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Non-communicable diseases account for 71 % deaths in SL

Aug 18 (Island) The Health Ministry would establish ‘Healthy Life Centres,’ (HLCs) in all major hospitals in the country to address the predominance of Non Communicable Diseases, the Health Ministry spokesman said yesterday. Sri Lanka had the highest prevalence of NCD in South Asia, he said. Lack of physical exercise, obesity and consumption of excess starch, sugar, oil, tobacco and alcohol had been identified as the causes of NCDs in Sri Lanka, the spokesman said. more..

Japan funds two livelihood development projects

Aug 18 (Island) Japanese government has granted US$ 68,072 for two livelihood development projects in the Moneragala and Hambantota districts. An agreement between Japanese Ambassador Kunio Takahashi and the representatives of Dimuthu Community Development Society (DCDS) in Moneragala and Wanasarana Thurulatha Swechcha Society was signed yesterday (17). President of DCDS, Ven. Nagolle Nandarathana Thera said that tube wells would be constructed at Buttala in the Moneragala District. more..

Colombo Plan’s new Secretary General targets increased membership

Aug 18 (Island) The Colombo Plan’s new Secretary General Adam Maniku says that his goals include increasing the organisations membership, with Asia billed to lead the global economy by 2020. Maniku, a Maldivian national took over from Patricia Yoon-Moi Chia, who completed her term as Secretary General last week. He said that the world was faced with difficult challenges, but the good news was that Asia would be the dominant force by 2020 more..

Tamil villagers clash with Police in Batticaloa

Aug 18 (TN) A man suspected to be a Sinhala policeman or soldier, who entered the house of a Tamil woman at Oo'ra'ni in Batticaloa attacked the young women Wednesday afternoon around 2:00 p.m. The intruder, using a sharp object, caused injuries to her chest and her stomach before leaving the premises. An eyewitness saw the attacker escaping into the police post located 100 meters away on Oo'ra'ni - Chelvanayakam Road. Soon after the episode, angered villages started to more..

Willingness to work five years in difficult areas

Aug 18 (DM) The willingness to work for five-years in difficult areas would be made mandatory for graduates and diploma holders to be recruited as teachers hereafter, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane said yesterday. He said that though teachers are scheduled to work in difficult areas for a certain period under the present situation, they get transfers to the places they like later through loopholes in the system. The Minister said that graduates or diploma holders more..

Minister blasts NCDU for not setting up ‘Suvadivi Clinics’

Aug 18 (DM) The Health Ministry’s Non Communicable Disease Unit (NCDU) has failed to utilize its allocation of Rs.900 million to establish ‘Suvadivi Clinics’ at hospitals and provide free medical checkups and medical consultation for diseases such as heart problems and diabetes. Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena had been highly critical that the NCDU had spent only Rs.200,000 this year out of the non-budgetary allocation of Rs.900 million, which was provided through more..

Power for all households by next year - Ranawaka

Aug 18 (DN) Electricity will be provided to all households by next year, Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said. The minister said electricity in the time of yore was a luxury. He said electricity which had been limited to the urban areas in the past, would be provided to all including remote areas. Minister Ranawaka gave this assurance while participating in the opening of the Aranayake Kelawagama rural electrification scheme in the Kegalle district on August 15 completed at a cost of Rs 16.5 million. more..

Several buildings destroyed in Delkanda fire

Aug 18 (DN) A massive fire broke out in Delkanda around midnight on Tuesday engulfing a row of buildings before it was doused by the Kotte Fire Brigade, preventing a four storey building from being burnt down. A spokesperson said that eight fire engines and 30 fire fighters were used to extinguish the fire. The fire fighters took almost two hours to control the fire. He said that three shops, two of them located in second and third storey buildings in Delkanda, were engulfed by the fire within minutes. more..

Minister rejects demand: 'No cement price hike'

Aug 18 (DN) Minister Johnston Fernando while rejecting the demand for a price increase of a 50 kg bag of cement by Rs.35 as requested by three cement companies recently, has instructed the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) to raid traders who sell cement beyond the controlled price of Rs 750 and bring them to book. The decision was taken by the minister after a lengthy discussion with the relevant officials and authorities at the ministry auditorium yesterday. more..

'Stray dogs: Catch-and-kill policy no solution'

Aug 18 (Island) Animal Birth Control (ABC) and Anti-Rabies (AR) vaccination are the best methods adopted worldwide to deal with street dogs, control the dog population and contain the incidence of rabies, Blue Cross India, President Dr. Chinny Krishna, observed yesterday. "ABC-AR does indeed work and is the only solution to the street (community) dog issue. It is beyond doubt. What is needed is the co-operation of the local municipalities and corporations to implement it properly," more..

All plants to be included in ‘Red Book’

Aug 18 (Island) The Biodiversity Secretariat has decided to include a complete assessment report, on all plants growing in Sri Lanka, in the ‘National Red Data Book’. "In 2007 only 1,000 species of plants were included in the report. This year the authorities have decided to include a total of 3,600 endemic and non-endemic flowering and non-flowering plants in the book," Director of the National Science Foundation and Biodiversity Secretariat Gamini Gamage said. more..

Chandimal and Herath dropped

Aug 18 (CI) Sri Lanka have dropped promising batsman Dinesh Chandimal, allrounder Thisara Perera and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath from the squad for the final two one-dayers against Australia, who led the series 2-1. Seekkuge Prasanna, the 26-year-old legspinner, has been called up and has to fly back from England, where he was representing Sri Lanka A. The other major news was that vice-captain Angelo Mathews, who missed the third ODI due to an injury is fit for the remaining matches. more..

New trade complex for street traders

Aug 18 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, formally opened new trade complex, built in Bodhi Raja Road, Pettah in Colombo to accommodate street traders. This trade complex has a capacity to accommodate 468 pavement traders. The completion of this project follows several other similar self-employment programmes undertaken by Minister Rajapaksa which include the trade complexes that were opened for pavement traders in Pettah and Nugegoda. more..

Doctors fall ill after five-star meal

Aug 18 (DN) The Colombo Municipal Council’s (CMC) health officials have launched an investigation into an incident where a group of doctors fell ill after consuming food at a five star hotel. CMC Chief Medical Officer Dr Pradeep Kariyawasam said that he had received a complaint from a doctors organization that some of their members had fallen ill after consuming food at the said hotel where they had held their annual sessions. Following the complaint the CMC had obtained food samples and also more..

Development Diaries August 17, 2011

A musical treat from Sri Lanka

Aug 18 (Hindu) The Indian Council for Cultural Relations in collaboration with the Sri Lankan High Commission in India is hosting a concert at Siri Fort Auditorium here this coming Monday in which two renowned artistes from the island country will perform. Rohan de Silva (pianist) and Tharanga Goonetilleke (soprano) are performing in the nearly one-hour concert. Rohan began his piano studies with his late mother, Primrose De Silva. His partnerships with violin virtuosos Cho-Liang Lin, more..

Artist leaves Sri Lanka but can't escape it

Aug 18 (BC) Some day soon, Jerome Lazarus hopes to resume his profession of filmmaking, but not in Sri Lanka, his native country. His departure was not by choice. "I was forced to leave Sri Lanka in 2007 and I'm here now on a green card," the 36-year-old said. "I'm applying for political asylum in the United States; my next hearing is in December in San Francisco." For the past two months Lazarus has had an exhibit of about 36 photos and several collages at the Reiter Gallery Art Parlor in more..

Sajith Group accepts Ranil as UNP leader

Aug 18 (Island) After weeks of publicly opposing UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe the Sajith Premadasa Group yesterday accepted his leadership and agreed to work together. Informed sources told The Island that despite all the challenges thrown at Wickremesinghe, no one who attended yesterday’s Working Committee Meeting at the party headquarters, Sirikotha, had asked him to step down and hand over the reins to Co-Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya. more..

Ranil thwarts Sajith’s ‘Srikotha’ demo

Aug 18 (Island) In a dramatic turn of events UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe produced a trump card yesterday morning by obtaining a court injunction preventing a demonstration planned by the Sajith Premadasa Group opposite Sirikotha, the party headquarters in Pita Kotte. While Premadasa was busy gathering his supporters including Pradeshiya Sabha members for a discussion at the Solis Hotel, which is just a stone’s throw away from Sirkotha, Wickremesinghe’s lawyers had more..

Tamil parties invited to Delhi to participate at a conference

Aug 18 (DM) Seven Tamil political parties based in the north and east were invited to New Delhi to participate at a conference by an Indian Parliamentarian Forum called the Parliamentarian Forum on Human Rights for Global Development, sources of the Tamil political parties said. The conference will be held on August 23 and 24 in New Delhi. TNA MP Sivasakthi Anandan told the Tamil Mirror online that Mavai Senathirajah, Suresh Premachandran would represent the ITAK. more..

Post-war Sri Lanka buys 14 Choppers from Russia

Aug 18 (Reuters) Sri Lanka, two years after winning a three-decade war against separatists, has bought 14 Russian military Mi-171 helicopters in the latest deal between the two allies, Russia’s state-run arms exporter said Aug. 17. The announcement comes as Sri Lanka this week discussed exploration and purchasing of natural gas with Russia’s natural gas monopoly Gazprom, in what may herald the return of Russian oil explorers to the island’s waters. more..

‘Footboard travel’ kills nearly 50

Aug 18 (Island) Nearly 50 deaths occur on the roads due to ‘footboard travel’, says, the National Transport Commission (NTC). It says that of 2,500 bus accidents reported from around the country, about 50 deaths are due to passengers travelling on the footboard. One of the main reasons for bus accidents is the competition between the SLTB and private buses, according to NTC. Since 1995 there had been a combined timetable for buses in the Southern Province. more..

President orders to speed up work on Elephant Pass saltern

Aug 18 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had instructed the Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Ministry to speed up work on the Elephant Pass saltern. According to Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy, the President had instructed them to give priority to restart the saltern which ceased operations due to the escalation of violence in the area. The release further said that at the function to mark the completion of de-mining work that it had more..

Poultry farmers fear crisis if Cess on maize not reduced

Aug 18 (Island) Poultry farmers say they fear a shortage of maize in the near future. The industry requires 200,000 MT of maize per year, but the Yala season yielded only 60,000 MT, which was 40 percent less than the required amount. President of the AIPA Dr. D.D. Wanasinghe said that they had requested the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade as well as the Treasury to permit them to import the required quantities of maize and more..

SLSI clashes with Trade Ministry

Aug 18 (DM) The clash between the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI) and the Internal Trade Ministry over the importation of sub-standard cement from a Pakistani company took a new turn yesterday with the Ministry saying the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) had collected samples of all locally available cement brands to be sent abroad for quality checks. Ministry official said CAA has already sent samples of cement brands available locally, to several independent research institutions more..

New courses for Universities this year

Aug 18 (DM) New degree courses in hotel management will be introduced to all 15 universities in the country to meet the demands of the hospitality industry and diploma courses in nursing, translation and speech and English would be introduced to the Advanced Technological Institutes (ATI). Director General Student Affairs, Keerthi Mawellage said the courses will be introduced to the new batch of students who have sat the G.C.E. A/L’s Exam last year more..

Southern Highway signs in English only!

Aug 18 (LB) The government is keen on opening the Southern Highway soon for traffic, despite some parts of it still being under construction. An issue that the public has highlighted is of sign boards put up are in English only -- with this possibly leading to accidents since not all drivers are conversant with the language. Workers involved in the construction of the highway say that senior officers are responsible for the sign boards that have been put up in English more..

UNP losing traditional vote base

Aug 18 (DM) The UNP affiliated United Bhikkhu Front warned yesterday the party would soon perish if it continued in its present form because it had not only lost its Sinhala Buddhist vote base and was also losing the minority votes as well. United Bhikkhu Front President the Ven. Meetiyagoda Gunaratana Thera told a news conference some in the UNP had failed to understand the importance of the Buddhist clergy and must focus on why it was losing the minority vote as well. more..

Police awareness programmes on ‘Grease Devils’

Aug 18 (DM) The Police Department is conducting awareness programmes to educate the people and to prevent the spread of rumours on ‘Grease Devils’ in villages islandwide. So far the police have conducted such programmes in 1856 villages. The police have increased road patrols and mobile road blocks in these areas. Police media spokesman Prishantha Jayakody said the main concern of the police was to track down the individuals who spread such rumours. more..

Pro-LTTE parties mount pressure on Jayalalitha to commute death sentence

Aug 18 (DM) Various political outfits in Tamil Nadu have begun to mount pressure on AIADMK chief and chief minister Jayalalitha to take steps to reduce the punishment for the three charged for assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, whose mercy pleas have been rejected recently by the President. The first mention of the issue came up in the state Assembly today with members of the PMK trying to raise it in the House. more..

Lanka’s biggest foreign investment continues to be held up

Aug 18 (Island) The US$500 million first terminal of the new Colombo South Harbour easily the biggest foreign investment in the country continues to get delayed despite the winning consortium signing the Build, Operate and Transfer agreement with the SLPA in Shenzhen, China last Friday during President Rajapaksa’s visit to that city for the opening of the World University Games. Shipping sources said due to some disagreements at least four other connected agreements have more..

New TV guidelines on tobacco, alcohol scenes

Aug 18 (DN) Authorities are set to issue new regulations which allow television broadcasters to do away with mosaics or blurred images masking tobacco and alcohol scenes in their programmes but which require them to carry messages warning of the dangers and ill-effects of tobacco and alcohol when such programmes are aired. Broadcasters would be required to run health and other warning messages or images which show the illnesses, suffering, more..

UNP split widens, but factions unite to fight local govt polls

Aug 18 (DM) The much hyped UNP Working Committee meeting ended yesterday with both the factions finally agreeing to work in unity to fight the elections to the 23 local bodies, which are to be conducted in October Amid cross talk coupled with heated arguments, the UNP working committee meeting ended last evening with resolutions to uphold the party constitution -- which prohibits any member from criticising the party or its leadership in public. more..

Sri Lankan talks for a “political solution” reach dead-end

Aug 19 (wsws) The talks between the Sri Lankan government and the TNA over a “political solution” to the “ethnic question” are on the brink of collapse following the government’s refusal to consider the TNA’s call for a timely response to its demands. The term “political solution” refers to the efforts of the TNA to negotiate a power-sharing deal between the island’s Sinhala and Tamil elites after the May 2009 defeat of the LTTE in the country’s protracted civil war. more..

Life size wax statues sculpted in Sri Lanka

Aug 19 (GDI) Athula Herath of Gurupura, Gampola has sculpted life size wax statues for the first time in Sri Lanka. The Madam Tussauds Wax Museum in London is a world renown Museum with several branches worldwide. It has wax statues of Heads of States, politicians, sports personalities, statesmen, authors and popular film stars. It has become popular throughout the world because of its life size statues. These chains of Museums have become major tourist attractions. more..

Colombo's Paradise Road puts a new twist on Asian design

Aug 19 (National) Udayshanth Fernando, whose friends know him simply as Shanth, sits on a rustic beige leather chair sipping a glass of water at the Gallery Cafe, his upscale restaurant and art gallery on Colombo's leafy Alfred House Road. The gallery is just one of the properties the man nicknamed the Terence Conran of Asia owns in the Sri Lankan capital. Along with two boutique hotels, ranked among the best in the country, he is also the man behind more..

Road repairs a ruse to sabotage protest - reformists

Aug 19 (Island) UNP Reformists, who had to shift their protest which was to be held opposite Sirikotha yesterday to the Vihara Maha Devi Park in view of a court injunction and objections from the police, said the govt had moved in to protect UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. They accused the govt of having foiled their Sathyagraha by closing the roads around the UNP headquarters on the flimsy pretext of carrying out road repairs. more..

Decisions taken by the Cabinet at its Meeting held on 17.08.2011

Aug 19 (GDI) Budget -2012 to be prepared under Medium Term Expenditure Program: A broad framework for the preparation of the Budget for the year 2012 based on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework of 2012- 2014 was presented to the Cabinet by the President as Minister of Finance and Planning. Accordingly approval was granted for the General Treasury to proceed with the preparatory work of the budget 2012 focusing on the following parameters: more..

Ancient human habitation found in Haldummulla

Aug 19 (ITN) A human habitation that dates back 3750 years has been discovered in Haldummulla. Prof. Raj Somadeva of the post graduate institute of Archaeology in the Kelaniya University said that it was discovered in an archaeological excavation carried out near Koswatta village in Haldumulla. Earlier a burial ground was found near the area. He said that the habitation was found ½ a kilo metre from the burial ground. more..

Editorial: Embracing China

Aug 19 (DH) Sri Lanka’s growing ties with China have received a shot in the arm during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to that country. Economic and military ties have grown at a rapid pace in recent years. China has become Colombo’s largest aid donor and is funding and constructing several massive infrastructure projects. During Rajapaksa’s visit, not only did the Chinese reaffirm commitment to infrastructure building and enhancing trade with Sri Lanka but more..