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Russia to construct hotel in Lanka

Jan 20 (DN) A leading company in Russia, Gazprom expresses its willingness to construct a hotel in Sri Lanka, in order to promote tourism between Sri Lanka and Russia. This hotel would comprise more than 200 rooms, with all the facilities. Tourist arrivals from Russia has sharply increased since 2011 and plans are under way to increase the number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka from 23,000 in 2011 to 50,000 by the end of 2012. Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga more..

Sri Lankans play for pride

Jan 20 (Island) De Beers Diamond Oval here in Kimberley is a familiar territory for the Sri Lankans. They were involved in the first ever ODI played at this venue in 1998 and this was their base during 2003 World Cup. The tourists, however, have lost both games they have played here and will be desperate to win here to stop South Africa fancying their chances of a 5-0 whitewash in Johannesburg in the final ODI. Kimberley is a mining town and is the location for the famous Big Hole from more..

Army to build 1000 National Schools?

Jan 20 (DM) The Ministry of Education made a request to the Ministry of Defence on the possibility of the security forces playing a in building 1,000 National Schools at a cost of Rs.3.5 Billion. A letter to this effect had been sent by Minister Bandula Gunawardena to Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa recently. The govt came up with the plan last year to develop 1,000 National Schools equipped with modern facilities, while more..

Ganesan accuses govt of being indecisive

Jan 20 (Island) Contradicting views held by the govt and one of its key coalition partners JHU over the implementation of the LLRC recommendations reflects the indecisiveness of the ruling regime, leader of the DPF, Mano Ganesan said. "Considering the history of the ruling regime over the implementation of the promises made earlier, the sincere implementation of the LLRC recommendations is exceedingly uncertain, although the statements made by Champika more..

Krishna concludes "successful" Sri Lanka visit

Jan 20 (Hindu) External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna concluded his “successful” visit to Sri Lanka on Thursday by handing over the completed section of the Galle-Hikkaduwa railway link to Southern Railway project authorities. Winding up his four-day visit, during which a host of programmes to increase cooperation were put in place, Mr. Krishna said it was a “testimony to the strength of enduring friendship between the two countries”. One of Mr. Krishna's achievements was more..

Unable to find any trace of missing dissidents: Govt.

Jan 20 (DM) The govt said in Parliament yesterday the police had been unable to find any trace about the two JVP dissidents who disappeared in Jaffna recently despite the deployment of four teams for the investigation. The incident took place on Dec 9, 2011. Quoting a report sent by IGP Ilangokoon, Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva said that statements had been recorded from ten persons in this regard, but none had given any important hint to more..

Ranil puts John in charge

Jan 20 (Island) UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who will be away from the country for four days, has appointed Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga to deputize for him during his absence. The UNP leader by passed his deputy Sajith Premadasa. Wickremesinghe will be in India from January 20 to 24 on official business. In a letter to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, the Opposition Leader said: "I write to inform you that I expect to be out of the Island on more..

Police probe into Katunayake FTZ shooting concluded

Jan 20 (Island) The Attorney General yesterday informed the Supreme Court that the police had concluded the investigation in respect of the complaint filed by the workers of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone, who participated in a protest rally at Katunayake on May 30, 2011. Senior State Counsel Lakmali Karunanayake, who appeared for the Attorney General, explained that the report was filed in the Registrar’s office of the Supreme Court on October 3, 2011. more..

IIFA Colombo’s wizards duped all and ran

Jan 20 (LB) Wizcraft Entertainment, a renowned event management company in Mumbai, India which hosted IFFA (International Indian Film Academy) awards that were held in Colombo 2010, have completely forgotten the promises it made to the people of Sri Lanka. Wizcraft Entertainment gave false hopes on the grounds that it would help to boost tourism and also support to put up a village for the displaced as well as schools in the North and East. more..

Civil aviation takes a nose dive

Jan 20 (SL) As Sri Lanka looks to become a commercial and tourist hub of Asia, its Civil Aviation unit is viewed as an integral cog. A shortage of qualified pilots and politicisation of the training has plagued an industry which has already faced road blocks during the 30 year civil war. Recently it was reported that several pilots from Mihin Lanka had sat for the entrance examination at SriLankan Airlines. more..

Sri Lanka: Tea rich but nutrient poor

Jan 20 (IRIN) Tea in Sri Lanka is one of the country's biggest cash crops, but families working on tea estates are among the nation's poorest in terms of earnings as well as nutrition, say experts who back regional approaches to tackle nutrition disparity. One in every five children younger than five is malnourished nationwide and one in six newborns has a low birth weight, one cause of infant deaths, according to a recent study from more..

Mahela defends Dilshan and Marsh

Jan 20 (CI) The winds of change blew over Colombo on Thursday with the appointment of a new selection committee for Sri Lankan cricket, but in hot, dry, still Kimberley, nothing had moved. Sri Lanka remained under pressure after a fourth consecutive series defeat. They trained as hard as they have all tour and they continued to search for answers for success. Since Paarl, we have made progress. We were in shambles in that game," more..

'Trade union action in public utilities affects public at large'

Jan 20 (Island) Workers had a right to hold protest campaigns to win their demands but as regards essential services one had to be cautious as it affected the public at large, Minister Champika Ranawaka warned. He assured that the CEB would take measures to provide electricity to the public at any cost. He said that the Cabinet had instructed the CEB management to look into salary ratios and other issues more..

More jobs for Lankan workers in Korea

Jan 20 (DN) Measures will be taken in the near future to increase the Sri Lankan work force in Korea to 30,000 or 40,000, said Korean Parliament Speaker Park Hee Tae. Park Hee Tae said there are 25,000 Sri Lankans working in Korea and there is a favourable attitude towards Sri Lankans' service from the Korean govt and private sector. He expressed these views during discussions with Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody at Fortress Hotel in Galle. more..

India releases six Lankan fishermen held in Andaman Island

Jan 20 (Island) Six Sri Lankan fishermen, along with their fishing vessels seized off the Andaman Islands of India, had been released on Wednesday (18), Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. Those fishermen who left Sri Lanka on March 7, 2010 from Trincomalee had been arrested by the Indian Coast Guard and imprisoned in Andaman Islands, the minister said. more..

Indian scholarships increased to 270 for Sri Lankan students

Jan 20 (IT) India will extend more scholarships to meritorious Sri Lankan students in high schools and universities in the island, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna announced on Thursday. "The number of scholarships and self-finance slots for undergraduate, master's and post-doctoral courses will be enhanced to 270 from 113 from the new academic year," Krishna said at a public function in this port city, more..

Strikes planned for today called off

Jan 20 (GDI) National Water Supply and Drainage Board employees have called off their strike which was planned for today. Doctors belonging to the Govt Medical Officers Association have also suspended their strike which was scheduled for today. The NWS&DB has called off their strike following discussions they held yesterday with the Minister of Urban Development and Water Supply Dinesh Gunawardena and board officials. more..

Govt. proposes a senate

Jan 20 (Island) The govt proposes a senate as part of its strategy to solve the national question. It will make the proposal to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to be appointed on the ethnic issue. "The proposal of a senate was made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Indian Premier Dr. Manmohan Singh at their last heads of State meeting in New Delhi at which I was also present," Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the post-Cabinet news conference more..

Editorial: Try Homoeopathy to cure Dengue

Jan 20 (DM) Despite all the technological marvels of modern medicine and preventive measures at a high cost, Sri Lanka appears to be losing the war against the stinging little terrorist – the deadly dengue mosquito. The Daily Mirror in a front page story said yesterday that with five deaths from dengue and 1,286 dengue cases being reported countrywide in the first 18 days of the year, doctors and health authorities are in a diagnostic quandary as to how to curb more..

Sri Lanka shares end down

Jan 20 (LBO) Shares ended weaker once again Friday amid continuing selling pressure with turnover also falling, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 0.09 percent at 5,781.13, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.15 percent to close at 4,916.89. Turnover was 742 million rupees. The market has slumped even afer the regulator agreed to demands from stock brokers to lend more money to clients to buy stocks. Newly listed Asia Asset Finance, the most actively traded stock more..

To prevent elephant theft, wildlife enthusiasts want DNA testing and tagging

Jan 20 (Island) To prevent elephant theft, particularly baby elephants from the wild, Wildlife Conservation Forum has requested the National Zoological Gardens and Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage to carry out DNA tests on elephants given to private owners. Forum’s Convener, Nayanaka Ranwella says they requested in writing from National Zoological Gardens, Director General Bashwara Senanka Gunaratne that more..

Arrangements ready for Deyata Kirula 2012

Jan 20 (GDI) The 6th Deyata Kirula National exhibition will be declared open on 4th of February at Oyamaduwa in Anuradhapura by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The exhibition will be held until the 10th of February. The objective of the exhibition is to enlighten the masses about the national pride and about the development targets. In line with the Deyata Kirula National Exhibition a large number of development projects are being implemented in the Anuradhapura more..

Rs. 14,000 Million for Rural Development this year

Jan 20 (GDI) The govt has decided to provide One Million Rupees to all Grama Niladari Divisions through the Ministry of Economic Development for the Gama Neguma programme this year. The Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that accordingly Rs. 4 Million will be provided to each provincial political authority and each provincial political authority will take charge of four Grama Niladari Divisions. The amount allocated for the development activities of more..

BOI companies under scrutiny

Jan 20 (DM) The govt has decided to review the progress of all companies that enjoy tax concessions under the Board of Investment (BOI), and decide on action with regard to them, Senior Minister Sarath Amunugama said yesterday. Making his remarks during the debate on the Tax Appeal Commission (Amendment) Bill, Dr. Amunugama said that a number of companies had enjoyed tax concessions under various BOI projects. He said the govt had taken steps to more..

Vaas arranges Sri Lanka training trip for Northants trio

Jan 20 (TC) Northamptonshire are sending three batsmen on a pre-season training camp to Sri Lanka. David Murphy and Ben Howgego will spend three weeks on the island and they will be joined there for the first ten days by opening batsmen Stephen Peters. The trio will fly out on January 22 and will link up with the county’s overseas player Chaminda Vaas who has helped organise the trip by arranging accommodation and bowlers for the training sessions. more..

Catholic publication spreads message of peace

Jan 20 (UCAN) Catholic faithful in Sri Lanka are marking a milestone for a publication that they say has enhanced their faith and helped spread the message of the Gospels. Using the writings and reflections of ordinary laypeople, the Sudathum Gamana (Walk in the Spirit) bulletin, published by the Catholic Renewal Movement, directs readers to change their society and move it towards communion with God. The bulletin, which began publication 25 years ago and will this year more..

Sri Lanka internet bank customers warned of fake websites

Jan 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's cyber security agency has warned bank customers using internet banking services to beware of fake sites that have stolen passwords of several users. The Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre, the centre for cyber security in the island, said they have got about 10 complaints so far about stolen passwords. "Even today we got complaints," more..

Sri Lanka to export electronic waste

Jan 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Kalhari Group has tied up with Epsi Computers for safe disposal of electronic waste which will be exported for recycling, a statement said. Kalhari Group has joined with Hong Kong’s Li tong Group for the recycling of 'e-waste'. Sri Lanka's Central Environmental Authority has approved the export of 360 tonnes of waste electrical and electronic equipment to Hong Kong, the statement said. The approval, valid till Nov 1, 2012, is subject to more..

Hicorp case decision put off until Feb. 28

Jan 20 (SM) The Colombo High Court has put off until Feb 28 the delivering of its decision whether to proceed with the Hicorp case against former Army chief Sarath Fonseka. The verdict was due to be announced today, but taking up the case, judge Sunil Rajapaksa said the ruling was yet to be made final. The attorney general has filed the case, accusing Mr. Fonseka of having committed financial irregularities in the purchase of equipment to the Army during the more..

WikiLeaks: Indians and Americans watched the last phase of war via satellites

Jan 20 (CT) “The President remarked at lunch before this meeting that India had satellites and was monitoring the ground situation in Sri Lanka. It will now be equally clear to the Sri Lankan govt that we are watching, too.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The cable is classified as “CONFIDENTIAL” and recounts details of meetings the US Embassy official Charge d’Affaires James R. Moore has had with President Rajapaksa more..

JVP mediation solves foreign employees’ vehicle issue

Jan 20 (LT) Sri Lankans employed abroad had been prevented from bringing down vehicles they had been using due to a breakdown in agreements between those countries and the govt of Sri Lanka. This was questioned by the JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi in Parliament yesterday. Despite families of employees had forwarded the relevant documents and reports necessary to bring down vehicles used by them for assistance, the govt in Sri Lanka had suspended the facility and more..

Heroin case - Eight jailed for life

Jan 20 (DM) Eight people were today sentenced to life imprisonment after they were found guilty of possessing and smuggling 37.4 grams of heroin at Wellampitiya in 2001. The case against the eight accused -- Abeysiri Gunawardenage Gamini, Nagaratnam Rathnayagam, Mohammed Jalee Mohammed Nasar, Udaya Ramanadan, K.V. Sivanadan, Ekanayake Mudiyanselage Samaraweera, Mohammed Hussain Rizmi and Wimal Chandana – was heard by Colombo High Court Judge Lalith Jayasuriya. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 20.01.2012

Man with counterfeit notes arrested inside a bus

Jan 20 (DM) A man who produced a counterfeit 100 rupee note to a bus conductor was caught by the passengers and was handed over to the Kalutara South police this morning. He had got into the private bus bound to Matara from Colombo in the Kalutara area. After the passengers caught him when the conductor noticed the 100 rupee note he gave to buy a ticket to Hikkaduwa was fake, the bus drove directly to the Kalutara South police station. The suspect was arrested and more..

Police get tough on traffic offenders as child fatalities increase

Jan 20 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's police are getting tough on traffic offenders as road accident death toll of children continued to climb, an official said here Friday. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana told media that 225 school children were killed in road accidents last year and 4,100 were injured. In 2010 the numbers were marginally less with 223 deaths and 34,00 injuries. Govt reduction in taxes and increased incomes has resulted in more people purchasing vehicles. more..

U.S. wants to enhance trade ties with Sri Lanka

Jan 20 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's impressive economic growth is motivating the U.S. Department of Commerce to urge their companies to have a second look at the island nation, a top official said here Friday. Holly Vineyard, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of commerce for Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, told the media during a visit that the progress of post-war Sri Lanka was "exciting" and that they were interested in enhancing and diversifying trade between the more..

'SL’s willingness to promote rule of law remains undiminished'

Jan 20 (PRIU) Sri Lanka’s willingness to engage with the United Nations to promote the rule of law based on constructive, fair, non-selective and objective assessments remains undiminished, says Dr. Palitha Kohona, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations. He was addressing at the Security Council Open Debate on “The promotion and strengthening of the rule of law in the maintenance of international peace and security”. more..

Rejected asylum seeker kills herself and her child in Norway

Jan 20 (TN) A 24-year-old Eezham Tamil asylum seeker has set fire to herself and her 20-month-old baby child Tuesday at an asylum camp in western Norway. The mother succumbed to her injuries the same day and the son on Wednesday after doctors fought to save their lives. The future was very bleak for the victim, who was living in Norway since 2006 undergoing a lot of suffering. One week before her death, her 18-year-old sister was found dead in Jaffna. more..

Inauguration of Colombo Lotus Tower construction commences

Jan 20 (GDI) The inaugural ceremony of the commencement of the construction of the Colombo Lotus Tower, a concept of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is now being held at No. 320, D R Wijewardena Mawatha, Colombo 10 under the patronage of Minister Basil Rajapaksa. A sod cutting ceremony to mark the preparation of the site for the construction of the Colombo Lotus Tower, was held on January 17, 2012 under the patronage of Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, more..

Passenger handling capacity at Airports enhanced

Jan 20 (GDI) Arrangements have been made to increase the passenger handling capacity to 12 Million by 2015 from the current capacity of 6 million. Chairman of the Airport and Aviation Sri Lanka Limited Prasanna Wickramasooriya said that air cargo handling services will also be increased in parallel to the increase of the passenger handling capacity. He said that the second international airport will be opened in Mattala at the end of this year, and more..