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Eastern destinations to propel Sri Lankan tourism growth

June 27 (Hindu) Several hotel projects and tourism-related infrastructure are fast coming up in Eastern Sri Lanka, once ravaged by war, to propel the country to surpass its last year's tourist arrivals by a wide margin. East Sri Lanka has some of the best beaches in Trincomalee (Uppuveli beach) and Batticaloa (Pasikuda), and off Ampara (Arugam Bay). In Pasikuda alone, 14 new hotel projects are coming up, with a total capacity of 1,000 rooms. more..

Govt media school coming up in two years

June 27 (DN) The govt has planned to establish a Govt Media School within the next two years to facilitate large-scale development in the media field. Mass Media and Information Ministry Secretary W B Ganegala said that this initiative proves the President’s dedication and interest to develop the media field, as mentioned in the Mahinda Chinthana policy as well as in the Mahinda Chinthana Future Vision policy. The secretary said that a committee has been appointed to more..

Witness: Police blocked and attacked vehicle taking Roshen to hospital

June 27 (ST) The driver who attempted transporting the badly wounded Free Trade Zone worker Roshen Chanaka, told the Negombo Magistrate that police did not allow his vehicle carrying the victim to proceed to the hospital. The driver, W. Dhanapala said that some policemen had blocked his way and attacked the vehicle shattering its windows. He was testifying before Negombo Magistrate A.M.N.P. Amarasinghe at the magisterial inquiry into 21-year-old Roshen’s death. more..

Galle Road diversion for Hikkaduwa tourism zone

June 27 (ST) Galle Road will be diverted from the coastal stretch in Hikkaduwa with the implementation of a tourism zone, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said. The diversion of the road is aimed at reducing noise pollution and giving more space for tourists to enjoy the beauty of the beach, he said. He said from Wednesday the beach will be cleared of boats and only divers would be allowed to operate. He said Minister Basil Rajapaksa would declare open the tourist zone. more..

Fire destroys 50 acres in Knuckles Range

June 27 (DN) A sudden fire in the Knuckles Range destroyed about 50 acres of forest land, a spokesman for Ududhumbara Police told the Daily News yesterday. He said that the fire erupted around 8 pm on Saturday. He said that the Police with the support of Army, Forest Conservation Department and the public were engaged in dousing the fire. Kandy Disaster Management Centre spokesman Major Amal Herath said about 75 army personnel were dispatched to the location. more..

Thitha to exposing corruption: End of story

June 27 (LB) The government last week used its parliamentary majority to defeat a draft Freedom of Information law presented as a private member’s bill by the opposition’s Karu Jayasuriya. The discarded bill acknowledges the need to foster a culture of transparency and accountability in public authorities. It deems that every citizen shall have a right of access to official information which is in possession, custody or control of a public authority. more..

Mega Co-op exhibition to be held in Kurunegala

June 27 (Island) Isuru Saviya, a five-day Educational and Trade exhibition will be held at the Welagedera Stadium, Kurunegala from Tuesday (28) to July 2, with President Mahinda Rajapaksa as chief guest on the final day. This has been organized by the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade, Cooperative Development Dept, National Institute of Cooperative Development, Cooperative Employees Commission and North Western Province Cooperative Ministry and more..

Drop in urban population, says report

June 27 (NS) Sri Lanka’s urban population has decreased from 3.2 million to 2.9 million – a fall from 18.6% to 14.3% of the entire population – within a period of 20 years from 1990 to 2010, according to State of Asian Cities Report 2010/11. However, the report that was launched at the Asia Pacific Urban Forum on June 23, 2011 in Bangkok, also says that this phenomenon is more to do with the definition of ‘urban’ used in the country than an actual decrease. more..

4th phase of Api Wenuwen Api houses hand over to war veterans

June 27 (IL) The fourth phase of the Api Wenuven Api Housing Project launched by the Ministry of Defence was ceremonially held in Monaragala and Badulla Districts on 25 June 2011. President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and handed over the keys of the houses to war veterans. The main ceremony was held at the Ethiliwewa Junior School in Thelulla, Moneragala and the President handed over keys of 31 houses to the recipients at the ceremony. more..

SL Army earns by smuggling LTTE iron

June 27 (TN) 5 lorry loads of scrap iron, coming from the machinery and shell-manufacturing units of the LTTE now abandoned in Vanni, were confiscated by police in Vavuniyaa when they were being smuggled to the south. The scrap iron trade is carried out with direct involvement of the officers of the occupying SL Army in Vanni and Jaffna who earn from the trade by deals with Muslim traders. Meanwhile, around 50 lorry-load of scrap metal left Jaffna on Thursday with more..

100 applications for death certificates in EP

June 28 (Island) The Ministry of National Language and Social Integration has taken measures to issue death certificates for those who have been missing f’ implemented in Trinco DDC, DAC meetingsmore..

Health Ministry to import drugs without calling for tenders

June 27 (DM) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that the government would import medicines in bulk without calling any tenders in order to minimize corruption and fraud by officers and companies. Minister Sirisena addressing the 14th Seminar of Suppliers of Medicine said at ‘Chaya Village’ Hotel in Habarana said that a new programme would be launched within the next three months to end the shortage of medicines. more..

Hope sails to Galle with books

June 27 (Island) Logos Hope, the ship with the world's largest floating book fair, will arrive in Galle harbour on June 29, the office of the Southern Province Governor said. A statement issued by the Governor said: "The public exhibition of books and the ship is to commence on June 30 and it is to be held until July 17. The book fair on board Logos Hope offers an expanded selection of over 5,000 books at affordable prices covering a range of subjects including science, more..

SLTB loses 40mn on May Day

June 27 (DM) The Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) had suffered a loss of Rs 40 million on May Day alone by providing buses to UPFA rally, the JVP charged yesterday. “These buses had been given on hire on a lesser rate than the usual fee of Rs 65 per kilometre. Malpractices such as these had made SLTB a loss making entity,” JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told a news conference yesterday. He charged that there were no funds in some depots to pay salaries to the employees. more..

Over 365,000 IDPs return to North

June 27 (Island) The UN and its NGO partners, in their latest bulletin dealing with the situation in May 2011, have said that in May, 58 families (171 persons) returned to their areas of origin in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi from Menik Farm and Kodikamam Ramavil IDP facilities. They said a further 620 families (2,130 persons) living with friends and relatives, too, had returned to their homes in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts. more..

War crimes and denial

June 27 (Dawn) One of the most disturbing TV documentaries I have seen recently was Channel 4’s Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields when it was aired in the UK a fortnight ago. Chronicling the last few days of the murderous civil war against the Tamil Tigers that ended in triumph for government forces two years ago, it is a searing indictment of the methods used in the final phase of the last battle in Mullivaikal. To recap: after months of largely conventional warfare, more..

‘Indian poachers deprive northern fishermen of livelihood’

June 27 (Island) Northern fishermen have called upon the government to prevent Indian fishermen depriving them of their livelihood by poaching in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. President of the Fishermen’s Association of Jaffna, S. Thavaratnam told The Island that talks between high ranking officials of the governments of India and Sri Lanka had not deterred the Indian fishermen from venturing into Sri Lankan waters and harvesting fish at will. more..

Fare revision tussle:Bus strike called off: LPBOA to move SC

June 27 (Island) The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gamunu Wijeratne yesterday said that the one-day private bus strike scheduled for Monday had been called off. But the LPBOA would move the Supreme Court next week against the bus fare revision by the govt, he said. The LPBOA had requested the govt to increase bus fares by 15.5 per cent or at least by 12.5 per cent, but that request had fallen on deaf ears, more..

Only 8 CCTV cameras to monitor 42-acre prison

June 27 (Island) A plan to monitor the Welikada jail with the help of CCTV cameras is not likely to yield the intended results as they will get only eight cameras. The Welikada prison encompassed 42 acres and it was impossible to monitor that area with a few cameras. Asked for comment Commissioner General of Prisons, V.R. de Silva admitted that the number of cameras would not be sufficient to cover the entire prison area. more..

New examination proposed for university entrance

June 27 (DM) It is proposed to be conducted a separate exam, in addition to the G.C.E. A/L Exam, to select students for the universities under a plan by the government to revamp the entire evaluation system in the education sector, a report says. According to the report compiled by the National Committee for Formulating a New Education Act for General Education, it is proposed that prior to the A/L exam proper there more..

Fitch hints at sovereign ratings upgrade for Sri Lanka

June 27 (Island) Fitch Ratings has hinted that Sri Lanka’s sovereign rating could be upgraded this year as the post-conflict economy, which grew at 8 percent in 2010 and is expected to grow 8.5 percent this year, prepares to float a US$ 1 billion sovereign bond issue for which the Central Bank has appointed more joint-managers than in the previous issue. Fitch Ratings’ Andrew Colquhoun said Sri Lanka’s rating could be upgraded this year. more..

Margarine and biscuits with harmful substance in market

June 27 (Island) Secretary of the Sri Lanka Public Health Inspectors Union L.P. Rohana yesterday told The Island that two brands of margarine and several brands of biscuits containing a chemical called E 319 harmful to infants and children were being sold in the market. He said the consumption of foods which contained that substance would affect children’s livers and nerves. more..

'Ex-LTTE cadres' rehabilitation in last stage’

June 27 (PTI) The rehabilitation process of former members of the LTTE has now reached its last stage. "The process is in its last stage. We have 3512 of them undergoing rehabilitation in 8 centres. By end of June or early July we will be releasing a further 600 of them to the society," Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, said. The govt handles the programme backed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). more..

Jayalath urges Sonia to take up KP issue with SL

June 27 (Island) UNP Deputy Secretary General MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena has requested the leader of the Congress party of India Sonia Gandhi to take up the matter of Kumaran Padhmanathan alias KP with the Sri Lankan President and the govt. Jayawardena has, in a letter addressed to Gandhi, says that KP is under the protection of Sri Lankan government even though Interpol has obtained a warrant against him. more..

Sri Lanka dredges canals to prevent flooding

June 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka has begun deepening canals in marshes bordering the capital Colombo and digging lakes to prevent flooding during the rainy season and for tourism and recreation, officials said. The project is being done by the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation, which is under the defence ministry. Mohan Jayatilleke, a charter architect with the land reclamation corporation who more..

Over 16,000 dengue breeding sites detected

June 27 (DN) The National Mosquito Eradication Week organized by the Health Ministry to eradicate dengue, covering all 305 MOH Divisions, concluded yesterday. During the Mosquito Eradication week which commenced on June 20, 468,841 premises were inspected by the Health Ministry officials. Of this figure, 121,640 places with high mosquito larvae density were detected. In addition, mosquito larvae was found at 16,010 sites, more..

Govt to submit paper on power sharing with Tamils

June 27 (DN) The government delegation held the seventh round of discussions with the delegation representing the TNA on June 23 at the Presidential Secretariat. The government delegation consisted of Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, G L Pieris and MPs Sajin de Vass Gunawardena and Rajiva Wijesinha. The TNA was represented by R Sampanthan, M Sumanthiran, S Premachandran, M Senathirajah and Kanage-iswaran, PC. more..

Ex IGP as ambassador to Brazil

June 27 (DM) The former Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya has been nominated as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Brazil. The name of Dr. Balasuriya has been submitted for approval by the Parliamentary Committee on High Posts by the Foreign Affairs Ministry.The position fell vacant due to the early return of the previous ambassador A. Sadique, a senior officer of the foreign service, prior to the completion of his term. more..

Evaluation Commission of Commonwealth Games Federation arrives in Sri Lanka

June 27 (MSN) The evaluation commission of the Commonwealth Games is assessing the Sri Lankan city of Hambantota, Gold Coast's only competition to host the 2018 event. Just a few days after running a fine tooth comb over the Queensland city, the evaluation team is in Colombo before making its way to the southern Sri Lankan coastal city. The commission's visit, headed up by Scotland's Louise Martin, will wrap up on Thursday. more..

Dambulla International Stadium suffers to maintain Rajapaksa name

June 28 (LT) Rangiri-Dambulla International Cricket Stadium is not properly maintained by the authorities and and left for ruins, our Dambulla correspondent reported. This stadium was built spending more than Rs 700 million and about 42 ODIs were played in the past 10 years. According to reports, out of all the other International Cricket Stadiums in the country, most number of ODIs were held in Rangiri Dambulla stadium in the past 10 years. more..

Body found hanging from goal post in Puttur

June 28 (AD) A body of a 30-year-old male was found hanging from the goal post at the end of a football field in Puttur, Jaffna today (26). The residents of the area are in shock after witnessing the body at the Warathawatte ground surrounded by residential areas, Police stated. Even though the body has been displayed in a manner that it looks like suicide, an officer of the Achchuveli Police expressed that due to the positioning of the body it is suspected that it could be murder. more..

Thousands attend June 26 candle light vigil at Chennai Marina Beach for Lankan Tamil war victims

June 28 (DBS) Thousands gathered at Marina beach in Tamil Nadu capital Chennai on June 26th to observe candle light vigil for Sri Lankan Tamil war victims. The commemorative event was held on Sunday as June 26th has been declared by the UN as “International day in support of victims of torture”. The June 26th candle light vigil was not organized by any political party. It was held by the”May 17th Movement” which is a peoples movement. more..

RPP Infra Projects launches subsidiary in Sri Lanka

June 28 (PTI) RPP Infra Projects on Monday said it has launched a new venture in Sri Lanka, known as RPP Infra Projects (Lanka) Ltd, to execute a recently won housing project for IPDs in the country. This project would be executed in the Mullaitheeveu, Vavunia, Kilinochchi, Mannar and Jaffna districts of the Northern Province in Sri Lanka, the company said in a statement. "We have also forayed into Sri Lanka for a railway project and Republic of Gabon for a mass housing project. more..

'Withdrawal of the GSP not an issue'

June 28 (NN) The withdrawal of the GSP plus trade benefit by the European Union (EU) has not had a serious impact on Sri Lanka’s textile exports, industry experts said today. Brandix Lanka Chief Executive Officer Ashroff Omar said that the industry has remained strong and is still growing despite the loss of GSP plus. Ashroff Omar said this during a media briefing in Colombo today to announce the launch of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) by Textured Jersey Lanka (private) Limited, more..

Kathriarachchi sentenced to 5 months RI suspended 10 yrs

June 28 (AD) Colombo High Court today (27) sentenced four persons including former Deputy Minister Chandana Kathriarachchi to five months rigorous imprisonment suspended for 10 years for unlawful assembly in a murder site. Kathriarachchi and the other suspects were previously remanded on July 1, 2010 over alleged involvement in the murder of C.D. Chandrarathne in Piliyandala on August 24, 1996. However they were released on bail on August 5 the same year more..

Sri Lanka seen luring back apparel buyers

June 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka has begun luring back foreign apparel buyers who shifted to other Asian producers following the global economic crisis after they failed to meet buyer expectations, an exporter has said. Orient Garments, which is to list on Colombo Stock Exchange's second board, also said it aims to capture orders now supplied by Eastern Europe by offering shorter lead times. "It has been evident that some of the world's leading apparel buyers have shifted their sourcing towards more..

Order to arrest cop

June 28 (NN) The Galgamuwa Magistrate has ordered the arrest of the OIC of the Giribawa police station for misleading court and producing fake items in relation to a recent case. The OIC, Damitha Perera, is evading arrest. The Galgamuwa Magistrate had recently ordered an investigation on the OIC after he produced fake items in relation to a case. Galgamuwa Magistrate Pradeepa Abeywickrama reprimanded the OIC when he appeared in court earlier this month saying he had made a grave mistake by misleading the court. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 27.06.2011

Sri Lanka telecom affordability gain among world's fastest: ITU

June 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka is among the top three countries in the world to see a sharp increase in telecom services affordability, a study by the International Telecommunications Union, a UN affiliated body has shown. ITU's 2010 ICT Price Basket, measures the change in costs of mobile, fixed and fixed broadband services relative to per person gross national product, from 2008. South Asian countries of Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were among countries to see the sharpest rise in affordability. more..

Sri Lanka will 'surprise the world'

June 28 (BBC) Sri Lanka says that it “has what it takes” to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. It made the remarks as a team from the Commonwealth Games Evaluation Commission arrived in the island to assess its suitability. The only other country bidding to host the Games, which happen every four years, is Australia. The Sri Lankans say they will “surprise the world” in their bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the southern district of Hambantota. more..