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Take the POWER back from the trade unionists, says Patali

Sept 7 (LB) Q: What is your take on the current situation of hydropower generation? A: I urge the people to brace themselves for a power crisis in the foreseeable future. With this in mind the people ought to use power sparingly. It is no secret that the south-west monsoon has failed to materialize to its full potential after almost 50-odd years, hence this power crisis looming on the horizon. more..

Nuwara Eliya veggie farmers in dire straits

Sept 7 (LG) Vegetable cultivators in the Nuwara Eliya district have been affected by a sharp drop in prices. Farmers who cultivate leeks, carrot, beetroot and cabbage are those mainly affected with the drop in prices, with some of them reluctant to harvest the crop due to the drop in prices. They said that, despite the availability of fertiliser at a subsidised rate, the high cost of labour, pesticides and other chemicals has resulted in a sharp increase in the cost of production, and were unable to more..

Tamils, we need a new generation of leaders to lead the struggle for freedom

Sept 7 (LG) The current leaders must touch their conscience and ask are we stepping stones or stumbling blocks? Tamil parents please, please give your children freedom, dignity, self respect courage, determination and perseverance. So that will become leaders instead of educated high-tech workers. Rudrakumar and Emmanuel must travel down to Sri Lanka, defying all bans and restrictions and recreate the "Tiananmen Square" and show to the world I love my freedom and say to the world give me my freedom or more..

On an ancient road again

Sept 7 (ST) It begins in Kotte and ends in Kanda Uda Rata. Along the way, it passes through Hanwella, Ruwanwella, Hettimula, Ganethenna and Balana. The ancient Colombo Kandy route is 13 miles longer than its modern counterpart but it is not the added miles that would have defeated modern motorists. The palanquins and elephants that moved along it had no need for contoured tar roads. Even more defining was its role in defeating would-be invaders. more..

Persisting conflicts of interest

Sept 7 (LG) Colombo’s stockmarket is getting so heated up that its difficult to stay away editorially each week without commenting on the developments. The uncertainty, lack of governance and ineffective powers to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) are being cited as some of the reasons why foreign investors are yet to return in a big way to the market, and why there are victims, particularly, retail investors. Among the biggest issues in the market are conflict of interests and insider trading more..

Awaiting benefits of lifting Emergency

Sept 7 (LG) The State of Emergency that gave the govt extraordinary powers to utilize the armed forces for maintaining public security and to restrict civil liberties has lapsed after six years. This follows President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s announcement in Parliament that from the time the war ended to now there has been no reports of terrorist type of activities. He said he was "satisfied there is no longer a need for extending the Emergency Regulations for the administration of the country now." more..

'None of the CPC officials are under my control'

Sept 7 (NS) Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha says the Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is vested with the responsibility of taking action against CPC officials involved on the importation of substandard petrol. He said that the role of the Ministry was limited to supervision adding that the procurement process was solely handled by the CPC. “The oil purchasing is totally the responsibility of the CPC. more..

Laws that promote democracy and development

Sept 7 (DM) It is a well-known fact that laws in a country are created, implemented or abrogated after taking into consideration the people’s wellbeing and conduct. The end of the thirty-year civil war in Sri Lanka has resulted in the Sri Lankan national flag being hoisted, above all divisive, flags from point Dondra to Point Pedro. The defeat of terrorism led to various opinions being expressed with regard to the restoration of people’s democratic rights and livelihoods. more..

Why the Diaspora must return to Sri Lanka

Sept 7 (GV) In a recent post entitled “How The Diaspora Can Overthrow The Govt”, blogger Indi Samarajiva put forth the notion that all the Diaspora needs to do to claim Eelam (or whatever solution it wants) is to come back. As idealistically narrow as this claim may be, it does bear a certain logic. As Indi puts it, radical change requires radical sacrifice. For many, the idea of returning to Sri Lanka is a fantasy but not a practical reality. There are limits to what one is able to do. more..

Murali says better wicket should have been prepared for first Test

Sept 7 (Island) Champion spinner Muttiah Muralitharan says a better wicket should have been prepared for the first Test against Australia in Galle, but expects his former team-mates to bounce back in the three-match Test series with the second Test Match scheduled to start at Pallekele on Thursday. Australia won the first Test in Galle by 125 runs as the game ended inside four days with Sri Lanka being shot out for their lowest total in Galle when they were more..

Editorial: Belhaj's revelation

Sept 7 (Island) Britain may have thought the ouster of Gaddafi would help it cover up its dirty deals with that tyrant. But, a rebel leader, Abdul Hakim Belhaj, has opened up a can of worms for the British government by revealing MI6's complicity in his abduction by the CIA in Bangkok in 2004 and his subsequent rendition to Gaddafi's Libya, where he was tortured, illegally detained and interrogated. Insisting that the British intelligence operatives were aware of his predicament, he has called for more..

Editorial: ICC No-balls sri lankan spin

Sept 7 (DM) The basic format of the preparation of a good wicket is water and rolling. From that point onwards the preparation of the wicket is almost akin to the skills of a good baker. Just with the mixture of flour, water and some other ingredients the baker bakes the cake, but a good baker makes it more palatable. Last week what occurred in Galle was a disaster. Two of the best batting lineups in world cricket Australia and Sri Lanka lost all forty wickets within the space of two and half days more..

Robust exports to get boost via Expo 2012

Sept 7 (FT) Despite crises in most world markets, the Govt remained upbeat on prospects for Sri Lanka’s exports which have grown by 35% so far to reach $ 5 billion giving optimism that end 2011 figure would top $ 10 billion. “On the back of 21% growth in exports in 2010, current year’s exports have grown by 35% in the first half and by end of this year we are confident of earnings topping $ 10 billion, which is above the target of $ 9.3 billion despite difficulties more..

Amunugama offers olive branch to EU!

Sept 7 (FT) Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation Dr. Sarath Amunugama yesterday ventured to offer an olive branch to the European Union. During his address as Chief Guest at the inauguration of a two day workshop on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by the Sri Lanka Bank’s Association (SLBA), Financial Architects and Providence Networks and Solutions, at which ceremony Secretary General of the European Banking Federation, Guido Ravoet was also present more..

A’Level students rush to grab jobs in BPO sector

Sept 7 (Island) Among many sectors showing exceptional growth in Sri Lanka over the past few years is the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector. The key reason behind this success is that it inherently produces professional employment opportunities in an international setting. An academy set up to develop human resources for this sector, the Lanka BPO Academy, says A’Level students are rushing in to grab jobs in this burgeoning industry. BPO is contracting certain operations and more..

Fresh bid to prevent deaths at unprotected railway crossings

Sept 7 (Island) With many being killed or maimed annually at hundreds of unprotected railway crossings throughout the country, due to inability of authorities to install costly imported electric gates, two local inventors have come up with a high quality and durable gate, Deputy Minister Rohana Dissanayaka revealed. He said that Electrical Superintendent of Matale M.G.G.S. Gamage and Chandima Bandara of Kegalle had made cost-effective gates for level crossing. more..

Luxury buses to operate on Southern Expressway

Sept 7 (Island) "The SLTB will operate a luxury bus service on the Southern Expressway. At first two buses will be deployed," Minister Kumara Welgama said when he made an observation visit to the Lanka Ashok Leyland Company assembly plant at Panagoda. He said arrangements had been made to operate additional buses according to the transport needs of commuters. "The Ministry will purchase the buses from the Lanka Ashok Leyland Company. The buses will have a comfortable seating capacity with more..

Prof. Fonseka steps up anti-smoking campaign

Sept 7 (Island) Tobacco kills 50 to 60 persons in Sri Lanka daily and about 20,000 people, a year. Alcohol consumption too claims the lives of a similar number of people, National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Chairman Prof. Carlo Fonseka said. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest statistics show that over 43 percent of cancer patients are addicted to tobacco while heavy smoking has also been attributed to kidney diseases. Fonseka added that alcohol as a medicine more..

Sapugaskanda oil refinery project meets Iranian hurdle

Sept 7 (ST) The Sapugaskanda oil refinery expansion project has encountered a financial hurdle even before it gets off the ground with Iranian funding. The Sri Lankan Government has requested Iran to reconsider its conditions on financial commitments of both countries imposed in the MOU signed in 2008. Minister Susil Premajayantha said that this financial hurdle comes following a latest feasibility study conducted by KBS Technologies of Singapore which more..

Special trilingual degree from next year

Sept 7 (DN) A Special Trilingual degree will be initiated in universities from next year. This course is to be offered to those willing to be proficient in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. "The students following this special degree will become fluent in the three languages after successful training under a comprehensive university training," he added. This special trilingual degree programme is to be initiated in the Arts faculties of all universities. more..

Most Sri Lankans believe economy has improved-study reveals

Sept 7 (ST) Most Sri Lankans believe the ‘general economic’ situation in the country has seen some improvements after the end of the conflict, a new survey has revealed. In a survey on post-war democracy in Sri Lanka, the study conducted by Social Indicator (SI), the survey research unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) found 10.7% of Sri Lankans saying the general economic situation in the country has got a lot better while 38% said that it has got a little better. more..

Inspiration: If Sri Lanka can do it, so can we

Sept 7 (PT) It took almost 30 years for the Sri Lankan government to defeat terrorism on the island. And a man with the determination and common sense of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to do the job. Today, as the island starts to reap the dividends of peace, one asks what Pakistan can learn from this experience. In 2005, when Rajapaksa was elected to power, he came with a single agenda – to defeat forces of the LTTE. Till then, the Tigers seemed invincible. more..

Batticaloa residents urge international action on crimes against humanity

Sept 7 (TN) The kith and kin of 174 Tamil youths, who were arrested and dragged away by the Sri Lanka Army 21 years ago in two separate incidents at Vanthaa'rumoolai and later massacred en masse, observed Monday memorial prayers at the Saiva temple at the Eastern University premises and at the Vishnu temple of Vanthaa'rumoolai. According to the findings of the SL Presidential Commission appointed by the then government to conduct inquiry into several massacres of Tamils that more..

Call for answers over worker’s death

Sept 7 (UCAN) Catholic bishops and the family of a worker killed during a strike at the country’s largest Free Trade Zone three months ago have called on the government to make public the results of its inquiry into the incident. They also called for an independent and impartial investigation into the violence in June, which resulted in the death of Roshen Chanaka, 21-year-old Catholic, a garment worker, after police opened fire on striking workers protesting a proposed pension scheme.. Hundreds were injured in the crackdown. more..

Superbug, the cause of baby deaths

Sept 7 (DN) Premature Birth Units at the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital and Matale Base Hospital which have been closed due to a superbug bacteria that caused the death of five premature babies, have been disinfected with special sterilization measures by the Health authorities. However, the closure of Premature Birth Units (PBUs) at the hospitals will continue until the remedial action is complete, the authorities told the Daily News. more..

CID probes melody piracy

Sept 7 (DM) The CID yesterday told a Colombo Court that two music web sites had allegedly violated the Intellectual Property Act by airing a melody which belonged to Charitha Lakshitha Atalage. His mother in her complaint to the CID said Lakshitha had composed this melody to the lyrics of Paravagiyaya written by the popular lyricist Nandana Weerasinghe and obtained the intellectual property rights for the melody. She said her son had later e-mailed the tune to one of his cousins from more..

More lands being cultivated in North

Sept 7 (DM) An additional 500 hectares of land that had been cleared of landmines were cultivated with paddy and other crops by farmers in the North this year, officers of the Vavuniya Agriculture Department office said. After the war ended, around 12000 hectares of land were brought under the cultivation of paddy and other crops in Vavuniya, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi and Jaffna. An additional extent of 478 hectares have now been allocated for cultivation in de-mined areas and Divisional Secretaries have more..

56 hospitals run without administrators says TU leader

Sept 7 (Island) Around 56 Central Govt and Provincial Council run hospitals do not have Hospital Administrators. Staff, drug and medical equipment shortages have aggravated the problem of providing healthcare facilities in those institutions. The Embilipitiya base hospital’s OPD was temporarily closed for want of staff recently, said All Ceylon Health Service Union (ACHSU) President Gamini Kumarasinghe. "Although the Colombo National Hospital has about 90 wards, more..

Rajitha’s wife moves court

Sept 7 (Island) Fisheries Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne’s wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Sujatha Senaratne, the Deputy Director, National Hospital had complained to the Supreme Court that the Secretary to the Ministry of Health, the Director General of Health Services and the members of the Public Services Commission had recently made an unreasonable decision to turn down her application for the past of Director National Hospital. She requested the Supreme Court to direct the aforesaid respondents to accept more..

New saltern ready soon

Sept 7 (Island) The Raigam Eastern Salt Company in Kuchchaveli, Trincomalee has set a production target of 45,000 tonnes per annum,. "It will be the largest single saltern in Sri Lanka, situated approximately 300 kilometers from Colombo," he said. The construction of the saltern was started in October 2009. Most of the constructions have already been completed and the rest will be completed by 2012, he added. With an extent of 1,805 acres, on completion it will produce enough Salt to eliminate more..

'Govt. releasing HSZ land to owners'

Sept 7 (Island) The govt was taking action to release lands which were used as high security zones to its owners, Minister of Nimal Siripala de Silva said. Responding to Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Minister said that only 3.5 to 4 percent of the lands were held as high security zone (HSZ) contrary to the claim by the Opposition Leader who said that there an extent of 25 to 30 percent of lands had been occupied for setting up HSZ. more..

Kandy pitch key for Australia and Sri Lanka

Sept 7 (Reuters) Australia and Sri Lanka will hold back on naming their sides for the second match of their three-test series in Kandy on Thursday until after they have both had a chance to survey the conditions of a relatively unknown Pallekele stadium pitch. Australia can wrap up the series with a victory after winning the opening match by 125 runs on a difficult pitch in Galle last week, and both captains are prepared to play the waiting game at a venue hosting just its second ever test. more..

Chinese man seeking asylum in Lanka remanded

Sept 7 (DM) The Colombo Fort Magistrate yesterday sought the advice of the Attorney General when a Chinese national who sought asylum in Sri Lanka and registered with the UNHCR was charged by police for staying in the country illegally without a valid visa. However, the Magistrate ordered that he be remanded till September 19. The suspect Pan Jun of Chongqing China was arrested by the Slave Island police when he was staying near the Gangarama temple more..

SB-GMOA clash over pvt. medical college

Sept 7 (DM) Amidst protests by the Govt Medical Officers Association (GMOA) which had refused to accept the legality of the private medical university in Malabe, the Minister vowed that the university would continue to function and that many more such institutions will be established in the future. Minister S.B Dissanayake said the Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (AITM), the first private medical university in Sri Lanka, which was established in 2008, was a legally functioning more..

UK and Lanka in a joint move to protect red slender Loris

Sept 7 (ST) Dr. Craig Turner, EDGE Conservation Biologist from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Sri Lankan zoologist, Saman Gamage, called on the British High Commissioner, John Rankin, recently to brief him about the work being done to protect the red slender loris. Until recently, the Horton Plains slender loris was believed possibly extinct. In 2009, after 200 hours of surveying, ZSL EDGE researchers rediscovered this sub-species and more..

Disgraced ex-minister returns SUV

Sept 7 (Island) Following the intervention of Parliamentary watchdog committee, COPE, a defeated UPFA candidate, Bandula Basnayake has handed over an expensive vehicle, which he took from the State Timber Corporation, eight years ago. "We received the Nissan Patrol bearing No. 65-4013 on Monday," Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Environment, R. Rupsinghe said. Responding to a query, General Manager of the Timber Corporation, P. Kumarasiri said: "We have already appointed more..

Story of a dictator

Sept 7 (LB) The govt would appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee to investigateThe government would appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate the conduct of former Chief Justice (CJ) Sarath Nandasiri de Silva during his tenure as CJ from 1999 to 2009. This was after a delegation of 14 former judges met President Mahinda Rajapaksa to complain about abuse of power by the then chief justice. The former judges who met the president spoke about arbitrary retirements, more..

Who is he? Who said so?

Sept 7 (SL) Thushara Jayaratne is a name not many may remember. The Law College student was the centre of some controversy last year. He claimed that the questions in an open book Commercial law paper (held Dec 3, 2010) had been leaked to none other than the President’s son, Namal Rajapaksa. Jayaratne also said that Rajapaksa had taken the exam in an air conditioned room, apart from the other candidates, even though there was plenty of room in the common examination hall. more..

Three elders abandoned daily

Sept 7 (DN) On an average three elders are left abandoned daily on Sri Lanka's roads, according to Minister Felix Perera. By July 30 this year the number of complaints lodged at the Elders' Maintenance Board in this regard is 158. Further the number of complaints that have been recorded last year was 254. "It is shocking to note that a country like Sri Lanka which is said to lay great emphasis on the extended family concept is facing such a situation. more..

'Colombo’s poor thrown out, lands sold to multinationals'

Sept 7 (Island) The govt has ousted the poor from Colombo and the suburbs and sold their lands to multinational companies, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Speaking at the 65th anniversary celebration of the UNP at its headquarters in Pitakotte, he said that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime only paid lip service to the downtrodden and had begun a large scale operation to evict the poorest of the poor from their humble abodes. more..