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Unfilled medical administrative top slots derail state health sector

June 10 (Island) In a big blow to the smooth functioning of Sri Lanka’s state health segment, more than 35 senior medical administrative positions, including many directorships of key hospitals, continue to remain unfilled due to what a Ministry official attributed to the "dragging of feet by the Public Service Commission (PSC)", but an irate member of this independent body dismissed this assertion as "absolute nonsense". more..

Pro-LTTE protests after abortive bid to block President Rajapaksa’s visit

June 10 (Island) Last week witnessed a hive of pro-LTTE activity in London. From the day news broke out that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be participating in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Tamil groups supportive of the LTTE swung into action. They lodged their protest to Buckingham Palace in a bid to thwart the President’s participation. They also lobbied through their friendly MPs in the House of Commons. When their attempts failed, they resorted to more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

June 10 (ST) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake is recovering after surgery. Doctors had advised him to take bed rest for at least two weeks. Last Monday he received a call from Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne who was being treated at a hospital in Singapore. "Mama me obathumata call ekak ganna hitiye upandinayata suba pathanna. Eeta kalin oba thumama gaththa". (I was about to call you to wish you a happy birthday. But you have called me before that), more..

'Govt. bent on destroying student movement'

June 10 (NS) The present govt is treating the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) as its greatest enemy, and it is now attempting to destroy the student movement altogether, claims its Convenor Sanjeewa Bandara. Bandara said the IUSF was engaged in a campaign to protect free education and democracy in the country. He accused the authorities were now attempting to ban the IUSF by linking it to incidents of ragging. “There is an aggressive campaign being carried out more..

Sri Lanka tourism urges Europeans to ignore bad media reports

June 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s tourism chief is urging European businessmen to ignore negative media reports in their home countries that highlight the island's human rights record and may lose them investment opportunities. The Indian Ocean Island is experiencing a boom in tourists and leisure industry related-developments, three-years after government forces ended the decades long conflict with ethnic Tami Tiger separatists. more..

SLMC on the fence

June 10 (CT) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has come under severe pressure from the eastern based Muslims not to contest the forthcoming provincial poll with the govt. The SLMC, who support the govt, is yet to decide whether or not to contest the election with the government. According to SLMC general secretary and MP Hasan Ali, the SLMC supports the present UPFA govt without any MOU. He says the majority of the eastern based Muslims are now demanding more..

Award for Solheim criticized in Norway

June 10 (Island) One-time Norwegian peace facilitator in Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim, is set to receive Tahiti award 2012 on June 28 in spite of controversy surrounding his role in overseas peace initiatives, particularly in Sri Lanka, as well as weakness in handling international development and environment portfolios during his tenure as a minister. Close on the heels of losing his cabinet portfolios, Solheim failed in his attempt to secure the position of Norway’s top diplomat in New York. more..

Is Sri Lanka heading towards another July '83?

June 10 (ST) Is Sri Lanka heading towards another July 1983 type pogrom? This is the growing fear in view of the repeated threats on mosques and madrasas provoking Muslims. In the midst of this turbulence, the CID's call for a list of mosques and madrasas - no information on worshipping centers of other religions was sought -- has sent shockwaves among beleaguered Muslims. Desecration of mosques is an act of provocation. more..

North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern PC poll in Sept.?

June 10 (Island) The govt is determined to go ahead with the provincial council elections in the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and the East by accelerating the reorganization of the SLFP in the five districts where the poll is scheduled to be held, political sources said. At the SLFP Central Committee presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Monday, it was decided that the three provincial councils should be more..

Land grab in the North: Residents to file fundamental rights law suit against Police

June 10 (CT) A group of northern residents are to file a fundamental rights law suit against the Sri Lanka Police claiming their houses are being forcibly taken over by them. In the wake of allegations of land grab by the security forces in the north, it is revealed even the police are culpable for attempting to own houses belonging to Jaffna residents. Residents in Ilavalai, Jaffna, are up in arms against a move by the police to more..

Alleged sex ordeal at Colombo University: SB

June 10 (ST) An anonymous tip-off that four female freshers had been sexually molested inside the Colombo University is being probed, Higher Education Minister S. B. Dissanayake said. The unidentified victims have given details of their ordeal in an unsigned letter sent to the UGC and pleaded with the authorities to take immediate action so that future acts of this nature could be prevented, the minister added. more..

Sri Lanka warns US envoy designate

June 10 (SL) The govt has cautioned the United States’ Ambassador Designated to Sri Lanka, Michele Sison, regarding her opinion on the situation in the country. Karunatilaka Amunugama, Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs, explained that the ministry was aware of her recent comments but would not be taking any action at this point in time. He did add however, “If she is appointed as ambassador to Sri Lanka, and she continues to make such preconceived comments then more..

Tea on a rocky perch

June 10 (SL) Sri Lanka’s Tea Exporters fear that tea will lose its place as one of the major revenue earners for the country if trade with Iran is abandoned. With Iran out of the market it is reported that for over five weeks the high grown teas are being sold at low prices to other buyers. Iran, a heavy tea drinking country buys around 30 million kilograms of tea annually from Sri Lanka. “It is 10 percent of our tea exports and will definitely have an impact on our economy,” Chairman, Tea Exporters Association, Niraj de Mel said. more..

UNP threatens action against Speaker

June 10 (SL) The UNP have warned that they would consider taking action against the Speaker, Chamal Rajapaksa, if his “biased behaviour towards members of the opposition continue” according to Chief Opposition Whip, John Amaratunga. He said that Thursday’s behaviour by the speaker was just another example of him being biased against the opposition. “The speaker does not take action against certain members of the govt, such as Mervyn Silva, who continually disrupt proceedings,” he said. more..

T’Nadu nuclear wastes to end up in Lankan seas

June 10 (LB) The Site Evaluation Report (SER) for the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant project in Tamil Nadu reveals that liquid waste from nuclear plants will “be diluted” and “discharged into the sea.” Most of these wastes are to seep into the Bay of Bengal and therefore to Sri Lankan waters too. The SER has just been obtained after a long and arduous Right To Information (RTI) and legal fight by the ‘Struggle Committee more..

Sri Lanka, Pak likely to sign bilateral agreement for Premier League soon

June 10 (ANI) Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Zaka Ashraf has said they have committed to a contract with Sri Lanka cricket, and both parties have agreed upon a bilateral agreement. "I've had a telephone meeting with the President of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board and we have agreed upon a bilateral agreement that when the Sri Lankan Premier League occurs, Pakistani cricketers will take part and vice versa when the Pakistani League occurs. The documents relating to more..

Rajapaksa’s action replay in UK – Analysis

June 10 (EAR) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s key note speech at the Commonwealth Economic Forum organised by the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) and the City of London today was called off by the organisers “due to pressure of pro-LTTE elements in London” as the Sri Lanka High Commission claimed. Though the Scotland Yard was ready to provide assured security, the CBC “decided it was not in their interest to stage the event” according to media reports. more..

My life is under threat: SF

June 10 (IANS) Former army chief Sarath Fonseka, who was recently released from prison, Sunday said his life is under threat and he needs to be provided with tighter security. The country's first four-star general said he has been provided with a security contingent by the government but it was not enough. Police said the former army chief has been provided with 15 officers from the Ministerial Security Division following a request by Fonseka's associates. more..

Mother-in-law murders son-in-law

June 10 (CT) A mother-in-law in Pitigala had attacked her son-in-law with a crowbar and murdered him for harassing his wife. The incident occurred at around 5:00 a.m., yesterday. “The murdered person is a 32-year-old resident of Pitigala and has been identified as Hewagey Don Kamal Priyantha. It is reported that Kamal Priyantha’s mother–in-law attacked him with a crowbar and killed him to prevent her daughter getting harassed due to his drunkenness.” more..

CB warns three non-banking institutions

June 10 (SL) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has warned three non-banking financial institutions over discrepancies in their financial statements. The warning was issued by the Department of the Supervisor on Non-banking Financial Institutions, an official told The Sunday Leader. The official said that all three financial institutions were found to be operating at a loss and have also sought a name change in an attempt to avoid censure. He said that some of these institutions use their money for other business operations but more..

'Impact' player Perera shows his class

June 10 (CI) The challenge for any team visiting Sri Lanka, till some years ago, was taking on an array of spinners on turning pitches. Muttiah Muralitharan and Upul Chandana were a handful, and there was also Sanath Jayasuriya to deal with. Sri Lanka's present bowling attack, however, has a different make-up. With Murali's retirement and Ajantha Mendis falling off the radar, a once spin-heavy attack is reliant on seam-bowling allrounders. more..

CAA to probe infant milk price hike

June 10 (SL) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) says it will investigate what it terms as an illegal price increase of infant milk powder. Chairman of the CAA Rumy Marzook said that some companies have increased the price of a kilo of infant milk powder by Rs. 400 and a 400 gram pack by Rs. 160. He said that some companies had put forward a request to increase the price of infant milk but it was not approved. He said that a ceiling price will soon be introduced on infant milk powder more..

Liberty Plaza under major refurbishment, new apartment complex underway

June 10 (ST) Sri Lanka’s first high-class shopping mall, the Liberty Plaza at Kollupitiya, is undergoing a major re-development coupled with a new apartment complex coming up on adjoining land. Owners, the Colombo Land and Development Co (CLDC), under new ownership and expanding to the growing of teak and mahogany trees from its core real estate business, is also developing vast tracts of its property in Pettah. CLDC Chairman Nalaka Godahewa, who until recently headed more..

Sri Lanka holds mass baby elephant christening

June 10 (AFP) Thirteen calves born in 2011 and two in 2010 were given names chosen from among thousands suggested by visitors to the Pinnawala orphanage, director Nihal Senaratne said. "An astrologer looked at the time of birth of each elephant. He then decided on the first letter of each baby's name according to its horoscope," Mr Senaratne said. "The lucky letters were published and visitors were asked to suggest names accordingly," he said, more..

Socialist party seeking cheap publicity- Tilvin

June 10 (DM) The JVP today accused the breakaway Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) of looking for cheap publicity by making false allegations against the mainline JVP. “The FSP allegation that the JVP had teamed up with the govt was baseless and without an iota of truth,” JVP General Secretary Tivin Silva said. Mr. Siva said the breakaway group was making false allegations to win public sympathy as it had miserably failed in its insidious attempts to take over the JVP. more..

Condemn move to sell broadcasting rights of sports events to CSN – SYU

June 10 (LT) The Socialist Youth Union (SYU) has issued a media statement protesting against selling the broadcasting rights of sports events to CSN channel and calling the people in the country to rally against the sordid act. The media statement issued by the National Organizer of the SYU Bimal Rathnayake states: “We, as the Socialist Youth Union, have apprised the general public, the youths and sportsmen and women the irregularities, frauds and corruption more..

Suspected asylum seekers rescued from boat

June 10 (Age) Authorities have rescued 32 suspected asylum seekers after their boat crashed onto rocks off the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The boat had crashed on the Australian territory, halfway between Australia and Sri Lanka, on Saturday night. The boat is believed to have set out from Sri Lanka, Seven Network reports. "Either they've tried to beach and they've stuffed the boat up or the boat was stuffed up before they tried to beach," more..

Animal skulls: Two arrested

June 10 (DM) The Dehiwala Zoo Chief Veterinary Surgeon and a veterinary section assistant were taken into custody in connection with the three missing skulls that were being preserved in a deep-freezer in the zoo. The suspects were produced before Mt. Lavinia Chief Magistrate Nirosha Fernando and remanded till June 12. Police said information provided by the veterinary section assistant led to the arrest of the Chief Veterinary Surgeon. During the inquiries police more..

UNP to discuss private bill

June 10 (SL) The UNP parliamentary group is to meet this week to discuss UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapaksa’s private member’s bill seeking an amendment to the constitution preventing clergy from entering politics. Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga explained that the party had requested Rajapaksa to attend the parliamentary group meeting to discuss the bill. “He was to meet with us this week and explain the reasons behind the tabling of the bill. It would only be then more..

Shiranthi’s family home robbed

June 10 (CG) The family home of First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa located in Mount Lavinia, which is occupied by a relative, was robbed. According to the police no one was in the house at the time thieves had broken in and stolen over Rs. 10 million worth of items. The police said that a relative of the First Lady, Sri Lankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe, is residing at the house but he was away at the time of the robbery. more..

No crime wave says Gota

June 10 (CG) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa denied claims of a crime wave taking place in Sri Lanka. Speaking at an event in Matara today the Defence Secretary said that the police have also confirmed based on statistics that there has not been an increase in criminal activity in the country. “There is an attempt to show that there is a crime wave in Sri Lanka. As the Defence Secretary I told the Inspector General of Police to look into this and tell me if there is such a crime wave. more..

CPC not audited since 2008 - JVP

June 10 (LT) The JVP today claimed that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has not conducted an audit in over 4 years and that it is the reason the CPC complains of continues losses. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva stated that the Petroleum Corporation repeatedly claims its incurring losses, however there is a certain confusion in the numbers put forward by it. “They are unbelievable,” he said. The reason for this is because the CPC has not conducted a clear audit regarding its expenditure and income since 2008, more..

Swiss prosecutor takes Tamil investigation abroad

June 10 (SI) The Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office will take its investigation into suspected money laundering by 12 members of the Swiss Tamil Tigers to the Netherlands and Sri Lanka. The NZZ am Sonntag newspaper reported that in the Netherlands, Swiss prosecutors planned to interview the head of finance of the LTTE who is imprisoned there. In Sri Lanka, prosecutors will question some 25 people more..

'Unity Vesak 2012' draw large crowds in Toronto

June 10 (TSL) The gUnity Vesak 2012 celebrations held at Mel Lastman Square today drew large crowds, estimated at over 1700 people who witnessed a noble display that was truly gmulticulturalh. The celebration was the brainchild of Consul General for Sri Lanka in Toronto, Mr. Karunarathna Paranawithana with the collaboration of Maha Sangha and leaders of all the Buddhist Temples and communities in Canada. It was a diverse spectacle enjoyed by the more..

Sri Lanka 'green' companies named by ILO

June 10 (LBO) A survey by the International Labour Organisation has named seven Sri Lankan companies as having good practices in providing 'green' jobs that ensure decent work for employees and environmental sustainability. Use of 'green' sustainable initiatives was high among the 50 companies covered in the survey by the ILO and the Employers' Federation of Ceylon, although there were many gaps that remained to be filled, officials said. more..

Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Whither Sri Lanka after four decades of being a republic?

June 11 (SL) This column dedicated to the notion of fulfilling the aspirations of Sri Lankan society turns its spotlight on the aspirations of Sri Lankans to be governed by a constitution that is geared towards ensuring a happy existence in Sri Lanka. Parliament in session… Presidential System has acquired additional powers after the enactment of the Eighteenth Amendment to the 1978 Constitution making the Executive President to gain almost absolute power. more..

The penny dropped: That's what it’s about!

June 11 (SL) For someone who has inhabited this world for a period in excess of the proverbial ‘three score and ten years,’ I feel particularly stupid for not having realized the real import of a series of incidents that I and my friends of similar appearance have been subjected to recently in the Miracle of Asia. For instance, I had taken the regular harassment on the roads of this country by those designated as traffic policemen by virtue of their being issued white helmets and, sometimes, white Sam Browne belts, more..

'Sexual harassment in workplace, a serious issue'

June 11 (SO) Senior Lecturer of Law at the Colombo University A. Sarveswaran says ‘sexual harassment in workplaces’ is a serious issue that needs to be addressed urgently with effective legal provisions in the country’s legislature. He says it’s a silent plague crippling institutions and productivity. Sarveswaran says with more and more women entering the workforce this will be a major issue to the country’s economy unless preventive measures are more..

ITAK and the new chapter in post-war politics of Sri Lanka

June 11 (GV) From its inception in late 1949 as the Tamil Federal Party, the ITAK – a party which, as the late Lakshman Kadirgamar once claimed in Parliament, was founded by a “dedicated group of principled men” – has been in the forefront of Sri Lankan (and Tamil) politics. It has come to play a dominant role in the writing of different chapters of Sri Lanka’s post-independence political story. The recent speech delivered by Mr. R. Sampanthan at the 14th Annual ITAK Convention (May, 2012) marks the opening of a new chapter, more..