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'Rajiv Gandhi sent troops to Sri Lanka without consulting Cabinet'

July 31 (TOI) Estranged Gandhi family loyalist Natwar Singh claimed former PM Rajiv Gandhi sent troops to Sri Lanka without consulting his Cabinet. The Sri Lankan ethnic issue was mishandled which resulted in the the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, he added. Natwar also claimed it was Rahul Gandhi's ultimatum to "do anything" that prevented Sonia from taking up the post of prime minister in 2004, contradicting the Congress more..

Australia asylum: 'Cover-up on child health', inquiry told

July 31 (BBC) A psychiatrist says the Australian govt sought to cover up the extent of mental health problems among children held in asylum detention. The comments came at a national human rights inquiry into the treatment of children in immigration detention. His claim came a day after church leaders accused Australia of holding children in "inhumane" conditions. The govt rejected that as "offensive". It says it is working to reduce the number of child detainees. more..

For a Trilingual Sri Lanka: First-ever conference on promoting bilingual education

July 31 (GDI) Bilingual Education Branch of the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education in partnership with British Council Sri Lanka recently organised the first-ever conference on promoting bilingual education to achieve a trilingual Sri Lanka. The programme was organised with a number of different objectives: To make different stakeholders aware of current practices in bilingual education at the local and global levels through research findings and other methods. more..

Chandimal, Mendis dropped for Pakistan Tests

July 31 (CI) Sri Lanka have left out wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal and spinner Ajantha Mendis from their 15-man squad for the Pakistan Tests starting next week. Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep returns to the squad after missing the recent South Africa Test series due to injury and youngster Niroshan Dickwella keeps his place as wicketkeeper after an impressive debut earlier this week. Thirimanne remains the vice-captain, more..

JHU urges Pillay to reveal stance on Palestine HR breach

July 31 (DM) The JHU said today that the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay should reveal her stance regarding the violation of international military law and international human rights in Palestine. “We ask Navi Pillay what her stance is on the genocide in Palestine. She should declare her stance to the world regarding that. But she seems to be silent when the international military law and international human rights were being violated in Palestine,” more..

Unconditional pardon for Rajarata university students

July 31 (AD) Academic activities at the Rajarata University, which was temporarily suspended due to student unrest, would recommence on August 4, Vice Chancellor Prof. Ranjith Wijewardena said. The suspension and studentship cancellations imposed upon 28 undergraduates will be unconditionally revoked too, according to the university administration. The Vice Chancellor said that parents of the students who involved in the recent unrest will be summoned to the university. more..

Petition against India's participation at defence conference in Sri Lanka

July 31 (TOI) Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Thursday sought a reply from the Central Govt on a petition filed against India's participation at a defence conference to be held in Sri Lanka in August. Advocate S M Anandamurugan filed the petition seeking an interim injunction restraining the Indian defence delegation from participating at the conference. India's abstention from the conference would safeguard the more..

Elections Commissioner bans Burqa

July 31 (AM) Elections Department has banned voters from covering their faces when coming to polling booths to cast their votes. The law will also apply to Muslim women who wear Burqas covering their faces.The decision has been made after certain political parties raised concerns saying burqas and niqabs, worn by Muslim women, make it difficult for officials to ascertain their identity. It is learnt that JHU has brought this matter to the attention of the Elections Commissioner, at a recent meeting more..

President declares open Premakirthi's road

July 31 (SM) President Rajapakse has declared opened the 'Premakeerthi de Alwis Mawatha', which lie between the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation in Colombo 7 this morning. The road has been named in parallel to the 25th death anniversary of award winning artist Premakeerthi de Alwis. His wife Nirmala de Alwis, his children, relatives, ministers, secretaries to the ministries, chairmans of various cooperations and artistes were also more..

Sri Lanka and Poland enter into a new Air Services Agreement

July 31 (GDI) A Sri Lankan delegation representing the Aeronautical authorities of Sri Lanka, led by Dr. Ravindra Ruberu, Secretary Ministry of Civil Aviation visited Warsaw to hold Bilateral Air Services negotiations with their counterparts in Poland on 14-15 July 2014, with a view to entering into a new Air Services Agreement. The delegation consisted of delegates from the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Poland, more..

People have not forgotten UNP's destructive policies - Minister

July 31 (DN) People have not forgotten the destruction caused by the UNP administration, which sold national assets of the country. The Opposition leader sold over 51 public enterprises to his friends during that time, said Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi. The minister was addressing an SLFP Women's wing seminar as its chairperson at the Beruwala municipal grounds recently. The SLFP Women's Organization under the patronage of Minister Rajitha Senaratne, organized more..

New move to ‘brainwash’ drivers

July 31 (AD) The Commissioner of the Department of Motor Traffic is preparing to utilize a special note on the drivers’ licenses for a special evaluation in the future for those engaged in driving passenger buses and vans. Commissioner General of Motor Traffic S.H. Harischandra said that this special evaluation would be provided by the department to those passenger vehicle drivers who attend the training programme by the department in the near future. more..

US embassy accused of being selective

July 31 (CG) The Govt has accused the US Embassy in Sri Lanka of being selective in its fundamental principles in Sri Lanka. In a statement the External Affairs Ministry also noted that that the US Embassy had expressed concerns about reports of intimidation of media personnel but had not shared specific details of such intimidation and harassment with the Govt in the spirit of constructive engagement, without making more..

Police tells court it is still investigating BBS members who stormed Rishad's ministry

July 31 (AM) The Kollupitiya police today informed court that they were still conducting investigations to ascertain the BBS members who trespassed into the building of Ministry of Industry and Commerce on April 23. Police told Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage that they were inspecting video footage obtained from media institutions. Further date fixed for September 11. Ironically, police have failed to identify suspects even after a lapse of three months period. more..

Outstanding Business Entrepreneur Award for NiluAnverally

July 31 (GDI) One of Sri Lanka's foremost entrepreneurs in the fashion retail space, Managing Director of Cotton Collection and Leather Collection Niloufer Anverally was fittingly crowned Outstanding Business Entrepreneur at the Genre of Excellence - Professional & Career Women Awards this week. Minister Basil Rajapaksa was Chief Guest at the awards, which was organised by Women in Management to celebrate the achievements of truly remarkable women in the country, more..

Video: Go for better salaries, says Ethera Api organisation

July 31 (DM) JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti today charged that the Govt was making the groundwork to curtail the salaries of Sri Lankans employed abroad by sending two employees to work for the salary of one. “The govt is already making arrangements in this regard. It has had discussions with foreign missions in the country. Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister only want to achieve the title ‘the one who sent more..

Sri Lanka rupee ends steady on state banks’ dollar buying

July 31 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee closed steady on Thursday as dollar-buying by two state banks prevented sharp gains in the local currency due to inflows from inward remittances and exporter dollar sales amid mild importer demand for the greenback, dealers said. The rupee ended at 130.21/22 per dollar, unchanged from Wednesday's close. Dealers said the rupee is still facing an upward pressure with the two state banks buying dollars at 130.21 rupees. more..

Our Gaza

July 31 (CT) Israel calls it the Operation Protective Edge. How many Palestinians must die for Israel to feel protected? In the latest horror from Gaza, an Israeli attack on a UN school killed at least 19 Palestinians and injured about 90. According to Pierre Krahenbuhl, Commissioner General of UNRWA (the UN agency for Palestinian refugees), “….children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN-designated shelter in Gaza. more..

Sri Lanka inflation accelerates to 3.6% in July

July 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's consumer prices rose 3.6% in the 12 months to July 2014, with inflation accelerating from 2.8% in June, official data showed. During the month the Colombo Consumer Price Index jumped 1% on top a 1.1% rise in June. Since December the index had risen 3.8% or higher than the 12 month inflation. The increase came from food prices which were up 2.1% during the month on top of a 2.4% rise a month earlier. more..

Kandy Kumbal Perahera to go milky white

July 31 (Island) The theme colour of the five-day Kumbal Perahera, the first segment of the Kandy annual historic pageant this year would be white, with Nilames, elephants, performers and everyone else decked in white, Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela disclosed. The Diyawadana Nilame said the change of the colour of the attire entirely to white for the first time in the history of the pageant had been approved by the rest of the Nilames holding the devale peraheras. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.2%

July 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed 0.18% higher Thursday amid strong foreign buying. All Share Price Index closed 12.06 points higher at 6,813.90, up 0.18%. The S&P SL20 closed 4.33 points higher at 3,772.51, up 0.11%. Turnover was 1.05 billion rupees, up from 973.71 million rupees a day earlier with 97 stocks closed positive against 98 negative. Access Engineering closed 10 cents lower at 25.50 rupees with an off-market transaction of 218.47 million rupees more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Supreme Court orders release of results of nurses’ final examination

July 31 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the Principals of Nursing Schools to release the results of the final exam for 2014 held at 15 centres within two weeks. The Court also said that the findings of the Presidential Commission appointed to decide whether additional training was necessary for the student nurses should also be ready by July 30, 2014. Two petitioners who are student nurses complained that the Director of the Teaching Hospital Kurunegala and more..

Public transportation development, at what cost?

July 31 (CT) A good and comfortable public transportation system increases efficiency vis-à-vis being economical in respect of limiting expensive fuel consumption, which otherwise would be the case and also by taking the commuter to his/her destination on time. This is in the backdrop that a fourth of the island's total importation bill is incurred in bringing down petroleum products to the country, though, not all of it is used for the purpose of fuelling road transportation, more..

Indian fishermen to invade Sri Lankan waters in masses

July 31 (ENS) The govt is likely to release all the Indian fishermen in its custody before the fishermen of Rameswaram start on their “Journey for Justice” to Sri Lanka on August 2. “There is every possibility of their release before August 2. The govt had already taken a decision to release all fishermen while detaining their vessels and the fishing gear. I do not know why the AG’s department has not taken steps to release the men. more..

Australia tried to get India to take Tamil asylum seekers while still on Customs ship

July 31 (ABC) Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has revealed Australia unsuccessfully tried to get India to take 157 asylum seekers while they were being held on a Customs ship for almost a month. The Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers, including at least 37 children, were transferred to the Curtin Detention Centre several days ago, breaking long-standing govt policy. They had set sail from Indian state of Pondicherry more..

Borella police catch one more drug baron

July 31 (Island) Borella police are hunting for a small coffin that carried 17 kilos of heroin from Wanathamulla to Minuwangoda following the arrest of Wasantha Sanjeewa Abeyratne alias Punchi Borelle Otha yesterday. Sanjeewa is being grilled by the Borella police under a seven-day detention order as it is he who allegedly smuggled the huge haul of heroin in a child’s coffin to avoid suspicion. more..

Breakaway faction of UPFA forms First Front

July 31 (AM) Political sources told Asian Mirror that a faction from the UPFA has formed a new party with the name “First Front”. A prominent figure of the parliament will be in the driving seat of the party. Another large faction of the ruling party is to accompany him when forming this alliance. Governor of Panadura Nandana Gunathilake and MP Achala Jagoda are said to be the main member of the initial motion. more..

'Per Capita income to top US$ 4000 in 2015'

July 31 (DN) The govt has now drawn up plans to take the country’s economic development into the next level by 2020 and has already laid the foundation for it by investing heavily on infrastructure projects in the country, President Rajapaksa said. “We always took long-term decisions to develop the country and never looked at short term gains or the next election. As a result of this Sri Lanka was able to develop to a more..

Cyril says Sri Lanka visit successful

July 31 (DN) Deputy South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says his recent visit to Sri Lanka, during which he had talks with the Govt and the opposition, was successful. Ramaphosa has told the South African Parliament that South Africa was invited to share its experiences on the truth and reconciliation and constitution-building process with the people of Sri Lanka. He recalled that his delegation more..

SL to block protesting Indian fishermen

July 31 (PTI) Sri Lanka today said it will block all attempts to violate its Territorial waters amid reports that TN fishermen have threatened to force their way into Sri Lankan waters to protest against frequent arrests. The Indian fishermen are reportedly contemplating forcing themselves into Sri Lankan waters on August 2 to protest Sri Lankan Navy's arrest of Indians. "The security forces will act like they have always performed their duties," more..

Justice delayed but not denied clears blind masseur of operating a brothel

July 31 (ST) A veteran blind masseur whom the police tried with false charges of running a brothel, and was cleared of the charges by Court, said that, despite a legal battle that lasted more than three years and cost him thousands of rupees in legal fees, he was confident the truth would prevail in the end. E.M. Navaratna (82) and eight employees of the Ratna Ayurveda Massage Centre down Adam’s Avenue in Colombo, more..

Aluthgama peace returns but questions remain

July 31 (SL) While the dust has settled and attempts are being made to restore normalcy in Aluthgama and Beruwela following the violence last month, questions are still being asked and fingers continue to be pointed. Fundamental Rights petitions have now been filed against the authorities following the violence that erupted in Aluthgama and Beruwela last month. Respondents of the petition included IGP N. Illangakoon, DIG Anura more..

As UVA PC polls approach Joint opposition voice for abolition of Executive presidency

July 31 (DM) SLMC leader Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem was under fire from President Rajapaksa in recent times, particularly after he made a salvo at the government over the outbreak of communal riots in Aluthgama, Beruwala and adjacent villages. The Minister, however received Ramazan greetings from President Rajapaksa on July 29, and the two had a cordial chat. But, President once again has complained about more..

Upul Jayasuriya in the limelight again

July 31 (DM) The controversy surrounding the alleged intimidation of the Bar Association President Upul Jayasuriya has thrust the veteran lawyer into the limelight as he deals with yet another tussle as the head of the country’s most influential body representing the legal fraternity. Jayasuriya had lodged a complaint with the Cinnamon Gardens Police stating that he was followed by unidentified persons on two motorcycles while he was returning home from Hulftsdorp on July 15. more..

Agriculture turning into a vulture

July 31 (DM) Sri Lanka for the past few decades has been sowing with the wind and is now reaping the whirlwind with the vital field of agriculture being virtually turned into a vulture. So severe is the crisis that the Internal Trade Ministry, according to a report in the Sunday Times, has sought Cabinet approval to import as much as 50,000 metric tons of rice from India. The newspaper quoted a ministry spokesman as saying there has been a failure in the Maha and Yala cultivation seasons mainly due to more..