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Sri Lankan shippers face rate hikes

May 12 (LBO) Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line has become the latest container shipping line to announce a freight rate hike in what carriers call 'rate restoration' programmes. OOCL has told shippers it is raising rates on Asia-Europe trade lanes as present rates were not sustainable. "The ocean freight rate for Asia Europe Trade continues to be under the required level to cover basic operating costs," more..

Schools to participate in celebrations

May 12 (DN) The Education Ministry has drawn up plans to hold the 2600th Sambuddhatva Jayanthi on a grand scale with the participation of every Buddhist school-going child throughout the country, Education Ministry Secretary H M Gunasekara said. He was addressing a press conference at the ministry. The ministry has informed its staff to observe sil and engage in other religious programmes at every school which has a majority of Buddhist students, on May 13. more..

The Beggar Problem

May 12 (SL) Last year was one of upheaval for those who lived on the streets. A spate of brutal killings of beggars in and around May 2010 and the relocation of pavement vendors in Pettah meant there were fewer visible signs of poverty. This January, the Government announced a ‘rehabilitation programme’ for Colombo’s street beggars. Despite these measures, they are still present at junctions or bus stops. more..

Changing the Education Landscape in Sri Lanka: A Call for Pragmatism

May 12 (Island) The debate regarding private participation in the provision of tertiary education, in Sri Lanka, has been around for a long time. Attempts to establish private universities have met with fierce resistance in the past. For instance, the North Colombo Private Medical College was taken over by the govt due to strong pressure from various vested interests. The Minister of Higher Education has recently declared his intention of opening up the more..

The Only Thing ‘Thriving’ Is Corruption

May 12 (SL) An international survey on global wellbeing in 2010 carried out by influential polling firm, Gallup has found that only 5% of Sri Lankans are “thriving.” And there are no prizes for guessing exactly who makes up this privileged 5% in Sri Lanka. The poll was published by Gallup on April 19. The Gallup findings fly in the face of government boasts all is well and good in this miracle in the making, except of course the UN Advisory Panel Report more..

Government minister's supporter killed

May 12 (BBC) A close associate of the Deputy Minister Vinyagamoorthi Muralitharan widely known as Karuna was shot dead in Batticaloa. The killing of Rasanayagam Madiyalagan marks the first assassination for months. A supporter of the ruling SLFP, Mr. Madiyalagan was shot dead by a man came to his house in a motorcycle, residents said. Karuna left the TMVP party he had led following the break away from Tamil Tigers to be appointed as more..

'Cinema binds diverse cultures of countries'

May 12 (DN) "Cinema undoubtedly reflects cultural identity and binds countries of cultural diversity. It is like a window into a new and better understanding of everyday life. Movies are mirrors of society and propagating the right rational ideas of society of a certain era," Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. The Minister was speaking at the SAARC Film Festival inauguration. Rambukwella stated that the event opens a common platform to share viewpoints and exchange ideas. more..

Protesters denounce UN report

May 12 (UCAN) Religious leaders, artists and members of the public rallied May 6 against a UN report on war crimes which was critical of the Sri Lankan government. The report, prepared and published by UN secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has alleged the Sri Lankan army committed a series of human rights violations during the war. Leaders of Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities demonstrated in public and held a prayer meeting in Colombo to denounce the report as “biased and one sided.” more..

Statement on Buddhist principles by National Sangha Council

May 12 (DM) A statement of Buddhist principles to celebrate the 2600th Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi was issued by the National Sangha Council yesterday. The Council in its statement plans to promote righteousness inculcating the people the tenets of Buddhism and medication campaigns through the four noble practices of Buddhism in view of the Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi. The other main points in the statement is to launch a programme called more..

Army wheelchair tennis players secure 5th place in South African tournament

May 12 (MoD) Players of the Army's Wheelchair Tennis Association represented Sri Lanka in the Wheelchair Tennis World Team Cup tournament in Pretoria, South Africa and secured the 5th place in the World Group II category competing against 16 countries. The tournament was held from 25th April to 01 May. Sri Lanka Army funded the passage for the team whilst other expenses were borne by Sri Lanka Tennis Association. Sergeant R.M.U. Rajakaruna (SLSR), more..

Caritas lends advice on child care

May 12 (UCAN) Caritas in Kandy held an awareness campaign yesterday to help children of overseas workers face up to challenges and overcome hardships that may arise due to the absence of parental care. Parents go to the Middle East and other countries for work, which is hard on their children since they are forced to live with relatives, neighbors and friends, or at charity centers, where they can face abuse, Caritas says. To help them Caritas, along with more..

First harvest of grapes cultivation reaped

May 12 (MoD) The first harvest of the grapes cultivation in the vegetable and fruit farm of the Naval Livestock and Agricultural Project at Sandy Bay- Trincomalee, was reaped by its sailors in the presence of Commander Eastern Naval Area Rear Admiral Jayanath Colombage on 06th May 2011. The project maintained by SLNS Tissa was started in April 2010 initially with the cultivation of grapes, Japanese Cucumber and Plantains. more..

'Ample job opportunities for trained youth'

May 12 (DN) "Illegal migration to Italy or Japan or joining an extremist organisation was the objective of a majority of youth who failed examinations earlier. "This situation has been changed by the Youth Affairs and Skills Development Ministry and there are ample job opportunities for trained youth in the state and private sectors as well as the foreign job market," said Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma. more..

Lanka sends team to help Japan in debris clearance

May 12 (DM) A team of fifteen officials from the Disaster Management Ministry had left for Japan to help in relief operations in the areas affected by the recent earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that hit that country, officials said yesterday. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA), the Lankans were expected to reach Narita Airport, located in Tokyo, today on flight UL 460. The MOFA said that this team would help in debris clearance operations in more..

Sumathipala, Dharmadasa keen on SLC presidency

May 12 (CI) Former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala and former Interim Committee Chairman Jayantha Dharmadasa have welcomed the Supreme Court announcement that could pave the way for SLC board elections and said they would stand for president if elections are held. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court - hearing a case on the status of SLC's interim committee - suggested the parties come to a settlement on the issue and report back to more..

On the trail of a perfect cup of tea in Sri Lanka

May 12 (G&M) When ancient Arab traders discovered a fertile, teardrop island in the Indian Ocean, they called it Serendib. We still use their word, serendipity, to describe the phenomenon of finding something valuable yet unexpected. With this word stuck in my mind, I drive into Sri Lanka's central highlands, passing dense jungle and milky waterfalls. Locals smile and wave, exuding their distinctive cultural warmth, even as the temperature drops because of the rising altitude. more..

Will The Real Sita Stand Up?

May 12 (TOI) During Ram Rajya, we're told, the people were a contented lot. There was no shortage of food and other material comforts and sickness was rare. People lived happy and long lives. Rama himself often toured the city to check and inquire their welfare. Yet, in many parts of eastern and southern India, the Ramayana is not considered on par with the Mahabharata. Rama is viewed, at best, as a heroic but ultimately flawed protagonist; at worst, a male chauvinist. more..

Blakes’ abortive attempt to save cornered Tigers in 2009 revealed

May 12 (Island) At the height of eelam war IV in 2009, the then US Ambassador in Colombo, Robert O Blake, urged the Sri Lankan government to agree to a mediated surrender of LTTEleaders cornered in the Vanni, but the Rajapaksa government refused to do so, a classified US diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks reveals. The Wiki Leaks revelations published in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten said that Ambassador Blake contacted more..

Farmers revert to traditional methods in Sri Lanka to preserve the environment, health

May 12 (ANI) Thilak Kandegama, a local environmentalist, manages the Kandyan Forest Garden, a natural farm in Ukuwela, a village in Sri Lanka's Central Province. Kandegama started this 12-acre farm in 2009 with the goal of creating an environmentally friendly farming system. He says that crops should be cultivated in a way that protects the environmental balance in Sri Lanka, a country rich in biodiversity. At his farm, Kandegama says he uses the ancient "chena" more..

IUSF lashes out at Rajapaksa govt over suicide of third year undergraduate monk

May 12 (Island) The Inter University Student Federation (IUSF) alleges that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government is responsible for the death of Ven. Katukende Sirisunanda of the Buddhist University of Anuradhapura. The IUSF says Ven. Sirisunanda took his life by swallowing poison due to him being unjustly punished by the university administration on a charge of ragging undergraduates. On the basis of unsubstantiated allegations that more..

Reformists say UNP under ‘emergency’ rule

May 12 (Island) The UNP is heading for a fresh crisis with Reformists declaring war on UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and those near and dear to him. Addressing the inaugural meet of a campaign aimed at ousting Wickremesinghe, Western Provincial Councillor Shilal Lakthilake declared that the incumbent leader couldn’t be allowed to run the party under ‘emergency regulations’. He said that the UNP had been attacking the Rajapaksa regime for suppressing democracy, more..

Sri Lanka Premier League begins July 19

May 12 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have confirmed the dates for the first edition of the Sri Lanka Premier League will be from July 19 to August 4, 2011. The seven provinces will play 24 matches over the 18 days, all of which will be telecast live globally. That suggests a format in which all the teams will play each other once in a league stage, before two semi-finals and a final. Each team will only be allowed five overseas players in their squad, of which only four can more..

Secretary General of Parliament says Rs.1.2 mn fine imposed on service provider

May 12 (Island) Responding to front-page news item captioned ‘Vasu demands accountability in House over sound conference system contract,’ on May 10 issue, Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Kitulegoda says a fine of Rs. 1.2 mn had been imposed on the service provider for failure on its part to adhere to the agreement. The Secretary General told The Island that the Parliament had withheld the payment pending the conclusion of the inquiry. more..

Sri Lanka govt expands overstaffed public service

May 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government has created a new service within an already bloated public service to give jobs to 15,000 unemployed graduates and another 15,000 youth, a statement said. The Cabinet of ministers has approved a proposal to establish a 'Sri Lanka Development Officers’ Service' and a 'Sri Lanka Development Assistants' Service' and to recruit 30,000 people to the public service under these two services, it said. more..

'TNA trying to revive LTTE’s separate state dream'

May 12 (Island) Deputy Resettlement Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, aka Karuna, salleged thatthe TNA was trying to revive the separatist movement, He was commenting on the report that the TNA had been appointed as the Sri Lankan representative of three LTTE groups – GTF (UK), Nediyawan Group (Oslo) and TGTE (New York). "When the UN panel report was released it was the TNA which threw its weight behind it initially," more..

Road Safety is another project for Lankans

May 12 (GDI) For nearly thirty years, we had a conflict in our land that took away the lives of thousands and seriously injured similar numbers every year. That is now over with the humanitarian operation to defeat the forces of terror to which the entire nation contributed. Today we need another humanitarian operation on our roads to save the thousands of valuable lives lost and those injured by road accidents each year. more..

Legality of Press Council queried

May 12 (DM) The legality of the Press Council was raised by Counsel appearing for the editor of the Sunday Times, when a complaint made against the newspaper was brought before it on Tuesday. Mr. S.L Gunasekera, Senior Counsel for the editor, raised a preliminary objection on the jurisdiction of the Press Council when a complaint made by Mr. Lakshman Hulugalle against a news feature published in the Sunday Times was taken up for argument. more..

SF to get medication

May 12 (NN) The Colombo High Court today ordered that Sarath Fonseka be given permission to obtain medical attention at the Nawaloka hospital. Fonseka had made the appeal on the basis that his personal doctor is at the private hospital and he needs to visit that hospital to obtain urgent medical care. Meanwhile the Court said that the Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs and a government MP will be called to give evidence at the appropriate time. more..

Lankaenews back to normal

May 12 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Pugoda magistrate today revoked the ban on ‘lankaenews’ news website and released its journalist Shantha Wijesuriya. Courts on April 28, temporarily suspend the activities of Lankaenews website until the court proceedings regarding arrested Journalist Shantha Wijesooriya are over. he Staff of the Sri Lanka’s controversial web site Lankaenews has begun to vacate their services due to fear of life, more..

Former LTTE hub finds place in Sri Lanka Premier League

May 12 (PTI) Sri lanka`s northern province, which was known for being the hub of LTTE, is set to find representation in the island nation`s version of the Indian Premier League with a team called Oryxes. Basnahira Western Province Bears, Kandurata Hill Country Kites, Nagenahira East Nagas, Ruhunu South Rhinos, Uthuru North Oryxes, Uva South Western Unicorns and Wayamba North Western Wolves are the franchises in the inaugural more..

Iniya Barathi faction listed

May 12 (DM) The United Nations has listed the Iniya Barrathi faction of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) that recruits or uses children, kill or maim children, and/or commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children in situations of armed conflict on theagenda of the Security Council. Releasing the UN Secretary-General’s Tenth Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, yesterday, more..

Revelation in Lasantha case

May 12 (NN) In a shocking revaluation, a former army intelligence officer told the Mount Lavinia Magistrate today that he was told by the OIC of the TID to claim that a top army official was involved in the killing of former Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunga. The intelligence officer who is now in remand, told an open court today that he was told to say the army official, whose name was not mentioned in court, more..

Shirani new Chief Justice

May 12 (NN) The Parliament Council which was convened today has approved Dr. Shirani Bandaranayaka as the next Chief Justice. Dr. Bandaranayaka will take over the position from Ashoka De Silva. The Parliament Council in the meantime also approved retired Supreme Court Judge Jagath S Balapatabandi as the Commissioner to investigate Bribery or Corruption and Prof. Dayasiri Fernando as the Chairman of the Public Service Commission. more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 67-pct in April

May 13 (LBO) Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka rose 66.7 percent to 63,835 in April 2011 from a year ago with sharp increases in visitors from south Asia and the traditional Western European markets. Total arrivals were up 40.4 percent to 278,959 in the four months to April, data from the tourist promotion office showed. The number of visitors from Western Europe, a key source of revenue to the island's resort hotels, rose 70 percent to 23,226. more..

Sri Lankan 'deportation' boy dies

May 13 (RNW) The terminally-ill 8-year-old boy who heard that he could stay in the Netherlands shortly before being deported back to Sri Lanka has died, according to a message issued by his primary school, Het Palet. In January, the director of Het Palet in the eastern town of Almelo highlighted the case of Abiram and his mother who were threatened with deportation. The case evoked a huge response from the Dutch public. Immigration Minister Gerd Leers then decided to more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief 12 05 2011

Dambulla farmers’ big onion seeds destroyed due to carelessness of Department of Agriculture

May 13 (LT) More than 100,000 kilograms of mother bulbs of big onions taken from farmers in Dambulla by the Department of Agriculture for the production of seed onions have been completely destroyed due to irresponsible acts of the Department say reports. The big onion bulbs sent to cold stores in Nuwaraeliya for vernalization have been destroyed due to storing them for a longer period. Normally vernalization is done by storing big onion bulbs in more..

UNP blames state for rift

May 13 (NN) The UNP alleges that there is a government hand in the internal rift within the party. UNP National Organizer Ravi Karunanayaka told News that everytime an election is around the corner, a rift emerges in the UNP. Karunanayaka claims that it has now come to light that some UNP members are supporting the government in de-stabilizing the party before an election. The MP, who will be meeting Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasingha later tonight more..

In his native Sri Lanka, convicted Rajaratnam is no household name

May 13 (Reuters) Even in the heart of Sri Lanka's financial capital, convicted hedge fund founder and one-time billionaire Raj Rajaratnam remains a mystery to many on the island of his birth. Found guilty of 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud on Wednesday in New York in one of the United States' largest hedge fund insider trading cases, Rajaratnam's fate and infamy in his adopted country has drawn negligible attention in Sri Lanka. more..

The Indians (Menon, Rao and Kumar) will arrive

May 13 (DM) Indian National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, External Affairs Ministry Secretary Nirupama Rao and Defence Ministry Secretary Pradeep Kumar are due in Sri Lanka tomorrow, Friday 13th May. They are due for meetings with their counterparts and also with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The team that is coming are the senior most Indian officials who effectively make Indian foreign policy. India is being countered on by the Sri Lankan government to be more..