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Johnny to take over ‘dens of thieves’

Feb 18 (Island) Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando has decided that the management of the 13 Economic Centres in the country should be taken over by his Ministry for better management and elimination of corruption and waste. The Minister told The Island that those economic centres had been managed by Trusts, which included certain public servants. He said they had become dens of thieves. more..

JVP warns of major crisis

Feb 18 (DM) The JVP said the Indian fishermen issue would lead to a major conflict between the two countries if the Sri Lankan government failed to adopt a clear cut policy to resolve it. JVP MP Vijitha said that Sri Lankan government should sign a pact with India to avoid such a conflict. He made this point with regard to a statement made by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh where Dr. Singh is reported to have warned Sri Lanka on more..

Police claim Paba’s husband evading arrest

Feb 18 (Island) Contrary to earlier reports, the police now say Mahesh Chaminda, husband of Gampaha District UNP MP Upeksha Swarnamalini (Paba), wanted in connection with an ongoing inquiry into an attack on the MP on Monday night, is evading arrest. A senior police official told The Island that the suspect was missing and police were looking for him. Upeksha is being treated at the Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital. more..

Another maid with nails

Feb 18 (NN) A Sri Lankan housemaid has been admitted to the Karapitiya hospital with pins forced into her arms by her employers from Saudi Arabia, the police said today. The maid aged 30, a resident of Galle, had been employed in Saudi Arabia since November last year but returned to Sri Lanka over allegations of being abused by her employer. She was admitted to hospital on Tuesday and more..

Court prevent holding polls in 3 PCs

Feb 18 (NN) The Appeal Court today suspended the Local Government Elections in Akuressa, Akmeemana and Moneragala Provincial Councils following an appeal submitted by UPFA candidates, reports said. The Local Government Elections are scheduled to take place on March 17. 268 Local Government Bodies out of 330 Municipal Councils, Town Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas stands dissolved enabling the Election Commissioner to call for fresh elections. more..

Sri Lanka ready for Canadian unknowns

Feb 18 (AFP) Kumar Sangakkara admitted his knowledge of Canada is confined to ace batsman John Davison, who once scored the fastest World Cup hundred, but that does not bother the Sri Lankan captain. He is also unfazed by playing in the Hambantota stadium - venue for the home team's opening match on Sunday - which is being used for the first time for an international fixture. "I know Davison, who scored the fastest World Cup hundred and not too much," more..

‘Indian Consulate in Jaffna interfered in judicial process’

Feb 18 (Island) The Indian Counsel General in Jaffna V. Mahalingam had interfered in the judicial process following the seizure of 112 Indian fishermen along with 18 trawlers in the general area north of Point Pedro on Tuesday night, sources told The Island. The Indian Counsel General had raised the issue with the Point Pedro Magistrate Mrs. Sirinidhi Nandasekeran and sought an early release of the fishermen and their boats, more..

'Soaring CoL more devastating than LTTE bombs'

Feb 18 (DM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday the cost-of-living bomb, which was about to explode would be more devastating than any bomb exploded by the LTTE. Mr. Wickremesinghe referred to the soaring cost of living as a bomb which killed people slowly. "Some 30 people were killed and several others injured each time the LTTE exploded a bomb but the cost of living bomb will destroy nearly every household," he said. more..

Cricket captains say World Cup wide open

Feb 18 (AFP) Graeme Smith of South Africa and India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni joined a chorus of World Cup skippers predicting a closely contested tournament that will thrill players and fans alike. At a rare assembly of all 14 captains for a photo-shoot and media conference in Dhaka on Thursday ahead of cricket's showpiece event, the general refrain was that it was impossible to choose a winner. "I believe every team taking part has a chance to win, it is all very open," Smith said more..

Soft drink banned

Feb 19 (NN) The Health Ministry today banned a soft drink which is largely available in the market after a child was poisoned after consuming the drink, officials from the Ministry said. A nine year old girl died yesterday while her mother was hospitalized over suspected food poisoning in Polonaruwa after they consumed the soft drink and a chocolate. The drink and the chocolate was purchased by her father from a shop in Vavuniya and medical tests revealed that more..

No ‘band-choon’ at WC grounds

Feb 19 (NN) Several restrictions have been put in place for the upcoming world cup being played in Sri Lanka for security reasons and this includes a ban on drums, bands, banners, plastic bottles, glass bottles, poles, knives, markers, cardboards and professional cameras at the World Cup venues, the IGP Mahinda Balasuriya said a short while ago. He further said that alcohol, cans, fire crackers and mirrors will also not be allowed inside the stadiums. more..

136 Indian fishermen released by Sri Lanka

Feb 19 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Friday released 136 Indian fishermen who were apprehended for allegedly poaching in this country's waters, a day after India conveyed its deep concern over their detention and sought their release. The Indian fishermen along with their boats were released by Sri Lankan authorities after a court order. They will be escorted to Indian maritime border by the Sri Lankan Navy, a defence official said. more..

Japan's biggest bank to open branch here

Feb 19 (DN) Japan's biggest bank, the Bank of Tokyo Mitzubishi has decided to set up a branch in Sri Lanka after seeing the healthy development in Sri Lanka's economy. Japan has cordial relations with Sri Lanka specially in the field of commerce but no action had so far been taken to open a bank branch in this country. Senior Deputy Central Bank Governor Dharma Deerasinghe said that Japan has begun preliminary discussions regarding the setting up of the Bank branch. more..

UN: 5,000 Tamils are held off-limits in Sri Lanka

Feb 19 (AP) A senior U.N. official says 5,000 suspected ex-combatants remain in Sri Lankan camps 21 months after a quarter-century civil war ended. Neil Buhne said Friday those ex-combatants are suspected loyalists to separatist Tamil Tiger rebels defeated in May 2009. He says they remain in camps beyond reach of U.N. and Red Cross officials, but another 5,000 suspected ex-combatants were released. Buhne spoke on his last day as head of the U.N. mission in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 18.02.2011

Kenya, Sri Lanka sign bilateral air agreement

Feb 19 (Xinhua) Kenya and Sri Lanka on Friday signed a bilateral air agreement on direct fights between the two nations. The agreement allows direct flights access between the two countries with a total population of an estimated 60 million people. Kenya's Minster for Transport, Amos Kimunya said air services are a crucial link in strengthening trade, diplomatic ties and tourism between the two countries. "Kenya and Sri Lanka negotiated and concluded the first more..

India arrests Lankan fishermen

Feb 19 (PTI) Four Sri Lankan fishermen were arrested by the Indian Navy off this coastal town and their mechanised boat seized for reportedly crossing into the Indian territorial waters. Commander S. Agarwal, Officer Incharge, Naval Detachment, Rameswaram said an Indian naval patrol vessel noticed the boat moving suspiciously near the Fifth Island inside Indian territorial waters this morning and arrested the fishermen. They were brought to the Naval jetty here and more..

Sri Lanka set to meet budget deficit target: IMF

Feb 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government is likely to be able to meet the 2010 target for its budget deficit of eight percent of gross domestic product, a visiting International Monetary Fund official said. Brian Aitken, chief of the IMF review mission, said the island's economic growth remained strong and there were no signs of inflationary pressure. "The authorities continue to execute policies in line with the IMF programme's goals," he told a news conference. more..

UN Committee calls on prompt investigations and prosecutions in Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (LG) The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) urges Sri Lanka to “promptly investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of violence including sexual violence” which have arisen during the last stages of the conflict and in the post conflict phase. The Committee further calls on Sri Lanka to “consider having an independent international accountability mechanism, in accordance with recent proposal of more..

A man is severely tortured by Pamunugama Police

Feb 18 (LG) Mr.Suranji Sampath Kumara (35), the driver of a three-wheeler vehicle was severely tortured by three police officers, including the Sub-Inspector of Police, for the request of a private party. The officers tried to fracture his leg and beat him in the face. Mr. Kumara was then illegally arrested and detained at the Pamunugama Police Station. It was only after his detention had begun that the police recorded a false complaint against the victim to add credibility his arrest. more..

Dengue control week after polls

Feb 19 (Island) The Health Ministry will initiate its first National Dengue Control Week (NDCW) for this year soon after next month’s provincial council elections. The spokesman for the Health Ministry said that the NDCW is scheduled to be held from March 23 to 30. He warned of yet another dengue outbreak following the torrential rains experienced at the beginning of the year. 1,400 dengue patients have been recorded from January 1 to date. more..

Two young men beaten in public by drunken police officers

Feb 18 (LG) Mr. D G Suthisa Kumara Jayalath (25) and Mr. W V Mahendra Uppalawanna (18) of Pahalawela, Pareigama, Via Matugama were illegally arrested and severely tortured in public by three drunken police officers attached to the Welipanna Police Station. Later they were brought to the station where they were hung from a beam. The police were reluctant to release them due to the marks of torture the two men bore. They were arrested on the morning of 20 May, 2010 and more..

Unjust Discrimination – myth and Truth

Feb 18 (LG) As per the article ‘UN Committee calls on prompt investigations and prosecutions in Sri Lanka’ published in today’s Sri Lanka Guardian, ‘The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) urges Sri Lanka to “promptly investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of violence including sexual violence” which have arisen during the last stages of the conflict and in the post conflict phase.”. more..

In search of Leadership Excellence among Tamils

Feb 18 (LG) A true leader may be defined as a product of nature, who has the inner capacity to capture the universal energy that can attract, connect and hold people together. Or a leader may also be a person who can create emotional intelligence among people and direct them in desirable direction. How many Tamils are there who can fit these definitions. Why are Tamil such a fierce competitors and poor co-operators? more..

The Tamil Diaspora and the Future of the Tamil Struggle

Feb 18 (GV) Today, the 18th of February, finds us three months away from the second anniversary of the “Mullivaikal Massacre”. At this juncture it is important to ask the question: What constructive action can be taken by the Tamil Diaspora to build a better future for the Tamil nation? In Tamil culture, at a funeral, all the people of the village are expected to attend. It’s tradition. But if the whole village was a funeral house, who will go and to whose house? more..

The Egyptian example and Lanka

Feb 18 (SL) Amazing parallels are being drawn between the situation in Egypt and our country. In Egypt the demand has been for real democracy as a result of the lack of it. In our case too we have what is referred to as a democracy but the kernel is being eaten up and we too could be left with the shell unless the rulers themselves realise that it is in their own interest to change course. Egypt no doubt held elections but they were always rigged by the government. more..

Revived Samaraweera ready to anchor Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (CI) Thilan Samaraweera's re-emergence as a batsman in Sri Lanka's ODI side has been one of the more understated, indeed surprising, developments of the last couple of years. His set-up as a batsman for long innings is no longer in question. But since his return to the ODI side in 2009, after a four-year break, he's become a sturdy middle-order contrast to a top-order by turns explosive and elegant. more..

The JVP’s sudden wake up for federalism

Feb 19 (DM) Two questions that sprang up from the sudden pronouncement by the leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe at his party’s convention held on February 10 on federalism are yet to be answered. One is as to what prompted the JVP leader to touch upon a highly sensitive issue like federalism, especially at a time when an election is ahead. Federalism is not a topic among politicians nowadays, nor does it seem to become one in the near future. more..

Economic costs and consequences of floods

Feb 19 (NS) The wave of floods that the country experienced is a serious setback to the economy. The financial costs of relief work, income support, repair and reconstruction of infrastructure and loss of crops are a serious strain on the public finances. It will strain public expenditure and could increase the fiscal deficit that has been a fundamental weakness in the economy. The food shortage owing to decreased domestic production of paddy in particular would more..

Mohamed Adamaly

Editorial: Come on, Johnny, punch harder!

Feb 19 (Island) Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando is in an unenviable position. Nothing seems to go right for him these days. He keeps fighting losing battles and at times even finds himself tilting at windmills. Looking the worse for wear, this time around he is girding up his loins for a bout with some powerful cartels of traders controlling the so-called Economic Centres (ECs), which he has chosen to dub 'dens of thieves'. more..

Editorial: The right way is to read more

Feb 19 (DM) In these editorial columns yesterday, we focused on a vital aspect of life – health. We stressed the need for legislation to make some structural adjustments so that Sri Lanka could restore a health service where the well-being of the patients is given top priority both in public hospitals and in private hospitals or dispensaries. Today we focus on another important factor in life – education. Essentially and in a deeper sense education is not just a more..

Massive solar eruption: No effect on SL

Feb 19 (Island) A powerful solar eruption that triggered a huge geomagnetic storm has disturbed radio communications and could disrupt electrical power grids, radio and satellite communication in the next days, according to NASA. This eruption would not affect communication lines in Sri Lanka but would affect only the Scandinavian countries and the countries near the poles, Lankapuvath says quoting a spokesman from more..

Plea to run Lanka flights to Vizag

Feb 19 (PTI) Air Travellers Association of India (ATAI) has asked the Sri Lankan deputy high commissioner to south India, Mr Vadivel Krishnamurthy, to organise a road show on Buddhism in association with AP Tourism Development Corporation at a venue central and accessible to Buddhist monks, business persons, industrialists, government officials and public in June or July this year. The ATAI president, Mr D. Varada Reddy, asked the deputy high commissioner to more..

Little island warms up in a big way

Feb 19 (IE) It's so all-encompassing that even the visitors from India — some still literally sleep-walking — clearly seem overwhelmed by what welcomes them as soon as they disembark from the early-morning flight. Those from more cricket-impaired backgrounds therefore can certainly be pardoned then for the mystified glances that they throw in various directions. The Bangladeshis may have warmed up to their maiden tryst with the sport's marquee event in more..

Vote us or suffer

Feb 18 (LG) “Either you vote us or suffer” is the new motto of Sri Lanka’s ruling UPFA party’s local Government election campaign. President Mahinda Rajapakse’s lieutenant Wimal Weerawansa told the voters that they will be left with a local Government that can enjoy riding a heavy vehicle round the village if the opposition is given power in their local government. Another said that the Government will appoint their own commissioners to go against more..

Farmers, fishermen advised to wear broad brimmed hats

Feb 19 (Island) With the harvesting time in progress the eye care specialists have advised farmers to wear broad-brimmed hats to prevent the sun’s rays from harming their eyes. Spokesman for the Health Ministry said on Thursday (17) that one reason for the increase in glaucoma and cataract victims is the exposure of eyes to the sun’s ultra violet rays. He said that many adults in the dry zone and the coastal belt suffer from these illnesses. more..

HSTUA urges govt. compensate public servants on par with private sector

Feb 19 (Island) The Health Sector Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA) has urged the government to consider paying public servants of the 18 flood affected areas compensation in Rs 50,000 as was being paid to employees of the private sector and residents of the affected areas. Over 1.3 million people were affected and 26,000 houses were destroyed during the recent floods, HSTUA President Saman Ratnapriya said. more..

Mobile phones to warn fishermen straying into Sri Lankan waters

Feb 19 (IANS) In the backdrop of the diplomatic row over Indian fishermen being killed and arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy, the government is discussing with mobile phone service providers to devise ways to warn Indian fishermen against straying into Sri Lankan waters, a top official said Friday. Not only this, the government is also looking at the possibility of sharing such information through light houses. more..

BOI Executive Union discuss future course of action

Feb 19 (N360) This morning the Executive Union of the BOI held a meeting at the Grand Oriental Hotel to discuss the ongoing restructuring program of the BOI. A member of the Executive Union told, “There is lot of dissent among the employees over the latest restructuring program” Upali Senarath, the President of the Executive Union said they have taken certain decisions during today’s meeting in view of the present situation at the BOI. more..