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Motor sector to drive insurance industry

Apr 10 (BL) The Motor insurance category in the General insurance segment of the insurance sector has performed better in the recent period than the rest of the categories on the back of the recent tax reduction in motor vehicle imports which contributed for the rise in number of policies, says a recent research report. Therefore, going forward the report predicts that general insurance may lead to contribute higher revenue on the back of more..

Editorial: NGOs, and attack being the best ‘defence’

Apr 10 (LB) The NGO issue does not seem to be going away irrespective of this season of good cheer and renewal. This is in part because the NGO bosses insist on pointing the finger at everybody but themselves. Last week, you could say the NGO Empire struck back. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu in a breast-beating lament in a national daily, was almost hysterical. His claims however sent us into hysterical fits of laughter, and for providing much needed comic-relief in this April heat, more..

Editorial: Politics of fish market extortions

Apr 10 (NS) The news that a gang of extortionists who have been operating at the newly opened Peliyagoda fish market complex has been arrested should not be making national headlines or deserving editorial comment. However, it has. That is because of a variety of reasons which highlight the cancers that infest the body politic of this country. Extortion is a crime and it could have and should have been dealt with by the local Police. In this instance, that did not happen. more..

No surrender like Sajith, insists Madduma Bandara

Apr 10 (NS) Q: You are one person who openly defied your leader and despite him calling on the voters of Moneragala not to vote for you yet managed to win your seat. Will you be able to repeat that performance with the party’s National Organiser post? A: A large number of our MPs and working committee members asked me to contest this post and I came forward on their request. I believe I have all the qualifications to hold that post. more..

FMM condemns action against Uthayan

Apr 10 (LG) The Free Media Movement (FMM) is deeply concerned about recent government moves to ostracise the independent Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna and restrict its coverage of state events, and views it as not only an attempt to suppress media freedom but also deprive the people of Jaffna their right to be informed. According to information received by the FMM, the Jaffna Municipal Council has prohibited all government offices, departments and establishment, more..

Ragging- the deadly monster

Apr 10 (SO) The word `ragging’ has become a familiar and frequently used term in Sri Lanka. Ragging has become a deadly plague and affects each and every young person who is unfortunate enough to join a new environment, especially a State university. The topic has gained significant attention once again with the plague hitting local schools. In English `rag’ means mock, ridicule, taunt or tease. But in Sri Lanka, the word `rag’ carries horrifying meanings such as painful death, more..

Rajapaksas are adept at using an amalgam of sticks and carrots

Apr 10 (TC) A new volume is to be added to the Mahavamsa covering the period of 1978-2010. According to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs three of its chapters will be dedicated to the four years of Rajapaksa-rule (his predecessors will get two chapters or less) because the President’s “achievement in ending the island’s 30-year separatist war has no parallels in the chronicle” (PTI). The state-sponsored Rajapaksa-panegyric ‘Jaya Jayawe’ more..

Squabbles in UNP: Old habits die hard

Apr 10 (NS) Just when one thought that it was safe to recognise the UNP as a potent political force once again, it appears to be returning to its old ways of internal bickering and that is bound to intensify in the days ahead. It was hoped - at least for the sake of having a strong opposition in the country - that the main opposition party would indeed be united after the resolution of the leadership dispute between Ranil Wickremasinghe and Sajith Premadasa, but it seems that old habits die hard. more..

UNP still smouldering under Ranil

Apr 10 (NS) Emotions were running high in Sri Lanka last Saturday during the encounter between Sri Lanka and India for the coveted Cricket World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Cricket fans were apprehensive as Sri Lanka failed to score initially with the run rate crawling at snail pace. However, gradually, the middle order lifted the Sri Lankan score to a respectable 274, where Mahela Jayawardana excelled with an unbeaten century. more..

If press self-regulation works, why Govt. hysteria?

Apr 10 (LB) During his latest meeting with the editors of newspapers President Rajapaksa had said that the government had to reactivate the Press Council (PC) because of inadequate self regulation by newspapers. This might also be taken as an indirect jab at the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL) which is an independent body established by consensus among media institutions. However, on the other hand, the number of complaints received by more..

Editorial: Small book, big ideas

Apr 10 (Island) Last Thursday’s launch in Colombo of the CIMOGG (Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance) publication, Good Governance and the Rule of Law, was a landmark event. Attendance was unusually high for an event of this nature, perhaps indicating the yearning at least among thinking people for the crying need for this country to arrest the ever deteriorating standards with regard to the subjects covered in the thought provoking essays that Dr. A.C. Visvalingam has more..

Editorial: Move towards direct democracy

Apr 10 (ST) The Cricket World Cup is over -- the hangover from the defeat in the finals at Mumbai is still haunting us, but the winds blowing from across the Palk Strait on matters more serious cannot but demand the attention of this country. The April 13 Tamil Nadu State Assembly elections are gripping the attention of our immediate northern neighbourhood, but more on that next week. For now we refer to the sudden mass movement that sprang up in India, right across that vast sub-continent, more..

Pensions scheme in a soup

Apr 10 (ST) A few days after assuring employers and trade unions that the new private sector pensions scheme would be further discussed before implementation, the government on Friday broke its promise and presented the connected legislation in parliament on a day when only mundane matters were being discussed. The bill was not presented by Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge but by the Prime Minister, who in fact presented two other bills more..

UPFA, a fish market

Apr 10 (Island) The conventional wisdom that everybody is now wisely nodding their heads to is that when a government is as powerful as this, opposition can come only from within and there is nothing that the opposition can do to dislodge the government. The example that readily comes to mind is that of the UNP in the early 1990s. Had the UNP not suffered a split in 1992, with Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali joining the opposition, and the unity of the J.R.Jayewardene years more..

UNP under ‘emergency rule’

Apr 10 (Island) As we recounted last week, the UNP’s new Advisory Committee met for the first time on April Fools day at Cambridge Place. Only RW, Karu, Sajith and Tissa had been present. The party chairman Jayawickrema Perera could not attend as the meeting had been called at short notice. At the outset, Sajith raised the point that the advisory committee could not meet as a properly constituted body, without a national organizer. RW had taken the contrary view. more..

No action, talk only, says Suresh

Apr 10 (NS) The UPFA government and the TNA are now put to face each other and both teams are engrossed in talks to find a solution to the day to day problems faced by the Tamils of North-East. Already four rounds of talks have been held between these parties. However on April 29 the all important talks will commence and that will be on the political solution to the ethnic crisis. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has already promised to offer the Tamils what he himself has described as ‘13th amendment plus’ while India, more..

Lothario murderer’s Waterloo

Apr 10 (LB) The is an educated woman and also a degree holder. She is a resident of Akbopura, Kantale. When she was 24-years-old and was of marriageable age, her parents were busy scouring for a suitable bridegroom and decided to place a matrimonial advertisement in a weekend newspaper. Following 100-odd replies received by her, she gave her consent to a person named Lasith Wasantha Kumara. Wasantha Kumara had described himself as a businessman involved in buying and selling land. more..

Puttalam fishermen left high and dry as Indians continue to poach

Apr 10 (ST) The fishing industry in the Puttalam area is in the doldrums currently. Fishermen complain that everything from fishing gear to the environment here is being destroyed. This problem is being faced by around 25,000 fishermen in Kalpitiya, Kandakuliya and Battalangunduwa, their spokesman Anton Rex said. “The crisis involving the multi-day boats has now reached a climax. There are about 64 multi-day boats which generally go fishing for about three weeks at more..

Lands for MPs to split us - TNA

Apr 10 (LB) The government has allocated close to 1000 acres of land to several young United Peoples' Freedom Alliance (UPFA) MPs to carry out various programmes, said Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP A Vinayagamoorthy. This has been done in a bid to artificially create an alternative leadership to the TNA among the Tamils, he asserts. “UNP crossover Sri Ranga and several other MPs have been given these lands to carry out projects to win over the people. more..

Adequate stocks of essential food items for festive season

Apr 10 (SO) Adequate stocks of essential food items are freely available in the country for the festive season. A sharp drop in the prices of rice and vegetables was also reported due to the increased supplies sent to Dedicated Economic Centres (DECs) and the Colombo market from agricultural districts, said Cooperatives and Internal Trade Secretary Sunil Sirisena. All essential items including sugar, onions, dhal, potatoes, dried chillies and dried fish were imported by more..

Airtel to gift 10,000 Lankans a free ride home for New Year

Apr 10 (Island) In an innovative Avuruddu-inspired gift to Sri Lankans, Bharti Airtel Lanka, the newest player in the country’s mobile phone segment, is giving 10,000 commuters going homes for the New Year the gift of free transportations with 35 buses plying the 10 major highways radiating from the city laid on to cater to the holiday demand for public transport. "All you have to do is to simply dial the exclusive Airtel hotline on 075-6-600600 from any network and more..

Resignations galor at Sri Lanka Cricket

Apr 10 (SL) The 2011 Cricket World Cup is over and India has lifted the trophy. For Sri Lanka the disappointment of losing the cup has been compounded by the resignations of the captain, vice-captain and the board of selectors. As the dust began to settle on these resignations Trevor Bayliss, former Sri Lanka coach, has hinted at political interference being the cause of these resignations. On Tuesday, four days after the disappointing loss to more..

No COL blues as shoppers come to Pettah from near and far

Apr 10 (ST) The skyrocketing Cost of Living seems to have been forgotten with the approach of the Sinhala-Tamil New Year. Shoppers were seen rushing in and out of shopping complexes and haggling with pavement vendors in the Pettah last week. For the first time in recent history, North and South locked hands, with many northerners coming South for their Avurudu shopping. M. Ramodha, a housewife from Vavuniya said that the choice and variety of clothes was much wider than more..

You made us happy when skies were grey

Apr 10 (ST) My dear Murali, I thought I must write to you because, in the hullabaloo of losing the World Cup Final you have played your last game for Sri Lanka and retired from international cricket, almost unnoticed and I believe you deserved a better farewell than that. Things have been made worse by other news too: everybody who was somebody in the cricket team desperately wants to resign and that is raising many eyebrows because wanting to resign, as we all know, is not a very Sri Lankan trait. more..

Tamil daily Virakesari changes hands?

Apr 10 (NS) The oldest and the highest selling Tamil daily Virakesari owned by the Express Newspapers Ltd. is all set to buy the second highest selling Tamil daily, the 14-year-old Thinakkural owned by leading food stuff importer from India S. P. Samy and the deal is said to have been finalised at Rs. 150 million. However it is learnt that Thinakkural will retain its name under Express Newspapers Ltd. management but will concentrate more on Northern affairs while more..

Making art in the aftermath of civil war

Apr 10 (DNA) Contemporary art in Sri Lanka, like holocaust literature, is not one that can console with its beauty. Rather, it gnaws at you as the artists grapple with post-war reality. Nine contemporary Sri Lankan artists — Anoli Perera, Bandu Manamperi, Janananda Laksiri, Koralegedara Pushpakumara, Lakisha Fernando, Pradeep Chandarasiri, Pradeep Thalawaththa, Prasanna Ranabahu, Thisath Thoradeniya — are currently displaying their works at more..

PIL plea seeks protection for Indian fishermen

Apr 10 (Hindu) A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench here seeking a direction to the Centre to provide surveillance by the Navy as well as the Air Force along the Indo-Sri Lankan maritime border besides deputing Coast Guard personnel to travel with Indian fishermen who venture into the sea. The petition filed by advocate B. Stalin, through his counsel W. Peter Rameshkumar, also sought for a direction to the Centre for more..

In a foreign country No passports for Sri Lankans who apply for refugee status

Apr 10 (Island) The Sri Lankan government has decided to stop issuing passports, through its missions, to Sri Lankan nationals who have applied for refugee status in a foreign country. This directive has been enforced with immediate effect following a circular sent to all Sri Lankan missions overseas by the Controller of Immigration and Emigration, officials here said. It had become the practice amongst some Sri Lankans who arrive in a foreign country, more..

Sri Lankans in Saudi beg to be brought back home

Apr 10 (SL) Over 40 Sri Lankans living reportedly without food, water and clothing in a dilapidated building in an industrial zone called Madin Hajath in Balath, Saudi Arabia are appealing to the authorities that they be brought back to Sri Lanka. ‘We are given lunch but we are not given breakfast, dinner or tea. We do not have any toilet facilities. We have to wait till a religious place is deserted to use the bathrooms. All of us have families at home. I have left behind a more..

Old fish market to glitter with gold, gems and jewellery

Apr 10 (ST) The former St John’s fish market is to be converted to the main gold and gem sales centre in Colombo under one of the latest plans drawn up by the Urban Development Authority coming under the purview of the Defence Ministry. All gold jewellery shops in Sea Street will be told to move into the new centre while gem and diamond traders too will be invited to set up their shops in the one-time fish market. The building is to be renovated with plans to rent out the more..

Alleged war crimes: D-day for SL next week

Apr 10 (ST) The mission shifted hurriedly from purported investment promotion to tourism last Monday for External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris, who is in Britain. Bell Pottinger, the British-based public relations firm which receives millions of sterling pounds from Sri Lanka for promotion work and even conduct of diplomacy parallel to the High Commission in London, hurriedly summoned a news conference. It hand picked those to be invited. more..

OIC takes the law into his own hands

Apr 10 (SL) A police officer at Bogawanthalawa has been accused of arresting a Senior Assistant Manager after an alleged police complaint without holding an inquiry, violating his fundamental rights. Bogawanthalawa OIC Rohitha Wanigasekera has come under severe criticism from the Ceylon Planters’ Society and planting executives of Hatton, Dickoya, Bogawanthalawa and Maskeliya. Senior Assistant Manager at the Bogawana Estate, A. Britto was assaulted by a daily paid supervisor more..

Jaffna-Sinhala cooperation on Indian poaching

Apr 10 (LB) The fishermen’s unions in Kalpitiya are meeting tomorrow to decide on the course of action to be taken to combat poaching by Indian fishermen, said Head of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NFSM), Herman Kumara. He added that fishermen from Kalpitiya are considering forming an alliance with fishermen from the North. “Northern fishermen have more experience in dealing with this issue and last month they gave an open invitation to more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Apr 10 (ST) Talking of visits, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris was this week on an "official-holiday" as one wise-crack put it. 'Official' because he went to Britain on what he claimed was official work, 'holiday' because he was on holiday in Britain after that. Put more bluntly, he was on a paid holiday or the taxpayer had to foot the bill for him to go on holiday. To show that he was hard at work, he got a photograph of him with the more..

Sports Minister hits out at treatment given to President and ministers at Cup final

Apr 10 (ST) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamge yesterday expressed displeasure over the facilities afforded to President Mahinda Rajapaska and Sri Lankan ministers at the Cricket World Cup finals in Mumbai last week. But Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner said full protocol was observed where the President was concerned. Minister Aluthgamage said the President and his delegation were offered only 10 tickets though more..

Sri Lanka captaincy issue hots up

Apr 10 (NS) The resignation of two experienced cricketers with wonderful captaincy records from the posts of captain and vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene has left Sri Lanka cricket looking for a leader to carry them forward from next month’s England tour onwards. There is no doubt that for the long term prospects as captain one should be looking at someone like all-rounder Angelo Mathews. more..

194 computer crime investigations ongoing but no indictments yet

Apr 10 (Island) As many as 194 investigations under the Computer Crime Act No.24 of 2007 are ongoing although indictments have not been filed to date, Justice Ministry Secretary Suhada Gamlath last week told an international workshop in Colombo on Cooperation against Cyber Crime in South Asia. However, he pointed out that this was not unusual, saying this is the experience of many countries. more..

Postal strike off: Ex Judge to probe allegations against PMG

Apr 10 (Island) The Joint Trade Alliance Postal Unions has decided to call off their three-day strike action following an assurance by Posts Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga that a retired judge will be appointed shortly to look into the allegations leveled against Post Master General M.K.B. Dissanayake. The unions alleged that the PMG had resorted to many malpractices within the Department including more..

Sri Lanka regains IRB full member status

Apr 10 (LB) The International Rugby Board (IRB) has elevated Sri Lanka back to its full member status following a communiqu‚ sent last Friday to the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) by the sport’s world controlling body, Secretary Lasitha Gunerathna said. He said that IRB’s Head of External and Membership Relations David Carrigy who was present in the country to oversee the successful completion of the SLRFU AGM held on March 31, more..

FR case on lead poisoning granted leave to proceed

Apr 10 (NS) A research conducted by the Centre for Environmental Justice has revealed that paint sold in Sri Lanka contain alarming levels of lead surpassing the accepted rate by over 1526 times. This has prompted the Supreme Court to proceed with the FR application by the Centre for Environmental Justice and urged the Consumer Affairs Authority to respond with necessary measures. more..