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Mahapola schols for over 11,500 students

May 15 (DN) The Mahapola Higher Education Trust Fund has approved the granting of Mahapola higher education scholarships to 10,300 students who had qualified for university entrance and 1,500 students who had qualified to enter other higher educational institutions for the academic year 2010-2011. Minister Johnston Fernando said that 25 students who obtained the highest marks in science, commerce, mathematics and arts at 2010 GCE A/L exam and qualified to pursue higher education but more..

Angulana double murder: Police officer convicts appeal to SC

May 15 (FT) The Supreme Court yesterday listed to be mentioned on 23 July the appeal application filed by four Police officers who had been convicted by the Colombo High Court for a double murder in Angulana. The Colombo High Court at Trial-at-Bar Judges Deepali Wijesundera, W.T.M.P Warawewa and Kumudini Wickremasinghe found guilty and sentenced to death a former Officer-in-Charge of the Angulana Police Station Inspecator T.J Newton, Police Sergeant more..

Five Tamil parties drop ITAK umbrella for TNA

May 15 (Island) The five Tamil Political Parties ITAK, TULF, TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE have agreed, as a matter of policy, to function under the TNA umbrella which is to be registered shortly with the Elections Secretariat, Leader of PLOTE Dharmalingam Siddharthan said. Hitherto, they had contested under Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) which was the breakaway branch of the former Federal Party. Former MP Siddharthan said that they had discussed more..

'One HIV affected person detected daily in Sri Lanka'

May 15 (Island) Director of the AIDS Prevention Campaign and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Dr Nimal Edirisinghe said last week that there were 3,000 HIV infected patients including 52 children in the country and a new case was reported daily. About 250 had so far died of the disease, he said. Addressing the media in Kiribathgoda, Dr. Edirisinghe said that AIDS mainly spread via sexual activity, blood transfusion, intravenous injection of narcotics and infected mothers. more..

SriLankan strengthens services to Middle East

May 15 (GDI) SriLankan Airlines has announced that it would strengthen its operations to the Middle East region. The Chairman of the Sri Lankan Airlines Nishantha Wickremasinghe has told the Arabian Travel Market held in Dubai that the airline which currently flies 47 times a week to nine of the GCC countries in the Middle East, will increase its flights and frequencies to many Middle East countries as there is a substantial increase in the passenger traffic from these destinations. more..

Sri Lanka marks International Nurses' Day

May 15 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said, Sri Lanka stands among the worlds best, when it came to implementing welfare measures to support the economic and social well-being of its citizens. Commenting on the extensive reach of free health care, the President said that even a foreigner could walk into any state run hospital in Sri Lanka and obtain health services free of charge. He said that there is a wide range of state funded welfare programmes in more..

Cricket stars fume, wait to be paid for Toronto event

May 15 (CBC) A group of international cricket players say they are still waiting to get paid after participating in a marquee event in Toronto this past weekend. The event took place at Toronto’s Rogers Centre on Saturday afternoon and saw two teams made up of international players square off against one another. Billed as a way to promote cricket in Canada and Canada to the world of cricket, the 20-overs match featured players from more than a half-dozen countries more..

Unprotected level crossing continue to snuff out lives

May 15 (Island) The recently developed coastal railway is a boon to commuters who could now travel fast in comfort, but it has become a nightmare for those who have to use unprotected level crossings exposing themselves to the danger of being knocked down by fast moving trains. There have been several fatal accidents at these places but no tangible action has so far been taken to put up gates to protect lives, people complain. Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama more..

'India abetted terror in Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s'

May 15 (Hindu) The Indian intelligence agencies had a big hand in planning and executing terrorist strikes in Colombo in the mid-eighties, the President's Secretary Lalith Weeratunga said. Reading from a book, Gota's War, at its launch here, he said the role India played in Sri Lanka needed “intensive discussion.” He described the events described in the book as “home truths.” President Mahinda Rajapaksa was under intense pressure from more..

Re-apply for UK visa

May 15 (CT) Foreign nationals who have been refused a visa for a short visit to see family members in the UK will need to re-apply for a visa rather than launch a lengthy and costly appeal, the British High Commission said in a statement. The UK’s Immigration Minister Damien Green announced that in future the vast majority of applicants would lose the full right to appeal a decision to refuse their family visitor visa in the courts, according to a new bill that was published yesterday. Refused applicants will, however, still be able to appeal on limited grounds of more..

SC issues notice on C’bo Mayor, MC

May 15 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday issued notice, returnable on June 25, 2012, on the Municipal Commissioner of Colombo, Badrani Jayewardene and the Mayor of Colombo, A.J.M. Muzammil requesting them to be present in Court or be represented by a counsel, in respect of a petition filed by a resident of Colombo, Pushpa Sriyani of Borella. The petition said that the Cadre of the CMC, attached to the Solid Waste Management Section, is well equipped to handle the job of Waste Management Section, is well equipped to handle more..

President - Ranil agree on formula to persuade TNA

May 15 (CT) Before the crucial talks between Foreign Minister G.L. Pieris and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in Washington, the Govt held discussions with the UNP yesterday over the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the National Question. The Govt has promised the UNP that it will walk the extra mile to get the TNA to participate in the PSC. The UNP has urged the President to form the PSC with the support of the TNA. more..

GMOA says court order not properly served

May 15 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association Yesterday said that it had not been properly served the Enjoining Order issued by the Colombo District Court. GMOA president Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said the Registrar, of Colombo District Court No 1, had merely telephoned the GMOA head office and informed them that an Enjoining Order had been issued against strikes till May 25. Dr Padeniya said a cardiac patient had petitioned the Court against trade union action. more..

Sri Lanka ranked 21 in A T Kearney global outsourcing report

May 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s fledgling outsourcing business, has scored well in a recent A T Kearney study, which gave high marks for the island’s skilled talent pool and a strong business environment at competitive costs. “Sri Lanka is, in many ways, a hidden gem for outsourcing,” said A T Kearney, a leading global management consultant, which ranked the island 21st among its global services location index. India, with its vast experience and talent pool, topped more..

Sarath Fonseka will be released soon, says Rajapaksa

May 15 (Hindu) Jailed former Army Commander of Sri Lanka Sarath Fonseka, who led the Eelam war IV against the Tamil Tigers and helped win it, is set to be released shortly. “We will release him soon,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa told The Hindu on the sidelines of a function organised to launch a book, Gota's War, here on Monday. Mr. Rajapaksa said the person who tried hard to secure Gen. Fonseka's release, MP Tiran Alles, was out of the country. more..

Phillipines to provide intelligence on possible LTTE links there

May 15 (Island) The Philippines is to provide Sri Lanka with intelligence to combat possible LTTE links to terror groups there. Foreign Minister Neomal Perera told The Island yesterday that the assurance was given by the visiting Deputy Foreign Minister of the Philippines, Erlinda F. Basillio, during bilateral talks in Colombo. Since the LTTE Diaspora might try to exploit terror groups in the Phillippines, nothing was being left to chance, he observed. "We discussed a wide range of issues from intelligence and defence cooperation to more..

Rs. 6.4 bn vehicle registration scam haunts MTD

May 15 (Island) The Auditor General’s Department has unearthed a mega scam at the Motor Traffic Department to the tune of Rs. 6.4 billion involving fraudulent registrations and under-invoicing new vehicles as used vehicles. The state has suffered this colossal loss as new vehicles are registered under old registration numbers to the tune of Rs. 5.5 billion and the govt loses another Rs. 900 million due to fraudulent vehicle registration. Auditor General T.S.A. Samaraweera said more..

Rs.390 mn NSB-TFC deal: Unions sink differences to protect bank

May 15 (Island) Banking sector unions affiliated to major political parties, including the SLFP, have launched a concerted campaign to pressure the govt over the controversial deal under which the country’s premier saving institution, the National Savings Bank recently purchased The Finance Company shares for Rs. 390 mn, which was about 65 per cent above its market price at that time. The unions emphasized that the govt needed to punish all those involved more..

Changes effected to leadership programme for university entrants

May 15 (Island) The Higher Education Ministry yesterday said that it made several changes in this year’s leadership training programme for university entrants after discussing with freshers who followed last year’s programme, their parents and university teachers. Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne said that this time too it would be held in 24 centres countrywide. "Selected students will be summoned for training through letters next week," more..

Treasure hunters damage historic Devale

May 15 (Island) Treasure hunters have damaged the historic Shiva Devale near the Naipena Viharaya in Polonnaruwa. They have dug a pit, four feet in length and width and about three and half feet deep, inside the Garbha Gruha (small unlit shrine of a Hindu temple) in their search of treasures. The earth dug up had been heaped inside the Devale itself. Archaeological Department officials believe that the treasure hunters had removed a stone slab, known as Yoni Gala, more..

Is Northern militarization a myth, or reality?

May 15 (LB) The TNA continues to criticize the govt charging that the military is interfering in the day-to-day lives of ordinary people in the Northern Province — and that despite the lapse of 3 years since the end of hostilities between security forces and the LTTE, the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime has failed to ensure a normal civilian administration in the Jaffna peninsula. The TNA has alleged that the interference from the military instead of abating has shown a tendency for escalation in the province, more..

Analysts slam conflict of Interest by Ajith Devasurendra

May 15 (SL) The highly controversial purchase by the National Savings Bank (NSB) of 13 percent of The Finance Company (TFC) – a one time member of the infamous Ceylinco Group – has been severely criticized for being unethical and unprofessional and for attempting to place public money at grave risk. At the heart of the controversy is a man whose actions beggars belief. Ajith Devasurendra’s role has been highly criticized by a number of investors who more..

Shareholders furious over lack of disclosure, sale plan of MBSL’s savings subsidiary

May 15 (FT) Minority shareholders and analysts are fuming over MBSL’s failure of proper disclosure, including providing no justification for the sale of its controlling stake in its savings bank subsidiary. Investors said that MBSL in its 2010 Annual Report didn’t even give a hint that it was contemplating a sale of MBSL Savings Bank, but boldly gave assurance that it was being turned around including a return to profitability. In that context, analysts expressed concern that more..

Indian worker’s death: Questions over visas

May 15 (DM) Amid the death of an Indian worker at a Gampaha steel factory, immigration and emigration authorities are asking people to help trace foreigners working in Sri Lanka without valid work permits, officials said yesterday. The Indian man Manas Kumar Mallick had been accidentally electrocuted while working as an assistant fitter at the privately owned steel plant. As fallout of this tragedy, Sri Lankan authorities wonder whether foreigners who arrive here on tourist visas find employment at more..

Historic first-ever maize shipment sails out next week

May 15 (FT) Sri Lanka’s latest export commodity, maize, will see its first shipment taking place next week and the maize exporter has set an ambitious target of 50,000 metric tons by end of 2012. “The Ministry of Industry and Commerce, under which the Sri Lanka Export Development Board functions, has set an ambitious national export target of $ 20 billion by 2020 and we are now looking to further diversify of our exports basket,” more..

Free milk for school children

May 15 (Island) The govt, in a move to increase the nutrition intake amongst malnourished plantation schoolchildren in the Nuwara Eliya district, commenced a programme to provide each student with a glass of fresh milk from yesterday. The pilot project was inaugurated at the Good Shepherd Convent. Each of the 1,406 students, in the school, were provided with a 150-mililitre glass of fresh milk and a boiled egg since yesterday. The programme was inaugurated at by the Deputy Minister Mutthu Sivalingam. more..

'TNA is not for Tamil Ealam'

May 15 (CT) The TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran has stated that the TNA did not stand for Tamil Eelam, and even the Tamils were against it. Sumanthiran addressed a Seminar titled `Creating awareness to win the rights of the Tamils through Democratic means’. The Seminar was organized by the TNA at the `Young Artistes Forum ‘Auditorium in Nallur, Jaffna on Sunday. Sumanthiran in his speech said: The Tamil people did not want a separate Tamil Eelam as a solution to fulfill their political aspirations. more..

Parliament Act soon to regulate International Schools

May 15 (DN) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said a Parliament Act would be brought in soon to regulate all International Schools operating in the country. “All telecommunication service providers in Sr Lanka are monitored by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) and they have to follow the rules and regulations set by the TRCSL. Likewise, International Schools too should have a regulatory body” the Minister said. more..

Dr. Amunugama lauds Gotabaya’s contribution

May 15 (DM) Gotabaya Rajapaksa encompasses within himself very many characters which changed the face of the war, said Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation Sarath Amunugama yesterday. Addressing a well-attended launch ceremony of the book ‘Gota’s War – The Crushing of Tamil Tiger Terrorism in Sri Lanka,’ compiled by senior journalist C. A. Chandraprema, at the Waters Edge, Battaramulla last afternoon, Dr. Amunugama said Mr. Rajapaksa more..

UNP says bigger crisis is EPF investments, NSB-TFC deal is peanuts

May 15 (FT) Noting that the NSB-TFC deal is peanuts, the main Opposition UNP yesterday declared that the bigger problem was questionable investments by the EPF and demanded immediate answers from a 'dodgy' Govt. Following is the full text of the statement issued yesterday by UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva: Article 148 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka gives the Parliament total control of all public finances. more..

Editorial: Malnutrition the child of poverty

May 15 (DM) The revered Professor Senaka Bibile was known worldwide as the inventor of the national medicinal drug policy based on the essential medicines concept. For almost seven years the govt has been promising to introduce legislation for the implementation of this policy through which quality drugs could be made available at affordable prices. Unfortunately even at a time when medicinal drug prices are soaring with one brand of antibiotics costing more than 100 rupees, more..

Sri Lankan shares up 0.19 percent

May 15 (LBO) Share prices crept up on Tuesday, pepped-up by investor interest in selected bluechip counters, but the overall market sentiment remained subdued, brokers said. The benchmark All Share Price Index gained 9.98 points or 0.19 percent to close at 5,126.29 while the more liquid Milanka Price Index added 10.94 points or 0.23 percent to end at 4,619.9. Monday’s turnover was a modest 402.52 million with conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC dominating trading in terms of sales. more..

Tea policy in crisis

May 15 (Island) In the wake of a simmering dispute over an influential section trying to do away with regulatory controls to make Sri Lanka a global tea blending hub, Sri Lanka Tea Board chief Ms. Janaki Kuruppu put off a scheduled talk at the Ceylon Chamber, where she was expected to discuss policy with regard to the industry yesterday. Ms. Kuruppu was scheduled to talk on ‘Ceylon Tea: Today and Tomorrow’ under the patronage of Sri Lanka-Benelux more..

Underage girl gives birth to twins

May 15 (CG) A 14 year old girl from Galewala has given birth to twins in the Matale hospital. The police said that the girl had stayed with the father of the children with the consent of her parents after she had an affair with the boy. The Galewala police are investigating the incident. Meanwhile more incidents of underage children being raped were reported by the police media unit today. The police said that in one incident a 11 year old boy was molested in Mahiyangana near the Dambana museum. more..

Indo-Canadian porn star films Bollywood film in Sri Lanka

May 15 (ST) Indo-Canadian porn star Sunny Leone who is currently filming for ''Jism 2' in Sri Lanka rang in her 31st birthday on the sets of her first Bollywood movie, IANS reported. "Happy Birthday Sunny! Sunny celebrates her birthday with the unit members in Sri Lanka," producer Mahesh Bhatt posted on Twitter. Her birthday was on Sunday. She cut a chocolate cake, which read "Happy Birthday Sunny". Sunny, whose real name is Karen Malhotra, came to India for more..

Lecturers may stop marking A/L papers

May 15 (DM) University lecturers yesterday threatened to stop the marking of A/L examination papers and cut short their involvement in preparing text books after a recent clash with the Education Secretary. The disagreement began earlier this month when university teachers were sent letters by Education Secretary H. M. Gunasekera saying that Grade 1 admissions were available at Anula Vidiyalaya in Nugegoda for children of university teachers. more..

18 hospitalized after gas leak

May 15 (CG) The police said that 18 people including 17 women were hospitalized in Koswatte this afternoon following a gas leak at a factory. All those who fell sick are employees attached to the factory and they were admitted to the Dankotuwa hospital after suffering from breathing difficulties. The gas leak had occurred at a soap factory in Koswatte but the cause of the leak was still now known. Five of those who suffered breathing difficulties as a result of more..

Following SLMC staking claim to CM Post in EPC, ACMC says it deserves it more

May 15 (Island) After the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress recently staked a claim to the Eastern Province Chief Minister’s post after the next provincial elections, General Secretary of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) Y.L.S. Hameed too said that it was only appropriate that one of their candidates, from the Muslim community, be nominated as the next chief Ministerial candidate. He said "we had an understanding with the UPFA govt prior to the 2008 elections more..

UNP doubts whether Govt. is genuine

May 15 (DM) The UNP said today there were questions whether the Govt was genuine about Monday’s bilateral talks with the UNP though there was the possibility of a broad dialogue with all opposition political parties to resolve the national issue. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that even in past the UNP has had bitter experiences when it held talks with the govt. He said the country would face further problems if the govt was not genuine in more..

ITC's Sri Lankan arm buys land for hospitality project

May 15 (PTI) Diversified business conglomerate ITC Ltd today said its wholly-owned arm in Sri Lanka has acquired land for a mixed-use hospitality project in the island nation. The company that is looking to set a foothold in Sri Lanka also said WelcomHotels Lanka Pvt Ltd (WLPL) has become its wholly-owned subsidiary with effect from May 4, 2012 after allotment of 37,65,000 equity shares to it. "WLPL has acquired land at Galle Face in Colombo on a 99-year lease from more..