL Red Cross Society which is overseeing the construction of 20,000 new homes in Northern Province said, attributing the shortfall to donor fatigue. more..

'Batsmen should have finished better'

Feb 26 (CI) Pakistan's 12-run defeat to Sri Lanka in the opening match of the Asia Cup meant they hadn't managed to chase a 250-plus successfully since February 2011. Asked what the issue was, their captain Misbah-ul-Haq said they had no problem constructing chases, but simply lacked finishing. "I think there is no problem," he said. "We just chased even in the Test match [against Sri Lanka in Sharjah, where they scored 302 in 57 overs in the fourth innings], and more..

Sri Lanka forces a walkout

Feb 26 (Hindu) A discussion initiated on the City Corporation’s budget veered towards articulation of views by members on Sri Lankan Tamils, resulting in a pandemonium and walkout by members of the DMK, VCK, and the Congress. The DMK members were ruffled as an AIADMK Councillor, after hailing Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for taking steps to release seven prisoners who were accused in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, mocked at former CM M. Karunanidhi, more..

Sri Lanka’s five-hub strategy: Telling Tewari!

Feb 26 (FT) Advocating moderation and clarity on Sri Lanka’s five-hub strategy, a top international expert called for clearer goals and stronger collaboration between the Govt and private sector, comparing it to a “tango at lockstep”. Private Sector Development Specialist of the Competitive Industries Practice at the World Bank Group P.S. Tewari in his impressively insightful address posed the question of whether Sri Lanka’s Govt had more..

First Divi Neguma Community Bank opened

Feb 26 (GDI) Minister Basil Rajapaksa opened the first Community based Bank established by the Divi Neguma Development Bank at Meegahakotuwa, Kuliyapitiya on Monday. Accordingly 322 Samurdhi Associations and 1,074 Samurdhi Banks in 14,023 grama seva divisions of the island’s 25 districts will be turned into Community based Banks in future. Divi Neguma Development Bank which is serving five million people by helping to raise the living standards of 1,800,000 families was more..

Court to Skype evidence

Feb 26 (DM) Colombo Fort Magistrate has decided to use Skype technology to record evidence from a witness in Italy regarding a theft of US$700 belonging to an Italian woman while she was staying at a hotel in Colombo. Accordingly, Magistrate directed police to make necessary arrangements to record evidence from the Italian woman using Skype technology on March 14 under the supervision of an independent observer attached to the University of Colombo School of Computing. more..

Doubts over Sri Lanka's reconciliation efforts

Feb 26 (DW) The Sri Lankan govt has repeatedly come under fire from critics for failing adequately to investigate war crimes and promote reconciliation with the country's Tamil minority following a decades-long civil war. Last week, it said it was considering a process similar to South-Africa's post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Colombo sent a high-level delegation to South Africa to see, according to minister more..

'South Africa will not condone Eelamists'

Feb 26 (DN) South African leaders have categorically stated that they will never support any movement aimed at dismembering Sri Lanka and that they have already rejected a request made to reorganise the so-called Eelam govt setup by Rudrakumaran in association with a group of Tamils who have fled the country, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. He said the South African leaders gave this assurance when he met them during a recent visit to South Africa. more..