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Immigration computers crashed and restored

June 2 (CT) The computer systems of the Department of Immigration and Emigration have now being brought back online, and passports are being processed normally. A network failure of the computer system of the Department of Immigration and Emigration resulted the processing of passports to a standstill, sources from the Bandaranaike International Airport confirmed. The source said that the issue, which started at around 2:30pm, was rectified within an hour. more..

Over 90 kilograms of cannabis seized

June 2 (CG) The Navy seized 92 kilograms of “Kerala Ganja” in Kalpitiya and arrested three suspects, the Navy media unit said. According to the navy, officers attached to SLNS Vijaya of the North-western Naval Command arrested the suspects while they were attempting to smuggle the “Kerala Ganja” at Uchchimuni in Kalpitiya early this morning. A Fiber Glass Dinghy fitted with a 25 Horse Power OBM used for the act was also taken into naval custody. more..

Saudis warned against recruiting Lankan maids

June 2 (SG) A recruitment source in Sri Lanka has warned that some Sri Lankan brokers may take advantage of the fact that many Saudis seek the services of Sri Lankan housemaids by encouraging them to run away from their Saudi employers after a certain period of time. The source who spoke on condition of anonymity warned Saudis to not recruit maids from Sri Lanka until they are offered better legal protection. more..

EPF explains arrears crediting process

June 2 (LBO) Employees' Provident Fund, a retirement fund of private citizens managed by the state, has explained how overdue contributions from employers are credited to member accounts. The statement was in reference to reports that 3.4 billion rupees, recovered from employers by Sri Lanka's Commissioner of Labour has not been credit to member accounts. The EPF said when money is collected from employers through legal action, courts may give time from more..

Canada minister ‘disappointed’ international cricketers unpaid

June 2 (LR) Canadian Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal expressed disappointment over unpaid match fees for some of the world’s top cricketers following an All Star T20 match at the Rogers Centre last month. On May 6, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported cricketers were left stranded at their hotel with the rooms and match fees unpaid. Some of the cricketers had spent their own money to fly to Canada returned home empty handed. more..

Special police probe on murder

June 2 (CG) Two police teams had been deployed to investigate the murder of a Tamil man in Colombo last night. The police suspect a job agency was behind the murder of the man whose body was found in Bambalapitiya. The 37 year old victim had visited the job agency in Wellawatte last night to seek a reimbursement of the money he had paid to be sent to Britain. He had paid over Rs. 1 million to the agency to be sent to Britain for employment but more..

Lanka readying for any N-mishap with early warning

June 2 (PTI) Lanka readying for any N-mishap with early warning detectors Colombo: Sri Lanka's Atomic Energy Authority is bracing itself for any possible disaster after the Kudankulam nuclear power station becomes operational and setting up eight early warning detectors along the coastal areas, officials said on Saturday. Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu "is set to be commissioned in a couple of months. This is the closest to us with just 200 kms away," more..

Egypt's Mubarak sentenced to life in prison

June 2 (Reuters) An Egyptian judge convicted former president Hosni Mubarak of complicity in the killings of protesters during the uprising that ended his 30-year rule and sentenced him on Saturday to life in prison. It was the first time a deposed Arab leader had faced an ordinary court in person since a wave of uprisings shook the Arab world last year, sweeping away four entrenched rulers. The ruling came at a politically fraught time for Egypt, two weeks before a runoff in its first free presidential election more..

Sri Lanka scales down army presence in city

June 2 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka on Saturday withdrew most of its troops from the capital citing improved security conditions, three years after a war with Tamil Tiger rebels had ended. Militray spokesman Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that soldiers will remain only at a few selected locations in Colombo. "We removed most of the army checkposts in the city on Saturday and handed it over to the police. This is as a result of the continuing improvements more..

'Mihindu Seth Medura' celebrate a year of noble service

June 2 (GDI) 'Mihindu Seth Medura', a healing home for war heroes celebrated its 1st Anniversary of noble service rendered to brave men of armed forces who were maimed in the face of terror. Overnight pirith chanting ceremony was held to invoke blessing to war heroes being treated in this healing home on yesterday. Chief incumbent of Bellanvila Rajamaha Viharaya Venerable Dr. Bellanvila Wimalarathana Tero conducted a sermon for everyone who participated at the event. more..

Sacked coach Marsh thanks Sri Lankan fans for their support

June 2 (IC) Geoff Marsh, who has initiated legal proceedings against Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) over his sacking, said that he was grateful for the overwhelming support he has received from Sri Lankan fans. The Australian signed a two year contract with SLC last September but was sacked as head coach three months later. It was reported last month that Marsh had sent a letter of demand to SLC over the termination of his contract, which was confirmed by SLC president more..

Sri Lanka to merge expropriated sugar firms

June 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka is planning to merge Sevenagala Sugar and Pelwatte Sugar Industries two sugar mills expropriated from citizens, into a single state-run entity, a finance ministry report said. The two sugar mills will be "fully owned/ administered by the Govt, while ensuring employee continuity, and payment of compensation to third party stakeholders," Sri Lanka's finance ministry said in its annual report. more..

Sri Lanka releases more rehabilitated LTTE recruits

June 2 (PTI) A batch of 75 former LTTE members rehabilitated by the govt were today released to their families in Vavuniya today. "Out of the 12,000 sent for rehabilitation we have already released 11,000. Around 700 only remain to be released from four rehabilitation centres. "There are also another 600 suspects in custody who would be sent for rehabilitation", A Dissanayake, the secretary to the ministry of rehabilitation and prison reforms said. more..

S'pore committed to assisting Sri Lanka in reconstruction: Shanmugam

June 2 (CNA) Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam says Singapore is committed to strengthening bilateral ties and assisting Sri Lanka as it embarks on reconstruction and genuine national reconciliation. Mr Shanmugam said this when he met Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday, on the third and final day of his official visit to the country. Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that during their meeting, more..

'Some nations preach but don't practice'

June 2 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that in today’s world certain nations and groups have endeavoured to preach and lord over others by virtue of their given labels, such as super power, regional power, economic power etc. “The superiority of one individual or a group of people or community, therefore, is not through a particular divine right or by virtue of their birth, but by their actions. The manner in which one group conducts itself will more..

Editorial: Respect rights of sovereign nations

June 3 (SO) Sri Lanka's foreign policy took a new turn after President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office in November 2005. While strengthening cordial relations with other countries, Sri Lanka maintains diplomatic ties and has won new friends in the international arena. The 2006-2009 battle against LTTE terrorism helped Sri Lanka to realise her true friends. In point of fact, there were only a handful of countries which sincerely supported Sri Lanka during more..

Editorial: Three wasted years of peace

June 3 (SL) This country’s history is repeating itself with deadly accuracy. Last week Gotabaya Rajapaksa reiterated what Sinhalese leaders have been saying since the parting of ways with the Tamils in 1958. In an interview with the BBC on Monday Rajapaksa was asked about ‘a recent local govt reshuffle in the north which has seen some senior Tamil officials replaced by Sinhalese personnel’. His reply had been: “Earlier before the war all were Sinhalese, just as more..

'Motto should be, country before self'

June 3 (SO) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said it is unfortunate that some of our cricketers and rugby players only play for money forgetting their country. They don’t put the country before self. However, these cricketers and rugby players should be aware that they could earn money as they play for the country. He said it is unfortunate those who have come into the limelight because of the country today do freelance and play for money more..

Editorial: From Here to ‘Houla’

June 3 (NS) Those who are tagged ‘World Leaders’ are those who have two things: money and power. Those who have intellect and have contributed to the alleviation of disease or have made life easier are called scientists. Those who hone sensitivities are called artistes. World leaders call the shots. The others are peripheral to history or rather historiography. We live in times where world leaders preach democracy, peace and justice. We live in times where these same benefactors of humankind and prophets of decency more..

Editorial: Sampanthan’s deft throwing down of a gauntlet

June 3 (LB) We carry elsewhere in this newspaper excerpts from the text of the speech made by ITAK leader R. Sampanthan at the ITAK annual sessions in Batticoloa. Now, this was one speech that upped the ante, as the reader is bound to agree after perusing the facts. In short, as has been analyzed also in other articles elsewhere in these pages, Sampanthan basically stated that his party’s goal is for secession, without voicing that thought in so many words. more..

'It’s not that we want a separate state, just that govt. did not deliver'

June 3 (LB) TNA leader R Sampanthan has been headlong in controversy since he made a speech at the 14th national convention of the ITAK, which many interpreted as a defence of the LTTE armed struggle, a call for a separate state and international interference. He clarifies his position re the issues mentioned as well as the possibility of participating in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), and his desire to find more..

Editorial: No chess, please!

June 3 (Island) Ambassador Dayan Jayatillake in Paris, a trenchant commentator of politics in his homeland notwithstanding his diplomatic constraints and responsibilities, had extracted a loaded quotation from the recent speech of Mr. R. Sampanthan, the leader of the ITAK at its recent 14th annual convention. Jayatillake quotes Sampanthan saying "…the current practices of the international community may give us an opportunity to achieve, without the loss of life, more..

Editorial: Sampanthan on road to secession

June 3 (ST) There were rumblings within the Federal Party, a constituent partner of the TNA with 'hawks' driven by sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, and the more sober 'doves'. The FP and TNA leader R. Sampanthan could fall into the latter category. Only a month ago, on May Day, he won plaudits from a vast majority of people for waving the Sri Lankan national flag with the Opposition Leader. But his convention address in Batticaloa last weekend was deeply unsettling. more..

'Politics based on ethnicity bad for a country'

June 3 (NS) In an interview to The Nation, former MP and JVP politburo member KD Lalkantha says no more opportunities for common oppositions as no one lead such a process. He reiterated that former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s candidature was on temporary process and further said he or the UNP leader is not strong enough to lead a common opposition. Former Anuradhapura district MP who is also the President of the National Trade Union Centre says more..

Rankin - Mind your language

June 3 (NS) Comments made by British High Commissioner John Rankin caused uproar this week resulting in the envoy being summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs by Minister G.L. Peiris and being told to mind his language. The controversy erupted after Rankin said, in comments posted on the British High Commission website that Sri Lanka should scale down its military presence in the North and East, days after President Mahinda Rajapaksa had explained why that could not be done. more..

Sabaragamuwa to poll first

June 3 (NS) The SLFP Central Committee met at Temple Trees last Monday with President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the chair. One of the main topics that engaged the attention of the members at this meeting was a letter of explanation sent by Minister Mervin Silva to SLFP General Secretary Maitripala Sirisena. Minister Sirisena had called for Mervin Silva’s explanation in connection with a threat reported to have been made by the latter at a public meeting to break the limbs of journalists. more..

Views over TNA’s split

June 3 (NS) ITAK – a leading party in the TNA had its 14th convention recently. ITAK’s leader, R. Sampanthan’s decision to offer the ITAK membership to some TNA MPs and making new designations had created a rift inside the TNA. Some guess that the TNA would go into pieces under the new situation. While, TNA MPs making different statements over the issue, The Nation spoke to a cross section of individuals in various circles for their views over the issue. more..

Sri Lankan egg on British Govt’s face

June 3 (Island) Another planeload of failed Sri Lankan political asylum seekers from Britain touched down in Sri Lanka last Friday, but about half of those meant to be on that plane were given a dramatic last minute reprieve on a judicial order. As Channel 4 reported the incident, one deportee was already on the plane when he was taken out and some others had been on buses on their way to the airport when they received the reprieve. This last minute reprieve places more..

Minorities, majorities none of which want to budge

June 3 (LB) Chelvanayakam – the founder of the current rabid incarnation of Tamil nationalism once said, ‘little now more later.’ He meant that the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam pact etc., would always be stepping stones for the ultimate goal of a separate Tamil state. R. Sampanthan, the Tamil leader who follows the Chelvanayakam dogma to a letter and has called him the father of Tamil nationalism, this week in the speech he made more..

Chief cricket selector warns of bad light

June 3 (ST) When a tree gets old it begins to wither. Is this happening to Sri Lanka Cricket? In the first hundred years of cricket’s existence, Sri Lanka, although smaller in size in comparison to the bigger cricketing nations, grew in tandem and so much so within fifteen years of getting full status, the country’s national team had won the Cricket World Cup. Yet, now even the cricket’s chief selector Asantha de Mel is more..

Govt. forced to rethink relations with India

June 3 (SL) Neighboring India will once again become a key player in monitoring Sri Lanka’s post war progress among the international community come November, forcing the Sri Lankan govt to now think twice about its recent actions towards India. The Mahinda Rajapaksa govt, although weary of Indian support in facing issues of accountability, human rights and reconciliation in post war Sri Lanka in front of the international community, is also hopeful that it more..

Will Thisara’s promise as an all-rounder be fulfilled?

June 3 (Island) On Friday at Hambantota the burly Thisara Perera made his comeback to the national side having missed the Asia Cup due to injury and there were runs, wickets and an outstanding catch to his credit as Sri Lanka defended a modest target of 133 to go one up in the two-match series. Like he did on his debut at the age of 20 in Calcutta smashing 31 runs off 14 balls, Thisara has come up with some cameos over the last three years. A couple of noteworthy knocks more..

EPF has 8.43 % stake in loss-making TFC

June 3 (ST) Questions continue to be raised by the public on the soundness of The Finance Company (TFC) and why the state-owned National Savings Bank (NSB) decided to buy shares in the loss-making company after TFC's results released this week showed a Rs 196.7 million loss in the last financial year ending March 31, 2012, analysts said. The report also showed that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has an 8.43% stake in the TFC. more..

Madhubhashini wins 2011 Gratiaen Prize

June 3 (Island) The Gratiaen Prize for 2011 for the best work of creative writing in English was awarded to Madhubhashini Disanayaka-Ratnayake on 26 May, at Park Street Mews, Colombo, while Malinda Seneviratne received the H.A.I.Goonetileke Prize for Translation. The former won it for the unpublished novel "There’s Something I Have to Tell You" and the latter for the unpublished manuscript "The Hunter in the Wilderness" which is a translation of Simon Navagattegama’s Sansaranyaye Dadayakkaraya. more..

A ride through the 'Gateway to Miracle'

June 3 (CI) A foundation stone calls it a “Gateway to Miracle”. Quite often, the quality of roads and highways is seen as an indicator of a nation’s development. If that yardstick is applied to Sri Lanka as well, then the Southern Expressway has given everyone a good reason to brag. And why not? The swanky highway makes it possible to zoom from Colombo to Galle in just one hour, perhaps even sooner, if you’ve got the right wheels. It siphons off at least two and a half hours more..

SLFP disgruntled over Mervyn’s discharge

June 3 (LB) Many ministers and MPs speaking to LAKBIMAnEWS expressed their displeasure over Minister Mervyn Silva being exonerated in the SLFP disciplinary inquiry over statements that he had purportedly made in Kelaniya, recently. They said, “This minister has humiliated the president and the govt several times over a period of time. We have to maintain party discipline. Otherwise we are sure to incur public wrath which can ruin our govt.” more..

Maharoof appointment mangles the rules, say UPFA members

June 3 (LB) Several UPFA members in the Western Provincial Council (WPC) have expressed their displeasure to President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the recent move to appoint Mohammed Maharoof as the new opposition leader of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), thereby, they say, flouting party regulations. WPC UPFA members have pointed out that hitherto the practice has been to appoint the person who has obtained the highest number of preferentail votes to the post, and more..

Man believed to be dead in ‘04 turns up at his mother’s

June 3 (LB) The reapperance of a person who was thought to have been dead or disappeared in the aftermath of the tsunami tragedy back in 2004, made the headlines last week. Identified as Dahanayake Kumara, he was believed to have died in the tsunami. Kumara had been arrested by the Akuressa police in 2004 and remanded for the possession of a hand grenade before escaping custody when the tsunami detroyed the prison. He was 20 years old at the time. more..

War-displaced landowners can claim property

June 3 (ST) Absentee land and property owners in the once war-ravaged north and east will be able to reclaim ownership under a new law, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said yesterday. There will be an independent mechanism to settle disputes connected with land and property, he told the Sunday Times. In terms of existing laws, he said, a person holding uninterrupted “adverse” possession for ten years is entitled to ownership. more..