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Editorial: Cutting the Kaduwa

Feb 17 (DM) A Trade Union of teachers has come down hard on the decision to make English compulsory for university entrance from this year. Emphasis on Union because nobody knows what teachers in general, as parents, prefer. English has become a perennial problem in our society -so much so that it has now evolved into a symbol of the elite, a symbol of sword (kaduwa), which is used as weapon of social advancement rather than a tool of knowledge. more..

Navy looks to expand horizons

Feb 17 (SO) As the most decorated officer of the Sri Lanka Navy in its 60 years history, Vice Admiral Somathilaka Dissanayake who hails from the historical city of Dambadeniya reached the highest position of the Navy on January 15, 2011 as the 17th Commander of the Navy. Having his first press interview with the Sunday Observer the Navy Commander Vice Admiral Dissanayake says the role of the Navy has not reduced although the humanitarian operation is now over. more..

Wake up and smell the coffee

Feb 17 (LB) I vaguely recall President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s one enthusiastic invitation to patriotic Sri Lankan expatriates in 2009. Amidst the joyous celebrations of winning the 30-year war, Mr. President called on the young, innovative minds of Sri Lanka to return to the motherland and participate in rebuilding the nation. To a certain extent, it is wishful thinking. A quick glance at the morning foot-traffic in front of foreign embassies in Colombo may more..

Norwegian biz delegation here in search of partners in fisheries related industries

Feb 17 (Island) An eight member high powered business delegation in the fisheries and boat industries of Norway will visit the country shortly to establish potential contacts with the business community in Sri Lanka. In order to facilitate companies to interact with the delegates, the Sri Lanka – Norway Matchmaking Programme of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce will be organizing a Matchmaking Event on 23rd February, 2011 at the Cinnamon Lakeside, Colombo, more..

New leaf: Growing tea in Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (Telegraph) It is not immediately noticeable that Champika Sajeewani Chandrapala’s house is on a farm. As you step down a steep path between trees and shrubs on a hillside in the village of Nawadewita, near Gampola, only flowering shrubs and trees are visible; the low tea bushes and tall spice trees create the impression that this is a landscaped garden. Nor is it obvious that this young mother, in her mid-twenties, is a tea farmer. more..

Solid waste management: Lanka, Czech deal mooted

Feb 17 (DN) Sri Lanka is working towards a mutual agreement to seek the assistance of the Czech Republic for solid waste management, said Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. Czech Republic Ambassador for Sri Lanka Miloslav Stasek called on the Environment Minister yesterday at the Ministry premises to hand over their proposals on waste management in Sri Lanka. The Minister noted that the mutual agreement between the two countries would include more..

Police and the STF deployed at the Ratmalana Economic Centre

Feb 17 (FT) The Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade has deployed 35 police officers and Special Task Force personnel at the Ratmalana Economic Centre to break the mafia operating there. “We will not leave room for such mafia to operate,” said Minister Johnston Fernando. The cleaning, maintenance and development of the Economic Centres island wide will be given out on tender as currently these centres are badly maintained and not up to standard more..

Tamil media asked not to undermine reconciliation process

Feb 17 (Island) The government fears a section of the Tamil media will make a sustained attempt to undermine the ongoing post-war reconciliation efforts. The SLFP is concerned that the LG polls campaign could be exploited by those bent on keeping the separatist sentiments alive. On behalf of the government, Minister Dallas Alahapperuma on Tuesday appealed to the Tamil media not to engage in a campaign to destabilise the country. more..

Career diplomats unhappy

Feb 17 (DM) The appointments of career diplomats to new postings were being delayed due to a bottleneck at the higher echelons of the Ministry of External Affairs. The appointments of a number of diplomats approved by the President earlier this year were yet to be finalized and followed through due to a blockade by the head of the Ministry. Adding to the dissatisfaction of career diplomats was the appointment of Secretary to the Ministry Romesh Jayasinghe as the Ambassador to China more..

GPS tech. brings success to STF ganja raids

Feb 17 (DM) The Special Task Force (STF) has been able to raid more than 200 acres and destroy 566,000 ganja plants using the satellite maps and the Global Positioning System (GPS) since March last year. STF Instructor of GPS and Mapping IP Nishantha de Silva said raids were conducted in thick jungles in the forest reserves in Hambegamuwa, Sevenagala, Udawalawa, Lunugamwehera, Suwandanaru, Hawengala and Thanamalwila. However, when the operation began it more..

Deyata Kirula successful- Progress Report Presented

Feb 17 (IL) Progress report of the’Deyata Kirula- 2011’ Development Exhibition which was held in Buttala area in Monaragala district concurrently with the 63rd Independence Day celebrations, presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by the Chairman of the Exhibition Organising Committee Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya at the Temple Trees on 16 February. Expressing his ideas, the President thanked all including the Ministers, local politicians, more..

Wilpattu Park records tourist influx

Feb 17 (DN) The numbers of local and foreign tourists visiting the Wilpattu National Park has been on the increase. The Sanctuary which had been closed for a number of years due to terrorist activities was reopened in February last year. Chief Warden of the park Weerasinghe Dissanayake told the Daily News that 18,800 local and foreign tourists had visited Wilpattu in the last 10 months. He said the income from ticket sales from March 2010 to January 10,2011 was Rs 5,631,996. more..

Sri Lanka better value than India

Feb 17 (ESPN) The 10th one-day World Cup begins on Saturday with 14 teams bidding to take the trophy and Australia trying to win it for the fourth straight time. But home advantage looks likely to be key this time around and that means India and Sri Lanka could be fighting it out for glory. The tournament will be spread over seven weeks with matches played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. While seven weeks is undoubtedly too long, it promises to be an intense and dramatic tournament and more..

NTPC's project in Lanka hits hurdle

Feb 17 (TOI) The Sri Lanka Attorney General's office has raised 70 queries on basic issues at the nick of time, which has delayed signing of a deal for India's first overseas power generation project that has been in the works since 2006. After years of negotiations, state-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Ceylon Electricity Board agreed on the nitty-gritties for setting up a 500 mw coal-fired power plant at Sampur in more..

Fear binds India, Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (HT) Despite the social, cultural and geological differences, there are lot of similarities between India and their southern neighbours Sri Lanka. When it comes to the World Cup, the similarities become more evident. Both countries are going to host a considerable number of matches. One of the most impo rtant stadiums in both the nations — the Premadasa in Colombo and Wankhede in Mumbai have been reconstructed. And both teams enter the Cup, which will be more..

Significance of Navam Poya

Feb 17 (Island) The Navam Pura Pasalosvaka Poya Day, which falls this year today, is a significant event in Buddhist calender. The two very significant incidents that took place on the Navam Pura Pasalosvaka Poya Day were the first congregation of Maha Sangha or the First Buddhist Council, and the appointment of two chief disciples of Gautama Buddha as Aggasavakes namely Sariputta and Moggallana. The first Buddhist Council was held three months after the passing away of the Buddha. more..

Boston Lanka News: Feb 17, 2011

Historical temple neglected: Murals decay

Feb 17 (Island) The 250-year-old Katukoliya Chethiyagiri Purana Viharasthanaya of Induruwa has been left to decay for a long time. The temple was founded by Ven. Katukoliya Kondanna Thera in 1888 in the same year as the well known Sri Dharmodaya Pirivena. Today, the dagoba, the shrine room, the library and the monastery are in a state of prolonged disrepair. The historical dagobas has cracks all over it and is on the verge of collapse according to devotees who expect more..

Farmers in predicament due to devastation caused by floods

Feb 17 (DM) Thousands of farmers in the Kurunegala District are in a predicament due to crop devastation caused by the recent floods. Paddy cultivators in Galgamuwa, Nikaweratiya, Giribawa, Rasnayakapura, Kotavehera, Maspotha, Wariyapola and Kobeigane Divisional Secretariat divisions are the worst affected. They pointed out that their hopes of a bumper harvest in the Yala season were shattered by the crop devastation. They said they will not have more..

Sri Lankan floods cause $50 million in damages to irrigation networks

Feb 17 (AN) Gamhevage Dayananda, a Sri Lankan rice farmer, used to earn a decent living off his two acres of paddy rice. In January, however, floodwaters destroyed the irrigation network that fed his village’s rice fields, taking his livelihood with them. Unusually heavy rains battered villages like Pansalgolla, about 250 kilometres east of the capital Colombo, in early January and again in February. more..

Political turmoil fails to spoil Sri Lanka`s finest hour

Feb 17 (Dawn) Cricket and World Cup history will bear testimony to the fact that Sri Lanka had played in all the five previous events (the three Prudential,the Reliance and the Benson and Hedges World Cups) but had never threatened to come even anywhere in the vicinity of the semi- finals. On this occasion they carried away the World Cup with some tenacious and formidable performances laced with the usual fortune that favours a few and which comes in handy. more..

Western coast erosion: Unusual during this period - CCD Chief

Feb 17 (DN) The Western coast has been subjected to erosion. This is an unusual phenomena during this period of the year, Coast Conservation Department Director General Anil Premaratne said. He said that the Western coast experiences the off monsoon season and it should not be subjected to coastal erosion until the activation of the South Western monsoon. However Premaratne noted that it was found out day before yesterday that the Wattala Divisional Secretariat and more..

Safe and healthy shelter for every family: Jana Sevana housing project launched

Feb 17 (IL) “The aim of the government is not to evict poor people from shanties, but to allow them the right to live in decent houses in a more appropriate environment. The slum dwellers should not be slum dwellers forever. These people are denied basic facilities throughout the history. So they fall victims to floods, deceases and various social anomalies. Therefore as a government it is our duty to provide them safe and healthy housing facilities and more..

Gangai Amaran denies meeting Rajapakse

Feb 17 (IG) Music composer Gangai Amaran has denied reports appeared in a section of the media that he called on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapkse recently and promised to produce a film on Lankan Tamils on behalf of the island government. He said in his typical style, "In fact, I am not going to produce a film in association with Rajapakse. But with US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The movie would have Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan and Vijayakanth in lead roles." more..

Family deaths mar Lanka WC curtain raiser

Feb 17 (AFP) Sri Lankan batsman Chamara Silva is likely to miss his team's opening World Cup match, due to a death in his family, an official said on Thursday. Silva left the team hotel in Colombo early on Thursday, shortly after his elder sister Nelum Anusha Silva passed away, Sri Lanka media manager Brian Thomas said. Team manager Anura Tennakoon's father, P.B. Tennakoon, also passed away early on Thursday, Thomas said. The funeral takes place on Thursday. more..

Sri Lankan war probe call renewed by British Lawmakers

Feb 17 (TC) Today, 41 British MPs drawn from the three major parties at Westminster, have written to the British Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to add Britain’s support to calls for an independent, international inquiry into allegations of war crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s 25 year civil conflict (letter is attached). The MPs are all Members or Supporters of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils. more..

Western Province worst affected by TB - Survey

Feb 17 (Island) A survey conducted by the TB Control Programme has revealed that there were 2,096 cases of Tuberculoses detected from the Colombo district, 1065 from the Gampaha district and 843 from the Kalutara district. Referring to these figures Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said 40 per cent of the disease could be controlled if TB in the Western Province is arrested. more..

Capture of TN fishermen: SL mission in Chennai under heavy guard

Feb 17 (Island) Security has been stepped up at Sri Lankan mission at Chennai following the capture of over 100 Tamil Nadu fishermen by their SriLankan counterparts on Tuesday night. External Ministry sources told The Island that India had swiftly beefed up security at the Sri Lankan mission amidst protests by Tamil Nadu politicians demanding the immediate release of fishermen and their trawlers. more..

Optical screening in North, East

Feb 17 (Island) The government has launched an optical screening programme in keeping with ‘Vision 2020,’ for the benefit of children in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. A senior Health Ministry spokesman told The Island that Sri Lanka had received Rs. 6.8 million from the International Centre for Eye Care to conduct a special programme in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala and ICEC Country Director Anitha Munasinghe finalized the agreement last week. more..

Letter being reviewed -UN

Feb 17 (DM) While claiming that the disappearance of any journalist anywhere is a matter of concern, the United Nations today said the letter from the relatives of missing Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda is ‘now being reviewed’ by its’ New York office. Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Martin Nesirky, said that “the letter to the Secretary-General, which was transmitted to New York by the UN Resident Coordinator in Colombo, had been received.” more..

‘Fast’ train only six minutes faster – Vijitha Herath

Feb 17 (AD) Though the Government spent Rs. 3600 million on laying down modernized railway tracks the new express train between Matara and Galle is only a mere six minutes faster than its predecessors, DNA Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath told media today. He added that the government claimed that the new train was much faster than the ‘Galu Kumari’ and ‘Ruhunu Kumari’ trains. more..

'Indian fishermen apologize for entering Sri Lankan waters'

Feb 17 (GDI) Sri Lankan Minister said over 100 Indian fishermen who were arrested by the local authorities after entering into the Sri Lankan waters have apologized for their mistake, Minister Douglas Devananda who is also the leader of EPDP has told the media that the Indian fishermen have accepted their fault and have sought a pardon from the Sri Lankan authorities. more..

Fishermen: Sri Lanka, India to sign MoU

Feb 17 (DM) A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed between the Fisheries Ministry and Indian authorities soon to address issues faced by fishermen of both the countries, Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday. He said he had handed over to the Indian High Commission in Colombo, several aerial pictures of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters. more..

Curtain up on cricket World Cup marathon

Feb 17 (AFP) Canadian rocker Bryan Adams helps kickstart the 2011 cricket World Cup on Thursday at the tournament's opening ceremony, marking the start of a gruelling six-week sporting marathon. The 10th edition of the showpiece event is being launched in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, joint hosts of the 14-team competition along with India and Sri Lanka. Favourites India will go into the tournament opener against Bangladesh on Saturday more..

24 more Indian fishermen apprehended in Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (PTI) Sri Lanka police have taken 24 Indian fishermen in custody, a day after arresting 112 fishermen belonging to the neighbouring country. The fishermen were apprehended along with their seven boats and handed over to the Ilawalai police in northern Jaffna peninsular on Wednesday by a group of local fishermen. On Tuesday, a group of local fishermen had apprehended 112 Indian fishermen allegedly straying into Sri Lankan waters, more..

INTERPOL probing

Feb 18 (NN) The international police (INTERPOL) is assisting the Sri Lankan police to investigate a massive ATM scam involving some foreigners and Sri Lankans including a Ukrainian national. According to police sources INTERPOL officials who are now in Colombo had questioned the Ukrainian national who is in custody over his involvement with the scam. The CID had busted the massive ATM scam and arrested two people in Mount Lavinia in January this year. more..

Chocolate kills kid

Feb 18 (NN) A child died today while her mother was hospitalized over suspected food poisoning in Pollonaruwa, officials at the Pollonaruwa hospital said. Doctors said that both the 9 year old girl and her mother were admitted to hospital yesterday after eating chocolate and consuming a soft drink. The condition of the child deteriorated this morning and she later died from suspected poisoning. The chocolate and drink was given to the child by her father who had purchased it more..

India asks Sri Lanka to release 136 fishermen

Feb 18 (PTI) India on Thursday conveyed its “deep concern” over the detention of 136 Indian fishermen in Jaffna and asked the Sri Lankan government to take “necessary” steps to get them released. “I have just had a telephonic conversation with the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka (G.L. Peiris) and I have conveyed India’s deep concern at the detention of nearly 136 fishermen in Jaffna district,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said in New Delhi. more..

Sangakkara pleasantly surprised by Premadasa pitch

Feb 18 (IC) Kumar Sangakkara praised the pitch at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo after his side’s win against West Indies in their second and final ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 warm-up match played at the reconstructed stadium on Tuesday. “The wicket was much better than what we expected it to be. They put a lot of work in,” Sangakkara said. “When we started three weeks ago, they asked us not to play any cricket on this, so that they could prepare the wickets. more..

More tests on Pabha

Feb 18 (NN) MP and former UNP member Upeksha Swarnamali was taken to the Kalubowila hospital today for more medical tests over the injuries she had suffered from an alleged assault. According to hospital sources, tests were carried out on her eyes as she had suffered injuries to her face during the assault which was over a domestic issue. Following the tests today she was taken back to the Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital and transfered to a private room from a ward, more..