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4500 eligible Grade V scholars not admitted to leading schools

Apr 20 (NS) The Education Ministry has failed to admit some 4500 eligible Grade Five scholarship students to leading Colombo schools last year, an audit report has revealed. “The audit inquiry held with regard to admission of scholars to Grade Six in 2007, following the results of the Grade Five scholarship examination held in 2006, reveals that the Schools Unit of the Education Ministry had not been just and proper in admitting scholars to the schools,” more..

BOI Chairman calls the bluff

Apr 20 (NS) The first case filed in the Supreme Court this year was Fundamental Rights Application No. 1/2008 by Vasudeva Nanayakkara, who had filed an earlier case praying for the cancellation and annulment of the dubious privatisation of Lanka Marine Services to John Keells. The Nation understands from legal circles that this case was concluded and judgment reserved by Chief Justice, Sarath N. Silva, with parties permitted to file written submissions by May 9, 2008. more..

Eastern poll more a Referendum to continue development - Basil

Apr 20 (Island) Senior Advisor to the President, Basil Rajapaksa, MP leading the UPFA governments election campaign in the Eastern Province yesterday described the polls as more of a Referendum which gives the people of the three districts an opportunity to say either, 'Yes' or 'No' to ensure peaceful co-existence among the three communities and to successfully take forward many large development projects. more..

Army sharpshooter for Beijing Olympics

Apr 20 (Island) An army sharpshooter who has been a veteran in several battles with the LTTE has been selected to compete in the Beijing Olympics in August, officials said. Staff Sgt. E.M. Senananayake of the Sinha Regiment excelled in the Free-Style (Open) Pistol Shooting competition at the 11th Asian Shooting Tournament in Kuwait last year and with his team emerged victorious in the National Air Rifle and Pistol Shooting events in Kuwait breaking several records. more..

Bad roads and poor transport service obstruct economic growth

Apr 20 (Island) The loss of man hours and the added cost of transport by wastage of fuel and time in the public transport system run mainly by private bus operators, poor roads and traffic congestion had reflected adversely on declined the economic growth and increased the national fuel bill the Central Bank has pointed out. Inefficient transport facilities, poor road network and traffic congestion in almost all major towns remain critical problems which adversely impact on economic growth through reduced productivity, more..

Vignettes of the Public Service JAFFNA

Apr 20 (Island) Jaffna was probably where the Kachcheri and its adjuncts in district administration functioned most smoothly. The GA enjoyed two advantages: ‘the ordinary people’ looked to the government to solve their problems, and, he was required to serve a public that included a large number of public servants, many of them pensioners. That meant that not only were ‘the public’ accustomed to the discipline and procedures of the public service, more..

Rice and JVP in boiling pot

Apr 20 (ST) Even if it was a family social last Tuesday, it had the trappings of a summit of the country's two main leaders - President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. They met and sat at the same table in the glittering Grand Ballroom of the Colombo Hilton. The occasion was the wedding of Navindra, the son of the Commissioner of Elections, Dayananda Dissanayake. more..

War assumes new dimension in view of poll

Apr 20 (ST) That the ongoing military offensives in the Wanni are eluding deadlines and resultant headlines in the media is no longer a secret. Some of the military top brass are now conceding, at least privately, that it is wrong to place time limits. Unexpected rains, muddy terrain and lack of strength are among reasons adduced. That no doubt reflects a doctrine of trial and error if not a militarily unpardonable lapse in forward planning. more..

Police hunt for JVP’s Amerasinghe supporters

Apr 20 (ST) As the rift between the two factions in the JVP widened, police have launched a manhunt for as many as 20 supporters of JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe for their alleged involvement in the raid on the house of a JVP Member of Parliament loyal to former Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa. Two police teams have been deployed in Chilaw to arrest some 20 JVP supporters who raided MP Samansiri Herath’s residence on the eve of the New Year and more..

Whistleblowers to check state corruption

Apr 20 (ST) The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has recommended, in its interim report on the Management of Government Tax Revenue, that the Ministry of Finance encourage the kind of “whistle-blowing” practices found in other countries that help to expose corruption and malpractices in state institutions. The committee proposes the enactment of a public interest disclosure act to enable and encourage public sector employees to expose corruption and more..

Sri Lanka rice price controls temporary: minister

Apr 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's price controls are temporary, until foreign rice stocks arrive at the end of the month and prices fall towards ceilings imposed by the government, a senior minister said. "Rangoon rice will arrive in Sri Lanka before the end of the month, then prices will fall," consumer affairs minister Bandula Gunewardene told LBO. "We will keep price controls until people release stocks and prices fall to reasonable levels." more..

LTTE refutes government claims of destroying arms boats

Apr 20 (IANS) The Tamil Tiger rebels Sunday disputed Sri Lankan Air Force claims that it has bombed and destroyed three arms boats of the Sea Tigers south of Mullaitivu in the north a day earlier. Sri Lanka Air Force spokesman Wing Commander Andy Wijesuriya, based on intelligence provided by the Navy, said: 'The supersonic fighter jets bombed and destroyed three arms boats of the Sea Tigers beached south of Mullaitivu lagoon Saturday around 5.40 p.m.' more..

Tigers accuse Sri Lanka of killing Catholic priest

Apr 20 (AFP) Sri Lankan forces Sunday killed a Roman Catholic priest who was also a top human rights campaigner inside rebel-held territory, Tiger guerrillas said as fighting raged in the troubled north. The rebel LTTE said Father M.X. Karunaratnam was killed in a roadside bomb attack carried out by government troops which infiltrated the Mallavi area. The priest headed the North East Secretariat on Human Rights, a group active in guerrilla-held Wanni region in the north of the island, more..

'Mysterious silence' in the east

Apr 21 (BBC) A ‘mysterious silence’ prevails in eastern Sri Lanka despite the forthcoming elections, SLMC said. Addressing regional journalists in Trincomalee, SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said violence in the east has ‘mysteriously’ stooped just after the handing over nominations for eastern Provincial Council (PC) elections. Killings, abductions and intimidation continued until the last day for the nominations to be handed over, he added. more..

Prelate urges JVP unity

Apr 21 (BBC) The most senior Buddhist Mahanayake thero in Sri Lanka has urged dissidents of the JVP to re-join with the party. Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake thero urged JVP dissident group to join the government if they split from the party. JVP parliamentary group leader, Wimal Weerawansa, together with nine other JVP legislators, visited Kandy to get blessings from the Buddhist Mahanayakes after splitting from the party. more..

Military denies killing priest

Apr 21 (BBC) The military in Sri Lanka has denied any involvement in killing a leading Roman Catholic priest in the north. Chairman of the North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESoHR), Rev. MX Karunaratnam, was killed in a claymore attack in the LTTE-held Mulativu on Sunday. The Tamil Tigers have accused the Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) of Sri Lanka Army of launching the claymore mine attack. more..

Interview with Indian Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Apr 21 (LG) Firstly, I would like to thank you for accepting our request for an interview. Your role is noteworthy as your status and role is important for the emancipation of eternal peace in human minds as a spiritual guru. Sri Lanka Guardian: Could you please let us know of your thoughts on many conflicts within communities the present world is facing? H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Stress and tension is the cause of most conflicts. more..

Violating the Madhu Sancuary - Some brief thoughts

Apr 21 (GV) The sacred shrine of Madhu is being violated. What right has the LTTE to encroach on the Pilgrim Reservation Area gazetted under the Pilgrimage Ordinance in 1982? The LTTE has violated International Conventions relating to War in entering the Church or its environs and converting it to a battle zone. The International Community should condemn this action of the LTTE. Only cowards hide in places of worship because they are unable to face the enemy in the battlefield. more..

From the tiger’s den to an open prison

Apr 21 (GV) Last year, I had helped a boy from Killinochi who was arrested in Pettah and kept in inhumane conditions, worse than a caged animal, in Welikada Prison. Treatment that should not be given to even a convicted criminal, though in this case, the boy was a suspect, the basis for suspicion being him being a Tamil and coming from Killinochi. He had fled the Vanni, as he feared recruitment by the LTTE. more..

Ramayana tourism a hit in Sri Lanka

Apr 21 (HT) The Sri Lankan tourism promotion bureau must have been watching very closely when the Setusamudram Project rocked Parliament last year. Their attempt to cash in on the Ramayana craze in India seems to have hit jackpot. Ever since the launch in January of the ‘Sri Lanka’s Ramayana Trail’ — a religious/ spiritual tourism venture by Lanka — tour operators have been flooded with enquiries from India. more..

UPFA to launch house to house campaign in the provincial council elections

Apr 21 (AT) In the forthcoming East Provincial Council election, United Peoples Freedom Alliance will win in the elections comfortably. As far as the Tamils are concerned it is expected that they will vote overwhelmingly for Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal. Susil Premajayantha, Minister of Education and General Secretary of the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance was in Batticaloa yesterday to oversee the election campaign in the district. more..

Bandula`s rice ruse in the name of price control?

Apr 21 (SLW) Bandula Gunawardena, the Minister of consumer affair more popularly known as the consumer despair Minister, appears to have suddenly woken up after sleeping like Rip van Winkle for years, heedless of ruthless price hikes and burdens he and his Govt. have been imposing on the people since their advent. His waking up, unfortunately is in the midnight- with the midnight gazette! Therefore he is still groping in the dark! more..

Fr. Karunaratnam and the blame-game

Apr 21 (SLW) The Sri Lanka army flatly denies the killing of Rev. Fr. M.X. Karunaratnam today. The location of his death is on the Mallavi-Vavunikulam road in Mullaithivu District, which is 30kms from the SLA FDL. The LTTE has on previous such assassinations claimed that the SLA makes random attacks on its targets in LTTE areas. On Sunday, 06 January 2008, 01:20 GMT, claimed that more..

Armed Pillayan group and `white Van` terrorizing east

Apr 21 (SLW) UNP M.P. Lakshman Kiriella speking to the media at the UNP Media Unit yesterday (17 Apr) said, the atmosphere in the Eastern Province is not at all conducive to a fair and free election with the Govt. taking no measures to improve or disarm the terror groups. The only aim of the Govt. to somehow win the elections even resorting to the most undemocratic activities. more..

Power-crazy or Democracy in Sri Lanka?

Apr 21 (SLW) It is the fundamental and indispensable duty of a Democratic Govt. elected by the people, of the people, for the people to live up to the faith, hope and confidence reposed in it by the people. Even if the Govt. fails to fulfill its promises or the aspirations of the people, it is its bounden duty to remind itself all along that the people who elected it to power look up to it to be an oasis, rather than become a parasite, more..

Did Dr Jayalath Jayawardene meet LTTE men secretly in Oslo and in London?

Apr 21 (LG) Sources close to LTTE circles in Oslo and London confirm that opposition UNP parliamentarian Dr Jayalath Jayawardena had secret meetings with the LTTE men in London and Oslo. Dr Jayawardene specially flew to Oslo to participate in a conference organised for the LTTE. LTTE frontline activist Vaiko addressed the conference which was mainly attended by the Tamil Tiger sympathisers. more..

The Bell Burning

Apr 21 (LG) Barring the unpredictable ways of Sri Lanka's politics, the current split in the JVP is here to stay for all intents and purposes. With that also goes the last hope of leftist political ideology, which has had a chequered but eternally weakening career in the country almost since Independence. It was an 'implosion' of sorts that has hit the JVP, and owes it to the nature of functioning of the party. more..

Colonialism of the mind

Apr 21 (LG) The first two generations of independent Sri Lanka were still struggling under the influence of foreign rule and like most Asian societies the mental colonization achieved by the British could not be eradicated from the minds of people fully. People still thought like clerks waiting to follow someone's orders. We left original thinking and started making experiments following Western models of development. more..

Pillaiyan's thugs wreak havoc claiming they are in the govt.

Apr 21 (LeN) Lanka-e-News correspondent who was travelling in the Trincomalee district reports that the villagers of a number of villages in the district are in distress due to incidents of raping women, abducting children and taking ransom by the armed rowdies of the Pillaiyan Group. They say they have nobody to listen to their woes. The Tamil villages of Anuradhapuram, Lower Muttur, Ortheen, Jamballipuram, Palathivu and Selvanayagapuram are the most affected. more..

Govt. flouting election rules: Hassan Ali

Apr 21 (MG) SLMC General Secretary, T. Hassan Ali brims with confidence with regard to the possibilities of winning the May 10 eastern provincial poll. Though unsolicited and thrust upon the people, this is an election the UNP-SLMC combine could win, he says. Hassan Ali alleged that the government had an unfair edge when campaigning as the UPFA candidates carried out election propaganda under the guise of developmental work despite a ban on campaigning after 6 pm. more..

Weerawansa faction sustains nationalism - JHU spokesman

Apr 21 (LD) The Wimal Weerawansa faction is contributing immensely towards sustaining the nationalistic movement after choosing country before party, JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe has said. Mr. Warnasinghe was responding to a question posed by ‘Lanka Dissent’ on Mr. Weerawansa’s decision to go on a new political journey in collaboration with nationalistic forces in the country. more..

Alleged conspiracy by President to disgrace Maithripala

Apr 21 (LD) The President allegedly has plotted against SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena with the intention of discrediting him, reports say. The plan is being carried out through the Presidential Media Unit (PMU) reports add. Last weekend, a major figure of the PMU has tipped off several media institutions that a prominent rice mill owner in the Polonnaruwa District has sent a letter to wholesale rice dealers in Colombo, asking them not to comply with the government rice control. more..

2 GCE O/L exams in December

Apr 21 (LD) Commissioner of Examinations, Anura Edirisinghe says that this year’s G.C.E. Ordinary Level examinations will feature separate exams for students who followed the new and old syllabuses. However, the G.C. E. O/Ls will be held as a single exam from 2010, he added, mentioning that papers set in accordance with the old syllabus will end next year (2009). The new syllabus consists of nine subjects including Sinhala, Science, Mathematics, Religion, English, History, which are named as the six main subjects. more..

No procession from JVP for May Day

Apr 21 (LD) May Day this year will be minus the usually grand procession of the JVP. The entire leadership of the JVP is now in the east participating in campaigning for the May 10th provincial councils there. Therefore, the party will not organize a May Day procession this year, a top official of the JVP’s media unit told ‘Lanka Dissent.’ He said the decision was taken early March, when the party was not facing its present internal strife. more..

More opportunities for Sri Lankans abroad

Apr 21 (GDI) Ministry of Foreign Employment sources, citing statistics for the first three months of 2008, said that the demand for Sri Lankan employees abroad remins high. In January there have been 11 departures to Cyprus (household category), 10 to Lebanon, 24 to Seyshelles , (semi skilled and skilled), 5 to Shajah, 3 to Kuwait, (professional), totlling 53. In February 18 have left for Cyprus, 05 to Lebonon, 02 to Dubaii, 03 to Abu-Dhabi, more..

Dengue on the rise again

Apr 21 (GDI) One hundred and forty five cases of Dengue have been reported from Colombo this year, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Colombo, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said. According to Dr. Kariyawasam, most of the patients have been from densely populated areas and especially in and around new construction sites where water finds its way into pits, lift shafts, holes or crevices on uncovered floors. more..

AP mines recovered in Welioya

Apr 21 (GDI) Two hundred and thirty eight anti- personnel mines and eight "booby" traps were recovered by Troops conducting a search operation in the area of North Janakapura, Welioya on Saturday. Meanwhile two terrorists were killed and 16 other terrorists were reported injured during a confrontation in the area of North Kiribbanwewa, Welioya on Saturday, defence sources said. more..

Sri Lanka to explore nuclear power

Apr 21 (CT) The Ceylon Electricity Board is moving towards exploring the development of nuclear power to meet future energy needs of the country. The CEB last week extended an invitation to all national experts in this regard who wish to volunteer and contribute to the growing issue of energy economics, with their knowledge and experience in the fields of medical science, atomic energy, nuclear engineering, power generation, economics, environment preservation and disaster management to engage in a dialogue with the Board. more..

LTTE mortar launching pad destroyed in MI-24 attacks- Mannar

Apr 21 (LNP) Sri Lanka Air Force MI-24 helicopter gun ships carried out decisive night air sorties destroying an LTTE mortar launching pad and a `forward operating position` on Sunday (April 20), East of Adampan ahead of the Mannar battle front. Air force spokesperson Wing Commander Andrew Wijesooriya said that the air raid was launched around 10.30p.m., as a pre-emptive measure to assist the advancing ground troops engaged in counter terrorist offensives in the area. more..

Sri Lanka ranked 79 from 127 countries on Network Readiness

Apr 21 (LNP) The Global Information Technology Report 2007 2008 has given Sri Lanka an overall ranking of 79 out of 127 nations in terms of the most networked economies in the world in its Networked Readiness Index. In the 2006 2007 Report, Sri Lanka had been ranked 86 out of 122 nations and ranked 83 out of 115 nations in the 2005 2006 report. The report which is produced by the World Economic Forum, more..

Sri Lankan Parties map out strategy for Eastern stake

Apr 21 (LNP) With barely three weeks more for the Eastern Province Election heightened activity was witnessed on the campaign trail with the UPFA already raising the tempo with a vigourous house to house canvassing beginning yesterday chiefly aimed at forging unity among the once divided Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities in the East. UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premajayantha said yesterday that attempts by certain political groups to fan the flames of ethnic tension for cheap political gain cannot be condoned. more..

Sri Lanka likely to get LPG from Iran at concessionary prices

Apr 21 (LNP) Sri Lankan households might get a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, if the Iranian Government agrees to sell Liquefied Petroleum Gas to Sri Lanka at a concessionary price. The matter is under intense consideration by the Iranian Government and the forthcoming visit of Iranian President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, would give Sri Lanka the opportunity to broach the subject which was expected to be favourably considered in the light of the growing friendly ties between the two countries, more..

No patch-up, says Wimal

Apr 21 (SAMN) JVP dissident leader, Wimal Weerawansa Sunday told the Ven. Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter the other section of the party was working in a manner that did not allow room for a patch-up. “The developing problems and crises make any patch-up with the party remote,” he said. He made these comments when the JVP dissident group comprising 10 MPs called on the Ven Mahanayake Thera after paying homage at the Sri Dalada Maligawa. more..

3 in running for Chief Whip’s post

Apr 21 (SAMN) The final decision on the vacant post of Chief Government Whip is to be made on May 5 at the government parliamentary group meeting a top government official said Sunday. According to sources government Parliamentry Group is to meet on May 5, the day before the next session of Parliament. This has been the usual practice according to sources. However no decision has been taken on the new Chief Government Whip. more..

Confusion over postal deliveries

Apr 21 (SAMN) In a recent crackdown, Postal authorities have been warning local ‘courier’ companies against delivering letters in the country, saying that according to the law, the sole authority of delivering letters is the Postal Department. According to Post Master General K.B.Dissanayaka, while the law says that the right of delivering is with the postal authorities, when the open economy came in 1977, private companies started delivering as well. more..

UGC to upgrade university mechanism

Apr 21 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to streamline and upgrade the nation's University mechanism qualitatively, so as to reflect the country's professional needs. "The main university degree programmes should be planned, prepared and programmed following a systematic research and careful study of the country's requirements and its job-market in mind", the President said. more..

Dilshan Bandaranayake dies on race track

Apr 21 (DN) Dilshan Bandaranayake the famous Mini driver who was competing at yesterdays Road Race Meet in Nuwarara Eliya passed off when his car collided with Ajith Hemachandra's car Dilshan was rushed to the Nuwara Eliya Hospital Soon after the accident. It was also revealed that the injuries on his head could have caused the death. The doctors also informed that until the post mortem is conducted they are unable to confirm cause of the death of him more..

Mangrove project to withstand tsunami

Apr 21 (DN) A regional forum under the Mangroves For the Future (MFF) project implemented in six countries in the tsunami aftermath will begin at Hotel Heritance, Ahungalle today. According to the country office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the five-day forum will present and discuss outcomes of the preliminary programmes carried out in India, Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Thailand. more..

PNM bought vehicle on JVP duty free car permit

Apr 21 (Island) Close on the heels of controversy over the transfer of duty free vehicle permits issued to the JHU MPs including its leader Ven. Ellawela Medhananda thero, the battle between JVP factions has revealed the JVP, too, transferred duty free vehicle permits issued to its MPs. The offence came to light against the backdrop of the damaging dispute between Somawansa and Weerawansa factions with the latter receiving the backing of the Patriotic National Movement (PNM). more..

Media, police alerted to bogus JVP, PNM statements

Apr 21 (Island) Both JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva and Patriotic National Movement Chief Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera yesterday warned the media of interested parties issuing bogus press statements on their respective letter heads. The warning followed last week’s release of a spurious statement on the JVP’s letter head. The controversial statement attributed to the JVP politburo attacked JVP dissident leader Wimal Weerawansa. more..