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No gratuity for 12,000 pensioners

Oct 5 (SM) In a backdrop of the govt’s current financial crisis, over 12,000 pensioners have not been paid their gratuity, ‘Ravaya’ reports. Once a person retires, he/she can claim the entire pension of two years all at once and this will be gradually deducted from the pension in the next ten years. Nearly every pensioner applies for this and they can obtain a relative sum of Rs. 500,000 - Rs. 5,000,000, in comparison with their salary. Director General of Pensions - Sunil Hettiarachchi more..

Japanese tourist (31) found dead on an apparent alcohol overdose

Oct 5 (ST) A Japanese drug addict died following an overdose of alcohol which he opted for to fight a painful withdrawal syndrome, after his drug ration had dried up during his stay in the country, police and medical officials said yesterday (28). They said the body of Tommo Taka, 31, was found inside a wooded area in Naramwala in the Kurunegala District, by villagers who had gone out to fetch firewood, two days after he went missing. Kuliyapitiya Superintendent of Police (SP), more..

Down to earth in soil fertility with bio-fertilisers

Oct 5 (ST) The harmful impact of misuse and overuse of agrochemicals have been highlighted in articles published in the Sunday Times in the past few weeks. As an alternative, use of bio-fertilisers which is a method of directly applying living microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi to fertilise the soil is becoming popular among farmers, even though these too have to be used with care, point out experts. “Bio-fertilisers are a good more..

Stock of sugar leaves residents bitter

Oct 5 (ST) Residents of Godakawela in the Ratnapura district have been left with a bitter taste in the mouth. It has been discovered the sugar they had been purchasing from local shops over the past few weeks were in fact unsuitable for human consumption. Residents said Public Health officials to whom they complained regarding the poor quality of sugar they purchased, did not take steps to remedy the problem. They charged that sugar purchased from a particular kiosk did not more..

A Tamil President in Sri Lanka

Oct 5 (CT) I am writing this article to find out whether the Sinhala-Buddhists in Sri Lanka would elect a well-educated, suave, Sinhala-speaking Tamil—someone similar to Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar—as our President in Sri Lanka. Whence comes this hatred; this mistrust? To an outsider, most Sri Lankans—unless your ancestors had intimate relations with the Europeans—look the same: dark-haired, dark-skinned, talkative curry-munchers. Sri Lankans do not hide their more..

'Sri Lanka SMEs hampered by regulations'

Oct 5 (LBT) Sri Lanka’s regulatory and legal framework has become a hindrance to SME development. “SMEs are the cornerstone of our economy. But when certain SME enterprises want to commence and start up, they have to go through almost 29 state institutions in Sri Lanka and fill countless paper forms before they get the go ahead. This has become a hindrance to their development” said Minister Basil Rajapaksa, yesterday. more..

The Day of Sri Lankan Culture in Kharkov

Oct 5 (GDI) Thursday, 3 October 2013 was the second successful day in Kharkov. Today the main promotional events were carried out in the shopping mall “Caravan”. The modern shopping centers in Kharkov are chosen by the people, which would like to combine the useful activities with the pleasant ones. The Kharkov malls are intended for the real shopping fans understanding the sense of the beneficial shopping in Kharkov, for the people knowing the value of their time, more..

Overseas remittance inflows heavily used for consumption: Economist

Oct 5 (DM) Migrant worker remittances received by Sri Lanka are almost entirely spent on consumption and are not mobilized in to investment generating activities, raising concerns over its ability to provide economic value addition in the long run. Research Economist at Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Anushka Wijesingha said, though Sri Lanka’s huge remittance inflows immensely help to bridge the trade gap, the country does not have a policy to mobilize these inflows beyond consumption. more..

Trip to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka needs true friends, not arbitrators

Oct 6 (SO) Every sovereign country has an inalienable right to protect its territorial integrity and every Head of State or Govt is duty-bound to protect its people and uphold national security. Some Western countries go that extra mile to protect its people and even enter the airspace of other countries to launch drone attacks on the pretext of national security. Hundreds of civilians have been killed as a result of US drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but surprisingly, more..

Can the UN protect weak emergent nations?

Oct 6 (SL) Non intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign state is a basic principle on which the whole edifice of the 193 members stands or collapses. Students of its predecessor, the League of Nations, adduce various reasons on why that world assembly which held so much hope for world peace at that time did collapse saying that the geopolitics that prevailed at that time was the evil force. There were no newly emergent nations in the League of Nations, adduce various reasons more..

'Rapid development drive soon in Wayamba'

Oct 6 (SO) The “Sonduru Minisa” image paved the way for Dayasiri Jayasekara to be elected as the new Chief Minister of the Wayamba Provincial Council, securing the highest number of preferential votes ever obtained by a candidate at a Provincial Council Election. The people of the Kurunegala District gave him an unprecedented mandate of 336,327 preferential votes at the recently concluded Wayamba PC election. more..

Reward enemy and lose friend

Oct 6 (NS) There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. We could be talking about Ronnie De Mel’s athleticism, Karu Jayasuriya’s pragmatism laced or coated with ‘national interest’, the prudence of the Thondamans and Hakeems, the self-interest of the 60 plus UNPers who crossed over or corporates covering bases in parliament and in so-called professional associations. Our concern here, however, is the applicability of the adage to global power politics. more..

The baby and the bath water

Oct 6 (Island) Gut reactions can often lead to wrong decisions to the detriment of both personal and national interests. The decision to at least temporarily close down Dipped Products PLC’s Venigros factory at Weliveriya is a case in point. In this context, the contents of a letter written by Dr. U. Pethiyagoda in Friday’s issue of The Island deserve the closest attention. Readers of both this newspaper and its stablemate will, no doubt, be familiar with Dr. Pethiyagoda’s name. more..

'EP resolution not binding on Govt'

Oct 6 (SO) The Eastern Provincial Council last week passed a resolution calling for the implementation in full of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The resolution moved by the SLMC received support from ITAK and UNP councillors and was passed with a simple majority. The JHU and the NFF joined by other forces on Thursday warned that this signified a dangerous alliance between the TNA and the SLMC. more..

Vital agenda for India’s EAM

Oct 6 (ST) The Indian Minister of External Affairs is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka tomorrow; and every such visit is of significance given the twists and turns in the bi-lateral relations between the two South Asian neighbours. A former President of Sri Lanka on touching down at New Delhi’s Palam airport (since renamed) said he was a “lover of India” and an admirer of its administration only to be undone by that country which fostered an armed separatist insurrection that more..

From rhetoric to reality

Oct 6 (ST) My Dear Wigneswaran, I thought I must write to you again because congratulations are in order after you were elected as the Chief Minister of the Northern Province at elections held a couple of weeks ago. Now all that is left to do, it seems, is to take oaths in your new job. I know your election was different for many reasons but you also had the easiest election. That your party would win was never in doubt and, unlike in Wayamba or in the Central Province, there were no more..

'Many Muslims are still displaced in Puttlam'

Oct 6 (SL) Hassan Ali, MP and Secretary General of the SLMC is of the view that the mandate of the LLRC should have been from 1999 as it was during 1999 and 2002 Muslims were chased out of the Northern Province and their land was grabbed by the LTTE. He points out that there are so many Muslim IDPs in Puttlam that have not been resettled. Hassan Ali also says the Muslims were massacred by the terrorists during the war, more..

Fractures in the UNP fissures in the TNA

Oct 6 (NS) All the excitement in elections is concentrated in the campaign. There’s a lull at voting time, a hike at the announcement of results with chest-beating and the trotting out of excuses, and a dip until the Chief Ministers are appointed.  Things have been relatively calm in the North Western and Central Provinces as far as appointments go, but the Northern PC has sustained media attention thanks to the swearing-in issue (before whom?) and the wrangling among more..

Gambling tycoons and casino projects

Oct 6 (NS) Parliament meets this week after five weeks of not sitting owing to the Provincial Council polls. The sitting programme agreed by party leaders who met on October 3 for the next week is an interesting one. The first sitting day – Tuesday (8) has been allocated for full day debate on Science and Technology Development (Amendment). Following day the House is scheduled to take up Regulation under the Strategic Development Projects Act. more..

'TNA still discontented'

Oct 6 (SL) The Sunday Leader spoke with TNA MP Suresh Premachandran and asked him about the TNA’s views on the implementation of the LLRC recommendations. He said, “If the important issues are not addressed then there is no point in all these recommendations. In that context we are certainly not satisfied with the govt’s process of implementation”. He also stated that for the last three or four years more..

Scandal rocks Trinity College & Anglican Church

Oct 6 (Island) A massive scandal within Trinity College, Kandy, and the Anglican church which was nearly a decade in the making finally hit the fan last week with the former Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala, Kumara Illangasinghe, accusing the incumbent Bishop Shantha Francis in a signed affidavit, of having drawn his mother in law’s pension after she had died as reported in this newspaper last Sunday. That accusation is just the tip of the iceberg. The entire story reads like a film more..

The Constitution, Court, Cocker Spaniel and Colombian Haka over Land

Oct 6 (Island) It is not just the constitution of 1978 that NM critically analysed when it was new and hot off the press, but even the 13th amendment that came ten years later reeks of slip-shod and flabby drafting. And nowhere more so than on the subject of land. SC ruling last week appears to be circumscribed by the flabbiness of the constitution and has led to different interpretations of what the Court ruling has said – whether the matter of land is a Provincial Council or Central Govt subject. more..

Sports ministry to spend Rs. 300 million in two years

Oct 6 (ST) Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage has decided to allocate Rs. 300 million spread over two years to give a fillip to the sports fraternity in Sri Lanka and have them in shape for the coming Commonwealth and Asian Games. He has earmarked the prospective national pools in athletics, rugby, badminton, shooting, weight lifting, boxing, table tennis, beach volleyball, netball, judo, football, archery, swimming and rowing to more..

Six apply to become Lankan cricket head coach

Oct 6 (NS) With the deadline for application for head coach of the Sri Lanka cricket team ending today, it is learnt that only half a dozen names have been received to fill the post which will be left vacant when present coach Graham Ford quits at the end of his contract in January. Ford’s last assignment with the Sri Lanka team will be the series against Pakistan in UAE starting in December. Sri Lanka Cricket’s acting CEO Ashley de Silva said that so far six individuals had more..

Watch out! Colombo Marathon today

Oct 6 (ST) The 13th edition of Colombo Marathon, organised by Lanka Sportreizen (LSR) jointly with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotional Bureau and SriLankan Airlines, will flag off today at 6.00am from Torrington. The biggest marathon to be held on Sri Lankan soil will set off from the proximity of Independence Square at Torrington and proceed to Negombo Beach Park, 41:195 kilometres away, covering the distance of an internationally accepted marathon. more..

JKH to use a Dhammika licence for Waterfront casino

Oct 6 (Island) Although John Keells Holdings Chairman Susantha Ratnayake told shareholders at an EGM last week that they were in negotiation with two casino licence holders to obtain an existing licence for their mega Waterfront Development project, well informed sources indicated that the only available option is a deal with Mr. Dhammika Perera. "There are only four licences existing and Dhammika holds three. more..

LMF triples profits in the teeth of tough macro conditions

Oct 6 (Island) Lanka Milk Foods (CWE) PLC has grown group revenue 8.84% to Rs.5.44 billion in the year ended March 31, 2013 and increased the profit after tax by nearly 207% to Rs.364.5 million from Rs. 118.8 million the previous year. At company level, revenue was up 8.9% to Rs.3.4 billion and the after tax profit up to Rs.231.4 million from Rs.4.6 million the previous year. "I am pleased to that the company succeeded in sustaining the impressive growth achieved in 2011/12 by more..

Duminda and Dad advisors to Touchwood board

Oct 6 (ST) MP Duminda Silva who resigned from Touchwood Investments directorate a day after he was appointed, continues to be an advisor to the board, along with his father, Lal Silva. Company Chairman Lanka Kiwulegedara said that the junior Silva had resigned on the advice of his father, who thought it best for Duminda to re-join when the company sorts its issues out. “We’re currently facing a few issues and Mr. Lal thought it best for Duminda to wait till these are ironed out,” he said. more..

Ranil ready to resign

Oct 6 (SL) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is ready to resign from his post if there is someone more suitable than him to fill his shoes, UNP National Organiser Daya Gamage said. Gamage told The Sunday Leader that the party leader is not responsible for the failures of the party area organizers at the last provincial elections. He said that even he, as the National Organiser, is ready to resign from his post if more..

Rajiva wades into Trinity fracas

Oct 6 (Island) Several past members of the Trinity College Board of Governors have associated themselves with sentiments expressed by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, a former member of the Board of Governors, and a National List MP of the UPFA, regarding our report last week on differences between the incumbent Bishop of Kurunegala, Shantha Francis, and his predecessor, Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe. Wijesinha said that as a member of the Trinity College Board of more..

CAA to flex its muscles finally

Oct 6 (NS) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) is set to collect paint samples island-wide to investigate on the levels of lead content. The CAA’s move comes following a recent report by Center for Environmental Justice (CEJ) where it was revealed that 50% of the paint samples tested had lead content more than the stipulated amount. CAA informed that they will start collecting paint samples from the market this week and tests would be carried out once they are collected. more..

Budget: SL faces fiscal crisis of its own

Oct 6 (ST) Sri Lanka is facing a fiscal crisis of its own, as the govt struggles to rein in a widening budget deficit. With 2013 budget targets already gone awry, the govt will present the 2014 budget next month with subdued revenues, high fiscal deficit, sticky expenses, optimistic projections and heavy local and foreign borrowings. The 2014 budget deficit is to reduce to 5.2% of GDP 6.5% in 2013 and it will be primarily more..

New electronic passport in the offing to meet global standards

Oct 6 (Island) Immigration and Emigration Controller, Chulananda Perera said that in future only registered studios will be permitted to take photographs of applicants for passports. "Photographs taken by unregistered studios will be rejected by the department", he said. This follows the Govt’s decision to issue a Machine Readable Passport with high quality photographs to meet the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). more..

'CHOGM not just expensive risk, but rare opportunity'

Oct 6 (ST) The upcoming CHOGM, to be held in Sri Lanka for the first time in November 2013, is not just an expensive risk but also a rare opportunity for the host country to showcase its diplomatic capabilities, according to former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador H.M.G.S. Palihakkara. However, he cautioned that it was “important to rein in the comments of freelancing politicos whose misinformed statements could be mistaken for [govt] policy”. more..

Comedy of errors over ‘withholding’ 84 pharmaceutical products

Oct 6 (Island) In what seemed to be a "comedy of errors", govt health officials were left red faced after bold assertions that 84 drugs from a particular Indian-based supplier had been placed under a "blanket withdrawal from the market over quality issues", but days later, the Cosmetics Devices and Drugs Control Authority (CDDCA), in an official intimation to the importer, sought the "withholding" of only three pharmaceutical more..

Error is regretted, but it was, nevertheless a huge delegation sent at great cost

Oct 6 (ST) Minister Susil Premajayantha and former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama have taken up cudgels with the Sunday Times Diplomatic Editor’s news item last week captioned “Mammoth delegation, Twitter fiasco, infighting, mar President’s UN visit” and they both say that they were not part of this mammoth delegation. The Sunday Times stands corrected. The mistake occurred by the publication of an earlier photograph taken of a Sri Lankan delegation to the UN General Assembly more..

Legal status for sign language soon

Oct 6 (NS) A draft bill to legalize sign language in Sri Lanka is due to be presented to Parliament soon, according to the Ministry of Social Services. The draft bill, which is currently with the Legal Draftsman’s Department, will be presented to Parliament by the Minister of Social Services once it is sent back to the minister, the Ministry officials revealed. Cabinet had originally approved a proposal to draft a Sign Language (Special Provisions) Draft Bill in order to more..

Poaching crisis: Lanka will complain to EU

Oct 6 (ST) The Govt will take up with the European Union the issue of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters, if India fails to agree to an early solution to the issue, Deputy Fisheries Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne said. He said substantial evidence to show that poaching by Tamil Nadu fishermen was affecting the marine life of Sri Lankan territorial waters would be presented to Indian External Affairs Minister more..

Indian FM in Sri Lanka

Oct 6 (CT) Indian Minister of External Affairs, Salman Kurshid, will arrive in Colombo tomorrow on a three-day visit and will hold bilateral talks on a number of significant issues besides meeting the CM of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, in Jaffna. Khurshid's visit to the North carries a clear message from India and is considered significant as the new Chief Minister is scheduled to commence his political work next week. Besides meeting Wigneswaran on 8 Oct, more..