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Fixing the school van problem

Jan 27 (SO) Thousands of so-called ‘school vans’ operate throughout the country. It is perhaps the biggest unregulated industry in the transport sector. School vans have sprung up because they offer a very convenient way of sending children to school and bringing them back home. It is a doorstep service, in other words. With both parents working in most households, they usually cannot chaperone the children to and from school even if they have a vehicle. more..

Editorial: Pockets of terror

Jan 27 (Island) Prabhakaran is no longer around to trouble us. But, terrorism is far from banished from this country. There are still some pockets of terror where the writ of the govt does not seem to run. They are the seats of higher learning and the state pens. On Tuesday, the New Welikada Magazine prison exploded. Remand prisoners went on the rampage attacking as they did their guards. They also set a building on fire. The bloody riot which left five officers and 26 attackers injured was more..

Water not contaminated - NWSDB

Jan 27 (CT) National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) has denied claims that tiny worms not visible to the naked eye were found in the tap water supplied to Kurunegala residents. Earlier the local council alleged a test conducted on a water sample had detected tiny worms not visible to the human eye in the water. This led to Kurunegala residents panicking and threatening to take action against the Water Board. more..

Unprecedented level of development in Jaffna

Jan 27 (SO) The North may be the only province in the world to show such quick recovery and return to normalcy after 30 years of terrorism. This was stated by President of the UK-Sri Lanka Business Council, Jayampathy Perera who toured Jaffna over land to analyse the ground situation. He said the development that is taking place in the area is unprecedented and that all aspects are being looked after which is praiseworthy for a developing country such as Sri Lanka which more..

Comments on TNA’s response to LLRC report

Jan 27 (Island) The response below is limited to issues raised by the TNA that have a bearing on Accountability. Paragraph ii of the TNA response states: "The Commission falls dramatically short of international standards applicable to accountability processes". If, as assumed by the TNA, "international standards applicable to accountability processes" exist, the need for the UN Secretary General (UNSG) to appoint a panel to advise him "on the standards, more..

Charith Senanayake new Sri Lanka team manager

Jan 27 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will be appointing Charith Senanayake as the Sri Lanka Team Manager today for the forthcoming tour of Australia, ending days of speculation who would take over the post from former Sri Lanka skipper Anura Tennekoon. This would be the second time Senanayake will take over as the team manager having first taken the post in 2008. Senanayake, 49, played three Tests against New Zealand on the 1991 tour, and more..

India prods with a small stick while affording huge carrots

Jan 27 (ST) The Indian govt may no longer have the political clout it had over Sri Lanka like it did in 1987, when the Indo-Lanka Agreement was signed, but its consistent call for devolution of power in the country, via the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, was reiterated by its External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna during his four-day visit to the country. “The Govt of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has, on many occasions, conveyed to us its commitment to more..

Zero exchange rate flexibility lessens control over economy

Jan 27 (Island) With the Central Bank continuing to defend the exchange rate on a daily basis by selling dollars from part hard earned and part borrowed reserves, much to the displeasure of the Treasury, economists warn that Sri Lanka would continue to be under the influence of the IMF, making it difficult for the country to formulate and implement policy to keep the economy on a robust growth trajectory amidst a miserable global economic environment. more..

'Sri Lanka is heading for a debt crunch'

Jan 27 (FT) The Sri Lankan economy is dragged out – the country is over-borrowing, underperforming and leading into a debt crunch, claims UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake. Karunanayake accuses the Rajapaksa administration of damaging the country’s social fabric, which he says is Sri Lanka’s biggest asset. Following are excerpts of an interview: Q: What do you think about country’s present economic situation? A: I have been constructively criticising this Govt and more..

Education system needs changes - SB

Jan 27 (DN) The country's most talented human resources enter universities annually. Nevertheless, 60 percent drop out. The time is ripe to change this system, Minister S B Dissanayake said. The minister was addressing an awareness programme for university student leaders at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo yesterday. The workshop was organized by the Sri Lanka Freedom Students' Organization. "The govt is ready for discussions with university students more..

Murali: To play IPL 'with whole heart'

Jan 27 (ES) Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan said he is ready to give his best for any team that opts for him in the Indian Premier League auction to be held on February 4. "I have to be chosen in the auction. I don't know what will happen in February. We will see. If I am chosen, I will play. "I will play for any team with whole heart in the IPL," said Muralitharan, who used to play for Chennai Super Kings. Recalling Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup victory, more..

Fonseka appeals to Supreme Court

Jan 27 (CT) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against the Appeal Court judgment that dismissed his appeal for the second Court Martial. The appellant, former Army Commander urged the Supreme Court to hear his appeal and set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal dated 16 December, 2011. He sought several other reliefs including an interim relief to stay the decision of the military tribunal consisting of second to more..

Massive expansion in prawn farming in Batticaloa district

Jan 27 (Island) Even with stormy seas that prevailed in December 2011 due to turbulent conditions in the Bay of Bengal, fish production has massively improved in the North and the East, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. Dr. Senaratne said that the ministry had taken steps to begin prawn farming in the Batticaloa district which would bring a good export revenue. He said that a brackish water prawn breeding centre was opened recently in Puthukudirippu, Batticaloa. more..

Producers skeptical of Govt. plans to export chicken this year

Jan 27 (Island) Poultry producers are skeptical about the Government’s plans to export 5,000 tonnes of chicken this year and about its claims of a surplus in maize production. Industry sources said that a field survey had shown that there was a sufficient quantity of chicken at the moment, but it predicted a marginal shortage due to the influx of tourists into the country and taking into account the expected high demand in the April Sinhala and Tamil New Year period. more..

President opens a new building in Defence Services College

Jan 27 (MoD) Newly built five storied building was ceremonially declared open by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Defence Services College premises this morning (26). Defence Services College was established in year 2007 on the instructions of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and under the guidance of Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa to ease the challengers currently uncounted by the members of the Armed services and Police pertaining to more..

Sri Lanka Seafarers will get jobs in Italy

Jan 27 (GDI) Cabinet approved a proposal by the President as the Minister of Ports and Highways, to sign a MoU with the Italian Republic concerning recognition of certificates issued to seafarers between the Govts of Sri Lanka and Italy. Under this MoU, the Italian Maritime Administration will facilitate the Sri Lankan seafarers to be employed on Italian Flag Vessels without holding an equivalent certificate of competency issued by the Maritime Administration of Italy. more..

Lack of transparency leads to loss of faith in examinations process

Jan 27 (Island) Lack of transparency has resulted in the loss of faith in Lankan examinations process, charged the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA). Association’s President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that the most recent example was the messing up of the GCE A/L exam 2011 results. He said the process, whatever it was, should be transparent, but the examinations authorities had attempted to hide something when releasing GCE (A/L) results more..

District ranking error Vs Z score issue

Jan 27 (Island) Much is being said about the Report of the five-member Committee appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to report on matters relating to the District ranking error that occurred in the 2011 G.C.E A/L results. Some allege that the report seeks to cover up a serious flaw in the Z score calculation that has been used. Some allege that it has not addressed a vital concern regarding the Z score. more..

Carpet stinks? Just turn on the lights

Jan 27 (HC) Manindu Weerasinghe, a Kansas State University doctoral candidate in chemistry, Sri Lanka, is studying materials that use light or darkness to purify air filled with toxins that are harmful to human health and the environment. Her research could one day lead to filters, humidifiers and other devices that can detoxify air in windowless rooms, manufacturing facilities and other indoor areas. "Indoor pollutants can come from things like asbestos, markers and more..

Woman fined for assisting brothel operation

Jan 27 (DM) A Thai woman who pleaded guilty to charges of assisting in the operation of a brothel at R.A. de Mel Mawatha in Kollupitiya was ordered to pay a fine of Rs.50,000 by a Colombo Court yesterday. The accused Panida Lipt of Thailand was arrested by the Kollupitiya police on August 6, 2011 on charges of having assisted to operate a brothel. The police decoy who carried out the raid had made a payment of Rs.3,000 in order to buy the Thai woman. Several other suspects more..

‘Local code of media ethics will be introduced’

Jan 27 (DN) “President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is a true Sri Lankan from Medamulana will not accept a code of media ethics imported from the UK, as suggested by the Opposition Leader. A local code of media ethics formulated by Sri Lankan journalists, academics etc to match local requirements is to be introduced this year,” Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said that the govt will not introduce a code of media ethics by force. more..

'Group with vested interests trying to tarnish govt's image'

Jan 27 (DN) Since Sri Lanka has achieved significant economic development and growth within two years after ending the war, certain sections who are jealous about it are trying to create unnecessary problems to stall the country's progress and tarnish the govt's image, Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody said. He was speaking after handing over a donation of surgical and other equipment to the Gonnagahahena hospital in Ahangama more..

'Investigate outgoing PMG'

Jan 27 (CT) Postal unions have charged the outgoing Post Master General (PMG) should not be left ‘unpunished’. Postal Department trade unions yesterday insisted that the conduct of former PMG M.K.D. Dissanayaka should be thoroughly investigated even though he has stepped down from the position. Speaking to Ceylon Today, President of the Ceylon Postal Services Union Jayantha Wijesinghe said if an official was involved in misappropriation and malpractice, he should not go unpunished. more..

Four including two children burnt alive inside van

Jan 27 (Island) A fire claimed the lives of four persons, including two brothers aged six and 11, when the van in which they were travelling caught fire near the Elamodhara Bridge on the Kalutara-Horana road in the early hours of yesterday. The vehicle was driven by father of the dead children. He survived with burn injuries. The other victims were the driver’s mother (56) and younger sister (33). more..

Some scribes on LTTE payroll – govt.

Jan 27 (Island) Some journalists were funded by the LTTE and details about them would be revealed soon, the govt said yesterday. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the weekly cabinet press briefing in Colombo, that certain NGOs acting on behalf of the LTTE had paid the said media personnel through a ‘social welfare fund’. When a journalist asked why the govt did not want to identify the persons referred to, the Minister said that some names had been mentioned earlier. more..

Sri Lanka drops in World Press Freedom Index

Jan 27 (FT) Sri Lanka dropped down five places last year from 2010 to rank among the 20 worst countries in a leading survey of press freedom. The annual World Press Freedom Index for 2011 compiled by Paris based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has ranked Sri Lanka 163 out of 178 countries ranked. Sri Lanka was ranked 158 in 2010. The index widely accepted around the world indicates the increasing suppression on media freedom in the country, media organizations point out. more..

Shavendra appointed to UN advisory peacekeeping group

Jan 27 (DM) Major General Shavendra Silva - Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations has been selected to the Special Advisory Group on Peace Keeping Operations established by the UN Secretary General to advise on rates of reimbursement to troop-contributing countries and related issues. This is the first time that a Sri Lankan has been appointed to such a prestigious post relating to peace keeping operations, more..

GMOA tells Carlo not to be a dictator

Jan 27 (Island) Govt Medical Officers Association President Dr. Anuruddda Padeniya yesterday requested Sri Lanka Medical Council President Prof. Carlo Fonseka not to be a dictator when taking decisions at the council. During the decision-making processes of the SLMC its President was required to listen to the comments, suggestions and objections of other members, he said. The latest GMOA outburst came over a statement made by Prof. Fonseka that he would discuss with more..

Shiranthi to launch cancer treatment unit construction

Jan 27 (Island) First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa will lay the foundation stone on Sunday 29 at the auspicious time of 8.45 a.m. to launch the construction of the proposed Rs. 650 million multi-storeyed building for the Kandy General Hospital’s Cancer Treatment Unit. The ten-storeyed building when equipped with the theatres and apparatus will be the second largest cancer treatment unit in the island. The first being the Maharagama Cancer Hospital. more..

Sri Lanka's police horses stand the test of time

Jan 27 (Xinhua) A tall chestnut gelding called Alex, gazes majestically at the traffic as it flows past the busy capital roads in Sri Lanka, a member of the Police Mounted Division it is a symbol of a colonial tradition that has survived the test of time. Alex is one of 29 thoroughbred horses that are currently part of Sri Lanka's Mounted Police Division and is a common sight during heavy traffic hours in the central part of Colombo more..

Mass-scale release of elephants from PEO to persons/temples

Jan 27 (LB) Plans are once again afoot to release three elephants from the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (PEO) in the coming months. Environmentalists claim that among them is the only tusker at the orphanage that is capable of breeding, and that is bound to impact adversely on the ex-situ breeding of tuskers. “PEO has three tuskers at present and Sumana is the only animal that can procreate, more..

SC orders filling of 1,223 Class 3 principal vacancies

Jan 27 (Island) The Supreme Court on January 23 directed the Educational Authorities to fill, within ten weeks, the 1,223 vacancies in Principal Cadre, Class 3. The Court ordered to pick the suitable persons from the individuals, who scored 82 per cent at the written examination, conducted by the State. Those persons should be re-interviewed to pick individuals needed to fill the 1,223 class 3 principal vacancies. more..

Tiger who blew up award winning author arrested

Jan 27 (Island) The Central Province Anti Terrorist Operations Bureau on Monday arrested a man who has since allegedly confessed to being one of the Tiger cadres responsible for blasting the jeep carrying award winning author Nihal de Silva and six others at the Wilpattu National Park in the early hours of May 27, 2006 killing all seven. Nihal De Silva rose to fame with his novel ‘Road to Elephant Pass’ which was the more..

Nurses threaten strike over transfers to North

Jan 27 (Island) The Health Ministry’s failure to retract its position on the transfer of nurses to hospitals in the North and East could lead to a countrywide strike by nurses. All Ceylon Nurses’ Union president H. Mediwatta yesterday warned that nurses would be forced to launch a strike if the Health Ministry goes ahead with its decision to transfer nurses serving in the South to the North and East. He said the Ministry’s decision to deploy nurses who had more..

The brains behind the riot identified

Jan 27 (DM) Four prisons officers and ten men on remand over drug related offences have so far been identified by the intelligence units as having been behind Tuesday's riot in the Borella Magazine prison. A highly placed police official said that three prison officers had been seen encouraging the rioters. Investigations had commenced into the actions of two jailers, an overseer and three jail guards. Ten alleged drug traffickers had also being identified, more..

Govt. willing to devolve land powers but wants police under Centre

Jan 27 (Island) The government said yesterday that the question of land powers, as enshrined in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, could by and large be devolved, but there were serious concerns about granting police powers. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that Police powers remained a contentious issue considering historical experiences and it was only a Parliamentary Select Committee that could take a decision on the matter. more..

Sri Lanka contracts to China queried by legislator

Jan 27 (LBO) A series of construction contracts given to Chinese firms mostly with borrowed money from China which will have to re-paid by Sri Lanka, should have been awarded by open tender, a legislator has said. Harsha de Silva, a legislator of United National Party, said the commercial viability of some projects were questionable, and in some cases Sri Lanka may be forced to sell the projects to China when debts could not be repaid. more..

Alcohol consumption soars; Colombo leads

Jan 27 (Island) The consumption of alcohol has drastically increased in Sri Lanka over the five year period of 2006-2010. A report titled issued by the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, which is under the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development of which the President is the Minister and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Secretary, reveals that arrack consumption has increased from 67.1 million litres in 2006 to 75.2 million litres in 2010, bottled toddy from 10.5 million litres in 2006 to 16 million litres in 2010, more..

Mahela admits pressure to quit after World Cup

Jan 27 (DM) Lanka cricket team captain Mahela Jayawardene required a lot of time and words and was at pains to admit that he and Kumar Sangakkara had to resign as captain and vice captain after the 2011 world cup due to pressure from outside. He was vague at times but admitted that he could not openly say the truth about what really happened. “Sometimes we probably won’t be able to express ourselves the way we want to or on various other occasions. more..

Editorial: If we are selfish we cannot be happy

Jan 27 (DM) The globalised capitalist market economic system which bought up virtually the whole world from the 1970s appeared to have a lot of wealth-producing policies with glittering or glamorous lifestyles and other attractions. But the ‘trickle-down’ policy apparently did not work for the common good and mainly helped multi-millionaires to become multi-billionaires while billions of people were forced to languish on or below poverty lines. more..