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Ringing in good news and bad

Apr 22 (ST) The increase in mobile phone connections to 20.3 million in a country of 20.8 million people will have a significant impact on the economy on one hand while on the negative side it could reduce social interaction, an expert in the field of mobile telecommunications said. The Central Bank annual report states that the number of mobile phone connections has increased to 20.3 million. In 2011, that number stood at 18 million, more..

Clearing the speck in her brother’s eye

Apr 22 (DM) US Ambassador Michele Sison is helping to clean up a Colombo beach this morning by picking up the garbage strewn all over amid an international campaign, which has been launched to force Sri Lanka to clean up its human rights act with Ms. Sison warning recently that the island could slip back into conflict unless the government addressed ethnic reconciliation and accountability following allegations that up to 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of the war more..

'Sri Lanka asked to ensure navy acts humane with fishermen'

Apr 22 (PTI) In a written reply to the House, AK Antony said 125 Indian fishermen were detained by the Sri Lankan authorities for crossing over into their territory till April this year. Govt has been taking up the issue of attacks on Indian fishermen with Sri Lanka and asked it to ensure that its Navy acts with restraint and in a humane manner, Defence Minister AK Antony told the Lok Sabha today. In a written reply to the House, he said 125 Indian fishermen were detained by the Sri Lankan authorities more..

Issuing of licenses to tourist drivers streamlined

Apr 22 (MEA) Certificates and driving licenses were distributed last week among 250 tourist drivers who were trained by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) under the direction of Minister Basil Rajapaksa. They belong to the 11th batch to be trained for meeting the transport requirements of the increasing number of tourists arriving in Sri Lanka. Already the SLTDA has trained around 1800 drivers from various parts of more..

'Husband prime suspect in Sri Lankan woman's death'

Apr 22 (AKI) A 45-year-old Sri Lankan immigrant is the prime suspect in his wife's death after her charred corpse, was found in the couple's apartment in Catania, southern Italy at the weekend. Sarath Moragoda suffered severe burns in the blaze at the apartment in the Sicilian port city on Saturday. Moragoda's 42-year-old wife Maduri Warnacula's corpse was found with a rope around its neck and ankles, while he had not been tied up, leading investigators to suspect that more..

Matale schools being investigated for corruption

Apr 22 (CT) The Presidential Investigation Unit in tandem with the Central Province Investigation Unit has initiated preliminary investigations has been initiated into financial frauds, corruptions and malpractices believed to have taken place in several popular schools in and around Matale town. According to sources at the Matale Zonal Education Office, the written complaints submitted to the Education Minister and the Chief Minister of the Central Province more..

Electricity tariff increase is the beginning of the end for govt. - UNP

Apr 22 (AD) Increasing the electricity tariff is the beginning of the end for the Rajapaksa govt while the Public Utilities Commission serves as a puppet, UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilaka stated. He said that the president had increased the electricity tariffs and had hit hard at the stomachs of the suffering public adding that the govt promised to give the people relief but have only succeeded in piling sorrow and pain on them. more..

Court orders should be respected, obeyed by Council: Councillor

Apr 22 (ST) A senior Central Provincial Council (CPC) member Anura Fernando told a Council meeting held at Pallekelle that the Council should respect judgments handed down by the Judiciary. The Councillor made these observations when Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake informed the Council that he and the Cabinet of Provincial Ministers have agreed to appeal against the order of the Courts in connection with the transfer of the Principal of Suwarnamali Balika Vidyalaya, Kandy. more..

'Maternity clinics will be modernized'

Apr 22 (MEA) The Govt has decided to develop maternity and child care clinics throughout the country in keeping with the Mahinda Chinthana Vision of giving pride of place to the mother, according to Minister Basil Rajapaksa. He was addressing those who attended the ceremony held in connection with the opening of maternity and child care clinics at Kadigahawatta, Heenatiyana and Ethgala in the Katana Electorate recently. Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle MP presided more..

Sri Lanka top forex earner to suffer setback?

Apr 22 (DM) The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is expected to soon pass a law to regulate foreign labour in member countries, similar to the one passed by Saudi Arabia that seeks to reserve 10% jobs for locals. The new law being mulled by the GCC would include returning 'marginal' and unskilled foreign workers to their home countries. The GCC is a 6-member grouping with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE more..

Sri Lanka India coal plant back on track

Apr 22 (LBO) A disputed power purchase agreement (PPA) with a joint venture coal plant with India's National Thermal Power Corporation, has been re-negotiated on more fair terms paving the way to the plant to go ahead, officials said. "We have reduced the heat-rate and the O&M terms," Sri Lanka's power ministry secretary M M C Ferdinando said. Former power minister Champika Ranawaka pulled the plug after CEB engineers discovered that the heat-rate (the guaranteed efficiency more..

'Art an excellent medium to promote unity'

Apr 22 (GDI) Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya delivering the keynote address at the annual South Asian Arts Festival at the American University in Washington DC stated that the arts are an excellent medium to promote unity and look past differences. “In the world we live in today, there is entirely too much focus on differences that we may share as humans, but not the things we have in common”, the Ambassador said at the opening of the day long festival held in more..

President willing to probe allegations

Apr 22 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the govt will investigate the human rights allegations raised against the island if there is evidence to back those claims. Speaking to media heads at a breakfast meeting today, the President insisted that the govt respects and maintains human rights in Sri Lanka. He said that fingers are pointed at the govt even over normal criminal issues and that is then turned into more..

Island wide train strike suspended

Apr 22 (CG) The island wide train strike which was to be launched at midnight tonight has been suspended. Convener of the Joint Trade Union Alliance (JTUA) of Sri Lanka Railways Employees, Janaka Fernando said that the strike was suspended after the Secretary to the President Lalith Weerathunga decided to meet the trade unions tomorrow to discuss their concerns. He said that the next step with regards to the strike will be taken based on the outcome of the discussions. more..

Tea hub proposal neglected; exports under pressure: TEA

Apr 22 (DM) The proposal by the Tea Exporters Association (TEA) to set up a tea hub in the country has not been taken seriously by law makers, a top official of the association stated. This strategy presented by the TEA was to increase the value of tea exports from US $ 1.5 billion to US $ 5 billion by 2020, through the setting up of the tea hub. “Our members are of the view that their opinions are not considered when policy decisions are made,” TEA Chairman Rohan Fernando said, more..

Karunanidhi asks Centre to exert pressure to shift CHOGM from Lanka

Apr 22 (PTI) DMK today appealed to the Centre to exert pressure for shifting the venue of the CHOGM from Sri Lanka where it is slated to be held in Nov. Party President M Karunanidhi said a recent Commonwealth Legal Conference at Capetown where Chief Justices of 27 countries had participated, had resolved that Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting in London on April 26 should decide on removing more..

Target to produce 150,000 mt onion by 2015

Apr 22 (FP) Correct and recommended post harvest technology should be adopted in onion cultivation. If not, it would take a long time for the country to become self-sufficient in onions, according to agro engineering experts. It is the aim of the govt to produce a minimum of 150,000 mt of onions by 2015. Currently, the annual production is about 80,000 metric tons. The annual local requirement of big onions is between 200,000 and 220,000 metric tons. The Anuradhapura Post Harvest more..

Sri Lanka urged to press Burma

Apr 22 (CG) The Sri Lankan government has been urged to press the Burmese government to put an immediate stop to the abuses against the Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State. Human Rights Watch said that the Sri Lankan authorities have witnessed the results of the crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing that are being perpetrated in Arakan state, since the navy had in February rescued Rohingya Muslims on boats that were pushed back out to sea by Thailand. more..

'Sri Lanka enjoys good relations with India'

Apr 22 (PTI) Sri Lanka enjoys good bilateral relations with India despite the anti-Lanka protests in Tamil Nadu, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today. Replying to a question on reported tensions in Tamil Nadu vis a vis Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa said that he would welcome the politicians from the state to visit Sri Lanka and witness first hand progress on Island. "We have always had good relations with India and more..

Pictures: Bodu Bala Sena In America

Apr 22 (CT) Bodu Bala Sena delegation headed by BBS Secretry General Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thero had a successful meeting with high monks in USA in April 2013, says the BBS. BBS also says; the delegation was invited as special guests from Sri Lanka for the Opening Ceremony of new Meditation center at Indiana Buddhist temple USA, Fort Wayne on 2013.04.22. Many Sri Lankans and Americans participated the ceremony and also Bodu Bala Sena Secretry General Galagodaaththe Gnanasara more..

Dubai based flydubai launches flights to Mattala from May 2

Apr 22 (GDI) Dubai based airline, flydubai, will launch flights to the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) from May 2. The airline would be the second international carrier after Air Arabia to have flights from MRIA. It would operate on Tuesday's, Thursday's and Sunday's and on a daily basis from June. Since the airline carries several passengers from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)countries, Southern and Eastern tourism will receive a major boost with more..

U.S. embassy celebrates Earth Day by cleaning up Galle Face beach

Apr 22 (USE) Over 40 U.S. Embassy employees, Sri Lankan and American, joined together to clean litter from the beach along the Galle Face promenade in honor of Earth Day. Scouring the sand with trash bags, staff picked up enough garbage to fill the back of a pick-up truck. Earth Day was created in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Every year on April 22 people around the world take time out of their day more..

View from Ritigala

Apr 23 (NS) Although Sri Lanka has been de-plugged from World Bank and the IMF, first by comrade Weerawansa and then by CB governor Cabraal, Deputy Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama left for the US to attend the IMF and World Bank annual conference due to be held in Washington. During the 5 day long workshop, Amunugama, a highly regarded intellectual (among many other things), is to deliver a speech on the economy of Sri Lanka. more..

UNHRC: Fostering rights or festering strife?

Apr 23 (NS) All proper citizens must do their best to discern the forces that control their country’s destiny. These nowadays lie mostly beyond the visible structures of govt and power – whether the country be the United States or Zimbabwe. The difference is only one of degree. What can we learn about various global forces from the recent UNHRC vote on Sri Lanka? The most superficial and cheerful reading is that it reflects the world moving however imperfectly, towards respect for more..

What is ‘Bodu (Buddhist)’ in the Bodu Bala Sena?

Apr 23 (NS) Way back in the year 2004, when the JHU was formed to contest the April elections, I objected on grounds that the political/historical role of the Bikkhu was advisory. The mayor, I wrote to the Island (Feb 15, 2004) has to get the drains cleaned, but is not required to cover himself in muck. For all this, the key figures of the JHU conducted themselves with decorum; they made their points lucidly and treated critic with respect, more..

Long War, Cold Peace & the return of Dayan Jayatilleka

Apr 23 (GV) After what seemed to be a brief but palpable and conspicuous absence from serious public engagement (in late 2012), Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has returned from Paris; a return marked by his characteristic interventions in the press and the release of a book, titled ‘Long War, Cold Peace: Conflict and Crisis in Sri Lanka’ (Vijitha Yapa, 2013). The book, his second major publication on Sri Lanka, brings together most of his writings on Sri Lankan affairs which were published in the more..

Saying ‘Sorry’ and feeling, Sorry, too

Apr 23 (DBS) It takes a lot of courage to say, ‘Sorry’. In these years after the end of the ‘ethnic wars’, neither the Sri Lankan State, nor the Tamil community said as much to each other – and to itself. In these months after international intervention, everyone is blaming everyone else, instead. They are doing nothing about it, either. It was/is reasonable to expect the State to start the reconciliation process by the use of that simple yet powerful, single word. more..

Boost for development in Trincomalee

Apr 23 (SO) Trincomalee which was a ghost city is turning into a hub of prosperity and the district is being developed. Health, education and industrial sectors are being developed in the Eastern province on par with other provinces. The Govt has fulfilled the long-felt need of the people of Kinniya by constructing Sri Lanka's longest bridge across the Kinniya bay along the A-15 road. The Irakkakandy, Pudawaikaddu Yan-Oya bridges also more..

Sobitha Hamuduruvo: A voice of sanity

Apr 23 (CT) The Constitutional Reform Proposals (CRP) published under Hamudurovo’s leadership by a group close to him (National Movement for Social Justice, NMSJ) is the most important such intervention in Lanka’s political space since the scuttled year-2000 Draft Constitution. “At last a voice of sanity” is the way it has been greeted. This is not surprising; I think Jayampathy Wickremaratne chaired the drafting committee, while he and Neelan Thiruchelvam wrote the year-2000 Draft, more..

Does BBS suffer from Islamophobic dreads?

Apr 23 (CT) It is obvious that in many parts of Western world people suffer from Islamophobia. Since 9/11 attacks on innocent Muslims increased dramatically in these countries. Muslim properties are vandalised, mosques are attacked, Muslim cultural heritages are mocked and damaged, Muslim religious symbols are destroyed in some places and ladies with Islamic attires are attacked. All these happened in post and pre-9/11 periods in some western countries. more..

Fear and disappointment in Kahawatte

Apr 23 (CT) The people of Kotakethana who had been traumatized by a wave of murders considered most heinous, are once again living in fear, as some of the suspects taken into custody over the murders that terrorized the area in Ratnapura, were released recently. The suspects or 'terror merchants' as they had been referred to, of Kahawatta, were behind bars, giving the villagers a sense of relief, enabling them more..

Editorial : A courageous battle for justice

Apr 23 (Island) In what may be described as a dramatic turn of events, a British woman named Victoria, whose partner, Khuram Shaikh, was killed on Christmas Day at a Tangalle tourist resort in 2011, has, in an interview with The Sunday Times (UK), revealed what really happened on that fateful day, when, she says, she was also assaulted and raped. Rape victims’ silence owing to social stigma attached to sexual crimes always stand criminals in good stead. Victoria deserves praise for more..

Basil says US aid cut insignificant

Apr 23 (FT) Minister Basil Rajapaksa dismissed the recently announced 20% cut in aid by the US as being significant since the actual value of the reduction was only $ 2 million whilst two key support programs were nearing completion anyway. “Though the media harped on the 20% aspect, the reduction meant only $ 2 million to $ 6 million from $ 8 million previously. US aid is also insignificant from an overall country figure. Despite the US move, countries such as Japan, India and China more..

EPF grows by 12.4% in 2012 to Rs. 1.14tn

Apr 23 (Island) The country’s largest superannuation fund, the Central Bank managed EPF, for which an annual report has not been published since 2010, has grown by 12.4% in 2012 to Rs. 1.14 trillion (Rs. 1,144 billion) from Rs. 1.01 trillion in 2011. The number of member accounts reached 14.25 million as at end Dec 2012, up 1.8% from a year earlier while contributing employers increased by 6.5% to 68,771, more..

TN Fishermen’s Assn thanks Thondaman

Apr 23 (DN) Tamil Nadu Fishermen’s Association Chief Advisor N. Devadas thanked Minister Arumugan Thondaman during a telephone conversation, for meeting the 19 Tamil Nadu fishermen at Anuradhapura and talking to them and providing meals and clothes. Minister Thondaman had also sent his attorney-at-law Perumal Rajadorai to the courts for the release of these fishermen. Devadas also thanked CWC president and Rajadorai, Uva Provincial Minister Senthil more..

New Year cheer for Lankans in Qatar

Apr 23 (GT) An estimated 10,000 Sri Lankans trooped to the Al Arabi Sports Club in Qatar despite the hot weather to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year – Bak Maha Ulela 2013. Sri Lankan Ambassador Jayantha Palipane led the lighting of the traditional oil lamp. This was followed by traditional games, entertainment shows and sports activities. Artistes like Damayantha Kusum Perera Jayathungage, Biyanka Fonseka, Tissa Abeykoon and Dinusha Lakmali Rajapathirana more..

Ministries of Justice of Sri Lanka, Vietnam signs MoU

Apr 23 (FT) The relationship between Sri Lanka and Vietnam is based on the principles of non-alignment. Both countries have established a full diplomatic relationship which is at a very high level. Top level delegations from both countries have been visiting each other. “Already, seven ministers have visited Vietnam, including two business delegations from Sri Lanka,” Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem said, following the more..

Sri Lanka Power Sector: From the frying pan into the fire?

Apr 23 (Island) Another grave mistake done in the electricity supply was setting up of private power plants in mid 1990s on negotiated power purchase agreements. Corrupt officials in the then govt forced CEB to sign these agreements with intolerably unfavorable payment terms for project lives in the range of 15 to 20 years. Some of these agreements signed on the same day, for the same technology, have vastly different tariffs which cannot be justified on any govt. more..

Italy: Prime suspect in Sri Lankan woman's death dies from his burns

Apr 23 (AKI) A 45-year-old Sri Lankan immigrant who police suspected of murdering his wife died in hospital in southern Italy on Monday from severe burns after a fire at their apartment at the weekend. Sarath Moragoda's 42-year-old wife Maduri Warnacula's charred corpse was found in the couple's gutted apartment in the Sicilian city of Catania, with a rope around her neck and ankles. Although Moragoda suffered critical burns in Saturday's blaze, he had not been tied up, more..

Basil flays private power suppliers, calls them Mafia

Apr 23 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa minced no words when he flayed the private sector power suppliers for selling electricity to the CEB at exorbitant prices, having entered into controversial agreements with the past UNP govts. He was commenting on electricity tariff hikes at a meeting President Rajapaksa had with media heads at Temple Trees. He said if President Rajapaksa had not implemented power projects more..