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'All keen to contest under UPFA ticket'

Feb 2 (SO) Colombo district MP Prabha Ganeshan, says the UPFA is on a strong footing to capture power in all local bodies in the South and its minority allies will ensure power camps in the North and the East as well. He said, "Everyone wants nominations from the UPFA. There are a massive number of young candidates wanting to represent the UPFA. They dominate our nominations list. This shows the confidence of the people." more..

'Cadet training creates a disciplined nation'

Feb 2 (GDI) “Cadet Training should be made compulsory for every student and we will have physically as well as mentally strong youth in Sri Lanka”, Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said while distributing certificates to Cadets at a passing out ceremony at Rantambe, recently. He pointed out that providing cadet training to all students is imperative in the creation of a disciplined nation. He emphasised on the importance of creating patriotic, disciplined younger generation. more..

Expansion in post-conflict areas, upbeat economy boosts tobacco sales

Feb 2 (Island) Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) contributed Rs. 55.4 billion to government revenue in 2010 while an upbeat economy and expansion in the once war-torn regions of Sri Lanka helped it boost sales despite two increases in excise taxes, recording a growth rate of 9.48 to reach Rs. 63.5 billion for the year ended December 2010. After tax profits grew by almost 24 percent to Rs. 5.09 billion during the year, a stock exchange filing showed. more..

'Only 1400 people died in final war, warns Canada is emerging as a LTTE hub'

Feb 2 (LB) Professor Rohan Gunaratna claims that the LTTE cells operating out of Canada and other western countries are reaching out to Tiger sympathizers in Sri Lanka and India to conduct reconnaissance on Sri Lankan leaders and important targets. Gunaratna, who heads ICPVTR in Singapore also rebuffed high civilian casualty tolls of the final phase of Sri Lanka’s war as cited by the international humanitarian groups and said, more..

Editorial: Garbage in, garbage out

Feb 2 (Island) The government is racking its brains to find ways and means of undoing its nomination blunders, which have already cost it representation in 34 local government institutions. It is said to be contemplating legal action and if the matter is taken to courts, the LG polls are likely to be postponed, as speculated in political circles. The challenge before the government is to prevent an erosion of its support base and either retain the same number of seats it won more..

Editorial: Global healthcare and social justice

Feb 2 (DM) Today's global and national health crisis reflects the widening inequalities within and between countries, as the rich get richer the poor poorer. Advances in science and technology are securing healthier and longer lives for a small fraction of the world’s population. On the other hand millions of children are dying for want of clean water. A daily newspaper reported that a private hospital in Colombo recently announced its 200th successful kidney more..

Plastic boxes for transporting veggies become law

Feb 2 (FT) A gazette notification issued by the Consumer Affairs Authority stipulates that beginning 1 February, plastic or hard boxes should used to transport agricultural produce such as vegetables and fruits. With the use of plastic or hard boxes to store and transport vegetables and fruits, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena hopes the public will get a chance to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables before the Sinhala New Year. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism officials to be less on air, more on the ground

Feb 2 (FT) The tourism industry’s cut down on excessive overseas travel has been a result of the Government’s increased focus on boosting product development. Sources observed that in spite of the current favourable situation within the industry, the Tourism Ministry is engaging in firm cuts on foreign trips by officials of the Tourism Promotion Bureau and Tourism Authority. However, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa said that while more..

U.S. Embassy concerned over media attack

Feb 2 (SLE) We are deeply concerned about the recent attack on an office of Lanka-E-News in Colombo. Regardless of who is responsible for this incident, such violence directed against a media institution silences voices, further threatens freedom of expression, and undermines democracy throughout the country. We understand President Rajapaksa has announced an inquiry into the incident. We urge that the investigation be conducted quickly and fairly and more..

'Knowledge based Technology, the Global Factor in future development '

Feb 2 (GDI) Sri Lanka has a literacy rate of 92% but due to lack of knowledge in subjects such as Maths and Science among these literates the actual literacy rate gets devalued. Contrary to us, our neighbour India which has a far below literacy rate than us has been able to build up a middle class consisting 25% of the population due to their advance in the field of information technology. more..

Shangri-La deal: Land not undervalued

Feb 2 (DN) The Government did not give Colombo land to any individual or party in a fraudulent manner, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said. "Only investments over US$ 20 million are entertained. Lands are offered under the Strategic Development Act only to world recognized investors like Shangri-La which is among the top five hoteliers in the world", the Deputy Minister said. He said, they had been given six acres of land at a price of US$ 75 million. more..

Now CEB demands a two-month security deposit from domestic consumers

Feb 2 (Island) The cash strapped CEB warns domestic consumers to settle their bills on time or face the consequences. The CEB says domestic consumers, who had their connections discontinued thrice for failing to settle their electricity bills will have to deposit with the CEB an amount equivalent to bills for two months taking into consideration the two highest payments made within six months before the discontinuation of power supply. more..

Inside America

Special wards for public servants

Feb 2 (DN) The Government's bid to provide special wards for public servants in hospitals throughout the country got off the ground with the National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) completing the first such ward at Dambagalla Rural Hospital in Moneragala. NITF Chairman Senaka Abeygunasekera said that the NITF has planned to construct over 300 wards, one for each hospital across the country by the end of 2014. Adding that all these wards will be maintained totally by the NITF after construction, more..

Hasty Sinhala colonisation wedges north and east at Kokku’laay

Feb 2 (TN) Within the last three weeks, 240 Sinhala families were hastily settled at Kokku’laay, a narrow strip of land, which is the only link of contiguity between the northern and eastern flanks of the country of Eezham Tamils in the island. This pivotal conspiracy of Colombo to demographically de-link the contiguity of the two Tamil provinces is being implemented by SL colonial governor in the north, Maj. Gen. Chandrasri and by SL ‘Rehabilitation’ minister Rishard Baddiudeen. more..

Tsunami tragedy to be remembered in museum

Feb 2 (DM) Plans have been drawn up to build a museum in memory of those who lost their lives and for their loved ones in the 2004 tsunami, Minister T. B. Ekanayake said. Mr. Ekanayake said the museum would be constructed on a three acre state property at Peraliya in Hikkaduwa close to a Buddha statue and railway line which were severely damaged by the tsunami. He said the museum would be built because the tsunami was an experience that more..

LRC to hand over 50,000 title deeds this year

Feb 2 (NS) In a mammoth effort, the Land Reform Commission (LRC) is making an effort to hand over 50,000 title deeds this year, including to those displaced in the North and East, with the first batch starting this March. LRC executive director and attorney-at-law Hariguptha Rohanadeera told The Nation that 50,000 title deeds are to be issued this year starting with the first batch of 10,000 this March for residents living on lands without deeds. more..

Biometrics from Lankans applying for Australian Visa

Feb 2 (NN) Australia has announced the introduction of biometrics collection for visas processed in Sri Lanka to further strengthen border security and identity checking processes. Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen said from 8 February this year, anyone lodging paper-based visa applications in Sri Lanka will need to provide a digital facial photograph and a scan of their fingerprints at the Australian Visa Application Centre in Colombo more..

UN, partners launch scheme to rebuild lives of thousands of war victims

Feb 2 (UN) The United Nations, its humanitarian partners and the Sri Lankan Government launched a joint programme today to help hundreds of thousands of people in the north of the Indian Ocean island recover and rebuild their lives after the end of the decades-long war with Tamil separatists. “The ultimate aim is to ensure the long-term sustainable development of the Northern Province within the shortest timeframe possible,” more..

A'pura tanks continue to spill

Feb 2 (DN) Further torrential rains have caused a resumption in the rise in the water levels of a majority of tanks in the North Central Province with some of them already reaching spill level. The Mankadawala School close to Saliyapura in Anuradhapura was affected when Mankadawala tank overflowed last Monday. School activities were halted as a result and it is reported that by yesterday the water level in the school premises had began to recede. more..

'E-news attack blow to SL image'

Feb 2 (DM) CaFFE and the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) yesterday condemned the attack on the office of the local website, Lanka e-news stating it was a serious blow to media freedom and right to information and also to Sri Lanka’s reputation within the international community. CaFFE Executive Director, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said Lanka e-news played an important role in disseminating news items and believed in the right to information to the people. more..

Embassies, officials working to solve domestic helpers’ plight

Feb 2 (JT) The interior ministry has exempted 22 Sri Lankan domestic helpers from overstay fines, paving the way for a return to their home country, according to recruitment agents. The move is the result of ongoing efforts of an ad-hoc committee established by the labour ministry to study the cases of domestic helpers who have fled their employers and face fines preventing them from leaving the country. more..

9 Sri Lankan refugees on hunger stir

Feb 2 (EB) Nine Sri Lankan inmates of Poonamallee special refugee camp went on a hunger strike on Tuesday demanding immediate release from the camp. Talking to Express, an inmate said eight of them have been languishing in the camp for 11 months after they were transferred from Chengalpattu camp on March 2010 following a brawl with policemen in which many were injured during a lathicharge. They were later granted bail and shifted to Poonamallee camp. more..

Fishermen security becomes Indian poll issue

Feb 2 (HT) Ahead of, Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi has sought to defuse tension building up in coastal areas of the state over attacks on Tamil fishermen by Sri Lankan navy by urging New Delhi to do something to stop such incidents till the polls. With his rivals, AIADMK Jayalalithaa and MDMK leader Vaiko, touring these areas to express ‘sympathy’ with the fishermen families, the DMK chief utilised the opportunity of his three-day visit to more..

Karunanidhi 'satisfied' with talks on fishermen issue

Feb 2 (Hindu) Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said he was “satisfied” with the talks held by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo on Monday to prevent recurrence of attacks and firing on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy on the high seas. Mr. Karunanidhi thanked Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh for his “immediate response” to the State government's request for action by sending Ms. Rao to Lanka for talks. more..

Sri Lanka whale watching boats warned to be careful

Feb 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's growing whale watching boats will have to develop and follow good practices so that whales will not be disturbed and scared away and the safety of passengers is also assured, a biologist has said. Marine biologist Asha de Vos told a conference on marine tourism in Colombo that there was a danger of some whale watching boats disturbing and scaring off whales which now come very close to Sri Lanka's shores. more..

‘Tamils in Lanka will be wiped out in 2 years’

Feb 2 (EB) Despite the claim of the Sri Lankan government that rehabilitation work is in full swing in the regions where Tamils live, the real condition is worse. To say the least, it is non-livable and within two years, all the Tamils and everything about them will be destroyed and obliterated from memory if the present squalid condition persists, I Kayal alias Angayarkanni, who was detained in Sri Lanka recently for visiting the northern part of the island nation, more..

Development Diaries - 31.01.2011

LankaeNews attack: Police hunt for Boothaya

Feb 2 (Island) The police are looking for a person, who had allegedly accepted a contract to set fire to the Lanka-e-News office. The police say the wanted man had directed one of his associates, identified as Susantha aka Susa, to destroy the Lanka-e-News office. After tracing the calls originated from telephone booths in the area, the Thalangama police on Monday evening arrested Susantha, who told investigators of the plot to attack Lanka-e-News. more..

Protect democracy: Protestors urge govt.

Feb 2 (DM) Media personnel of several media organizations and civil society groups yesterday staged a protest campaign at the Lipton circus against the attack on the Lankaenews website on Monday. The protestors asked the people to take to the streets as their right to information and the rights of the media were being suppressed. The organizations also alleged that the media had been attacked in January for the past two years and that this January was no exception. more..

Loan schemes to pursue higher studies

Feb 2 (DM) For the first time in Sri Lanka, the government has decided to introduce a loan scheme through the banking system for students to pursue higher studies at universities or other academic institutions, and to purchase necessary equipment such as laptops, officials said. The new law titled ‘Human Capital Development Finance Bill’ will be enacted soon for this purpose. The new Bill which was now in the final stage of drafting would be soon sent for more..

'Fortuitous period of Mahinda Rajapakse government has come to an end'

Feb 2 (LT) The govt has failed to provide relief to masses in the country who are burdened with the cost of living and are further burdened with various taxes and expenses for education and health says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said despite receiving a large amount of local as well as foreign aid for the people who were displaced by recent floods and earth slips, no one knows what happened to this aid and more..

SF gets hot water

Feb 2 (NN) The Colombo High Court today issued an order to prison officials to provide hot water to Sarath Fonseka by taking into consideration his poor health, lawyers who appeared on behalf of Fonseka said. The order came after Fonseka’s defence lawyer said that the prison officials had ignored the prison doctor’s instructions to provide him with hot water after being examined. DNA MP Tiran Alles said that due to Fonseka suffering from medical complications, more..

Grama Niladharis’ pay hike illegal’

Feb 2 (DM) The main opposition UNP and the JVP yesterday expressed outrage over the government’s decision to increase the salaries of Grama Niladharis with immediate effect adding that it was a total violation of the election law. The opposition will lodge a complaint against the move with Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayaka today, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. more..

'Sri Lanka needs to regain export share, focus on Asia'

Feb 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs to boost its export sector at least to regain where it was in the share of exports to Gross Domestic Product about 10 years ago, a visiting economist said. The country must also better integrate with Asia which will be the dominant global region and export more diversified and sophisticated products, Anoop Singh from the IMF told a public forum organised by the central bank. more..

World Bank says O/L Math syllabus not fitting

Feb 2 (DM) A World Bank study has found the need to introduce two versions of Mathematics for Ordinary Level students, and to revise and restructure the science syllabus making it feasible to be covered within the academic year concerned, officials said yesterday. The World Bank has done this study recently, and the report is now expected to be finalized and handed over to the Education Ministry. more..

'This local government election is not another mere election'

Feb 2 (LT) The forthcoming local government election should not be considered as a mere election but should be treated as one that would have a big impact on the society says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said this participating at a workshop held for the candidates of the JVP contesting for local bodies in Gampaha district. He said the responsibility of the JVP at this election is to take the message to the people more..

Undergrads to get laptops

Feb 2 (DN) The Higher Education Ministry has planned to offer laptops to all university students and students in Higher Education Institutes, Higher Education Minster S B Dissanayake said. He was addressing the Islandwide tele-workshop on e-media for Provincial journalists organized by the Mass Media and Information Ministry in collaboration with the Government Information Department more..

JVP LG polls campaign :‘SF issue’ dropped, UNP targeted over leadership tussle

Feb 2 (Island) The JVPis planning to cash in on public anger which, it believes, will be directed against the government over the spiralling cost of living etc. The JVP says people will realise that the UNP, embroiled in a leadership struggle today, is not interested in the welfare of the people. The JVP has left out the ‘SF issue’ in its main propaganda leaflet for the LG polls campaign released on Feb. 1. more..

Lanka-e-News torched within two weeks of President saying he would take care of web sites

Feb 2 (LT) Setting fire to ‘Lanka-e-News’ within two weeks of the President stating before media heads that he would take steps regarding web sites raises serious doubts and the President headed by the government should make a statement to the country says the President of the Media Employees Trade Union Dharmasiri Lankapeli. He said this at the agitation held at Lipton Circus against setting fire to the office of ‘Lanka-e-News.’ more..