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Japan extends Rs. 8.7 Mn for Kegalle District Development

Feb 17 (GDI) The Government of Japan has provided Rs. 8.7 million grant aid for a project to improve infrastructure and livelihoods of the remote villages in Kegalle District under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP). The project for Improving Livelihood through Support for Infrastructure and Agriculture in Kegalle, which would be implemented by Community Development Center (CDC), more..

Traders given ultimatum on getting rid of Halal label

Feb 17 (NS) High profile committee appointed by the govt to probe into the Halal controversy is to submit its first report at the next cabinet meeting. The committee, headed by Senior Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake, has the representation of all the constituent parties of the ruling UPFA coalition. It is learnt that the committee will also hold discussions with representatives of opposition parties in order to formulate a solution to more..

UNHRC sessions: Sri Lankan delegation to be named this week

Feb 17 (SO) The Sri Lankan team for the UNHRC sessions will leave for Geneva next weekend. The spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry Rodney Perera said, the number of representatives in the Sri Lankan delegation and the team leader will be notified within the course of next week. The 22nd regular sessions of the UNHRC will be held from February 25 to March 22, 2013. In the backdrop of announcing a US sponsored more..

Forensic studies commence on 154 skeletal remains

Feb 17 (SL) Proper forensic studies into the skeletal remains that were exhumed from a mass grave near the Matale Hospital have commenced following the conclusion of excavation work at the gravesite. JMO Dr. Ajith Jayasena said that 154 skeletal remains were exhumed from the mass grave when the excavation work was completed last week. He explained that although some preliminary tests were conducted on more..

Female visitors do not come here to be harassed

Feb 17 (ST) Female tourists and foreigners working in the country say they are being increasingly harassed, teased and pursued by local males. Sophie (not her real name) is an expatriate from Los Angeles, California who arrived in the country three months back. She does her daily workout, mainly jogging in the Cinnamon Gardens area. “I’m harassed all the time,” she said. “One day, as I was doing my 400 metre sprints, more..

Hike in respiratory diseases among children due to heavily polluted air

Feb 17 (ST) Increase in respiratory diseases, particularly among school children, is causing a fresh health concern, a medical expert warned. A recent study has shown that respiratory diseases has taken the top spot in non-communicable diseases (NCD) in the country, which has affected children due to greater concentrations of dust and other atmospheric pollutants in urban areas. According to research conducted on more..

Eight researchers transferred

Feb 17 (SL) The Ayurveda Research Institute had transferred eight researchers to provincial councils even as they were preparing to release 25 reports. A spokesperson of the association, alleged that the 8 researchers were transferred on the orders of Minister Salinda Dissanayake. He said reports on kidney disorders in the North-Central Province, indigenous people, music treatment, mosquito coils and breast cancer were among those scheduled to be released by the 8 researchers. more..

Liberty Plaza to go ‘grand’

Feb 17 (NS) Owners of Sri Lanka’s first high-class shopping mall, Liberty Plaza at Kollupitiya, Colombo Land & Development Company (CLDC) last week announced the commencement of a major multimillion rupee revamping project that would convert the property into a showpiece harnessing the benefits of its strategic location in the heart of the city. The firm is planning to add 70,000 square feet to the existing 100,000 square feet at Liberty Plaza with a view to cater to the growing more..

Cabraal, EPF officials to be grilled again by COPA

Feb 17 (ST) Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal and senior officials of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) are to be summoned again before the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) soon, to continue an earlier inconclusive meeting which was abruptly halted without a valid reason, a member of the committee said. UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said these officials will be grilled for misusing more..

GMOA gives newspapers fortnight to retract statement on alleged rape

Feb 17 (NS) The Govt Medical Officers Association (GMOA) has informed the newspapers which reported the alleged rape of a trainee nurse at the Kurunegala Training Hospital by a medical officer, that they were being given a fortnight to carry a correction of their erroneous reports. “All the evidence we have collected from our investigations into this alleged incident, have proved the reports were false. We therefore informed the papers concerned they must carry a correction more..

Saravanabawan MP publicly alleges, those attacked were military intelligence

Feb 17 (OU) TNA MP E. Saravanabawan alleges that those engaged at the hunger protest held at Jaffna Tellipalai are attached to the military intelligence unit. Regarding this incident, he said, on conclusion of opposition party leader Ranil Wickramasinghe’s speech at the hunger protest, three persons came to the spot and were saying "everything over, go… go". This unexpected incident petrified him and the protestors. Meanwhile the intruders began to chase the protestors more..

Conflicting statements made as case comes up before the magistrate tomorrow

Feb 17 (ST) As the parents of a five-year-old girl made many serious allegations against the Nawaloka Hospital over her death and the hospital authorities responded with a media statement on Friday, the issue comes up in the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court tomorrow. When the Sunday Times visited the bereaved family in their home at Mabima in the Kelaniya area last Tuesday, the alms-giving in memory of more..

'Fonseka killed Lasantha' President told lal 3 times: Uvindu tells Navi Pillay

Feb 17 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told Lal Wickrematunge three times that his brother Lasantha, the founding editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper who was assassinated in Jan 2009 was killed by Former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka, exiled Sri Lankan Journalist Uvindu Kurukulasuriya told UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay in London yesterday. Pillay who delivered a lecture at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) on Friday on the Freedom of more..

Burmese rescued by navy say nearly 100 missing

Feb 17 (CG) The 32 Myanmar nationals who were rescued by the Sri Lanka navy while being stranded at sea yesterday have revealed that nearly 100 others were also with them and have gone missing. According to the police media unit the Burmese had told the police in Galle that 130 of them had embarked on a journey to reach Australia by boat two months ago. They said that three boats were used for journey to head to Australia but the boats then got stranded and may have sunk. more..

Electricity tariff hikes of 25 pc likely

Feb 17 (ST) The CEB’s cost estimates for this year are being evaluated by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) with a likely tariff hike of more than 25%. The CEB has projected that it would cost the board Rs. 268 billion to generate, transmit and distribute electricity this year. Generation alone will amount to Rs. 235 billion. The estimate last year was Rs. 218 billion. Although the PUC had whittled this down to Rs. 186 billion, more..

‘Give Kalmunai or else!’ says SLMC

Feb 17 (NS) The SLMC has said it will not have second thoughts of quitting the govt if it fails to establish the Kalmunai Coastal district office. However a final decision is expected to be reached when the SLMC high command meets on Feb 23. “This administrative office is not new; it had been there five years ago and we are only asking for it to be re-established. This was promised three months ago during the Eastern Provincial council,” said Hassan Ali, General Secretary of the SLMC. more..

Editorial : Broken promises and governance

Feb 17 (CT) There is no substitute for truth. If rulers choose to disregard this obvious truism, they do it at their own peril. Hiding the truth, hiding behind half-truths or completely contorting the truth may in the short term appear attractive. It may even offer some transient relief. But as the Buddha said, there are only three things that cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. Truth not only sets one free, as Mark Twain said, being truthful also means you don’t have to remember anything. more..

A journalist attacked

Feb 17 (CT) It was Friday, 15 Feb and the time was around 11:15 p.m. Barnes Avenue was quiet as usual, a residential lane off Hotel Road in Mount Lavinia, dotted with a few rest houses including ‘Oceania Blue’. Suddenly, the dogs in the neighbourhood began barking incessantly. Nobody heard the running feet. Having finished his week’s work, The Sunday Leader journalist, Faraz Shaukatally has reached home and was more..

Rotary’s initiative will continue though Polio no longer a threat in Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (Island) Sri Lanka is now declared polio free. This position has been confirmed by the Ministry of Health, but though this is the real position, Rotary’s Polio Plus prevention program is ongoing and would not stop, says Kalyan Barnerjee, Past Rotary International (RI) President. He said that Rotary’s initiative to eradicate polio started in 1985. Polio was a critical issue worldwide, causing death of infants, and older children. Rotary’s positive intervention in 1985 to eradicate polio met with success. more..

'International community should give Sri Lanka a chance to grow'

Feb 17 (Island) With the defeat of the LTTE, Sri Lanka is on course to achieve economic prosperity, but constant interruptions from so-called global watchdogs, NGOs and other ambitious ‘interest groups’ seeking to undermine the country’s efforts are a disincentive, says Buddhi Athauda, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Netherlands. The International community should give Sri Lanka a chance to grow and enjoy the freedom won, he said in an interview the Netherlands Business Channel more..

Sri Lankan actress had role in embassy decision

Feb 17 (GN) A Sri Lankan actress who grew up in Bahrain has reportedly played a role in her country’s decision to open an embassy in the Bahraini capital Manama. “By birth, Jacqueline Fernandez may be a Sri Lankan, but the actress takes her affiliation to Bahrain quite seriously,” NDTV said. “She recently helped in dialogues that will soon lead to the opening of the Lankan embassy in the Gulf country.” more..

Lanka Milk Foods to expand capacity, profits up

Feb 17 (LBO) Lanka Milk Foods Plc a unit of Sri Lanka's Distilleries group said it will spend 800 million rupees to expand liquid milk processing and packing capacity at a subsidiary. The firm said in a stock exchange filing that capacity will be increased at Lanka Dairies Ltd. In the December 2012 the firm group profits surged 279 percent to 188 million rupees, from a year earlier, mostly on higher dividend income. The group reported earnings of 4.71 rupees per share. more..

WTO bolsters support for Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (SO) In a fresh boost to Sri Lanka’s international trade push, the global trade body World Trade Organisation (WTO) is stepping up its support to the country. “We thank WTO for its latest initiatives on Sri Lanka. As a founder member of the WTO, we too are well committed to the WTO policy framework,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen last week. He said this upon learning WTO’s latest offer from the newly appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador more..

Thamilini exchanges camouflage for sari

Feb 17 (CT) Former LTTE Women’s Wing Political Leader, Thamilini, appeared as a bridesmaid at the wedding of an ex-LTTE woman cadre at the Poonthotam Rehabilitation Centre in Vavuniya, recently. Thamilini, whose real name is Subramaniam Sivahami, hails from Paranthan, Kilonochchi, and had joined the LTTE in the year 1991. She had held the position of Political Head of the Women’s Wing of the LTTE since she more..

Security tightened along maritime boundary

Feb 17 (CT) The Sri Lanka Navy has worked out stringent measures to streamline the entry of Indian pilgrims via the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in Northern waters to attend the annual St. Anthony’s feast at Kachchativu this week, according to Navy spokesperson, Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya. The annual Kachchativu St. Anthony’s feast will begin with the flag hoisting ceremony on 22 February and will continue for two days till 24 February. more..

Fifteen DIGs transferred

Feb 17 (DM) Fifteen Deputy Inspector Generals of Police including the DIGs of Presidential Security Division (PSD) and Ministerial Security Division (MSD) have been transferred with effect from today, Police Headquarters said. It also said that the IGP has made these transfers on the approval of Defence Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Following DIGs have been transferred. K.E.I Perera (DIG Jaffna District) has been transferred to the Personnel and Records Division, more..

Secretary Defence calls on business community to encourage domestic business

Feb 17 (GDI) Secretary Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa delivered the Keynote Address at the 22nd Rotary District Conference held at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre Friday. The three day conference began under the theme 'Peace Through Service'. The proceedings began with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp followed by the singing of the national anthems of Sri Lanka, America and India. more..

Shooting journalist of ‘Sunday Leader’ is another instance of media repression – JVP

Feb 17 (LT) The shooting of Sunday Leader journalist Faraz Shaukat Ally is another instance of media repression and what is distinct is that the arm of repression is extended towards journalists that do not tow the govt line states a media announcement released by the Political Bureau of the JVP. The JVP announcement states: We consider the shooting at Sunday Leader journalist Faraz Shaukat Ally at his residence on the 15th night not as an isolated or an accidental incident but as another more..

'No issue if MR remains the President'

Feb 17 (DM) There is no issue if President Mahinda Rajapaksa remains Executive President in this country if he is bold enough to reduce the number of cabinet Ministers to 13 and stop all forms of corruption and crime in the Country, the United National Party (UNP) led Esath Jathika Bikkhu Sangamaya said. Chief Secretary of the Ekath Jathika Bikkhu Sangamaya Venarable Thinyawala Palitha Thera told a news conference that the President should reduce his cabinet to 13. more..

Buddhist monks demand halal boycott

Feb 17 (AFP) Sri Lanka's nationalist Buddhist monks and their supporters launched a campaign Sunday to boycott Islamic halal-slaughtered meat amid mounting religious tensions in the ethnically divided nation. Thousands of men and women led by hundreds of monks of the Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Force, staged a rally outside Colombo to announce the boycott, demanding that shops clear their stocks of halal food by April. more..

A5N starting times: SL cherry picks its share

Feb 18 (SL) There are some inherent advantages to be had no doubt from hosting an international competition – which is why, invariably,more than one country wants to play host. Prospects of financial profit might be an attraction, butof greater benefit is the immense confidence the home team derives from performing on home shores, before home audience. So it isn’t wrong to say the SLRFU bid, and won, the right to host the Division 1 competition of the Asian Five Nations (A5N) more..

Rekindling the National Anthem issue

Feb 18 (SL) NLF leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara has rekindled the National Anthem issue just at the moment when communal issues seem to be rising again, and the need of the hour is to stamp them out. Instead of attempting to douse emerging communal fires, he has decided to stoke them with his bilingual National Anthem nonsense. Now that the issue has been raised, a few clarifications need to be made by bilingual NA enthusiasts like Vasu, and of course the TNA and other more..

'Govt’s actions are bearing fruit'

Feb 18 (SL) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal says Sri Lanka has been maintaining a high growth even in the midst of the global turmoil. Explaining the recent controversy over a request for an IMF budgetary support, the Governor said the actual position is that the IMF’s Board has shown reluctance to provide support to Govts of any country, if such country was not facing a huge economic or a debt crisis. “Our reserves more..

De-politicising Sri Lanka policy

Feb 18 (DBS) Independent of India’s vote, if it came to that at the UNHRC meeting at Geneva in March, there is an urgent need to de-politicise the nation’s ‘Sri Lanka policy’ nearer home. This has more to do with the attitude and approach of political parties in southern state of Tamil Nadu, where the two ‘Dravidian majors’ are vying with each other and also peripheral groups, on what’s good for the Sri Lankan Tamils in that country, and consequently what should be New Delhi’s Sri Lanka policy. more..

Broken dreams: The truth about Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (DBS) The brutal civil war in Sri Lanka ended nearly four years ago, but people are still hurting. The country’s North and East are plagued by a host of problems that are unlikely to be resolved soon. Misguided policies emanating from the central govt in Colombo have directly contributed to these negative trends. Lofty talk about “the defeat of terrorism” and majoritarian triumphalism have further antagonized people. The politics of land remains controversial. Even though Menik Farm more..

Coalition of parliamentarians and others

Feb 18 (NS) MP Sumanthiran in an interview with Arthur Wamanan of The nation. Q: TNA is part of the common opposition coalition with the UNP. On what basis are you part of such a coalition? A: This joint opposition was formed sometime ago when the fuel prices went up. The parties came together and started agitations throughout the country. We had our very first protest outside the Fort Railway Station. more..

Chinese Chasm (a`la Dutch disease) in Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (CT) It has become a ritual of certain politicians of the ruling coalition and senior govt bureaucrats (including members of the Rajapaksa family) to browbeat Western countries (at times India as well) citing the Chinese alternative. But Sri Lanka’s international economic reality is such that there is no way China or even India could displace or replace UK and USA (the Western World in general) as the premier international development partners of Sri Lanka. more..

Shiranthi, women & girls missed your leadership patronage

Feb 18 (CT) I write this note to represent the voice of advocacy of several hundred women and men, both young and old, who gathered at the Lipton Circus this evening to raise a powerful call to end violence against women and girls in Sri Lanka. The group of activists missed your leadership patronage and your voice of support to strengthen their collective call, made peacefully this evening at the aforesaid event organized by a dedicated group of women. Most of the activists carried more..

SLAF now conquers the land

Feb 18 (SO) They were the eyes for the infantry troops on the ground. The visions of the enemy territory captured by their unmanned aircrafts and the surveillance of the beachcrafts assisted the ground commanders of the Army to give the accurate orders. When their MI24s blasted the enemy bunker lines at close range MIGs and Kfirs devastated movements of the enemy. The Sri Lanka Air Force, proved their true strength rubbing more..

Killing and attempted murder at two temples

Feb 18 (SO) Last week the Sunday Observer reported the slaying of the chief incumbent of Sunandopananda Vihara Ven. Matigahatenne Wimalawansa Thera at Egoda Uyana, Moratuwa by two men who stabbed him to death when he returned to the temple after making a complaint to the Moratuwa police station over death threats made by squatters who occupied the temple land. The Bhikkhu was pulled out of the car and stabbed more than 193 times while the helpless onlookers more..