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Undergrads-cops clash over course

May 22 (DM) Riot police used water cannons to disperse a group of university students protesting opposite the University Grants Commission at Ward Place Colombo, last evening. The students from the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) who were protesting in front of the UGC yesterday were chased by the police up to Borella. Earlier clashes erupted between the undergrads and police as students tried forcibly enter the premises of the Ministry of Higher Education. more..

ETF case: Kotelawala released on bail

May 22 (DM) Ceylinco group chairman Lalith Kotelawela was yesterday granted bail when he appeared at the Mount Lavinia Magistrate's court on charges of having failed to credit Employees' Trust Fund (ETF) contributions of the staff of the Golden Key Credit Card Company. Additional Magistrate Ruchira Weliwatte released Mr. Kotelawela on a personal bail of Rs.200,000 more..

Natural resources abused under pretext of development: Minister

May 22 (DM) The uncontrolled and unplanned use and abuse of natural resources under the pretext of development has to end now as developing countries are continuing to be severely impacted by its negative effects, Environment Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said yesterday. He told Central Environment Authority (CEA) employees that the international community was paying a lot of attention to safeguarding a valuable resource more..

Illegal timber felling near Kokilai lagoon

May 22 (DN) The northwestern side of the land along the Kokilai lagoon (Kukulawa) is being cleared to accommodate Internally Displaced persons but illegal timber felling and transport has been going on at the same time, the Green Movement of Sri Lanka said in a press release yesterday. However, the Forest Department seized five lorries carrying illicit timber last Wednesday in a joint operation conducted by the Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee District officers. more..

Provincial Councillor caught with wild boar

May 22 (Island) Two policemen on a motorcycle in Kegalle yesterday morning noticed blood dripping from underneath a double cab speeding ahead of them. They gave chase, overtook the double cab and signaled it to stop. The vehicle had a carcass of a wild boar and two shot guns in the rear. Three men in the vehicle said that they had killed the wild boar in the jungles near Hasalaka the previous night and were transporting it to Kaduwela. more..

GL to meet Hillary

May 22 (DM) External Affairs Minister G.L.Peiris is to visit the United States next week for bilateral talks with the US government, Foreign Ministry sources told Daily Mirror online. Daily Mirror online learns that Prof. Peiris is expected to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during his visit to the US. The visit by Prof. Peiris to the US comes amidst calls by the international community more..

‘Pardon when Tissa withdraws appeal case’

May 22 (DM) The delay in formalizing the presidential pardon granted to senior journalist J.S. Tissainayagam is linked to the delay in the withdrawal of his appeal, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peries said yesterday. "Mr. Tissainayagam has lodged an appeal and the pardon cannot be formalized as long as this is pending. It is only a procedural step and has to be attended to by his lawyers. more..

An adventure breaking new ground

May 22 (CI) It is tempting to look at these matches - two Twenty20 internationals between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, being played in the USA - as precisely the reason why tournaments like IPL prosper. Twenty20 is the best vehicle for the globalisation of the game, which somehow - rightly or wrongly - seems to be a big concern for the administrators. more..

UN agencies assist Sri Lanka government in flood relief

May 22 (UN) United Nations agencies are supporting the efforts of the Sri Lankan Government to provide relief to an estimated half a million people affected by floods in the South Asian island country following a week of torrential rainfall that has claimed the lives of at least 20 people. The UN World Food Programme will provide food for 400,000 of the affected people to supplement rations being distributed by the Sri Lankan Government, more..

Half a million people affected by floods in Sri Lanka

May 22 (wsws) Floods caused by heavy rain in several areas of Sri Lanka have affected more than half a million people, and taken at least 20 lives. Torrential pre-monsoon rains were worsened by cyclone Laila, which formed in the Bay of Bengal. The worst-hit districts are Colombo, Kalutara and Gampaha in the west. Many other areas in the south, northwest, east, north-central and inland are also inundated. more..

Zealand beat Sri Lanka in first U.S. game

May 23 (CI) Cricket's American adventure got off to an unattractive start in Florida. The slow and low pitch didn't make for an exciting match, and New Zealand grafted hard to reach 120 for 7. It proved more than enough as Sri Lanka struggled and folded for 92. The pitch was the villain of the piece. It certainly wasn't a batting surface, and it wasn't bowler-friendly either. more..

Government planning to bring Sinhalese colonists again to Ma’nalaa’ru in Vanni

May 23 (TN) Sri Lanka government is accelerating its plans to colonize Ma’nalaa’ru area in Vanni with Sinhalese people and also to bring back the Sinhalese people who had been earlier brought to this area as colonists, some government officers who had visited Ma’nalaa’ru area said. Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and other de-mining organizations are now at work in the above Ma’nalaa’ru area more..

Editorial: Harnessing talent

May 23 (Island) There have been some hopeful signs in recent appointments to public sector institutions that the present administration is adopting a more practical approach to governance than we have seen in the past many years. Mr. Harry Jayawardena, certainly, is not everybody’s cup of tea. But even the ranks of Tuscany must admit that he is both a successful businessman and that his success is rooted in managerial ability. more..

Limited seats for Lanka at IIFA?

May 23 (SL) The Bollywood film industry which has a surprisingly large and faithful fan base here in Sri Lanka will definitely be greeted with much fanfare come next month when the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, which some say are second only to Hollywood’s Oscars, takes Colombo by storm. It is by far the biggest event that Sri Lanka has ever hosted and the most prevalent issue is whether we will be able to match more..

Blue film video parlour chief sees red

May 23 (SO) The proprietor of a video parlour was taken in for questioning by the Medawachchiya police following detection of a sophisticated computer containing several obscene films and compact discs at his video parlour at Athinikanda last week. The suspect had been running a lucrative but illegal business by downloading obscene films from the Internet and copying them on compact discs to be sold among service personnel in the area and schoolchildren who called over frequently at his video parlour. more..

As flood waters recede, threat of diseases looms

May 23 (ST) Health officials warned yesterday of an outbreak of infectious and water-borne diseases in the coming days as water levels started receding in the Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara districts. The warning came as the death toll in floods was placed at 20 while the number of people affected was around 600,000. Typhoid, hepatitis A, diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, chickenpox, viral flu, rabies, dengue and rat fever (Leptospirosis) were among the diseases that more..

The Interview: Jayantha Dhanapala: The future of nuclear weapons

May 23 (TC) Jayantha Dhanapala of the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs, and why he believes global nuclear disarmament is possible: Steve Paikin: Is a world without nuclear weapons is genuinely achievable? Jayantha Dhanapala: It is achievable; we've scaled many mountains in international relations. We thought slavery could not be abolished because it is an institution that fed a lot of economies in the world. more..

Editorial: What refuses to go away

May 23 (LB) Of course the usual gross exaggeration animates the discourse of the foreign interlopers such as Human Rights Watch and International Crisis Group who have become incrementally shrill in their calls for an independent investigation against Sri Lankan authorities and forces over their conduct of the war on the LTTE. As if on cue, the Sri Lankan government has proceeded to appoint a Commission for Lessons Learnt Truth and Reconciliation, headed by a former Attorney General. more..

Medical Misconduct Kills Student

May 23 (SL) A 19 year old sportsman at Royal College Colombo passed away Wednesday evening, allegedly due to medical misconduct by doctors at the National Hospital. A family member confirmed that they were weighing their options with regard to legal action. Nabeel Jalaludeen was a member of the 2009 rugby team at his alma mater, and was also on the 2nd X1 cricket team. He sustained a cut when he jumped over a fence at the Royal-Thomian “Big Match” on March 20 to congratulate a team member. more..

How Beijing won Sri Lanka's civil war

vMay 23 (Independent) A year ago, one of the world's most brutal and pitiless terrorist groups, the LTTE, was hunted down and exterminated on a strip of beach in the far north-east of Sri Lanka. In a war that had dragged on for 27 years, more than 80,000 on both sides had died, hundreds of thousands had lost their homes and the future of one of the most idyllic tropical islands in the world hung in the balance. Suddenly it was all over. more..

Investment tangles ordered out

May 23 (NS) With an eye on the urgent need to attract investors to feed the accelerated development process set in motion by the government, Cabinet this week appointed a Sub Committee with plenty of brain power, “to make an assessment of legislative and regulatory impediments hampering investment and obstructing a speedy decision making process,” and recommend remedial measures to improve the situation. more..

Editorial: Man-made natural disasters

May 23 (NS) Until a few years ago, Sri Lanka was regarded as a paradise untouched by the ravages of natural disasters. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and snowstorms were nothing more than picturesque images to the average citizen of this country. The 2004 tsunami disaster changed that at a cost of more than 35,000 lives, but even so, the nation recovered from that tragedy, unconvinced that natural disasters would become a regular phenomenon in this land. more..

Govt increases expenditure on education

May 23 (SO) The Government increased the expenditure on education to Rs. 108.37 billion last year, an increase of 92 percent compared to 2005. The Secretary, Ministry of Education Sunil Sirisena commenting on the allocation of the Ministry of Finance and Planning said that the investment on education is a significant input for human resource development of the country in future. more..

Editorial: News is dead. long live the news

May 23 (SL) There’s no news anymore. Nothing breaking because nothing’s especially broken. Gone are the days of bombs and occupied towns and the obvious drama. There are stories still, but really no news. So what does The Sunday Leader do? Comment on what Ravi Karunanayake wore to Parliament? Hypothetical Rajapaksa lineages? May as well talk about the weather. The first anniversary of the war’s end was delayed by an Act Of God. more..

India wants ‘CEPA’ again

May 23 (LT) India is interested in having a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) with Sri Lanka states ‘The Economic Times’ of India. According to ‘The Economic Times, ’Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had raised the issue of reviving CEPA when she met the Lankan leadership during her recent visit to Colombo. Already, a working free-trade agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka and India exists but India had proposed that it should be broaden and ‘CEPA’ revived. more..

President Rajapaksa extends his condolence on Indian tragedy

May 23 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed his condolences to Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh on the plane crash that took place yesterday morning (22). The plane crash which occurred in Southern India in Magalore killed 158 persons on board the Air India passenger flight last morning. The plane was on a return trip from Dubai said Indian officials. more..

Show us the money!

May 23 (SL) At the Working Committee meeting of the UNP on Friday, May 21, Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe responding to a page one lead story in The Sunday Leader of May 9, titled “Show Us The Money” had said, that “the money” had been given to this newspaper during the last presidential election of December 2009 – January 2010. Ranjan Ramanayake MP, had quizzed the Opposition Leader requesting him to respond to charges of malpractices involving more..

Reconciliation Com. sittings in camera

May 23 (ST) The new commission appointed to investigate events related to one of the most widely reported South Asian insurgencies will hold its proceedings in camera in the coming months, its chairman and former Attorney General C. R. de Silva said yesterday. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), constituted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last weekend, will not allow public viewing of its interviews with a large number of people including more..

Gotabhaya slams local bodies & UDA for lethargy

May 23 (Island) The government is struggling to clean-up the Colombo City ahead of the mega International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards 2010 scheduled for June 3-5. Recent rains have turned parts of the city, including Kotahena, where the main venue, Sugathadasa indoor stadium is located,into a quagmire. Although the IIFA organizers decided to go ahead with the show, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is finding the task difficult to handle. more..

'No tariff revision in the near future : Making CEB a viable commercial entity, my aim'

May 23 (LNP) Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka speaks his heart out on the CEB s threefold crisis and his short, medium and long-term plans to overcome the challenge of providing cheap electricity in Sri Lanka. He avowed We will reform this as a viable commercial entity. Q: Will there be any immediate relief to electricity consumers in the near future to ease the cost of living? more..

Essential food items cheaper at DECs and Laksathosa outlets

May 23 (SO) Essential food commodity prices are lower by fifteen to twenty percent at government Dedicated Economic Centres (DECs) and Laksathosa Super Centres compared to the open market, a survey has revealed. The high quality food items are available at reasonable prices at the Narahenpita, Ratmalana and Piliyandala DECs and Laksathosa outlets. Minister Johnston Fernando said that arrangements have been made to despatch essential food items to all Lak Sathosa Super Centres and more..

Top UNPers say Reform Report “illegal’’

May 23 (LB) Some sections of the UNP are hell bent on scuttling the long-awaited UNP reforms, questioning the legality and propriety of the UNP Reforms Committee, a prominent member of the UNP said. He said that the UNP Reforms Committee does not have the mandate of either the Executive Committee or the Working Committee, to proceed to formulate any proposals to amend the UNP Constitution. more..

The fanciful logic ICG’s war crime report

May 23 (LB) The International Crisis Group’s report on war crimes in Sri Lanka seems like the work of the LTTE front organization, the Tamils Against Genocide ---- either the ICG outsourced the TAG to write the report or vice versa. The timing of the launch of the report, its flimsy evidence and the skewed logic of allegations smack of a work driven by singular malice against the Sri Lankan state and its armed forces. more..

Golden Key scam: Authorities undervalue Kotelawela properties

May 23 (LB) Golden Key depositors claim that the authorities have undervalued assets belonging to Lalith Kotelawala, chairman of Golden Key Credit Card Company thus depriving them of their hard-earned savings. The disposal of such assets, depositors charge will not raise the expected amounts and will leave depositors high and dry. Over 9200 depositors are languishing and are unable to meet their day-to-day needs after being robbed of their savings and have no other source of income. more..

GL to bring back efficacy to External Affairs Ministry

May 23 (NS) Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L. Peiris is to change the policy followed by his predecessor when dealing with Sri Lankan diplomats stationed around the world, in order to maximise efficiency and cut back unnecessary costs. The Minister said, “It is a good idea from time to time to summon the envoys in a particular part of the world to a country in that region, instead of getting all of them down to Colombo at once. more..

CMC to spend Rs.75M to rebuild drains

May 23 (NS) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) this year has set a task of allocating Rs.75 million as capital expenditure to construct new drains and de-silt existing drains in view of putting an end to Colombo roads going under flood water even in a small rain. CMC Special Commissioner Omar Kamil said, accordingly, the project will be initiated in the areas of Bluomendhal, Maitland Crescent, D.S. Senanayake Junction and the Reid Avenue. more..

The kraal in disarray

May 23 (NS) The controversy swirling over the fate of the opposition United National Party (UNP) refuses to go away in a hurry, with the party arriving at a few crucial decisions this week. A high-powered party committee, headed by former Speaker Joseph Michael Perera, on Friday obtained working committee approval for all high posts in the party, barring that of the Secretary and the Treasurer, to be elected. more..

'On right track, but deficit worrying'

May 23 (NS) UNP spokesman on economic issues Dr. Harsha de Silva, having successfully beaten all other claimants to the position over the years was this year rewarded with a parliamentary seat from the party’s National List. Though some UNP mouthpieces are well known for their foot in the mouth uttering, Harsha is more the honest intellectual ever ready to give credit to whoever is deserving of it. more..

Amidst floods Lanka faces world storm

May 23 (ST) Troops in varied attire clutching assault rifles went through their drills many a time during rehearsals. Their battleware - tanks, armoured personnel carriers, vehicle mounted Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers, artillery guns - were ready to roll before Government leaders, officials and Colombo-based diplomats last Thursday. Television cameras were to bring those visuals live to the homes of Sri Lankans countrywide. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

May 23 (ST) They forgot political differences when it came to the 70th birthday bash of John Ameratunga, UNP Parliamentarian for Gampaha District and one time Minister of Internal Security. It was a gala party at the Intercontinental Hotel. The choicest liquor and cocktails were served and a five course dinner followed. Naturally, the high and mighty in the United National Party were all there. They included leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and deputy Karu Jayasuriya. more..

Basil will handle Indian affairs

May 23 (ST) Senior Presidential Advisor and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa will continue to oversee matters relating to Indo-Sri Lanka relations. He undertook this task during the tenure of the previous Government where Rohitha Bogollagama was the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Sunday Times learns he will continue the role whilst G.L. Peiris remains the Minister of External Affairs. more..

Vehicle restriction for ministers, ABC of austerity

May 23 (NS) Government has taken a decision to limit the number of vehicles assigned to a minister or deputy minister to three vehicles. Secretary to the President in a circular has advised secretaries of all ministries to inform the ministry of finance if any minister uses vehicles in excess of the allocated number. This appears to be a prudent step in a country where ministers who had exceeded hundred in numbers had been using or misusing vehicles as they wish more..

Minister’s hideout in prohibited sanctuary

May 23 (LB) A minister has put up a swank Holiday Resort complete with all ‘mod-cons’ (amenities) in the Minneriya National Park, but Wild Life authorities have turned a blind eye. Sajeewa Chamikara representing Sri Lanka Nature Forum (SLNF) claims that the said Minister has built a two storied hotel, ‘Jeew’s Hide Out,’ now situated two kilometers inside the Minneriya Nature Reserve, near the 4th mile post in the Habarana-Polonnaruwa road. more..

'Tamil diaspora divided over Transnational Govt'

May 23 (PTI) Karuna Amman, a former top LTTE commander who is now a Sri Lankan Minister has said the Tamil diaspora is divided and had conflicting views on the so-called 'Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam'. The Tamil diaspora cannot make a significant impact internationally as it faces internal dissension and is now divided into three segments, more..

WOW! Promised to abolish Presidency, extended it to three terms?

May 23 (LB) When the UPFA campaigned for a two-thirds majority in parliament to change the constitution, it was widely anticipated that any amendments the party proposed would serve to strengthen democracy. But less than two months later, we are told that among the changes to be introduced is a removal of the two-term limit on the executive presidency. more..

Lanka invites EU for mega development projects

May 23 (ST) Sri Lanka, which is urging the European Union not to ban preferential tariffs for exports after August this year, has also invited it to be partners in an ambitious three year development plan costing three billion US dollars. The call was made when top-level talks were held in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. A-four member delegation led by Attorney General Mohan Peiris held talks with more..

'Ponds to prevent floods' Fowzie

May 24 (BBC) Sri Lanka's president decided to construct ponds in wetlands to avoid flash floods in future says the Disaster Management minister A.H.M. Fowzie. He said that the government is trying to implement tough laws against illegal constructions in wetlands and on waterways. According to minster Fowzie most of the illegal and unplanned developments were taken place twenty to twenty five years ago. more..

Grenade attack injures 10 in Rakwana

May 24 (DM) At least 10 people were injured following a grenade attack on a house in Rakwana this evening, police spokesman Priyashantha Jayakody told Daily Mirror online adding that the attack was a result of a personal dispute. The attackers had lobbed the grenade into the house while the occupants were inside resulting in a blast which injured at least 10 people. The injured were rushed to the Rakwana hospital. more..

Sri Lanka Zealand beat in the 2nd Twenty20 match

May 24 (CI) Nuwan Kulasekara found the perfect lines and lengths for the slow and low track that the USA has dished out, and ripped the heart out of New Zealand's batting with three wickets in his first over. Although Daniel Vettori and Nathan McCullum, the only New Zealanders to reach double figures, avoided the ignominy of the lowest total in Twenty20 internationals, 81 was never going to test Sri Lanka even on this pitch. more..

Sri Lanka, no Indian Ocean paradise

May 24 (Guardian) Britons are again flocking to Sri Lanka. Tourist arrivals surged 47% last month from a year earlier and sun-seekers from the UK form the largest single group. That's an astounding turnaround for a country that for more than a quarter of a century had been a case study in ethnic warfare, terrorism and brutal repression. This week the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, buoyed by recent wins in presidential and parliamentary elections, more..