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Health Minister overhauls drug procurement procedure

July 18 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has taken action to change the existing Drug Purchasing Tender Procedure because it created a plethora of problems such as lack of transparency and accountability in supplying drugs, supply of insufficient quantities and constant delays in delivery of drugs. Minister will visit India in August to meet Indian Health Minister, Indian Drug Chamber and Drug Manufacturers in this regard. more..

Oil hedging controversy: UPFA’s silence means its culpability – UNP

July 18 (Island) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake yesterday said that the govt owed the country an explanation regarding the circumstances under which the cash-strapped CPC had entered into contracts with banks led by Standard Chartered Bank. Due to UPFA’s harebrained scheme the country may be forced to pay banks as much as Rs. 95 to 105 billion for not making payments as envisaged in the oil hedging deals, more..

Sri Lanka post-war reconstruction can connect communities: expert

July 19 (LBO) Post-war reconstruction in Sri Lanka can be used to connect communities divided by decades of war, an international expert on construction who is studying the island's experience said. "Infrastructure can actually connect and at the same time divide people," said Dilanthi Amaratunga, an expert from the Centre for Disaster Resilience, University of Salford, UK. "We need to use reconstruction to connect communities," said Amaratunga more..

US Tamil questions ‘Channel 4’ credibility

July 19 (DN) A Sri Lankan Tamil who is currently a US citizen, expressed his shock and disgust on how the so called protectors of global human rights shamelessly tried to capitalize on the sufferings of Tamils in Sri Lanka to fulfill their self serving objectives. Joseph Navaratnam, a Tamil living in the USA, lashed out at Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch who screened the Channel 4 video at Capitol Hill, for selling the sufferings wholesale of the Tamils to more..

Hotspot cameras may not reach Sri Lanka in time

July 19 (NDTV) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) may have confirmed the use of the DRS (Decision Review System) for the forthcoming home series against Australia, but the BBG sports may find it difficult to supply the Hotspot cameras (an important component of the system). "We are in a difficult situation to supply Hotspot for both the England vs India and Sri Lanka-Australia series," Warren Brennan, the BBG sports director, said from Melbourne yesterday. more..

Top Lankan team for CPA sessions

July 19 (DM) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, House Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva, Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran will visit London shortly to attend next week’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) sessions. Meanwhile Daily Mirror learns that UNP MPs Kabir Hashim and Jayalath Jayawardene will accompany Mr. Wickremesinghe. Dr. Jayawardene is reported to have expressed his desire to attend the sessions as an observer but more..

Sri Lanka tolls without thought: Backed up traffic and black money

July 19 (LBO) There is a reason for applying expertise to major infrastructure projects. The costs of ill-planned actions are very high; and the costs of fixing problems even higher. The costs of bad planning for Sri Lanka’s first expressway will take two forms: congestion at the exit or entry points (where the tolls will be collected) and money leakage. Fees for Sri Lanka's first toll expressway to the south of the island will be decided next week more..

Sonia Gandhi wanted Colombo to decimate LTTE without finalising a political solution

July 19 (DBS) Sam Rajappa is a veteraqn Indian journalist with vast insight and knowledge about the happenings in the Indian corridors of power. After having worked for a number of Indian and Foreign media institutions he served as director of the Statesman print journalism school after retiring from active journalism. In a recent article appearing Sam has made a very bold revelation about how and why New Delhi “Allowed” Colombo to go ahead and more..

Over 200 elephants are now IDPs

July 19 (NN) Over 200 elephants are said to have been displaced in the Wayamba province and have entered village areas, wildlife department officials said. According to the wildlife department, most of the elephants have been displaced as there is a shortage of food and water in the forest areas of the province. Officials also said that massive development which is taking part in some of the areas have also contributed to the displacement of the elephants. more..

Somali pirates hijack oil tanker; Lankan among crew

July 19 (AD) The European Union’s anti-piracy force says suspected Somali pirates have hijacked an oil tanker in the northern Indian Ocean. It has a crew of 16, including five crew members from India, four Somalis, three Bangladeshis, and others from Sri Lanka, Sudan, Kenya and Burma. The task force said in a statement Monday the MV JUBBA XX was seized Saturday and has been spotted traveling towards the northern Somali coast. more..

Sri Lanka ranked 59 out of 60 in global talent survey

July 19 (NN) Sri Lanka seems to be poor on talent, at least according to a new global survey released today. The new study, released today by research group Heidrick & Struggles in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit, placed Sri Lanka at 59 out of 60 countries. The Global Talent Index 2011 incorporates the data analysis of sixty countries, measuring global talent in 2011 and anticipating future realities in 2015. more..

Sri Lanka former war zone gets cheap loans to revive businesses

July 19 (LBO) Loans worth 4.6 billion rupees have been disbursed in Sri Lanka's war-torn north to revive livelihoods and businesses under Central Bank sponsored credit programmes since the conflict ended in mid-2009. The programmes helped promote livelihood and income generating activities among conflict-affected households and refugees in the Northern Province, a statement said. The bank allocated 3,000 million rupees for a separate credit line named “Awakening North”, more..

Gold medalist Ranga Wimalawansa remanded

July 19 (DM) South Asian Games gold medalist Ranga Wimalawansa was remanded today till July 29th by a Colombo Court for allegedly defrauding a person for Rs.1.6 million promising him a American Visa. Making a complaint at the Colombo Crime Division (CCD), the wife of the aggrieved complained that her husband had met the suspect Ranga Wimalawansa along with two other friends in order to obtain an American Visa. She further complained that her husband had paid an more..

Manju told 'not to appeal' for CWG bid

July 19 (BBC) Sri Lanka's boxing star whose gold medal from the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth games was stripped off on a doping conviction, says he was prevented by the authorities from challenging the decision. Manju Wanniarachchi alleges the Sri Lanka government told him that an appeal would hinder the country's bid to host the Games in 2018. Wanniarachchi's Delhi gold was recently handed over to Welsh boxer Sean McGoldrick after more..

Youth parliament inaugural session commenced

July 19 (GDI) A rehearsal has been held to raise the voice of the youths in National Politics. The Inaugural Session of the Youth Parliament was held on July 15. Three hundred and thirty five members of the Youth Parliament participated in the session held at the National Youth Services Centre in Maharagama. Hon. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and Minister of youth Affairs and Skill Development Dallas Alahapperuma also participated in the inaugural session. more..

Disabled soldier sues Army Commander

July 19 (DM) The Colombo District Court today issued notice on the Army Commander in a civil suit filed by a disabled soldier who complained that his retirement pension has been stopped by the army as a means of recovering an overpayment made by it to the soldier by mistake. Additional District Judge T.D. Gunasekara issued notice on the defendants -- Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya, Salary and Documentation Director W.R. Palihakkara, Attanagalle Divisional more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 18.07.2011

Wanted: Strategies To Awaken The People

July 19 (LG) Karu Jayasuriya’s attempt to get a Freedom of Information Act passed by parliament had a beneficial fallout even though there was not the remotest possibility of it being accepted by the steam roller majority of the ruling party. The ruling party’s refusal exposed the nakedness of the govt that stands on high moral grounds and proclaims its honesty, transparency and clean hands. Karu Jayasuriya would have been optimistic in expecting a Freedom of more..

Politics in cricket

July 19 (LG) ‘I do not approve of politicians becoming sports administrators, whether they are sports celebrities turned politicians or otherwise’ was an acerbic comment famously known in Hulftsdorp as being made sotto voce by a senior judge of Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court, (now retired), from the Bench several years back. This comment is both interesting and timely. It is interesting as it illustrates a rare instance of firm judicial principle. It is timely in the context of more..

Kodikamam – PPD main road opened for Public

July 19 (Cimic) Minister Basil Rajapaksa reopened the 1 km stretch of Varani area on Kodikamam-Point Pedro main road which remained impassable for civilians for 11 years since it ran through the 52 Division Headquarters. With the release of a part of the lands hitherto held by the Army, it was decided to reopen the road for public since 15th July 2011. The area just opposite the Headquarters 52 Division of Security Forces - Jaffna (SF-J) more..

What next for the West?

July 19 (DM) Whatever the reason and justification, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s declaration that his party was ready to support the Govt on the sanctions front has more questions for the international community than answers. Conditions, if any, for the party to continue in this position may have more to do with the anticipated findings of the LLRC than anything else. Yet, Wickremesinghe is believed to have taken the same stand when he called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, recently. more..

A note on power, truth and their relative lifetimes

July 19 (DM) The worth of a statement is not necessarily associated with its truth-value. Truth does stand on its own, but very often by the time it is so recognized and even consecrated, a lot of water has already passed under the bridge. Blood-stained, we might add. How many innocents have been slaughtered in the name of justice courtesy the death penalty? How many communities, cultures and languages have been obliterated from the face of the earth in the name of progress? more..

The real truth behind the power crisis

July 19 (DM) It is true that a power crisis has emerged. This information is given to the general public by the people with knowledge, people without knowledge as well as the people who wish to distort the truth. People get confused and worried with the wrong understanding of the facts. As usual the Minister of Power & Energy is pointed by the media, cartoonists and also the politicians. Therefore, I decided to relate my story. more..

Is the Ministry of Higher Education violating the University Act?

July 19 (LG) There are positive signs in the direction that the trade union action of the university teachers would come to an end soon. However, the fundamental issues raised by the University Teachers’ Association remain unresolved although the govt responded positively to their demands on salaries and working conditions. The fundamentals are incorporated in the demand for an increase in state expenditure on education and higher education, a new University Act ensuring more..

Sangakkara at Lords a case mistaken political identity

July 19 (LG) I was attracted to read the speech of Kumar Sangakkara at Lords, due to two reasons. Firstly, his father is well known to me. I used to visit Lal Wijenayaka often those days, before I separated from the LSSP. This was in the early seventies. Lal was with us in our struggle against the LSSP leadership. As a new lawyer he was sharing the room of lawyer Sangakkara, father of Kumar. Visiting Lal, often I was drag into a spirited conversation by senior Sange, more..

'Equal human rights for all in Sri Lanka'

July 19 (SO) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickremasuriya said the US should be aware that human rights have been restored equally to all Sri Lankans without fear or favour. The Sri Lankan envoy in Washington has also told the Western media, who has been very cynical of Sri Lanka’s human rights, that Sri Lanka has been very practical and implemented these rights equally unlike the Western world which is merely theoretical. more..

“I am”……. Identity crisis in Post-conflict Sri Lanka

July 19 (TC) “There are no more minorities” said the President after the defeat of the LTTE – a secessionist rebel group that waged a war against Sri Lanka in 2009. From now on, everyone is part of the majority. It was a nice feeling after decades of distinction between the communities in the island. I belong to one of the three recognized minorities of the island – the Burghers. A friend of mine noticed that we were the only ones not represented in the National Flag, more..

‘Sinhalese’ protest against Channel 4

July 19 (TC) The Sinhalese and Tamil Diaspora periodically launch protests in their host countries galvanised by events that affect their particular tribe. Often they are financed, organised or encouraged by their political formations. The ones perceived as “Tamil” protests are often organised/encouraged by the LTTE or organisations, which are affiliated/sympathetic to the Tamil cause. The ones perceived as “Sri Lankan” protests are organised/encouraged by the Sri Lankan govt and more..

Private tuition: boon or bane?

July 19 (SO) We live in an era where we have easy access to sources of knowledge. We have the books, magazines, newspapers, radio, television, internet and host of others. As far as present day children are concerned, the majority of students do not try to learn in the hard way. Instead they go for short cuts to improve their knowledge. Therefore private tuition has become a popular mode of learning to quench their thirst for knowledge. more..

Editorial: Miracle of Asia

July 19 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa keeps telling us that his government has set out on an arduous journey to make Sri Lanka the Miracle of Asia. His critics may have pooh-poohed his grandiose plan but the govt has already achieved that goal, we reckon. Sri Lanka has become the Miracle of not only Asia but also the entire world, believe it nor not! It has already performed one big miracle. The credit for that feat should undoubtedly go to Minister Susil Premjayantha and more..

Editorial: Winning polls won’t lead to just and fair society

July 19 (DM) The crucial issue of national reconciliation is again in the spotlight with President Mahinda Rajapaksa deciding that a Parliamentary Select Committee would be appointed to find a just and fair solution to the grievances and aspirations of the Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka. The move to appoint a PSC, though it has still not been appointed more than a month after the announcement comes against the backdrop of the govt’s talks with the main Tamil political party more..

Museum of Cinemaya: A labour of love

July 19 (NS) “Creativity is a mode of expression – let it be cinema, photography or otherwise. My intention was to delve into the tools of such creative expression and be inspired and to offer inspiration,” says Gordon De Silva whose personal collection of photographic, cinematic and printing accoutrements sheltered at Museum of Cinemaya stands as a metaphor for his belief. Although still in its infancy, visiting his museum housed in Malapalla, more..

First ever open-ended Shari’ ah-compliant fund launched

July 19 (FT) The first ever open-ended Shari’ah-compliant fund, the Crescent i-Fund, a joint initiative of the pioneer asset management company in Sri Lanka Comtrust Asset Management and ADL Capital Limited, was launched last week in the midst of many prospective investors. Looking to invest chiefly in Sri Lankan equities, the Crescent i-Fund will provide Shari’ah conscious investors the chance to enjoy significant returns in the Sri Lankan stock markets and more..

Govt. take action against sub standard steel

July 19 (Island) Sri Lanka Consumer Protection Authority warns consumers to be extra vigilant purchasing steel bars and other steel products with the boom in the construction industry. The Authority Chairman, Rumy Marzook has instructed officials to punish those responsible for providing or manufacturing sub standard products that would have a negative impact on society. The Authority strongly advices consumers to check whether the purchased steel products are tagged with SLS 375. more..

GMOA shedding crocodile tears over presence of Indian surgeons?

July 19 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers Association (GMOA) yesterday threatened trade union action over continuing medical practice here by unqualified Indian doctors. The GMOA is expected to take a final decision on the matter at its next Executive Meeting on Thursday. It blamed the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), the College of Surgeons and the Health Services Director General Dr.Ajith Mendis for allowing registration Indian doctors with more..

Electronic weighing scales at Pettah vegetable market

July 19 (Island) The Consumer Affairs Authority has decided to install electronic weighing scales at the vegetable market in the Pettah for the benefit of consumers, who sometimes find that the veggies they have purchased from there weigh less when they reach their respective homes. The CAA has received many complaints from consumers who get a raw deal with vendors selling vegetables underweight, particularly to new clients. With the installation of more..

Sixty per cent without IDs in Kilinochchi

July 19 (Island) Sixty percent of the eligible voters in the Kilinochchi district have no national identity cards to prove their identity at the polling booths next Saturday, the polling day, according to the district elections secretariat. District Secretary R. Ketheeswaran said there are 61,217 registered voters in the district. These people had been uprooted from their native places and some had shifted their residences several times during the more..

Sri Lankans capture 10 out of 32 golds at Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge 2011

July 19 (Island) A Maldivian was voted the best chef at Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge 2011 which concluded in Male on Saturday, but Sri Lankans captured 10 of the 32 gold medals on offer. Dimunitive Saeed Mohamed won gold in the "Most Outstanding Chef","Best Maldivian Dish" and "Best Culinary Establishment" categories, at a glittering ceremony held at Nasundhara Palace Hotel. The ten golds won by Sri Lankans more..

Working rights for HIV, AIDS patients

July 19 (DM) The National Policy for HIV and AIDS will bring Sri Lanka a step closer to achieving reasonable employment for people suffering from HIV and other marginalized groups, Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge said yesterday. At a ceremony held at the Taj Samudra to launch the National Policy for HIV and AIDS In the World of Work, he said this initiative would safeguard labour rights by changing the corporate sector attitude towards HIV-affected workers. more..

FUTA to make crucial decision today

July 19 (DM) While describing the outcome of yesterday’s talks with the government as 'neither positive nor negative’, the FUTA, said it would decide whether to call off the long drawn trade union action or not after an executive committee meeting today. However, Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Navaratne was optimistic that the trade union action would end today or tomorrow. He said yesterday’s talks with the FUTA ended on a positive note, and the parties concerned were more..