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Enormous concessions given for staging IIFA event in Colombo

June 13 (CT) Besides a staggering Rs 222.3 million (US $ 1,950,000), the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) agreed to provide a host of other concessions including more than 2,600 free rooms and Customs waivers for the Indian International Film Awards (IIFA) ceremony held in Colombo. The MoU between the SLTPB and Wizcraft International Entertainment Ltd., which held the franchise for the events, more..

For India, Sri Lanka is not indispensable, but for Sri Lanka, India is indispensable

June 13 (TC) Question: President Mahinda Rajapaksa left for India recently and he is set to show his Indian counterpart a draft of the proposed Constitutional amendments. This is seen by many as a gesture of subjugation and their requests to open a Deputy High Commissioner’s office in Kandy and a consulate office in Hambanthota and their insistence of implementing the 13th Amendment are seen by many as attempts to impose their will on Sri Lanka? more..

Namal Rajapaksa’s men monopolize Jaffna-Poonakari boat service

june 13 (TN) The new boat service between Kurunakar and Poonakari in the North which is to be inaugurated Sunday by Namal Rajapaksa, son of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is to be entirely serviced by boats owned by him. Douglas Devananda, a minister in Rajapaksa's cabinet, who mints money in the A9 land route travel between Jaffna and Colombo from the four luxury air-conditioned coaches operating in his men’s names, more..

Sri Lanka refrigerator sales surge

June 13 (LBO) Sales of refrigerators in Sri Lanka had picked up sharply in the first amid an overall economic revival and the opening of markets in the north and the east of island following the end of a war, an electric goods firm has said. Regnis Lanka Ltd, a unit of Singer (Sri Lanka) which mostly puts together refrigerators said revenues from refrigerators rose 60 percent in the first quarter. more..

Trade minister plans Market intervention to maintain price stability

june 13 (GDI) Market intervention by State establishment to maintain price stability in the market and to protect the consumer from exploitation is the mission of the new Minister of Co-operatives & Internal Trade Johnston Fernando. "No room will be left for the traders to exploit consumers" declared Minister Johnston Fernando. The Minister said that his sole intention was to make the public enterprises such as Building Materials Corporation, more..

Sirisena says Siripala’s poor handling responsible for deterioration of health sector

June 13 (LT) Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena says people had experienced immense difficulties due to negligence on the part of those responsible for the country's health sector as well as waste, corruption and irregularities. He said poor handling of the health portfolio during his predecessors tenure was responsible for that state of affairs. more..

EU is not at our back and call, says Ravi K.

June 13 (NF) The European Union is not at our beck and call, says UNP parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake and stresses that Sri Lanka needs a national policy in order to maintain good relationships with the international community. Speaking in parliament on Friday, Ravi K. said that Sri Lanka should also build a rapport with the international market. “The European Union is not at our beck and call. We ignore ten of their guidelines and adhere to only one. more..

School facilites in Kilinochchi further upgraded

June 13 (GDI) Educational facilities are being uplifted for the future of the children of Kilinochchi which is noow retuning to normalcy. A group of new MPs including Namal Rajapaksa recently undertook an inspection tour of the Kilinochchi District, injecting strength to the programme mooted by the Government to improve civilian life in the North. There are about 800 students pursuing studies at the Kilinochchi Maha Vidyalaya. more..

St. Anthony’s Church celebrates 175th anniversary

June 13 (LP) The 175th annual feast of St. Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, Colombo 13 is celebrated today. The statue of St. Anthony will be taken in procession along the streets this evening. The Church is never empty and from its inception people from all ethnic communities and diverse religions have flocked to the Church seeking the assistance of the Saint to find not merely misplaced or lost material goods but more..

Wilpattu back to its former splendour

June 13 (SO) Life is returning to the ‘land of villus’. Sri Lanka’s largest wildlife sanctuary, the Wilpattu National Park is back in the limelight. `Located in the Northwest coast’s lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka, 185 kilometres north of Colombo, the Wilpattu wildlife sanctuary, the land of villus (lakes), is getting a facelift following a decade of terrorist activities. The terrorists used the Wilpattu National Park to attack the civilians living in the villages bordering the park. more..

Best of ‘enemies’ give and take

June 13 (NS) Amidst the rubble of war and the roar of political rhetoric, there was an optimistic development last week: The dialogue initiated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the main Tamil political party, the TN). That the event came just a few days before the President emplaned to India on an official visit, may have caused some suspicion. There were some doubts as to whether it was all meant for the cameras, staged at the behest of India, with both parties being reluctant participants. more..

TNA’s decision will lead to national consensus

June 13 (SO) Political parties including the opposition UNP, constituent parties of the UPFA and North-East Tamil political parties, have welcomed the recent decision of the TNA, led by R. Sampanthan to work in coordination with the Government on issues relating to the post-conflict resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs and also on resolving the Tamil issue that was the cause for three decades of conflict. more..

Land demarcation programs in resettled villages

June 13 (SO) The Ministry of Resettlement has launched land demarcation programs in the resettled villages to solve many issues faced by the villagers. Under its first phase, officials of the Resettlement Ministry and the Trincomalee District Secretariat marked boundaries of lands belonging to 841 families living in six villages in the Kuchchaweli DS division in the Trincomalee district, an official of the Resettlement Ministry said. more..

Underaged prostitution- suspects nabbed

June 13 (SO) Timely action by the OIC Crimes Chilaw, Tissa Maldeniya and his team of policemen prevented four underaged girls from being sent for prostitution on Thursday. The girls from the Kuliyapitiya Sarvodaya Probation Centre were travelling with a suspect to Chilaw by bus to be transported in a connecting bus to Negombo for alleged child prostitution. OIC Crime, Chilaw, Tissa Maldeniya and his team of policemen nabbed the suspect with the girls at the Chilaw busstand following a tip-off on Thursday. more..

Maligakande prison break: Security lapses, cause for concern

June 13 (SO) Last week's incident where 11 hardcore prisoners escaped from the prison cell at the Maligakande Magistrate's Court is a case in point where security lapses were evident. Was it a case of prison guards deliberately neglecting the duties assigned to them? The four prison guards and an overseer assigned to watch over the hardcore convicts were not mindful of their duties, say Prison officials. more..

Steps to bring Kilinochchi public transport back on track - MP

June 13 (CT) Newly elected UPFA MP Dilum Amunugama, who has been appointed to co-ordinate the development of the transport sector in the Northern Development Programme, says that steps have been taken to bring the transport sector back on track in the Kilinochchi district. He siad that steps have been taken to relax rules and regulations of the National transport Commission in allocating route permits in Kilinochchi where re-settlement of the war displaced is currently taking place. more..

Editorial: Consensus in Constitution making

June 13 (NS) It was the 18th century English poet, Alexander Pope who said, ‘For forms of government, let fools contend; whatever is best administered is best’. Today, after three decades of war, leading to the denouement of the Tamil separatist movement, Sri Lanka too, finds itself searching for a form of government which it hopes will best administer the country. There seems to be some consensus among all ethnic communities, political parties and concerned organisations within this country, more..

'Tamil diaspora should help in post conflict humanitarian programs'

June 13 (SO) TNA leader Rajavarothayan Sampanthan said that the majority of the Tamil diaspora are for a meaningful political solution and added that he has no contact whatsoever with those who propagate separatism abroad. He called upon the Tamil diaspora to help in the post conflict humanitarian programs. The TNA leader said he did not feel that the entire Tamil diaspora was propagating separatism. more..

DPL-Trade Unions talks in deadlock

June 13 (NS) Sri Lanka’s renowned tableware manufacturer, Dankotuwa Porcelain Ltd (DPL) is on the verge of liquidation due to the Trade Unions (TU) being reluctant to sign a proposed 3 year collective agreement drafted by a prospective investor. According to a top official, the trade unions had declined to sign the agreement since in their point of view, some of the terms and conditions in the agreement will cut down the benefits given to employees that they used to enjoy. more..

Leading schools in Galle invaded by drug dealers

June 13 (NS) Invasion of leading schools in Galle by heroin dealers was brought to light by Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thera at the monthly meeting of the Southern Provincial Council last Tuesday Deputy chairman C. Vithanachchi presided over the meeting. When the final subject on the agenda was on the perils of narcotics Ven Samitha (PA) said that students of four leading schools in Galle had been introduced to drugs by these dealers and some of the students had turned into addicts. more..

Defence Ministry undecided on SF’s Kenya trip

June 13 (NS) Director- Media Centre for National Security, Lakshman Hulugalle said that the Defence Ministry is still undecided on whether or not they will allow retired General Sarath Fonseka, who is in military custody, to leave for Kenya to attend the four-day Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting in September. When asked whether there would be any special security arrangements if Fonseka is allowed to go, more..

Editorial: Be steady with normalization

June 13 (Island) The decision by Lloyd’s of London to remove Sri Lanka from its war risk insurance list will be welcome news to all sections that have the interests of this country at heart. Besides helping in stimulating Sri Lanka’s external trade and having a positive impact on its export development drive, the green light from Lloyd’s could give Lankan tourism a much needed boost and be a major catalyst in the steady revival of this country’s leisure industries, more..

Sri Lanka fisher community in efforts to rescue degraded estuary

June 13 (LBO) Deepika Edirisinghe lives in the dry Kalpitiya area in the Sri Lanka northeast coastal district of Puttalam bordering a degraded coastal estuary which is now yielding a much lower fish catch than a decade ago. Her husband is a fisherman, whose catch from the lagoon has been dwindling over the years. She is supplementing the income of her family by cultivating aloe vera, a cactus like plant with fleshy leaves which grows well in the arid climate in the area with little water. more..

Golden Key depositors to declare all-out war on Ceylinco

June 13 (NS) The umbrella body of aggrieved depositors of Golden Key Credit Card Company – the Golden Key Depositors Society issuing a July 2 ultimatum has declared an all-out-war against Ceylinco Group and its Chairman Lalith Kotalawela. President of Golden Key Depositors Society, Anusha Emmert said that after eighteen months since the company collapsed, there was no other option available for depositors. more..

Susantha Ratnayake accepts govt. offer to head Tea Board

June 13 (Island) John Keells Chief Susantha Ratnayake has accepted the post of Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, though he had been initially reluctant to play a dual role. Ratnayake has earlier pointed out possible conflicts of interest as John Keells Limited, which he heads, is in the lucrative tea brokering business and he is also Chairman of Tea Smallholders Factories, run by JKH and Central Finance. more..

Struggling poultry industry hit as 70,000 birds perish in deluge

June 13 (Island) As Sri Lanka’s crisis-hit poultry industry struggled to restore normalcy in the market, the death of around 70,000 birds as a result of the recent deluge, is expected to impact adversely on the trade, especially at a time the demand has shot up in the backdrop of soaring fish prices, officials warned last week. The floods, which virtually wiped out poultry farms and destroyed machinery and equipment in the Jaela-Negombo sector, more..

Personal Computer (PC) users in Sri Lanka : 80 persons to one PC

June 13 (Island) Infotel 2010 programmed for exposure at the BHICH is expected to attract international participation in practically all fields in Information Technology. According to a recent assessment, there are now approximately 273 million PC users world-wide. However, the ratio in the Sri Lankan context remains relatively low that too the present user base including student population and Corporate sector. more..

Winning the Eelam War

June 13 (Island) The first three Presidents of Sri Lanka made no effort to win the war, though victory was possible. J.R. Jayewardene was forced by India to halt the Vadamarachchi operation (1987) which would have permanently ended the LTTE offensive. Premadasa handed over arms, ammunition, cement and cash to the LTTE. The LTTE used the ammunition and arms to kill 600 policemen in 1990. In Kumaratunga’s time, the army was almost wiped out at Mullaitivu (1996). more..

Panchayat-style Jana Sabhas for village development

June 13 (ST) The Government will establish Jana Sabhas countrywide to function as grassroots level organisations to carry out development activity. These bodies, modelled on the lines of the Panchayat system in India, will replace the existing Pradeshiya Sabhas, the Sunday Times learns. NFF leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa told the Sunday Times that as a preliminary step towards establishing Jana Sabhas, a position would be created as Jana Sabha Secretaries. more..

Bonapartism reigns, UNP in Waterloo

June 13 (ST) Prime Minister, D.M. Jayaratne, sprung a surprise on ministers at the weekly Cabinet meeting last Wednesday. He circulated a brief two-page note calling upon his colleagues to approve a recommendation asking the Legal Draftsman's Department to formulate a set of draft constitutional amendments. The parameters of the changes proposed were spelt out. Ministers lost no time in endorsing it. more..

Editorial: The debt trap

June 13 (ST) Hot on the heels of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's State visit to India, comes the official visit of China's Vice Prime Minister to Sri Lanka. This might fuel some excitement among the diplomatic community and strategic studies analysts, but whether one need read too much into this co-incidence is best left open. In view of Sri Lanka's deepening involvement with India on the one hand, and China on the other, the separate visits will inevitably trigger discussion in geo-political terms. more..

Southern University students denied access to meet counterparts of Jaffna University

june 13 (TN) The Vice-chancellor of Jaffna University did not permit Saturday more than seventy representatives of University Students’ Union from South who had come to Jaffna to give the war affected Vanni students in Jaffna University things they had collected, to enter the university premise. The Southern university student representatives led by Uthila Premaratne were stopped at the entrance as Jaffna University VC directed the security guards to close the main gate. more..

Controversy over costs and revenue of IIFA

June 13 (ST) In its over-enthusiasm to attract more Indian tourists and build the Sri Lankan image as a major tourist destination following the end of the conflict, Sri Lanka spent a total of Rs 1.1 billion Sri Lanka rupees to host last week’s IIFA awards in Colombo, of which over Rs 850 million has been provided by the Treasury while the balance came from sponsors, according to figures compiled by the Business Times (BT). more..

Police crack whip on vice in city

June 13 (ST) The police yesterday swooped down on hundreds of guesthouses, hotels, karaoke clubs and motels in Colombo city and the immediate suburbs, rounding up hundreds of couples, and even couples on beaches. Yesterday’s pre-dawn raids were carried out under the government’s anti-vice programme - a drive to crack down on pornography, adult movies and prostitution across the country. more..

NFF seeks constitutional safeguards

June 13 (Island) Although key constitutional changes, which envisaged additional executive powers proposed by the NFF are acceptable to the SLFP, some of its suggestions are likely to cause disagreement among a section of the ruling coalition. One of the main contentious issues is likely to be a call to amend the Constitution to enable moving of fundamental rights applications in the Supreme Court against the private sector. more..

EU on collision course; backs war crimes probe

June 13 (ST) European Union members have called for an investigation on war crimes in Sri Lanka and expressed their support for the appointment of an expert panel to advise the United Nations Secretary General on the issue. A EU delegation attending the UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva read out statements critical of Sri Lanka. They were from Spain, France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. more..

Sri Lanka holds mass wedding for ex-rebels

June 13 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities on Sunday conducted the marriages of over 100 former rebels at a mass ceremony attended by Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi. A total of 53 couples were issued marriage certificates in the northern district of Vavuniya, where they are being held in military custody following the defeat of the Tamil Tiger separatist movement in May last year. more..

No India pressure on Tamil problem: Lanka

June 13 (PTI) Sri Lanka today said the relationship between New Delhi and Colombo was "strong," as it dismissed suggestions that there was "pressure" from New Delhi" for an early political solution to the Tamil ethnic problem during the visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris said Sri Lanka is following an independent policy and there is no pressure on us. more..

Sri Lankans felt Nicobar islands tremor

June 14 (Xinhua) An earthquake in the wee hours of Sunday in the Nicobar Islands in the Indian ocean was felt in different parts of Sri Lanka, officials said Sunday. "People in high rise condominium buildings said they were put up by the shake of the building. Most of them came out and went in only after they were assured of safety", Dr NP Wijayananda the Director General of Geological Survey and Mines Bureau told reporters. more..

Sri Lanka says ports now free of war risk premiums

June 14 (LBO) Sri Lankan ports are now free of any extra war risk-related insurance premiums following the removal of the island from the area listed for war risk by international underwriters, a government statement said. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority said the move followed a visit to the island by a security firm which provides maritime intelligence in response to lobbying by government with the end of the country's ethnic war. more..