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UN meeting on tea opens in Colombo

Jan 30 (GDI) The inauguration of the 20th Session of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Inter-Governmental Group on Tea hosted by Sri Lanka was held last night in Colombo. The sessions proper will begin today and go on until 1 February with the participation of delegates from over 25 countries. Hosted by Sri Lanka Tea Board the participating countries include India, China, Kenya, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Africa, and Argentina while more..

Boxing Champion Holyfield meets Sri Lanka President

Jan 30 (GDI) Former undisputed world champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions Evander Holyfield who is on a visit to Sri Lanka called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this morning. On June 28, 1997 controversial fellow boxer Mike Tyson bit off the top part of Holyfield’s right ear. The President during Holyfield’s visit to the Temple Trees also inspected his right ear. Holyfield called on President at Temple Trees with more..

Sri Lankan president denies making land, police power deal

Jan 30 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said Monday that he had not promised India to implement a political solution which will see land and police powers being given to the provinces in Sri Lanka. Rajapaksa said that he will meet with political party representatives in Sri Lanka soon to discuss a political solution after talks with a key minority Tamil political party aimed at formulating a solution failed to see any progress. more..

Police to assist tourists

Jan 30 (DM) The Police Department has taken steps to increase the number of Tourist Police units in the country to assist and help tourists as the number of tourists visiting the island had increased in the recent past. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said that during the season steps are taken to increase the number of policemen stationed in tourist zones. “These policemen will not only be in uniform but also in civvies. If any officer is found guilty for misappropriation more..

Raja welcomes Jaya Govt's stand on fishermen attack issue

Jan 30 (PTI) Welcoming Tamil Nadu Govt's stand on the issue of recurring attacks on Indian fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy and Katchatheevu, CPI leader D Raja today said "prolonged indifferent" attitude by the Centre would have "serious impact on the country's federal structure." "The Central Govt continue to remain indifferent to the concerns expressed by the political parties, the state government as well as the Tamil Nadu Assembly. more..

Notice issued to Ranil Wickremesinghe to appear before Court

Jan 30 (NF) Notice was issued on the Leader of the UNP, Ranil Wickremesinghe and General Secretary of the Party Tissa Attanayake to appear before the Colombo District Court on the 22nd of next month. This was when a case filed by UNP Southern Provincial Councillor, Maithri Gunaratne was taken up today. Maithri Gunaratne had filed this case requesting for the annulment of the election held to elect office bearers to the UNP on the 19th of last month. more..

Western fantasy holidays mask Sri Lankan reality

Jan 30 (ABC) Sri Lanka now finds itself between two empires; Britain and China. For nearly 150 years, Sri Lanka (then known as "Ceylon") was part of the British Empire. Before that, both Dutch and Portuguese settlers exerted control over parts of the country for years. Sri Lanka is now considered to be one of China's "String of Pearls"; each pearl refers to a point of strategic interest for China along its sea-lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea. more..

Oman-Sri Lanka trade has growth potential

Jan 30 (OT) Muscat There is ample opportunity to boost commercial ties between the Sultanate and Sri Lanka from the trade volume of $102 in 2010 to $500 million in the next three years, according to HE Asoka Girihagama, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Oman, on Sunday. In an interview to Oman Tribune, Girihagama said there were untapped aven-ues of bilateral commercial cooperation which the two countries would not ignore. He said 80 per cent of Omani exports to Sri Lanka was oil and more..

No supplies for Galle stadium for England tour

Jan 30 (BBC) The first Test between Sri Lanka and England will still take place at the Galle International Cricket Stadium even though there is currently no water or electricity at the ground, the stadium's curator confirmed. Former Test player Jayananda Warnaweera says that the water and electricity supply were disconnected due to the failure to pay bills owing to the financial crisis faced by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). more..

Court stops release of fertiliser

Jan 30 (DM) The Colombo Commercial High Court today ordered the Director General of Customs and the Registrar of Pesticides to stop the release of fertiliser allegedly contaminated by arsenic and mercury until further notice. The order was made on Customs Director General Sudharma Karunaratna and Pesticides Registrar Neville Gunawardena after considering the submissions made by Counsel Ravindranath Dabare. The petitioner – Centre for Environmental Justice more..

Teacher trainees guilty of ragging to be expelled

Jan 30 (DM) The Education Ministry has decided to expel teacher trainees, who are found guilty of subjecting new comers to ragging at the National Colleges of Education, Minister Bandula Gunawardane said. He said that students with the second best Z-score marks at their Advanced Level Examinations are admitted to the National Colleges of Education to be trained as teachers. “Students with the highest marks are admitted to the university system. more..

Admin and financial irregularities hamper Eastern Uni activities

Jan 30 (DM) Administrative irregularities and financial misappropriations have hampered the activities of the Eastern University for years, officials said today. Prof. Ranjith Arthanayake, who acted as the Competent Authority of the University for 11 months, told the Daily Mirror today that he was able to identify a number of cases. However, he declined to give specific details about them to the media at this hour. more..

Ragama CC, SSC take early lead for league title

Jan 30 (CI) Ragama Cricket Club and Sinhalese Sports Club have recorded early wins in the Premier League Tier A tournament, giving them the early lead in 10-team event. The difference in points between the two teams at the end of the first two rounds was marginal, pointing out to a close tussle for honour as the new season progresses. Ragama CC began the season with a crushing six-wicket win over Lankan CC in a low-scoring match. The architect of Ragama's more..

Trishaw driver sentenced to death for trafficking heroin

Jan 30 (DM) Colombo High Court today sentenced a trishaw driver to death for trafficking and retaining heroin. The accused Pallegama Ralalage Sunil Karunaratna Bandara of Gunasinghepura was sentenced to death by High Court Judge Padman Surasena for possessing and trafficking 6.58 grams of heroine on Sept 23, 2007. The accused was arrested near the Rupavahini Corporation army barrier at Bullers Road. The army had stopped the trishaw that the accused drew and more..

USAID helps Trincomalee food producers secure certification

Jan 30 (USE) Identified as a strategic sector by USAID, the U.S. Embassy’s development arm, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in employment growth, income generation, and poverty alleviation. After attending seminar, three Trincomalee food producers received certificates for good manufacturing practices under the Sri Lanka Standards Code for food hygiene on January 11. more..

Urgent task before all political parties

Jan 31 (NS) Political parties that commended the govt’s for the success in vanquishing terrorism and expressed the need for completing the process by redressing Tamil grievances, are now at loggerheads. The political parties with different motives and agendas have now come forward to express various views about finding a solution to the national problem. The topic that has given rise to much comments now is ’13 plus or minus’ issue which poses the question whether more..

Conversing with Chris Burgess

Jan 31 (NS) ‘Coffee’ is not just about the brew, the caffeinated concoction that allows room for experimentation and proliferation. Yes, that is partly the adventurousness coffee affords its fans, but sitting down for a coffee means the moment is set for conversation. And where that conversation can take you is something else altogether. Sitting comfily and chic ambience of one of Colombo’s most loved coffee houses Cocoveranda in Ward Place, the conversation I had over coffee on more..

Chilly weather freezes farming upcountry

Jan 31 (SO) Many holiday makers in Nuwara Eliya during the past two weeks likened the cold weather conditions that prevailed in the area to that of England. Naturally, they regarded Nuwara Eliya as Little England. A Sri Lankan national, residing in Australia said he came down to his home town at Hava Eliya in Nuwara Eliya after three years due to the unbearable cold weather currently that prevail in the city of Sydney and suburban areas. more..

Optics and politics of grief

Jan 31 (GV) “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..

Don’s Diary II: A Flying Visit to Jaffna

Jan 31 (GV) In early December 2010, I made a short visit to Sri Lanka, spending two days in Colombo and three in Jaffna. Sunday: A day of perfect rest. My cousin and nephew visit. She had brought string hoppers and fish curry, cooked in perfect Sri Lankan style. No, it was perfect Jaffna style. No, no, it was perfect Karainagar style. I could remember the taste from over 40 years ago when she would insist that I eat up the fish curry and string hoppers before running off to more..

'LLRC Report will not satisfy some whose minds are fixed on vilifying Sri Lanka'

Jan 31 (TC) At the outset, I wish to thank Geoffrey and the ‘Friends of Sri Lanka’ for this timely initiative of convening this ‘Sri Lanka Briefing’, and for all those who have taken time out on a busy afternoon to be present here today. I particularly value this opportunity of engaging with you, as most of the MEPs who have spoken in this forum have had the benefit of visiting Sri Lanka over the past year and have experienced first hand the change more..

Cricket changes: For better or worse?

Jan 31 (SL) So the winds of change swept through Sri Lanka cricket last week, and coming as it did amidst the national team’s dreadful free fall, few could’ve been surprised by the shake up. After four straight series losses in Test and ODIs and resultant demotions in the ICC rankings, you’d naturally expect administrators to react. And the SLC did, with a raft of new appointments, but frankly, the whole thing could’ve been handled better. The administrators’ approach was ham-handed to more..

Youth unrest and parental guidance

Jan 31 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of making Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia turns its spotlight today on the presently prevailing youth unrest in Sri Lanka as the Sri Lankan society would aspire to be free of such unrest. It was reported in the media recently that President Rajapakse had stated that the parents should not reduce their care for their teenage children but should look after them in the same manner as they cared for them in their formative childhood years. more..

The 'whitewash' of the LLRC's recommendations

Jan 31 (TC) It is quite amusing to see the govt and all its men using the report of the LLRC as a barely inadequate fig leaf to cover its total lack of adherence to the substance of the Commission’s recommendations. Here and overseas, we are being told that the LLRC report was not quite the ‘whitewash’ that it was expected to be. But why should the relative triumph of the LLRC in (at least) focusing on the grave Rule of Law crisis in Sri Lanka accrue to more..

Howard Nicholas, Marx and our own understanding of Marxism

Jan 31 (LB) Howard Nicholas spoke at The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, about his book on Marx’s Theory of Price & its Modern Rivals. It was humorous and witty to those who knew something about Marx and bourgeois economics. The limited audience was glued to the speaker as if he was conducting a spiritual Bhavana class. No body could say that he was making a revolutionary speech on behalf of Marx and his scientific discovery. It was a proper bourgeoisie meeting, more..

Marxist economics returns to Colombo

Jan 31 (LB) Marx’s Theory of Price and its Modern Rivals by Howard Nicholas Since the book is absurdly priced, for what looked like a slim 200 page volume when the chairman of the meeting held it for the awestruck audience to ogle, I will not be able to review it today. That will have to wait till I can lay hands on a real or virtual copy. Nonetheless, I am grateful to W.D. Lakshman and Saman Kelegama of the Institute of Policy Studies for arranging a book lunch ceremony at more..

Militarization, Dynasty and Democracy

Jan 31 (TC) Some walls should never be built; some should never be breached. Many of Sri Lanka’s most devastating ills emanated from our habit of building unnecessary walls, and demolishing necessary ones. Our school-system, marred by de facto segregation, is structurally incapable of creating Sri Lankans. Most schools are ethnically/religiously uniform; as jealous preserves of a single community they reinforce our primordial identities. more..

Editorial: A bloody weekend

Jan 31 (Island) Of late, the grim reaper seems to have been working overtime to snuff out lives on our roads. The last weekend saw 15 mishaps which killed 17 persons within 24 hours in different parts of the country, bringing the death toll in road accidents during the first 29 days of this year to a shocking 156. The situation has remained more or less the same for the past several decades. Road deaths average five or six a day and 2,300 a year. more..

Hijacking media is not free expression

Jan 31 (LB) To celebrate the hijacking of the local media by a bunch of NGO operators with dubious motives, and to call that celebration a key media event in the country should be suicidal to the fortunes of local media, but yet this is exactly what is happening. Last week some of the country’s media organizations declared a Black January, stating that naming the protests in this way alerted the country to the fact that most attacks on media persons have been carried in this month. more..

'Sri Lanka has maintained high growth, economic fundamentals amidst turmoil'

Jan 31 (Island) Q: What are your current thoughts on the post war economic growth in Sri Lanka and future prospects? A: The past 2 ½ years, since the end of the war, have been remarkable. In the view of many, it may be one of the greatest economic transitions from a "conflict" to a "non-conflict" situation in world history. These successes are visible physically, as well as clear from documented results: Growth at more than 8% in more..

Sri Lanka develops new cultivar of tea

Jan 31 (FT) Sri Lanka has come out with a new ‘5000 series’ of cultivar, which will be released to the market in two years, Tea Research Institute Chairman Dr. S.D.G Jayawardena disclosed yesterday. The series is now being tested with small holder and plantation companies and is expected to give a 10% higher yield than the previous series. “It is of a better quality and drought, pest and disease tolerant. It would be a high yielding clone,” Jayawardena said more..

Ancient ‘Wariga Saba’ custom to be performed at Deyata Kirula exhibition

Jan 31 (DN) The National Heritage Ministry will perform an ancient custom known as ‘Wariga Saba’ at Nuwarakalaviya concurrent to the Deyata Kirula exhibition, Additional Secretary to the National Heritage Ministry Vijitha Nanda Kumara said. The custom will be performed for about 45 minutes daily during the exhibition period. “This is the first time that this custom is revived after a lapse of several years”, he explained. ‘Apart from that the National more..

Connections | January 30, 2012

Clash between SJGH Chairman and Director amicably settled

Jan 31 (Island) Sri Jayewardenapura General Hospital Director Dr. S. A. K. Gamage said yesterday the conflict between its Chairman Nimal Bandara and himself had been settled amicably. Although UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana had called for the appointment of a competent person as its Chairman, he had no problem in working with a non-medical person. Dr. Gamage denied Dr. Jayawardena’s statement alleging inefficient management at the hospital. more..

MPTI provides training for maritime, naval sectors

Jan 31 (Island) Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) says that under the guidance of the government the Mahapola Training Institute (MPTI) of SLPA, set up by late Trade and Shipping Minister Lalith Athulathmudali, is now ready to carry out a dedicated performance, providing all essential training and awareness programmes for the relevant trainees of the maritime and naval sectors to cater to relevant job market requirements in the said sectors. more..

Sri Lanka's largest ocean research vessel in construction

Jan 31 (DM) Sri Lanka had begun constructing one of the country’s largest ocean research vessels at an estimated value of Rs.25 million. Ministry officials said the vessel which would be launched in the coming weeks would be utilised for ocean research including oceanic changes, wave patterns, movements of fish and other sea creatures, evaluation of fisheries activities, movement at the base of the ocean and the collection of other data. more..

Fresh rumblings from CEB’s JVP affiliated union

Jan 31 (Island) Despite the Power and Energy Ministry claiming that there weren’t any issues with the 52 trade unions, of the Ceylon Electricity Board, on the present salary structure as circulars have been already sent on the 25 per cent hike, a section of the unions yesterday warned of a strike if the salaries of the members of its Board of management were increased by over 25 per cent. The Ministry’s Media Secretary, Dhanushka Ramanayake said that they were not worried about trade union action, more..

Real estate buyers landed with bogus deeds, fraudulent transactions

Jan 31 (ST) A manager of a private bank recently purchased an 11-perch block of land near the Diyawanna Oya in Kotte, close to the Parliament complex. He was happy about the deal as he had paid only Rs 6 million, a comparatively low price. The transaction had been effected through a broker, as the manager was busy, and he had visited the land only on a few occasions, prior to the sale. On completion of the transaction, the buyer, along with some labourers, more..

Ex Tamil Tiger rebels 'free to join Sri Lanka police'

Jan 31 (BBC) Police in Sri Lanka say that former Tamil Tiger fighters are free to apply to join the police force. They say more general efforts are also under way to recruit Tamil-speaking police from the areas affected by decades of war. However there has not been any formal announcement that former combatants can apply for police jobs. The conflict in Sri Lanka ended in 2009 when the military defeated Tamil Tiger rebels after decades of fighting. more..

An action plan for Sri Lanka

Jan 31 (Hindu) The process of evolution of human beings has been greatly accelerated by the application of science and technology in several fields. With the expansion of ideas, the geopolitical situation changed and many new independent nations were born in the era of the Second World War. Most of the nations had a great civilisational heritage, but suffered under colonial rule for centuries. After the end of colonial rule, independent nations formed more..