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Mahinda’s magicians

Apr 8 (Island) JVP General Secretary, Tilvin Silva recently called Ministers, Wimal Weerawansa, Champika Ranawaka and Johnston Fernando magicians in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet. Weerawansa and Ranawaka are both ex-JVPers while Fernando’s political origin is in the UNP. Addressing the 41 anniversary of the 1971 JVP uprising, the JVPer ridiculed the three ministers for talking rubbish in the face of growing economic difficulties, power crisis and isolation among the global community. more..

Shiranthi takes over CMC playground

Apr 8 (CT) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) officials and councillors were not allowed to enter the premises of the Stanley Janz Playground in Colpetty as it had been taken over by the First Lady, Shiranthi Rajapaksa, a councilor said. The CMC was to hold their annual bakmaha ulela (April New Year) festivities from 7 to 10April at the Stanley Janz Playground in Colpetty. Three matches were to be played by councillors and officials at the CMC playground yesterday. more..

Govt. goes ahead with ‘privileged imports’ despite growing crisis

Apr 8 (Island) In spite vowing to curb vehicle imports to save foreign exchange and tackle congestion on roads, the govt was going ahead of issuing of vehicle permits on concessionary terms to politicians, public servants and professionals, informed sources said. Asked how many would benefit from the UPFA move, sources said that the Treasury had received thousands of applications so far this year and was in the process of more..

Govt. mulls expanding rubber production to non-traditional areas

Apr 8 (Island) In a bid to expand rubber production, the government is now looking at growing the crop in non-traditional areas. Due to the present shortage, most industries have no option but to import both synthetic and natural rubber. However, following recommendations the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) has made, rubber plantations are to be introduced into non-traditional areas as well. Sri Lanka’s total rubber production is reported to be inadequate to cater the more..

Probe into Emiratis' deaths halted

Apr 8 (SO) Investigations into the deaths of an Emirati woman and her son in Colombo last month have been blocked because autopsies were not conducted. Dalal Ali Saif Obaid Al Mazroui, 22, and her son Ali Mohammed Al Mazroui, 14 months, died on a family holiday in Sri Lanka, almost 17 hours after they landed in Colombo. The husband and father, Mohammed Ali Obaid Al Mazroui, 23, a policeman from Wadi Koob in Ras Al Khaimah, was also admitted to hospital, but recovered. more..

HR battle: From Geneva to Washington now

Apr 8 (ST) A string of diplomatic blunders saw a resolution on Sri Lanka being adopted at the UNHRC in Geneva two weeks ago. A return to the route that brought the country under the microscope of the international community leaves behind a trail. The first international focus came when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon established a three-member panel of experts to examine accountability issues. It related to the separatist war that ended with more..

GL must go – Sajith

Apr 8 (NS) Sri Lanka’s humiliating defeat at the UNHRC in Geneva was mainly due to the incompetent foreign policy, and External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris should resign forthwith as the responsibility for the defeat rests solely on him, says UNP Deputy Leader, Sajith Premadasa. Addressing a press briefing at the Bodhi Ranasinghe Foundation last week, Sajith said that the country had now become an international laughing stock, thanks to its inapt foreign policy. more..

Douglas vows to take LLRC to court

Apr 8 (NS) Leader of the EPDP and Minister Douglas Devananda says he would file legal action against the LLRC report. He told the Parliament that he would take legal action before the Supreme Court against the LLRC report for not publishing his response to an allegation levelled against his party. He has said that the LLRC report had stated that his party was an armed paramilitary group, but has failed to give prominence to the response given by him to the Commission more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Apr 8 (ST) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe leaves for Sikkim tomorrow on his continuing journeys of visiting Buddhist places of worship in the North Eastern Indian highlands. Enroute he will be stopping over at the Taj Hotel in New Delhi where he will be also attending the conference on "Delivering Inclusive and Sustainable Development". It is organised by the South Asian Policy and Research Institute (Sapri) of which former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is more..

Economic crisis hitting poor and middle classes, small businessmen and farmers

Apr 8 (ST) rest rates, which this week rose for the second time in two months, and a credit squeeze have hit the middle class and poorer segments much more than affordable groups, a survey shows. However, the govt strategy to curb imports and reduce the widening trade deficit was paying early dividends as there was less pressure on foreign reserves, the survey found out. On Thursday the Central Bank raised more..

Car importers to shun H’tota port

Apr 8 (NS) The Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association (CMTA) has decided to shun the Hambantota port to have their newly imported vehicles cleared, Chairman of the association Tilak Gunasekara said. The government last week announced that all vessels carrying motor vehicles would berth at Hambantota for clearance end May, this year. “We are not going to use the Hambantota Port, as it would increase logistical costs heavily due to poor infrastructure facilities,” more..

Olympics only for SLRC

Apr 8 (SL) The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) has decided not to transfer the telecast rights of the upcoming Olympic Games in London to the Carlton Sports Network (CSN), SLRC Chairman Mohan Samaranayake said. He said that the decision was arrived at in light of a news report appearing in The Sunday Leader newspaper last month. Samaranayake also said that the Asian Broadcast Union (ABU) has informed SLRC that more..

600-ton offshore oil spill any time

Apr 8 (ST) A foreign ship carrying 600 tons of furnace oil and other steel material is on the verge of breaking up and sinking, posing a major disaster to marine life, sea-goers and the tourism industry, maritime officials and environmentalists warned last night. The Cyprus-flagged Thmothrmopolyseara, having a tonnage of 15,500 and a cargo worth US$ 300 million, has remained at anchor for the past three years off the coast of Panadura, pending the outcome of a case currently more..

Indian delegation to visit war-torn areas in Sri Lanka

Apr 8 (PTI) With an aim of reinforcing India's commitment towards ethnic Sri Lankan Tamils, a delegation of MPs led by Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj will travel to the country next week to assess the resettlement and political process in war-torn areas. The 15-member multi-party delegation with representatives from Congress, BJP, DMK, AIADMK and Left parties will be in Sri Lanka from April 16 to April 21. more..

Support for economy from foreign remittances wanes

Apr 8 (ST) The foreign remittance component in bridging the country’s growing trade deficit dropped from 83 percent in 2010 to 53 percent in 2011, due to the doubling of the trade deficit last year, statistics to be released tomorrow reveal. The percentage drop of foreign remittances has affected the popular strategy used by the govt to tackle the crisis. The govt has often used the strategy of bridging a major portion of the more..

Fuel bowser owners to strike

Apr 8 (DM) The Ceylon Petroleum Private Bowser Owners Association today threatened to suspend transportation of fuel on April 9th &10th if their demand to increase fee rates are not met by the CPC. Secretary of the association Shantha Silva said that subsequent to the recent fuel hike they had requested the CPC to increase the fee paid to them. “We have continuously told the relevant authorities that we cannot operate with the money that they are paying us. more..

Sri Lanka to raise Indian nuclear plant issue at the IAEA sessions

Apr 8 (SL) The govt is to discuss the threat to Sri Lanka due to the nuclear power plants in the South Indian coastal area and the need for a disaster mitigation plan at the next International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confab. Minister Champika Ranawaka said the next IAEA sessions are in September this year and he would raise the issue about nuclear power plants in South India at the forum. He said the issue was raised at the last IAEA forum as well. more..

Govt. rejects JVP allegation that rebel leaders are in custody

Apr 8 (Island) The rebel JVP faction yesterday accused the govt of taking its elusive leader Premakumara Gunaratnam into custody along with another senior cadre, Dimuthu Attygalle, in the run up to the launch of a new political outfit on April 9. Udul Premaratne of the dissident group said that both Gunaratnam and Attygalle were missing and were believed to be arrested by security authorities. A senior defence official denied the allegation that the two JBVP rebels were in custody. more..

Asian inmates disappointed as they cannot watch cricket

Apr 8 (GN) Cricket-crazy prisoners who are serving their terms in the Dubai Central Jail are disappointed for not being able to watch their favourite sport on television. Mostly from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India, the prisoners have alleged that one of their inmates who is in charge of the television has blocked cricket channels with the help of the jail management and switches on only football telecasts. The jail authorities however has denied their allegation more..

Sri Lanka and Vietnam can boost trade with fast track measures: officials

Apr 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka and Vietnam can boost bi-lateral trade by opening trade with a few items, and promoting interaction by reciprocal arrangements to participate in trade fairs, officials said. During a visit of Vietnam's President to Sri Lanka last year, the leaders of the two countries had set a target of a billion US dollars in trade. Vietnam's ambassador to Colombo Ton Sinh Thanh told an economic forum in Colombo, held with Sri Lanka's Institute of more..

Naseby urges proceeding with devolution process

Apr 8 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt should carry out devolution process without any further delay to ensure post-LTTE national reconciliation, declared Lord Naseby PC. Based on the recommendations made by the LLRC, the UNHRC, too, called for devolution of powers to the provinces. Addressing the media at the Colombo Hilton late last week, Naseby who is a member of the House of Lords of the UK parliament and Chairman of the All Party more..

Premature baby puts Sri Lankan maid in dilemma

Apr 8 (AN) A Sri Lankan woman who gave birth prematurely at a govt hospital in Riyadh while her husband is in jail has told an Indian social worker she has no idea how she will settle her hospital bills. Eliyathamby Rajeswary had come to the Kingdom as a housemaid to work with her husband Ramachandran Raveendran, who is a house driver in the same Saudi household. Raveendran was jailed for one month for assaulting one of his friends in a brawl at his sponsor's compound. more..

Unsuitable essential goods raided

Apr 8 (CT) The Consumer Affairs authority has taken in to custody 7980 kilograms of rice which had expired and not suitable for human consumption, from a large-scale wholesale store in Pettah. A spokesperson of the Internal Trade Ministry said the owner of the expired rice had changed the date of expiry of the rice stock and had tried to release it to the market. In the same raid the CAA had also taken 5300 kilograms of expired dhal and 25 kilograms of tamarind in more..

‘Ensure safe return of my son’

Apr 8 (CT) The mother of disappeared dissident leader Premakumar Gunarathnam yesterday urged the govt to ensure the safe return of her son, who was reportedly abducted on Friday night. “I lost one son in 1989 when he was abducted during the political violence, I don’t want to lose another son the same way,” Priya Gunarathnam said speaking at a media briefing held yesterday. “I’m scared that this would also happen to my younger son – my only remaining son.” more..

Rally to protect democracy - JVP

Apr 8 (LT) Democracy in the country is being infringed upon daily and all masses should rally to defeat the undemocratic and repressive conditions carried out by the weak rulers in the country states the JVP in an announcement issued to the media by its Political Bureau. The announcement states: “The ‘Jana Aragalaya’ movement in a media briefing had stated that two of its members have been abducted by security sections. This is a very serious matter; a serious infringe on more..

Jacqueline trains in Brazilian martial arts for Race 2

Apr 8 (HT) Last year, she went bold in Murder 2 and ended up tasting success for the first time in Bollywood. And this year, Jacqueline Fernandez went ahead and tried her hand at comedy in Housefull 2. And the ex-Sri Lankan beauty queen’s experiments continue with her next, Race 2. In Abbas-Mustan’s sequel to the 2008 hit, she hopes to deliver an action-packed performance. And Jackie is going all out to make sure she puts the right foot forward. “I will start shooting for Race 2 in May. more..

Sri Lanka says rebels were defeated without foreign assistance

Apr 8 (Xinhua) A top Sri Lankan military official who is now serving in the United Nations said on Sunday that the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels three years ago without any foreign assistance. Major General Shavendra Silva, who led a key army unit during the final stages of the war, also said that the army did not stick to existing combat manuals but instead adopted new tactics during the push to eliminate the rebels. more..

Indian HC talks with Pillayan

Apr 8 (DM) Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Ashok K.Kantha has taken up the issue on the vandalism of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Batticaloa with Eastern province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, the Hindu online reported. “India has taken up the issue of desecration and requested that the Gandhi statue be rebuilt. Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha spoke to Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary K. Amunugama. more..

Sri Lanka undecided on extradition request for Markandu

Apr 8 (SL) The govt has not made a decision on whether or not it would request for the extradition of Thayakaran Markandu, a suspected human smuggler, who is currently in French custody. Sarath Dissanayake, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said on Friday that no decision had been taken on whether or not the government would request for the extradition of Markandu. The suspected human smuggler is currently in French custody where more..

WikiLeaks: Gota scared of JVP, JHU and NFF

Apr 8 (CT) “Ambassador asked whether this message had been widely communicated to LTTE fighters at the front. Rajapaksa said that such offers had been quiet and implied that Sinhalese nationalist parties (JHU, NFF and JVP) would react loudly if such offers were publicized too widely” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. According to an unclassified cable, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa offered amnesty to all LTTE fighters. more..

Police complaint against Rosy

Apr 8 (CG) A police complaint has been lodged against UNP MP Rosy Senanayake claiming that she is staying in a rented house by force. The landlords have said that the former Mrs. World had taken the luxury house in Rajagiriya on rent in March 2010 but was to leave the house by December last year. However she continued to remain in the house till January this year and paid her due rent accordingly as well. The landlords however have said that since January this year more..

Clergy await govt response on LLRC Report

Apr 8 (SL) A member of the clergy who requested anonymity said that the priests who signed a recent petition were waiting to see if the Govt implemented the recommendations made in the LLRC report. The clergy member recently signed a petition calling for an independent, impartial inquiry into accountability issues in the last stages of the war. 31 priests, many from the North and East, signed the petition, which caused an uproar in the Catholic community, more..

Drug storage at Cancer hospital at risk

Apr 8 (SL) The effectiveness of medicines, including chemotherapy drugs, stored in the cold room at the Cancer hospital in Maharagama have been drastically affected due to a breakdown in the cooling machines. Cancer Institute sources said that although the cooling machines in the cold room have been malfunctioning over the past one and a half months nothing has been done to rectify the situation. more..

Bribery Commission begins probe into ‘irregular appointments’ of SJGH

Apr 8 (Island) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption has launched a probe into petitions filed against two high-ranking officials of the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH), a senior official said. "The process of investigation has begun", he said, referring to the petitions filed by joint trade unions against the "irregular appointments" of SJGH’s director, Dr. Shavendra Gamage and deputy director, Dr. (Mrs) Chamila Ariyananda. more..

Herath delighted over career best ratings

Apr 8 (BBC) Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath who has moved up the ICC Test rankings to fifth says he is delighted to be awarded for his performance in two Test against England. Herath who took 6-133 and 1-37 in the second Test and adjudged man of the match after securing 12 wickets moved up to fifth, from seventh, with a career best rating of 769. “Definitely I am really happy to be move up to fifth from the seventh place within six days,” he told BBC Sinhala service, more..

Ministry unaware of IOC price hike moves

Apr 8 (NS) A Petroleum Ministry official said “The Govt of Sri Lanka cannot entertain a request by the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to increase the price of petrol and diesel because there is no official agreement signed with the Indian company.” Reacting to reports that the IOC had made such a request, the ministry official said, “There is no agreement as such now between the Petroleum Ministry and the IOC. more..

Basil lies regarding economy

Apr 8 (LT) Minister Basil Rajapaksa has come out with fabrications regarding country’s financial reserves. He has stated that Sri Lanka possesses a financial reserve of US$8 billion. This statement of the Minister has been used as the lead of today’s issue of ‘Silumina.’ ‘Silumina’ under the heading “We possess financial might unprecedented in history” states “The country possessed a financial reserve of US$8 billion and the economic situation in the country is more..

UN urged to help find Gunaratnam

Apr 8 (BBC) The wife of a disappeared political party leader in Sri Lanka has appealed to the United Nations and the Australian government to help finding him. Dr Champa Somaratne, wife of Premkumar Gunaratnam who is missing since Friday, said that she sent a letter to the Australian Foreign Ministry requesting them to intervene. “I told them that my husband was arrested in Sri Lanka on 06 April by an armed group and I believe that the arrest has happened with the blessing of the govt,” more..

FSP accuses Govt. of 'arresting' Kumar, Dimuthu

Apr 8 (CT) The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) of JVP dissidents yesterday held the govt and its security forces responsible for the alleged 'arrest' of the party’s leader-to-be Premakumar Gunaratnam and its female wing leader Dimuthu Attygalle. Gunaratnam and Dimuthu were reported missing between 11 p.m. Friday and 4 a.m.Saturday. According to party member Senadheera Gunathilake a.k.a. Opatha, Gunaratnam had returned to the house in more..

Sri Lanka’s No.1 ranking hard to live up to

Apr 9 (SL) Only three from champion side for April 14-22 Div.1 A5N scrap in Manila by virtue of being ranked no.1 in Division One of the Asian Five Nations rugby competition, Sri Lanka has to be tagged the favourites – a burden to bear even at the best of times. But for a team that can hardly be described as the country’s best; the favourite’s tag is a bit of a misnomer, and a millstone around the neck. The 24-member national squad named last week is a radical departure more..