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Saskia Fernando

New Year prospects for political house cleaning and economic harvesting

Apr 15 (DBS) The April New Year is when most Sri Lankans take a break from the dreary routines of life. Colombo looks dead on New Year’s day in April as people in large numbers retreat to their rural roots from the hurly-burly of the city. Quite different from Colombo’s hangover demeanor on January 1 following the New Year’s eve revelry. Although January 1 is now the global New Year, Sri Lanka’s April New Year is much longer in tradition and carries deeper meanings and symbols not more..

Uninvited visit by BBS to US temple opposed

Apr 15 (DBS) The Management Committee of the Anaheim temple would like to issue the following statement regarding the visit of the Bodu Bala Sena: We are deeply disturbed and disappointed by the actions taken by Ven. Sumana in allowing the “Bodu Bala Sena” representatives to stay at the Anaheim temple, organizing a ‘Buddhanussathi Pooja’ and a get-together. This was organized with the consent of the Ven. Sumana by two individuals without consulting the Management Committee of more..

Till divorce do us part...

Apr 15 (CT) Divorces are on the rise in Sri Lanka. The age-old custom, of being committed to a marriage despite all adverse circumstances, has faded away, replacing it with the might of the empowered woman who seeks legal redress when marriages go wrong. A recent survey conducted by the Public Education Media Unit of the Uni of Colombo reveals 58% of love marriages have ended up in failure. Experts attribute this to teenage more..

1/3rd of piling work over at Sri Lanka’s tallest condominium

Apr 15 (ST) Construction work on the Altair, said to be Sri Lanka’s tallest luxury condominium, is on track with the completion of 100 of 288 piles last month. INDOCEAN Developers, promoter of the project, said the four test piles, carried out at the Sir James Peiris Mawatha site overlooking the Beira Lake at 200 per cent of the design load, showed that each pile can successfully bear a load of 2,200 tons, which is twice the load required by the structural design. The project valued at US$200 million more..

Intel, Ministry of Education launches improved Internet-based teaching tools

Apr 15 (ST) Intel Sri Lanka, together with the Ministry of Education, this week launched the new and improved website to Sri Lankan students and teachers. The official web site of the ‘skoool’ learning and teaching programme now has content from the local syllabus for two important subjects, Science and Mathematics which are now available in Sinhala and Tamil. The Sinhala and Tamil translations were facilitated by the University of Moratuwa. The British Council, which more..

Friendly environment for WA domestic workers

Apr 15 (ST) Sri Lankan domestic workers will soon be benefited by a proposed new law in the West Asia which provides for a compulsory weekly off day, keeping their passport and the option of returning home within three months of taking a new job if there are problems in the workplace. It also contains a compulsory requirement for employers to send the salary of the worker to the bank, and end of service benefits. more..

Sri Lanka power users see through 'subsidy' trick

Apr 15 (LBO) Despite decades of propaganda by elected rulers about 'the govt bearing the burden' some citizens are seeing through the subsidy deception, comments by electricity consumers at a public hearing on a tariff hike showed. "All sectors ask for a reduction. Nobody asks to increase," Jayantha Ranatunga, who heads a power consumer consultative committee told a hearing on called by the Public Utilities Commission, the regulator. "The question is whether it is possible. more..

'New Saudi law won’t affect genuine workers'

Apr 15 (IANS) Saudi Arabia's new labour policy will affect only illegal immigrants and not genuine workers employed in the Kingdom, India's External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said. "Genuine workers don't need to worry. It will impact only those who don't have proper work permit," Khurshid told IANS in the course of a brief chat in Berlin where this correspondent who had travelled with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week. Khurshid said Indian workers play an important role in more..

Putting tortoise on the menu

Apr 15 (CT) Environmentalists voice concern over the growing presence of Chinese nationals in Sri Lanka, claiming the visitors have put the island’s wildlife at stake. They said there is a high demand for tortoise flesh among the Chinese, and point to the number of incidents where Chinese nationals were caught with tortoises in their possession have been reported. They also said it is no secret that tortoise flesh is considered a more..

Sri Lankan Navy arrests 9 TN fishermen

Apr 15 (PTI) Nine fishermen from Pudukottai district were taken into custody by the Sri Lankan navy when they were fishing in mid-sea today, officials said. It was not known where exactly the fishermen were fishing when they were arrested and taken by the Lankan Navalmen along with their two boats, officials and local fishermen association president Ramakrishnan said. After the arrest, tension prevailed in Jagadapattinam in the district, from where the fishermen ventured into the sea. more..

1 dead over 250 hospitalized during new year

Apr 15 (DM) The Colombo National Hospital said today that 53 patients have been admitted to the National Hospital since midnight today as a result of accidents during celebrations last night. During the 24 hours ending at 12 midnight today, 233 persons were brought to the hospital with 123 admissions. The hospital also said that a 46 year old resident of Elvitigala flats was brought dead after he had committed suicide by shooting himself at around 8 PM last night. more..

Navy denies arresting Indian fishermen

Apr 15 (PTI) Sri Lankan Navy today denied the arrest of nine Indian fishermen hailing from Pudukottai district in Tamil Nadu, as reported in the Indian media. "We have not arrested any Indian fishermen anywhere", Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said. Indian media had reported that nine fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy when they were fishing mid-sea. The incident comes two days after Sri Lanka freed 19 more..

Malaria hotspots 'need new approach'

Apr 15 (BBC) Novel measures are needed to tackle malaria hotspots in countries with low levels of the disease, scientists say. Countries such as Malaysia and Bhutan have seen malaria levels fall - but pockets of infection remain, mainly among men living or working outdoors. Writing in the Lancet, the scientists say this means that measures, such as nets, that help in homes are ineffective. Instead, treated hammocks or clothing could be more useful. In countries where there are high levels of more..

New Year message of the JVP

Apr 15 (LT) The Sinhalese and Tamil New Year has dawned. It is one of the most important festivals among the cultural festivals in Sri Lanka as it is an appropriate moment for a new beginning. Time has come for the Sri Lankan society that has been rotating around a vile cycle to move towards a new zodiac. It is evident that Rajapaksa regime has dragged the country towards economic, political, social and ethical bankruptcy. As a result masses have to be confronted with massive more..

Agriculture sector performs well in ’12

Apr 15 (DN) Despite adverse weather conditions in the second half of the year, the Agriculture sector performed better in 2012 than in 2011. Reflecting the expansion in economic activities, the unemployment rate declined to 4% in 2012 from 4.2% in 2011 according to Governor Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabral. He disclosed this at the presentation of the 63rd Annual Report of the Monetary Board in Colombo recently. more..

Govt. seeks GSP from China

Apr 15 (CT) The govt is in the process of obtaining a GSP through a trade agreement with China, sources close to the Ministry of Industrial and Commerce said. The govt expects to commence direct discussions without any delay and China has already conveyed willingness to discuss the matter through the Sri Lankan Ambassador in China. A top official attached to the ministry also said the garment industry is faced with a number of issues, as the EU took measures to more..

CID exposes huge land rackets

Apr 15 (ST) Racketeers including notaries public and land sale dealers have been taken into custory for large-scale illegal land grabbing in Colombo and the suburbs, CID detectives said. At least 30 such groups have been arrested so far after the CID probed some 4,300 complaints made following a Defence Ministry announcements calling on victims to inform the CID, the detectives said. CID Inspector A.S. Karunatillake said most of the complaints had been from Colombo and the CID more..

Fag smuggling racket masterminded from behind bars: Customs

Apr 15 (ST) Customs officials claim that the mastermind behind the illegal cigarette smuggling racket that was busted last week is a gang leader who is serving time in jail after being convicted of murder. The officials said that the gang leader has been spearheading the operation for the past several months. The racket was busted last Monday when a massive consignment of illegally imported cigarettes from Dubai was detected. more..

Sri Lanka is a shimmering jewel and great destination

Apr 15 (DE) AS I sat on what was left of the 7000-year-old kingdom built on a 200m-high rock at Sigirya in Sri Lanka, I couldn't believe people would ever consider not visiting the island once known as Serendib (the origin of the word serendipity) by the Arabs. When I first told my family and friends I was travelling there, I was met with blank stares. "Why?" my mum said cautiously. "That's an interesting choice," a high school friend said in a tone that was a little too high- pitched. more..

Sri Lanka to tour Pakistan in June

Apr 15 (ET) The Pakistan Throwball Federation (PTF) will hold a three-match test series against Sri Lanka in June in Karachi. According to the PTF secretary Maqbool Arain, the series was originally scheduled for March but was postponed due to the law and order situation in Karachi. The event will now be held after the elections that are due in May. “Sri Lanka have confirmed their participation,” Arain told The Express Tribune. “The series will now take place in June after the elections. more..

US denounce the attack against Udayan

Apr 15 (OU) US has urged Sri Lanka to conduct a credible investigation concerning the "Udayan" office attack. The attack against the main office of "Udayan" press in Jaffna, was denounced by US, and it has insisted to conduct a credible investigation concerning to this attack incident. US embassy in Colombo, its Chief Public Affairs Officer Christopher Reels has expressed his statement condemning over twitter. more..

VCK for credible probe into wartime excesses

Apr 15 (Hindu) Reiterating that Tamil Eelam alone could find a permanent solution to the problems of the Sri Lankan Tamils, Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) on Sunday demanded a referendum among them to ascertain the need for the creation of a nation. At a public meeting and a rally organised to commemorate the birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar, the VCK adopted a resolution that sought appointment of a credible, independent international inquiry into the wartime more..

Warnings over ongoing political repression in Sri Lanka

Apr 15 (ABC) There have been fresh attacks on media outlets across the country. Arsonists struck a newspaper office in the northern city of Jaffna over the weekend - the fifth attack on the media since January. The situation has implications for Australia. Senior Tamils warn that asylum seekers will keep leaving Sri Lanka unless the security situation improves at home. Correspondent: Michael Edwards. Speakers: Siva Kumaran, senior editor, Uthayan; Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia more..

SLC to elect office bearers through secret ballot for first time

Apr 15 (PTI) For the first time in the history of Sri Lanka Cricket, its office bearers will be elected through a secret ballot voting in its AGM on April 16. "There will be a secret ballot observed by the Election Commissioner's Department," Ashley de Silva, SLC's acting CEO said. De Silva said the secret ballot would be in accordance with the amendments to the Sports Act. A last minute decision to change the venue of election more..

Expert committee recommendations approved

Apr 15 (CT) A Parliament Advisory Committee has given its approval to the recommendations made by an expert committee, appointed to investigate the link between the use of pesticides and the increase in kidney disease. The Advisory Committee met on 10 April, under the patronage of Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane. Parliamentarians, Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera, Dayasiri Jayasekara, P. Harrison and Eran Wickramaratne took part in the committee. more..

'Muslims would not win single member, if NPC election held this year'

Apr 15 (AT) Muslims in the North, practically would not win 1 member in the Northern Provincial Council, if election is held before the end of the year 2013. Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen, Leader of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress bemoans the potential loss of more than half a dozen of Muslim members in the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council election, as well as the loss of nearly three members in the total number of the Council membership if the elections are held based on the 2011 population more..

Arson against Uthayan paper targets Tamil vote - TNA

Apr 15 (AFP) The TNA today accused the govt of attacking the biggest opposition newspaper in an attempt to silence its political rivals ahead of key local council elections. The TNA said torching of the Uthayan newspaper presses added to a “fear psychosis” among the population in the northern district of Jaffna. “One of the main objectives (of the attack) is silencing the opposition ahead of provincial council elections,” more..

Matale mass grave: What we need is to bridle the rogue state

Apr 15 (CT) I was provoked to write this after seeing the JVP’s ardent reaction on Matale Mass Grave. They, by holding a media conference (on 10th April 2013) where several relatives of the alleged disappeared in 88-89 era also participated, announced two things. One was that the justice should be done for those who were extra judicially killed in that gruesome period. The other was that they are focusing on taking legal actions on this even though the existing legal framework more..

On BBS claim: Get ready to celebrate Vesak at Kuragala

Apr 15 (CT) Qutub Muhiyuddin Abdul Qadir Jailani, also known as Ghouse-e Azam, is one of the greatest scholars in Islamic history held in very high esteem by Muslims throughout the Middle East ,Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and even as far as Indonesia. In view of his extreme piety, depth of knowledge, simple life and miracles performed and other such noble qualities some call him a saint while others describe him as the saint of all saints. more..

Ancient Lanka stone temple step to be auctioned at Bonhams

Apr 15 (PTI) A carved granite temple step similar to those found in the ancient city of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka will be sold in Bonhams Indian and Islamic sale in London on April 23. The auctioneer Bonhams says the carved granite step is a Sandakada Pahana - also known as Moonstone - similar to those found in temples dating from Sri Lanka's Anuradhapura period (c400BC-1000AD). The magnificent work of art featuring lions, more..

No conditionalities on aids given to emerging nations: India

Apr 15 (PTI) Asserting that it attaches no "conditionalities" to assistance to countries including Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives and Bangladesh, India today said it also does not "challenge national sovereignty" of these nations and noted such aids were demand driven and mutually beneficial. It also cautioned against developed countries stopping ODA (Official Development Assistance) to their developing counterparts as suggested by the recent communique of the UN Secretary General more..

Senior citizen dies during EIders' Marathon at New Year Celebration

Apr 15 (NF) A seventy-year-old has died after participating in an EIders' Marathon at a New Year celebration that was held in Rambukkana. Police said that the seventy year old had fallen ill after running two kilometres of the marathon. The individual had died upon being admitted to the Hospital at around 8 in the morning. The body of the deceased is placed at the Rambukkana Hospital. The deceased was a resident of the Rambukkana area.

Fishing ban comes into effect from Monday

Apr 15 (Hindu) Rameswaram fishermen, who faced the wrath of the Sri Lankan Navy while fishing have urged the central and state governments to create a conducive atmosphere for fishing after arranging a meeting between the Lankan and Indian fishermen during the 45 day ban period, which comes into effect from Monday. As fishing activities came to a grinding halt following the ban on fishing till May 29 to conserve the marine fishery more..

SL help for Burkina Faso's tourism industry

Apr 15 (GDI) Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation Senior Minister of Burkina Faso, Djibrill Yipéné Bassolé met with Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa at the Ministry office. At this meeting Minister Bassolé said that his govt wished to build closer ties with Sri Lanka in youth development, tourism industry and food security among other areas. The two ministers discussed future cooperation in the fields of trade, economy, agriculture and irrigation. more..

IFJ condemns repeated targeting of Uthayan

Apr 15 (Scoop) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins partners and affiliates in Sri Lanka in unequivocally condemning the repeated targeting of the Tamil newspaper Uthayan. On April 13, just ten days after an assault on the newspaper’s distribution office in the northern provincial town of Kilinochhi, its printing press in the provincial capital of Jaffna was attacked and parts of it damaged in arson. According to information received from from the IFJ’s Sri Lankan affiliate, more..

Suspected asylum seeker boat intercepted

Apr 15 (AAP) Australian authorities have intercepted a suspected asylum seeker boat near Broome, a week after another boat managed to reach Western Australia's Geraldton port. HMAS Ararat, with the help of the WA police vessel Delphinus, found the boat with 72 people on board on Sunday. Some have been taken to Broome for medical treatment, Customs and Border Protection said on Monday. The remainder will be more..

Over 100 persons held on DUIs during New Year season

Apr 15 (AD) Over 100 persons were arrested and will be presented before the courts for driving under the influence of alcohol during the New Year season, police stated. The police conducted routine checks during the holiday season in order to minimize the number of vehicular accidents. The police apprehended 122 drivers who were operating their vehicles after consuming alcohol while the Police Media Spokesman SP Buddhika Siriwardena stated that five persons were killed more..

2.75 mn mobile phones shipped in Sri Lanka during 2012

Apr 15 (Ciol) The Sri Lanka mobile phones market recorded sales of over 0.57 million units in Q4 2012. This was reported in the Sri Lanka Mobile Handsets Market Review 4Q 2012, April 2013 release published today by CyberMedia Research. In the overall Sri Lanka mobile handsets market, Nokia emerged as the leader with a 31.9% share, followed by Samsung at second position with 17.4% and Micromax at third position with 10.4%, in terms of sales (unit shipments) during 4Q 2012. more..

Amid abuse and fear, Tamils continue to flee Sri Lanka

Apr 15 (TIME) The offices of a Tamil newspaper in northern Sri Lanka were attacked on Saturday morning, the latest in a string of outrages on the press and a fresh reminder of how the war’s end nearly four years ago did not bring peace for all in this South Asian nation. In what has been reported as the second strike on the paper’s operations in two weeks, senior staff of Uthayan, a Tamil paper that has been critical of the govt and the more..