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LPBOA chief says NTC has no right to intervene

Apr 26 (Island) Referring to the statement issued by National Transport Commission Chairman Roshan Gunawardena on EPF and ETF contribution of all private bus drivers and conductors, the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne said that the NTC Chairman had no right to issue such a statement as the Labour Ministry was entirely responsible to ask the bus owners to contribute EPF and ETF. Wijeratne said that the NTC had signed an more..

World Bank, IMF pledge US$ 1bn to Lanka

Apr 26 (Island) The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has jointly pledged US$ 1 billion to Sri Lanka at the just concluded review meetings in Washington, a senior minister said. "The World Bank has pledged a further US$ 500 million for the development of infrastructure, education and health, once the current program was over while the IMF will release a further US$ 500 million which could be used in the event of emergencies," more..

Protecting Peiris, hounding the victim's family

Apr 26 (CPJ) The magistrate's hearings into the January 24, 2010, disappearance of opposition journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda continue at a tortuously slow pace. A correspondent in Colombo shared the details of the April 24 hearing, where Eknelygoda's wife, Sandhya, and the couple's two teenage sons continue to press for any news of Prageeth. The family's attorney said he may have to press Sri Lanka's Appeal Court to order former more..

TN fishermen condemn Lankan minister's statement

Apr 26 (PTI) Fishermen's associations here today condemned the reported statement of Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda that he would mobilise Lankan Tamil fishermen and stage a demonstration on IMBL in Palk Straits as their Indian counterparts were damaging fishing equipment. The Minister had also reportedly stated that Indian fishermen were damaging boats of Sri Lankan fishermen and using banned fishing nets, harming Marine flora and fauna. more..

With economy in crisis the ‘feel good party’ is over

Apr 26 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday made a compelling case that the ‘feel good’ party that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa Govt tried to propagate among the people post-war was over, warning that the economy was in crisis. Speaking at a public seminar titled ‘Rupee Crisis’ yesterday, he said that following the end of the war the Govt was keen to make people feel the dividends of peace. more..

Sri Lanka lures another cruise line

Apr 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka is getting more cruise ship calls after the end of its 30-year war with the latest being the vessel MV L’Austral operated by the French cruise line Compagnie du Ponant. The cruise vessel, owned by CMA CGM, the third largest container shipping line, made her maiden voyage at Colombo on April 23 with over 170 passengers and 120 crew members on board. Its call to Colombo followed its call to the southern port of Galle, which the SLPA said was emerging as the island's top cruise destination. more..

Indian, Lankan artists join hands for cause of planet, endangered species

Apr 26 (PTI) A group of 30 odd artists from India and Sri Lanka are joining hands to propagate the cause of endangered species that inhabit earth and promote a green message. A nature themed exhibition titled 'Conservation on Canvas', organised by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) India in collaboration with Religare Art is attempting to promote a greener world. Noted artist Satish Gujral's painting on tigers, too is on display. "Conservationists dream a more..

Ranil lashes out at UPFA

Apr 26 (Island) A glaring example of the govt suppressing media freedom was the failure of most news organizations to give publicity to the UNP’s comments on the recent demolition of a Mosque in Dambulla by extremist forces, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He said that very few media institutions had given publicity to a statement made by UNP MP Kabir Hashim, on the destruction of the Dambulla Mosque by persons within the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. more..

Sri Lanka youth enterprise push by HSBC and British Council

Apr 26 (LBO) HSBC bank and the British Council has launched an award scheme for young entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka targeting students in universities, private higher education institutions, vocational colleges and professional bodies. "Next generation entrepreneurs will drive Sri Lanka’s economy," Tony Reilly country director British Council said. "It is no different in the UK. Universities in both our countries are trying to embed a culture of entrepreneurship within more..

JHU wholeheartedly welcomes assets declaration requirement

Apr 26 (Island) The JHU wholeheartedly welcomed Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya’s move to take a look at the assets declarations of those in politics. JHU media spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told The Island that JHU would follow the polls chief’s decision to inquire into the asset of office bearers (elected and ex-officio) of all political parties in view of serious allegations of waste, corruption and misdeeds directed at those in politics. more..

Resolving Dambulla dispute awaits President’s return

Apr 26 (Island) Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon said yesterday that the allegations made against him by the Chief Incumbent of the Dambulla Raja Maha Viharaya, Ven Inamaluwe Sri Sumangala Thera that he had sold land belonging to the Pooja Bhoomi (sacred area) of the viharaya were baseless and he was contemplating legal action against the Thera. He said that the Thera had publicly accused him of having a hand in more..

‘Made in Pakistan’ exhibition 2012 in Sri Lanka

Apr 26 (DT) Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) will hold Made in Pakistan-single country exhibition in Colombo in partnership with the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka from April 26 to May 1, 2012 at BMICH. According to a message on Wednesday, the event aims to provide a platform to the Pakistan based companies, for showcasing their range of products and services to the Sri Lankan public and business community. The exhibition will also be more..

‘No polls this year’

Apr 26 (DN) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday denied certain media reports that several Provincial Council elections are scheduled for this year. “There are no elections lined up for this year,” he said. He, however, said there were a number of elections scheduled for next year, including Local Govt elections in the Batticaloa district. Deshapriya said the Batticaloa district Local Govt elections were originally scheduled for March this year. “However, the Chief Minister extended the period of Local Govt in Batticaloa by more..

Overwhelming army presence in North: Army Chief clarifies post-war role

Apr 26 (Island) Army Chief Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya yesterday said that the deployment of troops in the Northern and Eastern Provinces was very much less than during the conflict. "There is a substantial reduction of troops stationed in each district following peace time re-deployment," Lt. Gen. Jayasuriya said. The ongoing process, the former Security Forces Commander, Vanni, said was in line with the thinking of Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. more..

Environment Minister advocates preserving chena cultivation

Apr 26 (Island) Environment Minister Anura Priyasharshana Yapa yesterday said that his ministry strongly advocated preserving chena cultivation as currently practiced. He said however that they would not allow conversion of chena areas into permanent settlements and cultivations which would lead to escalation of the Human-Elephant conflict. Thus, he said, plans were underway to give annual licenses to cultivators to continue the age-old chena cultivation practices. more..

Forest Dept. to take over buildings on its lands

Apr 26 (Island) Residences and hotels constructed in `sensitive areas’ within the Forest Department would be taken over by the Forest Department, Environment Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said. Land and residence belonging to Chief of Defence Staff and Former Air Force Commander Roshan Gunatilleke in the Knuckles Range too would be taken back, Yapa told a press briefing at his ministry in Battaramulla yesterday. However, he said that they had not decided on what to do more..

There is an evil spell - Fonseka

Apr 26 (CT) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said he will eradicate the ‘white van’ culture and uphold media freedom when he comes to power. He made this remark while addressing reporters at the Colombo High Court premises following the hearing of the court case with regard to harbouring Army deserters. “Six years ago, an LTTE suicide bomber attempted to kill me. Three years after that, I concluded the war. Many war heroes sacrificed their lives. more..

'Sajith issuing misleading statements'

Apr 26 (AD) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayaka today accused Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa of issuing statements that are misleading the party and the country. Attanayaka said that despite what personal opinions he had regarding issues he would never make public statements that contravened the party’s policies. Hinting at Premadasa, Attanayaka claimed that he would never issue statements just to appear valiant in front of media. more..

Hirunika vows to fight for justice

Apr 26 (LB) The daughter of slain Presidential Trade Union Advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra said that she is in possession of vital evidence which could further implicate the chief suspect in the case pertaining to her father’s gruesome murder on October 8 last year. In an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS she maintained that she will release the details of such evidence to the media only if the case pertaining to her father’s murder more..

IFC, SANASA pilot Weather Index Insurance for Sri Lankan farmers

Apr 26 (FT) IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is working with micro-insurance company SANASA Insurance to develop flexible, affordable, weather-based agricultural insurance products in Sri Lanka to minimise the impact of crop losses due to floods or droughts. IFC is helping SANASA Insurance expand access to insurance for up to 15,000 small farmers by offering protection against weather-related risks and more..

Dr. Chris Nonis wins diplomatic award

Apr 26 (AT) Sri Lankan High Commissioner for the United Kingdom wins the prestigious ‘Diplomat Of The Year 2012 For Asia.’ He was chosen from the 164 Embassies and Diplomatic Missions in London. This is the first time a Sri Lankan High Commissioner has won such an award in the United Kingdom. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner Dr. Chris Nonis, was awarded the “Diplomat of the Year” for Asia, at the more..

Asia-Pacific Group stands by Gen. Silva

Apr 26 (Island) The attempt by Chairperson of the UN Special Advisory Panel on Peace Keeping Operations Louise Frechette early this year to bar Sri Lanka’s deputy permanent representative Major General Shavendra Silva from the panel has been roundly condemned by the Asia-Pacific group of countries this week in strongest possible terms. According to a top source in New York the 54 countries in the group more..

Massive Heroin raid in luxury apartment

Apr 26 (DM) The Police in one of the biggest raids in recent history on heroin distribution, arrested three women and two men at a luxurious distribution point in the 2000 Plaza housing complex, Sri Jayawardenapura, Kotte last evening. The Luxurious house is believed to be one of the main distribution points of drugs to the country and is believed to have been operated by fugitive 'Wele Suda', more..

Kelaniya PS members rejecting Mervyn

Apr 26 (Island) Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Prasanna Ranaweera yesterday warned that the failure on the part of the ruling party to take punitive action against Kelaniya Organiser Minister Mervyn Silva would lead to an incident similar to that of clash in the Kolonnawa electorate at the local government polls last October. An irate Ranaweera said that members of the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha wouldn’t accept more..

CCTV cameras to trace Hashish mail recipient

Apr 26 (DM) The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) has informed Court that its detectives would use CCTV cameras set up at the Colombo Central Mail Exchange to trace the foreigner with regard to the hashish case, who had managed to escape from legal custody. At the collection point, the parcels were opened in the presence of custom officials and two foreigners who had come to collect them. more..

UN Finds Cluster Bombs in Sri Lanka

Apr 26 (AP) A report from a U.N. demining expert says unexploded cluster munitions have been found in northern Sri Lanka, appearing to confirm, for the first time, that they were used in that country's long civil war. The revelation is likely to add momentum to calls for an international investigation into possible war crimes stemming from the bloody final months of fighting in the quarter century civil war that ended in May 2009. more..

Editorial: 'Houseful' of nonsensicalities

Apr 26 (DM) “I am the state” -Louis XIV. A govt that emerged victorious from a cancerous war couldn’t have attained more power than what is enjoyed right now by the Rajapaksa government and its lesser-known contributors. It is this power that speaks through the mouths of many; some of whose voices people have tired of hearing. The purpose behind protecting and aiding Mervyn Silva irrespective of the ethicalities behind his actions is yet to be revealed. more..

Sri Lankan stocks edge up

Apr 26 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks edged up Thursday on buying interest in selected counters, brokers said, while the foreign exchange market was subdued after bank treasurers met regulators. Colombo's broader All Share Price Index was up five-points or 0.09 percent to 5,441.01, while the more liquid Milanka Price Index lost 26.18 points or 0.53 percent to close at 4,860.62, according to figures published by the Colombo Stock Exchange. The day's turnover ended at 391.4 million rupees more..

WikiLeaks: Abduction plague Muslim community

Apr 26 (CT) “A source in the Central Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit said he believes the banks tip off abductors immediately after a large transfer appears in a businessman’s account.”the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The CT found the leaked cable from WikiLeaks database, the cable named as “Abduction Plague Muslim Community”. It is classified as “SECRET” and written by Ambassador Robert O. Blake on June 19, 2007. more..

Moulana willing to resign

Apr 26 (CT) Western Province Governor, Alavi Moulana said that he is willing to resign from his position as Governor if authorities go ahead and demolish or relocate the mosque in Dambulla. “Under no circumstance can there be a compromise. If the mosque is relocated it will set a precedence,” Moulana told Ceylon Today. The Dambulla Khairya Jummah Mosque was attacked by a mob of people led by Buddhist monks on 20 April. The mob demanded the removal of the Islamic mosque alleging more..

Broad development plan for Dambulla sacred area

Apr 26 (GDI) Sri Lanka Govt has drawn its utmost attention to develop the Dambulla Sacred area with a broad development plan that does not cause any prejudice to any party, within the next six months. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratne and the government had arrived at this decision due to the situation that occurred in Dambulla recently. Sri Lanka is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic country and at the same time a country that maintains a broad more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka rupee gains; but depreciation fears remain

Apr 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee ended 0.8 percent firmer on Thursday on buying by exporters after the central bank sought to head off pressure on the currency. The rupee ended at 130.50/131.00 against the dollar, firmer than Wednesday's close of 131.65/132.00. It hit an all time low of 133.50 during intra trade on Wednesday. Four currency dealers said central bank officials at a meeting on Thursday called for an end to speculation that it said had hurt the currency. more..

Lanka IOC says ready for $2 bln Sri Lanka refinery upgrade

Apr 26 (Reuters) Lanka IOC, a unit of Indian Oil Corp., is ready to help Sri Lanka in a $2-billion upgrade of its refinery to process oil from sources other than Iran as tighter Western sanctions have hit supplies from Tehran, a top official said on Thursday. The company also said it is ready import more finished products when the island nation may face shortage of fuel due to drop in Iranian crude imports after June 30 deadline. "We have expressed our willingness that more..

Sri Lanka army denies using cluster bombs

Apr 26 (Xinhua) The Sri Lanka army on Thursday denied using cluster bombs during the 30-year war against Tamil Tiger rebels. Army spokesman Ruwan Wanigasekera said that there were reports of cluster bombs being found by UN deminers in the north of the country. He said that the claims had been made to some international news agencies based on a report by Allan Poston, the technical adviser for the UN Development Program's mine action group in Sri Lanka. more..

Slowing economy sharpens government austerity drive

Apr 26 (wsws) A drop in Sri Lanka’s economic growth rate this year is driving President Mahinda Rajapakse to intensify his government’s budget-cutting measures, even as surveys show that about half the population is already struggling to pay for food and housing. The IMF and ADB have set their growth forecasts for 2012 at 7-7.5 percent, undermining the government’s boasts that it would deliver more than 8 percent growth for the third consecutive year. more..

Korean investments to flow into Sri Lanka

Apr 26 (GDI) Leading Korean businessmen have expressed their willingness to invest in Sri Lanka. This assurance was given to President Mahinda Rajapakse by the Korean businessmen yesterday when they met the President and held discussions on expanding Sri-Lankan trading activities and about the investment potentials in Sri Lanka. The President has enlightened them about the investment potentials available in the country in various sectors and about building of more..

Ambassador Aryasinha contrasts pessimistic projections on Sri Lanka three years ago

Apr 26 (IL) Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha participating in a discussion on Sri Lanka held by the South Asia Delegation of the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, has contrasted the pessimistic projections on Sri Lanka three years ago by some, including sections of the European Parliament, with what has been currently achieved on the ground in Sri Lanka. more..

PNB arrests second suspect

Apr 26 (CT) The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) has arrested the second British suspect involved in the postal drug racket on Wednesday (25). The second suspect who escaped police when going to the Colombo Central Mail Exchange (CME) to collect a parcel containing hashish was arrested at the Katunayake airport, while attempting to flee the country. The first suspect was taken into police custody last week while the second suspect evaded arrest. The arrested British national has more..

Blast kills two boys in Sri Lanka’s former war zone

Apr 26 (AFP) Two boys died when playing with an unexploded mine in the country’s former war zone, the first such deaths since the end of 37 years of ethnic conflict, an official said. The two brothers, aged four and two, were killed when an object with which they were playing exploded in Pallai in the northern Jaffna peninsula on Wednesday evening, military spokesman Ruvan Wanigasuriya said. “It appears the children were playing with an unexploded anti-personnel mine,” he said. more..