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SLFP suspends disciplinary action against members

Apr 19 (DM) The SLFP has decided to suspend disciplinary action against errant party members because of the lack of support from the party hierarchy for such action, a senior party source said yesterday. He said the main reason for this decision was the failure to take disciplinary action against controversial minister Mervyn Silva. “It is more than two weeks now since the party’s Central Committee called for an explanation from Minister more..

Caritas provides first aid training to fishermen

Apr 19 (UCAN) The lives of small-scale fishermen are fraught with dangers as they work in uncertain and shifting seas as many as 50 km from the coast. For men who spend the bulk of their time on the ocean, the lack of any emergency training remains widespread. In an effort to equip fishermen with the skills to handle emergency situations at sea, Caritas Chilaw has for the last two months held training programs in Uchchumune and Kalpitiya islands. more..

Sri Lanka to host Global Symposium for Regulators in 2012

Apr 19 (GDI) Sri Lanka is to host the Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR-12) & Global Industry Leaders Forum (GILF) of the International Telecommunication Union from October 03-05, 2012. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that the proposal submitted by the President to host the above event was approved by the Cabinet. The Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) of ITU is a high level global event to share and exchange information among National Regulatory Authorities more..

'Eggless' chick laid by hen in Sri Lanka

Apr 19 (BBC) A Sri Lanka hen has given birth to a chick without an egg, in a new twist on the age-old question of whether the chicken or the egg came first. Instead of passing out of the hen's body and being incubated outside, the egg was incubated in the hen for 21 days and then hatched inside the hen. The chick is fully formed and healthy, although the mother has died. The govt veterinary officer in the area said he had never seen anything like it before. more..

'Separate nation for Tamils in SL will come into existence'

Apr 19 (PTI) Two days after welcoming the idea of a referendum for a separate 'Eelam', DMK chief M Karunanidhi today said the "blood spilt and the sacrifices made by Tamils" in Sri Lanka would not go waste and a separate nation will come into existence some day. "A separate Tamil Eelam rings in the ears of Tamils living all over the world as a liberation song. The sacrifice of lives and the blood spilt by Tamil people in Sri Lanka would not go waste," he said in a letter to party workers. more..

Sri Lanka revises up tourism targets

Apr 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka on Thursday revised up its targets for tourist arrivals and leisure industry revenue after the sector outperformed in the first quarter with a more than 20 percent rise in arrivals. The Indian Ocean island nation attracted 260,525 foreign visitors in the first quarter, 21.1 percent higher than the same period last year, while the revenue jumped 28.5 percent to $174.5 million in the first two months of this year. "According the data up to March, more..

Tsunami preparedness pays off

Apr 19 (IRIN) Strong community awareness and preparedness are being cited for last week's successful evacuation of more than one million Sri Lankans after a tsunami alert was triggered by an 8.6 magnitude earthquake off the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. "People were well prepared on how to evacuate. Everyone knew what to do, what routes to take," Major General Gamini Hettiarchchi, the director general of Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Centre (DMC), more..

Sri Lanka to upgrade cancer treatment in former war-ravaged region

Apr 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is to improve cancer treatment in the former war-ravaged northern parts where the disease increase rapidly. The Health Ministry is to construct a radiation treatment center and provide medical treatment equipment in Jaffna, a city in the northern tip of former conflict-ridden northern Sri Lanka, said cabinet spokesman Laskman Yapa Abeywardana. The number of patients increased from 3,044 in 2008 to 4,414 in 2010 in the northern peninsula. more..

Negombo completes the Sri Lankan experience

Apr 19 (TOI) After bobbing in and out of large puffs of clouds we finally touched down at Bandaranaike International Airport, eager to begin our 'honeymoon', eager to get an eyeful of the sea. Sri Lanka, it was decided a month prior to our wedding for its idyllic beaches and bias for good food, and my bias for the sun and sand. As we made our way to the exit gate post a swift customs clearance, I made another attempt to gather my thoughts on the impending holiday and more..

Sri Lanka to increase policemen to protect tourists

Apr 19 (Xinhua) With the boom in the tourism industry, Sri Lanka is to increase specially trained policemen to control the harassment on tourists, an official said on Thursday. The Inspector General of Police had been directed to train more policemen with additional training including the ability to converse in English to meet the demands in the rising tourism sector, said Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. more..

South Korea offers financial aid to Sri Lanka till 2015

Apr 19 (Xinhua) South Korea's govt has agreed to provide technical and financial assistance to Sri Lanka for national development till 2015. "The govt of South Korea will provide loans through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) aggregating commitments amount to 200 million U.S. dollars for the years 2013 to 2015," Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. The fund is to be allocated to finance project agreed by the two countries. more..

Imprisonment period from court martial to Gen. Fonseka ends in April

Apr 19 (LT) The period of imprisonment imposed by the court martial on former Commander of the Army Gen. Sarath Fonseka will end in April. Gen. Fonseka was sentenced by the court martial for engaging in politics while in service and several other charges. Counselors representing Gen. Fonseka argued that Gen. Fonseka engaged in politics only after retiring from service and the court martial had no jurisdiction to try Gen. Fonseka. Gen. Fonseka also challenged more..

Central Bank under fire for fixing statistics

Apr 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Central Bank is under fire for allegedly rigging per capita income statistics to show a higher figure, a main opposition MP charged here on Thursday. United National Party MP Harsha de Silva who is also an economist told media that the government was misleading international organizations and fellow Sri Lankans by calculating the per capita income of the country so that it would show an unrealistically high figure. more..

The emerging beautiful garden city of Colombo

Apr 20 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the wonder of Asia turns its spotlight today on the emergence of Colombo as a beautiful garden city as Sri Lankan society would aspire from the beautification of the cities in Sri Lanka. It is the duty of the media or the fourth estate to criticise or point out the faults of the regime in a constructive manner so as to rectify such errors in the public interest and also to pay tribute when the regime more..

The questions unanswered by Ass. Sec. Robert Blake

Apr 20 (GV) From around 5pm to 5.30pm today, Ass. Sec. Blake took questions from those on Twitter in South and Central Asia. Ass. Sec. Blake is the Assistant Secretary, South And Central Asian Affairs at the US State Department and former Ambassador to Sri Lanka. South and Central Asia is a large swathe of physical as well as ideological terrain. Fearful that Sri Lanka would be forgotten in the deluge of tweets under the hashtag #AskSCA, we published a story on Groundviews more..

Arthur C Clarke’s World of 2012: Insights from his Titanic Novel

Apr 20 (GV) The year was 1989. Margaret Thatcher and George Bush, Snr., were in office. Mikhail Gorbachev was slowly but surely dismantling the Soviet Union. The infamous Iron Curtain was crumbling under pressure from ‘people power’ across Eastern Europe. On the technology front, Personal Computers (PCs) had entered the market only a few years earlier: they were still gadgets in offices than homes. Mobile phone services were just rolling out. more..

‘The wise give up the idea of victory and defeat’ Response to Friday Forum

Apr 20 (Island) As much as the Friday Forum had articulated their point of view in their article titled The wise give up the idea of victory and defeat" published in ‘The Island’ of 16th March I believe other mortals who are not in that forum too have room to express their views on some of the matters stated therein. After all, Friday Forum’s could not be the last word on this matter as much as mine could not be either. Hence this attempt. The LLRC was appointed by more..

A scholar of great integrity

Apr 20 (Island) Have the English and Sinhala media people heard of a living scholar, S Pathmanathan, in history and Thamil studies? I am afraid they may not have heard of him unless they had been students under his tutelage. This is sad because the English and Sinhala media believe their ignorance of Thamil prevents them having contacts with people like S Pathmanathan who are proficient in English and knowledgeable in Sinhala too. It would have been an ideal situation to more..

New Year celebrations: Festivities signal a cultural bond

Apr 20 (SO) The Sinhala and Hindu New Year holiday weekend might have been a whirlwind experience for many. We all meticulously planned for it; spring cleaned our house, observed the rituals and traditions closely and joined in the festivities such as the New Year games and carnival. We all get ready for New Year, anticipate its arrival and look forward to yet another year. While countries such as Thailand, Bangladesh, Burma, Laos and the Tamil Nadu more..

Sublimation of the rituals of the assassin

Apr 20 (Island) Outpouring of fury at abductions and assassinations has reached a peak. Let me quote just one of dozens of angry comments on the web - the kept press and TV prefer to make light of it. I quote, conflating two pieces by a wisely pseudonymous contributor (Watchdog) on Groundviews: Quote: "Twenty nine disappearances (including an attempted abduction) have been reported in Sri Lankan media between February and March 2012. There have been fifteen in more..

Transitional justice: From reconciliation to vengeance

Apr 20 (TC) The word ‘reconciliation’ is being abused to a point and pitch that makes it a vehicle for wreaking vengeance. The UNHRC has acted in a manner reminiscent of Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (perhaps unfairly called the mad monk). There is a song about him (sung by Boney M), where expressions such as, “he could preach the bible like a preacher”, “full of ecstasy and fire”, are found. There is another phrase in this song that has struck me, “Russia’s greatest love machine”. more..

Defence Secretary responds to allegations

Apr 20 (TC) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa sheds light into the dramatic appearance and disappearance of Premakumar Gunaratnam. Rajapaksa explains why this incident cannot be referred to as an ‘abduction’ in the conventional sense, and points out that Gunaratnam was a wanted man who was missing since 1990. He argues that there was no deportation. The Defence Secretary also queries the role played by the Australian High Commission in more..

Editorial: Of that welcome directive

Apr 20 (Island) Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya has set the cat among the pigeons. He has given the office bearers of political parties a choice between declaring their assets and being hauled up before the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC). Why didn't any of his predecessors put his foot down in this manner? The SLFP and the UNP have said they will comply with the Elections Commissioner's directive and meet the June 30 deadline. more..

Boost for Northern agricultural development

Apr 20 (SO) The Govt has allocated Rs.61,000 million to the Jaffna district to accelerate development projects, authoritative sources said. This allocation includes the expenditure of Rs.20,000 million on the Iranamadu Water Supply project for the entire Northern province. The central government has also allocated another Rs.5,000 million to the Northern Provincial Council under budget allocations for other development activities in the province, the sources said. more..

Boston Lanka News: April 19, 2012

SLFP National May Day rally at CMC grounds

Apr 20 (DN) Arrangements have been made by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to hold International Workers’ Day at national level under the theme Rata Ekata (Country United). “The national May Day event is to be held at the Colombo Municipal Council Grounds under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa”, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. The SLFP had appointed a national committee to organise May Day celebrations under the chairmanship of SLFP Treasurer more..

Hi Fi Centre powers HCC with Rs. 112mn sound system

Apr 20 (Island) With the increasing number of infrastructure development taking place island-wide and Hambantota becoming a focal point with the Commonwealth Committee Members meeting scheduled to be held next year at the upcoming Hambantota Convention Centre (HCC), the government has awarded Hi Fi Centre Pvt. Ltd. the contract to implement a Rs. 112 million sound system for the venue, as currency fluctuations and taxation puts pressure on the company. more..

Sushma Swaraj hands over railway line to Sri Lanka

Apr 20 (Hindu) When a railway project built with Indian assistance was handed over to Sri Lanka at a railway station here on Thursday, it marked a departure from tradition: it was not an Indian Minister who did the honour but the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, who is leading an Indian parliamentary delegation. The upgraded coastal railway line, costing $167.4 million, was completed ahead of schedule by an Indian public sector company, IRCON. more..

SL Railway freight earns Rs. 42.4 m

Apr 20 (DN) The Colombo freight yard of the Sri Lanka Railways has earned a revenue of Rs. 42.4 million through rail freight transport charges at the Railways last year. The Colombo freight yard which was abandoned for last few years had been renovated recently under the directives of Transport Minister Kumara Welgama and under the close supervision of Railways GMR B.A.P. Ariyaratne. The freight transport service by rail was streamlined after the yard was renovated, more..

Pakistan's National Defence University delegation in Sri Lanka

Apr 20 (DN) An 18 member delegation from the National Defence University (NDU) of Pakistan is visiting Sri Lanka. The delegation comprises senior officers from Pakistan's Armed Forces and Civil Services as well as officers from Malaysia, Germany, Turkey and Nigeria who are undergoing a National Security and War Course at NDU. The delegation is led by Brig Akhtar Jammil Rao. The Defence Advisor of Pakistan to Sri Lanka Colonel Sheryar Pervaiz Butt is conducting more..

Trinco cricketer beheaded

Apr 20 (Island) In spite of the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, killings continue in many parts of the country. The govt and law enforcement personnel are under heavy flak over their failure to tackle the crime wave, with a section of the Opposition alleging complicity on the part of the govt. In the wake of the killing of an EPDP cadre several weeks ago in the Trincomalee police division, another person, 28-year-old Iswaradasan Kedeshwaran more..

Indian money used in Sinhalicisation, Buddhicisation of Thirukkeatheesvaram

Apr 20 (TN) Sri Lanka’s Sinhala military occupying the famous archaeological site Maanthai in Mannaar, where the historically pivotal sacred Tamil-Saiva temple Thirukkeatheesvaram is located in the country of Eezham Tamils, has embarked upon building a Buddhist temple at a forcefully confiscated private land, just 200 metres away from the Saiva temple. Sometimes back, the New Delhi Establishment gave much publicity for the money it gave to preserve the more..

Early remedy needed to meet acute shortage of surveyors

Apr 20 (Island) Surveyor General Mahesha Fernando yesterday admitted that the govt needed to take early remedial action to meet the acute shortage of qualified surveyors. If the country was to be developed speedily the service of surveyors was an essential component which could contribute greatly to achieve that goal, he said. Mahesha said that the govt had decided to recruit 35 new surveyors passing out from the Sabragamuwa University in May this year. more..

Harsha slams CB on politicisation

Apr 20 (Island) UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva called on the govt to immediately implement the recommendation of the LLRC with the regard to restoring the Central Bank as an independent institution in the country. "This should be a priority," the economist said yesterday at a media briefing on the latest Annual Report issued by the Central Bank. "The 2011 Annual Report of the Central Bank is an in-depth, comprehensive report on the state of more..

Indian govt shies away from taking stand on Rama Sethu

Apr 20 (TOI) The Centre on Thursday shied away from taking a stand in the Supreme Court on whether it intended to confer national monument status on Rama Sethu, a geographical feature in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka resembling the mythological bridge built by Lord Rama's monkey army in epic Ramayana. On March 27, the court had asked the Centre to spell out its stand on Rama Sethu while hearing a five-year-old petition by Janata Party president more..

Sri Lanka IMF program staff report released

Apr 20 (LBO) In perhaps a new shift to transparency Sri Lanka has released an International Monetary Fund staff report prepared to support the 7th review under its program, after suppressing them for years. Under the current administration, quarterly staff reports of the program and even annual reports and selected issues documents prepared as part of annual 'Article IV' consultations have been suppressed from the public and markets for several years. more..

Sri Lankan fishermen on a sailing protest against Indian fishermen

Apr 20 (AT) 5000 fishermen from the North in 1000 boats will enter Rameswaram (India) shortly on a sailing protest and to seek the immediate halt of poaching by the Indian fishermen in the Sri Lankan waters. Minister Douglas Dvananda said that he intends to lead the sailing protest by the fishermen of the North to Rameswaram to bring an end to the poaching by the Indian fishermen in the Sri Lankan waters. more..

Indian flu pandemic too close to Lanka for comfort

Apr 20 (Island) There is grave concern regarding Sri Lanka’s situation following the reports of over 680 cases of swine flu and a death toll of 35 in India. The Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit has, however reassured the public that they need not fear as a quarantine system was well in place in case of any emergency. Dr. Paba Palihawadana said yesterday that the Unit was prepared to face the situation if the pandemic Influenza H1N1 filtered into the country. more..

Sri Lanka tea prices still lower than last year in dollar terms

Apr 20 (LBO) Sri Lankan tea prices rose again at this week's auction after rising in the previous sale but remain below last year's levels in US dollar terms after a sharp rupee depreciation. "Medium and low grown teas have shown a growth year-on-year in rupee terms," tea brokers said. "High grown prices remain below the corresponding sale prices of 2011. Although we have seen a growth year-on-year in rupee terms, we remain below the corresponding prices of 2011 in US dollar terms." more..

'Karunanidhi can have Eelam in India'

Apr 20 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said if DMK Leader M. Karunanidhi’s unfulfilled dream was a Tamil Eelam, he should work for it in India because the largest population of Tamils live in the Tamil Nadu state of India and not in Sri Lanka. “A much bigger population of Tamils live in Tamil Nadu in India than the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. If Karunanidhi wants a Tamil Eelam he can have it in Tamil Nadu. more..