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'Provincial laws, powers can be discussed'

July 26 (Island) Provincial laws and powers can be discussed, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said. He said that in his mind, laws governing the North and East, police and community powers etc, were open for discussion. Excerpts of the interview: Q: Is the government serious about a political solution to the ethnic issue ? A: When armed conflict was on, talks were redundant. Now that military confrontation is over, talks become relevant again. We can go on like that. more..

President on observation tour of Deyata Kirula site

July 26 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was on an observation tour of the site for the 6th Deyata Kirula National Exhibition yesterday(25) in Oyamaduwa in Anuradhapura, instructed authorities to give priority to rural development activities while continuing with the renovation o f tanks in the vicinity. The President instructed Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya to ensure that whatever work that took place at the exhibition was used for the betterment of the people of the area. more..

Development Diaries July 21, 2011

For first time Pradeshiya Sabhas in two districts

July 26 (DM) For the first time after the Pradeshiya Sabha Act was introduced in 1987, Saturday’s elections have enabled the establishment of three Pradeshiya Sabas in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. The three new councils are at Poonekery and Karachchi in Kilinochchi and Thunukkai in Mullaitivu. The PS Act of 1987 provided for the conduct of local council elections under the proportional representation system but successive govts were unable to conduct elections in more..

'Colombo's housing problems to end in five years'

July 26 (DN) The Colombo district's housing problems will be solved within the next five years, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. The Minister said so at a function organized to handover Rs 7.5 million as housing assistance to 51 low-income families in Kesbewa divisional secretariat area. The Janasevana is a programme aimed to benefit the people. It has targeted every homeless family. The ministry will look forward to provide land for the landless and solve the problems based on land. more..

Pre-requisite for peace, stability and prosperity is a democratic and pluralist state-by Chandrika

July 26 (DBS) Hello Friends; All people genuinely concerned about the future of Sri Lanka in general and the position of the ethnic minorities in particular cannot but be troubled by the prevailing situation in the blessed Island. Hawks within the Sinhala polity are growing stronger gradually with some extremists ensconced in the seats of political and administrative power. Despite the presence of many Tamil and Muslim ministers more..

Roaring increase in vehicle imports

July 26 (DM) The registration of new motor vehicles has increased by 56 per cent when comparing the June 2010 figure of 30,905 with the June 2011 figure of 48,157. It said the biggest increase has been in the registration of three-wheelers which has increased from 8007 to 13,753 this year and accounts for a 71 per cent increase. The registration of motor cars has been the second largest, with an increase from 606 last year to 5,069 this year and accounts for a 736 per cent increase. more..

Police brawn blamed for riot at Agrapatana

July 26 (Island) An unruly mob surrounded the Dayagama Bazaar police post in Agrapatana Sunday afternoon after policemen there allegedly assaulted a three wheeler driver after his vehicle collided with a police motorcycle in the morning injuring a constable who was on the pillion. DIG Central Range Nihal Samarakoon told The Island that the situation had been brought under control. Ceylon Workers Congress President Mutu Sivalingam who rushed to the scene around 4:00pm more..

Buddhadasa lashes out at Wimal

July 26 (DM) Kaduwela UPFA Group Leader G.H. Buddhadasa lashed out at Minister Wimal Weerawansa, accusing him of parachuting into the area and violating various election laws. Mr. Buddhadasa who won the largest number of preferential votes and hopes to become the Mayor of Kaduwela charged that Minister Weerawansa had abused state vehicles and other resources to defeat him and to ensure that UPFA candidate Buddhkia Thushara became the mayor. more..

Kankesanthurai cement factory to be commissioned by year end

July 26 (Island) Following the recommendations of a special committee the govt has decided to commission the Kankesanthurai Cement Factory, State Resources and Enterprise Development Ministry Secretary Dr. Willie Gamage said. "Once the factory starts functioning it will, along with the other cement factories functioning in the country, produce enough cement to satisfy domestic needs," Gamage said. Sri Lanka now imports cement from other countries for domestic needs. more..

SF given time to consider withdrawal of rights plea

July 26 (Island) Shibly Aziz PC, Counsel for General Sarath Fonseka, yesterday requested the Supreme Court to grant further time to get instructions from his client as to whether he (Gen. Fonseka) would withdraw the fundamental rights violation application filed against his arrest on February 8, 2010. The petitioner Fonseka had alleged that the Military Police arrested him without a basis to do so and that the arrest and the detention were illegal. Court granted time till September 23, 2011. more..

While America mulls ban on aid to SL, US multi-nationals lobby their govt. to do business with Lanka

July 26 (Island) Close on the heels of a US House Foreign Affairs Committee decision that American aid to Sri Lanka should be banned, some of the biggest American multi-nationals have written to the US government explaining their intention to form a Coalition for US-Sri Lanka Business to promote commercial activities here stating that it "will generate substantial benefits to both countries, including additional more..

Govt borrowing US $ 1,639 billion in 2010

July 26 (DM) The govt’s total borrowings had increased to US $ 1,630 billion by the end of last year, according a report tabled in Parliament. The report said that this was an increase of 21 percent against the total debt reported the previous year. Of these borrowings, 39 percent were categorized as bilateral loans while another 39 percent was listed as multi-lateral loans. During the year under review, the govt had spent US $ 840 million on instalment payments more..

Lights on because of A/L students

July 26 (DM) The Power and Energy Ministry said the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would not impose power cuts considering the students who were studying for the GCE A/L examination, although hydro power generation was at its lowest level because of the prevailing drought. The ministry said on Sunday the water levels at the Castlereagh reservoir stood at 12.53 metres, Maussakale at 15.02 metres, Kotmale at 30.53, Victoria at 31.16, Randenigala at 15.94 and Samanalawewa at 27.16. more..

TV program focuses on priest

July 26 (ST) One of the most respected religious leaders who is responsible for introducing a large number of cinema artistes and filmmakers to Sri Lanka cinema, Rev. Fr. Ernest Poruthota will be in focus in this week’s ‘Alakamandawa’ television programme. Fr. Poruthota who is a writer, cinema critic and lover of cinema has always stood against censorship on cinema and been outspoken whenever it was necessary. more..

FUTA to resume TU action unless …

July 26 (Island) University teachers who suspended their trade union action last Thursday warned the govt yesterday that unless their demands were granted as promised, they would be compelled to resume their protest. President of FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that they were well aware of the government’s way of handling trade union issues. "We are not ready to let them take us for a ride this time," more..

UNP alleges ‘stranger’ at CPA centenary sessions in London

July 26 (Island) The UNP yesterday alleged that Bandula Ekanayake, Director of the BMICH, had been nominated as an observer at the ongoing centenary sessions of the CPA (Commonwealth Parliamentary Association) in London. The main Opposition party said that the Executive Committee of the CPA, while refusing to accommodate UNP lawmaker Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena on the Sri Lankan delegation, had nominated an outsider. more..

Muthuhettigama pays Rs. 18,000

July 26 (DM) UPFA MP Nishantha Muthuhettigama yesterday paid Rs. 18,000 to the Galle Municipal Council as damages for removing an iron railing of the Galle bus stand. The railing was re-fixed under the protection of the police Special Task Force after directions were given by the Southern Province Chief Minister a day after the removal of the railing last week. Mr. Mutuhettigama had removed the railing after private bus operators on he Galle-Hikkaduwa route suspended services more..

Fresh training for 17,540 policemen by next September

July 26 (Island) All the 17,540 Police personnel, who were recruited and provided inadequate training during the terrorist war in the country, were being retrained so that they may have better understanding of social responsibilities. DIG Gamini Dissanayake said that in keeping with IGP N. K. Illangakoon's instructions, police personnel below the rank of OIC's were being re-trained for a period of three months at more..

In Sri Lanka, the ballot takes over where the bullet ruled

July 26 (TIME) It was an election of little if any practical importance, but huge symbolic value. Twenty local administrative bodies in Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north went to polls over the weekend to elect members. Though power in the region is still in the hands of the central government, the elections in the northern districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mulaittivu were closely watched around the country as the first public referendum of post-war redevelopment and more..

Sri Lankan actresses in porn ring

July 26 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan police said Tuesday that they are on the hunt for more than 20 local television actresses who are believed to be part of a prostitution ring. Over the past few weeks, the police have arrested four actresses who were involved in prostitution at various locations in Colombo and areas most frequented by tourists, police said. Police said the arrest of popular local actresses, both young and old, being involved in prostitution had blown the lid on what is believed to more..

'Sri Lanka inflation panic level above 7.0-pct:'

July 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka should keep inflation below 7.0 percent to ensure economic stability Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera said, as lower levels of inflation may be beyond the capacity of economic policies to deliver. "If inflation is kept below 7.0 percent that's fine," Jayasundera told members of Sri Lanka's Joint Apparel Exporter's Forum. "You need not get panicked over inflation if it is below 7.0 percent. We do not have to be over ambitions and target 01 percent, 02 percent. more..

TNA insists on police, land powers

July 26 (DM) The TNA which swept the board in Saturday’s local council elections in the North said yesterday it would be impossible to reach a political solution and bring about lasting peace, justice and democracy in the North without the devolution of police and land powers. TNA spokesman Suresh Premachandra said the TNA which won 18 of the 23 local councils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces was in a stronger position to negotiate with the govt more..

Polls to 23 LG bodies in Sept.?

July 26 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to meet UPFA leaders next week to decide on the date for dissolution of the remaining 23 local bodies which includes several municipal councils too. A top govt spokesman said the elections were likely to be held in Septembers this year. The terms of the local bodies including the municipal councils were to end on March 31 this year, but President Rajapaksa extended their terms up to December 31. more..

Ban on use of newspapers to wrap lunch packets

July 27 (NN) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is to ban the use of newspapers to wrap lunch packets sold by street vendors. According to the CMC, an awareness campaign will be carried out today on the standards which need to be in place when selling lunch packets. Chief Medical Officer of the CMC Dr Pradeep Kariyawasam had said recently said that under the new regulations lunch packets sold along Colombo streets must carry the date and time the lunch was cooked as well as the location. more..

Prof. Peiris meets Indonesian counterpart in Bali

July 27 (PRIU) Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L. Peiris had bilateral discussions with Mr. Marty Natalegawa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia on the sidelines of the Regional Forum in Bali, Indonesia. At the retreat of Foreign Ministers, Prof. Peiris addressed his colleagues on some aspects of regional security and counterterrorism, with particular reference to the experience of Sri Lanka. Among the other topics discussed by the Foreign Ministers gathered in more..

Additional sim cards on request

July 27 (DM) Telecommunication Regulation Commission of Sri Lanka will allow any individual to obtain more than five sim cards from a service provider only under special circumstances, the TRCSL said yesterday. Anusha Palpita, Chairman of TRCSL however said that there is no reason why there will be a need to obtain more than five sim cards by an individual for day to day use unless it is for a particular purpose. more..

Sri Lanka mobile users grow 18.5-pct in 1Q

July 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's mobile users grew 18.5 percent in the first quarter of 2011 to 17.8 million, a lower pace than in previous years, but there was strong growth in internet users, official data showed. Sri Lanka has had mobile user growths in excess of 30 percent for several years but the country only has a population of 20 million. Fixed access users grew 3.7 percent in the first quarter to 3.59 million with wirelines users also growing at the same pace to 907,887. more..

Hambanthota port to reduce delays at Colombo

July 27 (Island) The Chairman Ceylon Association of Ships Agents (CASA) Nimal Ranchigoda says that Hambantota port could be developed into a major harbour in the region than Trincomalee because it is zero nautical miles to the East- West main shipping route and all necessary infrastructure facilities are also in place. The Hambantota Port, which has faced severe criticism from various quarters is now capable of handling ships and the SLPA authorities decided to divert more..

6 wrecked ships to be removed

July 27 (DM) Six shipwrecks had been identified to be removed from the Kankesanthurai Harbour as part of the port development project being carried out with financial assistance from India, the Indian High Commission said. The Indian Shipping Corporation has awarded the contract for the removal and disposal of the six wrecks to Resolve Salvage and Fire (Asia) Pvt. Ltd. of Singapore at a cost of US$19 million or Rs.2.18 billion. more..

Police arrest pesons urinating in public

July 27 (ST) Public Health Inspectors and Police have been deployed in Dambulla to arrest persons urinating in public and charge them in Courts, officials said. The order has been given after visit by health and govt officials to the Dambulla Economic Centre where they observed that since persons were urinating in the public areas it was unhygienic. The Dambulla Economic Centre is the biggest wholesale vegetable centre in the country. So far at least 20 persons have been arrested and more..

Australia see Sri Lanka as a coming of age tour

July 27 (AP) Three untried bowlers are among four uncapped players included in new-look Australia squad for then upcoming test series in Sri Lanka, as selectors gamble on fresh talent to stop a slide down the rankings. The rebuilding phase that that began following the retirements of greats such as Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Matthew Hayden accelerated on Tuesday as selectors named pacemen James Pattinson and Trent Copeland and yet another obscure spin-bowling selection in Nathan Lyon. more..

Sri Lanka expands acreage under rubber

July 27 (Island) Natural rubber is facing a bright future with the price of petroleum based synthetic rubber increasing rapidly. Therefore Sri Lanka would expand its acreage under rubber by planting 5000 hectares in Monaragala, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe announced recently. Addressing the 92 nd Annual General Meeting of the Rubber Traders’ Association the Minister said it would increase to 10,000 hectares as the demand grew for natural rubber. more..

Fish canning factory in Galle

July 26 (GDI) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne is to sign tomorrow an agreement with the New Zealand Company, Spirit Wind to set up a canned fish manufacturing plant in Galle - the capital city of Southern Province of Sri Lanka. The New Zealand Company is to invest Rs. 5 billion for the Galle factory. The factory to be set up in Galle early next month is expected to produce initially 25,000 cans of fish per day, which will be increased to 70,000 cans per day in the second stage of the project. more..

Case against UNP Organizer temporarily suspended

July 26 (AD) Mount Lavinia Court has issued an order temporarily suspending court hearings on the petition filed by Maithri Gunaratne challenging the appointment of MP Ravi Karunanayake as UNP National Organizer. UNP Southern Provincial Councilor Maithri Gunaratne speaking to Ada Derana stated that the court had provided a time period till August 04 in order to present information in this regard. Several individuals including Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 26.07.2011

13 Sri Lankan fishermen held in Orissa

July 26 (PTI) Thirteen Sri Lankan fishermen were held as three trawlers were seized by Coast Guard near here today after illegally entering the area off Orissa coast."Coast Guard ship "Saranga" intercepted the trawlers after spotting them during routine patrolling and handed over the 13 fishermen on board to the marine police here," in-charge of Paradip marine police station, Tejraj Patel said. The fishermen, who hail from Sri Lanka, have been taken into custody and are being interrogated, more..

Regional Centre for Canberra University in Sri Lanka

July 26 (GDI) Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa was the chief guest of inaugural seminar organized by the LAUGFS Australia Higher Education Services Private Limited in a venture with the Centre for Customs & Excise Studies of the University of Canberra, held at the King’s Court, Hotel Cinnamon Lakeside on 25th July 2011. Title of the seminar was ‘Sri Lanka; the Emerging Wonder of Asia – Transforming Sri Lanka to Knowledge Hub & Logistics Hub’. more..

Champika challenges TNA to "develop north if possible"

July 26 (DM) JHU General Secretary and Minister of Power and Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka today called on the TNA to develop the areas which comes under the 16 local govt bodies they won in the Northern Province. “They were able to exercise their vote due to the freedom created by the govt and the security forces by defeating terrorism”, he said. “The TNA should keep in mind about the overall mandate given by the people to the govt. more..

World Youth Day in Madrid: a commitment, rather than a party for 28 Sri Lankans

July 27 (AN) There will be 28 Sri Lankans who will go to Madrid, August 16 to 21, for World Youth Day. It will not only be a moment of celebration, for Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando, archdiocesan chaplain of the Young Christian Workers (YCW) and the Christian Workers Movement (CWM), but above all "a commitment to share their spiritual experience, to challenge the this secularist culture ". "John Paul II established World Youth Day for young people to begin to treasure their faith more..