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Uni. academics on strike today

Mar 15 (DM) The academic staff of all the universities in the island would go on strike today demanding a pay hike. In a bizarre turn of events the Federation of the University Teachers’ Associations met the media at roadside as journalists were not allowed to enter the Colombo university yesterday. They warned that the functions of the universities would be affected adversely if their demands are not met forthwith. FUTA President Dr. Nimal Devasiri told media that they were more..

Japan warns radioactive levels high around plant after blast

Mar 15 (Reuters) Japan's prime minister warned on Tuesday that radioactive levels had become high around an earthquake-stricken nuclear power plant after explosions at two reactors, adding that the risk of more radioactive leakage was rising. Naoto Kan urged people within 30 km of the facility north of Tokyo to remain indoors. The French embassy in the capital warned in an advisory that a low level of radioactive wind could reach Tokyo - 240 km south of the plant -- in about 10 hours. more..

Sri Lanka wanted U.S. help as Indian radars ‘not sufficient'

Mar 15 (Hindu) Sri Lanka quietly asked the United States for assistance to improve its air defence systems as India-supplied radars had proved insufficient to prevent an attack by LTTE aircraft on the Katunayake air base in March 2007, but it agreed with the Americans that New Delhi must be kept in the loop. Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapakse summoned U.S. Ambassador Robert O. Blake and the Defence Attache at the U.S. Embassy on March 30, 2007 and more..

Tamil Diaspora serves self interest only-President

Mar 15 (Island) Certain elements, who cannot even speak in Tamil or do not know where Vavuniya is and the actual situation in Jaffna, operate as pro-LTTE or Tamil Diaspora for their own survival, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa during Janapathi Janahamuwa (President meets the people) telecast on state and private TV channels on Friday. The Sri Lankan Government never drove out or evicted Tamils from this country. Hence it is quite incomprehensible as to why the more..

Sri Lanka cricketers meet people living with HIV in Mumbai

Mar 15 (SC) The players met 10 community members from the MSM and hijra communities, including female sex workers from Kamathipura, several of them HIV positive, to understand what it means to be living with homophobia, transphobia, gender violence and HIV and to broaden their understanding of the their issues, such as stigma and discrimination, facing people from high risk groups. more..

Sri Lankan maid killed herself, police confirm

Mar 15 (AN) Arar police said on Monday the death of a Sri Lankan maid in Al-Jouf in January was a case of suicide. The Sri Lankan Embassy confirmed the report. The woman was identified as Dilini Kumari, 26, from Nattandiya, a coastal town some 50 km from Colombo. The maid, who came to the Kingdom on Aug. 8, 2009, had been working for a Saudi family in the northern town of Arar. more..

‘Reforms are a must’

Mar 15 (GF) The erudite Man Friday to President Mahinda Rajapakse is also the unquestioned head of the nation’s civil service. An admirer of India’s administrative structure who has interacted with New Delhi’s top decision-makers, he spoke about the problems of governance in a resurgent, post-war Sri Lanka. gfiles: Is civil service reform now a vital imperative in Sri Lanka? Why? Lalith Weeratunga: Civil service reforms are a must in more..

Japan-Lanka Air Services Agreement amended

Mar 15 (Island) An amendment to the Air Services agreement between Japan and Sri Lanka, which is expected to increase the number of flights between the two countries, was finalized in Colombo yesterday. The Exchange of Notes had been signed by the Japanese Ambassador Kunio Takahashi and Civil Aviation Ministry Secretary K. V. P. Ranjith de Silva. Takahashi said that the amendment would result in flight routes operated by more..

The future is auspicious says Tilvin Silva

Mar 15 (LT) The masses have accepted the invitation to end deception and move towards a new path and the signs for the future are very promising says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Speaking at a rally held at Gangodawila in Nugegoda yesterday (14th) evening Mr. Silva said he had travelled throughout the island addressing meetings and the signs for the future are auspicious. more..

Sri Lanka gets a new mobike every 2.5 minutes, a three wheeler every 6

Mar 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka has registered a new motor bike the equivalent every two and a half minutes and a three-wheeler taxi every six minutes in 2010, the latest official data shows. In 2010 registrations of motor cycles rose 51 percent to 204,811 surpassing an earlier high of 182,508 reached in 2007. The data shows that 561 motor cycles were registered in a day, or the equivalent of one every 2.5 minutes. more..

'Loan shark made £500,000' from Sri Lankan community

Mar 15 (BBC) A loan shark running an unlawful money-lending business in east London received more than £500,000 in illegal interest payments, a court has heard. Kanadasaba Nadarajah, 68, from East Ham, is accused of offering more than 700 illegal loans from 2003 to 2010. Jurors were told the loans were offered to members of the Sri Lankan community living in London and the South East. Mr Nadarajah denies one count of illegal money-lending and more..

Govt. tightens pension rules

Mar 15 (DM) The Pensions Department has decided to introduce a series of amendments to the Women and Orphans Pension (W&OP) Act to prevent pension frauds after netting a number of former public servants engaged in various pension related frauds. Director General of the Pensions Department, K.A.Tikaratne said there were several incidents of drawing more than one pension, obtaining pensions impersonating retired public servants and more..

'UNP jolted Govt. into announcing relief for Japanese tsunami victims'

Mar 15 (Island) The govt was jolted into announcing relief aid to the tsunami affected Japanese people only after Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe made a public appeal, the UNP said. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathillake said that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime was "fast asleep" until Wickremesinghe had called on Sri Lankans to set aside political differences and help the friendly and magnanimous Japanese in their hour of need. more..

None will be recruited into Foreign Service permanent cadre without exams – govt.

Mar 15 (Island) A controversial Cabinet paper that sought permission to recruit outsiders direct into the permanent cadre of the Foreign Service without being selected through competitive examinations had been stopped by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, though there were still protests in some quarters against it, the President’s Office said yesterday. more..

'Japan Impact Negligible on Sri Lanka'

Mar 15 (BN) Central Bank of Sri Lanka Deputy Governor Dharma Dheerasinghe comments on the impact on the South Asian island’s economy from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. On trade, investment, aid and markets: “As far as Sri Lanka is concerned, the impact is negligible. The quake has not affected a large part of the country and the Japanese administration and financial system continues to operate. more..

The OIC of the Matale police removed

Mar 16 (NN) The Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Matale police has been transferred over alleged malpractices committed by him during the postal voting of the local government elections. According to the Police Elections Secretariat the OIC has been transferred to the Colombo Field Force office with immediate effect. Meanwhile the Police Elections Secretariat said that 142 people had been arrested so far over election related incidents and another 25 remain to be arrested. more..

S.B sidelines Deputy

Mar 16 (NN) Deputy Minister of Higher Education Nandimithra Ekanayake says he has been sidelined by the subject Minister S. B. Dissanayake. Dejected Deputy Minister said that Minister S.B Dissanayake does not invite him for any discussion. He said that he is even kept in the dark with regards to any agreements being signed or issues related to Higher Education. The Deputy Minister of Higher Education says his post is now confined to just a name as it does not carry much responsibilities. more..

Sri Lanka wards off tuna quota: minister

Mar 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka has prevented efforts to restrict her tuna quota in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Had the quota been restricted by pressure from nations with large fishing fleets in the Indian Ocean, the local fisheries industry could have collapsed, he said. Sri Lanka won support from 17 states in the 28-member IOTC to block the proposal, Senaratne told a news conference. more..

Estate staff strike

Mar 16 (NN) Plantation workers in Kandy and Matale launched a sick note campaign today in order to seek redress to their demands. A plantation union spokesman told News that plantation workers attached to 11 plantation companies took part in the protest. The plantation workers are demanding a salary increase as well as festive bonus, spokesman of the Lanka Plantation Workers Union M. Seniviratne said. The Union warned that the plantation workers will carry out a work to rule campaign in more..

Sri Lanka restricts building close to expressways

Mar 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to keep clear land on either side of several expressways that are being planned or built where no buildings will be allowed, a senior official said. Road Development Authority director-general R W R Pemasiri said, owners of private property on either side of the expressway being built or planned will not be allowed to put up buildings. "No development will be allowed up to 100 metres from the middle of the expressways on either side," he said. more..

Sri Lanka slams HRW

Mar 16 (NN) Sri Lanka has accused the New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) of making allegations against the government of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Army and the Air Force without an iota of evidence. The Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi noted that HRW had levelled a series of tendentious accusations and allegations against Sri Lanka in a news report published in the international media. With reference to allegations made by HRW regarding alleged attacks on more..

Rajapakses also make a quick buck with sand

Mar 16 (LT) It is reported that a racket to export sand to Maldives through Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation from lands that were taken over by the Government is being carried out. According to reports about 100,000 tons of sand is being exported to Maldives via Colombo Port claiming they are low in minerals while there is an acute shortage of send for building purposes in the island. Sand has never been exported by any of the governments. more..

'Opposition attempting to disrupt development work'

Mar 16 (GDI) The Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that two years ago there wasn’t a single village, among the 14500 villages in the country which did not receive a dead body of a war hero and it is sad to note some people attempting to take the President who put an end to this era to the International War Crimes Court. He said that the opposition elements are blaming the government saying that the govt is making advantages out of the war and pointed out that it was the same people who more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 15.03.2011

Mathews happy to be Sri Lanka's forgotten man

Mar 16 (AFP) Angelo Mathews said he would be delighted to be Sri Lanka's forgotten man if it helps his side lift the World Cup. Middle order Mathews hasn't had much chance to bat in the tournament with the top order coming good more often than not as Sri Lanka made sure of their place in the quarter-finals. He has faced just 37 balls in the three games that he has batted, totalling 35 runs. "I feel Sri Lanka's batting is very strong," he said. more..

Sri Lankan sleuths probing Maldivian drug peddlers operating in Colombo

Mar 16 (HNS) With Sri Lanka’s Police Narcotics Bureau cracking down on narcotics trafficking, the focus has currently shifted to Maldivian drug traffickers who are believed to be operating in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. A recent probe, conducted by sleuths from Sri Lanka’s Police Narcotics Bureau, has identified that several Maldivians residing in Sri Lanka have been involved in an international operation concerning the trafficking and distribution of drugs such as heroin, marijuana and hashish. more..

Sri Lanka looks ahead: Will prosperity bring peace?

Mar 16 (USDS) Good evening, Ambassador Kohona, Asia Society members and guests, and thank you, Jamie, for that kind introduction. It’s a pleasure to be back with the Asia Society, an organization whose work has been unmatched in promoting mutual understanding among, and within the many Asian nations. The last time I participated in an Asia Society program was actually in New Delhi a year ago where I spoke of the importance and strength of the U.S. - India relationship, more..

Plight of Sri Lankan Indian Tamils in India

Mar 16 (LG) In a news report in the Chennai edition of The Hindu dated March 12, 2011 headlined “Kerala Tightening Vigil on TN border to curb LTTE activities”; it is stated “intelligence inputs say cadres tried to set up camps in Idukki”. The report adds that vigil has been tightened after receipt of reports that the LTTE had reportedly tried to set up camps in the forest areas near Idukki district. The report adds that Idukki forest areas bordering Tamil Nadu in more..

Police tortured an innocent man with chili in his eyes and nostrils after illegal arrest

Mar 16 (LG) Chaminda Sampath Wickrama Pathirana of Walgama, Bandaragama in the district of Kaluthara was illegally arrested and severely tortured by police officers attached to the Badaragama Police Station on 20 May 2009. At the time of arrest, when he was severely tortured or at the time of he was releasing from police custody he was not given any reason for arrest. While in the police custody his legs and hands were tied and hot chili jus was pour to more..

Aviation sector flies into record 2010 but low yield to keep more airlines out of BIA

Mar 16 (FT) The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) had seen a record passenger and aircraft traffic in 2010 though the latter is unlikely this year given depressed global conditions. Civil Aviation Authority Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri told the Daily FT that in 2010 the BIA handled over 5.2 million passengers compared to over 3.2 million in 2009. According to him 2010 also saw a slew of new airlines as well as expansion in more..

Sri Lankan economy then and now

Mar 16 (LG) It was reported in a daily newspaper that the President had said that the opposition when in power did not develop agriculture, made this country dependent on other countries and today the people had to pay for those blunders. The UNP in power implemented the Galoya project with funds raised locally. The same goes for the Laxapana hydro power project. During the time of the late Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake the country was almost self-sufficient in rice. more..

SL Muslims and Pakistan Cricket

Mar 16 (LG) After quite some time allegations have once again surfaced that some Muslims have supported the Pakistan side against all others, including the Sri Lankan one at the recent World Cup match. I have been sent newspaper material quoting Government MP Thilanga Sumathipala in that connection. I have made my own careful enquiries, and I believe that I am now in a position to write responsibly on this matter which needs to be cleared up in the national interest. more..

'LLRC is not a credible domestic process of accountability'

Mar 16 (LG) Since the war ended in 2009 in Sri Lanka, there have been 2 major initiatives claiming to deal with the issue of accountability. One is domestic, the Lessons Learned & Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). The other is international – the UN Panel on Sri Lanka. I will first analyse the LLRC before turning to the Panel. The Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, established the LLRC in May 2010. It has had a number of hearings in more..

The travails of citizens in the wonder of Asia

Mar 16 (DM) The local government elections generally generate a variety of ideas as candidates attempt to woo their voters that they are the best and nothing but the best. Among some suggestions made were that vegetables to prevent them getting damaged would be hereafter sent in plastic baskets, (what environmental analysts have to say about it is another matter) but the Minister of Internal Trade insists that nothing but plastic baskets should be used and when more..

Buddhism, radicals and radicalism: A necessary preamble

Mar 16 (DM) The adjective ‘radical’ has two principal definitions. In common usage, ‘radical’ conjures images of or alluding the Che Guevara. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about those who think like Che or for whom Che is hero. Anyone favouring fundamental or extreme change, especially in the social, political and economic order, or expressing related sentiments, is taken to be a ‘radical’. In general ‘radical’ denotes ‘going against the grain’ or ‘swimming upstream’. more..

'Children are not a cat's paw'

Mar 16 (SO) Opposition elements who are trying to win the local polls by hook or by crook whip up adverse and malicious propaganda against the government and the President to create false impressions in the minds of the people. Their latest ploy is to infuriate the masses by criticizing the education policies of the Govt, Permanent Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said. He said the media display over extended school hours is one step in that direction. more..

Editorial: Fukushima - What next?

Mar 16 (Island) Doomsday prophets who go by the ancient Mayan calendar in predicting the future of mankind in this complex universe and expect the Apocalypse to occur as early as next year are talking of a possible nuclear Armageddon, solar storms, massive earthquakes, super volcanoes and mega tsunamis. But, they have not factored in one main source of danger––nuclear power plants like Japan's Fukushima complex, whose cooling system failed owing to Friday's 9 magnitude more..

Editorial: Another Jayasuriya from this World Cup?

Mar 16 (DM) World Cups, like the Olympics, come once in four years and it’s no wonder why countries that feature in such flagship events--whether it’s football, rugby or cricket--go through more than a hysterical than a historical period until it’s over. By that time heroes would have turned zeroes or nobodies would have become some-bodies, while some will be nursing their wounds, mentally and physically, and others finding cupboards to rest their new found trophies. more..

Leopards: Getting to know the king of Lankan jungles

Mar 16 (NS) The predator moves slowly towards its prey with a piercing look. In a flash, a spotted deer is attacked right near its neck. After a moment, this predator that is stamped with rosettes and dark spots, drags its prey for a delectable meal. We immediately picture an image of a hunting leopard and if one goes on safari trips and be patient enough to observe a leopard, the lucky ones will get to observe a similar scene with their own eyes. more..

Several industry prospects look bright

Mar 16 (BL) Following an analysis of recent financial statements of several listed companies, the outlook of different industries in Sri Lanka in the year 2011 is promising although there are concerns in certain sectors such as plantation due to the wage agreement putting pressure on earnings, and in the ceramics industry due to rising costs of oil prices, according to economic research analysts. The tourism industry had benefited from sector earnings with an increase in more..