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'People told to make difficult choices, while ministers are enjoying life'

Feb 8 (Island) There has been no change in the UNP’s campaign theme for the forthcoming Local Government Elections, which would be launched on February 9, the party’s media spokesman Gayantha Karunathillake said yesterday. He said that he was unable to comment on reports that Hambantota District UNP MP Sajith Premadasa was planning to adopt a slogan that was different to the party’s official version. more..

First anniversary of General Sarath Fonsekas arrest

Feb 8 (DBS) Hello Friends; February 8th 2011 is the first anniversary of General Sarath Fonseka’s arrest. He was taken into custody by a contingent of soldiers on a Monday evening while he was engaged in a discussion with some political party leaders. Information was scanty at the time of the arrest about the manner and mode in which the ex – army chief was arrested although it was expected. Upon hearing the news I got in touch with many contacts on the phone and more..

Use music show funds for flood relief: Rajapaksa

Feb 9 (IANS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed his sports minister to cancel the musical shows scheduled in Kandy and Hambantota areas as fringe events for the upcoming Cricket World Cup and instead utilise that money for flood relief operations. Over 1.2 million people in 18 districts of Sri Lanka have been affected by the second round of floods within two months. The two musical shows have been planned as fringe events for the upcoming Cricket World Cup-2011, more..

Health Ministry to keep an eye on cold products

Feb 9 (DM) The Health Ministry today instructed provincial health authorities to check medicinal drugs, food items and drinks that had been stored in refrigerators at pharmacies, trade stalls, boutiques and super markets in flood affected areas for possible contamination or expiration, a Ministry spokesman said. The discussion was held between Health authorities and representatives of the World Health Organization, World Children Fund, World Food Programme, more..

SC holds expulsion of Ampara MP Piyasena by TNA invalid

Feb 9 (AT) The Supreme Court today (8) ruled that the purported expulsion of Ampara district MP Perumpulli Hewage Piyasena by the Ilankai Thail Arasu Katchi (ITAK) known as Federal Party is invalid. The judgment was delivered by a Bench consisting Justices Saleem Marsoof, K.Sripavan and Suresh Chandra delivered the judgment. The TNA in the last general elections fielded its candidates under the ITAK ticket. more..

Sri Lanka to expand dam safety program

Feb 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka will expand its dam safety program to cover more large reservoirs and will ask for additional funding from the World Bank following recent floods, officials said. D C S Alakanda, who heads Sri Lanka's Dam Safety and Water Resources Planning Project said the talks with World Bank to expand the project will begin next week. The current project funded with a 7,500 million rupee interest free credit from the World Bank covers 32 out of 80 large reservoirs more..

Sri Lankan Airlines signs wage deal with aircraft technicians

Feb 9 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines has signed a new three-year wage agreement with the union representing aircraft technicians, as it expands its fleets and seeks more aircraft maintenance business, a statement said. The collective agreement was signed with the SriLankan Airlines Aircraft Technicians Association (SAATA) with talks facilitated by the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon. The agreement with SAATA covers a period from June 01, 2010 to May 31, 2013, more..

Thousands attend Sarath Fonseka rally

Feb 9 (BBC) Opposition parties in Sri Lanka have taken part in a demonstration in the capital Colombo to mark a year since the detention of the losing presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka. He was detained after defeat by the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa. In September he was moved to prison after a military court found him guilty of corruption. About 3,000 people took part in the protest, which called for Mr Fonseka's release, more..

'Police watched like girls with folded arms while goons attacked us'

Feb 9 (NF) It is questionable whether Sri Lanka has gained real independence, says Rosy Senanayake, United National Party parliamentarian. She made this statement during a function to award certificates held in Colombo yesterday at the auditorium of the Colombo Public Library. “The police, folding their arms like girls, simply watched while we were being attacked with poles, spikes and bombs, during our vigil and peaceful march. more..

Sri Lanka tourism product needs facelift to justify price hikes

Feb 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs to improve the quality of its tourism product and infrastructure to further increase room rates after a post-war rise in rates made the island look expensive, an equities research report said. The country also needs to improve entertainment and shopping in order to break the seasonality of the industry and lure visitors during the 'off-season' to fill hotel rooms year-round, the report by NDB Stockbrokers said. more..

Two mothers killed in flats 'arson' in UK

Feb 9 (ES) A mother-of-five visiting her children in London for the first time in seven years was one of two women killed in a tower block blaze. Santhirapathy Tharmalingam, 59, died with her cousin Kunaliny Alagaratnam, 42, in the fire in Deptford, which police are treating as arson. Ms Tharmalingam had travelled from Sri Lanka to see her children and grandchildren and was visiting mother-of-two Mrs Alagaratnam at the time of the fire, more..

Rajapaksa could read up Shelly's Ozymandias of Egypt

Feb 9 (HT) Opposition leader Karu Jayasuriya last week wrote an angry statement, an outburst actually, on uprisings in north Africa and similar forebodings in Sri Lanka. He said leaders "intoxicated with their seemingly unchallenged hold on power, (should) open their eyes to the reality of what is happening in countries where representation has been repeatedly distorted by corrupt and fraudulent elections." The statement came hours after a group of opposition lawmakers demanding more..

Military denies allegations by TNA MP

Feb 9 (DM) The military today denied allegations made by TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah that the military was obtaining money from Jaffna residents, forcing people to pose for family photographs in the Jaffna town and also forcing them to sign various forms in Sinhalese. Military Spokesman Major General Ubaya Madawela rejected the allegations as baseless. “Every citizen is obliged to register under the police ordinance and not only in Jaffna it is been conducted in places like more..

Sound control laws

Feb 9 (NN) The government is holding discussions with the relevant authorities to consider introducing regulations on sound control mainly in nightclubs, musical shows and radio players used in passenger buses to curb the damage it causes to the human ear. Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told reporters that research carried out by a local institute had also found that excessive sound emanating from MP3 players in mobile phones could damage more..

PM: LTTE sympathizers tryingto make war crimes charges again

Feb 9 (SL) Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne has said the government has been informed of a plan by the Tamil Diaspora and LTTE sympathizers in Europe to raise allegations of war crimes against the country. Speaking during the debate on the extension of emergency regulations in parliament today, Jayaratne has said the war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka are to be raised at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. more..

Several animals dead due to floods

Feb 9 (NN) The govt says a large number of animals were killed during the devastating floods which hit most parts of the country for the past couple of months with the biggest casualties being cattle. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera speaking to reporters a short while ago said that according to initial estimates over 75,000 cattle were killed in the floods. The Minister added that they were still collecting data on the loss of other livestock which was a source of income to more..

Second batch of Jaffna farmers receive further training at Seeppukkulama

Feb 9 (Cimic) The second batch of civilians to get training on 16 cattle rearing and animal husbandry left Civil Affairs and Public Relations office Jaffna Sunday for Seepukulama farm in Anuradhapura. Those cattle farmers selected from 51, 52 and 55 Division areas are to get more knowledge on the subject. The course started the following day and will continue till 18th February. During the training period they will be provided free meals and more..

AG compromises authority of High Courts

Feb 9 (LG) Last week, the Attorney General (AG) agreed to withdraw charges of murder and the causing of grievous hurt against four people who had been accused and charged before the Colombo High Court. The accused agreed to plead guilty for the charge of unlawful assembly, their third and final charge. The accused allegedly caused the murder of a candidate and injured his brother in a shooting incident relating to the election of a cooperative at Nampamunuwa in 1996. more..

Mirihana Police brutally torture a man and fill fabricated charges

Feb 9 (LG) Mr. Waharagedara Ranjith Sumangala was arrested by officers attached to the Mirihana Police Station and detained for a period of five days during which time he was tortured. He was assaulted on his leg with a pole in front of his wife and young children until the 3.5 feet long 2X1 inch pole broke. Later a plastic shopping bag was filled with chili powder and placed over head covering his face. Further, his hands were cuffed behind his back and more..

Support to government in time of people’s need

Feb 9 (LG) Floods on a scale seldom experienced in Sri Lanka have ravaged the country a second time in the course of a month. People living in a wide swathe of the territory covering the Northern, Eastern, North Central and Central provinces had barely got back to their homes after the unprecedented floods of early January when the rains started again. By Independence Day on February 4 the rivers had become raging torrents and more..

Sri Lanka's excellence in disaster management

Feb 9 (LG) Let's face it, if there is one thing that they can do properly in Sri Lanka it's manage a good disaster. Does that sound sarcastic? It is not meant to be. Believe me, there is nothing in the very least bit amusing about 42,000 people losing their lives in a tsunami, or thousands of persons being made homeless and destitute by flooding. There is also nothing amusing about millions of dollars meant for relief and reconstruction going missing. more..

Six decades of ‘progress’ after Independence

Feb 9 (LG) The 63rd Independence Day was observed last week with the usual pomp and pageantry at Kataragama sans the vital elements needed for national progress and prosperity namely the unity and cooperation of all sections of people in the country. It was a solo government event. The two main opposition parties and other smaller parties found the occasion not worthy of their participation because the govt, in their view, has failed to conduct the country’s affairs in the proper way. more..

Sri Lanka Embassy in USA celebrates independence day

Feb 9 (SLE) The 63nd Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka celebration was held at the University of the District of Columbia Feb. 5, 2011, an event that featured traditional Sri Lanka dances and songs and appearances by notable diplomats and government officials. The Hon. Assistant Secretary of State Ambassador Robert Blake, as well as the Hon. Vincent Gray, Mayor of Washington, D.C., and more..

Vice Chancellors & Toddy Tappers

Feb 9 (LG) I refer to your article in yesterday’s Guardian. It looks as if both of us are concerned with the real challenges faced by the Administrative community in Northern Sri Lanka. I was working on Public Administration in Northern Sri Lanka around the same time you were working on your answers to the challenges faced by the University Community in Northern Sri Lanka. This is also a challenge for every University Graduate who consciously supported or opposed the Tamil Tigers. more..

Disappearance of Mr. Pattani Razeek

Feb 9 (TC) Mr. Razeek is a well known human rights defender in Sri Lanka and Asia. At the time of his disappearance, Mr. Razeek was the Managing Trustee of Community Trust Fund (CTF) and was an Executive Committee Member of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) He had also served as a Grama Seweka (Village Govt Official) in the Puttalam district. Mr. Razeek was last seen near the Jumma Mosque in Kaduruwela, Polonnaruwa more..

'Lanka’s image will be maintained'

Feb 9 (SO) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe who will head the delegation to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) sessions scheduled from February 28 to March 25 in Geneva in an interview with the Sunday Observer said his effort is to win over the West which is currently under the propaganda grip of pro-LTTE elements. He said there are unseen forces trying to disrupt the social and political stability the country and the people enjoy after 30 years and more..

Editorial: Violence and hypocrisy

Feb 9 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe the Independence Day attack on a UNP protest march at Punchi Borella. That dastardly act of government terrorism must be condemned unreservedly and the police held responsible for their inaction. But, what purpose will the appointment of a PSC serve? No action is usually taken against anyone on the basis of parliamentary committee findings. more..

Editorial: Health crisis after the deluge

Feb 9 (DM) With Sri Lanka being devastated by the worst ever deluge after deluge the consequences in the coming month are likely to include food and public health crisis. A presidential task force was set up on Monday to provide immediate or short term relief to more than 1.3 million people affected by the floods and earth slips, the government also must act fast on long term measures in both these vital sectors. Regarding the public health sector, the Daily Mirror more..

UNICEF: Children still at risk as renewed flooding hits Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (UNICEF) UNICEF is dispatching more supplies to support communities hit by renewed, severe flooding in Sri Lanka. The latest batch of supplies includes 19,000 school kits (including notebooks, pens, pencils) 10,600 reinforced tarpaulins, 60 drums of chlorine bleaching powder, 2,000 sleeping mats, water tanks (2,000 litre capacity, each), water purification tablets and children’s clothes (5,000 sets). more..

Sangakkara and the team need to adapt to conditions

Feb 9 (Island) Whatever you feel Yahaluweni, and as disappointing as it is for Kumar Sangakkara and the side, there is just one way to look at the Sooiryawewa venue fiasco and that is get on with it. And as hard as it is, there is little wrong in playing the Canadians as if it is an "away game." Sri Lanka are a professional enough side to know the conditions in their own country and need to adapt accordingly. In some cases, it can come down to mind games, yet more..

Govt. silent on people’s revolt in Egypt

Feb 9 (ST) As Egypt’s popular uprising to oust President Hosni Mubarak entered its 12th day yesterday, the Sri Lankan government maintained an official silence. While External Affairs Ministry Secretary Romesh Jayasinghe refused to comment on the Egyptian situation, this country’s ambassador in Cairo told the Sunday Times that Sri Lankans living in Egypt were “safe”. “So far, no Sri Lankan has requested us to arrange for his or her return,” Ambassador I. Ansar said more..

Where young girls see marriage as escape from poverty

Feb 9 (ST) She is probably one of the youngest brides in Sri Lanka. She married at the age of 15 and now at 16 she wants a divorce from her husband. Selvarajah Jayarani, a resident of what was once the “border” village north of Polonnaruwa, says poverty drove her to get married. She dropped out of school and lived with her partner as husband and wife. When she apparently had had enough of married life she had gone to the Police to complain that more..

CEB prosecutes 153 power pirates

Feb 9 (DN) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) successfully prosecuted 153 persons for power piracy in January and collected more than Rs 10 million as fines, a Ministry spokesman said. Minister Champika Ranawaka has instructed officials to speed up islandwide raids on illegal power-tappers as power piracy has become a major drain on CEB coffers, he added. The Minister has also requested the public to inform the CEB of any such illegal power tapping on Telephone No. 1987. more..

Elegant Sangakkara is mainstay of Sri Lankan batting

Feb 9 (Reuters) A sharp cricketing brain, supplemented by multitasking capabilities, has made Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara the complete package. Sangakkara grew up in the scenic Sri Lankan city of Kandy and broke into international cricket at the age of 22, while he was still enrolled as a law student at the University of Colombo. The elegant, left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman, arguably the best in the business currently, has never looked back. more..

Alarming drop in numbers involved in research

Feb 9 (ST) Statistics compiled by Govt have revealed Sri Lanka lags far behind other countries in the field of research; with a severe shortage of researchers in the country due to poor infrastructure facilities to develop the area and only 678 of the 9,000 schools in the country equipped to teach science. Sri Lanka has only 237.3 researchers per million while the world average is 8,94.1, the average in developed countries is 3,272.7 while more..

Champika urges UK to curtail LTTE action

Feb 9 (DM) Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday in Parliament said he requested British Prime Minister David Cameron not to allow LTTE operatives to use the soil of his country against the interests of Sri Lanka. Mr. Ranawaka said that the British Prime Minister recently asked the Muslims living in his country not to promote ethnic identity in Britain. According to the British Prime Minister, he said, Britain was meant only for the Anglo Saxon culture. more..

Estate worker pay hike demand to cost Rs.15b extra

Feb 9 (BL) A colossal sum of Rs.15 billion cost burden will have to be met by the plantation industry to meet the Rs.700 pay hike a day demanded by an estimated 240, 000 estate workers, according to a top official. He said that to grant an additional Rs.295 more per worker would in effect ‘wipe out the industry.’ “It will virtually cripple the industry,” he said. The JVP led ACEWU has demanded a daily wage hike of Rs.700 for estate workers and had threatened to strike if the demand was not met. more..

Upper kotmale tunnel

Treasury allocates Rs. 850mn for flood relief

Feb 9 (Island) A provision of over Rs. 350 million has been released by the Treasury to the District Secretaries through the Ministry of Disaster Management and another Rs. 500 million has been already allocated for flood relief, the ministry of Finance and Planning announced yesterday (8). "Due to the unfavuorable weather condition affected the island, the heaviest damage has occurred Batticaloa district and Rs. 100 million has been granted by the General Treasury more..

Route 138 strike called off

Feb 9 (DM) Private bus operators called off their two day strike this morning and resumed services of buses starting from Horana after the Passenger Transport Authority promised to resolve the problem of two controversial permits. Lanka Private Bus Owners Association said that the 138 routes strike was called off. “The Western Province Passenger Transport Authority has assured that they would take steps to solve this problem but it isn’t adequate. However we cannot continue with more..