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One more time: “Those whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad”

Jan 18 (SL) It is a considerable time since I first used the famous quote from Euripides in a published article. However, recent events, the number of which seems to be escalating at a dizzying pace, drives me to that Greek philosopher’s well one more time. One of the more recent brainwaves of our governing clique parading as geniuses, has been the proposed import of two desert-dwellers for ‘development purposes’ in Sri Lanka: the ostrich because more..

Attanayake insists local Poll not a vote on ranil

Jan 18 (NS) UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayake insists that the upcoming local election is not a vote on party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, but he equally stresses on their objective to go about selecting their new office-bearers as per the newly-adopted constitution no sooner the poll is over on March 8. Q: Will the upcoming local government election be a vote on party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe? more..

Floods put pressure on inflation, but prices won’t shoot up

Jan 18 (Island) The recent flood that devastated over a million lives in the north and east, causing around 40 deaths, could also cause prices to increase with damaged crops and disrupted distribution networks, but officials are confident major food items such as rice would not see huge increases. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said vegetable prices had already been affected because of the impact on growing areas that were swamped by unusually heavy monsoon rains. more..

Gunmen open fire at priest's house, wife seriously injured in Maanippaay, Jaffna

Jan 18 (TN) Armed men who came in a motorbike opened fire on the family of a Saiva (Hindu) priest on Maanippaay Hospital Road causing serious injuries to 31-year-old Nimesha, the wife of the priest Sribalasundarakkurukka'l. Maanippaay is situated near Changkaanai, where a Chief Priest was shot and succumbed to his wounds two months ago. The shooting, which has taken place on the day when President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Jaffna to celebrate more..

To counter possible epidemic: Ministry medical teams in Batticaloa

Jan 18 (DN) The Health Ministry will send 10 medical teams to the Eastern Province to provide medical assistance for the flood victims. This is to prevent any possible outbreak of epidemics. The first five medical teams with 21 members were sent to Batticaloa Sunday and the second batch of five medical teams will reach flood affected areas today. The medical teams comprise doctors, nurses, pharmacists, epidemiologists, officials and many others. more..

News reports irk Rajapaksa in Jaffna

Jan 18 (TN) SL president Mahinda Rajapaksa visiting Jaffna and ‘celebrating’ Pongkal on Monday reacted to media reports that pointed out his ‘conspicuous silence’ about an aid he was politically capitalising. Meanwhile, the SL president who is coupling a terror campaign with his campaign for a colonial polity, ‘celebrating’ a Tamil agrarian festival in military occupied Jaffna, spending millions of rupees and intimidating people to attend it, more..

Abortion clinic raided, five arrested

Jan 18 (Island) Kandy police yesterday raided an illegal abortion centre at Katukele, on the Peradeniya Road and arrested five persons, including a couple from Naula, believed to be the clients for the day. Among others arrested were a doctor, his assistant, and the manager of the clinic. The quack and his assistant are residents of Kegalle while the manager is a resident of Anniewatta, in Kandy, police said. An operation for an abortion costs the client Rs. 15,000, more..

Tamil rebels may be using Canada as base of operations: official

Jan 18 (VS) Security intelligence authorities are warning that exiled Tamil rebel leaders are re-establishing their violent Sri Lankan separatist movement in Canada. "We don't know how far advanced it is, but their intent is pretty clear — to set up a base-in-exile here for the leadership. Some leadership is already here," a well-placed federal government official said. The warning accompanied a report late last week to more..

Tourism takes thorny issues to Basil

Jan 18 (FT) Tourism leaders are praying for an early and effective resolution of several thorny issues which have of late cast a shadow on an otherwise shining industry. Last week following a request for a meeting, Minister Basil Rajapaksa met officials of the Tourist Hotels Association (THASL), Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and City Hotels Association where several issues concerning taxation, electricity tariff and minimum room rates for resorts came up for discussion. more..

Under Vision 2020 program: Free spectacles for schoolchildren

Jan 18 (DN) A Health Ministry study says that around 160,000 school children suffer from some sort of eye defect. Another 400,000 school children have the chance of developing an eye defect. The Health Ministry launched Vision 2020 program to save the eyesight of school children. The Health Ministry has already donated spectacles to over 15,000 schoolchildren in the Colombo district under Vision 2020 program implemented through Vision 2020 Secretariat. more..

Sri Lanka's Mannar basin oil wells to bear fruit

Jan 18 (ST) With the completion of acquiring 3D seismic data on 1,750 square km Mannar basin, and finalizing the launching of oil in July this year, Sri Lanka will be offering new oil exploration blocks in an area off the northern coast. Dr. Neil De Silva, Director-General of the PRDS said it was planning to call bids for blocks in 15,000 sq km of the shallow Cauvery Basin, just off the northern area once controlled by the LTTE until their defeat in may 2009. more..

Stemming migration of medical specialists in Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (Guardian) When healthcare professionals move abroad, domestic health services often suffer. However, a scheme in Sri Lanka is exploiting the positive effects of foreign work placements. This case study forms part of a selection of entries for the first ever Global Health Workforce Alliance awards, created to highlight successes in addressing health workforce issues. The awards will be presented at the Second Global Forum on Human Resources for Health, more..

'Govt. denies right for higher education of 100,000 students'

Jan 18 (LT) Every year the right for higher education of more than 100,000 students who get through A/L examination are denied and the present government, claiming that they would grant education to all students, is attempting to establish private universities for their own benefits says convener of the All Ceylon A/L Qualified Students Union Ranuke Sankalane. He said this at a media briefing held at CSR Hall at Maradana yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka alcohol healthcare restrictions criticised

Jan 18 (BBC) A union representing doctors in Sri Lanka has protested against government plans to stop free healthcare for those addicted to alcohol. The health ministry is planning to stop free health care to "alcohol-addicts" from next month. The union says the new measure jeopardises doctor-patient relations because medics are required to provide a health report for each patient. The poor that will be twice punished by the measure, the union says. more..

Illegal filling with political blessings

Jan 18 (DM) The Indigaha ferry area in Bolgoda River is now being filled by an organised group causing anxiety among people in the locality who said that the individuals concerned had spread rumours that the filling was associated with a project planned to make the area a tourist attraction. However, locals have expressed concern about the inaction against those who are involved in filling the river which they say is illegal. more..

Mervyn J. Cooray's funeral tomorrow

Jan 18 (DM) The funeral of the former Panadura MP Mervyn Joseph Cooray would take place tomorrow at 3.00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Burial Grounds, family members said. The former State Minister for Power and Energy passed away at the Panadura Hospital on Saturday. He was 73 at the time of his death and survived by his four sons and a daughter. In his youth he had been an excellent volleyball player and had entered politics in 1966 as the Vice Chairman of the Wadduwa Town Council. more..

Development diaries - 2

Asst. Manageress challenges Gem Authority

Jan 18 (DM) The Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with the rights violation petition filed by the Assistant Manageress of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority Swarna Mayadunne who complained she had been placed under compulsory leave and retirement with effect from January 13. The Bench granted leave to proceed for the alleged infringement of her fundamental right to equality and equal protection of the law. The matter is listed for hearing on June 3. more..

Indian Consulate in Jaffna begins issuing visas

Jan 18 (Hindu) The Indian Consulate here began issuing visas, despite severe logistical constraints and skeletal manpower. “We have begun giving visas from today [Monday],” Indian Consul-General in Jaffna V. Mahalingam told The Hindu, when asked about the progress of works in the Consulate since it was set up in November-end. “We can issue between 50 and 100 visas each day,” he said. The process of application remains the same: the applicant has to approach the more..

President participates in National Thai Pongal celebrations in Jaffna

Jan 18 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa participated the Thai Pongal National Festival at Alfred Doraiappa Stadium in Jaffna this morning on 17 January while all the Hindus countrywide joined in celebrating the Thai Pongal festival on a grand scale. The main ceremony was made colourful by a special cultural pageant presented by the school children, local dancers and musicians. more..

Japan races to assist flood victims in Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (RW) The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) handed over emergency relief supplies such as tents and sleeping mats, worth some 26 million Sri Lankan Rupees, to the Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, yesterday. The emergency relief supplies will meet urgent humanitarian needs of displaced communities in districts worst affected by recent floods. JICA's assistance to these communities follows a request made by the Sri Lankan Government and more..

Most flood victims return home; About 51,000 still in camps

Jan 18 (Island) The number of flood victims in the State run welfare centres in the Northern, Central, Eastern and North Central provinces has come down. According to the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), yesterday 150,000 people returned home. Assistant Director of the DMC Pradeep Kodippili told The Island that there had been 204,118 people accommodated in welfare centres on Sunday, but the number had decreased to 51,423 by yesterday. more..

Floods cost Rs.100 mn to CEB

Jan 18 (DM) The power supply to all the flood hit areas would be restored completely in the next four days, Power Minister Champika Ranawaka said yesterday. The damage incurred by CEB due to the floods was estimated at Rs. 100 million, he said. He added that measures would be taken to restore all power supply in the flood affected areas within the next four days. more..

'Attacks on TN fishermen frequent'

Jan 18 (PTI) Condemning the attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, Union Minister V Narayanasamy on Tuesday said while India releases Sri Lankan fishermen straying into its waters, our fishermen are 'frequently' attacked by Sri Lanka. "Fishermen from Vedaranyam and Kanyakumari generally come under attack and we have condemned such incidents. more..

Sri Lankan boxer's hearing delayed

Jan 18 (PTI) A hearing into the doping case of gold-medal winning Sri Lankan boxer Manju Wanniarachchi has been postponed until May, the Commonwealth Games Federation said. Wanniarachchi, who won a gold medal in the 56kg weight category in boxing during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi last year, was suppose to face CGF's Federation Court today in Kingston, Jamaica after returning an adverse analytical finding from more..

Sri Lanka floods will not need a monetary response: CB Governor

Jan 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's recent floods will have minimal impact on long term inflation and will not need a monetary response but there will be 'some economic impact' from crop losses, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Large swathes of rice fields in Sri Lanka east and north central areas went under water during recent floods. "There will be some economic impact, but it is not as major as more..

Indian Air Force Chief on Lanka visit to deepen military ties

Jan 18 (PTI) Indian Air Force Chief, AirChief Marshal P V Naik today paid homage to the troops of the 1987 IPKF operation who made the ultimate sacrifice battlingthe LTTE rebels in Sri Lanka, as part of his four-day visithere to deepen military ties with Colombo. Air Chief Marshal Naik paid floral tributes at alandmark monument built near Sri Lanka's parliamentary complexto honour 1,200 IPKF soldiers who more..

President Rajapaksa pays homage to Nagadeepa Temple in Jaffna

Jan 18 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid homage to Nagadeepa Temple in Nainativu Island on 17 January after attending at the National Thai Pongal Festival which was held at the Alfred Doraiappa Stadium. Chief incumbent of the Nagadeepa Temple and the Chief Sangha Nayaka of the Northern Province, Venerable Navadagala Padumakiththi Tissa Nayaka Thera bestowed blessings on the President. more..

Extreme weather changes could follow floods

Jan 18 (IPS) Weather experts warned Sri Lankan to be prepared for extreme weather changes with hardly any notice following devastating floods here that have affected over one million people. "Global weather patterns are changing, we should be prepared for extreme changes," Gunavi Samarasinghe, the head of Meteorological Department, said as the country battled floods in the east as temperatures island-wide more..

China announces $1.5 million flood relief for Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (Hindu) China on Tuesday said it would provide 10 million RMB ($1.52 million) in emergency humanitarian relief to flood-hit Sri Lanka. Flooding has left at least 40 people dead and more than 1 million people displaced in the north, east and central parts of the country in recent days. In addition to the Chinese government’s $1.52 million relief package, the Red Cross Society of China would provide cash assistance of $30,000. more..

NTUC accuses govt. of seizing its posters

Jan 18 (Island) The National Trade Union Centre (NTUC), led by JVP member K. D. Lalkantha, accused the government of being behind the seizing of its posters announcing an event scheduled to be held today. Lalkantha, said that a group in military uniform had seized the posters and also threatened union members. He stated that the act was a serious attack on democracy and a gross violation of NTUC’s right to freedom of opinion, expression and communication. more..

SF in health complication

Jan 18 (DM) Democratic National Alliance leader and Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was reported to be suffering from an immune system complication which had caused falling of hair and other complications. It was also reported that he was suffering from severe itching all over his body. DNA MP Tiran Alles siad that former Army Commander’s immune system had been weakened as a result of the bomb attack he faced a few years ago. more..

UNP leadership to change in April

Jan 18 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's main opposition UNP's leadership is to see a change in April for the first time since 1994, local media reported on Tuesday. The leadership aspirant Sajith Premadasa said on Tuesday that he would take over the UNP leadership by April 12. The date is the expiry of the 120 day period to implement changes to the party's constitution which paves way for democratic elections to appoint office bearers. more..

Sri Lanka to consider speeding up cases of Tamil rebel detainees

Jan 19 (DPA) The Sri Lankan government is to look into speeding up investigations against former Tamil rebels in custody, officials said Tuesday, more than 18 months after the war ended. A four-member committee, headed by an official from the attorney general's department, is to study the cases of the ex-rebels and make recommendations to the government about expediting their investigations, they said. more..

Police register vans

Jan 19 (NN) Registering of school vans will be mandatory under new regulations to be introduced by the police. According to the police headquarters, the registering of school vans will commence in Colombo and the Western Province and subsequently be carried out in other districts as well. The Police Women’s and Children Bureau will begin fingerprinting school van drivers under the new regulations to keep a tab on those operating school vans, police headquarters said. more..

Sri Lankans demand justice for attacks on media

Jan 19 (AP) Sri Lankan journalists and activists protested Tuesday to draw attention to what they called the government's failure to pursue the perpetrators of crimes against media workers. About 100 demonstrators gathered Tuesday in front of the main railway station in the Sri Lankan capital to complain that no one has been arrested in connection with the killing of a prominent journalist two years ago, the disappearance of another last year and more..

Sri Lanka India tyre unit to expand production 20-pct

Jan 19 (LBO) CEAT Sri Lanka, a unit of India's RPG Industries said it will invest up to 500 million rupees to expand production 20 percent this year amid strong sales growth over two years and plans to enter European and Latin American markets. In the year to March 2010 revenues had grown to 5.5 billion rupees from 4.7 billion despite an economic downturn, and revenues were growing above 20 percent in the current year. more..

Sri Lanka to push green jobs

Jan 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka labour minsitry and the internatonal labour organisaton is to look for ways to create more 'green jobs' and provide skills for workers in environmentally friendly enterprises. "Moving the Sri Lankan economy onto an environmentally sustainable and low carbon development path will change the socio-economic structures of the country and trigger labour market shifts," the ILO said in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 18.11.2011

Rajapaksa rides LTTE's sea scooter in Jaffna

Jan 19 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa rode a sea scooter captured from the LTTE in the northern sea when he spent a night in Jaffna peninsula, which was earlier the stronghold of the defeated rebels. Rajapaksa toured the northern Jaffna district on Sunday to open the Sangupiddy Bridge connecting mainland and the peninsula and attend the national Thai Pongal festival the following day. The president performed his daily physical exercise along the more..