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WkiLeaks: Gota authorized paramilitary operations – Sri Ranga

Feb 15 (CT) “However, Ranga said that the current govt, cash-strapped, has ended this arrangement. Instead, he alleged, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa has authorized EPDP and Karuna to collect the money from Tamil businessmen. This may account for the sharp rise in lawlessness, especially extortion and kidnapping, that many have documented in Vavuniya and Colombo.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. more..

Sri Lanka exporters told to aim at US iced tea market

Feb 15 (LBO) The market for tea in the United States is growing rapidly with the best prospects being in ready-to-drink teas, Joseph Simrany, president of the Tea Association of USA has told Sri Lanka's tea industry. Even beverage multinationals were shifting towards tea which is also becoming increasingly popular among younger American consumers, he said. "The US economy is improving. It's a little bit damaged right now but it's going to come back and it's going to come back more..

Businessman abducted from Dehiwala

Feb 15 (CT) A forty two year old businessman from Nawinna was abducted at the Dehiwala railway station last night. The incident had occurred at around 8:30 p.m when a group of armed men had abducted the man in a van. The person reportedly belongs to an underworld gang. Police Spokesperson, SP Ajith Rohana told Ceylon Today that the Dehiwala Police is conducting further investigations into the incident. “We have not been able to identify those who had abducted the businessmen. more..

State visit to Singapore by President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Feb 15 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is on a state visit to Singapore 14 – 17 February paid a courtesy call on President Tony Tan Keng Yam and met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana today. During the meetings, the leaders reaffirmed the friendly bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1970. They welcomed ongoing efforts to broaden the relationship in the areas of trade and investment, technical assistance more..

The most violent enemy in society is ignorance

Feb 16 (DM) I presume that was to torment our eardrums to the point of us crawling forward an inch or two as well. We did not feel the necessity to oblige him nevertheless and stood our ground till the rest of the vehicles in front genuinely started to make a move forward. Then we too, pulled up our car and….BAM! We had been hit at the back by the overzealous bus driver who, in his fervency to rush off to the next halt to grab a load of passengers so that more..

LLRC report: Reflections and responses

Feb 16 (DM) Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group focus primarily on accountability issues and what they perceive as the failure to gather sufficient evidence on the war crimes that they allege have been committed by the Sri Lanka government and the military during the last stages of the war. Except for the ICG, the other responses give scant attention to the LLRC’s recommendations on a wide range of initiatives to be taken to more..

Colombo 06 : When boys caught ornamental fish in the canal

Feb 16 (CT) Talk of Wellawatte and one cannot miss out on its canal. The Wellawatte canal or “Layards Folly” or the “Moda Ela”in Sinhalese is one of the most prominent landmarks of Wellawatte. But why was the canal so named? For the purpose of postal services, Wellawatte has been assigned as Colombo 06 and is situated immediately south of Bambalapitiya starting out from the famous if not infamous Wellawatte canal and going on till Dehiwela where again more..

Towards re-invigorating SL public spaces

Feb 16 (NS) Sri Lanka is at crossroads. After a 30 year brutal conflict that brought destruction to its built-environment, Sri Lanka has emerged victorious in bringing the social, cultural and environmental catastrophes to a complete halt. In this context, it is apt for the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects to dedicate the National Conference on Architecture - 2012 to the theme ‘Regenerating Sri Lanka: Architect and the Built-Environment’. Architects have more..

The “Stalking Horse” Concept

Feb 16 (SL) Something on which I will bet dollars to donuts is that, while there are probably many readers who are familiar with the old English saying that is the title of this column, few are aware that there is a local equivalent which does not owe its origin to that venerable institution of centuries gone by from across the seas. Coming from a family where hunting was a part of our recreational culture, I remember very distinctly, the fact that many villages in more..

UN-HABITAT completes Phase 2 of housing project in North

Feb 16 (SO) The European Union (EU) in partnership with the Australian Govt, the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC) and the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT), has successfully completed the second phase of the “Support to Conflict Affected People through Housing” project which was launched in Jan 2011. The project will assist over 4,600 families in over 60 villages by providing permanent housing more..

LLRC report: A flowering of freedom or a panacea for despotism?

Feb 16 (CT) At the very outset, I wish to state my stand on the issues brought up by the LLRC Report. This is to ensure that this article is read without jaundiced prejudice. I have stood against the manipulations of imperialist powers on this issue. I have also accounted for the hideous crimes committed against the people by the LTTE, and that such a policy has no place in the politics of liberation. My sole concern is that, in spite of the recommendations more..

Breaking the cycle

Feb 16 (TC) The Leader of the Opposition and of the UNP, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has done it again: he sees flaws in the LLRC report, but none in the CFA. He has issued a solemn, well-crafted statement on the LLRC and the current debate on devolution, commencing with a rejection of the LLRC’s critique of the Ceasefire agreement as ‘flawed’. If there is any point on which broad social and national consensus is obtainable, it is precisely the flawed character of the CFA and its results. more..

Towards a rabies-free Sri Lanka

Feb 16 (SO) The bond between man and dog has its beginnings running back 12-14 millennia to somewhere in Eurasia where a reciprocal relationship between the two emerged. Since the news item ‘Sri Lanka targets three million dogs for mass cull’ was published, much activity has been seen among animal lovers and animal welfare groups. Many newspaper articles have also been published in this regard. Killing of dogs under the Rabies Ordinance introduced by more..

Editorial: Protecting children: Lanka’s singular feat

Feb 16 (Island) Sri Lanka has earned encomia from a visiting foreign dignitary for its battle against child labour. Flanking US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake at a news conference on Monday, US Under Secretary for Civilian Security for Democracy and Human Rights, Maria Otera generously praised this country for the progress it had made in delivering voiceless children from exploitation and the attendant suffering. Yes, efforts by successive Sri Lankan governments, more..

Maldives coup - too close to call?

Feb 16 (ST) The unexpected ouster of Mohamed Nasheed from the presidency of the Maldives last week seems to have stirred the collective conscience of people in the region and beyond. There has been a spontaneous outpouring of sympathy and expression of concern from many quarters, with representatives of governments appealing to the new Maldivian president Mohamed Waheed to ensure his safety. Among them was Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa who, we are told, more..

CECB eyes foreign construction market teaming up with local firms

Feb 16 (ST) Sri Lanka'a Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB), the country's foremost engineering consultancy body, is teaming up with leading construction companies in the island to undertake foreign construction contracts. The aim is to provide an opportunity for local engineers as well as in-house human resource pool of well qualified, trained and experienced multidisciplinary engineering expertise of over 400 Engineers, more..

No light for CEB!

Feb 16 (FT) Despite a fuel adjustment charge coming into effect from midnight yesterday, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will remain in the dark with a whopping Rs.97 billion subsidy from the Government. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC), while announcing its new fuel adjustment charges, told the media that the CEB expense is projected at Rs. 218 billion for 2012. Out of this, the people are expected pay Rs. 161 billion but Rs. 57 billion will still be left with the Government. more..

'Ranil pathetically besmirched my family name'

Feb 16 (LB) Former UNP MP Imthiaz Bakeer Markar said that he greatly bemoans the fact that the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had visited his mother’s home-town of Beruwela and had thereafter proceeded to besmirch his family name in the presence of a group of Muslims. Last week an angry crowd disrupted a Wickremesinghe rally in Beruwela. He also says he has not given up politics and that he will never leave the country’s main opposition party under any circumstances. more..

Forex crisis: CB explains and assures

Feb 16 (Island) The Central Bank says the extent to which the rupee fell against the greenback over the past few days was a temporary phenomenon, and that stability would come soon. The bank also said it would limit selling dollars to the market, intervening only to settle oil import bills and would absorb the excess inflows, so as to prevent a sharp appreciation of the rupee. Dealers said this stance would prevent the exchange rate from being too volatile. more..

‘Wari Pubuduwa exposes many to vital experiences’

Feb 16 (DN) Farmers, officers, engineers and others gain vital experience to develop the irrigation sector under the Wari Pubuduwa Project, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. He was addressing the Wari Pubuduwa inaugural ceremony at the Nachchaduwa reservoir in Anuradhapura on Tuesday. The Japanese govt provided Rs 3,867 million while the Sri Lankan govt provided Rs 1,173 for the project. The Wari Pubuduwa project will make people aware of the importance of group work to more..

New ward complex for Homagama Hospital

Feb 16 (DN) A ward complex comprising 300 beds and modern technology will be granted by the Bamunuarachchi Foundation to the Homagama Base Hospital today. This project comes under the second stage of the master plan created by chairman of Bamunuarachchi Foundation B A Mahipala with the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau and the Health Ministry. B A Mahipala is the youngest son of B A Semaneris Appuhamy who gifted the Homagama Hospital to the then govt of Ceylon on February 16, 1946. more..

Connections | February 13, 2012

Keheliya to undergo two more operations

Feb 16 (Island) Minister Keheliya Ramubkwella yesterday said that he would have to undergo two more operations, in addition to the four already carried out on his legs, at the Albert Hospital in Melbourne. Speaking from his hospital bed, he told The Island that based on the success of those two operations he would decide on the date of his return to Sri Lanka. "It was sheer luck that saved my life and the doctors and nurses here are taking very good care of me", he said. more..

JHU takes Blake to task

Feb 16 (Island) The Jathika Hela Urumaya yesterday faulted the United States Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, over his recent comment that Sri Lanka was delaying the implementation of the recommendations made by the LLRC in its report. Assistant General Secretary of the JHU Udaya Gammanpila noted that Blake had also said that the US would vote for the resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council shortly. more..

Container transporters strike

Feb 16 (DM) In the backdrop of a fuel price hike, container transporters today staged a token strike urging importers to pay them the fares initially agreed upon for their service. The Container Transporters’ Union said that had agreed upon certain rates of payment for the transportation of imported items from the port to various destinations. However, Union’s Secretary Sunil Ananda said that forwarding and clearing companies never stuck to the more..

Students arrested for attempted rape

Feb 16 (CT) Three grade 10 school boys were taken into custody by Matale Police for attempted rape yesterday (14). The boys from a popular school in Matale had allegedly dragged a girl also studying in grade 10 from another school to an abandoned house and had begun to molest her. The victim had then tried to free herself from the clutches of the boys but had failed. Later she had started to scream for help. Her scream was later heard by an elderly woman who had quickly moved more..

Unauthorised obstruction at Maligawatta to go today

Feb 16 (Island) The Condominium Management Authority (CMA), which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Housing, Construction, Common Amenities and Engineering Services, moved in to remove all obstructions, at the Maligawatte National Housing Scheme yesterday (15), which prevent repairs, particularly to the sewerage system. However, the residents have been given one week’s time to get rid of the obstructions. Chairman of the CMA Kapila Gamage said that more..

Ship for world youth arrives today

Feb 16 (Island) The Japanese ship FUJI MARU, carrying a contingent of nearly 300 youth of various nationalities, as part of the ‘Ship for World Youth’ (SWY) programme, being run by the Japanese Government, will arrive in Sri Lanka today (16). The 24th SWY programme, which involves youth of Japan and various other nationalities, was aimed at providing an on-board living experience that could make a world of difference for the youngsters. more..

Online visa brings record income

Feb 16 (DN) The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system which came into effect from Jan 1, 2012 to grant visa via online for foreign nationals visiting Sri Lanka, has produced a record income of over Rs 170 million during the first 45 days. Immigration and Emigration controller Chulananda Perera said that ETA has become very popular with foreigners wishing to visit the country. “We have received very positive responses from a large number of foreigners about the system. more..

Raffle help for sick Sri Lankan children

Feb 16 (RHT) GENEROUS contributions from local residents and organisations have helped local organisation, DOT Charitable Foundation NSW, to purchase a ventilator for a hospital in Sri Lanka. The three-year-old organisation raised the required $21,000 from four fund raising activities, including a recent raffle in the Hills District. The much needed ventilator will be purchased and sent to the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital Cardiology unit in Colombo shortly, more..

India concedes fishermen do cross IMBL

Feb 16 (Hindu) The Tamil Nadu govt on Wednesday conceded that fishermen do stray into the Sri Lankan waters. But it justified their action stating that the poor fishermen had no other go and they had to eke out their livelihood. They could not be deprived of their traditional fishing grounds in the Palk Bay by imposing artificial restrictions such as International Maritime Boundary Line. “The legalities or sovereignty of nations do not bind more..

ICC, CA play down the umpiring error during Ind-SL match

Feb 16 (PTI) A five-ball over during Tuesday`s ODI between India and Sri Lanka may have caused a lot of controversy but the ICC and Cricket Australia sought to play down the incident. The ICC dismissed the incident as "a straightforward, honest mistake by the umpiring team." Cricket Australia took a similar stance. "International umpires, like international players, perform to a high level but like players, they are human and make mistakes from time to time. But once more..

India keen on retrieving Katchatheevu from Sri Lanka

Feb 16 (TOI) Reiterating its earlier stand on the retrieval of Katchatheevu from Sri Lanka, the Tamil Nadu government has stated that restoration of traditional fishing rights of Indian fishermen, which if not implemented, will mean that Tamil Nadu fishermen will have to stop fishing and starve. Filing a counter affidavit to a batch of petitions, seeking various directions to prevent killing of fishermen in the waters between two nations, the chief secretary of more..

Sajith condemns govt.

Feb 16 (CT) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa condemned the govt for jacking up fuel prices without prior warning to the public. He said this demonstrated the govt’s lack of sincerity and genuineness, in a statement to the press. “The govt does not genuinely care for the public,” Premadasa said. He said a proper govt would have first conducted a survey prior to introducing such a hike. “The govt is so inconsiderate that they went ahead with the fuel hike without more..

CEB engineers on warpath

Feb 16 (Island) The members of the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union yesterday went on a sick note campaign, urging the Treasury to adjust their salary ratio. A senior engineer told ‘The Island’ that despite the assurance given by the Head of the Country, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, authorities had failed to look into their demands. Of the nearly 16,000 workforce, there are little over 700 engineers but they are the most powerful among the 52 unions of the CEB. more..

Trial against Dhanuna’s grandmother commences

Feb 16 (DM) A Colombo Court yesterday commenced the trial against Dhanuna Tillekeratne's grandmother Ellen Wimala Tillekeratne (80) who had been charged by the CID with providing accommodation to her grandson, after a warrant had already been issued for his arrest. Five witnesses including a domestic aide of Mrs. Tillekeratne have also been summoned to give evidence. Giving statements to the CID, two domestic aides had told the CID that Mrs. Tillekeratne had more..

'Rupee value of debt burden will rise by Rs.252 billion'

Feb 16 (DM) With the depreciation of rupee value to 121, the rupee value of the country’s debt burned has risen by a whopping Rs.252 billion, the main opposition UNP charged today. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that the country’s actual debt volume stood at Rs.5,200 billion before the recent drop in rupee value, and it would rise by another Rs.252 billion. Mr. Karunanayake said that 52 per cent of the total debts are external borrowings. more..

'Govt will never lay its hands on free education'

Feb 16 (DN) The govt will never lay its hands on the free education system however much university students create an uproar under the impression that it would do so, Minister S B Dissanayake said, when he graced the annual sportsmeet of the Udunuwara Handessa Maha Vidyalaya at the school grounds as chief guest recently. The minister said in addition to students entering state universities, others gaining highest marks at the GCE /L exam would be given an opportunity to more..

UNP wants alliance with JVP, TNA to topple UPFA

Feb 16 (Island) In a new turn of events, the UNP yesterday invited the JVP, with whom it had parted ways after the last Presidential Election and the TNA, to join it in toppling the Mahinda Rajapasksa regime, for burdening the people with unbearable increases in the price of essential goods and service. UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera urged all political parties, including the JVP and TNA, to participate in the demonstration against the skyrocketing cost of living, more..

S’pore-SL MoU to boost business

Feb 16 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is on a two day visit to Singapore held bilateral talks with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on February 15. At the end of the bilateral talks a MoU was signed on the development of business and investment relations between the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and the Business Federation of Singapore. This MOU was signed by Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga on behalf of Sri Lanka more..