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Lanka mulling MOU with India on nuclear safeguards

Apr 10 (NS) With India determined to enhance her nuclear programme in close proximity to Sri Lanka across the Palk Strait, Colombo is contemplating an MOU with Delhi on possible safeguards. As an initial step the Ministry of Power and Energy is expected to make an appeal to the External Affairs Ministry regarding a possible Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with India, top government officials said. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket make new appointments

Apr 10 (E24/7) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has moved swiftly to bring back some sanity amid the chaos that prevailed in the aftermath of the defeat in the World Cup final by appointing two respected former players as chief selector and batting coach of the team. Former captains Duleep Mendis and Marvan Atapattu have been assigned fresh roles as SLC recover from the twin resignations of skipper Kumar Sangakkara and his deputy Mahela Jayawardena followed by more..

Indo-Lanka fishing row deepens: Lanka ignores violation of Immigration laws

Apr 10 (ST) The on-going issue of South Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters took a new turn yesterday when six Indian nationals without any travel documents were escorted into Sri Lankan territorial waters by the Indian Navy ignoring Sri Lankan immigration procedures. They came to Jaffna to attend a funeral of a relative who had died under mysterious circumstances off the northern waters earlier this week. more..

'Conspiracy by US'

Apr 11 (NN) The NFF which is led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa. today claimed that the US was conspiring against Sri Lanka by raising human right allegations against the country. NFF member Piyasiri Wijenayake told reporters today that most of the allegations against Sri Lanka are based on information sent by the US Embassy in Colombo. He said that the US is continuing to raise allegations against the government with the intention of pushing for an international probe in the country. more..

Health Ministry gets free calls through MoU with SLT

Apr 11 (AD) The Ministry of Health has reached a special agreement with Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) regarding the telephone charges of the Ministry and all institutions affiliated to it. The Ministry stated that a MoU has been signed by the Health Minister Miathripala Sirisena and SLT chiefs in this regard. Therefore from now on there will be no charges for calls made between government hospitals, health institutions and all establishments affiliated to the Health Ministry. more..

'Coach appointment only after England tour'

Apr 11 (CI) Sri Lanka will name a successor to head coach Trevor Bayliss after Sri Lanka's tour of England that starts in May. Bayliss had said that he would step down after the World Cup and Stuart Law, who assisted Bayliss since November 2009, has been appointed interim coach for the England tour. Sri Lanka Cricket will be monitoring Law's performance on that tour as he is among the shortlisted candidates for the position of head coach. more..

US accused of 'politicising' rights report

Apr 11 (BBC) The Sri Lanka govt has accused the US State Department of "Tamilisation" of its annual report on the island's human rights. Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, a ruling party MP, who admitted that human rights violations are 'still being committed' in Sri Lanka, said that human rights violations are committed in "each and every country." "The problem is that the US has tried to Tamilise the report. But when you read it most of the names of victims are Sinhala nationals," he said. more..

AFC Challenge Cup: Afghans shatter Sri Lankan hopes

Apr 11 (MR) Afghanistan registered a 1-0 win over Sri Lanka Saturday in their must-win match of the AFC Challenge Cup group D qualifiers. A lone goal from Hadid Mustafa in the 82nd minute rekindled Afghanistan´s hopes to qualify for the next round after having suffered defeat in the first match against the hosts Nepal by the same scoreline. Sri Lanka on the other hand are out of competition with their second defeat in the qualifiers. more..

UK 'linked' Fonseka to Lasantha killing

Apr 11 (BBC) The Sri Lanka government says it was told by British officials that they had evidence to suggest former military chief Sarath Fonseka was involved in the assassination of the editor of Sunday Leader. Lasantha Wickrametunga was shot dead in Colombo on 08 January, 2009. The attackers were never caught. In a posthumously published editorial attributed to Lasantha he said, "When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me." more..

Post-Conflict Sri Lanka Confronts Challenge of Peace Building

Apr 11 (LG) When domestic processes fail to find solutions to internal problems, external forces find space to advocate or even impose solutions for their own political or strategic convenience. Sri Lanka is no exception. Leadership failures since independence by all governments and mainstream political parties contributed to externalizing the conflict from which Sri Lanka emerged in May 2009. The instruments of externalization included a large and more..

Can the state law office deny the right to justice?

Apr 11 (LG) Very few thinking people in Sri Lanka will assert in all good conscience that the office of the Attorney General has been free from political controversy as a matter of historical fact. That last rider is important lest it should be thought by a misguided few that all the evil began (and therefore would end, logically speaking) with the current administration. The reality is, of course, far more complex than simplistically attributing the present decline of more..

'Problems of Muslim community can be resolved'

Apr 11 (SO) The leader and General Secretary of the SLMC M. T. Hassen Ali told the Sunday Observer that they are confident that the problems of the community can be resolved and political aspirations can be achieved under the UPFA administration. Before joining the UPFA, SLMC leader, Minister Rauff Hakeem, held detailed discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and was convinced of his commitment towards addressing the problems of the community. more..

Sharp increase in Lankan inflation

Apr 11 (LG) Inflationary pressure in the system has resulted in March figures increasing by a whopping 8.6% compared to the same period last year. This clearly goes against the Central Bank’s projection of a further decrease in inflation in March compared to the February figure of 6.1%. Economists believe this is due to an increase in inflationary pressure and not the bad weather pattern. In fact it was noted that inflation has increased over 10 fold from September 2009 at 0.7% to March 2011 at 8.6%. more..

The ‘Ugly American’ as terrorist-mouthpiece

Apr 11 (LB) Long before Wikileaks revealed that the current US Ambassador in Colombo, Patricia Butenis was bending over backwards to harass this government and thereby the citizens of this country, the public was alert about things like international relations, the political preferences of global powers and related machinations, and of course the behind-the-scenes moves by diplomats. The lady had an impressive track record in the matter of meddling in more..

Export Bazaar ends with success for some, failure for others

Apr 11 (LB) The first ever three-day Expo Bazaar 2011 ended yesterday on a mixed note with the organiser Export Development Board (EDB) saying it was a success whilst certain stallholders showed concerns over venue and date as well as lack of foreign participation. EDB Chairman Janaka Ratnayake claimed that the event had been a success with most expectations and targets being surpassed. He stated that the crowd participation has been excellent more..

Nationalism gone too far; stop politicising cricket!

Apr 11 (LB) Dohni’s barber clearly had access to more powerful gods than the quadruped of high dignitaries from our nation’s four faiths who chanted, invoked blessings and promised us the gods would shower blessings and assure victory for our team. What a circus these venerable monks, cassocked fathers, kurukals and imams made of themselves! Is this the role and purpose of religion? Despite President Rajapaksa’s poojas to Lord Venketeswara at Tirupati, more..

Editorial: IMF gives good conduct certificate to Govt and economy

Apr 11 (BL) Last week Dr Koshy Mathai, the IMF Resident Representative called a press conference to inform that the IMF Executive Board had approved the release of another installment of USD 218.3 million under the Standby Agreement after completing its sixth review of the country’s economic performance. It was the review due at the end of the quarter ending March 2011. As statistics were not available, being too early after the end of the period, more..

George Steuarts makes a World Cup killing

Apr 11 (SL) George Steuarts Travels, the official travel agency for Sri Lanka Cricket, had sold tickets for the World Cup final, originally priced at Indian Rs.5,000, for a staggering Rs. 198,000 (US$1,800). Sixty tickets were sold to fans determined on seeing their team play in the final and who were willing to pay any amount The total cost of the package which included a chartered flight to Mumbai was Rs. 280,000. The tour did not include more..

Editorial: KO Kappan Kalli!

Apr 11 (Island) Extortionists who terrorised the Peliyagoda fish market have been arrested but their victims fear that those criminal elements will make a comeback after being bailed out and that the course of justice may be perverted by the government politicians to secure their release. Their fears are not unfounded if what has been happening in this country is anything to go by. Politically backed thugs have never been dealt with according to the law. more..

Editorial: Regional football

Apr 11 (DM) Sri Lanka’s relative and the world’s largest democracy, is gearing up for the elections again with all its complexities and fanfare across the ocean. It is sad that Indian political leaders have resorted again to include Sri Lanka in their election campaigns. Just like the political leaders here find it hard to let the LTTE factor go in their struggle for survival, in India also, particularly in Tamil Nadu, the Sri Lankan (Tamil) Issue has become and more..

Official economic report for first full year of peace will be released today

Apr 11 (Island) A comprehensive economic report for the first full year of peace will be released today when the Central Bank’s Annual Report for 2010 is launched at the bank’s auditorium. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to grace the occasion. Sri Lanka’s economy grew at 8 percent in 2010 after a sluggish year in 2009, where growth was 3.5 percent due to the global financial crisis and the last stages of the thirty-year conflict more..

Emergency for the Rajapaksas

Apr 11 (TC) Another emergency debate brought forth another apocryphal tale, to justify the unjustifiable. During the previous Emergency debate, the Prime Minister perorated portentously about Tiger training camps in Tamil Nadu, only to retract his words ignominiously, 24 hours later, in the face of strong Indian protests and denials. His colleagues, with barely concealed sniggers, indicated that the Prime Minister’s pronouncements need not be taken all that seriously! more..

British envoy concludes 3-day Southern Province tour

Apr 11 (FT) British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, John Rankin, concluded his three-day tour of the Southern Province on Thursday, 7 September, 2011. Commenting on his visit, the High Commissioner said: “During my three-day tour of the Southern Province, I have seen for myself both the strong historical links between Sri Lanka and the UK and our dynamic, modern relationship. In Unawatuna, I saw our strong cultural and linguistic links in action. more..

Jaffna products earn big demand at Army Seva Vanitha New Year Fair at Panagoda

Apr 11 (Cimic) Stalls selling Jaffna traditional handicrafts, Jaffna vegetables, Jaffna food products and Jaffna fish which were put up by the Security Forces Headquarters – Jaffna (SF-J) at Panagoda “Rana Aruna Udanaya” New Year Fair 2011 drew large crowds when the fair was opened by Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya on Saturday. Male and female SF-J soldiers, attired in traditional Jaffna dress, were seen busy selling more..

Police recover part of Food City loot

Apr 11 (NS) The Piliyandala Police have recovered Rs. 1 million from the March 29 heist at Piliyandala Food City, where an armed gang fired into the air and robbed Rs. 5 million from the cashiers as they were removing the money to be banked about 10 a.m. One of the suspects in the case, a garage owner from Suwarapola, after being grilled by the investigators, led them to recover three motorcycles and three trishaws that had been stolen by him. more..

Rosie bats for Ranjith

Apr 11 (Island) UNP MP Rosie Senanayake says her colleague Moneragala MP Ranjith Maddumab-andara should be appointed the National Organiser of the UNPwithout further delay. Colombo District MP Senanayake alleges that an attempt is being made to deny the post to MP Maddumabandara. An irate Senanayake told The Island yesterday that as no one else had sought that position there was reason why his appointment should be delayed any longer. more..

Sri Lanka vegetable traders hit by contradictory allegations

Apr 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's vegetable traders who are often accused of keeping prices up through a purchasing 'mafia' have now been accused of lowering prices through imports, according to a media report.Local tomatoes were being sold for prices between 100 to 120 rupees and vegetables imported from India was being sold at around 60 rupees a kilo. Sri Lanka's farmers, particularly rice farmers, are pampered with massive fertilizer subsidies charged more..

OECD refuses to give Lanka better rating

Apr 11 (ST) Sri Lanka faces a major hurdle in doing business with European businessmen and attracting investments or to borrow money at reasonable rates from international money markets. This is because of a decision taken by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) not to change its current lower political risk rating for Sri Lanka, despite heavy lobbying by the Central Bank. European businesses will have to pay higher risk premiums in more..

Hedging deals: London hearing to end next week

Apr 11 (ST) Clive Haswell, former CEO of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Colombo and seen as the principal ‘actor’ in the controversial hedging deals with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), was among those who gave evidence this week in the London Commercial High Court where SCB is claiming over $161 million as non-payment of dues by the CPC. Sources close to the government and the SCB said proceedings in the case, which began on March 28, were likely end next week with more..

Development Diaries

Bad hats rounded up in city

Apr 11 (SO) One-hundred-and-thirty men including women linked to crime in the Colombo City were taken in for questioning during the past few days in an operation launched by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) for the April festive season. The operation which commenced a few days ago will continue till the end of this month, a senior police officer told the Sunday Observer. Three police squads, each consisting of an inspector and 10 policemen have been detailed to more..

Pearl robbers arrested in Panadura

Apr 11 (DM) Police busted a wanted gang involved in the robbery of pearls and jewellery worth Rs. 700,000 from a house in the Gorakana area in Panadura which was reported on Sunday. The suspects who were residents of Gorakana and Keselwatta were arrested by a special team deployed by the Panadura North police. The police also recovered the jewellery and cash in their possession. Several lock cutters and other equipment used to break windows and doors had also been recovered. more..

Speed thrills; cost kills

Apr 11 (DM) Many an eyebrow has been raised as to how the estimated cost for the Colombo-Katunayake expressway increased by from Rs. 9 billion to Rs.32 billion within a span of few years. The cost had initially been estimated at Rs.9, 516 million when the project was launched in 2000. However, the project was terminated in 2003 under the previous UNP govt. During this three year period, Rs.5, 444 million had been spent as initial costs for various matters more..

Top British architect sees challenges facing Colombo

Apr 11 (Island) Dr. Francis. C. Duffy, CBE, the man who chairs the Design Review Panel for the London Olympic Village was in town last week to make an illustrated presentation on "London Olympic Village – Challenges in City Planning." Duffy, a former President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, was here on the invitation of the National Academy of Sciences, the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka. more..

Nepal determined for win over Lankans

Apr 11 (MR) Nepal will be determined for victory when they take on Sri Lanka in their last group match of the AFC Challenge Cup group D qualifiers at the Dasharath Stadium on Monday. The match will be vital for both the teams. A victory for Nepal is likely to seal their place in the final round while Sri Lanka, who practically have nothing to gain or lose from the match, will be playing for prestige as they have yet to open their account in the points table. more..

Sri Lanka Denies Flouting of Immigration Rules

Apr 11 (OI) Sri Lanka today said a humanitarian gesture in view of its ties with India had been inappropriately dubbed by a section of media here as a willful violation of immigration rules. Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya said that following an Indian High Commission request the Sri Lankan Navy had done search operations on a missing Indian fishing boat off Sri Lanka's northern coast. "A body was found west of the Delft islet on April 6. more..

North-East ITAK local councilors take oaths in Trincomalee

Apr 11 (TN) Seventy six councilors, elected under ITAK ticket on behalf of the TNA for the fifteen local authorities in North and East, took oaths on Saturday at Trincomalee Town Hall in the presence of Mr.R.Sampanthan, parliamentary group leader of the TNA and President of the ITAK, sources in Trincomalee said. Sampanthan is also the Trincomalee district parliamentarian. Parliamentarians Selvam Adaikalanathan, Suresh Premachchandran, Maavai Senathirajah, more..

Seine-net beaches in Mullaiththeevu distributed to Sinhala fishermen

Apr 11 (TN) Traditional seine-net beaches (Karaivalai-paadu) of Eezham Tamils in the coastal tracts of Mullaiththeevu district are grabbed and distributed among Sinhala fishermen from the south by a team of SL fisheries officials from the south. The excuse is that the local Tamil fishermen in the LTTE controlled areas did not register their seine-net stretches with the SL fisheries ministry. 12 stretches in A’lampil, 8 stretches in Thoo’ndaavil and 5 stretches in more..

Preserving traditions and generating fellow feeling

Apr 11 (ST) In the days of the Kandyan Kingdom, where the traces of Sinhala culture were better preserved, there were four major national festivals, namely, Aluth Sahal Mangalyaya (festival of new rice) held in January, Sinhala and Hindu New Year that came in the middle of April, Esala Perahera in August and finally the Karthi Mangalyaya - a festival of light shared by both Tamils and Sinhalese that was held in November. Of these festivals, more..

Save for Lak Sathosa Avurudu DOWN

Apr 11 (LB) Lak Sathosa, York Street, Fort, Colombo reported Rs 4.5 to Rs 5 lakhs of sales per day, last week, in the run up to the Sinhala and Hindu New Year; all other Colombo dealers for food and clothing interviewed said that their sales had hit rock bottom. Podi Nona, at the “World Market” near the Fort Railway Station, reported the sale of just one small reed woven hambili purse in the past 10 days at her outlet. The Lak Sathosa trade outlet in Fort was well stocked. more..