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Jumbo cabinet even larger...

Mar 13 (LB) Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards after the Local Government elections, govt sources claim. Several new faces are to be included in the cabinet and the powers of senior ministers are to be enhanced. “There have been many complaints that some ministers are not contributing enough and their lethargy is hampering the development drive of the govt,” said one such source. “Therefore the President has decided to reshuffle ministerial portfolios.” more..

India makes official protest over PM’s remarks

Mar 13 (ST) India has lodged an official protest with Sri Lanka over Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne’s statement in Parliament that Tiger guerillas training camps existed in Tamil Nadu. Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam was called to the Indian External Affairs Ministry in South Block in New Delhi on Thursday to be told of the Indian Govt’s displeasure. Mr. Kariyawasam has met a Joint Secretary, a position equivalent to that of a Director General. more..

Sri Lanka’s first Vitrification test tube baby born

Mar 13 (Island) With over 300 pregnancies and 150 successful deliveries – the highest in Sri Lanka - to its credit, the Lanka Hospitals Fertility Centre announced the birth of Sri Lanka’s first Vitrification test tube baby. Lakith Peiris, the hospital’s CEO, said the advancements in technology and the fertility clinic’s commitment to ensuring that its slogan ‘where life begins’, ensures that each patient receive fullest attention to make their hopes for a family a reality. more..

Hakeem, Athaullah battle to woo supporters

Mar 13 (NS) Two rival powerful UPFA Muslim ministers are waging a serious campaign to woo supporters to boost their own political parties in the East using state resources. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader and Justice Minister, Rauf Hakeem and National Muslim Congress (NMC) leader and Local Government minister A. L. M. Athaullah are both actively involved in seeking support from the masses to build their own respective parties’ images. more..

UN cover-up of secret meeting on Lanka

Mar 13 (ST) The exclusive report in last week's the Sunday Times and related details in the political commentary about a Sri Lanka delegation meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's panel probing alleged war crimes issues in Sri Lanka reverberated in the portals of the United Nations in New York. The Inner City Press' Maththew Lee who usually wants to be first with reports relating to Sri Lanka, raised questions from the UN Secretary General's more..

WC 2011: South Africa beat India by 3 wickets

Mar 13 (CI) In a fascinating chase, with their choking past hovering over them, South Africa held their nerve to clinch a thriller in Nagpur. Jacques Kallis and Hashim Amla set it up, AB de Villiers pushed them close, JP Duminy and Johan Botha pumped in oxygen with big hits, Faf du Plessis held one end up and Robin Peterson shoved them past the line in the final over. They needed 13 to win and there would have been the temptation to give the ball to Harbhajan Singh more..

A free for all in the foreign service

Mar 13 (LB) A special cabinet paper to hire political lackeys-predominantly the offspring of senior, pro-govt politicians - to the permanent cadre of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service has been floated by the Ministry of External Affairs. The memorandum, which was scheduled to be presented to Cabinet on Wednesday but put off on a technicality, contains 11 names including the children of two ministers and a chief minister. A 12 th name-that of Gunadasa Amarasekara’s daughter more..

Foreign Service to formally absorb politicians’ offspring

Mar 13 (LB) The Ministry of External Affairs has floated a special Cabinet Paper to absorb political appointees - including the sons and daughters of ministers, of other politicians and even of pro-government artistes to the permanent cadre of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service. This unprecedented move will see Cabinet using powers usurped from the Public Service Commission to arbitrarily recruit the sons and daughters of more..

Govt. says many offers to manage Hilton Hotel

Mar 13 (ST) The Government has been inundated by offers from top international chains to manage the Hilton Hotel in Colombo following the announcement last Wednesday that the property is now solely Sri Lankan owned. A Finance Ministry source said that the hotel is seen as a good, exclusive property in post-war Sri Lanka where tourism is growing fast. “Many top chains have expressed interest,” the source said. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa announced in Parliament that more..

Eleven diplomats from outside Foreign Service

Mar 13 (Island) The Cabinet last week approved the appointment of 11 persons at a level below Ambassador to a number of overseas missions but an attempt to enlist 10 others to the Sri Lanka Foreign Service (SLFS) outside normal procedure with effect from April 1 was abandoned. The appointments approved on a proposal submitted by External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris are as follows: Mr. Pradip Jayewardene – Consul General (Substantive rank Minister), more..

Call for women’s political party

Mar 13 (LB) A call for a women’s political party in Sri Lanka aimed at breaking the trend of low female representation, first at local government level, was mooted in Colombo last week. The call was initiated at a panel discussion on ‘Local Government and Women’ by Kumudini Samuel, Co-Director, Women and Media Collective, on the topic “The struggle to secure nominations for women.” more..

TULF, PLOTE complain of step motherly treatment

Mar 13 (NS) Two of the constituent partners of the TNA, the TULF and the PLOTE, have accused TNA of giving them step motherly treatment in the Alliance election campaign. With the election campaign nearing its final stages with Monday midnight declared as the official deadline for all the political parties, both TULF and PLOTE have pointed fingers at the TNA for not including them in whatever campaign plans the more..

'People know govt did a lot to develop villages'

Mar 13 (NS) A President and a government with a record of having made the greatest contribution towards the development of the village are in power today. They are also in the most advantageous position to work for the betterment of the village. Therefore, there is no doubt about the people continuing with the trend of supporting the UPFA government, says Minister Basil Rajapaksa in an interview more..

ATM heist: Ukrainian mastermind still at large

Mar 13 (NS) The Criminal Investigations Department Friday objected to bail being granted to two suspects in the case of stealing Rs. 14 million from Automatic Teller Machines using forged cards. Superintendent of Police Priyantha Chandrasiri and Inspector Nandana Silva appearing for the CID told court that the two suspects were being further investigated and granting them bail would jeopardise the investigation. more..

Logos Hope’s first visit to Sri Lanka

Mar 13 (SL) Logos Hope, the world’s largest floating book fair, will soon visit Colombo on her maiden voyage to Sri Lanka. Logos Hope follows its sister ships Logos and Doulos which visited Sri Lanka five times between 1971 and 2006. This larger vessel allows for a wider book selection and more comfortable browsing. The book fair on board Logos Hope offers an expanded selection of over 5,000 books at affordable prices. more..

Buchanan and Moody among those seeking the Lankan position

Mar 13 (ST) Legendary Australian coach John Buchanan and the former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody are among the aspirants for the Lankan job once the incumbent think tank Trevor Bayliss bids adieu to his job after the 2011 World Cup which is in progress. Buchanan who was appointed as the Australian coach in October 1999 to replace Geoff Marsh was considered an unlikely candidate given that he had not played the game at the Test level. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 13 (ST) Prime Minister Dee Moo Jayaratne seems to have put his foot in his mouth, though he was forewarned only weeks ago to be careful in speech, one of the tenets to be followed by good Buddhists. On Wednesday, he told Parliament that there were LTTE training camps in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu only to draw the wrath of the Indian authorities who lost no time in denying the story. Of course, the Indians had often been denying that more..

SriLankan in for a storm

Mar 13 (NS) The country’s national carrier SriLankan and its passengers flying to 30 cities around the world might be in for high drama when its more than 800 flight attendants resort to industrial action from tomorrow to win their outstanding grievances. The Flight Attendants’ Union had sat with the SriLankan management on February 13 and had explained matters in detail, but there had been no proper response and therefore this week they had given a five-day notice of their industrial action in sheer desperation, more..

Indo-Sri Lankan Joint Working Group on fisheries will meet on March 28

Mar 13 (Hindu) After a gap of over five years, the Indo-Sri Lankan Joint Working Group on fisheries will meet in New Delhi on March 28 to discuss issues of fishing in the narrow Palk Straits and the Gulf of Mannar and related problems. Apart from senior officials of the External Affairs Ministries of India and Sri Lanka, the delegations which will take part in the talks will include representatives from more..

Chinese aircraft firm also gets Galle Face land

Mar 13 (ST) A Chinese aircraft manufacturing company will be the second of three successful bidders for star class hotels to be built on the area around the Galle Face Green to be vacated by the Ministry of Defence and Army Headquarters, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. This follows the sale of a six-acre property to build a multifunction complex comprising a classy hotel and a shopping mall, adjoining another six-acre property where more..

WC 2011: New Zealand beat Canada by 97 runs

Mar 14 (CI) New Zealand walked to an easy 97-run win over Canada in Mumbai and sealed their place in the quarter-finals. They romped unchallenged to 358 for 6 and then held Canada to 261 for 9 in reply. Brendon McCullum's century, and a brutal late assault from Ross Taylor and the lower middle order, put the score well out of Canada's reach. Ashish Bagai's 84 and an unbeaten 70 from Jimmy Hansra ensured Canada at least reached their highest total of the tournament, more..

Pakistani reporter held by Sri Lankan authorities

Mar 14 (AFP) Sri Lankan immigration authorities detained a Pakistani journalist with the same name as the man who staged an abortive car bomb attack in New York’s Times Square last year, officials said Sunday. Faisal Shahzad, an Islamabad-based reporter, was allowed to enter the country to cover the World Cup after spending nearly a day in detention. “We have spoken to the CID and the matter has now been resolved,” a spokesman for the Pakistan high commission in Colombo said. more..

What happened to ‘Api wawamu, Rata nagamu’ – Anura asks

Mar 14 (LT) The President should tell the country as to what had happened to ‘Api Wawamu, Rata nagamu’ (Let’s cultivate and develop the country) programme that commenced during the last elections says JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said the ‘Api Wawamu, Rata nagamu’ project that was begun with a colossal waste of public money for government’s propaganda for elections, ended up with the import of coconuts which was an export commodity earlier. more..

Lanka sends rescue teams, aid to japan

Mar 14 (NN) Sri Lanka is to send a military rescue team to Japan to assist in the rescue operations following the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The government information department said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has also ordered a US dollar 1 Million aid package to Japan. A trained rescue team of the three forces and a specialist medical team will be sent to Japan to assist in the recovery efforts, the government information department said. more..

Raising LTTE bogey creates diplomatic row

Mar 14 (ST) Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratna may not have realized he was stirring a hornet’s nest by making an unsubstantiated claim last Wednesday in Parliament while opening the debate on the extension of the emergency. He claimed that intelligence authorities have received information to the effect that LTTE terrorists were training at three secret locations in Tamil Nadu with the objective of assassinating Indian political leaders and re-establishing the group’s bases in Sri Lanka. more..

Hilton hotel control in a limbo

Mar 14 (ST) The Sri Lankan government this week formally re-possessed the land on which the Hilton hotel stands relegating the hotel’s owning company, Hotel Developers Lanka Ltd (HDL) to an organization without an asset, a huge debt totalling more than Rs 10 billion and continuing losses. On Thursday, the HDL board met and cleared 21 years of annual accounts since 1990 and planned to release it to the Colombo Stock Exchange and shareholders this week. more..

‘Gamidiriya’ – a propaganda gimmick for govt.

Mar 14 (LT) All District and Divisional Secretariats have been informed to display three banners each for all Grama Sevaka divisions in their areas to make the public aware of the ‘one million housing economic units’ programme. According to the specification given each banner will cost Rs.1000 and it will cost Rs. 3000 to display banners in one village. Despite announcing that 100 families will be selected for the programme from one village, only 6 have been selected and the more..

Sri Lanka possesses the ingredients for World Cup success

Mar 14 (CB) Following Thursday’s comfortable 139 run victory over Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka became the first team to qualify for the quarter final stage of the ICC World Cup 2011 and sit imposingly atop Group A. But what can we expect from this current Sri Lankan team? Can it go one step further than the runners-up spot achieved in 2007 and claim the title for a second time? As was the case with the victorious Sri Lankan team of 1996, the current side is a blend of experience and youth. more..

Remove all election related cut-outs and posters

Mar 14 (NN) The police will begin removing all election related posters and cut-outs from tomorrow and will take legal action against anyone putting up such election propaganda after midnight tonight. Head of the Police Elections Secretariat, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Gamini Navaratne said that putting up election related posters and cut-outs after midnight tonight is banned under the election laws. more..

IGP to probe attack

Mar 14 (NN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the IGP Mahinda Balasuriya to investigate the attack on Deputy Minister Nandimithra Ekanayake by supporters of Deputy Transport Minister Rohana Dissanayake at an election rally last week. Deputy Higher Education Minister Nandimithra Ekanayake said that he had lodged a complaint over the incident with UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha and President Rajapaksa and the President more..

Uni lecturers warn of strike once again

Mar 14 (AD) University lecturers have decided to resort to a strike based on three demands including a salary hike. It has been decided that lecturers of every university will take part in a token strike this coming Tuesday, affirmed the Federation of University Teachers’ Association. The government has not provided the promised salary hike for university lecturers, said Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, President of the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA). more..

PCB in talks with SLC for short ODI series in Pakistan

Mar 14 (PTI) In an effort to revive international cricket in Pakistan, the PCB is in serious talks with its Sri Lankan counterparts for a short ODI and Twenty20 series in the troubled country later this year. According to Pakistan Cricket Board sources, Sri Lanka Cricket is ready to send its team for the short limited overs series but want the Test rubber to be played in the neutral venues of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. more..

'UPFA victory will strengthen villages'

Mar 14 (SO) The government is confident of another election victory at the forthcoming Local Government elections and people in the country would vote for the UPFA. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said though the government was fully committed to have a free and fair election, but the preferential vote system where candidates from the same party clash with one another and this has created some violence. The police is entrusted to maintain law and order. more..

The politics of Patricia Butenis’ civil society angst

Mar 14 (LG) There are NGOs and NGOs. There are civil society organizations and there are civil society organizations. You get the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright hilarious. Too often however the more prominent entities tend to define how the particular collective is perceived. There is a reason why NGOs (international and local) are called ENJOYS. A country study on the sector commissioned by the Asian Development Bank in the mid-nineties did more..

Ban Ki-moon excels in double standards

Mar 14 (LG) We have always held the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in scant regard. His recent pronouncement on Gaddafi’s crimes against humanity viewed in relation to the massacres of innocent Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka between January and May 2009 smacks of double standards. This is no surprise to us. Nevertheless, we wish to place this instance on record. In our estimation he is the worst and the most despicable Secretary General that the UN has ever had. more..

How cricket saved Sri Lanka

Mar 14 (Guardian) The wicket is taller than the batsman. The wicket is a Colombo Municipal Council garbage bin that used to be green, but is now decorated with amber-white crow droppings. The bin is filled with plastic bags overflowing with uneaten curry. In front of it stands an eight-year old in a T-shirt eight sizes too large for him. The bin frames him as a doorway would an adult. If he leaves a ball whizzing past his shoulder, he will be out. more..

Stupidity has no limits

Mar 14 (LG) It has been reported that several European Union nations are poised to pass resolutions against Sri Lanka, similar to those passed by the United States Senate sometime back, applying pressure on the country to conduct an independent probe into allegations of war crimes. Some have warned that these resolutions may be directed at imposing economic sanctions. Before the said US resolution, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, more..

Refugee children: the latest scam for human traffickers

Mar 14 (LG) Forget Pakistani children manufacturing Nike football for a pittance. Ignore children breaking granite for 50 cents a pan for building contractors in Sri Lanka instead of going to school. UN Convention on the rights of a child is now flouted with great impudence not by employers but by their own parents; their guardians of the future. In the last six weeks alone I attended immigration interviews of 10 children arriving in the UK claiming asylum on more..

Sirimavo: A Review

Mar 14 (GV) Sirimavo: Honouring the world’s first woman Prime Minister, edited by Tissa Jayatilaka, is the commemorative volume published by the Bandaranaike Museum Committee to mark fifty years since Mrs. Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike’s first accession to power on 21st July 1960. If her place in the history books as the world’s first woman to lead a democratic government was an instance, in tragic circumstances, of greatness being thrust upon her, more..

Editorial: Hub bug

Mar 14 (DM) The government has again said it was going to make Sri Lanka into a centre of International Universities with the opening of faculties by a large number of prestigious foreign universities. We note a little bit of deviation in wording though. “Opening of faculties by a large number of prestigious foreign universities.” It is claimed that universities in India, Australia, Malaysia, the US, UK, Japan and Australia were seriously considering more..