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US sends three envoys to assess Govt. initiatives on LLRC report

Feb 5 (ST) The United States is sending three top officials to Colombo ahead of the UNHRC sessions in Geneva where Washington is proposing to move a resolution on Sri Lanka. The task of two of them, diplomatic sources said yesterday, was to brief UPFA govt leaders on matters relating to the resolution. They are to ascertain whether any govt initiative could prevent such a move. more..

President opens Deyata Kirula exhibition

Feb 5 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday opened the sixth Deyata Kirula national exhibition at Oyamaduwa in the Maha Villachchiya Divisional Secretariat in Anuradhapura. It will be open to the public till February 10. The exhibition site is on a 600-acre land. The exhibition consists of over 1,000 stalls run by government ministries, private sector agencies and the Security Forces. The ANCL (Lake House) stall at the Deyata Kirula will educate the public on its publishing operations and more..

Sanctions on Iran: Lanka seeks US help

Feb 5 (ST) Sri Lanka has appealed to the United States for exemption from its sanctions on Iran saying it will badly hurt the economy, a senior Cabinet Minister said. “We have asked the US for concessions or help to find alternative sources of supply,” Petroleum Minister Susil Premajayantha said. He said that during talks with the visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Luke Bronin, Ministry Secretary R.H.S. Samarasinghe explained the problems the govt would face when the sanctions took effect. more..

Govt. on firefighting mode to face Geneva volcano

Feb 5 (ST) United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton issued a virtual 'ultimatum' to the govt of Sri Lanka this week. In essence, it is a call to address accountability issues relating to the final stages of the separatist war in May 2009 or face a resolution at the UNHRC in Geneva in the coming weeks. The proverbial Sinhala saying gireta ahuvunu puvak gediya wagey (like the arecanut caught between the blades of a nut-cutter) underscores the govt's dilemma. more..

No expressway ticket for VVIP convoys

Feb 5 (ST) The Presidential and Prime Ministerial convoys will be exempt from the payment of the user fee on the southern expressway. This exemption is granted in terms of new regulations under the National Thoroughfares Act. Parliament will on Thursday debate the regulations to give effect to the fee levying structure for motorists who use the Southern Highway. The fees vary between Rs.150 and Rs. 2,000 depending on the distance travelled and the type of vehicle. more..

New benefits under ‘Divi Neguma’ proposed

Feb 5 (ST) Minister Basil Rajapaksa has said the Government would enhance benefits under the Divi Neguma programme with effect from next month. Beneficiaries will be offered services to the value of Rs. 3,000. Under the programme participants will be provided plants such as coconut, pineapple, rambutan, lime, mango as well as agricultural tools and fertilizer. The main aim of the project is to create a capacity to cater to an export market on a continuous basis. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Feb 5 (ST) The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) in Britain's House of Commons sent out a note to their Parliamentary colleagues on "an exhibition and situation update on events in Sri Lanka" on January 31. This is what it said: "We are delighted to invite you to join us for an Exhibition illustrating the background and give an update on the Sri Lankan accountability issues. You will be able to view photographs, speak to members, more..

New law in a pickle: Veggies, fruits continue to come in gunnies

Feb 5 (ST) Fruits and vegetables continue to come in the traditional gunny bags and string sacks, long after the January 15 deadline that outlawed this form of transport, with the introduction of the plastic crate rule. From the farmer to the trader, distributor and transporter, the law is being flouted in the open, and the majority of those involved in this sector have their own reasons for doing so. more..

Dengue – multi-pronged attack to contain the virus

Feb 5 (LB) Sources from the Ministry of Health said that the number of persons afflicted with the deadly dengue virus are increasing countrywide. Up to January 26, 2638 cases had been detected of which 18 patients had succumbed to the virus. While several teams headed by public health inspectors (PHI) under the instructions of the Ministry of Health have been carrying out spot checks and raids, and even imposing fines on more..

Conmen trick gullible women and strip them of their gold

Feb 5 (ST) Two men involved in a racket that saw more than 100 elderly women falling prey to their cunning tricks and parting with their jewellary in Colombo and its suburbs were nabbed this week, police said. They said, the suspects from Kotahena and Athurugiriya were arrested by the Talangama police after a threewheeler driver tipped them off, bringing to light a racket that had been going on for two years. more..

SL ready to commit more troops for global peacekeeping

Feb 5 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt is ready to deploy additional troops under UN command for peacekeeping operations, the army has told the world body. Army Chief Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya informed a visiting high level Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) delegation of the SLA’s readiness to increase its contribution by two more battalions. Jayasuriya emphasized that the SLA was in a position to deploy well-trained troops at more..

For Rehabilitated Cadres

Feb 5 (SL) Thousands of former LTTE cadres are being monitored by the military and intelligence officers despite being released back into society after undergoing rehabilitation, activists and human rights groups have claimed. Some former rebels have even been threatened with death if they engage in any anti-govt activities or join any group looking to overthrow the govt. Convener of the ‘We are Sri Lankans’ organization Udul Premaratne said that more..

The ugly face of Facebook

Feb 5 (ST) More than 300 complaints against the posting of obscene and personal pictures of persons on Facebook – the social networking service - have been made to the CID. The CID’s Cyber Crime Division is probing the cases which also include a few cases of hacking into Facebook accounts. Nearly 70 per cent of the cases were instances where, after jilting the lover, one party posts personal pictures and videos recorded secretly, more..

Cricketers’ cancer hospital venture handed to health ministry

Feb 5 (SL) Nearly ten years after initiating the HOPE Cancer Hospital project, Mahela Jayawardena and the Sri Lanka Cricketers Association have been forced to hand over the project to the Ministry of Health. Committee Chairman Mahesh Pasquel explained that they were forced to hand over the project due to their inability to raise the necessary funds. Pasquel said that the project had been unsuccessful in raising the required amount of more..

We need ‘democracy plus’ before ‘13 plus’– Ranil

Feb 5 (ST) Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called the people to rally round to protect ‘democracy plus’ that will ensure law and order as an answer to ‘thirteen plus’. Mr. Wickremesinghe addressing a UNP organisers’ meeting in Matara said, if ‘democracy plus’ is ensured achieving ‘thirteen plus’ was not difficult. The meeting was held at UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera’s residence. more..

Doc to be questioned after allegations of poisoning another doc

Feb 5 (ST) A doctor is to be questioned over an allegation of poisoning a colleague serving at the same state-run hospital at Sevenagala, a senior policeman said yesterday. He said, according to a statement made by a minor employee of the hospital, the suspect is alleged to have instructed him to spike the water in the victim’s overhead tank with an unknown substance. The suspect’s residence will be searched once a warrant is obtained from court, more..

Child dies; parents blame hospital

Feb 5 (SL) Little Sunthari was enjoying her childhood like any ordinary eight year old but her life was cut short last weekend after she fell ill and was admitted to hospital in Maskeliya. Sunthari’s parents have filed a complaint with the police saying their child died as a result of medical negligence and are demanding justice. The child’s father Selvaraj Vellu told The Sunday Leader that his daughter fell ill and was admitted to the Maskeliya General hospital last weekend. more..

Sri Lankans suspected in ATM robberies

Feb 5 (JG) Police say they have arrested two Sri Lankans who are suspected of stealing hundreds of millions of rupiah using fake ATM cards. “We have arrested two people. The first, whose initials are K.P., is a Sri Lankan citizen and was caught on January 29 while using a CIMB Niaga ATM in Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta,” police said. K.P. was allegedly in possession of Rp 64 million ($7,200) in cash, 25 fake ATM cards and an official asylum seeker’s identity document. more..

Eran Wickremaratne offers some insights on achieving good governance

Feb 5 (Island) Eran Wickramaratne, MP, speaking on the ‘Financial impact of the findings of the COPE Report’ at a seminar organized by Women for Good Governance, stated that the loss from inefficiency and waste far exceeds the losses on corruption in Govt institutions. He called economists to undertake research in estimating the loss of revenue and also the impact on economic growth. more..

Service ordinance is a govt’s canard

Feb 5 (LT) The Graduate Employees Union has asked graduates in govt service not to be deceived by the statements made by govt ministers that a service ordinance called ‘Sri Lanka Development officers Service’ has been approved. Despite a cabinet paper has been presented for approval of a such a service, approval has been given only for recruitment of programme officers and programme assistants states a statement issued by the Graduate Employees Union. more..

Those without a heart celebrate independence – Anoma Fonseka

Feb 5 (LT) Anyone with a heart would never approve celebrating independence after imprisoning the Army Commander who eradicated terrorism and achieved freedom for the country for the second time says Ms. Anoma Fonseka. She visited former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka at Welikada prison yesterday and spoke to the media afterwards. “The country achieved freedom for the second time after eradicating terrorism. The General who achieved this freedom with more..

Hirunika to join politics

Feb 5 (DM) Hirunika, the daughter of late Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra has announced she will join active politics from the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP). She came into the spotlight in the aftermath of the killing of her father during a shootout in Mulleriyawa on October 8 last year. During the shootout three others were killed while serious head injuries were cause to MP Duminda Silva. The SLMP is a political party founded in 1984 by more..

A minor employee arrested

Feb 5 (DM) A minor employee of the Sevanagala Hospital was taken into custody on suspicion for poisoning the storage tank of the Medical Officer in-charge, Dr. Chaminda Vitharana’s official quarters. He said he did so at the instigation of another doctor. Residents of the area who ran amok after hearing about the incident staged protests demanding the immediate transfer of the doctor involved in the incident. They said Dr. Vitharana was a popular officer who attended to more..

Sri Lanka looks to revive Tuticorin ferry service

Feb 5 (PTI) Sri Lanka is looking for a new operator to revive the much talked about ferry service between Colombo and Tuticorin that had hit a snag due to economic and legal problems after a few months of operation last year. Sri Lanka has called for Expressions of Interest (EoI) from potential operators with a view to resume the ’Scotia Prince’ ferry service between the capital and the southern Indian city, that was launched with much fanfare in June more..

Sri Lanka may drop dollar to meet Iran oil sanctions

Feb 5 (Reuters) Sri Lanka may avoid a costly squeeze by the United States sanctions on Iranian crude by purchasing it in a currency other than dollars, following India's lead, officials said on Sunday. The Indian Ocean island nation is facing the most potential collateral damage from the sanctions, which are meant to cut off the dollars Washington believes are being used to fund Iran's nuclear ambitions. more..

Australia thrash India in opening ODI

Feb 5 (CI) Australia's mix of youth and experience worked to great effect at the MCG, where the debutant Matthew Wade scored an impressive half-century to set up a 65-run victory over India. The selectors had consciously chosen a squad that blended fresh faces with veterans and while Wade top-scored, David Hussey's brisk fifty, a fast 45 from Michael Hussey and a pair of blinding catches from Ricky Ponting were key factors in the win. more..

Sri Lankan woman missing in UK

Feb 5 (BBC) A Gloucester man arrested on suspicion of murder by police investigating the disappearance of a woman has been released without charge. Kokulavathani Mayuran, 31, originally from Sri Lanka, disappeared from the Coney Hill area on 31 January and was reported missing two days later. Police arrested a 31-year-old man on Saturday, but later released him. "Following further investigation we believe this to be a missing person inquiry," Det Supt Simon Atkinson said. more..

Sri Lankan woman missing in UK

Feb 5 (BBC) The wife of a missing cartoonist and political analyst in Sri Lanka has expressed hope that an investigation launched by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) would help find him. The HRC has informed Sandya Ekneligoda, the wife of Prageeth who is missing since 24 Jan 2009, that an investigation has been launched into her petition made in January and December, last year. The HRC was told by Mrs Ekneligoda that the former Attorney General more..

Rel Broadcast launches BIG CBS channels in Lanka

Feb 5 (PTI) Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd (RBNL) is embarking on international expansion, initially focussing on the SAARC region where it will beam three channels from its joint venture with US’ CBS Studios. BIG CBS Networks, the 50:50 joint venture, has already entered Sri Lanka, which is the first country outside India where the company has launched three channels — BIG CBS Prime, BIG CBS Love and BIG CBS Spark. “We are on the course of closing deals to launch more..

New Lankan envoy to take charge on March 1

Feb 5 (TOI) Senior Sri Lankan diplomat Anura Rajakaruna will take over as the new Lankan deputy high commissioner in Chennai on March 1. He will replace Vadivel Krishnamoorthy, who will return to Sri Lanka as director general, South Asia and SAARC. Rajakaruna is a member of the 1992 batch of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service and has served as high commissioner in South Africa, and in various capacities at the Lankan foreign office. As no official announcement was made, more..

Ask the UK High Commissioner

Probe on yellow rain in Hatton

Feb 5 (SL) An investigation is underway over claims by several people in the Hatton area that yellow rain had poured down last week. Yellow rain was reported from parts of Hatton on Thursday morning, a reporter in the area told The Sunday Leader. The rain was first seen by employees of the Mayfield tea estate on tea crops and on the ground. However the yellow rain was later seen in other areas as well in Hatton. According to some reports the yellow rain fell for about an hour. more..

Weapons cache recovered

Feb 5 (CT) Troops on their search and clear operations in the general areas of Kilaly and Oddusuddan recovered several weapons and ammunitions on Saturday (4). According to the army, three 81 mm mortar bombs, two 120 mm artillery shells, one ARMR nose, 660 rounds of T-56 ammunition and four Rocket Propeller Grenades (RPGs) were found on Saturday. Meanwhile, demining groups recovered 220 anti personnel mines from Marathamadu, Devapuram and Kokkutoduvai areas on the same day. more..

Monk calls for hunger strike

Feb 5 (CT) A Buddhist monk from Batticaloa said yesterday he will join hundreds of others in a hunger strike from next week, to protest discriminations against resettled Sinhala border villagers. The Chief incumbent of Mangalaramaya of Batticaloa, Ampitiye Sumana Thera, said that starting from 14 February, he will launch a hunger strike along with 750 residents from several resettled villages from the East. “Sinhala villagers in the former border villages do not have more..

Jayawardene eyeing finisher's role at Daredevils

Feb 5 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, has said he will complement the big-hitting batsmen at his new IPL franchise, the Delhi Daredevils, and will try to play the role of a finisher. Jayawardene was one of 16 players from the terminated Kochi IPL franchise up for auction yesterday in Bangalore, and was bought by the Daredevils for US$1.4 million, making him the second-most expensive player on the day after Ravindra Jadeja. more..

Yuvraj diagnosed with cancer, undergoing chemotherapy

Feb 5 (PTI) Yuvraj Singh, who played a stellar role in India’s ODI World Cup triumph last year, has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy in the United States. The 30-year-old left-hander has been in US since last month being treated for what was earlier claimed to be a tumour in the lungs by his family. But it has now been diagnosed as malignant and Yuvraj is currently undergoing chemotherapy in the Cancer Research Institute in Boston. more..

Two SriLankan Airlines flights delayed

Feb 5 (DM) Two SriLankan Airlines flights to and from Heathrow Airport were delayed due to adverse weather conditions prevailing in London, airline sources said today. Two flights namely UL509 which was due to depart from London at 1330hrs Sri Lanka time and UL510 due to depart from London at 2125hrs were cancelled. According to the flight schedules another flight which is to leave for London today is also delayed according to the flight schedules. more..

Competition is not a crime

Feb 6 (SL) With the new budget the govt has shown stores inclination to make the country more business friendly. The vast amount of tax concessions provided together with incentives for exporters make it more attractive for foreign companies to set up factories and BOP services here. But a lot depends on the global situation now and what the government can do will be seriously limited by this. International investments are known to slow drastically at times of crisis. more..

Why a Nov-March season is a far better thing

Feb 6 (SL) Since the inauguration of the inter-club rugby competition back in 1950, the season has kicked-off sometime in May/June and concluded in August/September. But now it is to be slotted into the November-March timeframe. Changing a 62-year habit no doubt will hurt the sensibilities of those with a sense of nostalgia for the past, but, for more reasons than one, it’s not likely to cause any harm to the game. The obvious advantage in shifting the domestic season to more..

Dilemma over Iran sanctions

Feb 6 (NS) It is no secret that Iran has been a staunch friend of Sri Lanka. This friendship is reflected in the close relationship between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Relations between the two countries have now come under a cloud due to the sanctions imposed on Iran by the USA and the EU. The US has begun pressuring the other countries not to purchase from Iran. This has placed Sri Lanka in a dilemma for more..