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Gale force winds cause havoc in Batticaloa

Aug 15 (Island) Over 90 houses were destroyed by gale force winds that swept through parts of Batticaloa and Ampara on Sunday and Monday nights. DMC Deputy Director Sarath Lal Kumara said that roofs of 52 houses had been partly damaged while another 21 houses had lost their roofs completely on Sunday night, displacing 251 persons or 73 families at Poratuwapattu. The partly damaged houses had been repaired with the help of the villagers, divisional secretaries and more..

Military lingers in Tamil areas years after Sri Lanka's civil war

Aug 15 (CSM) Every bus traveling north has to stop at the military checkpoint just after Vavuniya. Only men disembark. They know the drill. Without being asked, they form two orderly columns, present their IDs, spread their legs for a pat-down, and open their bags for soldiers to rifle through. Some field questions about why they are headed toward the territory once controlled by the separatist Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE). more..

SL de-mining experts to help other countries?

Aug 15 (DM) Sri Lanka is looking at the possibility of sending Sri Lanka's de-mining personnel and machinery for the use of other countries in UN demining programmes. Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who met with the UN's Resident Representative Subine Nandy, had already held talks in this regard. Participating in the progress review meeting of the National Mine Action Programme of Sri Lanka held at the Ministry of Economic Development, Mr. Nandy praised the de-mining activities in the north. more..

The Global Shapers Colombo Hub begins

Aug 15 (DN) The Global Shapers Colombo Hub has nominated 10 outstanding Sri Lankan youngsters to represent the World Economic Forum as Global Shapers. The Global Shapers is a group of individuals between the ages of 20 and 30 who have demonstrated potential for future leadership roles in society. They are from all walks of life and share a spirit of entrepreneurship to improve the communities they live in and further the global public interest. About 50 percent of the more..

GMOA-SAITM exchange fresh charges

Aug 15 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday accused the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) of issuing individual documents to students, through the Higher Education Ministry, that the twin study programme (two years in Sri Lanka and three years in Russia) had been recognized in Sri Lanka. Currently, Malabe PMC students, who had completed two years of more..

Lanka coming to terms with Murali's absence

Aug 15 (HT) The Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) has Australian Tom Moody excited. Why? The Uthura Rudras coach has got the opportunity to work professionally with friend Muttiah Muralithran once again. And, for the former Sri Lanka national coach (2005-07), nothing could be better than having the spin legend in the team, inspiring youngsters. "He's a dear friend. And it feels wonderful to be able to work with him again (after the stint as national coach)," says the more..

Refugee lawyer says new policy will deter Tamils

Aug 15 (ABC) The end of the civil war in Sri Lanka has seen a surge in Tamils seeking asylum in Australia. They pay people smugglers as much as $10,000 for a place on a boat out of the country. An estimated 70,000 Sri Lankan Tamils live in refugee camps in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They face an uncertain future. It is not clear if they can stay in India and many are not sure they want to return to Sri Lanka. Recently Indian more..

PC polls: Major parties won’t give-up poster, cut-out campaign

Aug 15 (Island) Minister Dilan Perera, UPFA MP Arundika Fernando and UNP MP Ajith Perera on Monday night said that political parties had no option but to display posters and cut-outs, though they violated election laws. They strongly defended the right of candidates contesting elections at any level to launch a poster campaign. They were responding to a query by The Island on more..

Tamil Diaspora delegation meets Gota

Aug 15 (DM) Former LTTE Chief Arms Procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) said a group of 22 members of the Tamil diaspora from Canada, Australia and five European Countries had visited Sri Lanka last week and held talks with Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo. Mr Pathmanathan said that Mr. Rajapaksa had assured the delegation that the rehabilitation of ex-combatants would be expedited. “The defence secretary was very accommodative and more..

Prelate advices FUTA: Take your troubles to President Rajapaksa

Aug 15 (Island) The Most Venerable Mahanayaka of Malwatte, Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera yesterday told a deputation, from the FUTA, that the grievances of the university academics should be forwarded to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The deputation was told that President Rajapaksa was giving a hearing to the grievances of all sectors and had come out with panacea for many issues. "Hence, why not take your demands to President Rajapaksa?" more..

Tremors over Tilak’s talk!

Aug 15 (FT) Despite having the opportunity to directly vent his frustration at his appointer – the President cum Minister of Finance, the SEC Chief’s decision on Monday to tell the world via Reuters about his agony of being under pressure to quit was telling and understandably whipped up commendation as well as condemnation. Some analysts said the fact that SEC Chairman Tilak Karunanaratne took the Reuters route reinforces the “seriousness” of his more..

Estate owner makes representations to BASL, Defence Ministry

Aug 15 (Island) Managing Director of a tea estate, Jayantha Fernando has sought the intervention of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) to have two of its members, including an SLFP politician, now holding political office, investigated as regards an alleged attempt to fraudulently remove jak trees worth about Rs. 600,000 from the Gatagahawela estate, Rangala, Udispattuwa, Teldeniya. Fernando recently submitted an affidavit to the BASL explaining the more..

Smuggler nabbed attempting 51st trip to India

Aug 15 (Island) A 35-year-old man was nabbed by the Police Narcotics Bureau, at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Monday evening, attempting to smuggle out nine gold biscuits to India. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that a Sri Lankan passenger from Nagavillu, Puttalum bound to Bangalore, was arrested, on a tip off, when he was about to board a Srilankan flight. The smuggler was handed over to Customs officers at BIA for further investigation, he said. more..

Teachers unions lament professors’ inability to set question papers

Aug 15 (Island) The Examination Department has effected changes to five GCE A/L question papers so far. The are Logic, Combined Maths (Part I and II), Physics and Agriculture. All Ceylon United Teachers Union said that those professors who set these papers should be ashamed of themselves. The union President, Ven. Yalwela Pagngnasekera Thera said it was sad that professors with so many qualifications more..

Call goes out for urgent defence of SEC

Aug 15 (Island) Good governance activist, former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Chandra Jayaratne has written to D.E.W. Gunasekera M.P., Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), calling for an urgent and effective response to counter external pressures brought upon the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka. While commending the COPE Chairman for calling up the SEC before it and initiating a discussion on more..

String of star class hotels on prime lands in Colombo

Aug 15 (SL) Prime lands in Colombo will soon have a string of star class hotels springing up on them to cater to the expected future demands of a booming tourism industry. Soon after the foundation stone was laid for the 500 room Shangri La Hotel project opposite the Galle Face Green at a cost of US$ 350 million, six more star class hotels are queuing up for construction in Colombo according to the Tourism Development Authority. more..

'UNP WC has no power to amend Constitution'

Aug 15 (LB) UNP Southern Provincial Councillor Maithri Gunaratne said that they were forced to take legal action to prevent the party from being dragged down the path of no return by a dictator. He said that the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe along with his so-called party seniors had deliberately flouted the party Constitution to suit their own agenda by extending the term of the leadership by six years without holding a party summit. more..

Absence of coaches hinders better show in London

Aug 15 (DM) Sri Lankan athletes, who returned after participating at the London Olympics, today charged that a officials had prevented their local coaches from joining them at the games, and this had affected their performance. Mangala Samarakone who represented the country in the bair rifle shooting event said he had pleaded with the authorities to ensure his coach came to the games, but it was of no avail. more..

Substandard stuff worth Rs 10 billion idling in CEB Stores

Aug 15 (CT) Nearly Rs 10 billion worth of poor quality machinery, tools, equipment and devices imported for the rural electrification project have been idling at the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Central Stores in Kolonnawa, for the past couple of years. The wastage comes to light amidst plans to pump billions of rupees to speed up an ambitious village lighting programmes Ceylon Today reliably learns that more..

Indian housing project for Tamils in Sri Lanka on track

Aug 15 (Hindu) After huge delays, the US $ 270 million Indian housing project for displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka is now on track. “The pilot phase of the project for construction of 1,000 houses has been completed. The next phase of the Indian Housing project for 43,000 housing units under the owner-driven mode in the Northern and Eastern provinces has been launched,” said Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India more..

FUTA meets Left Ministers

Aug 15 (Island) Members of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) met three govt ministers yesterday. FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that a delegation of university teachers had met senior Minister of Scientific Affairs Prof. Tissa Vitharana, National Languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara and senior Minister of Human Resources D.E.W. Gunasekera. more..

'Pancha Maha Balawegaya on the streets'

Aug 15 (DM) The Mahanayake of the Malwatta Chapter Most Venerable Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera said yesterday the five forces – Pancha Maha Balawegaya – that brought about the social revolution in 1956 were on the streets today. He said the President should talk to the university academics and provide a solution to their problems. The Prelate made these comments during a discussion with representatives of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) when they called on more..

Sri Lanka business chamber concerned over regulator's remarks

Aug 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's business chamber has expressed concern over Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Tilak Karunaratne's remarks of his impending resignation amid pressure from investors who were being probed for malpractice. "The resignation of two SEC Chairpersons within a period of less than one year will be viewed with concern by investors, corporates and other stakeholders," the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce releasing a statement said. more..

Editorial: Militarization myths

Aug 15 (DM) Time and again, the purpose of retaining army camps in the liberated North is vehemently questioned. It was, in fact, one of the sensitive nerves pricked by the US allied countries during the UNHRC sessions earlier this year, where the former passed a resolution against the island nation. The matter saw a reemergence at the recently concluded Defence Seminar in Colombo. On the surface, the criticism seems valid; for any citizen in a free country, deserves to more..

Launch of two research books on Drama

Aug 15 (GDI) Two books authored by Professor Ariyaratne Atugala namely “Vesmuhunu haa Vishpaurushayanaya” (Masks & Depersonalization) and “Mahasamaya haa Etic Naatyavedaya” (Mahasamayama and Etic Drama) will be released, toady. Launching of these two books will take place in parallel to the commemoration ceremony of late Prof.Ediriweera Sarachchandra at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute today at 3.30 pm. more..

Malabe issue: Parents lash out at Vasu

Aug 15 (Island) The Malabe Parents’ Private Medical Association, comprising around 350 parents, yesterday condemned Minister Vasudewa Nanayakkara for spreading false information and condemning the SAITM without valid reason. Commenting on a recent statement, attributed to Minister Nanayakkara, a spokesperson for the association alleged the minister had thrown his weight behind those hell-bent on destroying the project.Minister had stated that without more..

Under-19 World Cup: South Africa bowlers sink Sri Lanka

Aug 15 (CI) South Africa's bowlers, led by Corné Dry, put in a commanding performance to skittle Sri Lanka out for 150 and set up a comfortable win for their side in their Group D encounter at the Peter Burge Oval in Brisbane. South Africa suffered a few jitters in their chase before they overhauled the target in 33 overs to top their group with three wins. South Africa captain Chad Bowes won the toss and elected to field and the decision paid immediate dividends as Dry struck with more..

Commotion over periodic table

Aug 15 (DM) Candidates who sat today’s Chemistry paper I had been agitated and distressed because they were not provided a copy of the periodic table with the question paper unlike in previous years. Examinations Commissioner W.M.J. Pushpakumara commenting on the situation said the candidates were not given the periodic table because the professors who set the paper this year had instructed us not to do so. However, teacher unions blamed the Examinations Dept for not informing the candidates of this decision prior to the more..

New appointments before elections faulted

Aug 15 (DM) The appointment of 270 health workers in the Sabaragamuwa Province during election time has come under scrutiny by the Elections Department, officials said yesterday. These appointments had been granted with letters backdated to two days prior to the date of the declaration of the elections. Polls observers had brought the matter to the notice of the Elections Department. During a recent meeting with the PAFFREL, the Department had said more..

Doctor's negligence results in the death of a young girl in Hambantota

Aug 15 (AHRC) Ms. Neesha Chaturangi (17) of Ambalanthota in Hambantota District was a student of a Ambalanthota Kuda Bolana Pagnaseeha Maha Vidyalaya. On the 2 June 2012, Neesha was returning from school in the afternoon, without taking lunch, she had eaten cashew-nuts with her younger sister. A few minutes after eating cashew Neesha had vomited. At about 4pm she was taken to Udabaragama Govt Hospital. A lady doctor after examining Neesha, told her parents, more..

Sri Lankan navy detains 43 people on fishing boat heading illegally to Australia

Aug 15 (VC) Sri Lanka's navy says it has intercepted a fishing boat that was carrying 43 people illegally to Australia. The navy says patrol craft intercepted the trawler about 37 kilometres off Sri Lanka's western coast on Tuesday. The passengers, all Sri Lankans, were handed over to police. It is illegal in Sri Lanka to leave from unauthorized ports. The maximum sentence is five years in prison. Already this year, Sri Lankan authorities have arrested 600 Australia-bound Sri Lankans, Indians, Pakistanis more..

Sri Lanka extends power cuts as efforts to restore power plant fails

Aug 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka has extended the time duration of power cuts to three hours and twenty minutes starting Thursday until a faulty Chinese built cola power plant is fully restored, the ministry of power and energy said. The ministry of power and energy said efforts to repair the Lakvijaya power plant that broke down a week ago had failed prompting officials to completely shut it down for an overhaul. more..

Power cuts have affected water supply: NWSDB

Aug 15 (DM) Power cuts have impacted the safe drinking water supply in the country due to the interruption in the operation of pumping stations, officials said today. The National Water Supply and Drainage Boards requested the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to look into this matter. “More than the dry spell, the power cut has made an impact. It is difficult to operate pumping machines without electricity. It is a serious issue. We have brought this notice to the CEB. more..

Sri Lanka stocks up as foreign investors buy Keells

Aug 15 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan stock market rose on Wednesday for the second straight session on foreign strategic buying in market heavyweight John Keells Holdings amid a sharp decline in prices across-the-board this year. The Colombo Stock Exchange's main index rose 0.64 percent, or 31.47 points, to end at 4,939.66, its highest since Aug. 2. Shares in Keells gained 2.16 percent to 199 rupees a share, with foreign investors buying 2.4 million shares. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 15.08.2012

CTU to take TU action

Aug 15 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) has threatened to engage in trade union action from the third term of school if their demands are not met, CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin told Ceylon Today. The teachers’ union had launched a massive protest campaign on 25 July, but had then been assured by the Education Ministry Secretary that he will respond to their demands after a three week period. The unions’ main demands are for their salary arrears to be paid, and for teacher transfers to be implemented through the more..

Over 15,000 Sri Lankan inmates held for being unable to pay fine

Aug 15 (Xinhua) A official said that over 15,000 prisoners are being detained as they were unable to pay fine. The official from the Prisons Department said on condition of anonymity that over the year 2011, 15,306 persons were sent to prison for their failure to pay fine. "This was more than the half of the total number of prisoners entering the prisons over the year," the official said. Failure to pay fine has become a major contributor to prison congestion in Sri Lanka. more..

66th Independence Day of India Celebrations in Sri Lanka

Aug 15 (HCI) The High Commission of India and the Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 66th Independence Day of India on Wednesday, 15th August at India House in Colombo. High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha unfurled the National Flag, which was followed by rendering of the National Anthem by ladies from the High Commission and the Indian community. The High Commissioner inspected the Guard of more..

A googly with a Chinaman

Aug 15 (Hindu) Although the idea of writing about cricket had been with Shehan Karunatilaka for sometime, the story of Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew occurred when the protagonist, Wijedasa Gamini Karunasena (WG)’s voice, emerged off the page. “I started writing early morning before work. For the first month, I kind of sat half asleep in front of my computer at four in the morning. I would surf the Net, take a nap and nothing would happen. Then after a month, I starting waking up naturally at 3.59 a.m. and saw this more..

The tax commission report: Consigned to the dustbin of history?

Aug 15 (CT) 2009, immediately after the end of the war, President Rajapaksa appointed a ten-member Commission to study the country’s tax system and make recommendations to increase the revenues. Three years have elapsed since then and another Budget is on the offing. The immediate motivation for the appointment of the 2009 Presidential Commission (the 4th since Independence) was (1) the need to accelerate economic growth and more..