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Police gets tough over abuse of women and children

June 3 (SO) The Police Department has launched a program to curb the incidence of violence against women and children by setting up 43 branches of the Women and Children’s Bureau at police divisions and a single unit at every police station to investigate complaints of abuse against women and children, police Media spokesman Ajith Rohana said. He said the move to set up more branches with women police officers for investigations was due to the increase in the number of more..

CPC unions against fuel price hike

June 3 (SL) The Govt’s decision to approve Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) to increase the price of diesel has raised eyebrows among employees of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). Secretary of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, Ananda Palitha questioned on what basis the govt allowed LIOC to increase the price of diesel when there was no urgency for a price hike as the world prices have come down sharply since end April. “Apart from the decline in world market petroleum prices, the govt has waved off all taxes from LIOC since 2008. more..

Moves to ban IUSF

June 3 (SL) The govt is considering banning the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF), the High Education Ministry said. The Inter University Students Federation is a student union body which campaigns for the rights of University Students. However the Education Ministry says the IUSF has also been accused of instigating student violence, ragging and other un-democratic acts. Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne more..

'Independence of the judiciary — a pressing need for Sri Lanka'

June 3 (Island) On an invitation by the President of the Sri Lanka Bar Association, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe PC, the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Vietnam, Ha Hung Cuong with a six-member delegation paid a visit to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, recently. An official discussion was held at the Bar Association auditorium where the judicial systems of the two countries were discussed at length. Rajapakshe pointed out the pressing need for the more..

Pakistan aim to square series

June 3 (CI) Pakistan landed in Sri Lanka with a new captain and a new coaching set-up. But then some old problems returned to trouble them. In the tour opener, the Pakistan batsmen squandered a good opportunity to take a lead in the two-match series. On Sunday, they can at best aim to square the series. Pakistan have enough ability and experience in their ranks to bounce back and level the series. For that to happen though, the batsmen will need to play a tighter game and more..

WB approves US$ 4 B loan

June 3 (CT) Sri Lanka will receive US$ 4 billion as loans from the World Bank, spread out over the next four years, a spokesperson for the Bank’s office in Colombo said yesterday. The island would be eligible for loans up to US$ 500 per year over the next four years, and the money would be evenly spread out between the education, health and infrastructure sectors. Sri Lanka has so far been eligible for loans up to US$ 300 per year under the World Bank’s more..

BOI professionals reject Treasury criticism

June 3 (Island) Many an eye brow has been raised over recent criticism of the BOI, particularly its failure to attract foreign direct investment. An angry executive said: "The Treasury statement on lack of FDI states that the BOI lacks professionalism in fulfilling the task of attracting FDI. This is a severe and most unfair indictment on the many young men and women who work for the BOI. "The BOI has a set of professionals who have acquired the highest the highest qualifications from the best of universities, more..

Legal action against Provincial Minister

June 3 (CT) Minister of Agriculture in the Eastern Provincial Council, Thuraiyappa Navaratnaraja who has been accused of accepting bribes amounting to Rs.3.7 million was released on cash bail of Rs 200,000 when he surrendered before the Akkaraipattu Magistrate T. Saravanaraja, on Friday. The Akkaraipattu Magistrate had issued a warrant on Navaratnaraja following the bribery charges against him. According to the complainants, the Minister and some of his coordinators have accepted bribes ranging from more..

Golden Key scam: Hundreds of depositors file affidavits seeking justice

June 3 (Island) In a dramatic development, hundreds of distraught Golden Key (GK) depositors thronged the Supreme Court complex last week to file affidavits seeking relief which, they complained, still remains largely elusive in the continuing protracted battle for justice, notwithstanding a plethora of "repayment plans", pledges and undertakings by the directors of this collapsed Ceylinco subsidiary. more..

UNP rebels willing to consider common opposition

June 3 (SL) The rebel group of the opposition UNP says it is willing to consider supporting a common opposition which will include former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara said that the UNP as a party should support such a common opposition but the final decision lies with the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. He noted that what is important is not what an individual thinks but rather what matters for the country and its future. more..

Body identified: Bodyguard of Tiger political wing man

June 3 (ST) The body found outside a leading school in Bambalapitiya, Colombo 4 on Friday has been identified as of the one time bodyguard of former LTTE Batticaloa political wing leader Kaushalyan. The victim was identified as Kanapathipillai Udayakanthan, 38, a resident of Kallaru, Batticaloa. He was identified by his father. He served as the body guard of Kaushalyan in the 2000 – 2004 period and thereafter fled to Britain and settled down there with his family there. more..

TNA fires salvo for self-determination

June 3 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa interrupted a four-day visit to Thailand to return to Colombo on Friday morning. He left for Bangkok the same evening after taking part in two main engagements. One was the wedding of Minister Arumugam Thondaman's daughter Nachiyar at the Water's Edge in Battaramulla. Some 900 guests, including cabinet ministers and leading opposition personalities, were among those present. The weekly cabinet meeting on more..

Dr. JJ wants Pope to take appropriate action to get full pardon to SF

June 3 (Island) Senior UNP MP, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena has thanked His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for accepting his appeal on behalf of General Sarath Fonseka personally and taking necessary steps. The UNP has requested publicly that Fonseka should be given a full pardon with all civil and political rights. He should also be given his due professional status with full pension and all the privileges and benefits as a retired Army Commander if Sri Lanka, he says more..

Regulations to ban 'education shops'

June 3 (SO) Minister S.B. Dissanayake called upon children to seek higher education only in educational institutions which maintain high standards and not in ordinary 'education shops' that have mushroomed all over the country. He said some educational institutions are operated by highly unqualified persons and children should be aware of the suitability of such educational institutions, which are run by non-sector entrepreneurs. He that the Govt will bring regulations to prohibit the operation of 'education shops' for the sake of more..

Sri Lanka expropriated factories to new investors

June 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka has given a series of defunct factories which were expropriated from foreign and local investors in November last year to new investors, with compensation also promised, a finance ministry report said. The finance ministry said a compensation tribunal was tasked with paying claims within six months of their receipt and they could go to 'Court of Appeal.' The factories have been built on leased land given by the state more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

June 3 (ST) British High Commissioner, John Rankin hosted a reception at Westminister House, his official residence, on Thursday night to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Nominated to represent the Govt officially, as is the practice now, was Industries and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiuddin. It was his honour to propose the toast. He did so to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. And then, continuing to read from a prepared text; Sri Lanka's more..

PC Elections: UNP imposes conditions on govt

June 3 (NS) Noting there was media speculation that the Eastern, North-Central, and North Western Provincial Councils would be dissolved at the beginning of June, with elections to be held in September, the UNP has set two conditions for the govt to ensure that it holds free and fair elections, according to UNP Chief Opposition Whip, John Amaratunga. He said, “We ask the govt to establish independent commissions including more..

Defence Ministry, Central Bank warned of Flame attack

June 3 (ST) The Defence Ministry and the Central Bank are among some 200 state institutions which have been warned of a computer virus capable of illegally extracting information from data bases, a top official said yesterday. The warning has been given by the Computer Emergency Readiness Team Coordination Centre (CERT) which is the key institution for cyber security in the country. more..

Questions on propriety of Gamage’s reference to CJ at diplomatic lunch

June 3 (Island) The reversed deal between Sri Lanka’s premier savings bank, the National Savings Bank and The Finance Company PLC continues to affect the govt with the UNP raising the issue at a recent luncheon meeting at the Norwegian ambassador’s residence in Colombo. UNP National Organizer, Daya Gamage told the gathering that the former Chairman of the NSB, Pradeep Kariyawasam, more..

Duminda to return next month

June 3 (SL) Govt MP Duminda Silva is scheduled to return to Sri Lanka next month, his coordinating secretary said. A. Hewavithrana said that Silva is expected to return on July 15 and will later resume his political career. Silva is a key suspect in the assassination of former Presidential Advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. Hewavithrana said that Silva, who is in Singapore, underwent a successful operation on May 19 and his medical condition has improved. more..

IMF team coming as money markets are shaken

June 3 (ST) A delegation from the International Monetary Fund is due in Colombo tomorrow for a final review and subsequent disbursement of $420 million under the $2.6 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA), officials said. This is the final instalment due to Sri Lanka under this programme. The delegation will not be led by Dr. Brian Atken, Sri Lanka mission leader for many years, as he has been replaced by a new team leader more..

GMOA rocked by vote rigging allegations

June 3 (Island) With its annual election around the corner, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) has come under a scathing attack by a section of its membership over allegations that 10,000 postal ballot applications have been printed in excess of the required quantum in a move perceived as an attempt to rig the forthcoming poll. It has come as a shock to discover postal ballot applications in free circulation in many govt hospitals when more..

Star hotel near BIA, China frontrunner

June 3 (ST) The Govt has decided to build a luxury hotel near the Bandaranaike International Airport. The frontrunner identified to undertake the construction project on a build-operate-and transfer basis is the China Harbour Corporation. The second is Quant International Ltd, a British firm and Finco Ltd, a Sri Lankan company. They have been listed in that order by the Airport and Aviation Services Limited (AASL). In January, the Cabinet directed that the project be undertaken through the funds of the AASL. more..

No US concessions yet, despite slash in oil imports from Iran

June 3 (ST) The United States is yet to grant any concessions to Sri Lanka on fuel imports from Iran, despite a significant reduction of purchases from that country.“We are encouraged by the steps that Sri Lanka has taken, but no final decision has yet been made by the administration,” a US embassy spokesman said. He said External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris who met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late last month had explained Sri Lanka’s efforts to reduce more..

Debt to be converted to equity

June 3 (SL) Galadari Hotels (Lanka) PLC which had accumulated losses of Rs. 9 billion in the financial year ended December 31, 2010 (financials for 2011 are not yet out), has won the backing of the share holders to convert its debt into equity. The solution to this effect was approved by share holders at the Special General Meeting held on Tuesday. As per its 2010 Annual Report, its loans and borrowings totalled Rs. 6.1 billion, with most of it owed to the two founder more..

Action plan on dealing with disasters

June 3 (SL) A report, on what kind of action should be taken in the event of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis, is to be submitted to Disaster Management Minister, Mahinda Amaraweera, by next week. The Minister said that a workshop had been conducted on Thursday to create awareness and initiate discussions among a number of officials, on these issues. “We can’t say when an earthquake or a tsunami could occur, but we need to be prepared. more..

'US want to take over Sri Lanka'

June 3 (DM) Minister Wimal Weerawansa alleges that the United States wants to take over the country and is lining up with separatist forces in order to achieve its goal. “The geographic location of Sri Lanka and its natural resources are vital for American interest and due to this factor, the Americans have sided with separatist organizations that want to de stabilize this country and then take it over” he said. Addressing an event in Marawila more..

'US want to take over Sri Lanka'

June 3 (CT) The Examination Department has requested candidates sitting for their G.C.E. A/L exam this year to have their National Identity Cards ready well before the exam. The Examination Department says that facilities have been provided through the school principals for the A/L candidates to have their identity cards processed early. But regrettably there are many incidents reported of candidates who make last minute forays to collect or procure their NICs, more..

Bibile Divisional Secretary arrested

June 3 (CT) The Bibile Divisional Secretary was arrested by the Monaragala police yesterday after he attempted to assault a specialist doctor attached to the Monaragala District Hospital under the influence of alcohol. The Monaragala police arrested the suspect subsequent to a complaint lodged by the doctor on Saturday night. Police spokesperson SP Ajith Rohana said the Secretary was released on a personal bail of Rs. 50,000 after he was produced in the Monaragala more..

Keheliya says India aware of LTTE threat

June 3 (CG) The govt says the extension of the ban on the LTTE by India last week shows the Indians are well aware of the threat posed by remnants of the rebels. Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram announced last week that India has extended the ban on the rebels, also known as the LTTE, by another two years. “Militarily on the ground the Tigers are finished after we defeated them three years ago but Tamil Tiger remnants active overseas still more..

Boy injured after stepping on an APM

June 3 (CT) A 14 year old boy was injured in the Chale Chundikulam lagoon area yesterday evening when he had stepped on an Anti Personnel Mine. Speaking to Ceylon Today Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya stated that the incident had occurred around 05.00 pm yesterday in the Thirumannaru area when the boy is believed to have gone to the lagoon for fishing. Brig. Wanigasuriya said that the lagoon and surrounding areas had been cleared of land mines. more..

Twelve PTA prisoners seek presidential pardon

June 3 (SL) ATwelve prisoners serving sentences under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) have written to the President Rajapaksa seeking a pardon, said TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran. He said that he had handed over the letters a week ago to Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunge, and that they were awaiting a response. He also noted that there are many prisoners serving long sentences under the PTA for offences such as failure to give information to more..

Sri Lanka releases more rehabilitated LTTE recruits

June 3 (PTI) A batch of 75 former LTTE cadres rehabilitated by the Sri Lankan government has been released, leaving only 700 detainees in reformation camps in the country. “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,” A Dissanayake, the secretary to the ministry of rehabilitation and prison reforms said. more..

Govt. to finalize Colombo-Kandy highway in two months

June 3 (SL) The govt says the construction of the planned Colombo-Kandy highway would be finalized in two months. Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said the govt is currently studying expressions of interest (EoIs) for the 98 kilometer Colombo-Kandy Highway. He observed that the first phase of the Colombo-Kandy highway project would be between Kadawatha and Mirigama and the trace up to Mirigama on the has been cleared. He explained that the entire highway more..

UK high commission to monitor returnees

June 3 (SL) The British High Commission has said that they will be keeping an eye on what happens to the failed asylum seekers who were deported to Sri Lanka from the UK last week. The 36 deportees, most of them Tamil, arrived on Friday, amidst concerns raised regarding the safety of these people after their return to the island. When contacted for a comment, a spokesperson for the British High Commission said that “As per standard practice, more..

JHU slams move to keep monks away from parliament

June 3 (SL) Leader of the JHU MP Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thero has called for a public debate on moves to keep religious figures from contesting for lected political office. Following the tabling of a private bill amending to the constitution to prevent clergy from all religions entering parliament, by the UNP Colombo District MP Wijedasa Rajapaksa, Omalpe Sobitha Thero said that it was a hidden agenda of LTTE sympathisers. more..

Sharjah Police arrest Sri Lankan gang of burglars

June 3 (E24|7) Sharjah Police has arrested a gang of youths and two girls from Sri Lanka who burgled houses of gold jewellery worth Dh220,000 and other valuable things like mobile phones and watches. The gang had sold the gold jewellery to a shop for Dh48,000. It had also sent part of the gold jewellery and other valuables to their home country through official channels. The gang members were caught why trying to obtain fake passports to enable them to leave the country. more..

Kahawatte murder: Police await govt analyst’s report

June 3 (SL) The police are waiting the govt Analyst’s report to conduct further investigations into the death of the two women at Kotakethana, Warapitiya in Kahawatte. Police Media Spokesperson SP Ajitha Rohana said that once the Govt Analyst submits his report to the Magistrate, the necessary action would be taken according to the findings. “We have not received any clue of foul play but considering the fact what has happened in Kahawatte over the past three years, more..

Sri Lanka to be on alert for quakes

June 3 (CG) Sri Lanka is to be on alert for an earthquake or a massive earth tremor following two tremors being experienced within the space of one week recently. A meeting was held last Thursday between Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera and other officials on the measures that need to be taken in the event of a natural disaster. The Minister is expected to obtain a report this week and an action plan will then be put in place to more..

Govt. welcomes Indian ban on LTTE

June 3 (SL) The Indian govt’s move to extend the ban on the LTTE by another two years has been welcomed by the Sri Lankan govt, Cabinet Spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella said. According to Rambukwella, the Indian govt is well aware as to how LTTE sympathizers could re-group on Indian soil particularly in Tamil Nadu as a rear base. “They know very well what the repercussions would be in the event the LTTE remnant cadres re-group in India. It was these same cadres that killed more..