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Johnny wants some PMB officials probed

Mar 29 (Island) Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trade Johnston Fernando has directed Ministry Secretary Sunil S. Sirisena to conduct an immediate inquiry against certain officers of the Paddy Marketing Board, who provided false information to the ministry and for delaying the purchase of paddy thereby inconveniencing the farmers. He told The Island that he issued the directive to Sirisena yesterday (28) and ordered that a report be submitted immediately. more..

Huge funding for N-E

Mar 29 (DN) The government spent Rs 425 billion for North and East reconstruction from 2006 to 2011. The government has spent a large sum for resettlement, demining, renovate tanks and reconstruction activities in war affected areas since 2006, Economic Development Ministry Additional Secretary Nihal Somaweera said. A large number of tanks in these provinces, including Yoda Wewa, have been renovated while a number of housing projects have also been implemented. more..

Expo highlights growing investor confidence

Mar 29 (AN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa flagged off Sri Lanka’s premier international trade fair “Sri Lanka Expo 2012” in Colombo. More than 370 companies including 70 SMEs are exhibiting at the three-day show. It was organized by the Export Development Board (EDB) under the direct supervision of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. More than 1,400 international trade visitors from 60 countries besides ministers from various nations and foreign media more..

Part of Nuwara Eliya post office for tourism

Mar 29 (Island) Plans are afoot to turn a portion of the age-old Nuwara Eliya Post office into a circuit bungalow, Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga says. He said that the Department had taken steps to convert the upper floor of Nuwara Eliya post office into a place for holidaymakers. According to Department officials, the British Colonial rulers constructed the Victorian-style red-brick building to house the post office in the picturesque hill country city of Nuwara Eliya 116 years ago. more..

'Traffic police should be exemplary'

Mar 29 (CT) IGP N.K Illangakoon said today that the traffic police should display exemplary behaviour while dealing with the public in the conduct of their duties. He made the above remarks at a ceremony held to mark the occasion to distribute certificates and badges to a group of 205 police officers who had successfully completed Junior Traffic management course conducted by Traffic Police Headquarters. He further said the number of deaths due to road accidents have increased more..

Minister irked by Geetha’s caste remark

Mar 29 (CT) Aspersion cast against a Cabinet minister by a district organizer of the UPFA has caused ripples within the party. UPFA Bentara-Elpitiya chief organizer and actress Geetha Kumarasinghe in an interview to a newspaper has made a remark against Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon which he says is ‘an insult’. In the said interview the actress turned politician had referred to the minister as ‘Seeni Minister’ and this has irked the minister more..

Senior Lankan minister visits SLISJ

Mar 29 (AN) Sri Lankan senior minister of urban development and Haj delegation affairs A.H.M. Fawzie and Sri Lankan Ambassador Ahmed A. Jawad visited Sri Lankan International School Jeddah (SLISJ) and inaugurated a fully equipped science laboratory to mark the milestone in the development of the school and community on Tuesday. Sri Lankan Consul General Adambawa Uthumalebbe, President of the Expatriates Society Rafeek, and School Chairman Shahul Hameed Salih were also present. more..

Fifty percent drop in occupancy in Jaffna hotels due to fuel hike

Mar 29 (Island) Jaffna hoteliers complain that their business has dipped by as much as fifty percent due to the recent hike in fuel prices. Veteran hotelier Alvapillai Kathirgamalingam, General Manager, Green Grass Hotel said that their clientele were mainly locals from Colombo and they either drive themselves to the North or hire buses and come in large groups. The average occupancy by a guest is a minimum of two nights and during weekends, there has been an overflow more..

Bandula ready for public debate

Mar 29 (DM) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardene said today said he was ready for a public debate to prove that a family of three could survive with a monthly income of Rs.7500. He told a news conference he would meet anyone with a sound knowledge of economics to disprove what he said. Mr. Gunawardene said his argument was that a small family could survive on Rs.7,500 a month and pointed out that school hostels spend only Rs.2,500 to feed a student for a month. more..

Fashion show by ex-LTTE women highlight of today’s release

Mar 29 (Island) With the re-integration of 384 ex-LTTE combatants, who had been rehabilitated, into civil society as useful citizens who can contribute towards developing their motherland into the wonder of Asia today, the government had successfully re-integrated into civil society 10,490 ex- LTTE combatants, including 2,170 females since the country was liberated from terrorism in May 2009, said Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brigadier Dinesh Hettiarachchi. more..

Over 3,900 students get 9 ‘A’s

Mar 29 (Island) A total of 3,908 students have obtained 9 ‘A’s at the 2011 GCE O/L Exam while 12,795 students had failed all nine subjects, according to the statistics released yesterday by the Department of Examinations. The percentage of students who qualified for the A/L stood at 60.8 this year. Last year the figure was 60.5 per cent. The percentage of students who passed in mathematics had dropped compared to last year. The latest percentage was 55.33 while last year it was 60.38. more..

LTTE wants Sudan-style division in Sri Lanka

Mar 29 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt alleged that post-war national reconciliation would never be a reality as long as Western powers entertained those pursuing a separatist agenda. A senior GoSL spokesman said that since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the Sri Lankan Tamil expatriate community had become the main obstacle to a negotiated settlement. In fact, the TNA, too, had been under the influence of various politically active groups, more..

IGP, other respondents given four weeks to object

Mar 29 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday gave the IGP, the Senior Superintendent of Galle and six officers of the Galle Police station four weeks time to file objections to the fundamental rights violations application filed by DNA Parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga and a few others. The petition said that on August 12, 2010, the DNA and its supporters held a protest rally, in Galle, calling for the release of General Fonseka from remand custody. more..

Beware of the Virus Fever

Mar 29 (GDI) Health Ministry cautions the public on a virus fever spreading over various parts of the country at present. The symptoms of the disease are coughing, influenza, fever and body pain. Deputy Director of the Colombo National Hospital said that a large number of patients are seeking treatment from the Out Patient Department Unit of the National Hospital for this virus fever. The Director of the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital, Colombo Dr. Rathnasiri Hewage said that more..

Cows prompt Thonda to return home!

Mar 29 (Island) Contrary to Tuesday’s news reports that Minister Arumugam Thondaman was resigning, he was expected to be present at the BIA last night to take delivery of 27 cows imported from Australia for his Ministry, top political sources said. Thondaman was expected in Colombo last night from India where he flew on Monday night, having sent to Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, an sms that he wanted to resign. more..

Agro chemicals damage environment, health

Mar 29 (Island) Agro chemicals have already done plenty of harm to environment and become a major cause of many non-communicable diseases, Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute Director Lalith Kantha Jayasekara said. Agriculture mortality rates have remained consistently high throughout the world in the last decade in contrast to other dangerous occupations. Farm workers are at a very high risk of occupational diseases due to more..

Japanese loan package for SL’s development programmes

Mar 29 (DN) The Japanese govt extended the 42nd Yen Loan Package amounting to Yen 42,477 million (Rs 66 billion) to Sri Lanka towards three key projects aimed at facilitating the social and economic development initiatives in the country. The loans under this scheme are offered on highly concessionary terms and conditions and are administered by Japan’s International Cooperation Agency. more..

Maithri challenges disciplinary inquiry while case before Court

Mar 29 (Island) Southern Provincial Councillor Maithri Gunaratne, who has been identified by the Srinath Perera Inquiry Committee, as one of 60 persons allegedly responsible for the stone throwing attack on the UNP headquarters ‘Srikotha’ on December 19 last year, says that a disciplinary inquiry cannot be held while legal action was pending in the High Court. He said that the UNP’s revision application in the High Court, more..

ICC, Lanka Cricket launch T20 ticket sales: SLC pledge 'no corruption this time'

Mar 28 (LB) Ticket sales for the World Cup T20 and Women’s T20 to be staged in Sri Lanka in Sept and Oct this year was launched, with Sri Lanka Cricket officials assuring `no sham this time.’ “The official ticket launch” was held amidst much fanfare at the Galle Face Green. What is visibly a commercial affair, visibly politicized, was the presence of Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage at the launch. more..

Quacks to be prosecuted

Mar 29 (Island) The Health Ministry will come down hard on quacks in the future. Minister Maithripala Sirisena had issued instructions to the National Cosmetic Devices and Drug Authority (NCDDA) to take legal action against quacks in the future. The complaints received by the Health Ministry show that there are over 40,000 quacks in the country. Some have no qualifications at all while others are those who have qualified in other forms of medicine more..

Sri Lanka calls for joint sea patrolling with India

Mar 29 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has called for joint patrolling between the navies of Sri Lanka and India to prevent clashes between fishermen of both countries. Minister Douglas Devananda said that he has already discussed the issue with Sri Lankan fishermen on a disputed island in the north of the country. Fishermen from India often stray into Sri Lankan waters to catch fish near the Kachchaitivu Island resulting in clashes between fishermen from both countries. more..

Sri Lanka police stations to be networked

Mar 28 (Xinhua) All 430 police stations in Sri Lanka are to be linked into one network, a spokesman said on Wednesday. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said the network is to advance the existing police service with current technology. "Once the network is completed all the police stations in the country would be connected to the police headquarters throughout the day," Rohana said. He said the network instead of the existing radio transmission will be greatly helpful in crime detection more..

Treasury Chief proposes stringent measures to slash expenditure

Mar 29 (Island) In the wake of rising fuel bill and the sharp devaluation of the rupee against the US dollar, the Finance Ministry is stepping up pressure on ministries to curb expenditure as part of an overall strategy to tackle the situation. Treasury Chief Dr. P. B. Jayasundera has issued instructions to Secretaries to Ministries, Chief Secretaries of Provincial Councils, all heads of departments, district secretaries and chairmen of Statutory Boards and Corporations. more..

No more secret ballots for UNP

Mar 29 (DM) The UNP has decided do away with the clause in its constitution that the party should elect its office bearers, including its leader, through a secret ballot if there is no consensus among the Working Committee members in this regard, party sources said yesterday. The UNP had amended its constitution to include this clause (8: 1) after it was proposed by the committee appointed to introduce reforms. The proposal followed agitation by a section of the party for what it termed the democratisation of the party. more..

Editorial: Tragedy of many pranksters

Mar 29 (DM) Irrespective of the political ideologies and portfolios, statesmen who respected the fundamentals of good governance, also had a sense of pragmatism and dignity. If not for genuine concern towards people's needs, there was at least an obligation to be sensitive to the voice of people; for such dominant individuals had to depend on the common man's mandate to retain power. Yet, the norm has changed. Like the private radio channels that force rubbish down the ears of people, more..

Sri Lanka workforce of Calzedonia to grow

Mar 29 (LBO) Calzedonia SpA, an Italian lingerie retailer was on track to increase its workforce in Sri Lanka to 12,000 from 9,000 with enhanced capacity, including in a former war zone, an official said. Calzedonia, which owns several brands including Intimissimi and Tezenis now has a network of 3,100 shop in central and eastern Europe said it had entered the country during war time in 1999. Sandro Veronesi, chairman Calzedonia said the group now employed 9,000 people more..

Wikeleaks: Rajapaksas were set on a more authoritarian course

Mar 29 (CT) “In a meeting called by Ambassador to discuss reftel demarche to capitals, chiefs of missions (COMs) in Colombo agreed with the U.S. assessment that the political situation in Sri Lanka had deteriorated after the presidential elections in terms of the Fonseka arrest, intimidation of the media, purges in the military and police, and renewal of Emergency Regulations. They also noted new threats to NGOs and INGOs, particularly more..

Sri Lanka tea prices recover

Mar 29 (LBO) Prices of Sri Lankan tea, especially those grown at low elevations, perked up at this week's auction, giving some relief to producers battered by rising costs and reduced demand in key markets. "The 3.0 million kilos of low grown teas that came under the hammer this week met with excellent demand," brokers John Keells said in a report. It said that at the previous sale, of March 21, 2011, the average price for low grown teas, had risen by as much as 20 rupes a kilo more..

'Protection of free education: Defeat imperialism and capitalist govts'

Mar 29 (LT) The people could gain the rights of education by defeating the imperialism and capitalist Govts simultaneously, said Dambara Amila Thero, who is the convener of the Campaign for Safeguarding Free Education at a seminar held in Kandy yesterday. He accused Bandula-SB duo for reversing the free education of late CWW Kannangara which was opened to the people. He alleged that the education is limited to the rich today. more..

Bahu ready to debate with Bandula

Mar 29 (DM) NLF Leader and Member of the Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Municipal Council Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne had accepted the challenge posed by Minister Bandula Gunawardene for a public debate on the statement which the Minister earlier made that a family of three could survive by spending a maximum amount of Rs 7500 per month. Dr. Karunaratne said that he had already informed Minister about his intention for a public debate and is more..

Lightning kills three in Avissawella

Mar 29 (SL) Three people were killed when lightning struck their home in Awissawella this evening, the police said. Police spokesman SP Ajith Rohana said that two women and a 12 year old child were killed when they were inside their house. All three were pronounced dead on admission to hospital. Meanwhile the department of meteorology said that thundershowers will develop at several places in most parts of the island during the afternoon or evening tomorrow. more..

Sri Lanka shares becalmed

Mar 29 (LBO) Shares were barely changed Thursday with some interest seen in financial services and trading volumes picked up from low levels, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.09 percent to 5,411.79, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.52 percent to close at 4,907.02. Turnover was 1.2 billion rupees. Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings closed at 208.40 rupees, up 3.10 rupees, after hitting a high of 210, while Commercial Bank ended at 99.70, down 30 cents. more..

An increase in O/L maths failures

Mar 29 (DM) More than five per cent of the candidates who sat the GCE O/L exam in December last year have failed in mathematics. According to statistics only 55.3 per cent or 148,940 students had passed in mathematics last year while 60.3 per cent or 269,167 of the students had passed this subject in 2010. Minister Bandulla Gunawardene said that memorizing the periodic tables would be made compulsory for all students. He said Tamil medium students had a better more..

Sri Lanka to sign deal on protection of migrant workers

Mar 29 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka will seal a MoU with Kuwait to protect the rights of migrant workers in the country. "There are 260,000 Sri Lankans employed in Kuwait, of which 75 percent are female workers," said cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. He said the MoU is similar to those already signed with the govts of United Arab, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan on the employment of migrant workers. Half of Sri Lanka's foreign exchange revenue is earned by migrant workers and more..

Sri Lanka checks feasibility of new rail tracks

Mar 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's is studying the building of a new railway track to the east of the country and also extend another rail track to Hambantota in the South, minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said. He said the cabinet had asked the CECB, a state agency to conduct a pre-feasiblity study to build a rail track from Embilipitiya to Batticaloa in the East via Moneragala and Ampara. Another feasibility is being conducted by Moratuwa University on extending an existing track more..

US double standards - Minister

Mar 29 (DM) The govt today accused the US of double standards when dealing with human rights stating that it maintains one policy for Israel and another for Sri Lanka. Acting cabinet spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that the US govt has opposed the UNHRC resolution to send a fact-finding mission to investigate effects of settlements on Palestinian human rights. “The resolution was passed in the UNHRC with 36 out of 47 supporting the more..

Another batch of 384 ex LTTE cadres to be integrated today

Mar 29 (AD) 384 ex-LTTE cadres who had completed their term of rehabilitation will be reintegrated to the society today. With the latest batch, 10,490 ex- LTTE combatants, including 2,170 females have been rehabilitated and reintegrated in to the society since the country was liberated from terrorism in May 2009, said Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brigadier Dinesh Hettiarachchi. The last remaining group of former LTTE cadres will be released by mid-2012 after more..

Legal action on some websites

Mar 29 (SL) The govt is contemplating legal action against some websites which had published defamatory articles on President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that he had submitted a report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday regarding some websites. He said that while newspapers and the electronic media in Sri Lanka can be monitored, it is difficult to do the same on the various websites which publish articles on Sri Lanka. more..

Herath takes twelve in Sri Lanka's victory

Mar 29 (CI) Sri Lanka won their first home Test since the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan in July 2010 as they completed a 75-run victory over England in Galle. Sri Lanka had, until this game, played 17 Tests and won just one since Murali's retirement as the leading Test wicket-taker. Having set England a mammoth 340 to win, Sri Lanka endured a few nervous moments as Jonathan Trott, in particular, batted with great fortitude. more..

Lack of runs 'frustrating' - Strauss

Mar 29 (CI) Andrew Strauss retains the belief he can return to being a force in Test cricket despite again failing to convert two starts in Galle as England slumped to a fourth straight defeat. Strauss contributed 26 and 27 in England's two innings during their 75-run loss but insisted he feels in good form. He hasn't scored a Test hundred since Brisbane at the start of the 2010-11 Ashes - now 16 Tests ago - and the pressure has been increased by the manner of his dismissals. more..