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Sri Lanka to take part in Indian naval exercise

Jan 31 (IANS) Reflecting India’s growing maritime importance, 14 sea-faring nations will be participating in the eighth edition of the Navy’s Milan series of exercise, to be held in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands from February 1 to 6. The once-in-two year naval exercise began in 1995 with four nations. Over the years it has grown in size and status.The last edition of the exercise in 2010 was attended by13 countries.Countries participating in Milan 2012 are: more..

Sea Tiger commander Soosai’s wife Satyadevi speaks out

Jan 31 (DBS) Thillaiambalam Sivanesan alias Soosai was the former commander and special commander of the naval division of the LTTE known as “Kadal Puligal” or Sea Tigers. This native of Polygandy in Vadamaratchy fought to the very end and died in Mulllivaaikkaal in Mullaitheevu district on May 17/18th 2009. Soosai born on October 16th 1963 is a first batch tiger recruit who received training in North India. more..

UNP complains to Court about land takeover

Jan 31 (Island) The UNP has complained to the Court of Appeal about the decision of the Commissioner General of Lands to hand over to the Amparai Municipal Council, a block of land, which had been allocated to the UNP, on a long term lease, since 2003. The land on Lot No. 802, was to be used for the building of the UNP office and the Youth Centre of Amparai. The Municipal Council had approved the plan, and the UNP had planned to spend Rs. 10 million on the construction. more..

Rights of media institutions acknowledged by Civil Appellate Court

Jan 31 (Island) The right of a media institution to raise pubic awareness about the violation of laws enforced to prevent ragging in educational institutions and the right to decide the news value of a particular news published by it were recently upheld by the High Court of the Western Province exercising Civil Appellate Jurisdiction in Colombo (Civil Appellate Court). The Order was delivered by Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya with Mrs. H.C.J. Madawala J agreeing in more..

National educational action plan for peace and sustainable development

Jan 31 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched the website on the Education for Peace and Sustainable Development National Action Plan at Temple Trees yesterday to enhance education and address the social, economic, cultural and environmental dilemmas faced by the 21st century. The National Action Plan on Education for Peace and Sustainable Development was a collaborative effort of more..

Welikada clash report on 31st

Jan 31 (CT) The Committee report on the Welikada Magazine Prison riot which took place last week, will be submitted to Prison Reforms Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera today, a senior official of the Ministry told Ceylon Today. The committee comprises Rehabilitation and Prisons Reform Ministry’s Legal Advisor Lalith Andrahennadi and Additional Secretary B.K.S. Ravindra and another official while its report will contain statements recorded from prison officials and the inmates. more..

Machineries distributed to expedite Provincial Road & Irrigation development

Jan 31 (GDI) The Economic Development Ministry has taken steps to distribute approximately Rs.827 millions worth of machineries to expedite Provincial Road and Irrigation System Development programmes, throughout the island. The handing over ceremony under the patronage of Minister Basil Rajapaksa took place at Colombo Municipal Grounds today. On the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister Basil Rajapaksa initiated more..

Gotabhaya rejects testimony attributed to unnamed Gen.

Jan 31 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that none of the Majors General directly involved in eelam war IV had made a testimony to any US lawyer, in New York in 2010, alleging extrajudicial killings of civilians, surrendering LTTE cadres and dissident journalists during eelam war IV. "Those directly involved in the campaign are still in service. They’ll never betray the country for personal benefit," more..

Aussie bulls fly first class to Sri Lanka

Jan 31 (ABC) Australian jersey bulls are being used to improve the Sri Lankan dairy industry. Eight bulls have been selected to travel first class to Sri Lanka where they will start an artificial insemination program. Tasmanian jersey breeder, Geoff Heazlewood, is sending a young bull and says the interest in him was a pleasant surprise. "They're going to fly them in a passenger jet in first class, in the front," he says. "They're taking the bulls over for a start, more..

Karu denies rumours of forming political party

Jan 31 (DM) Former Deputy Leader of UNP Karu Jayasuriya yesterday scoffed rumours that he is going to form a political party. Referring to some reports published few web sites; Mr. Jayasuriya said he would always remain as a UNPer no matter how the party treats him. “I have no issue with the UNP though I have been victimised by a few members in the party,” he said. Mr. Jayasuriya was criticised by some UNP members following his unsuccessful bid for leadership of the party. more..

Sri Lanka number one destination for weddings – Kouni

Jan 31 (DN) Sri Lanka has been named among the top five destinations in Kuoni’s annual poll of where UK customers want to spend their holidays. Sri Lanka also retained the number one destination for weddings, according to the report. The top five holiday destinations for 2012 are the Maldives, Thailand, Sri Lanka, The UAE and the USA. The 20-page report also tracks hot travel trends and the top destinations for weddings and honeymoons, for families, more..

Homage to last Tamil King of Sri Lanka

Jan 31 (ENS) A group of relatives of the last Sri Lankan Tamil King Vikrama Singe paid homage at his grave at the Muthu Mantapam on Monday. The relatives who had come from across the state, to commemorate his 181st death anniversary held special prayers (guru puja) to mark the occasion. According to Ashok Raja of Madurai, his ancestor Vikrama Singe was earlier known as Prince Kannasamy and was the last king of Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu belonging to the Madurai Nayak dynasty. more..

President to help kick-start PSC process

Jan 31 (DN) “I will be asking all relevant political parties to come together in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) process in an effort to iron out differences of opinion among them with regard to the issues facing our communities and to speed- up the normalization process in the country. All these parties and other relevant sections are obliged to put the interests of Sri Lanka above their self-interest,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday at his monthly more..

Free media and the colours of January

Jan 31 (LB) When this correspondent went to the Fort Railway Station to join colleagues in a planned demonstration of media activists last Thursday, he was confronted by an unexpected situation. The site of the proposed demonstration was already occupied by (presumably) agents of the government who held a counter protest. Their placards read: “Free Media Movement is a Tiger voice,” and reviled the exiled more..

Who set fire to Geetha’s dreams?

Jan 31 (SL) It was the stirring of her little sons that woke her on the night of January 20. When Jayasinghe Arachchige Geetha opened her eyes, and looked at her sons aged four and five years of age, they were both cuddled up to her from both sides. She had been tempted to turn towards her youngest – hug him, and go back to sleep. Then she began to cough. As she opened her eyes she found that she was blurry eyed. more..

Clinical trials on safety of drugs with animals and humans as ‘guinea pigs’

Jan 31 (ST) Clinical trials are experiments conducted on human beings to test the efficacy and safety of new drugs or devices or new indications of drugs or devices already in use. Explaining the process, Prof. Lal Jayakody, Professor of Pharmacology of the Medical Faculty, University of Colombo, said firstly such drugs are tested on animals and later on humans. more..

Pandemonium within the four walls of Welikada Prison

Jan 31 (NS) Pandemonium broke out within the Welikada Magazine Prison when some inmates clashed with prison officers on January 24 leaving 30 injured. The incident sparked off in protest over a new Superintendent of Prisons imposing stringent security measures to prevent drug trafficking. Initial clashes had erupted over a long- drawn food issue. But, the motive behind the violent episode had been to more..

Norwegian Tamil wanted as terrorist

Jan 31 (Island) "A 35 year old man living in Norway, who is supposed to be the new leader of the Tamil guerrilla organization LTTE, is wanted by Interpol for terrorism," Norway’s NRK TV reported. It said "the suspected man has been resident in this country since 2005. He is resident in a municipality on the West Coast, where he has kept a low profile. The govt of Sri Lanka believes that man is the leader or one of the leaders of the remnants of the LTTE. more..

Pesticides with arsenic prohibited

Jan 31 (CT) Release of a large consignment of arsenic laced insecticide imported from foreign countries lying in Customs ware-houses has been prohibited from being released by an order of the High Court of Colombo by High Court Judge, Kumudinie Wickramasinghe, yesterday. Above prohibition order was issued in response to a complaint filed by Attorney Ravindranath Dabare acting on behalf of Environmental Justice Centre. more..

MPs currently on visit to Israel

Jan 31 (DM) A Sri Lankan parliamentary delegation is currently visiting Israel on an invitation extended by the Israeli parliament – ‘The Knesset’. The Sri Lankan delegation comprises of Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva and Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena; Deputy Minister Neomal Perera; UNP MPs John Amaratunga and Buddhika Pathirana; and Secretary-General of Parliament Dhammika Kithulgoda. more..

A/L crisis goes to Supreme Court

Jan 31 (DM) Sixteen GCE Advanced Level Students and the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) yesterday filed fundamental rights violation petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the formula applied on the 2011 GCE Advanced Level Examination to calculate the Z-score. The petitioners said the erroneous and unjustifiable application of the formula had caused a gross distortion of the examination results. more..

UNP says Cabraal telling lies

Jan 31 (DM) UNP MP and economist Harsha De Silva yesterday disputed Central Bank Governor Ajith Cabraal’s claim that Sri Lanka put on hold the US$800 million loan from the IMF because of the possibility that interest rates would rise to 3.1 per cent. The country has already received US$1.8 billion of the US$ 2.6 billion loan in seven instalments. However, the IMF withheld the next instalment over a difference of opinion on some matters with the govt. more..

Clinton invites GL to Washington

Jan 31 (CT) The US govt has decided to grant space and opportunity to Sri Lanka to come up with concrete proposals on reconciliation and accountability issues. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has invited Minister Prof. G.L. Pieris to visit Washington in March to discuss Sri Lanka’s plans to “move ahead on reconciliation and accountability issues and the Provincial Council elections of the Northern Province.” However, the US has emphasized that it has decided to go ahead with the resolution against more..

Editorial: Run school buses with 'Bus Mothers'

Jan 31 (DM) The recent crash of a van carrying school children and the report last week that a school van was being driven by a man whose right wrist had been amputated have focused much public attention on this issue with President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself intervening and giving orders to the Police Chief to double check on school vans and their drivers. Acting immediately, the Police Chief gave orders that those driving school vans should have at least five years more..

Stocks slip on profit-taking; banks lead

Jan 31 (Reuters) Share market closed weaker on Tuesday, ending a four-session rally as investors booked profits in financial and blue chip shares amid low volumes and turnover, dealers said. The main share index ended 1.07 percent or 61.64 points weaker at 5,693.92, from its highest since Jan. 23. Analysts said institutional investors are worried about a possible rise in interest rates, depreciation in the rupee and Sri Lanka turning down the remaining $800 million in more..

Sri Lanka January inflation slows to 3.8-pct

Jan 31 (LBO) Consumer prices in Sri Lanka's capital rose 3.8 percent in January 2012 from a year earlier, slowing from 4.9 percent in December 2011, the state statistics office said. Prices measured by the Colombo Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent in January 2012 after rising 1.2 percent during December 2011. Annual average inflation, which is an averaged over two years to remove seasonal variations and is a lagging indicator was 6.7 percent more..

Sri Lanka lifts ban on tea estates harvesting timber

Jan 31 (LBO) A Sri Lanka state decision to allow commercial timber to be harvested will increase the supply of fuel wood for use in tea driers helping cut production costs, an industry body representing private managers said. "We are confident this decision by the government will benefit not only the estate sector but the country as a whole, Lalith Obeyesekere, chairman of the Planters Association, which represents private managers said in a statement. more..

GMOA strike for telephone allowance

Jan 31 (DM) Govt doctors in all provincial hospitals in the Colombo District are on a token strike today owing to the failure of the government to provide a telephone allowances to the doctors. The Homagama, Avissawella, Mulleriyawa and Angoda base hospitals are on strike. In addition to that nine divisional hospitals, 26 primary care units and 12 MOH offices are also on strike. The GMOA said that a treasury circular was issued in July 2010 according to which consultants and more..

Sri Lanka is no pearl on China's string, Rajapaksa says

Jan 31 (Reuters) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was emphatic: China's presence in Sri Lanka is strictly business, and not political. Challenged on speculation that China financed and built the $1.4 billion Mahinda Rajapaksa port on Sri Lanka's south coast so it could sneak a naval base into India's backyard, Rajapaksa laughed and said his giant neighbour had not complained. "No one has said anything to us, not India, not even the U.S. Even the U.S., more..

Sri Lanka war torn irrigation works get IFAD boost

Jan 31 (LBO) The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said it is giving a 22 million dollar loan to Sri Lanka to rebuilt irrigation works, which will help 7,000 farmer families in former war-torn areas. The money will be used to improve downstream irrigation infrastructure of the Iranamadu reservoir in Kilinocchi in the north of the island. To respond to the needs of smallholder farmers in the Kilinochchi district of the Northern province, more..

Caritas trains family counselors

Jan 31 (UCAN) Caritas is forming a team of counselors to provide fishing families and young adults with much needed help to overcome personal and domestic crisis resulting from growing social pressures. The trainees are all volunteers from fishing villages and are being specially trained by Caritas Chilaw to deal with specific problems families and individuals might face. “We believe the support of counselors will be vital in helping these people overcome what life has to more..

Suicide jacket found in Kataragama

Jan 31 (DM) An old suicide jacket weighing more than three kilos was found hidden inside a room of a rest house in Kataragama this morning, the police said. The detection was made by the police after the suicide jacket was found by a man who came to undertake some repairs in the rest house. Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said that upon finding the kit, the person immediately informed the Katharagama police. It is suspected that more..

Changing PMG not the solution - unions

Jan 31 (CT) Ceylon Postal Union (CPU) President Jayantha Wijesinghe today said simply changing the Post Master General (PMG) will not make a difference if action is not taken to deal with corruption. “We demanded the removal of the former PMG because inquiries proved that he was guilty of many malpractices. But he was not the only person who was found guilty, according to the investigations. “The investigations revealed that some other officers from the postal department more..

One arrested for selling leopard meat

Jan 31 (DM) A Sri Lankan man was caught red handed by police trying to sell the meat and skin of a leopard, an animal listed in the country’s endangered species list. After having hunted the animal in the forest reserve adjoining the Adam’s Peak area, the man was trying to sell the meat and skin of the animal,the police said. The Bogawanthalawa area, where Adam’s Peak is located, was declared as a World Heritage Site in 2010. The Sri Lankan leopard is classified as more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 31.01.2012

Who’s the liar – the President or the Indian FM?

Jan 31 (LT) Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna who was in Sri Lanka on an official visit recently announced in a media conference held here that President Mahinda Rajapaksa agreed for a devolution package that goes beyond the 13th amendment. However, at the monthly meeting of media heads held at Temple Trees yesterday (30th) the President had said he had discussed with Krishna but had not agreed for a devolution that goes beyond the 13th amendment. more..

Muralitharan back at Gloucestershire for T20s

Jan 31 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan, the leading wicket-taker in Test and ODI cricket, will be back at Gloucestershire this year to play a part in the county's Friends Life t20 campaign. The Sri Lanka offspinner, who retired from international cricket after the 2011 World Cup final, has most recently turned out for Wellington in New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 competition, the HRV Cup. Muralitharan was Gloucestershire's joint most-successful bowler in the Friends more..

U.S. punishing small nations, says Rajapaksa

Jan 31 (Hindu) As the combined United States and European Union sanctions against Iran take effect, small nations like Sri Lanka are extremely worried. Sri Lanka depends almost entirely on Iran for its crude oil supplies and the only refinery in the country, Sapugaskanda, can only process Iranian crude. “We are discussing on what we should do,” Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said, when asked what the options before the country were. more..

A meet mart for the unexposed to join the mainstream

Jan 31 (GDI) ‘Sancharaka Udawa 2012’ conceptualized and spearheaded by Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SALITO) and Organized by Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference and Exhibition Organizers (SLAPCEO) in association with Sri Lanka Tourism was declared opened today (31) by the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and the Deputy Minster Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana at the Ceylon Continental Hotel, more..

Central bank clarifies IMF interest rates

Jan 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank said it would only have to pay a higher interest rate for IMF loans exceeding 300 percent of the country quota, and lower balances would only attract a rate of a little over 1.0 percent. The IMF has effectively suspended its 2.6 billion US dollars bailout program for Sri Lanka after the central bank started defending the currency July 2011 and started to print money aggressively (sterilized intervention) to keep interest rates down. more..