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CRI develops new variety of disease resistant coconut

Apr 19 (Island) The Coconut Research Institute has introduced a new variety of coconut which could resist the Weligama coconut leaf wilt disease. CRI Director Dr. Jayantha Gunathilake said the new variety, ‘Green Dwarf’ (Kola Kundira), will be cultivated in the Southern Province and would be hybrid with matured coconut trees which survived the disease so far. The disease was first identified in 2007 in the Southern province. The number of affected trees more..

The hazardous journeys of Tamil refugees

Apr 19 (BBC) Relatives and friends of Sri Lankan Tamils who risked their lives in search of a better future abroad after the end of the war in May 2009 are desperately seeking information as to their fates. Thousands of Tamils migrated from the country to escape the violence of the 30-year civil war, which ended with Sri Lankan troops routing the separatist Tamil Tigers. Many have fallen prey to dangerous human smuggling networks, their families say. more..

Game plan

Apr 19 (Hindu) For any sportsman, becoming a national champion is never easy; it comes with a lot of hard work and dedication. Sri Lankan national snooker champion Susantha Boteju is no exception to this rule. Susantha was in Banhere for a month to practice at the Karnataka State Billiards Association and from the looks of it, the champion had been training hard to get better at a sport that he has already mastered so well. Following his father Henry Boteju's footsteps, more..

Earthquake proof buildings

Apr 19 (CT) Following the 8.7 magnitude earthquake experienced last week, the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) of Sri Lanka is creating a proposal for buildings that will withstand earthquakes in future. While buildings and households in Sri Lanka have not experienced severe damage in the past due to earthquakes, the precautionary measures that the NBRO are to take, come in the wake of complaints of houses that have cracked in Diyatalawa, Jaffna and Mannar during tremors experienced last week. more..

Sanga gagged by SLC despite Wisden accolades

Apr 19 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket ‘supremo’ (not Upali Dharmadasa), it seems, has issued a decree: Former Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara cannot talk to the media, even if the request emanates from the Editor of Wisden, Lawrence Booth! Sri Lanka Cricket congratulated Kumar Sangakkara for being selected as both Wisden’s Leading International Cricketer in the World and one of its Five Cricketers of the Year, in the Almanack’s 149th more..

Top level Iran delegation to visit SL

Apr 19 (DN) A top level, five member Iranian delegation will visit Sri Lanka on April 26 under the leadership of Ayatollah Thaskiri. Ayatollah Thaskiri is the Secretary General of the Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought and member of the Assembly of Experts - Islamic Republic of Iran. The other members of the delegation are also scholars and academics in various fields. The delegation will stay in Sri Lanka for three days. They are scheduled to attend more..

Cardinal to ordain nine new Catholic priests

Apr 19 (Island) Nine deacons of the Colombo Diocese will be ordained priests at a special service, presided over by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, at St. Lucia’s Cathedral on April 21 at 9.00 a.m. The deacons are: Rev. Bro. D. Prashan Appuhamy of Kandawala, Rev. Bro. Winston Padidilion of Batagama, Rev. Bro. Priyashantha Perera of Nayakakanda, Rev. Bro. Sudaraka Weerasinghe of Batagama, Rev. Bro. Luxan Silva of Batepola, Rev. Bro. Pethum Janitha of Kepungoda, more..

High speed Southern railway opens today

Apr 19 (DN) Sri Lanka's renovated high speed Southern coastal railway line from Colombo to Matara will be opened to the public today. The modernized railway line is the country's first high speed line and it will allow trains to run at speeds of 100 km per hour. The Southern coastal line was reconstructed in three stages. The Indian govt provided US$ 168 m to implement the project, upgrading the Colombo-Galle-Matara coastal railway track. more..

From Sri Lankan youth, a model for reconciliation

Apr 19 (NP) Like Israel and Rwanda, Sri Lanka serves, for many world-watchers, as a byword for ethno-religious conflict. For almost three decades, the country’s largely Buddhist Sinhalese majority engaged in an on-and-off civil war against a guerrilla insurgency waged by elements from within the country’s largely Hindu Tamil minority. And yet, despite this bitter legacy of conflict, some surprisingly robust efforts at reconciliation have emerged. One of the most promising comes more..

T-Junction in the Road

Apr 19 (HT) At one point in May, four years ago, it seemed a golden age in India-Sri Lanka relations was imminent. Tamil Tiger supremo V Prabhakaran had been killed and the 26-year-old Lankan civil war had come to an end. India was pleased. Both sides were one the need to defeat the LTTE. The omens were good: the final battle took place as Tamil Nadu went to the polls — and the pro-Tiger parties lost heavily. The Tamil insurrection was over. Lanka, it seemed, had been purged from Indian domestic politics. more..

Declare assets or face Bribery Commission, politicians told

Apr 19 (Island) The Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya’s decision to crack the whip in a bid to enforce compliance with the law that requires those holding political office to declare assets has had the desired impact. All political parties are making a frantic effort to meet the deadline he has set. Minister Susil Premjayantha said that the govt would comply with Elections Commissioner’s decision to inquire into the financial status of those more..

Action against unethical religious conversions, necessary -PM

Apr 19 (DN) A special procedure is needed to prevent unethical religious conversions. Taking action against fundamentalists who are proselytizing in Sri Lanka is a timely need. Each religion in the country should support this effort without differences, Prime Minister D M Jayaratne said. He was addressing the discussion on taking action against proselytizing at the Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday with the participation of all religious representatives. more..

University student turns chain snatcher

Apr 19 (Island) A group of three wheeler drivers nabbed a second year female university student who attempted to make a getaway after snatching a gold chain from a woman she had just befriended. The student was handed over to the Gampola police who in turn produced her before the Gampola Magistrate’s Court. She was remanded. The girl had befriended her victim while she was leaving a bank in the town and had accompanied her to the latter’s house. There the accused had brandished a knife more..

The visit provided a good platform-Indian MP

Apr 19 (DM) Indian Congress party MP Sudarshana Natchchiappan speaking at the Settikulam IDPs camp on Wednesday said that the visit of the Indian delegation helped to understand all different stands on the Political parties in Sri Lanka. “We spoke to most political parties in the country and through that dialogue we were able to understand the stand that these parties take on certain issues. This understanding has been very helpful,” he said. more..

Witness give details of alleged sex abuse

Apr 19 (BBC) The sexual abuse case against Ven. Pahalagama Somaratana, chief monk of Selsdon Buddhist Temple in London, continued proceedings at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday. Key prosecution witnesses took to the stand to tell their account of what had allegedly occurred during the late 1970's. One witness described how she was only aged between 9 and 10 when the abuse started. Court heard that a majority of the alleged rape and indecent assaults occurred more..

CPC, CEB combined loss Rs. 119.5bn

Apr 19 (Island) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) have made a combined loss of Rs. 119.5 billion in 2011 on rising global oil prices when the two institutions combined were supposed to breakeven according to an agreement with the IMF. However, the IMF Sri Lanka Resident Representative Dr. Koshy Mathai recently said the rise in global oil prices were beyond the control of Sri Lanka indicating some leniency towards this target, with the govt showing serious commitment to controlling the fiscal deficit. more..

Sri Lanka highest military spender in South Asia

Apr 19 (CT) Sri Lanka has become the South Asian region’s highest military spender for 2011. As a percentage of Gross Domestic Production (GDP), Sri Lanka has spent three percent on the military and secured the first place among South Asian countries. Sri Lanka increased their defense spending in 2011 by eleven percent in real terms. In 2010, Sri Lanka disbursed US$ million 1,403 for the military and this made up 2.4 percent of GDP. more..

Sri Lankan scientist for enhancing crops production

Apr 19 (PO) Pakistan and Sri Lanka should enhance cooperation in education and agricultural research. Development of different varities of sugarcane and other crops to increase their productivity can be helpful for both the countries to increase income of their farmers. This was stated by Sri Lankan Scientist Dr. Aruna Wijesuriya from Sugarcane Research Institute, Ministry of Minor Export Crop Promotion, Sri Lanka, during his visit to more..

India's U-turn on Sri Lanka

Apr 19 (AN) The sudden eagerness on the part of New Delhi to dump the stated policy of abstaining on country specific strictures in international forum is attributed to the Indian government’s coalition exigencies. After all it is a fairly open secret that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime’s diplomatic maneuver on the Tamil issue has all along been orchestrated by New Delhi despite a standing Sri Lankan foreign policy objective of creating and exploiting a wedge between the administration in New Delhi, more..

Referendum in SL: TN politicos echo ‘Tamils for Obama’

Apr 19 (Island) The DMK was making an attempt to exert pressure on the GoSL during the ongoing visit by a 12-member Indian parliamentary delegation, on a fact-finding mission, a senior GoSL official said. With the DMK and the ruling AIADMK seeking political advantage over post-LTTE reconciliation efforts, both parties were likely to engage in Sri Lanka bashing, he asserted. The official was responding to a statement more..

Accident kills SLBC director Hassan

Apr 19 (DM) A Director and announcer of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) Nurania Hassan was killed this morning while five others were injured when the vehicle they were travelling in collided with a lorry at Rambewa. The group of six media personnel was travelling to Jaffna when their van hit with the stationary lorry around 4.30 am. Two of the injured are in critical condition while the other three have been admitted to more..

Army go back - Jaffna Tamils

Apr 19 (CT) Civil society representatives, local MPs and other political leaders of Jaffna district told a delegation of visiting Indian MPs here on Wednesday that they want the Sri Lankan govt to drastically reduce deployment of the army in the district. “The people of Jaffna want the army to back to the barracks,” said Congress MP E M Sudarsana Natchiappan. In an interaction with the 12-member Indian team, local opinion makers said that more..

'Amend law to force candidates to declare assets along with nominations'

Apr 19 (Island) Welcoming polls chief Mahinda Deshapriya’s decision to demand assets declarations from office bearers of political parties, UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, yesterday emphasised the urgent need to amend the relevant law to compel those contesting presidential, parliamentary, provincial councils and local government polls to furnish the required information, along with their nominations. more..

British want to understand all parts of Sri Lanka: HC Rankin

Apr 19 (Island) John Rankin, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka concluded a two-day official visit to the Hill Country. The British High Commissioner used the opportunity to visit the Court Lodge Tea factory in Kandapola, run by UK-owned Finlays, and visited some of the houses of the estate workers. The British High Commissioner commenting at the end of visit said more..

Sri Lanka SEC lifts 'price band'

Apr 19 (LBO) Securities and Exchange said it was lifting a 'price band' imposed on volatile stocks with immediate effect, but will continue to monitor the market and to re-impose it if needed. The so-called 'price band' was slapped on when Colombo stocks, especially illiquid ones with weak fundamentals, zoomed during a credit bubble fired by loose monetary policy, which saw an increase in credit-backed margin trading and related activities. more..

Remand of TN Fishermen in Jaffna extended

Apr 19 (Hindu) The Jaffna High Court on Thursday extended the remand of five Tamil fishermen who crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line to fish in Sri Lankan waters. The Fishermen, with support from the Indian Consulate in Jaffna and the Tamil Nadu Govt have moved a bail petition. Saying that the case required the opinion of the Attorney General, the judge posted it for further hearing on April 23. The five Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested in more..

Sri Lankan held for witchcraft in Saudi Arabia

Apr 19 (Reuters) A Sri Lankan woman has been arrested on suspicion of casting a spell on a 13-year-old girl during a Saudi family's shopping trip, a police spokesman said, and may face death in a country where convicted sorcerers are beheaded. The spokesman, Mesfir al-Juayed, confirmed to Reuters by phone that details of the woman's arrest published in local media were correct. A Saudi man had complained his daughter had "suddenly started acting more..

Judge Warawewa says request for extension refused

Apr 19 (DM) High Court Judge W.T.M.P.B. Warawewa has revealed that a request made by the Attorney-General’s Department to further extend his term of office by a year to enable him to hear several pending cases has been refused by the Chief Justice. “The Attorney General’s Department requested that I be reappointed to hear and conclude several important cases including the Town Hall bomb case and High Court fraud case. more..

We want Land, Police powers - TNA

Apr 19 (DM) The TNA, during their meeting with the Indian parliamentary delegation, had emphasised that land and police powers should also be devolved to the provinces. The govt has in the past categorically refused to devolve such powers to the provinces. TNA media spokesman Suresh Premachandran MP said yesterday that the Indian delegation, had assured his party that it would take up all these matters with President Mahinda Rajapaksa during their stay here. more..

Sri Lanka shares end up 2-pct

Apr 19 (LBO) Shares closed sharply higher Thursday after regulators lifted price restrictions imposed to curb speculation, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index rose 2.1 percent to 5,518.72, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.9 percent to close at 4,950.94. Turnover improved to 359 million rupees. "Colombo bourse recovered strongly today with the price appreciations in index heavy high dividend payers and due to the lifting of the 10 percent price band regulation," more..

Editorial: Will the right message cross the seas?

Apr 19 (DM) As much as India loves to see the 13th amendment being implemented, Sri Lanka seems to have long lost its interest in the constitutional provision, designed to please the former than to comfort the Sri Lankan Tamils. After all, Sri Lanka cannot be blamed entirely for its lethargy or lack of trust placed in the amendment, as the last time when it went by India's word and combined the North and East into one administrative unit, Varatharajah Perumal almost made more..

WikiLeaks: Justice minister Hakeem knows who the abductors are

Apr 19 (CT) “In recent weeks the Embassy has received several anonymous letters from Muslim groups alleging that they are being targeted for abduction for ransom. One such letter from the ‘Muslim Community in Sri Lanka,’ with no return address, states that ‘within a short period they have kidnapped and collected huge sums from Muslim businessmen.’ Several Muslim leaders have alleged that Muslim businessmen are being targeted for abduction more..

Sri Lanka bank sees huge cash withdrawal before new year break

Apr 19 (LBO) Commercial Bank said Sri Lankans planning to celebrate the traditional new year last week had withdrawn a record amount of cash from its automated teller machines. Its ATMs dispensed 7.6 billion rupees in the week preceding the new year on April 14 with an all-time single-day high of 1.6 billion rupees withdrawn on April 10 alone, a statement said. "This single-day record by the country’s largest electronic cash dispensing network of 512 ATMs surpassed the more..

Sri Lanka poultry industry margins to narrow

Apr 19 (LBO) Margins in Sri Lanka's poultry industry would narrow amid higher capacity but per person chicken consumption would continue to grow, a top poultry firm in the island has said. Three acre farms, a unit of Ceylon Grain Elevators, which is Sri Lanka's largest day old chick producer said per capita chicken mean consumption is expected to rise to 8 kilograms a year in 2016 from 5.7 in 2011 after rising from 5.0 kilos in 2011. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sihala Urumaya leader given bail

Apr 19 (SM) Nawa Sihala Urumaya leader Sarath Manamendra has been released on bail. He surrendered to Nugegoda magistrate’s court today, through lawyers Ajith Pathirana, Vidura Manchanayake and Madhura Welgama, and enlarged on a Rs. 5,000 surety. Mr. Manamendra stands accused of having pawned a pistol, given to him as a presidential candidate, for Rs. 50,000. However, his lawyers informed the court that he had forgotten the firearms at the home of a friend of his. more..

Eight OIC’s transferred

Apr 19 (DM) Police Headquarters said today that eight OIC’s have been transferred with immediate effect. Police said that the transfers were routine transfers and they were not taken on disciplinary grounds. Chief Inspector (CI) P. Hemachandra transferred from Thanamalwila to Habarana, CI W. Vithanage transferred from Habarana to Anuradhapura, IP A. Sarathchandra transferred from Minneriya to the Police Field Force Headquarters, IP T. Palliyaguru transferred from more..

FUTA expresses its opposition in a letter to President

Apr 19 (LT) There is an attempt to undermine the university system in the country by gradually slashing allocated funds states the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA). In a letter to the President FUTA states the move to take over by the Ministry of Higher Education of funds hitherto managed by universities was a drastic step towards this. FUTA expresses its opposition to the move and asks the President to take measures to more..

JVP bids adieu to Chinese Ambassadress

Apr 19 (LT) A special meeting between the JVP and the Ambassadress of China in Sri Lanka Ms. Yang Xiuping took place at the JVP head office at Pelawatta today at 10.00 a.m. states the media unit of the JVP. The Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe and its Information Secretary Vijitha Herath participated on behalf of the party. The Chinese Ambassadress has completed her tenure in the country and is scheduled to leave. She has expressed her gratitude to the JVP for more..

Panduwasnuwara PS sacred areas to be developed

Apr 19 (GDI) Ministry of Local Govt and Provincial Councils has launched a programme for the development of fast urbanizing small and medium scale towns but lack of infrastructure facilities to meet the urban services in Sri Lanka. The main objective of this project is to support the Local Govt Institutions to fulfill the basic urban facilities more efficiently and effectively. Hettipola Town and Panduwasnuwara Sacred Area, which belongs to the Panduwasnuwara more..