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Sri Lanka flexes muscle at Asian Body Building Tournament

June 6 (MoD) Representing Sri Lanka at the 47th Asian Body Building Championship Tournament, Lance Corporal M.W.R Jayasundera of the Sri Lanka Army won silver in the 55 kg weight category. The prestigious international tournament was held in Kazakhstan. Jayasundara came second in a keenly fought competition beating 22 other bodybuilders from Asian nations. A Gold medal was secured by Wasantha Peiris of Wattala Atlas Sports Club in the 55 kg category. more..

Hakeem requests for a week to discuss PC amendments bill

June 6 (AD) The draft bill set to make provisions preventing the amalgamation of Provincial Councils will not be submitted to the cabinet today, as per a request made by SLMC leader and Justice Minister Rauf Hakeem, sources said. He has requested for a period of one week for the political bureau of the SLMC, a constituent party of the ruling UPFA coalition, to discuss the proposed bill. Therefore sources say that the amendments to the powers of the Provincial Councils which more..

DIG grilled over abduction and killing of a businessman

June 6 (CT) The CID, questioned DIG of the Colombo North Police Division, Vass Gunawardene, over the alleged abduction and killing of a businessman in Bambalapitiya on 23 May, police sources said. Gunawardene was questioned after a Sub-Inspector and two Police Constables were taken into custody by the CID, in connection with the murder, sources added. The police initially apprehended two individuals on suspicion of more..

Sri Lanka Central Bank seen keeping rates steady on Friday

June 6 (Reuters) Central bank is expected to keep key monetary policy rates steady in June after an unexpected 50-basis-point rate cut in May, a Reuters poll showed. The island-nation's central bank said on Monday that key policy rates are appropriate after two cuts since December, but it is ready to act if needed if there are any major changes in the macroeconomic outlook. Following are the poll's forecasts for where rates will be after Friday's announcement: more..

PSM threatens to flex muscles

June 6 (Island) The health sector trade union, Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM), yesterday warned that it would resort to a work-to-rule campaign, from June 18, if the govt failed to meet its major demands, which include recruiting 600 PSM graduates into the state sector. PSM General Secretary Saman Jayasekara said that the Committee appointed by the Cabinet to look into the issue had given its approval. Jayasekara said that accordingly the Health Ministry should more..

Audio: Media grills Keheliya on Prageeth

June 6 (CG) The media today grilled Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella on the statement made in parliament yesterday by govt MP Arundika Fernando on missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda. When asked what the govt position is on that statement, the Minister said that similar statements had been made before as well. MP Arundika Fernando had told Parliament yesterday that the journalist is in France more..

'Expropriated entities making progress'

June 6 (Island) 16 underperforming entities expropriated by the state are making progress after having been taken over by new investors from the private sector, the Treasury said. 11 out of the 42 entities taken over the by the govt under the controversial Revival of Underperforming Enterprises or Underutilised Assets Act are yet to be handed over to new investors. Hotel Developers Lanka is now 100% govt owned and a management contract signed with World Hilton. more..

CPA concerned over amendment plan

June 6 (CG) The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is deeply perturbed by recent media reports that the govt is planning on amending several provisions of the Thirteenth Amendment to the constitution. A statement by the CPA said that over the past several weeks there were contradictory statements made by senior MPs of the UPFA as to whether discussions are under way to amend the constitution. The CPA said that the proposed amendments have far reaching implications more..

Sri Lanka to water down Tamil power-sharing plan

June 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka plans to reduce the power of local councils before the first-ever provincial elections in the island's former war zone, a leading politician said, in a bid to deny minority Tamils greater autonomy. The ruling coalition promised to share limited power with Tamils, pointing to elections to local councils, after the military crushed separatist Tamil rebels in May 2009 and ended 37 years of bloodshed. more..

Sri Lanka Ports Authority inks deal for US $ 44 mn boat yard

June 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka Ports Authority inked a deal for a 44 million US dollar yatch and shipbuilding facility, Thursday with Saudi Arabia based Hadi Hamad Al-Hammam Group’s Seagulf Shipyard (Pvt) Ltd, the state port agency said. Chairman of SLPA, Priyath Wickrama, Hadi Hamad Al-Hammam, president, Hadi Hamad Al-Hammam Group and Nazeer Ahamed, director of the Sea Gulf Shipyard (Pvt) Ltd were signatories to the agreement. The project includes the design and construction more..

Highest growth registered in the construction industry

June 6 (CT) 21.6% growth has been registered by the construction industry in the recent past, and it is the highest growth rate registered in the country after independence. This was stated by the Minister of the Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Wimal Weerawansa addressing a media conference held to announce the 13th “Construct 2013” Exhibition, which was the largest construction exhibition in the country to be held from August 9-11, 2013 at BMICH. more..

Minister Basil initiates new construction of Karadana Bridge

June 6 (MED) Construction of the new bridge by expending Rs. 250 Mn. instead of 100 years old Polgahawela Karadana bridge adjoining Sabaragamuwa province and North Eastern province, were initiated by taking the lead of Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Commencement of development activities in three districts of Puttalam, Kegalle, Kurunegala in which Deyata Kirula National programme, 2014 is being held was more..

Welikada inmate begins fast

June 6 (CT) An inmate of the Welikada Prison climbed on to the rooftop of the prison building and started a fast-unto-death strike, demanding the officials to allow him home visits. The man, a convict serving a 55-year imprisonment with a one-month Rigorous Imprisonment, after being found guilty of eleven counts, including the possession and selling of heroin, started the protest demanding that he be given equal rights as the other prisoners to visit home. Deputy Commissioner of the more..

Stricken with leprosy, detainee takes cyanide

June 6 (AD) A Sri Lankan asylum-seeker who committed suicide in Sydney’s Villawood detention centre by consuming a fatal quantity of cyanide had been diagnosed just months earlier with leprosy. The death in 2011 of the Sri Lankan asylum-seeker known as Victor triggered a system-wide search for cyanide within the detention network. The Australian has learned that Victor - not his real name - died of acute cyanide poisoning on October 26, 2011, in the residential housing block of Villawood, more..

Video: JHU ready to discuss UNP’s draft constitution

June 6 (DM) JHU General Secretary and Minister Champika Ranawaka said his party was ready to discuss the UNP’s draft constitution. “Under Ranil Wickremesinghe in 1994, the UNP proposed to do away with the unitary state. It is good that it is talking about creating a unitary state once again. If the UNP is willing to do so, we are ready to discuss its new constitutional reforms though we are not clear about some of the proposals like the more..

Trouble for Muslim and Left parties over new amendment

June 6 (National) The proposed amendment to the 13th Amendment of the Constitution to dilute the powers of Provincial Councils has already begun to make ripples in the Muslim and Left parties, Colombo Telegraph understands. SLFP ministers who talked big in the last few weeks that they would not allow any dilution of devolution have also been greatly embarrassed. Colombo Telegraph understands that Muslim and Left party leaders who attended the party leaders’ meeting of the more..

Emiratis help Sri Lankan villagers power up lights, fans and phones

June 6 (National) The Renewable Energy Ambassadors, from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, visited Negombo, on the west coast, last month. "We focus on countries where there is [not much] electricity and where there are people with no source of income," said Mona Al Ali, a master's student in engineering systems and management. "We knew there were a lot of poor villages in Sri Lanka with no electricity. It has several sources of renewable energy that more..

'India not firm on attacks on Indian fishermen'

June 6 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Thursday accused the central govt of not taking a firm stand on the attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. She said the Indian govt was not exerting pressure on Colombo to find a solution to the problem. Referring to the arrest of 49 fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy Wednesday, she said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: more..

On a trail to Vehera Kanda

June 7 (NS) Unless one visits the ancient capital cities in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa or Kandy, it’s rather unlikely that a person will imagine finding similar remnants of a glorious history within the most developed city in Sri Lanka. In some parts of modern sophisticated suburbs close to Colombo, rare relics of the past still exist. Kotte, also known as Sri Jayawardenapura, was initially built as a fort by powerful minister Nishshanka Alakeshawara in 1400 AD. This eventually became the capital more..

Journalists are not Police informers

June 7 (SL) Whether it was self-sacrifice for a deserving objective or just a stupid suicide, the self immolation by Ven. Bowatte Indrarathana on Vesak day, has provided quite an opportunity to those who want to score Brownie points with the govt by whipping the media. The Secretary of the Ministry of Mass Media and Information, Charitha Herath, has taken umbrage at journalists who were present at the scene. ‘At least one journalist knew of the monk’s intentions’, he had claimed. more..

Multi-purpose Moragahakanda project gets under way next month

June 7 (SO) The much-awaited construction of the main dam of Sri Lanka's last major hydro power generating venture, Moragahakanda Project, will begin next month and would be completed in July 2016. The rock-filled dam would be 65 metres tall, 280 metres long and eight metres broad. The excavation on the saddle dam site will be completed by the end of this month. This RCC dam would be completed by next February. more..

Aiyathurai Nadesan: Tragic demise of a dedicated journalist

June 7 (DBS) Aiyathurai Nadesan serving as Batticaloa correspondent of the Tamil daily ”Virakesari” was shot dead in broad daylight in the heart of Batticaloa town by assassins belonging to the Eastern breakaway faction of the LTTE on May 31st 2004. His killer was believed to be none other than Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan who was later to become the first chief minister of the Eastern Provincial council. I am reproducing without any changes the article I wrote more..

Disembowelling the 13th amendment?

June 7 (DBS) One of the most incisive analyses about Rajapaksa modus operandi was made not by a Sri Lankan but by an American Ambassador Robert Blake. Mr. Blake’s observations about how the Siblings operate have a particular resonance as the Rajapaksas plan to neutralise the last remaining structural obstacle to their power-grab: the 13th Amendment. “The President is often reluctant to make decisions and will stall for time, particularly on important issues. more..

Ru Freeman's novel of family, conflict in SL

June 7 (ND) In her rewarding new book, novelist Ru Freeman plunks readers "On Sal Mal Lane," a tropical effusion of foliage and children growing up in Sri Lanka. Colonialists once called the place Ceylon and prized its tea; Freeman, who grew up in Colombo, has something more pointed in mind. Her story moves chronologically toward July 1983, or "Black July," when riots in Colombo ignited a civil war lasting nearly 26 years. more..

Restricting the Cabinet to 25 alone will not do the job

June 7 (CT) Two of the draft proposals that have recently been presented by sections of the Opposition for a new constitution for Sri Lanka have one common feature – that is to restrict the number of Cabinet ministers to 25. This proposal merits consideration in view of the huge cost that has been imposed on the nation’s public finances by the ever-expanding Cabinet and the correspondingly expanding public service. This is because when a new minister is appointed, more..

Development alone is not enough, I hope govt will understand

June 7 (CT) I must thank Marga and the Open University, not only for inviting me to speak here today, but also for establishing this course, which I believe is exactly what the Open University should be about. For a long time now I have been complaining that the Open University is in fact a closed one, with as many restrictions on learning as the traditional universities. Whilst I can understand its need to set up Centres all over the country, its concern with developing these more..

Boston Lanka: June 07, 2013

Electricity supply costs: How to reduce them?

June 7 (island) There have been many letters and discussions, but largely criticisms, on the recent electricity price increase, which have conveniently taken cover under terms, such as, "corruption", "white elephant", "lack of reforms", "inefficiency", etc., blaming all and sundry about the high cost of supplying electricity. In your newspaper, there have been loads of such write-ups by the public as well as by individuals, intellectuals and organisations that certainly have the capacity to analyze more..

Sri Lanka pledges funds to the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Envoy

June 7 (AT) Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations) handed over a pledge from the Govt of Sri Lanka to contribute US $ 30,000 in support of the operations of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi. Presenting the pledge 0n 5th June, Ambassador Kohona said that Sri Lanka has successfully engaged youth in its policy making processes, beginning with the grassroots level. more..

Treasury’s net cash outflow expands 86% to Rs. 104.5bn

June 7 (island) The Treasury reported a negative cash flow of Rs. 104.48 billion in 2012, expanding 86.2% from Rs. 56.1 billion a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance annual report for 2012 showed. Receipts from taxation grew 4% to Rs. 845.3 billion from Rs. 812.6 billion a year ago and fees, fines, penalties and licenses grew 10.8% to Rs. 19.5 billion from Rs. 17.6 billion. Profits from public entities grew to 64.16% Rs. 85.2 billion more..

Richard Pieris records turnover growth of 8%

June 7 (FT) The Richard Pieris Group ended its performance in financial year 2012/13 reporting a Group revenue of Rs. 34.7 b with a steady profit before tax of Rs. 3 b. The reported profit for the year does not include any gains of a capital nature. The Retail sector faced a challenging period of three months from January to March where consumer confidence was low and the adverse financial and operational effects of the implementation of VAT on retail businesses was evidenced. more..

Editorial : Frozen Cold War thawing in Syria

June 7 (island) The Arab Spring has brought about only death and devastation in Syria. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have fled to the neighbouring countries are undergoing untold hardships. In refugee camps Syrian women and girls as young as 14 years are being forced into prostitution. The armed conflict has left over 60,000 dead, according to media reports. The oil production which stood at 380,000 barrels per day before the outbreak of the conflict in that country has more..

Singer John Legend's proposal almost ruined by Sri Lankan airport search

June 7 (ABC4) John Legend's surprise proposal to Chrissy Teigen almost went awry when an airport official in Sri Lanka searched the bag which contained the ring while the model was stood next to him. The couple was en route to the Maldives for a vacation in 2011, and Legend planned to pop the question to his longtime partner on the trip. However, the singer was thrown into a panic when an overzealous employee at more..

President opens refurbished SLFP HQ building today

June 7 (DN) The SLFP headquarters building renovated with modern facilities will be opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa today. An all night pirith chanting ceremony will also be held with the participation of President Rajapaksa to invoke blessings on the SLFP at the refurbished SLFP headquarters. The opening of the renovated SLFP building will coincide with the 43rd anniversary of the first oath taking of President Rajapaksa as a young parliamentarian. more..

Special health programme for prisoners

June 7 (DN) The Health Ministry under the direction of Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena will commence a special long term programme to ensure the mental health of prisoners, a Health Ministry spokesman said. According to the spokesman, it is discovered that a large number of prisoners are addicted to alcohol and drugs which has resulted in various mental disorders among prisoners. Mental disorders are common among prisoners serving long term sentences. more..

Kulasekara in search of key rhythm

June 7 (CI) In each of their recent major-tournament campaigns, Sri Lanka's greatest strength has lain in their attack. Diverse, persistent, occasionally vicious, opposition batsmen have been unsettled by unorthodoxy and discipline in equal parts. As the team prepares for its Champions Trophy opener in Cardiff, though, they will know they are light on mystique in this tournament. Lasith Malinga's round-arm remains an oddity, but more..

Victims of the trap gun

June 7 (ST) Nawagaththegama, a village in the Puttlam district, has many people with leg injuries, some limbless and some paralysed -all victims of trap guns meant for wild animals. One such victim, T.G. Jayaratne, a father of four lost his right leg in a trap gun accident. “We are hardworking farmers and losing a limb affects our lives. Many a time I wished I was dead rather than being limited to a wheel chair,” he said. Another young victim is 24 year-old Nuwan Sameera, bed ridden after his spine was more..

CB mops up Rs. 15bn to check inflation

June 7 (Island) The Central Bank mopped up Rs. 15 billion from the financial system to contain inflationary pressures ahead of the monetary policy review today. Bond yields and money market interest rates eased with the Central Bank expected to announce its latest policy rate stance. The rupee strengthened against the US dollar on export conversions. The Central Bank held a term repo auction to mop up Rs. 15 billion from the banking system with excess liquidity reaching more..

Large scale computer retailer raided

June 7 (Island) The Colombo Crimes Division recently raided the premises of a large scale computer retailer, which operates under several business names, at a leading IT mall in Colombo for selling branded laptop computers installed with suspected pirated software. The action was initiated through the Power of Attorney for Microsoft in Sri Lanka, and Sudath Perera Associates acted as the legal representatives more..

Sri Lanka: Perspectives on war

June 7 (IW) Four years ago in May 2009, Sri Lanka’s 26 year war ended. Years after the Sri Lanka govt declared victory over the LTTE in the north and east, home to large swaths of Tamil population, the military still maintains a modus operandi of relentless repression and violence. Many victims are far from prominent. They are everyday people, like the slight-statured 33 year old Palani. His story is in some way the story of every civilian in Sri Lanka who paid the heaviest more..