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Ministry willing to fund milk for school children

May 5 (DM) “The Economic Development Ministry will provide necessary funds if the Education Ministry launches a programme to increase the nutritional levels of school children by providing them with a glass of fresh milk,” Minister Basil Rajapaksa said. Criticising the arbitrary decision of private companies to suspend purchasing fresh milk produced by dairy farmers in the Nuwara Eliya district compelling them to destroy their produce more..

Narcotics Offences: Sri Lanka to extradite 20 Pakistani convicts

May 5 (PT) Over 20 Pakistanis who are serving life sentences in Sri Lankan prisons over narcotics offences are likely to be extradited back to Pakistan soon. The prisoners will continue serving their life sentences in Pakistani prisons. An agreement for their transfer was signed between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In addition to these prisoners, there are approximately 50 other Pakistanis in remand for similar charges. Presently, Pakistani and Sri Lankan authorities more..

'I too listen to pirith on Sirasa till dawn'

May 5 (NF) A dry rations dansala was held in Kiribathgoda yesterday to mark Vesak. The dansala commenced under the auspices of the Minister Mervyn Silva. The dansala was organised by a group including the business community in the Kiribathgoa town. "The continuity of religion and culture is in the hands of these journalists, when you leave aside the Maha Sangharatna. Be it mass media or electronic media, it is in the hands of the owners of media institutions and journalists." more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Editorial: Sri Lanka has its own home-grown solutions

May 6 (SO) Several issues came into sharp focus at Tuesday's May Day celebrations. It also showed the real traitors. Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the SLFP- led UPFA May Day procession and rally under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Significantly, the theme of this year's UPFA May Day celebrations was 'The Country First'. The theme enlightened the working class and all peace-loving and patriotic citizens around the country, more..

Editorial: Sri Lanka has its own home-grown solutions

May 6 (SL) Are Sri Lanka and Western powers to continue their tussle of locking horns over alleged war crimes and violations of human rights by Sri Lanka? The 18th Session of the UNHRC held in Geneva adopted an American sponsored Resolution against Sri Lanka on the issue and although it is a non-binding Resolution, Sri Lanka while denying the accusations gave indications that it would investigate alleged violations of human rights as recommended in the report of more..

'Unprecedented development drive'

May 6 (SO) Soft and suave, yet tough and outspoken, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne does not hesitate to call a spade a spade. In debates, he firmly stands his ground and uses his trump cards to the point of cutting down his rival to size. In an interview with the Sunday Observer the Minister said although the Colombo elite may perhaps speak ill of the Rajapaksa administration yet the stature of President Mahinda Rajapaksa remains solid, more..

Editorial: May is for flag-waving

May 6 (NS) May is a month of flags. May comes wrapped in red, the signature color of protest, of labor, trade unionism and left-wing politics. Later May moves from single color to multi color with the advent of the Vaishakya Mangalyaya, Vesak, commemorating the themagula (birth, enlightenment and parinibbana) of the Buddha Siddhartha Gauthama. There was a May that came three years ago when one flag obliterated the usual colours of Vesak. That was when the country was rid of more..

Editorial: Free press speaks truth to any dam_ 'Power'

May 6 (LB) One component and a key one at that, of free media, is to be able to challenge the orthodoxy sans fear or prejudice. That means the ability to take on any kind of conventional wisdom including the orthodoxy on the free media itself. “Free expression” that accepts the conventional wisdom dished out by either the think-tanks that have money and power, or that’s ladled out by the regular hurrah boys who unquestioningly accept these think-tanks’ creeds as gospel, is a joke. more..

'No two UNP camps but two gatherings'

May 6 (NS) UNP stalwart and former Deputy Leader, Karu Jayasuriya denied the existence of two camps within the party. He said the Premadasa commemoration was also a party function and added that there was nothing wrong in attending the ceremony on May 1. In an interview to The Nation, Jayasuriya also said he was not aware of disciplinary steps taken by the party for not attending its May Day rally in Jaffna. more..

Editorial: NSB and TFC

May 6 (Island) Something is obviously wrong with the stock market deal between the National Savings Bank and some private investors which raised a lot of dust last week. Slightly over 13 percent of The Finance Company PLC (TFC) was purchased by the NSB for nearly Rs. 400 million with the bank paying a hefty 66% percent premium for blocks transacted at a Rs. 50 price per share when the share was trading on the floor at around Rs. 30. We say something is wrong because payment for more..

Editorial: Cost of living - Blow after blow

May 6 (ST) Sri Lankans must be a patient lot, at least when it comes to bearing the pangs of the rising cost of living. Didn't the Buddha, whose birth, demise and enlightenment millions of Buddhists the world over marked yesterday, say that one of the greatest prayers is patience? And is there a more appropriate time than the eve of Vesak -- when the teachings of the Buddha bring tranquility to the mind and reassert the virtues of patience and when pandals, lanterns and other more..

'Fuel importation issue sorted out'

May 6 (NS) Minister Susil Premjayanth says steps had already been taken to ensure uninterrupted importation of crude oil following US sanctions on Iran. The Minister also denied reports of Lanka Indian Oil Company’s involvement in expanding refineries and importation of petroleum products. He said action had already been initiated to address the intra-party issues in Kelaniya and the confusion with regard to the appointment of CMC opposition leader. more..

SLMC will not quit

May 6 (NS) SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem told the UPFA May rally held at the Colombo Town Hall that he would play the mediator to enable the resumption of the deadlocked talks between the govt and the TNA. In a bid to make his word good, Hakeem called on TNA leader R. Sampanthan in Colombo last Thursday. Referring to the talks that he held with Minister Hakeem, TNA leader R. Sampanthan said last Thursday: “Rauff Hakeem had talks with me. However, he did not bring me a message from the govt. more..

UNP May Day tragedy

May 6 (NS) It’s all over, even the shouting. May Day for this year was held with the usual fanfare except for a rare phenomenon: a mainstream political party, the opposition UNP, held its rally in Jaffna, on the same stage with the TNA. It’s all over, even the shouting. May Day for this year was held with the usual fanfare except for a rare phenomenon: a mainstream political party, the opposition UNP, held its rally in Jaffna, on the same stage with the TNA. more..

SA News: May 01, 2012

The young man in a hurry: Who is he, what’s he doing?

May 6 (ST) My Dear President Premadasa, I thought I must write to you this week even though you departed to the Land of Never Return some nineteen years ago because you were in the news this week, probably more so than any person who is still among the living. That was because your son had organised a ceremony to commemorate you on the occasion of your death anniversary. We can hardly blame you for the anniversary falling on May Day but that appears to have been a more..

Leaning on foreign intervention

May 6 (Island) We began the week with increases in the prices of gas, milk powder and cement thus justifying the main slogan of the Joint opposition May Day rally held in Jaffna, which was the call to bring down the cost of living. If not for the Damoclean threat of foreign intervention in this country, the present govt would have begun going downhill like all govts do in their second term. The victory over the LTTE certainly gave this government an unusual boost, but if this country had been left alone after the war, more..

No, Tamara won’t go from Geneva to Cuba

May 6 (DBS) On April 28, Minister G.L. Peiris telephoned Tamara Kunanayakam, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, and instructed her to leave. She was told to choose between Brazil and Cuba for her next posting. The development comes hot on the heels of the US-led resolution on Sri Lanka being passed at the UNHRC. In an unprecedented turn of events, Kunananayakam has refused to comply. more..

UNP’s Nay day?

May 6 (LB) The fractured UNP May Day celebrations notwithstanding, the fact that there was a Ranil-Karu division within the party did not take away entirety from the fact that the UNP was ‘trying something’ by having the May Day rally in Jaffna. Ranil Wickremesinghe making a speech at the joint TNA UNP event, said that there must be a home grown solution to the so called ethnic imbroglio. Quite apart from that, there was the entire fracas about the fact that more..

Govt. continues to stumble with lessons unlearnt

May 6 (SL) The Mahinda Rajapaksa administration it appears will never learn from its past mistakes, especially on the diplomatic front. While scoring points on the one hand by showing some progress in post-war Sri Lanka to the EU parliamentary delegation that was in the country last week, the govt has once again committed a diplomatic faux pas with the Indians. Attempts by the govt to keep its blunder under wraps failed and the Indian govt is displeased with Sri Lanka’s actions. more..

‘We are fighting to save the 2,300 year old Buddhist Heritage that is ours’

May 6 (DBS) Ven. Inamaluwe Sumangala Thero, the Chief Priest at the Rangiri Dambulla Viharaya was in the forefront in recent times leading a protest at Dambulla to relocate a mosque which was within the sacred Vihara land, disputed by the Muslim fraternity. The issue is yet on the boil and the government has not resolved this sensitive stand off. Inamaluwe Sumangala Thero is no stranger to controversy and has time and again led protests against more..

Aspirations of all communities

May 6 (CT) The final outcome on a political solution would need to address the aspirations of all communities of Sri Lanka to build a national consensus, acting External Affairs Minister Neomal Perera said responding to a question posed by Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen on the implementation of the LLRC report. Perera also noted that the development assistance extended to Sri Lanka had contributed immensely to the socio-economic development process of the country. more..

Six killed in motorbike accidents

May 6 (CT) Six people were killed and some others injured in several motorbike accidents that took place in the last 48 hours, the Police Media Unit said. A fatal bike accident was reported from Gampaha, in the Udugampola area at around 1 am yesterday where a motorbike skidded off the road and hit a lamppost. The victim was identified as Nuwan Pathirana of Veyangoda. He has died on admission to the Gampaha Hospital. Another accident was reported from the Valachchenai area where more..

Opposition to push for Freedom of Information legislation

May 6 (Island) The long delayed Freedom of Information Bill will be taken up with the Speaker by the Chief Opposition Whip when Parliament resumes this week, an Opposition spokesman said. In July 2010, the Leader of the Opposition presented a Private Members Bill titled "Freedom of Information" based on the draft approved by the Cabinet in January 2003. At this stage, the Secretary-General of Parliament objected more..

Commission to keep Mervyn probe secret

May 6 (SL) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption is still awaiting legal advice on whether or not they can pursue investigations against Minister Mervyn Silva. Justice D. J. De S. Balapatabendi, Chairman of the Bribery Commission, said that they were awaiting the final report from the legal department regarding the possibility of pursuing an investigation against the controversial Minister. However, he said that regardless of the findings in the legal report any investigation against Silva will be kept confidential. more..

TNA leader stands by decision to raise the Lion Flag

May 6 (SL) TNA leader R. Sampanthan has stood by his decision to raise the national flag with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the May Day rally in Jaffna. Responding to Tamil media reports that members of the Tamil community were angered by the gesture, Sampanthan responded, “I am never forced into my actions; I chose to raise the flag alongside Mr. Wickremesinghe.” Sampanthan went on to state that the raising of the flag was “a symbol of solidarity with the workers of more..

SLMC report on LLRC next week

May 6 (CT) The report of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission will be presented to the govt next week, party sources said. A panel consisting of the party leader Rauf Hakeem was expected to make their observations on the LLRC report, and had several rounds of meetings. “The observations of the panel appointed by the leader of the party will be finalised by Tuesday, and will be then communicated to the govt,” more..

Radio Times poll provokes online battle for Baftas

May 6 (Guardian) This year's Bafta award for the best current affairs television programme, to be awarded later this month, has provoked an international struggle to undermine the content of at least one of the four powerful documentaries on the shortlist – a film about the uprising in Bahrain last spring. A fortnight ago the Radio Times magazine launched an online poll to allow readers to vote for their favourite Bafta nominees. more..

Dep. minister’s secretary grabs land in EP

May 6 (LB) A group led by the secretary of a deputy minister (who was a former rebel) had grabbed around 103 acres in Oorani, Potuvil, last week, area residents said. The men have asked those already living in the area including owners of established hotels not to build any new permanent structures in that particular plot. “There have been repeated attempts by individuals to drive us away by claiming ownership to the land. We have deeds; we have made sure that our titles are more..

No oil but loan from Iran

May 6 (LB) The cash strapped govt has sought a US$ 2 billion loan from Iran even as it states that Iranian oil will not be purchased after June due to sanctions that have been imposed. Minister Susil Premajayantha said his ministry is seeking a US$ 2bn loan from Iran to expand the Sapugaskanda oil refinery with new units, while it is seeking US$ 500mn from local banks to upgrade the existing plant. more..

Deadlock over four ships carrying 2,000 cars

May 6 (ST) Shipping lines are refusing to allow four of their ships carrying a cargo of some 2,000 cars to be diverted from the port of Colombo to the port of Hambantota for unloading. The ships are anchored in the Colombo outer harbour, as the Sri Lanka Ports Authority seeks advice from the Attorney-General’s Department on how to resolve the deadlock. The shipping lines are objecting to the move on the grounds that Colombo is given as the port of discharge on the shipping documents, more..

Treasure hunting: A lucrative pastime, post war

May 6 (LB) Over 500 incidents of illegal treasure hunting have been reported in the last three years, police sources said, adding that this number is miniscule in comparison to the number of undetected instances of treasure hunting, island wide. “The overall number is much higher and most of the big heists are carried out by those with political backing,” said a reliable police source. 92 cases have been reported in the first 4 months of 2012 while 220 cases were reported in 2011. more..

Now CPC gets contaminated jet fuel

May 6 (ST) A timely check prevented the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) from providing contaminated jet fuel for use at the Bandaranaike International Airport. A stock of 7,500 tons imported from British Petroleum in Singapore was found to be of low quality, Minister Susil Premajayantha said yesterday. He said his Ministry raised issue and the supplier had agreed to take back the contaminated stock and provide good quality jet fuel. more..

Day-long House debate of COPE report

May 6 (ST) Parliament will hold a day-long debate on the latest report of the COPE on Tuesday, its Chairman, Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera said. The debate has been initiated by the Opposition for a detailed discussion on the 176-page report which examined the accounts of 229 institutions, and was presented to the House in December 2011. The accounts of State institutions examined by COPE included State banks, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and more..

Scores in hospital after wasp attack in Sigiriya

May 6 (ST) Hundreds of visitors to the historic Sigiriya rock came under a wasp attack yesterday, prompting authorities to temporarily close the site, police said. At least 50 people were admitted to the Sigiriya hospital while 17 victims who were in a serious condition were sent to the Dambulla hospital. Following the attack at the Lion’s Paw, police stopped visitors from making the ascent while security forces personnel brought local and foreign visitors stranded on top of more..

Insider deal suspected in NSB’s purchase of TFC shares

May 6 (ST) A staggering Rs. 390 million stock market transaction by the state-owned National Savings Bank (NSB) has triggered a major row, forcing both President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Treasury to intervene. This is while the SEC has launched its own investigation into some alleged irregularities. The deal involves a 13 per cent stake of The Finance Company (TFC) being bought by the NSB on April 27 at around Rs. 50 a share. more..

Industry players welcome hefty milk food tax

May 6 (Island) Powdered milk was in the news last week with the govt slapping a hefty import duty pushing up consumer prices, but the move was welcomed by three key industry players Nestles, MILCO and Pelwatte and dairy farmer societies as the "best thing that could have happened to uplift Sri Lanka’s local dairy sector". Lionel Dharmasiri, Managing Director, Wayamba Small Dairies, says production had increased many folds following the govt policy to enhance the guaranteed price paid per litre to more..

Credit card interest rates go up

May 6 (ST) Hard on the heels of the increase in bread, milkfood and gas prices, comes another blow to the people: a rise in credit card interest rates. The current annual interest rate of 24 per cent is being increased to 28 per cent. Banks are informing customers about the increase with some of them saying the new rates will be applicable from May 15. Last year the active cards base grew by near 11 per cent or 84,000 cardholders – the highest growth rate in three years - to reach 862,340. However, the outstanding balance from credit card holders also increased to an all-time high of more..

LLRC recommendations go to Weeratunga committee

May 6 (ST) To most ministers in the UPFA govt, the thick stack of cabinet papers for a postponed weekly meeting last Thursday night seemed routine or mundane. They ranged from accounts of the Human Rights Commission, awards of contracts to private firms to build highways, appointment of retired officials to various positions and other matters relating to infrastructure development. Yet, those seemed important since ministerial approval was more..