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Lanka relaxes curbs on Katchatheevu fest

Mar 12 (TOI) The Sri Lankan government has accorded permission for fishermen from Tamil Nadu to visit Katchatheevu islet on March 19 and stay there for a day to attend St Antony's festival the next day. "In a previous communication, the Sri Lankan navy had said that devotees from Tamil Nadu participating in the annual feast at the Katchatheevu islet, ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974, would be allowed to visit only on more..

Witness Protection Act not required to ensure LLRC’s credibility – Govt.

Mar 12 (Island) The government says that the procedures adopted by the LLRC were transparent and there was no need for a Witness Protection Act. Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, when asked at Wednesday’s Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo, if a Witness Protection Act, as requested by the UNP, would be enacted, said that the need for such a mechanism had not arisen, since the LLRC was doing a "good job". more..

Sri Lanka private worker pension funds pays 12.5-pct

Mar 12 (LBO) A pension fund of private citizens of Sri Lanka worth 900 billion rupees, the island's biggest investment fund, has paid 12.5 percent to its beneficiaries in 2010 its state managers said. The Employees Provident Fund had grown 16.9 percent to 900 billion rupees by end 2010. It had received 54.8 billion rupees as compulsory member contributions from private sector workers and more..

On Sri Lanka, UN's Haq insists his denial meant Nambiar isn't target of ICC complaint

Mar 12 (ICP) On Sri Lanka, a complaint filed with the International Criminal Court against Palitha Kohona states of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff that there is “a basis to question whether Vijay Nambiar was in fact an innocent neutral intermediary or in fact a co-perpetrator within the negotiation related community.” more..

UAE sink Sri Lanka in Olympic qualifier

Mar 12 (GT) The UAE Olympic National team defeated Sri Lanka 3-0 in the second preliminary round match of the 2012 London Olympics qualifier, at the Bani Yas Stadium in Al Shamkha, Abu Dhabi on Friday. It was a back to back victory for the home side having trounced them in the opening match against the same team 7-1 at the same stadium on Tuesday. All the goals were scored in the first half. more..

Minister welcomes India’s rejection of PM’s claim

Mar 12 (DM) A government minister yesterday welcomed India’s rejection of Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne’s claim that the LTTE was operating three training camps in Tamil Nadu. Sri Lanka Freedom Party Treasurer and Minister Dulles Alahapperuma responding to a journalist at a news conference said the rejection of the claim would strengthen bilateral relations. more..

Soldiers moved out of Army hospital

Mar 12 (DM) Soldiers who were warded at the Army Hospital in Colombo have been transferred to a private hospital as arrangements have been made to relocate the hospital after the land where the army headquarters stands now was handed over to the Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Asia Limited to put up a seven star hotel. It was reported earlier that the company had purchased six acres of govt land where more..

Sri Lanka launches livelihood upliftment programme Divi Neguma today

Mar 12 (AT) The ambitious programme of establishing one million domestic economic units named as “Divi Neguma” (Livelihood Upliftment) scheme, will be launched at the auspicious time at 11.21 a.m. today by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Issuing a special statement on this occasion, Minister Mr. Basil Rajapaksa states that in the past we Sri Lankans made everything we wanted by ourselves. more..

LTTE’ camps in TN: PM’s statement based on Indian media reports

Mar 12 (Island) Responding to India’s contradiction of a statement attributed to Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, that the LTTE had an ongoing weapons training programme in Tamil Nadu, a senior government official said that the Premier Jayaratne had gone by what was reported in the Indian media. Premier Jayaratne had based his statement on Indian media reports dated Feb. 13, 2011 reproduced by local press the official said. more..

'Relief granted restricted to mere words'

Mar 13 (NF) The relief granted by the present government has been restricted to mere words, says Ranil Wickremasinghe, Leader of the Opposition. He expressed this view while addressing a public meeting in the Seethagama in Awissawella yesterday. A group of candidates contesting the upcoming local government election attended this meeting. “If there is a good government in the country, it will share both the good and the bad people have to endure. more..

CPC to end concessionary fuel rates for CEB next year

Mar 13 (AD) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will only supply fuel to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) at the concessionary rate until the end of the year. The CPC will hike the price of a litre of heavy fuel from Rs.40 to Rs.82 next year for the CEB. This announcement comes following a statement from the CPC which revealed that 80% of the CPC losses came from supplying the CEB with fuel at a concessionary rate after the CEB had announced making profits of Rs. 5 billion in 2010. more..

Bamba to Colpetty Galle road closed

Mar 13 (NN) The Galle road between the Bambalapitiya junction to the Colpetty junction will be temporarily closed from today, the police media unit said. According to the police the road which is under re-construction will be carpeted from today and as a result it will be closed section by section. The police advised motorists travelling between the Bambalapitiya junction to the Colpetty junction to use alternate routes during this period. more..

Loss of Parvathi Amma

Mar 13 (LG) When the LTTE, better known as Tamil Tigers, chose weapons as the last resort in order to protect the defenceless Tamils who live in their traditional homelands in the North and East of Sri Lanka from the occupying Sinhala-armed forces, many countries that backed the Sri Lankan government believed that the LTTE was a ruthless terrorist-outfit. These countries failed to hear the genuine pleas of Tamils who were engaging in non-violent protest in order to more..

Substituting Politics for Good Governance

Mar 13 (LG) In 2004 and 2005, Anton Piyaratne, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Open University, did a study to ascertain the attitude of the Sri Lankan youth towards democratic institutions. As part of this study, field research was done selecting a random sample of youth covering twenty-two districts. Youth were identified as unmarried persons in the 18-32 age group. The field research was focussed on the youth attitudes towards politicians, because 'losing more..

MoD Seva Vanitha clears mortgage & Army Seva Vanitha builds war hero’s house

Mar 13 (MoD) The seva vanitha army branch, devoted much to the provision of the needs of battle-injured War Heroes, once again offered its hand of assistance and friendship to one more War Hero at Matale on Friday, having built a fully equipped new house for his use. The SVAB funded new house, worth over Rs. 1 million was symbolically handed over to the War Hero, Private T.D.G.D Prabhath Kumara (22) of 9 Gajaba Regiment by Mrs Ioma Rajapaksa, more..

Editorial: Exports flourish sans GSP Plus

Mar 13 (SO) There was a strange belief at one time that Sri Lanka's economy would be doomed if the European Union (EU) ceased the GSP Plus trade concessions for the country's exports. The EU even attempted to link various internal affairs in Sri Lanka with the GSP Plus facility and exerted pressure on Sri Lanka to take several measures during the battle against terror. However, the Govt stood its ground and did not take any steps which would affect the more..

Editorial: PR system and election violence

Mar 13 (NS) In less than a hundred hours, Sri Lankans - or a majority of them - will go to the polls seemingly for the umpteenth time, to elect their representatives to local government bodies. Election ‘fever’ has reached a high pitch, despite the omnipresent excitement about the on-going Cricket World Cup. Elections of any sort are the necessary evil of democracy and should be welcome. Despite having a surfeit of it last year, there appears to be more..

The Storyteller of Public Science

Mar 13 (GV) Veteran journalist Tambiaiah Sabaratnam, who has died aged 79, was a pathfinder and leading light in Sri Lankan science journalism for over a generation. Throughout his long association with the English and Tamil press, he advocated the pursuit of public science: tax-payer funded scientific research for the benefit of the people and economy. Having joined the Thinakaran newspaper in 1957 as a trainee journalist, he switched to the English media more..

LTTE sports head PAPA working for the government intelligence unit

Mar 13 (LG) LTTE’s Sports Head Papa who was taken into captivity with LTTE’s former eastern province political wing leader and subsequently in charge of the economic division Karikalan, former spokesman of the LTTE Yogaratnam Yogi, former EROS MP turned advisor to the LTTE V. Balakumar, a former spokesman of the LTTE Lawrence Tilagar, former Deputy political section leader Thangan, former head of the political section for Jaffna district Ilamparithi, more..

Sri Lanka sans the LTTE seems difficult for some players

Mar 13 (TC) According to recent media reports, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs has sent alert messages to Indian security officials that the LTTE cadres in Tamil Nadu are conspiring to carry out attacks targeting VVIPs during the State election time. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of the ruling Congress Party and the present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi who is the leader of DMK were said to be the targets of the LTTE cadres. more..

Re-defining patriotism as unquestioning loyalty to the ruling Rajapaksa family

Mar 13 (TC) The war is won and the Tiger is stone-cold dead. The government assures tourists and investors that Sri Lanka is as safe as paradise. Police stations are replacing ramparts with flower-gardens and the security-details of politicians are being reduced. But each month the dead Tiger is carefully resurrected, as Sri Lanka’s draconian Emergency Law comes up for renewal in parliament. In this month’s version of the ‘Undead Tiger,’ more..

Editorial: Cost of living and international censure

Mar 13 (LB) Irrespective of what the commentators say, most Sri Lankans know that this country will not have a ‘Gaddafi moment’ in the near future. People are too burdened by their own economic problems to get themselves onto the streets as in Tripoli, or in some rebel province in Libya. This position may sound rather contradictory; if people are feeling the pinch of rising costs, could it be asked — is this all the more reason that they would want their ‘Gaddafi moment’? more..

Editorial: Egg on the PM’s face and jobs for the boys and girls

Mar 13 (Island) Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, it appears, has ended up with a lot of egg on his face following his ill-judged remark in Parliament last week about an LTTE rump training in Tamilnadu. Once the damage was done, the prime minister got into reverse gear, tamely pleading that his assertion was based on some local news reports that had later turned out to be false. Subsequent publications have said that these were originally reports in the Indian press. more..

D-Day for Dolphin

Mar 13 (ST) It was Tuesday evening, March 9. A team from the National Aquatic & Research Agency (NARA) was on their way to Kalpitiya when they received a message from their regional centre about a stranded dolphin. The dolphin had been spotted in the Puttalam lagoon at Palakudawa near Kalpitiya. The NARA team with NARA Chairman, Dr. Hiran Jayawardene, a marine mammal expert, were close to the area and decided to promptly turn around and rush there. more..

Editorial: Another polls circus and the clowns

Mar 13 (ST) It is said that a cartoon, very much like a photograph, speaks a thousand words. Nowhere is this more appropriate than in the recent political cartoons on Thursday's local government elections. They say it all. There are cartoons in the independent media depicting the Commissioner of Elections as a 'pambaya' (scarecrow) in the face of abuse of state resources by the ruling party and the unleashing of pre-poll violence; of him with a starter gun preparing more..

Election-related violence reaches a new high

Mar 13 (NS) Nominations for 301 local bodies were initially called. However, with the Elections Commissioner suspending the elections to 65 local bodies as a sequel to some political parties challenging in courts the rejection of their nominations, voters in only 235 areas of Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas will go to polls on March 17. At the outset, electioneering by political parties looked lackadaisical. more..

Police HQ moving to Nugegoda

Mar 13 (ST) The Police Headquarters in Colomb Fort is to be shifted to Mirihana in Nugegoda. Construction of the new headquarters will begin by end of this year at the location where the Police Emergency Centre is now sited. This will be part of a government plan to move the headquarters of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force out of the Fort area and re-locate them at Akuregoda, in Pelawtata in Battaramulla, an official of the UDA said. more..

MR says western missions have rejected visas to ministers

Mar 13 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has admitted that govt ministers have been rejected visas by certain diplomatic missions of Western nations. He has claimed that the same Western nations have granted visas to terrorists. In an interview given to Veronique Queffelec of France’s Entreprendre Rajapaksa has said that some Western diplomatic missions have refused to grant visas to ministers for official purposes, but had issued visas to terrorists and terrorist suspects. more..

Latter day Sirisangabos?

Mar 13 (Island) The first leg of the local government elections will be held on Thursday this week, and a summing of what is at stake will be in order. The main challenge is the one faced by the government. The question is whether they will win more local government institutions than they did last time, and whether they will retain the same percentage of votes polled. If they win more local government institutions than they had in 2006, a drop in the more..

Hilton will continue to run hotel, talk to the parties

Mar 13 (Island) Hotel on behalf of Hotel Developers (Lanka) PLC, the owning company, currently remains in place and Hilton will continue to manage the Colombo property and maintain normal operations of the hotel, a statement from Hilton said last week after the news broke that the ownership of the land on which the hotel stands has reverted to government. The agreement between Hilton and Hotel Developers is over 20 years old, the statement noted. more..

‘Support Govt at LG polls to expedite development’

Mar 13 (SO) Minister Maithripala Sirisena has called upon the people to cast their votes for the Govt and help further expedite the development drive in their areas. The Government hopes to launch a new program to increase funds for local government institutions in keeping with the national level programs formulated by them. When the number of members elected to these local bodies from the Govt increases, it would facilitate the people in that local govt more..

Talk about tone-deafness

Mar 13 (LB) The Sri Lanka foreign service recruitment process, now being changed so that non-career persons could be inducted to the service at the bottom levels, is a move to get sons daughters and the otherwise near and dear persons of state politicians, into that vital arm of the state apparatus. More could be read about this aspect elsewhere in this newspaper. What this shows clearly is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. more..

'LLRC for us; not for Ban-Ki-moon'

Mar 13 (LB) Q: Last week the Senate in the US passed a resolution against Sri Lanka. Given this latest move, will there be similar trends of other significant nations passing resolutions censuring us? A: You cannot describe it as America passing a resolution. This resolution despite being passed cannot be activated as it is not an Act. It was merely a case of the US Senate passing it. Just because that happened, there will not be any adverse effects from it for the country. more..

Fonseka also listed as a witness in his defence

Mar 13 (ST) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has been listed among 10 witnesses for his defence in the on-going 'white flag' case before the High Court Trial-at-Bar. Mr. Fonseka is charged with having stated in an interview with the Sunday Leader newspaper that Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had ordered not to spare any of the LTTE cadres surrendering even if they were coming with white flags during the last stages of the military assault on the guerrillas in May, 2009. more..

Ranil avoids Moneragala and Anuradhapura

Mar 13 (LB) It is reliably learnt that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has refused to address meetings held to support UNP candidates contesting the upcoming LG polls in the Moneragala and Anuradhapura districts. According to informed sources of the UNP, Wickremesinghe has outright rejected the invitation to address meetings held in Moneragala due to his running rift with Moneragala district MP Ranjith Maddumabandara. Though his absence in Moneragala more..

No state doctor can refuse to treat a patient – alcohol-user or not: medico

Mar 13 (ST) The Ministry of Health has put on hold a controversial medical circular recommending that any patient or accident victim who uses alcohol and comes to a state hospital with a medical problem linked to alcohol usage should be charged a fee. The circular has been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Department for legal clarifications. Minister of Health, Maitripala Sirisena said that all government hospitals would have to abide by more..

Bankrupt opposition trying to exploit PM’s gaffe says govt.

Mar 13 (Island) The govt says the bankrupt Opposition is making a foolish attempt to exploit Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne’s unsubstantiated allegation that the LTTE rump had an ongoing weapons training programme in Tamil Nadu. A senior official said that it was equally irrational on the Prime Minister’s part to go by Indian media reports, including The Hindu, which carried a news item headlined ‘LTTE PLANS TO TARGET VVIPS DURING INDIAN ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS’ more..

DM’s statement, KP and politics making strange bedfellows!

Mar 13 (NS) This week, despite the local government elections being due in a few days, the focus of political attention shifted from campaigning for the polls, the Cricket World Cup and human rights issues being thrashed out in New York to across the Palk Straits, to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. At first, there were domestic political tremors in Chennai. The Muthuvelu Karunanidhi led DMK was threatening to withdraw support to the Congress-led central government in Delhi. more..

Tax Dept. employees to report ‘sick’ tomorrow

Mar 13 (ST) Trade unions at the Inland Revenue Department are launching a ‘sick note’ and work-to-rule campaign from tomorrow against what they call ‘unilateral and unfair actions’ by the Inland Revenue Commissioner K.M.S Kandegedera to absorb Provincial Council tax officers to the department. The move by the department is because these officers have no work at provincial level due to the Govt’s decision to abolish the BTT and replace it with the NBT, more..

Lankans fear loss of family and friends

Mar 13 (NS) While Japan’s quake and tsunami official death toll and the numbers missing continue to rise, the whereabouts of at least 30,000 Sri Lankans including many illegal immigrants are still being assimilated to ascertain their location. “Due to the severity of the calamity we are unable to ascertain how many Sri Lankans are affected, but we know that there are between 15,000 to 20,000 Sri Lankans including students residing in Japan,” said Sarath Dissanayake, more..