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Dust particles decrease in Colombo city

July 29 (DN) A significant decrease in dust particles below the 10 micrometre level is witnessed in the Colombo city, Environment Ministry Air Resources Management Center data revealed. Dust particles less than 10 micrometre level has decreased to 60 micro grams within a cubic meter of air. This was 72 micro grams before 2008. The motor vehicles emission test initiated by the Environment Ministry has contributed towards this positive change. more..

Kannagipura RadioDrama

Jaffna voters who left to be omitted from list

July 29 (DM) The Elections Secretariat has decided to omit from the 2010 electoral register, the names of voters in the Jaffna district who have left the country during the conflict period. Elections authorities are currently enumerating the voters to prepare the electoral list for 2010. According to the 2008 electoral register there had been 722,000 registered voters in the Jaffna district. In the 2009 register this had increased to 816,000. more..

Sailors run amok in Wattala

July 29 (Island) Police are probing a pre-dawn attack on a the Lite House Hotel restaurant, at Mabola in Wattala, by an armed group alleged to be Naval personnel attached to the Gemunu Camp at Welisara, Police said yesterday. This was the second attack on this popular restaurant within the past one month. In Tuesday’s attack, around six to seven persons, wielding steel pipes had arrived at the restaurant, in a grey and white flat roofed Dolphin Van at around 2.55 a.m. and more..

Nearly 1,750 child abuse calls

July 29 (DN) The ‘Child Line’, 24 hour hotline service of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has received 1,750 telephone calls from all areas of the country, NCPA Chairperson Anoma Dissanayake said. The ‘Child Line’ hotline service was introduced by the NCPA on July 22, aimed at eradicating child abuse and to come to the defence of helpless children. The NCPA can be contacted free of charge throughout the day over any telephone network by dialing 1929. more..

'Restore bonus on interest for senior citizens immediately'

July 29 (Island) The UNP yesterday called on the government to immediately restore the 20 per cent bonus on interest, that was paid by Commercial Banks for deposits made by senior citizens, without heaping more burdens on them. General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake said that people over sixty years whom the government categorized as senior citizens, were a vulnerable group and hitting them below the belt at a time more..

'Majority of the Tamil Diaspora are with the government'

July 29 (GDI) Sri Lanka government says that major part of the Tamil Diaspora is now pleased with the government’s activities relating to improvement of the living standards of the Tamil people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces following liberating the Tamils from the shackles of the jackboots of the Pirabaharan. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that Tamil Diaspora is now divided into two groups and more..

University dons to suspend voluntary services if promised pay hike not given

July 29 (Island) University teachers yesterday threatened to suspend voluntary services on August 10 if the government fails to grant them the 25 percent increment in their academic allowance as promised prior to the presidential election. President of the FUTA Prof. Sampath Amaratunge said that their decision had been conveyed to the authorities including the UGC and the Ministry of Higher Education. more..

'Government will never curb Trade Unions'

July 29 (LP) A decision was taken to appoint a Special Committee to look into State Sector Salary anomalies. The Committee will be appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The committee will compromise of trade union representatives and will look into the salary anomalies, suggest solutions and for preparing a service manual. The appointed committee is expected to submit its final report before more..

Colombo by night, fun and frolic at Green Path

July 29 (DM) Colombo will be soon transformed into a city of fun and frolic with a special area set apart for night life on the weekend in a carnival-like atmosphere with food courts, live musical shows and shopping, the Colombo Municipality said yesterday. Special administrator Omar Kamil said Green Path had been selected to host this project scheduled to begin next month and would be held on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. more..

India ahead as run-fest continues

July 29 (CI) Normal services resumed on the fourth day with the bat dominating ball on a placid pitch, after the Sri Lankan spinners had injected some life in the Test on the third. India ensured a draw was inevitable, as they overhauled Sri Lanka's first-innings score, with Sachin Tendulkar and Suresh Raina adding to an exhaustive list of milestones achieved in this game. more..

Tamil hunger striker wins damages for burger claims

July 29 (AFP) A Sri Lankan Tamil demonstrator who went on hunger strike outside London's Houses of Parliament accepted damages Thursday from British newspapers who accused him of eating burgers during the action. Parameswaran Subramanyam will receive nearly £80,000(95,000 euros, 125,000 dollars) from the Daily Mail and the Sun, his lawyer said. Subramanyam spent 23 days last year fasting as more..

Sri Lanka ex-army chief faces new trial

July 29 (AFP) Sri Lanka's former army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka was brought before the Colombo High Court on Thursday to answer charges of provoking violence. Fonseka, who already faces two courts martial and two more criminal cases, was taken before a three-member "trial-at-bar" for the first time and charged, his attorney said. "The main charge is inciting people to violence," more..

Exclusive: KP speaks out

July 29 (Island) Prabhakaran’s successor, T.S. Pathmanathan or simply ‘KP’ as he is better known has thrown his weight behind Sri Lanka’s post-LTTE efforts to restore peace in the Northern and Eastern provinces. In an exclusive interview with The Island in Colombo yesterday, Pathmanathan, former confidant of the slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and the outfit’s main arms procurer, discussed a wide range of issues, more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News - 29. 07. 2010

Indian Coast Guard rescues Sri Lankan boat

July 30 (PTI) An Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ship has rescued a Sri Lankan fishing boat with five crew members after they received a distress message regarding the engine failure of the boat in the mid sea. The boat, which had drifted in Indian waters following an engine failure, was sighted south west of Kanyakumari and towed to safety by the ICG ship Samar. The message to the ICG Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre was sent by more..

Even Murali would have struggled at SSC: Bayliss

July 30 (PTI) Only 13 wickets have fallen in four days of the second Test but Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss feels even Muttiah Muralitharan would have struggled to take wickets on the placid SSC track. More than 1200 runs have been scored in a batsmen-dominated Test match, which is now heading for a draw. On being asked if Muralithran's presence would have made any difference in the equation, the Lankan coach said, more..

Supreme Court dismisses tariff case filed by Bharati Airtel

July 30 (DM) The Supreme Court today refused to grant leave to proceed with the fundamental rights petitions filed by Bharati Airtel Lanka (Pvt) Ltd as well as two consumers challenging the floor price imposed on tariffs implemented by mobile operators. The Telecommunications Regulatory Commissions (TRC) has now revised current floor price as follows: Off Net – Rs 2 and On Net – Rs 1 per minute basis Tariff Plans; more..

Sri Lanka is donating 153 rare or endangered animals to Korea

July 30 (JD) Sri Lanka is donating 153 rare or endangered animals to Korea, including a pair of elephants, golden snub-nosed monkeys, jaguars and alligators, to thank a nongovernmental organization that helps Sri Lankan laborers. According to Kim Hae-sung, founder of an NGO called the Global Love Sharing Center, Seoul Grand Park had asked Sri Lanka to donate 14 species close to extinction and was surprised by the country’s reaction. more..

Norochcholai power plant to go online in November

July 30 (SL) As construction on the 300MW power plant nears completion, the Sri Lankan cabinet has approved the Lanka Coal Company opening a Rs. 1 billion letter of credit to purchase coal and begin operations this November. The cost of the first shipment of 65,500 MT of coal will cost USD $7 million. This coal power plant was commissioned in 2006 and is being built using a USD $455 million loan from China’s EXIM bank. more..

'Sri Lanka can face the loss of GSP+ facility'

July 30 (GDI) Sri Lanka government, under no circumstances will betray the country,no bow down to the internal or external pressures but will make every action to protect the integrity and sovereignty of the country. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella when asked about the government stance on the GSP plus facility explained that since the government has strengthened the Macro economic fundamental it could face the eventualities positively. more..

'Rise of Al-qaeda led to the fall of LTTE'

July 30 (HT) The multi-pronged 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda on the US in 2001 turned world opinion against armed insurgencies across the world including the LTTE, leading eventually to its decimation, a top Tamil Tiger leader has said. Currently the senior-most Tiger leader in custody, TS Pathmanathan, widely known as KP, also said that he was in touch with the United Nations during the last days of the war in May, 2009 to work out an arrangement – probably either a surrender or more..

Death of cleric behind Viraj Mendis church 'siege'

July 30 (MEN) A cleric who famously sheltered an asylum seeker at his Manchester church for two years has died. The Rev John Methuen, who allowed Sri Lankan Viraj Mendis to stay in his Hulme parish during an epic deportation row, was 62. Mr Methuen hit the headlines when, with the backing of the then bishop of Manchester, he moved Mr Mendis into the Church Of The Ascension in 1986. Mr Mendis, a former UMIST student, more..

Sri Lanka minister says China Exim Bank hard negotiators

July 30 (LBO) China's Export Import Bank, which has become a top funder of infrastructure in Sri Lanka, is a tough negotiator that goes through project proposals like a commercial bank while Europe is giving peanuts, a senior minister said. "China will give a 50 million dollar grant and they will not ask questions," deputy finance minister Amunugama told a forum on foreign aid more..

Sri Lanka to reduce high costs of thermal power plants

July 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka is giving top priority to cutting high costs of running thermal power plants, encouraging energy conservation measures and shifting to renewable energy sources, minister of power and energy Champika Ranawaka said. "Our short-term plan is to convert high-cost thermal power plants using diesel and heavy fuels into low-cost thermal plants within the next five years," he told a news conference. "We want to minimise operational losses." more..

Sri Lankan work places lack HIV/AIDS prevention programmes

July 30 (N360) Health officials say most of the Sri Lankan work places haven’t implemented HIV / AIDS preventive programs thus causing a danger. Invisibility of the decease and to a certain extent the associated stigma and discrimination are cited as the reasons for the lack of preventive programs in the work place. As of end 2009, there were 4000 people living with HIV in the country and out of that 1196 cases have been reported to the national STD/AIDS control program. more..

'J' Awards Nite

July 30 (HA) Yet another much awaited annual awards ceremony for the journalists in Sri Lanka got under way glamorously last night. Journalism Awards for Excellence 2009 was held at the Mount Lavinia on July 27th 2010. Journalism Awards for Excellence 2009 was organised by the editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Press Institute. The awards were selected by a panel of judges comprised of experienced journalists. more..

While leaders commit political harakiri supporters …

July 30 (LG) The unprecedented and shocking news of a staunch supporter of the UNP setting himself on fire in front of the party headquarters is an eye opener not only for the two warring factions of the Grand Old Party, but for every politician. Suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. In the days and hours before people kill themselves there are usually clues and warnings. As per reports, the victim had spoken to several party men during more..

Reading the riot act to Bob Blake

July 30 (DM) Robert O. Blake, better known as Bob, currently US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs and formerly the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka was on a official visit to Sri Lanka last week. He held discussions with his interlocutors in government, met a range of other people and then generally made his views known about the need for post war ethnic reconciliation (through a political solution) and more..

'Constituent Assembly to draw up new constitution'

July 30 (NS) Vasudeva Nanayakkara, one time leftist firebrand and close friend of President Rajapaksa, says there will not be any piecemeal Constitutional changes, but a whole new Constitution will be put together by a Constituent Assembly as was done in 1972 and 1978 after the current preliminary discussions with various parties. The appointment of the Constituent Assembly would come about anytime after more..

War crimes and Web of deception

July 30 (DM) Hats off to for revealing the murderous character of the United States' war in Afghanistan though one does not know why its sources decided to reveal those top secret documents. WikiLeaks, the website that allows whistleblowers to post documents that expose corruption in governments, non-governmental organisations and transnational companies, made headlines once again this week when more..

Leaving us with golden memories

July 30 (ST) My dear Murali, I thought I must write to you now that you have scaled cricket’s Mount Everest, taking eight hundred wickets and then hanging up your boots. Congratulations, Murali, but I think it is not what you did that matters most-but how you did it and also what you meant to this country over the last eighteen years. It is true that you hold all those mind-boggling records and that your final record of eight hundred test wickets will probably never be broken, more..

People’s wishes Vs. rulers’ fancies

July 30 (DM) The constitution is a medley of fundamental laws that define how we are governed- laws that are meant to protect and provide for us and define our very citizenship. Constitutional reform then should be an area highly discussed, but one could say that the Sri Lankan polity has been somewhat jaded by constitutional reforms that have been 16 years in the making, from the time of Sri Lanka’s first female President Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

Science and technology for economic growth

July 30 (NS) The importance of science and technology is rarely mentioned in discussions on economic growth. Discussions on economic growth are generally focussed on economic variables such as savings, investment, foreign direct investment, infrastructure, foreign aid, trade and inflation. There has been also some recognition on the importance of education and health that are now described as human capital. Science and technology is hardly mentioned as an important contributor to economic growth. more..

An advisory panel to save one’s job

July 30 (NS) Inga-Britt Ahlenius, until recently the UN undersecretary general of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), mandated to fight internal fraud and corruption that has plagued the UN, released an end-of-assignment report that has caused a lot of embarrassment to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. The Swedish auditor does not mince her words: ‘Your (Ki-moon’s) actions are not only deplorable but seriously reprehensible, more..

Mega Rs 2.5 bln dairy project backed by 'Tharunyata hetak'

July 30 (ST) An ambitious project to set up a chain of modern mini-dairy farms across 10 districts in Sri Lanka is to be launched by Lanka Fresh Milk (Pvt) Ltd with an initial capital of Rs.40 million, a Rs 2.5 billion loan facility and the backing of Namal Rajapaksa’s “Tharunyata Hetak” youth organisation. Some 5,000 unemployed youth in these districts will be given self-employment opportunities more..

Sri Lanka post-war building boom seen as boon for listed firms

July 30 (LBO) Post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation requirements in Sri Lanka and the general economic revival are expected to trigger a construction sector boom over the next five years, a report by a brokerage said. Listed cement manufacturers, cable companies and those making PVC pipes and tile are expected to get more business and benefit from the building boom, NDB Stockbrokers said in a report on the construction industry. more..

Massive overtime claims detected at Polonnaruwa hospital

July 30 (Island) It is alleged that all 20 Management Assistants attached to the Polonnaruwa Hospital earn around Rs 40,000 each month as overtime payments. It is reported that they have claimed overtime for working during weekends without actually working extra. The extra money they have earned is equal to the salary earned by a doctor in the hospital, the sources said. Normally they mark the time of commencement of work in the attendance register as 7.00 a.m. and more..

3D - Dr. Gishantha dassanayake

An idea for the slumbering tourism ministry

July 30 (SL) Surely, one of the most objectionable features of our tourism industry, at least from the point of view of the visitors, is the two-tier entrance fee structure operating mostly at places of historical/religious interest. At some of these sites, the difference could be more than 20 times what a local person may pay! This very apartheid looking system is often defended on the basis that the charges are compatible with what a tourist would generally pay to more..

Knuckling it down

July 30 (SL) Illegal constructions and encroachments into the Knuckles Conservation Forest area are hastening the extinction of a few endemic and endangered species found exclusively in the Knuckles region, says the Sri Lanka Nature Forum. The approximately 17,500 hectares of land was declared as a conservation forest in 2007, and as an environmental protection area in 2008. Despite this, the area is being raped — plagued with illegal encroachments and constructions. more..

Human-elephant conflict: A viable solution through locally developed technology

July 30 (ST) The human-elephant conflict is a serious problem that Sri Lanka has faced for many years. Increased rural habitation and resultant infringement of natural elephant territory has led to the wild beasts turning ferocious often destroying cultivated land and attackng innocent people leading to disability and more frequently, death. Unfortunately, this issue of national consequence hasn’t been adequately addressed by more..

Role of courts during a time of repression

July 30 (LG) Sri Lanka is going through a worst times of repression. Everybody knows that. There is no need to argue about that. Repression always is problem created by the executive. It is the executive arm of the state that has the capacity to repress. If the repression comes from a third party, it is the executive that has the capacity to protect the citizens. If is fails to use its law enforcement capacity to protect persons, that also is a serious defect of the executive. more..

Shakthi TV case on transmitting in Jaffna settled

July 30 (NF) The case filed by the MTV Channel Private Limited against the fact that the frequency on which Shakthi TV transmitted in the Jaffna peninsula for seven years, was given over to another company was settled today. The case was taken up before the President of the court of appeal Sathya Hettige and Justice Anil Gunaratne. Senior state counsel appearing for the TRC Sumathi Dharmawardena stated that the frequency UHF 46 has been allocated for Shakthi TV to transmit in Jaffna. more..

Kurunegala special ceremony salutes fallen North Western province war heroes

July 30 (MoD) Over 463 War Heroes of Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) of the North Western Province who made the supreme sacrifice in the war for peace were honoured and their dedication was remembered during a provincial War Hero commemoration ceremony at Kurunegala Maliyadeva Girls' College auditorium, Sunday (25) morning. The SLLI Regiment which had always been in the forefront in times of war and peace in Sri Lanka during more..

SLAVF contribution to past challenges hailed during its athletic meet 2010

July 30 (MoD) The curtain came down on Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force (SLAVF) Inter Regiment Athletic Meet 2010 Thursday afternoon where Commander of the Army, gracing the occasion as the Chief Guest gave away medals and trophies to the winners in the annual event. Around 800 competitors representing 111 volunteer battalions competed for medals in this three day long athletic meet that got off the ground on Tuesday at Colombo Sugathadasa Stadium. more..

CI Gunasekera dies at 90

July 30 (CI) Former Sri Lankan first-class cricketer and All Ceylon Captain Conroy Ievers Gunasekera, famously known as 'CI', died in Colombo on Thursday at the age of 90. Born on July 14, 1920, he learnt the game when Sri Lanka was under British rule. He was known to be one of the hardest hitters of the ball of his era, and also bowled right-arm legbreaks. Gunasekera played for Royal College, but drew notice with his performances for Singhalese SC. more..

Naval Deployment Puttalam commissioned as SLNS Thambapanni

July 30 (MoD) Naval Deployment Puttalam, which was initially established on 28th December 2008, was ceremonially commissioned as Sri Lanka Naval Ship Thambapanni. The Commissioning Warrant awarded by His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, was awarded to the Commanding Officer SLNS Thambapanni Commander JAJK Perera by the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe at more..

District Land Tribunals to solve land disputes

July 30 (GDI) The government will establish Land Tribunals in all districts to solve prevalent land disputes. The Legal Draftman’s Department is presently drafting legislation relating to the establishment of these Tribunals. Once the Bill is approved by Parliament expeditious steps will be taken to establish these Tribunals. Currently land disputes are taken up at District Civil Courts set up island wide. more..

Over 400 herds of Elephants can be seen at Minneriya National Park

July 30 (GDI) The Minneriya National Park has become a popular tourist destination. The number of foreigners visiting the Minneriya National Park is on the increase and more than 120 foreigners visit the park each day and this number doubles during the weekends. A similar increase is also shown in the number of local tourists visiting the Park. The daily income of the park has increased to Rs 300,000, and more..