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Prompt repairs to damaged highways

Jan 16 (SO) Highways Minister Nirmala Kotalawala yesterday assured that prompt action will be taken to repair all highways damaged due to heavy rains in the Eastern, Central and North Central Provinces as soon as dry weather conditions set in next month. According to a spokesman for the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) the recent rains had affected nearly 13 districts including Ampara, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Moneragala, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa. more..

'Fonseka said his statements were distorted and expected a correction'

Jan 16 (ST) Sirasa TV station cameraman Nandana Wimalasena told the High Court Trial-at-Bar on the 'White Flag' case this week that former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, in a press conference after the publication of The Sunday Leader interview with him, said certain statements made by him to the newspaper had been distorted. He said Mr. Fonseka had said he was expecting a correction would be carried regarding the matter. more..

NBT sparks row among tourism stakeholders

Jan 16 (BL) The sudden imposition of Nation Building Tax (NBT) on turnover of luxury hotels which came into effect from January 1, 2011 has sparked a row between two key tourism stakeholders on who should incur the additional cost burden, The Bottom Line reliably learns. The Colombo City Tourist Hotels Association (CCTHA) and Sri Lanka Inbound Tourist Association (SLAITO) recently raised concerns over the immediate introduction of a two percent NBT, which is to be more..

Army’s gesture in Batticaloa

Jan 16 (NS) The Army went one step ahead this week in the East by giving whatever rations they had in stock to feed the hapless civilians when the entire Batticaloa district was submerged by floods. “All the roads were impassable and virtually there was not a single soul not affected by the floods. Even the Air Force was not able to reach the area due to bad weather. We had no other option but to give them at least rice with dhal or any other curry until the situation is better,” more..

SLT WiMAX broadband to cover island in four phases

Jan 16 (BL) Sri Lanka’s first ever highly sophisticated WiMAX 802.16e wireless broadband service launched by Sky Network, a subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is initially set to cover nine districts and would be available in 31 locations in the island through a highly viable eco system. The project, which is implemented in four phases and costing an approximate US $12.8 million for two initial phases more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka’s Tamil test

Jan 16 (KT) Sharing sentiments are on the rise in Sri Lanka. President Mahinda Rajapakse has once again reiterated his policy to share power with the minority, and has rightly urged the Tamil politicians to come up with a united negotiating position. This is incredibly a new leaf in the checkered history of the island-nation state that has seen three decades of bloodshed and violence. It is imperative for the government to encourage the Tamils to come out of more..

Indian Air Chief due today

Jan 16 (Island) Indian Air Force Commander, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik is due in Sri Lanka today a four-day official visit. He will call on the President, Secretary of Defence, CDS and Service Commanders during the visit. He is also expected to visit flying squadrons of Sri Lanka Air Force bases. Air Cheif Marshal Naik was born on July 22, 1949 and commissioned into the Indian Air Force on June 21, 1969 after initial schooling in Sainik School Satara, more..

Wildlife: A silent flood victim

Jan 16 (ST) Temporary camps have been setup , medicine and dry rations are being supplied continuously for hundreds and thousands of people affected by the floods and heavy rains have wreaked havoc in many parts of the country. But wildlife remains a silent victim in the face of this. The image of a dead elephant calf stuck on top of a tree epitomises that sad ordeal of wild animals in these flooded regions. more..

Bureaucrats jinx relief

Jan 16 (LB) Most of those living in camps suffered tremendously due to the cold and many have returned to their homes even amidst flood waters in order to survive. But their dry rations have been scrapped as they have left the camps. “The president asked the government servants to assist us without sticking to circulars but that is not being adhered to,” said a person at a relief camp in Kalmunai. Although the situation is expected to improve in the coming weeks in more..

Three police teams probe murder of accountant’s wife

Jan 16 (ST) Three police teams have been assigned to investigate the killing of Badrani Mallika Bandaranayake (68) of Punchi Borella on Wednesday. Mrs. Bandaranayake was killed around 5 in the morning when she had gone to the kitchen to pour tea for herself and her husband. The coroner’s report indicates that death was due to suffocation after pieces of cloth had been stuffed into the victim’s mouth, police said. Police believe that the suspect must have been known to more..

Victims of double disaster

Jan 16 (NS) People in the East were still recovering from a three-decade-old hostilities between government forces and the LTTE and were getting used to lead a normal life like everyone else in the country rather than confining themselves to a temporary shelter set-up elsewhere, when mother nature went against them and forced them to be sheltered once again in IDP camps, waiting for someone to feed them. more..

Pillaiyan does what engineers failed to do

Jan 16 (NS) A courageous and a gutty attempt by the Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesaturai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan to personally engage in widening the mouth of the Batticaloa lagoon where it drains into the sea has led to the water level decreasing in the flood-ravaged eastern town. The area where the lagoon drains into the sea is called the New Dutch Bar mouth. As the water level was increasing at an alarming rate, the local engineers had been more..

Uniformed muscle for Waters Edge

Jan 16 (SL) More men from the military have been named to head State run institutions including an exclusive members only club in Battaramulla. Despite ongoing arbitration proceedings initiated last year by Asia Pacific Golf Courses (APGC) and its Chairman Sumal Perera seeking Rs. 19 billion in damages for its investment in Waters Edge, the government last week appointed a fresh Board of Directors to the elite club which includes three top men from the three armed forces. more..

Seniors bother MR and juniors plague Ranil

Jan 16 (ST) Barely ten weeks after he was sworn in for a second term, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, appears to have embarked on a charm offensive on many fronts. On Thursday he met with publishers and editors of national newspapers. He followed the same ritual on Friday with Colombo-based foreign correspondents and other accredited journalists. Over Kiribath (milk rice), hoppers and string hoppers, he spoke informally. more..

NBRO says most earthslips due to unplanned constructions

Jan 16 (ST) More than 600 landslides or earth slips were reported to the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) during the past week, mostly from the Central Province, an official of the organisation told the Sunday Times yesterday. Landslide and Services Division Studies head R.M.S.Bandara told the Sunday Times the NBRO was in the process of identifying the nature of these incidents while some areas have already been identified as vulnerable. more..

Lanka certain of getting thumbs up on WC stadiums

Jan 16 (NS) The three World Cup venues at R Premadasa Stadium (Colombo), Pallakele (Kandy) and Sooriywewa (Hambantota) which had been under close scrutiny over the past one year or so are ready to be granted the greenlight by the high-powered ICC delegation which is expected in Sri Lanka on January 20. As a prelude to their visit, the ICC’s pitch consultant Andy Atkinson and the ICC’s security manager Sean Carroll are presently in Sri Lanka on a free venue inspection of more..

Galle gets modern fish market

Jan 16 (Island) The new Galle Fish Market reconstructed with the assistance of UN-HABITAT and BASF, was ceremonially opened on January 6 by Chief Minister, Southern Province Shan Wijeyalal de Silva, on the invitation of the Mayor of Galle Methsiri de Silva. Parliamentarians, members of the Municipal Council, UN-HABITAT and BASF officials, and the local fishing communities also joined the ceremonies. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 16 (ST) The cat-and-mouse games played in the Police Department continue to baffle top leaders of the UPFA. Weeks ago, the entire team of CID officers assigned to the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption were summarily moved out. Orders went from Police Headquarters asking them to take up duties in different police divisions. A UPFA leader who heard this was furious. He ordered that all the transfers be cancelled immediately. more..

Flood victims face mine threat

Jan 16 (ST) The Sri Lanka Army and United Nations agencies in Colombo have warned more than one million people affected by the floods to be wary of mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) when the waters recede. Army Headquarters sent out instructions yesterday to Brigade Commanders in the flood-affected areas to issue warnings to both government officials and flood victims. more..

Steep rise in vegetable prices expected

Jan 16 (ST) Officials yesterday warned of a sharp increase in the price of vegetables following devastating floods in food-growing areas. Dambulla Economic Centre official Christy Perera said vegetable supply into the market had dropped by some 70 percent while the price of every vegetable had risen by nearly 80 percent over the weekend. Before the floods, some 4,000 tons of vegetables entered the market each day but more..

Lanka to acquire two ships for ferry service

Jan 16 (SO) Sri Lanka Shipping Corporation would acquire two passenger ships to be deployed for the Colombo-Tuticorin ferry service which would commence from February. Deputy Minister of Ports and Highways Rohitha Abeygunawardena told Sunday observer that they are currently negotiating with some European operators in this regard. "We hope to obtain the two vessels on a long-term wet lease," he said. more..

Sri Lanka bound South Korean-run ship hi-jacked

Jan 16 (AFP) Suspected Somali pirates hijacked a South Korean-operated cargo ship with 21 crew on board in the Indian Ocean on Saturday, South Korean and European officials said. The chemical tanker was carrying eight South Koreans, two Indonesians, and 11 crew from Myanmar when it was seized in the waters between Oman and India, officials said. The ship is owned by a Norwegian company and more..

White Flag case: Extension sought for judge

Jan 16 (ST) An application seeking to appoint High Court Judge W.T.M.P.B. Warawewa as Court Special Commissioner enabling him to complete the hearing of the ‘White Flag’ case among others after his retirement age, has been made to the President’s office. The ‘White Flag’ case in which the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has been charged with making a false statement to The Sunday Leader newspaper that Defence Secretary more..

Seven Tamil parties unite for polls

Jan 16 (ST) Seven Tamil political parties have come together to contest the upcoming local government elections in the north and east under the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) – a constituent party of the TNA. The decision was taken at a Colombo meeting attended by constituent members of the TNA and several other parties. They included the TULF, the PLOTE, the EPRLF (P) and the Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLA). more..

Ferial to Singapore among several foreign postings

Jan 16 (Island) A series of senior diplomatic postings including that of former Minister Ferial Ashraff who failed to win re-election at the last general election as Sri Lanka’s new high commissioner is on the cards, authoritative sources said yesterday. Mrs. Ashraff will succeed Ms. Jayathri Samarakoon, sister-in-law of former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. more..

Basil to facelift flood-hit east

Jan 16 (NS) The Economic Development Ministry has embarked on an elaborate programme to give the flood ravaged east a facelift, consequent to a directive issued by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Accordingly, roads, bridges, paddy fields, houses, schools and various other places that were severely damaged due to the floods would be immediately repaired. This was announced by Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday during his visit to Batticaloa, more..

Sri Lanka reschedule West Indies ODIs

Jan 17 (AFP) Sri Lanka will host its rescheduled one-day series against the West Indies starting at the new Hambantota stadium in the island's south on January 31, officials said Sunday. Heavy rains in December forced the series to be scrapped. The games were to be played across the three World Cup venues in Hambantota, Colombo and the central region of Kandy. All three games would now be day-night encounters at Hambantota and in Colombo, Sri Lanka Cricket said. more..

Trade union cries foul

Jan 17 (NN) The National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) led by JVP member K.D. Lalkantha alleges that the authorities had seized several posters publicizing an event scheduled to be held on Tuesday. According to the NTUC a group in military uniform had seized the posters and also threatened union members. The NTUC states the act is a serious attack on democracy and a gross violation of its right to freedom of opinion, expression and communication. more..

Indian Air Force Chief in Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (Hindu) The Indian Air Force Chief Pradeep Vasant Naik arrived here on Sunday, on a four-day visit to strengthen ties and hold discussions on the future of cooperation between the two forces. His visit follows a series of high-profile visits of the Army Chief, the Navy Chief, the Defence Secretary and the External Affairs Minister in the recent past. All the visits and the dialogues with their Sri Lankan counterparts more..

Underworld leader ‘Sagara’ arrested

Jan 17 (DM) A suspect believed to be the leader of the underworld gang named ‘Sagara’ of Gampaha has been arrested while hiding in a house and is being questioned, the police said. Police said that Gampaha High Court had issued a warrant to arrest him on sight. He is suspected to have got involved in four murders in Gampaha, Seeduwa, Katunayake and Minuwangoda and some burglaries too. Police said that while questioning him, it has revealed that he was involved in more..

Even I heard of Basmathi rice only recently, says PM

Jan 17 (NF) The first thing some people ask is the price of Samba or Basmathi rice. Even I heard of Basmathi rise only rencently, says the Prime Minister D. M. Jayarathne. The premier made this statement at a function held to declare open the newly constructed building of the Abanganga Korale Pradeshiya Sabha in Rattota in Matale yesterday. “Now chicken has been brought from abroad. Eggs have also been brought. Those who can buy chicken from shops please raise their hands. more..

Prince of Wales sends message

Jan 17 (DM) The Prince of Wales in a message to President Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed his concern and support to the people of Sri Lanka who have been affected by floods and heavy rain recently. In a message sent to President Mahinda Rajapaksa states: MESSAGE FROM H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES TO H.E. PRESIDENT RAJAPAKSA: "My wife and I have been watching, with mounting concern, the terrible effects of the flooding which more..

Pot Shots: PB and Johnny at loggerheads

Jan 17 (SL) Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera lashed out at Cooperatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando over the decision to import chicken eggs to the country. Fernando had defended himself by reminding the Secretary that the decision was not made by him alone. The tongue-lashing had taken place when the committee headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on food security and cost of living met at Temple Trees last Tuesday (11). more..

Can't India prevent attacks on fishermen, asks Jayalalithaa

Jan 17 (IANS) Opposition AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa Sunday said the central government was not doing enough to stop attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, as incidents were continuing even after last week's killing. 'Even before calming down of the situation after the killing of a fisherman (Jan 12), the Sri Lankan Navy had confiscated the Indian fishermen's catch, phones and threw their fishing nets into the sea,' Jayalalithaa said in a statement here. more..

AG advice awaited over honorary degrees

Jan 17 (NN) The advice of the Attorney General (AG) is still being awaited over the action to be taken on doctorates and honorary degrees issued to several people including politicians without following the proper procedures. A committee headed by Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratna had proposed in 2009 that all honorary degrees conferred by various organizations except those awarded by universities, Sangha Sabhas and by the President should be abolished. more..

Sri Lanka tries to buy top Kiwis for T20 comp

Jan 17 (Stuff) Several of New Zealand's biggest-hitting cricketers have been given yet another opportunity to line their pockets with wads of dollars after receiving approaches to take part in the Sri Lankan domestic Twenty20 competition midway through the year. Ross Taylor, who last Saturday became an overnight millionaire after selling for a whopping $1.3 million in the Indian Premier League's glamour auction, is one of those offered the chance to ply his trade in Sri Lanka. more..

Damage figures inaccurate - JVP

Jan 17 (DM) The JVP today alleged that the damage caused by the recent floods is much less than what is perceived by the government and that efforts were made by the state to use the natural disaster to cover up its inability to resolve the impending crisis with regard to price hikes of essential goods. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the number of acres of paddy destroyed by the floods is much less than the given figure of 400,000 acres by the government. more..

Women's representation in politics

A rogues’ gallery in local government

Jan 17 (LG) The queue of hopeful candidates waiting to get nominations from Sri Lanka’s political parties for the upcoming local government elections brings to mind irresistible and immediate parallels with the proverbial rogues’ gallery. Perhaps if police identification lists of known criminals in this country are compared against these pictures and these names, there may be more than a few unhappy coincidences. more..

Laabai Laabai, Yanda Yanda, Vegetables Laabai

Jan 17 (LG) Once proclaimed as the bravest army and one of the best by the people of Srilanka has been brought down to a situation to sell vegetables like vendors in the public. The Srilankan public whom adore their army as the savior of the nation will be soon calling the army as vegetable vendors. Sooner or later the army may be put to sell eggs, chicken, coconut and may be licensed to sell liquor. This is one of the greatest achievements of the Government under more..