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Govt. yet to invite me -Dayasiri

Aug 26 (NS) UNP Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara embroiled in a battle with the UNP leadership claimed the government had not extended an invitation to him to join the ruling party. With the United National Party (UNP) calling for explanation on his statements against the party and its leadership, Jayasekara refuted reports that he was approached by the government to join them. “There is no truth in such reports,” he told The Nation. more..

CEB to charge local authorities for street lamps

Aug 26 (NS) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has decided to charge local govt authorities for the number of street lamps in their areas from Sept 1, following a dismal response to its efforts to switch off 50% of all street lamps. Minister Champika Ranawaka blasted local govt authorities including Pradeshiya Sabhas, Urban Councils, and Municipal Councils for their negligence in conserving electricity despite repeated appeals. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Aug 26 (ST) The sacred Kapilavastu relics are in Sri Lanka after more than 30 years, but the exposition is shrouded in some controversy as most things done in Sri Lanka these days seem to be. For starters, the relics are being taken to only certain temples around the country. A significant omission is the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya, one of the historic places the Buddha himself visited as legend has it. Instead, it was taken to another Viharaya in Kelaniya. more..

Kovil defiant on animal sacrifice

Aug 26 (ST) The Kali-Kovil in Munneswaram is to go ahead with a pooja to sacrifice animals despite fresh protests. Animal rights activists say that during the sacrifice at the Sri Bhadrakali Amman Kovil, hundreds of goats and thousands of fowl are to be slaughtered in a cruel manner. A protest has been organised by the Multi-Religious Alliance for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals today in front of the kovil. Last year, animal rights groups sent a petition signed by more..

Specialist raises questions regarding quality of imported drugs

Aug 26 (ST) One of Sri Lanka’s most highly qualified pharmacists said yesterday there were vital issues that needed to be addressed regarding the quality of medicinal drugs being imported, the quality testing of the drugs and good manufacturing practices. Dr. Titus de Silva, who qualified in pharmacology in Britain and was the first head of the National Drug Quality Assurance Laboratory set up by the late Professor more..

University security costs double with Rakna Lanka

Aug 26 (SL) The cost of providing security to the universities has doubled since it bacame mandatory to hire the services of Rakna Lanka Security Service through an order of the Ministry of Higher Education. This was revealed when Minister of Higher Education S.B. Dissanayake answered an oral question in Parliament on August 22. The cost of security has risen to Rs 440 million in 2012 from that of Rs 220 million in 2010. more..

Trade unionists breathe fire over ‘lucrative janitorial contracts worth billions’

Aug 26 (Island) Amidst the crippling wildcat strike by janitorial service workers of the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital, trade unionists last week charged that outsourcing the Rs. 3 billion per annum cleaning operation has become a "roaring business for shady politicians and officials", while the casual daily wage earners were paid a meager Rs. 320. "This is daylight robbery as there is no acceptable mechanism in handing over lucrative contracts worth billions of rupees to more..

Pillay’s report cites victimization of HR activists

Aug 26 (LB) Human rights activists in Sri Lanka were victimized during and after the passing of the US-led resolution in the UN Human Rights Council in March, Navi Pillay, the UN human rights chief, revealed last week. Her report to the UN secretary general on ‘Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights’ was released last Monday. It provides information for the period June 2011 to July 2012 on “alleged reprisals” against more..

Govt. fears UK’s travel advisory could trigger ‘copy cat’ advisories

Aug 26 (ST) The Govt yesterday expressed fear that more countries would take up a ‘copy cat’ attitude and issue adverse travel advisories which puts the country in poor light, following a damning note from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth office in London on Sri Lanka, a senior official of the External Affairs Ministry (EAM) said. EAM Secretary Karunatilleke Amunugama said that heads of foreign missions will be shortly apprised of the true ground situation more..

Panadura ‘70 ton oil leak’ could have been averted

Aug 26 (LB) Athing layer of oil floated on the sea Wellawatte area from the sunken ship in Panadura while the Coast Conservation Department (CCD) stated that the oil can float from Mt. Lavinia to Wellawatte. However CCD and many other organizations started removing sand with oil resulting a few dead fish found lying on the beach. Director General of the CCD Anil Premaratne requests the public not to panic as no major issue would arise in view of the oil leak. more..

Lengthy outages in the offing

Aug 26 (CT) Minister Champika Ranawaka warned the CEB will no longer be able to control power generation if the catchment areas do not get enough rain by September and that State institutions would be compelled to generate power through their own methods. The CEB last week said they would be able to end the present 3 hrs and 20 mts daily power cuts by August 27, providing the Norochcholai power plant is restored to functioning order by the time. more..

Museum puzzles and pieces

Aug 26 (ST) Museum officials are studying a collection of some 350 gemstones recovered by the Police in order to establish whether any of the stones belong to items stolen from the National Museum during a break-in earlier this year. Museum superintendent Ranjith Hewage said that some of the stones may be the same stones that were removed from walking sticks stolen on the night of March 16. “Because the gemstones were recovered along with other museum artifacts, more..

Fence of the YMCA, Kilinochchi, bulldozed

Aug 26 (LB) The fence of the land belonging to the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), Kilinochchi, has been bulldozed by an unknown party, officials of YMCA claim. Officials of the association who lodged a complaint at the Kilinochchi police allege that the fence and the demarcation poles were bulldozed by someone ‘who is interested in the land.’ The land had been leased to the YMCA by the State for several years. The half an acre of land on the A9 road opposite more..

Tuna cannery for local market to start in December

Aug 26 (LB) Sri Lanka’s largest exporter of tuna fish, the TESS Group of Companies, will by end-December, tune a new tuna cannery in its Kelaniya complex to produce exclusively for the local market. At capacity, the company’s Kelaniya based processing plant can put out 50,000, 200-gram tuna cans per day, director Shiran Fernando said. TESS was in the news last week when they showed the media the 400 gram cans of mackerel they intend introducing to the local market shortly. more..

Severe devastation of forest reservations goes on, unabated

Aug 26 (LB) Around 12,000 acres in seven districts have already been set on fire during a five month period commencing April this year. Among these areas are forest reservations, mangrove forests, pinus plantations, etc. We sought the views of eminent persons on how to combat forest fires. Deputy media director, Disaster Management Centre (DMC), Sarath Lal Kumara, explained the situation saying: “The DMC has identified districts more..

Four cranes malfunction after using same fuel

Aug 26 (SL) Four cranes in operation at the Colombo harbour malfunctioned on August 14 after using fuel imported from Vietnam, according to Ports Authority Chairman Dr Priyath Bandu Wickrama. Dr Wickrama refused to comment on whether or not the fuel used in the cranes was the cause of the breakdowns, but added that all four cranes had the same engine problem. “The cranes are back in operation and we have notified the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) of the issue. more..

Two lists for Korean Jobs: Political and ordinary

Aug 26 (SL) Application forms to sit the exam to select candidates for employment in Korea have been given under two categories. One through MPs and the other for ordinary applicants. “The applications under this scheme was issued from August 20 to 25 at 30 centres established island wide,” said the Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB). According to Amal Senadhilankara, FEB Chairman, the listing has been done on the instructions of minister Dilan Perera, more..

Doubts over outcome of PIU Probes

Aug 26 (SL) The fate of over 4,000 investigations concluded by the Presidential Investigations Unit is unknown with the authorities probing corruption and financial irregularities in state institutions saying such cases have not been directed to them. The Presidential Investigations Unit says that all complaints probed by the Unit after conclusion have been handed over to the Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga to be given to the President. more..

Rs. 800 m for Batticaloa airport project

Aug 26 (SO) Construction work to develop the Batticaloa domestic airport will be initiated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on September 3. The Govt has decided to upgrade the airport following a proposal made in the 2012 Budget to develop the country’s domestic airports. The facelift is estimated to cost Rs. 800 million which includes the construction of a 1,700 metre runway, access roads, flight landing areas and other development activities, Minister Piyankara Jayaratne told more..

First man on moon Neil Armstrong dead at 82

Aug 26 (Reuters) U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong, who took a giant leap for mankind when he became the first person to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82, his family said on Saturday. Armstrong died following complications from heart-bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month, the family said in a statement, just two days after his birthday on August 5. As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. more..

Int'l arbitration centre in Lanka soon

Aug 26 (SO) An international arbitration centre is to be opened in Sri Lanka to attract international arbitrators to the island, Justice Ministry Secretary Kamalini de Silva said. "We are in the process of establishing a state-of-the-art centre for this facility at the World Trade Centre and planning to open this centre next year", she said. Arbitration is a private means of dispute resolution whereby the concerned parties agree to be bound by the decision of an arbitrator of their choice whose decision more..

Sea uranium extraction ‘close to economic reality’

Aug 26 (SO) Extracting uranium from seawater is closer to becoming an economic reality which could guarantee the future of nuclear power, scientists said. The world’s oceans hold at least four billion tons of the precious metal. But for the past four decades, the goal of mining seawater for uranium has remained a dream because of the technical difficulties and high cost. Today, a report presented to a scientific meeting showed that fast progress is being made towards turning more..

Maligawatta flats residents launch a protest

Aug 26 (CT) The residents of the Maligawatta flats have commenced a protest against UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa’s interference in the maintainence of the flats, Ground sources reported. A group of more than 50 people have gathered to protest. The protesters said that the protest has been launched in order to question as to why UNP deputy leader Sajith Premadasa is interfering, 20 years after his father late President R.Premadasa laid the foundation stone and helped maintain the flats. more..

Sri Lanka says oil spill 'contained'

Aug 26 (AFP) An oil slick from a sunken cargo vessel has been contained and is no longer a threat to beach resorts popular with foreign tourists, Sri Lankan authorities declared on Sunday. The rusting ship went down in bad weather on Thursday night outside a Colombo harbour and had threatened a 50-kilometre stretch of coastline including resorts at Mount Lavinia and Negombo. The spill, which was about 10 kilometres long, had reached the shores of more..

HC rejects plea of Lankan refugee medical student

Aug 26 (PTI) Madras High Court Bench here has dismissed a plea of Sri Lankan refugee medical student of Madras Medical College seeking to change results of two subjects in second year exam held in February last year. Saravana Pavan Nadarajah had failed in the two subjects but contended that he had cleared them as per an evaluation of his answer scripts, obtained under the Right to Information Act, by two doctors who were not the examiners. more..

MDMK, VCK workers held for protest against training to Lankans

Aug 26 (PTI) Around 85 activists of MDMK and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) were arrested today when they attempted to stage a picketing and a block a train in Coonoor condemning the training of Sri Lankan personnel at the Defence Staff Service College near here. Over 70 MDMK activists squatted in the middle of the road leading to the college at Wellington, blocking vehicular traffic for some time. Large number of police personnel were deployed on the road. more..

Sri Lanka stock market roiled by scandal

Aug 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka's stock market, once a darling of investors, has seen its value plummet 26 percent in the past year and now faces a crisis of confidence after its regulator quit in a storm of controversy. The tiny bourse became the world's top gainer soon after the country ended decades of ethnic war, but three years later it has imploded amid allegations of corruption. Market regulator Tilak Karunaratne quit on August 17, saying he could no longer more..

Mervyn creating unwanted tension-DPF

Aug 26 (DM) The Democratic People’s Front (DPF) today said Minister Mervyn Silva was causing unwanted tension in Chilaw with his announcement to hold a Sathyagraha against animal sacrifices in a Hindu Temple in Munneswaram. “The Minister’s notice has already created tension in the aarea. I call upon Mervyn not interfere in this matter and leave the issue to the Hindu organizations in the country, the ministry of religious affairs and to the court of law,” DPF Leader Mano Genesan said in a statement. more..

Not able to come to a conclusion after talks with govt., says TNA

Aug 26 (NF) A public rally was held in the Ampara area on Thursday in support of candidates contesting the upcoming Eastern Provincial Council Election. A number of TNA MPs took part in the public rally which was held at the Natipitimune, public grounds in Kalmunai. "They held eighteen rounds of discussions with the TNA over the past year. What happened in the end? There was no result. The President is now telling us to go before a Parliamentary Select Committee." more..

Even Ranil becoming Executive President is a ‘disaster’

Aug 26 (AD) Emphasizing on the immediate need to abolish the executive presidency, the UNP affiliated United Bhikkhu Front stated that even if Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe receives the executive presidency it will be a disaster for the country. The United Bhikkhu Front today called on the people of the country to stand together to abolish the Executive Presidential System and Provincial Council System more..

SLPL: Nagenahira loss opens door for Ruhuna

Aug 26 (CI) Nagenahira Nagas left the door open for Ruhuna Royals - who play top-placed Wayamba United in a must-win match today - to usurp them in the top four, after succumbing to a 15-run defeat to Uthura Rudras in Colombo. Chamara Kapugedera struck 43 from 32 to take Uthura to 149 from their 20 overs, before Naved-ul-Hasan bowled his best spell of the tournament to derail Nagenahira's chase. Nagenahira lost five wickets for 40, and were never able to build any more..

Sri Lanka Navy arrests over 1,000 Australia bound migrants over three months

Aug 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Navy said it arrested 98 boat people in two multi-day fishing vessels who were bound for Australia, taking the total arrested or rescued to 1,076 in the past three months, according to data released so far. In July the Navy had rescued or intercepted 542 people including 08 who were attempting to reach Australia via India, statements by the military said. In June 56 Sri Lankan nationals and 02 Indians were intercepted. So far in August more..

'SLMC leaders will not leave govt. posts'

Aug 26 (AD) The SLMC today rejected reports that its leader and other seniors are being pressured by the supreme council of the party to resign from govt portfolios and that the party is on the verge of a split. Certain media reports had claimed that SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem has been urged by the supreme council to resign from his post of Justice Minister. Rubbishing the reports, General Secretary of the SLMC Hasan Ali stated that a supreme council meeting has more..

'Govt. rejects development policies that oppress and deprive people of property'

Aug 26 (GDI) The county had now reached a stage of rapid development, and this should be carried out for the benefit of the large majority of the people. The Government rejects development projects that oppress people and deprive them of the right to property, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was addressing the inaugural public rally for the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council election, at the Ratnapura Municipal Playground yesterday (25). more..

Navy hands over 3rd consignment of Navy’s Thalassemia drug infusion systems

Aug 26 (SLN) Commander of Navy Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake handed over the 3rd consignment of Thalassemia Drug Infusion Systems produced by the Sri Lanka Navy to the District Hospital in Monaragala at a function held at the Naval Headquarters on 24th August 2012. They were received by Consultant Paediatrician Dr. CP Gunesekara representing the hospital. Senior naval officers were also present on the occasion. The infusion system is very essential for more..

Sri-Lanka 2012

Weekend of wonder as Havelocks emerge new league champs

Aug 27 (SL) HAVELOCK SC was not supposed to do this to the champions. Since heaven knows when,the Colombo club has been punch-bag to Kandy SC, pounded by hefty defeats season after season, twice by margins of hundred-plus points, in 1996 and 2000. Ask when exactly did Havelock last betterKandy SC,and you get contradictory answers:the club’s recent newsletter recalls it as eleven years ago, in 2001, but vice president Roshan Deen and Thusitha Peiris, more..

Is Rakna Arakshaka Sri Lanka’s version of the USA’s Blackwater?

Aug 27 (SL) At the time that Rakna Arakshaka Lanka was set up, there was some mention in the mainstream media of its establishment with the attendant speculation as to its nature and purpose. However, since that original recognition there has been virtually no reference to it in the English media except for mention in connection with the military training program at the country’s universities for which it was allegedly responsible. Various internet websites, not all of which more..

Sarath Fonseka: The wild card in Sri Lanka’s politics

Aug 27 (DBS) It’s been three months since the release of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka from prison. The euphoria that his release generated is slowly fading away. The after-dinner gossip is gradually being replaced by more constructive, innovative and friendly advice. However, the electricity that the news generated at the time was beyond comparison and there was and is a very good reason for it. more..

On the expulsion of Muslims from the northern province by the LTTE

Aug 27 (AT) On 18th July 2012 there was a protest outside of the Magistrate’s Court in Mannar that turned violent. According to media reports the incident occurred in relation to a dispute regarding a fishing harbor in the Uppukulam area of Mannar. The Citizens’ Commission on the Expulsion of Muslims from the Northern Province by the LTTE has been engaging with the northern Muslim community since 2009. The Commission felt that an impartial investigation into more..