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Alistair Burt: Archive of Twitter interview on Sri Lanka

Feb 8 (GV) On 5th February 2013, UK Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt hosted a live interview session via Twitter. He is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs. At the time of the interview, the Minister had recently returned from an official visit to Sri Lanka. Twitter interviews are not new. The first international diplomat to do so on Sri Lanka was US Assistant Secretary of State and former Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake, in April 2012. more..

UGC gets SC nod for aptitude tests to admit additional students

Feb 8 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday allowed a motion filed by the UGC and gave it permission to admit students who have secured the pass marks, after holding the practical/aptitude tests and to make up the new admission numbers of 5,906, in addition to the earlier 21,500. In some districts, the available number of qualified students was very low. Therefore, the UGC may take in qualified students from other districts to more..

Editorial : Torture Tours

Feb 8 (Island) Sri Lanka has drawn heavy flak from international human rights activists once again. This time around, the reason for severe censure is not offences committed at home but aiding and abetting foreign torturers. The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) has named Sri Lanka one of the 54 countries that have assisted the US in its torture programme. Following the 9/11 attack the CIA adopted the controversial practice of abducting terror suspects responsible for that dastardly act of more..

India’s biggest investment bank here

Feb 8 (Island) Giving a sudden boost to Sri Lanka’s mega-infrastructure development landscape, India’s topmost investment bank and the only Indian bank featured in Fortune Global 500, SBI Capital Markets, says it is bullish on Sri Lanka’s post-war infrastructure. "We are a tried and tested global player in infrastructure development. We usually aim at mega scale projects above US$ 25 million. We believe that collaboration on PPP in large scale infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka can be more..

Auditor General to provide details of EPF-TFC deals – Harsha

Feb 8 (Island) The AG’s Department would be asked to furnish all details concerning Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) investments in The Finance Company in order to assist the ongoing audit queries carried out by the parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts (COPA), UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva said. "We will be asking the AG to furnish us details of each and every transaction carried out by the EPF in more..

Capital investment, links to global economy key: IFC CEO

Feb 8 (FT) Sri Lanka needs to promote capital availability to encourage investment and find ways to link with the global economy to achieve sustainable growth, says the International Finance Corporation (IFC) under the World Bank. IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Jin-Yong Cai during a short visit to Sri Lanka last week told the Daily FT in an exclusive interview that the private sector is challenged by lack of long term finance and infrastructure constraints. more..

Home remedies for dengue could be fatal

Feb 8 (DN) Persons suffering from fever for more than two days must seek medical treatment from a state hospital or a qualified doctor to avoid dangers posed by Dengue fever, Health Services Director General Dr Palitha Mahipala said. He said seeking medical treatment early could save dengue patients' lives. A delay in seeking medical treatment for fever and home remedies endanger patients' lives. Health authorities analyzed past dengue deaths and found that the delay in seeking medical treatment is more..

Karu calls for UNP to ‘play as a team’

Feb 8 (FT) Former UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya issued a clarion call for party unity, saying that the UNP had the best possible team to lead the country out of the doldrums. He said that with the economy in shambles and ordinary people struggling to find ways to survive under crushing poverty, the country was beginning to look once more towards the UNP to lift the country out of grave economic turmoil. more..

Ministry to acquire rental shops in arrears

Feb 8 (DN) The Co-operatives and Internal Trade Ministry will acquire retails shops for which rentals have not been paid at Economic Centres. Minister Jonston Fernando told economic centre managers to collect arrears' rentals of retail shops at Economic Centres. The minister told ministry Additional Secretary D Jeewananda to take measure to acquire shops, which fail to pay arrears. Fernando said infrastructure development activities will be completed within this year. more..

Govt yet to decide on team to Geneva

Feb 8 (DN) The government would decide on its diplomatic team to the UNHRC session in Geneva after observing developments, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. Responding to a question by a journalist at the Cabinet press briefing at the ministry auditorium yesterday whether the government has decided to send only a team of officials without a political representation to the UNHRC session in Geneva, the minister said no such decision has been arrived at for the moment. more..

Stealing coconuts to pay for school painting: President orders probe

Feb 8 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered an urgent and special inquiry into the incident where a 13 – year - old student in Horana robbed coconuts to pay Rs 800 to school authorities to paint the school, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said this incident was extensively discussed during the Cabinet meeting yesterday morning, adding that the President spoke emotionally about the incident, while noting the abhorrent facts related to it. more..

Shakib could miss Sri Lanka Tests

Feb 8 (CI) Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan could miss the two Tests against Sri Lanka next month after scans revealed that he is suffering from exertional compartment syndrome on his shin bone, a condition that can be caused by frequent running, which leads to pain and swelling. One of the methods to treat this condition is "controlled participation in sports", according to the Bangladesh board physician Debashish Chowdhury, who suggested Shakib could be playing more..

Indian tourists arrested while reading palms

Feb 8 (Island) Two young Indians, in their twenties, were arrested at Skandapuram Town, in Kilinochchi, while they were engaged in palm reading on Wednesday. Police said that they had come to Sri Lanka on tourist visa and had been deceiving people by claiming to possess occult powers. Police told The Island that the suspects had been staying in a guest house in Kilinochchi for three to five days after they had arrived in the country on a three-month tourist visa. more..

GMOA defends doctors

Feb 8 (CT) The GMOA yesterday cried foul at the manner in which the media had reported on the law student Achala Priyadarshani, whose arm had to be amputated due to alleged medical negligence. "Several doctors in Matara and Karapitiya hospitals have already been 'hanged' for this incidence. The final report on this matter hasn't even been released yet, the reason being that it is a very complex, sensitive issue which more..

Child dies in MRI scan mishap

Feb 8 (CT) Fort Magistrate, Kanishka Wijeratna, ordered the Colombo Chief Judicial Medical Officer (CJMO), to hand over to the relatives, the body of a child who had died due a case of alleged medical negligence, caused by the explosion of an oxygen tube in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scanner at a private hospital in Colombo. The CJMO, in his report stated, the child died due to asphyxiation. The five-year-old had been admitted to the private hospital with symptoms similar more..

Six Senses Sri Lanka deal dies

Feb 8 (PI) The joint venture deal between Thailand's boutique resort chain Soneva and Aitkin Spence in Sri Lanka is dead in the water. While the deal which included branded million dollar hotel villas in Ahungalla was first initiated under Six Senses, after last year's purchase by Pegasus Capital, Sonu Shivdasani carved this out of the purchase and retained it under fledgling Soneva. Now TTG Asia has reported that the deal is dead and that Aitkin Spence are now speaking to other more..

'Remarkable Lankan progress after ending bitter conflict'

Feb 8 (Island) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris held a London audience enthralled with a short, crisp speech that encapsulated Sri Lanka’s remarkable progress in less than four years after the defeat of LTTE terrorism in May 2009, the Ministry of External Affairs said yesterday. Prof. Peiris was speaking at a reception, held at the Sri Lanka High Commission, to celebrate the country’s 65th Independence Day and attended by more..

Indian fishermen return home, narrate mid-sea turmoil

Feb 8 (TOI) When the fishing boat started to shudder off Kanyakumari coast, 49-year-old V Xavier never took it seriously. A veteran fisherman that he is, Xavier immersed himself in dragging the fishing net hoping for a good catch. But moments later, he sensed that there was something unusual in the way their boat got tossed here and there on the tides. So did his fellow fishermen I Joy, 34, Varuvel Pillai, 58 and Amalraj, 32 from Rayumanthurai in Kanyakumari. more..

Verbal duel drags Puttalam Booruwas to debate

Feb 8 (Island) A verbal battle ensued in Parliament yesterday as UNP MP Sajith Premadasa and Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayake clashed with each other over promises made in Mahinda Chinthana manifesto. MP Premadasa said that Mahinda Chinthana Idiri Dekma promised to bring about a national policy for the nursing profession to sort out the problems prevailing and demanded to know when the government would formulate such a policy. Deputy Minister Dissanayake said that more..

'Lanka expects all C’wealth countries to attend CHOGM'

Feb 8 (DM) The Sri Lankan govt is expecting all Commonwealth countries, including Canada to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting (CHOGM) in November this year, despite calls by Human Rights Watch for countries to boycott the event.“We expect that all Commonwealth countries will attend the meeting in November, including Canada. We have heard various media reports that some countries more..

Health Minister removes acting director

Feb 8 (Island) Acting Director of the Dengue Control Programme Dr. Rajith Batuwantudawa has been removed from his post with immediate effect by Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena pending an inquiry into a questionable deal. The Minister said that the Dengue Control Programme was in need of dengue control equipment to be used in various prevention activities in the country. The programme had placed an order for Rs. 30 million worth of equipment with a local company. more..

Divineguma deposits through the roof

Feb 8 (DN) The Regional Development Bank (RDB) succeeded in opening 300,000 new Divineguma bank accounts within one year. “Being the official banker of Divineguma, the RDB’s success in opening around 300,000 accounts should be commended,” Minister Basil Rajapaksa said. “The most laudable fact is that all these accounts were opened by members of low income families and small and middle scale entrepreneurs who strive hard to overcome economic barriers,” more..

SLC and Sports Ministry heading for ugly clash

Feb 8 (Island) An ugly clash between the Sports Ministry and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) seems to be on the cards after Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage went public dismissing a request by SLC to offer the national cricket team’s telecasting rights to Ten Sports, a company that has telecast Sri Lanka’s home international matches since 2002. The Sports Ministry said that the AG’s Department had advised not to sign a fresh contract with Ten Sports. more..

Robbery was to pay back loan: Officer in Hijaab

Feb 8 (DM) Police said the Army Captain who had attempted to rob the Kandy Branch of the National Savings Bank disguised as a woman dressed in a Hijaab admitted that he had attempted to rob the bank of Rs.1 million because he had an outstanding loan of Rs.800,000, which he was unable to pay. He said he had obtained loans from various people during the past few years. Police also found a letter he had written to the bank manager asking for a loan of Rs.1 million. At the time of his arrest more..

Five Lankan fishermen apprehended by Indian Coast Guard

Feb 8 (PTI) Five Sri Lankan fishermen, along with their boat and over 100 kg catch, have been apprehended by Indian Coast Guard for illegally fishing off Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh coast. Coast Guard vessel ICGS Rajshree spotted Lankan boat 'Ranil Putha' and apprehended the five crew along with a fish catch weighing over 100 kg while on patrol on Wednesday. The boat and crew were apprehended for violating Sections 3/10 (fishing without license) and 7/14 (entering Indian more..

Cabraal buried CB’s Golden Key report in 2006: Kiriella

Feb 8 (FT) A Central Bank investigation into Golden Key that may have led to a suspension of the company’s financial activities as far back as 2006 was buried by the Bank’s Governor Ajith Nivaard Cabraal soon after he assumed office, the UNP charged. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said Supreme Court Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane had revealed details of an investigation by the Central Bank’s Special Investigations Unit in her more..

Editorial: Integrated medicine - alternative remedy for dengue

Feb 8 (DM) The Daily Mirror on Wednesday reported the sad news of the loss of 220 precious lives out of 44,395 dengue cases reported last year. The dengue cases for last month have hit a record level. It is indeed a matter of serious concern that the Govt is unable to contain this epidemic of dengue and unwilling to implement the principle of integrated medicine whereby cures for various diseases are available in different forms of medicine such as allopathy, ayurveda, homoeopathy more..

Patience and fortitude pay off for PM

Feb 8 (DM) The big winner in last week’s Cabinet reshuffle was neither Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi nor Anura Priyadarshana Yapa; it was Dissanayake Mudiyanselage (“Di Moo”) Jayaratne, the fourteenth Prime Minister of this country, who will complete three years in office in April. Although the prime ministerial post has become largely ceremonial since the executive presidential system of govt was introduced thirty five years ago, many are the aspirants more..

Big brother’s trawlers carry on regardless

Feb 8 (ST) For three days a week, ten months of the year, Sri Lanka’s fishermen in the North are forced off the seas by a swathe of hefty Indian trawlers for which their fibreglass boats are no match. Residents of Pesalai and Talaimannar in the north-west coast can often see the trawlers bobbing on the horizon during evening hours. They cross into Sri Lankan waters by nightfall, haul their nets over the seabed and leave unhindered before more..

SLMC tardy in registering foreign doctors

Feb 8 (SL) Foreign doctors practicing in Sri Lanka without registering with the Sri Lanka Medical Council have become the cause of many complaints with very little recourse to a satisfactory appeal process or accountability. The full extent of the lackadaisical registration process and enforcement is fully experienced unfortunately after an event – leaving the patient with little recourse – apart from turning to the local more..

New UGC head vows to work day and night to achieve her target

Feb 8 (Island) New Chairman of the UGC Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama yesterday expressed her willingness to work day and night to fulfil President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s vision to make Sri Lanka the education hub of Asia. Addressing the UGC employees for the first time after assuming duties, Prof. Hirimburegama said that in her capacity as Vice Chancellor of the Colombo University from 2007, she had been able to enable that more..

Education Minister claims A/L trophy

Feb 8 (Island) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the ministry’s newly introduced programmes ensured that 63% of the students passed the GCE A/L 2012 exam. He said that it was the largest number that passed the GCE (A/L) exam so far in its history. He said that the ministry had started a programme to deliver teachers’ guides, syllabi, and even marking schemes, normally issued by the examination dept, more..

Azath Salley lashes out at state media for promoting Defence Secy.

Feb 8 (Island) The TNA has challenged a recent Army headquarters report, which dealt with the LLRC findings. Jaffna District MP Suresh Premachandran alleged that the army had contradicted the LLRC, hence, it disputed the entire post-war reconciliation process. The TNA MP was addressing the media at the Azath Salley Foundation. The MP pointed out the absurdity in the army being allowed to challenge the LLRC, more..

Monks, environmentalists say blood ivory will desecrate temples

Feb 8 (Island) Environmentalists and Buddhist organizations yesterday condemned the govt’s decision to donate blood ivory which was seized by the Sri Lanka Customs last May en route to Dubai from Kenya via Colombo, to the Dalada Maligawa and other Buddhist temples in the country. General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena, Ven. Galagoda-atte Gnanasara Thera told The Island that as a Buddhist nation Sri Lanka should be more..

Opposition, Govt. clash in House over Tangalle murder

Feb 8 (DM) The main opposition expressed its dismay in Parliament yesterday after the govt declined to answer a question regarding the killing of a British national on Christmas eve in 2011 in Tangalle, and causing grievous injuries to his Russian girlfriend. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara directed two questions asking for details on the incident and the follow up action by the govt to prosecute the suspects. more..

Provide security to our citizens, Sri Lanka tells India

Feb 8 (IANS) The Sri Lankan govt has requested the Indian govt to provide security to its citizens residing in India after a branch of Sri Lanka's state-run bank was attacked. The ministry of external affairs said that the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai has reported that a mob of around 15 people, carrying iron rods, wooden sticks and knives, entered the office of the Bank of Ceylon Branch in Chennai Thursday. more..

'Rajapaksa trying to erase Tamil in Sri Lanka'

Feb 8 (IANS) DMK president friday said Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not only trying to obliterate Tamils in the island nation but also their culture, tradition and the Tamil language itself. Leading a massive protest held by Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) against the president's India visit, Karunanidhi said: "Rajapaksa is trying to erase not only the Tamils in Sri Lanka but also the Tamil language." more..

Minister paints wrong picture – Dharmadasa

Feb 8 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Upali Dharmadasa rejected a media release issued by the Sports Ministry yesterday alleging that Dharmadasa had requested the Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage to renew the SLC TV contract with Ten Sports for another seven years without calling for tenders. “This is a funny media release. It was not a request made by me, but by a special committee more..

Editorial : Favouring a few and taxing the many

Feb 8 (CT) It seems to be a repeat of the same old, same old. An off kilter Kolambata Kiri, Gamata Kekiri that reads as 'luxuries for the ruling elite and bones for the people'. The luxuries aren't simple expensive stuff, but super luxury limousines with conveniences that span the spectrum of profligacy to decadence. The bones are those rotten coconuts and chicken imported and later dumped, when found to be unfit for public consumption. The story is not about the rotten food, but the apparent loss incurred by more..

Regulatory capture: The worst public enemy imaginable

Feb 8 (CT) In 2008, Sri Lankan authorities, supported by its Supreme Court, banned sand mining in rivers and internal reservoirs. The measure was well-intentioned as proclaimed by many experts on the subject. According to them, sand mining in rivers had caused irreversible environmental damage. Some of these damages had been documented and could not be ignored: Sand mining had caused sea water to seep inland through receded river mouths, destroyed the now more..