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Ranil dares KP to wave Lankan flag in midst of the masses

May 3 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that their joint May Day rally with the TNA, had begun with a display of Sri Lankan flags, but there was no trace of the UPFA’s golden boy K. P. Pathmanathan, in Colombo or elsewhere. Addressing the UNP’s May Day rally at St. Roche ground in Jaffna, he said that the govt, which had been very critical of his party’s decision to team up with the TNA, was unable to produce KP to wave the national flag at their rally. more..

Australia to raise with Sri Lanka asylum seeker concerns

May 3 (AFP) Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has been under pressure from rights groups to ask Sri Lanka about its treatment of political activists and asylum-seekers. More than 30 activists have disappeared since October, and some asylum-seekers deported from Australia and Britain say they were detained and tortured by police. Mr Bowen says he'll raise these issues in private discussions, when he arrives in Colombo more..

Parliamentarians cannot visit SF

May 3 (CT) The govt has now provided an unprecedented security for former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka who is now undergoing treatment at Nawaloka Hospital, Anoma Fonseka said yesterday. Addressing media, Anoma Fonseka said even a Parliamentarian cannot visit the former Army Commander due to the “unprecedented security arrangements.” “I am allowed to visit him only for 15 minutes. When he was in prison, he did not have tight security measures of that nature,” more..

SLMC to call for TRC

May 3 (CT) A committee appointed by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has decided to call for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) which goes beyond the mandate of the LLRC, highly placed party sources said. The committee, headed by Minister Rauf Hakeem, has already had two rounds of meetings and is expected to release its final commentary on the LLRC’s report by the end of next week. Sources said that the committee found “many positive factors” in the report, and therefore does not “totally reject” the findings, more..

Illegal PAYE tax payments: 29 public enterprises involved in mega scam

May 3 (Island) The Auditor General has revealed that 29 public enterprises, including some debt-ridden institutions paid PAYE (Pay as You Earn) tax on behalf of their employees in violation of financial regulations. The AG has made available a list of offending institutions to the parliamentary watchdog committee, COPE, paving the way for it to be debated when parliament takes up the COPE report. more..

Jayalath fully recovers following Daya’s help

May 3 (SM) UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena has fully recovered from his heart ailment after receiving the best medical treatment through the mediation of the party’s national organizer Daya Gamage. When the MP fell ill in London, British doctors examined him and found that almost 90 per cent of his cardiac valves were blocked, and that an open heart surgery would be the only option. A surgery of that nature at a British hospital normally costs 20,000 Sterling Pounds, or Rs. 4.2 million. more..

CJA condemns state repression of the media

May 3 (SM) The Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) has condemned state repression against media in countries such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka. CJA has stated that violence and censorship against media persons are a “threat” to democracy, and also constrains their ability to operate freely. In a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day today, CJA has noted that violence and censorship remains an everyday threat for many journalists, and such, constraints more..

Sri Lanka, an anchor destination for new Indian Ocean cruise

May 3 (LBO) A new Indian Ocean cruise is due to open this winter, ferrying passengers to Sri Lanka's main port of Colombo, targeting some 4,000 up market tourists from German speaking countries, officials said. Mooted by FTI Group, a German tour operator, the 206-cabin cruise liner carrying some 400 passengers, will sail to Muscat, Mumbai, Goa and Kochi over a four-month period. Priced at 1,300 euros per person, passengers have the option of more..

Tensions after accident involving EU convoy

May 3 (CG) A vehicle which was part of a convoy with a visiting European Union delegation (EU) met with an accident in Vandaramulla, Batticaloa this evening killing one person and injuring two others. The office of the Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan said that a vehicle with a UN flag had met with the accident killing one person near a house on the road and injuring two others. A spokesman at Chandrakanthan’s office told the Colombo Gazette that more..

CEB union decides to protest from May 9

May 3 (Island) The Ceylon Electricity Board Trade Union Front yesterday decided to commence their countrywide protest campaign on May 09. However, the Power and Energy Ministry had not changed its stance `of not giving in to the whims and fancies of the non-executive satff of the Ceylon Electricity Board,’ despite a threat by them to stage a walk out on May 29. Other union members said that most of the unions would not go against more..

Not enough rain for catchments

May 3 (Island) The weather gods had not been kind enough to give heavy showers to the major catchments, despite incessant rains in many part of the country, an official of the Systems Control Department (SCD) of the Ceylon Electricity Board said yesterday. Yesterday’s energy status percentage wise. CEB Thermal (Coal) 3.84 GWh, 12.5 per cent. CEB Thermal (Oil) 5.593 GWh, 18.3 per cent. IPP Thermal (Oil) 12.946 GWh, 42.2 per cent. more..

‘Teachers, principals, leave the kids alone’

May 3 (ST) School is supposed to be second home to a child and it is to the care of teachers and principals that parents entrust the formative years of their children. But a series of shocking incidents of sexual abuse involving teachers and principals have acted as an eye opener to relevant authorities. In the most recent incident a 47-year-old male principal was arrested for sexually abusing five girls in Marawila, in the North-Western Province. more..

Jaya Piritha invokes blessings on Country, President and War Heroes

May 3 (GDI) The "Jaya Pirith" chanting ceremony was held at the BMICH yesterday, invoking blessings to the country, the President and the war heroes with the participation of 3000 monks invited from all parts of the Island. The Ministry of Defence organized the "Jaya Pirith" chanting ceremony for the fifth time in succession. Mahanayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter Most Ven Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero, more..

Mervyn’s law

May 3 (LB) The growing relationship between thugs and politics and the importance of these unruly elements to mainstream political parties has been discussed several times over. This was once again reiterated when a frontline govt bigwig, according to reports, defended Minister Mervyn Silva, a man renowned for his links to the underworld, and for undermining the SLFP Central Committee that is trying to discipline him. This politico apparently stated that only President Rajapaksa can more..

Sampanthan slams President for silence over arrests in East

May 3 (Island) TNA leader R. Sampanthan yesterday urged the govt to explain the circumstances leading to a series of arrests in the Eastern Province, particularly in the Trincomalee District. An irate Trincomalee District MP accused the govt of failing to respond to a letter he had recently written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The TNA veteran was speaking to The Island on his return from Jaffna, where he joined UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on May Day to more..

SC to consider SF’s hospital stay extension plea on May 9

May 3 (Island) A five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will, on May 9, 2012, consider an application made by counsel Nalin Laduwahetty to extend General Sarath Fonseka’s stay at the Nawaloka Hospital. The same Bench will, on that day, also decide on a date to call the bail application filed by the General and fix a date to hear the appeal filed by Fonseka against the decision of the High Court Trial-at-Bar. more..

Hakeem to mediate between TNA and Govt.

May 3 (DM) Leader of the SLMC, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said he would meet the TNA today and attempt to persuade them to resume talks with the government. This follows a request to him from Indian Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj to try to persuade the TNA to talk with the govt. ‘The SLMC fully supports a political solution to the North-East problem; and a consensus between the government and the TNA is vital in that respect. more..

Sri Lankan stocks remain in the red; buying interest in Lion Brewery

May 3 (LBO) Stock prices continued to remain in negative territory, despite a crossing in shares of Lion Brewery Ceylon Limited, brokers said Thursday. The main All Share Price Index fell 27.70 points or 0.51 percent to 5,389.47, while the Milanka Price Index shed 6.95 points or 0.14 percent to close at 4,823.78. Thursday’s turnover was a modest 470.3 million rupees, of which foreign buying accounted for 161.7 million rupees and foreign sales 57.8 million rupees. more..

Editorial: Hail the hand that writes

May 3 (DM) If not for them, the newspapers would be just papers. If not for their passion and hunger for truth, all news would be as mellow as fairytales. It is their perseverance that uncovers the truth buried in high-safety zones, away from the public’s reach. Yet, with the bravery, there comes the eternal risk of death, intimidation and abduction, to which a journalist cannot simply shake his/her head and say, ‘No, thank you.’ Any aspirant youth who walks into a press office, more..

Wildlife officers in Sri Lanka boycott work after assault by villagers

May 3 (Xinhua) Wildlife officers in Sri Lanka boycotted work for a fourth day on Thursday in protest over an assault on some officers last week. President of the All Ceylon Wildlife Association Prabath Karunaratne said that they were not getting involved in controlling the human elephant conflict as part of the protest. The wildlife officers are usually called in to chase away wild elephants which stray into villages and damage crops, houses and more..

Cargills promises to continue fresh milk purchases

May 3 (LBO) Cargills (Ceylon) PLC on Thursday said it continues to buy over 60,000 litres of fresh milk each day, despite dairy farmers protesting of poor prices or few buyers for their supplies. Farmers and milk collectors in the in the central region of Nuwara Eliya on Wednesday, threw some 12,000 litres of fresh milk, as a mark of protest. Protesting farmers alleged some private companies’ were refusing to buy their produce, due to sufficient stocks. more..

Rajapaksa’s bad gamble

May 3 (HM) After India’s vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHCR, Southasian states can no longer count on New Delhi’s centrality in formulating Indian foreign policy. In the veritable swirl of conspiracy theories emanating from Colombo on why India voted against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC in March, the most compelling as well as ostensibly tenable one links New Delhi’s decision to its fear of China. In that theory, China’s growing role in the economy of the Emerald Isle of the East goaded New Delhi into using its vote in the UNHRC to more..

'We would achieve Socialism, the noble expectation of the downtrodden masses'

May 3 (LT) Socialism, the noble expectation of all downtrodden masses would be achieved with many other victories on the way says the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. He said this addressing the massive May Day rally held at BRC grounds on the 1st. He said, “Today we commemorate a historic May Day. The conspiracy launched internally and from outside has been defeated by us all. more..

These circulars are to slash ‘Mahapola scholarships’ – Nalinda

May 3 (LT) It is reported that the Ministry of Higher Education is preparing to issue a circular to vice-chancellors of all universities to withdraw Mahapola scholarships of all university students behaving in ‘an undisciplined manner.’ National Organizer of the Socialist Youth Union Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said the intention of the govt in bringing out the relevant circular is to stop the Mahapola scholarship given to poor university students and use the funds for government’s pageantry programmes. more..

'Govt without vision spends Rs.88172 million for milk imports'

May 3 (LT) While the govt that does not have a proper plan or a vision spends Rs.88172 million to import milk powder and related products a situation has arisen where the local milk producers are unable to sell their milk states the JVP. JVP MP Anura Dissanayake said 80% of the needs in milk products are imported while the local dairy farmers who produce 20% of the milk needs in the country have not been given any facility. He complained that a process has been more..

Mervyn was asked to resign in August last year

May 3 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva to resign his portfolio and Mr. Silva is reported to be sending his resignation after the disciplinary inquiry against him is concluded, the Daily Mirror learns. A senior Cabinet Minister said President Rajapaksa had asked the controversial minister to resign on August 4 last year during the opening of the SLFP branch office at Gampaha. more..

Bank of Ceylon to set up more branches abroad

May 3 (LBO) Bank of Ceylon is to increase its network of overseas branches following a sharp increase in profits of two existing units in neighbouring south India and the Maldives. The bank, the island's biggest lender, is to open two new branches in the south Indian cities of Tuticorin and Coimbatore this year. It will also open a new branch in Addu Attol in southern Maldives, according to the bank's annual report for 2011. Apart from its existing branches in more..

Sri Lanka's largest business chamber steps up trade with BRICS

May 3 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's largest business chamber has signed a deal with an organization representing Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) to increase trade ties, a statement said here Thursday. Sri Lanka's Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it had signed the agreement with the Chamber for Promotion and Economic Development of the BRICS countries, which will promote products and services and foster alliances on a reciprocal basis. Apparel, gems and jewelry, more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 02.05.2012

Susanthika - a Vice President of the Sri Lanka Athletic Association

May 3 (NF) Olympic Silver Medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe was elected as one of the vice presidents of the Sri Lanka Athletic Association a short while ago. Fourteen persons including Commonwealth games medalist Sugath Tillakaratne contested for the six vice president posts at the election for office bearers of the Sri Lanka Athletic Association. Media secretary of the Ministry of sports, Harsha Abeykoon said that Sugath Tillakaratne was not able to secure a post at the elections. more..

CEB saves Rs 13 bn due to energy efficiency prog.

May 3 (Island) The energy efficiency programme, launched in March, this year, had cut down the costs incurred by the CEB by a staggering Rs. 13,000 million. A delighted Power and Energy Minister, Patali Champika Ranawaka, when he met senior engineers of the CEB, this week, said that the saving was possible due to the initiatives of the ministry and due to efforts of the consumers. Ranawaka said that it would have cost an additional Rs. 13,000 million to go for additional power from more..

Karu to reintroduce RIB

May 3 (CT) Former deputy leader of the UNP, Karu Jayasuriya said he will reintroduce the Right to Information Bill to Parliament to ensure that the citizens of the country are aware of the uses of their tax payments. He stated that certain individuals treat public funds as private wealth and use them up according to their whims and fancies. Jayasuriya stated that he initially introduced the Right to Information Bill as a private members bill in May last year. more..

Two foreigners arrested for assaulting hotel workers

MMay 3 (CG) Two foreigners were arrested for assaulting waiters at a restaurant in Habaraduwa early this morning, the police media unit said. According to the police an Indian national and Ukrainian, who had been under the influence of liquor were engaged in a heated argument at the restaurant. The police said that a group of waiters had then attempted to intervene and settle the matter but the two foreigners had assaulted them. Property at the restaurant more..

Majority of schools do not have security

May 3 (CT) A large number of schools in the country do not have security, the Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union (CTSU) said yesterday. CTSU National Organizer and People’s Movement to Protect Schools (PMPS) media spokesman Dhammika Alahapperuma told Ceylon Today that ensuring schools’ safety is the responsibility of the Zonal Director of Education and the Ministry of Education. However, the Ministry continues to neglect and be indifferent to the needs of the schools, he said. more..

'Law breakers will face repercussions'

May 3 (DM) Police Headquarters warned the public against taking the law into their hands at any given situation as the law would be implemented and repercussions would have to be faced. Police cited the example of 105 individuals who had been taken into custody in the past year for damaging property and injuring people. Another 33 persons were arrested yesterday in Makulewa, Galnewa apart from the 17 arrested during the weekend for damaging more..

ACJU expecting proper solutions

May 3 (CT) The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama informed today in a statement, of its confidence on receiving a satisfactory solution to the Muslim community in regard to the Dambulla Masjid issue. “Everyone is aware of the attack on the Dambulla Khairiya Jumma Masjid on 20 April. Though the Muslims were shocked over this incident and pondering about what reaction to be taken, it was remarkable that the following day the activities of the Masjid returned to normal,” more..

SLs investment potential apprised at Dubai Investment Forum

May 3 (GDI) The highest over subscription ever seen for a Sri Lankan international bond in April and KPMG’s latest positive Change Readiness Index ranking for Sri Lanka have increased international investor confidence in Sri Lanka. Addressing the ‘Cross Regional Trade & Investment Roundup’ Executive Roundtable conference in Dubai on Tuesday, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has said that Sri Lanka has entered a new era of development due to the visionary leadership of more..

Govt imposes 15 percent import tax on milk powder

May 3 (CT) The govt had decided to introduce an import tax on powdered milk at either 15% or Rs. 92, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Finance said. The move was a result of a govt decision to promote local milk production, and to discourage the use of imported milk, the spokesperson added. There has so far been no decision as to when the import tax would take effect from, he said. The tax is not applicable to milk powders catered to infants. more..

On the worth of Website comments

May 4 (NS) Most of the Sri Lankan newspapers and websites have added the readers’ comments facility and it has become more attractive as they feel they have a role to play instead of reading. It is an obvious fact, that people like to have their own voice rather than listening to someone’s interpretation, which is according to the basics of 2-way communication. But some argue that the newspaper is not a blog, although it is online and vice-versa. In the Sri Lankan context, more..

Preconditions for fighting ‘grievance-liars’

May 4 (NS) There are grievances and there are aspirations. Grievances refer to wrongs done, by omission or commission. Aspirations may or may not be extrapolations of redressed grievances, i.e. they can always exist and be articulated but need not necessarily grow out of grievances. Aspirations, in general, tend to be formulated in grand terms enabling ‘resolution’ through purported compromise in terms favourable to the ‘aggrieved’. In short you ask for something more..