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Sri Lanka tourism is ‘hot’ says global hotel giant Marriott boss

Apr 9 (FT) Global hotel giant Marriott International’s President and CEO on Saturday described Sri Lanka’s prospects to succeed in tourism as ‘hot’, the country as beautiful with warm people and infrastructure shaping up as well. “I would say Sri Lanka is ‘hot’ as a tourist destination as well as the potential for the tourism industry to grow,” Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson told the Daily FT in a brief yet exclusive interaction more..

More water supply projects in North

Apr 9 (DN) The govt has given priority to launch sanitation projects apart from community water supply projects in the Northern Province, Minister Dinesh Gunawardane said. He was addressing a meeting at the District Secretarial, Kilinochchi. The meeting was held to find solutions to the drinking water and sanitation problems of the people in the Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts. Water supply and sanitation facilities related issues are essential needs of the Northern Province, he said. more..

Editorial: Bones, bones, bones

Apr 9 (Island) There was a sense of elation written all over President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s face the other day upon receiving a sacred bone relic of the Enlightened One as seen in a picture we published yesterday. Prior to Saturday’s ceremony where it was presented to him by the spiritual head of Drupka Order of Tibetan Buddhism, he had taken part in the inauguration of a Pada Yathra by a group of foreign religious dignitaries in Kataragama. The President may be blithely blissed out, so to speak, more..

Full steam ahead for city beautification

Apr 9 (FT) Colombo’s rapid beautification projects are to be expanded to 22 cities, while the Govt is also planning to begin construction on 15,000 homes for low income people to clear land for more multi-million dollar ventures. The 22 cities will include Bandarawela, Akuressa, Tangalle, Anuradhapura and Narammala. The Govt has already partially completed 13,285 houses but needs to build an estimated 75,000 in total to more..

Cutting down CEB peak power demand

Apr 9 (Island) The Island of 04.04.2013 carried a report in its Financial Review titled "Sri Lanka should push harder to cut peak power demand", which prompted me to send this note. According to CEB publications, Sri Lanka’s peak power demand is between about 6.30 pm and about 10 pm, mainly due to the household lighting load, unlike in industrialized countries where the peak demand generally appears during the daytime. The current peak demand is a little over 2,000 MW more..

Teachers want transfer circular withdrawn

Apr 9 (CT) The Ceylon Teachers' Service Union (CTSU) yesterday threatened to engage in protest action if a particular circular in force, which gives certain benefits to teachers, is not withdrawn immediately. General Secretary of CTSU, Mahinda Jayasinghe, charged that a circular, which covers transfers and promotions, had been made redundant by a new circular issued by the current Education Ministry Secretary, Gotabhaya Jayaratne." Last month, Ministry Secretary, Jayaratne issued more..

What it feels like to be a Tamil refugee

Apr 9 (Hindu) “I do not want my child to be born and raised as a refugee,” says Padma, resting her palm on her five-month pregnant stomach. She arrived in India as a little girl in 1990. The only transition since then is that she had moved out of a refugee camp to live outside in a house as a “veli pathivu” (non-camp refugee). She is one of the two pregnant women Tamil refugees, who were ‘rescued’ from the stranded boat off more..

Solution to delays as Maradana -Ragama rail track opened

Apr 9 (DN) The third rail track between Maradana and Ragama was opened by Transport Minister Kumara Welgama yesterday. Addressing the media at the Ragama Railway Station after opening the railway track, he said the opening of the track is a solution to the frequent train delays between Fort and Ragama. “Trains plying on the Colombo-Kandy, Colombo-Vavuniya and Colombo-Puttalam routes were delayed earlier due to bottleneck on the Ragama-Colombo railway track. more..

Customs slaps highest fine of Rs. 660 m on two persons illegally importing fags

Apr 9 (FT) Two persons charged with illegally importing a container full of cigarettes were slapped with a fine of Rs. 660 million by the Department of Customs. This was the largest fine imposed by Sri Lanka Customs in its history and the two businessmen who were unable to pay the said amount were remanded for two weeks by the Colombo Magistrate Court. The container full of illicit cigarettes contained over 4.5 million sticks valued at Rs. 115 million and was shipped to Sri Lanka more..

Editorial: Why India is right on Sri Lanka

Apr 9 (Hindu) Contemporary developments in India’s foreign policy are often based on perceptions and not facts, views divorced from reality and political advocacy based on make-believe. India’s approach to the Sri Lankan issue and the vote in the UNHRC is a case in point. Variously described as a “new low” in our foreign policy and a departure from our principled stand of not supporting country-specific resolutions, more..

Sri Lankans on hunger strike in Indonesia

Apr 9 (CG) A total of six Sri Lankan immigrants are on hunger strike at an Indonesian immigration detention center over poor living conditions. The media reports said that the six Sri Lankans were from a group of 89 detained at the center. They were demanding their transfer from the center. Indonesian media reports said that the six Sri Lankans had fallen very ill after going without food for 3 days. The Sri Lankans will not be hospitalized despite falling sick, the Indonesian media reported. more..

Sri Lanka seeks easy pharma purchase from Bangladesh

Apr 9 (DS) Sri Lanka is eager to have an institutional framework for procurement of pharmaceutical products from Bangladesh, Maithripala Sirisena, the visiting Sri Lankan health minister, said yesterday. He spoke while meeting with Foreign Minister Dipu Moni at her ministry in Dhaka. Dipu Moni welcomed the Sri Lankan government’s initiative to purchase medicine from Bangladesh under a govt-to-govt arrangement and assured the visitor of all possible cooperation in this regard. more..

Reconciliation controversial and unfinished: VP of German Parliament

Apr 9 (FT) The reconciliation process in Sri Lanka remains unfinished and hugely controversial, a high-ranking German official concluding a three-day visit to Colombo said, after wide-ranging discussions with the Govt, the Opposition and civil society representatives. Vice President of the German Parliament Wolfgang Thierse said he had heard completely different views on Sri Lanka’s post-conflict reconciliation process from more..

Certain elements trying to push back development – President

Apr 9 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa appealed to everybody to join hands to steer the country towards development while safeguarding national identity. He said certain elements were trying to disrupt the country’s development by spreading various rumours because they are jealous of the massive development in the country under the government’s stewardship. The President made this clarion call addressing a gathering after opening the rehabilitated Padeniya - Anuradhapura Road more..

Inquest told LTTE suspect died of bullet wound

Apr 9 (CG) An LTTE fighter who lived with a bullet lodged in his head for more than 10 years, died as a result of the injury, an inquest held in Britain was told. Father of one, Ramachandaran Sivakumar, 41, fell in his bathroom at his home in Melrose Avenue in Cricklewood on December 21, following a seizure, Kilburn Times reported. He was taken to the Royal Free Hospital in Pond Street where he died two days later. Sivakumar came to London in 2001 with his wife seeking political asylum. more..

Attempts to replace Minister Sirisena: UNP

Apr 9 (DM) A move is underway to appoint Minister Dullas Alahapperuma as the General Secretary of the SLFP in place of Minister Maithripala Sirisena, UNP Provincial Councilor Tissa Kuttiarachchi said. “SLFP will select Alahapperuma as their General Secretary soon. Minister Sirisena is not to be seen at the ‘Nil Rella’ campaign. Its only President and Basil Rajapaksa who are in the propaganda posters,” more..

SLTB workers not paid in two months

Apr 9 (CT) Employees of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) threatened to go on an island-wide strike unless their February and March salaries are paid before 10 April. General Secretary of the All Ceylon Transport Workers' Union (ACTWU), Sepala Liyanage, in a letter to President Rajapaksa, has requested attention to the issue and urged that steps be taken to pay salaries of the employees, as quickly as possible. Liyanage said SLTB employees do not receive their salaries on time and more..

While Tiger prisoner enters wedlock another jailbird flies away

Apr 9 (Island) While an inmate of the Welikada prison entered into wedlock yesterday, an inmate of the Bogambara prison managed to make a break to freedom. LTTE suspect Sivaraja Subramaniyam (36), from Trincomalee, now in the Welikada Prison, married P. Jegatheeswaree (32) of Mannar in a simple ceremony held at the prison premises with the participation of around 15 relatives from both sides. Jegatheeswaree used to visit her uncle, who is a fellow inmate of Sivaraja and fell in love more..

Norochcholai out again; Kerawalapitiya also down

Apr 9 (Island) A number of areas were left without power following breakdowns at the Norochcholai coal fired power plant on Sunday and the Keralapitiya Combined Cycle plant yesterday. The first power plant of its kind, situated in Norochcholai went out of action from Sunday but it would resume supplying its 300 MW to the national grid from today. CEB General Manager Nihal Wickramasuriya said that he had been more..

Banking sector expands in 2012 despite challenges, says new CB report

Apr 9 (Island) Continuing to be the main player in the financial sector holding 56% of the total assets of the financial system, the banking sector expanded its activities further in 2012. The adverse situation prevailed during the beginning of the year eased out gradually owing to the implementation of appropriate regulatory policies and adoption of enhanced risk management measures by the banks. This was reflected in the moderated credit expansion, improved direction of lending, more..

Sri Lankan vessel found floating in Kenya waters

Apr 9 (AA) Police have recovered a Sri Lanka fishing vessel suspected to have capsized at the deep-sea and drifted to Pate Island in Lamu East. Lamu East police boss Samson Obara said the boat was spotted floating at the deep sea by fishermen who alerted the police last week. "We are investigating several options. Either the boat capsized or it was swept away by strong winds and drifted into Kenya territorial waters," said Obara. He said police have informed the Interpol unit, more..

Three harmful agro-chemicals banned

Apr 9 (Island) Following the spread of a mysterious kidney disease among the Rajarata farmers the Agriculture Ministry has banned, with immediate effect, the import of three agro-chemicals, considered harmful to humans. The banned agro-chemicals are, Chlopyrifos, Propanil and Carbaryl. Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane said that the decision had been taken on the advice of experts who had studied the situation. more..

Renewed petroleum agreement under fire

Apr 9 (CT) An Independent Committee must be set up to investigate the persons involved in the original business transaction between the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the Petro Vietnam (PV) Oil Company of Singapore, that is now deemed as corrupt, the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS), Petroleum Branch, demanded. Addressing the latest renewal of the said trade agreement between the CPC and the PV Oil Company, which had been extended for a further six months with more..

Chenkaladi double murder: Police hopeful of early breakthrough

Apr 9 (Island) A fancy goods businessman and his wife were hacked to death, in the early hours of yesterday, at their residence in Chenkaladi, Batticaloa, by a lone killer. The victims had been sleeping in the master bedroom of the house while their 16-year-old only daughter, had been sleeping in an adjoining room. The daughter had not been harmed by the killer. The incident occurred around 12.55 a.m. and the police were alerted by the wife’s father, who having heard the victims’ more..

LTTE could have threatened Karunanidhi, U.S. surmises

Apr 9 (Hindu) Tamil Tigers might have threatened the then Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi, in 1989 “with a significant increase in the level of militant violence in Tamil Nadu” if he did not “boost their cause,” the United States surmised. “While all agree that it would be counterproductive for Karunanidhi to continue overt support for the several losers among the Sri Lankan Tamil political groups, his energetic and unwavering and more..

Editorial: BASL launches brave struggle against attack on Judiciary

Apr 9 (DM) Though the politicisation of the Supreme Court and Judiciary began in 1996 with the appointment of Sarath N. Silva as the Chief Justice, a full-scale attack on the Independentce of the Judiciary and the consequent breakdown of the rule of law apparantly began in December last year with the motion to impeach CJ 43, Shirani Bandaranayake. The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal both gave clear rulings that the impeachment process against more..

SL’s letter to the newly appointed BASL President

Apr 9 (DM) Dear Upul, Reading the newspapers about the Convocation of the BASL and the things that were said there, I do wish that I had not precipitately declined your kind invitation and not come there. I declined the invitation as a matter of course, which I have been doing for many years, because I have found the convocations of the Bar Association to consist ‘merely of occasions when a number of pious platitudes are uttered and nothing really changes. I always preferred to more..

High-flyers at O/L 2012

Apr 9 (DM) A student of Colombo Royal College Dasun Jayasinghe who came first in the island at the GCE O/L exam 2012 said, to score a triumph one must attend to his/her studies diligently while participating in extra curricular activities, without making the examination a burden. Oshadha is the second in a family of three children from Imbulgoda in Gampaha. From the inception of his school career Oshadha had excelled in his more..

Bid to shift CHOGM intensifies

Apr 9 (SL) While the Commonwealth Secretariat insists that no foreign govt has formally requested that the CHOGM scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka this year be shifted out over human rights concerns, a last minute push is now underway with parties urging their governments to make that move ahead of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting to be held later this month. more..

Kolonnawa to MRIA, 5 tankers of jet fuel daily for one or two flights

Apr 9 (ST) Five bowsers of aviation fuel travel from the Kolonnawa oil refinery to Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) every day, for refueling of aircraft, sources from the CPC said. This is because the Chinese built oil tank farm near the Hambantota Port, about 30 km from Mattala, is yet to be commissioned, they said. Even after the oil tank farm is fully commissioned around end September this year, more..

Hot and humid weather to continue till April 15

Apr 9 (Island) The hot and humid weather, currently prevailing countrywide, would continue until April 15 with the Sun directly over Sri Lanka, Meteorology Department Duty Officer, Pabodani Karunapala said. She attributed it to the sun’s rays heating the land, coupled with low winds and increased humidity, as the air is saturated with water vapor. It would also cause severe bodily discomfort, as the perspiration does not more..

No comment on Uthayan says UN

Apr 9 (CG) The UN was not in a position to comment on the recent attack on the Uthayan newspaper distribution office in Killinochchi. When asked for a comment during the daily press briefing at the UN Headquarters in New York yesterday, UN spokesman Martin Nesirsky said that he did not have a comment on the particular attack. However he noted that the UN Secretary-General’s position is quite clear on media freedom more..

‘25% of SMEs suffer bankruptcy’

Apr 9 (Island) Around 25% of Sri Lanka’s Small and Medium Enterprises have collapsed over the past two to three years amid grueling financial hardships, including bank interest rates on loans, which have soared to 18 per cent. This is most unfortunate, considering that the SME sector is the ‘backbone’ of the country’s economy, accounting for 75% of the Gross National Product, president of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Small and more..

High Powered Pakistan delegation in SL

Apr 9 (GDI) A 19 member’s delegation from the National Defence University (NDU) Pakistan is currently visiting Sri Lanka. The delegation comprises of senior officers from Pakistan’s Armed Forces and Civil Services as well as Officers from USA, UAE and China, who are undergoing National Security and War Course at NDU. The delegation is led by Commodore Asif Saleem, SI(M). The defence Advisor of Pakistan to Sri Lanka Colonel more..

Microsoft Imagine Cup competition tomorrow

Apr 9 (ST) The University of Colombo will be conducting the Sri Lankan leg of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2013 at its School of Computing auditorium on April 10, the competition’s organisers said. The local stage of this competition, first held domestically in 2005, initially utilised a judging panel of Sri Lankan software professionals to whittle down a pool of shortlisted finalists until just one team was selected, only in the category of software more..

Owners to rise against painting buses in blue

Apr 9 (DM) The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) announced that they would launch a massive strike between April 20 and 30 to protest against the directive to paint all private busses in light blue. This was in response to a notice made by the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT) to introduce different colour codes for motor vehicles, which are mainly used for the delivery of services, in line with a govt gazette notification. more..

US calls for political devolution

Apr 9 (CG) The United States says some of the most important steps in achieving real reconciliation in Sri Lanka have not yet moved ahead and this includes dialogue with the TNA on political devolution. The US Ambassador in Sri Lanka said the US will continue to push for reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. US Ambassador Michele J. Sison, speaking to Foreign Correspondents in Colombo, said that more..

Editorial : Hate speech is no free speech

Apr 9 (CT) The one time leftist firebrand and the Minister of National Languages and Social Integration of the current govt, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, will this week present a Cabinet Paper seeking to ban hate speech. According to Minister Nanayakkara, the proposed Cabinet Paper would make it possible to 'prosecute individuals who use inflammatory language in order to incite ethnic or religious hatred.' Minister Nanayakkara believes that his Cabinet colleagues would put more..

Say ‘no’ to extremist BBS majoritarian virus

Apr 9 (CT) Wow! How effectively this nursery rhyme sums up the disaster awaiting this Paradise Isle in the not too distant future. We are living at the most challenging time in recent history, where the forces of extremism such as BBS and Sinhala Ravaya, have unfortunately got the upper hand over the voices of moderation and reason. It is a matter of regret that the Police have virtually delegated or abdicated their law enforcement powers to these vicious elements, extremist forces more..

We are men of integrity: Attorney General

Apr 9 (DM) The 27th Attorney General, Palitha Fernando PC in a one on one discussion with the Daily Mirror refuted all allegations and assertions to the effect that the Department has been politicised and runs according to the whims and fancies of a powerful few. “This department is not politicised, there is not an iota of truth in the assertion that officials of this department would act based on any political interferences. more..