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Demo in Jaffna against land grab

Apr 25 (CG) A demonstration was staged in Jaffna today against civilian land being forcibly taken by the govt. Reports said that the demonstration, organised by the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) lasted for several hours outside the Jaffna District Secretariat. A huge police presence was seen during the demonstration agaisnt taking over civilian land in Jaffna, which was attended by the public and members of TNPF including it's General Secretary Gajen Ponnambalam. more..

Much touted National Audit Bill gathering dust since 2007

Apr 25 (Island) The much touted National Audit Bill is gathering dust for over six years, while public enterprises are engaged in massive waste, corruption and irregularities under the very noses of the parliamentary watchdog committees, the COPE and the PAC. The Auditor General’s Department said that implementation of the Bill was beyond its control. The bottom line was the Department couldn’t be held responsible for more..

Power tariff hike: Places of religious worship cushioned by Rs. 1.2 billion subsidy

Apr 25 (DN) The govt yesterday reiterated that places of religious interest will not face the impact of the power tariff hike as their tariffs will not be increased under any circumstances. The govt provides a subsidy of Rs. 1.2 billion to places of religious interest around the country and this subsidy would remain intact. No changes would take place in the power tariff of religious places. The places of religious worship have to pay a very nominal fee for power usage due to this subsidy more..

'Govt. molly-coddling former terrorists'

Apr 25 (DM) The Govt has permitted separatists and terrorist leaders to contest the upcoming elections, DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka said. He was referring to the news item that Daya Master will contest on the ruling UPFA ticket. ‘Daya master was a known terrorist leader, who surrendered to the military during the final stages of the war,” Mr. Fonseka said and added that the Govt was protecting culprits and terrorists by taking them to its side. It is safeguarding the terrorists and preventing them from facing more..

Parliament turns a mini battlefield

Apr 25 (CT) The candlelight protest conducted by the UNP, against the revised electricity tariffs turned Parliament into a mini battlefield yesterday. The govt members disrupted the candlelight protest of the opposition members by throwing water bottles at them, which led to exchanging of blows and fisticuffs. Soon after Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, presented regulations, orders and bills for the debate, more..

Editorial: Priority mix up or deliberate mess-up?

Apr 25 (DM) Did we Sri Lankans ask for an airport in Mattala and a port in Hambantota? Wonder whether even the people in Hambantota did. Did we ask for a budget airline which is not more than a vanity project? Do we need Deyata Kirula every year? Definitely not! Do we need 1000 CC Ducatis? In response, most of you might question, ‘What the heck is Ducati?’ We didn’t ask for an electricity price hike. But like everything else, the government generously gave us that too! more..

Increase in electricity rates and plight of senior citizens

Apr 25 (DM) The increase in electricity costs is the latest to hit the public, especially the lower and middle class who are desperately attempting to live in an economically sustainable environment. It appears that all those in charge of public welfare, the coterie of Ministers and deputies have forgotten that what the people expect from them is not some impossible utopia but a realistic attitude towards seeing that they have a little bit of the amenities that their representatives appear to be more..

Sexual harassment of tourists in the south continues unabated

Apr 25 (ST) Police are recording frequent complaints of sexual harassment of tourists in the South, with the latest report of sexual harassment of an Israeli female tourist by a local. On Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s day, a 32-year-old Israeli tourist was sexually harassed while on the beach, when her husband had gone to the nearby beach resort in Mirissa, where they were staying. A local man had inappropriately touched her more..

Dy Speaker promises action over non-tabling of CB report

Apr 25 (Island) Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody told Parliament that necessary action would be taken to look into why the annual report of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) had not been tabled in Parliament during the recent years. He was responding to a query raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake, who demanded to know why the govt had failed to table the annual CBSL report in Parliament. more..

Electricity price adjustment commendable

Apr 25 (DM) The government is to be commended for its highly courageous decision to adjust electricity prices towards cost-reflectivity. The political leadership and pragmatic policymakers have to be given considerable credit for setting aside short-term political expedience and addressing a fundamentally unstable situation that could eventually have had a very negative impact on the financial viability of the two state banks more..

Contracting to wash away the sins…

Apr 25 (SL) The govt that was in the region of the clouds after the war ended in 2009 has been made to come down to earth. For, it has become the respondent before the masses and the international community due to its willful evasion of responsibilities it should have fulfilled after the end of the war. The govt’s period of gallivanting in the clouds has been over and now it is crashing down back to the earth. The image of the govt is more..

Bangladesh mulls FTA with Sri Lanka

Apr 25 (DM) Bangladesh is tipped to sign a Free Trade Agreement with SL to strengthen bilateral trade between the two nations, according to visiting Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Ambassador, Mohammed Shahidul Haque. “We are extremely optimistic over Sri Lanka’s prospects. Bangladesh agrees in principle to start discussions and explore on all possibilities to strengthen trade with SL; including a Free Trade Agreement. more..

'Media role in conflict resolution vital'

Apr 25 (DN) The humanitarian operation launched by the govt to liberate the country from the clutches of terrorism was entirely a means of conflict resolution but not a war, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. The minister was addressing delegates of the SAARC Information Centre conference on the role of the media in conflict resolution and peace building. The event will continue until Saturday in Colombo with more..

Thirty Maldivians follow VIP protection training course in Lanka

Apr 25 (DN) The Special Task Force (STF) of Sri Lanka Police conducted a special training course for Maldivian Police personnel on VIP protection. Thirty Maldivian Police Officers including two female officers who followed the VIP protection training course, passed out at the STF Training School in Katukurunda, Kalutara. The passing out parade of the Maldivian officers was held under the patronage of STF Commandant DIG more..

‘Influenza A’ the cause for shut down of Castle Street hospital ICU

Apr 25 (Island) The MRI confirmed that the ‘Influenza A’ virus was the cause of the death of a woman warded at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Castle Street Hospital for Women. The ICU of the country’s premier maternity hospital was shut down by health authorities on Tuesday following her death. The ministry had sent a team, including a Virology Consultant, from the MRI to investigate the cause of the death. more..

'Sri Lanka needs understanding, goodwill'

Apr 25 (Island) It is of the greatest importance to ensure that Sri Lanka’s own national interest and the wellbeing of its own people represent the pivot on which all policy formulation relating to the country hinges. But what is particularly distressing to note is that this consideration, strangely enough, is very much relegated to the background in order to yield pride of place to other factors which have very little to do with more..

Refugees saved by UAE find new home in US

Apr 25 (National) Eleven Sri Lankan refugees have arrived in Los Angeles to begin their new lives after receiving care in the UAE for six months. “We can now lead a life without fear and don’t have to live as refugees any more,” said Niranjani, 35, of the harrowing journey that ended when she landed in Dubai. She arrived in the US with her husband and two children yesterday. Niranjani was seven months pregnant more..

Editorial : Railway crossings need not be death traps

Apr 25 (CT) According to the Director General of Railways, L.A.R. Ratnayake, out of 1,083 railway crossings, more than one half, 626 in all, are unprotected. Rockland Junction in Beruwela is one such rail- crossing. 23 people were injured on Saturday, when a bus hit a train at this unprotected crossing. The Beruwela Police have so far failed to record a statement from the driver due to his medical condition. These death-inviting, unsafe and unprotected crossings are the responsibility more..

'Continuous protest campaign if increased tariffs not withdrawn'

Apr 25 (LT) A continuous protest movement against the govt would be launched if the increased electricity tariffs are not withdrawn immediately says the Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP and President of National Trade Union Center K.D. Lal Kanthe. He said this addressing the media at the agitation held opposite the bus stand at Anuradhapura on the 23rd. He said the govt could have refrained from increasing electricity tariff if the govt constructed thermal power stations more..

Sri Lankan corporate profits soar as workers face poverty

Apr 25 (wsws) Profit results published by corporate sector for the financial year that ended in March 2013 demonstrate that a handful of big businesses are pocketing the country’s wealth while the working people are being forced to bear stringent austerity measures. Profits soared in plantations (up 375%); healthcare (153%); power and energy (81%); banking and finance (40%); hotel and travel (28%); beverages, food and tobacco (18%); more..

Sri Lanka represented at Venezuelan President's inauguration

Apr 25 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Ambassador Dr Palitha Kohona, joined by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Cuba, Sarath Dissanayake represented Sri Lanka at the inauguration ceremony of the newly elected Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro Moros held at the Venezuelan National Assembly in Caracas on 19th April, coincidentally, the 203rd Anniversary of the Independence of Venezuela. On this occasion, President Maduro, the winner of more..

Malaria parasites found in abandoned gem pits

Apr 25 (Island) Two types of Malaria parasites have been reported from abandoned gem pits and construction sites, Malaria Control Unit Director Dr. Darath Deniyage said. The Parasite Plasmodium Vivax was common and did not pose health problems to the people, but parasite Plasmodium Falcirum was capable of causing even brain Malaria in people. The objective of the Health Ministry was to completely eradicate Malaria from Sri Lanka in 2014. Most people rushed to hospitals when more..

DMK tells CMAG members to keep out of Sri Lanka meet

Apr 25 (ENS) A delegation of MPs of the DMK on Tuesday gave a memorandum to several member countries of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) in Delhi urging them to not hold the 2013 CHOGM in Colombo slated to be held from November 15 to 17. Speaking to Express over phone from Delhi, DMK MP TKS Elangovan said the Parliamentarians highlighted, among other things, more..

April 30 deadline for food handlers to get their health check

Apr 25 (Island) Legal action will be taken against the proprietor of any food establishment, in which even a single food handler had not undergone the required medical test to acquire the trade license by April 30, The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council warned yesterday. PHD Chief Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that over 4,500 food handlers had undergone the medical test to date. 388 of them had been recently infected with paratyphoid. However, six of them had more..

Ministers blaming each other, but not the President

Apr 25 (AD) Ministers Champika Ranawaka and Pavithra Wanniarachchi are taking turns at blaming one another, however no one is blaming the President for the recent hike in the electricity tariff, an anti-corruption group said today. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will “earn marks” by declaring on Workers’ Day (May 1) electricity concessions for the masses, Dr Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said. There is no need to tell the people separately about the electricity tariff as they are already more..

Attacks on Sri Lankan monks were isolated incidents: Kantha

Apr 25 (PTI) India has said that the recent attacks on Sri Lankan Buddhist monks in Tamil Nadu were isolated incidents and did not reflect the strong people-to-people bonds. "These were isolated incidents and did not reflect the strong people-to-people bonds that have been an integral part of the close historical, cultural and civilisational ties between the India and Sri Lanka," Indian High Commissioner Ashok K Kantha said. more..

PUCSL explores use of smart electricity meters

Apr 25 (Island) The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the regulatory arm of the power sector, has planned a feasibility study on the introduction of smart meters for domestic use to help reduce monthly electricity bills. The country spends a staggering Rs. 190 billion on energy purchases annually. Independent power producers support the national grid especially during the peak hours between 6.00 p.m. and 10.00 p.m. PUCSL Director General, Damitha Kumarasinghe, more..

'Northern rail rebuilding on track'

Apr 25 (LBO) A 43 kilometre stretch of Sri Lanka's Northern Railway line has been re-built to allow trains to be run up to a speed of 120 kilometres, Ircon, an Indian state-run transport engineering firm said. India is funding the rebuilding of 252 kilometres of rail track, which had been destroyed during a 30-year war through an 800 million US dollar credit line. On April 24, a 43 kilometre stretch running from Madawachchiya to Madhu Road station was tested by a trial run, Ircon said in a statement. more..

Solid waste separation, a must after June 1

Apr 25 (DN) Mixed waste will not be accepted by the CMC from households in the Colombo city after June 1, CMC solid waste management director engineer P Thangamyil said. He said from June 1, the garbage should be separated into two groups as for composting and recycling before disposal from households. Refuse removed from the kitchen and empty king coconut etc should be more..

SSP Jayakody unfazed by death threat

Apr 25 (AD) Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in charge of Ratnapura Division, Prishantha Jayakody who had received a threatening phone call, which was traced back to a payphone booth in Galle, says he remains unbowed and unafraid. The former Police Spokesman said the threat against his life and his family’s was made following a raid on a karaoke bar operating in Ratnapura last Saturday and therefore suspects a connection between the bar and the threat call. more..

Land ownership, patent rights and FDI

Apr 25 (CT) In nations emerging from a colonial exploitative relationship, the ownership of land by non-nationals has always been an emotional issue. Within the exploitation by the colonial power, the expropriation of land often owned not by individuals, but by a traditional community and the handing over of the same to foreigners or even local elites from other parts of the country for the opening up of plantations or extraction of minerals, etc., has been an essential part. more..

Sri Lankan army denies torture allegations

Apr 25 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan army on Thursday rejected allegations by a Sri Lankan Tamil living in Australia who claimed to have been tortured and abused by the army intelligence officers while he visited the island recently. Australian media on Thursday quoting a Sri Lankan Tamil man named 'Kumar' reported claims of torture and rape allegedly by Sri Lankan army intelligence officers while the victim was on a three week more..

Lankan judge in international tribunal

Apr 25 (CG) A Sri Lankan judge has been named in an international tribunal to hear a case by the Philippines against China on the West Philippine Sea dispute, the Philippine Star reported. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has included Chris Pinto from Sri Lanka in the five-member tribunal that will hear the case. An April 24 letter to Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza, head of the Philippine legal team, disclosed that the three last judges of the Arbitral Tribunal more..

Ocean University to give Lanka fillip to tap maritime resources

Apr 25 (Island) Sri Lanka despite being a maritime nation had still to obtain its full benefits for want of trained personnel to cater to the ocean resources industries, Chairman of the Ocean University, Prof. Ranjith Senaratne said. He said that Sri Lanka had a 1,750 km coastal belt and 50% of the total population lived near the coastal belt. "We are still not taking the benefits of coastal and marine resources," he said, adding that Sri Lanka had a sea area eight times larger than its land mass. more..

Call to resolve fate of 461 Sri Lanka death row inmates

Apr 25 (BBC) New prisons chief C Pallegama has said he wants to resolve the status of 461 death row inmates. He said he was opposed to capital punishment but acknowledged he was not legally mandated to abolish it. Sri Lanka has not implemented a death penalty since 1976 and this has put condemned inmates in a state of limbo. Violence in jails in recent months has left dozens of prisoners dead. Politicians regularly call for more..

INGOs have flown leaving coast bare, yet CCD plays blame game

Apr 25 (Island) Only one percent of the 250,000 plants which INGOs and their local agents planted along the country’s coastline, remain. They were meant to serve as a green belt and prevent future sea erosion following the 2004 tsunami. Director General of the Coast Conservation Department (CCD) Dr. Anil Premaratne said that most of the plants had been either damaged or removed by people. Those INGOs did not maintain the plants and left the country a few years later. more..

Minister Rajapaksa expresses gratitude to visiting Foreign Secretary

Apr 25 (MED) Bangladesh is keen on strengthening ties with Sri Lanka on shipping, tourism promotion, investment, educational activities and drug manufacturing according to visiting Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque. The Foreign Secretary said this when he met Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa at the ministry office on Tuesday (23). The Bangladeshi official is in Sri Lanka to take part in the Second Foreign Secretary Level Consultations. more..

Alarm being sounded over possible Chinese takeover of Norochcholai

Apr 25 (Island) Internal clashes within the CEB, particularly at the first coal fired power plant, at Norochcholai, shouldn’t pave the way for the Chinese firm, which built it, to enter and take full control of it, a top official warned. The Chinese firm is already having a maintenance agreement with the CEB, costing the latter a staggering Rs. 300 million annually. A senior engineer alleged that China General more..

Sri Lanka can remove obstacles to creating jobs: World Bank

Apr 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka can help citizens better themselves by removing obstacles to creating new and better jobs, including for women, the World Bank said. The development agency based on the theme of its World Development Report 2013, says creating opportunities for jobs are critical for reducing poverty. "One of the biggest challenges facing Sri Lanka is to improve women's employment opportunities, especially for the young female population," Jesko Hentschel, more..

'125 Indian fishermen apprehended by Lankan Navy this year'

Apr 25 (PTI) As many as 125 Indian fishermen have been apprehended by Sri Lankan Navy in the last four months, Rajya Sabha was informed. Minister E Ahamed also said the govt has emphasised upon the need for the SL Navy to exercise restraint, extend humane treatment to Indian fishermen and not to resort to violence under any circumstance. "As per available information, in the last two years, the number of Indian fishermen apprehended by the SL Navy was 203 in 2011, more..