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Muthurajawela: Quagmire in a perilous state

Feb 22 (CT) ‘Muthurajawela’, Sri Lanka’s ‘Quagmire of Regal Treasure’ is reported to be in a critical state, according to reports by Sri Lankan environmentalists who are visibly concerned over the matter, as of late. They are struggling to instigate awareness campaigns with regards to same, hoping to bring to a standstill, the current detrimental operations being conducted in the area. Moreover, such campaigns to raise a voice against, and to bring an awareness in relation to more..

Tamil Nadu claim of Kachchativu ownership is not valid

Feb 22 (TC) The Times of India (TOI) reported that the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu Government (TNG) had reiterated the state’s stand on the retrieval of Kachchativu from Sri Lanka, and restoring traditional fishing rights of Indian fishermen, arguing that if not retrieved Tamil Nadu fishermen will have to stop fishing and starve. This had been a threat repeatedly made by the TNG, even with a unanimously passed State Assembly resolution. Sri Lankan counter-argument more..

Sri Lanka Embassy in association with KITA hosts Trade & Investor Forum in Seoul

Feb 22 (IL) The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Seoul together with the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), one of the largest and leading business organizations in Korea, arranged a Trade and Investor forum dedicated to Sri Lanka on 17th February 2012. The forum was successfully held at the KITA Headquarters and enjoyed the participation of more than 80 Korean companies. The forum hopes to attract prospective Korean investors to Sri Lanka more..

President’s prophetic words can come true

Feb 22 (TC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s speech to the nation on Independence Day provided an indication of his two major concerns for the future. One concern was the persistent international pressure on his govt on human rights issues during and after the end of the war. The other concern was the efforts to destabilize the govt through mass agitation that is taking the form of anti govt public demonstrations and street protests. The political instincts of the President more..

Editorial: When in trouble, pedal!

Feb 22 (Island) Protests against fuel price hikes have been largely aggressive, if not violent, and methods employed by the police to quell them reprehensibly brutal, as we have seen during the past few days. The Opposition is all out to ratchet up pressure on the govt to bring down fuel prices and the latter is girding itself for the fray. The next few weeks are likely to see a string of protests and attendant crackdowns. It is against this backdrop that the UNP Western more..

28 Buddha statues erected along A-9 Highway since war ended in May 2009

Feb 22 (TC) Since the end of the conflict in 2009, a new phenomena has emerged. That of Buddha statues being erected along the A9 route that leads to Jaffna. Over 28 Buddha statues have been counted along this route since the war concluded in May 2009. The comedy of this charade (what else can one call it?) is that these statues are placed in areas where little or no Buddhists reside. This has caused a stir amongst the local Tamil communities who whisper more..

Modern mapping of North from next month

Feb 22 (Island) The Survey Department says that it would be possible to complete mapping of the Northern Province in two years beginning from next month. "These maps would contain latest information on the province including the geographical changes which had taken place after the war," Surveyor General, Mahesh Fernando said. He said of the entire 9,000 square kilometers, planned out for mapping in the Northern Province, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) would more..

Professional hit man killed hotelier

Feb 22 (Island) The killing of wealthy hotelier R.E.B. Jayaratne on Tuesday was the job of a seasoned contract killer, investigations have revealed. The police said that the killer, about 5’ 6" tall had covered his face with a black cloth and had assaulted the victim. Jayaratne, who was over 6 feet in height had fought back. But, the assailant was able to knock Jayaratne down and after he fell, the killer had pulled out a sharp object from the pocket of his jacket and more..

Students’ contribution vital to build country - Dinesh

Feb 22 (DN) “The country’s education system should be revamped in a manner that would provide ample opportunities for the student generation as their contribution is pivotal to build the country, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said. He was addressing a public rally to mark the the 56th anniversary of the the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna at Viaharamaha Devi Park yesterday. more..

Connecting with Sri Lankans: “Sirin Muthu” Scholarship Program in Canada

Feb 22 (Sirin) The Sirin Foundation held an event entitled “Sirin Friendship Day: Connecting with Sri Lankans” on February 14th, 2011 at Dhamma Ukthikaramaya Temple in Ambalangoda. The Sirin Foundation is committed to a number of charitable activities in Sri Lanka. The Foundation offers less fortunate students well-supervised financial assistance and a positive learning environment that engenders success and economic stability. Visita Leelaratna, founder of Sirin, more..

NCP to be made rice, soya exporting zone

Feb 22 (DN) On the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the North Central Province (NCP) is to be converted into a rice and soya exporting zone. Secretary of the Provincial Agriculture Ministry R K Premasiri informed the recent monthly District Agriculture Committee Meeting that it was the view of the President that there were paddy stocks available in the country sufficient for nearly 13 months and hence there shall he a programme designed for the export of rice. more..

Buddhist Pali university 'most corrupt'

Feb 22 (BBC) Students of the Buddhist Pali University in Sri Lanka have accused university authorities of failing to take action against corrupt officials despite parliament damning the university. Panama Ananda Thero, president of the student union, told BBC that 26 student monks and seven lay students were suspended from the university following student campaigns against "corrupt practises" by the university authorities. more..

Mahela pleased despite dropped catches

Feb 22 (CI) Sri Lanka have not played a single out-and-out bad game in this tournament. Yet they lost their first three matches. They were not efficient in finishing the opposition off, they were not starting their innings well, and even if they recovered they would fall away towards the end. In the last two games, though, they seem to have overcome those flaws. As they were in Sydney, against Australia, Sri Lanka were emphatic against India, in Brisbane, right from the start. more..

GSP Plus: Sri Lanka should take EU before WTO, has strong case

Feb 22 (Island) A former top trade official urges Sri Lanka to take the European Commission before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the removal of the GSP Plus trade concessions as the country has a case that can be won because the withdrawal is illegal. "We have a case. The manner in which the European Commission took away GSP Plus trade concessions is in contravention with WTO regulations. It is illegal. I have always argued this fact, but the govt has to be interested to more..

Govt. has stopped purchasing fuel from Iran

Feb 22 (DM) The govt had stopped purchasing fuel from Iran as a result of the crisis in that region and had gone for alternatives to obtain fuel, Minister Susil Premajayantha informed Parliament yesterday. In response to a question raised by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in the House, the Minister said the govt had already gone into purchasing Arabian light fuel. “We can no longer purchase fuel from Iran because of the crisis,” more..

New land office in Jaffna to expedite work there

Feb 22 (Island) The Land Reforms Commission would establish a new regional office in Jaffna next month to expedite identification of lands and resolve land issues, Chairman of the commission Hariguptha Rohanadeera said. The new office would be established on March 6. Land identification in Jaffna district is currently underway and there are large extents of land on either side of the A9 highway belonging to the commission. "If those who had land in those areas can more..

Docs want govt. to change school admission circular

Feb 22 (Island) The GMOA yesterday asked the govt to change the contents of the Circular, issued by the Education Ministry, on admission of doctors’ children to national schools. The current circular had stipulated that any person wishing to admit children should be a resident of a particular area for five years. As a result, when annual transfers were made by the Health Ministry, they were driven from pillar to post by officials in the Education Ministry, more..

Rs one billion allocated for Maha paddy purchases

Feb 22 (DN) The Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) will purchase any quantity of paddy, which meets the basic standards from farmers, Minister Johnstan Fernando said. The govt has allocated Rs one billion for purchasing paddy for this Maha season. Minister Fernando said that farmers can sell any amount of paddy that has less than 14 percent of moisture rate to the Paddy Marketing Board. "The PMB purchases only quality paddy since low quality paddy more..

Expatriate worker's body brought to Sri Lanka

Feb 22 (DN) The body of female Sri Lankan expatriate worker Wannaddige Gedera Gunawathie, 39, of Maduragoda, Dodangaslanda who is said to have died of a heart attack at her workplace in the Middle East was brought to Sri Lanka on Monday. Gunawathie is said to have died on Feb 15 according to information received by the Sri Lankan embassy in the country she was working. Gunawathie's husband said his wife went for employment abroad about two years ago through more..

WP CM offers bicycles to opposition

Feb 22 (Island) Opposition members of the Western Provincial Council have decided to travel by bicycle in order to save fuel, due the recent price increase. Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has in turn decided to provide them with the bicycles. The Chief Minister said that he had agreed to provide them with bicycles and he had requested them not to limit their riding bicycles to work to a mere day. The Chief Minister also said that if the Provincial Councilors wanted to ride bicycles to office more..

Increase salaries, Ranil requests govt.

Feb 22 (DM) Opposition and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today requested the govt to increase salaries if it is unable to reduce a fuel price that was jacked up recently. Mr. Wickremesinghe who made a special statement in Parliament today said the government has two alternatives to provide some relief to the people who had been hit by the surging fuel prices. One option he said is to increase salaries and the other is to revise the fuel prices. more..

Poverty down to 8 percent - Wimal

Feb 22 (DN) "The govt brought poverty down to 8 percent which stood at 15 percent, through its livelihood development programmes, said Minister Wimal Weerawansa. Speaking at a housing loan distribution ceremony at the Janakala Kendraya yesterday, he said that the government never forgets to provide facilities for underprivileged people. Its development programmes are not limited only to the election periods. People used to believe that the govt doesn't continue more..

Central PC Opposition protests against fuel price hike

Feb 22 (Island) The members of the UNP led by Opposition Leader K. K. Piyadasa launched a protest campaign against the fuel price hike prior to commencement of the Central Provincial Council meeting at the Council’s Pallekele headquarters, yesterday morning. An attempt by the demonstrators carrying placards, posters and banners to enter the assembly hall of the Provincial Council was thwarted by a group UPFA member led by Council’s Chairman Saliya Bandara Dissanayaka. more..

Senior DIG denies use of live ammunition

Feb 22 (Island) Senior DIG (Colombo Range) Anura Senanayake refuted allegations that the police opened fire with live bullets at the UNP protest last Friday (17), as claimed by UNP former Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya. He said that it was a wild allegation as police did not carry guns as claimed by a UNP politician, but that 15 policemen were hospitalized with injuries although not a single UNP protester was injured. Senanayake, who was injured himself when more..

NLAC had repeatedly requested for wage increases

Feb 22 (DM) The National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) yesterday said that they had made repeated requests to increase wages through the Labour Ministry recently but no such request had been made by any union. They rejected a statement made by Labour Ministry Secretary W.J.L.U. Wijayaweera who recently said that his ministry had not received a request by unions to increase wages but that if a request was made, it would be considered under the recommendations of the more..

Trains might chug to a halt during festive season, warn unions

Feb 22 (Island) The All Ceylon Railway Employees’ General Union (ACREGU) warns of a strike during the forthcoming New Year season if the government fails to grant their demands before March 25. ACREGU Secretary Sumathipala Manawadu said that the authorities had assured them that they would provide salary increases to 17, 000 railway employees but had so far failed to deliver on the promise. The railway authorities had only created many differences among various more..

Public Utilities Commission justifies CEB fuel surcharge

Feb 22 (Island) Senior officials of the power sector yesterday said that the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) would have gone for a public hearing before hurriedly imposing Fuel Adjustment Charges (FAC) if not for the urgency. They said that if the government had failed to go for FAC with escalating world oil prices, the situation would have been disastrous. It was the best targeted formula to keep the CEB afloat. more..

Lab technologists ask govt. to think twice on spending EU fund

Feb 22 (Island) The Sri Lanka Society for Medical Laboratory Science (SLSMLS) yesterday called on the government to think twice before wasting the Rs. 169 million, donated by the European Union (EU) last week to strengthen the Medical Research Institute (MRI) as a National Quality Control Laboratory (NQAL) for dengue. President of the SLSMLS, Ravi Kumudesh said yesterday that the country did not require a National Quality Control Laboratory (NQCL) to assess the dengue patients’ more..

Minister sets example by slashing his fuel allowance

Feb 22 (DN) Minister Champika Ranawaka yesterday set an example in energy conservation by directing his officials to reduce his fuel allowance by 10 percent. The Minister who gave this directive at a management committee meeting held at the ministry also ordered officials to cut down the annual expenditure of the ministry too by 10 percent by cutting down on fuel and electricity usage. He noted that everyone including the big and small in society should contribute more..

Public funds collected to pay ransom

Feb 22 (CT) The owner of the fishing vessel "Nimesha Duva" Nihal Anthony Fernando will open a bank account today with the aim of collecting public funds in order to pay the ransom demanded by the Somali pirates. He said that Minister Felix Perera has intervened in the matter. “A friend of Minister Perera by the name of Mapalano has agreed to negotiate with the pirates and secure the release of these fishermen. On two prior occasions during the term of more..

Child dies as father begs for forgiveness

Feb 22 (CT) A sick child died in the Polonnaruwa hospital on Monday while the doctor in charge of the child asked the father to beg for forgiveness over a minor argument. The father of the child, it is learnt had called for medical attention after he had realised that the attention given to the child was inadequate. The doctor who was treating the child had refused to treat the child and had ordered the father to plead for forgiveness from the medical staff. more..

UNP protests outside P’ment; says no need for fuel hike

Feb 22 (FT) MPs of UNP yesterday staged a protest outside the parliament against the increase in fuel prices and the resultant increase in the cost of living. The protest was led by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe and the UNP activists protested against the govt's failure to convene parliament to discuss the price hikes and its impact on the economy. Wickremasinghe told the media that the protests and the death of a fisherman in Chilaw during a protest could more..

SL among countries pushing for transparency in UN Human Rights body

Feb 22 (Island) SriLanka will continue to campaign against the use of Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to undermine UN member states. Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, is expected to raise the issue at the 19th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council scheduled to begin on Feb. 27. more..

Notice issued on Forest Conservator General

Feb 22 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday issued notice on the Conservator General of Forest and a few other respondents, directing them to be present in Court or be represented by counsel on March 23, 2012. Notice was issued in connection with the Writ Application filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice. The petition had complained that the respondents had not properly performed their statutory functions against the clearing of the Soraguna forest area in Uva, to construct more..

Indian Education Fair showcases spectrum of opportunities

Feb 22 (Island) With the endorsement of the Indian govt and High Commission of India in Colombo, EdCIL (India) Limited conducted the EdCIL – Indian Education Fair 2012, at the BMICH in Colombo. It concluded on Sunday. The exhibition showcased the entire spectrum of Indian higher educational opportunities to the local student population under one roof. Minister Tissa Vitharana, who was the chief guest at the opening ceremony, stressed the importance of more..

Sri Lanka’s missing: Where are they?

Feb 22 (SL) What happened to dozens of LTTE members who surrendered to the army together with Rev. Francis Joseph, a Catholic priest, south of the Vadduvaakal bridge on May 18 2009? “Aananthi” (not her real name), the wife of one of the disappeared, told Human Rights Watch that she saw the army load the priest and the LTTE members on to a bus and drive them away. more..

Cost of living on fire

Feb 22 (ST) The unprecedented hike in diesel and kerosene prices has had a whole gamut of adverse effects on the public, with more to follow in the coming few weeks. The increases have seen a spate of protests by Opposition parties as well as various sectors including the private bus operators, plantation workers and the fishermen. The private bus operators managed to obtain a 20% increase in fares. more..

Govt. starts diplomatic battle in Geneva

Feb 22 (DM) Ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions, the govt has started a major diplomatic battle here in Geneva to secure the support of the member states to defeat a planned resolution against Sri Lanka with regard to the alleged rights violations during the last stage of the war, Minister G. L. Peiris said yesterday. He told journalists during a breakfast meeting that more..

Opposition pledges continued protests

Feb 22 (CT) Opposition parties pledged to cripple the affairs of the island with protests and trade union actions, if the govt does not address the high fuel prices and the shockwave effect it has had on Sri Lanka’s economy. “We have started protesting all around the island against the price hikes and the suffering of the people, and we won’t stop until the government provides solid solutions to the people,” more..

Tempers flare after Indians "Mankad" Sri Lanka's Lahiru Thirimann

Feb 22 (HS) SRI Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene last night accused India of playing dirty, after spinner Ravi Ashwin controversially "Mankaded'' Lahiru Thirimann. Thirimann was given out when Ashwin, bowling in the 40th over, removed the bails and appealed as the Sri Lankan batsman was backing up and out of his ground. Acting Indian captain Virender Sehwag did not withdraw the appeal, but Thirimanne stood his ground. more..