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BOI land to be acquired for BIA expansion

Feb 10 (SL) Land under the Board of Investment is to be acquired for the expansion of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). Minister of Civil Aviation Piyankara Jayaratne said that cabinet approval has been obtained for this purpose. He said that the land will be acquired as part of the second phase of the expansion project of the airport. The second phase of the expansion project is being carried out with Japanese assistance and is expected to be completed by 2015. more..

Plantation talks run into a snag

Feb 10 (SO) Talks between the plantation trade unions and the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon which were due to begin this week to sign a fresh Collective Agreement on a wage increase for plantation workers have run into a snag, according to reports. While the Unions were getting ready for the talks as the Collective Agreement expires on March 31, 2013, the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) representing the plantation companies had intimated its reluctance to hold talks, more..

'Sri Lanka should correct itself; no use blaming Tamilnadu'

Feb 10 (OU) Three years have elapsed, but Sri Lankan Tamils crisis not settled. There are insufficient developments in human rights issues. This is the cause for the entire Tamilnadu to congregate against Sri Lanka govt. It is no use of blaming the Tamilnadu leaders. Sri Lanka govt should improve itself. Protest in Tamilnadu is the beginning, but this situation in future may get worst was the warning given to Sri Lanka govt more..

Korea announces scholarships for Lankan students

Feb 10 (N360) The Govt of Korea announced that it is offering four scholarships to Sri Lankan students to pursue graduate studies in the Asian nation. The move is a part of the Korean Govt Scholarship Program, which is offering 176 scholarships to foreign students covering 149 countries, during this year. Korean Embassy in Colombo announced that the aim of this scholarship program is to promote international exchange in education, as well as mutual friendship with the participating more..

Three wheel association, Police collide

Feb 10 (SL) The Three-Wheel Association and the Police are on a collision course with the Association saying it will defy police orders not to have additional parts fixed to three-wheelers. Secretary of the Association H.E.D. Prassana said that the Motor Traffic Department had given approval recently for three-wheelers to have additional parts fixed outside the vehicle. He said that the approval was granted following talks held with MP Namal Rajapaksa. Police DIG Traffic, Amarasiri Senaratne, said more..

Commonwealth pushes Sri Lanka on judicial independence

Feb 10 (AFP) The Commonwealth Secretary-General opened talks with Sri Lanka on Sunday by pushing for judicial independence on the island, as Canada renewed calls to boycott the bloc's summit in Colombo later this year. Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma is holding talks with Sri Lankan leaders in Colombo on the rule of law and the separation of powers after the island defied international appeals and sacked its more..

Bloodied but unbowed

Feb 11 (SL) The storyline of our Davis Cup tie last week turned out to be no different to the ones of the recent past. For some six years, the Sri Lanka campaign has been pretty much the Godamanna show: he’d win both his Singles and, with Rajeev Rajapakse, hopefully, the Doubles too. The manner of approach was clearly a skate on thin ice. So the intention this year was to give the story a different twist: to add at least a win by another to Godamanna’s customary two, more..

The more you do what you’ve always done…

Feb 11 (SL) The highest in the land are once more wallowing in the trough of pander to the racist elements of Southern Sri Lanka with a diatribe about foreign conspiracies and the need for “unity” to repel those elements seeking to “destabilize” that paradise on earth otherwise known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Incidentally, a whole column (at least!) will be needed to describe why the official title of our land constitutes the biggest oxymoron of its kind anywhere on planet more..

There would be another communal problem if campaign continues – Fowzie

Feb 11 (SL) Minister A.H.M. Fowzie says the current issue over the anti-Muslim campaign launched by some extremist forces must be approached very carefully in order to ensure that there would not be any kind of provocation on either side. “The Muslims have had good relations with the Sinhalese Buddhists. But there has been a sudden change,” he said. Fowzie observed that the Govt has taken action to safeguard all religions more..

Fight intergenerational poverty and its friends through investing in girls

Feb 11 (CT) Do you know that around 250 million adolescent girls worldwide are affected with disproportionate poverty? It shouldn’t be treated as one of those ‘nice to know’ pieces of information we discuss over eggs and coffee and morning tete-a-tetes, and forget later. Because – as it has been indicated by research – girls carry the greatest probability to pass adverse effects of poverty to their family members. This means an upheaval of intergenerational poverty. more..

In the face of naked oppression

Feb 11 (DBS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s address to the nation on Sri Lanka’s 65th Independence Day this week was remarkable, not for its tired refrains of national sovereignty which are a mockery when the State itself primarily oppresses the people, but for the utter insensitivity of his administration to the paramount concerns of the Sri Lankan citizenry. The address was made from Trincomalee which, given its multi-ethnic character, should have been the ideal platform for more..

Minister strikes Sri Lanka Cricket for six

Feb 11 (SL) Sri Lanka Cricket and its administration have never really been far from controversy. Thanks to some apparently poor advice, this time round the latest controversy surrounds the Minister of Sport and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Upali Dharmadasa. At the same time in a related development it can now be revealed that a Minister of Sports-appointed committee had submitted its Report on the more..

Solidarity, Sovereignty and Democracy

Feb 11 (DBS) Under certain circumstances, it would have been good news that the main democratic opposition, the UNP and the main Tamil party the TNA, together with a sprinkling of leftist groups, are to be partners in a renewed effort at Opposition unity. In the current and foreseeable circumstances however, that is good news only for the incumbent administration and its propagandists. Such an alliance today would be electorally radioactive. It will impact negatively on the opposition’s more..

Question of militarisation in post-war SL

Feb 11 (CT) The military is prominent in the image and discourse of Sri Lanka within and without the country. This is in part due to the military’s decisive victory over the LTTE, but also an effect of its continued prominent presence in the country as well as the continuing war crimes debate in international media and forums. Yet there is little clarity by what is meant by militarisation. Is it the consolidation of the power of the military as an entity? Is it a process of of significant change in the relationship more..

Mullaitivu rises from the ashes

Feb 11 (SO) “The LTTE did not allow me to return home which was in Udugama, Galle since I was a Sinhalese,” said the man now resettled in a village in the Maritimepattu DS Division of the Mullaitivu district. Let us call him ‘Pathmanadan’. Born and raised in Udugama in Galle, ‘Pathmanadan’, like many in his fishing village travelled to different coastal areas to fish depending on the various seasons. One such place more..

Schooling: Picking and plucking coconuts

Feb 11 (Island) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena got into hot water a few moons ago for claiming that a family of three could live on a monthly income of Rs. 7,500 if the home economy was frugally managed. He, true to form, flew in the face of common sense in a futile bid to prove his point and cut a very pathetic figure in the process. Today, it has become patently clear that when he plucked that figure out of the air he chose to ignore at least the ‘cost of free education’ more..

Economic challenges in the 66th year of Independence

Feb 11 (ST) The sixty sixth year after independence is likely to be a challenging one for the economy. It would be difficult to stop the continuance of last year’s economic slide this year due to weaknesses in macroeconomic fundamentals, a lack of recognition of these weaknesses, and consequently inadequate countervailing measures to mitigate the economic problems. The unwillingness and inability to undertake needed reforms and uncertainty and unpredictability of economic policies more..

Nayomi Munaweera

Land dispute ends in gruesome killing of Bhikkhu

Feb 11 (SO) The peaceful atmosphere was shattered last Sunday when a group of people armed with swords and knives stormed the Sunnandopananda Vihara at Egodauyana, Moratuwa and stabbed the chief incumbent Ven. Matigahatenne Wimalawansa Thera several times mercilessly. When neighbours rushed to the temple on hearing the screams of the Bhikkhu, the suspects had fled. They found the Bhikkhu lying in a pool of blood in the compound with multiple cut more..

Fitch revises process of assigning National Ratings for Sri Lankan bond issues

Feb 11 (FT) Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd. said it will adopt a change in the rating process of any upcoming debt issuance ratings for the Sri Lankan domestic bond market. Fitch will assign “expected ratings” followed by “final ratings” for Sri Lankan National Ratings. Where a rating is referred to as “expected,” alternatively referred to as “expects to rate” or suffixed as (EXP), this indicates that a full rating has been assigned based upon the agency’s expectations regarding final documentation, more..

Smokers cough up Rs. 71.2bn to Govt in 2012

Feb 11 (Island) Govt earnings from tobacco in 2012 stood at Rs. 71.2 billion, up Rs. 5.1 billion over 2011. Despite a significant drop in cigarette volumes of 4.3% during the year under review, Ceylon Tobacco Company delivered a profit after tax of Rs. 8.2 billion in 2012, the company said. "The macro-economy turned 2012 into an year fraught with challenges for CTC and industry as a whole, as high inflation, drought and rising energy costs more..

‘Palace on Wheels’ luxury bus from Lanka Ashok Leyland

Feb 11 (ST) Lanka Ashok Leyland expects to launch ‘Palace on wheels’, a luxury bus concept which will help travellers hit the road in style, officials said. “This is a luxury motor home where passengers get amenities of their residence,” Umesh Gautam, CEO, Lanka Ashok Leyland said, noting that they want to launch it soon. He said that the Rs 14.5 million bus has two bed rooms, a living room, a shower area, a conference room and a toilet. The company is taking its luxury design expertise and applying more..

Three killed, ten injured as van runs off bridge

Feb 11 (Island) Three persons died and ten sustained injuries when a van in which they were travelling ran off a bridge fell into a 60-foot precipice at Yalkumbura, on the Bibile – Badulla Road, on Saturday night. The van was carrying a group returning from a funeral at Mitigahatenne, Lunugala, when the mishap occurred. The dead were identified as the Science teacher of Aandaulpotha National School, Dayani Wijeratne (39), her daughter Dewmini Chamalka Indeevari (7), more..

UNP–led common opposition front to be formed today

Feb 11 (Island) A UNP-led common opposition front comprising eleven parties will be formed today at the New Town Hall at 2.00 p.m. to take on the govt. The JVP and the DNA, have been left out of the new front. The political parties to sign the MoU are the United Socialist Alliance, Maubima Janatha Party, Ruhuna Janatha Party, Nava Sihala Urumaya, Nava Sama Samaja Party, Tamil Muslim Janatha Party, DPF, TNA and others. more..

J’pura hospital docs in medical lab test racket?

Feb 11 (Island) Physicians, including medical consultants at the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital, are alleged to be asking patients to purchase drugs and to undergo various diagnostic tests at a new well equipped private laboratory in close proximity to the hospital. A leading private hospital chain opened the laboratory adjacent to the main gate of the hospital last week. Some of the tests done at the private laboratory were very expensive, ACHSU Branch Secretary Chandana Jayalal alleged. more..

No one should attempt to misconstrue COPA directives says Harsha

Feb 11 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday issued the following statement: By law, all Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) directives are deemed to be those of the Parliament. Therefore, to misconstrue any directive of the COPA for private benefit by those who may have committed fraud and are attempting to get away could be committing a grave mistake. As an active member of the COPA, I deny completely the totally inaccurate and misleading story floated more..

'Rajapaksa is country's dictator, Ranil is dictator for UNP'

Feb 11 (LT) Mahinda Rajapaksa is the dictator of the county while Ranil Wickremesinghe is he dictator of the UNP, the ‘rotating political system’ does not have solutions for the crises of capitalism said the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva adding that only a correct political leadership could find solutions for the tragedies confronted by the country. He was addressing a meeting held at Piliyandala as part of the more..

Health Minister dismayed at huge numbers having eye problems

Feb 11 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday expressed dismay that around 1,500,000 people including 160,000 schoolchildren in the country were suffering from eye disorders. The Vision 2020 Programme, headed by the Director General of Health Services, would strive to protect the masses and prevent rapidly increasing eye complications, he said. The Vision 2020 would mainly focus on preventable eye disorders and the Health Ministry had formulated a five-year more..

Eleven rail stations to be renovated

Feb 11 (Island) Eleven railway stations in the Gampaha district will be renovated to provide a better service to the commuters, including tourists. This project together with others in the Gampaha District were discussed by Minister Basil Rajapaksa last week with the Govt Agent and other senior officials of the district. No inconvenience will be caused to disabled persons, clergy and tourists with rest rooms, platforms, stairways, ticket counter etc modernized. Among the stations that are more..

Police on prowl for rabble rousers

Feb 11 (DN) The Police setup a special operations unit to handle complaints related to religious tensions, in the wake of a rise in such incidents in recent times. The unit commenced operations on Saturday. Complaints relating to incidents that may cause religious tensions can be conveyed to the special operations unit on - 0113 182 904 or 0113 188 75 and fax 0112 423 944. Meanwhile, the Police are planning to more..

Monash mayor keeps it dinky di, with Sri Lankan twist

Feb 11 (MW) The only time Micaela Drieberg explains her Sri Lankan background is when someone asks about her name or her complexion. Otherwise, she just keeps it simple. "I'm Sri Lankan — that's what I say," she says. "I don't really break it down to what ethnicity it is because it doesn't really seem to matter here." Councillor Drieberg is part of the Burgher ethnic group, which refers to the Eurasian descendants of Portuguese, Dutch and German people who settled in Sri Lanka in more..

More development funds for North, East than spent to fight terrorism

Feb 11 (DN) The govt is spending a huge sum to develop the Northern and Eastern Provinces. It is higher than the amount spent to eradicate terrorism in these provinces, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. People in the North and East were the most affected during the period of terrorism, suffering for over 30 years. These efforts are meant to grant all benefits experienced by other parts of the country to them, he added.The minister was addressing the opening ceremony of a newly built more..

Commonwealth Secy-Gen begins SL visit

Feb 11 (DN) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma began his three day visit to Sri Lanka yesterday, his third visit to the country as Secretary-General, official spokesperson and Public Affairs Director of Communications Richard Uku said. The Secretary-General will discuss matters of shared interest between Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth, including the CHOGM which takes place in more..

Smuggled fags worth Rs. 75 mn seized

Feb 11 (Island) A team from the Special Task Force headquarters, acting on a tip-off on Saturday, raided a hideout at Kurukulamba, Ragama of an underworld gang involved in smuggling cigarettes into the country, seized 13,145 cartons (200 cigarettes each) of Gold Seal cigarettes valued at Rs. 65,625,000 and arrested two suspects. On information elicited from the two men, the STF personnel raided another hideout in Colombo 12, where contraband cigarettes were stored. more..

BTI aerial spraying in Colombo

Feb 11 (DN) The Health Ministry decided to appoint a special committee to investigate the use of BT bacteria to combat the spread of dengue. Health Ministry Secretary Dr Nihal Jayathilake will appoint the special panel on Minister Maithripala Sirisena’s instructions. The govt decided to aerial spray the Cuban BTI bacteria in several areas of the Colombo district on March 15. The ministry is to aerial spray the BTI bacteria in Colombo, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia and Kolonnawa areas next month. more..

EPF’s equity exposure exposed

Feb 11 (FT) The Rs. 1 trillion-rich Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) listed equity investment portfolio worth Rs. 74 billion has lost Rs. 12 billion in value it has been revealed. In a report on the EPF’s present situation and operational activities to the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) last week, the AG’s Department has said that as of 15 Jan 2013, Rs. 54 billion worth of EPF investments in relation to 57 listed companies had lost more..

Saudi recalls it’s envoy to Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (CG) Saudi Arabia has reportedly recalled it’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka over the controversy which arose following the execution of Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek. Ambassador Abdul Azeez Al Jammaz has reportedly been recalled after the Sri Lankan government recalled it’s Ambassador to the Saudi Kingdom as a mark of protest over Nafeek’s execution. Nafeek was executed by the Saudi authorities last month over allegations she killed a baby in her care. more..

'Matale mass grave: Not natural deaths'

Feb 11 (CT) The skeletal remains found in the mass grave at the Matale Hospital premises do not belong to people who had died due to natural causes, as their arms and legs appear to have been severed and the bodies buried in a haphazard manner, a senior police official said. According to a JMO, who was part of the excavation team at the site, the grave shows signs of mass killings, but it is yet to be determined the time period the killings had taken place. He also said the remains may need more..

Foreign uni. branches to accommodate A/L students unable to enter local campuses

Feb 11 (ST) Two universities from Britain and Singapore will soon sign agreements with the BOI to set up colleges here. This is under the new investment promotion strategy of promoting foreign investment initially in the education sector. M.M.C. Ferdinando, acting Secretary of the new Ministry of Investment Promotion told the Business Times that the University of Lancashire in Britain and Raffles University College in Singapore will more..

Lanka should honour UN recommendations on rights: Narayanasamy

Feb 11 (PTI) India would support any resolution brought forward by United Nations against Sri Lanka if the island nation does not honour recommendations of the world body on human rights issues, Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said. "When United Nations brought forward a resolution against Sri Lanka, India voted for it. If UN's recommendations are not honoured by Sri Lanka, India will support any resolution brought by it against the island nation," he said. more..