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HRC officials check police building for Lalith and Kugan

Apr 15 (ST) Officials of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka made a surprise visit to the Police Welfare Building at Pettah on Friday following information that two members of the JVP dissident group who went missing in Jaffna last December were being held there. A commission official said the visit was made following a tipoff received from a member of the dissident group that the two men were being detained in this building. However, they were not there. more..

State firms continue to pile losses

Apr 15 (NS) Seven of Sri Lanka’s largest State Owned Enterprises (SOE) have incurred a combined loss of a staggering Rs.151.5 billion in 2011 with treasury bonds amounting to Rs. 55 billion issued by the govt in January 2012 to settle accumulated outstanding dues to CPC from CEB and other SOEs, the 2011 Annual Report of the Central Bank reveal. Accordingly, operating losses suffered by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), SriLankan Airlines, Department of Posts, more..

Spooky cops from K’bathgoda haunt FSP activists

Apr 15 (LB) The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) has written to the Inspector General of Police asking him to ‘cease police harassment of FSP workers in the Gampaha district.’ FSP propaganda secretary Pubudu Jayagoda said policemen claiming they are attached to the Kiribathgoda Police have questioned them on whether they gave accommodation to FSP Central Committee member Kumar Gunaratnam, who was abducted last week and later released. “The police should be investigating more..

Backing of local politicians alleged Animals in the Ja-Ela zoo maltreated

Apr 15 (LB) Investigations into the private zoo that was raided at Ja-Ela have revealed that the animals on the premises have been subjected to torture. The feathers of some eagles had been trimmed to prevent them from flying, an official from the Wildlife and Conservation Department (WCD) said. The WCD had raided a garden complex at Weligampitiya, Ja-Ela last week for having allegedly and illegally maintained a private zoo, reportedly with the backing of local politicians. more..

Wreck diving in Sri Lanka

Tsunami alert exposes traffic management problems

Apr 15 (Island) Sri Lankan authorities said Wednesday’s tsunami alert exposed serious problems of traffic management and the inability of phone networks to cope in an emergency although coastal residents appeared to be well prepared. The Disaster Management Centre, which was formally set up in 2005, shortly after the December 2004 Asian tsunami which claimed some 30,000 lives in Sri Lanka, said their early warning system and evacuation plans worked well. more..

Car unloading at H’tota: It’ll lead to problems:importers

Apr 15 (Island) The govt's decision to divert ships carrying vehicles to unload their consignments at the Hambantota port would cause difficulties in Customs clearance and also increase the cost of automobiles as most of them will have to be driven back to Colombo, industry specialists said. "This move is possible but it will cause a lot of delays on clearing in addition to pushing up the costs of clearance and transport, top industry specialist Rohan Abeywickrema said. more..

US$ 2.5 Billion forex earner from tea now only a pipe dream

Apr 15 (Island) Over the past two weeks, there were comments on dwindling tea crop returns from the smallholder sector mainly concentrated in the low grown elevations. It will be recalled that as far back as September last year, Rohantha Athukorale, serving with the Govt’s Economical Council under the Presidential Secretariat, said the projected US$ 2.5 Billion income from tea by 2016, would not be achievable. more..

Special loan for students

Apr 15 (SL) Students who want to follow particular courses can apply for a special loan under a new Financial Banking Act that has already been tabled in Parliament. Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that those who wanted to apply for a loan needed only two guarantors, and would be able to receive financial assistance depending on the course they had chosen. “For a technical diploma, they may be able to receive Rs. 100,000. For a degree, it might be Rs. 300,000 or Rs. 400,000, while for a more..

No pay before National New Year

Apr 15 (SL) GCE (O/L) exam paper evaluators are up in arms against the Examinations Department for its failure to make payments for the 2011 exam paper evaluations, General Secretary of the Ceylon Teacher Services Union Mahinda Jayasinghe said. According to Jayasinghe, the Examinations Department has informed evaluators that the Treasury has not released money although the Treasury following this announcement confirmed that the necessary funds have been remitted to the Examinations more..

Man eating croc nabbed?

Apr 15 (DM) A crocodile who is said to have been a man eater has been nabbed in Malimbada, Matara, Wildlife authorities said today. The Crocodile is suspected to be one of the culprits in the death of Nuwanthika Sathsarani a student who was taken away by a crocodile when she went to the banks of the river to wash her face. The Crocodiles of the area have taken away three other human lives during the recent past. The 12 foot long crocodile was more..

Heads to roll at crisis-hit Sri J’pura Hospital?

Apr 15 (Island) Key administrative changes are in the pipeline at the crisis-hit Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH), a high-ranking health official said last week. "Heads are expected to roll", he said, referring to this 1,040 bed semi-govt hospital, which has been plagued by administrative hiccups and trade union action. It will happen in about a fortnight, the official, who asked not to be identified, said. "Minister Maithripala Sirisena has already discussed the matter". more..

Colombo shifts to Nuwara Eliya as season begins

Apr 15 (Hindu) Colombo’s glitterati, its movers and shakers, have a new home till the middle of next week – ‘Little England,’ the hill station of Nuwara Eliya (meaning City of Lights). So named because the British discovered and developed it in the early 18th century, the upper strata of Sri Lankans have taken to the place, just as their British rulers did. During the season, which just began, the whole hill town transforms itself to a big market place – and the narrow more..

Politician behind museum theft?

Apr 15 (SM) Indications are that there is a politician’s hand behind the theft of valuable artefacts at the Colombo National Museum recently, Divaina reports. An assistant director who had been in charge of the artefacts has given a statement to the CID, is closely connected to this politician, according to reliable sources. The politician in question had visited the museum and observed the artefacts sometime before they were stolen. more..

Fuel price hike: Minister scotches speculation

Apr 15 (SO) Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha said that the Govt has not taken any decision to further increase fuel prices at this juncture. Commenting on speculation that fuel prices will go up again by at least Rs. 15 per litre, the Minister said that this was because the Indian Oil Company (IOC) has sought a Rs. 15 increase per litre on petrol and diesel due to the depreciation of the rupee. The depreciation of the rupee has now been floated down. more..

Sydney police launch investigation

Apr 15 (CT) The Sydney Police have launched an investigation into the alleged false passport issue of Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Leader Premkumar Gunaratnam who was deported to Australia from Colombo last week, reports from Sydney said. The Lankan officials who had interrogated Australian national Gunaratnam, had submitted the entire report of their interrogation on the alleged false passport of Gunaratnam to the officials in Sydney, reports said. In the presence of more..

President Rajapaksa participates in the traditional oil anointing ceremony in Tangalle

Apr 15 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa performed the oil anointing ritual this morning at the auspicious time of 7.08 am at the Carlton house in Tangalle. The Chief Sangha Nayaka of the Southern Sri Lanka and the Chancellor of the Ruhunu University Rajakeeya Panditha Ven. Pallaththara Sumanajothi Nayaka Thera performed the rituals by anointing oil on the President’s head. As instructed by the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, more..

Museum under Rakna Lanka

Apr 15 (SL) The security of the National Museum is to be handed over to Rakna Lanka which operates under the Defence Ministry. The Minister Dr. Jagath Balasuriya said that the Ministry security which is now in place at the museum will be removed. The security of universities was also recently handed over to the security firm which operates under the Defence Ministry. Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd. also handles the security of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) more..

Minister says Australia should extradite Gunaratnam

Apr 15 (SL) A govt minister has called on the Australian authorities to arrest and deport JVP dissident leader and politburo member of the Frontline Socialist Party, Premakumar Gunaratnam. Minister S. B. Dissanayake said that Gunaratnam has traveled under false identities and should therefore be dealt with legally. Dissanayake said that Gunaratnam has used three different names out of which two have been used to travel out of Sri Lanka and to get citizenship in Australia. more..

Ceylon Today Cartoon

Canadian delegation happy with development

Apr 15 (SL) A Canadian Parliamentary delegation has expressed satisfaction over the development work undertaken in the North, the External Affairs Ministry said. The visiting Canadian Parliamentary delegation led by Christopher Alexander, Parliamentarian and Secretary to the Canadian Ministry of Defense met with the Minister Prof. G.L.Peiris after their tour of the north. “They expressed satisfaction over the development work undertaken in the North and also more..

Ranil cracks TNA

Apr 15 (NS) As the deadline to the UNP–TNA May Day rally gets closer, the TNA appears to be splitting with the eastern sector of the party pulling out from the main event scheduled in Jaffna, well informed TNA sources disclose. Hence, the main opposition UNP now appears to trek on a course of derailment with a section of the TNA refusing to join the UNP on May 01. TNA MP P. Ariyanenthiran said he and his parliamentary colleagues in the East would not join the TNA–UNP rally in Jaffna but more..

Sri Lanka not opposed – Ranawaka

Apr 15 (CT) Denying widespread speculations on Sri Lanka’s displeasure over a proposed Indian nuclear power plant, Minister Champika Ranawaka yesterday said Sri Lanka is not opposed to India’s progress on nuclear energy. “We have no opposition to India using nuclear energy for power generation, and we respect India’s right to do so,” Ranawaka said. He said several misconceptions have been created about Sri Lanka’s stance over the matter, more..

Commendable step towards self-sufficiency

Apr 16 (NS) The recent opening of the state fish canning factory in Galle as a joint venture between Ceylon Fisheries Corporation and Happy Cook Lanka Food (Pvt) Ltd., could be hailed as a commendable step taken long after its need had arisen. It has throughout been political rhetoric that the country has failed to make maximum use of the natural resources that our land is blessed with. The politicians generally make this assertion when they are in the opposition to show weaknesses more..

Sudu Balloth Ekka Be!

Apr 16 (NS) Dog-lovers may squirm at the seeming affront to the canine species with usage of the English translation of the Sinhala phrase, - which refers to their beloved pet. They will feel relieved that both ‘balloth’ and ‘bellioth’, in the present context, refer only to human nosy parkers. Oftentimes the terms balla or belli are derogatory when used on humans. Therefore, let me explain, rather than apologize, to canines lovers, this historical humiliating blunder is seeped more..

Remembering CP de Silva the ‘Minneriya Deviyo’

Apr 16 (TC) Men of great distinction and high calibre such as Charles Percival de Silva are rarely born. Such men live in the hearts of the people long after their demise. Popularly and fondly remembered as C.P. he dominated the administrative, social and political life of Sri Lanka in the mid 20th century. C.P. was an eminent civil servant, gentleman politician and above all, a lover of humanity. His sincere dedication and selfless service to the people of more..

Our own Bermuda Triangle

Apr 16 (CT) The growing number of abductions and disappearances in Sri Lanka is not getting the amount of publicity the issue deserves. In just the past year, the trend is both deeply disturbing and damning. We are living in a country where people are routinely, with complete impunity, picked up, tortured, sexually abused and disappear without a trace. It is entirely unclear how our much vaunted post-war democratic credentials, purported rule of law, independence of the Police and confidence over addressing more serious issues of more..

Defence secretary is a grim impediment

Apr 16 (CT) Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gothabaya, a brother of President Mahinda Rajapake, together with two other brothers (economics minister Basil and parliamentary speaker Chamal) comprise the inner cabal and power hub in the country. The triumvirate of president, defence secretary and ex army commander Sarath Fonseka are credited with winning the war against the LTTE and enjoy warmth in Sinhalese hearts. But things are changing, public attitudes are shifting in more..

'Kumar Guanaratnam our biggest publicity'

Apr 16 (NS) The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) says it has no need to stage a publicity gimmick and points the finger at the govt for the abduction of two of its members. Party Propaganda Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda in an interview with The Nation said more than 30 people were abducted within the last couple of months and alleged the govt was behind these abductions. Following are excerpts: Q. You initially said that you would not form a more..

Govt must clarify its stand on implementing the LLRC Report Recommendations

Apr 16 (TC) It would be unwise to brush aside the resolution adopted by the UNHRC last month in Geneva as being of no consequence to Sri Lanka. We could choose to ignore it only at our own peril. The attempt to paint it as an innocuous resolution with the sole objective of ‘encouraging us to implement the LLRC recommendations’ was belied by the vigorous nature of the campaign that was carried out by the sponsors of the resolution and its supporters not only in Geneva but more..

Constant obsession with achieving victory and a dominant concern with not being defeated

Apr 16 (TC) The Resolution No 19/2 on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka that was adopted by the UNHRC in Geneva on 22nd March 2012 calls upon the govt of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the LLRC that was appointed by the President. The adoption of the Resolution has created an environment in which deeply divided and sometimes misleading views are being expressed in regard to the content of the Resolution, what happened in Geneva, more..

Will launch of Frontline Socialist Party lead to revival of ‘Left’ in Sri Lanka?

Apr 16 (DBS) More than 5,000 people packed Colombo’s Sugathadasa stadium for the inaugural conference of the Peratugami Samajawadi Pakshaya (Frontline Socialist Party – FSP) on 9 April 2012. Most were members and sympathisers of this new Left party – a breakaway from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP); but many representatives of other radical Left parties, Left intellectuals, and progressive social activists were also in attendance. more..

A nuclear reaction to Indo - Sri Lanka misunderstandings

Apr 16 (LB) As if there aren’t enough irritants that disturb the Indo-Lanka relationship, the Kudankulam nuclear issue is now creating fresh tremors that most feel can only be addressed through expected bilateral talks. The Indian media has played down the issue — after all in Tamil Nadu, Indian nationals are themselves agitating against the planned reactors. Even so, this is the worst time at which this kind of issue should exacerbate relations between India and Sri Lanka more..

Breathing space to improve balance of payments

Apr 16 (ST) The release of another tranche of US$ 426.8 million of the IMF US$ 2.6 billion standby facility provides the country a breathing space to come out of the balance of payments crisis. It gives the country time to adjust policies to ensure a lesser trade deficit and thereby avoid balance of payments difficulties. Apart from the replenishment of the reserves by US$ 426.8 million, it restores international confidence in the Sri Lankan economy. more..

Dr. Wijeya Jayatilaka

Reducing car tariff rates in 2010 was a mistake – Economist

Apr 16 (ST) The govt’s move to reduce the tariffs on car imports in 2010 was a miscalculation and now increasing these duties will not restrain the trade deficit as it was done way after the problem occurred, Dr Nimal Sanderatne, eminent economist and the Sunday Times economic correspondent says. "Reducing tariffs on motor vehicles by as much as they did was a mistake. Slapping high duties on them now is like closing the stable door after the horses have bolted," more..

Editorial: Indian MPs’ observation tour

Apr 16 (Island) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has drawn heavy flak for her decision to pull out her representative from the joint Indian parliamentary delegation scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on a fact finding mission. She has cynically dismissed their tour as a mere junket. Her reaction has come as no surprise, given the situation she finds herself in. Being party to the delegation is a difficult proposition for her as she seems to fear that some of its observations more..

National savings decline, resource gap up substantially

Apr 16 (Island) National savings declined to 22.1 percent of GDP in 2011 from 25.4 percent a year earlier, the Central Bank said. "Accordingly, the resource gap (the difference between national savings and investment as a ratio of GDP) increased substantially to 7.8 percent in 2011 from 2.2 percent the previous year," the Central Bank said in its 2011 Annual Report. Total consumption increased by 22.4 percent to Rs. 5,536 billion in 2011, more..

Minister Seneviratne’s residence stoned

Apr 16 (Island) The police are trying to trace the whereabouts of two suspects who pelted stones at Minister Lakshman Seneviratne’s residence at Senevipura in Mahiyangana. The residence had been attacked on Saturday by two unidentified persons who had arrived on a motorcycle, the police spokesman said. The Minister had not been at home at the time of the incident. The incident had taken place at around 4.35 pm Saturday and office equipment and furniture in more..

IT services show strong growth in 2011 – CB

Apr 16 (Island) Computer and Information Technology (IT) services showed a remarkable growth in 2011, helping Sri Lanka to be ranked among the top 25 outsourcing destinations globally. Gross inflows on account of the computer and information sub-sector increased by 34 per cent to US dollars 355 million during 2011, 2011 Central Bank Annual Report said. Identifying the potential of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, the Govt has taken several initiatives more..