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Ban on Royal, St. Sebastian’s cricketers a farce

Feb 12 (Island) In what school cricket enthusiasts term as a clear case of favoritism, Sri Lanka Under-19 players Ramith Rambukwella and Sanitha de Mel, who were involved in an incident of a breach of discipline during their home series against England Under-19, have been handed match bans which will have no effect on them at all. The disciplinary committee of Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association, which is affiliated to both the education ministry and Sri Lanka Cricket, more..

Coup in the NLDB coop

Feb 12 (DM) Mystery surrounds the destruction of more than 6,000 chicks at an NLDB farm despite a shortage of chicken and eggs in the country, authoritative sources said yesterday. The Livestock Ministry had already written to IGP Mahinda Balasuriya asking for a CID investigation into this incident. Besides, the Ministry had initiated disciplinary action against the authorities of the NLDB for this action. The Livestock Ministry has totally been in the dark more..

University troublemakers: SB warns JVP

Feb 12 (Island) Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake on Thursday warned the JVP that those who caused trouble in Universities would be severely dealt with. Addressing a gathering at the auditorium of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, Minister Dissanayake said that a series of fresh courses, introduced as part of the overall educational reforms would be conducted in English. more..

Sri Lanka dockyard reveals ship repair revenue

Feb 12 (LBO) Sri Lankan listed ship yard Colombo Dockyard is currently doing repair work on several small tankers and a research vessel that will earn revenues of around four million US dollars, a statement said. The yard, a unit of Japan's Onomichi Dockyard Company, expects revenue of 1.2 million dollars from major lay-up and dry-docking repairs to the chemical tanker Sanmar Majesty, owned by India's Sanmar Shipping. more..

Dead baby in bus

Feb 12 (NN) The body of a two week old baby was found inside an abandoned bag left in a CTB bus today evening and the police have launched a full scale investigation to locate the late infant’s parents. The conductor and driver of the bus located an abandoned bag left on the CTB bus after all the passengers had stepped out and after opening it, found the body of an infant. The bus had left Colombo today morning and reached Anuradhapura in the evening. more..

US urged to work with Sri Lanka gov

Feb 12 (TC) The United States should work with the Sri Lankan government to encourage transparency, accountability, and equal representation of Tamils--a historically marginalized, persecuted, and underrepresented ethnic group--panelists agreed at an American Enterprise Institute event Friday. The conference focused on Sri Lanka's troubled past and its prospects for future reconciliation and growth. Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation more..

UNP calls for explanation from SLMC

Feb 12 (DM) The UNP has sought explanation from its coalition partner the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and its leader Rauf Hakeem as to why they had acted in breach of the electoral agreement between the two parties and voted with the government in Parliament. In a letter dated February 3, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake has said that the SLMC had continued to violate the directions of the UNP whip in Parliament and more..

Floods spoil post-war recovery project in N&E

Feb 12 (Island) In the aftermath of damage the Maha crop has suffered owing to rains and floods, the Sri Lankan government and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are in the process of reviewing the situation in paddy producing areas in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The govt is separately assessing the situation in areas outside the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The floods have ruined the chance of having a bumper harvest more..

Island full of surprise

Feb 12 (IT) It is tempting to think of Sri Lanka as little more than an island offshoot of India. It appears as such on the map: a precious stone in the Indian Ocean, just east of the point where its huge neighbour tapers into the tropical seas. But Sri Lanka (traditionally Ceylon) looks, smells and sounds different. I have been making trips there since the 1990s, and for me, it retains a profound sense of otherness. more..

Murali hopes to end on World Cup 'high'

Feb 12 (AFP) Record-breaking Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan goes into his fourth and final World Cup praying that he ends his glorious international career on a high. "My role for this World Cup is to take as many wickets as possible," says the 38-year-old off-spinner. "I just want to focus on my performance and not think about anything else. "My aim is to put up my best for Sri Lanka." The world's leading wicket-taker in both Tests (800) and one-dayers (517), more..

Indian Speaker on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka

Feb 12 (HT) Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar is expected to reach Colombo on Friday night on a four-day official visit. Kumar's visit is the latest in the high-profile Indian delegations that have visited Sri Lanka in the recent past including foreign minister, SM Krishna in November. A statement from the Sri Lankan government said, she would be the guest of honour at the 3rd Asian Regional Conference of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) more..

Shangri La and Hilton contrasting deals

Feb 12 (DN) Despite claims by the UNP and the JVP that valuable land was undervalued and sold to the Shangri La hotel chain by the Government, the Daily News understands that the company will make a total investment of US $ 125 million on land alone. It recently signed an agreement to purchase six acres of land opposite Galle Face Green for US $ 75 million. Another four acres are to be sold for US $ 50 million. more..

'Establish truly Independent Commissions'

Feb 12 (Island) The 18th Amendment to the Constitution providing for the establishment of the Independent Commissions was at the mercy of the President and its implementation would not help in the restoration of democracy, law and order or the eradication of corruption, the UNP said. Senior Vice President of the UNP John Ameratunga said that the need of the hour was Independent Commissions on the lines of the now defunct 17th Amendment. more..

Govt to stabilize prices

Feb 12 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday stressed on a mechanism through which the public can know wholesale prices of essential commodities in the local market. He said the Government is in the process of monitoring price fluctuations in the local market to provide concessions to consumers. The President was speaking at a meeting with wholesale traders of essential commodities and Government officials at Temple Trees yesterday. more..

18 days of protest culminate in Mubarak's ouster

Feb 12 (CNN) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down Friday and handed over power to the military, his nearly three decades of iron rule ended by a groundswell of popular protests that began January 25. In a somber, one-minute announcement on state television, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced Mubarak's resignation and said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will "run the affairs of the country." more..

Sri Lanka thrash Netherlands in World Cup warm-up match

Feb 13 (IANS) Sri Lanka, one of the favourites to win the World Cup, put up an all-round performance to thump the Netherlands by 156 runs in a warm-up match here Saturday. The Dutch, chasing a huge target of 351 runs, could not get anywhere near the total and were bowled out for 195 in 47.3 overs. The silver lining for the minnows was a spirited knock of 76 by Tom de Grooth. Grooth smacked one six and 10 fours in his 96-ball knock. more..

Sri Lanka's annual fish export profit Rs 21 B

Feb 13 (DN) Sri Lanka earns over 21 billion rupees by exporting fish to European countries a year and plans are in place to increase export earning to Rupees 50 billion in 2013, said Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne yesterday. The Sri Lanka national fisheries sector development strategy for 2011-2013 has been formulated based on the Mahinda Chinthana Idiri Dakma. The Minister said that fisheries were one of three thrust areas for development in Sri Lanka's current development effort. more..

Don't win World Cup, columnist urges Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (AFP) While the media of every country usually backs its team, a Sri Lankan newspaper columnist has urged the national squad not to win the World Cup - for the greater good of the nation. "Call me a traitor, a quisling... anything. I don't want Sri Lanka to be the champions of cricket World Cup 2011," the sports writer of the privately run The Island daily said. "Want to hang me, come catch me," more..

Editorial: Echoes of Egyptians

Feb 13 (LG) Last night was perhaps the longest night I ever watched the TV, flipping through different channels to witness what was unfolding in Egypt. It re-affirmed that the will for justice and liberty can overcome hunger, chill in the air, and the uncertainty of tomorrow. I was taking notes when CNN interviewed experts in different fields and those at ground zero waving Egyptian flags. I have shown bellow what I could summarize. more..

Civil Society and Democratic Rights and Liberties

Feb 13 (LG) The Citizen's Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) is one of the few civil society organisations in Sri Lanka which has consistently stood up for civil rights and good governance in our country. Earlier this week, CIMOGG sponsored a public lecture by Jayantha Dhanapala at the auditorium of the Organisation of Professional Associations on energising the civil society in Sri Lanka. In his lecture, Dhanapala contended that civil society had more..

Imprisonment sentence must be declared invalid and Sarath Fonseka released immediately

Feb 13 (TC) Has a three-member Court Martial been lawfully vested with power to impose upon an Army Officer a sentence of imprisonment? A general Court Martial is instituted by the President (or an officer authorized by him) in the exercise of the executive power of the People. Clearly, therefore: "The institution of Court Martial, being an emanation of Executive Power, is not a Court, tribunal or more..

Soft power, hard power and sustainable smart power

Feb 13 (TC) Text of Keynote Address titled Cultural Diplomacy and Soft Power- Sustainable Smart Power at the Opening Plenary of the South and Central Asia Fulbright Regional Workshop, Hilton Hotel, Colombo, 26 January, 2011. I think it is necessary for us to look beyond the current headlines, particularly with controversial Wikileaks and all the issues that they raise, in order to identify the trends that are taking place in international relations and more..

Editorial: Grow essential items - food for thought

Feb 13 (SO) The rising prices of vegetables, fruits and a few other essential commodities seem to be a favourite topic these days for some Opposition politicians. Instead of projecting the true picture of the global food crisis, these opportunist Opposition politicians are trying to make a desperate attempt to capitalise on it to achieve their petty political goals. The price increases in essential commodities have been the pet subject of Opposition politicians at more..

Grand music festival boosting Northern folk artistes to be held from March 25 - 27th in Jaffna

Feb 13 (TC) The traditional folk artistes from the northern region of Sri Lanka are today an enthusiastic group making preparations for that grand comeback after almost three decades of oblivion. Jaffna Music Festival 2011 scheduled to be held from March 25-27 in the city of Jaffna will present a wonderful opportunity for folk artists from the Jaffna peninsula, who could not perform due to the environment that prevailed there during the war more..

Editorial: English for university, a correct move

Feb 13 (NS) In what must be a landmark statement of policy, government declared last week that students seeking admission to state universities would be required to sit a separate English test from next year. Even schools without English teachers would be required to fulfil this requirement, government announced. We haven’t heard any vociferous protests against the move yet, but they will almost certainly follow. The details of the proposed move have not more..

Editorial: Will it work? War against private hospitals ghouls

Feb 13 (LB) The good that is done by governments needs to be highlighted with the same vehemence with which the bad is spotlighted, particularly when the latter could often make for exciting reading. If the good is forgotten or taken for granted, the electors run the risk of seeing their governments neglecting to do anything that is positive or for the public good for the simple reason that the good is often interred with more..

'Courts have no power to interfere directly or indirectly with the affairs of parliament'

Feb 13 (TC) Speech made by Ranil Wickremesinghe – Leader of the opposition at the opening ceremony of the 3rd CPA Asia Regional Conference in Colombo, on February, 12, 2001. The South Asian Parliaments have a long history going back to the Order in Council which established the Legislative Council of Ceylon in 1835 in the case of Sri Lanka or Indian Council Act of 1861 in respect of the Parliaments of the sub continent. more..

Fall of Fonseka indicates that Rajapaksas cannot be beaten at their own game

Feb 13 (TC) As 1.2 million Lankans struggled with the devastating effects of back-to-back floods, at an ostentatious Independence Day ceremony in Kataragama, President Rajapaksa delivered a peroration about the need to safeguard national-freedom. That evening, in the heart of Colombo, a peaceful protest demanding the release of Gen. Sarath Fonseka was attacked by armed thugs, as the police, in its new role as the guardians, not of the Rule of Law but of more..

Is Govt allowing foreigners circumvent laws in purchasing public property?

Feb 13 (TC) The government’s sale of several acres of land currently occupied by the Defence Ministry and Army Headquarters across the road from the Galle Face Green to a foreign hotel venture has not aroused much debate in either media or Opposition circles, as might have been expected. The Hong Kong based Shangri La leisure group has bought 10 acres of the prime seafront property for $125 million for the purpose of constructing a luxury hotel. more..

'Promote Lanka's image'

Feb 13 (SO) Deputy Minister Neomal Perera stressed on the mission of the Ministry of External Affairs which is to promote, project and protect Sri Lanka's national interest globally in accordance with the foreign policy of the government and to keep the government updated with and advice on international developments and changes which affect Sri Lanka. He also said that the External Affairs Ministry is geared to promote Sri Lanka's image globally and more..

Editorial: How Feb. 4 was made a day of shame

Feb 13 (Island) Sixty three years after political independence was said to have dawned in this country, democratic freedoms are continuing to be a hotly debated issue and, indeed, the question has been literally taken into the streets and even savagely contested with sticks, staves and Molotov Cocktails, at the risk of unleashing large-scale murder and mayhem. We are quite aware that on the issue of the provision and sustenance of democratic liberties in Sri Lanka, more..

Editorial: The message from Egypt

Feb 13 (ST) People's uprisings and revolutions, sometimes bloody, sometimes non-violent, have turned the pages of history. Vox populi Vox Dei is the age-old Latin slogan that holds true to date. The voice of the people is the voice of God. Even to those who don't believe in an Almighty, the meaning is clear. But one lesson from history is that few learn from its lessons. Egypt's leader for three decades, President Hosni Mubarak, learnt that lesson the bitter way. more..

Wimal’s flight of fancy

Feb 13 (SL) The extravagance of NFF Leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa has been exposed in the media and The Sunday Leader in the past. This time around, Weerawansa’s extravagance has reached sky high with his decision to opt for a Sri Lanka Air Force Y-12 aircraft to transport him from Ampara to Colombo when his vehicle had broken down. When government ministers in the past have opted to travel in alternative vehicles or even in police vehicles or more..

Local polls drowned in World Cup fervour

Feb 13 (NS) If it was the government’s intention not to let the local elections disrupt the cricket World Cup, the past few weeks have seen the opposite effect: The World Cup appears to be distracting the masses and taking the steam off the polls. The major parties, the ruling UPFA and the opposition UNP are still trying to forget the hangover caused by the rejection of nomination papers in many councils, the former more than the latter. more..

Govt scotches rumours of poll postponement

Feb 13 (NS) As torrential rains lashed many parts of Sri Lanka, destroying vast fields of paddy cultivation and other crops, authorities have been warned of a possible food crisis in the offing. The deluge that followed the torrential downpour left hundreds and thousands of people destitute, for a second time within a span of one month, while the inclement weather patterns continue unabated. Fourteen deaths have so far been reported while thousands of homes more..

E News attack: weird confession

Feb 13 (LB) According to police Buthaya has also enjoyed political clout with another underworld figure known as Chuti Putha of Kolonnawa alleged to have been Buthaya’s brother. Thanks to his political links Buthaya was able to stay in hiding for some time after having committed crimes in the past. Nihal is alleged to have taken the contract to torch the office through another person who is based overseas. But, Buthaya had maintained that once the contract more..

Mangala at the crossroads

Feb 13 (Island) The JVP undoubtedly takes the cake as masters of futile endeavour in this country. Last week they had their party convention at the Sugathadasa stadium under the theme "The struggle for socialism against imperialism and social injustice". While it is true that this was a convention for the party faithful and not a meeting for the general public, still, a convention is a public event of sorts because proclamations emanating from it reach the public. more..

Emergency: What’s the point?

Feb 13 (ST) The continuation of the state of emergency does not augur well for democracy in the country. The argument that the extra powers are needed to maintain law and order in the country almost sounds comical given some of the incidents of the past two weeks. First, the office of a staunchly anti-government website Lanka-e-News was set on fire by “unidentified persons” and days later a protest march by the UNP was set upon near Punchi Borella by a group of thugs who more..

Reds looking for Tamil votes : Somawansa mum on JVP’s change of stance

Feb 13 (Island) JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe yesterday declined to comment on his party’s motives for accepting the concept of federalism in the context of its implacable opposition to such an arrangement in the past. Queried on this matter, Amarasinghe politely declined to make any comment at this stage. A senior government minister said that he believed that the JVP had realized that they would lose sizeable representation in more..

Egypt type flood protests in Lanka, or opposition wet dream?

Feb 13 (LB) The UNPs continual cry that the govt is susceptible to another Egypt or Tunisia is still going on apace; the problem with that cry is that what is true in a flood situation will not necessarily be true as the situation normalizes. The hard facts indicate that a food shortage will not materialize as the government has stored sufficient buffer stocks; the vegetable prices will bounce back to normal when the new crop of vegetables in non-flood affected areas percolate to the market. more..