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Wither Rs 4.2 B Tea Fund? Funds up to now spent only on National Cricket team!

July 30 (CT) Tea exporters are up in arms at the manner in which the govt was using the proceeds of the Tea Fund which amounted to a whopping Rs 4.2 billion or more, instead of using same for the global promotion of tea, thanks to bureaucratic bungling! "This is a ludicrous situation where the govt has collected over Rs 4.2 billion, but is vacillating on the promotional aspects globally, the only expenditure hitherto incurred being the more..

Japan positive on FTA, wants economic regime strengthened

July 30 (Island) As Sri Lanka-Japan bilateral trade jumped $890 Mn and edged to $ 900 Mn mark, a keen Japan signalled towards a Lanka-Japan FTA for the first time-albeit with a qualifier. "In terms of country risk and future potential, I believe Sri Lanka is quite promising. We consider that FTA and EPAs as very useful means to promote trade. Mere conclusion of FTAs alone is not sufficient for better trade however. What is important is to develop a very robust foundation here" more..

A preliminary comment on NMSJ's road map

July 30 (GV) There was a remarkable image in the news recently. It was from the meeting of the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera’s National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) at which a ‘road map’ for the abolition of the executive presidency was launched on 24th July 2014. Seated on the front row were Ranil Wickramasinghe, Chandrika Kumaratunga, R Sampanthan, Sarath Fonseka, Shirani Bandaranayake and Sunil Handunetti. To the extent these individuals represent the more..

The nightmare that ‘Black July’ conjures up

July 30 (Hindu) The date was 25 July, 1983. Antony* reached Luckyland biscuit factory, at Kundasale, a suburb in Kandy, his place of work for 10 years, in the morning as usual. On that fateful day, his manager warned him. “They can come to get you any moment. You must leave now.” Only two days earlier, an ambush by the LTTE claimed the lives of 13 Sri Lankan soldiers in Jaffna. The incident sparked riots across Sri Lanka, more..

Brandix factories bag 'Plan A' 'Eco Factory Attribute' by M&S

July 30 (CT) Two manufacturing facilities of Brandix Apparel Solutions - Lingerie Cluster in Nittambuwa have been awarded Eco Factory Attributes by the global retail giant Marks & Spencer (M&S) in recognition of achievements in reducing their environmental footprint. The two factories have reduced energy and water consumption by 30% and 15% respectively and are recycling or reusing 100% of their solid waste, enabling them to score 91 points out of 100 at the M&S Eco Factory Audit. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom introduces a cordless phone that is value for money

July 30 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom constantly launches competitive telecommunication services to address today's busy life styles. Now SLT provides a valuable opportunity to obtain a cordless phone at an affordable price to make everyday life much more convenient. With the dramatic increase of the complexity of life today, better time management and information sharing are key requirements of customers. SLT's newly introduced cordless phone not only addresses such needs, but more..

'Most cases of missing persons relate to LTTE abductions'

July 30 (CT) Maxwell Paranagama is a retired High Court Judge, an ex-Magistrate, District Court Judge, Ombudsman, Head of LLRC, and Chairman of VAT Commission. He is now Chairman of the Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons. Paranagama says the report on missing persons will not close until a proper investigation is completed, and a final result, known. more..

Miracle fat-buster could be cash crop but the devil is in the detail

July 30 (ST) Western dieting and fitness fads have focused on the humble goraka (Garcinia), triggering a shortage in local markets as foreign buyers snap up supplies to make slimming and cholesterol-lowering products. As a result, a kilo of processed (dried) goraka now sells for Rs. 1,200 and the govt is trying to ramp up cultivation so that it can become a new ayurvedic cash crop, moving from its local base as a food preservative and spice. Previous price of Goraka was around Rs 600 more..

Has the Opposition in Parliament sidelined Karu?

July 30 (CT) When the Strategic Development Projects Act No.14 of 2008 was presented in Parliament by the govt, some months ago, to provide passage for casinos, the UNP-led Opposition opposed it. Some coalition partners in the govt absented themselves while a few others abstained from voting. UNP LC Chairman, Karu Jayasuriya, presented a Bill in Parliament last Wednesday, at the commencement of public business in the House, more..

Dr. Subramanian Swamy drubbed TNA and Northern Province Chief Minister Childish

July 30 (AT) Mr. Sunimal Fernando, Chairman of the Bandaranayake Centre For International Studies, said that they have invited the Chairman of BJP’s Committee on Strategic Action, who was the former union minister Dr. Subramanian Swamy, and BJP members - namely Dr Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Dr. Chari Ramanujan, Dr. Swapan Dasgupta and Prof. Madhav Nalapat for a public panel discussion. more..

Kalama Sutta and Vinnus

July 30 (Island) Though I would not have written this article at present if not for the dialogue between Prof. Carlo Fonseka and Mr. Rohana Wasala, I would not be inclined to get involved in a discourse between the two learned gentlemen who believe in a so called scientific method and most probably an objective reality. I am not an acquaintance of Mr. Wasala and I know him only by name, and perhaps the converse is also true. However, Prof. Fonseka knows me and according to him more..

Corruption: Minority perspective

July 30 (CT) Corruption is the abuse of power by the holder of it for personal gain. As the month of July marks one of the darkest and ugliest events in the history of Sri Lanka, the carnage which took place demands us to look at July 1983 and issues beyond from the view point of corruption, or at large from a view point of governance in this country. At the outset, the incidents, though violent in nature, also falls within the parameter of corruption. When armed mobs swept across the country looking for more..

Professionalism to empower passenger transport drivers

July 30 (NS) The Department of Motor Traffic (DMT) has initiated moves to implement an official endorsement for drivers involved in passenger transport service. DMT Commissioner General, S.H. Harischandra in an interview with The Nation stated that the move was initiated as part of a process to develop the standard of local drivers. He also briefed on the introduction of new road signs Following are the excerpts: more..

The Advisory Council of Experts: A council, a council, my kingdom for a council?

July 30 (GV) Some observations are in order on the President’s appointment of an international panel of experts to advise the Commission on Disappearances. The Commission comprising Maxwell Paranagama, Mesdames Ramanathan and Vidyaratne were appointed to look into disappearances. They have held public hearings throughout the north and east and received over 19,000 complaints. They are supposed to hand in a report by 12 Aug 2014 – at the same time, more..

Editorial: Cops seeking justice

July 30 (Island) A young Buddhist monk engaged in a recent undergrads’ protest in Colombo was heard, on television, telling the riot police that the guardians of the law who unflinchingly committed excesses to please politicians were as helpless as university students vis-à-vis rights violations by the powers that be. One may not approve of Buddhist monks’ participation in unruly protests, but what that Bhikku said was true. Police personnel who have the courage to refuse to grovel before more..

Uva province progress at a pace

July 30 (SO) The Uva province, primarily an agricultural and plantation region, with many places of historical and architectural value, places of religious importance, several picturesque waterfalls, beautiful landscape, and diverse climates was lagging behind, for many decades since Independence, in relation to economic and social standards but has now recorded a marked progress in all development spheres thanks to UPFA more..

An appreciation of Professor Ranjith Amarasinghe

July 30 (CT) I was sad to hear the passing away of Professor (Emeritus) Ranjith Amarasinghe, University of Peradeniya, a teacher and a friend, on Sunday the 27th. This sadness is shared by many of our friends and former colleagues who informed me of the sorrowful demise by email, Professors Gamini Samaranayake and Kalinga Tudor Silva in particular. Ranjith was ill only for a short while and then suddenly vanished from our presence. Even I was not aware of his illness. more..

Clarifications on the demographic perspective of Tamils in Sri Lanka

July 30 (CT) As speaker of the popular talk titled “Future of Tamils: A demographic perspective” I am thankful to Dr. Krishna Kalaichelvan for translating the media report and discussing under the title “Understanding the Demographic Decline of Tamils in Sri Lanka”. I however, wish to clarify the following: 1. The media report published in GTN website and other media was prepared by a media personnel who attended my talk in Jaffna University on 26/06/14. more..

Jayalalithaa Writes to PM Modi for Immediate Release of Indian Fishermen

July 29 (PTI) A few hours after SL Navy arrested 50 fishermen from TN, CM Jayalalithaa today wrote to PM Narendra Modi, seeking immediate release of total 93 fishermen and 62 boats, presently in the custody of the neighbouring nation. In her letter to Mr Modi, she referred to Sri Lanka's "deliberate and callous" design in not releasing the 55 boats and fishing gear which were impounded from TN fishermen apprehended earlier. more..

Constitution amendment bill from Sarath N Silva

July 29 (SM) Currently former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva and several other legal veterans are enthusiastically engaged in bringing in a new constitutional amendment. President Rajapaksa has thus advised Sarath Nanda Silva to formulate an appropriate constitution amendment bill due to the objections raised by the opposition and certain parties of the govt regarding the presidential system. It is said that draft proposal formulate by National Movement For a Just Society of more..

Of modern kings & henchmen (or peons?)

July 29 (LT) A large amount of data regarding the council of advisers to the President was revealed when Minister Dinesh Gunawardene responded to a question posed in Parliament by JVP MP Anura Dissanayaka. Mr. Dissanayaka had asked the question on three occasions and the Speaker too had found fault with the ruling party for not responding to the question. The approved number of advisers for the President is 25 and already 23 have been appointed. more..

UNP wants an audit on seized heroin

July 29 (CG) The UNP today demanded an audit on the heroin seized by the police in recent times following suspicion some of it was going back into the market. UNP MP Ajith Perera, speaking to reporters today, questioned where the heroin seized over the past few weeks is being kept. Perera said that there seems to be a discrepancy on the weight of the heroin seized and the actual heroin produced before court. more..

Video: Anura Kumara’s driver arrested

July 29 (AD) The driver of JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka has been arrested in connection with yesterday’s accident at Ratnapura. The driver was taken into custody on charges of reckless driving. JVP leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake was admitted to the Ratnapura Hospital with minor injuries an accident at Kiriella yesterday morning. Dissanayake’s vehicle had reportedly collided with a tipper truck transporting sand on the Ratnapura-Horana road at around 10.30am. more..

Biometric cards for Lankan refugees

July 29 (CG) TN State govt in India has decided to issue biometric cards to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in camps to eliminate any scope for irregularities in disbursal of cash dole. Revenue inspectors at present visit the camps to make the payment and there is some scope for impersonation, say officials concerned. As the revenue inspectors at times have to make the payment to other inmates of camps when refugees concerned are not present during their visit, more..

Ranil wants mustard seeds from a govt. henchman who didn’t earn illegal money

July 29 (AM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe challenged the people of Sri Lanka to bring a handful of mustard seeds from a govt henchman who did not earn money illegally from govt contracts. Addressing a public meeting in Laggala, Opposition Leader added that bribery and corruption has now become the trademark of the present govt. Criticizing the road development projects conducted by the govt, more..

Anura Kumara Dissanayake discharged from hospital

July 29 (AM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake has been discharged from Colombo National Hospital, where he has been receiving treatment after a road accident. He met with an accident in Rathnapura and was admitted to Rathnapura Hospital, and was later transferred to Colombo. A short while ago, he announced that he had been discharged through his Twitter handle. "I've been discharged from hospital. Thanks for all who were concerned re my condition" more..

President hands over Buddhist relics to temples in US and Korea

July 29 (GDI) Sri Lanka has donated sacred Buddha relics to be placed in temples in the United States and Korea for the Buddhists in those countries to worship. President Rajapaksa handed over the caskets of sacred Buddha relics to the delegations of the Missouri Buddhist Center in the US and Sokvansa Buddhist Center in South Korea last evening at the Temple Trees. The religious event has been organized under the patronage of Chief Incumbent of Missouri Buddhist Center more..

Vaiko urges govt not to participate in Sri Lanka’s defence conference

July 29 (PTI) MDMK, an ally of BJP in Tamil Nadu, on Tuesday urged the Union government to not participate in a defence conference to be hosted by Sri Lanka next month. “It is shocking to learn that an Indian delegation, comprising senior military personnel, officials and BJP leaders, including Subramanian Swamy, will be participating in a defence conference being organized by Sri Lanka,” MDMK general secretary Vaiko said. more..

Sri Lankan workers among unpaid Qatar WC builders

July 29 (PTI) Workers from Nepal, Sri Lanka and India who moved to Qatar to build luxury offices for the 2022 World Cup organizers have reportedly not been paid 13 months' wages. However, the organizers of 2022 World Cup said in a statement that they were heavily "dismayed" to learn of the behavior of Lee Trading with regard to the timely payment of its workers. Migrant laborers make up the bulk of the workforce but revealed that they have few rights and some workers had been left more..

Sri Lankans arrested while trying to illegally enter Texas

July 29 (AM) A group containing nationals from Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka who were trying to cross the Mexico-Texas border have been caught by the Texas border patrol according to the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC). A spokesman from the NBPC told international media that “One group of our agents apprehended individuals from Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka”. According to the border patrol the group crossed into the Rio Grande Valley sector from Tamaulipas, Mexico. more..

US report notes BBS and State nexus

July 29 (CG) A US Govt report released today said that local media in Sri Lanka and NGOs have noted strong linkages between the BBS and the govt. The International Religious Freedom Report for 2013 noted in its Executive Summary that the BBS continued to promote its anti-Muslim campaign, which was linked to violent activities last year. The report released at the US State Department by US Secretary of State more..

TNA undecided on Presidential polls

July 29 (CG) The TNA has said it is yet to decide on who it will back at the next Presidential elections and if that candidate will be a common candidate. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran was quoted in the Uthayan website this evening as saying discussions have taken place among members of the TNA on who the party should support at the Presidential polls. However Premachandran has said that the party is yet to decide on a candidate for President at the next polls. more..

Sharp drop in maternal deaths in North

July 29 (DN) Maternal deaths during the pregnancy period or due to post-natal complications have drastically reduced in the Northern Province over the last few years. This was revealed at the National Maternal Death reviews conducted for 2013 in Jaffna and Vavuniya recently. Sri Lanka reports a low maternal mortality ratio of 37.7 per 100,000 live births the best in South-East Asia. There were only five maternal deaths reported in the entire Northern Province in 2013. more..

Video: NFF to contest Uva polls on its own

July 29 (AD) The NFF led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa, has decided to contest the Uva PC elections independently. He said that differences of opinion on some issues with the ruling UPFA led to the NFF deciding to contest the polls independently. Weerawansa said that the Govt has taken some decisions unilaterally without consulting the other members of the alliance. Among those decisions, Weerawansa said, was the more..

SLBFE – British Council join hands to teach migrant workers English

July 29 (DN) Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment in partnership with the British Council has launched a training program for outbound migrant workers to improve their proficiency in the English language, with a focus largely on speaking practice. British Council which would formulate and carry our the study program with the involvement of its expert instructors, would also offer an internationally accredited qualification for those who complete the program successfully, more..

Derana Dream Star performs at JVP-backed event

July 29 (AM) M.G. Dhanushka, the singer from Embilipitiya who emerged as the Derana Dream Star a few weeks ago, performed at an event organized by the Socialist Youth Wing, affiliated with the JVP. In a context where a large number of artistes have openly aligned themselves with the UPFA govt, Dhanushka's move to perform at the JVP backed event has drawn the attention of many, as a radical decision. Along with Dhanushka, several other artistes too participated in ‘Brotherhood Day’ more..