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Bar on Lankan workers going to Bahrain lifted

Apr 7 (Island) The temporary suspension imposed on Sri Lankan workers leaving for Bahrain has been lifted from April 1, as that country had returned to normalcy after last month’s unrest. The ban was lifted after Sri Lanka’s Consul General P.B. Hikgoda gave the green light. Media Secretary of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment Kalyanapriya Ramanayake told The Island that on the instructions of Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera, more..

South key example of Govt’s regional economic development push – British envoy

Apr 7 (FT) British High Commissioner John Rankin has described the on-going key projects in the Southern Province as an example of the Government’s regional economic development push. “The Southern Province demonstrates visibly the govt’s efforts to develop regional economies. The new port and new airport in Hambantota offer significant opportunities in diverse business areas, including cargo and shipping, tourism and the service sector,” more..

Two Royal Thailand Naval Ships arrive in Sri Lanka on a Training and Goodwill Mission

Apr 7 (MoD) Two Royal Thailand Naval ships, HTMS "Taksin" and HTMS "Saiburi", with Chief of Staff, Royal Thai Naval Academy, Rear Admiral Teerapong Srisuwan on board, arrived at the Port of Colombo today (5) on a training and goodwill mission. The ships were ceremonially welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy on their arrival. A special programme has been arranged by the Sri Lanka Navy to enhance the friendly relations between the two Navies more..

Remove CNH dogs

Apr 7 (NN) The Colombo National Hospital (CNH) has asked the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to remove all stray dogs in the hospital premises. Colombo National Hospital Director Hector Weerasinghe said that the request was made as stray dogs often roam the hospital premises. The doctor said that dogs in the hospital premises is a threat to the hygiene of hundreds of patents who seek treatment at the hospital daily. However when contacted the CMC lambasted the Hospital Director saying more..

Kumar Sangakkara talks to the media

Blake visit postponed

Apr 7 (Island) Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert O Blake has postponed his scheduled visit to Sri Lanka on a request from the Sri Lankan govt, the US Embassy in Colombo said. US Embassy spokesman Glenn Davis said that the Assistant Secretary of State was scheduled to arrive in Colombo this week but the visit has now been postponed. The government had requested that the visit be postponed as External Affairs Minister G.L Peiris is still out of the country, Davis said. more..

Lent also helpful to other faiths

Apr 7 (UCAN) Devotional Lenten practices are not only a way for Catholics in Sri Lanka to grow in holiness but also a special time to help people from other religions learn about the Catholic faith. Pilgrimages, passion plays, Way of the Cross, special meditations, scripture reading, almsgiving and fasting, they say, characterize the season but Buddhists and Hindus want to know why Catholics observe such special practices. “If anyone in the city expects to observe Lent successfully, more..

Prison inmates get school text books for reading

Apr 7 (Island) The prison inmates' countrywide would be provided with school text books to read and enhance their knowledge, Commissioner General of the Education Publications Department, W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said. "All the prisons will be provided with school text books which are not prescribed in the current educational curriculum. Also, the books used and discarded by the students, but could still be used, will be given to prisons for the use of the inmates," more..

Diwi Neguma: Old ‘veggie’ wine in new bottles

Apr 7 (LB) Several experts in the agriculture sector question the rationale behind spending millions of rupees on pie in the sky Diwi Neguma instead of attending to the needs of the farming community that is in distress. Due to the unprecedented rains during the months of January and February and the resultant floods, most vegetable and paddy fields were destroyed. Though the government had promised farmers that seed paddy, fertilizer and compensation will be provided, more..

‘SL forces want Emergency extended for colonizing East’

Apr 7 (TN) Tamil National Alliance MP for Batticaloa, Pakiaselvam Ariyanethiran, Tuesday night told media that Sri Lankan forces were staging search operations in the three districts of Eastern Province to justify Colombo's “need” to extend the Emergency in the island. The Sri Lanka Army with the SL Police on Tuesday launched major cordon and search operation simultaneously in all the three districts of the Eastern province for the first time since the end of Vanni war. more..

Sri Lanka to get $300mn a year for infrastructure from ADB

Apr 7 (LBO) The Asian Development Bank would finance Sri Lanka with about 300 million dollars annually over the next few years, with roads, water supply and sanitation getting attention, officials said. In the past three years Sri Lanka had got nearly a billion dollars of Asia Development Financing, with a peak of 457 million dollars in 2010 with emergency financing for former war torn areas. Country director Richard Vokes said actual disbursements may more..

Pillayan's driver arrested for assaulting SL policeman

Apr 7 (TN) Police in Batticaloa arrested Tuesday the driver of the Eastern Provincial Chief Minister's vehicle on a complaint that the driver and his group had assaulted an Police Constable who was on duty at the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital. Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, is the chief minister of the EPC. Pillayan's driver together with a councillor of the EPC, P.Prashanthan, took a person who was injured in a clash for admission in the BTH. more..

Plans to make rice mill owners register with PMB

Apr 7 (Island) The Government plans to register the rice mill owners with the Paddy Marketing Board, Minister Johnston Fernando told Parliament on Wednesday. For the first time in the country, registration with the PMB will be made compulsory for all rice mill owners, Minister Fernando said, adding that this move would reveal the exact details and figures so that the mill owners would not be able to control the market prices by creating artificial shortages. more..

The night of April 5, 1971

Apr 7 (ST) 40 years ago, the present leader of the JVP, Somawansa Amarasinghe had a role to play in the failed youth insurrection of 71. Here he recalls the events of that day. Under cover of darkness, three young men travelled by taxi to the bo-tree junction at Borella. While two stood at the bus-stand, one walked into the Ritz cinema, found several of their sahodarayas (comrades) watching a movie, came back and whispered that it was not time yet. more..

Tug-of-war between CEB and LTL over payment to CPC

Apr 7 (Island) Senior engineers of the Ceylon Electricity Board on Tuesday accused the Lanka Transformers Limited (LTL), which handles the Yugadanvi Thermal Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya, of delaying payments due to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. A senior engineer told 'The Island' that unlike in the past, the CEB paid money due to others on time. "If we give the money on time to the LTL why can't they settle their debts on time," he queried. more..

Jayalalitha Criticises Karuna on Lankan Tamils Row

Apr 7 (OI) AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa today said the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka could have been avoided had Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, whose party DMK was supporting the UPA government at the Centre, seriously considered withdrawing support to it. Lives of thousand of Sri Lankan Tamils could have been saved had Karunanidhi seriously considered withdrawing support to the Centre instead of threatening to withdraw support to it, as he was doing frequently", more..

UC deputy chairman among 18 remanded over extortion racket

Apr 7 (Island) In a lightning raid carried out around 3.00 am yesterday at the newly built Peliyagoda fish market complex, the STF and the police arrested 18 persons including Deputy Chairman of Peliyagoda Urban Council Amila Nishantha Kumarasiri. Kumarasiri contested the recently concluded LG polls on the UPFA ticket. The suspects were produced before Aluthkade Magistrate Prasanan Alwis and remanded till April 18. more..

Govt Dialogue with TNA – a one sided affair?

Apr 7 (DM) Today, 7th April, the government and the TNA are scheduled to meet for the fourth time in their structured dialogue. The discussions are divided into two sections. First are the consequences of the war, the humanitarian, rehabilitation and reconstruction issues faced by people in the conflict affected areas. The second set of issues, scheduled for discussion on 29th April, are political reforms aimed at addressing the causes of ethnic conflict. more..

Shops gutted in Hatton inferno

Apr 7 (DN) A number of shops in Hatton town were reduced to ashes when a fire erupted in a shop around 5.30 pm yesterday. According to Hatton Police sources, fire that erupted at a shop had blazed out of control, engulfing a number of shops in Main Street. The Police with the assistance of people in the area made great efforts to douse the fire without success. Police said that fire engines of Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council were brought and the raging fires were doused at around 7 pm yesterday. more..

4th South Asian Conference on Sanitation kicks off in Sri Lanka

Apr 7 (IL) Fourth South Asia Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN - IV) kicked off at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo on Wednesday 06 April to raise awareness about the sanitation crisis in the region. President Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the four days Ministerial Summit which included attendees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan government announces a Colombo municipal corporation

Apr 7 (wsws) In a further attack on democratic rights designed to push ahead with pro-investor policies, the Sri Lankan cabinet decided on March 24 to establish a Colombo Metropolitan City Corporation (CMCC), incorporating five elected local councils for the capital and its suburbs. The new authority will be run by a City Governor, appointed by President Mahinda Rajapakse, giving the government greater power over the country’s main urban area. more..

Loan scheme for undergrads

Apr 7 (Island) The govt will soon introduce a loan scheme for university students, as a majority of them face severe financial problems leading to their giving up degree courses. Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that the proposal, to grant loans to students, was passed by the Cabinet of ministers. "Undergraduates have to re-pay the loans in installments after securing employment," he said. Dissanayake said most countries in the world have such loan facilities and more..

'Corruption hinders constructions'

Apr 7 (DM) Minister of Youth Affairs and Skills Development Dulles Alahapperuma said it was regrettable and a matter of shame that the development of the construction industry has been stunted due to corruption and quality failure while other countries have shown tremendous progress in this sector. Addressing a ceremony held after laying the foundation stone to start work on the construction of a swimming pool at the Dikwella Vijitha Maha Vidyalaya, more..

Harsha warns of further increase in fuel prices, electricity tariffs

Apr 7 (Island) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva says the IMF is obviously satisfied with the neo-liberal economic policy of the new and improved Mahinda Chintanaya. The economist says the resumption of the privatization programme by the Rajapaksa administration is crucial to the growing relationship between the UPFA government and the IMF. The MP was responding to a query by The Island on whether the release of the seventh tranche of more..

Bus owners call for crackdown on extortion gangs

Apr 7 (Island) Private bus owners urged the government yesterday to crack down on criminal gangs extorting money from bus crews at Pettah and provincial bus terminals. They made this call in the wake of a successful operation carried out by the STF and police at the newly built Peliyagoda fish market and the arrest of a gang of extortionists. Many bus operators and workers did not complain to the police about the extortionists for fear of reprisal. more..

Protests won’t improve university system – UCG head

Apr 7 (Island) In the wake of the hospitalisation of five Ruhuna University students following a clash, Chairman of the UGC Prof. Gamini Samaranayake said that protests organised by pro–JVP undergraduates were not going to improve the quality of the university system. He said they (the JVPers) were trying to advance their political agenda, but the university system needed changes. "Currently, 130,000 students qualify for university admission annually, but more..

‘We were clean and transparent’

Apr 7 (Island) The selection panel of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) headed by former batting ace Aravinda de Silva who stepped down yesterday, held an official press briefing to explain their decision. De Silva who headed the press conference as the chief selector said that Sri Lanka cricket should move on focusing the next ICC Cricket World Cup which will be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2015. “We have got yet about three weeks to complete our tenure. more..

Migrants face hearings for human smuggling

Apr 7 (G&M) The first migrant from the MV Sun Sea to face an admissibility hearing and possible deportation for human smuggling will appear before the Immigration and Refugee Board on Thursday. The man – who can’t be identified because of a publication ban – was one of 492 Tamils who arrived in B.C. last August. All made refugee claims, but 41 have been referred to the IRB for an admissibility hearing. Those deemed inadmissible are ordered deported. more..

Sajith back-pedals further: Ravi K almost certain to be National Organiser

Apr 7 (Island) Despite Sajith Premadasa taking tough stands and making various pronouncements, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was slowly but surely strengthening his grip on the leadership. Instead of yesterday’s scheduled Special Working Committee Meeting, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Chairman Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, Joint Deputy Leaders Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, more..

'Defence budget cut to serve poor'

Apr 7 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday appealed to the leaders of South Asia to divert the colossal defense expenditure towards development, research and technology to reduce poverty and suffering in the region. Addressing the final sessions of the three-day South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN), President Rajapaksa stressed that Sri Lanka’s humanitarian initiatives had enabled the government not just more..

Debt burden strangles SLC

Apr 7 (DM) Just as speculation has escalated about an imminent change of power at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) within the next few hours, inside sources told Daily Mirror that a huge financial crisis has engulfed the country’s cricket controlling body, making it virtually impossible for anyone to resurrect. As the sources put it the debt burden and poor financial management has driven SLC, one of the country’s richest private firms towards rapid bankruptcy and more..

Court grants bail for detained Sri Lanka editor

Apr 7 (AFP) The editor of a pro-opposition Sri Lankan news website was released on bail Thursday, a week after his arrest sparked protests from international media rights groups. Bennet Rupasinghe had been taken into police custody on charges of allegedly threatening a suspect wanted for a January arson attack on the offices of his website, Magistrate Jayaki de Alwis turned down a police request to more..

'Unemployable graduates a big burden on the people'

Apr 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's people are paying tens of billions of rupees to give state jobs to unemployable graduates from state universities where they have also studied at public cost, an official said. Sri Lanka has about 400,000 sitting for university qualifications exams and each year about 20,000 enter universities, and some are unemployable. "About 5,000 students are coming out of the universities as unemployable graduates," higher education ministry secretary Sunil Nawaratne said. more..

Australia funds mine clearance in Sri Lanka

Apr 8 (IANS) Australia has released an additional Rs.480 million for demining in Sri Lanka. The funding was released in conjunction with the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, observed on April 4, a statement from the Australian high commission here said. This additional funding will enable local and international demining agencies to continue accelerated mine surveys, clearance and mine risk education in the northern and eastern Provinces. more..

Sri Lanka, UK flights to increase

Apr 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to sign an air services agreement with the United Kingdom enabling increased flights between the two countries. The air services agreement would enable the frequency entitlement to be increased to 21 flights a week from 14 today between the two countries. The increased frequency of flights will be effective from the winter season of 2011-2012. The island's national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines has been wanting to increase flights to more..

Sri Lankan firms allowed to borrow abroad

Apr 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank has begun allowing companies to borrow abroad, calling for applications from firms for loans up to 20 million US dollars. Companies can borrow for working capital, investment, restructuring or to settle existing foreign currency loans, central bank officials said. Borrowing costs, including interest rates, should not exceed the prevailing Sri Lanka International Sovereign Bond rate in the secondary market plus 200 more..

Sexual stimulant product sponsoring of regional cricket team questioned

Apr 8 (ST) The sponsoring of a regional cricket team by the an Indian company that promotes an Ayurveda sexual stimulant product was questioned in Parliament today. UNP MP Ajith Perera in the oral question asked the Minister of Sports to inform the House if the North-Western (wayamba) cricket team which represented the country at the Champions League 20-20 tournament held in South Africa in September 2010 was sponsored by the institution that sells more..

'Sri Lankan cricket needs major clean-up'

Apr 8 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s outgoing coach Trevor Bayliss on Thursday said the country needed a strong and stable cricket administration to allow players to focus only on the game and not be distracted by politics. “On the field, we’ve done pretty well for past 18 months,” Bayliss said in an interview with AFP. “Getting to the World Cup final itself is an achievement, though we lost (to India).” But off the field, Australian-born Bayliss said, more..

PM urges Opp. not to internationlise domestic issues

Apr 8 (ST) Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratna today urged the Opposition not to internationalise domestic issues and instead take them up with the government and find solutions locally. “If there are problems, take it up with the government. Do not take them out to the world,” the Premier said while opening the debate on the extension of the state of emergency in Parliament. The Prime Minister said that even though two years have lapsed since the defeat of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, more..

Sailors still missing

Apr 8 (NN) Rajesh Doss the Inspector General of Police for Coastal Security in India said that all the coastal villages and fishermen in India had been alerted about the four Sri Lankan Navy sailors reported since last week. The PTI quoted him as telling reporters that fishermen have been advised to inform the Indian police if they spot the bodies of the sailors. He also said that the fishermen had been advised not to cross the International Maritime Border Line and more..