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SL seeks enhanced defence training from US, India

June 4 (Island) The US and India have responded positively to a request made by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa for enhanced training opportunities for capacity building of defence personnel in their institutes of repute. On the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue, Sri Lanka’s delegation led by Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa met General Martin Dempsey, more..

Countries in region should join to battle violence against children

June 4 (Island) The countries in the South Asian region should work together to overcome violence against children, Child Development and Women’s Affairs Minister Tissa Karaliyadda said. Addressing the South Asia follow up regional consultation, on the UN study on violence against children, on Monday (28) at the Colombo Taj, Karaliyadda said that the Action plans and strategies adopted to create awareness among the communities in general had not been as effective as they should have been. more..

Bilingual services at divisional secretariats

June 4 (Island) Minister of National Languages and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara says that bilingual relief counters will be established in 76 divisional secretariats islandwide. The Minister said that these bilingual relief counters are established in the divisional secretariats where both Sinhala and Tamil speaking People live. Already, the bilingual relief counters have been set up in 14 divisional secretariats. The project will be implemented in 46 divisional secretariats in the first stage. more..

FMM hides 40 million fraud

June 4 (SL) Corruption is rampant in this country. But, even as we point fingers at this regime as we have done with each successive govt it is only right we look inwards and examine our own backyard. We don’t need to look far. The Free Media Movement priding itself on being a non-partisan independent group of journalists, newspaper editors and media personalities who are committed to freedom of expression, opinion and information stand guilty of hiding a forty more..

Same Gallup says: Lankan President best, but Lanka has ‘suffering’ people!

June 4 (LB) An international social and economic analysis organization – Gallup, in one of its latest polls found ‘more Sri Lankans suffering since the war ended’ and that ‘about one-half of Sri Lankans lacked money for necessary food and shelter.’ The findings in fact, say ‘more Sri Lankans than ever before are struggling to afford the basics.’ Reportedly, ‘the majority of Sri Lankans (53%) said in 2011, more..

No ban on porn websites

June 4 (DM) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) said today that no pornographic websites have been banned in the country, despite numerous claims by officials and a misconceived public notion. OIC NCPA Budhdhika Balachandra said that theTelecommunication Regulatory Commission had not acted in this regard. “We took all relevant steps to ban websites that include pornographic material, and through our efforts we were able to succeed in banning over 300 websites more..

'Jordan labour ministry has no say in domestic helpers’ salaries’

June 4 (JT) The labour ministry on Sunday said it had no authority to intervene after the Sri Lankan embassy reportedly sought to impose minimum salary requirements and financial guarantees on domestic helper recruitment agencies. The ministry’s spokesperson, Haitham Khasawneh, told The Jordan Times that it has no say in determining the salaries of domestic helpers, to which the Kingdom’s minimum wage laws do not more..

Unseaworthy ‘Lanka Mahapola’ for scrapyard while SL crew awaits wages

June 4 (ST) Triple S Shipping, the company to which the country’s sole surviving cargo vessel, the ‘Lanka Mahapola’, was leased in June last year, at US$ 1,000 per day, is in the red Rs. 43 million to Ceylon Shipping Company (CSC), the owner of the ship, maritime officials said yesterday. According to officials, the shipping company is alleged to have bungled the smooth operations of the vessel, by not complying with more..

Angela to return to acting

June 4 (Island) Having lost her job as the secretary to the Saudi ambassador in Colombo following the detection of an abortive attempt to smuggle in hashish by two British nationals in parcels of magazines posted to Colombo in her name, Angela Seneviratne yesterday said that she was planning to return to acting once again. The one-time beauty queen told The Island that she had given up acting to work as the secretary to the Saudi ambassador, more..

Sri Lanka's new port eyes more vehicle transshipment business

June 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka state run ports agency said it was eyeing more international vehicles transshipment business with a new port in Hambantota to start berthing roll-on roll-off car carriers from the first week of June. On June 05, the vessel N4K Ericia will arrive from Japan with 15 vehicles for transshipment and Asian Sun will come on June 06 from Chennai with more than a thousand vehicles for transshipment, more..

MR heads to UK

June 4 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa left for Britain early this morning to take part in Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee celebrations. A delegation of just over 35 members are accompanying the President to London where he will be hosted to lunch with the Queen. Human rights activists have paid particular attention to the invitation of president Rajapaksa, whose regime has come under increased scrutiny over alleged war crimes and disappearances. more..

Piriven Act to be amended to discipline monks?

June 4 (Island) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena yesterday announced plans to amend the Piriven Act to enable enhancement of the Bhikkhu Education in Sri Lanka. He said that the Pirivena education should be opened to the Dasasil Matha (Buddhist women clergy) too. He said that producing a knowledgeable bhikkhu generation would protect the ‘Sambuddha Sasana’ in Sri Lanka and more..

Stabilise exchange rates: MR tells govt.

June 4 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the Cabinet that the government should take measures to stabilise the exchange rates without letting it depreciate further against the US dollar. President Rajapaksa stressed at last week's Cabinet meeting that the exchange rates should be stabilised maintaining at least around Rs. 125 against the US dollar, informed sources said yesterday. Currently, the exchange rate against the US dollar is around Rs.130, and more..

Editorial: The right to life

June 4 (DM) Be it an animal or human, the worth of life does not differ. While sparing and saving lives has been considered a meritorious deed, taking away a life, is considered otherwise. This is the universal religion of mankind, which, if practised properly, can make the world a better place to live in. Many aeons ago, on a day like this, Ven. Arahat Mahinda Thera first appeared before King Devanampiya Tissa in Mihintale, which was then a sanctuary of royal hunters. more..

No control over LIOC price hike

June 4 (CT) The Petroleum Ministry today stated that it has no control over the oil price hikes done by the LIOC. The Ministry issuing a special statement said the Rs 2 price hike announced by the LIOC is solely a decision made by the management of the company. The Petroleum Ministry issued this statement responding to the remarks made by the UNP MP Jayalath Jayawardena saying the government should be ashamed of itself for allowing the LIOC to increase oil prices. more..

Sri Lanka asylum voyage foiled

June 4 (TA) Indian authorities on Sunday intercepted a boat carrying more than 150 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers hoping to make the dangerous ocean passage to Australia before the coming monsoon. The boat was seized by India's coastguard on Sunday night off the coastal town of Kollam in the southern Indian tourist state of Kerala. Kollam's assistant superintendent of police Thomson Jose said authorities were alerted to the vessel after suspicious locals more..

Sohail Tanvir retained for Sri Lanka ODIs

June 4 (CI) Pakistan fast bowler Sohail Tanvir has been retained for the ODIs in Sri Lanka and will replace the injured opening batsman Nasir Jamshed in the squad. Tanvir impressed in the two Twenty20s in Hambantota, bowling economically and taking four wickets. He also picked up the Man-of-the-Series award. On the request of team management, chief selector Iqbal Qasim in consultation with the National Selection Committee has recommended the inclusion of Tanvir in more..

How times change in Sri Lanka, and how they don't

June 4 (CPJ) For a good historical perspective on the abuse of journalists in Sri Lanka, Iqbal Athas, the recipient of a 1994 International Press Freedom Award from CPJ, wrote a center-page spread for the 25th anniversary edition of the Sunday Times, a popular weekly in Colombo. Athas, a critical journalist who specializes in defense issues, works as an associate editor and defense correspondent for the Times. The lede to his article more..

Arul-bomb blast kills boy

June 4 (CT) A 15 year old youth who was critically injured in an accidental Arul-bomb blast this morning, succumbed to his injuries on admission to the Jaffna hospital. The victim, Dharmalingam Ruban had gone to the coast near the Naga Pusani Amman Kovil where his father’s fishing boat had been anchored. His mother stated that Dharmalingam was in the habit of going to the coast in order to collect various objects that had washed ashore. more..

SF and RW will have to liaise

June 5 (CT) Website Verite Research said in a recent report: “Newspapers report that former army commander Sarath Fonseka has already initiated discussions with a view to developing a common political front, adding he is planning to meet with two powerful UNP figures in this regard once he is freed; Lakbima May 20 p1.” It carries the report under the head “Speculation” but I am inclined to call it inevitable, unless SF and RW are both of unsound mind – which is not more..

President Rajapakse a ‘warm’ jubilee welcome

June 5 (CT) Several songs have been composed urging British Tamils to rally together and extend President Rajapakse a ‘warm’ welcome. One is a remix of the popular Tamil song ‘Kolaveri’. Facebook pages and email distribution lists have also been created by activists who have also been twittering and sending thousands of SMS messages. All three Tamil language television channels and Tamil radio stations have been urging British Tamils to come together and demonstrate. more..

'Livelihood facilities, the key to Jaffna's development'

June 5 (SO) Chairman of the COPE D.E.W. Gunasekera visited Jaffna last week to address a two-day seminar attended by the GAs, AGAs and senior public servants from all the five Northern districts. He said that the seminar was a follow-up of the COPE report which had prompted the need to educate all senior public servants on the constitutional requirement of spending public funds appropriately, prudently, economically, more..

The politics of circumvention

June 5 (NS) One of the ironies today is that some of the most vocal champions of the freedom of expression online are themselves guilty of measures taken to severely curtail it. And just after that first sentence, a lot of readers would turn their gaze to whatever is on the right of this column, believing as many do that what’s online is far removed from and largely peripheral to their lives. But increasingly, what is produced for or featured on the web and debated online in Tamil, Sinhala and English will shape policies more..

‘Tamil Tiger terrorism’ - A reply to M.A. Sumanthiran, MP

June 5 (NS) In his recent speech in Parliament reported in ‘Tamil Tiger Terrorism’ in Sri Lanka ‘The Island’ of March 15, Mr. Sumanthiran had stated among other things referring to the publication of a book titled ‘Gota’s War,’ as follows: “ Sir, the subtitle says ‘the crushing of Tamil Tiger Terrorism in Sri Lanka’. It says’ Tamil Tiger Terrorism in Sri Lanka’. Tamil equals Tiger equals terrorist………………. I am talking about the language used. more..

Thorana: Classic example of convergence art

June 5 (NS) In 2009, Liv Valmestad, a librarian at Manitoba University in Canada received a SmartPhone for a three year project which encouraged to use the technology for outreach and to create innovative programs. She created a project through the convergence of media including Google Earth, Flickr, blogging, and QR (Quick Response- QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that look like a maze, predominantly black-on-white) codes. more..

Sampanthan's speech and the reconciliation roadblock

June 5 (ST) Recent developments point to an increasingly intractable situation developing in the ongoing effort towards national reconciliation. The bilateral talks between the govt and the TNA have run aground and the Parliamentary Select Committee mooted by the President as a mechanism to advance a multi party dialogue, is yet to be constituted. There had been signs that the TNA had adopted a more accommodating stance in its dealings with the govt and other parties in more..

Sri Lanka’s fast-track to post-war development

June 5 (GV) Dr Ranil Senanayake is a rare public intellectual in Sri Lanka. He is extremely well informed, analytical, multidisciplinary — and courageous enough to speak his mind on matters of public interest in a land where many academics and professionals choose silence, or grumble privately. In particular, he has been vocal about the indiscriminate use of pesticides and chemical fertiliser in farming; the use of exotic tree species for monocultures in the name of forestry; more..

Mahela explains Kulasekara experiment

June 5 (Island) Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene defended the decision to promote Nuwan Kulasekara to number three during his team’s T-20 loss to Pakistan, at Hambantota, on Sunday. Chasing 123 runs to win to seal the two match series, Kulasekara was sent in at number three at the fall of Kumar Sangakkara’s wicket, with the total on 19 in the fourth over. Kulasekara was dismissed in the same over for a duck after facing four deliveries and more..

Rule of Law has no place for a corrosive mindset

June 5 (Island) Justice is a relative term; it is perhaps realistic to accept that there is no place in this world where the dispensation of justice can be said to be perfect. Yet, granting that the application of the rule of law is always in a deficit position, it is still imperative to ensure that as far as possible justice is not only done but must seem to be done as ‘justifiably’ as possible. Within the parameters - that by definition there will always be a more..

Who shall cast the next stone?

June 5 (Island) General Fonseka is out and free, ‘Hurrah for the Mary, hurrah for the lamb’ he sure is "shouting the battle cry of freedom" in the loudest voice and very rightly so. Of course there will be a hundred fathers who will now look to collect some borrowed credit for making the so-called ‘prodigal son’ walk out of the Welikada jail to life and his loved ones. Yes, we all know the rank has been stripped and his name has been erased from all military records. more..

Some of Asia’s best juniors in the fray for medals at AAC

June 5 (Island) Asian athletics giants China, Japan, Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei have entered strong teams, including some Asian Junior leaders, for the 15th Asian Junior Athletics Championship, which starts at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo, on Saturday. Despite enjoying home advantage, Sri Lanka will face a huge challenge, as they will be meeting some of Asia’s best athletes who are strong enough even to take on the hosts’ senior athletes. more..

Editorial: Govt. barking up the wrong tree

June 5 (Island) The present government's forte seems to be imposing bans. It has reportedly decided to proscribe the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) led by the JVP dissident group. The politically-motivated IUSF, which is responsible for disrupting universities to further its own interests on the pretext of fighting for students' rights, must be kept at bay. But, it is doubtful whether the government's method will help achieve that objective. more..

Professional groups heed Dr. Godahewa’s call; volunteer to support tourism

June 5 (FT) Supporting the rapid growth of tourism in the country, four professional institutions have come forward to link up with Sri Lanka Tourism and conduct voluntary projects aimed at creating awareness about the tourism product among people. Uniting towards the nationalistic cause is the Colombo MBA Alumni Association, Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Sri Lanka branch and Postgraduate Institute of Marketing (PIM) more..

Vehicle carriers coming to Hambantota Port

June 5 (FT) As an effective measure to ease the long berthing delays experienced by Roll on-Roll off vessels at the Port of Colombo, SLPA, with the consultation of shipping lines and importers, recently decided to route all such vessels to the Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MRMR Port) and the first Ro-Ro vessel operation at the port is scheduled to be carried out on 6 June 2012. Accordingly, the vessel N4K Fricia from Japan will call at more..

Kuwaiti Minister of Justice calls on Minister Hakeem

June 5 (FT) Kuwaiti Minister of Justice Jamal AL Ahmad Shihab called on Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in the Kuwait City. Both Ministers discussed matters pertaining to the justice sector in general and agreed to conclude negotiations on three bilateral judicial cooperation agreements. Minister Hakeem invited his counterpart to visit Sri Lanka and sign the agreements. Minister Hakeem, who visited Kuwait as the Special Envoy of President more..

Plans to introduce Environment, National Heritage to curriculum

June 5 (DN) The Education Ministry is planning to introduce Environment and National Heritage to the school curricular in the near future, Minister Bandula Gunawardana said. He was addressing a ceremony at the Central Environment Authority where several children’s books were launched. He said the competition to enter popular schools has placed an undue burden on school children. “There are only 56 popular schools in the country out of 10,000 schools,” more..

Global price movements apart Poor governance wreck CPC, CEB

June 5 (Island) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) made a joint loss of Rs. 113.12 billion in 2011 missing a key combined breakeven target set by the IMF as the dependence on oil grew during the year. While the IMF earlier this year said it was willing to overlook this structural benchmark as the country had no control over world oil prices, the Treasury highlights several governance issues the two institutions need more..

Another wasp attack at Sigiriya takes toll to over 1,000

June 5 (Island) Over one thousand people, a majority of them students, had been attacked by wasps at Sigiriya within the last five months. The number had increased by 18 yesterday afternoon, officials said. They said that 18 persons were stung and hospitalised yesterday afternoon after a swarm of wasps attacked a group. The victims of the latest attack were admitted to Sigiriya and Dambulla Hospitals for treatments. Tourists, both foreign and locals, visiting Sigiriya were attacked by more..

Dust mites on cell phones – Not to worry

June 5 (ST) Dust mites on mobile phones – don’t panic, is the message being reiterated by many health experts. The dust mite is everywhere in tropical countries and causes no harm. It is on pillows, bed-sheets and all over and feeds on dead skin shed by animals and humans, the Sunday Times learns. However, some people may be allergic to the faeces of dust mites which could result in asthma or other allergies, sources said. The focus turned to the dust mite after a more..

People-smugglers set up in Australia, pretending to be refugees

June 5 (TA) People-smugglers who have fraudulently obtained refugee status are operating inside Australia - and the federal govt has been aware of the practice for a long time. ABC's Four Corners revealed last night that senior people-smugglers and their families were among the thousands of asylum-seekers who had arrived by boat in order to continue their lucrative trade from Australia. more..