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Marketing complex to boost pineapple trade

Apr 18 (MED) The Ministry of Economic Development has decided to provide pineapple vendors at Belummahara, Gampaha on the Colombo-Kandy Road with a fully equipped marketing complex. This will replace the existing pineapple stalls scattered all over Belummahara. At present the stalls are located within a distance of two kilometers from the Belummahara junction. Some of the stalls are owned by vendors while several others have been rented. more..

Gas analysers imported but belching vehicles continue to ply on roads

Apr 18 (Island) Sri Lanka has imported 45 gas analyser machines from Germany, at a cost of nearly Rs. 50 million, to conduct a comprehensive roadside inspections but belching vehicles freely ply on roads polluting the environment. The Island learns that though the 45 gas analysers – in two stocks of 23 and 22 - arrived recently, the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT) has yet to get its act together to carry out more..

Does the silence of the Sinhalese signal complicity?

Apr 18 (CT) There is that scene from Schindler’s List which had a profound impact on me. I had forgotten about it, I never knew it existed, except that it has lain somewhere in the fibre of my brain, dormant, latent, waiting for the opportune moment for it to be of use. The state of Muslims in Sri Lanka is changing, it is perilous, getting graver with each rising of the sun, and suddenly this scene makes a lot of sense. It draws lessons from the attitudes of races and ethnicities and the chemistry more..

Sri Lanka's long walk to peace

Apr 18 (Haveeru) Peace is one of the most essential aspects of a stable society. It provides the basis for a prosperous economy and civil liberties, whereas war and conflict disrupt the livelihoods of the people. Sri Lanka's 26-year long civil war affected everyone living in the island nation, especially the ethnic Tamil population in the northern and eastern districts. But the guns have fallen down, and now locals as well as curious foreigners are free to visit the war-torn areas of Sri Lanka. more..

BBS to open office in Kalmunai

Apr 18 (CG) The Bodu Bala Sena is to open an office in Kalmunai, the CEO of the Bodu Bala Sena Dilantha Widanage said. He said that the office will be opened once some of the senior members of the Bodu Bala Sena who are currently in the United States, return to the country. Widanage claimed that some Tamils in Kalmunai had requested that the Bodu Bala Sena open an office in the area. He also said the opening of the more..

'Govt. sponsoring racist groups'

Apr 18 (CT) Racist and ultra nationalist groups operating in Sri Lanka are organized and run by the government, Leader of the Nawa Sama Samaja Party (NSSP), Dr. Vikramabahu Karunaratne charged yesterday. Addressing a media briefing, Dr. Karunaratne said the government is behind the current racial tensions in the country as it wants to distract the general public from the escalating cost of living and the dysfunctional manner in which many State institutions run. more..

Gajen briefs Danish MPs

Apr 18 (CG) President of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) and General Secretary of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) Gajen Ponnambalam, who is currently in Denmark, has briefed Danish MPs on the situation in Sri Lanka. Speaking at a conference in the Danish Parliament, Ponnambalam said that there was a systematic dismantling of the Tamils living as a distinct nation in Sri Lanka. He also said that there was a serious danger for the Tamils if they rely on more..

Ministry to probe graphite mine issue

Apr 18 (CG) The Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has appointed a special high level committee to investigate allegations surrounding the Kahatagaha Graphite mine at Dodangaslanda. “The Committee will look into matters related to employees of Kahatagaha Graphite Lanka Limited (KGLL). Ministry Secretary Anura Siriwardena will chair this High Level Committee” the Minister said. He said that in the global graphite supply map, more..

New Year celebrations in Austria

Apr 18 (GDI) The Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Austria together with the Sri Lankan community and friends of Sri Lanka from many parts of Austria celebrated the Sinhala and Tamil New Year at the Embassy reception hall on the evening of 14th April 2013. Guests arriving at the event were met with a traditional greeting according to Sinhala and Tamil customs, with a sheaf of betel and pottu. The event commenced with the lighting of the oil lamp by children. more..

Customs confiscate 323kg of kothala himbutu

Apr 18 (CT) A large consignment of kothala himbutu, weighting about 323kg, which was about to be exported to Japan, was confiscated by the Sri Lanka Customs (SLC) recently, Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunewardana revealed. "It is illegal to export kothala himbutu because the herb is endemic to Sri Lanka and according to Act No. 22 of 2009, under the amendment to the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance Schedule 8 Section 42, kothala himbutu has been named as a protected plant," more..

Tissa Children’s Home: NCP ready to answer parents’ queries

Apr 18 (Island) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) yesterday appealed to parents who suspect that their children might be among those rescued from a children’s home at Agape, Bogahapelessa, Tissamaharama, to contact it if they needed assistance. NCPA Chairperson Anoma Dissanayake, said that parents could establish the identity of their children and themselves before meeting them. more..

Attacks choke Sri Lanka’s press

Apr 18 (WSJ) With its palm-lined beaches, colonial tea estates, and plenty of world heritage sites, Sri Lanka is a tourist paradise. The Lonely Planet guide ranked the island the number one travel destination in the world for 2013. But four years after the end of a bloody civil war that pitted the Sri Lankan army against Tamil separatists, there are periodic reminders of threats to democratic liberties. One came last weekend, when armed men stormed the press of Uthayan, a Tamil newspaper that more..

Vavuniya land to be acquired

Apr 18 (CG) The govt is to acquire a large area of land in Vavuniya to permanently build a military camp. According to the Lands Ministry, the owners of the land located in close proximity to the A9 highway have already been informed of this move. The Lands Ministry says the land acquisition is being carried out legally and the owners will be compensated accordingly. An army board of inquiry had recently ruled that the govt has an absolute right to maintain its armed forces more..

'PUC politicised, siding with the govt'

Apr 18 (DM) The UNP today charged that the Public Utility Commission (PUC) had been politicised and partial towards the govt when granting permission to increase electricity tariffs without considering the plight of ordinary people. “The commission is politicised and is following a govt agenda. It has deceived the people when calculating the revised rates in an unreasonable manner and when granting permission to the CEB to more..

Orbital slots to Sri Lanka, Maldives on cards

Apr 18 (ENS) Worried at the Chinese making inroads in space cooperation with their South Asian neighbours, India will be “proactively” giving orbital slots to its neighbouring countries, with talks already under way with Sri Lanka and Maldives. This decision was taken after an inter-ministerial meeting last month, where it was learnt that India could offer several of its empty orbital slots for communication satellites to other countries. Advanced talks on offering orbital slots are going on between more..

Spanish Senate President commends Sri Lanka's development

Apr 18 (GDI) The President of the Senate of Spain, Pio Garcia Escudero commended the rapid growth and development taking place across Sri Lanka and hailed the cordial ties that exist between Spain and Sri Lanka, during his meeting with the Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Madrid, Spain. Minister Gunawardena who is also the President of the Sri Lanka-Spain Parliamentary Friendship Association noted Sri Lanka’s economic growth rate as being one of the fastest in Asia, and highlighted more..

Playing big brother to Sri Lanka is not in New Delhi's interest, says ex-RAW official

Apr 18 (TOI) Jyoti Sinha, a former research and analysis wing official, played an important role in increasing India's influence in neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka during the NDA regime (1999-2004). He is also considered the architect of Indian influence in Sri Lanka from 2001-2004. The former IPS official spoke to TOI on the Tamil issue during his recent visit to more..

'Prices of all manufactured goods will go up'

Apr 18 (DM) All industrial products could go up in price as a result of the electricity tariff hike, business chambers warned. The Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) said the ceramic industry would be affected by this move. CNCI CEO Kumar Kandalama said that the ceramic industry would have to bear the brunt of the power tariff increase more than others as it was a bulk user of electricity. However Mr. Kandalama expressed the hope that the authorities authorities would reduce more..

Opposition in disarray claims SB

Apr 18 (CT) Minister S. B. Dissanayake said the political parties representing the opposition in the country are all disappearing. The Minister made this comment when he attended the Nil Ralla campaign to develop the country, at Heli Oya, Udunuwara. He said, "Today, the few UNP front liners are also leaving the Party. Several of its heavyweights have asked the government to contest as its candidates for the Chief Minister posts at the forthcoming Provincial Council elections." more..

Reintegration of failed asylum-seekers 'challenging'

Apr 18 (TA) MORE than half of the 66 Sri Lankans who reached the Australian mainland on a fishing vessel last week have been sent back to Colombo on a charter flight, as Sri Lankan officials warned the reintegration of failed asylum-seekers was posing challenges. Last night, 38 of 66 men, women and children who claimed to have survived an epic 44-day journey at sea before reaching Geraldton harbour were on a return more..

61 Australia bound Persons intercepted in Eastern Seas

Apr 18 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy intercepted 61 persons illegally bound for Australia in a multi-day trawler on 17th April. The trawler named “Madushan II” was intercepted by a Sri Lanka Navy’s Fast Naval Patrol Craft attached to the Eastern Naval Command off Batticaloa. Among the arrested persons are 60 Tamils and 1 Sinhalese that included 43 men, 08 women and 10 children. They are being brought to Trincomalee Harbour to be handed over to the Harbour Police Trincomalee for more..

Former LTTE eastern Lanka hideout now tourist attraction

Apr 18 (PTI) Thoppigala, which used to be an LTTE hideout in Sri Lanka's east and served as a training base for them during their nearly three decades of separatist campaign, has now been converted into a tourist attraction. The Thoppigala Heritage Park was declared opened by the top defence official Gotabhaya Rajapaksa today. "This is a multi-ethnic area in the country rich with the nature's beauty and its flora and fauna. Local and foreign tourists would be welcome to visit Thoppigala. more..

Social media victims must lodge police complaints: AG

Apr 18 (WSJ) In response to sexually derogatory, defamatory and racially spiteful speech circulated on social media, the Attorney General’s Department urged affected parties to lodge a complaint at the nearest police station. AG Palitha Fernando said laws were in place to apprehend such offenders but the main problem that investigating police officers faced was the identification of the source. more..

Tamil MP’s expose political bankrupcey of Muslim politicians

Apr 19 (DBS) Political bankruptcy of Muslim MPs was exposed by the TNA leader R Sampanthan and the TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran when they raised the issue of growing disastrous hate Muslim campaign in the parliament. As it is well known that there has been a wave of well planned attacks on the political, religious, cultural, economic life of Muslims in Sri Lanka. This campaign which started early last year with the destruction of a more than 400 year old Muslim shrine in Anuradhapura more..

That a campaign to suppress dissent is underway is crystal clear

Apr 19 (DBS) In present day Sri Lanka it has become customary for whispers and speculation of impending elections to be followed up by brutal onslaughts on what remains of the country’s free press. It is a thinly veiled attempt to intimidate the media into silence ahead of crucial polls about the crimes and lapses of a completely corrupt incumbency. It is not surprising therefore that a dangerous trend is being set, commencing with twin attacks on the Uthayan newspaper publishing more..

Improved water supply and sanitation in North

Apr 19 (SO) A meeting was held at the Kilinochchi District Secretariat with the participation of Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa, Prasdeshiya Sabha members and parliamentarians under the patronage of the Kilinochchi Government Agent Rupawathi Kethiswaran. Politicians, Divisional Secretaries and the public were present. The special meeting more..

Margaret Thatcher and JR: More contrasts than parallels

Apr 19 (CT) Many have sought to draw parallels between Margaret Thatcher, one-time British Prime Minister who passed away last week, with her contemporary in politics, Sri Lanka’s first Executive President J.R. Jayewardene, better known as JR. While there are a few parallels, there are stark contrasts between the two. First, let’s turn to the parallels. Both are said to have left a legacy in their respective countries by changing the course of their future destiny. more..

BBS: Bullocks, Balderdash & Showmanship

Apr 19 (CT) BBS seems to be the most important letters of the alphabet today, in Sri Lanka. Before I express my opinion on what is going on let me establish my credentials. I am a very proud Sinhala Buddhist of up country origin. I have served a full five year term as a Basnayake Nilame, looking after the historic Maha Vishnu Devalaya at Lankatilleke in Pilimatalawe. I also come from a family that has carried out tasks of this nature over generations. I am laying emphasis on this point as I more..

Monitoring park rule violators

Apr 19 (CT) The Yala National Park is probably the most famous wildlife park in the country, and is frequented by a large number of visitors on a daily basis. However, Wildlife officials have also come under severe criticism by environmentalists, who allege the large number of visitors to the park has resulted in a number of incidents of violation of park rules and regulations. According to eyewitnesses, incidents of more..

Think bold; think afresh, think Buddhist…

Apr 19 (CT) The fringe elements causing needless furore might think they enjoy the monopoly of the Sinhalese Buddhists’ range and scope of thinking. They might have been lured into the illusion that a great majority of our Sinhalese Buddhists are as warped and deranged in their assessment and reading of the average psyche of the average man, woman and child. Given the centuries-old conditioning, the average person has been subjected to through mass education on the more..

SL needs broader multilateral diplomacy

Apr 19 (CT) When fighting in the international arena, one should know that the only way to survive is to constantly build new coalitions while strengthening and maintaining the existing ones. Due to its belonging to the Non Aligned Movement and to the various 'Gs' (G77, G15), but also due to its long standing friendships with key countries such as Russia, China and India, Sri Lanka was so far able to keep close ties with the predominant coalitions present within international organizations; more..

Boston Lanka: April 19, 2013

Doctors' competency, unvoiced concern in health sector

Apr 19 (Island) We appreciate the Health Minister's apt and proactive decisions to enhance standards of the health sector, while regulating vital areas, such as, drug mafia, pharmacy and test laboratory networks; areas most ministers were reluctant to handle. The intent of this latter is to direct the minister's urgent attention to another key area to be improved, i.e. 'standardising the quality of doctors', which is a hidden concern although that requirement is exposed to the public intermittently, when more..

Editorial : Sri Lanka’s labour problem

Apr 19 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has recently warned, at a SLFEB function, that unless the country produces skilled workers, it will have to look for foreigners. He has stressed the need for equipping local workers with modern skills in keeping with the country’s developmental needs. One cannot but agree with him. However, his govt, too, instead of training unskilled workers, keeps sending them to West Asia, where they have been reduced to semi-slavery. more..

North: To poll or not to poll?

Apr 19 (FT) The prospect of elections for the Northern Provincial Council by September 2013, now a Sri Lankan Govt promise cemented in a UNHRC Resolution on the country, became just a little more remote last week after members of the main Tamil party and civil society activists in the north called for the setting up of an interim administration in the province overseen by India or the US until the Govt comes up more..

Lanka shares rise to six-month high

Apr 19 (Reuters) Shares hit a six-month high yesterday, as investors bought diversified shares and retail investors came back after the central bank said there would be room for further monetary policy easing. The central bank on Tuesday kept key monetary policy rates unchanged for a fourth straight month, as expected, but left the door open for easing later as inflation is expected to slow further. The main stock index gained 0.4% to 5,891.83, its highest close since Oct 2, 2012. more..

SriLankan looking to minimize losses

Apr 19 (CT) SriLankan Airlines is presently operating at a loss, and the number of destinations may have to be curtailed in the foreseeable future, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, said. Hee said, "The fact is that the airline is heavily undercapitalized. We have borrowed heavily from others. We must minimize our losses, and try to at least break even." He claimed that airlines all over the world were making losses under the present financial crises experienced the world over. more..

Commercial Bank’s ATMs break own record

Apr 19 (FT) Records tumbled once again as the Commercial Bank of Ceylon helped Sri Lankans celebrate Avurudu by dispensing unprecedented values in cash through its islandwide ATM network. April 2013, Sri Lanka’s single largest ATM network of 562 terminals released Rs. 1,790 million (Rs. 1.79 billion) the highest value ever for a single day, surpassing the previous record set exactly a year previously by Rs. 136 million. more..

Health portfolio making Sirisena age faster

Apr 19 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that a group of medical specialists in the United States conducted a comprehensive study on the mental and physical health of President Barak Obama and found his first four-year term had caused him to grow ten years older than his real age. Similarly, Minister Sirisena said, his stint with the Health Ministry had accelerated his ageing process. He was speaking at the opening of a database for doctors, consultants and more..

Illegal drug free Sri Lanka by 2020

Apr 19 (DN) The govt makes great effort to reduce the demand and supply of illegal drugs to create a drug free Sri Lanka by 2020, said Defence and Urban Development Ministry Additional Secretary D M S D Jayaratne. Participating in the 29th anniversary celebrations of the National Dangerous Drug Control Board (NDDCB), he said the NDDCB, under the purview of the Defence and Urban Development Ministry, is the sole govt organization committed to implement national goals of more..