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INGO’s to add pressure

Sept 18 (SL) INGO are to add pressure on Sri Lanka during the 27th regular session of the UNHRC which began in Geneva last week after the Govt refused to submit to the UN led investigation. Some INGOs have already submitted documents on Sri Lanka to be read on a day allocated for INGOs and human rights groups. Among the documents submitted is one by the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development more..

Classical evenings and bizzarre past

Sept 18 (DM) It was a very pleasant Friday evening. The Chamber Music Society of Colombo, a symphony orchestra was playing film music opposite the World Trade Centre twin towers. Conducted by Lakshman Joseph de Saram, the internationally-known film music composer, (Machan, Bel Ami, Ira Mediyama, Akasa Kusum) the orchestra played in the open air to a mixed audience of seated invitees, standing passers-by and people visiting the restaurants and shopping centres housed in more..

Ice bucket and green chilli challenges won’t ease suffering

Sept 18 (DM) Imagine a situation where President Mahinda Rajapksa has agreed to take an ice bucket bath or to eat ‘amumiris’ (green chillies) before TV cameras after accepting the challenges some have thrown at him as a part of a campaign to raise funds for the drought-stricken people in Sri Lanka’s dry zone. Also imagine a situation where a politician or a celebrity throws ice bucket or ‘amumiris’ challenges at a leading Buddhist monk or a bishop. This will not be a surprise when you look at more..

CEB asks consumers not to panic

Sept 18 (DM) CEB appealed to its nearly five million consumers not to panic when they receive the monthly electricity bill this month based on the previous tariff despite President Rajapaksa’s announcement of a 25% tariff reduction with immediate effect. CEB Chairman W.B. Ganegala said that CEB, Treasury and the Public Utilities Commission are already in the process of working out the tariff structure under the new system more..

BJP leaders attend Colombo conference

Sept 18 (CG) Even before the dust could settle down over Indian representation at the strategic conclave of Sri Lanka, two senior BJP leaders would be participating in a global conference of Asian political parties in Colombo. The saffron party’s National Secretary P Muralidhar Rao and its Overseas Affairs Global Convenor Vijay Jolly are attending the 8th General Assembly meeting of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) being held from Sept 18 to 21. more..

Docs threaten strike over Panadura hospital dispute

Sept 18 (Island) Around 159 doctors attached to the Panadura Base hospital and about 70 doctors at the Panadura Kethumathi Maternity hospital threaten to strike next week against the Deputy Director of the Kethumathi Maternity hospital for causing what they call unnecessary problems to doctors. Panadura Base Hospital GMOA Branch Union Secretary Dr. Chandana Dharmaratne accused Deputy Directress Dr. Mrs. Madubashni Karunaratne of favouritism. He said GMOA General Committee more..

'NPC members should act in a responsible manner when introducing resolutions'

Sept 18 (CT) TNA General Secretary and ITAK Leader, Mavai Senathirajah, has requested TNA Northern Provincial Councillors to act in a responsible manner when introducing resolutions. He said that certain NPC members behave in a manner, which could bring discredit to the Council. "Already we have been having a tug-of-war with the govt over the powers to be devolved to the NPC. Govt is making every effort to weaken NPC. more..

Senthil Thondaman run over by his driver

Sept 18 (CT) One person died and 20 others were injured – including former Uva PC Minister Senthil Thondaman - when the ex-minister's vehicle, driven by his driver, rammed into a crowd of supporters during an election rally in Bandarawela yesterday. Following the incident the driver had escaped, SSP Ajith Rohana said. "The jeep had collided with the crowd who were part of a propaganda rally in Bandarawela. Thondaman was run over by his own vehicle driven by his own driver. more..

Minor tremor in Moneragala

Sept 18 (DN) A minor earth tremor was reported in Moneragala yesterday, Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) Chairman Senarath Jayasundara said. The tremor had occurred at 5.08 a.m. and it was measured 2.1 on Richter Scale. It was detected by three GSMB Centres located in Pallekele, Hakmana and in Mahakandarawa to monitor tremors. He said the exact location of the tremor has been identified as Kulandawa which is situated 7km southeast of Moneragala. more..

Union questions credibility of EPF statistics released by CB

Sept 18 (Island) Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ & GSEU) criticised the Central Bank (CB) for issuing unaudited, unofficial statistics about the Employees’ Provident Fund’s (EPF) investments. The CB has recently said that the trillion-rupee EPF equity portfolio reported an unrealised profit of Rs. 10 billion on 11 Sept 2014 with realised capital gains and dividends amounting to Rs. 3.4 billion. more..

Be fair and independent: TISL appeals to govt officials

Sept 18 (FT) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has appealed to public officials to support the Elections Commissioner to hold a free and fair election in the Uva Province by being independent and accountable while on election duty. Meanwhile, TISL also appealed to candidates and political parties in the fray to treat election laws with the highest respect without using public property and violating laws thereby enabling public officials to perform their duties independently. more..

PC sues OIC, ASP for damages

Sept 18 (Island) Police Constable, Sumith Kumarawansa, who was interdicted on July 23, following a TV channel telecasting a news clip showing him and constable Gammanpila doing labourer’s work at the Borella Police station on July 22, has sent three notices of action to Attorney General, ASP Roshan Dias and Acting OIC of the station Chief Inspector Sarath Premachandra on August 12, prior to instituting civil action. In his notice of action he has informed AG that more..

Balance of Payments surplus tops $ 2 b

Sept 18 (FT) Central Bank said that Balance of Payments (BOP) surplus in the first seven months is estimated to be $ 2.015 billion as against a deficit of $ 180 million a year earlier. Estimate was disclosed in the release of July external trade data. “Improved BOP position strengthened international reserves and stabilized the exchange rate further,” CB added. At end July 2014, SL’s gross official reserves amounted to $ 9 billion, more..

Anagarika Dharmapala, greatest Lankan of the last century - President

Sept 18 (DN) The late Anagarika Dharmapala is the greatest son produced by Sri Lanka during the last century, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said addressing an event to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Anagarika Dharmapala at Independence Square yesterday. “He firmly believed that the nation’s freedom lay in alleviating the deficiencies of the majority community. He pursued this cause fearlessly and with zealous commitment” President Rajapaksa said. more..

Court gives NIA custody of suspected ISI agent

Sept 18 (TOI) A special court on Wednesday granted six days custody of suspected ISI agent Arun Selvarajan to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The judge, however, dismissed a petition by CBI to include it as a party in the investigation. Judge said CBI should approach the CBI special court to seek custody of Selvarajan, as this court is exclusively for NIA cases. Selvarajan was produced before the judge on Wednesday and NIA officials whisked him away as soon as judge Moni more..

Scott Morrison ends secrecy surrounding Operation Sovereign Borders

Sept 18 (TA) Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has lifted the veil of secrecy around Operation Sovereign Borders, revealing a dozen boatloads of asylum seekers have been turned back to Indonesia in the past year, including four in orange lifeboats. On the first anniversary of Operation Sovereign Borders, Mr Morrison claimed the turnback operations had delivered “the critical blow” to the maritime people-smuggling trade more..

BJP has done nothing for Tamil fishermen, says Narayanasamy

Sept 18 (Hindu) The BJP govt at the Centre has done nothing in the interest of Tamil fishermen, said V.Narayanasamy, Congress leader and former Union Minister of State. Speaking to reporters after having a dharshan, Mr. Narayanasamy said the BJP adopted double standards in dealing with Tamil Nadu fishermen issue vis-à-vis Sri Lanka. Referring to the performance of the BJP in by-elections Mr. Narayanasamy said “the illusion of Modi wave started to clear”. more..

Citi delighted with success of NSB’s $ 250 m Bond Issue

Sept 18 (FT) Citi has expressed its delight over the recent success of the National Savings Bank’s (NSB) US$ 250 million Bond Issurance. Citi acted as Joint Book runner and Joint Lead Manager for this transaction that represented the lowest yield outside of the sovereign itself. NSB raised $ 250 million from the international debt market via a five-year bond. NSB is a policy bank wholly-owned by the Govt of Sri Lanka. The transaction had over $ 2 billion in orders, underlining the strength of more..

'Don’t transfer ownership of vital public ventures to foreigners'

Sept 18 (Island) Transferring the ownership of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant to foreigners could even pave the way for a regime change in the country, Minister Champika Ranawaka claimed last Sunday. Addressing the ‘Energy Mafia and Future Energy Challenges of Sri Lanka’ discussion at the IFS, he said speculation was rife that the govt might hand over the Norochcholai coal power plant to China. more..

The Lankan gangster?

Sept 18 (KW) To the handful unlucky Pakistanis who dream of a very cordial rather brotherly relationship with India, the news of arrest of Arun Selvarajan, a Lankan national, would not be very much pleasing. The Indian media says this Lankan national is a spy working for Pakistan. Selvarajan was carrying two passports when he was arrested — Sri Lankan and Indian. The officials of National Investigation Agency of India in Chennai (NIA) officials told the Indian media that this man was arrested for more..

A ghost town that houses old myths

Sept 18 (NIE) About 620 km from Bangalore, on the southern tip of Pamban Island in Tamil Nadu, is a ghost town known as Dhanushkodi. The place, just 28 kilometres away from Sri Lanka, is famous for its mythological importance. It is said that Lord Rama and his vanara sena together with his brother Lakshmana, Hanuman and Ravana's brother Vibhishana, built a bridge using floating stones. This bridge helped them to reach Lanka to rescue Sita from Ravana. more..

Harin calls for united effort to protect ballot boxes

Sept 18 (FT) As campaigning ended for the Uva PC election last night, UNP chief ministerial hopeful Harin Fernando has called on all Opposition parties to band together and protect the ballot boxes on polling day. “We are on the cusp of a historic election. The Govt never thought the fight would come down to the wire. It is incumbent upon the Opposition to ensure that the franchise is protected until the results are out,” more..

BOC’s Rs. 8 b debenture issue oversubscribed

Sept 18 (FT) The Bank of Ceylon’s (BOC) first debenture issue for the year worth Rs. 8 billion was oversubscribed on its official opening day on Tuesday following an oversubscription. “The issue took place just as expected. With BOC having a strong position in the market, we were confident the debenture would be oversubscribed on the opening day itself,” BOC Senior Deputy General Manager International, Treasury and Investment P. A. Lionel told the Daily FT. more..

From welfare state to warfare state - A Response

Sept 18 (Island) I read two articles contributed by Dr. Usvatte-Aratchi to The Island newspaper under the above title. They are interesting, refreshing and provocative. They refreshed my memories of the days at Peradeniya 50 years back as an Economics student and what I did (perhaps what I did not) during my career as a public servant. Two points in his article caught my particular attention. One is that the Govt expenditure on Defence and public safety is excessive. more..

‘Get back to your prestigious position’, plantations urged

Sept 18 (Island) ‘The plantations of Sri Lanka should get back to their prestigious position when their contribution to the economy was 90 % of the country’s exports. Currently their performance was less than 5 % GDP, Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said. He was addressing the 160th annual general meeting of the Planters’ Association of Sri Lanka as chief guest at the Galadari recently. more..

SL karate team leaves for Kuala Lumpur

Sept 18 (Island) Shihan Muthukumarana, Branch Chief and Chief Instructor of NPO World Karate Organisation, is to leave for Malaysia today, Sept 18, to attend the 15th Asian Full Contact Karate Championship, to be held from Sept 20 at Titiwangsa Gymnasium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Fighters from 20 branches are taking part in this event. In addition to Asian countries, countries such as Australia, Iran and Mauritius are too participating. Championship will be conducted according to more..

Keeping it in the family

Sept 18 (AO) When Sunil Amarasuriya took over the reins of his storied family business 30 years ago, there was no grand ceremony or joyous celebration to mark the handover. Rather, the transition from the third generation to fourth generation of family members taking control of BP de Silva - an event that would normally deserve some form of merrymaking - was a tumultuous one. With the family then hit by bickering and too much debt, Mr Sunil assumed his position when the more..

Land grab in Wilpattu National Park

Sept 18 (NS) Environmental activists warn of alleged moves by Sri Lanka Navy to initiate a tourism project for which land has been acquired illegally from many areas including Panama and Ampara Wildlife officials last week denied allegations leveled against them by environmentalists that part of the Wilpattu National Park had been acquired by Navy as part of a move to establish a tourism zone in the region. more..

Footwear exports double

Sept 18 (CT) Footwear exports have doubled in 2014 with China emerging as the biggest market for Sri Lankan-made brands. Sri Lankan manufactured 'Footwear' exports have doubled during the year 2013, compared to what was exported in 2012, a new study has found, while the trend is expected to continue during the year 2014, as well, the study reveals. According to the study, which covers the periods of 2006 to 2013, Australia and Italy ranks as the main export markets for SL footwear. more..

Editorial: Santa sporting Saataka

Sept 18 (Island) Santa has arrived in Sri Lanka about three months ahead of Christmas with a noticeable change in his traditional attire; he is sporting saataka for a change. What a pleasant surprise! President Rajapaksa has reduced the prices of electricity and fuel. The commissioning of the Phase III of Norochcholai coal-fired power plant has made a reduction in power tariffs possible, we are told. The Chinese govt has promised that there will be no more ‘unusual’ breakdowns there. more..

'The UNP is my life and love'

Sept 18 (CT) Q: Let us begin with your childhood information. A: I am Imthiaz Bakeer Markar. I first studied at Holy Family Convent of Kalutara. Then I was educated from grade two to six at Holy Cross College, Kalutara. I studied grade 7 at Zahira College, Gampola. It was the only Muslim school that taught in Sinhala medium. Since Grade 8, I studied at Ananda College, Colombo. I still remember I first went to Holy Family Convent more..

Redefining the rules: Ten commandments!

Sept 18 (CT) With three days to go for the Uva PC elections and dubbed as a ‘measurement of the pulse of the people’ by all sides, I wonder if the outcome would make any difference, especially to whom it matters the most – the poor. Whilst the ominous signs are written all over the camps of the ruling types, in the event of an opposition victory, would it also set the balls rolling for a change of direction this country so badly seems to be in need of? more..

Whom should MR fear? US or China?

Sept 18 (CT) Way back in 1963, PM, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, was hailed by the China media as the 'Angel of Peace' when she carried with her a set proposals to prevent a possible Indo-China war. While in China she signed the maritime agreement. Her proposals to prevent an Indo-China war was severely criticized by the then Opposition UNP which claimed the proposals favoured China while it was unfair by India. Even the then Opposition stalwart of the MEP, Philip Gunawardena more..

Taking the Dhamma to the Dalits

Sept 18 (ST) As we commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of the Anagarika Dharmapala on Sept 17, following articles look at his pioneering work in South India and his mission to free Lankans from the colonial yoke. It is well known that in 1891, Anagarika Dharmapala initiated the first revival of Buddhism in India, the land of its birth where most of the people who were attracted to him belonged to the upper strata of society. more..

Complexities in fighting corruption

Sept 18 (CT) Environmentalists often use the simile that "touching flower petals are felt by the stars in the sky" narrating the complex web of cause and effect of our eco system. Our modern day multi-faceted organized living structures present the same complexities. So does the spread of the effects of corruption, which unfortunately has become an intrinsic part of this web. The inevitable reality is that fighting corruption and finding solutions are as complex and arduous as its root causes. more..

Review of Neville Jayaweera’s Jaffna

Sept 18 (GV) When I was asked by Marshell Fernando whether I would review the above, I readily agreed. Neville was several years senior to me in the Ceylon Civil Service and also served as Govt Agent (GA) Jaffna but 18 years before my turn. I know him well and have some familiarity with his career till he left the Island prematurely. Further, during his 03 months as GA Badulla, I was his deputy. He is widely regarded as one of the most distinguished of many eminent members of more..