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JVP holds 6th National Convention

Feb 11 (LT) Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe was re-elected unanimously as the Leader of the JVP while a Central committee of 23 members also elected unanimously at the 6th National Congress of the JVP held at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium today (10th). Delegates who presented greetings were Her Excellency Nirsia Castro Guevara, Ambassadress for the Republic of Cuba in Sri Lanka, Han Tao of Communist Party of China, Georgios Sophokleous, more..

Dinesh says has no power to drag ministers to House

Feb 11 (Island) Chief Government Whip Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Guanwardena yesterday told Parliament that he has neither powers nor ability to drag in ministers, deputy ministers or senior ministers to Parliament to answer the questions raised by the Opposition. All ministers responsible to respond to the questions of the opposition had been informed to be present in the House repeatedly and it was their duty to be present. more..

Bill to enable EPF members withdraw 30% for medical, housing

Feb 11 (Island) The Government yesterday presented a Bill seeking to amend the Employees’ Provident Fund Act No 15 of 1958 to enable members of the fund to withdraw 30 percent of their savings. The Employees’ Provident Fund (Amendments) Bill provides for any employee, who has contributed to the fund for less than ten years, to withdraw 30 percent of his or her savings for the purposes of constructing houses and paying medical bills. more..

'It's everyone's responsibility to ensure Sarath Fonseka's freedom'

Feb 11 (NF) It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure Sarath Fonseka's freedom, devoid of political divisions, said the UNP MP Joseph Michael Perera. He made this statement at a UNP election rally held in the Walpola area in Kandana yesterday. Many MPs including Jayalath Jayawardena and Sujeewa Senasinghe were present at the occasion. “I wish to state that it is the responsibility of all of us to ensure Sarath Fonseka's freedom, more..

CEA to systematically dispose used CFL bulbs

Feb 11 (DN) The Central Environment Authority (CEA) will take measures to systematically dispose used Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL), Chairman Charitha Herath said. He invited the business community who have imported CFLs to a discussion on the issue. Two proposals have already been received and the authorities will be working on it in the immediate future. The CEA is planning to introduce a mechanism to dispose these bulbs within a short period. more..

Customs pass poisonous PCBs due to lack of knowledge

Feb 11 (Island) Goods containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a poisonous man-made chemical, are often passed by the Department of Customs wrongfully classifying them as Printed Circuit Boards, a senior Customs Officer conceded. Sri Lanka became a signatory to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) on September 5, 2001. It was ratified on December 22, 2005. PCB is a mixture of chemicals consisting of 209 individual compounds, more..

Sri Lanka Navy operating with Somali pirates, Indian report alleges

Feb 11 (TD) According to information got from sources the tactical support to Somali pirates operating out of Indian waters was from the Sri Lankan Navy. The Sri Lankan navy is known to have turned a blind eye to Somalian Pirates operations. Surveillance along the Kerala-Lakshadweep-Tamil Nadu coast in the wake of arrest of pirates off Lakshadweep islands has been increased. The waters along the Tamil Nadu coast was more or less in control of LTTE but more..

Let bygones be bygones, says Muralitharan

Feb 11 (Hindu) The irony is obvious, particularly so when the “chucker” is all set become the trainer. Muttiah Muralitharan, cricket's wicket-taking machine, was accused for over a decade of chucking by many in Australian cricket and was even despised by its paying public. Now he will go to Australia — to teach Aussie hopefuls spin bowling! ABC said that Murali's technique will also be recorded and downloaded into the Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence ‘virtual bowler' machine. more..

Sabaragamuwa University students stage walkout

Feb 11 (AT) Sections of Sri Lanka’s Sabaragamuwa University student population staged a walkout on Thursday against suspension of studentship of student union leaders, who were found to have engaged in the ragging of freshers. A statement issued by S M P R Kumarathilake of the Sabaragamuwa University General Student Union accused the government of suppressing students under the pretext of clamping down on ragging. more..

Deyata Kirula concludes

Feb 11 (DN) A large number of development projects worth several million rupees were carried out in the Moneragala District due to the Deyata Kirula exhibition, Minister and Deyata Kirula Steering Committee Chairman Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. Over 2.5 million visitors had visited the Deyata Kirula exhibition by yesterday noon, the final day of the exhibition. The exhibition began on February 4 and was held for the fifth consecutive year providing more..

Latest technology applied to curb vice and malpractices

Feb 11 (Island) Latest technology used internationally will be put to use to curb vice and malpractices in Sri Lankan prisons, said Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera, who was on an official visit to the Bogambara Prison on Monday. Use of modern technology in prisons abroad have been successful in detecting incidents of vice and immoral activities, he said. Close relationship between officers of the law enforcement sector and the prisoners was a barrier against more..

Triple ‘M’ factor in Lions’ favour

Feb 11 (Reuters) The three 'M's of Sri Lanka's bowling attack -- unorthodox paceman Lasith Malinga, veteran off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis -- can turn any match on its head. Malinga's knack of churning out yorkers at will, coupled with wily Muralitharan's ability to keep a tight lid on the scoring rates, might tip the scales in Sri Lanka's favour at key times during the Feb 19-April 2 World Cup. more..

'No request for defferal of LG polls'

Feb 11 (DM) No requests had been made from any District Returning Officer for a postponement of the LG elections in areas affected by floods, the Additional Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday. According to the regulations governing the LG elections, the decision to hold or postpone LG elections had to be taken by the district returning officers and the approval for such decision would have to be made by the Elections Commissioner. more..

Take other routes to BIA on Saturday

Feb 11 (DN) The access road to the Bandaranaike International Airport, Katunayake will be closed from 8 pm on February 12 to 6 am on February 13 to facilitate development work of the railway line along Canada Friendship road, said Airport Manager attached to Airport and Aviation Services Ltd H S Hettiarachchi in a press release. The release said the following alternative roads should be used to reach and leave the Airport on this day. more..

Amnesty International calls on Sri Lankan govt to act on enforced disappearance

Feb 11 (AI) On the eve of the one year anniversary of the disappearance of Sri Lanka human rights defender Pattani Razeek, Amnesty International renews its call for the Sri Lankan government to ensure those responsible for his abduction are brought to justice. "We understand the person who has been identified as a suspect has a close association with a government official,” said Yolanda Foster, Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka expert. more..

Development Diaries

Govt. releases buffer stock

Feb 11 (DM) In a move to avert a possible rice shortage in the market and hoarding by traders the government yesterday released 25,000 metric tonnes of paddy from its buffer stocks. Cooperatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando instructed CWE Chairman Eraj Fernando to take immediate measures to mill 25,000 metric tonnes of paddy from the buffer stock of the Paddy Marketing Board and release them to the market to prevent a possible price hike of rice in the open market. more..

Voting: ID a must even for flood victims

Feb 11 (DM) Voters who had lost their national identity cards should apply for a temporary identity card which would enable them to vote in the March 17 local government elections, the Elections Department said yesterday.“They can apply for a temporary identity card through their respective Grama Niladharis by submitting two pictures of themselves with no additional costs. “If they do not possess an identity card they cannot vote,” a senior election department official said. more..

Sri Lanka whale film planned

Feb 11 (LBO) Award winning author Phillip Hoare and underwater videographer Andrew Sutton is working on a film featuring whales in the waters surrounding Sri Lanka and also explore the Island nation, its people and culture. "We are very keen to expand the themes we have been exploring while filming whales into a greater picture of what Sri Lanka holds for the world and what the world holds for Sri Lanka," more..

Aravinda gets used to life wielding the axe

Feb 11 (Reuters) Aravinda de Silva is getting used to his new life as Sri Lanka's chairman of selectors -- and axing big name ex-team-mates is just part of the package. De Silva, now 45, omitted Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas from the final 15-man squad for the Feb 19-April 2 World Cup, to be held in Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, and he accepts not all decisions will be popular. "It's not an easy job but I am enjoying it," de Silva told Reuters more..

UK funds project to round-up stray cattle in North

Feb 11 (Island) Sri Lanka has received international support for a project implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to round up stray cattle in the Northern region, particularly in the former LTTE strongholds. The UN agency has launched the project in support of a govt initiative to round up and return stray animals to the war displaced returning to their villages after the conclusion of de-mining operations. more..

More SL troops to UN peace keeping missions

Feb 11 (SO) The government has increased the number of soldiers deploying in UN peace keeping missions. The Cabinet has approved a proposal forward by the External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris to sign a MoU with the United Nations Stand-By Arrangement System (UNSAS) to increase SriLanka's participation in UN peacekeeping operations. The government said after defeating LTTE terrorism in 2009, more..

Pinnawala Elephant orphanage will not be shifted

Feb 11 (DN) Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Mahipala Herath said yesterday that there was no truth whatsoever in the rumours that the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was to be removed to a different venue. He said the President and the Economic Development Minister had given him instructions to make the Elephant Orphanage more attractive to foreign tourists after finding out its shortcomings. The number of foreign tourists visiting it had increased recently. more..

Red Cross warns of funding gap as fresh flooding affects more than 1 million people

Feb 11 (RC) The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) remains extremely concerned about the humanitarian impact of the recent flooding that has brought devastation and chaos to the eastern, northern and central provinces of Sri Lanka. Heavy monsoon rains have affected more than 1.2 million people in recent days causing the more..

Prabhakaran's sick mother misses children

Feb 11 (HT) Till the time it was demolished last year, slain Tamil Tiger chief V Prabhakaran's ancestral home in Jaffna was a star tourist attraction. Now, tourists from southern Sri Lanka are thronging Jaffna's Valvettithurai government hospital to catch a glimpse of his ailing 81-year-old mother, V Parvathi Pillai. A steady stream of tourists stops-by the hospital to see a bed-ridden Parvathi, even take photographs. more..

'State resources being abused, policemen transfered'

Feb 11 (Island) State resources are being abused and policemen transfered in the run up to the March 17, LG Election, the UNP said. UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said that the Elections Commissioner (EC) was duty bound to halt the blatant violation of laws governing the conduct of free and fair polls. It was high time the EC exercised whatever powers that he is left with, including legal action to ensure that the ruling UPFA does not once again obtain an unfair advantage by more..

Tuticorin-Colombo sea route reopens

Feb 11 (TOI) Shipping of cargo between the Tuticorin and Colombo in Sri Lanka will resume after a gap of three years on February 12 when 350 tonnes of commodities will set sail from the southern port. The small mechanised boat, M S V Raj, will carry turmeric, salt, chilli and tamarind and reach Colombo the following day. The bustling port town on Tamil Nadu's east coast, has a hoary past, as it was here that freedom fighter Chidambaram Pillai launched his own swadeshi shipping service more..

Johnny all out to eliminate Rice Mafia

Feb 11 (Island) In a bid to put an end to the ‘Rice Mafia’, which keeps jacking up prices, Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando yesterday instructed the Chairman of the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment, Eraj Fernando, to immediately release 25,000 MT of rice to the market. The stock of rice would be released after the milling of paddy currently stored by the Paddy Marketing Board. The milling process would commence immediately and more..

List of LTTE detainees with AG

Feb 11 (BBC) The Chief Justice (CJ) said that a list of LTTE suspects in detention has been handed over to legal authorities in order to initiate legal proceedings immediately. The Attorney General was ordered to use the list of detainees handed to his office by the CJ to facilitate prosecutions or to release the suspects who had been in custody since 2009. CJ Asoka Silva issued the statement on Thursday, at a hearing of a fundamental rights petition filed by a detainee. more..

Lankan girls missing

Feb 12 (NN) Young Sri Lankan girls, taken to work in Malaysia, have been reported missing and are believed to have been lured by sweet-talking youths who promised them better jobs, the Malaysia Nanban reported today. The paper said the girls have gone missing since the past three months. Quoting sources from a Malaysian employment company, the paper said the agency brought in 60 girls and have lodged police reports over 13 who have gone missing from their hostels. more..

Captives call home

Feb 12 (NN) Two Sri Lankan fishermen who are in the custody of Somali pirates have contacted their family members in Sri Lanka saying they are safe and are expected to be set free. The two fishermen had established contact with their relatives this week and the External Affairs Ministry is now following up on the developments. Meanwhile three other Sri Lankan fishermen released by the pirates are now heading to Sri Lanka and are said to be at least 950 nautical miles off the country. more..

Somerset complete Mendis and Pollard signings

Feb 12 (BBC) Somerset have signed Sri Lanka international Ajantha Mendis for the first few weeks of the County Championship season. The spinner, 25, will act as cover for Murali Kartik while he is at the IPL. Mendis has played in 15 tests and 46 ODI's for Sri Lanka, taking 107 wickets in the process. Somerset also confirmed that crowd favourite Keiron Pollard will return for the second half of the club's T20 campaign this summer. more..

'Sri Lanka should not win World Cup'

Feb 12 (PTI) In a surprising move, a Sri Lankan newspaper on Friday urged cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara not to win the World Cup, fearing it would help the controversial interim committee strengthen its position. The privately-run but pro-government 'Island' newspaper said Sangakkara should not win the tournament for the "sake of the country". "Call me a traitor, a quisling-anything," said the paper's sports writer Russell Palipane. more..

Indian power locomotives arrive in Lanka

Feb 12 (PTI) Sri Lanka Railway announced here today that first consignment of the Indian train power sets have arrived here as part of an effort by New Delhi to boost infrastructure in the country after the end of a three-decade ethnic war in May 2009. Vijeya Samarasinghe, the director planning of railways said that two of the twenty power sets have six compartments each. They consist of first class and economy class compartments. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 11.02.2011

Sri Lanka expects a billion dollars of FDI in 2011

Feb 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka is expecting more than a billion US dollars in foreign direct investments in 2011 led by a booming leisure sector, after the end of a three decade war made the country more attractive, an official said. "Our expectations (for 2011) are well over a billion (US dollars)," Board of Investment chief Jayampathy Bandaranayake said. A three decade war ended in 2010 but actual FDI disbursements were 'very close to' 2009, he said. more..

Court recalls arrest warrant

Feb 12 (DM) Colombo High Court today re-called the warrant issued for the arrest of Traditional and Small Enterprises Minister Douglas Devananda. Minister Douglas Devananda today surrendered before court through his Counsels. The Counsel asked Judge W.M.P.B. Warawewa to recall the warrant issued against the minister. The counsel submitted that the minister was a prosecution witness and the warrant had been issued by the court for the failure of the minister to be present in court more..

Sushma Swaraj raises fishermen's killing issue with Sri Lankan envoy

Feb 12 (PTI) BJP leader Sushma Swaraj today voiced concern over the recent killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy when its envoy met her in New Delhi. High commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam met Swaraj, the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, at her residence and promised to convey the views to the highest authorities in Sri Lanka. "I met the high commissioner at my residence. more..

Sri Lanka rubber producer warns boom unlikely to last

Feb 12 (LBO) The boom in rubber prices, that helped prop up profits at Sri Lanka's Kelani Valley Plantations, is unlikely to last, its chairman Mohan Pandithage has warned, according to a stock exchange filing. The company, the plantation subsidiary of Dipped Products, the rubber manufacturing arm of the Hayleys group, said December 2010 quarter net profit fell eight percent to 165 million rupees from a year ago. Earnings per share in the quarter were 4.86 rupees more..

Religious sisters: government ineffective on violence against migrant women

Feb 12 (AN) The government of Sri Lanka has raised its age limit from 18 to 21 years in response to the numerous cases of violence, abuse and torture on migrant women, often minors. Some Sisters are involved in this critical field and say the law is unnecessary. They are convinced that government must change the mechanism that regulates migration, increasing controls and giving more guarantees. The proposal on increasing the age limit was made by more..