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Dengue ravages Ratmalana railway yard

Jan 29 (SL) One hundred people working at the Ratmalana Railway Yard have been infected with the deadly dengue virus while two have already succumbed to the fever. When The Sunday Leader visited the site we were refused entry and had to smuggle a photograph when the gates were momentarily opened. The yard which spans some 80 acres and located in Belekkade Junction, Ratmalana is used primarily as a more..

Serving unhygienic food

Jan 29 (NS) In a dramatic turn of events seven prominent sports and swimming clubs were brought before court by the Colombo Municipality for serving unhygienic food to members and guests. The culprits were Colombo Cricket Club (CCC), Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC), Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), Burgher Recreation Club (BRC), Colts Cricket Club (CCC) Otters Aquatic Club and the Capri Club, the Colombo Municipal Council confirmed. more..

Eastern PC wants police, land powers

Jan 29 (ST) The Eastern Provincial Council led by Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan has unanimously passed a resolution demanding land and police powers for the council. A copy of the resolution has been sent to the Presidential Secretariat. The resolution says that failure to devolve land powers to the province will mean that the council will have powers only to maintain houses without powers over land. more..

Peradeniya fresher allegedly stripped, hung from a beam and sexually abused

Jan 29 (ST) A fresher at the Peradeniya University was ordered to eat 10 parcels of rice, stripped and hung on a beam and later sexually abused, a CID probe into an incident of inhumane ragging has revealed. Twenty five students of the University, including three who sexually abused a male fresher, have been identified in the probe. The investigation followed a complaint made by the parents of the student to more..

Islamic missionaries told to declare nature of their visit

Jan 29 (ST) Islamic missionaries visiting Sri Lanka for preaching have been advised to declare the purpose of their visit when applying for visas, Immigration and Emigration Controller Chulananda Perera said yesterday. He said the directive was given after representations were made by Islamic groups following the order for 161 Islamic missionaries to leave the country as they were violating visa procedures. more..

Witchdoctor sugar daddy caught eloping with teenager

Jan 29 (CT) A 78 year old man trying to elope with a 17 year old girl was apprehended by the Polonnaruwa Police yesterday. The couple was caught by the police at Kadawakawewa in Polonnaruwa. Police were able to arrest the couple on a tipoff by residents of the area. The suspect had confessed to the police before he was arrested that he and the girl had developed a relationship, some time ago and were living together. more..

15 accidents in 24 hrs

Jan 29 (CT) The highest number of fatal accidents within a 24 hour period was recorded from 6 am on Saturday to 6 pm on Sunday, Police Spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana said. 15 fatal accidents had claimed the lives of 17 individuals throughout the country within this time period. “Road accidents not only occur because of the faults of the drivers but also occur due to the errors made by pedestrians,” he said. Reports also state that motorcycle accidents accounted for 11 of the 15 more..

Temple Trees gets solar power

Jan 29 (CT) The President’s residence was fitted yesterday with a solar panel costing Rs 2.5 million in an attempt to reduce monthly power expenses, Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) Chairman Chandana Haputhanthri said. The pre-fabricated structure of the pilot project is capable of generating up to 5KW of energy, he added. The unit will function as a net-metering system connected to the National Power Grid instead of a standalone system, he said. more..

Melstacorp offers to go up to Rs. 112.83 for Spence

Jan 29 (Island) Distilleries Company’s 100% subsidiary, Melstacorp Limited, has in an announcement made to the CSE last week expressed willingness to increase their mandatory offer price for approximately 70% of Aitken Spence PLC to Rs.112.83 increasing the previous offer price of Rs.110. However, Melstacorp has said that if the SEC determines that the price should be higher than the Rs.112.83 offered, they have sought the Commissions’s concurrence to more..

Mahela expects tough challenge down under

Jan 29 (Island) Sri Lanka’s new captain Mahela Jayawardene stressed the importance of carrying on the good work from the last two ODIs in South Africa, where Sri Lanka chased down over 300 runs to record two stunning wins. He said this addressing journalists before the national cricket team took wing to Australia to play in a tri-nation series involving the hosts and India. The curtain raiser of the tournament gets underway on the 5th of February between India and Australia. more..

Govt. confident of raking in Rs 241 billion in import taxes/ tariffs during 2012

Jan 29 (Island) The govt is confident of collecting of Rs 241 billion as import taxes/ tariffs during 2012 because imports would likely go up during the year due to high economic development activities, says says K.M.M. Siriwardana, the Director General of the Department of Fiscal Policy, Ministry of Finance and Planning. "The prevailing forecast had indicated that Sri Lanka’s imports will go up during this year due to enhanced economic activities. more..

Sri Lanka celebrations in Ansan

Jan 29 (KH) Sri Lankan artists are come from Colombo to perform in Korea to celebrate the anniversary of the country’s independence at an event on Feb. 5. Singer Deepika Priyadarshani Peiris and traditional Sri Lankan dancers are to help their country’s embassy mark the 64th anniversary of independence in Ansan city, where many Sri Lankan migrant workers live. The first large-scale event of its kind from the embassy will be held from 2-6 p.m. at the city’s Olympic Memorial Hall. more..

Musical treat for the Sri Lankan community in Oman

Jan 29 (GN) Muscat A versatile band from Sri Lanka — Nalin and Marins — will perform with popular Lankan female singer Corrine Almeida at Holiday Inn Muscat on February 24. Nalin and Marins have been in the music field for over 20 years entertaining all ages and performing in many countries around the globe. The dynamic and ever humorous Nalin, the leader of the band, is quick to identify the taste of their audience and get them entertained in his breathtaking vocals. more..

Staggering Rs. 1 bn allocated per annum but the sick fed with poor food

Jan 29 (Island) Amidst reports of a disruption in the supply of meals to in-house patients in certain govt hospitals due to bungling of the tender process, a drastic drop in the quality of the food served has caused widespread concern in health circles. With the Health Ministry allocating a whopping one billion rupees annually to supply meals to patients and minor staff, winning a successful bid is described as a "goldmine". more..

Turf war in Kolonnawa intensifies

Jan 29 (LB) A turf war between the chairman and deputy chairman of the Kolonnawa Urban Council (KUC) has spiralled into violence after an attack was launched against a timber mill owned by a councillor loyal to the deputy chairman. The aggrieved councillor has complained to the police that the chairman had ordered the attack. The rivalry between the chairman – Ravindra Lal, better known as Kudu Sudda and his deputy – Suresh Kodagoda has intensified as Ravindra Lal’s more..

Public warned re forged currency now in circulation

Jan 29 (LB) The CID has warned the public that a large amount of forged currency notes are currently in circulation in the country. The Forged Currency Inspection Unit of the CID said that these notes are among those in the bank’s reserves, as well as the Central Bank. According to the CID, this is the biggest amount of forged currency notes discovered so far, amounting to Rs5.4 million. It comprises 268 Rs5000 notes, 44 Rs2000 notes, 3,437 Rs1000 notes, more..

'Pillayan’s stand creates problems'

Jan 29 (NS) The government would not accept the demands of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Police and Land powers to Provincial Councils, Deputy Minister of Resettlement Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan said. Muralitharan who is also a Vice President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), told The Nation the TNA should have refrained from discussions, knowing very well that the demands put forward by them would not be accepted by the government. more..

Snakes, crocodiles in Ratmalana house .

Jan 29 (DM) A wide variety of crocodiles and snakes were recovered by Wildlife Conservation Officials during a raid on a house at the Ratmalana Sirilmalwatte housing scheme last Saturday. Among them were dead creatures found in a huge gunny bag and nine bottles which were also seized during the raid. The live creatures included three crocodiles, a tortoise, two pythons, a cobra and a viper. The snakes had been packed in gunny bags and bottles and left to die while more..

Abducted man found in hiding .

Jan 29 (DM) A youth from Trincomalee who had reportedly been abducted, was arrested by the Police while hiding in Achchuveli, Jaffna today. His wife had complained to the Trincomalee Harbour Police that her husband had been abducted in a white van on January 13. The suspect is a translator and has among other jobs worked at the Colombo Municipal Council, was taken into custody on Saturday night. Police said that according to initial investigations more..

'No funding' for parliamentary telecast

Jan 29 (BBC) The deputy speaker of Sri Lanka says that the parliamentary authorities willl ways to find funding to broadcast live parliamentary debates discuss with electronic media. Chandima Weerakkody, MP, said live parliamentary proceedings could already be watched through the webcast in the parliament’s website. "We expect to call a meeting of all television and radio channels, chaired by the speaker, more..

Sri Lanka fixed wireless users shrink, broadband up

Jan 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's fixed wireless users shrank 1.4 percent to 2.63 million in the third quarter of 2011, from a year earlier, but internet users, which include mobile broad bank rose 100 percent, official data shows. Fixed wireline grew 4.6 percent to 929,851. Sri Lanka Telecom, the island's only wireline operator had earlier reversed a shrinking sector after its take-over by Malaysia's UT group by promoting broadband ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) use. more..

Federalism not evil says minister

Jan 29 (BBC) A provincial council minister representing the govt has called for a national dialogue over devolution of powers to provincial councils. Wimalaweera Dissanayake, a minister in Eastern Provincial Council (EPC), was commenting on the recent proposal by the EPC calling for the land powers to be devolved to the PCs as per the country's constitution. The police and land powers should be devolved into the provinces according to the 13 amendment to more..

School development project failure:JVP .

Jan 29 (DM) The JVP today cited the project for the development of 1,000 secondary schools as a total failure and therefore urged the government to abrogate the programme immediately. JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that though the government claimed that 1,000 schools had been selected for upgrading under this project as modern secondary schools, the modalities adopted in this regard were not known to anyone. more..

Sri Lanka land payment made by India's ITC for hotel: report

Jan 29 (LBO) India's ITC group has paid a 50 percent advance payment for beachfront land in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo where it plans to build a luxury hotel, a media report said. The Sunday Times newspaper quoted minister Basil Rajapaksa as saying that 73.5 million US dollars or 50 percent of the total payment for a 5-acre plot of land in Colombo's Galle Face area had been made by ITC. The report said a 300 million dollar upmarket hotel will be built on the leased land. more..

Senthil mobbed by activists

Jan 29 (CT) Uva Provincial Council Member Senthil Thondaman, the nephew of Minister Arumugam Thondaman, has reportedly been harassed by a group of political activists while visiting a temple in Tamil Nadu. Sports and Youth Affairs Minister of the Uva Province, Senthil Thondaman, was taking part in religious activities at Thirunallar Temple in Pondicherry Saturday night and was surrounded by a group, consisting of around 20 Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) activists, more..

Sri Lanka insists accountability report address final war

Jan 29 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government insisted on Sunday that an accountability report on the war between the Sri Lankan military and Tamil Tiger rebels did address the final stages of the conflict. International human rights groups had alleged that the report by the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) failed to look at some of the human rights violation alleged to have taken place just before the rebels were defeated in 2009. more..

It’s same the whole world over!

Jan 30 (NS) The law locks up the men and women; Who steal the goose from off the common; But leaves the larger villain loose; Who steals the common from the goose. The above was written by that little known (but oft quoted) poet Anonymous at the time of the ‘Enclosures’ in Britain and describes the process whereby village land which had hitherto been available to everyone to graze their livestock was acquired by one person to the detriment of all others. more..

Optics and politics of grief

Jan 30 (NS) “I was on my motorcycle going through this area behind a couple on a motorcycle. The woman was pregnant and they were out probably to do some shopping. The couple was coming fast. They signalled to me and I moved aside to let them overtake. I suddenly saw the couple fall down for no discernible reason and the man writhing in agony. He had been hit by a bullet from the army’s side. I stopped and the pregnant woman pleaded with me to take her husband to the hospital. more..

Sinhala weekly Ravaya edited by Victor Ivan celebrates silver jubilee

Jan 30 (TC) The Sinhala weekly Ravaya celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The present writer spoke to its editor Victor Ivan who was exulting over two things in particular – having been able to publish the newspaper for 25 years without folding up the way so many other publications did and secondly, that nobody in the newspaper had been harmed in any way during that tempestuous two and a half decades. more..

Poaching in troubled Sri Lankan waters

Jan 30 (ST) While it may be true that Indo Lanka diplomatic relations are, in a broad sense, on an even keel at the present time, one issue that continues to 'rock the boat' is that of fishing activity in the waters that divide the two states. The efforts to arrive at a 'MoU on Development and Cooperation in the field of Fisheries' have not been concluded to the satisfaction of either party. A Joint Statement issued by the governments of India and Sri Lanka after a meeting of more..

Why GDP is like A’Level results

Jan 30 (SL) Economic statistics are famously cookable. So it i s usually wise to look behind the artificial screens and curtains they create. Simple spending spurts can boost ‘economic growth’ but it is the ‘how’ of the money spending rather than the ‘how much’ of it that really matters for ‘economic prosperity’ for everyone. Is Sri Lanka really growing? The GDP statistic would have you believe that it is. growth hit 8.3 percent last year. And in GDP terms, that is a very high number. more..

“Please Release Me”– Azaath Salley

Jan 30 (SL) The former Deputy Mayor of Colombo, the outspoken local govt politician Azaath Salley who has been in the news recently for threatening to leave the UPFA, spoke to, The Sunday Leader to quash rumours that he wants position and fame. Salley maintains that his interests are to represent the people of Colombo and work for their betterment. In a candid interview he cast doubt on the Moragoda and Mahroof duo, and says he only wished to work for the people. more..

External shocks threaten economic growth targets

Jan 30 (ST) The optimistic economic scenario for 2012 and 2013 outlined by the Central Bank in its Road Map is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve owing to the emerging global economic conditions. These difficulties have been further aggravated by government economic policies that have added considerable uncertainty and impaired business confidence. Even at the time of presentation of the Road Map there were doubts that the targets were realistic. more..

Misspoken, Mistaken, and Misunderstood 13th Plus ?

Jan 30 (Island) The recent utterances attributed to the Government display its indecisiveness on the 13th Amendment and its incapacity to rectify a miscommunication, which caused a misinterpretation that led to a misunderstanding. The selection of a faulty phrase in the course of a discussion was pounced on by the Indian Foreign Minister Krishna to carry home an offering that sounded sweet to India. Not that he replayed it mischievously- the words and phrases amounted to more..

50th Anniversary of abortive coup d’etat conspiracy in January 1962

Jan 30 (DBS) Fifty years ago on Sunday January 28th 1962 the people of the Island nation known then as “Ceylon” were rocked by a special news bulletin in the afternoon on “Radio Ceylon” (SLBC) that interrupted regular programming . The shocking announcement repeated ad nauseam by a male voice on Radio stated that a conspiracy to stage a coup d’etat had been foiled. Coup d’etat meaning “stroke of state” in French is more..

The New-JVP and the ex-LTTE

Jan 30 (Island) It is clear that the New-JVP (or People’s Struggle Movement, or We Are Sri Lankans – it seems not yet to have settled on a definitive name) is building connections in the Tamil areas, especially Jaffna, and recruiting ex-LTTE cadres. If this is true, and if these efforts are succeeding, then this is the best political news I have heard in a long time. At last a left with sizable involvement of both Sinhalese and Tamil young people is emerging. We have not seen anything like this since more..

Sunday Crime: High drama at Welikada Prison

Jan 30 (SO) Does the mutiny at the Welikada Prison on Tuesday have any semblance to the events that unfolded at the Galle Prison, a few days ago when two prison inmates were shot by Prison officials when they attempted to flee from the Galle Prison. The two prison inmates were admitted to the Karapitiya Hospital after being shot at by Prison officials. Prisons sources said that one man was serving a jail term while the other had a court case pending. more..

A critical crisis: Govt incompetence and opposition missing in action

Jan 30 (Island) "No crisis in Ceylon ever becomes critical", is one-line of wisdom attributed to Francis de Zoysa, Q.C., a prominent lawyer and State Councilor in pre-independence Sri Lanka. He is now more known as the father of the well-known de Zoysa brothers who competitively excelled in law (Stanley and Bunty), in Police services (Sidney) in post-independence Sri Lanka. They were society ‘Colombians’ with southern roots and more..

New SAARC Chamber Chief calls for growth in intra-regional trade

Jan 30 (Island) New SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman, India’s Vikramjit Singh Sahney, in his new policy statement, said that the Chamber needs to develop a mechanism in close association with SAARC governments to increase the present level of Intra-regional trade to 10 percent in the next two years. He was addressing the 54th Executive Committee Meeting of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry on January 24 in New Delhi. more..

'Mysticism is no match for professionalism'

Jan 30 (ET) He used to frequent bars in Colombo where veteran cricket journalists used to come and binge-drink. "You had to meet them by 3 or 4 pm to get them speak coherently. They used to have amazing stamina, drinking until late night," says Shehan Karunatilaka. Their inputs contributed to his stellar work Chinaman, which received wide acclaim in the subcontinent since it was published in 2008. Titled after the term for unorthodox left arm spin delivery, the book won him the coveted $50,000 DSC Prize for more..