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Protect Wilpattu Park and the mobility right of Internally Displaced Women

Mar 16 (TC) We, the undersigned call on the Government to take immediate action to prevent the destruction of the Wilpattu National Park, while continuing to provide access through the road from Puttalam to Mannar via the park. We believe that through taking corrective measures the Government can ensure that both issues are addressed in order to protect the rights of the expelled Northern Muslims and the ecology and natural heritage of the area. more..

Diaspora with the govt --or split by it?

Mar 16 (LB) The government is wooing the Tamil diaspora, the once cash cows of the LTTE, to rebuild the war torn north and east. Direct flights from Canada to Colombo are in the offing to encourage the diaspora to visit their home country, and former LTTE strongman and now the Deputy Minister of Resettlement, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna, has proposed that a Radio channel be launched targeting the Tamil diaspora. more..

WC 2011: South Africa beat Ireland by 131 runs

Mar 16 (CI) The World Cup finally reached Eden Gardens, and the sparse crowd that turned up on an overcast day were treated to a JP Duminy special that lifted South Africa from the dumps, and set up a facile win. Ireland's effort began like a dream and ended like a nightmare as they showcased the inconsistency that holds back upwardly-mobile Associate teams. There was disciplined, if somewhat limited, bowling; there were breath-taking fielding efforts to more..

Dambulla residents demand electricity

Mar 16 (NF) Residents of the Galyawa, Kalundewa area in Dambulla engaged in a protest yesterday demanding that they be provided with electricity. The protestors charged that they are unable to carry out their day-to-day activities due to the lack of electricity. They pointed out that even-though high tension power cables have been drawn across the area, the Dambatapitiya and Agunakola Pelessa areas remain in darkness. Thus the villagers have resolved to refrain from using more..

The Hilton saga: Largest fraud east of Suez?

Mar 16 (SL) The Sunday Leader can exclusively reveal that the owners of the Hilton Hotel in Colombo, Hotel Developers (Lanka) PLC, are to release their first set of audited accounts – after a lapse of nearly 20 years. Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa announced in parliament that the government has taken over the prime seven acre plot of land in Colombo, upon which the Hilton Hotel is built. Signs of the takeover by the government more..

Divi Neguma promotion: No public funds used

Mar 16 (DN) The Govt yesterday denied reports that public funds have been allocated to promote the Divi Neguma program which was launched by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 12 to uplift 25 percent of population in the country. Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said the Divi Neguma program has received massive support from the private institutions and it aims at uplifting people and promote their capacity by establishing more than one million domestic economic units. more..

‘UPFA campaigned under the Mahinda Chintana policy’

Mar 16 (DM) The UPFA yesterday said that the March 17 election would be the last local government election held under the Local Government (Amendment) Act of 1991 and is also the first local government election held in all districts except Jaffna and Killinochchi districts after 3 decades. Minister Dulles Alahapperuma said that the UPFA has campaigned under one policy since 1995 which is the ‘Mahinda Chintana’ policy framework that had brought victory after victory up to now. more..

Lankan financial market anxious but unfazed by Japanese crisis, for now

Mar 16 (Island) Sri Lanka’s financial market analysts said there was no evidence of an impact from the Japanese crisis and adopted a wait-and-see stance as Japan’s monetary authority pumped in more liquidity to assist the post-quake recovery. "The yen depreciated against the rupee soon after the quake and tsunami, but it has appreciated back to levels before the disaster," a dealer said. The rupee brought around 1.35 yen yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka maily lacks charismatic leaders, says Chandrika

Mar 16 (NF) Every citizen in the country has a right to become a leader, and this country maily lacks charismatic leaders, says Chandrika Kumaratunga, Former President. She expressed this view at a function held in Horagolla on Sunday to present certificates to students who completed the leadership training workshop of the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Leadership Training Institute. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga was the chief guest at the occasion. more..

Samurdhi officers reject new pension scheme

Mar 16 (DM) Samurdhi officers yesterday rejected the contributory pension scheme for public sector employees who were not eligible to receive pensions. The Samurdhi Development Officers Union (SDOU) said at present the officers were registered as EPF and ETF contributors, but the status quo would change if the new scheme was implemented. “We have asked the government for a proper pension scheme, but we reject the proposed scheme,” SDOU General Secretary Chamara Maddumakaluge said. more..

University lecturers stage token strike

Mar 16 (DM) Academic activities in all universities came to a halt yesterday when hundreds of university lecturers launched a token strike, organized by the Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA), to demand a dignified wage for academics in Sri Lanka. Lecturers at the Nawala Open University gathered outside the university entrance and displayed placards accusing the government of failing to fulfil the promises made to academics more..

Lecturer assaulted; students deny allegations

Mar 16 (DM) A lecturer and three other members of Sri Jayawardenapura University had been assaulted allegedly by a group of students, an official said yesterday. The incident had taken place Monday night when the lecturer and three other security officials intervened in an argument between a group of students. However, Student leader Venerable Kamburupitiye Gnanessara who dismissed allegations of attacks on the lecturer, said that it was impossible for him to have got assaulted more..

New Zealand-Sri Lanka clash, already a superhit

Mar 16 (PTI) In India cricket maybe considered a religion, but it is difficult to find any takers for matches that don’t feature India. Even though India is a co-host of the World Cup, it is difficult to get the spectators to the stadium to watch other teams play. However, Mumbai managed to get a decent crowd of close to 15,000 for a one-sided contest between New Zealand and Canada at the Wankhede Stadium last Sunday. If that kind of a match got some attention, more..

NGOs face funding gap and govt scrutiny

Mar 16 (IPS) Lack of donor funding, state phobia against western NGOs, and restrictive work permits for foreign aid workers have together hit the operations of several dozen Sri Lankan NGOs and their foreign counterparts. British-government funded agencies and AusAid, an Australian government agency, have reportedly reduced their funding of local NGOs. U.S.-based Care International is also cutting its local staff in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka poll doldrums

Mar 16 (SG) Sri Lanka goes to the polls once again on March 17 in an election that’s sorely lacking in interest due to a combination of factors: focus on the World Cup cricket tournament, absence of the poll in the capital Colombo and its immediate suburbs, and disinterest in local government issues. Colombo’s mainstream media has also shown little interest in the campaigning, relegating a few pages to coverage of campaign rallies and house-to-house campaigning. more..

Sri Lanka has sinister plans in confiscating lands of Mu’l’livaaykkaal

Mar 16 (TN) Sri Lanka has sinister plans to confiscate the three large coastal villages, Mu’l’livaaykkaal East, Mu’l’livaaykkaal West and Ampalavan Pokka’nai, where the last stages of the Vanni war took place. Original inhabitants of 18 hamlets of the villages are not allowed to resettle and there are secret plans to relocate them to confiscate the stretch of rich marine wealth, said a press release of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF). Mines are still the pretext, more..

Lanka to airlift Lankans from Japan

Mar 16 (DM) The External Affairs Ministry yesterday said it was discussing with SriLankan Airlines to bring back Lankans who are willing to return home from Japan. Of the 20,000 Sri Lankans living in Japan some have called the External Affairs Ministry and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Japan expressing their willingness to get back home, A number of Sri Lankans have also made requests to make arrangements for their family members to return home more..

Police arrest 52 Jaffna Tamils in Colombo

Mar 16 (TN) Colombo Chief Magistrate, Rashmi Singapuli, Tuesday ordered remand for 48 Tamils, all residents of Jaffna, till March 27, legal sources in Colombo said. Terrorist Intelligence Division (TID) of Sri Lanka Police last week arrested fifty two persons, including four children less than 10 years of age, while they were staying in lodges in Colombo and Negombo. All 52 arrested Tamils were produced in court Tuesday. The CID moved court to remand them until their investigation is completed. more..

Houses damaged by falling Kfir debris: State to pay compensation

Mar 16 (Island) The govt will pay compensation to those who suffered losses due to burning debris of two Kfir fighter aircraft crashing on their houses at Weeragula and Neligahamula on the Gampaha-Kirindiwela road in the Gampaha District on Mar.1. SLAF spokesman Wing Commander Andy Wijesooriya told The Island that a committee, headed by Air vice Marshal Kapila Jayampathy and tasked with an internal inquiry would make recommendations with regard to compensation to be paid. more..

50,000 police personnel for election duty: IGP

Mar 16 (DM) Fifteen candidates contesting in the current Local Government elections are among the one hundred and forty persons arrested for election violence incidents so far, IGP Mahinda Balasuriya said yesterday. IGP Balasuriya added that 50,000 police personnel have been deployed for election duty while 20,000 STF and armed forces personnel will also assist when necessary at the election tomorrow. more..

First time in Sri Lanka: IOTC sessions from March 18

Mar 16 (DN) The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission’s (IOTC) 15th session will be held in Colombo from March 18 to 22 according to the Compliance Committee’s decision, Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said. This meeting will be held in Sri Lanka for the first time. It will be attended by over 250 delegates and observers from nearly 35 countries in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond. Representatives from major Distant Water Fishing Nations such as Europe, Japan, Korea, France, Taiwan and more..

USAID awards scholarships to students of the 2011 journalism diploma program

Mar 16 (USE) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the development arm of the U.S. government, has awarded journalism scholarships to 20 young Sri Lankan men and women. The recipients will attend the 2011 Journalism Diploma Program at the Sri Lanka College of Journalism (SLCJ) in Colombo. This is the third consecutive year USAID has awarded scholarships for the SLCJ program. The scholarships provide tuition and a monthly stipend. more..

Govt. confident, UNP wants end to UPFA’s hold on LG institutions

Mar 16 (Island) The UPFA on Monday night wrapped up its campaign for the March 17 LG polls with a meeting at Hambantota, where a confident President Mahinda Rajapaksa appealed to the electorate not to be misled by the opposition. The President said that a victory for the UPFA at the forthcoming polls would deliver a heavy blow to those seeking to undermine post-war stability. He said that the government needed LG bodies under its control more..

Insider trading case: Rajaratnam’s lawyers grill govt. witness

Mar 16 (PTI) Lawyers for hedge-fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, the prime accused in the U.S.’ biggest insider trading case, attempted to discredit the government’s star witness, Indian-American Anil Kumar, accusing him of tax evasion and telling “a monstrous lie” to hide payments. During the trial proceedings yesterday, John Dowd, Galleon Group founder Rajaratnam’s defence lawyer, cross-examined Kumar, a former McKinsey & Co. partner who gave his direct testimony. more..

SLPA gets proposals for 26 projects at H’tota port

Mar 16 (Island) Sri Lanka Ports Authority has received 26 project proposals for setting up of industries at the Hambantota port, SLPA Media Spokesman Nalin Aponso said. "The developers of the Hambantota port and the technical evaluation committee are currently evaluating the project proposals. We’ll pick the best from the available proposals," he said. The proposals include putting up cement factories, vehicle assessment centres and industries based on fisheries. more..

Sri Lanka inflation stumps markets

Mar 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's rising inflation and negative real rates have stumped markets with bond liquidity vanishing, quotes widening and forward dollars rates doubling amid uncertainty and lack of direction, dealers said. Dealers say activity in bond markets started to slow from February and secondary market activity has dried up rapidly over the past two weeks. Sri Lanka's inflation rose to 7.8 percent in February more..

Fukushima radiation: No danger here

Mar 16 (DM) The Atomic Energy Authority of Sri Lanka (AEASL) will begin ‘Air Monitoring’ to check the environment for possible exposure or radiation on Sri Lanka from today on an island wide basis as a precaution, following radiation leakage at the Fukushima Daiichi atomic reactors in Chairman of the AEASL, Dr. Wimaladharma Abeywickrama, while dispelling any risk to Sri Lanka from the level 4 radiation leakage more..

Give employees time to vote: UNP

Mar 16 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday urged the government to grant full day's leave for mercantile sector workers to cast their votes at Thursday's local government elections stressing that two hours leave given to them to vote was hardly sufficient for those who are registered outside Colombo.stressing that two hours leave given to them to vote was hardly sufficient for those who are registered outside Colombo. more..

SPOs allowed to call in Army

Mar 16 (DM) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has empowered Senior Presiding Officers (SPO) to call in army personnel up to 25 metres from their respective polling stations if any untoward incident happens on polling day. The local government election will be conducted tomorrow in 234 local government areas. The Commissioner had vowed to take stern disciplinary action against police officers who do not discharge their duties for the maintenance of more..

'Three days will be added to next school term'

Mar 16 (DM) Three days would be added to the next school term to compensate for the closing of government schools on March 16, 17 and 18 because of the local government elections, said Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane yesterday. Mr. Gunawardane told Daily Mirror that Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake stressed the need to close schools on these three days. more..

Hospitals told to purchase drugs locally

Mar 16 (Island) The Health Ministry has instructed hospital directors to purchase the drugs not available in their hospitals.Health Ministry sources yesterday said that over twelve drugs were not available in some hospitals.Drug manufacturers have failed to deliver them on time. The Health Ministry has instructed directors facing drug shortages to make inquires from the Medical Supplies Division. more..

Workers briefly abandon Japan nuclear plant as crisis worsens

Mar 16 (Reuters) Japan's nuclear crisis appeared to be spinning out of control on Wednesday after workers withdrew briefly from a stricken power plant because of surging radiation levels, but desperate efforts to avert a catastrophic meltdown quickly resumed. Early in the day another fire broke out at the earthquake-crippled facility, which has sent low levels of radiation wafting into Tokyo in the past 24 hours, more..

Polls campaigns end, leaving two dead

Mar 16 (Island) Political parties and independent groups contesting the March 17 elections to 232 Local bodies concluded their campaigns at midnight on Monday. The Additional Commissioner of Elections W.P. Sumanasiri said that the polls would be held according to the Electoral Register for 2009. He said that 9.4 million people were eligible to vote for 29,098 candidates at 7,396 polling stations in the 23 administrative districts, more..

Desperate violent tactics cannot prevent Rajapaksa regime’s defeat – UNP

Mar 16 (Island) Desperate violent tactics resorted to by the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime cannot prevent its defeat at tomorrow’s elections to 235 of the 301 Local Government Councils, the UNP said yesterday. Predicting a landslide victory for the UNP, the party’s General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the government was hoping to win by the use of violent methods, but the masses who have continued to more..

Asylum plea: No Nepal room for fled Fonseka men

Mar 16 (KP) A group of Sri Lankan nationals who worked closely with former Gen. and Commander of Sri Lankan Army Sarath Fonseka during Sri Lanka’s 2010 presidential and general elections have been seeking asylum in Nepal for the last few months. The government, however, has denied the request. The Sri Lankans, who are currently semi-underground in Kathmandu, said they fled their country along with their families and sneaked into Nepal during more..

TNA talks Friday

Mar 17 (NN) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the government will have key discussions this week on a framework for a political solution and other issues which concern the Tamil community. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that the discussion will be held on Friday, a day after the local government elections. The discussion was to be held during the first week of this month but the talks were later postponed as the government said it had to focus on the polls to be held tomorrow. more..

Avoid all protests

Mar 17 (NN) Sri Lankans living and working in Bahrain have been advised to avoid taking part in demonstrations in that country, the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau said. Additional General Manager of the Bureau L.K Ruhunuge told News that around 25,000 Sri Lankans are employed in the Middle Eastern country. Hundreds of Bahrain riot police launched an assault Wednesday morning on pro-democracy demonstrators camped out in a square in the capital Manama. more..

Indian visa applications online

Mar 17 (NN) The High Commission of India says the process for applying for visas to visit India will go online with effect from March 25 this year. Applicants will be required to apply online at The new system is aimed at providing user friendly visa services through the Indian Visa Application Centre (VFS Global) in Colombo, Kandy and Jaffna and directly at the Consulate General of India in Hambantota. more..

Over 58 % qualify for G.C.E (A/L)

Mar 17 (NN) Over 58 percent of students who sat for the G.C.E ordinary level examinations last year have qualified for the Advanced Level, the Education Ministry said today. The results of the G.C.E ordinary level exam held last year were released today and according to the results 58.79 percent of the students have qualified for the Advanced Level. According to the Education Ministry 310642 students sat for the G.C.E (OL) exam last year of which 182630 qualified for the Advanced Level. more..

Beware of fake web

Mar 17 (NN) Sri Lankans have been warned of an attempt to dupe web users by asking for money to assist people affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team (SLCERT) said that it received a warning over the fake websites from the International CERT located in Hong Kong. Information Security Engineer of SLCERT Sri Lanka Rohana Palliyaguru said that some of these fake organizations collecting money on the web to help Japan are more..