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Editorial: Let’s build lasting unity in diversity

Aug 3 (DM) A critical study of the campaign for the July 23 local council elections and the results would reveal that the people have not changed their attitudes and thinking patterns they showed at the January 2010 presidential election and the general election in April last year. The latest elections results show that the South is still backing the government while the people of the North think differently with the TNA and its allies sweeping the board. more..

Drumming and dancing — Sri Lankan style

Aug 3 (TS) Since that time the troupe has shrunk in size (to 20, 16 of whom will be making the Florida tour), but expanded in reach as collaborations with jazz musicians, hand percussion groups and African drum circles have drawn the attention of non-Sri Lankan musical enthusiasts. “We are trying to encourage the evolution by mixing these old traditions with other traditions to promote world music,” Balasuriya says. more..

More intrigue on hedging deals !

Aug 3 (ST) Clive Haswell, former CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, at paragraph 85 of his Witness Statement dated December 21, 2010 tendered to the High Court of UK, had, inter-alia, stated the following: “85. Even later, in 2009, when CPC owed greater amounts under the transactions, President Rajapaksa personally reassured me and the Citibank CEO about both the legitimacy of CPC’s oil hedge contracts and the Govt’s willingness to meet its payment obligations. more..

Editorial: Insider Trading – Should it be ignored?

Aug 3 (BL) There seems to be some controversy regarding ‘Insider Trading’ with some important market players arguing that the disclosure of price sensitive information is inevitable in a small market and that the SEC should soft pedal the enforcement of the rules pertaining to the offence. “Insider trading” is a term that most investors have heard and usually associate with illegal conduct. But the term actually includes both legal and illegal conduct. more..

'Gold Coast event ready but Hambantota will win'

Aug 3 (LB) Sri Lanka’s bid for 2018 Commonwealth Games is viewed by some as a way towards bankruptcy given the colossal sum of rupees that is needed to pump out, if by any chance Sri Lanka wins the ambitious bid ahead of Australia’s Gold Coast at the Voting in November. Hambantota has so far built only one facility, the Mahinda Rajapakse International Cricket Stadium, a venue to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games and officials more..

Lifeline looms

Aug 3 (FT) Brokers and regulator are scheduled to meet later this week to firm up the way forward on credit rules leading to formal approval by SEC Commissioners by mid next week, a development which most analysts confirm will be a lifeline for the struggling Colombo stock market. The meeting between the SEC and the brokers, likely to be on either Thursday or Friday, is following the Colombo Stock Brokers Association (CSBA) making written representations to the capital market more..

I Am NOT Sri Lankan

Aug 3 (GV) Groundviews and the Sri Lankan blogosphere in general are full of interesting posts, comments and rhetoric about identity, Sri Lankanness specifically. Where it began, who started it, no one knows, but it’s all around us and I feel a need to add my two cents’ worth, identity being one of the things we’re all interested in. This post on Groundvews by Guru caught my eye yesterday. My first impression was that it looked interesting, if only I could understand the bloody thing. more..

SriLankan Airlines focussing on Business Class

Aug 3 (BL) SriLankan Airlines is focussing on enhancing the luxuries enjoyed by high-end passengers as demand for its Business Class cabins intensifies. Nishantha Wickremasinghe, Chairman of SriLankan Airlines, said: “Sri Lanka is being positioned as a destination of choice among global tourists and SriLankan Airlines is attracting many more passengers who prefer to pay the premium rate for the luxury of Business Class. more..

High rejected votes due to lack of voter education: monitors

Aug 3 (ST) Election monitoring groups which acted as observers in L/G elections has blamed the lack of voter education for the high number of rejected votes from the once war-torn northern districts. Mr. Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director of PAFFREL said that the people of the north were not aware of the voting procedure. “The high number of rejected votes in the northern districts was as expected because elections were held in both Kilinochchi and Jaffna for the first time in more..

Govt. pension benefits for Samurdhi employees

Aug 3 (Island) Employees of the Samurdhi Authority will be entitled to the govt pension and all other benefits enjoyed by State officers, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He said that a Cabinet memorandum to provide full pension rights to Samurdi officers will be submitted shortly. A Cabinet paper has already been prepared and it will be placed before Cabinet in the coming days. He also said that according to the Mahinda Chinthanaya programme, President more..

'Poll result not the true opinion of people'

Aug 3 (NS) Anura Kumara Dissanayake, MP from the leftist JVP, talks to The Nation about the concluded elections, govenrment transparency, accountability, and alternative political movements. Q: How would you analyse the victory of the UPFA at the recently concluded elections? A: We have had a decline in the votes for the JVP over the last few elections. The same decline was visible during this local government elections as well. more..

Two UNPers clash in Matara

Aug 3 (DM) The ongoing crisis in the UNP seems to have spilled over to district and grassroots levels with a verbal clash being reported between Matara District MP Buddhika Pathirana and an area organiser of the party who is a Ranil Wickremesinghe loyalist, during a meeting at MP Mangala Samaraweera s residence. The said area organiser Sarath Abeysinghe tried to stop Mr. Pathirana from speaking at the meeting. The meeting was held to discuss a protest to be held shortly. more..

Police took my vehicle by force says UNP MP

Aug 3 (DM) UNP MP Palitha Thewarapperuma alleged yesterday that the Matugama police had taken his newly purchased vehicle by force on Thursday night. Mr. Thewarapperuma had gone to the police station to lodge a complaint. However he said he was forced to get it into an argument with a police officer. This had almost ended in a physical fight. The MP said this police officer was one who had a personal grudge against him. The MP had then demanded to see the HQI of the area. more..

Chandana Sirimalwatte

Poor response from foreign students

Aug 3 (DM) Though the govt had initially planned to admit around 1000 foreign students to local universities, only a few applications had been received so far, officials said yesterday. The Cabinet decided to permit university authorities to admit five per cent of foreign students to local universities, an increase against one per cent allocated for such students in the past. For foreign students the annual course fee would be US $ 12,000 for Medical and Dental Sciences, more..

Traders artificially create cement scarcity: Govt.

Aug 3 (DM) The government yesterday said traders were trying to create an artificial shortage of cement in many parts of the country by hiding stocks, and warned that legal action would be taken against such traders.Trade Minister Johnston Fernando said hiding cement stocks and selling them above the specified price were punishable offences which violated the CAA law, adding that large stocks of cement would be imported soon to bring down cement prices. more..

'Leaders cannot be appointed or removed at press conferences'

Aug 3 (Island) Leaders of political parties cannot be appointed or removed by simply making announcements at press conferences, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. He said that political parties are guided by constitutions and the office bearers would have to be elected or removed according to its provisions. Announcing leadership changes at media briefings indicated a lack of maturity and signs of desperation, Attanayake said. more..

Sajith: Who will act against those responsible for defeats?

Aug 3 (DM) In a hard hitting statement, UNP co-deputy leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday asked who would take disciplinary action against those responsible for the party’s continual defeats at elections for decades and the party’s dwindling vote bank. Addressing a function at a village in the Hambantota District, he also asked who would take action against those having underhand deals with the government while ostensibly criticising it in order to hoodwink the people. more..

Groups want justice for activist?

Aug 3 (UCAN) Religious leaders and the United Nations have issued calls for justice over the killing of a leading human rights campaigner. The body of Pattani Razeek, who disappeared in February 2010, was discovered last week buried in Valachchenei, in Eastern Province. Father Terrence Fernando, chaplain for human rights in Colombo archdiocese, said the people need a credible investigation into Razeek’s death. “Justice must be done for Razeek,” he said. more..

Over 13,000 CEB workers fall sick today

Aug 3 (Island) More than 13,000 of about 16,000 employees of the Ceylon Electricity Board will resort to a sick note campaign today demanding salary arrears. CEB Joint Trade Union Alliance Convener Ananda Nimalaratne said that despite their constant requests the authorities had failed to look into their grievances. "We will continue our protests as planned. On July 29, CEB workers staged a lunch-hour protest opposite the CEB Head Office, Fort. more..

Engineers won’t take ill

Aug 3 (Island) The powerful CEB Engineers’ Union will not join today’s trade union action by other Board workers. Engineers’ Union spokesman Ajith Withanage said yesterday that their union too had discussed the issue of non-payment of arrears to the CEB workers at recent meetings of the union with Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and CEB Chairman. The union has decided to shelve their actions and has given time for the authorities to implement it, he said. more..

‘Red-carpet’ welcome to Sri Lankan delegation surprises D. Raja

Aug 3 (Hindu) Even as the situation in post-war Sri Lanka and the Tamils issue are expected to be discussed in Parliament, Communist Party of India MP. D. Raja expressed surprise over the “red-carpet” treatment being extended to a parliamentary delegation from that country here. “We want a discussion on the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils with reference to war crimes and political solution,” he said at a press conference indicating that a discussion is to be held in more..

Greener, new-look Galle Road in the city

Aug 3 (DM) The re-development work on the Galle Road between Bambalapitiya and Colpetty junction with wider pavements, more greenery and pedestrian crossings with coloured lights which is nearing completion, is part of the CMC and the UDA’s efforts to give a new look to Colombo city. Shopkeepers and residents in the area said that they were happy with the level of development in the area and expressed hope of further infrastructural development in more..

Who is telling the truth? - Karu denies Ranil’s claim

Aug 3 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has never asked MP Karu Jayasuriya to work towards uniting the party verbally or through a written document, sources close to Jayasuriya said yesterday. "Wickremesinghe only started telling this after the latest crisis occurred. Before he left for England he had never told Jayasuriya to work towards uniting the party. Even now the only written document, stating that, was a statement Wickremesinghe issued last Thursday from London," more..

Decisive days ahead for UNP

Aug 3 (DM) In the backdrop of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe returning to the country last evening, decisive days are ahead for the UNP with the reformists led by co-deputy leader Sajith Premadasa scheduling a crucial meeting today to discuss their course of action in the renewed struggle for a change in the party leadership. The reformists are also to meet deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya whom they now promote as the next leader, on his return to the country on Thursday from India. more..

'India can’t cut off ties with Lanka'

Aug 3 (HT) Manmohan Singh on Tuesday told MDMK leader Vaiko that India cannot afford to restrict economic ties with Sri Lanka — as demanded by Tamil Nadu’s political parties — in order to apply pressure to mitigate the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils. That, the Prime Minister said, would only encourage China to displace India as a strategic and trading partner of Sri Lanka. In response, Vaiko said he told Singh that he told Singh that “in any case, China is already aiding the Sri Lanka naval forces to attack Indian fishermen and more..

Police getting breathalyzers soon

Aug 3 (DM) Traffic police personnel are faced with a shortage of breathalyzers compelling them to suspend the arrests of drunken drivers, the Daily Mirror learns. Prosecuting drunk drivers had virtually been discontinued due to the shortage that had been continuing for the past few weeks. The Police Supplies Division had already called for tenders and a local agent would be supplying a stock of Breathalyzers worth millions of rupees within the next two weeks. more..

Senanayake restricts Lions to 299

Aug 3 (CI) England Lions were bowled out for 299 on the first day of four against Sri Lanka A at Scarborough. Alex Hales, captain James Taylor, Jonny Bairstow and Samit Patel all made half-centuries but none progressed further than Taylor's 76 as the Lions were restricted to less than 300. Nilanka Premaratne made early inroads with 2 for 51 before off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake claimed 5 for 47, and Sri Lanka openers Malinda Warnapura and Lahiru Thirimanne then reached the close without undue alarm. more..

'Prosecute, not deport, suspected war criminals'

Aug 3 (NP) Amnesty International says the govt’s quest to deport rather than prosecute suspected war criminals could amount to a get-out-of-jail-free-card for human rights abusers. “Serious human rights violators should be brought to justice,” Amnesty spokesman said. “We should ensure they face the consequences of their actions.” “These are very serious charges. You can’t get worse than war crimes or crimes against humanity.” more..

Exams Chief gives vital advice to parents of A/L candidates

Aug 3 (Island) With the GCE A/L examination around the corner, Commissioner General of Examinations Anura Edirisinghe has advised parents and guardians, of the 294,861 students, including the 350 ex-LTTE combatants, to ensure that their children produce their NIC or Passport, which is compulsory, to enter the examination center. He also advised parents to advise their children against engaging in any type of bullying, carrying out of threats, more..

Improved report card from prisons

Aug 3 (Island) The govt had been able to greatly reduce expenditure on prisoners since convicted prisoners were engaged in cultivation of paddy, vegetables, fruits and animal husbandry for their own consumption, Commissioner General of Prisons Major General (Retd) V. R. de Silva said. He said that since the prisoners were engaged in producing novel Bakery products and household and office furniture on a commercial scale, more..

Sri Lankans complain against Facebook

Aug 3 (DM) Sri Lankan officials said Wednesday that they have received more than 1,000 complaints against the social media network facebook. The U.S.-based facebook is popular in Sri Lanka and is used extensively by locals both young and old as well as by several local institutions and companies. However a Sri Lankan govt-run agency said it continued to receive complaints of users abusing facebook by hacking into more..

High fluoride content in water threat to health of people in A’ pura

Aug 3 (Island) The Health Ministry said that high fluoride content in well water, in the Anuradhapura District, has posed a threat to the dental health of the people. A large number of people in the Anuradhapura District suffered from Fluorosis caused by excess fluoride in water used for drinking. Over 12,000 wells in the District had a higher content of Fluoride than the accepted amount of 0.7 or less per one liter of water. more..

Nurses union alleges favouritism, but WPDHS says no issue

Aug 3 (Island) The Govt Nursing Officers’ Association accused the Western Province Health Services Director of favouritism in awarding appointments to nursing sisters in the province. GNOA President Saman Ratnapriya said that the grade one promotions of nursing sisters should be given according to the merit list. He said there were 79 nurses who underwent the six-month administrative and supervisory more..

Kathriarachchi and three others compensate victims

Aug 3 (DM) Former UPFA MP Chandana Kathriarachchi and three others who were indicted on three counts of unlawful assembly with the common object to cause injury to a UNP Multi Purpose Corporative Society Election candidate of Nampamunuwa, causing injuries to the candidate and causing the death of the candidate’s brother compensated the victims by paying Rs 600,000 in open court yesterday, more..

Key talks ahead -Tissa

Aug 3 (DM) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake yesterday said a discussion between the reformist group and Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe with regard to the present crisis in the party was in the offing this week. Mr. Wickremesinghe was to arrive in the country from his UK tour last evening. Mr. Attanayake said that all factions would definitely have to discuss the issue as it is the only way out for the party. more..

Only 1800 complaints says Susil

Aug 3 (DM) Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha yesterday said only 1,800 complaints had been received from vehicle owners about engine damages caused by the use of sub standard petrol distributed by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), though some trade unions put the number at over 10,000. Minister Premajayantha told the Daily Mirror that only 500 of those complaints had been lodged along with relevant documents. more..

Despite power shortfall CEB to avoid power cuts

Aug 3 (DM) Even though there was still a shortfall of 150 MWs for the power generation capacity needed to provide a round the clock electricity service for the entire year, the CEB would take every measure possible to prevent power cuts, Minister Patali Champika Ranawakka said. He said Sri Lanka had to generate an additional 700 GW hours each and every year to meet the ever rising demand for electricity. more..

Cash free Jamboree - Novel experience to Lankan Scouts

Aug 4 (GDI) The World Scout Jamboree in Sweden with 39,000 participants runs cash free Jamboree throughout its ten day programme. Everyone in the contingents and the Planning Team are issued an ID-card when they check-in on the campsite. The same card has a cash function which is called the Event Card. Participants can load their card with money before coming to the Jamboree and use this card to pay with, during the Jamboree. Card is the life line within the Jamboree, more..

IDPs have high occurrence of mental health conditions: Report

Aug 4 (JAMA) Nearly 2.7 million individuals worldwide are internally displaced annually by armed conflict. Although the psychological impact of war has been well documented, less is known about the mental health symptoms of forced displacement among internally displaced persons. To estimate the prevalence of the most common war-related mental health conditions, symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression, and to assess the association between more..