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Deterrent punishments proposed against those who set fire to forests

July 2 (Island) Strict action would be taken against those who set fire to forests or to lands in close proximity to Forests Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. He said that such fires were one of the major contributory factors to the current severe droughts gripping the country. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had instructed that the laws be amended to give severe penalties to those who set fire to jungles, more..

RDB opens its branch in Jaffna

July 2 (GDI) The Regional Development Bank (RDB) opened its first Bank in the Northern Province. The Jaffna Branch of the Bank was declared opened this morning at the Stanley Road in Jaffna. The Bank has made arrangements to establish 25 branches in the Northern Province. The RDB was established as a statutory body under the Pradheshiya Sanwardana Bank Act of 2008. The 100% Govt owned bank was set up with the objective of improving the living standards of the rural masses by providing them accessible and affordable credit facilities. more..

'Development Ministers' to work together

July 2 (NS) In a bid to enhance the country’s economic prospects, President Mahinda Rajapaksa plans on conducting regular meetings with the Cabinet Ministers holding portfolios that have direct or indirect impact on the national economy. According to a top govt official, the work of this forum will commence shortly and it is expected that the discussions would help enhance synergy in the overall development process. “The National Economic Council under the President of Sri Lanka has more..

Peiris briefs Japan on developments

July 2 (CG) Minister Professor G.L. Peiris met Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo today and briefed him on the developments in Sri Lanka. The External Affairs Ministry said that Minister Peiris provided his Japanese counterpart with a detailed account of the current developments in Sri Lanka in respect of all aspects of revival of the economy and the continuing reconciliation process. more..

CTSU accepts Bandula’s challenge

July 2 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) today accepted the challenge posed by Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena, to have a public debate regarding issues in the education sector. CTSU general secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe said he accepts the Minister’s challenge, and will participate in it as long as the debate will be telecast live on television. Jayasinghe alleged that Higher Education minister S.B. Dissanayake and Education minister Bandula Gunawardena were more..

Stocks down 0.25; lowest turnover for the year

July 2 (LBO) Sri Lankan share prices slipped 0.25 percent on Monday, while the turnover plunged to a record low for this year, on the lack of buying support across the bourse, brokers said. The key All Share Price Index dipped 12.84 points to 4,952.93, and the liquid Milanka Price Index gained 20.96 points or 0.47 percent to close at 4,404.16. The S&P Sri Lanka 20 indice, which tracks the top 20 liquid counters, slipped 0.25 percent or 6.98 points to close at 2,810.37, more..

Sri Lanka budget deteriorates up to April

July 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's budget deficit has doubled in the first four months of 2012, with current spending growing at twice the rate of tax revenues and leading to unprecedented reliance on bank financing, official data show. Total revenues grew 7.2 percent to 305.5 billion rupees up to April 2012 from a year earlier, while current spending raced ahead at 23.4 percent to 445.3 billion rupees with fertilizer subsidies doubling, a mid-year fiscal report said. more..

British experts examine prehistoric skeleton found in Sri Lanka

July 2 (Xinhua) A group of British experts from Cambridge university started research on the prehistoric skeleton found in Sri Lanka. Director General of Archeological Department Senarath Dassanayake said that bio-anthropologists from the Cambridge University are researching on the prehistoric skeleton found in an ancient cave in Bulathsinghala. "The research by the Cambridge experts will go on till July 15 and for further examination samples of the skeleton more..

Fonseka says Praba died in combat

July 2 (CG) LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran died while fighting during the last stages of the war and his body was found by the army later, former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said. Fonseka, in an interview with the Ananda Vikatan magazine in Tamil Nadu, also said that the body of Prabakaran’s youngest son was not found as the war drew to a close with the death of the LTTE leader. He said that at the end of the final battle the military only recovered the bodies of Prabakaran and his eldest son and no one else from his family. more..

Rain returns to hurt chances of result

July 2 (CI) Afternoon showers on day three put an outright result in serious doubt as only one session could be played out. In that session, Pakistan added 63 to their overnight 488 before declaring. In the next 70 minutes, Sri Lanka were put through a sterner test than the Pakistan openers, but they lost just one wicket. Pakistan's quicks generated more response from the pitch than their Sri Lankan counterparts, but that didn't translate into too much success as more..

Malabe ‘SLIIT’ racket exposed

July 2 (LT) It has been revealed that the 25 acre land where the Malabe medical school complex is situated and the buildings belong to the Mahapola Higher Education Trust Fund. Former Minister of Trade Kinsley T. Wickremeratne had obtained the 25 acre land and the buildings from the government to establish the head office of the Mahapola Higher Education Trust Fund. The deed of the land had been presented by the Secretary of Kaduwala Pradeshiya Sabha stating the land could be more..

Idiotic govt knuckles under India – JVP

July 2 (LT) What exists in the country is an administration carried out by India by force due to the idiotic, spineless rulers and the visit by the Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon is an instant of this coercion states the JVP. The Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP MP Anura Dissanayake says there should be diplomatic negotiations between India and Sri Lanka but these should be carried out on mutual respect and they should protect sovereignty of each country. more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News-02.07.2012

Riding the Queen of the Sea

July 2 (CI) One of the better ways of travelling with the masses is to hop on a train. Having done the Galle-Colombo route several times by road, including the flashy new Southern Expressway, I decided it was time for a change. Not that there are a plenty of options. The train was the most alluring, as it runs by the coast like the old highway. It’s one of the busier rail routes in the country, ferrying thousands who make the daily trip, especially office goers, who don’t mind rising at the crack of dawn to do the three-hour journey. more..

Democracy & human rights are violated in Sri Lanka – WFDY

July 2 (LT) Democracy is violated in Sri Lanka with political protection from the govt, attacks are carried out on on peaceful rallies and protests and shooting takes place against peaceful participants states World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) and it salutes people and workers of Sri Lanka who are fighting peacefully for their democratic and human rights of freedom of expression. WFDY also condemns any attack or repression of the peoples by any means and more..

Growing traffic in Sri Lanka’s waters threatens blue whales

July 2 (NYT) In early April, whale watchers off this country’s southern coast were greeted by a disturbing sight: the lifeless body of a 60-foot-long blue whale floating in the water about 12 miles offshore. The body was swelling rapidly, and suckerfish swarmed across its skin. Even more unsettling was the condition of its tail, which had been nearly severed from the body. “It was very obviously from a ship’s propeller,” more..

McLaren stars in South Africa A's innings win

July 2 (CI) A five-wicket haul by fast bowler Ryan McLaren helped South Africa A take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series with an innings win over Sri Lanka A on the third day in Durban. McLaren removed three top-order batsmen in his first five overs to squash any chances of a second-innings revival by the visiting batsmen. South Africa A declared their first innings on their overnight score of 425, leading by 255 runs, and gave Sri Lanka A a stiff task to avoid an innings defeat. more..

Daya Gamage to represent UNP in the East

July 2 (HN) Political sources indicate that UNP National Organizer and former Opposition Leader of the Eastern Province Daya Gamage will be the UNP’s Chief Ministerial Candidate for the upcoming Eastern Provincial elections. The final decision will be taken during the working committee meeting on the 5th of this month. The UNP will contest the Eastern Provincial Council election under the “elephant” symbol as a single party. A group of Muslim Congress representatives met with the UNP recently to discuss a potential coalition to more..

Residents of Anderson Flats protest to save childrens' park

July 2 (DM) A group of residents of Anderson Flats of Narahempiya yesterday staged a protest against the plan to take over nine perches from the nearby children’s park, by the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA). A large group of residents including children participated in the protest calling for the cancellation of the plan. Anderson Flats Welfare Society President K. Batuwantudawa said NHDA had decided more..

EP prepares for Deyata Kirula

July 2 (DN) The govt allocated Rs. 16,528 million for development projects to be initiated in Ampara, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, and Batticaloa districts in the Eastern Province in preparation for the Deyata Kirula exhibition 2013 to coincide with Independence Day celebrations on February 4, Minister Basil Rajapaksa said. "President Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed the authorities to initiate four development projects tn these four districts though we developed only one district in the previous Deyata Kirula exhibitions", he said. more..

Suspicion has arisen among the Tamil community, says J.Sri Ranga

July 2 (NF) The General Secretary of the People’s Front J.Sri Ranga says that, at a time where numerous view have been expressed regarding the visit of the Indian Defence Adviser, Shivshankar Menon, suspicions have arisen among the Tamil community. The release issued by MP Ranga points out that The Hindu newspaper and the Tamil national newspapers have published contradicting news reports regarding the visit of the Defence Adviser. According to J.Sri. Ranga, more..

Fear of abuse 'fuelling' Sri Lankan influx

July 2 (TA) THE influx of Sri Lankan asylum-seekers to Australian shores is set to continue because of the persecution they are facing at home, refugees and advocates said yesterday as a group of 37 Tamils made it to Christmas Island. The arrival of the all-male group, which included two teenagers, means 353 Sri Lankans from six boats have arrived at Christmas and Cocos Islands in the nine days since June 24. Passengers on all six boats are thought to have made the more..

Communal claims on common land

July 3 (NS) Power sharing in Sri Lanka is about drawing up constitutional title deeds to enshrine communal claims on a common territory. Consequent to this local twist, there are many barriers to power sharing in Sri Lanka, including the wide, nonexclusive dissemination of knowledge. Knowledge diffusion is mainly via Sri Lankan dialogues. The following dialogue had the following catalyst; ‘The Kokila Sandesaya narrates the longest of the journeys from more..

On that Z-score fiasco

July 3 (NS) Students who sat for the GCE Advanced Level examination last year are still uncertain of their future even 10 months after the examination. The Supreme Court last week annulled the Z-scores, which resulted in students having to tender fresh applications for university entrance. Meanwhile, student unions claim that some students eligible to enter university would be left out according to fresh result calculations and warned of possible psychological impacts. more..

Tamil Nadu again trying to split Lanka

July 3 (DBS) I have no issues with the Indian media. However, I cannot say the same for its politicians, especially those from Tamil Nadu. All political parties in Tamil Nadu have once again started a poisonous campaign to split Sri Lanka. The TNA is aiding this attempt from this country. While attending the Rio Summit on Sustainable Development with the President, we also attended the Indo-Lanka bilateral meeting held on the sideline of that summit. more..

Sri Lanka ethnic conflict: Past And Future

July 3 (CT) On May 17, 2009 the LTTE, the major Tamil resistance movement, admitted defeat in the war that was waged without any witnesses, but with the all blessings from the major global powers. The LTTE, which was the by product of the Sri Lanka’s Sinhala centric policies for political outbidding vowed to silence guns against the Sinhala-Buddhist state. On May 18, Sri Lanka security forces announced that the LTTE Chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, was killed by Sri Lanka’s military in a firefight that signaled the effective end to more..

Unpacking The Menon Visit

July 3 (CT) Visiting Indian Defence Advisor, Shiv Shankar Menon is reported to have insisted that Sri Lanka should sort its own problems, with India ready to help if requested. Although we know that diplomacy is about saying the palatable and doing the distasteful on the sly, India being India especially, it is prudent for the Govt to be mindful of sensitivities. This envoy of the Indian Govt has also urged the TNA to join the Parliamentary Select Committee, thereby more..

Today is the Esala full moon poya day

July 3 (Island) Today is the Esala Full Moon Poya Day in the Buddhist year 2556 as well as the 3rd day of the month of July in the year 2012, in accordance with the Gregorian Calendar. It is of very special significance to the Buddhist population, as the Buddha, after two months since His Enlightment, delivered His first sermon, the Dhamachakkappavattana Sutta which expounds the middle path – one of the salient features more..

Removing the tattoos – Remembering the heroes

July 3 (DBS) There were two mass protests that took place last week, both very important. On 19 June there was a protest in the North against land grabbing, called by the TNA. The NSSP was also invited and a group led by Jenagen and Ranath participated in the event. Riot control commandos of the Police were deployed in large numbers, confronting hundreds of peaceful protesters. Protesters objected to the land grab undertaken by the military command which behaved more..

Buddhist Priests must be banned from politics to restore respect for the Sanga

July 3 (DBS) Mr. Wijedasa Rajapakse, an eminent member of the legal profession and a politician of stature has suggested legislation against the Sangha from participating in politics. Mr. Rajapakse should be congratulated for deciding to propose such legislation. All Buddhists should support the move. I fully agree with him. Why does a person enter the Sangha Order and continue to wear the Cheevaraya? It is strictly for the purpose of leading a religious life and engage in more..

Endemic Kandyan Dwarf Toad believed to be extinct is re-discovered in Lanka

July 3 (DBS) A small toad believed to be extinct and not spotted since 1876 was rediscovered by a group of scientists at the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary. The Kandyan Dwarf toad, Adenomus kandianus was first recorded in 1872 and then vanished for over a century before been accidently found by the group of scientists in 2009. The genus Adenomus is endemic to Sri Lanka and comprises of only three species. more..

Towards an Informed Water Vision: Part 1

July 3 (GV) The three basic substances of our biosphere, Air, Water and Soil share the characteristic that they are all dynamic and vary in quality and quantity from place to place on this planet. However there is what is generally recognized as the ‘optimal range’ of values for each one of these substances, to render the environment hospitable to life. While my comments today, are focussed on water, it should be kept in mind that they apply equally to the other two. Water is a critical element of all living things and more..

One-way-ticket to Doom

July 3 (DM) Man has for far too long remained extremely complacent. He has been recklessly foolhardy and foolishly arrogant little realizing what is in store for him. He has unleashed all the rage in the frenzied greed and avarice to hoard power, wealth and whatever he craves in a futile attempt to quench his unending thirst. It is his life time mission, one which is blind to reality. In his selfish quest, nothing that stands in the way of his path is tolerated and spared. more..

Reading results at staggered elections

July 3 (DM) The staggered premature provincial council elections are to test the pulse of the people with a purpose not necessarily to present the people with another democratic opportunity to exercise their franchise. More for the govt to inspect the ground conditions to obtain a pitch report - to decide whether to bat or bowl. Yes, in non-sporting language, with politics being a far cry from any respectable sport more..

Editorial: Blocking dregs at the source – II

July 3 (Island) It is nomination time and large queues are forming at Sirikotha and Darley Road, as it were. The UNP and the SLFP are sure to be inundated with thousands of applications which they will find it difficult to cope with. Nomination boards will have a tough time, sorting them out and picking candidates for the PC polls in view of pressure from many a quarter. Yesterday, we stressed on the need for probing would-be contestants' track records to prevent anti-social elements from entering the fray. more..

Disappointing, dismal level of trade within South Asia

July 3 (Island) A leading business chamber in the country says intraregional trade in South Asia remains at disappointing and dismal levels, announcing a high level conference and a seminar intend to address the issues pertaining to trade facilitation in the SAARC region under the SAFTA arrangement. This conference is scheduled to be held soon in Colombo, with the participation of prominent researchers, govt policy makers in the SAARC members’ states with more..

'Promote Ceylon Tea at premium'

July 3 (DM) Tea industry stakeholders must create a new development framework and promote Ceylon Tea at a premium, setting aside the idea of making the country a tea hub, if the current export target of US$ 5 billion in tea export earnings is to be achieved, according to Secretary to the Treasury, Dr P.B Jayasundara. “On average, we sell our tea at approximately US$ 4.50 per kilo but this is not right. We have to work towards increasing our prices into the more..

Expolanka signs BOI deal to build Rs. 600 m hi-tech warehouse

July 3 (FT) The Expolanka Group announced plans to construct a state-of-the-art, iconic, green, warehouse to provide value added logistics services to the group’s rapidly expanding client base. A BOI project, this warehouse facility will be called Logistics Parks Pvt. Ltd. is scheduled to be operational by March 2013. Strategically located at Avissawella Road, Orugodawatte, the Rs. 600 m warehouse will consist of an area of approximately 100,000 square feet. Parallel to this, more..

Visit of most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkithathero to Japan

July 3 (FT) Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero, Maha Nayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter in Sri Lanka and delegation visited Japan from 23 to 30 June on the invitation of the Shinnyo-en Temple in Tachikawa, Japan for an event organised by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in collaboration with Venerable Yalagamuwe Dammissara Thero of the Hachi-oji Temple in Japanto mark the 60th Anniversary of Diplomatic ties and Buddhist religious ties between more..

Greater Colombo’s water position improves

July 3 (Island) While water levels in the power generating hydro reservoirs have been receding, water supply to the Greater Colombo area was improving with rains in Ambatale, although the second reservoir, supplying the region, at Kalatuwawa has seen a big drop in its levels. There has been no shortage of drinking water, however, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS&DB) requests consumers to use water sparingly. more..