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Clearing forest reserves to rob timber: Army refutes allegations

Apr 26 (SL) Accusations have been levelled against Sri Lanka Army for clearing forestlands in Vavuniya for an alleged re-settlement drive. Environmentalists are up in arms against clearing of nearly 1,500 acres of thick forestlands in Karunkalikulam Forest Reserve in the Vavuniya District. Director Environment Conservation Trust Sajeewa Chamikara said that in order to settle over 1,200 Sinhala Buddhist more..

Law of the jungle in Yala wildlife park

Apr 26 (ST) Yala, known as Sri Lanka’s most popular national park for leopard and bear sightings, was packed as expected during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year weekend. Despite many misgivings, we decided to go on an evening safari on Sunday, April 14. Much to my chagrin, the sightings had nothing to do with wild animals but of the complete lack of lawlessness that seems to prevail in this park. more..

NHSL docs dodge transfers

Apr 26 (Island) While a dearth of medical officers is experienced in rural areas there is an excess of doctors at the National Hospital as many of them refuse to accept transfers as per last year’s list, despite having served in the country’s premier state hospital for more than the stipulated four years. A consultant, attached to a general hospital in the North Central Province, said that some of the doctors in his province had to more..

Railway employees to be given an allowance

Apr 26 (CT) Presidential Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga, has pledged to provide a monthly allowance to railway employees, till such time their salary levels are increased. Convener of Joint Trade Union Alliance (JTUA) of Railway employees, Janaka Fernando, said Weeratunga made this suggestion during the discussions he had with Railway employees on 24 April. They are content with the offer of providing an allowance, more..

G.L discusses CHOGM with Sharma

Apr 26 (CG) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris had discussions at Marlborough House in London with Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, about the arrangements under way for the meeting of CHOGM in Sri Lanka in November. Minister Peiris also briefed the Secretary General regarding the govt’s plans for three other major events on the sidelines of the Summit ̶ the Business Forum in Colombo, more..

Sri Lanka Navy busts Indo-Lanka drug smuggling racket

Apr 26 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy busted an Indo-Sri Lanka cross-border cannabis smuggling racket and arrested 04 Indian persons and two of their Sri Lankan accomplices along with approximately 100 kilograms of “Kerala Ganja”. The arrest was made by Sri Lanka Naval Ship Udara attached to the Northern Naval Command in the seas off Kachchatheevu on 25th April. Udara on routine patrol had detected an Indian dhow more..

Pakistan’s High Commissioner urges enhanced bilateral trade

Apr 26 (PHC) The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj Gen Qasim Qureshi visited Galle District on Tuesday. During the visit to Galle, the High Commissioner participated at a meeting with the officials of the Galle District Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The meeting reviewed the prevailing business environment between the two friendly countries. While speaking on the occasion Qasim more..

India and Lanka discuss IMBL issues

Apr 26 (CG) India and Sri Lanka had another round of discussions at sea on issues relating to the Indo-Sri Lanka Maritime Boundary Line including the fishing issue and smuggling of narcotics, the Navy media unit said today. The Navy said that the 22nd International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) meeting between Sri Lanka and India was held onboard the Indian Naval Ship Gharial at the Indo-Sri Lanka Maritime Boundary Line more..

BOC under scrutiny over capital adequacy

Apr 26 (DM) The largest commercial bank in the country, state-run Bank of Ceylon (BOC) has recently come under scrutiny by multiple international rating agencies and the Central Bank over its faltering capital adequacy. The Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR), a strictly regulated and monitored financial ratio by the Central Bank, gauges the strength of the capital of any financial sector entity to withstand liquidity shocks. more..

More Lankans return from Australia

Apr 26 (CG) Another group of Sri Lankan irregular maritime arrivals has been flown home from Christmas Island to Colombo, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Brendan O’Connor MP, announced. The group was advised of its status and that all 25 of its members were subject to removal from Australia as none raised issues that engaged Australia’s international obligations. Without a valid visa, the 25 had no legal right to remain in Australia. Since August 13 last year, 1029 Sri Lankans more..

Editorial : Govt. bankruptcy in the North

Apr 26 (CT) Velayutham Dayanidhi, also popularly known as Daya Master, was the head of the media division of the LTTE. After surrendering to the Sri Lankan Army during the final stages of the war, Daya Master became friends with the govt, and particularly close to the defence establishment, purportedly passing vital information on his previous 'master,' Velupillai Prabhakaran, and currying favour with the new 'masters.' As to what has obsessed the governing circles to trust the former more..

Opposition says hike should have avoided 'electricity poor'

Apr 26 (LBO) The UNP said a power tariff hike could have been imposed without an increase on small users to get the same revenue. Opposition legislator Harsha de Silva proposed an alternative pricing structure Friday which avoids raising tariffs for those using 90 units or below and increasing the rates of those using more. At a public hearing on the proposed hike, de Silva pleaded with the regulator not to allow state-run CEB more..

Mischief by Asian Tribune: The Northern Province Chief Minister candidature

Apr 26 (CT) K.T. Rajasingham, both owner of and writer for Asian Tribune, has reported on April 19, that the “ITAK [Federal Party or FP] Leadership has decided on Retired Justice C.V. Wigneswaran as the Chief Minister candidate in the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council Election.” He further reports that “Wigneswaran has been contacted and he agreed to accept the offer provided if [sic.] it is forthcoming from [the] TNA and not merely from the ITAK.” After saying the candidature has been more..

Cardinal seeks written assurance from President on church land

Apr 26 (Island) Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith had requested a written assurance from President Rajapaksa that a land belonging to St. Joseph’s Church, Pamunugama, where a chapel had been built and Holy Mass was being celebrated once a month, as part of catholic devotion, would not be acquired arbitrarily by the govt for a tourist resort. The Cardinal made the request through MP Sarath Gunaratne, Western Provincial Council Minister Nimal Lanza and WPC member Merril more..

Bshop Rayappu shrugs off Tamil separatist charges

Apr 26 (UCAN) A Catholic bishop responded today to allegations by local media accusing him and the Church of engaging in a conspiracy to promote a separate Tamil state in collaboration with representatives of the Indian govt. Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Manar said he had never advocated an autonomous state for the ethnic Tamil population as a viable political solution to the country's ongoing reconciliation issues. more..

Dengue on the march, but treasury funds underutilised

Apr 26 (Island) Out of Rs. 300 million provided by the Treasury in 2012 to the Dengue Control Unit of the Health Ministry for dengue prevention only Rs. 27 million has been utilised. A key health Ministry official revealed that the Treasury had released funds for awareness programmes, seminars and destroying possible mosquito breeding places. But, due to lack of proper planning and effective dengue control operations nearly Rs. 273 million had been returned to the Treasury. more..

Sinhala and Tamil New Year Celebrations in Singapore

Apr 26 (GDI) The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Singapore together with the Coordinating Committee celebrated the " Sinhala and Tamil New Year and Cultural Show 2013" on Sunday at Toa Payoh Town Park, Singapore. The daylong celebration began with the hoisting of the Sri Lankan national flag by High Commissioner Ferial Ashraff and was followed by religious blessings by both Buddhist monks and Hindu priests. Guests enjoyed Kiribath and a variety of traditional sweetmeats that was laid out on more..

Committee to address Muslim issues

Apr 26 (CG) A forum represented by several Muslim organizations and individuals, which will be an apolitical body, has been established to look into issues faced by Muslims in Sri Lanka. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka convoked a meeting of Muslim civil society members, religious leaders, businesspersons, academics and professionals with the objective of building consensus within the Muslim community and establishing a more..

Aso to visit Sri Lanka

Apr 26 (CG) The Deputy Prime Minister of Japan, Taro Aso and Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Finance, Yuko Obuchi will visit Sri Lanka from 1st to 2nd May 2013, as a follow-up to the visit of President Rajapaksa to Tokyo in March this year, the Japanese Embassy in Colombo said. During the visit Aso and Obuchi will call on President Rajapaksa to discuss bilateral relations with a view to further strengthening the long-standing ties between the two countries and more..

CCTV, mobile phones help fight crime effectively – SSP

Apr 26 (Island) Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras had been of immense help to the police in there battle against crime, SSP, Nugegoda Division, W.M.M. Wickramasinghe said yesterday. He said that many shops, super markets, restaurants and places where public gathered had installed CCTV cameras and they had made the task of the law enforcement officers easier. Wickramasinghe said that a notorious criminal, responsible for a spate of robberies, had been arrested by the more..

'Pavithra steals Rs.1000 from Bandula's Rs.2500'

Apr 26 (LT) Ms. Pavithra Wanniarachchi has taken away Rs.1000 from the Rs.2500 Minister Bandula Gunawardene said that people could live with says JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi. He said this regarding the electricity tariff hike that has been brought about by the govt from the 20th and specially the difference of Rs.1000 in the electricity bill of a person using 90 units and that of one using 91 units. Speaking further he said, more..

Enhanced acreage for big onions

Apr 26 (Island) Big onions would be cultivated in 8,000 hectares this year to increase the harvest to over 100,000 MT to meet half of the local requirement, Agriculture Ministry Secretary W. A. Sakalasuriya said. He said that the govt had to import large amounts of big onions as the farmers were not using correct storage facilities and post-harvest technology. Sakalasuriya added that correct and recommended post-harvest technology should be adopted in big onion cultivation. more..

Japanese warships in Colombo

Apr 26 (DM) Two Japanese naval ships, arrived at the Port of Colombo for logistics requirements yesterday. The ships were en route for Counter Piracy Operations off the Coast of Somaliya and in the Gulf of Aden. Head of the team, Commander Escort Division 6, Captain Tsutomu Iwasawa and other visiting officers paid a courtesy call on Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe of the Sri Lanka Navy at the Western Naval Command Headquarters more..

Duminda to be discharged tomorrow

Apr 26 (CG) Parliamentarian Duminda Silva is to be discharged from hospital tomorrow, a private radio station owned by his brother reported. The radio station announced that Silva will be discharged from the Nawaloka hospital tomorrow morning. Silva was this week released on bail in the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra murder case. Four others were also granted bail by the Colombo High Court in relation to the case. more..

Address financial crisis now - Vasu

Apr 26 (Island) The DLF General Secretary, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara, says the govt should implement recommendations made by the presidential taxation commission headed by Prof. W. D. Lakshman without further delay. He is of the opinion that the country is in dire financial straits due to a steep decline in the state revenue. Minister Nanayakkar said that the left parties would call for the immediate implementation of the report now gathering dust. He said that it would more..

CMC's gallant effort to solve garbage problem

Apr 26 (CT) Faced with the perennial problem pertaining to scarcity of spacious lands to dump garbage, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), in a bid to minimize the massive volumes of disposable solid waste, has instructed its crews to accept only kitchen waste from households for removal with effect from 1 June. The garbage trucks operating within the CMC limits will not accept mixed waste. The Solid Waste Management (SWM) Department of the CMC headed by its Director, more..

Sri Lanka B&B owner held for molesting French tourists

Apr 26 (AFP) A foreign guesthouse operator was arrested Friday after two French tourists complained they had been sexually molested at his guest house, police said. The 44-year-old Olivier Sage, who manages the "French Villa" beach property at Unawatuna, would be taken before a magistrate later Friday. "The two French tourists complained that the guest house owner used criminal force on them two days ago," more..

Buttala PS Dy. Chairman faces arrest over assaulting cops

Apr 26 (Island) DIG of Police, Moneragala Range, Roshan Fernando said that an investigation had been launched into the incident where the Deputy Chairman of Buttala Pradeshiya Sabha, Cecil Nanayakkara, allegedly assaulted the officers manning the police post at Okkampitiya on Wednesday. The politician had attempted to move past the police post on a motorcycle without a helmet and when he was questioned, an argument ensued and he had allegedly attacked more..

Animal fodder imported for human consumption

Apr 26 (DM) Stocks of substandard food commodities such as green gram and lentils, meant for animal fodder, have been imported and released to the market for human consumption, Parliament was informed. During the question time, UNP MP P. Harrison raised the issue in the House on Tuesday. The UNP MP said the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), in one of its reports, asked the government to take action against errant companies engaged in the import of such food items. more..

CMAG ends, Lanka not on agenda

Apr 26 (CG) The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) held its thirty-ninth meeting in London today but Sri Lanka was not on the main agenda. The meeting, chaired by Dr Dipu Moni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, was also attended by Senator Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, John Baird, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, AJ Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and more..

Yala bursting at its seams with visitors

Apr 26 (Island) As the Yala National Park was overcrowded during the entire year causing increasing discomfort to visitors and animals alike, the Wildlife Department had given thought to developing other national parks countrywide to lessen the congestion at the highly popular venue. Director General of Wildlife Conservation H.D. Ratnayake said that with the increased arrival of tourists to Sri Lanka, with the conclusion of the war in 2009, nearly 1,000 foreign tourists more..

Former Australian PM leads Sri Lanka CHOGM boycott call

Apr 26 (AAP) Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser is among dozens of prominent Australians calling on the federal govt to consider boycotting a major Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka this year. Mr Fraser has added his name to a petition calling on Australia to join with Canada in avoiding the biennial CHOGM in the Sri Lankan city of Hambantota in November. Organised by the Australian Tamil Congress, the petition calls on the govt to insist on a new host country unless there is significant more..

New hotel training centre to meet the tourism boom

Apr 26 (MED) Minister Basil Rajapaksa will open the Sri Lanka Tourism and Hotel Management Institute which has been built at Pallekele in Kandy. The institute, equipped with all the modern facilities, is meant to train personnel required for the programme to attract 2.5 million tourists to Sri Lanka by 2016. The five year programme launched under the minister’s guidance is expected to bring an annual income of more..

Sri Lanka’s rights violations bring Commonwealth to turning point

Apr 27 (DBS) When they decided to have a meeting at their party office in the north of the island, the four Sri Lankan MPs probably didn’t expect that it would start raining concrete boulders. Before they knew it, a mob of about 60 people had surrounded the building. After half an hour of sustained assault, the roof broke and the elected representatives found themselves sheltering in the archways of the doors, as if it were an earthquake. All the while the police looked on, doing nothing. more..

Sri Lanka concerns put Commonwealth’s credibility on the line

Apr 27 (DBS) Sri Lanka, whose leaders are accused of committing war crimes against Tamils in the civil war that ended May 2009, and subverting democracy, is to host the next CHOGM in November. In the past the Commonwealth, the 54-member intergovernmental grouping of mostly Britain’s former colonies, has emphasised human rights and democracy as core principles and chastised member countries that violated them. Sri Lanka however has not been censured but more..

A place for Sita

Apr 27 (CT) In Nuwara Eliya, a steady flow of pilgrims visit a quaint temple known in brochures as the ‘only Sita temple in the world’. The complex which is patterned on the modern south Indian temple is set in idyllic countryside beside a clear stream. Adjacent to it is another new temple dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god who, according to mythology, was instrumental in rescuing Sita from Lanka. more..

The clout of clergy in a Buddhist nation

Apr 27 (NS) Make no mistake, by clerical, I don’t mean clerks’ but the clergy. Historically, the Buddhist clergy seems to have played a pivotal role in Sri Lankan politics. This role has not necessarily brought about desirable consequences. In fact it is often the case that the clerical involvement in politics, with the clergy’s enormous clout over the collective consciousness of the Sinhala Buddhist majority, has pushed the country into disastrous throes of ethnic violence. more..

To retrospect and to look forward

Apr 27 (NS) The World Book and Copyright Day is celebrated on April 23 each year. The first connection between books and April 23 was established by Spanish booksellers, who chose that day to commemorate Miguel de Cervantes. In 1995, UNESCO proclaimed April 23 as the World Book and Copyright Day. Defining a book was not too difficult a few years back. There are different definitions used in different countries, but the UNESCO defines a book as a more..

Robbed and recovered

Apr 27 (CT) Ronnie de Mel is back in the news but not for his propensity for political antics that are well-known, but due to a theft of valuable antiques he owns. Thieves had stolen a very valuable, gold-coloured clock and a lamp with a chimney which are said to be at least 400 years old. On the night of the New Year (14), thieves had broken into his palatial Ruhunu Eliya bungalow at the singularly picturesque Gee Kiyana Kanda Estate, more..

Editiorial: Libya - House of cards collapsing

Apr 27 (Island) No sooner had crude bombs rocked Boston than France received a rude shock. On Tuesday, a car bomb went off near the French embassy in Tripoli. No one has claimed responsibility for the dastardly blast but the message those behind it have sent is loud and clear: Libya is not safe for westerners. The western govts instrumental in ousting Gaddafi may have thought they would be able to call the shots in that oil rich African nation. In fact, when British PM more..