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SLMC rejects communal charge

Aug 6 (Island) SLMC General Secretary Hassen Ali said that it was wrong for any individual or organisation to state that the SLMC was on a collision course with the govt, as a result of its campaigning for the forthcoming Provincial elections on communal or religious lines. Hassen Ali, who was perturbed by reports in the national media and the statement released by the National Polls Observation Committee (NPOC) stating that election campaigns, particularly in the Eastern Province, by Parties and independent groups were more..

Railway Union threatens action

Aug 6 (CT) The Railway Employees Union vowed to take stern trade union action yesterday if the authorities failed to recover the loss and damage caused to 36 power sets, due to substandard diesel, amounting to Rs 30 million. Sumathipala Manawadu, Secretary of the Union charged the Sri Lanka Railways Department suffered heavily because of the substandard diesel and that the loss should be recovered from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. Meanwhile, more..

President meets university Dons; Z score, higher education focus of talks

Aug 6 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa met Vice Chancellors and Deans of universities yesterday to discuss issues relating to the ‘Z Score’ calculations and higher education in general. The issues relating to the calculation of the ‘Z Score’ of the A/L students were discussed at length with focus on ensuring that no injustice would be caused to any student owing to the matter. more..

SJGH provides mobile treatment

Aug 6 (DN) Sri Jayawardenepura General Hospital (SJGH) Director Board launched several projects to educate the public on healthcare and treatment provided by the Hospital. SJGH Chairman M.M.N.D. Bandara said several initiatives were taken to streamline and systematize healthcare services and treatment available in the hospital. The Hospital has expanded healthcare services for the benefit of the people living within close proximity to the SJGH, he said. more..

Focus on South Indian Tamils-Wimal

Aug 6 (DM) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jeyalalitha Jeyaram and DMK Chief M. Karunanidhi should focus on the welfare of the suffering Tamils in South India without talking of establishing a state of Eelam, Minister Wimal Weerawansa sai. He said the Tamils in Sri Lanka were leading better lifestyles than the Tamils in South India. He charged that both Ms. Jeyalalitha and Mr. Karunanidhi were deceiving the innocent Tamils in Tamil Nadu and only concentrating in building their images. more..

Families appeal for help to free MV Albedo sailors

Aug 6 (National) Family members of six Sri Lankan sailors who are still being held hostage aboard the MV Albedo will launch a nationwide appeal today in a bid to raise enough money to free their men. The sailors are among 15 crew still being held captive by Somali pirates on the hijacked ship, after seven Pakistani crew were freed last week. The pirates released the Pakistanis in exchange for a US$1.1 million ransom raised by Pakistani more..

Eastern revival gets Rs 53 b

Aug 6 (DN) The government spent Rs 53 billion for the development of the Eastern Province under the Negenahira Navodaya (Eastern Revival) from 2008 to December 2011, Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said. The minister said this amount is more than the amount spent for the development of this region from 1948 to 2005. He said this fact is valid even for the Northern Province development activities under the Uthuru Wasanthaya (Northern Spring). Senaratne said the public has felt development taking place at national and village level more..

FUTA vows to carry on with strike

Aug 6 (Island) The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) yesterday said that it would continue its strike. FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that the strikers would continue their talks with Minister Basil Rajapaksa. University teachers demand that 6 per cent of the GDP be allocated to the education sector, they be consulted when taking decisions on the higher education system and their salaries be increased substantially. "We discussed our demands with Minister Rajapaksa last Wednesday,"the FUTA said. more..

Sub-standard diesel: COPE summons CPC

Aug 6 (Island) The COPE has summoned the the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) for an inquiry into a consignment of contaminated diesel supplied by a foreign seller on Tuesday. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that the COPE would go into all CPC issues, including the latest controversy. Karunanayake, who is also a member of the COPE, stressed that the UPFA couldn’t get away with its economic crimes by simply appointing committees. more..

Doctor assaulted by minister: GMOA mulls further action

Aug 6 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) Executive Committee is having meeting for today to decide on action to be taken over last Friday’s attack on a doctor at the Kandy General Hospital. The Central Province Health Minister Sunil Kithsiri Amaratunge was arrested and produced before court over the incident. Nearly 2,000 Central Province doctors launched a strike on Saturday following Friday’s attack on more..

Vultures at Colombo mortuary do it again

Aug 6 (Island) The father of a student killed in the school van-intercity bus collision, that occured last Thursday at Horagolla, yesterday lamented that they had to waste two days to collect the body of his son from the National Hospital mortuary, under the purview of the Colombo JMO. Tissa Wijekoon appealed to authorities to put an end to such harassment meted out to innocent relatives of deceased persons when they come to collect the bodies of their loved ones. more..

Stocks: Bending the rules

Aug 6 (ST) ”PBJ, Market stakeholders try to keep media at bay” screamed the headlines of a local newspaper on Thursday, implying that the media was to be ‘kept in the dark’ (as far as possible) from what transpired at a meeting between stock market stakeholders and the Treasury. There was a‘gentlemen’s’ agreement at Tuesday’s meeting that the contents, aimed at giving a positive twist to ‘boost’ the market, would be released to the media as a statement more..

Govt yet undecided on addressing z-score issue

Aug 6 (SL) The govt is yet undecided on a solution to the mess-up in the Z-scores of last year’s GCE A/L exam. The report on the Z-score issue being prepared on a Presidential directive is yet to be finalized. Minister S.B. Dissanayake told heads of media institutions during a breakfast meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees last Monday that the report would be presented to the President that evening. more..

Strict forest reserve too on fire

Aug 6 (Island) The wildfire that began last Friday has engulfed the forest reserve between the Ohiya, Pattipola and Idalgashinna railway stations. Large extents of the reserve, on the boundary of Horton plains, on the Southern slope of the central mountains, have been destroyed by the wildfire. Members of the army, police, Disaster Management Centre and wildlife conservation department worked tirelessly to douse it. more..

Lankan journos cut off from the athletes

Aug 6 (DM) The Lankan journalists who are in London for the coverage of the Olympic Games are in a spot of bother. They are almost cut off from the rest of the contingent who are at the games. Right now almost all the Lankan events are over. Only the marathon remains and that would come on the penultimate day of the games. Still the reporters are to get a single chance of meeting the Lankan athletes, barring the more..

'Shoddy management allowed fuel retail distribution'

Aug 6 (LB) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is once again ‘faulted’ for ‘supplying’ substandard fuel in the market. Last year it was low quality petrol. The quick decision taken by the Ministry of Petroleum Industries last Friday was to cancel the licence given to Vitol, the Singapore company, for supplying substandard diesel to CPC and insisting that Vitol pays compensation for the losses incurred by vehicle owners by more..

GCE A/Level exam begins today

Aug 6 (Island) The GCE (A/L) Exam commences today at 2,093 centers countrywide. It concludes on August 30. There are 277,601 candidates sitting the exam––236,025 under the new syllabus. Commissioner General of Examinations W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said that 574 students had applied for the examination during the five-day grace period given to GCE (A/L) 2011 students following the release of revised Z–score marks. There was also a special exam centre for prisoners at more..

'Drought may compel water cuts'

Aug 6 (DN) Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday said they will be forced to impose water cuts in some urban centres due to the prevailing drought. "The Western Province will be least affected by the situation in terms of drinking water supplies," he said. "The water in the country's storage reservoirs and tanks is being depleted as a result of lack of rains over the past months,"he said. more..

Sri Lanka to host global aviation summit

Aug 6 (Xinhua) Tapping into a booming tourism sector and promoting human capital in the aviation sector, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will host a three- day Global Aviation Human Capital Summit in Sri Lanka. The summit, which could include over 53 countries and regions, would be held from 13 to 15 November in Colombo, SriLankan Airlines Head of Human Resource Pradeepa Kekulawala noted. more..

'CEB’s mafia will soon be exposed'

Aug 6 (DM) The mafia operating within the Ceylon Electricity Board would be found out just as the mafia in the petroleum industry was found out through the substandard petrol and diesel racket that had surfaced recently said Minister Champika Ranawaka at a meeting organised by the JHU yesterday in Kurunegala. This seminar was the first in a series to be held by the JHU on the theme “Rata Watalana Devana Eelam Satana Paradavamu.” Those who worked against the JHU, more..

China urges Sri Lanka to release 37 detained fishermen

Aug 6 (Reuters) China has called on Sri Lanka to release 37 Chinese fishermen detained by the Sri Lankan navy, China's Xinhua state news agency reported on Monday, in a case that could test increasingly close ties between Beijing and Colombo. Sri Lanka's navy arrested the fishermen on Sunday night. They were aboard two trawlers off the Sri Lankan east coast town of Batticaloa, Xinhua said. more..

Editorial: CPC in an oily mess

Aug 6 (DM) Our sister paper, The Sunday Times, yesterday reported that more than 150 complaints were received by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation(CPC) about cases of vehicle and machinery break downs, as a result of the stock of substandard diesel released to the market. On two previous occasions, in 2009 and 2011, the CPC was caught red handed for importing and distributing substandard fuel. Many vehicle and fuel station owners became victims of the short sighted move, to whom more..

National Languages Ministry to set up provincial language centres

Aug 6 (Island) The National Languages and Social Integration Ministry is to set up provincial language centers in all provinces. Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said the aim is to create a bi-lingual society in the country within the next five to 10 years. He has explained that a bi-lingual society would remove the language barrier and create peace among all communities. He has pointed out that the teaching of Sinhala language to the more..

Defacing of ‘Sanctity of life’ mural on Kynsey Terrace

Aug 6 (CT) The same people who defaced the mural on Kynsey Terrace last night came tonight (4) as well and continued the job, finishing erasing of the remaining part of the mural as well which they could not finish on Friday as they had run out of tar. Following the assassination of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam by the LTTE on 29 July 1999, in a spontaneous outpouring of grief and loss, the people with whom he worked and the staff more..

Clinton turns to the art of Buddhist meditation to relax

Aug 6 (DM) Former American president Bill Clinton has taken his exercise regime to spiritual heights - by learning the art of Buddhist meditation to help him relax. The politician, 65, has recently taken up a healthier life-style including becoming vegan after a string of heart problems over the years. And in his latest bid to improve his well-being, the Democrat has hired his own personal Buddhist monk to help him learn how to meditate properly. Ever since his heart scare, Bill has looked for ways to more..

Sisters of the Holy Family aid Mullikulam refugees

Aug 6 (AN) For the first time since they were forced to live in a jungle, the Mullikulam refugees have received aid, thanks to the Sisters of the Holy Family. Through a collection that involved several people in the Northern Province, yesterday Sr. Deepa Fernando and Sr. Pearly Augusta brought 215 families, rice, sugar, flour and different types of cereal, milk and powdered tea, biscuits and noodles, soap, medicines and first aid materials. more..

5000 dried-up tanks island wide

Aug 6 (DM) As many as 5000 tanks in the country had completely dried up due to the current dry spell, The Ministry of Agrarian Services and Wildlife said yesterday. A spokesman said the water level of major tanks such as Parakarama Samudraya in Polonnaruwa, Kalawewa in Anurdhapura had dropped drastically. Such tanks were being de-silted now. In addition it had been decided to dig agro wells for the farmers to more..

St.Anne's Church Talawila celebrated 250th Anniversary

Aug 6 (GDI) St. Anne’s Church, Talawila marked its 250th anniversary this year. Special religious observances were held in view of the anniversary on Sunday. The main holy mass was officiated by the Archbishop of Colombo His Emminence Malcom Cardinal Ranjith. This year too a large number of devotees attended the celebrations. The lighthouse constructed at the premises of the St. Anne’s Church in Thalawila to mark its 250th anniversary too more..

India releases Sri Lankan boats, fishermen

Aug 6 (IANS) The Coast Guard has released 11 Sri Lankan fishermen who were detained in Indian waters in May along with two fishing boats, it was announced on Monday. A Sri Lankan government statement said the arrests and seizures were made off the Andhra Pradesh coast. Following the intervention of Sri Lanka's deputy foreign minister and the help provided by the Indian high commission in Colombo, all 11 men were released over a week ago, the statement said. "The vessels are expected to reach Sri Lankan shores by Aug 8."

Sri Lanka aims to attract more American travelers

Aug 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka is on a drive to attract 100,000 American tourists by 2016 in a bid to woo part of ongoing tourist traffic to the Maldives and India and attract more up market travelers to the island, a diplomat said. "We are working on an aggressive campaign to attract 100,000 American tourists to the Island by 2016," Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the US said. "I can see a huge interest in people more..

Thambuththegama residents brutally assaulted while in police custody

Aug 6 (CT) 6 out of 17 Thambuththegama residents who were arrested for being involved in the protest against the police were brutally assaulted and have been admitted to the Thambuththegama hospital. It is alleged the suspects who were arrested last Friday were assaulted by the police inside the Thambuththegama Police Station. Sources from Thambuththegama hospital said the injured people would be discharged today after Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) Yasanath Bandara inspects more..

30 MW of Wind Power to be added to power grid

Aug 6 (AD) A capacity of 30 MW of wind power, generated from three wind farms, is scheduled to be added to the national power grid on Thursday. The three wind power plants will look to add 90 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity per year, 1% of the country’s entire power output, to the national power grid. The Energy Ministry says it intends to increase this percentage to 15% by 2015 and by 2020 generate 20% of the country’s power through renewable energy sources, more..

Pakistan Defence Secretary to visit Sri Lanka from today

Aug 6 (PT) Defence Secretary Lt Gen (Retd) Asif Yasin Malik will be visiting Sri Lanka from 7-11 August. During his stay in Colombo, Malik will hold discussions with Sri Lankan Defence hierarchy to further strengthen the relations between two time-tested friendly countries. The Secretary of Defence Pakistan will also address Defence Seminar 2012 being organized by the Sri Lanka Army under the theme of more..

Spoilt garlic stocks seized from Dambulla

Aug 6 (LT) A stock of spoilt garlic has been taken into custody while being sorted at a rice mill on the Kandalama road in Dambulla. The raid has been carried out by the officers of environmental unit of Dambulla Police and the Consumer Affairs Authority on information received by Dambulla Police. The officers who carried out the raid say garlic stocked at the mill were spoilt and not suitable for human consumption. There had been 41,000 kilos of garlic in the mill. The value of such a stock of normal garlic is said to be Rs.3.5 million. more..

Confidence in police, judiciary & politicians has been shattered – Lal Kanthe

Aug 6 (LT) The masses in the country have to carry out struggles in the streets to win their rights as confidence in the police, judiciary and politicians has been shattered says the President of National Trade Union Centre K.D. Lal Kanthe. He has said this addressing the 1st Annual Sessions of the Education Department Cooperative General Employees Union yesterday. He said, “This is a time that the rulers of the country have grabbed power from the more..

'Uni. admission after z-score solution'

Aug 6 (AD) The UGC today informed the Supreme Court that university admissions will not be finalized until the solution to the A/L examination z-score issue is provided. A Fundamental Rights petition filed by a group of 33 students was taken up before a three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. Attorney representing the respondents stated that solution procedures for the z-score issue are currently being prepared. more..

Sri Lanka launches new professional course for logistics

Aug 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Shippers’ Academy Colombo has launched a comprehensive transport, logistics and trade course to help develop the careers of those working in the logistics trade. The course, done in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, comes at a time the government has embarked on an ambitious drive to upgrade and develop key ports of Colombo and Hambantota, in the south. The course will cover all aspects of logistics which will include more..

Forum on citizen-govt relations in Trincomalee

Aug 6 (AN) The Active Citizenship for Development Network (ACDN) organised a conference in Trincomalee to discuss ways to increase awareness among the poor of their human and economic rights at the local and national level. About 130 people came together to talk about proposals and ideas on local development to be submitted to provincial, regional and national authorities. Set up by the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), the Uva Community Development Center, more..

SLC buys from companies owned by its treasurer

Aug 6 (SM) Instances of Sri Lanka Cricket purchasing equipment from two companies owned by its treasurer Nuzki Mohamed have come to light The purchases, worth Rs. 1.5 million, had been bought during the first six months of this year from SVA Agencies and The Cricket Shop, both owned by the SLC treasurer. The payments had already been made by cheque, although SLC was yet to pay for certain purchases it had more..

Court injunction to Ranil, Tissa prevents expulsions

Aug 6 (SM) The Colombo civil appellate court today issued an injunction to UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and general secretary Tissa Attanayake, preventing the expulsion of six Anuradhapura politicians of the party. Justices L.T.B. Dehideniya and S.C.T. Madawala issued the order that will be effective until the end of this month, after considering a petition filed by the members of six Pradeshiya Sabhas. more..