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News from Jaffna

Assets built on bilateral credit: Who should thank whom?

Oct 1 (CT) Recognising a help and expressing gratitude for it is a worthy human gesture. This applies to groups, societies, or even countries. Non recognition of a helping hand given is considered unkind and disgraceful. Worse is when parties unrelated are praised when the true helper is elsewhere unrecognised. In Sinhalese tradition, such behaviour is deplored, and the expression underlying such an attitude is Gangen diya bee muhudata aawadiema, or more..

Sri Lanka’s dynastic politics and Comrade Number Eleven (XI)

Oct 1 (CT) When President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, visited India, an Indian Doordharshan television newsreader kept referring to the President as “President Eleven Jinping!” Either the newsreader had an irrepressible sense of humour, or whole episodes of human history that passed that worthy by; she did not know that Latin was no longer the ‘lingua franca’ of the world and ‘Xi’ was pronounced somewhat like ‘Shki’ in English, rather than the numerical 11! more..

'Prepaid bus cards soon: Bus travellers hassles to wane'

Oct 1 (SO) Moves are underway to introduce prepaid cards for bus passengers. Various problems regarding the issue of tickets in private buses can be solved after the introduction of the new system. The GPS technology will operate from Nov 1 to monitor private buses. Steps have been taken to issue permits on new routes, Private Transport Minister C.B. Ratnayake said. Q: Can you tell us about Sisu Seriya, Gem Seriya and more..

Rethinking governmental over-control of civil society

Oct 1 (SL) It appears that civil society groups are prevailing on the government internationally with regard to issues of human rights and accountability. If there was an expectation on the part of the govt that the replacement of the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay by anyone else would lead to a relaxation of UN pressure, this has been shown to be mistaken. There has been no relaxation. On the contrary, the new UN High Commissioner more..

Who won at Uva?

Oct 1 (SL) Lying in my hansiputtuwa on Monday morning after elections, we were wracking our brain to decide on who won the Uva PC elections. It was a conundrum like whether a glass is half full or half empty or a half open door is the same thing as a half closed door. Who had won UPFA or UNP? According to a newspaper analysis it was a decisive victory for the UNP while a Sinhala TV channel within hearing distance proclaimed that it was a Vijayaggrahanaya for the UPFA. more..

SL still unfriendly towards the handicapped

Oct 1 (ST) As Oct 1 draws near, the world looks forward to a day that paradoxically, celebrates both children and elders. Ceremonies will be held, cakes will be cut and smiles will be shared, yet there will also be a significant segment of these very people for whom the daily struggle of living will not abate. They are those with reduced physical capabilities, and for them Oct 1 will be another day of struggle – climbing the stairs, making more..

Editorial: Dying for Jaya

Oct 1 (Island) Supporters of TN Chief Minister Jeyaram Jayalalithaa are all out to make a political issue out of an otherwise strictly judicial matter. A group of artistes and political activists is reported to have launched a hunger strike in protest against Jayalalithaa’s imprisonment. Their action is tantamount to an affront to the dignity of the judiciary. India has its share of corrupt elements in all three branches of govt. But, overall, it can be proud of its judiciary which has proved, more..

Knowledge as construction II

Oct 1 (Island) Some western sociologists had said some time ago that knowledge is a social construction. What they meant by that statement was that knowledge is constructed by society, in the sense that people living in a society construct knowledge. The society changes over time, may be continuously may be discontinuously, and the constructors or creators of knowledge are influenced by society. It is clear that the atomic bomb would not have been created by the ancient Chinese more..

Can Sri Lanka exploit US satellite survey for its defence in Geneva?

Oct 1 (Island) The US felt that the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) lacked the required resources to meet the challenging task of intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance, even during the Norwegian, arranged Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). The US asserted that the SLAF faced some critical operational shortfalls, though it had an adequate military structure. "The SLAF’s four intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance more..

Sri Lanka’s ageing population and its health policy challenges

Oct 1 (Island) The UN celebrates the International Day of Older Persons 2014 under the theme ‘Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All’. This necessitates understanding the importance of demography and sustainable development, while acknowledging that population dynamics will shape key developmental challenges in the 21st century. Given that 20% of the global population would be classified as elderly dependents by 2030, this article reiterates the importance of considering more..

Nimal buys control of Mercantile Produce Brokers for Rs. 200 m

Oct 1 (FT) High net worth investor Nimal Perera yesterday bought control of well-established Mercantile Produce Brokers, (MPB) for Rs. 200 million. The investment is on his personal capacity through his investment arm Don Wilbert Capital and marks his biggest personal move to date. Nimal acquired the 76% stake from senior management of MPB who sold out and signalled an emphatic move towards produce broking in SL. Those who sold out include MPB Chairman Sunil Udalagama, more..

RCGC, Taiheiyo tee off Japanese golf tourism in Sri Lanka

Oct 1 (CT) A new field of luxury tourism opened when 'Golf Tourism' was inaugurated at the Royal Colombo Golf Club on Tuesday, with a Japanese promoter who has been instrumental in bringing Japanese investments to various sectors in Sri Lanka worth Rs 40 billion, also pledging to invest up to US$ 500 million more in the country. One of the advantages that Sri Lanka has is the fact that the weather allowed golf to be played throughout more..

SLC Ex-Co member Srinath Silva dies

Oct 1 (CI) Srinath Silva, 66, died of a heart attack in his sleep on Tuesday. Silva, a right-handed opening batsman, was less than five feet in height but was one of the hardest hitters of his time. Former SL poolist, Silva played domestic cricket at the highest level for three decades from the mid-sixties. He represented Moratuwa SC, Colts, Saracens and Bloomfield. Silva was a member of the SLC Executive Committee, chairman of the SLC umpires committee and president of Catamarans SC. more..

Alcoholism in Sri Lanka

Oct 1 (CT) An Opposition politician recently told a television chat show that Sri Lanka ranked second in terms of per capita liquor consumption although the govt boasts of its Mathata Thitha anti alcohol programme. I immediately realized that his statement is baseless and demanded that he disclose the source. He failed to disclose his source or substantiate his statement. You do not need to be an alcohol or health expert to realize the irrationality of the statement. more..

UNICEF commends Justice Ministry on child rights protection

Oct 1 (FT) UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka Una McCauley appreciated the efforts taken by the Ministry of Justice led by Minister Rauff Hakeem to prevent child abuse and child harassment in Sri Lanka while preserving the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. UNICEF Representative Una McCauley met Minister Hakeem at his ministry with her officials on 30 Sept to brief him on the forthcoming more..

Sri Lanka’s Swap Line with China will boost external liquidity and trade, Moody’s says

Oct 1 (ST) The start of negotiations between China and Sri Lanka on a Free Trade Agreement and Sri Lanka’s commitment to join the Maritime Silk Road, which will link China with Africa and the Middle East via South Asia, are likely to support further trade and invesment inflows, according to Moody’s Rating agency. Overall FDI into Sri Lanka has risen 55% this year versus last year to $850 million during the first half of 2014, following a 19.7% increase during the same period of 2013. more..

NSF starts Intel ISEF preparation workshops

Oct 1 (Island) National Science Foundation (NSF), an organization under the Ministry of Technology & Research, has started preparing Sri Lankan students for the upcoming Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) which is to be held in Pennsylvania, USA in 2015. The Science Research Project Competition, organized by the Science Popularization Division of NSF, has laid the groundwork for outstanding Sri Lankan students to participate in Intel ISEF since 2007. more..

Sri Lanka's inflation at 4.2% in Sept 2014

Oct 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka inflation continued its decelerating trend observed since June 2013 and reached 4.2% in Sept 2014 from to 4.5% in August 2014, on an annual average basis. The data is based on the change in the Colombo Consumers’ Price Index (CCPI) (2006/07=100). The year-on-year (YoY) inflation remained unchanged at 3.5% in Sept 2014, as recorded in the previous month, the bank said. more..

Technology stealing jobs: Amunugama

Oct 1 (CT) 'In addition to material infrastructure, hidden infrastructure such as managerial skills are an important instrument in development,' Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said. "We live in a world where technology plays a crucial role and the modern world gives us the opportunity to achieve higher productivity. However, this has somehow become an issue to Sri Lanka. Many people come out from universities or schools looking for jobs, but with the advancement of technology, more..

SL2College voices 2014

Oct 1 (Island) SL2College is a nonprofit organization dedicated towards providing guidance to Sri Lankan students interested in higher education. It is a volunteer driven organization consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, academics and professionals from all around the world who aim to provide unbiased advice and guidance to Sri Lankan students to pursue their higher education dreams. This year SL2College will be hosting their second annual undergraduate conference more..

Union Bank to commence Primary Dealer operations

Oct 1 (Island) Union Bank of Colombo (UBC) announced that the Bank has been appointed as a Primary Dealer in Government Securities by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. UBC will commence its business as a Primary Dealer on 01 October, 2014. As a Primary Dealer, Union Bank will participate directly in Primary Auctions conducted by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in order to bid for Treasury Bills, Bonds and other Govt Securities. more..

8 banks and non-bank financial institution wrap up consolidation plans

Oct 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka's regulator driven consolidation is on track with eight banks and non-bank lenders given approval for mergers and recapitalization during September 2014, the Central Bank said. Another eight banks and non-bank lenders have completed internal processes to allow them to submit the plans, the regulator said. A total of 37 proposals have been approved. At the same time, consolidation plans of another 4 banks and 4 NBFIs are also being finalized, more..

'Complaints related to private buses via SMS from today'

Oct 1 (DM) The Private Transport Services Ministry said that it would launch a programme effective from today for commuters to make private bus-related complaints via SMS through the hotline 071 655 0000. “The complaints will be sent to the Ministry via e-mail and therefore the Ministry will have the access to the complaint instantly. People can also use Skype address ‘privatetransportservices’ to lodge their complaints,” Private Transport Services Minister C.B. Ratnayake said. more..

'Politicians should live up to people’s expectations'

Oct 1 (DN) People’s representatives should forget their rat race for preferential votes and buckle down to hard work by dedicating themselves to the service of the people, President Rajapaksa said. President who said that he was totally unconcerned about the number of preferential votes polled by candidates in the selection for high posts, said the sole criterion for selecting candidates for posts is their good conduct and sacrifices more..

2 friends shot & injured by unknown gunmen

Oct 1 (Island) Two friends living in Dehiwala and Mount Llavinia were hospitalised last night after being shot by two unidentified men near a shop in Dehiwala on Monday night. The assailants had come on a motorcycle in heavy rain. Police media unit told The Island that the incident had taken place around 11.00 p.m. near a shop on the Pokuna Road, Dehiwala, when the victims, Dinesh Sanjaya Fernando and Mohammed Riaz, left the former’s house for a walk. more..

Video: Go eat Kochchi, Nandimitra tells UNP

Oct 1 (DM) Deputy Minister Nandimitra Ekanayake said that the Opposition must eat pungent Kochchi chilies to overcome the sorrow of their debacle at the Uva PC elections. “The politicians of the Opposition ate chilies to gain cheap political mileage. However, the UNP led opposition has nowhere to turn to. I challenged them to eat Kochchi chillies if possible. “The defeated have no alternative but to eat Kochchi chillies. The elephant symbol and the faces of the UNP have changed. more..

Sri Lanka rejects allegations on returnees

Oct 1 (CG) Sri Lankan Govt has dismissed as ‘baseless’ the findings of an investigation by the Australian media into the alleged mistreatment of failed asylum seekers sent back to the country by Australia. In a report by SBS some people claimed they were abducted, tortured, raped and abused by the Sri Lankan security forces on their return. However SL High Commissioner to Australia Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe described more..

Expect wet weather till end November

Oct 1 (Island) The inter-monsoon that began this week with heavy thunderstorms and high winds in many parts of the country was expected to prevail till the end of November, Meteorology Department said. Showers accompanied by lightning and strong winds might prevail during the afternoons and evenings across the country. Evening thundershowers and strong winds were quite common during the inter-monsoon period, Met Department Duty Meteorologist Nadee Rupasinghe said. more..

India has arrested 12 Lankan fishermen

Oct 1 (CG) Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Vaibhav, detained two Sri Lankan fishing boats off the coast of Kanyakumari yesterday for reportedly entering the Indian waters without proper permission. Sri Lankan fishing boats were detained with 12 fishermen. The detained craft and the fishermen are likely to be brought ashore today. The indigenously designed and built Vaibhav with 10 officers and 84 men is being extensively used in the eastern region, more..

Video: Turned Back to Torture?

Oct 1 (SBS) Some reported being abducted, tortured, raped and abused by the Sri Lankan security forces on their return in a special Dateline investigation by Go Back To Where You Came From presenter Dr David Corlett. But on last night's Dateline, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe described the report as doctored, orchestrated and biased. Dr Corlett travelled undercover in SL to hear more..

Restrictions on land alienation to foreigners

Oct 1 (DM) President Rajapaksa instructed the Cabinet to enact the proposed bill restricting land alienation to foreigners as soon as possible, informed sources said. Govt will present this Bill titled, ‘Land (Restrictions on Alienation)’ to Parliament and if enacted it will restrict the alienation of lands in Sri Lanka to foreigners, foreign companies and institutions with foreign shareholding. The Bill was placed on the Order Paper to be debated and passed into law more..

'Sobhitha Thera! Common Candidate: DUNF

Oct 1 (CT) Democratic United National Front (DUNF) has stated that Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera should be the common opposition candidate at the coming presidential election as Sri Lankans have no faith in UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe. Meanwhile, representatives of political parties had unanimously agreed that a private member's motion should be presented to Parliament seeking the abolition of the Executive Presidency. This meeting was held under the leadership of more..

Hardline Buddhists in Myanmar, Sri Lanka strike anti-Islamist pact

Oct 1 (Reuters) A Myanmar monk accused of inciting violence against Muslims and a hardline Buddhist group in Sri Lanka said they would work together to rally other Buddhist groups and defend their faith against militant Islamists. Ashin Wirathu, who once called himself "the Burmese bin Laden" said the agreement with BBS, was the first step in a broad alliance against conversions by Islamists in the region. more..

Sri Lanka only country in Asia with round the clock power supply - Basil

Oct 1 (DN) Sri Lanka is the only country in Asia which provides round the clock electricity, Minister Basil Rajapaksa said. He said the govt which functions in keeping with the President’s concept to provide ‘electricity to all’ has endeavoured to provide electricity to every cirtizen. The minister said the govt led by the President has acted assiduously to provide round the clock electricity to the country’s population. Minister participating in a program under the theme Divinegumata Kolamba Diriya at more..

Tamil, Sinhala villagers beg for protection

Oct 1 (CT) Hundreds of Sinhalese and Tamil villagers from Seruvila, in the Trincomalee District, held a demonstration requesting the authorities to take immediate steps to control the wild elephants from entering their lands. Seruvila PS Chairman Nandana Jeyasinghe led the demonstration demanding that govt take steps to construct electric fences along the borders of the villages, preventing wild elephants entering. Sinhalese and Tamils from the villages Lingapuram, Somapura and more..

Video: Sison seeks support for reconciliation

Oct 1 (CG) The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Michele J Sison says while Sri Lanka suffered from three decades of terrorism, the country now has a chance to reconcile, five years after the end of the war. Sison, who visited Kandy and met Buddhist religious leaders in the area, including the Chief Prelates, said that religious leaders of all faiths, and friends of Sri Lanka, have a role to play in supporting reconciliation. more..

What’s wrong in Int’l Schools teaching history and religion in English?

Oct 1 (DM) Some big-wigs in the Govt had lately lamented that international schools in Sri Lanka did not teach History and Religion. Ironically, at the same time Education Minister Bandula Gunawardene had said that teaching History in the English medium in international schools had been stopped since 2009. He said this was being done in line with Govt policy that history and religion should be taught to every child in his or her mother tongue -- Sinhala or Tamil. more..

Children’s rights, equity and our common future

Oct 1 (DM) Throughout history, the advance of civilization has been closely tied to the idea that all people have rights -- universal, inalienable entitlements to freedom, dignity and security; to be treated fairly and to live free from oppression. The health and soul of all societies depend on how these human rights are recognized and acted upon. But until the Convention on the Rights of the Child was conceived and adopted 25 years ago, the rights of the world’s youngest citizens were more..

Sisira Uyana creates unexpected climes

Oct 1 (SL) Houses in 34 Watta in Wanathamulla were demolished recently except the four houses of the residents who filed a writ application against the demolition in the court of Appeal. According to the govt, these people have been offered flats in the adjoining new high rise ‘Sisira Uyana’ Complex. Many residents initially resisted taking govt’s offer but were later submissive to orders given by govt authorities. more..