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Struggle to avert a fuel shortage

Oct 28 (ST) a refinery closure and US sanctions on Iran, Sri Lanka is to make a desperate appeal to Washington for concessions to avoid a fuel shortage, Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha said yesterday. “We want to discuss with US authorities ways of clearing the obstacles for opening Letters of Credit through banks to import iranian crude,” he said, warning that the country’s fuel bill had risen to Rs. 650 billion. more..

Lankans also need ‘bio-visa’ to enter Malaysia

Oct 28 (DM) Sri Lankan visitors to Malaysia are among the foreign nationals who require entry visas using a unique biometric system at the country’s embassies to deter visa fraud, a top immigration official has said. Touted to be the first-of-its-kind “Bio-Visa” to be introduced in the world, those who do not comply with the Immigration Department’s proposed Biometric-Visa will be slapped with a “Not to Land” (NTL) notice and turned back. more..

Time for Sri Lanka's youngsters to come of age

Oct 28 (CI) When Angelo Mathews strode to the crease in the World Twenty20 final, the Premadasa still believed. There were plenty of runs yet to make, and the required run rate was beginning to wrap its tendrils around the innings, but something about the new man in the middle inspired confidence. Mathews had cut Sri Lanka out of thornier tangles before. But this time it was his anxious dismissal that ushered in the panic that asphyxiated the more..

Sri Lankan civil war combatants posing as asylum seekers

Oct 28 (DT) Militants from Sri Lanka's civil war are posing as asylum seekers on boats headed for Australia - and could be financed by former Tamil Tiger combatants already here. 6 former combatants were arrested leaving Sri Lanka this year, with another 6 people smugglers also collared. 5 of the 6 were arrested since June in a crackdown by Sri Lankan authorities. more..

Sharmal’s ITF double, tens’ thousand lift SLTA’S gloom

Oct 29 (SL) Sri Lanka tennis last week had good reasons to feel good about itself. It’s been some years since the sport has felt this way – precisely, not since the administration was placed in the hands of a govt-appointed interim committee in 2009. And after which, controversies beset the sport, spawned divisions within its fraternity and, inevitably, drove out sponsors in droves. As if the troubled consequences of politically-influenced more..

To Thirteen or not to Thirteen?

Oct 29 (SL) With India’s involvement – which some saw as support and some saw as intervention – Sri Lanka’s constitution was amended for the 13th instance and the provincial council system was introduced. Although never fully implemented, it is seen by political think tanks as a progressive step towards decentralisation of administrative powers to more local levels. More leftist and nationalist elements in the island have constantly opposed the structure. Sri Lanka’s govt – especially more..

Healthfest to introduce healthy food

Oct 29 (SO) What is healthy living? Healthy living is about knowing the risks around us and carefully taking note to minimise encountering those risks that will cause harm to our health. Some of these risks are experienced by us through what we eat and drink, active and passive smoking, taking alcohol and occupational settings that do not promote physical activity. Many of us are constantly facing these risks. It is important to know more..

Ceylon’s brave bid to settle Sino-Indian dispute

Oct 29 (DBS) Fifty years ago, in November-December 1962, Ceylon’s Prime Minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, made a brave and stupendous effort to settle the intractable border dispute between Asian giants China and India – a dispute, which was marked by a month-long ‘brutal and callous war’, to use the words of India’s Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The efforts of six non-aligned countries, headed by Ceylon, were appreciated by both more..

“Koamalikal” (Jokers) was successful Sri Lankan Tamil comedy film

Oct 29 (DBS) There are no more Tamil films produced locally but nearly two score and more Lankan Tamil films were shown in Colombo and the outstations a few decades ago. The latest Tamil film was Ini Avan made by an avant-guard Sinhala film director shown early this year. The first two films were made in 16 mm. Samuthaayam (Society) was the first. It was in black and white. The other was in colour called Paasa Nila (Affectionate Moon). more..

I am Sri Lankan: My struggle to be a patriot”

Oct 29 (DBS) Speaking at the Mahatma Gandhi Centre on the topic “I am Sri Lankan: my struggle to be a patriot” last Wednesday, Rev.Rayappu Joseph, Bishop of Mannar, pleaded that the people of this country, particularly the majority community, cannot miss the opportunity that they now have to make Sri Lanka a country that belongs to all and as one that everyone can be proud of. His passionate speech came as an more..

Gotabhaya’s talk about abolishing the 13th amendment!

Oct 29 (CT) Anyone of course has a right to advocate ‘abolishing the 13th Amendment’ or anything else for that matter. Sri Lanka should be a free country for peaceful political expression. But what is worrying is the almost ‘fanatical’ advocacy of the ‘abolition of devolution’ with the 13th Amendment by the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. What is apparent is his ‘anti-Tamil’ crusade. Could there be a connection more..

Attacking the judiciary: Tell the executive to stop such nonsense

Oct 29 (CT) Rajapaksa‘s govt is now engaged in a ruthless attack on the Chief Justice, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the independence of the judiciary in general. The immediate reason for the attacks is the Supreme Court decision against the Divineguma Bill and the JSC decision to take disciplinary action against a judicial officer alleged to have been engaged in corruption who is supposed to be close to the govt. more..

Today is Vap Full Moon Poya day

Oct 29 (DN) The rain retreat, having commenced in Esala, comes to an end in Vap. It is time for Buddhists to celebrate with much grandeur – spiritual grandeur. In Pali Katina means ‘unbreakable’. Modern days do not have a proper rain calendar. But we are always fond of following the traditions, hence the rainy retreat, no matter whether rains come or not. The Buddha, along with his disciples, initiated the rain retreat more..

Good governance vital for export growth

Oct 29 (ST) When economists focus on the need for good governance, rule of law, law and order, property rights and meaningful steps to mitigate corruption, there must surely be serious problems in the polity and affairs of the state. At the annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) on ‘Export Growth for Sustained Development’, several economists pointed out that ensuring the rule of law, good governance and independence of the judiciary was a more..

Water Tax: Lack of purpose,clarity and sincerity?

Oct 29 (Island) This important issue has followed the course that is normal for Sri Lanka. Someone says something, possibly true but controversial, a spokesman of Govt then denies it. The originator becomes "not contactable". The "conspiracy theorists" (implicating the West, UN, NGOs, CIA, World Bank, IMF etc) march on to the scene. The irrelevancies drown all good sense and intelligent discussion - and the matter gets off the radar to be replaced by some issue more horrendous more..

Sanga sets the field for Lanka’s cricketing future

Oct 29 (ST) A powerful provincial system with clubs being given the decision-makers role together with some fine-tuning of our school cricket system could rejuvenate Sri Lanka’s cricket and make it one of the best in the world, says Kumar Sangakkara, the ICC’s ‘Cricketer of the Year 2012’, member of the ICC’s Cricket Committee and one of the most eloquent and authoritative people in the modern version of the game. more..

Editorial: Conspiracies galore!

Oct 29 (Island) The govt seems to think it could get away with its failure to solve people's burning problems by conjuring up the bogey of international conspiracies and claiming that it is under siege. True, some western powers that strove to dislodge the Rajapaksa govt during the war have not yet given up. A western diplomat, it may be recalled, even took a tuk-tuk ride under the cover of night to a prominent UNP MP's house where a plot was being hatched to engineer crossovers from more..

Police grill smart alec over missing Euros

Oct 29 (SO) Following a newspaper report that appeared last week the CID began a probe into the incident where a Sri Lankan living in Italy for more than 15 years had embezzled 400 million European currency notes and priceless gold jewellery that belonged to a wealthy Italian businessman. The suspect had been employed as a domestic aid in the businessman's mansion for several years. However, the CID said it had not received any complaint from the Italian police or more..

Jaffna youth benefit from region’s first luxury apartment complex

Oct 29 (Island) The developer of Jaffna’s first luxury apartment complex Tulasi Mahal, Peninsular Property Developers (Pte) Ltd., is training 100 local youth in the peninsula in masonry, carpentry and bar bending skills. This sustainability initiative aims to engage local communities in the construction of the first luxury apartment project, so that they too can benefit from economic activity taking place in the region, the developer said. more..

'Divineguma Bill does not involve any hidden political agenda'

Oct 29 (DN) The Divi Neguma Bill does not involve any hidden political agenda. It is a programme to develop the village and grant permanent jobs to rural youths and make them public servants, said Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. The minister said so addressing a ceremony to mark the International Elders’ Day held at the Pasbage Korale Pradeshiya Sabha in Nawalapitiya recently. He said that the Divi Neguma Bill was presented to offer job permanency to Samurdhi Development officers more..

Nine JICA volunteers assigned to support development efforts

Oct 29 (Island) Nine Japanese volunteers arrived in Sri Lanka recently, with the aim of providing their expertise to improve and add value to activities carried out by various public institutions in the country. These volunteers are in Sri Lanka as a part of JICA’s ongoing Volunteer Dispatch Programme. The volunteers were introduced to their host organizations at an assigning ceremony held at the Department of External Resources, on 24thOctober 2012. The nine volunteers possess a more..

Tax noose tightens round errant wholesale and retail traders

Oct 29 (ST) The noose is tightening on wholesale and retail traders as tax authorities enforce a new campaign against those attempting to evade the two per cent Nation Building Tax (NBT), Inland Revenue Department (IRD) officials said. In a new, virtually fool-proof initiative, the department is now cross-checking the volume of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) sold to traders from the main suppliers. more..

'Promises made to academics will be fulfilled'

Oct 29 (DN) Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr.Sunil Jayantha Nawaratne said the government has already made arrangements to fulfill the promises which have been given to the university academic staff, at the end of their trade union action. "FUTA Chairman Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri had recently said the government has not taken any measures to fulfill their promises. But that statement which had been given to several media is totally false. more..

Kotte MC UNP members support Mayor

Oct 29 (CT) The UNP members of the Kotte Municipal Council (MC) extended their unconditional support to Mayor Janaka Ranawaka, following a pledge made by him to eradicate the drug and alcohol menace from the area by 31 December. The Mayor has vowed to commence a fast-unto-death campaign, in front of the area’s police station after 31 December. He has issued an ultimatum to the police to eliminate the drug menace from the city by then. Addressing a press briefing yesterday, more..

AG to conclude key cases this year

Oct 29 (DM) Amidst international pressure, the Attorney General’s Department is to conclude the cases regarding those responsible for the 2006 killing of five students in Trincomalee and 17 aid workers before the end of this year. After international organizations such as the Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch raised the issue, the govt decided to reopen the case, and pursue action. During the March session of the UNHRC, the AI took up this issue. more..

Lankan Coast Guard saves drowning Nepali undergrad

Oct 29 (Island) The Life Savers of Sri Lanka Coast Guard rescued a student of Farwestern University of Kanchanpur, Nepal from drowning at Mirissa Beach on last Thursday. The victim had been swimming in the sea with three other fellow university students when he got dragged away by a current. The Life saver on duty at the Coast Guard base ‘Rohana’ rescued him as he was being dragged away by the current and was partially immersed. A life guard brought him ashore safely more..

Depression in Bay of Bengal

Oct 29 (DN) The Meteorology Department forecasts strong winds, rainy weather together rough seas in the eastern, northeastern, north central and northern parts of the island in the next few days due to a depression formed in the Bay of Bengal. Director General S H Kariyawasam said the depression has been located about 600km East of the Northern coast of the sea. He said the depression can be developed into a deep depression by today afternoon. He said the Department is more..

In post-war Jaffna, a slow piecing back of life

Oct 29 (Hindu) Pavalochini and her husband Ravikumar make a living selling bicycles. They sell them for Rs.49 a kg, for scrap is what the bikes are: rusted, twisted, bent out of shape, the tyres long gone after three years out under the scorching sun at the “bicycle graveyard” near Mullaithivu. From their home in the Konapulam camp for the displaced in Valigamam, Ravikumar sets out once or twice a week on the 95-km more..

SLC in debt to tune of US $32.5 mn

Oct 29 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) owes the State Engineering Corporation (SEC) Rs. 730 million besides its debts to the State Development and Construction Corporation (SDCC) and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) for infrastructure development work carried out for the 2011 World Cup held in Sri Lanka. SLC President Upali Dharmadasa told The Island yesterday that the exact amount of the SLCdebts was not known, but the SLC owed money to the SEC, SDCC, and SLPA. more..

President opens Attanagalla Bhikku Training Centre

Oct 29 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday declared open the newly built Bhikku Training Centre at the ancient Attanagalla Rajamaha Viharaya premises. The centre which will provide residential training to Buddhist Monks is been named as the Pathiraja Bhikku Training Centre. The President after opening the facility met the chief incumbent of the temple Ven Dr. Pannila Sri Ananada Nayaka Thera. The Thera on the occasion invoked blessings on the President whilst more..

Several areas in the South under water

Oct 29 (Island) Stormy weather caused several areas in the Southern Province to go under water yesterday, while an earth-slip claimed the life of a young woman. Deputy Director of the DMC Sarath Lal Kumara said that 20 to 30 houses were affected by floods caused by heavy showers, experienced in the Matara District, during the 24 hours ended at 8.00 a.m. yesterday. He said that 10 to 15 families had been displaced in Polhena, Madihe and Pamburana in Matara. more..

Sri Lanka starts season as number-one ranked T20 side

Oct 29 (Island) Sri Lanka and New Zealand will launch what will be an interesting couple of months of Twenty20 Internationals (T20s) when the two sides go head to head in a one-off match at Pallekele, on Tuesday, 30 October. As many as seven T20s, featuring most of the top ranked sides, are confirmed to be played across the globe before the turn of the year, and if Sri Lanka loses in Pallekele, then there can be a change at the top of the table on at least two occasions. more..

Customs swamped by flood of arrivals

Oct 29 (CM) A surge in boats from Sri Lanka intercepted off the Cocos Islands is challenging Customs "capacity to address and respond to other maritime security threats and maintain awareness across the remainder of the Australian maritime domain", documents show. Customs annual report also revealed an increase in asylum seekers calling for rescue and responses to tragedies "continued to place pressure on maritime operations". Limited crew numbers have further "impacted on more..

Fuel ‘shortage’ a big fib

Oct 29 (DN) The Petroleum Industries Ministry yesterday assured there will be no shortage of fuel in the country and there will not be any price increase despite difficulties faced due to US sanctions on Iran and the temporary closure of the Sapugaskanda refinery. A ministry spokesman said two shipments of crude oil of over 200,000 metric tons will arrive in the country by next month and the Sapugaskanda refinery will more..

Bread price to go up by Rs. 5

Oct 29 (Island) A regular loaf of bread could cost the consumer Rs. 5 more since Prima and Serendib Mills have increased the prices of a kilo of wheat flour by Rs. 6 and Rs. 4 respectively. All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) N. K. Jayawardena told The Island yesterday (28) that the new prices would be determined in the next couple of days and all flour-based products, too, would be increased. Currently, the price of bread prices are between Rs. 55 and Rs. 60. more..

Deaths by drowning top 1,200 yearly

Oct 29 (DN) Over 1,200 deaths are recorded in Sri Lanka annually due to drowning in seas and inland waters, Sri Lanka Coastguard (SLCG) media spokesman Lt Commander Chandana Bulegoda Arachchi said. The lack of awareness on safety matters and negligence are the main causes for these deaths, he said. Meanwhile, the SLCG held another awareness programme on ‘lifesaving and preventing drowning’ for schoolchildren of St Mary’s Convent, Matara recently. SLCG carried out more..

CJ on the spot

Oct 29 (CT) A group of govt MPs is preparing to move an impeachment motion against Chief Justice (CJ), Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, in Parliament in the near future. This situation has arisen subsequent to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) filing charges against Pradeep Kariyawasam, for purchasing shares of a loss-making company at a high rate, while serving as the Chairman of the National Savings Bank. more..

Trawler owned by hijacked vessel skipper’s brother torched

Oct 29 (Island) An unknown group set fire to a multi-day fishing craft at the Kudawella fisheries harbor, Tangalle on Saturday night. The Tangalle police, with the assistance of the Navy. put out the fire. It was set alight at around 10:00pm. The owner of the craft is said to be the brother of hijacked trawler Theja’s skipper. Theja was hijacked by a group, with the assistance of its skipper, who were making an attempt to illegally sail to Australia seeking asylum early this month. more..

Dallas points to Western double standards

Oct 29 (Island) Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said that there couldn’t be a better example than the recent Taliban shooting of a 15-year-old Pakistani girl Malala Yousufzai in the head to highlight the double standards adopted by Western powers as well as influential sections of media as regards violation of child rights. Taliban earned the wrath of the Western countries for shooting Malala who has been an outspoken advocate for girls’ right to education. She was moved from Pakistan to more..

Museum thief arrested at last

Oct 29 (Island) Having arrested the chief suspect on Saturday, Lansage Priyantha Medis, alias Kumara alias Kangetta, wanted in connection with the robbery of artefacts from the National Museum on May 17, 2012, the police are trying to establish whether he had inside help. The suspect got away with priceless artifacts, including seven swords, 18 rings, four handles of walking sticks and coins. Under interrogation, the suspect more..