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Akuressa PS Chairman arrested on child molestation charges

July 4 (CG) The chairman of the Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha, Liyanage Sunil, was arrested this morning over allegations of committing rape. Sunil had allegedly raped a 14 year old girl sometime in May at a location in the Akuressa town, the police media unit said. The 48 year old Pradeshiya Sabha chairman was arrested early this morning by the Matara unit of the Child and women’s police bureau. He is to be produced before the Matara court today.

Vatican announces new diocese in Batticaloa

July 4 (UCAN) The Vatican announced yesterday it would create a new Tamil-majority diocese in the east of the country. It says Trincomalee-Batticaloa diocese is to be divided, making Batticaloa a diocese in its own right. Batticaloa will become Sri Lanka’s 12th diocese with Auxiliary Bishop Ponniah Joseph becoming its first prelate. The new diocese will comprise 55,225 Catholics with 48 priests. “We have been expecting this news for a long time,” Bishop Joseph said. more..

Sri Lanka Debrief News-04.07.2012

Murali has sights set on Renegades

July 4 (WAT) LEGENDARY Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralidaran is planning to play in Cricket Australia's Big Bash League next summer, and the Melbourne Renegades are leading the race for his signature. Muralidaran, 40, has retired from international cricket, so will be available for the whole tournament. "Yes, I'm going to play there next summer," Muralidaran told The Age from England, where he is representing Gloucestershire. "It is going to be maybe the last year of mine so more..

CEB unions say strike successful

July 4 (CG) Trade Unions attached to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) says a strike which was launched at midnight yesterday was successful. CEB Joint Trade Union alliance member Ranjan Jayalal said that most employees of the CEB did not turn up for work since midnight as a result of the strike. He also claimed that there were power outings reported in some areas as a result of the strike but a skeleton staff was used by the CEB to continue operations. more..

'Sri Lanka has been successful in keeping shipping lane south of country from piracy'

July 4 (MEA) Addressing the International Conference on Maritime Piracy on the theme “Maritime Piracy : enhancing public private partnership and strengthening the global response”, leader of the Sri Lanka delegation Deputy Minister Neomal Perera stated that maritime piracy has become an issue of serious concern to countries of our region which are bordered by major international sea lanes. more..

Garbage overshadows the beauty of Kandy

July 5 (NS) The sacred city of Kandy popular for its ancient history, natural beauty,misty mornings and pristine glory, is blessed with many more natural sites. A site that blurs the eyes of any Kandyan is the sight of seeing garbage during an early morning drive to work or school. The garbage dumps are disgusting and the stench is unbearable. It has become a feeding ground for the crows, dogs, cats another idling animals around the city and outskirts. more..

Dengue mosquito eradication

July 5 (NS) It is good to see committed effort now being put into the eradication of ‘dengue mosquitoes’. People who are concerned about the public welfare will be happy when the numbers newly infected come down. Others, perennially stuck in a grumpy groove, will secretly be disappointed to see a decline. They will publicly take no notice, while quietly striving to divert attention away from any good news. None of us would think we belonged in this latter, gloomy class, even if more..

'Media freedom upheld, no restrictions'

July 5 (SO) There is unprecedented media freedom in Sri Lanka today. The Ministry of Mass Media and Information provides all facilities including training to improve the knowledge and skills of media personnel in the country said Mass Media and Information Ministry Secretary W.B. Ganegala. The Sunday Observer interviewed the Ministry Secretary recently. Excerpts of the interview: Q: Can you outline the main objectives of the Ministry? more..

Autocracy in higher education and the impending ‘Academic Spring’

July 5 (CT) There is an impending confrontation between the university academics and the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) as the media spokesman for the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA), Dr Devaka Weerakoon, has very clearly stated that they would go ahead with their continuous strike action on 4th July as their main demands are not only about salaries but primarily on funding for the university education. The FUTA is asking the govt to more..

Weakness in govt’s short term winning stratergy

July 5 (CT) The one day visit of Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon to Sri Lanka is revealing of the power structure in the country in relation to Indian priorities. He met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The shortness of the visit made it imperative that choices had to be made about who was to be met, and that the three Rajapaksa brothers came first. more..

Rambuttans in abundance

July 5 (SO) The fleshy 'hairy balls' that are in abundance all over Colombo and which are relish grown with love and toil. Will you believe that before these trees are harvested vows are kept for Paththini Deviyo and these vows are fulfilled once the harvest season is over. The fleshy Rambuttans adorning the streets of Colombo are harvested with tender loving care. When the word `Rambuttan' is mentioned automatically Malwana comes to mind. more..

Towards an Informed Water Vision: Part 2

July 5 (GV) Through the nation water quality has become a serious problem. The Nitrate and Nitrite pollution of the groundwater on the Kalpitiya peninsula, the eutrophication of the hydroelectric reservoirs during low flow, the renal failure syndrome of the North Central province, the rise in neuromuscular diseases among vegetable farmers, are but early symptoms of the malaise that suggests the water quality of the nation being compromised. The load of organic pollutants more..

Youth responsible for future political landscape

July 5 (DM) The Chairman of the UNP’s Young Professionals’ Organisation Harshana Rajakaruna speaks to the Daily Mirror on the objectives of the Organisation and the duty of professional young men and women to contribute to the political future of the country. Q: What is the main objective of the Young Professionals’ Organisation? A: One of our main objectives is to get professional youth involved in politics. In the UNP we have a number more..

Unseasonal elections, family-theatrics and development of underdevelopment

July 5 (SL) Three provincial councils have been dissolved, years ahead of time. Millions of rupees will be wasted on untimely elections, unneeded by the country and unwanted by the people. These incessant elections are not about democracy or devolution; nor are they in popular or national interests. They are about shoring-up Rajapaksa-power. Unseasonal elections keep SLFP (national/local) leaders in constant more..

Lanka must commit to industrialization

July 5 (LB) This is the third in a series of five letters in this column outlining the barebones of social and political programme that I believe the left movement in Lanka must begin to prepare. There were two gatherings during the last 12 months where it was agreed that a programmatic document embodying the views of the left was necessary and drafting responsibilities were handed out; but there has been no output so far. The Frontline Socialist Party (new-JVP) was expected to issue a programme at its April 2012 inaugural convention but more..

Lessons from War Graves

July 5 (LB) In mythological warfare the fallen is given the rights of burial. Trojan Hector – even though his body was initially mutilated by Achilles – allows King Priam to bear away his son’s body for ceremonial cremation and burial. In Sinhala mythology too we are told that the defeated Elara was provided a stately burial by his counterpart, Dutugemunu. A debate therefore arose when the cemeteries and tombstones of the defeated LTTE were bulldozed by the govt soon after the conclusion of the Northern civil conflict. more..

Boom in bank borrowings to bridge Budget deficit

July 5 (FT) The Treasury has resorted to a higher degree of bank borrowings to bridge the budget deficit so far overshooting the original full year estimate by two times, whilst the country’s external debt has reached a staggering $ 19 billion or Rs. 2.47 trillion. As stated in the 2012 Mid Year Fiscal Report, Treasury had obtained Rs. 132 billion in bank borrowings between January and April to meet the budget deficit. more..

Editorial: Obama's health care law

July 5 (Island) With his first term drawing to a close, US President Barack Obama has notched up a singular feat. His ambitious Affordable Care Act aimed at expanding the health insurance scheme to cover all Americans has been largely upheld by the Supreme Court recently following its ratification by the Congress way back in 2010. The new health care law described as the central legislative pillar of Obama's first term––something Democratic presidents before him had more..

Over 3000 new companies formed this year

July 5 (Island) One offshore and 14 foreign firms among start-ups = Total number of companies registered in Sri Lanka exceeds 51 thousand = ‘Companies failing to file returns on-time to face penalties,’ warns minister. Sri Lanka’s new start-up numbers for the first half of this year have exceeded initial projections with over three thousand filing for registration with the Department of Registrar of Companies, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said yesterday. more..

Economic growth 5% with double-digit inflation, warns think tank

July 5 (Island) After sustaining growth rates in excess of 8% for two consecutive years, economic growth could ease to as low as 5% this year, with double digit inflation, a think tank warned, calling on the govt to persist with its contractionary policy stance. "The balance of probability is that growth will decelerate sharply by the fourth quarter of this year to about 5% (this was the average recorded during the 30 years of war) more..

US-born Lankan student builds water cleansing system

July 5 (DN) US born Sri Lankan student Shayanth Sinnarajah, 18, attended the Rio+20 Summit to display a water cleansing system. In minutes and with the amount of force it takes to pump air into a bike tyre, Sinnarajah can make 15 gallons of clean drinking water, referred to in some circles as "blue gold." Sinnarajah and his colleagues pump the dirty, undrinkable water through a machine where it travels through four filters, each one progressively letting in fewer pollutants, more..

Final Olympic qualifying opportunity for SL athletes

July 5 (Island) Sri Lanka’s track and field athletic hopefuls, including Manjula Kumara, Chandrika Subashini, Nadeeka Lakmali, Sachith Maduranga and Milantha Sampath Dissanayake will get their final opportunity to qualify for the London Olympics when the Sri Lanka Athletics Association conducts the second leg of the Athletics League today and tomorrow, at the Sugathadasa Stadium, in Colombo. Having failed yet again to clear the ‘B’ grade qualifying mark of 2.28 metres at more..

‘A Sri Lankan in space - not the stuff of dreams’

July 5 (DN) There is a possibility of Sri Lanka sending an astronaut into space in less than four years. This historic task has been undertaken by the Sri Lankan company SupremeSAT and China’s state- owned biggest satellite manufacturing institution, Great Wall Corporation (CGWIC). The agreement will be signed in Beijing where the Chinese company is based. SupremeSAT MD R M Manivannan said SupremeSAT has more..

Special attention to Northern development - Minister Devananda

July 5 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa are making a concerted effort towards the development of war battered Northern and Eastern Provinces and a colossal budgetary allocation has been made towards this purpose, Minister Douglas Devananda said. Minister Devananda was chairing a Parliamentary discussion at the Mullaitivu District Secretariat on June 22 concerning the activities of the 'Divi Neguma Industrial Exhibition'. more..

Petition filed against dissolution of EPC and holding polls

July 5 (Island) A voter from the Eastern Province yesterday filed a Writ Application, in the Court of Appeal, requesting the Court to suspend the decision of the Governor of the province to dissolve the Eastern Provincial Council. The petitioner, Rasiah Thurairatnam, from Batticaloa, has further requested the Court to restrain the Commissioner of Elections from taking steps to hold an election and to quash the advice given by the Chief Minister to the Governor to dissolve the Council. more..

Safety jackets essential to climb Sigiriya

July 5 (DM) The Sigiriya Central Cultural Fund Manager Vajira Ferdinand said from today it was compulsory for foreign tourists to wear special protective jackets if they wished to go beyond the ‘Lion’s Paw’ when climbing the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Twenty Sri Lankans including two children and two foreign tourists were injured in another wasp attack yesterday. They had to be rushed to the Sigiriya Divisional Hospital. more..

Timber transportation streamlined

July 5 (DN) Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa instructed officials to simplify and streamline the process of issuing permits for timber transportation to minimize inconveniences faced by people. He observed the complex methodology of obtaining timber transportation permits has resulted in fraudulent middlemen who unduly charge money from people. He said innocent people have been inconvenienced due to the inefficient and unclear system of issuing permits, more..

Two held for trying to take Sri Lankan refugees to Oz

July 5 (TOI) Police on Tuesday busted a human trafficking racket and arrested two Sri Lankan Tamils for collecting money from refugees staying in camps in the state promising to take them to Australia through illegal ferries. Police also seized a satellite phone from them. Acting on a tip-off, 'Q' branch police picked up Ramesh alias Ramachandran (38) and Gandhi Mohan (40) from Red Hills. Inquiries revealed that Ramesh and Mohan, who hail from Trincomalee, were planning to leave to more..

'It is duty of opposition in democratic countries to show right path to the govt'

July 5 (DBS) We came across media reports stating that the attention of the President and the general public has been drawn to the breakdown of law and order, wave of murders and related incidents which occurred during the past few days. There was a huge outcry in the country regarding the murder of a six year old girl, after raping her and throwing her body into a canal. It was reported that she was raped by a young relative who is more..

Celebrating the national security state?

July 5 (Scoop) One of the reactions to the earlier article, SRI LANKA: Defending the nation's internal security, is "What’s wrong? The military has come to stay." What is chilling is that it appears to be a frank statement happily proclaiming a fait accompli. Earlier generations of Sri Lankans used to proudly say that democracy had come to stay in their country. Not many seem to feel that way anymore. The late J.R Jayewardene seems to have made a correct prediction when more..

Tendulkar to skip series in Sri Lanka

July 5 (AFP) Indian batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar will skip the upcoming series of limited-over matches in Sri Lanka, the national selectors announced on Wednesday. India will play five ODIs, starting in Hambantota on July 21, plus a one-off Twenty20 match on August 7. The 39-year-old Tendulkar, who completed an unprecedented century of centuries during the Asia Cup in Dhaka in March, is the world’s leading run-getter in both Test (15,470) and one-day (18,426) cricket. more..

Harry J released on personal bail

July 5 (DM) Business tycoon Harry Jayawardena and five other Directors of Melstacorp Limited were released on a personal bail of 2 million rupees each for violation of Section 51 (2) of the SEC act. At a previous occasion, Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne had directed the Court Registrar to issue summons on nine directors of Melstacorp Limited to appear in Court on charges of having violated Section 52 (1) (2) (3) of the SEC Act. more..

MPs entitled to only two bodyguards each

July 5 (Island) Except for two policemen, an MP was not entitled to other security facilities, including back-up vehicles, Chief Government Whip Dinesh Guanwardena, told Parliament yesterday. Only two bodyguards, either from the Police Department or Ministerial Security Division was provided to each MP, the minister said in response to a question raised by UNP MP Dayasiri Jaysekera. He said the answer was wrong as MPs had been provided with back-up vehicles. more..

Brigadier Wanigasuriya denies attack against priest

July 5 (CT) Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya vehemently denied allegations that Army personnel allegedly carrying out an attack against a priest at a Hindu kovil when he attempted to stop the army personnel forcibly entering the kovil with their boots. This alleged attack is alleged to have been carried out on Monday at the Ellankulam Aaathiparashkathi kovil in Vadamarachchie. The military spokesman said the army personnel had been playing cricket in the vicinity and more..

FM hits back over crackdown criticism

July 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka hit back Wednesday over claims it is clamping down on press freedom after criticism from rights groups and Washington for its shuttering of opposition news websites. "Look at the newspapers in Sri Lanka. Can you possibly say that there is no freedom of press in the country? There is so much," Minister G.L. Peiris told reporters in Tokyo. "If you look at Sri Lankan newspapers, if you look at Sunday papers, they are full of the most abusive criticism, more..

Subject Ministers must be present to answer questions – Speaker

July 5 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said yesterday that subject ministers should be present in the House to answer questions raised by Opposition members. They in so doing would honour the Parliament, he said. The Speaker made this observation after the govt asked for additional time to answer ten out of 15 questions raised by the Opposition yesterday. Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, raising a point of order, said more..

More than 8,500 vacancies in CGR not filled

July 5 (Island) Over 8,500 vacancies, in various grades, still exist as successive govts had failed to fill them, Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said yesterday. Speaking to the Media, he said that action would be taken to fill those vacancies once the Supreme Court case, pertaining to the clerical staff of the CGR, ended. Recruitment of 48 station masters had been gazetted in accordance with Recruitment Procedure. Those vacancies would be filled in due course, he said. more..

Tiger and dog symbols proscribed

July 5 (CT) The Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday, the tiger and the dog symbols will not be allowed to be used by any party contesting the forthcoming Provincial Elections to be held at the Sabaragamuwa, North-Central and Eastern Provinces. During a media briefing, he announced that except for recognized political parties, the pigeon and the ox symbols can be used by any Independent group contesting the elections. more..

Secure fishermen's release from Sri Lanka: Jayalalithaa urges PM

July 5 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Wednesday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the issue of Indian fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and secure their immediate release. In a letter to Singh, text of which was released to the media here, Jayalalithaa referring to the recent arrests of Indian fishermen, in addition to five who are already in Lankan prison, said: "The arrest of 13 more Rameswaram fishermen with their three more..