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Sri Lanka ranked 55th in Global Gender Gap report

Oct 26 (DM) Sri Lanka is ranked 55th among 136 countries across the world in terms of gender gap, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2013 released by the World Economic Forum. “Sri Lanka significantly worsened from its 2012 position of 39th place. From this region, Sri Lanka dropped furthest, widening its gender gap on the Political Empowerment subindex and falling 8 places to 30th. Sri Lanka falls 16 spots, more..

Ministry of Health launches SRP through free health camps

Oct 26 (DM) The Health Education Bureau (HEB) in collaboration with the Colombo National Hospital (CNH) conducted a two-day Free Health Camp (FHC) under its Social Responsibility Programme (SRP) for the employees of the Wijeya Newspapers Ltd (WNL) last Monday and Tuesday at its Hunupitiya Cross Road premises. Nearly 900 WNL employees were tested, diagnosed and medical advice was given by doctors, medical specialists, eye specialists and physiotherapists to more..

Policy makers challenged by ageing population

Oct 26 (DM) Unlike in the 19th century the biggest demographic scare of this age is not the increasing population and the decreasing food resources. Although scarcity of food resources continues to remain a threat, the boom of the ageing population seemed to have gripped the policy makers, demographers and sociologists with concern as the life expectancy rates are increasing while the birth rates are falling not only in “rich’ countries but also in emerging countries. more..

Hakeem sees external hand

Oct 26 (CG) Justice Minister and SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem says “external forces” are attempting to give the wrong impression about Islam using the Halal issue. The Minister said that these groups are now trying to drag the country towards instability. He said that the wrong impression has been given about Halal and what is needed is dialogue on the issue. “Instead of having dialogue these groups are trying to create problems,” more..

Crown on the head, begging bowl in the hand

Oct 26 (DM) For more than four years after the end of the war top government leaders, the Finance Ministry Secretary the Central Bank Chief and others have been giving economic figures and projections suggesting that Sri Lanka’s growth rates, per capita income, inflation rates and other figures were good and improving to pave the way to make Sri Lanka the hub or miracle of Asia. Independent economic analysts and opposition critics have been challenging those figures pointing out that more..

Scientists warn of time bomb

Oct 26 (Island) Former Director General of Agriculture Dr. Sarath Amarasiri addressing a seminar, claimed that many reservoirs in the North Central Province had very high levels of phosphorous which could cause algal blooms. The seminar attended by scientists and administrators was held at the Department of Agriculture recently. He said that according to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) Nachchaduwa Wewa, Tissawewa, Nuwara Wewa, more..

The resplendent isle

Oct 26 (Independent) When the great architect Geoffrey Bawa made his garden at Lunuganga, he described it as "a garden made in a garden", the larger garden being the landscape of Sri Lanka. The island is about the size of Ireland, but with four times the population. It contains a huge variety of landscape, from the mountains of the centre – several of whose peaks are well over 2,000 metres – to the flat, coastal plains. more..

Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu to speak at York University

Oct 26 (LR) York University Centre for Human Rights is hosting ‘What’s Next for Sri Lanka?’, a discussion presented by The Mosaic Institute, on October 28. “The discussion is timely, as Sri Lanka prepares to host the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in its capital Colombo,” says Prof. Jennifer Hyndman in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and the director of ORU-Centre for Refugee Studies, who will moderate the session. more..

Probation Officers and NCPA clash over probes

Oct 26 (Island) The All Ceylon Probation Officers’ Association (ACPOASL) staged a three-hour protest against the investigations being carried out against one of its members from Nuwara Eliya by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) on Thursday. Secretary of the ACPOASL, K.K. Keerthirathne alleged that the NCPA was meddling in the affairs which were under the Probation and Child Care Department. Vehemently protesting against the action taken by the NCPA Chief more..

Three local coaches in SLC's shortlist

Oct 26 (CI) Three local coaches are in contention to become the next national coach as the board cut the field of applicants down to five candidates, Sri Lanka Cricket has said. Each of the shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in the coming weeks by the committee appointed to nominate the head coach, and their decision will then be put forward to the executive committee for ratification. "A report compiled by the more..

Confuse, frighten, divide and rule

Oct 26 (CT) In Ulla, Pottuvil, fishermen are protesting against a government plan to construct a multi-storey tourist-facility in a land traditionally used for fisheries purposes. In Batakettara, Piliyandala, poisonous gases emanating from a soap-powder manufacturing factory have caused havoc. 72 people were hospitalised with breathing difficulties; animals and vegetations are sickening; and villagers cannot use well-water. water-issue in Weliweriya and the carcinogenic-fume issue more..

First Sri Lankan envoy here

Oct 26 (SSN) SRI Lanka’s first High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe has presented his Letters of Credence to the Governor General Sir Frank Kabui at Govt House, Thursday. Solomon Islands and Sri Lanka established diplomatic relations in September this year and the presentation of credentials by High Commissioner Samarasinghe signifies the beginning of the friendship between the two countries. Welcoming the Sri Lankan diplomat, more..

SLC makes key operational decisions

Oct 26 (FT) Sri Lanka Cricket at its Executive Committee meeting on Thursday took far reaching decisions on several important aspects. SLC said the Executive Committee decided to enhance the salaries of the Sri Lankan National Coaching Department staff that have performed and worked tirelessly throughout the year at the national training centre to develop the current and future national players of Sri Lanka Cricket. more..

Polish currency smuggler nabbed

Oct 26 (Island) An attempt to smuggle out 200,000 Saudi Riyal (seven million rupees) to Singapore by a 53-year-old Polish national was thwarted by security personnel at BIA in the early hours of yesterday. Customs Media spokesman Leslie Gamini said, the smuggler, who had been to the country five times, had hidden the currency inside a false bottom of his travelling bag. Security officers at the departure lounge, after making the detection had handed him over to the Customs for investigation, more..

Govt. rattled by secret talks

Oct 26 (CT) The intelligence apparatus has informed the govt that a group of powerful SLFP ministers have held a series of talks with several members of Pradeshiya Sabhas recently. Though the exact purpose of such meetings are not known to the govt, SLFP high-level sources said the ministers involved in the talks will be queried soon to find out the reason behind such meetings. The same source revealed that if such meetings are held in future, without Party approval, disciplinary more..

Chemical leak causes panic in Piliyandala

Oct 26 (DM) “It was about 2.45 a.m. when I stepped out of the house hoping to reason with my neighbours whom I thought were making a racket... but the minute I stepped outside, it felt so alien; I could not see anything around me, everything was covered in thick, white fog that smelt foul. Seconds later, I heard some of the neighbours yelling at the top of their voices, asking me to bring my son outside and that we were in danger,” more..

Police launch building project

Oct 26 (Island) An inordinate delay in effecting repairs to police stations, police offices, bachelors quarters as well as putting up new buildings and providing infrastructure facilities, was observed during the 30-year war against terrorism. With a view to remedying the situation, IGP N. K. Illangakoon has taken step to launch building projects in 2013 and 2014. Accordingly, 171 buildings for junior grade police officers have been constructed at a cost of 750 millions rupees. more..

Great Getaways : Sri Lankan splendour

Oct 26 (KT) ONE OF THE huge advantages espoused by UAE residents is the country’s proximity to a multitude of different cultures and nations. Merely four hours on a plane will get you as far afield as Turkey, Kazakhstan, India or Ethiopia – the variety is catnip to adventurers and is one of the reasons the airports are packed tighter than a mountaineer’s kitbag come any public holiday. While the emirates has plenty to offer tourists itself, it is symptomatic of this propinquity more..

'India's participation in CHOGM will attract investments'

Oct 26 (OL) Amid opposition by TN parties over India's participation in the CHOGM in Sri Lanka next month, a Union Minister today said the country's presence in the meet would bring in foreign investments. "Even today, I am saying that with India's participation we can bring investments from other countries. Through CHOGM, we need to bring investments from other countries to India and also to the Northern province of more..

UNP takes U-turn on CHOGM

Oct 26 (CG) The UNP has decided to reverse its earlier decision to completely boycott the CHOGM next month. UNP MP Daya Gamage said that the party will attend the opening ceremony of the summit as the party felt a completely boycott will not serve any purpose at this time. He said that while the UNP had earlier threatened to boycott the summit if UNP MP Managala Samaraweera was imprisoned over the Matara clashes, the party had felt that with Samaraweera freed more..

Lankan dilemma for PM

Oct 26 (TI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will this coming week decide whether to undertake one last major foreign trip before his second term ends — and his decision will either deeply wound ties with key partner Colombo, or deliver a message to Calcutta and Chennai. Key sections of the UPA govt are nudging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to travel to Sri Lanka for a Commonwealth meet in November despite a Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution demanding a boycott over more..

Gemunu threatens to boycott

Oct 26 (Island) Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne said that the Cabinet Sub Committee had officially notified the LPBOA to participate in a discussion to revise bus fares. But, if any other trade union were to attend the discussion, the LPBOA would boycott it. He pointed out that LPBOA would accept the seven per cent bus fare revision from Nov 1. Otherwise more than 20,000 private more..

NPC ready to exercise police, land powers

Oct 26 (Island) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran told the inaugural meeting of the recently elected Council that he was ready to exercise police and land powers granted to the PCs by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The NPC began its session in a building at Kaithady in Jaffna after a grand ceremony conducted in accordance with Hindu cultural rituals. After the election of the Chairman and the Vice Chairman, Mr. Wigneswaran, a retired SC Justice, more..

Sri Lankan govt prepares for Commonwealth summit

Oct 26 (wsws) Attempting to boost its image on the world stage, the Sri Lankan govt is carrying out a major propaganda blitz ahead of its hosting of the Nov 15–17 CHOGM. Asked about the total cost of the summit, Minister G.L. Peiris told the press: “Don’t ask what we will spend on the summit. This expenditure must be viewed as an investment to generate more inflows.” After the CHOGM meeting, Sri Lankan President Rajapakse becomes Commonwealth chairman for next two years. more..

Genocide replaces separatism in Tamil diaspora vocabulary

Oct 26 (IPS) Sri Lankan Tamil hopes for a separate state – Tamil Eelam – in the north and east of the island were dashed when the LTTE were summarily defeated in May 2009 by govt forces. Allegations of war crimes during the final months of the Sri Lankan Civil War have offered an agenda to a diaspora groups struggling to find their place in a post-separatist political scene. But for a diaspora that was largely responsible for financing more..

CHOGM will inspire Commonwealth leaders

Oct 27 (SO) Sri Lanka's second highway - the Airport Expressway will be opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa today, marking a new chapter in Sri Lanka's chequered history. The new highway which connects Colombo to the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake, will be a boon to every sector as it would reduce the travel time to a mere 20 minutes. Unprecedented development with many mega projects are now under way - unheard of in Sri Lanka's history. more..

Political thugs shouldn’t be tolerated

Oct 27 (SL) The outstanding example of the breakdown of law and order in the country last week was the tragicomedy of the assault of a principal of a well-known school in Colombo’s suburbs by some representatives of the alumni of the school. Tragic it was because it flouted the age old tradition of the country of worshipping teachers rather than assaulting them. Comic it was because it revealed the quality of education that had been imparted to them in their beloved school more..

'Pro-LTTE diaspora influences Canadian leaders'

Oct 27 (SO) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said there is no rationality in Canada's decision to boycott the CHOGM. When the former Canadian PM, Brian Mulroney has criticised the decision, it shows that this is a biased decision. This decision has been taken due to undue influence exerted on the Canadian govt. This is what we have been reiterating - that the pro-LTTE diaspora in Canada is influencing Canadian leaders to more..

Casino imbroglio: The reality behind the rhetoric

Oct 27 (Island) The casino issue has dominated political discussion in recent days. In order to look at this matter rationally, we need to examine the history of the gambling and gaming industry in Sri Lanka and the way things have arrived at the present impasse. The first piece of legislation in this country in relation to gaming was the Lotteries Suppression Ordinance No:8 of 1844. Even though this was described as an ordinance to ‘suppress’ lotteries, its real purpose was to regulate lotteries. more..

On the back foot?

Oct 27 (Island) The govt is clearly on the back foot regarding the controversial casino issue and the decision to review the ill-fated gazette notifications which it had expected to steamroll through parliament last week is clearly the result of three members of the ruling coalition taking a hard line against making this country a casino hub. Neither the JHU, the SLMC nor Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s NFF have the numbers to rock the govt boat in parliament. more..

'New CHOGM Chair will tackle grievances of African member nations'

Oct 27 (SO) With only three weeks more for the CHOGM, Deputy Minister Neomal Perera was working on a tight schedule, holding discussions with ministry officials on seating arrangements for the Heads of State, protocol and other related matters but spared time for a short interview. He said that all arrangements for hosting the summit are in place and expressed optimism that the summit will be an outstanding success. more..

The celluloid politics of Tamil Nadu

Oct 27 (ST) In all likelihood, the Indian Prime Minister is now unlikely to attend next month’s CHOGM in Sri Lanka. It is clear that he has had to yield to domestic political compulsions, but it might not be a case of performing Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark, really. So much then for Sri Lanka’s India policy and vice versa. That the Tamil Nadu State Assembly every once in a way passes resolutions loaded with hyperbole is a known fact. This week the TN Assembly asked more..

Man up Manmohan!

Oct 27 (ST) My Dear Manmohan, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you were still to decide whether or not you would be attending the Commonwealth Summit in our country next month. Frankly, I am a bit amused by all this fuss-I didn’t know you were such an important person. Let’s be honest, Manmohan, it is not as if you were jumping up and down in joy at the prospect of dropping in at Colombo for a few days to have a powwow with other world leaders: you were always trying more..

'Political hand in long arm of law'

Oct 27 (SL) UNP MP John Amaratunge states that in order to restore the deteriorating law and order in the country, first of all an independent police commission must be established and completely void of political influence. Secondly, he says that the judiciary must also be made independent, while there should be no interference by the authorities in the judicial system. Even in the public service, he believes that more..

Country heads into heady CHOGM days

Oct 27 (NS) Sri Lanka is heading into the last week before the CHOGM 2013, which Colombo is hosting. The run-up to CHOGM has been fraught with barbs from the usual voices in the anti-Sri Lanka chorus. The attendant wailing and calls for boycott began the moment Sri Lanka was ‘awarded’ CHOGM 2013 and followed similar whines when Colombo was considered as host city. Barbs notwithstanding, CHOGM will take place, whether or not Manmohan Singh attends due to pressure from more..

Live footage to check misbehaving politicos

Oct 27 (NS) Some important events took place last week during parliamentary sittings. The govt presented its appropriation bill for the budget 2014 on Tuesday. The bill detailing the govt’s expenditure plan for next financial year was presented by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva on Tuesday. The annual appropriation bill is more than a mere financial bill. It reflects the exercise of power and the govt’s priorities. It is the centrepiece of the govt’s fiscal strategy. more..

'Rs 3.2 b debt is not its concern'

Oct 27 (ST) Sri Lankan Cricket claims that the whopping Rs.3.2 billion that it owes the govt is not its concern. SLC treasurer Nuski Mohammed said that when the three stadiums for the 2011 Cricket World Cup were built there was some sort of Govt assurance that it would take care of it and it is not our concern. He said the main cause of their financial predicaments had come forth as a result of this massive debt burden; more..

Voyeurism Unlimited

Oct 27 (NS) If anyone has walked with eyes wide open around Bunker Hill, which is the business heart of Los Angeles, even as way back as the early nineties, the level of surveillance would have shocked. It is one of the most unfriendly places in the United States, according to those who study the politics of space. That was then. Today, two decades later, with technological advancement, it is likely that few, even among the keen eyed, would notice the surveillance devices. more..

Let’s get going, Mr Wickremesinghe

Oct 27 (SL) The regularity is quite shocking. Almost like a good, Swiss-made watch, the antics in the UNP provides for regular palpitations and hope. Regularly Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the UNP since November 1994, is asked to step down from his position in the interest of his party. With equal regularity Mr Wickremesinghe fends off those calls, usually with robust argument mainly centred around what he says is a lack of leadership material. The fact that as the Leader of a mainstream more..

Uproar over super-rich tax plan

Oct 27 (ST) A ‘super-rich tax’ proposal being considered for inclusion in next month’s budget has triggered a wave of concern and anxiety among those who would be affected. As concern grew, the govt began weighing the pros and cons towards finalising the tax threshold and modalities of levying this tax, official sources said. One issue faced is that the definition of super-rich is not clear. Some Treasury officials were of more..