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Sri Lanka to recruit 1,000 Tamils to Police

Jan 21 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Police Department yesterday commenced interviews to recruit 1,000 Tamil youth to the junior grades of the police service. The interviews are held to recruit both men and women sub-inspectors and police constables, and police drivers, a statement by President Office said. All applicants are from the districts in the Northern Province- Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mulaitivu, Mannar and Vavuniya. more..

TN fishermen allege attack by Sri Lankan Navalmen

Jan 21 (PTI) A group of around 60 fishermen from here today alleged they were beaten up by Sri Lankan Naval personnel and driven away while fishing between Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to the island nation, and Dhanushkodi. The fishermen told fisheries officials that Sri Lankan Naval personnel surrounded their 15 boats and beat them up. Warning them not to fish in the area, the Navalmen also allegedly took away the fish catch, GPS equipment and more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa won’t be quizzed by the UN panel

Jan 21 (NN) The United Nations (UN) said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is in the US on a private visit, will not be quizzed by the UN panel on Sri Lanka appointed by UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky, responding to a question posed by Innercitypress in New York, said in a note to the website that President Rajapaksa has no meetings scheduled with the UN or at the UN Secretariat in New York. more..

Deputy UN humanitarian chief urges increased help for returnees

Jan 21 (UN) The deputy United Nations humanitarian chief today called for greater efforts to assist former IDPs in Sri Lanka who have returned to their villages and are facing daunting challenges trying to rebuild their lives. “Significant progress has been made in meeting the needs of the displaced and promoting return processes,” said Catherine Bragg, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, more..

Lankan Army detains Chennai lawyer

Jan 21 (TOI) The Sri Lankan Army has detained a Chennai-based woman lawyer and her associate, who went on a secret mission to Sri Lanka to find out the conditions of Tamil refugees in the island nation, pro-Tamil outfits claimed here. The Chennai-based lady advocate, Kayal alias Angayarkanni and Thirumalai a functionary of pro-LTTE fringe outfit, Naam Tamilar Party, were allegedly detained by the Lankan Army on Wednesday near Omanthai in Vavunia district. more..

More than a dozen Tamil migrants accused of war crimes, terrorism or smuggling

Jan 21 (CP) More than a dozen Tamils who landed on B.C.'s coast last August have been involved in war crimes, terrorism or human smuggling, say government officials who want them ejected from Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency has referred 15 cases back to the Immigration and Refugee Board for admissibility hearings, with a recommendation to dismiss their refugee claims. The cases all involve men and 14 of the 15 are accused of being involved more..

Power misuse: CEB loses Rs 15 b

Jan 21 (DN) The CEB incurs a loss of around Rs 15,000 million annually as a result of waste due to power misuse by consumers. During electricity transmission, a 15 percent loss is reported due to outdated electrical appliances which causes a significant loss. In addition, improper use of electrical appliances also results in waste of electricity. There are over 3.8 million electricity consumers in the country more..

Liquor sales up; revenue down

Jan 21 (DM) The consumption of hard liquor and beer and the local production of the same have seen an overall increase during the past ten years, despite the govt’s campaign against the use of alcohol, parliament was informed yesterday. The amount of beer consumed in 2009 was 52.4 million litres, in 2008 it was 53.4 million litres, in 2007 51.8 million litres and in 2006 51.9 million litres. more..

CA fixes marathon argument on SF’s 2nd Court Martial

Jan 21 (DM) The Court of Appeal yesterday fixed for argument on five consecutive days from May 23 to 27, the Writ application of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka challenging his conviction and sentence by the 2nd Court Martial which imposed a sentence of 30 months rigorous imprisonment. The Bench directed the respondents to file objections on or before February 21 at the Registry and more..

'No firm indication of SL’s intentions on Ottawa Convention'

Jan 21 (Island) Inspite of concluding the war against the LTTE over one and half years ago, the Sri Lankan government is still dragging its feet over the Ottawa Treaty aimed at eradicating the threat posed by mines, both, to combatants and civilians alike. Responding to a query by The Island, two authoritative officials said the defeat of the LTTE had removed the only obstacle, which prevented Sri Lanka from more..

AG acts on LLRC advice: Top team probes Boossa detainees’ cases

Jan 21 (Island) The Attorney General’s Department is in the process of inquiring into cases involving detained LTTE suspects, including those held for high profile attacks. The inquiry follows the recommendations made by the LLRC to President Mahinda Rajapaksa late last year. The Attorney General’s Department launched the inquiry on Wednesday with a special team more..

Carcinogenic substance mixed with turmeric powder

Jan 21 (Island) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council says that several samples from wholesale spice shops at the Pettah Manning Market during their recent raids show that chilli powder and turmeric powder have been adulterated. Large quantities of chilli powder samples contained salt and the turmeric powder contained ‘Metanil Yellow, a carcinogenic colouring harmful to humans. more..

Crimes all over; not just Jaffna – PM

Jan 21 (DM) Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne told Parliament yesterday crimes were being committed all over the country, and, therefore, the situation in Jaffna could be compared to a hair on an elephant’s tail. The prime minister was speaking during the debate on the crime wave in Jaffna, which had claimed the lives of 16 persons in the past few months according to opposition MPs. more..

Suspected Sun Sea smuggler arrested

Jan 21 (NP) A Sri Lankan suspected of involvement in the voyage of the migrant smuggling ship that brought 492 refugee claimants to Canada last August has been arrested by Thai immigration police. Nadesan Jeeyananthan, 48, who was taken into custody in Bangkok last weekend along with seven others, is described by Canadian and Thai officials as a leading Sri Lankan human smuggling kingpin in Thailand. more..

Murali to quit after World Cup

Jan 21 (AFP) Record-breaking Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan said Friday he would retire from international cricket after the 2011 World Cup. "This World Cup will be my last outing," Muralitharan, 38, told reporters on the sidelines of a training session in Colombo. "I am retiring totally from international cricket thereafter." The mega one-day event, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, starts on February 19. more..

Sri Lanka to pay billions to banks

Jan 21 (DM) Sri Lanka is deemed to pay a colossal sum of US$ 261 million (Rs. 29 billion) with interest to the three foreign banks that demand compensation from the Sri Lanka Petroleum Corporation (SLPC) regarding the controversial hedging deal as efforts by the government at the arbitration panel in Singapore had failed. Minister Susil Premajayantha said that Sri Lanka had no other option but to pay more..

Army, police unaware of Indian lawyers' arrest

Jan 22 (NN) The Sri Lanka Military says it has no reports of an Indian lawyer and her associate being arrested in Omantai as claimed by some groups in India, while the police also said they had not received such reports. Indian media reports quoting pro-Tamil outfits in Tamil Nadu said today that the Sri Lankan Army had detained a Chennai-based woman lawyer and her associate, who arrived on a secret mission in Sri Lanka to find out the conditions of Tamil refugees more..

LeJ planned to take Sri Lankan cricket team hostage in Pakistan

Jan 22 (PTI) One of the main accused in the terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009 in Pakistan''s Lahore has claimed that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had plan to take the visiting players hostage and bargain for the release of some of its detained members. Abdul Wahab alias Omar, who is under dentition, told Geo News that the operation against the Sri Lankan team was planned in Waziristan. "The operation was planned in Waziristan and there were 12 of us designated for more..

Stars pull out of Lanka book fair over rights

Jan 22 (AFP) Nobel-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk and fellow writer Kiran Desai have pulled out of Sri Lanka's main literary festival, Pamuk's publisher said on Friday, following pressure from press freedom groups. Reporters Without Borders and a Sri Lankan rights group had targeted foreign writers in a campaign that called on them to boycott the Galle Literary Festival because of restrictions on free speech in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka exports surge in Nov

Jan 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports surged 36 percent in November 2010 to 833 million US dollar, led by industrial exports which grew 40.8 percent from a year earlier to 633 million US dollars, according to official data. The surge helped exports to grow 3.7 percent to 7.33 billion US dollars according to official data. The Central Bank said earnings from apparel exports to the European Union increased 39.2 percent and to the United States by 28.7 percent in November. more..

South Korea navy kills pirates, saves Sri Lanka bound ship

Jan 22 (AFP) South Korean navy commandos Friday stormed a ship hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, rescuing all the 21 crew and killing eight pirates, military officials said. The SEAL special forces boarded the South Korean ship before dawn, freeing all the hostages and killing the pirates in cabin-to-cabin battles, they said. Five others were captured. "This operation demonstrated our government's strong will that we won't tolerate illegal activities by more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 21.01.2011

Sri Lanka 2010 tea output at record 329.4 mln kg

Jan 22 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's 2010 full-year tea production rose 13.1 percent to a record 329.4 million kg, the Indian Ocean island nation's Tea Board said on Friday. The record crop grew from 291.1 million in 2009, and surpassed the previous top mark of 318.7 million kg set in 2008. December dipped to 25.7 million kg from 26.3 million kg in the same month last year. "It was due to good weather and favourable agricultural practices," more..

Sivajilingam nominated by two parties

Jan 22 (NN) Former TNA Member of Parliament M.K. Sivajilingham has been asked to submit a written explanation to the Elections Secretariat after he represented two political parties when handing over nomination papers in Trincomalee and Ampara for the upcoming elections. Sivajilingham had represented the Nava Samasamaja Party and the TULF when handing over nomination papers for candidates contesting the local government elections, more..

'The 63 year deception should be stopped'

Jan 22 (LT) The year 2011 has begun with a large number of challenges says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Speaking at the Ratnapura District Convention held at Ratnapura Town Hall yesterday (20th) Mr. Silva said green and blue governments have deceived the masses in this country for the last 63 years and now the time has come to make a full stop for that. “Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse said he could develop the country the way he won the war. more..

Vegetables at farm gate prices

Jan 22 (DM) The Agrarian Services Ministry will purchase vegetables, onion, potatoes and other food crops and fruits from farmers through 556 Agrarian Services Centers and sell them island wide almost at farm gate prices to control the escalating vegetable and fruit prices, Minister S.M.Chandrasena said. “What we are trying to do is to keep the vegetable and fruit prices as low as possible because middle men will attempt to exploit the impending vegetable shortage more..

'General denied necessary health facilities'

Jan 22 (LT) The health condition of former Commander of the Army and the Leader of the DNA Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who is being arbitrarily imprisoned, has deteriorated due to denial of necessary health facilities says DNA MP Anura Dissanayake. He said this after visiting Gen. Fonseka in the Welikada Prison today morning. He said, “Gen. Sarath Fonseka has been imprisoned for nearly one year. However, the government has not been interested in releasing him or protecting his rights. more..

Sri Lanka board chairman slams media

Jan 22 (BBC) Sri Lanka Cricket chairman DS de Silva has accused the Sri Lankan media of publishing false reports over the delay in constructing World Cup venues. The International Cricket Council has raised concerns over some venues. The World Cup, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, begins on 19 February after a week of warm-up games. "Can you take seriously what those newspapers say? Have those newspapers ever said anything good?" more..

Sri Lanka looking at electric trains by 2013

Jan 22 (SL) The Sri Lanka Railway Department has said that work is to commence on setting up the railway line between Veyangoda and Kalutara South to enable the operation of electric trains in the country by 2013. Sri Lanka Railways Department officials have told the media that it hoped to commence operations of the first electric train by 2013, once the railway line is completed. Constriction work on the railway line is to commence shortly since the feasibility more..

Indian bank opens second branch in Jaffna

Jan 22 (PTI) Public sector lender Indian Bank today inaugurated its second branch in Jaffna, Sri Lanka. The city-headquartered bank currently has a branch in Colombo in the island nation. Besides, it also has an presence in Singapore. The Jaffna branch was inaugurated by Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K Kantha, Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Indian Bank Chairman and Managing Director T M Bhasin. more..

Sri Lanka 'impatient' to test Cup venues

Jan 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka are eager to test the island's new cricket venues ahead of next month's World Cup, skipper Kumar Sangakkara said Friday. Sri Lanka, who were runners-up in the last Cup in 2007, will stage 12 matches of the showpiece event, in Hambantota, Pallekele and Colombo. The remaining games will be held in India and Bangladesh. "The Premadasa stadium (in Colombo) hosts most of our big matches," more..

'Namal was given separate room as examination hall was crowded'

Jan 22 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse’s son MP Namal Rajapakse was allowed to have his mobile phone and was given an air-conditioned room with internet facilities to answer the Law College examination as there was no room in the examination hall says the head of the Law College Dr. W. Rodrigo. Earlier too there had been instances where Technical College at Maradana and Law Association office had been used for exams when there was no room in the hall more..

Action against illegal propaganda

Jan 22 (DM) The police will take action against those contesting the Local Government elections if they use illegal election propaganda such as posters and hoardings during the election process, police spokesman SP Prishantha Jayakody said. He said that some candidates have already begun putting up posters in many districts. “The police have begun removing the posters and will take action against those persons for such acts according to the law when necessary,” more..

Emission test mandatory for brand new vehicles after one year

Jan 22 (NF) The Department of the Commissioner of Motor Traffic has decided to make emission testing mandatory for brand new vehicles after a period of one year. “This regulation will come into effect on the first of February,” said Lalith Dharmapriya, Commissioner General of Motor Traffic. Earlier regulations required such a test to be carried out only after the lapse of three years. more..

Floods in Sri Lanka: Hope in Disguise?

Jan 22 (LG) Even though more than forty-three people have perished, more than one million have been affected, about a fifth of the rice cultivation has been destroyed, the recent floods in Sri Lanka have presented the country with an opportunity for unity, friendship and reconciliation at a time of sorrow. The major damage has occurred in the Eastern provinces where the majority is Muslim and Tamil communities; substantially mixed communities in Trincomalee and more..

Are we rubbishing the ‘huddled masses yearning to breathe free’?

Jan 22 (LG) The Statue of Liberty stands tall at the entrance to the New York Harbour. On its pedestal is a plaque in which is inscribed the above words of the New York poet Emma Lazarus. New York City is a mosaic of myriad immigrant cultures – Native American, European, African and Asian. In her poem, written before the arrival of the second wave of immigrants, Lazarus is inviting exiles from other lands to arrive and settle in her country. more..

Behind the Screen: Rajapaksa Vs. Fonseka

Jan 22 (LG) When the Government of Sri Lanka is giving contracts to the Chinese without calling for tenders, thereby going against the accepted norms of transparency and good governance by withholding the use of NPA Guidelines recommended by President Rajapaksa on January 27, 2006, is tantamount to creating high level of corruption by procuring these multi million dollar “publically funded” contracts without proper tender procedures. more..

Regulations needed in recruiting teachers for international schools

Jan 22 (DM) I called on a Principal of a leading international school in my area recently on an official matter. I was at the Principal’s office and I saw some kindergarten children playing with their teacher in the compound next to the office. We started our discussion on certain issues pertaining to English education and upgrading the standard of English and exam results. In the meantime we heard that teacher shouting at a child, “Why pulling, Why pulling.” more..

Galle Literary Festival and the freedom of expression

Jan 22 (GV) The Editors of Groundviews received via email this morning intimation of an international appeal made by Reporters Without Borders and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), a network of exiled Sri Lankan journalists. The Galle literary festival appeal notes inter alia, “We believe this is not the right time for prominent international writers like you to give legitimacy to the Sri Lankan government’s suppression of free speech by more..

Foreign & local investors open stalls at Jaffna International Trade Fair 2011

Jan 22 (Cimic) Inviting international investors to the business field in Jaffna and opening more avenues for local business community in Jaffna, the “Jaffna International Trade Fair 2011” commenced on Friday. The Trade Fair exhibition site with over 200 stalls of various agricultural, industrial and domestic handicraft products will be open for three days and will end on 23rd. more..