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Lankan cricket insured for Rs.5 bn

Feb 20 (BL) The 2011 Cricket World Cup event in Sri Lanka has been insured for almost Rs.5 billion by the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) authorities. Accordingly, the mega event in respect of public utilities has been insured for US $ 25m and event cancellation for US $20m with Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, according to the CEO of SLC, Ajith Jayasekera. “All matches have been covered by insurance and there will be no loss from match cancellation or weather interruptions,” more..

Editorial: Indo-Lanka ties worthy of emulation

Feb 20 (SO) There seems to be high drama again over Indian fishermen operating illegally in Sri Lanka's maritime waters. Although Indian and Sri Lankan Governments maintain strong bilateral ties today, more than ever before in Indo-Lanka history, certain parties with vested interests both here and in Tamil Nadu are attempting to blow certain issues out of proportion to gain undue political mileage. Thanks to the close rapport between the Governments of India and Sri Lanka, more..

Editorial: Sinking into debt while aiming for stars

Feb 20 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced yet another billion dollar development project last week, the Uva Udanaya for the provision of 100 per cent of all power (electricity) required for the Moneragala and Badulla Districts. The project is envisaged under a credit facility of US $ 24,928 million provided by the Exim Bank of China to meet 85 per cent of the cost of lighting up and awakening this backward region while the balance 15 per cent of the cost is to more..

Ensure livelihood of Northern fishermen

Feb 20 (SO) In the backdrop of the government releasing 130 South Indian fishermen on Friday, the chairperson of the Jaffna Fishermen’s Federation S. Thavaratnam and his deputy A. Emiliyampillai have highlighted the plight of the Northern fisherfolk and called upon the governments of both countries to ensure their livelihood. Thavaratnam said that the Jaffna fisherfolk had suffered immensely due to terrorism which dragged on for three decades in the Peninsula and the country at large. more..

Editorial: The other side of power

Feb 20 (LB) Barely two hours before Power Minister Champika Ranawaka told a media audience that people should take eggs and vegetables out of their refrigerators in a fraction of a second and not have the fridge door open for a second longer than is necessary, the lounge suited mandarins of the IMF were giving their own version of money and economy in a chilled seminar room also in Colombo. This juxtaposition of seminar room activity in contrast, more..

Editorial: Let sanity prevail across Palk Straits

Feb 20 (NS) In what threatens to become a diplomatic war, trouble is brewing once again in the waters of the Indian Ocean, where the row over Indian fishermen is escalating to a point where it could soon be threatening bilateral relations with our giant neighbour, India. Coming events did cast their shadows. A few weeks ago, two Indian fishermen were killed while in Sri Lankan waters and there were allegations that the Sri Lankan Navy was involved, a claim strongly denied by them. more..

New leisure area for public and tourists

Feb 20 (MoD) The Defence Ministry has decided to refurbish Colombo Fort and renovate its suburb as a tourism centre. Ancient buildings and historical monuments along Bank of Ceylon Mawatha, York Street, Church Road and Olcott Mawatha will be developed accordingly. During the 30 years long dark period, which had been threatened by the brutal terrorism, the government had to demarcate several important areas of land with properties as high security zones. more..

Editorial: Political loot

Feb 20 (Island) Older readers will remember a time some years ago when Colombo and even some magazines published overseas buzzed with stories of a Sri Lankan minister owning an apple orchard in Australia. If we remember right, Asiaweek ran a story on that one which the chattering classes lapped up. It was an obvious canard but was sexy enough to be widely discussed. There was another story doing the rounds here about a Lankan visiting Switzerland being amazed to more..

Editorial: Indo-Lanka ties in stormy waters

Feb 20 (ST) The arrest, remanding and subsequent release of the rising star of Tamil Nadu politics, the daughter of the state's Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, across the Palk Straits and the arrest, remanding and subsequent release of as many as 136 Indian fishermen caught poaching in Sri Lankan waters this week should come as no surprise. Tamil Nadu's 'politricks' seem to have had their match this time round with their Sri Lankan counterparts learning a trick or two from them. more..

‘I have done my duty’

Feb 20 (NS) Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando might be having the most thankless job in the entire Cabinet, for he is at the receiving end of any hike in prices of consumer essentials, even when it is caused by acts of nature beyond anyone’s control. His predecessor Bandula Gunawardena, despite being an economist, found the going very difficult, especially with the opposition and the media hounding him day and night. more..

In-party rivalry reaching crescendo

Feb 20 (NS) When these pages are being read, World Cup cricket fever would have swept the country, but politicians are fighting hard to infect the masses with election fever with the local government polls set for mid-March. The campaigns thus far have centred around the rising cost of living, with the opposition UNP and the JVP castigating the government and the ruling UPFA citing the recent natural disasters as a defence. more..

Indo-Lanka diplomatic ties hang in the balance

Feb 20 (NS) The government, as well as the opposition parties including the UNP and the JVP, are gearing up for the forthcoming Local Government election with an enthusiasm that was never there before on such occasions. Under normal conditions, it is a foregone conclusion that the local elections are more or less won by the party in power. The people too are reluctant to upset the ruling party’s apple cart when time is not ripe to show their discontent towards the existing administration. more..

Ranil to campaign overseas

Feb 20 (Island) As we reported last week, it does turn out that the leader of the opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe will be going abroad for several days just when the local government election campaign will be gathering steam. The Friday before last, when RW, Jayalath Jayewardene, Tissa Attanayake, Karu Jayasuriya and Mangala Samaraweera went to see the jailed Sarath Fonseka, RW told SF that he will be going to attend the more..

Conflict between JHU & Govt. getting worse

Feb 20 (LT) Despite the government having a vision to defeat terrorism, it has no vision to solve issues of any other sector says the MP of the JHU Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero. Ven. Rathana Thero has expressed this at an interview the Thero had with ‘Lakbima’ Sunday newspaper. The JHU which carried out a broad campaign during the presidential election on behalf of President Mahinda Rajapakse is embittered by the government’s tactics of cold shouldering the party say reports. more..

EC has no powers to order media

Feb 20 (BBC) Election Commissioner has no powers to issue orders to the media during forthcoming local government elections, says the Elections Department. Election Department (ED) said that as provisions of the 17th amendment of the constitution have been abolished, commissioner is not in a position to give orders to state media. Consultant to ED, Bandula Kulatunge told BBC Sandesaya that earlier Elections Commissioner was able to order Sri Lanka Rupavahini more..

SriLankan wooed by Boeing

Feb 20 (NS) With business booming for SriLankan from increased tourist and other arrivals to the country, aircraft manufacturers aggressively peddling their merchandise in Colombo and the frontrunner according to aviation insiders this time is America’s Boeing. The rival Airbus of Europe, which already has a firm foothold here since President Premadasa purchased five new aircraft from it just prior to his assassination in 1993 too is in the running. more..

JVP candidates attacked by thugs

Feb 20 (LT) Three candidates of the JVP have been attacked by thugs. The Leader of the JVP group of candidates for Embilipitiya UC, former UC Member G.S.K. Welandagoda was attacked by thugs last night. He has been admitted to Embilitpitiya Base Hospital say JVP sources. Meanwhile, JVP candidates for Pasbage Korale PS Kapila Abeyratne and Sunil Bandara were attacked near Dekinda Bridge while riding a motorbike. A group of thugs led by UPFA candidate Gamini had arrived more..

Best of luck – from the bottom of our hearts

Feb 20 (ST) My dear Sanga and the cricket team, I thought I must write to you to wish you well at this moment when you carry the hopes of millions of people, as you try to repeat history and win the World Cup in the only sport which we as a country have reached the top internationally. Sanga, until a few years ago cricket was the only reason why we Sri Lankans smiled, because the country was in the middle of a civil war and those who left home for work in the morning more..

Actress’s murder shrouded in mystery

Feb 20 (LB) Police are conducting investigations to arrest the murderer of film actress Wettimunige Vineetha Ranjani de Silva. Police investigators have received several clues about the murderer She entered the local film world by not only producing the Sinhala film Sihina Dev Duwa but also playing its lead female role. However, she changed her name to Vinu Wettimuni before stepping into the local celluloid arena. more..

CEB readies for power failures during World Cup matches

Feb 20 (ST) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has taken special precautions in the event of power failures during the Cricket World Cup period, having senior officers of the CEB on call, its Chairman V. Amarapala said. “We do not have engineers and senior officers on call normally but we will be assigning officers to be available on call during the World Cup period should any emergency situation arise, to restore power immediately,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka High Tech Economy Survey launched

Feb 20 (Island) The Federation of IT Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS) , International Institute for Software Economics, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Incorporated (IISEIE) and Microsoft have jointly launched the Sri Lanka High Tech Economy Survey in a collaborative partnership to provide a view of the disposition and makeup of the high-tech industry in Sri Lanka, FITIS announced in Colombo recently. "The purpose of this study is to better understand the more..

Stringent security for ICC World Cup matches

Feb 20 (SO) The security committee appointed to look into all aspects of security arrangements during the ICC World Cup Cricket matches in Sri Lanka will work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Defence to make the event a success, Major General Lawrence Fernando of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board told a media briefing. Security arrangements in connection with the forth-coming ICC World Cup Cricket matches are being coordinated by more..

Demolished stalls to come up again

Feb 20 (ST) All unauthorised stalls carrying out sales in the Beruwala Maggona area close to the sea and Galle Road were reportedly demolished sans any notice by authorities of the Beruwala Pradeshiya Sabha. The traders had complained that the harsh treatment meted out to them was unbearable. Many of them gave vent to their ire by making statements against the Pradeshiya Sabha.Ms. Siriyalatha, whose stall was demolished, said fish worth around Rs. 30,000 was thrown away, more..

Former skipper backs Sri Lanka to do it again

Feb 20 (GN) The return of the ICC World Cup to the sub-continent must be giving Arjuna Ranatunga a sense of deja vu. The last time the tournament was held in this part of the world in 1996, the portly Sri Lankan skipper played a big hand in breaking the jinx of a host country never to have won the Cup. In a freewheeling chat with Gulf News, he shares his thoughts on the defining ‘96 triumph and the current event. Q: What would you rate as the main reasons for your win in 1996? more..

Independence of HRC under scrutiny

Feb 20 (NS) The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) that has been dysfunctional for many years due to government’s failure to appoint commissioners has finally received its life back with the nomination of members to the HRC. The Parliamentary Council (PC) appointed under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, last week nominated five names of eminent personalities to the HRC and the country is awaiting their appointments. more..

Temporary halt to sending Lankan workers to Bharain

Feb 20 (NS) Sri Lanka Bureau for Foreign Employment (SLBFE) is considering postponing the departures of migrant workers to Bahrain by a week. Chairman, SLBFE, Kingsley Ranawaka told The Nation that this measure could be implemented as those going to the country could face problems in the airport. “We are planning to postpone their departure by a week or so, as they could face some problems in the airport. This is just a postponement,” he said. more..

Ferial picks Singapore over Australia

Feb 20 (NS) Former Housing Minister and NUA chief Ferial Ashraff is tipped to be the next Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Singapore. President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently extended Ms Ashraff the invitation and she has accepted the invitation. Ms Ashraff was given two options to choose between Australia and Singapore, but what she has selected is Singapore. The present Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Singapore is Ms Jayathri Samarakoon. more..

Upeksha’s husband assaulted in presence of her MSD guards

Feb 20 (LB) Actress Upeksha Swarnamali’s husband Mahesh Chaminda is absconding after allegedly assaulting his wife, MP, popularly known as Paba, Police said. Now for the umpteenth time, Upeksha Swarnamali the actress turned UPFA MP hogs the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. This was with her being admitted to the Sri J'pura Hospital on the night of Feb 15 after an alleged assault on her by her spouse. more..

Hambantota all set for WC match

Feb 20 (hindu) Sri Lanka takes on Canada in the important port town of Hambantota, in south Sri Lanka, a venue that both competing teams know nothing about because no one has ever played on it, and against the backdrop of a history of encounters that the underdogs would want to forget. Repeated delays in completion of the stadium just outside the town have meant the Sri Lankan team has not had a good look at the pitch; more..

Gov to shrink HSZ and implement measures for national reconciliation

Feb 20 (GDI) The government has taken progressive action to release lands in the High Security Zones (HSZ) in the country. 256 houses surrounding the Palaly HSZ have already been returned to civilians. and another 2392 houses have been identified for civilian occupation in more than 2500 hectares of the land that were set apart for HSZ. These lands will be returned to their original owners on an initiative taken by the more..

Sri Lanka open against sparky minnows

Feb 20 (CI) Sri Lanka begin their World Cup campaign - the first in Asia since they stunned the world 16 years ago - against Group A minnows Canada. With a team forged around much of the same group of players that made it to the final in the Caribbean last time around, Sri Lanka start as one of the tournament's fancied sides. Canada - a team of immigrants, expats and five home-grown former Under-19 stars - have had a good run in more..

Paramilitary poll panic

Feb 20 (LB) Election monitors and opposition political parties claim that the increasing number of incidents of intimidation by paramilitary groups has virtually made it impossible for opposition political parties to campaign in the North and East. “People are afraid to meet or to express themselves. There is a fear psychosis. People tell us that whenever there is a small meeting -- paramilitary groups members and spies arrive. Because of that people are afraid to campaign,” more..

Change school hours, uniforms to minimise dengue threat

Feb 20 (NS) More than half the dengue patients in Colombo and elsewhere in the island are schoolchildren. This is because they are the prime target for the dengue-carrying vector. “The dengue carrying mosquito begins flying from 5:30 a.m. till 8:30 a.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Its peak biting time is 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. They are attracted to schoolchildren because of their sweat as they are always active. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Feb 20 (ST) Weeks ahead of the World Cup cricket series which began yesterday, Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya has been very busy on matters relating to this big event. He has chaired conferences with his senior officers almost every day. They lasted several hours. A leading five-star hotel was given the order to provide short eats to the participants. If each of them received one item each from a variety of short eats, more..

Fishing crisis: Lanka sinks under Indian pressure

Feb 20 (ST) For more than one reason Jaffna turned out to be the focal point of attention this week. Relations between Colombo and New Delhi reached a flashpoint over the arrest of 112, and later 24 fishermen, for poaching in Sri Lankan waters. Leaders of the main opposition UNP sans their leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, were in the peninsula to campaign for the local polls on March 17. more..

Disappointed Chinese investors return with another investment

Feb 20 (ST) A group of Chinese investors who abandoned a special economic zone outside Colombo which it was setting up exclusively for Chinese investments, returned to Sri Lanka this week with other plans including investments in trading. Executive President of China Huichen Investment Holdings Ltd Ron Huang said that his company will venture into new areas of more..

Betrayal by Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen haunts them

Feb 20 (Hindu) The 136 Indian fishermen, held captive by the Sri Lankan fishermen for alleged breach of boundary and later remanded to judicial custody early this week in Sri Lanka, reached the port premises here on Saturday. For scores of fisherfolk who had gathered there, it was a mixed feeling of relief and ‘betrayal,' the latter towards Sri Lankan Tamil fisherfolk, who allegedly perpetrated the attacks. more..

Sri Lanka's slain Tiger chief's mother dies

Feb 20 (AFP) The mother of Sri Lanka's slain top Tamil Tiger rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran died at a hospital in northern Sri Lanka Sunday, a family friend said. Vallipuram Parvathi, who was believed to be in her early 80s, was being treated at the Valvedditturai hospital following a stroke last year, said a Tamil politician close to the family, who did not want to be identified. more..

Thamilselvan’s statue re-erected in France

Feb 20 (Island) A statue of former LTTE Political Wing leader Selvakumar Paramamoorthi Thamilchelvan, removed from La Courneuve, France, late last year following protests by Sri Lanka has been re-erected. An official investigating LTTE activity both here and abroad told The Sunday Island that the statue had placed at the exact location, where Tamil Diaspora activists put it up on Nov. 1, 2010 to coincide with the third year death anniversary of more..

New land powers for Defence Ministry

Feb 20 (ST) Developing or filling land in the districts of Colombo, Kalutara and Gampaha will henceforth require approval from a statutory body coming under the Ministry of Defence. New regulations to compel landowners to obtain the approval of the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLRDC) were gazetted last week. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his capacity as Minister of Defence, promulgated them. more..