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Dayasiri crossover talks, makes sorry UNP look sorrier

July 29 (LB) It is hilarious that while the govt is systematically consolidating its power, that the opposition is digging deeper into the hole that it finds itself in. For example, the govt is now settled on holding the Northern Provincial Council elections as early as possible next year. This poll is bound to legitimize the govt to a great extent in the eyes of the international community, and though the governing coalition very probably would losezz03262002 more..

Editorial: Writing on the wall for TNA

July 1 (SO) The political culture in the North and the East is fast changing with the majority of peace-loving people holding moderate views. People in these two provinces, mostly Tamils, now think differently, especially after they were liberated from the clutches of LTTE terror. People in the North and the East, who lived in mortal fear of their lives, did not even utter a word when LTTE terrorism was at its peak. At the time, most Tamils in these areas had been forcibly held as a human shield, subjecting them to untold misery. more..

Editorial: Where do Fonseka’s paths of glory lead Lanka?

July 1 (SL) When civilians make an awful mess of things in running a country, the tendency among a section of the population, particularly among ‘old soldiers’, is to cry out for the military. Recently an old soldier was expostulating: ‘Bloody hell they can’t even conduct an examination for school children let alone kill bloody mosquitoes. At least they’ve had the sense to ask the army to take on the bloody Dengue menace’. While we wish the army success in this latest more..

'Govt confident of resounding victory at PC polls'

July 1 (SO) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the Govt is quite confident of its victory at the upcoming Provincial Council polls. The Minister said that during the past few years, the Govt has implemented a lot of development projects to provide the infrastructure facilities in these provinces. Therefore, the majority of the people in these provinces will definitely give a clear mandate to the UPFA Govt. more..

Editorial: Z-scores and no-go polls in the north

July 1 (LB) Who was the politician who said there are known unknowns and then, there are unknown unknowns? Well, there are known blunders, and then there are the patently unforgivable ones too. The Z-score was one such, and students have had to pay dearly on account of it. It was an unfortunate one, and it is difficult to comprehend how politicians should not take part of the blame, because political decisions were made to release the GCE A/L results despite the fact that more..

Editorial: Unpacking the Menon visit

July 1 (NS) Visiting Indian Defence Advisor, Shiv Shankar Menon is reported to have insisted that Sri Lanka should sort its own problems, with India ready to help if requested. Although we know that diplomacy is about saying the palatable and doing the distasteful on the sly, India being India especially, it is prudent for the Govt to be mindful of sensitivities. This envoy of the Indian Govt has also urged the TNA to join the Parliamentary Select Committee, thereby effectively snubbing that party for attempting to use India as more..

'Ministers Bandula and SB have bungled, big time'

July 1 (LB) The Supreme Court recently gave an order to revise the Z- scores ranking which was calculated last year for the GCE A/L exam results to qualify for university entrance. But Minister of Education Bandula Gunawardena told the media also last week that the UGC is responsible for devising the Z-score. The Minister of Education and the Commissioner of Examinations have been absolved of any wrongdoing regarding the GCE A/L results. more..

Editorial: Karu’s call

July 1 (Island) Mr. Karu Jayasuriya’s call for united opposition to the executive presidency, which he says is a scourge concentrating all power in the hands of a single individual, will find resonance among thinking people in this country. But it is unlikely that he will be even able to get this proposal past his own party, the UNP, whose leadership has downgraded him from its deputy leadership and would like nothing better than kick him out of the green corner. Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, after all, has long been a president-in-waiting more..

Editorial: Don’t forget Ed.

July 1 (ST) In the US capital in close proximity to the famous Washington monument, 857 desks were placed as a protest organised by the College Board. It was to powerfully demonstrate the number of drop-outs from high school each school hour. Those responsible for the protest carried placards saying ‘Don’t forget Ed’ for Education and asked the Administration and the Presidential candidates running for the highest office in the land to get off their fixation on funding wars around the world and fixing the economy. more..

'Only Fonseka can lead Opposition'

July 1 (NS) In a recent interview with MP and skipper of the world cup winning national cricket team, Arjuna Ranatunga, who hails from a traditional SLFP family but crossed over to the opposition, says that getting total freedom for former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and organizing a strong joint opposition was the need of the hour to rid the country of all political evils and corruption. He said he remained in politics only because more..

Z-Score fiasco only tip of the iceberg

July 1 (NS) The Supreme Court verdict that annulled the ‘Z scores’ of last year’s A/L exam is the latest in a series of controversies that plague the education sector. Even in its wake though, there aren’t any indications of stability returning to the state run education system. A day after the court announcement, Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake, not known for his reticence, said that the UGC was ‘confused’ by the court direction and wanted to seek clarifications. more..

'It is clearly an internal issue'

July 1 (NS) India’s National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon was on a one day visit here on Friday for bilateral talks with the Colombo Govt. The senior Indian diplomat, during this first ever briefest visit to have made here by an Indian envoy, held talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister G.L. Peiris and Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Following these talks, Menon, whose visit was described as one meant “to take stock of the process of reconciliation and convey the Indian thinking,” told Indian journalists more..

Ven. Sobitha: A Buddhist puts his finger on Lanka’s ‘civilisational crisis’

July 1 (LB) Most Venerable Maduluwave Sobitha Thera has set up an organization called “Peoples’ movement towards a just and righteous society” to ‘bring democracy back to Sri Lanka.’ Ven. Sobitha Thera says that in order to sustain democracy in the country it is essential that a peoples’ movement, geared towards the creation of a just and righteous society, is brought to power. In an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS, more..

Indian govt. asks MR to deliver

July 1 (SL) Indian National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon’s 24 hour visit to the country last Friday was one of the most brief and effective visits to be undertaken by an Indian official in recent times. During meetings between Menon and members of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration, the Indian government has firmly re-iterated its stance on Sri Lanka – it is that the Sri Lankan government needs to deliver on a political solution to the ethnic issue without any further delay. more..

Menon refuses to do a Hanuman

July 1 (Island) A news starved local and foreign press was waiting for Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon to give them something to write home about. The Hindu correspondent in Colombo, R.K. Radhakrishnan, for instance reported on Menon’s impending meeting with the Sri Lankan govt in the following words: "Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon arrived here late on Thursday night to discuss issues arising out of Sri Lanka’s more..

Trinity maul Royal to win Bradby

July 1 (ST) A Royal College beast that had been bloodied in the first leg of the Bradby had its heart pierced by a surgical performance from Trinity College, who surged to a riveting 36 (3 goals, 3 tries) 20 (1 goal, 2 tries, 1 penalty) second leg victory to clinch the coveted shield at the Pallekelle grounds in Kandy yesterday. It was a clash worthy of a Bradby-decider, with the lead changing hands a remarkable six times during the course of the match. Although the score reads heavily in more..

Menon doesn’t read the riot act, but...

July 1 (LB) The Z-score fiasco was the major political embarrassment for the govt this week, even though predictably it was downplayed by the government. The fallout from the fiasco however threatened to bury a much more important issue – the dissolution of the Sabaragamuwa, NCP, and Eastern Provincial Councils, which would mean there would be elections held for these PCs soon. The president took this decision in the teeth of some opposition by those in SLFP officialdom who said that drought conditions, particularly in more..

A to Z: Don’t blame the ministers

July 1 (ST) My dear Bandula and SB, I thought I must write to you because I heard that everyone is talking about both of you these days, and it is like the A to Z of education: from the ‘A’ Levels to the ‘Z’ score, and I’m sure you must be familiar with these by now. I must congratulate both of you because you have done what no other ministers of education before you did: you have got no less an institution than the Supreme Court to approve the ‘A’ Level exam and the ‘Z’ score! more..

CMC wants to evict SLTA

July 1 (NS) The Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) is in danger of losing its over 100-year long Colombo-7 premises following the Ceylon Municipal Council (CMC) threatening legal action to evict them for not paying a massive arrears amounting to Rs.144 million. “The CMC Treasury has given SLTA three months grace up to Sept 1 to settle the outstanding arrears or we will file action to evict them from the premises,” more..

Chief ministers face turf-out

July 1 (LB) The fate of the ruling party political strongmen who were at the helm of the dissolved provincial councils is in the balance as the party authorities have not decided as yet if these same persons are to be fielded as the chief ministerial candidates at the forthcoming provincial council elections, party sources said. Sources however added that the party had decided to grant nomination to all politicians who served in the previous councils, barring those who have been indicted on more..

Tamils protest outside Indian Embassy in Berlin

July 1 (CT) A group of Lankan Tamil expatriates staged a protest yesterday against India opposite the Indian Embassy in Berlin, Germany, to release the Lankan Tamils detained in the Chenkalpattu special detention in Tamil Nadu. Despite the measures taken by the Indian Embassy officials in Berlin to disperse the protest, the Lankan protestors were adamant not to leave the scene. They were carrying placards and banners condemning Tamil Nadu and India. more..

SIU probe report on Golden Key disappears

July 1 (Island) In a shocking development, the report of the Central Bank’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which recommended the suspension of Golden Key (GK) operations in 2005, had gone missing, it transpired last week. This vital report was amongst the documents placed before the Supreme Court in relation to the ongoing Fundamental Rights (FR) plea filed by a group of aggrieved depositors, but when the case resumed on Thursday counsel Hareed Zafrullah more..

Big turnout for Madhu Feast

July 1 (Island) Large crowds were converging on Mannar to participate in this year’s major feast of Our Lady of Madhu, said Rev. Fr. A. Victor Sosai, Vicar General of the Diocese of Mannar. He said that festivities commenced with the hoisting of the flag by the Administrator of the Madhu Church Rev. Fr. S. Emilianu, amidst a large gathering of pilgrims on last Saturday. The Catholic Church had made preparations with expectations that around 300,000 pilgrims attending the festivities and all arrangements to provide adequate more..

Criminals in police disguise or the other way round?

July 1 (LB) Police sources have informed LAKBIMAnEWS that scores of policemen are working as criminals, bringing disrepute to the department. It is alleged that contract killers, murderers, rapists and big time robbers are masquerading as police officers, both evading the law and tainting the image of the police in the eyes of the public at the same time. One such incident came to light on June 25 when the CID nabbed a group of three men attired in police uniforms more..

'Son smuggled the foreign currency in'

July 1 (SL) Sri Lankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickremesinghe said that his son Shehan Wickremesinghe did not declare Rs. 3.1 million worth of foreign currency to Sri Lanka Customs when he arrived in the country in April this year. “A lot of people who bring money into the country for different purposes don’t declare the monies. People bring cash to invest in a car or buy a land but they have a fear psychosis of declaring the monies because more..

Graduate employability ratios to be calculated

July 1 (SO) The Higher Education Ministry has taken steps to calculate the employability ratios of each university faculty with the long term goal of producing 100 percent employable graduates through the university system. The aim of the program is to identify the employability ratio in each faculty so that it would help take remedial measures if there is any void to be filled with regard to the employability ratio of some faculties, Higher Education Ministry Secretary more..

Dengue eradication programme hampered by uncollected garbage

July 1 (ST) With the beginning of the National Dengue month from June 25 to July 24, Health authorities have commenced dengue eradication programmes island-wide, but failure to collect garbage by local bodies, have led to the breeding of mosquitoes. “This is the main concern of Health authorities and the public who are extremely worried when it comes to removal of garbage. It is the responsibility of local governments in order to control the dengue menace,” more..

Brit, 7 locals arrested on treasure hunting

July 1 (CT) Rathota Police yesterday arrested eight people, including a British national, who had been excavating for treasure in the area. Police made the arrest after receiving information from villagers that the British national and several other locals had been involved in excavation during the night. “They had told the locals in the area that they were involved in an archaeological mission and had been conducting a survey in the area. Some villagers found them to be suspicious and had reported more..

Offering special consular services, Sri Lanka reaches out to refugees

July 1 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai on Saturday launched special consular services for Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu, distributing citizenship certificates and birth certificates to them with a view to encouraging them to return home. Deputy High Commissioner R.K.M.A. Rajakaruna issued the citizenship certificates to 58 refugees from the Gummidipoondi camp and birth certificates to 59 children of 34 families in Keezhputhupattu camp more..

Qatari charity builds village in Sri Lanka

July 1 (GT) The Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) has completed the construction of a residential village in Sri Lanka as part of the foundation’s projects to address disasters and relocate the displaced. RAF director-general Ayed bin Dbassan al-Qahtani said that the foundation built 200 houses for the poor Muslim families in Sri Lanka. The total cost of the construction was QR2.6mn and was donated by Qatari women. On the reasons for choosing this project, more..

Sri Lanka 'somewhat serious about doing something'

July 1 (Island) India’s National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon returned home from Colombo on Friday night after day-long confabulations with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers Basil and Gotabhaya—-without any clear idea about their govt’s future plans for political reconciliation within a specified time-frame. After holding discussions with the Rajapaksa brothers, Minister GL Peiris and more..

Drought won’t hit paddy cultivation adversely

July 1 (SO) Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said he is confident that the total paddy production will not be adversely affected due to the prevailing drought. Farmers in certain areas have already shifted to other subsidiary crops. The harvest from maize and other subsidiary crops will be higher this time. Therefore, we need not panic that there would be a shortage of rice, the Minister told the Sunday Observer. more..

Rs. 600m in public funds for PC polls

July 1 (ST) About Rs. 600 million in public funds will be spent for the elections to the Eastern, North Central and Sabaragamuwa provincial councils, as various parties were working out their nomination lists. Meanwhile, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said he would meet officials on Wednesday to discuss arrangements for the polls which are likely to be held on Sept 1, 8 or 15. “If we receive a large number of nominations we will have to opt for the last date – Sept 15, as more..

Swiss francs 85m invested in Swiss banks by Sri Lankans last year

July 1 (ST) Investments by Sri Lankan individuals, companies or the Sri Lankan govt in secret Swiss accounts totalled more than 85 million Swiss francs (CHF) in 2011 while liabilities listed against Sri Lanka were 44 million in the same year, official data from the Swiss National Bank (SNB) show. The Swiss franc is higher or equal in value against the US dollar (1CHF = 1.048 US$). SNB is Switzerland’s central bank. more..

Upper Kotmale capacity upped to 150MW

July 1 (NS) The CEB added 150MW to the national grid yesterday. The 150MW which were added is the generation capacity of the Upper Kotmale hydropower plant, which commenced in 2006. The project comprises two power plants which have a capacity of 75MW each. The first 75MW were added to the national grid on March 28 as part of the first stage of the project. The second stage was completed yesterday. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation provided 37, 817 million Japanese Yen more..

Sampanthan discusses land grabbing issue with Menon

July 1 (SL) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader, Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, says that land grabbing in the North and East as among the issues he discussed with visiting Indian National Security Adviser, Shivshankar Menon on Friday. Sampanthan said that the issue of a political solution to the ethnic question was the main point of discussion, but that they had also brought up matters pertaining to the Parliamentary Select Committee and the ‘ground situation’ as well. more..

Menon calls for elections to the Northern PC

July 1 (ST) It was past midnight signalling the dawn of Friday when the voice on the radio crackled. “Good morning Colombo Airways. This is Bravo Juliet 135,” said the Indian Air Force pilot from the cockpit of a Brazilian-built Embraer 135 jet. The radio contact with the incoming aircraft from New Delhi was handed over to Colombo Radar and thereafter to Air Traffic Controllers at the BIA. Later, ground controllers took over to park the jet on the apron. more..

Don’t give nominations to dubious character says PAFFREL chief

July 1 (Island) The Executive Director of the PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi yesterday made a fervent appeal to secretaries of mainstream political parties to ensure that they do not give nominations to those accused of being corrupt, criminals and drug dealers and later blame the voter for electing them. "It is true the voters also are partly to be blamed as they had the responsibility not to vote for such persons but it is the party that has the major share of responsibility to nominate more..

Colombo Land unveils grandiose plans for Liberty Plaza development

July 1 (Island) Colombo Land & Development Company PLC, owners of the Liberty Plaza at Kollupitiya and People’s Park in Pettah, has unveiled an ambitious new multimillion rupee development plan to make the Liberty Plaza, one of the country’s first shopping malls, into a showpiece mixed by harnessing the benefits of its strategic location in the heart of the city. The company which posted an operating loss of Rs.51 million in the year ended December 31, 2011 but a profit more..

Talk at the cafe spectator

July 1 (ST) There was an unexpected visitor when Minister Champika Ranawaka addressed the media on Thursday after taking part in a function where an agreement was signed to establish an early warning system to respond to nuclear accidents in Sri Lanka. While the briefing was underway at the conference room of the Power and Energy Ministry, a rat crept from under the seats where the journalists were seated and climbed up a board that was behind the more..