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Central Minister’s statement on training Sri Lankan forces draws flak

Aug 29 (Hindu) Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju’s observation that the Central govt would continue to train members of the Sri Lankan armed forces has evoked a strong reaction from all major political leaders in the State. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressed her surprise and stated that the observation betrayed the “total insensitivity” on the part of the more..

Madurai-Colombo Spicejet flight from September 20

Aug 29 (Hindu) Spicejet will fly the first scheduled international flight service to Colombo out of Madurai airport on September 20. The private airline has started booking of tickets for its daily service. The Director General of Civil Aviation has issued slot clearance for Spicejet to fly to Colombo with effect from September 14. However, the airline has chosen to begin its service with a Bombardier Q400 aircraft from September 20. After the soft launch of Madurai airport as an international terminal more..

Two more forest fires put out in 24 hours

Aug 29 (Island) Fires that erupted in a forest at Eravur and in a hill forest area in Wilgamuwa on Monday afternoon destroyed about 10 acres but were brought under control by yesterday afternoon. The fires had not spread as the police, villagers, army and DMC officers in the areas had swiftly taken necessary measures to combat the fires as they erupted during day time, even though it took approximately 24 hours for them to douse them completely. A sudden fire in the Wilgamuwa police area more..

'Speculative increase in electricity bills'

Aug 29 (CT) The UNP yesterday speculated an increase in electricity bills as a result of the continuous breakdowns at the Norochcholai Power Plant built spending an amount equal to the total amount spent to construct the entire Mahaweli project. “Govt has spent US$ 450 million to construct the Norochcholai Power Plant and at present its inefficiency is proved beyond doubt. This is the same amount of money that the UNP Govt spent on the entire Mahawali Project. more..

Japan funds Met. Dept restructuring project

Aug 29 (Island) Restructuring of the Meteorological Department would begin next year with Japanese assistance, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. He said that the restructuring project would be the biggest in the department’s history. Rs. 1,150 million has been allocated for the project, with JAICA providing financial assistance and it would be completed in 2015. People had currently lost faith in the Meteorological Department, but after the massive restructuring project, more..

Popular singer allowed bail twice in a day

Aug 29 (Island) Popular singer Amal Perera was detained by the Kalutara police at the Kalutara Magistrate’s Court yesterday morning over a long pending warrant, after he had been enlarged on bail by the Magistrate over a traffic offense committed in Payagala. Senior Superintendent of Police, Kalutara L.S. Pathinayake told The Island that the singer had been nabbed by the Payagala police for violating road rules and driving a vehicle without proper documentation. more..

Govt debt tops Rs.5900bn in May

Aug 29 (DM) Sri Lanka’s total outstanding govt debt stood at Rs.5902.2 billion as at end of May 2012, against Rs.4800.9 billion reported during the same period of 2011. Out of the total debt, Rs.3142.5 billion was domestic debt, while foreign debt component stood at Rs.2759.7, up from Rs.2733.2 billion reported in the corresponding period of the previous year. The govt has borrowed Rs.694 billion and Rs.1985.5 billion by selling Treasury more..

Pro Kart challenge offers Rs. 100,000 in cash

Aug 29 (DM) Sri Lanka's foremost Motor Racing team EZY Racing, set about creating yet another historical moment in Sri Lankan Motor Racing when they announced their newest partnership with Speed Drome, to introduce the EZY Racing Kart Fighters, a Pro Karting Challenge designed to attract new and younger drivers to Motor Racing. This spectacular event which is scheduled to be held on September 15 is designed to encourage many youngsters to prove their skills on equally powered more..

Future leaders’ conference gets underway in Jaffna

Aug 29 (Island) The Future Leaders’ Conference (FLC) - Season 4 began yesterday in Jaffna College with 500 youth leaders, between the ages of 15 and 18, from 75 schools across the country participating. Sri Lanka Unites (SLU) is hosting the FLC for school children, who have exhibited potential for leadership. It will be concluded on Sept 1. The speakers at this five-day residential conference will include Former UN Under Secretary General and Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala, more..

WHO urges govt. to test fertilisers for toxic chemicals

Aug 29 (Island) The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the govt to formulate a regulatory framework to control the quality of imported fertilizers and pesticides and test them for nephro-toxic agents such as arsenic and cadmium as they are known to cause kidney diseases. Research has shown that water in the North–Central and the Uva Provinces is contaminated with arsenic and cadmium. Around 20,000 people have more..

Govt. should get a grip on education - CTU

Aug 29 (CT) The govt should stop blaming teachers’ unions and take measures to overcome the education crisis, Ceylon Teachers’ Union General Secretary Joseph Stalin said. He said Ministers S.B. Dissanayake and Bandula Gunawardena continued to blame the Teachers’ Unions for disrupting and plotting various conspiracies against the education system. However, all of the blunders which have occurred to date, such as the Z-score blunder, mistakes in A/L exam papers, more..

Duleep Mendis to coach Oman cricket team

Aug 29 (OO) Duleep Mendis, a dynamic and dedicated former international cricketer who represented Sri Lanka in both Test and one-day internationals (ODIs), has been selected to coach the Oman senior national team for the forthcoming ACC Elite Trophy 2012. The tournament will be held in the UAE from October 3 to 13. Mendis first represented the Sri Lankan national team while as a schoolboy against Pakistan in 1972. He went on to play for Sri Lanka for 18 years in more..

Nalaka new SEC Chief; Priyantha, Sujeewa back as Commissioners

Aug 29 (FT) Likely to delight the retailers-spurred revitalised stock market, the Finance Ministry last night finally announced the new appointments to the embattled capital market regulator SEC, with the selection of top professionals on their own right, though the Opposition and some others decried the choices made. Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said that Dr. Nalaka Godahewa had been appointed as the more..

President pays homage to Sacred Relics for second time

Aug 29 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid homage and worshipped the Kapilawasthu Sacred Relics at the Kantale Agrabodhi Viharaya yesterday morning, Presidential Co-ordinator on Religious Affairs Ven Getamanne Gunananda said. This is the second occasion on which the President paid homage to the Sacred Relics since they was brought from India, the first being when he received the Relics at the BIA and at the religious ceremonies that followed. more..

FUTA strike will affect GCE A/L answer script evaluation

Aug 29 (Island) University teachers who have been on strike for nearly two months claimed that there had been no response from the govt for two weeks with regard to their agitation and their trade union action might affect the GCE (A/L) answer script evaluation process, which was scheduled to begin at the end of this month. President of the FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that they would have to wait until Treasury Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundara returned from China. more..

LLRC implementation: Cardinal assures support for national initiatives

Aug 29 (Island) The govt’s strategy for implementation of the recommendations contained in the Report of the LLRC is practical and action-oriented, and the financial resources required for this purpose will be released by the Treasury, Minister G.L. Peiris told the Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith. Professor Peiris called on the Cardinal at Archbishop’s House on Tuesday. The allocation of funds will be made in more..

Justice Ministry warns the public of conmen

Aug 29 (Island) Secretary to the Justice Ministry Ms. W. Kamalani de Silva yesterday cautioned the public to beware of conmen promising jobs in the ministry at a price. She said that some dishonest characters had been deceiving the people and a certain person had taken more than Rs.100,000 from a woman in Matale and two individuals from Tangalle, claiming that he could help them get employed as Grade III management assistants in the Justice Ministry. Those vacancies were more..

Chilaw animal slaughter case re-fixed for Sept. 4

Aug 29 (Island) The writ application against the brutal slaughter of animals at a kovil in Chilaw was called before the Court of Appeal yesterday and and re-fixed for hearing on Sept 4. The application had been filed by the Sri Bodhiraja Sangamaya and 13 other petitioners complaining against the brutal slaughter of animals at the Sri Baddrakali Amman Kovil premises in Munneswaran, Chilaw, during the seasonal ritual period in more..

'I do struggle to convert fifties into hundreds'

Aug 29 (CI) Angelo Mathews is the man Sri Lanka turn to when they need a finisher in a chase. He talks about the pressure of the role, his Test form, and captaincy ambitions. Q: You often mentioned at the start of your career that you want to be a genuine allrounder. Now that you are a few years in, do you feel that you are? Do you see yourself as a batsman who bowls or a bowler who bats? A: Right now, I see myself as more of a batting allrounder. more..

Opp. political parties napping

Aug 29 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya hasn’t received any complaints from political parties so far regarding Friday’s live telecast of ‘Janapathi Janahamuwa’ by both state-run and privately owned television stations in violation of guidelines on giving equal coverage in the run-up to North-Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provincial Council elections. Deshapriya was responding to our main news item, ‘President’s TV show violates more..

Unhappy with police? NPC has new set of guidelines

Aug 29 (ST) The National Police Commission (NPC) has made new rules of procedure to investigate public complaints against police officers. The new rules simplify the procedure to be followed by the Commission to investigate public complaints. With regard to complaints such as refusal to record complaints, undue delay in making available certified copies of statements made to the police, discouraging complainants or more..

Eye witness killed in Wadduwa

Aug 29 (SL) A mother of two, who was due to give evidentce in court on Monday (20) against the suspect of her husband’s muder, was killed at Wadduwa in broad daylight on Sunday (19). OIC Wadduwa, Chief Inspector Lalith Weerasinghe said that Adussuriyage Indrani – the victim, was one of the main witnesses at her husband’s murder trial and was to give evidence at the Magistrate Court Panadura the following day – Monday against the murder suspect who is being held at more..

SriLankan Airlines enters new age of IPad electronic flying

Aug 29 (GDI) SriLankan Airlines’ enters the new age of ‘iPad electronic flying’ by switching from using bulky mandatory paper manuals, to a sleek 662 gram iPad, as SriLankan becomes Asia’s first airline to use the iPad Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) starting 29th August, 2012. Pilots no longer need to lug 84 kilograms of paper manuals from aircraft to aircraft and from airport to airport and flip through pages, more..

Sri Lanka renewable energy firms demand higher tariffs after depreciation

Aug 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's renewable energy firms have demanded higher tariffs after the rupee depreciated and interest rates rose following a balance of payments crisis, at a public consultation called by the power regulator. Renewable energy firms said the rupee had depreciated from 110 to over 130 (about 18 percent) over the past year pushing up their capital costs. more..

'Around Rs5 bn Samurdhi monies may be siphoned away'

Aug 29 (LB) UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayake says that there are several discrepancies that have arisen with regard to the Diwi Neguma concept initiated by minister Basil Rajapaksa. Attanayake said that when the Act concerning the Diwi Neguma concept was presented in parliament the UNP had protested due to many discrepancies it contained. “One is that the govt can incorporate many institutes through this Act,” more..

President directs immediate relief to drought-stricken farmers

Aug 29 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who made an inspection tour of farmland in the drought-stricken district of Polonnaruwa in the North Central Province directed the authorities to provide several immediate relief measures. President yesterday visited on an observation tour of farmland at Unagala Vehera and Atthana Kadawala areas in the Polonnaruwa district and gave a patient hearing to the farmers' problem who more..

Chinese defence minister begins Lankan visit

Aug 29 (CG) General Liang Guanglie, State Councillor and Minister of National Defence of People’s Republic of China (PRC) arrived in Sri Lanka this morning on a five-day official visit, together with a delegation of senior military officers. Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetillake, Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral D.W.A.S. Dissanayake, Commander of the Air Force, more..

SEC spotlight on two dozen companies

Aug 29 (DM) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has initiated investigations into suspicious activities and share transactions of nearly two dozen companies listed in the stock exchange, the Daily Mirror learns. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a highly placed SEC source who quoted from a confidential document told Daily Mirror the investigations were based on market manipulation, insider trading to front running of shares. more..

Editorial: People losing confidence in the police

Aug 29 (DM) The Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, the leader of the JHU a close ally of the govt, has raised some bombshell questions on the widely-publicised robbery of priceless artefacts from the Colombo Museum and the recent arrest of some suspects. He asked why the police took six months to trace the suspects some of whom were drug addicts. The monk pointed out that when foreign currency and a gem-studded wrist watch were stolen from the residence of a VVIP’s brother, more..

Sri Lanka and India - its cultural and religious ties

Aug 29 (DM) The ‘Kapilavastu relics’ brought to Sri Lanka from India for Buddhists across the country to pay their respects should further underline the long and continuing cultural and religious ties that have existed between the two South Asian neighbours. Indian Culture Minister Kumari Selja, who brought the relics at the initiative of President Rajapaksa, also launched the Indian-funded renovation work at the Thirukeetheeswaram Kovil more..

Children of war

Aug 29 (TS) Despite hardship and the lack of basic facilities, the youngest victims and survivors of Sri Lanka’s decades of civil war are eager to learn all they can, both in school and after school. The children of Sri Lanka carry the scars of a horrific past that has shaken but not shattered them. K. Suresh, now 15, will never forget the look of despair on his father K. Kodiwaran’s face seconds before he collapsed and lay helpless on the ground. more..

Seychelles to adopt our “Divi Neguma” model

Aug 29 (GDI) Seychelles has become impressed by Sri Lanka's Divi Neguma programme and wishes to implement a similar program in that country at its earliest with the objective of reviving agriculture in that country. Seychelles Minister of Natural Resources and Industry Peter Sinon has requested the Minister Rishard Bathiuddeen to send a consultation team to Seychelles to advise agriculture officials in Seychelles on implementing a Divi Neguma programme in Seychelles. more..

Top level South African business delegation due next week

Aug 29 (GDI) A high ranking South African business delegation comprising 30 leading businessmen will arrive in Sri Lanka next week for a four day visit from 5th to 8th Sept. The members belong to the Progressive Business Forum of African National Congress. Minister Rishard Bathiuddeen said that the delegation will be led by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development Hlengiwe Mkhize. The visit will help further strengthen current trade levels which amounts to more..

'Govt should be defeated in the elections brought mainly to defeat people’s struggles'

Aug 29 (LT) The govt should be defeated in the elections brought by it to defeat people’s struggles says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Speaking at the election propaganda rally he said, “Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa has dissolved Ratnapura Provincial Council and two other provincial councils before their terms ended and masses in these provinces have an opportunity to vote on 8th September. more..

123 Australia bound Persons arrested

Aug 29 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy arrested 123 persons illegally bound for Australia in 02 multi-day trawlers on 29th August. One of the trawlers arrested is named “Lankamatha” and it was intercepted 08 nautical miles off Chundikulam by a Fast Naval Patrol Craft attached to the Northern Naval Command. It had 61 persons onboard including 60 Tamils and 01 Sinhalese. The other boat named “Judia” was intercepted 21 nautical miles off Batticaloa by a Fast Naval Craft attached to the Eastern Naval Command. more..

No connection between death of fish and oil spill, says NARA

Aug 29 (NF) The National Aquatic Research Agency (NARA) says there is no connection between the deaths of fish in the seas off Wellawatte and the oil spill from the ship that sank in Panadura. Chairman of NARA, Dr. S.J. Samarasundara said that this was confirmed after conducting several tests. He added that samples of the dead fish were brought to the laboratories of NARA for testing. He added that, steps will be taken to carry out several tests on more..

Cobra woman remanded till 30th

Aug 29 (DM) A woman who is alleged to have kept a cobra in a room at a Kollupitiya night club was today ordered to be remanded till tomorrow under the custody of female prison officers. In a complaint to the Kollupitiya police, a security officer of the Cleopatra Night Club in Colombo 3 said this woman employee of the night club kept a cobra with her for two days. He said he was compelled to lodge the complaint because the other women who were inside more..

No shortage of petrol

Aug 29 (CG) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) today insisted that there is no shortage of petrol. A statement by the CPC said that rumors to the effect that there is a shortage of petrol are baseless. The CPC says while such rumors are unfounded there is also no shortage in other forms of oil distributed by the state entity. A vessel with 35,000 MT of fuel was scheduled to arrive at the Colombo Port this afternoon, the CPC said. The rumors of a shortage of fuel surfaced more..

Do they clear garbage without being bribed? asks Azad Sally

Aug 29 (NF) A public meeting was held in support of the SLMC candidates contesting the Eastern Provincial Council Election. The meeting was held in the Mangcholai area in Vaalachchenai. Provincial council candidate Azad Sally also addressed the meeting. "It is said that the CEB is making profits. If it is making profits then why has this province not had electricity for three days? If the CEB is so profitable why has no action been taken to restore the supply?" more..

Sri Lanka seeks reform of UN system

Aug 29 (CG) Sri Lanka has called for a reform of the UN system to better enable it to respond and prevent global financial and economic emergencies. Deputy External Affairs Minister Neomal Perera speaking at the XVI NAM Summit Ministerial Meeting in Iran said that there is deep social impact resulting from the global financial and economic crises, as well as numerous challenges posed by climate change and related environmental degradation and loss of resources. more..