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An open letter to the President and the party leaders

Nov 1 (CT) Dear Mr. President and Leaders of Political Parties, The citizens and civil society are most grateful to Reverend Athureliye Rathana Thero, for leading the ‘Pivithuru Hetak’ (For a Just & Fair Society Tomorrow) Movement, in the development of the National Policy statement ‘Rata Gatha Yuthu Maga’: which programme has as one of its cornerstones, the assurance of good governance and a corruption free society in Sri Lanka. Reverend Athureliye Rathana Thero, more..

Referendum red alert: Blood Tsunami, broken country

Nov 1 (CT) It was Ceylon Today and its sister paper Mawbima which got the most important news story of the year 2014; a story which if it proves accurate, may be the one that determines the destiny of this country. With perfect editorial judgment, the Ceylon Today issue of October 24th 2014 ran the story as its page one lead. The headline read: ‘REFERENDUM IN THE OFFING?’ The operative paragraph of reporter Rashini Mendis’ story read as follows: “After the next Presidential Election is more..

Jathika Shilpa Sabha launches new project

Nov 1 (SO) In 1982, according to the act of associating institutions under the National Crafts Council, three institutions were established for the welfare of the handicraft industry and also the craftsmen. They were namely the Jathika Shilpa Sabha (NCC), National Handicraft Board and also the National Design Centre. These institutions were established with three main purposes. The purpose of the Jathika Shilpa Sabha is to protect more..

Socialism with proletarian democracy

Nov 1 (CT) In the meeting held in New Town Hall on 20 Oct, Frontline Socialist Party leaders explained their solution to the crisis faced by the Lankan society. Comrades Nagamuwa and Pubudu indicated that the solution lies in socialism with proletarian democracy. Of course, finally the solution is in socialism but Lanka is still a backward country where national democratic tasks are not completed. Lankan bourgeoisie is incapable of completing anti imperialist democratic tasks. more..

Education allocations must target youth unemployment and labour productivity

Nov 1 (FT) Budget speech of the President included a commitment to increase the number of students entering universities to 100,000 by 2020 and also to allocate more funds for vocational training. The current intake to Govt universities is around 25,000 per year. Nearly 60% (150,000) of the students, who sit for the exam satisfies the minimum requirement, cannot enter the universities. While this proposal is certainly a positive move, the challenge however would be to improve more..

'Ambassadors must declare assets, liabilities'

Nov 1 (CT) Jayantha Dhanapala is a former US Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs (1998-2003) and a former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the USA (1995-7) and to the UN Office in Geneva (1984-87). He is currently the 11th President of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs; Deputy Chairman of the Governing Board of Stockholm International Peace Research more..

Kick the scab and slash the flab!

Nov 1 (NS) Every financial pundit and his brother appeared to be crystal-ball gazing long before Wednesday’s National Budget had been unveiled. The majority of optimists imagined that with the presidential election just around the corner that prosperity would also be lurking at the end of that same curve. The Opposition soothsayers were quick to prophesise that a Budget bag, full of goodies would be a sure gimmick aimed at winning the confidence of rural voters. more..

Visit to the island of paradise

Nov 1 (NS) I and my wife decided to visit Sri Lanka after 31 years as the situation in SL improved tremendously under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We flew on July 7, 2014 to Sri Lanka, arrived on July 8 at the Colombo Airport. We were astonished to see the airport development, which is of western standard. As I walked to the immigration, I stood in the queue, an officer courteously asked me to go to another free counter, which had two passengers. more..

Probing the world of drug addicted teens

Nov 1 (NS) The raid conducted by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) on a pharmacy in Colombo last week has raised suspicion that some school students have started to abuse more prescription drugs. However, the raid has also underscored the lack of coordination among various govt agencies regarding such issues, with the Cosmetics, Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority (CDDA) alleging it had not been consulted. more..

Editorial: Sex for slots

Nov 1 (Island) The Opposition has demanded, in Parliament, a thorough probe into a sex scandal that has rocked Sri Lanka Cricket and stringent action against the culprits. UNP MP Ajith P. Perera said some of the women cricketers had been compelled to have sex with certain officials to secure places in the national team. The govt claimed action had already been taken and President Rajapaksa and Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had ordered two separate investigations more..

Sri Lankan Muslims at the cross roads

Nov 1 (Island) What is the explanation for the anti-Muslim campaign? I have argued in this series of articles that no cogent explanation can possibly be found in the bilateral issues that have been bedeviling Sinhalese-Muslim relations. Two of them, alleged Muslim extremism and alleged Muslim exponential population growth, are of recent vintage and supposedly constitute existential threats to the Sinhalese. I believe that I have shown satisfactorily enough that both of them more..

Sri Lanka’s poor progress on human rights

Nov 1 (FP) Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war was a brutal conflict that pitted the Sri Lankan govt forces against the Tamil Tigers, a group that fought for a separate state in the country’s northern and eastern provinces. Though the govt defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, Sri Lanka’s post-war situation is headed in the wrong direction. Since that time, the international community’s engagement with the island nation has been variegated. more..

The Pope is in the play of planets

Nov 1 (Island) The Pope is reported to be taking a keen interest in a subject that has so far not been one of debate in Christian thinking. His Holiness is said to be learning about astrology. Those close to the Vatican say this is a change from his pattern of taking a bold stand on issues of key importance that have divided Christians, especially Roman Catholics through centuries; he is certainly moved by new revelations about the impact of the planets on current affairs in countries, more..

Opening slot and fielding concerns for SL

Nov 1 (CI) While Tillakaratne Dilshan has been slapping and scooping his way through opposition attacks since 2009, Sri Lanka have rifled through opening batsmen at the other end. Lahiru Thirimanne and Dimuth Karunaratne have had their dash, Mahela Jayawardene has sometimes stepped in to replace misfiring batsmen mid-tour, Kusal Perera began with promise but is yet to deliver consistently, and Upul Tharanga has been in and out of the side. The only surprise so far is that more..

National carrier begins evolutionary journey

Nov 1 (FT) In a major milestone signifying the beginning of a new era, national carrier SriLankan Airlines’ new Airbus A330-300 touched down at the BIA in Katunayake yesterday, to a ceremonial welcome at an event attended by the Minister of Civil Aviation, Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation, Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Chairman of SriLankan Airlines, aviation officials, corporates, diplomats, members of the clergy more..

We are all jayasundariyans now!

Nov 1 (DM) “We are all Keynesians now,” Richard Nixon, then US President said, but the original phrase was from Milton Friedman. It expressed the reluctant embrace of Keynesian economics, in a time of financial crisis, by leaders such as Nixon, who had formerly favoured less interventionist policies. Friedman later clarified. According to him, the original statement has been “In one sense, we are all Keynesians now; in another, nobody is any longer a Keynesian.” more..

Question on proliferation of medical labs draws personal comments and retorts

Nov 1 (Island) The proliferation of private medical laboratories across the country indicated that people could not obtain proper services from the govt medical labs, UNP MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said in Parliament. Minister Maithripala Sirisena said govt medical laboratories were functioning and providing service to people properly and the MP Kariyawasam who got married recently could get to know of the actual situation himself within a couple of more months when he took his wife for urine tests. more..

Missing Persons Commission needs more teeth

Nov 1 (CT) The UNHRC, in its fifth periodic report on Sri Lanka, adopted that the State should ensure the rights of families to know the location or status of disappeared persons, by ensuring that the Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints regarding Missing Persons and other relevant bodies are provided with adequate legal powers as well as human, technical and financial resources to operate in an independent, more..

President instructs officials to get EU ban on fish exports removed

Nov 1 (FT) President Rajapaksa on Thursday has instructed the relevant officials to do a thorough study on the European Union’s ban of Sri Lanka’s fishery products exports and get the ban removed. The President also instructed the Navy to assist in preventing illegal fishermen entering the Sri Lankan seas and to curb the use of illegal equipment for fishing. He gave these instructions at a discussion held with the representatives of Fishermen Associations at Temple Trees on Thursday. more..

Minister Amunugama to attend India Economic Summit

Nov 1 (FT) Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama will leave the island to attend the India Economic Summit on 3 November to New Delhi, India. Dr. Amunugama was invited for the Economic Summit by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation on Indian Industry. It will take place in New Delhi, India on 4-6 November. Under the theme ‘Redefining Public Private Cooperation for a New Beginning,’ the meeting will bring together top Indian and global leaders to discuss how more..

Laws to ensure owners accountable

Nov 1 (CT) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, making a ministerial statement in Parliament, said House would be introducing new laws to ensure that estate owners, with line-houses, in landslide prone areas, are accountable for providing those employed under them with safer housing. "We will introduce new laws to hold estate owner responsible for providing safe housing and living conditions to their employees," more..

Drug dealing duo arrested with Rs 7.5M

Nov 1 (CT) Two heroin dealers, who were carrying a sum of Rs 7.5 million, which belonged to an imprisoned drug dealer, who ran the business from his prison cell, were arrested up by Walana Anti Corruption Unit at Wellampitiya, Meetotamulla. At the time of their arrest, they were carrying the money to be handed over to several other drug dealers on the instruction of imprisoned drug businessman. Police sources revealed that the two suspects, arrested in this connection, more..

No legal bar to phony AIDS cure ads

Nov 1 (CT) Deputy Minister of Health, Lalith Dissanayake revealed in Parliament that as there are no legal provisions to prevent advertising of phony AIDS treatments, those with the disease may end up being victims of such a scam. Minister said that currently there were 772 AIDS patients in State hospitals and the govt spends Rs 400,000 on treatment for each one of them. However, as a result of quack Ayurveda and Homeopathic doctors, advertising 'cures' for AIDS, more..

US offers Rs. 6.5 m immediate assistance

Nov 1 (FT) To meet the urgent needs of victims of the recent landslides in Koslanda, the United States Govt has provided Rs. 6.5 million (US$ 50,000) for emergency humanitarian assistance, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo said. USAID is working closely with Sri Lanka’s National Disaster Relief Services Center and international aid partners to coordinate the donation of most urgently-needed items. more..

GL says Thurairajah has no criminal record

Nov 1 (Island) P.T. Thurairajah, the man who was given the contract to refurbish the official quarters of SL’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland in 2009 had no criminal record, Minister G.L.Peiries told Parliament. According to the Swiss Federal Govt‘s Records Division, there was no record of Thrairajah in the "criminal law’. Minister said that repeated media reports claiming that Thurairajah was linked to the LTTE were "blatant lies." more..

An outrageous penalty

Nov 1 (Hindu) The death sentence imposed on five Indian fishermen by a Sri Lankan court for drug trafficking has added an unfortunate dimension to relations between the two countries. The issue has roiled Tamil Nadu, where it is being seen as one more atrocity by Sri Lanka against the State’s fishing community. Govt of India has said the fishermen are innocent and plans to help them appeal the sentence. The five were arrested mid-sea in the Palk Bay region in November 2011 and more..

Modi may take up fishermen issue with Rajapaksa

Nov 1 (Hindu) With India stepping up efforts to prove the innocence of the five Indian fishermen sentenced to death for drug trafficking by the Colombo High Court, sources said that New Delhi was hopeful of finding a resolution to the situation that has led to protests in Tamil Nadu. While Sri Lanka retains the death penalty, no execution has been carried out in the country since June 1976, as successive Presidents have declined signing more..

India pledges Rs 50 lakh as immediate assistance for Lanka landslide

Nov 1 (PTI) India has pledged Rs five million as immediate relief for victims of landslide in Sri Lanka and is also considering medium and long-term assistance. "India has pledged as immediate relief assistance of Rs 50 lakh for the victims of landslide in Sri Lanka," the Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said. He said that the Indian government was also considering, in consultation with the Sri Lankan government, medium and long-term assistance options. more..

Rathupaswela factory case taken up

Nov 1 (Island) The Venigross Company Pvt. Limited has shifted their industrial facility from Rathupaswela to a different location, Counsel for this respondent company Dr. Harsha Cabraal told the Court of Appeal yesterday. The petitioner ‘Siyana Water Protection Organisation’ of Gampaha had complained to the Court of Appeal that the factory released untreated waste chemicals into the soil and as a result the ground water had got polluted. They wanted the Court to Order more..

Ranil visits landslide affected village

Nov 1 (FT) Leader of UNP Ranil Wickremasinghe yesterday visited Koslanda Meeriya Bedda village in Badulla district and met the victims of the massive landslide that devastated the area Wednesday morning. Uva PC Opposition Leader Harin Fernando and several other UNP leaders joined the Opposition Leader in this visit. They met with the victims of the landslide sheltered in temporary camps and distributed more..

Another body found in Haldummulla

Nov 1 (DM) As the second day of the rescue operations in Haldummulla came to an end, another female body was recovered increasing the total death toll to four persons, the Police said. The body found today had been of a 50 year-old woman. Rescue workers had spotted the corpse this evening, trapped in the rubble. Some 33 persons remain missing following the tragedy that befell the Meeriyabadda estate located in Haldummulla, Koslanda on Wednesday morning. more..

Govt appeals against EU Court Order

Nov 1 (CT) The Govt has appealed against the lifting of the restrictions on the LTTE by the European Union Court of Justice, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said that the govt did not do it directly but it was through some "other sources" which he did not divulge. He also said the LTTE being proscribed was mere eyewash. Some of the Western countries, which had proscribed the LTTE, did not utter a whimper at the time the pro-LTTE members carried placards and photographs more..

Church denies claims over Pope’s visit

Nov 1 (CG) The Catholic Church of Sri Lanka says it is not under any pressure from the Govt to cancel the visit of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka. In media statement, the Church said that it’s request to the Govt has always been that any election should not be held immediately after the visit of the Holy Father to SL because that might be politically used by interested parties as a campaign tool. “If an election is to be held before the visit, more..

Hardcore drug dealers on the run

Nov 1 (CT) The Police Intelligence Unit has received information that 20 hardcore drug dealers have fled to Pakistan, India and some European countries, as a result of losing the political protection they enjoyed, following police launching extensive raids on their operations in recent times. A senior intelligence officer said the assistance of Interpol will be requested to arrest the absconding suspects. A high level police officer involved with drug investigations in the department said more..

Donate monthly salary to landslide victims: John tells MPs

Nov 1 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said that Ministers and MPs should donate one month’s salary to provide relief to victims of Koslanda landslide disaster. MP Amaratunga speaking soon after Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera made a ministerial statement on Koslanda disaster in Parliament yesterday, said: "Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe is visiting the landslide hit areas and people at the time I am addressing this House. more..

Landslides: Govt to take over estates that expose workers to danger

Nov 1 (Island) The govt had asked estate owners to take action to relocate their workers living in landslide prone terrain to safe areas but they had not heeded that directive, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. Unless they responded favourably, action would have to be taken to take over their properties to ensure workers’ safety, he warned. A proposal to allocate state land certified by the NBRO as more..

Estate workers; focus not on votes but on wellbeing

Nov 1 (DM) With Sri Lanka in a state of mourning over the worst landslide in its history the government and civic action movements got into full gear to provide large scale relief and rehabilitation for the survivors of the calamity at the Meeriyabedda Tea Plantation in Koslanda. The Disaster Management Centre said yesterday an estimated hundred people were still missing and feared dead under about 30 to 40 feet of mud while local residents said the death toll was nearly 200. more..

Cardiovascular diseases arising from Atherosclerosis Prevention or Cure?

Nov 1 (DM) Sri Lanka Heart Association (SLHA) is advocating the need for easily available dedicated cardiac care countrywide to reduce the annual death toll of 25,000 due to heart attacks. To quote SLHA President Dr. Gotabhaya Ranasinghe, “We currently do have STEMI programmes but it is not a dedicate one. We need to have a programme where a patient from any part of the country can reach the nearest hospital in an ambulance that provides the necessary care till he has access to more..

Police harassing HIV prevention workers distributing condoms

Nov 1 (CT) Lower-ranked police officers harass persons, groups and sex workers conducting awareness campaigns distributing condoms among fellow sex workers, homosexuals and Men who have Sex with Men (MSMs), Director of the National STD/AIDS Control Programme, Dr. Sisira Liyanage, alleged. Speaking about ground level issues affecting MSM groups, sex workers and transgender persons, Dr. Liyanage more..

Sri Lanka’s soaring suicide rate demands in-depth study of Psychology

Nov 1 (ST) With an alarming increase in suicides in Sri Lanka, Psychology should now be considered a relevant subject for studies, as the growth of a country depends greatly on the mental development of its people, observed world-renowned Professor of Psychology Graham Turpin. Prof Turpin, the keynote speaker at the three-day International Conference on Applied Psychology, held at the BMICH, also said more..