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Ports Authority completes US$ 100m project to upgrade container handling

Jan 7 (Island) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority had completed its project of upgrading container handling equipment with the receipt of 50 yard tractors earlier this week. The total project is worth over US$ 100 million. The project which kicked off in mid 2009 comprised three phases. Under Phase I, the SLPA deployed 3 Ship-to-Shore Cranes and 6 RTG cranes. Under phase II, another three ship-to-shore Cranes and 24 Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes imported from China were more..

Mervyn on war path

Jan 7 (DM) The latest controversy between Minister Mervyn Silva and a group of Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha members took a new turn today with the Minister demanding the disciplinary action against them. Responding to charges by Chairman of the PS Prasanna Ranaweera, who called a press conference to demand the govt to oust the Minister from the Kelaniya electorate, the Minister said “calling a press conference a violation of the party so because of more..

Provincial minister orders closure of school

Jan 7 (Island) Southern Province Education Minister, Chandima Rasaputra came to Sri Dhammakusala Kanishta Vidyalaya at Maha Ambalangoda and ordered the zonal directress of Education Ms. H.S. Mendis to close the school forthwith and directed the three students there to nearby schools, as the department had to spend a massive sum of money to keep it open. He also ordered the DE to second the acting principal and his wife, the only two staff members of the school to more..

SC receives Fonseka appeal

Jan 7 (CT) The Supreme Court has received the appeal of Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka against the majority judgment of the Trial-at- Bar in the White Flag Case. The appeal will be considered before a Bench of five Supreme Court Judges, which will be appointed by the Chief Justice. Appellant Fonseka in his appeal stated that two judges in their majority judgment had failed to consider certain evidence. He also urged the judges erred in law as they failed to fully evaluate the evidence more..

Salary hike demand campaign spreads

Jan 7 (Island) The Trade Union Committee for Salary Increments in Government and Private Sectors (TUC-SIGPS) warned they would stage protests in Galle, Ratnapura and Baticaloa this month demanding minimum salary increments for government employees and an increase in minimum salaries of private sector employees through the 2012 budget. TUC-SIGPS Convener, Ravi Kumudesh demanded a minimum salary increment of Rs.2, 500 to their basic salary as opposed to more..

Sri Lanka to establish diplomatic mission in Ukraine

Jan 7 (GDI) Ukraine gained independence in 1991 and following the establishment of diplomatic relations there has been closer co- operation between Sri Lanka and Ukraine at bilateral and multilateral levels. Currently a range of agreements are in the process of being negotiated covering the fields of Education, Defence. Science and Technology, Ports and Shipping, Air Services Trade etc. Direct flights have also commenced between the two countries. more..

SLMC has accumulated fund base of 300 million

Jan 7 (DM) In the midst of controversy surrounding the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), the Parents Association of Foreign Qualified Medical Graduates today said the SLMC had an accumulated fund base of 300 million including land and other assets which were not audited by the Auditor General. The association’s Convener Dr. Lalith Chandradasa said Rs.200 million was also allocated to the SLMC from the govt consolidated fund. The funds were audited by a private company but more..

Durban win can't erase Sri Lanka's scars

Jan 7 (CI) There was a reason Tillakaratne Dilshan wore a smile as wide as Table Mountain after Sri Lanka had been beaten by 10 wickets and lost a series: they came to South Africa and did what no-one believed they would. They won a Test match and although they lost the series in disappointing fashion, Sri Lanka proved there is life in them still. "Before we came here, everyone thought we couldn't win a Test outside Sri Lanka. more..

Hospital faulted for not having drug review meetings

Jan 7 (Island) The Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital has been instructed to recommence drug review meetings which were not conducted for the past seven years to overcome the recurring drug shortage in the hospital. The spokesman for the Health Ministry said yesterday that the hospital had failed to conduct its monthly drug review meetings (DRM) causing the hospital to carry out local purchasing of drugs. The spokesman said that last year’s expenditure incurred through more..

18 months imprisonment for suppressing info. of LTTE Cadre

Jan 7 (DM) The Colombo High Court sentenced an accused for 18 months imprisonment for intentionally suppressing information of an LTTE Cadre. Colombo High Court Judge Sunil Rajapaksa imposed this jail sentence on the accused Philip Anthony who intentionally suppressed information from the security forces about an LTTE Cadre who carried out island wide bomb blasts in buses and in crowded places. During the inquiry the accused Anthony Philip pleaded guilty for more..

N’cholai lacks proper fire protection

Jan 7 (Island) The Norachcholai Power Plant or Lak Wijaya Plant didn’t have the necessary protection required for a plant of its nature, senior officials of the Ceylon Electricity Board said. They said normal installations in the 300MW Plant too were not in proper order. "So, there is always the tendency for a fire to break out," they added. A third fire broke out at the Norochcholai coal power plant On Monday night. more..

8 fishermen released by Lanka

Jan 7 (TOI) Eight fishermen of the 13, detained by the Sri Lankan Navy few days back have been released. The release comes in the wake of the mechanised boat fishermen threatening to go on an indefinite strike in Rameswaram demanding the Centre to ensure the release of their counterparts detained in Sri Lanka. However, five others who were held in the month of November last year are yet to be released. The fishermen, who met on Friday, prior to more..

Moves to increase fish consumption

Jan 7 (DN) All measures are in place to increase the per capita fish consumption in Sri Lanka to 22 kilograms from 11.4 kilograms. In the last two to three years, the daily per capita fish consumption had increased, said Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne. The minister was addressing the opening ceremony of the 105th Ceylon Fisheries Corporation (CFC) fish stall established in Dodangoda, Kalutara, recently. "Over Rs.1.5 million has been spent for the construction of each more..

'CEB employees highest paid in public service'

Jan 7 (DM) A Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) employee on an average earns Rs.68,000 a month and if their latest demand for a 45 per cent pay increase is met, the electricity bill of consumers will also have to be increased, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said CEB employees were the highest paid among public servants and their selfish demand for a 45 per cent raise would only further burden consumers by having to increase the electricity bills to more..

'New JVP faction behind J’pura student demo'

Jan 7 (DN) Thursday’s student demonstrations at the Sri Jayawardhanapura University that impacted on traffic in Colombo, was well planned action staged by the university’s new JVP faction. Sri Jayawardhanapura University Vice Chancellor Dr Nanayakkara Liyanage Karunaratna said yesterday, the new JVP faction had planned this move for weeks as a means to gain more political power in the university over the old JVP activists. Students say they started their protest on more..

No Attacks on Indian Fishermen in Indian Waters: MEA

Jan 7 (PTI) The Central Govt today informed the Madras High Court that Indian fishermen may have been attacked in Sri Lankan waters, but no such incidents were reported in the Indian territory. In a counter affidavit to a writ petition and a contempt plea for not implementing an earlier order of the high court to provide adequate security to fishermen from Tamil Nadu, an official of the Ministry of External Affairs said such alleged attacks might have taken place in Sri Lankan waters. more..

University teachers to strike over pay

Jan 7 (Island) University teachers, who did not receive their salary through the budget, yesterday threatened a token strike during the third week of this month. President of the FUTA, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said they would stage the token strike Jan. 17 or 18. FUTA executive committeem which met at the Colombo University last evening decided on the trade union action as the govt was still turning a blind eye to their reminders even after the budget, more..

Rajarata Medical Faculty students ordered to vacate premises

Jan 7 (AD) A court has ordered the students within the premises of Saliyapura Faculty of Medicine of the Rajarata University to vacate the area before 4pm today (7). If the students do not leave the premises, according to the court order, police will use minimum force to remove them, the Vice Chancellor of the university said. However, so far the students have shown no signs of abiding the court directive and vacating the area, more..

SAARC could be the world’s biggest market

Jan 7 (Tehelka) At last India and Pakistan, it seems, have woken up to the need for genuine cooperation in South Asia where countries of the region start depending on each other for those crucial products which they now import from the West. This way they will pay lower freights and at the same time contribute to the economic growth of the region. May be the first step in this direction came this week when New Delhi and Islamabad agreed in principle to trade in electricity more..

Seedy side of Seeds

Jan 7 (LB) There are striking parallels between the top 10 multinational companies who control around 80% of the world’s commercial seed (from rice to beetroot) market, and Agent Smith from the Matrix movies. Both have a great desire for the homogeneous and do everything in their power, to restrict the independence of others. Since the beginning on the 20th century a few multinationals have used intellectual property laws to more..

A/Level mess up: The buck passed around

Jan 7 (SL) The futures of thousands of students lie in limbo while authorities look to shirk responsibility. The govt made contradictory statements before finally appointing yet another committee to probe the controversy over the 2011 GCE A/L exam results. Serious doubts have been cast over the results of the A/L exam results released by the Examinations Department last week. The A/Level results of several students that were posted on more..

Semi luxury private bus fleet soon

Jan 7 (DM) Apparently inspired by the Southern Expressway SLTB bus service, private bus owners yesterday decided to introduce semi-luxury buses to replace normal buses on all urban feeder routes around the country to provide a fast and convenient transport for passengers. The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) said SLTB buses on the expressway which charged Rs.400 were in high demand due to the swift and efficient transportation provided by more..

LPBOA wants WP transport minister changed

Jan 7 (Island) Private bus owners have decided to request President Mahinda Rajapaksa to change the Transport Minister of the Western Province. Lanka Private Bus Owners Association President Gemunu Wijeratne yesterday said his association had taken am unanimous decision to write to President Mahinda Rajapaksa requesting that Western Province transport Minister Upali Kodikara be removed and more..

Zoological gardens hit record income, visitors

Jan 7 (Island) The National Zoological Gardens has generated a record income of Rs. 651 million for the year 2011. Zoo Director General Bhashwara Senanka Gunaratne said yesterday that the income includes a profit of Rs. 163 million from the Dehiwala National Zoological Gardens, Rs. 487 million from the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and Rs.16 million from other sources. Last year’s profit was the highest in the history of the Department. more..

NFF opposes CEPA with India

Jan 7 (Island) The national Freedom Front (NFF) strongly opposes the proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the India. Minister Wimal Weerawansa on Wednesday warned of dire consequences if the UPFA went ahead with the agreement. He alleged that CEPA would pave the way for India to flood the Sri Lankan job market with Indians at the expense of our youth. He acknowledged that India couldn’t be blamed for trying to solve its unemployment problem even more..

Sri Lankan fishermen in Maldives to be repatriated

Jan 7 (Haveeru) The five Sri Lankan fishermen who had been taken into custody by the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) after their vessel strayed into Maldivian territorial waters are expected to be repatriated next week. An official from Sri Lanka's Fisheries Ministry told Haveeru that the Maldivian government has agreed to repatriate the Sri Lankan fishermen following a request made by the Sri Lankan government. more..

CEB deals and misdeeds

Jan 7 (Island) Last week, The Island reported exclusively on CEB’s surprise move to purchase emergency power in 2012 and the questionable manner in which CEB had extended the Aggreko contract in Jaffna for another year after calling for tenders. The Acting Chairman of CEB Pasan Gunasena responded to our articles of December 22 and 23, 2011 confirming that CEB was planning to purchase 100 MW of emergency power. more..

US $ 382 m from India for rail revival

Jan 7 (DN) In a bid to promote closer connectivity between the people of the North and South, the govt is to expedite the reconstruction of the Northern railway track, devastated by terrorists, with financial assistance from India. The Indian govt has agreed to provide a US $ 382.37 million credit line to Sri Lanka with concessionary rates for the restoration of the 56 km Northern railway track from Palai to Kankesanthurai. The restoration project includes the installation of signal and telecommunication systems. more..

Sri Lanka targets three million dogs for mass cull

Jan 7 (AFP) Sri Lanka has lifted a moratorium on killing stray dogs as the government attempts to cut down on the 2,000 people that are hospitalised every day after being bitten, a media report said Saturday. Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena told the Swarnavahini television network that the government had decided to revert back to destroying strays, a practice suspended five years ago, because of rabies concerns. more..

Navy arrests 22 people

Jan 7 (CT) The Sri Lanka Navy has arrested 22 people who were to sail to Australia illegally from Rakawa in Tangalle, Navy Spokesperson Kosala Warnakulasuriya said. 17 of those arrested, according to the Spokesman, were Tamils. The operation was conducted with the assistance of the CID following information received by the Navy. The Navy also took the main operative, who masterminded this, into custody. Investigations are underway to track those involved in this racket. more..

Maligawatta shootout: Victim succumbs to injuries

Jan 7 (CT) A victim of the Maligawatte shooting incident last Tuesday (3), who was admitted at the National Hospital, succumbed to his injuries early this morning. Mohammed Rasul Cader Mohideen (31) had died while he was on life support at around 5.20 a.m at the ICU of the national hospital. Director of the Accident and Orthopaedic Service of the National Hospital said that the victim succumbed to his injuries though the doctors had done their best to save him. more..

Ranil accommodates Sajith at his Sirikotha room

Jan 7 (SM) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has accommodated deputy leader Sajith Premadasa at his official room at Sirikotha. Karu Jayasuriya too, functioned from Mr. Wickremesinghe’s room, when he was deputy leader of the party. However, at that time Mr. Premadasa had a separate room at the UNP headquarters, reports said. Since the party is now having only one deputy leader, Mr. Wickremesinghe has told the deputy leader that he could share his room. more..

‘Gerandi’ Weerawansa was not in my hit list - Fonseka

Jan 7 (SM) Former Army chief Sarath Fonseka has ridiculed minister Wimal Weerawansa over a statement the latter made yesterday (5). In his remark, the minister claimed that his name was included in the hit-list of Mr. Fonseka that was to be executed had he been elected president at the last presidential polls. Responding, the ex-Army chief said today that his hit-list only contained LTTE terrorists, and that he would not commit sins by killing nonentity ‘gerandi’ (snakes). more..

Dayata Kirula 2012 development lottery ticket presented to the President

Jan 7 (GDI) Present progress of the ground construction work in connection with 2012 Dayata Kirula National Development Exhibition due to be held at Anuradhapura, Oyamaduwa was reviewed today (06) under the patronage of the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Pictured here is the first ticket of Dayata Kirula Development Instant Lottery and an entry pass to the exhibition ground being presented to the President by the Chairman of Lottery Development Board, more..

WikiLeaks: Discord between the brothers -half to Basil, half to Gota

Jan 7 (CT) “Basil and Gothabaya appear not to get along very well. Many have remarked that they rarely appear in public together, seem never to attend the same meetings, and at times offer the President conflicting advice.”the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” details the conflicting issues between Presidend Rajapaksa’s two brothers, Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. more..

New garbage collection system shortly

Jan 7 (DN) A propaganda campaign to encourage public to separate household garbage as biodegradable waste, glass, and polythene and plastic will be initiated this year from grassroot level, said Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. He observed that this mechanism should be populated among public gradually. He said that the Environment Ministry with the coordination of local govt institutions will implement a new garbage collection system shortly, in which the days of the week will be marked to collect biodegradable waste, more..

SLMC to discuss devolution with govt.

Jan 7 (CT) The High Command of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is scheduled to meet before the government holds talks with the TNA on 17 January. Members of the SLMC High Command will hold lengthy discussions on the devolution of land and police powers in the provinces. SLMC General Secretary, Hassan Ali confirmed that the High Command would meet during the course of next week to discuss the above matters. Hassan Ali confirmed that the High Command would meet during more..

Talks with TNA the only solution

Jan 7 (CT) Jaffna Bishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Saundaranayagam has informed a visiting British delegation that a political solution to the ethnic problem could be found only through dialogue with the TNA. The Bishop made this observation when the delegation led by British Member of Parliament James Wharton met the Bishop at his residence in Jaffna on Thursday. British Ambassador in Sri Lanka John Rankin, External Affairs Ministry Senior Counsellor at more..

Editorial: Face hidden agendas courageously

Jan 8 (SO) Sri Lanka's valiant Security Forces annihilated the world's most ruthless terrorist outfit - the LTTE, more than two-and-a-half years ago. It was indeed, a landmark achievement that opened a new chapter in the annals of the country's history as the three-decade-long terrorism had brought the country's economy to the brink of near collapse. Moreover, LTTE terrorists had inflicted untold misery on all Sri Lankans through their inhuman killings, merciless suicide attacks and more..

Editorial: Fonnie plays the Green Card

Jan 8 (SL) This editorial was published in The Sunday Leader on October 5, 2008 when Lasantha Wickrematunge was Editor. We are reproducing this inmemory of Lasantha Wickrematunge who was killed three years to the date, on January 8, 2009. Lasantha was a strident critic of the former Army Commander as illustrated in this Editorial. “Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has been in the news recently, not so much for his military exploits, but for his assertions of Sinhala supremacy. more..