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'JHU firmly against the 13th Amendment plus pledge to India'

Feb 2 (LB) Media spokesman of the Jathika Hela Urumaya, Nishantha Warnasinghe said that his party is against the 13th Amendment plus and a Senate as a solution to the North and East issue. “The 13th Amendment plus or the formation of a Senate could be the stance taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Everyone is entitled to their views and opinion. So this 13 plus concept could be the president’s vision in the form of a solution to the North-East issue. more..

TNA and PSC: 'Intelligent realism' must prevail in Tamil politics

Feb 2 (TC) Even if everything the TNA says is true, it is still making a mistake, or perhaps two or three, and is on the verge of yet another wrong turning in the history of error that marks over half a century of Tamil politics. If the TNA’s fears of prevarication on the part of the govt are well-founded, it is only furnishing greater opportunities for it by failing to participate in the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee. The obvious remedy is to agree upon a reasonably compressed time frame for the PSC to conclude and more..

Lanka’s first Buddhist school scandalously neglected

Feb 2 (NS) It was the worst of times for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. But it was the best of times for others. The British colonial govt gave pride of place only to their faith and their cultural enhancement. The Buddhists had no educational institutions of their own but had to go along with the others to their denominational schools or govt schools. At that time when the national resurgence was being led by such eminent members of the Buddhist clergy more..

A silenced media

Feb 2 (SL) Last week a story on the front page of a daily English newspaper caught my eye. Not for its content but for the sheer absurdity of such a story having made headlines on the front page of a newspaper. This was the story: Manioc stolen from Horogolla. The article went on to say that some 475 kilograms of manioc cultivated by Sunethra Bandaranaike had been stolen from the Bandaranaike walauwwa. Never mind that people continue to get abducted more..

Editorial: Making up for lost time

Feb 2 (Island) One of our failed revolutionaries known for his glib rhetoric and soapbox oratory became mawkishly emotional a few years ago when he announced, in Parliament, his decision to break ranks with his comrades in arms––so to speak––he was at logger heads with. In his maudlin lament, he claimed he had been so devotedly engaged in party work that he could not even visit Sigiriya. Having crossed over to the govt, today, he is living in the lap of luxury as a minister! more..

Kachchativu and fisheries in Palk Bay region

Feb 2 (Island) Tamil Nadu politicians have recommenced agitating the Government of India to revisit the Kachchativu issue with a view to either leasing the Kachchativu Island in perpetuity from the Government of Sri Lanka or revising the international maritime boundary line (IMBL) between Sri Lanka and India so that Kachchativu will fall on the Indian side of IMBL. This they do from time to time whenever the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) arrests a group of Tamil Nadu fishers more..

SriLankan nosedives with Rs. 19.5bn loss

Feb 2 (Island) UNP MP Ravi Karunayayake yesterday dared the government to come clean on the whopping Rs. 19.5 billion loss that the national carrier SriLankan Airlines has suffered for 2011 and demanded to know from the govt as to why these "white elephants" had to be maintained at the tax payers’ expense. Karunanayake said that the questions on the national carrier had been asked in Parliament but no tangible reply was coming from the govt. more..

MMBL, Jetwing take the road less travelled

Feb 2 (FT) Private equity and investment banking boutique, Mercantile Merchant Bank Ltd., (MMBL) and family-owned leisure giant Jetwing Group are together taking the road less travelled to create new opportunities in the former war torn North by commissioning the biggest ever private sector investment in the region. The two firms, via an equally-owned joint venture will be kicking off the construction of a 70-room, 15 storey star class hotel in the heart of Jaffna more..

New York based Hertz opens Colombo office

Feb 2 (Island) With the opening of their new city office at the Galadari Hotel, Hertz is giving its customers a convenient location in the heart of the city. With the growth of the Leisure Industry in Sri Lanka, Andrew The Car Rental Company (Pvt) Ltd - the Licensee for Hertz Global, is looking to further expandby having their next office at the BIA in the near future. In 2009 The Hertz Corporation, the world’s largest general-use car rental brand, entered Sri Lanka and since then has joined with Sri Lankan Airlines for more..

Wimal waiting for PSC decisions to decide continuity with government

Feb 2 (Island) NFF Leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa said yesterday that he and his party were awaiting the decisions of the Parliamentary Select Committee to decide whether to continue as a constituent party of the govt. Weerawansa, responding to a question as to whether he and his party would leave the govt in the event of the solutions going beyond the 13th Amendment, said more..

Lankan woman dies in Kuwait: Family suspects murder

Feb 2 (DN) A woman who worked in a factory in Kuwait since the age of 22 was suddenly found dead. Her body was sent to Sri Lanka on January 31. According to medical reports sent from Kuwait, the woman had died on January 15 in an accident. The victim, Karadana Lekhamlage Manel Dharmalatha, 49, was a resident of Karadana area. There were bruises on the left side of her face. Her left hand and left leg were broken. However, her children and relations do not agree with more..

Workshop to minimize underage marriages

Feb 2 (DN) A workshop for village level registrars in the Moneragala district was held recently to minimize the number of underage marriages in the district. The workshop was jointly organised by the Moneragala District Child Protection Agency and the Land and District Secretariat. The participants were made aware of how to confirm the identity when registering marriages and how to be vigilant about the age of the parties when registering a marriage. more..

Sri Lanka

$ 22.2 m IFAD loan for better irrigation infrastructure, crop diversification

Feb 2 (FT) The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said this week it will provide a US$22.23 million loan to Sri Lanka for improved irrigation infrastructure and crop diversification, and help create new market opportunities for smallholder farmers. Asitha Perera, Ambassador of Sri Lanka, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD signed the loan agreement for the Iranamadu Irrigation Development Project. To respond to the needs of smallholder farmers more..

Successful ganja raids in Lunugamwehera

Feb 2 (Island) Last year the police were able to seize Rs 350 million worth of ganja (cannabis) in raids conducted in Lunugamwehera and its environs in an extent of land spanning 31 acres and some were conducted with the assistance of the Special Task Force (STF). The police said that the ganja was planted in pockets of fertile areas in the surroundings of the Lunugamwehera reservoir and over 3,500 kilograms of the narcotic substance had been seized and destroyed. more..

Deyata Kirula exhibition ready for the public

Feb 2 (DN) Infrastructural arrangements have been completed at the Oyamaduwa "Deyata Kirula" National Exhibition site, extending to around 600 acres, in the Oyamaduwa govt farm. Ministries, departments, corporations and authorities and also private sector agencies are busily engaged in providing the final touch ups to their relevant stalls amounting to about 500. It has cost the government a sum of Rs 5,000 million for holding the exhibition, more..

Lawyer, land owner who used fake revenue stamps granted bail

Feb 2 (DM) A lawyer and a land sales owner who were accused of using fake revenue stamps on the deeds that the lawyer attested, were granted bail of Rs.40,000 each with two sureties for Rs.500,000 on each of the accused, by the Colombo High Court. The two accused were indicted by the Attorney General for using fake stamps worth Rs.3,500 on the deeds that were attested by the lawyer and tendered to Land Registries for registration. On considering the submissions of more..

Warrants for SL team attack accused

Feb 2 (IN) A division bench of the Lahore High Court on Wednesday once again issued non-bailable arrest warrants for three accused of attack on Sri Lanka cricket team in March 2009 and directed police to produce them before the court till February 27. The bench had ordered the capital city police officer (CCPO) to arrest Muhammad Ashfaq, Imanullah and Ubaid-ur-Rehman and produce them in court but none of them was produced on Wednesday. The court had summoned all the six accused but more..

Sri Lanka commemorates ’96 central bank bombing

Feb 2 (KT) Sri Lanka commemorated the 16th anniversary of the central bank bombing by the terrorist faction LTTE. A memorial statue was unveiled in remembrance of the 91 civillians, including 41 bank employees who lost their lives in one of the deadliest attacks in the three decade separatist war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists in 1996. The Governor of central bank Ajith Nivard Cabral, who unveiled a plaque and the statue at the reconstructed more..

UNP electoral organizer vacancies to be filled on Feb. 9

Feb 2 (Island) The existing vacancies for UNP electoral organizers will be filled on Feb 9, when the Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet, according to party sources. In the light of Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa working independently, the leadership wanted to speedily fill the remaining electoral organizer positions so that all party activity, regardless of who had initiated it, could be coordinated by the respective organisers, in consultation with the more..

Train strike called off

Feb 2 (BBC) The railway trade union that stopped work pending discussions with the transport minister has decided to call off the strike after the minister pledged to resolve the issues raised by them. The train services were earlier halted throughout the country as a result of a strike action by railway professionals. The convenor of Professional Trade Union Alliance (PTUA), Janaka Fernando, told BBC Sandeshaya that the strike was called after repeated reminders of more..

Not bird flu, but HM takes precautions

Feb 2 (Island) The Health Ministry would continue the quarantine status for a few more days despite it being revealed that the death of the fowls in a farm at Bingiriya had not been due to bird flu. The two teams from the Epidemiology Unit, which visited Bingiriya to carry out investigations, had visited the hospitals in Chilaw and Bingiriya preparing doctors and nurses for a possible outbreak of the bird flu. more..

Election Commission scraps registration of LTTE's political party

Feb 2 (PTI) Sri Lanka's Election Commission on Wednesday announced scrapping of the registration of the People's Front of Liberation Tigers (PFLT), the political party of the now-vanquished LTTE, along with two other groups. Eelam National Democratic Front (ENDLF) and National Unity Alliance (NUA), which was a broader political front formed by the country's main Muslim party Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, are the two other parties whose registration was scrapped. more..

China's buses to ease Sri Lanka's transport

Feb 2 (Xinhua) Chinese built luxury super low flow buses are to ease the traffic congestion in Sri Lanka, a spokesman said on Wednesday. The first-ever public transport service with Chinese built buses covering the main routes entering the capital city Colombo is part of a pilot project to promote public transportation to passengers who use private vehicles. Udayasiri Ariyaratne, Deputy General Manager of the Micro Holdings a local automobile manufacture said that more buses more..

70 university students in remand

Feb 2 (DM) Some 300 university students are facing court cases while 70 are already in remand custody as a result of a crackdown carried on students by the authorities, the IUSF alleged. IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara said more than 1,000 students had been suspended from the universities during the past two years. He said these students had been penalised for fighting for their rights and vowed the students would go ahead with their protests to more..

U.S. Govt supports tourism development in Sri Lanka

Feb 2 (USE) At a ceremony on January 30, the USAID helped launch Sri Lanka’s first “Tourism Roadside Signage Guidelines.” USAID, the U.S. Govt’s development arm, simultaneously released a manual, “Start Your Tourism Business,” designed to assist hospitality sector entrepreneurs. Both publications, developed as part of USAID’s Connecting Regional Economies (CORE) Project, will boost Sri Lanka’s rapidly growing tourism industry, as part of USAID’s wider effort to more..

Sri Lanka Togo refugees condemn 'miserable conditions'

Feb 2 (BBC) About 200 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees have told the BBC that they are enduring miserable conditions in the West African state of Togo. They say they are living on meagre rations and face the prospect of imminent deportation home, where their lives are in danger. The refugees say they are being detained by the army in an open sports stadium in the capital Lome. The Togo authorities have declined to comment on their claims. more..

SLMC wants SE PC if North gets 13-A Plus

Feb 2 (Island) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) yesterday renewed its call for a South-Eastern Provincial Council (PC) in the event of the TNA winning its demand for a PC with additional powers or 13-A Plus. General Secretary of the SLMC, T. M. Hassen Ali MP said that there should be a negotiated political settlement on the basis of the 13-A plus and the SLMC wouldn’t oppose the move. more..

Disaster Management Ministry helps in dengue control

Feb 2 (Island) The Ministry of Disaster Management has decided to mobilise its work force for dengue control work, the Health Ministry said. Minister of Disaster Management had placed its human resources and vehicles at the disposal of the Health Ministry for dengue control, he said. Minister Amaraweera had said that the resources could be utilised for controlling dengue. The Health Ministry held its first dengue control week for the year last month inspecting more..

IUSF angered over reduction of students by UGC

Feb 2 (Island) Undergraduates of the Peradeniya University’s Management Department are angered over the University Grants Commission (UGC) reducing the number of students for the course from next year. Convener of the Inter University Students’ Federation Sanjeewa Bandara said that according to the UGC handbook, issued for the next academic year, the number of students to the Management Course of the Peradeniya University had been cut down to 50. more..

World Trade Centre bomber-preacher arrives, as Islamic preachers are

Feb 2 (LB) Aradical Salafi preacher named by the US govt as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka this week, hot on the heels of deportation orders issued to 161 foreign Islamic clerics by immigration authorities here last week. Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, a Canadian citizen domiciled in Qatar was deported from the United States in 1994 after he was named more..

More care for the disabled elderly

Feb 2 (DN) Social Services Ministry has launched a programme to provide numerous services for disabled elderly persons living in low income households by visiting their homes and assessing their needs. Accordingly, social services officers attached to the ministry will visit the houses where elderly persons with disabilities in low income families are living across the country to fulfill their needs and support these groups in facing life's challenges, Minister Felix Perera said more..

'All party conference will only delay solution to Tamil problem'

Feb 2 (Island) The President calling for an all party conference, to discuss the implementation of the devolution of power to the provinces, would not result in achieving any gain for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka, since it would only cause further delay in providing a solution to the existing ethnic issue, leader of the DPF Mano Ganesan said. The President had decided to hold an all party conference due to the delay by more..

'Application should have been made to Chief Justice'

Feb 2 (DM) The retired judges who had called upon President Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint a special committee to probe Sarath N. Silva’s conduct as Chief Justice should have made an application to incumbent Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake instead of the executive, retired Supreme Court Judge Justice C. V. Wigneswaran said yesterday. “The Chief Justice, as head of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), could have appointed a committee to more..

Sri Lanka targets Chinese tourists

Feb 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka is targeting 25,000 tourists from China in 2012 with expectations that arrivals will rise to 300,000 in 2016 making it the second largest source of foreign tourists to the country, an official said. Chairman of Sri Lanka's tourist development authority Nalaka Godahewa said in 2011, 16,000 Chinese tourists came to Sri Lanka, a year which saw total arrivals rising 30 percent to 855,000. more..

Sri Lanka tea trade mulls new standard

Feb 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea industry is considering developing an 'all-encompassing' standard to demonstrate compliance with a plethora of international criteria producers are faced with, an official said. Niraj de Mel, Managing Director of exporter Vanrees Ceylon, said the number of standards producers are compelled to comply with have been increasing in recent years in response to consumer demands. more..

'No more expensive power for North'

Feb 2 (Island) Acting Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board Anura Wijepala yesterday assured that power for the northern parts of the country would not be purchased from expensive power producers in future. Such purchases had cost the CEB nearly three billion rupees annually, he said. The CEB Chief an electrical engineer by profession, said that the CEB had been compelled to renew its contract with Aggreko, as none of the others producers, more..

President Rajapaksa advocates the consumption of liquid milk

Feb 2 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed relevant authorities to urgently launch a programme to promote the consumption of liquid milk in Sri Lanka. He made these instructions following the inspection at the Milko Industrial Complex in Polonnaruwa. The President pointed out that government is ready to provide facilities for dairy farmers to increase the milk production. more..

Belt tightening for Governors, CMS

Feb 2 (DM) The govt has decided to reduce the allowances paid to the governors, provincial chief ministers, and provincial ministers in respect of their telecommunications facilities, fuel and vehicles, sources said yesterday. Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga has issued a circular by giving instructions to all the provincial secretaries under the laws governing public expenses. Accordingly, their monthly fuel quota has been reduced from more..

US action against Iran affects SL post-war recovery

Feb 2 (Island) Unprecedented US and EU sanctions aimed at forcing Iran to cease its nuclear programme would undermine Sri Lanka’s post-war economic revival, DNA MP Vijitha Herath said yesterday. JVPer Herath said that Sri Lanka would be a victim of global chaos due to US-EU action, which could derail Sri Lanka’s economic plans. The JVP said that Sri Lanka wasn’t in a position to halt Iranian oil imports and more..