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Anandi to boycott oaths taking

Oct 6 (CG) TNA NPC member elect Anandi Sasitharan has decided to boycott taking oaths in front of new Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran. The wife of former LTTE Trincomalee District political head S. Elilan is reportedly angered by Wigneswaran’s decision to take oaths before President Rajapaksa tomorrow. Sources close to Sasitharan said that she has also not been invited for Wigneswaran’s oaths taking ceremony more..

UNP leadership crisis comes to a head

Oct 7 (CT) The drawn out leadership crisis of the UNP has come to decisive crossroads with the humiliating defeat of the Party at the three recent PC elections. Although the pressure is mounting against the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe and his close coterie, neither seem to be in any mood to give up easily, and have resorted to many tactics to not only retain their status but also to survive in the Party. As a first step in this survival drama, Ranil paid a courtesy visit to more..

Pyres and Politics

Oct 7 (SL) The passing of former Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake was met with an outpouring of grief in Anuradhapura and attracted more than its share of prominence and controversy. A stalwart of the SLFP ‘Berty’ was a once hugely popular figure in the North Central Province (NCP) and had served a near 14-year stint in office before being defeated by a narrow margin by fellow party man S.M. Ranjith last year. The defeat of Berty as Chief Minister became all the more more..

'Consistency and concentration pay dividends'

Oct 7 (SO) The Grade 5 scholarship exam is considered to be the first hurdle that present day children have to clear in order to pursue a good education. More than students it is the parents who are eager to stampede their way and push their children to prepare for the exam to get them into better schools. However, results of past grade 5 scholarship exam reveal that the pass out rate is rather low. This time around out of more..

Open sesame world no more; ABA’s vision narrows to Asia

Oct 7 (SL) IF some audacious official had some two decades ago recommended participation in the World Boxing Championship as incentive to spur development of Sri Lanka’s boxing, the ABA might’ve summoned post-haste a psychiatric to have his head examined. Pitting our boxers against the world’s better boxers is of course the ultimate stimulus for development; so, there’s nothing insane about saying it so. But suggesting a brave and expensive venture at a time when more..

Land powers and the Supreme Court

Oct 7 (CT) The timing of the Supreme Court’s judgment on devolution of land powers – just two days after a historic election for the NPC – gained significant attention within and outside Sri Lanka. Inevitably, the focus has shifted to the TNA and how the Alliance – and the Provincial Council it controls – would respond to the judgment. While I intend to comment on the political repercussions of this judgment, a few observations on its legal implications may be in order. more..

The stars of ’75

Oct 7 (ST) As enthusiastic crowds throng the Lionel Wendt for the newly-opened ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, there comes the ‘news flash’ wrapped up in nostalgia — this is not the first. Wind the clock back to 1975, 38 long years ago, when some of the cast members of the current production “were not even born”. Scene: Navarangahala Dates: September 6 & 7 Tickets: Rs. 15, 7.50 and 5. more..

Sustaining export performance and curbing imports, imperative

Oct 7 (ST) Given a bleak trade performance in the first half of this year, even a modest improvement in the trade deficit is a hopeful sign. While one swallow does not make a summer, the better trade performance brought about by an increase in export earnings in July gives rise to expectations of a reduction in the trade deficit. Although there are reasons to expect export growth in June and July to continue, it is difficult to foresee a curtailment of imports. more..

Black July: Relation of events at Kanatte and the Tiger friday

Oct 7 (CT) We have argued in our account based on testimony cited that the outbreak of violence at Borella had no direct relation to the clamour to hand over the bodies to the next of kin at Kanatte. The crowd was made up of conflicting elements that had different motivations. While the relatives did want the bodies of the soldiers, and gained much sup- port there were others, who wanted to turn the occasion into an anti-govet demonstration. Still others, such as Gunawanse, wanted to harness more..

Mayhem at anti-Ranil march

Oct 7 (CT) It did not take long for the peaceful marchers gathered before the Vishnu Devalaya, Dondra, to feel they were under siege. Soon after the protesters calling for the resignation of the UNP’s serial loser Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, set off their protest march from the ancient Vishnu Devalaya, after conducting poojas to the deities, they were set upon by ‘hired thugs’. Thousands of protesters gathered in the more..

A note on the federal demand by the TNA

Oct 7 (CT) The TNA has in their mandate referred to their demand for federalism which has upset many people in the South who think it is a precursor to secession. The federal constitution could be designed to remove such possibility of secession for the sub-unit could agree to give up such demand and the Central government as a quid pro quo agrees not to alter the allocation of powers and functions between the Center and the sub-unit. The Agreement is a Covenant. more..

No tectonic shift in ‘state land being vested in the Republic’

Oct 7 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s repeated claim, (pronounced with appropriate gravitas most recently to Al Jazeera), is that Sri Lanka does not exhibit authoritarian or dictatorial tendencies as it holds regular elections at which his govt is comfortably elected into power. Predictably, the recent elections to the NPC was held out as the classic illustration of this liberality; yet, the govt scheme behind holding these elections to appease powerful voices over the Palk Straits more..

The Economics of Media Freedom: Is Sri Lanka on a virtuous or vicious cycle?

Oct 7 (Island) Is media and press freedom a matter of economics? The answer is a resounding yes. But it may be important to explain why. There are at least three reasons. We can describe them as indicative, instrumental, and integral. Isaiah Berlin, the renowned British philosopher of Russian-Jewish origin helped to articulate the idea of freedom by distinguishing its negative and positive forms. Negative freedom relates to the external more..

Jumbos running amok

Oct 7 (Island) It was with shock and dismay that many watched Saturday’s savage attack on an Opposition protest in Matara. Usually, it is the pro-govt goons who carry out such assaults, but this time the assailants and victims were both from the same party. Saturday’s clash between two groups of UNPers staging marches, one demanding their party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s ouster and the other defending him, left about 15 UNPers hospitalised and more than 20 suspects arrested. more..

The UNP’s implosive collapse

Oct 7 (CT) The attack on the anti-Ranil march and the resultant punch-up in the South over the weekend brought home a fourfold political truth: The UNP, which was haemorrhaging votes and MPs is now spilling blood in fratricidal political strife. (What next? A grenade attack on an anti-Ranil rally?) The UNP is two parties masquerading as one: The Reactionaries who insist that Ranil remain leader, and the Reformists who realize that unless Ranil goes now, the party may not be salvageable more..

Maris Stella, Sumana Balika athletics champs

Oct 7 (Island) Maris Stella College, Negombo and Sumana Balika MV, Ratnapura won the boys’ and girls’ titles respectively of the athletics championship, while Western Province emerged as the overall Champions of the All Island Schools Games 2013, concluded at the Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday. The record breaking feat of their Under-15 4x400 metres relay quartet, a spirited run by Asian Schools Track and Field more..

Two-day debate on COPE report this week

Oct 7 (ST) A two day Parliamentary debate on the Report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) which was presented to the House in July will take place this week. The Opposition initiated debate will be held on Thursday and Friday. Meanwhile the Order under the Strategic Development Projects Act to give tax concessions to strategic development project -Lake Leisure Holdings – will also be taken up for debate in Parliament on Wednesday. more..

Harbhajan gives Mumbai the double

Oct 7 (CI) A furious finish from Mumbai Indians' middle order propelled them to a monumental total before a chase-breaking over from Harbhajan Singh snuffed out the last of Rajasthan Royals' spirit, driving Mumbai to their second major title of the year, as they won the Champions League final by 33 runs. The Royals bowlers had been disciplined in their first 12 overs, which only cost them less than seven an over, but a Rohit Sharma onslaught unseamed their resolve more..

Sri Lanka’s valuations still attractive: Broker

Oct 7 (FT) With a year-to-date gain of 3% in dollar terms and a Price Earnings Ratio of 12 times, the valuation of Sri Lanka’s stock market remains attractive in comparison to its peers, according to an analysis by a broking firm. “On a valuation basis, while the Sri Lankan Bourse is certainly not the cheapest, when juxtaposed against global peers, it is now one of the most attractive at a PE of 11.8X (dollarized) and at a 30-40% more..

Loans vital for development - Minister

Oct 7 (DN) Govt debt has fallen in comparison with national production at present. The reason being that, these debt have been used for productive work that resulted in the falling of the public debt ratio significantly in the country, Minister Johnston Fernando said. "Obtaining loans through schemes which ensure that they are accounted for and being used for various development projects such as development of infrastructure in the country has resulted in this," said Minister Fernando more..

Indrani, Sunil join NDB board

Oct 7 (FT) NDB has announced the appointment of two new Directors, Indrani Sugathadasa and Sunil Wijesinha, to the Board of Directors of the Bank. Sugathadasa is currently serving as the Chairperson of the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka. She entered the Sri Lanka Administrative Service in 1977 and has held several senior positions, including as the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs and Ministry of Plantation Industries. more..

An apple a day in Sri Lanka may not keep the doctor away

Oct 7 (ST) The premier organisation representing the largest volume of doctors in the country, the GMOA issued a warning to the public on the consumption of imported fruits as they suspect chemicals used in the fruits may be injurious to health. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Nalin Ariyaratne said though there is no research evidence of harmful effects from consuming imported fruits such as apples, grapes and more..

Online ETF services launched by People’s Bank

Oct 7 (Island) People’s Bank and the Employees’ Trust Fund functioning under the Ministry of Finance and Planning of Sri Lanka today launched "People’s ETF Net" which enables organisations to pay their employees’ ETF entitlements online through a secure and robust e-payments system. The system, which provides companies with the tools they need to manage their compliance with Employees’ Trust Fund obligations, is said to be one of the furthest reaching e-commerce products in more..

‘Speak up before the Budget’ Forum tomorrow

Oct 7 (FT) The unique ‘Speak up before the Budget’ Forum organised by the Daily FT in partnership with the Colombo University MBA Alumni Association will be held tomorrow at the Hilton Residencies, Colombo. Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Planning Dr. P.B. Jayasundera will lead the team of officials from the Treasury at the breakfast forum. Standard Chartered Bank will be the exclusive sponsor of the pre-Budget forum, also for the third consecutive year. more..

Tamil lawyers condemn Wigneswaran’s decision

Oct 7 (Island) The TNA’s Norther Province Chief Minister elect, C.V. Wigneswaran, opting to be sworn in before President Rajapaksa was an unjust decision, Tamil lawyers said. Secretary to the Sri Lanka Tamil Lawyers’ Association R. Ratnavel said the Wigneswaran’s decision to take oath before President Rajapaksa would be detrimental to the cause of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The association issued a statement on Saturday taking exception to more..

UPFA intra-party clashes continue

Oct 7 (Island) UPFA Chairman of the Minipe Pradeshiya Sabha, Wasantha Jayasundera has been hospitalised after an assault alleged to have been carried out by his own party men on Friday evening. Jayasundera came under attack when he went to the Hasalaka filling station to get fuel for his vehicle around 7.00 p.m. There had been two other UPFA PS members in the vehicle and according to them a group of UPFA party men had arrived at the scene in five luxury vehicles and more..

Mini zoo in Battaramulla

Oct 7 (DN) The Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation Ministry plans to put up a mini zoo in Battaramulla to coincide with the CHOGM in November. The mini zoo which covers an extent of 3.5 acres will be established close to the Folk Arts Centre in Battaramulla. The estimated cost of the construction is Rs 10 million. In addition, a model Sri Lankan village depicting the Sri Lankan culture and identity will also be set up in the Folk Arts Centre premises. more..

'Restoring land, livelihood top priority for Northern Council'

Oct 7 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan MP from Jaffna who played a key role in the campaign that led to the victory of the TNA in the recent NPC election says the first priority for the new govt should be to ensure that lands destroyed in the war be reclaimed and livelihood programmes for the people introduced. The international community has to put pressure on the SL Govt to rebuild the devastated areas, TNA MP Mavai Senathiraja more..

Krrish project now confronted with environmental issues

Oct 7 (ST) The Krrish square mixed development project tainted by scandalous financial deals is yet to get the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval to kick-start the project, informed sources said. The Transworks building site at Colombo Fort leased by Delhi-based group Krrish is environmentally not suitable for a mega mixed development project, environmental experts have said. A leading environmental consultancy service which carried out a preliminary EIA has more..

BASL expresses grave concern over abduction of Judge’s son

Oct 7 (Island) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka [BASL] yesterday expressed grave concern over the recent incident where the teenage son of an Additional District Judge of Colombo was abducted. The BASL, in a statement, said "Fortunately, the young boy, who is a student preparing for his Ordinary Level Examination, was released by his abductors after some time. However, the incident would have traumatized him and caused immense worry to his family and friends. more..

Party reforms top agenda at today’s UNP WC meeting

Oct 7 (Island) Key reforms to the party will be the main topic at today’s crucial UNP Working Committee (WC) meeting to be held at Sirikotha at 4.00 p.m. Chief Opposition Whip and Gampaha District UNP MP John Amaratunga told The Island that many important proposals by party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe would be discussed at today’s WC meeting; they would include the creation of an Advisory Council. more..

Will stress humane approach

Oct 7 (Hindu) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s first visit to Sri Lanka from Monday, comes a month before Sri Lanka hosts the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit. Many organisations have called on India and other influential Commonwealth members such as Canada to boycott the summit in protest against the alleged human rights violations that took place during the vicious final battles between the military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. more..

Ranil says DM against MR

Oct 7 (CG) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says for the first time the Prime Minister of a country was seen at a demonstration staged against the President. UNP leader said that the appearance of PM D.M. Jayaratne at a demonstration by supporters of his son against the President was a sign that there are issues in the govt. The demonstration the UNP leader is referring to is one held by supporters of Anuradha Jayaratne after he secured the most number of preferential more..

UNP: Dying from friendly fire?

Oct 7 (FT) When rival factions of the UNP clashed on the main streets of Matara on Saturday afternoon, passions and adrenaline appeared to be running higher than it ever did during party’s campaign rallies that preceded polling day last month. Simmering frustrations within the country’s main opposition party reached an extraordinary crescendo when pro-Ranil supporters clashed with anti-Ranil marchers in the Southern city, more..

Mosquito eradication week begins today

Oct 7 (CT) The Ministry of Health is to launch a series of special programmes to eradicate dengue from the Colombo District during the Mosquito Eradication Week, which begins today. The Presidential Dengue Prevention Task Force, together with many ministries under the guidance of the Ministry of Health and with the support of the Ministries of Education, Irrigation, Public Administration and Defence will take part in the activities pertaining to dengue eradication. more..

Strategic ties vs domestic pressure: Khurshid’s tricky Mission Lanka

Oct 7 (FP) When Salman Khurshid undertakes his first official visit to Sri Lanka (7-8 October) since becoming External Affairs Minister, he will be doing a tightrope walk in balancing India’s domestic political compulsions with strategic and foreign policy imperatives. This will be a challenging diplomatic assignment for Khurshid as well as for the Congress-led UPA coalition at a time when the general elections are drawing nigh and the UPA govt would not like to do anything that more..

13th Amendment to top agenda of TNA-Salman Khurshid meet

Oct 7 (Hindu) TNA leaders will urge India to push the Sri Lankan govt to fully implement the 13th Amendment, in their meeting with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. Khurshid will meet the TNA’s Chief Minister designate C.V. Wigneswaran — to be sworn in before the President on Monday — and senior leaders in Jaffna on Tuesday. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said they would follow up on the Sri Lankan govt’s more..

Global warming: Selfishness produces suicide bomb

Oct 7 (DM) The suicide bomb of global warming—though many people are foolishly ignorant of it or care little and do less-is growing into catastrophic if not apocalyptic proportions all over the world. Environmental analysts or prophets have warned that if this trend of the excessive emission of carbon dioxide and other criminal acts against nature continues, scores of islands including the Maldives may be drowned within the next few decades because the sea would have risen more..

Sri Lanka needs a meanngful relationship with India

Oct 7 (DM) Your editorial under the caption ‘A bridge over the troubled Palk Strait” has provoked me to write this comment. It quite rightly refers to the most urgent issue that we are seized with today as the fisheries issue. Yes, this must indeed be resolved at the earliest but it appears to me that we MUST put this relationship which at times is being taken for granted by both sides, on an internationally-accepted level by entering into a treaty which covers all aspects of our relationship. more..

‘I’ve lost all hope that I can have a life here’

Oct 7 (CK) Brami has rushed from work to meet me. She arrives on her bike and tells me she must be home soon to care for her three children. We sit down to talk in a small office in a village in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, beneath the unforgiving glare of a bare light bulb. Very soon it is dark outside. Brami, who is 36 but looks much younger, is quiet and well-dressed, and smiles frequently as we talk. Although she seems a little nervous, more..