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FUTA hogtied: Forced to end rally abruptly

Aug 24 (CT) The rally organized by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA), under the title ‘Protect State Education,’ at Hyde Park yesterday ended abruptly as police urged the lecturers to conclude the rally. The police informed the organizers to call it day at around 6:30 p.m. saying that they will take away the sound system, in the event the organizers failed to end the rally. The rally was part of the public awareness campaign launched by the FUTA more..

Sri Lanka to regulate micro financiers

Aug 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's micro finance institutions will be regulated through a three tier framework where large scale entities will be brought under the direct supervision of the Central Bank, minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said. The cabinet had approved a framework where small micro finance institutions will be supervised through approved audit firms which will help the Central bank enforce regulations. Micro financiers falling under Commissioner of Cooperatives, Registrar of Cooperative Societies and the more..

Teacher trainees’ monthly allowance up by Rs 3,000

Aug 24 (DN) Cabinet approval has been granted to increase the monthly allowance of teacher assistants by Rs 3,000, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said Cabinet approval has been granted to a proposal made by Minister Bandula Gunawardena to increase the monthly allowance of teacher assistants numbering approximately Rs. 4700 to Rs. 6000 per month. He said since it is mandatory for them to obtain the teacher training certificate or a degree from a recognized university, more..

A/L papers to be prepared using examination question databank

Aug 24 (FT) Erroneous question papers distributed among the candidates who sat for the recently concluded A/L exam was taken up by Minister Bandula Gunawardena at the Parliament on Wednesday proposing to establish a databank with exam questions, which will be used to prepare question papers in the future. “Last year, utilising over 300 resource personnel comprised of academics and teachers we have prepared 532 different types of question papers more..

Velmurugan for retrieval of Katchatheevu

Aug 24 (Hindu) Founder of Tamilaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) T. Velmurugan has said that if the killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy should stop, the Centre should retrieve Katchatheevu. Mr. Velmurugan said that if there was no cessation of hostilities against Tamil Nadu fishermen, the TVK, in coordination with other political parties, fishermen organisations and Tamil outfits, would take efforts to drive away the Sri Lankan High Commission from Chennai. more..

Sri Lanka not keen on CEPA with India

Aug 24 (BS) Sri Lanka has apparently informed Indian authorities it was not keen on having a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, as it feared granting more Indian access to its markets would destroy that country’s domestic industry. However, it has made its own set of fresh demands to consider under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which is under operation since March 2000. During the recent visit of Commerce Minister Anand Sharma to Colombo, more..

Maldives & Sri Lanka leaders agree on widest cooperation

Aug 24 (PRIU) The Presidents Sri Lanka and Maldives agreed to extend and strengthen cooperation in human resource development, defense and security and protection of the resources and sea lanes in the Indian Ocean. These were among the understandings reached at bi-lateral discussions between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maldivian President Dr Mohamed Waheed at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo. more..

Rishad seeks for Inter Parliamentary Union observation

Aug 24 (FT) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen is seeking the services of Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) to send a mission to observe judicial proceedings instituted against him in Sri Lanka. Bathiudeen has written to IPU and had noted that that the upcoming proceedings in Colombo and Mannar could take place in a hostile environment created by one-sided reports in the media and as a result of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka adopting an aggressive stance towards him. more..

PC polls: UPFA accused of using graduates for campaign

Aug 24 (Island) The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE) has informed the Elections Commissioner that the Ministry of Pulbic Administration, at their branch office, situated at the Ratnapura District Secretariat, had, at a meeting on Wednesday, decided to release graduates, employed on contract basis, for election campaigns. CAFFE Executive Director Rajith Kirthi Tennekoon said that the Ratnapura District SLFP Graduates’ Assocaition Chairman more..

'Country heading for ruin by Govt. failure to resolve crises'

Aug 24 (FT) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya yesterday warned that the country was heading for ruin by the failure of the Govt to address a host of burning public and economic issues. “The path of the govt is obvious. If the Govt does not get on to the right path, even at this stage, the country will be heading towards a massive disaster. I urge the Government to find a solution to the issue wisely, rather than adopting a rigid policy. more..

MTV sues SLRC for Rs 500 M

Aug 24 (CT) The Maharaja Broadcasting Network (MTV and MBC) responding to the plaint by Sri Lanka Rupavahini Cooperation (SLRC) filed an answer yesterday, counter-suing the State body for Rs 500 million in damages. The SLRC in its plaint filed at the Commercial High Court obtained an ex-party enjoining order on the basis that they have exclusive rights to telecast the 2012 London Olympic games. The MTV and MBC challenged the decision of the Commercial High Court at more..

Unemployed graduates to meet Polls Chief

Aug 24 (CT) Members of the Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates (CAUG) are scheduled to meet Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya today, to discuss issues regarding employing graduates during the election period. CAUG Convener, Dhammika Munasinghe said the majority of the graduates are yet to receive appointment letters. According to Munasinghe, this is because the Elections Commissioner had ordered not to hand out appointments during more..

UGC Chairman apologises to SC over delay

Aug 24 (DM) UGC Chairman Gamini Samaranayake in an affidavit to the Supreme Court yesterday tendered his unconditional and unreserved apology for the delay in implementing the court order on the GCE A/L Z-scores. The affidavit was filed in response to being directed to show cause why he should not be charged with contempt of court. On July 19, the SC directed him to show cause why contempt proceedings more..

Teledrama star’s hotel a five star brothel

Aug 24 (DM) The Panadura- Walana Central Anti-Vice Squad raided a hotel said to be owned by a film and teledrama actress in Moratuwa yesterday. Two alleged prostitutes and the manager of the hotel, a retired police sergeant, had been arrested. One of the women had kept her one year and three month old child in this hotel where she allegedly worked as a prostitute. At the time of the arrest the manager of the hotel had been looking after the child while the mother was working. more..

People should pelt stones at them – HC Judge

Aug 24 (CT) Provincial High Court Judge, Susantha Kumara, of the North Central Province, made an open Court observation yesterday saying, the people should pelt stones at whoever misuses public property and that such candidates should be taken care of in future by the public. He made this observation while dismissing a petition filed by the ‘Api Purawesiyo’ organization alerting that the former North Central Provincial Minister had illegally assigned several official vehicles for more..

Arrest of gangster with LTTE pistol led police to Museum thief

Aug 24 (Island) The arrest of an extortion gang leader with a micro pistol previously used by the LTTE led to the police obtaining information on the mastermind of the Colombo Museum robbery. Chief Inspector Hemantha Owitigama of the Kotahena police said that information about the mastermind of the Museum robbery had emerged following the arrest by a special team from the Kotahena police of an extortion gang more..

Polls monitors get 161 complaints

Aug 24 (Island) The Network for Election Monitoring and Intellectuals for Human Rights (NEMIHR) has received 161 complaints, so far, regarding the forthcoming elections to the Eastern, North-Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils. According to Dr. Uditha Gunasekera, of NEMIHR, 86 complaints have been received for violating election propaganda laws, 31 on the use of State property for propaganda purposes, eight cases of threats to public and seven against more..

FUTA vows to continue strike

Aug 24 (Island) Thousands of university teachers, undergraduates and trade unionists marched to the Hyde Park yesterday, accusing the government of turning a blind eye on their grievances. Lecturers representing all universities in the country participated in yesterday’s protest organized by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA). Three marches commenced from the Viharamahadevi Park, the Gamini Hall Junction and Slave Island and more..

Who is Akila Dananjaya?

Aug 24 (CI) When Akila Dananjaya's name appeared in Sri Lanka's provisional squad for the ICC World Twenty20, the rumour mill spun out stories where the media could not. Some accused his family of using political clout to achieve his sudden elevation. It would not have been the first time, after all. Others alleged money had passed hands - a favour in exchange for funds for an ailing board. Others still supposed it was a mistake, or an oversight. more..

Illegal hydro power project in Siripada

Aug 24 (SL) Environmentalists are questioning as to how the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) has given permission for a 3MW mini hydropower project at the Samanala Adaviya (Sri Pada) Nature Reserve. DWLC has granted permission to Pan Hydro of No: 69, Maligawatte Road, Colombo 10, for the Nayaganga Mini Hydro Project in 2009, although DWLC has no legal authority to give permission for any construction work within a nature reserve. more..

German team establishes new Sri Lanka child development center

Aug 24 (NCN) In just a few days, 14 German youth transformed a dilapidated chicken coop into a new child development center (CDC) that will serve 100 children in Dimbula, Sri Lanka. The volunteers traveled to Colombo, on Aug 5 for the third consecutive annual Work and Witness trip for German youth called “paXan” (derived from the Latin word pax, which means "peace," and Pack's an!, German words for "Go do it!" or more..

Unions say Sri Lankan university shutdowns are 'short-sighted'

Aug 24 (ABC) The peak body representing tertiary level teachers in Sri Lanka has expressed serious concerns about the govt's decision to shut most of the country's universities indefinitely. The move was taken in response to a months-long strike by academics who accuse the govt of interfering in university life and underfunding the sector. The FUTA is due to hold talks with the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance more..

Arsenic the smoking-gun, but...

Aug 24 (LB) The reason for the rapid spread of the kidney disease in the North Central Province (NCP) and most prominently in the Anuradhapura district has been attributed to contact with arsenic: a highly toxic chemical substance. Most of the patients with kidney problems had some form of arsenic contact which led to the conclusion that it was the arsenic that was the cause of the disease. A study conducted by a group of more..

Nearly 300 graduates criminals in prisons

Aug 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka prison records indicated that nearly 300 graduates were sent to prisons over the year 2011 for committing various types of criminal offences. The record revealed that 284 degree holders were sent to prisons over the year and most of the offences they had committed were relating to money default. Nimal Kotawelagedara, additional secretary to the Ministry of Prison Reforms told Xinhua that more..

UK ignores Lankan concerns on travel advice

Aug 24 (CG) The British Foreign office has updated its travel advice on Sri Lanka but maintained an earlier controversial comment despite objections by the External Affairs Ministry in Sri Lanka. Updated yesterday, the advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Local Laws and Customs section notably on posing for photographs in front of statues of Buddha. However the Foreign office said that the overall level of the advice has not changed. more..

Dispute with Britain over Sea Marshals

Aug 24 (ST) A Rajagiriya-based private security firm operating a floating armoury in Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is at the centre of diplomatic row between Sri Lanka and Britain over the issue of weapons to Sea Marshals who provide security against Somali pirates. The Ministry of Defence in Colombo wants Sea Marshals, armed men who travel in merchant vessels in danger zones, to obtain their weapons from the Fujairah floating armoury, more..

Ratmalana opens for international flights

Aug 24 (CG) The Ratmalana domestic airport has been declared open for small international commercial flights, the Civil Aviation Authority said today. Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority H.M.C Nimalsiri said that a circular has been sent to airmen informing them that international commercial jets can now land at the Ratmalana airport. “We declared that it is available for commercial jet operations from 10th August. We have sent a circular to airmen and more..

UDA takes over key state land in Colombo

Aug 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's urban development agency will take-over several state properties in two key locations in Colombo for city development and leisure projects. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Urban Development Authority (UDA) is to undertake a project to refurbish old colonial buildings in the Independence Square area and preserve their original architecture. An old colonial period Race Course ground including the grand stand and mini stand buildings, more..

Editorial: Writing on the blackboard for education

Aug 24 (DM) The vital education sector, which decides the future of millions of young people, is facing its gravest crisis since independence, with blunders and a blackboard jungle situation on various fronts. But the widely critisised Minister Bandula Gunawardena under heavy pressure to resign told parliament there is no problem and opposition critics hit back saying then he himself must be the problem. The Friday Forum, one of Sri Lanka’s most respected more..

Sri Lankan SEP campaigns for US presidential candidate’s meetings

Aug 24 (wsws) Socialist Equality Party (SEP) teams are campaigning intensively for US presidential candidate Jerry White’s visit to Sri Lanka this week. White, a longstanding and leading member of the US SEP, will address a public meeting at the New Town Hall in Colombo on Sunday. Other meetings will follow at Kegalla and in the southern provincial city of Galle on August 28 and 30 respectively. Over the past two days, SEP supporters have distributed thousands of more..

Final stage of resettlement process begins

Aug 24 (GDI) The govt has begun the final stage of resettlement process to resettle the remaining IDP families in the Northern Province. The Minister of Resettlement Gunaratne Weerakoon said that the remaining displaced persons in the Menik Farm Welfare Village in Vavuniya will be resettled within the next few weeks. Recently the govt resettled 994 IDPs belonging to 300 families who had been living in Menik Farm Village in Puthukudiyiruppu more..

Sri Lanka enters state cloud facility

Aug 24 (GDI) Sri Lanka's Information and Communications Technology Agency (ICTA) recently launched the Lanka Govt Cloud (LGC), a new cloud facility open to govt organizations. ICTA said in its website the facility will initially offer seven types of servers to govt agencies, with memory ranging from 2-32 GB and storage capacity of 200-1600 GB. "A server can be created and made available for any govt organization in two hours after request is made. more..

Sri Lanka World Cup ticket chaos begins?

Aug 24 (CT) A ticket scam is reported to be taking place ahead of the T-20 World Cup in Sri Lanka where fans have been told they would not get the tickets they have paid for or require. Fans who made ticket purchases through on-line credit card had received a rude shock when they presented the legitimate receipts to collect their tickets at Sri Lanka Cricket offices. They were told they could collect downgraded tickets and not what they had paid for or the money refunded. more..

SriLankan Airlines and Royal Jordanian seal codeshare deal

Aug 24 (GDI) SriLankan Airlines has concluded a codeshare agreement with Royal Jordanian (RJ), which will permit SriLankan to sell on RJ on their three weekly flights between Colombo and Amman. The codeshare is effective from August 26. Under this agreement, SriLankan will be the marketing carrier and will place its marketing carrier code between the Amman and Colombo route operated by RJ. more..

Sri Lanka U19 beat Afghanistan to win plate championship

Aug 24 (IC) Sri Lanka defeated Afghanistan by seven wickets to win the plate championship final of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012 at Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Friday. Batting first after winning the toss, Afghanistan scored 194/9 in 50 overs, with Mohibullah Paak top scoring with a fine 44 which included five fours and a six. For Sri Lanka, Lahiru Madushanka continued his fine form with the ball and finished with 3/34, while Amila Aponso took 2/19. more..

Sri Lanka tea brand expands China café franchise, R&Ds new products

Aug 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's HVA Foods, a branded tea producer and exporter said a franchise tea café network in China had expanded to 25 in the past year, while the firm was also researching new forms of delivering tea to customers. First established in 2009, the franchise network grew to 20 by the past year. In Sri Lanka, the firm has also established a luxury tea lounge 'Heladiv Tea Club' at an old Dutch Hospital in Colombo's central commercial more..

Sri Lanka braces for oil slick

Aug 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka mobilised 500 volunteers on Friday to prepare for an oil slick heading towards its coast after a cargo vessel sank off-shore due to bad weather, a disaster official said. The rusting 15,000-tonne Thmothrmopolyseara, a Cyprus flag carrier, took in water and went down late Thursday after remaining in anchorage for over three years following a dispute over its cargo of steel, local officials said. more..

'Global warming won't submerge Maldives'

Aug 24 (Haveeru) President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik today said though Maldives faces the dangers of climate change, the country would not be submerged in the Indian Ocean. Speaking to Sri Lankan businessmen this morning during his current visit to Sri Lanka, President stressed that Maldives can be sustained through efforts to avert the dangers of climate change. "First of all, I want give you a bit of good news. The good news is that the Maldives is not about to disappear," more..

India, Sri Lanka to jointly fund pharma hub

Aug 24 (EPO) During his recent visit to Sri Lanka, Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, announced that the two countries will work together towards the establishment of a pharma manufacturing hub in Sri Lanka. This move will capitalise on the vast strides made by the Indian pharma industry towards meeting global quality standards at affordable prices. It is predicted that the hub will be ready in next two years. The main objective of the week-long more..

Sri Lanka upbeat about post-war aviation industry

Aug 24 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is upbeat about its post war aviation industry with some major international airlines returning to the country, according to a top aviation official. Director General H.M.C Nimalsiri of Sri Lanka's Civil Aviation Authority said that a new international airport being constructed with the Chinese govt assistance in the south of the country will help meet demands for more landing space required for international flights. more..