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Jehan Mubarak arrested following accident

Apr 22 (DM) Former national cricketer Jehan Mubarak has been taken into custody following a fatal accident that killed one person at Maikkulam in Chilaw on the Chilaw-Colombo main road today, police said. The victim was identified as Pradeep of Dummalasuriya was admitted to the Chilaw Base Hospital and transferred to the National Hospital in Colombo where he succumbed to his injuries. The injured person Mark Udayakumar is now receiving treatment at the Chilaw Hospital, more..

Sri Lankan airline loses Rs19.1bn in 2011

Apr 22 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines has made an operating loss of 19.1 billion rupees in 2011, up from a group net loss of 6.03 billion rupees in 2010, a budget carrier has lost 455 million rupees. SriLankan Airlines' revenues had grown 16.3 percent to 78.9 billion rupees in 2011, but operating expenses had risen 32.2 percent to 98 billion rupees, the Central Bank's annual report said. Sri Lankan Airlines has made large losses ever since more..

May Day squabble in the UNP-Mervyn

Apr 22 (DM) Minister Mervyn Silva today said that despite a large number of problems in the country, the main opposition UNP leaders squabbling with each other over the venue to hold the party’s May Day rally. Speaking at an event in Kelaniya this morning, the minister said “There is a new type of competitions during this New Year season for the first time in the history, it is between two factions within the UNP, whether to hold party’s May Day rally in North or in Keselwatte.” more..

Poddala complaints against ITN’s ‘Vimasuma’

Apr 22 (SM) Exiled journalist Poddala Jayantha says he has lodged a complaint with the National Child Protection Authority regarding a malicious telecast of a video of his daughter by ITN’s ‘Vimasuma’ programme. The video was telecast on 24 occasions during the UNHRC session in Geneva, where a resolution was adopted against Sri Lanka. The journalist says close ups of his 14-year-old daughter were shown on the programme, following which she has become quite shocked, more..

Govt orders removal of Dambulla mosque

Apr 22 (BBC) Sri Lanka's government has ordered the removal of a mosque from an area it says is sacred to the country's majority Buddhists. The order comes two days after Buddhist monks led a crowd trying to storm the mosque in the central town of Dambulla. Prime Minister DM Jayaratne says the mosque has simply been ordered to relocate to another part of the area. But the incident has angered senior Muslim politicians. more..

‘H’tota port unloading will increase vehicle prices’

Apr 22 (SM) The Port Authority directive that unloading of imported vehicles should take place only at Hambantota port will result in the increase of a price of a motor car by another Rs. 25,000, said assistant manager (marketing) of Associated Motorways Pradeep Wijeratne. The unloaded vehicles will have to be transported to Colombo by car carriers, which can carry only six vehicles per trip, and it will cost around Rs. 20,000 per vehicle. Also, another Rs. 5,000 more..

Sri Lanka delegation to Washington announced

Apr 22 (CT) The Sri Lankan delegation to Washington DC in May, in response to an invitation by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to further engage on reconciliation processes and accountability issues will include External Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, Ministry of External Affairs Monitoring MP Sajin Vaas Gunewardane, UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa and Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunge. Minister Peiris was invited for talks to the US in January this year, more..

Sri Lanka's tea workers fear for their future

Apr 22 (BBC) Forested hills rise vertically from valley floors filled with rows of pale green tea bushes. Early each morning, hundreds of women add bright specks of colour to the landscape as they begin harvesting the leaves by hand. It appears picturesque. But the job is gruelling and a new sense of gloom is starting to pervade Sri Lanka's tea industry. Rising costs, falling prices and poor weather are now making it more expensive to produce tea than more..

SLNS Sagara sails for Maldives to take part in Joint Exercise DOSTI – XI

Apr 22 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel, SLNS Sagara is sailing for the Maldives to take part in the exercise “DOSTI – XI” held in the seas off Male from 23rd to 27th April. The 5-day exercise is conducted jointly by Indian, Sri Lankan and Maldivian Coast Guards with the aim of strengthening bonds of friendship and enhancing mutual operational capability and cooperation. The exercise will focus on Maritime Search and Rescue, Marine Pollution Response and Boarding Operations. more..

Marathon runner Anuradha Cooray qualifies for London Olympics

Apr 22 (AD) Sri Lankan marathon runner Anuradha Cooray has qualified for the 2012 London Olympics after he finished the London Marathon today (April 22) clocking two hours 17 minutes and 50 seconds, President of the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL), Major General Palitha Fernando said. Anuradha Indrajith Cooray, the first ever Sri Lankan to compete in London Marathon, finished overall 23rd just 10 seconds less than the qualifying standard time. more..

Gamunu Wijerathne insane - Minister

Apr 22 (NS) “I won’t reply to a mad man. You better write that,” said Minister of Private Transport, C.B. Ratnayake in response to allegations of mismanagement made by the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association, President Gemunu Wijerathne. Wijerathne last Thursday urged that the Private Transport Ministry should be scrapped on the grounds that it was a white elephant and of no use to the transport system and the country’s commuters at large. more..

Dearth of teachers to be solved soon

Apr 22 (SO) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane has assured that the dearth of teachers for Science, English, Mathematics and IT reported from various schools and other shortcomings in rural schools will be solved along with the proposed 1,000 secondary schools development program due to commence this month. Minister Gunawardane told the Sunday Observer that Language, Science, Mathematics and Information and Technology laboratories will be set up in all schools more..

Northern students return from Indian tour

Apr 22 (SO) A 20-member group from various schools in the Northern province of Sri Lanka accompanied by two officials from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports returned to Sri Lanka today after a successful educational tour to New Delhi, India. Students from 19 schools in the Northern Province who had scored highest grades in 'A' Level exams were selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, Northern Province for this educational tour. During this tour, more..

'No alternative May Day rallies'

Apr 22 (NS) The UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa at a press briefing held on Thursday stressed “the ceremony to be held in Colombo on May 1 to mark the 19th Death Anniversary of the late president Ranasinghe Premadasa is in no way ‘an alternative May Day rally’ to the rally that the UNP is to hold in Jaffna on the same day.” Premadasa said some sections were giving various interpretations to the commemoration ceremony of more..

Thirty fences to protect people against crocs

Apr 22 (SO) Thirty fences to protect people against crocodiles will be set up along the banks of the Nilwala Ganga, Matara District Disaster Management Centre (MDDMC) sources said. The Disaster Management Centre had set up protective fences at 30 locations vulnerable to crocodile attacks in 2008, after 11 persons were killed by crocodiles in the Matara district in 2007. These protective fences were set up in densely populated areas, the sources said. more..

Power piracy to rise during Vesak

Apr 22 (SO) Power piracy could rise during Vesak. There will also be a surge in electricity consumption in addition to power piracy, a spokesman for the Power and Energy Ministry said. The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is experiencing huge losses every month due to power piracy. Any instances of piracy should be notified to the CEB Flying Squad on 2422259, he said. The CEB Flying Squad Officers apprehended 345 people last month in various parts of the country for power piracy. more..

Sri Lankan Spices

ABA yet cling to hopes of a place in Olympics

Apr 22 (SL) SINCE a two-year ban was slapped on Manju Wanniarachchi in the aftermath of the 2010 Commonwealth Games (for reasons too well-know to warrant repetition here) and the retirement of Kamal Sameera last year , the prospects of a Sri Lankan men’s boxer qualifying for the London Olympics was always going to be bleak. The experienced duo had long been the central figures in ABA’s plan for 2012 Olympic qualification, so that the suspension of one and more..

A violent government

Apr 22 (CT) Around a fortnight ago, when I interviewed for public television Gomin Dayasiri, I asked him about Minister Mervyn Silva’s public threats to tear apart the limbs of and kill human rights activists. Mr. Dayasiri, a senior lawyer and a well-known supporter of the present govt, expressed his confidence that the Police would investigate Minister’s most recent hysteria. Time did not permit me to ask Mr. Dayasiri about the fate of the many Police investigations in more..

JVP are ‘Bolsheviks’ using Nationalism as tactic to gain power

Apr 22 (DBS) There is still much debate surrounding the alleged abduction of Premakumar Gunaratnam. It is yet to be established whether he faked his own abduction, or whether he was indeed abducted by members of the security forces. Nevertheless, Sri Lankan society, especially the Sinhalese community, should re-examine the background behind the formation of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) and the future of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). more..

Economy in shipshape or heading for a crisis?

Apr 22 (NS) It is a matter for satisfaction that the country is making economic progress as indicated in the report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). The Central Bank provides statistics, which cannot easily be dismissed as unreliable. It brings out some statistics, which indicate the present situation. An 8.3 percent economic growth; a per capita income of $2836; lower unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, reduction of the budget deficit to 6.9 percent of more..

Evidence of Sri Lanka’s bursting asset price bubble is apparent in all markets

Apr 22 (TC) A bubble in economics refers to a period in which a product or asset is traded in high volumes at prices that are at significant variance with its intrinsic value. History is replete with examples including the Dutch Tulip Mania from 1634 to 1637, the French Mississippi Bubble in 1719-20 and the South Sea Bubble in the Great Britain in 1720. In an article in the Journal of Monetary Economics, Ricardo J. Caballero and Arvind Krishnamurthy suggest that more..

Sri Lanka, Korea economic cooperation sound

Apr 23 (DN) Bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and South Korea dates back to 1968 when South Korea opened a trade mission in Colombo. These relations further expanded in 1977 when the Republic of Korea opened its embassy in Colombo. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Japan was concurrently accredited to Seoul in 1978. The first Sri Lankan resident embassy in Seoul was opened in 1987. Since then the two countries have continuously developed strong ties more..

Reflections on Sri Lanka’s Post-Geneva Irrationality

Apr 23 (GV) One can understand to a certain extent the angst of some Sri Lankans over the injury caused to national pride by the ‘Geneva Resolution’ of March 2012. One can also understand the sense of frustration of certain others who hold the view that the Resolution does not go far enough to hold Sri Lanka’s feet closer to the fire. The effort of the present essay is to look for a way in between the two above points of view and explore a means by which Sri Lanka could more..

Editorial: Arjuna's words of wisdom

Apr 23 (Island) Former World Cup winning Sri Lankan cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga has stirred up a hornet's nest with his recent attack on the Indian cricket administrators and their IPL. Incumbent captain Mahela Jayawardene has come forward to defend the IPL by brushing aside Ranatunga's criticism. A beneficiary of IPL, he could not have done otherwise. Arjuna is one of the few cricketers who could speak of the game with authority and his views on IPL and its adverse more..

‘Sinhalese will be granted certain limited rights as long as they obey the Rajapaksas’

Apr 23 (TC) April has been an educative month, so far. In the first week of April, white-vanning reached new levels of omnipotence and omnipresence. The sudden disappearance and the equally unlooked for reappearance of Premakumar Gunaratnam and Dimuthu Attygala has compelled even the generally soporific opposition to bestir itself, and ask for a parliamentary debate on abductions. In the second week of April, on Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s Day, more..

Coping with Geneva

Apr 23 (Island) Now that the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave has achieved its pinnacle of greatness – the ruthless oppression of a small country a fraction of its size in extent and population, to the accompaniment of staggering hypocrisy - we need to take stock, as calmly as possible, and plan for the future. Regrettably, we have to realise that we are under the gun as never before. Geneva Two was only the prelude. The Anglo-American persecutors and more..

Advancing an honest critique as to culpability

Apr 23 (CT) Traditionally, political change has been brought about in Sri Lanka through change of governments. Sri Lankans have always prided themselves on their ability to do just that, even in the face of media propagandists stridently if not embarrassingly shouting themselves hoarse. This was the case in the seventies, in the eighties and in the nineties. The years thereafter however saw different dynamics at play, accompanied by an unprecedented undermining more..

Legitimate needs of Tamil people for equality, dignity, justice and self-respect in Sri Lanka

Apr 23 (TC) Distinguished representatives of the media, I am happy to lead the All-Party delegation of Parliamentarians from India on this important visit to Sri Lanka. We are happy to meet you and share our impressions from this visit. I would like to start by introducing my colleagues from the delegation. The purpose of our visit was to see for ourselves the progress made in Sri Lanka since more..

Moves to solve garbage problem

Apr 23 (DN) The Local Govt and Provincial Councils Ministry will distribute garbage management equipment and vehicles among provincial councils to eradicate the garbage problem. Facilities and technical guidelines will be provided for garbage management, garbage disposal and collection, garbage compost projects, preparation of land to dispose garbage, facilities for the separation of garbage and proper procedure for recycling garbage. Local Govt and Provincial Councils Minister more..

Germany gives Rs 6.5 m to empower grassroots projects

Apr 23 (DN) The German embassy funded several micro-projects worth Rs 6.5 million to uplift the livelihoods of people in different parts of the island. The annual micro projects scheme of the German Foreign office aims to empower grassroots organisations that work for the betterment of local communities. The first project worth Rs 2.7 million focuses on constructing a village road in Sagamam, near Akkaraipattu. This road will help 440 farming families to easily access more..

Boom for bank boards

Apr 23 (FT) The country’s most profitable sector, the commercial banks, whilst having increased bottom line also saw their Board directors taking home a tidy sum. A sample of seven commercial banks analysed by the FT revealed that their Boards of Directors have earned a collective Rs. 314 million in 2011, up by 41% from Rs. 223 million from the previous year. Cost of living had no influence in the rise since in 2011 inflation was at single digit but more..

Former Attorney General heads Seylan Bank

Apr 23 (Island) Seylan Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Mohan Pieris, President’s Counsel as Director and Chairman of Seylan Bank PLC with effect from 20 April 2012. Pieris who served as the Attorney General from 2008 to 2011, brings with him a diverse and rich experience which he has acquired across the entire gamut of public and private activity in his 37 years as a practicing lawyer. This exposure has enabled him to effectively contribute in a more..

Hutch launches 3G with a planned 1000 BTS

Apr 23 (DM) Hutch Telecom Lanka announces the launching today of its 3G services. Initially covering the Western province, Hutch plans island wide 3G coverage with a total of 1000 BTS by July this year. The addition of the 3G towers together with Hutch’s existing 2G towers means that Hutch’s coverage will be as good as the best of the other operators. Hutch’s rollout of 3G services follows its entry into the post-paid market a few months ago. “With only around 10 percent of the Sri Lankan population having access to the Internet more..

Sri Lanka debt risk premia increases, says IMF

Apr 23 (Island) Sri Lanka could see its risk premia on local and foreign currency debt increase on a widening current account deficit and loss of reserves while roll-over risk is also on the increase, the IMF said, as the country plans another international sovereign bond issue later this year. The recent policy measures to contain a balance of payments crisis will also slow down growth this year and put pressure on inflation, but the IMF is confident more..

Gas price hike not yet

Apr 23 (Island) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has yet to take a decision on applications made by domestic gas companies, way back in October, 2011, for a revision in prices. Chairman of the CAA, Rumy Marzook, said that the Pricing Formula Committee was in the process of going through all documents submitted by Laugfs and Litro to verify the prices in the world market. He added that it would be only after verification that a decision to increase domestic gas prices would be taken. more..

NGO vehicle fire bombed over private dispute

Apr 23 (Island) A dispute between a driver belonging to FSD, a Swiss demining Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) and a woman in the village of Kolampulam in Vavuniya saw the villagers throwing kerosene on the jeep and setting it on fire Saturday night. According to the Vavuniya Police the incident had occurred at about 8.00 p.m. The jeep had been partially burnt, but no serious damage caused to it. A lap top which was in the vehicle had been destroyed. more..

Port shift not compulsory says SLPA Chairman

Apr 22 (NS) The Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Dr Priyath Bandu Wicrema last week said that the recent directive to shift vessels carrying imported vehicles from Colombo Port to Hambantota with effect from May 31, 2012 is not mandatory and that the clearance at Colombo port would purely depend on space availability. “Certainly it is up to the vehicle importers to decide between the two ports. more..

Editorial: Part of the problem

Apr 23 (Hindu) Tamil 'Eelam' is for Tamil Nadu politicians what the full moon is for hungry wolves. All their howling is indicative, not of any yearning for a distant, dreamy Eelam, but of the baser urges of the politics of the here-and-now. Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who heads the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a prominent constituent of the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre, gave a call last week for the creation of a separate nation for more..

Not just a minority community in Sri Lanka

Apr 23 (TP) Last Friday a mob of about 2000 Sinhalese, led by a group of Buddhist monks, stormed into a mosque in the historical city of Dambulla. They caused disturbances so severe that Friday prayers had to be cancelled. Reports suggest that the mosque had been hurled at with petrol bombs the night before, causing minor damage, and security forces were deployed to control the situation. The targeting of the Muslim community was instigated by a group of racist Sinhalese more..