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UN: Sri Lankan Flood Victims In Desperate Straits

Feb 19 (VoA) The United Nations reports more people displaced by devastating floods in Sri Lanka are returning home now that the rains have stopped and the floodwaters are receding. Nevertheless, UN officials report hundreds of thousands of people are in dire straits and in urgent need of assistance. The devastating floods, which struck eastern Sri Lanka in mid-January affected about one million people and made more than 400,000 homeless. more..

No dual citizenship for now

Feb 19 (DM) The department of Immigration had decided to discontinue applications submitted for dual citizenship temporary. A notice from the department said the applications for the same would be discontinued while suspension would be applied to those who have already applications for dual citizenship. No reason was given for the decision. The suspension would not be applicable for those who have already obtained dual citizenship. more..

More to get broadband connections

Feb 19 (DN) The Telecommunication and Information Technology Ministry will popularise broadband connections in line with the e-Sri Lanka program, a Telecommunication and Information Technology Ministry official said. A task force comprising members of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) and Information Communication and Technology Agency (ICTA) has been appointed to explore avenues to popularise broadband connections due to the more..

Container vehicle hijacked: Food items worth Rs. 2 million stolen

Feb 19 (NF) Food items worth Rs. 2 million were stolen from a container vehicle, which was hijacked in the Mount Lavinia area by persons who posed off as CID officers. The vehicle transporting the goods from the 4th Cross Street in Colombo to Akuressa had stopped at a traffic light at Mount Lavinia area when the 'CID' officers had claimed that it had to be taken to Dharmarama Road in Ratmalana for an inspection. At Ratmalana, the 'CID officers' had forced the driver more..

Lankan maid kept as slave for 17 years

Feb 19 (AN) Kusuma Nandini, 56, came to Riyadh in 1994 from Sri Lanka and was kept a virtual prisoner at her sponsor’s home. She was not paid salary even once during 15 years of her imprisonment and forbidden from communicating with her relatives in Sri Lanka. “This is a record breaking case in the history of housemaids in the Kingdom. This woman was kept as a slave at one home for 15 years and then transferred to the home of her sponsor's brother. more..

No plastic scales

Feb 19 (NN) The Measurement Unit and Service Department of the Consumer Affairs Authority has decided to ban the use of plastic weighing scales in shops and supermarkets as it gave an incorrect reading. Director of the Department K. Premasiri Kumara said that under a 1995 Act, plastic weighing scales is only meant for private use and not in the market. He said that the authorities have decided to strictly implement this law and anyone found to have violated it more..

PIA flies to Lanka again

Feb 19 (DN) Pakistan International Airline (PIA) will recommence its flights to Sri Lanka from today. PIA stopped flying to Sri Lanka from 2007. A spokesman for the Bandaranaike International Airport told the Daily News that the first flight will arrive in Sri Lanka today at 7.30 am. Pakistan High Commission Press and Media Head M M Daudhteshamm told the Daily News that these flights will promote people-to-people contacts and facilitate commercial trade between the two countries. more..

No threat to games in Sri Lanka

Feb 19 (Hindu) Sri Lankan security forces are leaving nothing to chance as the ICC World Cup cricket extravaganza gets underway at the Hambantota stadium on February 20. IGP Mahinda Balasurya, said that the police will give maximum security to all — players, officials, VIPs and the public — and will be supported by the armed forces. Several agencies are included in providing security and will be supported by a team from Interpol to monitor “certain things”. more..

Vavuniya grocery sealed

Feb 19 (DM) Police conducting inquiries into the death of an eleven year old girl who allegedly died of food poisoning after drinking soft drink yesterday raided the grocery in Vavuniya that sold the bottle of soft drink to find a stock of outdated bottles of soft drinks. Police carried out the raid with the help of Public Health Inspectors in Vavuniya. The officials sealed the grocery and arrested the owner who was later handed over to Polonnaruwa police. more..

Play teaches how to heal wounds of war

Feb 19 (UCAN) A Church play in Sri Lanka provides valuable lessons for the government on how to heal wounds and govern responsibly and justly in the wake of a bitter conflict, its director says. The play is based upon the true story of the Indian emperor Ashoka, who after a long and cruel war established a spiritually-based political system of good governance in his empire some 2,000 years ago. “Ashoka” is performed by young members of the Center for Performing Arts (CPA), more..

50th Anniversary of 1961 Tamil Satyagraha campaign

Feb 19 (DBS) February 20th 1961 is a very important date in the history of the Sri Lankan Tamil political struggle to regain lost rights. It was on this day, fifty years ago that the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) known in English as the Federal Party (FP) led by SJV Chelvanayakam commenced a non – violent direct action campaign against the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Government headed by the world’s first woman Prime minister Sirima Bandaranaike. more..

Tamil priest hits out at arrest reports

Feb 19 (UCAN) A Tamil Jesuit priest bailed after arrest in Sri Lanka claims media have given distorted news about the incident and his meeting with a Chicago based aid group that runs programs for traumatized children. Father Paul Satkunanayagam and five others were arrested at a hotel in Dambulla. The media reported he was accused of having had links with LTTE rebels and said they were in possession of CDs containing war songs that were sung by LTTE rebels. more..

Japan funds grassroots projects

Feb 19 (DN) The farmer community in Sri Lanka has been facing many problems during the past thirty years. The Government has allocated a small sum of money which was insufficient to provide infrastructure facilities to every person in the Moneragala, Ampara and Matara districts, Eastern Rehabilitation and Relief Organization (ERRO) President SL Mohomed Uwais, addressing the Grant Contracts signing ceremony at the Japanese Embassy yesterday said. more..

Lanka E-news lawyers ask courts to handle investigation

Feb 19 (DM) The Lanka E-news website, which suffered an arson attack last month by an unidentified group, complained to the Kaduwela Magistrate that it has no confidence in the independence of the police investigation, and requested that be taken over by the courts. Counsel Manjula Pathiraja who appeared with Namal Rajapaksa and Hemapala Ekanayake for the website, informed Kaduwela Chief Magistrate Ms. Janaki de Alwis that with the arson attack more..

Conspirators manipulate prices, says President

Feb 19 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa noted that conspiratorial forces come to the arena during elections and create fabricated price hikes in commodities to mislead the public. “We should get together to defeat these unpatriotic forces,” he said. “These organized conspirators made futile efforts during the last Presidential Election by creating a rice shortage in the country. They managed to increase a kilo of rice to Rs 120. But people gave me a massive mandate and more..

EC won’t act till AC decides, AG says

Feb 19 (Island) The Attorney General gave an undertaking to the Court of Appeal yesterday that the Commissioner of Elections would not take any further steps till Feb. 28, 2011, in respect of the March 17 local government polls to the local authorities where the nomination papers had been rejected. The undertaking, which will apply to all the Writ Applications filed in Court upto yesterday, was given by the Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando, who appeared for the State. more..

TULF demands police powers for North

Feb 19 (Island) The TULF yesterday called for the establishment of a North-East Provincial Police Force, in terms of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Leader of the TULF V. Anandasangaree said that devolution of power was essential if the Tamil people are to live with dignity and self respect. The government’s reluctance to permit the creation of Provincial Police Forces was incomprehensible, since it has been provided by law, he said. more..

Sri Lanka coal power plant on full load

Feb 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka has run a Chinese built 300 MegaWatt power plant fully on coal with a full load connected to the national power supply on Friday night for the first time as part of its testing regime officials said. The power plant started tests in September initially using diesel and then gradually moved to coal. "Today we ran the plant fully on coal," power minister Patali Ranawaka told reporters Friday. more..

Pinnawala conservation zoological gardens ready in three months

Feb 19 (Island) The construction of the Pinnawala conservation Zoological Gardens, adjoining the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, will be expedited and the leopard enclosure ready for public viewing in six months. "The construction will be completed within three months with the assistance of the State Engineering Corporation and the Zoo will be opened to the public within six months once the animals are settled in the premises," more..

Greedy restaurant outrages Buddhists

Feb 19 (DM) Sri Lanka’s High Commission in Britain has discussed with envoys of Buddhist countries like Thailand, Myanmar and Nepal, the use of Buddha images for commercial purposes, the govt said. Myanmar Embassy Minister Counsellor Thida Aung, Thailand Embassy First Secretary Rutchabhoom Boonrawd, and Nepal Embassy Attache Khimanand Bhusal had attended the meeting at the High Commission premises. more..

Freed Indian fishermen reach home

Feb 19 (IANS) All the 136 Indian fishermen released by Sri Lanka reached Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam district in 25 boats to a rousing reception Saturday. The relatives of the freed fishermen shed joyous tears while receiving them. The fishermen were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy early this week for straying into their waters and were released by a Jaffna court Friday. They were escorted by Sri Lankan Navy till the international maritime boundary line (IMBL) more..

Godman Premananda, serving life term, awaits liver transplant

Feb 19 (TOI) Premananda, who was sentenced to double life imprisonment for rape and murder, urgently needs a liver for transplant. The controversial godman has been admitted to Global Hospitals in the city with end-stage liver disease. Doctors have entered his name as a super urgency' case in the state cadaver organ registry. This means his name may be considered ahead of others in the waiting list for a transplant. more..

'Agitations if the COL is not brought down'

Feb 19 (LT) The working people will be organized against the govt if it does not take action to bring down the escalating cost of living states the ‘United Workers against Escalation of prices of Commodities.’ The convener of National Trade Union Centre Samanthe Koralearachchi said the working people find it difficult to make their ends meet at present. “The President deceived the working people at the last budget by adding a very small sum to the salaries. more..

Maldives and Sri Lanka to strengthen ties in fisheries industry

Feb 19 (HNS) Sri Lanka are making plans to strengthen their ties with Maldives in the fisheries industry by having bilateral discussions, during the forthcoming Indian Ocean Tuna Commission gathering, which is scheduled to be held in Colombo in March 14-22. The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission had decided to hold its 16th annual conference for the first time in Sri Lanka, and it will see the participation of over 40 countries. more..

President Rajapaksa inspects Pallekele International Cricket Stadium

Feb 19 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on an inspection tour on 18 February. This new International Cricket Stadium is one of the venues chosen by Sri Lanka Cricket authorities for the 2011 Cricket World Cup. The first One Day International match at this venue will be played between New Zealand and Pakistan on March 8. President said that Sri Lanka is honoured once again, to be a co-host of more..

Flood damage: Govt tells IMF it can manage

Feb 19 (Island) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the government of Sri Lanka was confident it could find the resources to deal with flood-related reconstruction, and in the absence of a full estimate of damages caused by the floods that has wreaked over 1.2 million lives, the IMF believed it was too early to reconsider the budget deficit target for this year, which is 6.75 percent of GDP. more..

Land system in north

Feb 20 (NN) The government is considering a land ‘kachcheri system’ for the north where the Government Agent of the District, after a due and fair inquiry, plays a central role in assigning ownership of land to people from the area who lost their property as a result of the war. The government recognizes the complexity of land related grievances and its impact on the lives of civilians as arising from the protracted conflict but some of these issues need solutions which more..

Milk production drops 50% as flood destroys cattle in Battlicaloa

Feb 20 (TN) Milk production in Batticaloa district dropped by more than 50% as nearly 250,000 cattle were killed and owners of at least 28 cattle farms in the Batticaloa District were directly affected by the recent two major floods in December last year and in January this year, according to District Animal Production and Health Assistant Director Dr. Mallika Amirthalingam. Livelihood of those involved in rearing catte has been badly affected by the floods, more..

ADB provides funds for Hambantota development projects

Feb 20 (IL) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided funds for several development projects to develop infrastructure facilities in the Hambantota district. Under this programme, ADB has donated 49 million rupees for the construction of the new office complex for Weeraketiya Pradesheeya Sabhawa. The foundation stone laying ceremony for the building took place under the patronage of the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa at Weeraketiya, Hambantota on 18 February. more..

Import tax on potatoes increased

Feb 20 (NN) The government has decided to increase the import tax on potatoes with immediate effect, the Trade Ministry said. According to the Ministry the decision was taken to assist local farmers who struggle to settle potatoes as imported potatoes sell at a cheaper rate. With this in mind President Mahinda Rajapaksa has given instructions to increase the import tax on potatoes to Rs. 20 per kilogram. more..

'Excited to play World Cup at home'

Feb 20 (CI) We have been waiting eagerly for this Word Cup to start. It's so exciting to play at home. In Sri Lanka, unlike India or other places, the fans are, yes, fanatic but they also understand the game as well. They know that cricket is cricket; you get good things and bad things. They love us and want us to do well; they will be optimistic, will back us to the hilt, but there is no added pressure on the team. When you play a World Cup, there is always going to be pressure. more..

Canada's gun prepares to fire

Feb 20 (CI) By deed, if not by sight, the exploits of Rizwan Cheema of Canada have travelled well. There is the start: 89 0ff 69 balls and 61 off 45 against the West Indies in 2008, nine sixes off men such as Jerome Taylor, Darren Powell and Kemar Roach. There is the 2008 Shoaib Akhtar encounter, where our hero lofted him for six over long on off the third ball of their introduction, having told his family as he left the house that morning that he would do so. more..

Opening Spell

Feb 20 (IE) Sri lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka would wake up every morning to find “chimerical sportswriter WG Karunasena perched near his writing desk”. The retired and fictitious WG who drinks milk-less tea (with three teaspoons of sugar and five tablespoons of Old Reserve) would then share gossip about Pradeep Mathew, a spin bowler who played four Test matches for Sri Lanka before disappearing forever, with the real-life author. Karunatilaka’s debut book, more..

Hambantota travel

Feb 20 (CI) Hambantota is a town that stands on a fascinating threshold. On the one hand it is the sleepy fishing port it always has been. On the other, an under-construction international airport and an international cricket stadium promise to make it the hub of the deep rural south of Sri Lanka. For the moment, though, the pace of life is very slow. Six years after the Boxing Day tsunami devastated the coast, a huge fishing fleet sets the pace, and more..

Sangakkara happy in unfamiliar home

Feb 20 (CI) Despite being one of three nations hosting the mega event Sri Lanka find themselves as much as in the same situation as Canada when Kumar Sangakkara goes out to toss with Delhi-born Canadian skipper Ashish Bagai in their opening World Cup match at Hambantota. None of the 15 players in the Sri Lanka squad have played at this venue before and they have no first hand information of how the pitch is going to behave and what the conditions are more..

What will become of us without barbarians?

Feb 20 (LG) Over the past fortnight, we had two of our most distinguished diplomats of recent times deliver two powerful public lectures. Last week, this column commented on a lecture by Jayantha Dhanapala where he spoke on how an energised civil society could promote good governance. Earlier this week, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara delivered the Prof. J.E. Jayasuriya Memorial Lecture and spoke about the challenges facing Sri Lanka following the end of the LTTE insurgency. more..

Who Groomed the Torturing Police in Sri Lanka – What is the Cure?

Feb 20 (LG) ) I read with distress the report published in Sri Lanka Guardian, regarding two Sinhalese [ Mr. D G Suthisa Kumara Jayalath (25) and Mr. W V Mahendra Uppalawanna (18) ] by officers attached to the Welipanna Police Station. I have heard similar and worse about the torture of Tamil youth in custody. To the extent I am a Sri Lankan of Tamil origin I am able to feel for the Sinhalese at the same level as Tamils to the extent I believe they are at the same level. more..

India beats Bangladesh in World Cup opener

Feb 20 (CI) There was no reprise of the 2007 upset at Port of Spain in the opening game of this World Cup. Instead, Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli gave evidence of the havoc this Indian batting line-up can create during centuries that demoralised Bangladesh's bowlers. Shakib Al Hasan's men failed to maintain their composure in the grandest match of their lives and conceded a total beyond the reach of their batting abilities. more..

The fall of the printed newspaper and the rise of cyberspace - Part 02

Feb 20 (LG) Twenty-first century news readers have other options available. They can turn on their televisions, tune radio stations, and browse Internet websites to watch, hear, and read what is happening around the world. Offset printing and computerized composition equipment during the 1960s and 1970s replaced the old style newspapers using Linotype machines and hot metal type to set copy, processes that were very labour intensive. more..

Unemployment Among Graduates and the Responsibility of our Universities

Feb 20 (LG) The Ministry of Higher Education has decided to make the vice chancellors and the academic staff answerable for the unemployment problem among the graduates. Dr Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne, Secretary to the ministry has announced that the relevant amendments to the UGC act are being drafted to allow the vice-chancellors and the academic staff to make employment-oriented degrees/courses in future. more..