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Religious leaders call for patience

Aug 26 (DM) A group of multi-religious leaders yesterday requested the public not to get misled by rumours involving ‘grease devils’ and insisted that taking them to task themselves would only disrupt the peace in the country. Sabaragamuwa University Vice Chancellor Ven. Kamburugamuwe Vajira Thera appealed to the public to act with patience by not letting the so-colled grease devil phobia or its promoters to disturb the prevailing peaceful environment in the country. more..

Blake to travel to Sri Lanka

Aug 26 (PTI) A top Obama administration official will travel to Sri Lanka next week, days after the US warned Colombo that an international inquiry could be launched against it if it did not take adequate steps for a credible probe into charges of humanitarian crimes during the LTTE war. Robert Blake, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, will visit Sri Lanka from August 29-31, an official announcement said here today. more..

‘Condom’ heroin suspect arrested

Aug 26 (DN) A foreign national who swallowed about 90 condoms containing heroin was arrested by the Narcotics Division of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Police. This person who arrived at the BIA on Monday was arrested on information received by the Narcotics Division. After been proved that this suspicious person swallowed condoms containing heroin Negombo Magistrate ordered to keep him in custody for seven days. Further investigations were conducted by the police, more..

Five year plan to increase coconut production

Aug 26 (Island) Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Ministry has launched a five-year development plan to promote and increase coconut production in the country under the five-year development plan. The aim of this plan is to increase coconut production to 3,650 million nuts by 2016. The govt will provide every possible support to upgrade the coconut industry and encourage local farmers to grow more coconut trees as the population increases, more..

US welcomes Sri Lanka's move to scrap emergency law

Aug 26 (AFP) The United States on Thursday hailed as positive the move by Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse to scrap emergency laws imposed 28 years ago to deal with the armed Tamil separatist movement. "We do welcome the news that ... Rajapakse has proposed to the parliament that the emergency laws be withdrawn, and we do see this as a positive step for the Sri Lankan people," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. more..

Katunayake EPZ employees move court against police

Aug 26 (Island) Two employees of Nortel Lanka Private Limited, Katunayake, had filed a fundamental rights violation application, in the Supreme Court, alleging assault, illegal arrest, illegal detention and denial of their freedom of expression by officers of the Seeduwa and Katunayake police. They had alleged that they, along with their colleagues, protested against the intention of the govt to grant a pension scheme to the private sector employees. more..

Misdeeds in land sales on the rise: CID

Aug 26 (DM) A marked increase in rackets involving the sale of land using forged deeds has been reported in the recent past, but some victims are hesitant to make complains due to intimidation and threats by those involved, police said. They said complaints of fraudulent sale of lands amounting to more than Rs. 5 million were being handled by the CID. Though the CID did not specifically say the areas where these land scams were taking place, it was indicated that more..

Private sector hails lifting of emergency

Aug 26 (FT) The country’s private sector yesterday hailed the Government’s decision to lift the emergency saying it was a positive signal to the world. Premier private sector lobby group the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in a statement said, “After many decades of conflict, the lifting of the emergency is a clear indication of return to normalcy and the business community welcomes it as a positive signal for businesses to prosper.” more..

Vietnam envoy calls for direct flights, vows to triple trade by 2015

Aug 26 (Island) The Vietnamese envoy to Sri Lanka told a business forum in Colombo that the two countries needed to put their acts together to promote bilateral trade and investment. Calling for direct flights between the two countries, the envoy vowed to more than triple trade from US$ 90 million at present to US$ 300 million by 2015. Meanwhile the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) is preparing a business delegation for an upcoming more..

Editorial: Peace dividend, at last

Aug 26 (DP) Almost 30 years after wartime Emergency laws were first imposed in Sri Lanka in response to the rising threat from the LTTE, President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced on Thursday that they would be lifted at the end of this month, more than two years after the Tamil terrorists were militarily defeated in May 2009. A welcome decision by all means, it marks an important step in the island nation’s efforts to initiate the process of post-war recovery and surge ahead on more..

Mini polls III on Oct 8

Aug 26 (Island) With the Elections to the Colombo Municipal Council taking centre stage in the elections to 23 Local councils, scheduled for October 8, the main contenders for the Mayoral post were Milinda Moragoda from the UPFA, A. J. M. Muzzamil (UNP), Mano Ganeshan (DPF), Shafeek Rajabdeen (SLMC) and Sunil Watagala (JVP). At 1.30 p.m. yesterday, the deadline for objections, a few dozen nominations of Independent Groups had been rejected, more..

Changes for better and worse in Galle

Aug 26 (National) Last week I visited a hotel in a town that I hadn't visited in 22 years. The New Oriental Hotel in Galle on the south-west tip of Sri Lanka was a splendid place in those days, full of plantation chairs with arms that you can swing out so you can put your feet up, fans that turned lazily with just enough force to keep the mosquitoes at bay, and a troop of waiters willing to administer to your every request. Sri Lanka wasn't a popular location then so we had the place more or less to ourselves and more..

Timber Corp directed to recover Nissan Petrol from ex-Minister

Aug 26 (Island) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) on Wednesday (25) directed the Environment Ministry to take immediate action to get back a vehicle taken away by the then UPFA MP and Minister Bandula Basnayake eight years ago. Nissan Patrol bearing No 65-4013 belonged to the State Timber Corporation. The directive was given at a COPE meeting chaired by Minister Dew Gunasekera. The COPE comprises 31 members from different political parties representing Parliament. more..

'Chinese pay bribes to win Hambantota contracts'

Aug 26 (ST) A US embassy cable just leaked by whistleblower Wikileaks has revealed that the the US believed Chinese were bribing Sri Lanka officials to win contracts, especially those related to mega development projects in Hambantota. "It is likely that corruption and political patronage are significant factors playing into the focus on Hambantota. Often when Chinese companies win contracts, their success is due in part on their widespread distribution of more..

2500 soldiers in exercise Comoran Strike 2011

Aug 26 (DM) Nearly 2500 soldiers from the three armed forces including 1600 representing the Army Commandoes and the Special Forces are conducting an exercise called ‘Comoran Strike’ in the Trincomalee area to enhance the striking capabilities especially in amphibious warfare operations. It is the second SEAL (Sea, Air and Land) training exercise which will be for six days in the Trincomalee area. The training will focus on improving decision making, commanding and more..

'Commuters prefer SLTB'

Aug 26 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said that due to the aggressive and rude attitudes and indiscipline of private bus drivers and conductors, people prefer to travel by SLTB buses. He said he would try his best to maintain the public image of the SLTB and would not permit it to collapse, but would make every effort to develop it into a profitable institution. He said that though the SLTB had given employment to many, there was a dearth of drivers and more..

Wildlife, Railways to work hand in glove: Minimising elephant deaths

Aug 26 (Island) Steps will be taken to minimise elephant deaths due to train accidents with the assistance of the Railway and Wildlife Departments in the Anuradhapura District. Minister S. M. Chandrasena told The Island yesterday that an analysis on how elephants were killed, showed that it was mostly due to the mistakes of humans. "Most of these elephants are killed by trains that function during odd hours. more..

Arsenic won’t be in pesticides, unless deliberate

Aug 26 (LB) The presence of arsenic as an active ingredient in pesticides is a direct violation of the rules and regulations of the Pesticides Act in Sri Lanka. Recent reports indicate that pesticide formulations used by the farming community in Sri Lanka may contain arsenic (As) which is highly hazardous and carcinogenic. The number of formulations that contain arsenic is still in doubt mainly due to conflicting reports of the research group more..

The STF reduced to function as a local council cum policing arm

Aug 26 (SL) In the first half of the year 1980, with the commencement of terrorist activities in the districts of the North and East, attention had to be focused on those police officers who confronted armed terrorist groups when they were discharging their duties. Amidst these terrorist activities, the killing of police officers, VIPs and the launching of attacks on police stations raged on. more..

HSTUA calls for inquiry into drug ban

Aug 26 (DM) The HSTUA called for an investigation into a decision by the National Hospital Colombo to temporarily suspend the prescription of two antibiotic injection drugs to patients following several side effects suffered by several patients following the use of these antibiotics. President of the HSTUA, Saman Rathnapriya, said that the suspension of these two drugs followed complaints made by doctors of Ward 72 of the National Hospital. more..

Paddy farmers complain about the 'paddy purchasing mechanism'

Aug 26 (DM) Paddy farmers are complaining that the paddy purchasing mechanism is not functioning properly while most of the farmers are compelled to sell their produce at a lower price. Farmers of the Mahaweli B zone which comprises some of the main paddy cultivating areas in the country yesterday said their produce were fetching low prices even for their paddy harvest at the Yala season. more..

Unable to name porn site owners-TRC tells Court

Aug 26 (DM) The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), while informing Court yesterday that it had banned a number of pornographic websites that allegedly feature local men and women, said that they were unable to provide details of people who operate such pornographic websites as they usually originate from overseas. Submitting a letter before the Colombo Fort Magistrate, the TRC further informed Court that it could seek the assistance of more..

'Upskirter' avoids jail after Sri Lanka conflict plea

Aug 26 (AAP) A Sydney man who secretly filmed up women's skirts has avoided jail after claiming mental illness linked to his role in Sri Lanka's civil war. Sabapathy Chandrahasan spent a year taking more than 1000 pictures and videos of hundreds of women and girls. In February, the 56-year-old architect, a married father of two, was arrested by police at Central Railway Station during the afternoon rush hour. more..

Bumper northern rice harvest boost stocks

Aug 26 (IRIN) Bumper paddy production in Sri Lanka's former conflict areas has averted an expected national rice shortage, experts say. Twin floods in January and February inundated more than 200,000 hectares of paddy land in the eastern and central regions of the island nation, destroying more than 700,000MT of the primary harvest estimated at 2.75 million tons. The main cultivation season runs from October to March. more..

Accountability issues: GL points finger at Korea massacre

Aug 26 (Island) The govt of Sri Lanka hit back hard at those seeking to haul it up before an international war crimes tribunal on the basis of the controversial ‘Darusman report’ and Channel 4 News video ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, with Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris recalling how those responsible for ‘No Gun Ri’ massacre during the Korean war in late July 1950 only expressed regret 50 years after the tragedy. more..

CEB finds it difficult to cope with demand

Aug 26 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is finding it difficult to cope with the country’s electricity demand as water levels in the main reservoirs of Victoria and Kotmale were dropping rapidly while the 300MW Kerawalapitiya Power Plant was shut down for maintenance from yesterday. U. D. Jayawardena, Chairman of Lanka Transformers Limited (LTL), the company which operates the Kerawalapitiya Power Plant, said that they were going in for a scheduled routine maintenance which was due months ago but more..

Sri Lanka releases Humanitarian Operation Report against LTTE

Aug 27 (TN) The Sri Lankan patience too had a limit. It was forced to act in the larger interest of the nation and its population. Wearer know where the shoe pinches. The Island nation, Sri Lanka, which suffered the worst for some three decade plus with the secessionist move carried out by the LTTE got a reprieve on May 18, 2009, when the Colombo government under its Humanitarian Operation freed the country from the terror and the secessionist intent and wiped out the LTTE more..

Sri Lankan Consul office opens in Bangalore

Aug 27 (PTI) Maintaining that both India and Sri Lanka were growing at a fast pace, the Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam today said efforts would be made to bring together businessmen of the two countries. Inaugurating the office of Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in the city, he said it would work towards bringing together Indian and Sri Lankan businessmen and traders. "There is no terrorism in Sri Lanka and our growth is going to be exponential. more..

Professor Mendis Rohanadeera is no more

Aug 27 (GDI) One of Sri Lanka’s prominent intellectual on Buddhist culture, archaeology and history Professor Mendis Rohanadeera has passed away. He was 80 years old at the time of his demise. The late Professor has written several books on Sri Lanka’s history, archaeology and culture. Professor Rohanadeera was admitted to the Colombo General Hospital yesterday due to a sudden illness and had passed away at around 9.30pm. more..

'Will work round the clock to win CMC'

Aug 27 (DM) Sujeewa Senasinghe a member of the reformist group within the UNP and Colombo District Member of Parliament said today that he was not happy with the leadership’s arbitrary and dictatorial decisions taken by the leadership in nominating candidates for the upcoming Colombo Muncipal Council Elections." I don’t understand the thinking behind the move to appoint Mr. Muzammil as the mayoral candidate. We had such a strong candidate in Mr Imthiyaz Bakeer Marker more..

Sri Lanka rupee under steady pressure

Aug 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's rupee came under steady pressure as the spot dollar rate was held at 110.00 rupees with forex sales by monetary authorities, with interest rate pressure also resisted earlier in the week, dealers said. Dealers estimate that on Thursday out of 26 million dollars in spot sales about 80 percent came from a state name that usually acts for the monetary authority. Excess rupee liquidity in money markets is being rapidly extinguished due to dollar sales by the monetary authority. more..

Sri Lanka opposition poll campaign haunted by 'grease devils'

Aug 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's main opposition, which is bedeviled by a string of electoral defeats and an internal battle to oust its leader, says its door-to-door campaign is haunted by a phobia among voters about 'grease devils'. 'Grease devil' is a colloquial term used to describe peeping toms and other mischief makers who dress down and apply grease to their bodies to make it difficult to catch them. more..

Maldives welcomes Sri Lanka’s decision to lift emergency laws

Aug 27 (HNS) President Mohamed Nasheed has welcomed Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to end the emergency laws. In a statement issued yesterday, President Nasheed commended President Rajapaksa’s “bold and far sighted move” to lift the emergency laws imposed nearly 30 years ago to deal with the armed Tamil separatist movement. “Today’s announcement is an indication of President Rajapaksa’s and the Govt of Sri Lanka’s commitment to move forward more..

Indian and Sri Lankan Caritas mobilize for six jailed fishermen

Aug 27 (AN) Caritas Sri Lanka is appealing for the cooperation of Caritas India and the Indian Church to help secure the release of six Sri Lankan fishermen detained in Orissa since June 2011. The announcement was made by an official statement, from Fr. George Sigamoney, national director of Caritas, sent to Fr. Mattamanana Varghese, executive director of Caritas India. The six Sri Lankan fishermen were arrested by the Coast Guard when their boat, more..

Nobody to welcome the gold medalist on her return

Aug 27 (LT) It is reported that none of the officials of the Ministry of Sports were interested in sending an official to the airport to welcome the athlete Ms E W Upamali Ratnakumari who won a gold medal at the open athlete competition held in Singapore recently. The gold medalist had to arrive at the Pettah bus stand in public transport and also had to take a bus to her home town Dambulla from there onwards. more..

Sri Lanka HVA group in 'forest garden' resort

Aug 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's HVA group, a branded tea exporter, is building a 200 million rupee 'forest garden' resort with eco-friendly chalets near a national park in the island's northwest, an official said. The resort, with 15 eco-friendly chalets powered by solar panels will be built on 50 acres of privately owned land. The organic farm is proposed to be sited on 225 acres of leased state land near the Southern border of Sri Lanka's Wilpattu national park more..

Student dies in an attempt to catch a thief

Aug 27 (LT) A 16 year old student in Gurudeniya, Thalathuya, Kandy has been shot while the people were trying to catch a thief in the area. The residents in two groups were searching for the thief and one person under the influence had shot at a student who has died in the incident according to the Police. The victim, Thinula Damthilaka Ratnayake was the eldest in a family of three children at Gurudeniya. The suspect has been taken into custody and more..

India welcomes Sri Lanka's decision to lift emergency

Aug 27 (PTI) India today welcomed the decision of the Sri Lankan govt to withdraw emergency from the island nation and said it would want that country to investigate human rights violations in a transparent manner. Replying to a short duration discussion on steps taken by the govt on relief and resettlement of Sri Lankan Tamils in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said the decision of Colombo to withdraw emergency once its term expires more..

Khawaja ton gives Australians lead

Aug 27 (CI) In the sort of touch he exhibited for the Australians on Friday against a Sri Lanka Board XI at the P Sara Oval, Colombo, Usman Khawaja radiates the ease that only the very best batsmen possess. Calm, judicious and still in defence, Khawaja never hesitated to score when the opportunity arose, and a chanceless 101 retired was his fitting reward, as the Australians took the lead with five wickets in hand and a day to play. Captain Michael Clarke stroked more..

Sri Lanka shares edge up on retail buying; rupee flat

Aug 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's stock market gained on Friday in light trading volume and turnover due to retail speculation including Singer Finance, but concerns remained over the lack of liquidity. The island nation's main share index rose 0.2 percent or 13.76 points to 6,852.96. It is the second-best performer in Asia with a return of 3.27 percent on the year after Indonesia. Gainers outperformed losers by 107 shares to 101, Thomson Reuters data showed. Retail speculative buying continued with Singer Finance, more..