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Two prison officers and four others arrested

Jan 23 (DM) Six suspects including a woman and two Prison Welfare Officers of the Welikada Prison were taken into custody for their alleged involvement in extorting money from businessmen in the Matara town under death threat. Inquiries revealed that the king pin behind the racket was a prisoner who had constant contacts with other suspects using his cellular phones. The woman is the wife of the inmate who had been making threats and asking for more..

Vijitha Yapa tells world community Lanka needs help not sermons

Jan 23 (Island) Sri Lankan Journalist, Vijitha Yapa with Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan Dr Rick Machar Teny. They were at an international conference held in mid January titled ‘making democracy real’ where he presented a paper on the future of Sri Lanka’s democracy. Mr Yapa said that it was not a question of asking who was right after a bitter war but what was left. "It is from there we need to pick up the pieces and work towards reconciliation." more..

UK High Commission warns against sending bogus documents to get visas

Jan 23 (Island) British High Commission in Colombo has warned that every possible action would be taken to deter those seeking to enter UK using fraudulent documents. The warning comes in the wake of the arrest of a Sri Lankan visa applicant for using deception and false documents to apply for a UK visa. She was referred by the UK Border Agency to the CID. The visa applicant had applied with her two children for visitor visas and presented a false divorce certificate and more..

Sexual abuse of another foreign woman down south

Jan 23 (ST) A Dutch couple was holidaying in Polhena, Matara early this month. The 25-year-old woman and her husband in the early 30s, were relaxing on the beach, when the husband decided to visit the nearby market. A little while after the husband had left, the lone woman on the beach was approached by a guest house owner who told her there was a spa nearby and, if she was interested, to follow him. Not suspecting anything, she had followed the man. more..

First Lady attends summit on children in Qatar

Jan 23 (DN) First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa left the island on Saturday to attend the International Shaffallah Special Summit on children with special needs in Qatar. The summit began yesterday and continues until Tuesday. The First Ladies of 15 countries and Heads of International Health Units have been invited to participate in the summit. First Lady Rajapaksa participates in this event as the only representative from the South Asia region. The First Lady had been invited by more..

Bogus female state intelligence officer nabbed

Jan 23 (ST) A woman who collected money from persons to secure the release of their next of kin in detention, has been arrested in Chilaw by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD). Director- CCD, SP D.R.L. Ranaweera said that the initial breakthrough came after a group of residents in Mullaitivu complained to the Army that they had paid money for information about missing persons. He said that the Grama Sevaka in the Silavathurai area had received a call from a woman who claimed to be more..

University dispute: dons up the ante

Jan 23 (Island) University teachers who staged a token strike on Jan. 18 against proposed private university bill and salary issues, now demand a discussion forum on the higher education reforms among the academics. President of the FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri told The Island that there had been no response from the government to their token strike but they had an earlier planned meeting with Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake on Friday. more..

Buddhist vihares grab Tamil lands for Sinhalicisation in Trincomalee

Jan 23 (TN) Hundreds of acres of lands are being alienated to Buddhist Vihares in Trincomalee district on the instruction of the Colombo govt and at the request of the heads of such Vihares, civil sources in Trincomalee told TamilNet. After the war, the SL military-led administration in the district had allocated initially 2 acres per new Buddhist stupa in Tamil areas at Pulmoaddai, Ilaththik-ku'lam, Thiriyaay, Chempiyan-malai in Kuchchave'li DS division. more..

Missing ITAK representative in Jaffna under ‘investigation’ in Colombo

Jan 23 (TN) The organizer of ITAK in Jaffna city and a former representative of Jaffna University Student Union, Mr. Arnold, has been reported missing after being invited to Colombo by a person yet to be identified. Arnold has been allegedly abducted and subjected to investigations by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Sri Lankan Police in Colombo, informed circles in Jaffna said. The family of Mr. Arnold has not been informed by the Sri Lankan Police. more..

TNA should use its Tamil national mandate: Bishop of Mannaar

Jan 23 (TN) The aim of the Tamil civil groups’ memorandum dated 13 December 2011 and addressed to the TNA was in fact to strengthen the Tamil national polity and its democratically mandated representatives. It was not meant to weaken the TNA. There is a mandate given by the people to the TNA about continuing talks with the SL government and that the TNA in its course of action should stick to its mandate is the thrust of the memorandum, more..

U.S. Students arrive in Sri Lanka for environmental studies

Jan 23 (MoD) A group of American students and professors from the University of Dubuque in Iowa arrived in Sri Lanka recently as environmental tourists, taking part in a curriculum that includes a two-week field course in Sri Lanka. The visit is part of an effort to broaden educational exchanges between Sri Lanka and the United States which in turn will lead to an expansion of research opportunities for students in both countries. Diversity and global learning have become more..

National policy on optometrist and optician trades before Parliament

Jan 23 (Island) A national policy on optometrist and Optician trades had been submitted to Parliament for approval, Jagath Jayasinghe, Chairman, Eye Care and Optometrists Association (ECOA) said. Speaking at a media briefing in connection with the Eye Care 2012 Programme under the theme, The Transformation Age of Optometry, he said: "There are about 5000 optical centres. The majority lacks the services of skilled personnel. As a result, those who patronize those centres are at risk." more..

Chief ministers express mixed sentiments on '13 plus'

Jan 23 (DM) In the wake of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s assurance to India that powers would be devolved beyond the 13th Amendment, various chief ministers expressed mixed sentiments on the matter. Shan Wijeyalal Silva, the chief minister of the Southern Provincial Council, said yesterday that powers should not be devolved to appease a single community. He said that it should be done to meet the aspirations of all communities. more..

Kalam urges creative leadership for economic development

Jan 23 (FT) World renowned aerospace engineer and the 11th President of India Dr. A.P.J Adbul Kalam emphasised on the need for a generation of creative leadership in all countries in order to build vibrant businesses and in turn, create accelerated national economic growth. He also urged educational institutions in Sri Lanka to be geared up for the large number of creative thinkers needed by different disciplines and to facilitate the youth of Sri Lanka to do so. more..

Hotline to deal with examinations problems

Jan 23 (DM) Consequent upon the recommendations of the committee that looked into the problems regarding the GCE A/L results, the Education Ministry will introduce a new hotline from today for the public to make inquiries and complaints about matters pertaining to different national examinations, Minister Bandula Gunawardane said today. The Education Minister said that the new hotline with only a few digits had been prepared by Sri Lanka Telecom in consultation with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC). more..

'Senate cannot be substitute for police and land powers'

Jan 23 (Island) The Senate proposed by the govt as a solution would be complementary and not a substitute for land and police powers, the TNA said yesterday. "Our position has been patently and abundantly clear on the national question; the Senate proposed by the government which says it goes beyond the 13th Amendment could be complementary, but it is not a substitute," TNA Leader and Trincomalee District MP R. Sampanthan told The Island last night. more..

JVP union organises strikes in 10 hospitals

Jan 23 (Island) All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) had decided to stage protest rallies of minor hospital staff at ten major hospitals today to press the Health Ministry to grant 11 demands. Minor staff of the Colombo National hospital, Colombo South Teaching hospital, Nagoda district hospital, Karapitiya teaching hospital, Matara general hospital, Badulla general hospital, Kurunegala Teaching hospital, Kegalle base hospital and some other hospitals more..

Johnny claims success

Jan 23 (Island) The Govt’s efforts to introduce plastic crates for handling eleven categories of vegetables, has met with great success, though not perfect. "We are not staying the system is 100% perfect but it has met with great success with the drastic reduction in wastage of vegetables, Minister Johnston Fernando said. He also said that the Ministry was studying the progress of the system and with the passage of time, would institute legal action against the offenders who more..

Dengue may reach epidemic proportions, Health Officials warn

Jan 23 (ST) The deadly dengue fever is raising its head again with experts warning that it may reach epidemic proportions in the coming months claiming more lives. So far for this year 8 deaths have been reported and the number of cases reported has risen to 1721 from 734 last week. In 2011, 185 deaths and 28,138 suspected dengue cases were reported to the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry. more..

Is Sri Lanka’s education system faced with a crisis

Jan 23 (SL) Modern education system in Sri Lanka was brought about with the integration of Sri Lanka in to the British Empire in the 19th century and it falls under the control of both the Central Government and the Provincial Councils.with some responsibilities lying with the Central Government and the Provincial Council having autonomy over others. The Sri Lankan population has a literacy rate of 92 percent, more..

Don’t touch EPF monies Trade Union warns

Jan 23 (LB) Any attempt by govt to ‘pilfer’ the Employees Trust Fund (EPF) will be opposed and defeated, President, Inter-Company Trade Union (ICTU) Wasantha Samarasinghe said. That, notwithstanding the EPF Amendments Act, was recently passed in Parliament. The govt last year attempted to approve an EPF Amendments Act in parliament to put through what it called a pension scheme for private sector employees. more..

Sri Lanka's Galle literary festival closes

Jan 23 (LBO) Curtains came down on the five-day long Galle Literary Festival on Sunday with discussions on obsessive love, war and Indira Gandhi taking centre stage. Biographers Nayantara Sahgal and Katherine Frank shed light on the iron lady of South Asia, the iconic Indira Gandhi’s political career and how she exercised power during her rule as India’s Prime Minister following the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1966. more..

Sri Lanka to look for alternatives to Iran crude: report

Jan 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka will be able to import crude from Iran for at least six months before US sanctions make it impossible for payments to be made to that country, a media report said. Sri Lanka's The Sunday Times newspaper quoted petroleum minister Susil Premajayantha as saying that talks would be held with Oman soon on oil imports after the US had informed the foreign ministry that there was a six month window before sanctions came into effect. more..

GMOA sees saboteurs within the union

Jan 23 (Island) Reacting to reports that a new group was about to break away from the GMOA, its General Secretary Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa claimed yesterday that there was rebel faction in the GMOA. A few rejected members were trying to sabotage the union, he said. Two trade unions the pro–JVP All Ceylon Government Medical Officers’ Association and the Association of Medical Specialists had already been formed by the breakaway groups. Those two unions were representing only five per cent of the doctors more..

India upgrades Durayappah Stadium, LECS maintains it

Jan 23 (Island) The refurbishment and maintenance of the war affected Durayappah Stadium, which was upgraded by the Indian Govt, has been entrusted to Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services, for the next five years. Director LECS, Imran Hassan said that they had spent Rs.2.5 million installing a sprinkler system and renovating the fence with iron poles and wire mesh around the Durayappah Stadium, more..

Stringent legislations on child rape

Jan 23 (DM) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) is to propose stringent legislations including the death sentence to grave rape and molestation on minors and consider child abuse a non-bailable offence, a senior official of the NCPA said today. Chairperson, Anoma Dissanayaka of the NCPA said Sri Lanka has seen a steady increase of violence on minors in the recent times and has to put a break to it before it goes out of hand. more..

Ground being prepared for int’l war crimes probe

Jan 23 (Island) In the run-up to the Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva next month, those pushing for an international war crimes inquiry targeting Sri Lanka are stepping up pressure, with a key member of UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s Panel of Experts (PoE) on accountability in Sri Lanka, Prof. Steven Ratner reiterating the demand for an international investigation. Last week, US national Ratner in his address to a gathering of diplomats and representatives of several NGOs, more..

Sri Lanka confident of facing UNHRC

Jan 23 (CT) Sri Lanka is confident at facing international pressure at the March sitting of the UNHRC, Human Rights Envoy Mahinda Samarasinghe said. Speaking to Ceylon Today, Minister Samarasinghe said Sri Lanka has so far been able to defer any move against the country’s human rights record at the UNHRC, and added he was “not worried” about the report of the LLRC being discussed at the body in Geneva. “We have prepared ourselves for whatever happens, more..

Editorial: SL Cricket - Survival of the most influential

Jan 23 (DM) It was a sorry sight, the manner in which the Sri Lankan cricket team was being swept away by the currents of defeats one after the other. For various reasons that are better known to the arbitrary authorities who control the game, the team hardly looks like the one that was qualified for the World Cup final in April 2011. Hence, the victory at Kimberly was a massive sigh of relief for everyone who thought the country’s cricket was marching towards its eternal sleep. more..

Sri Lanka shares plunge 2-pct

Jan 23 (LBO) Shares plunged Monday amid continued selling pressure and are now down almost 4.5 percent since credit rules were relaxed by the regulator. The main All Share Price Index closed down 2.04 percent at 5,663.09, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 2.14 percent to close at 4,811.71. Turnover was 827 million rupees. The market has now slumped 266.25 points or 4.5 percent since the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 16, 2012 agreed to demands from more..

Sri Lanka studies microbial resistance to antibiotics

Jan 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka has completed the first phase of a four-year project to study microbial resistance to antibiotics, which is a serious problem worldwide and puts a strain on healthcare systems. The first report of the surveillance of microbial sensitivity to antibiotics, initiated by the Sri Lanka College of Microbiologists (SLCM) in association with the Ministry of Health, has been released, a statement said. The project aims to create a more..

9 detained Indian fishermen to be released by Lankan Navy

Jan 23 (PTI) Nine Indian fishermen who had gone missing and were taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy after they strayed into their waters due to a technical snag in their boats will be released today. Assistant Director of Fisheries, Veeran, said the Lankan Navy had informed them through the Coast Guard that the fishermen had landed there by accident yesterday, and they were to be released today after being found innocent. They would be received by the more..

Sri Lanka port terminal stake upped by China

Jan 23 (LBO) China Merchant Holdings (International), a Hong Kong listed Chinese state firm, is to up its stake in a container terminal venture at Colombo port by 30 percent to 85 percent with the exit of a private consortium partner. Sri Lanka's listed Aitken Spence group said it received approval from Sri Lanka Ports Authority, which gave the terminal operation concession and the island's investment promotion agency to sell its stake to China Merchants. more..

SF and Senaka plead not guilty for harbouring of Army deserters

Jan 23 (DM) An indictment was served today at the Colombo High Court on former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka and his personal assistant Senaka Haripriya de Silva for committing mutiny and insubordination to the govt and for harbouring army deserters. The accused pleaded not guilty for the charges. At the onset of the case the Interpreter Mudlier of High Court S.A.M. Nafli read over more..

Happy to see youngsters perform - Dilshan

Jan 23 (CI) For the third time on this tour, a Sri Lanka youngster played a vital role in a victory. Bear in mind that Sri Lanka have only won three matches on this tour and it will tell you the importance that the up and coming cricketers have had on the six-week tour of South Africa. Lahiru Thirimanne's composed 69 off 63 balls was a performance worthy of the Man of the Match award. Even though he didn't get it, he was the man considered important enough to discuss the match with the media, more..

Ranil calls on Gujarat CM

Jan 23 (CT) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who is on a five day official visit to India called on Gujarat Chief Minister (CM) Narendra Modi. The Opposition Leader’s Office stated that discussions were held with regard to power devolution and a solution to the national issue in the island. UNP leader Wickremesinghe had stated that once the government reveals its stance on a solution beyond the 13th Amendment to the Constitution the UNP would reveal the more..

Dilshan quits as Sri Lanka captain

Jan 23 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan has stepped down as Sri Lanka captain in all three formats, a day after the ODI series against South Africa concluded. Dilshan took over as captain from Kumar Sangakkara after the 2011 World Cup, led his team on tours to England, the UAE [against Pakistan] and South Africa and at home against Australia. His captaincy came under severe criticism as Sri Lanka lost both the Test and ODI series against all more..

Police probing into the mysterious death of a PC

Jan 23 (DM) The Kandy police have commenced a special probe into the mysterious death of Police Constable Anura who was found dead on Rajapihilla Road in Kandy on Saturday evening. The police was informed by the residents of the area that the injuries on his body were caused by a sharp object. The victim was attached to the minor complaints branch of the Kandy police station, police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said. The magisterial inquiry was conducted by more..

Lanka resorts to stone attack; should we take Katchatheevu back?

Jan 23 (FP) The weird stone barrage by the Sri Lankan Navy on Tamil fishermen from Rameshwaram near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) on Saturday, brings forth a vexed issue that seems to perpetually escape resolution. At stake are the lives and livelihoods of thousands of fisher-folk in Tamil Nadu. That the latest attack happened barely a few days after foreign minister SM Krishna took up with Sri Lanka this sensitive issue, clearly indicates the more..

Sri Lanka: No Progress on Justice

Jan 23 (HRW) The Sri Lankan govt in the past year failed to advance justice and accountability for the victims of the country’s 26-year-long civil conflict, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2012. While Sri Lanka’s war-ravaged north and east became more open, the government deepened repression of basic freedoms throughout the country. The govt of President Mahinda Rajapaksa continued to stall on accountability for abuses by the security forces, more..