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Broadlands project to add 35 MW to national grid

July 14 (SO) The Power and Energy Ministry will launch construction work tomorrow on the Broadlands Hydropower Project (BHP) which would add 35 MW to the national grid. When the project is completed it would generate 126 GW hours of power annually. Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Minister Basil Rajapaksa will lay the foundation stone for the Broadlands project at Kithulgala tomorrow at 11.00 am, fulfilling another pledge in the Mahinda Chinthana, more..

Statue of Gen. Anuruddha Ratwatte unveiled in Kandy

July 14 (GDI) The President unveiled a statue of the late General Anuruddha Ratwatte in the Kandy city centre. A statue of General Anuruddha Ratwatte who served the country as a politician and an army officer was inaugurated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa Saturday morning. Anuruddha Ratwatte born on 14th July 1938 received his education at Trinity College, Kandy. In 1960 he entered active politics as the main organizer of Senkadagala. He entered Parliament in 1989. more..

Krrish denies making any pay-offs

July 14 (ST) One of Sri Lanka’s biggest mixed development projects on Thursday strenuously denied allegations of wrongdoing even as more details emerged this week of one of the country’s worst financial scandals. The India-based Krrish Group, involved in a US$650 million project which includes a hotel, apartments and two towers linked to the other similar to the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, said: “The approval to the project more..

Victimized teacher to enter politics

July 14 (CT) Priyani Susila Herath, the school teacher, who was forced on her kneels by the former North-Western Provincial Councillor, Ananda Sarath Kumara, is planning on electioneering for the opposition, should the UPFA grant nomination to the disgraced politico, to contest the forthcoming Provincial Council elections. Sources close to the teacher said there had been several requests, asking her to be a part of the UNP election campaign for the forthcoming election. more..

Young Lionesses from Germany will soon be on view at Dehiwala Zoo

July 14 (ST) A pair of young lionesses arrived at the Dehiwala Zoo last Wednesday (3). They were a gift from Tierpark Hggenbeck Zoo, in Hamburg, Germany. In April last year the Dehiwala Zoo got down an African lion from South Korea with the aim of breeding lions. Dehiwala Zoo’s education officer, Nihal Senarath said the lionesses would be ready for public viewing in a few weeks time after the quarantine period was over, adding that they were about two years old and in good health more..

Not devolving police powers under 13A non-negotiable, Gota tells Menon

July 14 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has told Indian National Security Advisor Shiv Shanker Menon that devolution of police powers under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution would be inimical to Sri Lanka’s national security interests and therefore the issue was not negotiable. The Defence Secretary had reiterated the govt’s position at a one-on-one meeting with Menon, one-time India’s more..

Supreme Court ruling settles Vaddukoddai name row

July 14 (ST) After a battle in the Supreme Court over its name, the village market at Vaddukoddai will be known as the Vaddukoddai Public Market – and not by its ancient name Sivankovilady or by its LTTE-given name, Sinthupuram. The Supreme Court gave its ruling this week, after the petitioners and the respondents agreed to a compromise suggested by the court. The petitioners, residents of the Vaddukoddai West, charged that the Valikamam Pradeshiya Sabha had held several more..

Hostages alive from Somali pirate-held boat that sank

July 14 (AFP) At least three, and perhaps all, of the 15-man crew of a merchant vessel that sank last week while being held by Somali pirates are alive, their families said Saturday. The Malaysian-flagged MV Albedo container ship, seized by Somali pirates in November 2010, sank last week in rough seas a short distance offshore from the pirate-held town of Hobyo, on central Somalia's Indian Ocean coast. While initially the crew were feared drowned, three have since been allowed to call their families, more..

Mattala idling: Govt. offers more concessions

July 14 (ST) The Govt has further slashed aircraft handling charges and introduced a string of promotional discounts at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in a bid to attract more flights there. A 50% discount in landing and parking charges which was earlier valid only for this year has now been extended up to March 2014, when the idling airport will celebrate one year in operation. A minimum landing charge of more..

Mosque had ministry approval

July 14 (SL) Controversy surrounds the decision by the Police to allow the Sihala Ravaya to stage a protest at a mosque in Grandpass last week claiming it was an illegal construction. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka says the mosque was approved by the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs. Sinhala Ravaya monks stormed a temporarily constructed mosque in Grandpass last Wednesday, laying claim that the building was an illegal construction. more..

Now, a 6 lane bridge to ease increasing traffic on new Kelani bridge

July 14 (ST) A new six-lane bridge, parallel to the existing new Kelani bridge is to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 45 billion to reduce traffic congestion around Peliyagoda area. Traffic congestion at this location is expected to get worse with the opening of the Colombo – Katunayake Expressway by the end of this year and the expansion projects of the Colombo Port and Port City. The future traffic demand is expected to exceed the capacity of the existing new Kelani Bridge and more..

Foreign policy a gamble: Sri Lanka’s future like a horse race

July 14 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa engaged in some light-hearted banter at Thursday’s weekly meeting of Cabinet ministers. He told them he had heard that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had told India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon during talks in Colombo this week that the UNP would do everything within its means to prevent any changes to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. more..

Nagai fishermen on stir after SL attacks

July 14 (ENS) Condemning the attacks by Sri Lankan Navy yet again on Thursday night, Nagapattinam Fishermen Federation here has launched an indefinite strike from Saturday. The Fishermen Federation has urged the Union government to come out with a permanent solution to resolve the issue of frequent attacks and bullying on the coastal fishermen. On July 8 as many as 32 fishermen, from Nagore and Akkarapettai, had ventured into the sea alleged that the more..

Crashes claim eight lives in two days

July 14 (ST) Eight people were killed in four separate accidents on the country’s roads over the past two days amid rising concern over speeding and other problems. A nine-year-old child was killed and his father critically injured when the motorcycle in which they were riding collided with a bus in Ahangama area yesterday. The father was admitted to hospital. On Friday, five people were killed in Polonnaruwa when a private bus skidded off the road and hit a tree at around 3am. more..

Muttur probe intensifies

July 14 (SL) The CID has been instructed to prepare a comprehensive list of witnesses in the controversial case involving the murder of 17 aid workers in Muttur in 2006. According to the National Plan of Action on the recommendations of the LLRC, the CID is conducting investigations into the killing of the aid workers of Action Against Hunger, a French humanitarian agency. The National Plan of Action, which was last week placed in the public more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

July 14 (ST) Just weeks ago, the Washington -based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) laid bare the names and addresses of those who held offshore bank accounts in a number of countries. It was the result of investigations ICIJ carried out for several months. Disclosures of those account holders in the United States, France and other countries in Europe prompted those govts to seek details. more..

Parties finalize nominations as some express concern about North

July 14 (NS) All parties were busy with finalizing nominations for September’s North Western, Central and Northern provincial council elections into the weekend. The ruling UPFA’s General Secretary, Susil Premajayantha told ‘The Nation’ yesterday that already three ministers had been put in charge including himself for the North, Maithripala Sirisena for Wayamba and Nimal Siripala de Silva for Central. more..

Multi-million rupee liquid medical oxygen tender deal raises eye brows

July 14 (Island) Health circles were last week abuzz with the news of a liquid medical oxygen-related multi-million rupee tender being awarded to a lesser known, higher bidder who had quoted Rs. 19 more per liter, plus transport costs, than a competitive package offered by a reputed supplier. With Minister Maithripala Sirisena lashing out at what he termed "medical Mafia manipulating the procurement of drugs to the health sector" more..

Exodus from teacher service

July 14 (ST) A growing trend of teachers retiring prematurely from service and opting for private, international schools and even applying for overseas jobs is affecting the quality of education, according to teachers and unions representing them. Of the 217,000 state-sector teachers, about 100,000 had not received promotions that were overdue, Ceylon Teacher Union’s Secretary Joseph Stalin charged. more..

C’wealth, SAARC, Asian monitors for polls

July 14 (CT) Foreign representatives from the Commonwealth, SAARC and Asian countries will monitor the forthcoming Provincial Council polls. “There will be election monitors from Commonwealth countries for the NPC polls, while there will be monitors for the other two polls – Central and North-Western from the SAARC countries and other Asian nations, such as Korea, Taiwan and Philippines,” more..

Rs 168m for vehicles despite Finance ministry’s suspension till CHOGM

July 14 (ST) More than Rs 168 million was made in supplementary allocations between January and April this year to purchase vehicles for govt institutions, despite the Finance and Planning Ministry deciding to temporarily suspend all vehicle purchases until the end of November 2013, in view of the requirements of the CHOGM to be held in Colombo in November. The supplementary allocations were made from the Budget more..

Jaya demands bold stand from Centre on issue of SL 13th Amendment

July 14 (PTI) Voicing concern over the fate of the 13th Amendment to Sri Lankan Constitution that agreed to devolve some authority to provinces, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today called for a “bold stand” by India, saying it cannot remain a “passive bystander.” In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she referred to the March 27, 2013 resolution by the state assembly and reiterated her demand for the Centre more..

French Embassy not happy

July 14 (CG) The Embassy of France in Colombo says it regrets the unfortunate incident and the embarrassment for the general public and for the French Spring partners and sponsors after the local authorities had ordered the suspension of the French Film Festival. The French Film Festival had been organised by the Embassy of France between June 18th and July 14th, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the Arts, more..

Treasury bails out SriLankan Airlines

July 14 (ST) The Treasury has stepped in to bail out SriLankan Airlines and pay up Rs. 25 billion of the national carrier’s Rs. 36 billion fuel arrears to the CPC, official said. He said a Treasury bond would be given to the CPC — and this would mean the airline would have to pay the arrears to the Treasury. Early this year, the national carrier had worked out a deal to buy a fleet of Airbus aircraft costing more than Rs. 315 billon. more..

How useful can a referendum be?

July 14 (CT) Last week’s declaration by Govt Spokesperson and Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, albeit in response to a question from a journalist about the will of the people, that the govt will go in for a referendum to get the consent of the people on whether changes to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution will be necessary, exposes in no uncertain terms the govt’s ambiguity on a climacteric issue. Torn between conflicting opinions, both legal and political, the govt through more..

A referendum to repeal the 13th amendment?

July 14 (CT) The Govt seems to be toying with the idea of holding a national referendum on the abolition of or changes in the 13th amendment. But can an ethno-religious majority decide against the rights of a minority by a majority vote? A certain institutional structure has been fashioned to resolve the grievances of the Tamil minority and to protect their rights with regard to their language, religion, culture, land and personal security of the minority. They have for long protested at more..

Rescue our children from Norwegian foster care

July 14 (CT) As the struggle launched by the Sri Lankan parents of Tamil origin in Norway, to get their children released from foster care, reaches its third year, international rights groups are now coming forward to extend their support. Relatives of the parents, who are originally from Sri Lanka’s North, held a protest near the Parliament roundabout last Wednesday seeking the intervention of MPs and diplomats, to negotiate with more..

Sri Lanka to be flexible on bank ownership limits to help mergers

July 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka is looking to be flexible on banks share ownership limits to make it easier to merge and allow sector consolidation, official said. In Sri Lanka a single shareholder can own only 10% of a bank, except without special approval. "I know the concern is about the share ownership limits," Yvette Fernando, head of bank ownership at the Central Bank said. "We have taken note of the concern raised and we are working on whatever possible mechanisms." more..

Strategic partnership to promote forthcoming Commonwealth Business Forum

July 14 (Island) The British Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce (BSLCC) has formed a strategic partnership with the Ceylon Chamber Of Commerce and Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) to promote the forthcoming Commonwealth Business Forum to be held in Colombo from November 12-14 in conjunction with the bi-annual CHOGM. At a recent meeting at the CBC offices in Pall Mall, Chairman BSLCC, Jayampathi Perera and Deputy Chairman Philip Brown have had more..

Video: Harsha bursts govt’s ‘balloon’ on economic growth

July 14 (AD) The UNP today charged that the household income has fallen since the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ policy was implemented and the ruling government first came to power in 2006. UNP MP Harsha de Silva stated that P.B. Jayasundara, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Sarath Amunugama and the Rajapaksas all are claiming that the economy is rapidly growing, GDP and per capita income are increasing, inflation is more..

TNA MP takes Polls Chief to task

July 14 (CT) A heated argument erupted on Friday between a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP and Commissioner of Elections, Mahinda Deshapriya, over confining the Security Forces into the barracks during the Northern Provincial Council polls, when the Polls Chief said he did not have the powers to deal with the Security Forces. A meeting was held between a group of TNA Parliamentarians and the Elections Commissioner on the issues pertaining to the NPC polls. more..

Foreign docs win extended right to practise

July 14 (ST) Foreign doctors were granted continued registration in Sri Lanka until March 30, 2014 after filing a petition to the Supreme Court to extend registration by one year. In their petition, Durdan’s Hospital senior resident consultant cardiac surgeon Dr. Kesava Dev and an aesthesist Dr. Madhur Malik, and Nawaloka Hospital’s Dr. Hemant Waikan, Dr. Landeep Sharma and Dr. Padmanabh Thakar cited SLMC, Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena, Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilake, more..

Video: Govt has betrayed the country to India

July 14 (AD) UNP Western Provincial Council member Mujibur Rahman today inquired why Ministers Wimal Weerawansa and Champika Ranawaka have not given up their portfolios and left the govt, despite promising to do so if the govt does not repeal the 13th Amendment and cancel election in the North. The govt has already started calling for nominations for the Central, North Western and Northern Provincial Councils and the date more..

Unamboowe returns in grand style

July 14 (Island) Sri Lanka’s swimming sensation Heshan Unamboowe, who returned to the island two months ago, exhibited his colours by improving a national record during the ongoing 39th National Age Group Aquatic Championship worked off at Sugathadasa Swimming Pool in Colombo yesterday. Competing in the open category, Unamaboowe clocked 27:55 seconds in the 50 Metre Back Stroke to improve on his own national record of 27:70 which was set in 2010.Unamboowe is currently more..

Pakistani carrying 6,000 tablets illegally arrested

July 14 (CT) Sri Lanka Customs took a Pakistani national who had arrived in the country via Karachi and Muscat, into custody, for carrying with him 6000 tablets of a particular medicine, said to be worth in the region of Rs 350,000, which is prescribed to mentally ill patients, as well as instruments used for castration. Customs Media Spokesman, Lesley Gamini, said the suspect (33) is married to a Sri Lankan woman. He also alleged, consequent to investigations being carried out more..

UPFA Nomination Board yet to decide on Sarath Kumara

July 14 (ST) The UPFA Nomination Board is yet to decide whether former member of the North Western Provincial Council (NWPC) Ananda Sarath Kumara who gained notoriety for getting a school teacher to kneel for punishing his daughter, would be given nominations to contest the upcoming PC elections. However, ahead of the Nomination Board decision, the ex-provincial councillor claimed that he is confident of more..

SLMC to meet on polls

July 14 (CG) The SLMC is to have a decisive meeting tomorrow on the upcoming provincial council elections. SLMC sources said that the meeting will see the party propose candidates for the Northern, Central and North Western provincial council elections. Meanwhile the TNA will also have a meeting tomorrow on the Northern elections. A rift has arisen in the TNA as to who should be nominated as the Chief Ministerial candidate for the Northern Provincial Council elections. more..

Authority denies delaying boat rescues

July 14 (CT) The Australian Maritime Search and Rescue Authority has denied that it delayed assisting asylum seekers on a stricken vessel that sank near Christmas Island, leaving a baby boy drowned and eight people missing, presumed dead. Asylum seeker advocates have accused the authority of not taking asylum seeker distress calls seriously as the death toll of refugees drowning on their way to Australia continues to mount. Pamela Curr, campaign co-ordinator from the more..

Fouled saline an act of sabotage

July 14 (CT) Following allegations that contaminated saline is being given to dengue patients in govt hospitals, Minister Maithripala Sirisena, has handed over the case to the CID for investigation. Sources close to the minister said, he suspects an act of sabotage. Ministry officials maintain the saline dextran-40 administered in hospitals are clean and have passed the quality assurance test before they were supplied to the hospitals. more..

CHOGM: Colombo, London in war of words

July 14 (NS) A war of words has erupted between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Task Force Secretariat for CHOGM 2013 scheduled in Colombo. In an unprecedented move, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat Richard Uku has issued a ‘clarification’ regarding media accreditation, reiterating relevant Secretariat guidelines and emphasizing that ‘the Commonwealth Secretariat is the final authority for all international more..