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‘Tharunayata Hetak’ in the ‘Mahinda Chintana’ vocabulary means abductions

Apr 11 (Island) The ‘Mahinda Chintana’ spoke of a future for the youth (Tharuneyata Hetak), but it did not tolerate the formation of a new political party, the UNP MP Gayantha Karunathillaka said. He said that the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), was a new political organization and there should be no objection to its existence in a pluralistic society. Going by the plethora of abductions by armed gangs, who were freely roaming the streets, more..

Hantana land allocation suspended

Apr 11 (Island) The allocation of land, from the Plantation Industries Ministry owned Hantana Estate, has been suspended to prevent the invaluable mountain range, including Kandy’s National Forest Reserve, being destroyed by money makers, co-chairman of the Kandy District Co-ordinating Committee and Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. Presiding over the Kandy DCC, meeting on Monday, jointly with the Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayaka, more..

Kotagala to tap rubber in Cambodia with $ 70 m investment

Apr 11 (FT) In a major foray overseas, Kotagala Plantations Plc (KOTA) will soon set up operations to tap rubber in Cambodia with an investment of $70 million. The company said it has obtained approval from relevant authorities to plant 20,000 hectares of rubber in Cambodia. The move is to harness global rubber industry prospects better whilst minimising risks in Sri Lanka. KOTA’s exposure to rubber in Sri Lanka is 1,200 hectares whilst the envisaged KOTA’s more..

India's vote against Sri Lanka not a ‘let-down': Chandrika

Apr 11 (Hindu) The former President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, does not share the view that India's vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC was a “let-down” as she feels there must have been “justifiable reasons” for the decision. Ms. Kumaratunga, 66, also accused the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt of not fulfilling the promises made to India and other “friendly countries” with regard to addressing the political grievances of minority Tamils. more..

‘President placed economy on strong footing’

Apr 11 (DN) For the first time in the country’s history President Mahinda Rajapaksa has placed the country’s economy on a strong foundation as never before, said Minister Basil Rajapaksa commenting on the 2011 Central Bank Report which was released recently. The Minister who was addressing a progress review meeting on Monday added that the country’s growth rate which was eight percent in 2010, a year after the ending of the war, had reached 8.3 per cent last year which more..

FTZ TU accuses govt. of abducting Kumar, Dimuthu

Apr 11 (Island) The Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees’ Union accused the government of being totally responsible for the abductions of Kumar Gunarathnam and Dimutu Attygala, two leading members of the JVP breakaway faction. Joint Secretary of the union, Anton Marcus, said that as a trade union that stands for all basic democratic and human rights as well as workers’ rights they would stress that the govt cannot restrict its responsibility to more..

Questions raised over Premkumar's deportation

Apr 11 (Hindu) When Premkumar Gunaratnam, a Tamilian responsible for killing many Indian soldiers over two decades ago, was forcibly put on a plane at the Colombo airport at 7.40 a.m. on Tuesday, it raised quite a few questions. A reconstruction of the events is roughly as follows: Premkumar arrived here on September 4, 2011 on an Australian passport with the mission of splitting the JVP; Premkumar, who had collaborated with the Premadasa regime to kill members more..

Treasury says no increase in applications for duty-free vehicle permits

Apr 11 (FT) Treasury yesterday said that there hasn't been a sharp increase in applications seeking duty concessions on import of vehicles. “We have received only about 100 applications from the eligible govt officers for import of vehicles on duty concessions after the recent excise duty revisions,”. “These applications might have been forwarded by them at least two weeks ago as the applications are channelled through the respective line ministries,” more..

‘Secret police’ behind abduction -Jagoda

Apr 11 (CT) The release of Premakumar Gunarathnam and Dimuthu Attygalle was due to the public outcry and pressure from the international community, member of the Presidential Panel for the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), Pubudu Jagoda said. He said “we started our political activities when civilians were being abducted, and we knew from the beginning that the military was involved. The govt has denied any involvement with the disappearances of Gunaratnam and Attygalle, more..

Financing of 2011 Budget goes haywire

Apr 11 (FT) Whilst the Govt could be commended for almost sticking to its targeted deficit in the Budget, its financing has gone haywire, as per the Central Bank 2011 Annual Report raising fresh concerns. When Finance Minister President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented the 2011 Budget, he assured the Parliament that bank financing of the targeted 6.8% deficit would be Rs.42 billion. However the 2011 Central Bank Annual Report released on Monday reveals more..

Govt. must take responsibility – TUC

Apr 11 (CT) The govt is directly involved in the abductions of Kumar Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Attlygalle, the Trade Union Confederation (TUC) alleged. TUC President Saman Ratnapriya addressing a media briefing said that it was very apparent that the government is involved in the abductions of these persons as they were abducted by 25 armed men in the heart of Colombo with no action taken against the suspects. “Kumar Gunaratnam is a dual citizen of Australia and Sri Lanka. more..

CEB non-executive staff report sick today

Apr 11 (Island) The sick note campaign by the non-executive staff of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) today would not hamper its day to day activities, Power and Energy Ministry said. Power and Energy, Media Secretary, Dhanushka Ramanayake told The Island yesterday that only JVP and UNP backed unions were trying to cause turmoil to get political mileage out of it. However, the entire management of CEB and Lanka Electricity Company were ready to step in if breakdowns took place. more..

'Abductors grilled me on party’s future plans'

Apr 11 (Island) Leader of the newly formed Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), Australian national, Premakumar Gunaratnam who had been living in Australia under the false name, Noel Mudalige, was yesterday deported to Australia with the concurrence of the Australian High Commission in Colombo. He had walked into the Colombo Crime Division Headquarters at Dematagoda on Tuesday night, claiming more..

Litter bins a must in trains to combat dengue

Apr 11 (Island) The need for litter bins in railway compartments, to prevent passengers throwing articles out through windows was stressed at the Kandy District Dengue Control meeting on Monday 09. Disposable articles such as empty cans and yoghurt cups thrown out by passengers have become breeding places for dengue mosquitoes, officials attending the district dengue reviewing committee meeting said. Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, who was presiding jointly with more..

Private hospital pharmacies warned against overcharging

Apr 11 (Island) The Health Ministry warned it would come down hard on private hospital pharmacies which fleece people. The warning follows an e-mail tip off received by the Cosmetic Devices and Drug Authority (CDDA) on a well known Private Hospital pharmacy, situated within the Hospital Square. The spokesman for the Health Ministry said that the CDDA team had raided the hospital pharmacy on Monday following an e-mail tip off that the pharmacy was overcharging its patients for drugs. more..

'The external affairs ministry are liars'

Apr 11 (SL) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, has described the charges laid against him by the Ministry of External Affairs as “lies agreed upon”. In an interview with The Sunday Leader Jayatilleka refuted all allegations laid against him. He further expressed his opposition to the US Resolution stating that the recommendations should not be complied with. Excerpts: Q: Are the charges laid against you by the Ministry of External Affairs accurate? more..

Soaring cost of living makes dent in Avurudu shopping spree

Apr 11 (ST) With three more days for the National New Year festive preparations are on but the high cost of living has brought mixed reactions from the public about celebrations. Withanage Prakash, a private sector worker, said the cost of living was a bit too high and his spending capacity was less than previous years. “With the increase in taxes the prices of goods have gone up including bus fares too, limiting travelling during the season. more..

Tiger legal bid fails,Major General Prasanna Silva to return to Sri Lanka

Apr 11 (LB) Major General Prasanna Silva, defence advisor to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London is reportedly returning to Sri Lanka in the wake of a law crime dossier forwarded to the British Foreign office by disapora Tamil organizations over Maj. Gen. Silva’s culpability in alleged war crimes committed in the final phase of the war. Diplomatic sources confirmed that Maj. Gen. Silva is returning to Sri Lanka, ‘after completing his 18 month term’. more..

Yapa spurs action to counter climate change disasters

Apr 11 (Island) With a number of initiatives in the pipeline to adopt measures to counter climate change effects and disaster prone incidents, Environment Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa has instructed Climate Change Secretariat officials to speed up the implementation policy framework. Secretariat officials said that the document would be ready soon and then they would get the consent of all relevant ministries. more..

'Discussions on nuclear safety issues soon'

Apr 11 (Hindu) India and Sri Lanka were engaged bilaterally in nuclear technology-related issues High Commissioners of both countries stationed in New Delhi and Colombo have confirmed. There was no move to take nuclear safety of any other issue to any international forum, they added. “Discussion on the technical level issues will commence soon,” Prasad Kariyawasam, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, more..

Luxury vehicle tax irrelevant – Harin

Apr 11 (Island) Less than 10 percent of the vehicles imported came under the luxury category. It was the poor who had been dealt a death blow by the staggering tax hike on motor cycles, three wheelers and diesel and hybrid cars, UNP MP Harin Fernando said yesterday. He said that the rich would purchase the BMWs and SUVs regardless of duty increases. "By increasing import taxes on motor cycles, three wheeler taxis and diesel and hybrid cars, more..

Might be JVP, who knows? Govt.

Apr 11 (DM) Cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena elaborately explained the factionalism of the JVP and insinuated that the factionalism might be a cause for the abduction. “ I don’t know who did it, but I can tell you for sure that it wasn’t the government All I have to say about who is responsible is what Dimuthu Artygala told the media”. Speaking at a special press conference held in regard to the disappearance of the two Frontline Socialist Party activists more..

'We were white vanned'

Apr 11 (DM) Ms. Dimuthu Attygalle, who was released by her abductors yesterday, charged that govt security authorities were involved in the abduction. Ms. Attygalle who heads the international wing of the newly formed Frontline Socialist Party said armed abductors tried to extract information from her on the political activities of the new party. Dimuthu (42) who also heads the party's women's wing, said she did not sense anything dangerous when she alighted from the bus more..

Gunaratnam claims agents sexually tortured him

Apr 11 (SMH) The Australian man abducted in Sri Lanka over the weekend has contradicted the claims of the Colombo govt, claiming it abducted him, and were it not for Canberra's intervention he would have faced certain death. Premakumar Gunaratnam, a 42-year-old Sri Lankan left wing politician who moved to Australia in 2006, held a press conference at his house in Sydney's north this afternoon, more..

Indonesia Earthquake: USGS says less chance of Tsunami

Apr 11 (IBT) A powerful earthquake of 8.7 magnitude rocked Indonesia's northern Aceh province Wednesday, triggering a tsunami warning across the Indian Ocean. According to the US Geological survey, the quake struck 308 miles southwest of the city of Banda Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra Island, at a depth of 20.5 miles. With a population of over 220,000, the island is located some 500 kilometers away from the epicenter. more..

Editorial: Mr. minister, if your cheese is chalk then eat it

Apr 11 (DM) With the National New Year just a few days away, questions have arisen as to how many Buddhists and Hindus will be celebrating like in the good old days or even like in the bad old days of the bloody thirty-year war. These questions have arisen because of the unprecedented increase in the cost of living after the huge hike in fuel prices on Feb 11, the devaluation and the controlled float of the rupee. Those moves have sent the prices of local more..

Sri Lanka shares end up 0.6-pct

Apr 11 (LBO) Shares closed firmer Wednesday although trading remained low ahead of traditional new year holidays later in the week, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index rose 0.62 percent to 5,425.73, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.65 percent to close at 4,909.30. Turnover was a low 155 million rupees, slightly up from Monday when it sank to the lowest since May 2009. Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings closed at 209.40 rupees, up 40 cents. more..

New Samurdhi payment Scheme with immediate effect

Apr 11 (GDI) The Samurdhi payment scheme introduced for low income families throughout the country has been changed with immediate effect to cut down additional administrative costs, reduce any corruption and to make the scheme efficient. Minister Basil Rajapaksa said, Tuesday that the payment has been increased by 33 percent with effect from 1st April and now covers low income families throughout the country. more..

Thousands stranded due to govt’s 'special train' fraud

Apr 11 (LT) The propaganda carried out by the govt that a special train service has been arranged for the festival season has proved to be a fraud. A wide publicity had been given that 8 special trains will be in operation today from Colombo Fort to Matara. However the train SP11 that was to commence from Maradana in Colombo at 7.31 a.m. was cancelled due to ‘unavoidable circumstances.’ It is being announced in all stations between Maradana and Matara that more..

Activists want panel report implemented

Apr 11 (UCAN) Rights groups have urged the govt to implement all the recommendations of the LLRC in the wake of last month’s US sponsored Geneva resolution. The people’s participation in the process must also be addressed, they say. The resolution on Sri Lanka passed at the UNHRC in Geneva on March 22, called on the govt to implement the measures in the report to address the issues of post-war transformation of the country. The LLRC was set up by the govt in 2010 to more..

Wisden Cricketers of the Year 2012: Kumar Sangakkara

Apr 11 (CI) When Kumar Sangakkara challenged Sri Lanka's political establishment during the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's last summer, it came as no surprise. His powerful intellect comes with an impulsive nature and a principled belief in right and wrong; his strong sense of national identity carries with it an idealism about how his country should develop after its long terrorist war. The lecture provided a more..

Malaysians explore business and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka

Apr 11 (GDI) A team of Malaysian businessmen and investors will arrive in Sri Lanka next month to explore bilateral trade and investment opportunities. The Malaysian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Azmi Zainuddin said that Malaysia will lead a special marketing mission to Sri Lanka from May 27 - 30,2012 to determine bilateral trade and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. Presenting a seminar on 'Bilateral Trade between Sri Lanka and Malaysia', organized by more..

Journalists react to news websites clampdown

Apr 11 (UCAN) Journalists in Sri Lanka are up in arms over a government announcement, made last November, which stated that any website which covers Sri Lankan affairs would need to seek registration. This snap decision came days after it barred a number of sites which had been openly critical of its policies and the president. Media ministry secretary W B Ganegala said last week that of 100 applications received since then, only 50 have been approved. more..

Imported vehicles stuck in the port

Apr 11 (DM) Nearly 85 per cent of the vehicle consignments imported prior to the recent tax increase is held up in the Colombo port, the Vehicle Importers Association said yesterday. Association President Yoga Perera said the vehicles were held up as the importers were unable to pay the increased taxes. He said only a few large scale importers had cleared their consignments after paying the new taxes. Under the recent the revision of taxes, the import duty on cars which were more..

The alternative 1948

Apr 11 (ToI) “Out of sight, out of mind” — or so the saying goes. However, having just returned from Sri Lanka on my first bona fide trip as an “Israeli traveler,” I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of this phrase. The more I discovered about the “pearl of the Indian Ocean,” the more I uncovered uncanny parallels between the respective recent histories of Sri Lanka and Israel. The similarities in their progression from colonial backwater to statehood are striking. And yet, today, they are more..

Dengue numbers triple in first quarter of 2012

Apr 11 (IRIN) Sri Lankan health personnel have reported a three-fold increase in the number of recorded dengue fever cases in the first quarter of this year. “This rise is mainly due to weather patterns,” Sudath Peries, deputy chief epidemiologist at the Epidemiology Unit, told IRIN. Containers or hollows where stagnant water can accumulate provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes, promoting the spread of dengue. “If there are heavy rains and flooding, dengue breeding more..

Sri Lanka lifts tsunami warning

Apr 11 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has lifted the tsunami warning nearly four hours after a massive earthquake off Indonesia that triggered mass panic in the Indian Ocean, the Disaster Management Center (DMC) said here on Wednesday. Several steps had been taken to deal with the potential emergency including evacuation orders to tourists on holiday in coastal areas and calling on all hotels to provide protection for their guests. The DMC earlier extended more..

Surveillance cameras to monitor people at airport

Apr 11 (SM) The govt has decided to install surveillance cameras at the Katunayake airport to monitor persons entering and leaving the country, ‘Divaina’ reports. In a report, the newspaper says the most immediate reason for this decision, which has the approval of the defence ministry, is the entry of Premakumar Gunaratnam into the island under an assumed name. At present, there is no mechanism to monitor the persons entering and leaving the country. more..

Double Wisden honour for cricketer Sangakkara

Apr 11 (AFP) Kumar Sangakkara has been chosen as both one of the Five Cricketers of the Year and the Leading Cricketer in the World for 2011 in the 2012 edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, it was announced Wednesday. The 34-year-old Sangakkara, one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation and for much of his career a top-class wicketkeeper as well, became the first man to receive both awards since Wisden, 'cricket's bible', started naming a leading cricketer of the year in 2004. more..

Abbas to sign agreements with Sri Lanka

Apr 11 (Maan) President Mahmoud Abbas will sign agreements to improve bilateral relations with Sri Lanka during his upcoming visit to Colombo, a Palestinian ambassador said Wednesday. Anwar al-Agha, ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, said Abbas and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa will sign an agreement on political consultation and an accord to prevent double taxation and financial evasion. The delegation will be welcomed by the Sri Lankan committee for solidarity with Palestine, more..