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Govt condemns Opposition statement

Feb 18 (DN) The govt yesterday condemned Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s statement that the govt was indirectly and directly killing the people through taxation. Ministers said that the UNP regime brutally killed thousands of youths during the 1988 - 90 period and the people still remember the gloomy era when despotism reigned. “The country is aware how UNP led governments harassed the public imposing various taxes to cover their unwanted expenses,” the ministers said. more..

3 Indian fishermen on drug smuggling charge

Feb 18 (DC) Three fishermen hailing from Arukattuthurai near Vedaranyam were reportedly arrested by the Sri Lankan navy on the charge of smuggling drugs. This caused resentment among fisherfolk in coastal hamlets of the district. Manokaran, 40, of Arukattuthurai, along with his associates Saravanan, 35, and Senthilmurugan, 36, set out for fishing in a fibre boat on Wednesday. They were scheduled to return on Thursday. After they did not turn up till Friday morning, more..

LSSP blasts Govt. over fuel hike

Feb 18 (Island) UPFA constituent, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party yesterday strongly condemned the SLFP-led govt’s decision to increase the price of diesel and kerosene in spite of protests. The LSSP’s condemnation came in the wake of the govt increasing petrol by Rs. 12, diesel by Rs. 31 and kerosene by Rs. 35 a litre with effect from Saturday. It was the biggest hike in diesel and kerosene prices. Until Saturday, the price of a litre of petrol was Rs. 137, more..

‘President gave fearless leadership to Sri Lankans’

Feb 18 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only leader who gave fearless leadership to Sri Lankans in erasing the black mark which stained the country’s image for three decades, said Ven Dr Bellanwila Dhammaratana Sanghanayake Thera, Director Singapore Buddhist Centre and Founder Singapore Buddhist Library. “People are today able to proudly call themselves Sri Lankans due to the great service rendered by him,” he said. more..

JVP unions calling for 40% salary increase

Feb 18 (DM) A Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) affiliated trade union today urged the government to grant a 40 per cent salary increase so as to cushion the burden on an already suffering people from the fall out of the unprecedented increase in fuel prices. Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) President Wasantha Samarasinghe said the unions would take to the streets soon to compel the government to grant relief to the people burdened by the soaring cost of living. more..

'Energy conservation can help reduce effects of tariff hike'

Feb 18 (DN) The country has the potential to save about 12- 15 percent energy, if the public makes a genuine effort in this regard, Sustainable Energy Authority Managing Director M M R Padmasiri said yesterday. He observed that from the total energy consumption, 40 percent is accounted for by domestic requirements. Fifty eight percent accounted for by industrial and commercial use whereas two percent is used for street lamps and religious purposes. more..

Opposition vows to continue protests

Feb 18 (BBC) The opposition political parties in Sri Lanka have vowed to continue protests against the increasing cost of living despite the govt crackdown on protests. The joint opposition activists made the vow in front of Fort railway station, as they protested the recent increase of the price of fuel and electricity by the govt. "Having promised a better democracy, one of the best dictatorships in the world has been created. Having promised food, we were forced into begging," said Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne, the leader of the NSSP. more..

Unions say estates paralysed by token strike

Feb 18 (DM) A token strike was launched yesterday by plantation sector workers to protest the unprecedented increase in fuel prices and the resultant rise in the cost of living. The token strike which badly affected the plantation sector was organised by the UNP led Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union (LJEWU), the DWC led by Mano Ganesan and the Ceylon Workers Alliance. LJEWU General Secretary K. Velayudam said some 70 per cent of the workers had kept away from work. He said a strong message was being sent to the govt through this strike more..

Running sea saw battles between protesters and police

Feb 18 (Island) Running sea saw battles were fought yesterday evening between the UNP-led opposition protesters and the police after several hundred protesters, out of the thousands who converged in front of the Fort Railway Station, to hear leaders of the parties, that participated in the protest, decry the unprecedented fuel price hike, attempted to breakthrough police barriers put up near the Sri Lanka Telecom roundabout. more..

Now docs want availability allowance increased to Rs. 29,000

Feb 18 (Island) Doctors are now demanding that their availability and disturbance allowance be increased Rs 14,000. General Secretary of the GMOA Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa yesterday said that the availability and disturbance allowance currently being paid to govt doctors was not enough. A medical officer or a consultant was paid Rs. 15,000 whereas professionals such as high ranking officers in administration, more..

Pakistan Chamber of Commerce to hold exhibition in Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (DT) Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) would hold the first single country exhibition in Colombo, Sri Lanka in April 2012. RCCI President Javed Akhtar Bhatti said about 15 chambers in Pakistan were capable to hold such single country exhibitions and every chamber could hold at least three exhibitions a year abroad in order to generate foreign revenues for the country. He said ten more such exhibitions have been planned and scheduled. more..

17 year old tortured by Police

Feb 18 (CT) The Supreme Court was yesterday informed of cruelty and torture by the Thelikada police on a 17 year old school boy. Counsel Shantha Jayawardane told Supreme Court that the police had produced in public a 17 year old school boy accusing him to be a “grease yakka,” and thereby causing him mental trauma. Counsel told Court the Thelikada Police after assaulting the boy, had ridiculed him in public and more..

HRC recommends production at three Ekala factories be suspended

Feb 18 (Island) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has recommended that three roofing sheet manufacturers be ordered to suspend production. HRCSL chairman Justice Priyantha R. P. Perera made the recommendation following complaints made to Commission that the three manufacturers were polluting the environment in the Ekala area. The companies recommended for suspension are Rhino Roofing Products Ltd., more..

Unrest in Chilaw leads to fish price hike

Feb 18 (CT) Unrest in Chilaw has led to a sudden surge in the price of fish, President of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Herman Kumara said. “There is a shortage of fish in the market and the price of fish has increased due to the tragic incident that took place last Wednesday in Chilaw,” Kumara said. There are no fish in the market as the fishermen in those areas have not gone fishing for a week or so as they are inconvenienced by the recent fuel price hike. more..

SL World Cup trashed in England

Feb 18 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket’s desperation to put the lid on a report that the country’s only piece of World Cup silverware had been damaged, has led to more revelations that the prized trophy won in 1996 had lost two of its rounded rivets when it was put on display in England a few months before the 2011 World Cup. It was reported that the Cup had lost two rivets after it was displayed at “Dayata Kirula” in Anuradhapura last week which prompted more..

Price of milk powder likely to rise

Feb 18 (DM) In the wake of the huge increase in fuel prices and electricity bills, people are likely to be burdened further if the govt approves a request from milk powder companies to increase the price of a 400 gram packet of milk powder by Rs.15. The Consumers Affairs Authority said the distributors of brands such as Anchor, Nespray, Maliban and Diamond have citied the high cost of importing, manufacturing and distributing milk powder as a reason for their request. more..

Chief Minister threatens to slap officials

Feb 18 (CT) Prasanna Ranatunga, Chief Minister (CM) of Western Province has allegedly threatened education officials during an advisory working committee meeting. The meeting comprised of provincial councillors and divisional and provincial education officials who are in the Sri Lanka education administrative service. During the meeting which was held on 14 February the Minister has allegedly threatened the officials saying he will ‘slap them on their ear’ if the officials do not act according to what he says. more..

Restrictions soon on low quality teledramas and songs

Feb 18 (DN) Restrictions will be placed on low quality teledramas and songs when the new Public Performances Board Amendment Act is approved by Parliament shortly. The Public Performances Board Act of 1952 was first amended in 1980. Although the quality of films and stage plays came under its purview, it did not include teledramas, since television had not been introduced in Sri Lanka by then, said the more..

Colombo Outer Circle Highway construction starts today

Feb 18 (DM) The Ministry of Highways will commence construction of the second phase of the Colombo Outer Circular Highway at an estimated cost of a staggering Rs.44.8 billion from Kaduwela to Kadawatha today. The construction of the road would take place under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa who holds the Highways Ministry portfolio. The construction of the 8.9 kilometre road is the second phase of the three-part road project more..

UNHRC Sessions: US eyes SL as ‘Goldstone report’ gathers dust

Feb 18 (Island) The US will support a resolution against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva, Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said early this week, asserting that the Rajapaksa administration has not done enough to address accountability issues. "I confirmed that the United States will support a resolution in the UNHRC in March that provides an opportunity for the Govt of Sri Lanka to describe what more..

Full security alert as church moves to calm tempers

Feb 18 (Island) The funeral of fisherman Anthony Fernando, killed by Police commando fire, when a violent mob attempted to enter the Chilaw town on Wednesday morning, to protest against the recent fuel price hike, will be held, amidst tight security by the police today, at St. Sebastian’s Church at 3.00 p.m. As an additional precautionary measure the police anti-riot squad, the army and the police Special Task Force have also been put on red alert. more..

Professionalism must begin at school level: Minister

Feb 18 (DM) The greatness of a school is determined by the contribution its students make to the nation, not by the number of students who get through examinations, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. Addressing a ceremony held to mark the opening of a new three storied building of the Badulla Dharmadutha Vidyalaya at a cost of Rs.20 million, Minister de Silva said the education system must focus on producing professionals for the global market. more..

Land of acting Magistrate sold on a faked deed

Feb 18 (DM) A suspect produced in court on February 17 for allegedly selling 74 perch land belonging to an acting magistrate for Rs.10 million on a fraudulently prepared deed has been re-remanded till February 22 by the Kandy acting additional magistrate Mahinda Liyanage. The remanded suspect was Vijira Ranathunga a resident of Nawayalatanna. The prosecutor OIC of special crime investigation division of Kandy IP Lalith Samaranayaka submitted in court that more..

Mahela happy with youngsters stepping up

Feb 18 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene is pleased Sri Lanka's turnaround in the triangular series has begun with youngsters stepping up. Thisara Perera, the promising allrounder who is slowly becoming a key member of the side, and Farveez Maharoof, who made yet another comeback in an in-and-out career, took four wickets for 47 runs between them, and broke the back of the Australian innings. "These are the guys who are going to take Sri Lanka cricket into the future," more..

Couple notorious for ‘jumping the queue’ does it again

Feb 18 (SM) The absence of a proper procedure in the screening of films has become a serious stumbling bloc to the development of local cinema. A group of film directors, producers, actors, actresses and technicians has raised this matter with National Film Corporation chairman Asoka Serasinighe recently, reports said. As a result, Mr. Serasinghe has promised to introduce some sort of mechanism to regulate the screening of films. This development comes in the wake of more..

UNP leadership raises Sajith group’s absence at protest

Feb 18 (SM) The UNP leadership has notified the party’s advisory committee that deputy leader Sajith Premadasa and the MPs who are his followers were absent at yesterday’s protest in Colombo. Mr. Premadasa himself is a member of the advisory committee. In addition to him, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Asoka Abeysinghe, Buddhika Pathirana, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Sujeewa Senasinghe and Thalatha Athukorale did not attend the demonstration in front of the Fort Railway Station more..

National Eye Bank branch at Kalubowila

Feb 18 (Island) The National Eye Bank would extend its Hospital Based Transplant Programme (HBTP) to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital by May 1. Chief of the National Eye Bank, Consultant Dr. Charith Fonseka, addressing the press at the completion of one year following the establishment of the National Eye Bank (NEB), said yesterday that the HBTP has so far been between the National Hospital and the Eye Bank. more..

Manager and eight women granted bail

Feb 18 (DM) The manager and the eight women who were remanded on charges of having operated a brothel under the guise of a massage parlour at Sellamuttu Avenue in Kollupitiya were given bail by a Colombo Court yesterday. Colombo Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne said close relatives of the suspects should sign the sureties and as such their sureties were signed by their parents, husbands or siblings after a thorough examination of the relevant documents. more..

New ward complex at NCULTS to boost liver transplants

Feb 18 (DM) One of the pioneering medical establishments in liver transplantation in the country, the North Colombo University Liver Transplantation Service (NCULTS) received a new ward complex constructed at a cost of Rs.35 million which will be a boost to liver transplantation in Sri Lanka. Prof. Janaka de Silva, the head of the medical team at the facility addressing the opening ceremony said Sri Lanka was now classified as a middle income country and medical science more..

WikiLealks: Major General Chandrasiri Confided MOD instruction to US

Feb 18 (CT) A leaked secret US diplomatic cable, dated May 18, 2007, updated the Secretary of State on Sri Lanka’s issue of paramilitary operations shows then military commander in Jaffna and present Governor, Northern Province Major General G.A. Chandrasiri, confided Ministry of Defence instruction to US Ambassador Robert O. Blake. “In the meantime, these paramilitary groups give the GSL a measure of deniability. Jaffna Govt Agent K. Ganesh told us that more..

Editorial: Turning holydays into holy working days

Feb 18 (DM) Rest, relaxation and leisure are necessary or important for all people. But we need to remember, as Longfellow said that the heights reached by great people, reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their colleagues slept, were toiling upwards in the night. The same poet-philosopher has also advised us that when we have work to do we must do it with a will because those who reach the top must first climb the hill. more..

Woman sentenced to death

Feb 18 (DM) A woman who stood indicted with murder was found guilty and sentenced to death by Kegalle High Court Judge Menaka Wijesundera on February 14. The accused Gallage Dona Dharmaratne Menike of Bulugahadeniya, Kegalle had caused the death of a young man by throwing acetic acid at him on February 7, 2006. The accused was 42 years old at the time of the incident. The deceased Rajapakselage Prasanna Rajapakse (33) was a bachelor of the same village. more..

Ironman triathlon race tomorrow in Colombo

Feb 18 (TZ) For a country that has undergone over 20 years of civil war until recently, it was time to introduce the people of Sri Lanka to triathlon. To expect it would be all smooth sailing is a far reach but as close to 500 triathletes descend upon Colombo, Sri Lanka for the first ever Sri Lanka 70.3 and 5150 races, Trizone is here to check out all the action and drama that a first time race in a 3rd world country will provide. more..

Decision on wage hike should be put forward in parliament

Feb 18 (DM) The Public Administration Ministry said that a decision to increase salaries following the fuel price hikes which had resulted in the rapid increase in the cost of living would be a decision that would have to be put forward in parliament. Ministry sources said that although unions had demanded for a wage hike it was difficult to determine if a wage increase would be made available to the public sector. Meanwhile the Labour Ministry said that an increase more..

Mobile phone case: Two women given suspended sentence

Feb 18 (DM) A fashion model and teledrama actress, and another woman were fined Rs.250 each and imposed a three-month sentence suspended for five years when they were produced in a Mount Lavinia Court on charges of having engaged in mobile-phone prostitution. Mount Lavinia Magistrate Ruchira Veliwatte ordered that they pay Rs.250 as fine with three months imprisonment and be suspended for five years. The two women were arrested in 2009 by the Colombo Special Crimes more..

I'm still being monitored - J. Jayawardene

Feb 18 (CT) Doctors at the Colombo National Hospital are still monitoring my condition, UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene said. “I am still undergoing treatment at the National hospital, and doctors have expressed concern as there have been traces of poisonous gas found in my lungs,” Jayawardene said. “They continuously monitored and took x-rays of my lungs, I also specifically asked my consultant to check if these poisonous gases are present ,” he said. more..

Indian falls foul of the law

Feb 18 (DM) A manager of an Indian construction company and another were taken into custody by the Ingiriya police for illegally filling marshy land at Wagawatta in the Puruwadanda area. A backhoe and other equipment used by the suspect were also seized. The two suspects A.N. Gube and D.I. Krishantha were taken into custody during inquiries into a complaint made by the Horana Divisional Secretary who carried out a field investigation with several senior officials of more..

Sri Lanka Cricket tells clubs to prepare bouncy pitches

Feb 18 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has made a request to all clubs playing in the first-class Premier League competition to prepare pitches with grass and consistent bounce for the ongoing 2011-12 season in order to encourage longer fast-bowling spells and avoid the frequent recurrence of injuries. Not a series or tour by the senior Sri Lankan team goes by without one or more fast bowlers returning home due to injury, thus upsetting the balance of the team and sometimes more..

Chilaw victim's funeral underway

Feb 18 (CT) A tight security cordon was placed around Chilaw town yesterday as the funeral of slain fisherman Anthony Fernando of the Egodawatte coastal village took place in the area with full Catholic burial rites. A crowd of about 10,000 mourners drawn largely from the fishing community in the area and adjoining villages attended Fernando’s funeral service that was held at the St. Sebastian’s Church in Chilaw. Fernando was killed in clashes with more..

Editorial: Physician heal thyself

Feb 19 (SO) Tendentious international elements and some opportunist Opposition politicians are plotting to destabilise the country to set their agendas in motion. Though both groups have diverse objectives, they have one goal in common - a regime change. The two groups are working in unison for a regime change - for two quaint reasons. Certain Western countries with vested interests are exerting undue pressure on Sri Lanka, perhaps out of envy as the country had set an example more..