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Death toll rises to 58

June 12 (Island) The death toll from Saturday’s monsoon storm rose to 58, as more bodies of fishermen, who had set out to sea, were washed ashore in the last two days. Balapitiya was the worst affected area, as 25 fishermen were killed. Ten deaths were reported from Beruwala, five from Ratmalana, five from Moratuwa, one from Katana, one from Nuwara Eliya, three from Ambangamuwa, four from Dehiwala, one from Hikkaduwa, one from Bentota, one from Kolonna and one from more..

SLMC unanimously resolves to oppose changes to 13th amendment

June 12 (DBS) President Rajapaksa’s proposed move to bring about urgent legislation to amend the 13th Constitutional Amendment and circumscribe devolution suffered a major setback as the Govt’s chief Muslim constituent party has resolved to oppose such arbitrary and ad hoc attempts to make Constitutional changes. The Parliamentary Group of the SLMC met at the Colombo residence of party leader more..

CID questions six cops under Vaas Gunawardena

June 12 (DM) Six policemen including an Inspector who came directly under Colombo North DIG Vaas Gunawardena’s office had been asked to appear at the CID office to record statements from them, Police sources said. The DIG was being questioned by the CID under detention orders of 72 hours over the abduction and murder of shoe businessman Shyam Huzamdeen and several other cases. DIG Gunawardena was arrested on Monday night after he was questioned by the CID more..

Nestlé Lanka VP takes over as EDB Chairman

June 12 (FT) A corporate affairs and communications man from one of the world’s largest food and beverage multinationals has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Export Development Board (EDB) of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen yesterday appointed Nestlé Lanka Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communication Bandula Egodage to the helm of EDB. He will continue in his permanent position at Nestle Lanka. more..

Ranil escapes mob attack

June 12 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had a narrow escape from a violent mob on the Galle Road at Balapitiya. His motorcade was stopped by a group of unruly protesters near the Megetuwatte Gunananda Thera’s statue and someone even tried to open the rear door of his vehicle, but the police dispersed the crowd. Wickremesinghe accompanied by Tissa Attanayake, Wijedasa Rajapakshe and several others more..

India ranks 141 of 162 countries in peace index, even lower than Sri Lanka

June 12 (Hindu) India ranks low at 141in this year’s Global Peace Index (GPI) that measured peace in 162 countries, according to 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators of the absence and fear of violence. The major indicators that bring down India’s ranking are militarisation, domestic and international conflicts, and corruption. In the South Asian region, Sri Lanka is one notch above India at rank four while Bhutan is the most peaceful country. It is followed by Nepal, Bangladesh, more..

Minister and Chairman fowl play on Harbor fire - UNP

June 12 (SM) UNP says that the current direction of the inquiries regarding the fire that broke down in the Colombo harbor ware house, which is been investigated under the direction of the Ports authority chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrama, is highly suspicious. UNP secretary MP thissa Aththanayaka said that even the actions of the Ports minister who is guiding the investigations raises suspicion. Mr. Aththanayaka said although the Minister had stated about some highly more..

Tamils want more devolved power in Sri Lanka's North

June 12 (IRIN) Ahead of Sri Lanka's planned provincial election in a former war zone, the country's main ethnic minority Tamil party is pushing to have as much power devolved from Colombo as possible. Sri Lanka has grappled for decades with the question of the devolution of power to its nine provinces, particularly the Northern and Eastern provinces, considered by Tamils to be their homeland. In the early 1980s Tamil more..

MoH trains military to identify dengue breeding grounds

June 12 (CT) The Ministry of Health (MoH), launched a special training programme for security forces personnel yesterday, to identify dengue breeding grounds, in a bid to eradicate the deadly disease. According to the Spokesman of the Ministry of Health, training will be given to 200 security forces personnel, comprising those from the Army, Police and Special Task Force (STF). The first training programme was launched yesterday, with the participation of 75 STF officers. more..

Heritage Ministry OKs Sigiriya for liquor ads

June 12 (CT) Prof. Chrishantha Gunawardena of the Department of Archaeology, Uni of Kelaniya, voiced his regrets over the Ministry of National Heritage giving permission to a liquor producing company to use an image of Sigiriya for an advertisement of a purported revitalizing drink. "This move serves to degrade and disgrace our national heritage," he charged. "No measures or policies are in place to safeguard our national heritage, and that is why our national heritage is being degraded to more..

Video: Collective formed to block13-A

June 12 (DM) A new organisation calling itself the “Collective for the abolition of the Provincial Council System” was formed today. It comprises the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), the Sihala Ravaya (SR), and civil activists including Attorney-At-Law S.L. Gunasekara, Professor Nalin De Silva and other individuals and organisations. The collective is calling for the abolition of the 13th Amendment from the Constitution. more..

From people’s Police to a political Police

June 12 (DM) The arrest of the once powerful DIG Vaas Gunawardena on Monday in connection with the abduction and killing of a millionaire businessman last month highlights the plight of the police and their gradual loss of independence which has contributed immensely to the state of anarchy or lawlessness and breakdown of the rule of law. For several years, mainly after the 18th Amendment was imposed and the National Police Commission lost its independence most people see the police more..

Playing with fire; Is it media’s business ?

June 12 (DM) The suicide by fire of Rev. Bowatte Indaratana in front of the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy caused several heated debates in the media – his motive, his personality, who stood to gain politically from the act, and whether television should have telecast the act itself as news, as one private TV station did – all this became hot debate topics. There seems to be a general consensus that the media (TV, in this case, as newspaper photographs only carried photographs of the monk after more..

Sri Lanka not safe from hackers

June 12 (CT) Sri Lanka is vulnerable to computer hackers, according to a leading computer anti-virus company. Kaspersky’s list of countries with the highest percentage of computer attacks has Sri Lanka ranked at number 8 ahead of India and the Maldives. The security company found that 51% of its users in Sri Lanka faced online assaults. About 15% of SL’s population, or an estimated 3.2 million people, were online more..

Now they are getting away with moonstones

June 12 (ST) Robbers have been known to crack open moonstones, or carved temple steps, in their quest for ancient treasure. But it takes greater planning, resources and audacity to make off with a complete ‘sandakadapahana’, as a group of plunderers did last week. Around 1.30 am on Tuesday, four men dressed in what looked like military garb, went to the Herath-halmillewa Raja Maha Vihara in Kebetigollewa. more..

Sri Lanka power generation positive in March

June 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's power generation rose 2% in March 2013 to 1,057 GigaWatt hours from a year earlier, recovering from a slump in February official data showed. In February 2013 power generation fell 1.4% to 913 GWh from a year earlier. In February 2012, Sri Lanka raised power prices and the central bank floated the exchange rate and started pulling back from injection tens of billions of rupees into the banking system more..

Repatriated workers can return to Saudi

June 12 (CT) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), said yesterday the thousands of illegal migrant workers, who will return to Sri Lanka, will be able to go back to work in Saudi Arabia. Deputy General Manager, SLBFE, Mangala Randeniya, allayed fears that over 14,000 migrant workers will lose their jobs. "They will be able to go back to Saudi Arabia and get jobs after a recess of two to three months," he said. more..

Massacring monkeys in Girithale, Polonnaruwa

June 12 (SL) Monkeys are shot at the Deer Park Hotel Polonnaruwa and Girithale Hotel, claim the guests. To chase away the troops of monkeys arriving in the hotel premises, air guns are used to shoot them. Guests claim it is a ‘terrible scene’. “I was surprised seeing the way a young man, probably a security guard, shooting monkeys with live bullets to chase them away from the hotel. Although I made several requests not to harm more..

JHU welcomes UNP’s commitment to unitary state

June 12 (Island) With the JHU welcoming the UNP’s commitment to a unitary state, as contained in its new draft constitution, the two parties are scheduled to discuss the UNP’s new policy document today. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that the meeting would be held in Colombo, on a request made by the JHU. He observed that the JHU’s willingness to discuss the UNP’s draft constitution indicated its widespread more..

Atapattu expects Sri Lanka batsmen to bounce back

June 12 (CI) Marvan Atapattu, Sri Lanka's batting coach, is confident the team would put behind their dismal batting performance against New Zealand in Cardiff and bounce back in the remaining two Champions Trophy group matches against England and Australia. "True, we had a bad batting innings the other day," Atapattu said. "The spirit was high and the boys were fighting, and we almost got through. But unfortunately, more..

'Govt. should seek help from Interpol, France to trace Ekneligoda'

June 12 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe urged the External Affairs Ministry to request Interpol and the French govt to help trace the whereabouts of cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda, since a govt MP was claiming that he had met him in France recently. He said that the disappearance of Ekneligoda on Jan 24, 2010 impinged directly on the sovereignty of the people and it was the duty of the Rajapaksa regime to trace his whereabouts. more..

13th Amendment dilution bid worries India

June 12 (ENS) India is deeply worried about the seemingly determined efforts being made by the Sri Lankan govt to dilute provisions of the 13th Amendment, a key to reach a political settlement with Sri Lankan Tamils, thus casting a shadow over the credibility of the forthcoming Northern Provincial elections there. TNA leaders have already said that they will boycott the elections to the Northern Provinces if more..

PSC to take precedence over NCP polls?

June 12 (Island) Amidst a simmering dispute, among political parties, over the proposed revision of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, there was a likelihood of the first Northern Provincial Council (NPC) polls being put off until the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) could reach a consensus, EPDP leader Douglas Devananda said. He was responding to a query by The Island, having discussed the issue with President more..

New thinking needed to tackle dengue

June 12 (CT) Perhaps we need to adopt a totally unconventional method and policy to rid ourselves of this menace that comes in the form of dengue fever. The conventional methods, tactics and practices employed to date appear to have failed completely, if recent media reports on the number of dengue cases are anything to go by. It is well past time finger-pointing and the blame game stopped and some serious strategy implemented. Otherwise, our schools would soon become not only more..

Wilgamuwa PS Chairman hospitalized after clash

June 12 (Island) In a clash between the supporters of Wilgamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Jayantha Weerasekera and MP Lakshman Wasantha Perera at a re-organisation meeting of the Kumbukoya SLFP branch yesterday, the former sustained injuries and was admitted to the hospital. The reason for the clash was political rivalry between the two parties, the police said. Both parties have complained to the police. Lakshman said that while he and his supporters more..

From people’s Police to a political Police

The land like no other and some questions

June 12 (CT) As a person who is from the Northern part of the “Land like No Other” or the “Miracle of Asia”, I have my own questions regarding the events which occurred and the events which are unfolding around me. I don’t remember the very first day I went to school, but I remember the very first day I experienced the explosion of an artillery shell in close proximity. It was when I was four years old on a “thaipongal” day, and believe me, I was not a combatant. Thanks to the Artillery more..

Shortage of teachers in Hatton

June 12 (CT) Students following classes in the Hatton Education Zone are said to be encountering undue difficulties due to a dearth of teachers in many Sinhala schools. Sources said parents, in desperation, are even contemplating leaving their places of residence and moving to another division temporarily, so as to ensure their children obtain quality education. A number of leading Schools in Maskeliya, Saman Eliya and Bogawantalawa in the Hatton Education Zone are reportedly more..

13th Amendment: For plus or minus, parties must participate in PSC

June 12 (FT) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva this year celebrates 30 years in politics. The lawyer-turned-politician speaks to the Daily FT about his political career, proposed amendments to the 13th Amendment and Northern Province elections. Q: Why did the Govt decide to amend the 13th amendment? A: That is a Govt policy. The Govt felt it was necessary at this stage to bring certain amendments to the Constitution. more..

Four cops arrested prior to DIG involved in other killings

June 12 (Island) ASP Shani Abeyeksera, of the CID, informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court that they had obtained information that four policemen, including a Sub Inspector, arrested in connection with the killing of businessman Mohomed Shiyam, had been involved in several other murders. The four policemen had been arrested prior to Monday night’s arrest of DIG Vass Gunawardena by the CID. The CID informed the Court that two civilians, arrested along with the policemen, more..

Keangnam wins bid for W49.7b project in SL

June 12 (KH) Korean construction company Keangnam Enterprises, won a highway development project from Sri Lanka worth $43.9 million. The builder announced that it had received the order from the Road Development Authority to develop four highway routes in central Sri Lanka, two highways connecting Katugastota, Alawathugoda and Palapathwela, and the other two routes bridging Maliban Junction and Cross Junction 15 kilometers south of Colombo. more..

SL's Cinnamon Air to fly from end June

June 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Cinnamon Air, a domestic carrier operating Cessna 208 amphibians said will begin scheduled flight to the South of the island and Kandy in the central hills from the end of June. Daily flights to Koggala and Dickwelle will be from Dandugama Oya waterdrome which is 10 minutes away from an international airport in Katunayake. Later flights will originate from a domestic terminal which is still being more..

Sirisena orders blacklisting of agreement breaking contractors

June 12 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena has instructed the heads of state hospitals to blacklist building contractors who fail to complete construction work in keeping with agreements with the govt. Such irresponsible building contractors should not be awarded any contracts in future, Minister Sirisena said. The Health Minister gave the instructions after opening the Kandy General Hospital’s Gynecology Clinical Unit and Library on Monday (10). more..

Intern doctors allegedly perform illegal operations

June 12 (CT) A spokesperson for the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital revealed that an investigation has commenced, based on charges against two doctors, a male and a female, both of who are interns, for allegedly resorting to illegally perform birth control operations on women who are admitted to the hospital, without their consent. Director of the Kandy General Hospital, Dr. Anura Dissanayake, has been appointed as a one-man committee by the Secretary to the Ministry of Health, more..

Video: 'IGP responsible for DIG's actions'

June 12 (DM) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said today the Police Chief N.K. Illangakone should take responsibility for the conduct of his subordinates including the high ranking police officers who are alleged to have been involved in killing several Sri Lankans. “If the Police Chief is doing his job properly this sort of thing can’t happen. The fact that a DIG had allegedly committed such crimes more..

MoU for Malik Abdulla College signed

June 12 (Island) A MoU for the establishment of Malik Abdulla University College in the Batticaloa district, was signed yesterday in Kattankudy, between the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development and the sponsor of the University College, Sheik Yahyan Abdul Azeez Al-Rashid of Saudi Arabia. The proposed university college will be established as part of the Mahinda Chintanaya at a cost of Rs. 1,500 million. Under Mahinda Chintanaya 25 University Colleges are more..

Sri Lanka looks for boost from Botham walk

June 12 (TDM) Sri Lanka is hoping to further boost awareness of tourism and community projects with the announcement of a 160-mile walk with Sir Ian Botham. The cricketer will embark on the eight-day journey from Mankulum to Seenigama to raise funds for childrens’ charity Foundations for Goodness, with packages available through Sri Lankan Airlines and Paradise Vacations for those Brits keen to follow him along the way. ‘Beefy’s Big Sri Lanka Walk’ is one of several community projects in the area more..

Rising Muslim-Buddhist tensions in SL

June 12 (IRIN) An increasing number of Muslim Sri Lankans, who make up around 9% of the population, are feeling uneasy amid fears of growing sectarian tensions, say local people and observers. “We just don’t feel we belong here any more,” Fadhil Ahamed, who works in a food store in Colombo, told IRIN. “I had a shop where I sold halal food, but several Buddhist monks who were aligned with a govt politician told me more..

Petition against CJ’s appointment for support on July 16

June 12 (Island) The petition filed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives challenging the appointment of Mohan Pieris PC as the Chief Justice will be supported before the Supreme Court on July 16, 2013. Yesterday, the petition was mentioned before the Supreme Court. M. A. Sumanthiran, Counsel for the petitioner, said that the petition should not be supported before the five-judge bench of yesterday, as it had been appointed by the Chief Justice Mohan Pieris. Deputy Solicitor General more..

Sri Lanka finance companies cut exposure to property, stocks

June 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's licensed finance companies, which play in the sub-prime market has cut exposure to property and stocks, though they are facing an uptick in non-performing loans amidst a downturn, a rating report said. Investments in land and property had fallen to 1.86% of assets in the 9 months to December 2012, after peaking at 8.6% in 2009, RAM Rating Lanka said in a report on Sri Lanka licensed financed companies. In 2010 investments in land and property was 8.4%, more..