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Paddy cultivation gives way to tourist destination: JVP

Sept 1 (DM) Sri Lanka is to be promoted as a popular destination for tourism at the expense of paddy cultivation which had been a traditional profession in the country, JVP charged on Wednesday. JVP MP and President of the All Ceylon Farmers Federation Anura Kumara Dissanayake alleged at a seminar that an official attached to the tourism authority had mentioned at a recent district meeting of the tourism authority more..

Govt. threatens tough action against those tarnishing exams

Sept 1 (Island) The govt yesterday threatened tough action against those who were attempting to mislead the people on national exams and the examination department by spreading canards. Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that it should be stopped immediately as otherwise the credibility of national exams would be lost. He said that certain teacher trade unionists, attached to bankrupt political parties, more..

FUTA Responds To Misleading Information And clarifies Current Status

Sept 1 (CT) The FUTA Trade Union Action launched on the 4th of July 2012 has entered its 3rd month, and there is much speculation concerning the current status of negotiations between FUTA and the govt. In order to address some of the misleading information regarding FUTA’s current position, we wish to clearly clarify our stand at this present moment. During the last two months, FUTA’s demands have been more..

Hakeem’s supporters clash with Athaullah’s in Akkaraipattu

Sept 1 (Island) A noisy commotion was created yesterday in front of the Akkaraipattu police station when Slmc supporters led by its General Secretary, Hasan Ali and MP H.M.M. Harris, demanded the arrest of a person who threw a stone at one of their vehicles from among supporters of Muslim National Congress Leader and Minister A.L.M. Athaullah. The alleged attack had caused some minor damage to a vehicle, more..

LTTE was able to acquire weapons with ease

Sept 1 (CG) The LTTE was able to acquire weapons from overseas with ease during the war, Charge d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Major General Shavendra Silva has said. Silva told a UN Conference on preventing, combating and eradicating the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, that in the post conflict phase, Sri Lanka is beginning to uncover not only the extensive overseas networks that more..

State institutions not implementing language policy, will face the music

Sept 1 (Island) The Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration (MNLSI) yesterday warned that legal action would be taken against state institutions which failed to provide their services to the public in both Sinhala and Tamil. Minister of NLSI, Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that he had directed the Official Language Commission to advise secretaries of all ministries and heads of govt institutions to take more..

T20 World Cup: 5,000 Indian fans may flock to every match India play in Sri Lanka

Sept 1 (Island) At least five thousand Indian cricket fans are likely to flock to every match that India will play in the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka during Sept 18-Oct 7, according to Indian tour operators. Major tour operators here have rolled out special travel packages designed for the event. Shashank Mishra of TUI says: "It is the first T20 World Cup to be held in Asia. So the expectations of Indian cricket lovers have risen. more..

Olympics: Minister gave approval for only 8 officials

Sept 1 (DM) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage lashed out at the National Olympics Committee saying that he had not given permission for 23 officials to accompany the seven athletes for the Olympics. He said that he had approved only 8 officials to participate in the games. “I had approved only 8 officials and 7 athletes. You will have to ask the Chairman of the Olympics Committee as to how the rest went because more..

Editorial: Students in blackboard jungle, Ministers must go

Sept 1 (DM) Police used water cannon and tear gas to prevent students from marching towards a high-security zone to protest over the latest blunders and bluff in last month’s GCE A/L exam amid serious concern over when and how the answer scripts will be marked. A spokesman for the protesting students said they feared the marking of the answer scripts might be delayed for several months because university teachers were still on strike and the education sector was in turmoil. more..

IDPs in the competitive job market currents

Sept 1 (DM) Unemployed graduates often complain about the government’s inability to harness the precious human resource of graduates while employers often grouse about incapabilities of graduates who cannot meet job requirements. In Sri Lanka the common perception is that graduating with a university degree is the gateway to the betterment of life. However for many graduates who pass out especially from state universities in Sri Lanka seem to launch a struggle to more..

Lawyers challenge woman's arrest

Sept 1 (DM) The lawyers who appeared on behalf of a young woman who was arrested on charges of having kept a cobra in a room at a Kollupitiya night club argued in Court that her arrest was illegal. Defence counsel R.A.P. Ranawaka presenting a lengthy submission before Colombo Fort Magistrate maintained that the offence committed by his client comes neither under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance nor the Prevention of the Cruelty to more..

CID to file report in court

Sept 1 (CG) The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is to file a report in Court on Monday regarding statements made to the media by the secretary of the Lanka Teacher Services Union Mahinda Jayasinghe. According to the police media unit Jayasinghe has made statements to the media regarding the alleged leak of the Grade 5 scholarship examination question papers. The CID had been tasked to investigate some of the allegations following a request by the Education Ministry. more..

CPI stages fast over training to Lankan defence personnel

Sept 1 (PTI) CPI today staged a day-long fast here protesting against Centre imparting training to Sri Lankan defence personnel and demanding that New Delhi re-negotiate with Colombo on such exercises. Senior party leader D Raja, who inaugurated the fast in which leaders and party activists took part, said India continued to train Sri Lankan defence personnel despite all parties in the state demanding that it be stopped. He said the Centre's more..

'Maithripala Sirisena has absconded from challenge'

Sept 1 (NF) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake says that Minister Maithripala Sirisena has absconded from his challenge to an open debate. Minister recently charged that during the 1994 presidential election, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesnighe had fed information to the People's Alliance Candidate, Chandrika Kumaratunge. The Minister extended a challenge to the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to face him more..

Vasan opposes training of Sri Lankan military personnel in India

Sept 1 (Hindu) Union Shipping Minister and Congress strongman in Tamil Nadu G.K. Vasan on Saturday added his voice to the growing clamour against the training of Sri Lankan military personnel in India and demanded that the two officers, now in the country, should be sent back immediately. Mr. Vasan said his party unit in the State was in full agreement with other political parties on this issue and would soon meet Defence Minister A.K. Antony to press the demand. more..

Bond, stock managers find opportunities in Sri Lanka

Sept 1 (Barrons) With so much angst over India, some investors are looking for other ways to play the subcontinent and setting their sights on Sri Lanka. The country, a major shipping hub attracting a good deal of investment from China, is rebuilding after a three-decade civil war that left parts of the country with little infrastructure. All in all, money managers say the economy is growing and not as exposed to the headwinds in the global economy. more..

AI sees shortcomings in action plan

Sept 1 (CG) Sri Lanka’s failure to account for serious violations of human rights has created a climate of impunity where arbitrary detentions, torture and other ill- treatment, enforced disappearances, and custodial killings continue unchecked, Amnesty International (AI) said in a written statement on Sri Lanka to the UNHRC. AI says more than three years after the armed conflict with the LTTE ended, these violations continue more..

Kahawatta gets additional police team

Sept 1 (AD) The IGP has taken steps to station an additional team of police officers in the Kahawatta area, which had been in the spotlight recently following a series of crimes. IGP N.K. Illangakoon, who visited Kahawatta yesterday, had held discussions with high ranking officers in the region regarding security provided to the area. Here he had instructed that another team comprising 15 police officers be station in Kahawatta, police spokesman’s office said. more..

Taj unit expects strong demand

Sept 1 (LBO) Taj Lanka Hotels, a unit of India's Taj Hotels and Resorts is expecting strong demand for hotel rooms in the next few years despite a number of new properties coming up as tourism arrivals continue to grow. Chairman Raymond Bickson, said that expert forecasts indicate the demand for hotel rooms to outpace supply. "Sri Lanka is set to change from a budget destination to a more exotic one offering a variety of experiences to a diverse segment of travelers," more..

Sri Lankan asylum-seekers in custody in Indonesia

Sept 1 (AFP) Indonesian police are holding 50 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers in custody two days after they were found stranded and starving in a faulty boat drifting off Sumatra, a rescue official said on Saturday. Fishermen found the asylum seekers, who were trying to reach Australia, on Thursday on a boat with a broken engine and brought them ashore, more..

Persons travelling in minister’s vehicle and three-wheeler drivers clash

Sept 1 (NF) A clash was reported Friday afternoon between a group of individuals who were traveling in senior minister Piyasena Gamage’s vehicle and a group of three wheel drivers in the Ambewela area. The police said that five persons were arrested in connection with the incident. SSP Ajith Rohana said that suspects who were produced before the Nuwara Eliya Magistrate last evening were released on bail. "A clash erupted between a group of three-wheeler drivers and more..

Central Province PTA Chairman caught taking bribe

Sept 1 (AD) The Chairman of the Central Province Passenger Transport Authority has been arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 150,000 to provide a route permit. The Bribery Commission stated that the suspect was arrested while soliciting the bribe from a private bus owner in the city of Kandy this morning. The Central Province PTA chairman had reportedly requested for the bribe in order to afford special privileges to the bus owner when obtaining the route permit. more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit India

Sept 1 (PTI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will visit India later this month, primarily to lay the foundation stone of a Centre for Buddhist Studies in Madhya Pradesh's Sanchi, home to some of the vital and finest Buddhist monuments. Rajapaksa will do the honours on Sept 21 in the presence of Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigme Thinley, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj announced. The event coincides with the celebrations to mark more..

28 TN fishermen detained by Lankan Navy, let-off with warning

Sept 1 (PTI) 28 Tamil Nadu fishermen were detained by Sri Lankan Naval personnel on the charge of entering the island waters in the Palk Strait but released after a stern warning today, officials here said. The fishermen from Akkaraipettai village near Nagapattinam were fishing in four mechanised boats when they were arrested and taken to Mannar in Sri Lanka, Assistant Director of Fisheries Gunasekaran said, quoting information received. Though the fishermen said more..

Special programme to promote coconut cultivation in the North and East

Sept 1 (DN) The Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development Ministry has started a special programme to promote coconut cultivation in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, said Minister Jagath Pushpakumara. He was addressing the annual general meeting of the coconut oil manufactures in Seeduwa recently. He said coconut cultivations in the Northern and Eastern Provinces were completely destroyed due to the conflict situation, which in turn had a drastic impact more..

All cosmetic products should be approved by CDDRA

Sept 1 (Island) The Cosmetics Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority (CDDRA) said that over 2,400 local and foreign products had been given registration this year. Director of the CDDRA Dr. Hemantha Beneragama said that 243 of them were local products manufactured by 14 companies. He said the CDDRA had given 1,078 provisional registrations, 335 full registration and 622 temporary registrations this year. more..

Education crises unsolvable through discussions : IUSF

Sept 1 (DM) The crises in the education sector were no longer in a state where they could be solved through discussions or debates, Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) said. IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara said the crises could not be solved through discussions because the govt had made it evident that they were not interested in listening to the grievances of students, teachers or the academics. Bandara who also commented on the cabinet paper that was more..

Police deny rumors of stampede at Kapilavasthu exposition

Sept 1 (AD) The Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the North Western Province and the Indian High Commission in Colombo today denied rumors that a stampede had taken place at the exposition of the sacred Kapilavasthu relics in Wariyapola. It was reported last evening that several persons were hospitalized following an alleged stampede which had occurred during the Sacred Kapilavastu Relics exposition at the Wariyapola Sri Sumangala Pirivena Vihara. more..

Future Energy in Sri Lanka

Editorial: UPFA will romp home

Sept 2 (SO) Elections to the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provincial Councils will be held on Saturday. These are not mere elections to three Provincial Councils, but are decisive in that the masses should be vigilant as various interested elements, both here and abroad, are yearning to put their agendas in motion. It is an open secret that the Tiger cohorts and a section of the Tamil Diaspora are going hammer and tongs to reactivate the separatist ideology more..

Editorial: Criminalisation of Politics and politicisation of criminals

Sept 2 (SL) Politicisation of crime and criminalisation of politics inevitably becomes a two way process. It is an undeniable fact that within the last two to three decades politicians have extended their patronage to criminals and now criminals are wealthy and influential enough to enter politics. We now see politicians being transformed into criminals and the boundary between politics and crime has become blurred to such an extent that politicians more..

'CPA conference will boost Sri Lanka’s image'

Sept 2 (SO) Scion of a famous political family in Giruwa and Magam Pattu, down South, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa learned his ABC in politics from his father, D.A. Rajapaksa, one time Cabinet Minister in the national legislature who never failed to identify himself with the downtrodden peasantry of the Ruhuna. During his 25-year political career, the Speaker gained a reputation from among the Govt and the Opposition MPs as a more..

Editorial: ‘Six per cent save education’

Sept 2 (LB) The headline of this editorial resonates a self explanatory slogan of the FUTA and with that we express our solidarity with the on-going campaign for higher budgetary allocation for education. Public spending on education has been on the downward spiral since the early 1970s and it has been on a free fall in recent years. Sri Lanka spent 4% of GDP on education in 1970, which declined to 2.9% by 2005. The national expenditure on education has since seen a rapid decline, hitting below 2% (1.9) this year. more..

Editorial: Hotel investment – time for a pause?

Sept 2 (Island) The annual reports of two South coast resort hotel operators reviewed in our business pages today record that they have achieved their best ever profits during the year ended March 31, 2012. This, no doubt, is a cause for satisfaction for their owners and other stakeholders. Nevertheless, neither of the two properties we mention, despite their record profits, had run occupancies over 65% or so. The reason for high earnings despite less than satisfactory more..

'Tamils and Muslims live in harmony'

Sept 2 (SO) There is a need for 48,000 houses in the Eastern province for the people who live below the poverty line. I plan to implement a housing scheme for the people who live below the poverty line and also help widows if I am elected Chief Minister, former Eastern Province Chief Minister, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan said. Special plans have been drafted to improve the living standards of widows. Community livelihood development projects will be implemented more..

Editorial: Why Lanka should remain non-aligned

Sept 2 (ST) The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) shows little movement other than when summits are held. And so, it was with the latest, just concluded summit in the Iranian capital of Teheran. In the intervening years between summits, what on earth the second largest grouping of nations, only next to the United Nations Organisation, does is anybody’s guess. This time round, the fact that Iran was to host the summit and assume the leadership of NAM attracted more attention that more..

Editorial: FUTA can and must rise above unionism

Sept 2 (NS) The trade union action launched by the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) has entered its third month. The universities are closed. Negotiations between FUTA and relevant authorities do not indicate any signs of quick resolution. FUTA is now threatening to boycott A/L paper marking and has won the support of various teacher unions to keep away as well. It is heartening that academics have thought fit to embrace the larger issue of education policy, more..

No future without exports – Harsha

Sept 2 (LB) Economist and UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said consumption, private investment and govt expenditure all helped fuel the 8 plus growth. But the fact is, part of this growth was artificial; an illusion created by short-sighted policy. He added that the govt keeps borrowing to repay previous loans. Q: The country’s exports have dropped to US$4965 mn in June 2012 from US$ 5075.9 mn in the same period last year. more..

The necessary evil and the lesser evil

Sept 2 (ST) My Dear Voter, I thought I must write to you as I feel sorry for you because you have been asked to go to the polling booth once more if you happen to live in the North Central, Sabaragamuwa or Eastern provinces — even though you may not be really keen to elect another set of ‘palaath sabha manthrees’. I feel sorry for you because you must be finding it really hard to decide whom to vote for. I am sure this must be harder than even answering questions in the Grade 5 scholarship exam more..

Will UPFA win the East?

Sept 2 (Island) This will be the last Sunday before the elections to the Eastern, Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provinces and everybody is wondering which way the cookie will crumble. While the opposition has basically abandoned hope in the NCP and Sabaragamuwa provinces, all hope is concentrated on the East. Here too hopes are centred not on the SLMC which is an ally of the govt but on the TNA. The hope is that if the TNA sweeps the board in the Batticaloa district, as they did during the parliamentary election, the SLMC more..