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Sri Lanka over-fished by estimated 600 illegal vessels: report

Feb 19 (LBO) Sri Lankan waters is facing the danger of being overfished by an estimated 600 illegal vessels a day, and marine reserves may have to be declared to conserve fish stocks, a media report said. John Church, an international fisheries and maritime security specialist as saying that an estimated 600 illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessels were operating in Sri Lankan waters at any given time. more..

SriLankan invests approx. Rs.150 mln in Mattala

Feb 19 (ST) While the Mattala International Airport (MIA) is targeting at least 24 flights per week upon commencement in November this year, the national carrier is to invest approximately Rs.150 million to begin its operations at Weerawila. Airport and Aviation Services Ltd. (AASL) Executive Director Johann Jayaratne said that they would attempt targeting 24-30 flights per week from "day one" at more..

Govt. version: 'What to do aiyo?'

Feb 19 (LB) Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya in an interview with LAKBIMAnEWS said that the govt has to tally local fuel prices with world fuel prices. World oil prices have gone up by 37% he said, and Sri Lankans too are feeling the effects of the world economic crisis: Q: The govt increased fuel prices sharply. This has affected the citizens because it has led to an increase in prices of all goods and services. more..

Govt. must stop ‘prestige projects’ say economists

Feb 19 (LB) Even as the Central Bank took urgent measures to avert a major balance-of-payments crisis, leading economists warned last week that the govt must stop carrying out ‘prestige projects’ that do not bring returns. One of the ventures they named was the Hambantota Port, but they also mentioned the Katunayake-Colombo luxury train project (suspended) and the Mattala airport (which has one of the longest runways in the world). more..

CMC busts Rs.5 m for just one lecture

Feb 19 (NS) The cash-strapped Colombo Municipal Council(CMC) busted Rs.5 million in just under two days at the expense of rate payers at a five star hotel in the salubrious environs of Kandalama, just to offer one lecture to the council members on a reported ‘training programme’, well informed CMC sources disclosed. Despite having many five star hotels close to its surroundings in the City of Colombo, the newly-elected Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil gave the nod to more..

Another documentary ahead of Geneva human rights session

Feb 19 (Island) Those responsible for ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ will telecast another documentary in the first week of March to coincide with UNHRC sessions in Geneva. UK based Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow, who had presented ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ is also involved in the second project. Govt sources said that the move was expected in the wake of the LTTE rump going flat out against Sri Lanka more..

AG, Army probe alleged war wrongdoings

Feb 19 (ST) With just a week to go for the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, the Government will review charges of wrongdoing levelled by witnesses before the LLRC. Attorney General Eva Wanasundera told the Sunday Times that Police had begun recording statements from persons who gave evidence. This is to gather information which could be examined by officials in the AG’s Department, she said. The moves come as Sri Lanka prepared to circulate a National Action Plan for more..

Dhoni suspended for one ODI due to slow over-rate

Feb 19 (CI) MS Dhoni has been suspended for one ODI and India fined for the team's second over-rate breach in ODIs in less than a year. India were found to be two overs short of target during their 110-run defeat against Australia in Brisbane, after time allowances were taken into consideration. In addition to the suspension for India's next game against Sri Lanka, Dhoni was fined 40% of his match fee and the team's other players were fined 20% each. more..

Australia beat India by 110 runs in tri-series ODI

Feb 19 (CI) Ben Hilfenhaus and Brett Lee splintered India to return Australia to the top of the table with a 110-run victory that reaped a bonus point at the Gabba. On a day when Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar both glimpsed their mortality in the limited-overs game, Australia's 5 for 288 proved far too tall a target for India's batsmen, who looked as uncomfortable as ever when faced by Brisbane's bounce and a home side recovering from two straight losses. more..

'Political meddling ruining Sri Lankan cricket'

Feb 19 (CI) Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka's former captain, has said that political interference is ruining cricket in Sri Lanka and that the country lacks a long term vision for the sport. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) held elections for the first time in seven years in January, ending a series of politically appointed interim-committees that had been administering the sport. But the elections were not without controversy. more..

Lanka couple shines at Cept convocation

Feb 19 (DNA) The names of Amila Jayasinghi and Chethika Abenayake resounded in the hall during the Cept University's sixth convocation on Saturday. The Sri Lankan couple, which studies in Faculty of Planning and Public Policy at CEPT, bagged a total of eight gold medals. Of the total, Jayasinghi bagged six gold medals for his performance during the two-year course in Infrastructure Planning. Abenayeke got two for excellence in environmental planning. more..

'Unite for reconciliation' Muslims urged

Feb 19 (BBC) Muslim activists have urged Muslim political leaders to form mutually agreed upon “ways and processes” for reconciliation in post-war Sri Lanka. The statement issued by nearly 150 religious and civil society leaders also urged the civil society activists of all ethnicities to acknowledge “the suffering of their ethnic others.” In a statement issued on Friday, the group representing religious leaders, farmers, businessmen, fishermen, women, academics, more..

Unions say fuel subsidy 'ineffective'

Feb 19 (BBC) A leading plantations union affiliated to the ruling coalition has rejected a subsidy offered by the government for estate workers in the wake of fuel price increase. Deputy Minister Muthu Sivalingam told BBC Sandeshaya that more than 90% of estate workers currently have electricity at their homes. Therefore, he said, the government will offer a subsidy to nearly 10% of the population for domestic kerosene lamps in the estate sector. more..

Credit subsidy funds to CPC: UNP

Feb 19 (DM) The UNP today requested the govt to credit the funds allocated to provide subsidies to the fisher folk to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation so that it would help bring down fuel prices. This suggestion had been made by the fishermen’s organisations that rejected the subsidy offered by the govt in the aftermath of the recent fuel price increase. UNP National Organiser Daya Gamage told journalists today this suggestion by the fishermen was a practical one and more..

SP defends police action at Fort

Feb 19 (NS) Police media spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana dismissed allegations that the police have been using disproportionate force to quell public demonstrations. SP Rohana declined to comment on the incident which took place in Chilaw on Wednesday (15), where a local fisherman; Warnakulasuriya Anthony Fernando, was shot and killed during a protest. “As an inquiry is now ongoing regarding this particular incident, I cannot comment on it,” he said. more..

WikiLeaks: 'Forced removals of Tamils is a police plan'

Feb 19 (CT) “Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe (strictly protect) told us that the idea for the forced removals came from the police, not the Army, which was not in favor of the plan. However, Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa gave the orders to proceed with the police plan. On June 6 and 7, the Army helped police round up Tamils from approximately 20 hostels in Colombo.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. more..

Davis Cup: Get Godda and Oshada or kiss grop.2 goodbye

Feb 20 (SL) The desolate stands before which Sri Lanka played out its Davis Cup Group Two tie last weekend said it all. It is not always followers of local tennis get a chance to demonstrate their support of the national team because it’s not always that Colombo gets to host a Davis Cup tie, the only men’s international team championship in world tennis. So when the chance comes along to host the prestigious event, the stands of the main clay courts at Green Path, not surprisingly, more..

Of moonshine and hooch-dens

Feb 20 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia turns its spotlight today on the prevention or reduction of the distillation of illicit liquor and their sale in our country as Sri Lankan society would aspire for the eradication of this menace. Moonshine is liquor distilled surreptitiously and illegally. Although the word ’moonshine’ literaly means the light of the moon, the illicit brew is called by this name as the activity of more..

'Parliamentary Select Committee: Consensus vital for implementation'

Feb 20 (SO) Senior Minister Prof.Tissa Vitharana who chaired the APRC on power devolution that held 130 sittings over a period of almost three years beginning from August 2007 had submitted his final report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In an exclusive interview to the Sunday Observer, he said that consensus on several issues were reached at the APRC and five of the 21 issues were incorporated in the Second Version of the Mahinda Chintana. more..

Fuel hike, austerity and equality

Feb 20 (NS) The govt this week had to deal with a series of protests as it announced a fuel price hike that has had a domino effect on the economy, with bus fares and electricity rates rising all of which will send the cost of living soaring. The increase in fuel prices comes after the Central Bank moved to ‘float’ the rupee, in a bid to protect the country’s dwindling foreign reserves, deviating from a policy adopted in the past years to ‘fix’ the rupee against the the United States dollar to achieve a stable exchange rate. more..

Does govt have the political will to implement the LLRC recommendations?

Feb 20 (TC) The report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on ‘LLRC when taken as a whole is rather weak because of its inherent limitations, but some of the recommendations made in the report by the commission are quite positive and therefore can be used as a constructive tool to move in the right direction. There is no denying of the fact that the members of the commission, being loyalists of the President, felt obliged to save the face of the President. more..

How they view Resolution against Sri Lanka

Feb 20 (NS) The United States is to support a resolution against Sri Lanka to be tabled at the UNHRC sessions later this month pressurising the govt to implement the recommendations of the LLRC and to address related accountability issues. US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake and State Department’s Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero ending a more..

Resolute advocacy of 13th Amendment appears to be both practical and useless

Feb 20 (TC) With the recent visit of India’s External Affairs Minister, Mr. SM Krishna, the debate concerning the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka has been revived. A useful contribution made in recent times which contains important suggestions regarding the full implementation of the 13th Amendment is that of a principled advocate of federalism, Asanga Welikala. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka argues that the current deadlock can be broken by setting up an more..

The manic Monday it was

Feb 20 (NS) Last Monday was a day of charged up emotions. It was a day of angry commuters, unhappy bosses and happy employees (at least those who called in ‘sir, no way to come to work’, even those who got a daily ride from a friend). Suddenly, the relatively chock-a-block Galle Road, which is on the best of days like a still, calm sea with unhurried waves, flowing at a rather laid back pace, was interrupted by yet another sea. A sea of people spilling over from the pavements, almost creating more..

'Fuel price hike unfair for people'

Feb 20 (NS) Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources Sarana Gunawardena says a 20% bus fare increase is too much on general public and adds that an increase of around 10% is reasonable. In an interview with The Nation, he said the govt had been studying the price of oil in the world market for several years before increasing the prices. He denied any corruption inside the CPC and said even after the increase, CPC was not getting any profit. more..

Police confident of arresting suspects of Giriulla killing

Feb 20 (SO) The slaying of the Minuwangoda Pradeshiya Sabha Member, Dinesh Indika Chandrasiri of the UPFA came as a shock to those who knew him and to the people of the Minuwangoda electorate whom he represented. Dinesh Indika Chandrasiri’s body was found lying beside his motorcycle and his helmet at the Mohini’s Bridge in the Minuwangoda area December last year. People who spotted his cold body lying at the bridge rushed him to the more..

Editorial: The worst is yet to come

Feb 20 (Island) Having scored a string of impressive electoral wins and rendered the Opposition weak and impotent, the UPFA may have thought that the sky was the limit in imposing economic burdens on people. But, resistance has emerged from among the people including those who have supported the ruling coalition electorally, as we argued the other day in these columns. The Opposition parties are trying to jump on the bandwagon. Spontaneous protests against the high cost of more..

LIOC invests US 12mn on Trincomalee oil tank farm

Feb 20 (Island) Lanka Indian Oil Corporation Ltd has invested US$ 12 million in the Trincomalee oil tank farm and studies are being done to improve the infrastructure further. "We have spent nearly USD 12 million in refurbishing and upgrading the facilities in the Lower Tank Farm, setting up a lubricant blending plant, upgrading the oil jetty, laying new pipelines and bowser filling bay and many such facilities at Trincomalee. more..

Increase in drug - related offences - official

Feb 20 (DN) There has been a significant increase in drug related offences during the past several years in Sri Lanka. Nearly 40 percent offenders in prisons are for drug related issues, said Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Ministry secretary A Dissanayake. Participating at the launch of the Certification of Addiction Professionals in Sri Lanka, jointly organized by the Colombo Plan Asian Centre for Certification and Education of Addiction Professionals more..

Make Maha Shivarathri day a mercantile holiday - ACHC

Feb 20 (DN) The All Ceylon Hindu Congress issuing a statement on Maha Shivarathri celebrations said, the Maha Shivarathri is the most important religious day in the calendar of the Hindus and Hindu temples. The govt declared this day Public and Bank Holiday but not a Mercantile Holiday inspite of our repeated requests. We, as the Federation of Hindu Religious Associations and Trustees of Hindu Temples of this country appeal, once again to the govt that the Maha more..

Veggie softener for inflation hike?

Feb 20 (FT) Sharp reduction in vegetables prices thanks to higher output could help soften an otherwise sharp spike in inflation following the unprecedented fuel hike and devaluation of the rupee, according to analysts. In recent weeks, prices of vegetables have dropped by as much as 50% or more and this development will make the additional cost following fuel-prices-linked revision in transport charges less expensive. more..

Govt hospitals to go paperless

Feb 20 (Island) For the first time in the history of the Sri Lankan health sector, Govt hospitals will go paperless with the newly developed Hospital Health Information Management System (HHIMS). Accordingly, doctors in Govt hospitals will have the opportunity to see a patient’s comprehensive medical records on their computer screen. With the use of HHIMS, doctors will be able to make accurate diagnoses on their patients by having a registration number and the hospital staff more..

Reduce Cabinet and extravagant expenses — Dayasiri

Feb 20 (Island) If the govt had true feelings for the people it should bring down the number of cabinet ministers and cut down its extravagant expenses in the face of increasing economic hardships instead of responding to protestors with bullets, UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said. The govt’s response to people taking to streets to bring down the price of a bottle of kerosene now was live bullets, the MP said addressing a Jana Hamuwa (meeting) held at Paravenna in more..

JVP prepares for general strike to bring govt to its knees

Feb 20 (Island) The JVP – led Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU), along with their counterparts in the public and private sectors, estate workers, fishermen, farmers and student unions is organizing a countrywide general strike to force the govt brings down the fuel prices, electricity tariffs and cost of essentials. "This is the time that we will be teaching the govt a lesson of a lifetime and if the govt does not slash the fuel costs, bring down more..

Bus conductors cheating the public

Feb 20 (CT) The 20 per cent increase in the bus fare allowed as a concession to bus owners due to the increase of fuel price has created more problems to the bus commuters. Some unscrupulous private bus conductors and some Sri Lanka Transport Board bus conductors are reported to be cheating the passengers under the pretext of lack of change money. “When a passenger tenders a twenty rupee note for a ticket from Beliatta to Tangalla and vice versa, for example, more..

Lunugamvehera road out of bounds

Feb 20 (CT) Tissamaharama Magistrate Sanjeewa Ramyakumara ordereded on Thursday to keep Kataragama-Lunugamvehera road closed till 22 February and not to allow any person or vehicle to enter the area. After a field tour the District Judge further ordered to suspend all the constructions and excavations within a radius of one kilometre from where the gems were found. Entrance is only allowed for the residents. People numbering several thousand flocked to this area after more..

TNA ready to accept solution put forth by Tamil civil society

Feb 20 (Island) The TNA on Saturday said it would never betray the aspirations of Tamil people and would continuously fight till the Tamils got their basic rights. TNA leader R Sampanthan gave this assurance to Tamil civil society at a meeting held in Vavuniya on Saturday. The TNA would abide by a political solution put forward by the Tamil civil society to ensure the protection of rights of the Tamils. more..

Vehicle horns biggest noise polluter in city

Feb 20 (Island) Colombo is polluted with high pitched noise emanating mainly from horns of diverse motor vehicles. The City Traffic Division had deployed special squads to nab the motorists who toot musical horns in violation of the Motor Traffic Act, Assistant Superintendent of Police W.A.D. Dhananjaya told The Island yesterday. He said the police would severely deal with the bus drivers who keep blaring their horns at bus halts until buses ahead of them move. more..

Inappropriate behaviour of student monks

Feb 20 (Island) Undergraduates of countrywide universities plan a massive protest during this week against suspension of 30 student monks of the Buddhist and Pali University. Convener of the IUSF Sanjeewa Bandara said that the university administration suspended their colleagues when they protested against ministry’s delay in enrolling the new batch of students. "Normally, the new batch including around 100 Buddhist monks enrol at the university in January," more..

Sri Lanka state officials occupy sugar firm: listed company

Feb 20 (LBO) State officials are occupying land of a listed Sri Lankan company, the parent firm of Pelwatte Sugar Industries told shareholders, despite it falling the outside the definition of a controversial law to expropriate citizens' property. Land leased to Pelwatte Sugar Industries (PSI) Plc, a unit of Distilleries Corporation of Sri Lanka was included in an expropriation law passed in parliament last year. more..