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Electricity tariff revision not too difficult for low income families - Minister

Apr 24 (DN) The electricity tariff was revised in a manner that affects less for low income families and more for high income families, said Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi in Parliament. She made this observation in response to a special statement made by Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga under the Standing Order 23 (2). According to the electricity tariff revision, the consumers who use less than 30 units would have to bear more..

Sri Lanka to pay lower prices if expired power plants are renewed

Apr 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run CEB has been given guidelines to negotiate much lower rates if expired contracts of power plants are extended, a top official said. "The CEB had been given strict guidelines to negotiate much lower charges if they are needed," power ministry secretary M M C Ferdinando said at the sidelines of a meeting of media heads with the president. "Their capacity charges should be 75% of the previous level or less. They have paid back all their loans." more..

UK Bar Council brings resolution supporting Sri Lanka lawyers and judiciary

Apr 24 (BC) A full meeting of the Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, has resolved to support the right of Sri Lankan judges and lawyers to adjudicate and practise law freely, fairly and independently. The resolution comes following the impeachment of Sri Lanka's CJ, Shirani Bandaranayake. Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar, said: "The Bar Council of England and Wales is extremely concerned about the impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake, more..

Gota meets Daya Master in Jaffna

Apr 24 (CT) Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has met former LTTE media head, V. Dayanithy alias Daya Master and 23 others in Jaffna over the Northern Provincial Council polls to be held later this year. The meeting was held on Monday at the 52 Division Headquarters in Varani, where the Defence Secretary had a detailed discussion over the Northern Provincial polls and also more..

Chris Gayle hits fastest century in history

Apr 24 (TA) Chris Gayle played himself in yesterday. Off the first three balls he faced in his IPL match for Royal Challengers Bangalore, the West Indies batsman took a single. After that he went a little bit crazy. From the next 27 balls he faced, Gayle added 101 to reach the fastest century in professional cricket. By the time he finished he had struck 175 off 66 balls. It was the highest score made in a Twenty20 innings and included a record 17 sixes. Tillekeratne Dilshan, with whom he shared more..

National Drug policy gone missing – Minister

Apr 24 (Island) The original draft of the National Drug Policy, prepared on the basis of guidelines postulated by the late Prof. Senaka Bibile. had gone missing, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena admitted to Parliament. He said that the authorities were compelled to make a fresh policy draft. The minister said that a female officer, who was in charge of the draft national policy at the Department of the Legal Draftsman, had retired and with her retirement the drafted national policy on more..

'Internal auditing almost non-existent at CEB'

Apr 24 (Island) Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Dr. Jayatissa de Costa, alleged that internal auditing was almost non-existent at the CEB though it remained one of the state enterprises under fire for waste, corruption and irregularities. Asked whether the PUCSL was taking measures to tighten internal audit mechanism in the wake of persistent allegations of mismanagement, Dr. Costa more..

'Govt will not allow development effort to be stymied'

Apr 24 (DN) No one will be allowed to retard the country's development drive to fulfill their political ambitions, Petroleum Industries Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. Participating at the launch of a Maga Neguma project recently in Katugampola, he said that the govt was always willing to hear out constructive criticism. "People in our society have varied patterns of thinking. Some people cannot understand development and they do not like changes," the minister observed. more..

Wimal to go solo on May Day as mark of protest

Apr 24 (Island) The NFF has decided not to join the UPFA May Day rally this year to protest the scheduling of the Northern Provincial Council poll for next September. NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa said that instead they would hold their own independent procession and rally separately. Their May Day rally will therefore be held at P. D. Sirisena ground, Maligawatte from 3:00 p.m. It will be preceded by the party procession, which will begin from St. John’s College grounds, more..

'Terrorism is terrorism, understand its true nature'

Apr 24 (DN) The only way to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from the world is to understand its true nature and fight it for what it is, instead of giving terrorism various definitions and tags, President Rajapaksa stated yesterday. He said, as a leader of a country which had defeated terrorism, he hoped that the world would understand this reality. “Does not matter where it happens, be it in Asia, Arabic countries or anywhere in the more..

Company suspends employee who posted hate messages

Apr 24 (DM) An employee of a respected Sri Lankan company was suspended for a month after an inquiry found him guilty of sprouting racial hatred and sexually derogatory remarks on Facebook. This is the first time in Lanka where a private sector company had taken action against an employee over his adverse conduct on a social media portal. At the inquiry conducted by the Human Resources Department of a premier tourism company -- Eco Team, the employee was found guilty and more..

Power tariff hike: 'Not my decision'

Apr 24 (CT) Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, told Parliament the proposal to implement the recent power tariff hike had been made by her predecessor, long before she assumed duties. Making a reply speech to queries raised in a special statement to Parliament by acting Leader of the Opposition, John Amaratunga, She said it was the previous Minister of Power and Energy, who submitted a paper to the Cabinet seeking approval for a power tariff hike. more..

Sri Lankan moonstone sells for £500,000

Apr 24 (DM) An ancient Buddhist artefact discovered being used as a doorstep and valued at £30,000 has been sold for more than £500,000. The granite relic was given to Bronwen Hickmott’s parents by a tea planter who returned to Britain from Sri Lanka in the 1950s. Mrs Hickmott inherited the 2.4m-long (8ft) stone from her mother and father and began using it as a doorstep at her home in Exeter, Devon - affectionately more..

Bibile Policy at last; Thank you Mr. President

Apr 24 (DM) Millions of people are suffering from the unbearably high cost of healthcare— including highly expensive drugs under a variety of brand names and often non-essential tests and unregulated charges at private hospitals. They will welcome President Rajapaksa’s declaration last Friday that brave new steps will be taken soon to implement the long delayed essential medicine concept of the revered Prof. Senaka Bibile. The President made the announcement at the more..

The forgotten lession in good governance

Apr 24 (DM) Though social justice and the advancement of peace has not yet evolved to occupying centre-stage in the corporate agenda, a significant development in the international arena is that businesses are no longer averse to the idea. Moreover, there has been acknowledgement within the international business sector that the credibility of its operations can be strengthened by subscribing to altruistic ideological pursuits and embracing its latent social role. more..

The trauma at Agape

Apr 24 (SL) On the 4th of April, 76 terrified children were packed into a bus and told they were going to leave the place they called ‘home.’ “They fed us like their own children… now they are taking us away,” wept one girl inconsolably in a video clip in The Sunday Leader’s possession. These are the children of Agape – an orphanage based in Tissamaharama, which came under intense scrutiny following reports of abuse more..

Orders given to destroy cocaine plants

Apr 24 (CT) The District Secretary of Matara directed yesterday the grama niladharis of the specific areas where cocaine plants have been found in home gardens, to take steps to uproot and destroy the invasive plant. District Secretary, W.K.K. Atukorale told Ceylon Today, said grama niladharis of the Matara District have been ordered to initiate a door-to-door campaign, to identify and destroy the narcotic plant. more..

Attack on Uthayan newspaper: Govt. downplays damage, denies involvement

Apr 24 (ST) There was excitement in the air as Sathkunanathan Vijayachandran, 39, chief machine operator at the Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna, was busy preparing the final bundles of the newly printed paper for dispatch around 4.45 a.m. last Saturday. Everyone was eager to get the papers ready and out – they were looking forward to joining their families to celebrate the approaching New Year holidays. Silently, amid the bustle, more..

Sri Lanka should act on efficient water use early: IWMI

Apr 24 (LBO) Urbanization, industrialization and agriculture is straining Sri Lanka's water resources, with a post-waar economic revival in Jaffna seen to be threatening its fragile groundwater system. Sri Lanka's economy is expanding faster, and tourism is also on the rise. "With population, urbanization and increasing industrial growth, there are competing demands on water, it is not only agriculture," Jeremy Bird, more..

Dr. JJ seeks legal advice on challenging power tariff hike

Apr 24 (Island) Having declared that the UNP would move Court against the govt decision to increase electricity tariff, JSS president and UNP deputy secretary Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said that he was in the process of consulting a panel of lawyers, headed Roland Perera, PC. He said that he had submitted all relevant documents pertaining to the CEB as well as his recent submissions to the regulatory body, Public Utilities Commission more..

No surveillance at Mattala, BIA’s arrival lounge

Apr 24 (Island) A dearth of personnel at the Bio Diversity, Cultural and National Heritage Protection Division of the Sri Lanka Customs has left the newly constructed MRIA and the arrivals lounge of the BIA without bio–diversity smuggling surveillance. A senior custom official said that currently, bio–diversity smuggling surveillance was being carried out only at the departure lounge and cargo terminal of the BIA and the Colombo port. more..

ICU closed at Castle Hospital due to infection

Apr 24 (DM) The Intensive Care Unit at the Castle Street Hospital for Women, Colombo is currently closed following a patient’s death due to infection. “The patient who died at the ICU had been found infected. It is essential to investigate the premises as this is not a usual situation,” Director General of the Hospital Dr. W.D.K Wickremesinghe said. He said that even though the hospital’s ICU was closed until the investigations are more..

Duminda granted bail in case

Apr 24 (CG) MP Duminda Silva has been released on bail in the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra murder case. Four others were also granted bail by the Colombo High Court today in relation to the case. Silva returned to the island from Singapore last month after receiving treatment for the injuries he suffered during the shooting incident in 2011 in which presidential adviser Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was killed. more..

Over 100 state sector employees probed for corruption

Apr 24 (DN) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption is conducting clandestine investigations against more than 100 state sector employees who earn money illegally by engaging in fraudulent and corrupt activity while serving in the public service. The investigations were initiated following complaints lodged against certain employees before the Bribery and Corruption Commission. more..

Sri Lanka boycott calls mar Commonwealth countdown

Apr 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka had hoped to showcase its post-war revival at this year's Commonwealth summit, but observers say its biggest international event in decades is in danger of becoming a major embarrassment. Invitations have yet to be posted for the CHOGM and with more than six months to go, several key leaders are expected to stay away as a mark of protest against President Mahinda Rajapakse's regime. more..

Boston bombing and govt’s second chance

Apr 24 (CT) After the terror attacks on the United States that shook the world in 2001 and brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Centre, the US govt has been frequently at the receiving end of criticism for violating the human rights of those suspected to be terrorists or supporters of organizations deemed to be a threat to US interests. There have been charges of human rights violations in relation to the capture, questioning and incarceration of suspected terrorists. more..

Less accidents and less crime

Apr 24 (CG) The police says it had recorded less accidents and less crime related incidents so far this year as compared to the same period last year. A statement by the police media unit said that between January 1st last year to March 19 last year there were 748 road accidents while this year there were 591 accidents during the same period. The police also said that during the same period last year 2160 serious road accident injuries as compared to 1901 injuries this year. more..

Sinhalese extremist Sihala Urumaya: A small party that packs a political wallop

Apr 24 (CT) “The Sihala Urumaya (SU) party is minuscule as an electoral force. The party packs a political wallop, however: its leadership is articulate and generates press coverage; its cadre are devoted to the party’s extremist views; and it maintains strong support in the influential Buddhist clergy. While unlikely to gain electoral power anytime soon, the SU — in a sign that Sinhalese extremism cannot be written off as a force more..

Access group to build US$12mn 25-floor office tower

Apr 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Access group will build a 12 million US dollar office tower next to an existing building in Colombo's Union Place, the state investment promotion agency said. Sri Lanka's Board of Investment which gives tax breaks to investments said the office complex built on a 74-perch block is expected to finish in 36 months. Designed as a 'green building' with roof gardens, it will have computerized energy saving and automated building management systems, more..

Editorial: Govt. insensitive to people's sufferings

Apr 24 (CT) The New Year has brought in its wake, new burdens for the people. The hike in electricity tariff, which had been hanging over the heads of the people like the Sword of Damocles, has finally come, announcing in no uncertain terms that life is going to be much worse for the people in the days to come. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), before which the proposal for the increase in electricity prices had been placed, had agreed to the increase, which is in the region of 50%, more..

Alliance reveals highway robberies by politicians in NCP

Apr 24 (Island) The Alliance against Corruption alleged that there had been rampant corruption and lack of transparency in the road development projects, undertaken by the Road Development Authority of the North Central Provincial Council, prior to the 2012 Deyata Kirula exhibition, running to Rs 3,000 million. Convenor of the alliance Mudhitha Katunamuni said that the contracts had been awarded to political more..

'No arrests made so far over attack on Uthayan'

Apr 24 (CT) The SSP, Jaffna, M.M. Jiffry, had been evasive when he was questioned by journalists on the recent attack on the Uthayan newspaper office. At the weekly police briefing in Jaffna on Friday, journalists' representing various media institutions in the Peninsula had questioned the SSP as to why no arrests had been made so far with regard to the attack on the Uthayan newspaper office. They had also questioned him on the progress made by the police investigations in this regard. more..

Police officers threatened by Mayor transferred

Apr 24 (DM) The two police officers alleged to have been threatened by the Mayor of Gampaha had been transferred to Peliyagoda Special Investigation Unit on their request. The police media spokesperson said that they were now on duty at the Peliyagoda Special Investigation Unit led by DIG Vass Gunawardene. Sources revealed that the Mayor of Gampaha was arrested recently for interfering with the duties of the police officers while they were on traffic control duty. more..

US officials in Jaffna

Apr 24 (CG) A US delegation is in Jaffna for talks on the ground situation and to assess the latest developments. US Embassy staff are in Jaffna meeting with civil society as part of its normal bilateral engagement with the people of Sri Lanka, a US Embassy spokesman said. The visit comes just days after the annual human rights report released by the US State Department had claimed that in the east and the north, military more..

Principals still seek donations from parents

Apr 24 (CT) The Special Investigation Division (SID) of the Western Province Education Ministry had received information that though circulars had been sent by the Education Ministry prohibiting the collection of funds from parents of school children, some principals reportedly are still collecting money, while cleverly averting accusations being levelled against them in this regard. High officers of the SID said, warning letters had been sent to principals who are allegedly collecting funds from parents. more..

Eppawala Phosphate to tie up with foreign company

Apr 24 (Island) Lanka Phosphate Limited (LPL) is planning to produce Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) fertilizer from Eppawala phosphate deposits with financial and technical inputs from a foreign company. LPL Chairman Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri said that the LPL had already called for international bids for the project and some companies in Australia and Japan had already forwarded their proposals. He said that the selected international company would invest in more..

Sparks fly between current and ex-power ministers

Apr 24 (LBO) A battle has sparked between current and ex-power ministers following a hike in tariffs which has already drawn fire from opposition parties. Former power minister Champika Ranawaka denied he initiated a tariff hike after media reported that current minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi as saying she only completed the task which had already been started. Ranawaka said he had not submitted any more..

Lankans in Canada make worthy donation to people of North

Apr 24 (CT) A Canadian businessman of Sri Lankan origin, Morris Saunders Jayatilake, and his friends, Ajith Senanayake, Robert Anurashantha and Anura Dharmaratne had donated school uniforms and dress materials to 1,500 students, 100 teachers and 24 principals in the Thenmarachchi region in the Jaffna Peninsula, in the presence of the Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, at a event held in Varani, Jaffna, on Monday (22). more..

Navy arrests 55 illegal migrants bound for Australia

Apr 24 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy intercepted 55 persons illegally bound for Australia in a multi-day trawler in the early hours of 24th April 2013. The trawler named “Mithuna Putha-3” was intercepted by a Fast Naval Patrol Craft attached to the Western Naval Command 12 nautical miles west of Negombo. Among the arrested persons are 47 Tamils, 5 Muslims and 3 Sinhalese that included 41 men, 6 women and 8 children. They are residents of Mullaithivu, Jaffna, Vavunia and Puttalam. more..

'It's time for U.S. policy toward Sri Lanka to be more symmetrical'

Apr 24 (Forbes) Sri Lanka’s economy is growing at about a 7.5% annual clip, with low inflation and a per capita income of US$ 2,923. We are striving towards a per capita income of over $4,000 by 2016 and are on track to surpass the UN Millennium Development goals by 2015. This is remarkable, given that Sri Lanka had a per capita income of only US$ 981 in 2003, and it was only four years ago that it broke free from the grip of terrorism, more..