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Defacing the face value of cigarettes

Apr 17 (NS) There is no doubt that cigarette smoking is the biggest health hazard and also a financial threat faced by Sri Lankans at present. It is estimated that 12,000 to 20,000 people die due to smoking each year in Sri Lanka. Every two years more Sri Lankans die due to smoking compared to deaths that occurred due to the Tsunami. The net profit of tobacco sales in the country for 2013 is estimated to be over more..

Love or hate govt and TNA have only themselves and each other

Apr 17 (SL) Close to a year, if not more, has passed since the Govt and the TNA suspended their negotiations for a political solution to the ‘national problem’. Each blamed the other, with the balance of blame resting on the Government and the balance of historic convenience favouring the TNA. Traditionally, the relationship between the Govt and the Tamil moderates has been like a husband-wife relationship in a marriage that was not out of choice, not even out of compulsion, more..

Mr. Rajapaksa, if all’s well in your country, why are the Tamils fleeing?

Apr 17 (FP) Last week Australian authorities were shocked to see that a boat with 66 ragged Sri Lankan Tamils, many of them women and children, sailed into Geraldton port in Western Australia without being noticed by border patrols or intelligence agencies. While the Australians’ astonishment was limited to the breach of border-security, what went unnoticed was desperation of the refugees in the rickety boat who were willing to risk their lives and travel several weeks more..

An Asian tribute to Mrs. Thatcher

Apr 17 (ST) Margaret Thatcher epitomised a new era – the age of ‘Globalisation’. She was one of the first political leaders to initiate a dynamic global interaction of politics, economic markets, society and culture. To be quite honest, my first impression of Ms. Thatcher was not noteworthy. Way back in Dec 1977, I witnessed PM Jim Callaghan get the better of her during Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House more..

Editorial : Marathon Terror

Apr 17 (Island) The Patriots’ Day bomb attacks which left several civilians dead and many others injured in Boston has come as a gruesome reminder that in spite of America’s marathon war on terror which has lasted for over a decade at a cost of trillions of dollars terrorists have remained resilient and retained the capability to strike on US soil. Several unexploded crude explosive devices have been found near the blast site and according to initial reports the bombs did not contain more..

Who is responsible – III?

Apr 17 (Island) Has Mahinda Rajapaksa and the govt discredited Sri Lanka? Is Mahinda Rajapaksa responsible for the ‘defeat’ at Geneva when the American resolution against Sri Lanka—it is certainly against Sri Lanka however much the Americans say no—was adopted by the UNHRC? Could Ranil Wickremesinghe have saved the country if he had been the President? (People will never elect him President!) What is meant by saving the country or bringing (dis)credit to the country? more..

What can the Meethotamulla residents do?

Apr 17 (CT) Piles of garbage and the ever present danger of disease and sickness coloured the Sinhala and Tamil New Year a putrid shade for the residents of Meethotamulla, Kolonnawa. A Sathyagraha by the residents, demanding the 16-acre garbage dump be removed and the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) stop dumping truck loads of rubbish, was forcibly dispersed by the Police. The CMC, which dumps several tonnes of more..

Labour minister lambasts his own ministry

Apr 17 (Island) The Minister of Labour and Labour Relations slammed his own ministry and the procedures adopted by its officials with regards to labour inspection as less effective and inefficient in supporting employee and employer needs in the country. Addressing the launch of the ‘Labour Inspection System Application’ earlier this month, Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge said the system was expected to deliver an affective and efficient service to stakeholders while smoothening more..

Maintenance units in provincial hospitals

Apr 17 (DN) The Southern Provincial Health and Indigenous Medicine Ministry has taken measures to set maintenance units in hospitals in the region. Southern Provincial Council Health Ministry sources said maintenance units have already been established in state hospitals in Tangalle, Tissamaharama, Kamburupitiya, Balapitiya, Walasmulla, Elpitiya, Deniyaya and Udugama. Medical equipment, instruments, machines and tools for the smooth functioning of hospitals have more..

And the beatings go on

Apr 17 (Island) The govt is getting really good at denying responsibility for attacks on the media. Within hours of the incident at the Uthayan office in Jaffna on Saturday, its spokesman had issued a several hundred word statement claiming that it was an ‘inside job’. How’s that for efficiency? If only it put a fraction of that energy into finding proof of its imaginative theories, we might actually be convinced. Unfortunately, it has more..

Review of ‘Fire and Storm’

Apr 17 (GV) When Michael Roberts left Peradeniya in the late seventies, he was part of an exodus of intellectuals from the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, arguably one of the best universities at that time. The exodus of academics at that time was compelled by the economic difficulties faced by university dons. It was the second wave of such emigration that diminished the intellectual life of the university and country. The Arts Faculty of the University of of Peradeniya never regained its more..

Gale force winds cause havoc

Apr 17 (Island) Gale force winds struck the Meeminnawala area, of Kahatagasdigiliya on Monday evening, damaging nearly 25 houses. The roofs of about ten houses had been completely blown away. The winds, accompanied by showers, swept through the region in about two minutes at about 4:30 p.m., area residents said. The storm also uprooted a large number of trees in the village. A four-year-old girl, who was sleeping in a makeshift hammock, tied to the roof of one of the more..

CB says economy’s ‘ganu-denu’ is ok

Apr 17 (FT) With the Monetary Board having met prior to Avurudu for the April policy review meeting, the Central Bank indicated yesterday the measures taken so far were adequate to keep the economy ticking well. “Monetary policy measures taken so far indicate that expected results are being realised, providing reasonable stimulus for a higher economic growth. At the same time, further deceleration of demand-driven inflation on more..

Global economy to grow 3.3-pct led by US, emerging economies: IMF

Apr 17 (LBO) The global economy will grow 3.3% in 2013 with the US growing 1.9%, emerging and developing nations growing 5.3% and the Euro area contracting 0.3%, the International Monetary Fund has said. "What was until now a two-speed recovery, strong in emerging market and developing economies but weaker in advanced economies, is becoming a three-speed recovery," IMF economic counsellor Olivier Blanchard said in the agency's April World Economic Outlook. more..

Heavy rains to continue but hot, humid conditions will return

Apr 17 (Island) The heavy rains, due to the atmospheric disturbance, would continue in some parts of the country, but a resumption of hot and humid weather, was forecast for the rest of next week, Meteorology Department Duty Meteorologist said. He said that the thundershowers would develop at several places in the Central, Sabaragamuwa, and Uva provinces during the afternoon and would spread to coastal areas of the Western province and Galle district today. more..

Jeyaraj’s widow compares Weliweriya blast with Boston attack

Apr 17 (Island) UPFA MP Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, yesterday said that the terrorist attack on the Boston marathon was the first attack on a sporting event in the world since the assassination of her husband, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, as he was about to flag off a marathon at Weliweriya, Gampaha on the morning of April 6, 2008. The Weliweriya blast claimed the lives of 12 persons, including Minister Fernandopulle, more..

Mr. Majestic gallops to prestigious Governor’s Cup Win

Apr 17 (DM) It was a memorable day for the Indian jockey Saddam Iqbal and trainer S.D. Lalith, who is a former champion rider, with the jockey winning two events from the six that were worked off for the day. Trainer Lalith went one step further when he bagged three events as he shared the honours with another successful trainer Sridher Selvaratnam who too won three events. Saddam's other win was on Black Cat which took the Mobitel Cup. Mr Majestic in fact dashed the hopes of Cafe Coffee more..

Teacher faults OIC for wrongful detention

Apr 17 (DN) A trained graduate teacher attached to St. Mary’s College, Matugama had filed a petition before the Human Rights Commission against the Head Quarters OIC Matugama alleging that she had being held unlawfully in remand custody for a period of time. She had requested compensation. The complainant is Udawatte Kankanamge Dayani (51) and the respondent cited is OIC T. Ludowyke. The complainant alleges that she is a mother of two. Her husband is deceased. more..

Fonseka takes up the fight

Apr 17 (FT) Leader of the newly-registered Democratic Party and former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka claims the current regime is cheating and robbing money from Govt funds. Fonseka adds that if he had done the same he would also be living the same life they are living. Fonseka asserts that his civic rights were deprived only because the President was scared to meet him face-to-face in the political field. “I challenge him. more..

Nominations being accepted for the Youth Parliament

Apr 17 (GDI) Accepting nominations for the second Sri Lanka Youth Parliament will begin on Saturday and will end on the 30th of this month. Establishment of a Youth Parliament is a concept mooted by President Rajapaksa and being implemented by the Minister Dallas Alahapperuma through his Ministry. The 2nd Youth Parliament will comprise 325 MPs and 77 senators. Out of them a PM and a 13-member Cabinet, a youth Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Opposition Leader, more..

Govt. of Saudi Arabia to repatriate Sri Lankans living under bridge

Apr 17 (NF) The Govt of Saudi Arabia has decided to repatriate the group of Sri Lankans who had been residing under the Sarbia Bridge in Jeddah, in batches of 25 each day. The Foreign Employment Services Bureau says this decision was arrived at during discussions between officers at the Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah and Saudi authorities. Spokesperson of the Bureau said Saudi authorities had also agreeed to permit this group of Sri Lankan workers to continue in their employment, untii more..

IIT’s Firebirds win Imagine Cup 2013

Apr 17 (Island) Team ‘Firebirds’ From the Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT) in Wellawatte emerged victorious at the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2013 competition, held at the University Of Colombo School Of Computing (UCSC), the co-host of the event, recently. The team will be representing Sri Lanka at the Imagine Cup 2013 World Finals, scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia in July this year. The winning project was more..

CA Sri Lanka rewards A/L achievers

Apr 17 (DN) The top achievers of the 2012 GCE A/L exam were recently awarded scholarships by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka). At a special ceremony held under the patronage of Minister of Higher Education, S. B. Dissanayake, students from across the country who scored the highest at the GCE Advanced Level examination in the commerce streams were awarded full scholarships under the 'top 10' scholarship category by the institute. more..

CEB cuts power to school

Apr 17 (CT) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) disconnected the supply of electricity to the Matale Akuramboda National School as the school authorities had not paid the electricity bills over a period of time, with the arrears currently totalling Rs 140,000. With the supply of electricity terminated, the supply of water too had been disrupted as the school needs electricity to draw water to the water tank. As a result, the authorities had been compelled to request hostellers to vacate the more..

Two killed in clash

Apr 17 (Island) Two persons, including a teenager, were hacked to death during a clash between two parties at Ilukmulla Wewa, Sitinamaluwa, on Monday evening, police sources said. The two victims died at the Tangalle hospital after being transferred there from the Beliatta hospital. Another three, who were injured during the clash are being treated at the Tangalle hospital. The Beliatta police was informed about the more..

'Sri Lanka aims for US$ 4,000 per capita income by 2016'

Apr 17 (PRIU) Sri Lanka, which experienced a moderate positive growth in the domestic economy in recent years even when the global economy was experiencing the worst economic and financial crisis , aims to increase its per capita income with caution to US$ 4,000 by the year 2016. The country envisages a sustained progress towards a US$ 4,000 plus per capita income and a US$ 100 billion economy within the next three years, the Governor of the Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said more..

Rohana Seneviratne wins Saraswati Sanskrit Prize 2012

Apr 17 (CT) Rohana Seneviratne, lecturer in Sanskrit at the Department of Classical Languages of the University of Peradeniya and currently a doctoral student in Sanskrit at the University of Oxford, UK won the prestigious Saraswati Sanskrit Prize 2012. This is the first time a Sri Lankan won this award. The Saraswati Sanskrit Prize is a biannual award instituted in 2008 by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in India together with the Department of Cultural and more..

'Hunger strike will not change govt Policy'

Apr 17 (AAP) Hunger strikes and suicide attempts by asylum seekers on Nauru will not get them 'anywhere', Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Monday. Her hard line comes after reports that asylum seekers were attempting to hang themselves and self-harming within one month of arrival at Nauru. 'The first point to make is it doesn't get you anywhere, doesn't get you a changed outcome,' she said. 'Unfortunately people do sometimes more..

No Lankans injured – Govt.

Apr 17 (DM) No Sri Lankans were reported to have been injured in the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon on Monday, External Affairs Ministry said. A spokesperson said that it had not received any information about Sri Lankans being among the injured. “We have not received any reports of Sri Lankans being injured in the incident. If that is the case, we are usually informed by our foreign mission or relatives living here or aboard but no one has sought our assistance in this regard, more..

IOM, AusAID provide water line for 2007 landslide victims

Apr 17 (Island) The International Migration Organisation (IOM), working with Australia’s Agency for International Development (AusAID) and local authorities, recently handed over 3.2 kilometres of water transmission line to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board. The water transmission line is expected to deliver safe drinking water to hundreds of families who were relocated following the 2007 landslides. The 2007 landslides affected nearly 4,000 families in the Central Province. more..

'Sri Lanka never received any direct USAID funding'

Apr 17 (Island) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nervad Cabraal said claims being made in some quarters that the govt was facing a 20% cut in US aid, were hightly exaggerated as USAID funds had always been channeled through various NGOs and civil society organizations. He was responding to media reports which quoted US Secretary John Kerry as having proposed a 20% cut in aid. The US announcement was made in the wake of the more..

Editorial: That Kerry Cut

Apr 17 (DM) US Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed a 20% cut in aid to Sri Lanka. Two reasons have been mentioned: Sri Lanka’s recently- acquired Middle Income Country status and ‘unease in ties over issues related to human rights, reconstruction and post-conflict political integration’. The first seems a sweetener that few would purchase, for the latter seems to be the real thing. The amount, in actual terms, is a drop from USD 8 million to 6 million, and the related politics more..

TNA president's Avurudu gift to the hawks

Apr 17 (DM) It was doubtless in the spirit of the Sinhala-Tamil New Year that the Tamil (ultra?) nationalists presented the Sinhala hawks the gift of especially moronic remarks to the visiting Indian parliamentary delegation. Here we are, with the 13th Amendment and provincial level devolution hanging by a thread, the most important state official in the island advocating its abolition and an opinion poll in the Daily Mirror with its sophisticated metropolitan readership showing only 33% in favour of more..

Pilots overworked and underpaid?

Apr 17 (SL) The management of SriLankan Airlines is accused of failing to recruit pilots to fill the vacancies for pilots and pushing the existing staff to overwork to substitute the work. Although the airline is in a dire need for 275-300 pilots there are only 200 pilots working at present and the entire workload has to be shared amongst them which has been strenuous over the years. Although the situation is as such, more..

Sri Lankans' fate to be known soon

Apr 17 (SMH) Sixty-six Sri Lankan asylum seekers who made an epic 44-day boat voyage to Geraldton last week will learn their fate 'imminently', Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor says. It's understood Mr O'Connor will announce in coming days that some will be sent home after authorities determined they were not genuine refugees. "Very shortly, we will make an announcement about returning people home who are not refugees more..

Separate power generation accounts will show where CEB costs rise, says expert

Apr 17 (ST) The CEB should institute transparency in decision-making and set up separate cost accounts available for public scrutiny, an expert in the power sector urged this week. Dr. Thilak Siyambalapitiya, an independent advisor on electricity generation and external lecturer at the University of Moratuwa made the call at a panel discussion organised by the Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA). more..

Sri Lanka should be less dependent on foreign borrowings: Central Bank

Apr 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka should depend less on foreign capital to bridge a savings investment gap, to make the economy more resilient to external shocks, the Central Bank has said. Sri Lanka had an investment ratio of 30.6% of gross domestic product in 2012 but domestic savings were only 17%. National savings were higher at 24% mostly due to remittance flows. "We should increase domestic savings," Central Bank Governor more..

US media claims Al-Qaeda operating in Lanka

Apr 17 (CG) A US media report has claimed that Al-Qaeda factions are operating in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and these groups then enter the U.S. for terrorist activities., an independent news network operating in Washington also reported, quoting sources as saying that Iran was behind the Boston bombings and pointed to the collaboration of the regime’s Quds Forces with Hezbollah and elements of Al-Qaeda with more..

21 killed, 490 injured during New Year holidays

Apr 17 (DM) 13 people were killed in road accidents while eight had died in clashes during the National New Year holidays from April 13 to 15. It said nearly 550 motorists were arrested on charges of drunk driving. Most of the incidents were reported from Colombo, Ratnapura, Tangalle, Matara, Kurunegala, Kandy and Anuradhapura. Some 260 people were admitted to the Colombo National Hospital while 230 were admitted more..

UPFA condemns anti-national statements

Apr 17 (GDI) The UPFA has condemned the spiteful and envious statements being made by some opposition politicians in collaboration with anti Sri Lankan foreign elements with the hope of coming back to power and described these statements as indeed hilarious and amusing. A statement issued by the General Secretary of the UPFA, Susil Premjayanth points out that these anti national statements are aimed at creating disunity more..