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Agitation at Sigiriya, Minister of Environment too detained

July 13 (LT) People who have been deprived of their lands and business establishments due to the broadening of the access roads to Sigiriya engaged in an agitation today (12) blocking the road to Sigiriya. They had organized the agitation to demand the govt to pay compensation for the business establishments they are losing and lands in another area. They point out that despite they were removed by the Archeological unit, people from other areas had occupied and are more..

Sri Lanka war-torn north shows highest economic growth: CB

July 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's northern province, which had been badly hit by war, had the highest rate of economic growth in 2010 as a post-war rebound continued, the central said. The north's gross domestic product grew 22.0 percent last year. The eastern province, which had also been affected by war, came fourth with a growth of 18.7 percent after the north-central province which grew 20.3 percent and Sabaragamuwa province which grew 19.1 percent. more..

President is running out of time as ICC and UN bang on his doors

July 13 (LG) Most corrupt leaders give themselves a decent interval of at least a couple of years before they descend into dictatorial mode and ensconce their family members in positions of power. But President Mahinda Rajapaksa came pre-packaged and ready to distribute the wealth of the nation to his family and he already had a head-start on this. To this day there is no accounting for the US$ 183,000 Treasury approved fund he obtained for Helping Hambantota, a charity to help more..

Editorial: Officials should be responsible for their actions

July 13 (NS) This week, two crises hit Sri Lankans. On the one hand, they were having power cuts imposed on them. On the other, fuel distribution had run into a crisis with a stock of petrol being found to be contaminated, causing damage to many vehicles. Already these issues have had their repercussions. The opposition has been quick to try and make political capital out of these controversies as they are wont to do. Some have even called for the resignations of the ministers concerned! more..

Kegalle students leave memories of brotherhood with Mathagal students

July 13 (Cimic) Students of St. Joseph’s College, Mathagal recently had a memorable day with their counterparts of Swarnajayanthi Maha Vidyalaya, Kegalle who were here on two day goodwill visit. Having identified needs of their friends studying at Mathagal St. Joseph’s College, Kegalle Swarnajayanthi boys and girls guided by their teachers donated a stock of school items and sports ware to St. Joseph’s College and its students. more..

Traffic accidents in Sri Lanka: Blame the buses

July 13 (SL) Sri Lanka had 2,515 fatal accidents last year and 1,102 so far in 2011. Any accident is a bad scene, but in Sri Lankan they’re quite often horrific. People walk literally on the road and lorries and buses overtake blind. Everyone drives a bit mad and madness ensues. The Sunday Times has a good breakdown of statistics on car accidents vs. vehicles registered, but they never get to the emergent point. Who causes a disproportionate share of accidents? more..

If you can’t beat them, shoot them: Goons with wings

July 13 (SL) Less than a year ago, on the August 1,2010, the Sunday Leader published a column of mine that was titled, “A Damned Disgrace.” It dealt with the travesty of a rugby match that was the Kandy Sports Club vs Sri Lanka Air Force semi-final held at Bogambara in Kandy. More disgraceful even than what transpired on the rugby pitch was the response of Roshan Goonetilleke and the Sri Lanka Rugby Foothall Union’s Interim Committee at the time when it chose to more..

Understanding a Master misunderstood at home, recognized in the West

July 13 (ST) It is now just short of half a century since Justin Daraniyagala died, in 1967. Sufficient time, indeed, to let his work mature in the minds and hearts of those who care to look at his paintings. There is not a great deal of it, his method of working being at once vigorous and impatient yet such that it carried Daraniyagala into the realms of mysticism as he contemplated each subject, adding to it or more..

Bully-boy menus come in several hues

July 13 (DM) "Historically, we find that stronger nations oppressed the weak. In fact centuries ago such dominance began with tribes, the stronger ones subjugating the weak and taking over their territories, possessions and dragging away men and women as slaves or concubines. This phenomenon was quite common from the East through Africa to the West. Countless episodes of such events haunt the history of mankind. With time however the ‘we go, we see, we take over’ programmes crossed more..

Embilipitiya killer tracked down in estate

July 13 (SO) Garusinghege Priyantha alias Neluwe Priyantha (45) was a notorious man and a ruthless killer who did not spare the lives of his adversaries in the southern province. For more than two decades the people in the Southern province were terrorised by him. People trembled when they heard his name. Priyantha had a network of informants spread out in the southern province who tipped him off whenever policemen were on his trail. As a matter of fact nobody came forward to more..

'Channel 4 video not an isolated event'

July 13 (NS) Dr. Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s permanent representative to the United Nations, talks to The Nation, during a brief visit to Colombo, about propaganda campaigns, growing international pressure, and the response by the Sri Lankan govt which repeatedly refuses the call for an international inquiry – at a time when international pressure is mounting on the Sri Lankan govt to launch an inquiry into alleged war crimes during the final phases of the war. more..

Leadership training and existing realities

July 13 (DM) First and foremost I must apologize that my name and logo had been inadvertently placed in the article written by Mr. Sathya Moorthy on page eight for the Daily Mirror of 10 July 2011. I must apologize to him too, since such erudite analysis on political issues is not my forte! I normally express only my ideas on various situations that occur in this country. Having clarified this matter my intention this week is to express my views on the state of the more..

What’s the solution? PSC or the 13th Amendment

July 13 (NS) Many solutions have been put forward by different political parties and different governments over the decades for the ethnic problem in the country. They range from Bandaranaike – Chelvanayagam Pact, Dudley – Chelvanayagam Pact to the UPFA government’s Parliamentary Select Committee proposal which is the latest. Parallel to this, has always been the parties who have opposed the measures or suggestions that have been brought up over the decades. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket scorecard a mess

July 13 (SL) In an astounding fall from grace, Sri Lanka Cricket has seesawed from controversy to scandal and thence to a full blown crisis when details of its shoddy state of affairs was bared before the COPE on July 6, in a report prepared by the AG’s department. Hot on the heels of a beautifully delivered speech at Lords by former captain Kumar Sangakkara where he dropped a bombshell accusing cricket administrators of being corrupt and politicised, more..

Treasury overshoots cash deficit, borrowings targets

July 13 (Island) The Treasury has overshot its cash deficit target and borrowings for the first five months of this year with capital expenditure, or public investments, being higher than expected, an encouraging sign given that the govt used to sacrifice public investments to meet expanding recurrent expenditure. The Mid-year Fiscal Position Report shows a cash deficit of Rs. 95.3 billion, against a target of Rs. 90.2 billion, for the first five months of this year. more..

Parliament Select Committee on political solution: Old wine in new bottles

July 13 (LB) Last week, the Leader of the House and Minister of Irrigation and Water Resource Management, Nimal Siripala de Silva was scheduled to present to the House a resolution to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to draft a political solution to the ethnic conflict. However, the resolution was postponed to this week. From the very inception of the proposal, the main opposition UNP and the JVP dismissed the government’s decision. more..

'Media organizations could lose credibility overnight'

July 13 (AT) Britain’s phone hacking controversy shows how a media organization that may seem credible one day could lose all that credibility the next day, Sri Lanka’s Acting High Commissioner in the UK, PM Amza said adding his voice to the ongoing debate. “What I am saying is that it shows a media organization could lose credibility overnight,” he opined. The scandal-hit News of the World tabloid in the UK closed down on Sunday following allegations of more..

Editorial: Patriot in a crate and ingrates

July 13 (Island) Sri Lanka's 'patriots' let out a howl of protest when British Defence Secretary Dr. Liam Fox, who had agreed to deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture a few moons ago, backed out trotting out some lame excuses at the eleventh hour in view of a diplomatic brouhaha following the cancellation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Oxford Union speech owing to violent LTTE protests. He was flayed, insulted and even denounced as a Tiger sympathiser. more..

Editorial: Cricket battered; rugby turns thugby

July 13 (DM) Cricket fans and others following the rot that is taking place in the cricketing establishment in the country today would be wondering what would have happened to administrators had they misused or busted up millions of dollars in earlier eras. Today it is a different scorebook where not only could one acquire wealth from cricket for three or four family generations but also get away with no-balls or bodyline bouncers and even go into new ventures of an unprecedented scale. more..

Passing the buck must stop, CB Governor must quit over hedging deal, charges UNP

July 13 (FT) Hot on the heels of the landmark verdict delivered by the London High Court, the UNP yesterday renewed its call for the resignation of Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal, who had urged the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to go for a hedging deal. “The ruling causes a gigantic loss to the State. Instead of blaming the banks for mis-selling or offering wrong advice, more..

LLRC disputes Prof. Wijesinghe’s response to BBC

July 13 (Island) LLRC spokesperson Lakshman Wickramasinghe yesterday expressed concern about a statement made by UPFA MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe in an interview with the BBC. The spokesman said: "The Commission was indeed concerned about a comment made on its work by a Government spokesman in a recent BBC programme. The Commission wishes to reiterate that it has an independent mandate derived from the Presidential Warrant dated 15 May 2010 and accordingly the content and more..

Constitution illegal - FNO

July 13 (BBC) Federation of National Organisations (FNO) has rejected the proposal of appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee with a view to find a political solution to the national question. President of The PNF Gunadasa Amersekara told a media briefing summoned by FNO on Tuesday, that no solution to national question should be discussed without the participation of the people. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella emphasised that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was willing to accept more..

CPC processes 2,800 complaints from motorists

July 13 (Island) The CPC has so far received about 2,800 complaints from motorists claiming alleged damages to their vehicles, caused by using a suspect petrol consignment imported by the CPC recently. CPC sources said complaints that ran into hundreds per day at the height of the commotion were now tapering off as the 20,000 tonnes shipment has now been mostly exhausted, leaving only a stock of 3,000 tonnes stopped from being distributed by more..

Public help for those being rehabilitated - Namal

July 13 (DN) Those undegoing rehabilitation in camps will be provided public assistance in the future to enable them to achieve improvements in their jobs, according to their attitudes and skills when integrating them to mainstream society, Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa said. He made this statement yesterday when he met 2,500 persons who had been integrated to main stream society after undergoing rehabilitation training at Mullaithivu Vidyananda College. more..

MNMHI introduces ‘Garden Therapy’ for abandoned cured patients

July 13 (Island) The Mulleriyawa National Mental Health Institute has introduced a new therapeutic method of healing to over five hundred of its former patients. Spokesman for the Health Ministry said that the Hospital had introduced ‘Garden Therapy’, for the first time in Sri Lanka. He said some women had been cured of their mental illnesses but had nowhere to go. They had either been abandoned by their families, or have no relatives or there was no one to take responsibility for them. more..

Tamil asylum-seekers may have been headed for Canada

July 13 (G&M) The federal government suspects a ship of more than 80 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum-seekers was bound for Canada until it was apprehended by Indonesian authorities. “I can’t talk about any details in intelligence reports. There are indications that it may have been destined for Canada,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said. “… Our intelligence and police agencies are working very hard. more..

Postal voting: 80% turnout

July 13 (DM) Postal voting for the mini local government elections was conducted yesterday with no major incidents of election violence or malpractices reported; 80 percents of the eligible voters had cast their ballots by the end of the day, election monitors said yesterday. Issuing a statement, the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said that 60,443 public servants and police and military personnel had been eligible to caste their postal votes this time. more..

CPC ordered release of low quality petrol

July 13 (DM) Major General MRW de Soysa, the chairman of the Kolonnawa Lanka Petrol Wholesale Storage Terminal Company, said that the distribution of 17,000 metric tons out of the stock of 20,000 metric tons of the imported substandard petrol, was made on the specific orders of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). The chairman also said that he would inform the special committee set up to inquire into this matter. About 3000 tons of this substandard petrol is now lying at more..

Hedging deal entered without approval - govt

July 13 (BBC) The Sri Lanka government says that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has entered into a hedging deal with Standard Charted Bank (SCB) without prior approval. A London court on Monday decided that Sri Lanka's Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (Ceypetco) owes over $162 million and interest to Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) for non-payment of dues linked to hedging when the oil price hit a record level and crashed in 2008. more..

Now, teachers threaten tough TU action

July 13 (DM) Teacher unions yesterday threatened to launch a series of trade union action that would heavily impact the education sector if the Education Ministry and the relevant officials fail to resolve the longstanding salary anomaly of teachers. Association of Education Professionals and the Ceylon Teachers Union, the complaining teacher union representatives gave an ultimatum to the Education Ministry Secretary to grant an effective solution to their salary issues at the scheduled meeting by July 19. more..

Polls official in Jaffna for talks

July 13 (DM) The Elections Department will send a special official to Jaffna today to discuss issues relating to election violence in the area during the past few days, officials said yesterday. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya agreed to send one of his officials to Jaffna for a meeting with the TNA at the Jaffna District Secretariat today following complaints by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the JVP about the incidence of election violence and malpractice. more..

Development Diaries July 06, 2011

'Tamils should discuss their issues with the govt.,'

July 13 (DM) Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake spoke about the need to find an immediate political solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem. Addressing a meeting of the SLFP Central Committee in the Horana Electorate, he said that the Tamil issue has developed into one where the Tamil community is demanding viable solution to their concerns through constitutional amendments. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Kalutara District MP, Vidura Wickremenayake. more..

The crucifixion of Kumara Sangakkara

July 13 (Island) Suppose, just suppose Kumar Sangakkara had said in his lecture at Lords that Mahindananda Aluthgamage was a most handsome/beautiful, wise, cultured, civilized, erudite and competent Minister whose knowledge of cricket exceeded that of Donald Bradman, Garfield Sobers and Neville Cardus combined; that the Sports Law of Sri Lanka which empowers even a Minister of Sports who does not know the difference between a cricket bat and a cricket stump to over-rule a decision of more..

Patients die as Cardiac surgery unit stays closed

July 13 (Island) Some cardiac patients who had been scheduled to undergo emergency operations have died due to the closure of Kandy hospital Cardiac Thoracic Surgery Unit. The unit has remained closed for the past two months as essential drugs and surgical consumables required for operations and the patients ran out. Although hospital authorities had placed orders for drugs and surgical consumables, due to red tape no action had been taken to replenish the stocks. more..

Sri Lanka to allow diplomats access to north

July 13 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka announced Tuesday that clearance would no longer be required for diplomats and international and local non-governmental agency workers to travel to the north. However, prior permission would still be required for them to have meetings with the military and visit military installations, said the ministry of defense. The latest decision followed last week's relaxation of restrictions imposed on foreign passport holders to travel to the former war zone areas in the north. more..

Trincomalee Port Development: Land survey prior to leasing

July 13 (Island) A survey of lands in the vicinity of the Trincomalee Harbour will be conducted prior to leasing them to investors to set up projects, Resident Manager of the Trincomalee port J. A. Chandrarathne said. He told The Island that the survey of nearly 5,000 acres of land would be completed in six months. However, he said, some of the lands, close to the Trincomalee main road, are owned by the residents and the port authorities had made no plans to more..

'Order will influence other cases'

July 13 (DM) Commenting on the outcome of the Hedging case filed by the Standard Chartered Bank in the London Commercial High Court which ordered the CPC to pay US $ 162 million or Rs. 18 billion with interest to the bank, a former Chief Justice said the ruling would have an impact on pending action in Singapore and Washington. Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva who also headed the bench which heard the fundamental rights cases against the alleged CPC malpractice relating to more..

60,000 deprived of higher education

July 13 (DM) More than 60,000 students are currently deprived of opportunities to pursue higher education annually due to the suspension of registrations for external degrees since last October, the NCEDTS said. NCEDTS Convener K.P. Somasiri told a media briefing that each year, of more than 100,000 A/L candidates, at least 60,000 students who did not obtain sufficient z-scores to enter universities apply for the external degree programme in the hope of pursuing higher studies. more..

South Asian security talks in Colombo

July 13 (DM) Sri Lanka in collaboration with the United States Center for Civil Military Relations (CCMR) and Pacific Command (PACOM) is co-hosting the South Asia Maritime Security Conference (MARSEC). The regional maritime conference which began at the Hotel Galadari in Colombo on Monday will go on till Friday. Senior maritime security professionals from Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Australia and the US are expected to participate at the conference. US Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis and more..