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Sri Lanka Citrus Leisure unit to build hotel

Apr 11 (LBO) Waskaduwa Beach Resort, a subsidiary of Sri Lanka's listed Citrus Leisure, plans to build a 150-room four-star hotel costing 23.8 million US dollars on a property on the south coast. A statement said the firm had signed a deal with the investment promotion agency, the Board of Investment, to invest up to 23.8 million US dollars or its equivalent in rupees on the land at Waskaduwa, Kalutara. The hotel, 'Citrus Waskaduwa', consisting of a more..

State enterprises urged to adopt market pricing

Apr 11 (LBO) Central bank has called on loss-making state enterprises to ensure financial viability by better management and market pricing to reduce reliance on the budget and borrowings that cause macro-economic problems. The recent fuel price hikes followed by electricity tariff and transport fare increases were "steps in the right direction", the bank said in its annual report for 2011. "Such price revisions are essential to correct adverse macro-economic implications more..

'Lanka need not worry about Kudankulam'

Apr 11 (PTI) Seeking to allay Sri Lankan fears on the Kudankulam nuclear plant in case of an accident, India today said there was no need to worry as it has high safety standards and a legal mechanism to take care of trans-boundary liability issues. "Sri Lanka has no reason to worry. The safety features of Kudankulam are of high standards, which have been cleared and verified by several independent groups," Atomic Energy Commission more..

Balloth Ekka Be!

Apr 12 (NS) A legible and tenable translation of the above title could be ‘Unable to function, - because of (barking) dogs!’ Likewise, the sensible explanation of ‘Ballo burathi, eheth thavalama gaman gathi’ should be ‘Street dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on’. Yet another (classic) interpretation of ‘Mavathe Ballo udaburanakota gedara balloth burai’ is ‘When street dogs wail fully yap, domestic dogs chorus it with senseless (purposeless) yapping’. Man’s best canine friend, more..

Devolution of police powers

Apr 12 (NS) It was only a few weeks ago that retired SSP Tassie Seneviratne wrote in an article after a tour in the North, about the great community relations work being carried out by the police there in the North, under the enlightened leadership of Snr. DIG Gamini Silva, DIG Daluwatte and the SSPs. Dr Kingsley Wickramasuriya, Rtd. Snr. DIG has published a book describing the success he had in the in Jaffna with his community- relations cum crime control work there. more..

Defeat imperialistic attempts at interference through reconciliation

Apr 12 (DM) A truth and reconciliation commission should be set up to investigate the injustices suffered by the various communities with the aim of eliminating misunderstanding and distrust that exists among different communities… The 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which is necessary for democracy to be meaningful, should be fully implemented…” These are some of the recommendations submitted to the govt as a step towards resolving more..

Key role of LLRC Report in addressing both international and national concerns

Apr 12 (TC) The resolution on Sri Lanka passed at the 19th Session of the UNHRC in Geneva on March 22 called on the govt to implement the report of the LLRC appointed by the govt to address the issues of post-war transformation of the country. The govt has so far not made a comprehensive or detailed response to this resolution. Although the issue of the Geneva resolution on Sri Lanka has generated interest within the country, much of the public discussion on it has been ill informed more..

Editorial: Tsunami scare as a reminder

Apr 12 (Island) An 8.6 magnitude earthquake that rocked Sumatra yesterday sent shockwaves across the Asia-Pacific region. Sri Lankans panicked. Once bitten, twice shy! Within minutes of the quake in a faraway land, almost every Sri Lankan was aware of a possible tsunami threat unlike in the past, thanks to the proliferation of mobile phones and the high level of media penetration. Luckily, the much-feared tsunami never came! Even if it had come, people would have avoided it, more..

An overview of the ‘Enforced Disappearances’ phenomenon

Apr 12 (DBS) The recent disappearance and reappearance of leftist political activists Premakumar Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Attygalle have very effectively beamed the spotlight on this curse both nationally and internationally. The abduction and release of Gunaratnam and Attygalle are not acts perpetrated in isolation. They are part of a new pattern of disappearances that are evolving. The past six months from October 2011 to March 2012 have seen 56 cases of more..

In the aftermath of Geneva

Apr 12 (Island) The main focus of this article is on 13A, but I must first make some clarifications. In the course of the recent Parliamentary debate on the US Resolution more than one Opposition member claimed that the fate of Sudan which suffered the breakaway of South Sudan could befall Sri Lanka as well. The analogy is a totally misleading one. Sudan was never a single entity in the pre-British past. It was put together by the British for their administrative and other convenience without the slightest regard for ethnic and other factors, more..

The mythical ethnic problem – I

Apr 12 (Island) According to the "accepted" version of the ethnic problem the Tamils are being discriminated against by the Sinhalas or the Sinhala extremists, and injustices have been caused to the Tamils after the independence was declared in 1948. This version states the following among others. The Tamil leaders had been very patient with the Sinhala govts and after discussions had failed, as a last resort had wanted in the seventies to establish an Eelam in the Northern and the Eastern provinces, more..

Garbage disposal at holy mountain, a challenge

Apr 12 (SO) Sri Pada isbelieved to be the home of God Sumana Saman. At the 2243-meter-high pinnacle is the holy footprint. Buddhists believe it is the Buddha's, Hindus believe it is as Lord Shiva's, Muslims believe its Adam's and Christians believe it is of St. Thomas. Many legends are linked to this holy mountain. The pilgrimage is expected to be done with a pure, clean heart. The Mahavamsa explains how the sacred footprint was imprinted by more..

Avurudu Kumaraya arrives in budget taxi

Apr 12 (SL) Avurudu Kumaraya is Sri Lanka’s eternal prince charming. Withered old grannies get misty- eyed reminiscing their salad days when they awaited the arrival of the Avurudu Kumaraya during the Avurudu festivities. He arrives in a golden horse and carriage, wearing the majestic gold crown, decked in gold, bare bodied but with a riot of gold ornaments adorning his chest and hands and his ankles too. This non ageing masculine Adonis roams the country secretively more..

Reflecting on economic growth prospects in 2012

Apr 12 (ST) There has been a setback to the momentum of economic growth this year. The high growth rates of 2009 and 2010 were themselves partly responsible for this slowing down. The balance of payments crisis that emerged was, to an extent, the result of high domestic spending and investment, especially in infrastructure. The flood of imports could not be sustained without commensurate export growth and capital inflows. The result was a balance of payments crisis. more..

Asha de Vos

Geneva debacle: Name and shame as MPs play the blame game

Apr 12 (ST) Any talk of human rights (HR), the diaspora and the internationalisation of the country’s internal problems, leads to a lot of finger pointing in Sri Lanka’s Parliament, as was evident when a two-day debate on the US sponsored Geneva resolution was held in Parliament last week. There were Govt members accusing the UNP of letting the country’s problems spill beyond its shores, by allowing the massacre of Tamil people during the 1983 riots. more..

Chambers welcome tax on vehicles

Apr 12 (SO) The Business Chambers commended the move by the Govt to increase the vehicle import tax which will help bridge the widening trade deficit and address environmental pollution due to vehicle congestion in cities. The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) hailed the recent increase in vehicle import taxes as a move that will save foreign exchange and reduce traffic congestion in cities which contributes to environment pollution said NCCSL Secretary Sujeiva Samaraweera. more..

Eyewitness Geneva

Apr 12 (CT) The divisions within the Sri Lankan delegation to the 19th Session of the UNHRC in Mar 2012 reflected at least two different political orientations, which had already become manifest at the 18th Session of the Council in Sept 2011. The two principal lines were: 1) Sri Lanka should collaborate with the United Statesand its Western allies. This line was followed primarily by the delegation from the Foreign Ministry and the Head of Delegation, more..

All Lanka Sathosa outlets to be inspected - minister

Apr 12 (DN) Minister Johnston Fernando instructed Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) officials to inspect all Lanka Sathosa outlets and storage facilities in a similar manner as is done with private shopping malls and super markets. “The law is equal to everyone. No discriminations should be made between private and public businesses. The law is equal to all shops and business establishments island wide, the minister said. He was participating at the opening ceremony of more..

Wilpattu records tourist influx

Apr 12 (DN) The Wilpattu National Park has become a major attraction among local and foreign tourists. The sanctuary has brought in an income of around Rs. 5 million from tourists between the period from January to March 2012, said Minister S.M. Chandrasena. “In comparison, the total revenue from the Wilpattu National Park last year was Rs. 8 million,” he said. Rs 600 million has been allocated to provide more facilities, such as,lodgings, campsites, better transportation more..

'Muslims stood with the majority community in defeating terrorism'

Apr 12 (DN) All communities in Sri Lanka stand in togetherness today in the face of attempts by several international forces to divide nations, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. He made this observation at the opening ceremony of a new building at Al-Kabeer Grand Jumma Mosque, Nuwara Eliya yesterday. President Rajapaksa said the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities have been living in Sri Lanka for a long period and more..

Prof. Vitharana wants more investment on science

Apr 12 (Island) Sri Lanka should invest more on Science and Technology to take the country forward, said a senior minister. Veteran politician Dr. Tissa Vitharana said that Sri Lanka was still one of the lowest in the world when it came to investing in Science and Technology. Addressing an Energy Forum at the Buddhist Cultural Centre recently, he said Sri Lanka invested only .15 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on Science and Technology, whereas most of more..

SB, Gunaratnam held at Longdon Place during insurgency

Apr 12 (Island) One-time JVP Central Committee member Premkumar Gunaratnam and the then Opposition lawmaker S. B. Dissanayake had been detained at Longdon Place during the second insurgency (1987-1990). Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake told The Island how they were held together and interrogated by police personnel. The JVP later assassinated a senior police official, who had been in charge of that facility, the minister said. According to him, more..

Old Tsunami nightmares, new warning systems in Sri Lanka

Apr 12 (IPS) The fear was palpable for Mohideen Ajeemal when he heard the news of an 8.6 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Indonesia on Apr. 11. The last time an earthquake of similar magnitude hit the same area, Ajeemal lost two of his children, a young daughter and an infant son, when massive tsunami waves crashed onto his house on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka on the morning of Dec. 26, 2004. "When the police jeep began announcing the evacuations, more..

Sri Lanka Tsunami risk reduction in the age of Twitter

Apr 12 (LBO) In theory, national govts should issue tsunami watches and warnings. For sure, they should be the only ones issuing evacuation orders. But social media are upending govt control. Sri Lanka is not located in an earthquake zone. So when those of us who felt the tremors, our first reactions were to doubt our senses. People called/texted each other to verify. In my case, I learned that the tremor I felt was caused by an earthquake from a tweet within more..

Sri Lanka faces yet another rights abuse allegation

Apr 12 (Hindu) Two senior members of a breakaway faction of the JVP who vanished on April 6 and reappeared a few days later have accused the security forces of abducting them. One of them, Dimuthu Attygalle, held a press conference to announce that she was abducted by the security forces, while the other, Premkumar Gunaratnam, who was deported to Australia, made the claim after he landed in that country. Premkumar, who has killed Indian soldiers of the IPKF, and more..

'Govt. won’t be bothered by either JVP or FSP'

Apr 12 (Island) Minister S. B. Dissanayake said that the newly formed Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) posed no threat to the ruling SLFP-led coalition. In fact, the breakaway JVP faction was irrelevant and the govt wasn’t concerned with the new party, though some portrayed the new outfit as a major political force. He was addressing a meeting at his ministry on Tuesday shortly after the govt deported Premkumar Gunaratnam, more..

Thai women arrested for cocaine possession

Apr 12 (DM) Two Thai women travelling on a flight to Colombo from Doha were taken into police custody for the possession of 17 bags of cocaine which were found inside the iron bars of their baggage, Police Spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said. The cocaine was detected on Tuesday when one of the two women (28) fainted while on the plane just before landing in Colombo and was rushed to Negombo hospital where x-rays revealed illicit drugs in her body. The cocaine was found deposited inside small iron bars attached to the baggage. more..

Sri Lanka holidaymakers look overseas

Apr 12 (CT) The number of Sri Lankans travelling overseas for holidaying during the Sinhala and Tamil New year has recorded an upward trend, tour operators say. A leading travel agent from Colombo said Sri Lankans visiting India, Singapore, Thailand, Italy and the United Kingdom have spiked over the past week. Chennai and Trichi remained the most popular destinations for travellers to India, while London, Rome and Milan remained the most popular European cities. more..

AIADMK withdraws representative from team of MPs to Sri Lanka

Apr 12 (Hindu) The AIADMK will not join a 15-member parliamentary delegation scheduled to leave for Sri Lanka on April 16, arguing that the visit may prove an eyewash, its general secretary and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said. In a statement, Ms. Jayalalithaa said that she had decided to depute Rajya Sabha MP William Rabi Bernard at the request of the Centre, which is sending the delegation to inspect developmental activities taken up there with more..

CID CI interdicted

Apr 12 (Island) Chief Inspector Merril Lamahewa, of the CID, was interdicted following an investigation into his absence from the Courtroom at the Colombo Magistrate’s Court complex, when the case pertaining to the killing of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was taken up. The Chief Inspector was in Court on that day but had left with all others present, including lawyers, following an order by the policeman on duty there. However, the Chief Inspector had returned sometime more..

Russia on LLRC Report

Apr 12 (Island) Reference our main news item, "Russia wants LLRC report implemented" on April 3, the Russian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Vladimir P. Mikhaylov has sent the following clarification: The title of the article, "Russia wants LLRC report implemented" gives the wrong impression. Our position is that it is up to the President of Sri Lanka, his government and people of Sri Lanka to decide what particular steps should be taken to solve internal problems of their country. more..

Govt. justifies failure to institute legal action against Gunaratnam

Apr 12 (Island) The govt yesterday justified its failure to institute the due process of law against Premakumar Gunaratnam,the leader of the newly formed Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), who had entered Sri Lanka on an Australian passport bearing the name Noel Mudalige, by claiming that it had "sent him off" after the Australian High Commission, had produced his passport. more..

President wishes the nation

Apr 12 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a statement issued to mark the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, expressed the hope it would bring peace, joy and prosperity to all. The President said: "The traditional New Year is a truly great national festival that shows the remarkable bonds between nature and humankind. The dawn of this New Year brings fresh thoughts and feelings to our hearts. It paves the way to look at our lives and society with renewed determination and courage. more..

No strike, no blackout

Apr 12 (CT) Contrary to earlier speculation, the Ceylon Electricity Board Employees Union (CEBEU) said it would not strike and cause a ‘blackout’ during the festive season. CEBEU General Secretary Ranjan Jayalal said though the union engaged in a token strike yesterday the electricity breakdown services was functioning. Furthermore, Jayalal said the allegations the govt is hurling at the union that it was conspiring for a blackout during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, was more..

Tsunami warnings trigger panic

Apr 12 (CT) An 8.6-rated undersea earthquake off the Aceh Province of Indonesia triggered a tsunami watch around the Indian Ocean yesterday, and led to widespread precautionary panic in the coastal areas of Sri Lanka. Tremors from the quake were felt in various parts of the island, and shops and offices in most coastal parts of the country closed early due to tsunami fears. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) said a tsunami watch was in effect for more..

Nation ready to celebrate Sinhala and Tamil New Year

Apr 12 (DN) The entire nation is gripped in a festive atmosphere with cities filled with last minute shoppers as the vast majority prepares to celebrate the dawn of a New Year tomorrow, the third Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrated in an environment of peace. Last minute shopping was witnessed in many cities in the country yesterday too as thousands of people thronged streets with unprecedented vigour and enthusiasm for more..

Nearly 180 families to benefit from electricity

Apr 12 (DN) A new electricity scheme has been launched in Siyabalanduwa Divisional Secretariat area in Moneragala under the “Uva Udanaya” project recently. Accordingly, 180 families in Ruhunudanauwa and the 6th Mile Post villagers who were once in the dark for a long time would benefit. Addressing the gathering at the inauguration meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr. Sumedha G.Jayasena said “with the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, more..

Sri Lankans Without Borders inaugurate reading series

Apr 12 (LR) The first evening of the Samadhana 2012 Benefit Reading Series presented by Sri Lankans Without Borders kicked off last month at the ING Direct Downtown Café in Toronto with Shyam Selvadurai, Mary Anne Mohanraj and Koom Kankesan reading to a packed audience. The accompanying panel discussion saw questions from novice writers trying to break into publishing to those interested in the idea of diaspora writers as public intellectuals. more..

Jaffna’s ‘civilian criminal activity’ sign that things are back to normal

Apr 12 (LB) The return of criminal activity to Jaffna is a sign that things are back to normal, says Mohan Pieris, advisor to the Cabinet and former attorney general, who was a key member of the govt’s delegation to Geneva. He also spoke about the significance of the resolution passed at the UNHRC. Excerpts from the interview: Q: What does the resolution really mean? A: The operative clause is the third one. It encourages the the relevant special procedures more..