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Lanka’s promotion beckons, but what of banana skins?

Apr 8 (SL) IF Sri Lanka showed some rough edges in the opening game of their HSBC A5N campaign last Sunday, they were near-perfect in the next outing, on Wednesday – an improvement that would’ve lifted home team spirits for the final dustup. Not until the second half of the game against Chinese-Taipei, on Sunday, did Yoshita Rajapaksa’s team discover the fluency and spontaneity expected of a team as well-prepared as they. The first half performance had been turgid to say the least, more..

Relations between India and Sri Lanka

Apr 8 (DBS) Sri Lanka and India, although separated only by a channel, have never gotten along well. It is like the UK and France being at war with each other, centuries ago. Both Colombo and New Delhi are really distant neighbours. Their mistrust is so deep that one attributes all types of motives to the other. Yet, all their enmity is not over territory or policies but on the discriminatory treatment meted out to Tamils living in Sri Lanka. Over the years, Colombo has given more..

'I have nothing to discuss with BBS'

Apr 8 (CT) With racial discrimination on the rise, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara is due to submit a Cabinet paper, seeking approval to ban hate language, which is designed to incite communal disharmony. Ceylon Today interviewed asked him about the steps he intends taking to stem the increasing incidents of racial attacks against minority communities. Q: We are witnessing the spread of racial hatred with the Muslim community more..

An open letter from a Tamil to the media swamis

Apr 8 (CT) Dear Editors, The media is awash with a plethora of views on the recent developments in Tamil Nadu – the students’ upheaval, the DMK’s pullout from the UPA and the state Assembly passing a resolution seeking a referendum on Tamil Eelam. However, the ‘erudite’ edit and op-ed page writers of English papers and ‘informed’ talk show specialists chattering on national news television channels have just one thing to say: Tamilians are on the wrong. more..

The Jaffna version of the Tamil Bible: By Peter Percival or Arumuka Navalar?

Apr 8 (CT) We Tamils of Sri Lanka were in the news as the UNHRC in March 2013 discussed and passed a resolution on minority rights and accountability over alleged war crimes against us. Many Tamils demanding that Sri Lanka respect the rights of minorities were the very people who as supporters of the LTTE suppressed Tamil rights. As we Tamils rightly accuse the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka of rewriting history and school texts to cast Tamils as invaders and the Sinhalese as settlers, more..

Boston Lanka: April 08, 2013

Writing on the wall: Mind the trade gap

Apr 8 (ST) Early signs point to another massive trade deficit this year. The trade gap of US$ 780.4 million for the first month of the year, when projected for the year, amounts to US$ 9.36 billion. This is of the same magnitude as of last year and about 4 percent less than the trade deficit of 9.7 billion in 2011. If this year’s trade deficit reaches this magnitude, then it would be the third successive year when the trade deficit exceeded US$ 9 billion. One should of course be cautioned by more..

The forbidden fruit turns sour

Apr 8 (SO) Wickramaratne met his wife Jeeva at a very young age. She was a beauty and had greenish blue eyes resembling cat's eyes with thick lashes and dark, curly hair hanging straight down beyond her hips. The ends of her hair looked as if they were kissing the earth. She was so bewitching that if one had a first look at her, he would want to look at her over and over again. Her looks mesmerised many men in her village. Now Jeeva found that many young men were attracted by her beauty and more..

Passing the ball on cancer drugs

Apr 8 (CT) Reports on shortage of medical supply are not uncommon in Sri Lanka. During the past few years there were plenty of complaints on drug shortages which seemed to compromise patient care in a wide variety of serious illnesses including the terminal cancer patients. Last week also the media reported about a severe drug shortage at the Maharagama National Cancer Institute. Reports claimed that some of these more..

All land issues will be solved soon – Janaka

Apr 8 (DN) The govt will solve problems connected with land issues, Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said. The minister said the govt had identified that problems connected with land had been a critical problem and a barrier to uplift the livelihoods of the civil society of the Northern and Eastern provinces after the end of the terrorism. He was addressing the opening ceremonies of two land and land development District Offices in Kilinochchi and Jaffna districts. more..

Acid attack: Doc to regain sight in one eye

Apr 8 (Island) North Western Province Ayurveda Commissioner Dr. Kumara Alwis, who came under an acid attack in February has been given the hope that sight could be restored in one eye. He said yesterday that medical experts at the National Foundation Hospital in Singapore had told him that the sight in his left eye could be restored through surgery but nothing could be done to save his right eye. He said the operation would cost Rs 15 million. The President’s Fund and his friends would more..

Top oil companies want petroleum secretariat to be independent statutory body

Apr 8 (Island) The Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS) is planning to amend the current Petroleum Resources Act of 2003 in a bid to reduce bottlenecks and improve governance by more clearly separating the functions of regulation, policy formulation and operations. It hopes to be an independent statutory body before the bidding round for 13 blocks on Sri Lankan waters closes this September. more..

Despite circulars principals still collecting money

Apr 8 (CT) The special investigation division of the Western Province Education Ministry had received information, that some principals are still collection money from parents of students, though circulars had been sent out by the Education Ministry prohibiting the collection of such funds. The higher officials of the investigation division said, warning letters have been sent to the principals who are allegedly collecting funds from the parents. However, the principals who have received more..

Browns Investments buys 51% of newly built Dambulla hotel for Rs. 500 m

Apr 8 (FT) Confirming its growing confidence in the leisure sector’s prospects, Browns Investments has bought 51% stake in the 67-room Green Paradise luxury hotel in Dambulla for Rs. 500 million. Styling itself as Sri Lanka’s first agro-eco hotel, the new resort was built in April last year on a 14-acre land in Kabukkanwala. The main building has a total floor area of around 38,000 square feet and comprises three floors. The rooms include 40 suites, 10 garden suites and 17 deluxe rooms, more..

Tourism industry fumes over new electricity tariff

Apr 8 (FT) The country’s tourism industry has expressed serious reservations over the proposed new electricity tariff, in addition to objecting to it being subjected to a special category. The industry’s opposition was conveyed by the Tourist Hotels Association (THASL) at a public hearing on the proposed tariffs organised by the Public Utilities Commission. Speaking on behalf of the industry, THASL’s past-president more..

Fast–unto death at Kataragama SLTB depot

Apr 8 (Island) Five Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) employees attached to the Kataragama depot have launched a fast-unto death campaign over the delay in payment of their February and March salaries. General Secretary of the All Ceylon Transport Workers’ Union, Sepala Liyanage said that the SLTB Kataragama depot employees were also planning to launch a strike if authorities failed to pay the salaries for last two months by today in time for the traditional New Year. more..

CMC brings relief to Meetotamulla residents

Apr 8 (Island) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has already evacuated 60 families from the vicinity of the Meetotamulla garbage dump and they are paid Rs. 10,000 per month for temporary shelter. Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil said that action was being taken to solve the problem at Kolonnawa and another 30 families living in the vicinity of the garbage dump would be evacuated soon and provided with temporary shelter. The mayor said a nearby canal also caused health hazards and more..

UGC considers five more applications for degree awarding status

Apr 8 (Island) The Higher Education Ministry is considering applications from five more private higher educational institutions seeking degree awarding status. Secretary to the Ministry Dr. Sunil Navaratne said that the UGC had awarded degree awarding status to eight private higher educational institutions so far. "The ministry is considering five new applications," he said, adding that the ministry also expected some more..

Mooloya factory brews all time high Colombo tea auction price

Apr 8 (FT) An invoice of Mooloya BOP1 was sold at an all time Colombo tea auction record price of Rs. 515 per kilogram at last week’s sale. The teas were purchased by Imperial Teas and were sold through the catalogue of Lanka Commodity Brokers. The Mooloya factory is located east of Nuwara Eliya on the Uda Pussellawa mountain range and the colder temperatures help in the manufacture of teas with a nice rosy character coupled with bright infusions. The tea sold this week at this record price more..

New foreign fund enters NTB as Sharma, SLIC exit

Apr 8 (FT) A new foreign fund and a few existing ones along with local institutional investors figured on the buying side of Nations Trust Bank (NTB) last week as Umar Sharma and Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) exited. NTB saw 24 million of its shares traded for Rs. 1.4 billion last week. The new fund, HWIC Asia, an investment vehicle which primarily invests in foreign equities, bought the bulk – around 20 million shares or 9% stake of NTB on Thursday whilst Umar Sharma and more..

Basil's ministry to develop 6000 primary, secondary schools

Apr 8 (CT) Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa announced the launch of child friendly schools programmes to minimize competition to admit children to popular schools, and also to provide them with a quality education after developing material resources and other facilities in schools. This is a further step in improving Sri Lanka's education, the level of which the UN's Human Resources Report has recognized as more..

'No plans to evacuate Sri Lankans'

Apr 8 (CT) Although there is an emerging threat of a war in the Korean Peninsula, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), said it has no plans to evacuate Sri Lankans working in South Korea as the Bureau does so only during natural disasters. Deputy General Manager of the SLBFE, Mangala Randeniya said there is no immediate threat to the Sri Lankan nationals who live and work in South Korea, and they have no immediate plans to facilitate expatriate workers returning to more..

Tibetan spiritual leader gifts Buddha Relic

Apr 8 (FT) The spiritual head of the Drupka Order of Tibetan Buddhism, Gyalwang Drupka, has presented a bone relic of the Buddha to President Rajapaksa as a gift to Sri Lanka. “We now leave in your devotional hands one of our most priceless treasures,” the Gyalwang Drupka said while making a request to President to construct a monument to house the relics. The presentation ceremony that took place at Temple Trees Saturday was the culmination of a month-long Pad Yatra, more..

Now, UNP faces another split ahead of PC polls

Apr 8 (Island) The UNP is facing another debilitating split ahead of the forthcoming elections to Central and North Western Provinces, with some key UNP activists switching their allegiance to General Sarath Fonseka’s newly registered Democratic Party (DP). The Central and North Western Provincial Councils are expected to be dissolved in June, though they can continue till the end of this year. more..

Sri Lankan surgeon banned by children's hospital in deaths scandal in UK

Apr 8 (DM) The hospital, which then had concerns over Dr Weerasena’s success rates with the procedure, asked the Royal College of Surgeons to carry out a review of his practice. Dr Weerasena, 59, no longer carries out the specific procedure at the hospital but has been allowed to remain part of the paediatric cardiac surgery team at Leeds. His latest suspension was revealed by The Mail on Sunday two weeks ago but the hospital has refused to confirm his identity – even though more..

Five uncapped players among Sri Lanka's Champions Trophy probables

Apr 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka have named five uncapped players in their provisional 30-man squad for the ICC Champions trophy in England and Wales in June. The squad includes batsmen Kithuruwan Vithanage, Angelo Perera and Shehan Jayasuriya; fast bowler Ishara Jayaratne; and spinner Milinda Siriwardana. Veteran batsman Mahela Jayawardene, who missed the home series against Bangladesh due to a finger injury, was also selected. Sri Lanka play their first match of the more..

GL briefs diplomats: Questions TNA, US actions

Apr 8 (Island) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said that the TNA’s actions were inimical to the ongoing national reconciliation process. Addressing members of the Colombo-based diplomatic community last week, Prof. Peiris said he was in Parliament when the result of the Geneva voting became known and a Member of Parliament, of the TNA, interrupted and gave the results stating that he had some excellent news. more..

Jayalalithaa seeks PM intervention for release of Tamil Nadu fishermen

Apr 8 (PTI) Deprecating repeated "onslaughts" by Sri Lankan Navy on Tamil Nadu fishermen, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday sought the immediate intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure the release of arrested fishermen. "I am deeply anguished to bring to your notice the repeated onslaughts of the Sri Lankan Navy on innocent Tamil Nadu fishermen who eke out their livelihood by fishing in their traditional fishing grounds in the Indian Ocean," Jayalalithaa more..

Finance Minister P Chidambaram slams BJP on Sri Lankan Tamils issue

Apr 8 (PTI) Union Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday slammed BJP for not supporting the UPA govt's efforts to pass a resolution in Parliament on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and rejected accusations hurled at Congress that it did not "support" the cause. He explained the initiatives the Congress took for passing a resolution in Parliament. The govt convened an all-party meet to discuss the issue, but BJP, Left Parties, Janata Dal, Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, Telugu Desam more..

Can’t give in to whims and fancies but we are ready for talks: CMC

Apr 8 (DM) CMC Commissioner, Badrani Jayawardena said they were ready to engage in discussions with villagers protesting against the 16-acre garbage dump site in Meethotamulla and provide possible solutions to their grievances, if they were willing to participate. She was speaking to Daily Mirror in response to the demands made to her by the protesting villagers, among which was a letter attesting an immediate halt on dumping more..

Sri Lanka invites China to invest in mineral sector

Apr 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka has asked China to invest in the mineral mining and processing sector for export especially in mineral sands and graphite, the trade ministry said. "Sri Lanka wants to upgrade its mineral sector," Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was quoted as saying to China's envoy to Colombo Wu Jianghao. "There is considerable scope for partnership for Chinese firms in this sector here. Lankan produced graphite, crystals, and ilmenite are of international standards." more..

Building caves in at Maliban Street

Apr 8 (DN) Three ground floors of a three storied building in Maliban Street, Colombo 1 caved at around 5.30 a.m. yesterday. Watcher Peter Gomes who was sleeping inside the building, managed to escape in the nick of time on hearing the sound of the building collapsing. The owner of the building Mohomed Rihifaz said the building, completed one and half years ago, was being used to produce leather items although it has not been officially opened. Plans were made to open the more..

It's a sham: JVP

Apr 8 (CT) The JVP yesterday dismissed the announcement by the govt that President Mahinda Rajapaksa intends appointing a Presidential Commission to probe the mass grave at Matale Hospital, as a sham and said what is needed is a proper judicial inquiry into the matter. JVP General Secretary, Tilvin Silva said his Party intends going to court and request that those responsible for the heinous crime be punished. more..

Editorial: VIP Children

Apr 8 (DM) At a time when the offspring of certain ministers have become a threat to national security, the country no doubt was pleasantly surprised when the daughter of a cabinet minister made it to the top three slots at the GCE (O/L) ranking out of 542,260 candidates. This achievement by Ama Ranawaka of Visakha Vidyalaya, the first child of a minister to make it to the top ranking at a national exam, came at a time when the electorate was wondering what it should do with the pistol-brandishing more..

Let us restore real democracy to our country

Apr 8 (DM) I was happy to read in an article by Salma Yusuf in a recent edition of your newspaper the reference to the launching of a ‘Movement for Moderation’, on reading that I thought I should share my thoughts on the subject with the reading public. This country is certainly heading in a wrong direction and heading towards becoming a Dictatorship of sorts; we the people have a duty to draw attention to it in our own interest, yes Moderation is the need of the hour --- we must seize the centre. more..

Extreme weather boosts poverty in Sri Lanka

Apr 8 (AN) Without fail, Somadasa Gamage has prayed for one thing every year before he plants his crops. “Rain,” says the 47-year-old vegetable farmer, who has farmed for three and a half decades in Sri Lanka’s remote south eastern Tanamalvilla area, a dry area where rain can be frustratingly scarce. Last year, for almost six months, Gamage did not plant any crops because a severe drought had dried out the river from which more..

We are protecting the Buddha Sasana: BBS

Apr 8 (CT) In the recent weeks, the controversial Buddhist monk outfit, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has steadily dominated news headlines with its declared stance of protecting the Buddha Sasana Sinhala Buddhist identity, both of which they claim to be under serious threat. With various groups and individuals now levelling serious allegations against the BBS for fuelling anti-Muslim sentiments in the country, Ceylon Today spoke to the more..

Kalmunai resolution names BBS as extremists

Apr 8 (SL) A meeting at the Kalmunai Municipal Council has resulted in a resolution being submitted against extremist groups promoting hate speech. Initial reports indicated that the Bodu Bala Sena was named as one such extremist group. The Mayor of Kalmunai was not available for comment at the time of going to press. The resolution comes following Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara putting forward a Cabinet paper more..

Water holes around Mattala closed to keep away birds and animals

Apr 8 (ST) The Civil Aviation Authority has started to cover up the water holes in and around the Mattala Airport to prevent birds and other wildlife species from entering the area since they could pose a serious threat to aircraft. Civil Aviation Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri said they were also removing sources of fodder such as grass, weeds and seeds that could attract the birds and the animals to the area. more..

Most of the politicians in Sri Lanka are opportunists: SF

Apr 8 (DM) Q. What are your plans for the party, how will you regroup after the recent departure of those who helped you form the party? A: Immediately we have to formulate our organisation at the grass-root level, we need to appoint national organisers and formulate the various committees at polling booth level. We have supporters all over the country but now we have to put them into groups and organise the party, this was not done more..