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Gayle and Afridi international icons for SLPL

July 4 (CI) West Indies opener Chris Gayle and Pakistan allrounder Shahid Afridi, among the biggest entertainers in the Twenty20 format, have been named the two international icon players in the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League that begins August 10. The presence of the duo, who will join five other Sri Lanka players as icons of their respective teams, lends the fledgling league some star power and has the potential to boost viewership. more..

Mihin Lanka Airlines to operate first international flight out of Madurai

July 4 (TOI) Soon Madurai airport will see an international flight taking off from its runway. The schedule, submitted by the Mihin Lanka Airlines, a low-cost carrier based in Sri Lanka, to operate between Colombo and Madurai has been accepted by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The airline is expected to commence its thrice-a-week service (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) on the Madurai-Colombo sector in the first week of more..

UN, too, condemns raid on Lanka Mirror and Lanka X news websites

July 4 (Island) The United Nations yesterday expressed concern over the recent raid on the offices of the Lanka Mirror and UNP website Lanka X news websites and the arrest of nine employees. UN Secretary General’s spokesman Martin Nesirky told a news conference that the UN was aware that such a raid had taken place. "And as we’ve said in many other cases, not just with regard to this country, journalists need to be able to do their work without interference. And that’s the more..

'Conspiracy to tarnish Lanka’s image'

July 4 (DM) The govt yesterday said there might be elements with vested interests trying to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka by falsely accusing the country of being a haven for human smuggling. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said no Sri Lankans were found in the most recent cases of asylum seekers who were arrested or found in capsized boats. “There was a lot of misleading information being disseminated recently implicating Sri Lanka as the originating point more..

Nearly one fourth of foreign debt commitments met

July 4 (Island) The Ministry of Finance and Planning said it has paid up nearly one fourths of the country’s debt commitments for the year. "The total estimated debt service payments for 2012 is US$ 1,630 million, of which 23 percent has already been paid by 30th April 2012," the Treasury said in its Midyear Fiscal Position Report 2012. "At the end of April 2012, the total outstanding external debt of the govt was US$ 18.9 billion. more..

CEB non-executive staffs claim success

July 4 (Island) Operations Committee Member of the United Trade Union Front of the CEB, G.H. Ranjan Jayalal claimed that their lunch hour protest campaign was a great success yesterday as thousands of workers from the entire country gathered at the CEB headquarters in Colombo in the run up to the 24-hour strike by 15,000 members from midnight. The strike by the non-executive staff which commenced at midnight yesterday (July 3) would go on till midnight today, he said. more..

Heavy borrowing brings down govt. cash deficit

July 4 (Island) Off target heavy borrowings have brought the Treasury’s cash deficit well below targeted levels for the first five months of this year and the corresponding period of last year, as overestimated revenue and underestimated expenditure continue to characterise the govt’s fiscal operations, although to a lesser degree. The budget deficit for the first four months of this year expanded to 3.8 percent of GDP, more..

Mudslinging websites will be closed – Govt.

July 4 (Island) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the govt would close down websites engaged in mudslinging campaigns targeting politicians and other individuals. Responding to a query, the Minister said that the govt was in the process of moving against several other websites. The minister said that the govt had received a spate of complaints as regards false and malicious websites reports. He said that people couldn’t be humiliated in the guise of promoting the Opposition. The govt believed in media freedom, though more..

CEB to provide continuous power supply despite strike threat

July 4 (DN) The CEB yesterday said that it is capable of providing a continuous power supply to all parts of the country irrespective of trade union action which was scheduled to be launched by certain trade unions of the Board from midnight yesterday. According to CEB chairman Dr. Wimaladharma Abeywickrema, a handful of trade unions announced that they would go for a 24 hour token strike from midnight yesterday, demanding that their salary anomalies be rectified, more..

University teachers launch strike today

July 4 (Island) University teachers will launch an indefinite strike today as their talks with the Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga have failed. Yesterday’s discussion chaired by Weeratunga was held at the Presidential Secretariat with the participation of members of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA), Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake, Secretary to Ministry of Higher Education Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne, UGU Chairman more..

Opp. to inform EC of CID harassment ahead of PC polls

July 4 (Island) The CID was harassing Opposition members and activists in the run up to the forthcoming provincial council elections by searching their houses and offices, the UNP charged yesterday. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told a news conference in Colombo that the govt was resorting to its old tactics by raiding houses and offices even before nominations had closed for the Eastern, North-Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council polls. more..

SLAF pays tribute to officers, men killed in action

July 4 (Island) The SLAF yesterday paid tribute to all officers and men killed during the three-decade-long conflict, at a simple ceremony attended by the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Harsha Abeywickrama. All members of the Air Force Board of Management, senior officers and a cross section of other ranks attended the ceremony, which was held at the Air Force War Heroes Monument at the SLAF Base Ratmalana. The Commander laid the first wreath and more..

One ‘Maithree Buddha’, and three Buddhas in Ratnapura alone

July 4 (LB) In times of economic and social change people tend to turn towards religion — a belief in a higher power and a greater design makes life much more bearable, when everything is in a state of constant flux. In such a context orthodox Buddhism does not offer much comfort, with its doctrine of individual responsibility, and teachings of cause and consequence and rational thinking, which has made many Buddhists turn towards more..

Artistes, celebrities hit out at gossip websites

July 4 (DN) Artistes and celebrities yesterday lashed out at websites that resort to character assassination and gossip mongering thereby tarnishing the good name and reputation of famous personalities in the cinematic and other fields. They hailed the government for banning several websites which have failed to register with the Media and Information Ministry. The artistes voiced their anger over the conduct of more..

Don't lay foundation stones unless projects can be completed -President

July 4 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said it is the responsibility of politicians and state officials to make best use of public funds for numerous development activities. The President was addressing the Matale District Development Committee meeting at the Matale Municipal Council auditorium yesterday. The President said every one is duty bound to make his utmost contribution to society and more..

UNP wants Open Uni to conduct Act 16 course

July 4 (Island) Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, MP, on behalf of the UNP, proposed that the govt and the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) launch a special course to help those foreign qualified medical graduates still struggling to obtain the local licence to practise medicine and surgery. He said that the ACT 16 examination had become a major obstacle to those graduates. Asked whether he wanted the govt/SLMC to do away with more..

Sri Lanka sustaining Ozone Layer

July 4 (DN) Sri Lanka is one of the most successful countries in phasing out Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), complying with the Montreal Protocol, Environment Ministry senior technical advisor, Prof W L Sumathipala said. “Ozone depletion is one of the major global environmental issues. During the 1970s and early 1980s, scientists observed the stratospheric ozone layer was getting thinner due to emissions of man made chemicals referred to as ODSs,” more..

Sri Lanka should implement measures in lessons commission: professionals

July 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka should implement several key measures contained in a report by a commission which studied lessons to be learnt from a recent civil war, some of which can be done without delay, a civil organization of professionals has said. Sri Lanka's Organization of Professional Association said a report by LLRC had come up with many good recommendations to promote good governance and ethnic reconciliation. more..

No nominations for kith and kin of Ministers and MPs

July 4 (Island) The SLFP Central Committee had decided against giving nominations to wives and children of govt ministers and MPs at the forthcoming elections to Sabaragamuwa, Eastern and North Central Provincial councils. SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena said. The decision had been taken to give an opportunity to those among the younger generation who were serving the party more..

Coastal security intensified

July 4 (CT) The Sri Lanka Navy has intensified coastal security by setting up a surveillance zone from the coastal belts of Kalpitiya to Pooneryn in a bid to thwart recent attempts made by Indian drug traffickers and human smugglers infiltrating Sri Lankan waters. This move comes in the backdrop of the Indian fishermen making attempts to enter Sri Lanka illegally on Sunday and Monday. It is learnt that the North-Central and North-Western Naval Commands have more..

Sri Lanka’s investment body inks $3bn with Singapore firm to develop Katana city

July 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s main investment promotion body has signed up with Singaporean casino and resort operator to develop Katana, north of the capital of Colombo, into a three billion dollar mixed development. Singapore’s Asian Resorts & Casinos, has floated Katana City Developments Private Limited to develop the project that is situated close to the main Bandaranaike International Airport, more..

U.S to remain engaged with Sri Lanka: envoy

July 4 (Xinhua) The United States will remain engaged with Sri Lanka despite some differences of opinion on the political front, the U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka said on Wednesday. In a message released in Colombo to mark America's Independence Day, the U.S. envoy in Colombo Patricia Butenis noted that the Sri Lankan govt has made progress on the resettlement issue and post war development. "When I arrived in 2009 the war had just ended and more..

Editorial: Neck deep in debt, Lanka faces worst drought

July 4 (DM) Despite all the boasting and high growth rates projected by the govt’s economic pundits, Sri Lanka’s foreign debt in 2011 had soared to 24.8 billion dollars compared to 9 billion dollars in 2000 while debt servicing last year amounted to as much as 12.1 per cent. With Sri Lanka neck-deep in debt and generations to come burdened with the repayment, the country has been hit by the worst drought in recent history with the more..

Sri Lankan stocks down 0.12%

July 4 (LBO) Share prices slipped into the red on Wednesday, despite a one-off trade in Nestle Lanka Plc. All Share Price Index dipped 6.35 points or 0.13 percent to 4,946.58, the liquid Milanka Price Index slipped 31.11 points or 0.71 percent to 4,373.05, and the S&P Sri Lanka 20 index fell 1.06 points or 0.04 percent to close at 2,809.31. Wednesday’s turnover of 377.99 million rupees, was largely driven by trades in Nestle Lanka and conglomerate John Keells Holdings, more..

Elections are a farce; Karu

July 4 (DM) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya said the proposed elections to be held under the 18th amendment would be a farce. “An election which will be held under the 18th amendment will be a farce. All the powers related to the Police, Judiciary and the Commissioner of Elections have been vested under one individual, which is clearly undemocratic” he said. Jayasuriya urged the govt to re-introduce the 17th amendment prior to holding elections. more..

President views Sisu Maha Perahera

July 4 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa viewed the Esala Maha Sisu Perahera from Temple Trees yesterday, organized to commemorate the 2,600th Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi. The perahera which commenced from Mahanama College proceeded through Liberty circle, Galle Road and reached Temple Trees and from there through Rotunda Gardens via Nawam Mawatha reached Gangarama Temple. The Perahera was organized for the second consecutive year by the Education Ministry with the objective of more..

Sri Lanka spends Rs50bn on roads in five months

July 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka has spent 70 billion rupees on highways, power, water and sanitation in the first five months of the year, with 50 billion rupees going to roads, a finance ministry report said. The finance ministry in a mid-year fiscal report said 36.8 billion rupees was spent on national roads, including 11.3 billion rupees on expressways, 17.5 billion rupees on highways and 6.9 billion rupees on improvements to roads. Another 8.9 billion rupees was spent on provincial roads. more..

PC Elections: UPFA to finalize candidate list on 10th

July 4 (GDI) The Central Committee of the SLFP, the key constituent party of the ruling alliance has decided not to give nominations to the wives and other family members of the Ministers and Parliamentarians at the forthcoming Provincial Council elections. The General Secretary of the SLFP Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that that the party came to this decision to give opportunities to the young generation more..

Death sentence for heroin peddler

July 4 (DM) A heroin peddler accused of trafficking 10.8 grams of heroin was sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court today. The accused Sandanam Ganeshan of Bloemendhal Road, Kimbulawala was sentenced to death by High Court Judge Padman Surasena after a lengthy trial. The accused was indicted by the Attorney General for peddling 10.8 grams of heroin on or about September 13, 2009 at an overhead bridge at Bloemendhal Road, Colombo. The Police Narcotics Bureau more..

Banked whale dies

July 4 (CT) A 30-foot-long Sperm whale which washed ashore on the Kalutara beach in the Kalmulla area yesterday died today amidst attempts by Nara to save its life. The Head of the Marine Biological Resource Division of The NARA Dr. Rekha Maldeniya said the animal was badly injured and all attempts to save it failed. “The whale’s intestines were out due to injury, which we suspect was caused by a ship. Therefore, although we made every effort to save the life of the whale, it was futile.” more..

Sangakkara misses another double-ton in draw

July 4 (CI) With more than a day's worth of overs lost to rain, and a pitch that was a scourge of bowlers, the SSC Test ended in the inevitable and dreary draw it was destined to be - the fourth such result in the venue's last five matches. Only 20 wickets fell over the course of the Test - nine of them today - while 1128 runs were scored. The only vestigial hope of last-day drama lay in whether Pakistan's bowlers could end Sri Lanka's more..

STF commandant reveals new role vested with force

July 4 (Island) Police Special Task Force Commandant DIG R. W. M. Chandrasiri Ranawana said that the STF would assist the Police to eliminate organized crime, such as contract killings, drug cartels, mass murders, bank robberies and the underworld. The 61 STF camps, located country-wide, had around 8,000 commandoes who were well-disciplined to undertake any sort of crime eradication operations at any time. The Defense Secretary Ghotabhaya Rajapaksa and more..

Sri Lanka Melstacorp to comply SEC ruling on take-over code

July 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Melstarcorp, a unit of the Distilleries Group, agreed to make an offer to buyout the remaining shareholders of Lanka Milk Foods, after the securities regulator sought legal recourse. Melstacorp triggered the takeovers and mergers code buy acquiring shares in excess of 30 percent in Lanka Milk Food in 2011 at 105.00 rupees a share. The company did not make an offer to the remaining shareholders, but instead bought another stake at 99.00 rupees more..

Prisoner succumbs to injuries, Ganesan faults Govt.

July 4 (AD) The prisoner who was injured in the recent Vavuniya hostage incident, transferred to the Mahara prison and later admitted to the Ragama Hospital has succumbed to his injuries today. The deceased was identified as Nimala Ruban a resident of Nelumkulam, Vavuniya. The government must take full responsibility over this death, and a full and free investigation should be carried out into the circumstances that led to his death, more..

TN MP Demands Release of Indian Fishermen

July 4 (PTI) A Congress MP from Tamil Nadu today demanded that India should intervene and take steps for the release of 10 fishermen who have been taken into custody by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line. Manicka Tagore, MP from south Tamil Nadu, wrote a letter to National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon seeking his intervention to end the "miseries" of the "hapless" fishermen. more..

Lifting of gay ban must come from people says Sri Lankan activist

July 4 (GSN) Sri Lankan activist Rossana Flamer-Caldera says the only way to end the ban on gay sex in the former war-torn country is to appeal to ordinary people who ‘know what it’s like to have their human rights trampled on’. Activists from around the Commonwealth met in London today to discuss how the global community can work towards decriminalizing homosexuality in countries where former British colonial laws which banned being gay are still alive. more..

President asks allies not to support bill to ban Buddhist monks entering politics

July 4 (Xinhua) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday informed the parties of his ruling coalition to vote against the proposed bill by an opposition legislator to bar Buddhist monks from politics. Rajapaksa issued this direction following a discussion with the Buddhist party, JHU, one of the govt allies, said an official from the presidential office. Last month a leading lawyer and UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapaksa brought a more..

Attempts to deprive Dr. Mendis of extension worries unions

July 4 (Island) An attempt was being made to deprive Director General Health Services (DGHS), Dr. Ajith Mendis of an extension, alleges a section of health sector trade unions. Chief of the Graduate Association of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (GAPSM) Ravi Kumudesh told The Island that some drug companies and their associates at the Health Ministry wanted Dr. Mendis. Kumudesh said yesterday that it would be a severe blow to the Health Service if more..

Another miss for Sangakkara

July 4 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara must be wondering why the 190s invariably spell rotten luck for him. In Galle, he was cruelly tapped on the shoulder, only to be told that he needed one more. The No.11 failed to stick around long enough to allow Sangakkara the double, so he had to live with an unbeaten 199. Here at the SSC, Sangakkara couldn't look around for any excuses though. He had time, and enough partners in the bench to graft his way towards a double-century. On 192, his impatience got the better of him. more..

Sri Lanka to build first botanical garden after 135 years

July 4 (Xinhua) After 135 years Sri Lanka is to open dry zone botanical garden at economically booming southern port district Hambantota, an official said on Wednesday. D.S.A. Wijesundara, the director general of the Department of National Botanic Gardens told Xinhua that country's first dry-zone botanical garden is aimed to promote ecotourism in the area which has seen economical boom with new harbor, airport and more..