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Atapattu appointed Sri Lanka head coach

Sept 25 (CI) Marvan Atapattu's appointment as Sri Lanka's first full-time local coach in 15 years has been confirmed by Sri Lanka Cricket, following a six-week vetting process, and his three-month tenure as interim coach. SLC's coach-selection committee interviewed Atapattu and one other remaining candidate on Tuesday, and then recommended Atapattu as their preferred candidate to the executive committee. more..

No sense

Sept 25 (CT) A senior economist says GDP and GDP growth forecasts were being used as political tools and made no sense to people who continue to struggle with the rising cost of living. Senior Economics Professor of the Monash University, Prof. Gamini Herath said, GDP growth or forecasts made no sense to the common man since income distribution was not properly managed by the govt. He said, in the current context, the rich were getting wealthier at the expense of the poor. more..

IMF insists on FDI

Sept 25 (CT) The IMF highlighting the high dependence on debt has urged Sri Lanka to pay more attention on attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly to the export sector, which would require the creating of a business friendly environment. "Maintaining competitiveness and achieving a more sustainable external position will require a mix of continued innovation, sustained investment in infrastructure and human capital, a predictable business environment, and more..

Sri Lanka climbs in income and declines in competitiveness

Sept 25 (DM) The Global Competitiveness Report is produced by the World Economic Forum and currently compares and ranks the competitiveness landscape of 144 countries. In 2013, Sri Lanka was ranked at 65. This year, Sri Lanka has dropped eight places to 73. Looking under the hood to understand this drop is quite revealing for understanding not only the Sri Lankan economy and its future challenges, but more..

Nature and value of our judgments and flight of reason

Sept 25 (Island) Explicitly or implicitly we do a lot of implicit reasoning and make lots of practical judgments everyday. It is in our human nature and necessitated by life. Also, we are all subject to and a subject and object of all sorts of practical judgments of others. Sound and sober judgments of men and matters are not only an indication of maturity, it is moreover a sign of one’s authenticity. A good judgment makes us not only true to ourselves but also transcend ourselves. more..

Sri Lanka’s hub strategies reassessed

Sept 25 (FT) Back in early 2010, I wrote about the hubs that were central to the UPFA election manifesto. At that time, the hub strategy was simply words in a manifesto. Four years later it is possible to assess progress and see what changes are needed. The commercial hub is a dud. There was a time liberalising financial markets to ahead of India could have created one, but that window closed in the 1990s. Many call actions related to tourism an effort to create a hub, more..

Man of the match

Sept 25 (FT) Never before has a winning party licked its wounds so defensively. Never before has a losing side been so jubilant in defeat. The Uva provincial election will be epoch-making in more ways than one. But for bringing his party back with a fighting chance, it is young Harin Fernando who should take the biggest bow. There is poetry surrounding discussions about the outcome of Uva PC election in political circles. more..

Do not cry for us, Sri Lanka

Sept 25 (FT) Apologies to Evita, Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, etc., but you did really make Argentina famous through the line which I have paraphrased. Even though the initial view of placing Argentina to be a damper in the lyrics, this really did not happen and the song did its rounds and still does! Why ‘us’ instead of ‘me’ and what is the difference here? I am looking at the broader human resource issue in Sri Lanka, looking at it personally as well as collectively. Education, both formal and informal, more..

Editorial: The Uva blues

Sept 25 (Island) Several instances of post election violence have been reported from Uva, the worst being Monday night’s attack by pro-govt goons on a group of Opposition politicians including UNP Chief Ministerial candidate Harin Fernando in Hali Ela. Among the victims were two journalists on duty. Hell hath no fury like politicians troubled by the fear of losing power. There is no crime they hesitate to commit to prevent themselves being swept into the dustbin of politics. more..

TN continues with hardline stance on SL

Sept 25 (NS) When Jayalalithaa stepped into Tamil Cinema in the 1960s, Karunanidhi was already a prolific writer and a story teller. His knowledge of Tamil literature knows no bounds and his service to the Tamil language and Tamil cinema is appreciated. That service has made him to be known as ‘Kalaignar’ or Artiste. His popularity and influence in Tamil cinema circles naturally elevated him to the next level, politics. more..

Smash the Rajapaksas NOW!

Sept 25 (CT) The tide has turned; the time has come to act. The Rajapakse Regime must be smashed without mercy; Uva is the beginning of the end for the Mahinda-Gota-Basil power-drunk outfit. When land slides, an avalanche follows, but only if we do our bit. No quarter must be given, no opportunity lost, no breathing space allowed. Laxity will be used by Rajapakses, their cronies and their henchmen to defer fate. The opposition and the people should be lashed if they do not persevere with more..

The true confessions of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Xi Jinping

Sept 25 (NS) President Xi Jinping of China came to town. He was accorded a splendid welcome and one might even say ‘unlike any given to any head of state in recent times’. China, after all, does not interfere in the way India, the USA and other Western countries do (all the time). China means business, literally, whereas the other countries mentioned prefer playing politics thinking perhaps that this would make business easier. In the end, it’s business as usual, outsiders walking in, more..

'Successful approach to MDG's - model to developing countries'

Sept 25 (SO) Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Dr. Palitha Kohona said at times some domestic media reports contribute negatively to create international perceptions on Sri Lanka as a nation of religious intolerance and more. Refuting allegations that Sri Lanka's foreign missions have failed to protect the country's image from persistent bad publicity, he said "At times, domestic media more..

Liking violence: A study of hate speech on Facebook in Sri Lanka

Sept 25 (GV) The Centre for Policy Alternatives, the institutional anchor of Groundviews, released today a report co-authored by Shilpa Samaratunge and I on hate speech online, looking at Facebook in particular. The report is the first in Sri Lanka to focus on hate and dangerous speech in online fora, contextualising the growth of this disturbing digital content with increasing violence against Muslims and other groups in Sri Lanka. As the blurb on the front cover of the report avers, more..

Role of private sector in post war Sri Lanka: Challenges & Lessons

Sept 25 (CT) The end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka in 2009 has brought in a new wave of optimism within the country, sparking hopes for new found economic stability and prosperity, especially in the conflict affected North East. However 5 years later, the economic performance of these regions has been poor, The Private Sector, both domestic and foreign, is expected to play a key role in the promoting the long term economic resurgence and development of conflict affected societies. more..

British Airways to stop flights to Lanka

Sept 24 (CG) British Airways today announced that it will cease to operate flights onwards to Colombo from March next year, two years after resuming operations to Sri Lanka. The airline said that it will fly to Colombo and Male until March 28, 2015. Services to Male will re-commence for winter 2015, but British Airways will cease to operate flights onwards to Colombo. The airline resumed operations to Sri Lanka in April last year after more..

More tanks to be built to mitigate drought

Sept 24 (Island) The govt would take steps to launch a project to construct new reservoirs around 33 rivers and rivulets of the country to mitigate the adverse impact of future droughts, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday. He said that the funds had already been allocated for the project and discussions had commenced with other ministries on the project. His ministry had allocated funds for 14 new main water projects, Minister Amaraweera said. more..

Harin celebrates his triumph at Sirikotha

Sept 24 (IL) UNP’s Chief Ministerial candidate Harin Fernando along with the UNP heavyweights celebrated his triumph at the Uva PC Election concluded on Saturday at Sirikotha, UNP Headquarters last evening (23). Harin Fernando was a picture of humility as he celebrated his victory with a brief cake-cutting ceremony which they shared themselves here, thanking his party leadership and colleagues and supporters for their unconditional support in the Uva election. more..

Sri Lanka oral update moved to tomorrow

Sept 24 (CG) The oral update on SL at the UNHRC by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which was scheduled to take place today, has been postponed to tomorrow, the Sri Lankan Mission in Geneva said. Text of the oral update is already on the website of the UNHRC, and it notes that a fundamental and far-reaching accountability process in Sri Lanka, addressing both past and ongoing violations, more..

'Peon at Sirikotha has more powers than Leadership Council'

Sept 24 (AM) Former Southern Provincial Councilor and staunch supporter of MP Sajith Premadasa, Maithri Gunaratne has said that the office assistant who works at the UNP headquarters has more powers than the members of the UNP Leadership Council. He said the success the UNP achieved at the recently held Uva PC election had nothing to do with the formation of the UNP Leadership Council. “It was solely based on the popularity of Harin Fernando and Premadasa’s decision to more..

Qatar seeks Sri Lankas’ support for a critical WTO call

Sept 24 (LBO) The State of Qatar asks Sri Lanka’s supports towards its request to the World Trade Organization to deem natural gas and its derivatives as “environmentally-friendly products. “We also look forward to Sri Lanka’s support to our initiative on natural gas and derivatives of environmental goods which has been submitted to the World Trade Organization.” Sheikh Ahmed Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce of the State of Qatar was quoted in the release. more..

President Rajapaksa joins Hillary Clinton at CGI Annual Meeting-2014

Sept 24 (IL) President Rajapaksa attended the Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative- 2014 (CGI- 2014) in New York last evening (23). President Rajapaksa, who is in New York to attend the 69th annual session of the UN General Assembly, also participated in the 10th Annual Meeting of the CGI which is being held from 21st to 24th Sept in New York. President received a warm welcome from the former First Lady more..

Duty Free employee caught with gold in ‘knee guard’

Sept 24 (AD) Three Sri Lankan males have been arrested by Customs at arrival lounge of the BIA this morning on information provided by the security officers of Airport and Civil Aviation Authority. 2 parcels containing 20 pieces of gold slabs, weighing 2 kilograms and valued at Rs 10 million, was found concealed in a knee guard of an employee of a Duty Free Shop at the airport. A passenger and a broker were later arrested in connection with the smuggling attempt. more..

Three arrested in Tamil Nadu for trying to smuggle cannabis to Sri Lanka

Sept 24 (AM) Police on Tuesday arrested three persons in Tamil Nadu in connection with smuggling ganja (cannabis) to Sri Lanka and also recovered Indian Rs 5 million worth contraband from them. TN Police said they were on a look out for four other members of the gang. Acting on a tip-off that a plan to smuggle ganja to Sri Lanka was underway, police intercepted a car transporting 100 kg of Ganja in 47 bundles and packed in five gunny bags, each weighing 20 kg, Inspector Kennedy said. more..

Video: 'Harin became Chief Minister in people’s hearts'

Sept 24 (AD) UNP Uva PC member elect Harin Fernando says that the govt has failed to change the opinion of the people by distributing appliances, drought relief and Samurdhi loans ahead of the election. “That is the people’s opinion. The country belongs to the people and the people have proven that,” he said. Fernanado, who resigned from Parliament to contest as the UNP’s CM candidate for the Uva PC, received highest number more..

'I was attacked by minister’s goons'

Sept 24 (LT) Journalist Chandana Kuruppuarachchi, who was injured when he was attacked by thugs at Hali-ele area in Badulla the day after the Uva PC election and is being treated in a private hospital at Pannipitiya, says he was attacked by a group of thugs on instructions from a minister. After videoing the clash between supporters of UPFA and UNP at Hali-ela he was returning home in a three wheeler when a gang of thugs pursued him, assaulted him and attempted to grab his camera. more..

Harin says UNP failed with estate votes

Sept 24 (CG) UNP Uva PC candidate Harin Fernando says his party lost the just concluded elections after failing to win the votes of the estate workers. He said that had the UNP secured the votes of the estate sector in Badulla it would have easily won the Uva PC elections. “If we secured another 7000 – 8000 votes in the estate sector we would have won,” he said. Fernando said that one of the main reasons the party failed to win more votes in the estate sector was because more..

Bandarawela HQI transferred over election day clash

Sept 24 (DM) Bandarawela Police Headquarters Inspector (HQI), SK Karunasena, has been transferred to Colombo with immediate effect for negligence of duty after he failed to prevent a clash inside the police station premises on the Election Day. Karunasena has been stripped of his post as OIC and transferred to the Police Field Force Headquarters, Bambalapitiya. Police said that a disciplinary inquiry more..

Govt seeks supplementary allocation of Rs. 3.4 bn

Sept 24 (Island) The govt yesterday sought parliamentary approval for supplementary allocations to the tune of Rs. 3.4 billion from the budgetary support services and contingent liabilities. The paper seeking the approval for supplementary allocations was presented to the House by PM D. M. Jayaratne. The supplementary allocations amount to Rs. 3,471,898,590, of which recurrent expenditure accounts for Rs. 1,265,826,700 and capital expenditure Rs. 2,206,071,890. more..

Three Lankans arrested with Rs.10mn gold

Sept 24 (DM) Two Sri Lankan passengers and an employee of a Duty Free shop at the airport had been arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) yesterday while attempting to smuggle in Rs.10 million worth of gold biscuits into the country, Customs Spokesman Leslie Gamini said. The passengers from Dubai and the shop employee were arrested with 20 pieces of gold slabs weighing two kilogrammes hidden in his knee guards, at the arrival lounge, Mr. Gamini said. more..

MR, Sharma hold talks before US meet

Sept 24 (CG) President Rajapaksa has had talks with Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma ahead of a Commonwealth meeting in New York later this week. President’s office said that Sharma discussed ongoing Commonwealth matters with the President, including the meetings in the US later this week to discuss reforms pertaining to CHOGM and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. more..

Vaas further remanded for 3 more months

Sept 24 (DM) Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar hearing on the killing of businessman Mohamed Shiyam today re-remanded former DIG Vaas Gunawardena and four others for three more months. Trial-at-Bar Judges Lalith Jayasuriya and Leon Seneviratne refused the bail applications made on behalf of the accused -- Vaas Gunawardena, Krishantha Koralage, Lakmina Bamunusinghe, Priyantha Sanjeewa and Kelum Dassanayake and upheld the objections raised by more..

N’cholai: Barbs hurt Chinese

Sept 24 (Island) A top official of the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), builder of the country’s first ever coal-fired power plant complex at Norochcholai, expressed readiness to pull his team out and leave for China or concentrate on another Chinese-backed project here, if the local engineers were ready to take over the plant. "We are ready to leave any time; our mission has been accomplished with the new high tension line to Anurdhapura completed in a month. more..

Video: 45,000 drug addicts in SL: NDDCB

Sept 24 (DM) National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) said that some 45,000 Sri Lankans were drug addicts and that four camps had been set up in Kandy, Nittambuwa, Galle and Colombo to rehabilitate them. “About 2,000 drug addicts come for in-house treatment annually. But the NDDCB has facilities to treat only 1,000 of them annually while the NGOs also treat 2,000 drug addicts annually,” NDDCB Chairperson more..

Improved protection for archeological sites

Sept 24 (Island) Incidents of vandalising and plunder of artifacts had decreased this year, Archeology Department said yesterday. Director General of Archeology Dr. Senarath Dissanayake said that according to the statistics of the Special Police Unit attached to the Department, 225 incidents had been reported until August 31, 2013 as against 157 cases reported in the corresponding period last year. He said that the total incidents reported in 2013 were 340. more..

'Declining of Sri Lanka’s private sector credit growth is not healthy'

Sept 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka Industrial association says despite conducive interest rates and stable inflation, the weakening of the islands ‘private sector credit growth is not healthy to achieve economic targets. “Today we are free to go about our business, interest rates are far more conducive to borrowers, exchange rates are free of sudden volatility, inflation is relatively stable, infrastructure developments has taken place at a pace that we haven’t witnessed before,” Nilam Jayasinghe, Chairman of more..