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Sri Lanka relaxes foreign exchange controls

June 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka has relaxed controls on foreign exchange for travel, migration, sale of residential property by non-residents and maintaining foreign exchange accounts. "During the past few years, Sri Lanka’s macroeconomic fundamentals have improved and the domestic financial sector has become stronger and more resilient," the Central Bank said. "In that background, foreign exchange regulations more..

Hormonal war on Dengue kicks off

June 12 (DN) The Medical Research Institute (MRI) has developed a special hormone, Zero Mosq that stops dengue pupa becoming mosquitoes which can spread dengue fever. This is a breakthrough in dengue control, a Health Ministry spokesman said. When this new hormone is added to the water in which dengue mosquitoes breed, it enters into the body of mosquito larvae and prevents it from becoming a mosquito. The dengue pupa dies before transforming into a dengue mosquito more..

Kiriella blames Govt. for attack on Ranil

June 12 (DM) The main opposition UNP today charged that those who attacked Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s convoy in Balapitiya on Tuesday evening had received govt backing. “The attack was carried out by goons who were under the protection of the govt. UPFA MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena is also responsible for the attack. It is a shame that the government keeps attacking and killing people while talking about ethics,” UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella told a news conference. more..

UNP- JHU talks hailed as a success

June 12 (DM) The opposition UNP and the JHU had decided to continue dialogue in order to reach a consensus on the amendments to the 13th Amendment prior to the Northern Provincial Council Elections, during a meeting between the two parties today. In a groundbreaking move a high profile meeting between the UNP and the JHU was held yesterday to discuss the amendments to the 13th Amendment proposed by the UNP. more..

Tamil family released from ASIO limbo

June 12 (TA) A family of five Tamil refugees - including a toddler born in detention almost three years ago - have been cleared for release by the Gillard govt, averting a potentially damaging High Court challenge next week. The Rahavan family, who were detained after arriving from Sri Lanka, had been held indefinitely following secret ASIO assessments that deemed the parents a risk to national security. The govt's reversal followed an independent review of the family's ASIO more..

MoS' remarks on Sri Lankan attack flayed

June 12 (ENS) The Puducherry unit of the DMK flayed Union Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy for his statement on the fishermen’s Issue. Narayanasamy had said that the attack on the Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy was the repercussion of the ongoing agitations against SL President Rajapkasa in TN. DMK State convener Dr M A S Subramanian said that Narayansamy had brought to the fore the stand of the Congress party on the issue. more..

Vidunena eLearning initiative launched

June 12 (Island) ‘Vidunena’ an eLearning initiative conceptualized and developed by Mobitel along with Felidae, a leading provider of eLearning products and services in Sri Lanka, guided by the Ministry of Education and National Institute of Education was launched yesterday at the Education Ministry auditorium. Vidunena interactive video content could be used by both the student and teacher. Reviewed by the National Institute more..

13A in people's court

June 12 (CT) The 13th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution has been a subject of much criticism ever since it was introduced in 1987. Different political parties turned the amendment into a political slogan, both for and against it, and Sri Lanka's age-old relations with its giant neighbour India hang precariously in the balance, on the future of the amendment. The latest catalyst that seems to have brought the arguments, both for and against the amendment, back into the debate table more..

India sponsors scholarships to children of estate workers

June 12 (HCI) Applications are invited from the children of estate workers, who are resident on estates, for award of scholarships by the Ceylon Estate Workers Education Trust (CEWET). These scholarships are available for GCE A/L, undergraduate courses and for students undergoing vocational /technical education in any of the Govt Technical Colleges in Sri Lanka. Students who have passed GCE O/L or A/L exam with either Mathematics or Arithmetic at the GCE O/L more..

Mattala airport to be developed as aircraft service center

June 12 (DN) ‘The foundation stone for construction of the first ever Sub Office of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) was laid yesterday by Speaker Chamala Rajapaksa in the presence of a large and distinguished gathering The Sub Office covering an area of 700m2 will cost the Aviation Authority around Rs 39,052,813. The Speaker laid the Foundation stone for the Sub Office on more..

Garden city Kandy a victim of garbage

June 13 (NS) Slogans and sign boards reading ‘Keep City Clean’ are seen in most corners of the streets of the main cities. People are being kept informed about keeping ‘our cities clean’. Well yes, efforts are being taken to keep the cities clean, during the day. If one steps on to the streets of Kandy, around eight o’ clock in the morning, hardly any litter or dirt is visible. Have you ever taken a very early morning walk down city roads? When busy crowds hit the streets during the more..

Media agenda and political reality

June 13 (NS) I believe there are few among the old guard of the journalistic fraternity who are appalled over the biased coverage of the majority of our media institutions. No, I am not only talking only about the lapdog state-controlled press and its twittering electronic media magpies. I am also referring to several private-owned establishments who seem overly opinionated with their own agendas. All but the mentally deficient have always had their doubts about the effectiveness more..

Lanka’s future prosperity lies in the sea

June 13 (SO) Sri Lanka possesses a territorial sea of 21,500 km2 and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 517,000 km2, up to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastal line. Sri Lanka has the rights to the resources in the water column, seabed and subsurface in the EEZ. According to the last comprehensive survey conducted in 1979-80, an annual harvestable yield of 250,000 tons is possible from coastal fishing and another more..

Burning for (Sinhala) Buddhism?

June 13 (GV) First, I want to convey my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of late Venerable Bôwatte Indrarathana (VBI) for the shocking and untimely way he embraced his death on the most venerable day of the Buddhist calendar. No amount of academic analysis will bring a life back. However, we must move on and learn from this how to avoid such tragedies. Such learning cannot come without preliminary analyses of the reasons and backgrounds. more..

What are ‘anti-national’ criticisms exactly?

June 13 (ST) In what precise manner can a fantastically unethical Govt prescribe a Code of Ethics for the media? This is a highly relevant question given recent bombastic claims by the Govt Spokesman that a draft Bill on Media Ethics is being circulated prior to implementation. This Govt has proved itself to be far worse than its most un-saintly predecessors in using the state media to witch-hunt and target dissenters. A few months ago, for example, we saw state media propagandists more..

Media-Ethics and Reality Control

June 13 (CT) If the Rajapaksas succeed in turning their ‘media ethics proposal’ into law, Sri Lanka will have her very own Minitrue (Ministry of Truth). And the role of Lankan media will be redefined, from ‘watchdogs of democracy’ to ‘lapdogs of the Rajapaksas’. In the consequent Orwellian reality, it will be permissible for Mervyn Silva to tie a public official to a tree and Rohitha Rajapaksa to hammer a referee, both in full more..

Would the real Moral Majority in Sri Lanka please stand up?

June 13 (CT) It really took a gritting of teeth and a tensing of muscle before I could type out the apostrophized words appearing in the title of this piece! Why? Because it was terminology used extensively by the most hypocritical elements of United States society in an effort to propagate a dogma of irrational behaviour and discrimination against a variety of groups. However, standing alone and sans the baggage, it is probably as good a term as any to describe a large slice of more..

Strategic limitations in prayers and pilgrimage

June 13 (CT) President Rajapaksa did not allow some of the issues in the relationship with India to come in the way of his recent pilgrimage to Buddha Gaya and Tirupathi. And India, on its part, has been extending the courtesies due to the Head of a State whenever he visits that country. These visits reflect a maturity in the relations between the two neighbours separated by the narrow Palk Straits. Surprisingly, however, there has been no formal bilateral State visit to the Indian capital by more..

Trotting into history

June 13 (ST) There are six placards on the ground, swaying in the chilly breeze that comes over the Hokandara lake. As we try to catch a glimpse of what’s written on them, the compere’s voice booms over the microphone. “Dhavalaraja.. Abhaya.. Chethiya.. Nandhi.. Bharana.. Kaalavela,” he calls out and one-by-one six magnificent horses stride forward and take their places in front of the placards, while six men attired in what seems to be more..

Editorial : Never the twain shall meet

June 13 (Island) The UNP is cock-a-hoop that the JHU has welcomed its commitment to a unitary state. Following meeting with the JHU yesterday at Sirikotha it is sanguine about the prospects for another round of talks on its constitutional proposals. There’s no harm in the Greens and the Saffrons having talks on a new Constitution. In fact, the UNP proposals contain some valuable features that need to be discussed widely, the downsizing of the Cabinet being one of them. more..

Match 7: Australia and NZ spilt points

June 13 (CI) The famously fickle English weather hadn't hurt the Champions Trophy much over its first six days, but struck in the crucial trans-Tasman match to leave Australia and New Zealand with split points. New Zealand were 51 for 2 after 15 overs in their chase of 244 when play was interrupted, and couldn't resume. It is hard to tell whether either team will be happy with the split points. New Zealand were in a marginally worse position in the match, and the point from here means even a more..

Mutiny in the ranks over dilution of 13A

June 13 (FT) “It is necessary that we give to these people the freedoms that are the right of people in all others parts of our country. Similarly, it is necessary that the political solutions they need should be brought to closer to them faster than any country or govt in the world would bring. However, it cannot be an imported solution” – President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a statement to the Parliament of Sri Lanka on 19 May 2009. more..

Building a rainbow nation through peace building: The role of universities

June 13 (Island) The nearly three decade long protracted and internecine conflict that caused inestimable damage to life, limb and economy of the country has come to an end. People of all communities now not only yearn for lasting peace, security and amity, but also are keen to ensure that there will be no more bloodletting on this blessed land in the future. This has afforded an unprecedented opportunity for bringing about peace and reconciliation between the different more..

Children labour in hazardous conditions in Lanka’s City of Gems

June 13 (Island) The District Secretary and the Administration of Ratnapura, assisted by the Ministry of Labour and Labour Relations, with technical and financial support from the ILO are embarking on a journey that will make the district officially free of Child Labour by June 2016. "Ratnapura is home to approximately 4,000 children who are engaged in child labour that includes Hazardous Forms of Child Labour. Child labour also takes place in gem mines, rural agricultural livelihoods, more..

Batting needs to do justice to bowling attack

June 13 (CI) The Oval holds a special place in Sri Lanka's cricket history. Still considered barely-better than Test minnows after their World Cup win in 1996, they were granted a one-off Test in England in 1998, and secured what remains their finest-ever away win. A 16-wicket haul for Muttiah Muralitharan heralded the brightest years of his blinding career, and Jayasuriya played perhaps his best Test innings - a first innings 213 more..

Greenish pitch worries Sri Lankans

June 13 (Island) In a bid to make most of the home advantage, hosts England have opted to play their Champions Trophy Pool ‘A’ game against Sri Lanka on a fresh pitch here at The Oval today. The Sri Lankans trained at The Oval in the side nets yesterday and throughout their three-hour training session, the wicket was covered as it was dark and cloudy accompanied by the occasional drizzle. The Sri Lankans were suspecting that the curators would leave some grass on the wicket so that more..

Reclaiming of abandoned open gem mine pits begins in Ratnapura

June 13 (DN) The reclaiming of abandoned open gem mine pits in Ratnapura began from Paradise Estate in Kuruwita last week under the patronage of Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha and Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister W D J Seneviratne. A large number of open pits used as gem mines have been abandoned in this area for over 10-20 years. These mines are a threat to the environment and people living in these areas, health authorities said. more..

RAM: Unfavourable economic environment magnified by finance companies

June 13 (Island) The last three quarters of the 2012/13 financial year have been hard on 47 players in the country’s Licensed Finance Company (LFC) sector which magnified unfavourable conditions in the economy with loan delinquencies expected to increase in the short term, RAM Ratings Lanka said in a report. "Credit growth slowed in 9M FY Mar 2013 due to a drop in demand for vehicle financing loans as more..

SL v Eng: England target semi-final berth

June 13 (CI) England were too rigid, too slow and too one-dimensional at Edgbaston - probably why they thumped Australia by 48 runs. The familiar concerns over England's shortcomings were rolled out at lunch on Saturday, only to be wheeled away at the close. England have a knack for getting it right on the night, particularly in ODIs at home, and should they get the job done against Sri Lanka, they will be in the semi-finals. The scaremongering will emerge again over England's batting more..

BBS denounces Packer deal

June 13 (CT) The Parliament of Sri Lanka, which has so far failed to pass legislation to protect sites marked by the Buddha's presence in Sri Lanka, have no hesitation against passing laws to suit the needs of casino kings, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) alleged yesterday. BBS Executive Committee Member, Dr. Dilantha Withanage, commenting on the matter of the US$ 365 million luxury hotel complex to be built in Sri Lanka by Australian business magnate and casino king, more..

Sri Lanka Cricket to mix with Ceylon Tea

June 13 (FT) Sri Lanka Tea Board yesterday became the first ever state entity to extend its funds to sponsor a sport on a long-term basis securing a Rs. 615 million deal as the Official International Partner for the country’s National Cricket Team. The three year sponsorship contract is for both men’s and women’s national cricket teams will be for all forms of the game that will be played overseas. more..

Massive haul of jewellery detected at MRIA

June 13 (CT) Sri Lanka Customs made its first detection at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), with the discovery of Rs 40 million worth of gold jewellery, gems and diamonds, being smuggled in by a Sri Lankan, yesterday. A suspect was taken into custody when airport scanners detected gold jewellery and diamonds concealed inside his luggage. The 58-year-old businessman, identified as a resident of Colombo, had arrived in the country from Bangkok, on flight UL 827. more..

Prodigy makes Lanka proud

June 13 (DN) Eugenie de Silva may appear to be a regular 14-year-old, but she has climbed the ladder of success unlike many in her age. She is now a student of the prestigious Harvard University following a Master's degree at just 14. She has co-authored a book on research now used in some collegiate research courses as well. She has also published two children's books. De Silva has not limited her academic work to assignments alone as she had presented eight research papers at more..

In Sri Lanka, tempest comes unannounced

June 13 (IPS) It was several hours before dawn when Afthas Niflal, a young fisherman in southern Sri Lanka, felt the sea start to rumble beneath him. He was no stranger to the shallow waters off the fishing harbour in Beruwala, a small coastal town in the Kalutara District, but nothing could have prepared him for what he experienced on the morning of Jun 8. “It was like the sea rose up, taking my boat with it,” the young man told more..

Fishermen’s deaths: Three member committee of inquiry begins work

June 13 (DN) The three member committee appointed by President Rajapaksa for probing the circumstances that led to the deaths of fishermen due to the inclement weather conditions recently, will start investigations to submit the report in two weeks to the President, Disaster Management Secretary S.M. Mohamed said. They will carry out investigations as an independent body and they do not have any intention even to use a govt office for deliberations. more..

Union irked as UDA moves to acquire part of huge Talangama depot

June 13 (Island) Plans by the Urban Development Authority to acquire four acres of the land, on which the Talagama SLTB bus depot is located, have angered the All Ceylon Transport Workers’ Union (ACTWU). The Union’s General Secretary Sepala Liyanage said that the ACTWU written to President Rajapaksa requesting him not to allow the UDA to acquire the land. Liyanage said that the Talangama SLTB depot owned seven acres of land and the UDA was planning to acquire four acres. more..

Pay compensation for fisher folk without playing ball games – JVP

June 13 (LT) The govt is playing a ‘ball passing game’ even at this pathetic moment but what it should do is to provide relief to fisher folk without trying to evade the incident through so-called committees states the JVP. “More than 50 bodies of fishermen who died due to gale winds have been washed ashore by now. Even during this pathetic moment what is displayed is the absurd playacting of various institutions of the govt pointing more..

Hambantota port sees sharp rise in auto parts theft

June 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's vehicle importers have been badly hit by sharp increase in theft of parts in vehicles imported via Hambantota port and security has been tightened. "Our members frequently complain us that there is a strong increase in the stealing of vehicle parts especially in the past two months," Keerthi Gunawardena, secretary of the Vehicle Importers Association said. He said in addition to accessories like radios, engine parts are now also being stolen and hybrid cars more..

Police probe mob attack on Ranil

June 13 (Island) A high level investigation was launched yesterday into Tuesday’s mob attack on UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at Balapitiya on Tuesday evening. The investigation was headed by Elpitiya SSP, Athula Weerasinghe. Wickremesinghe and a few UNP MPs had a narrow escape from a violent mob on the Galle Road at Balapitiya on Tuesday. His motorcade was stopped by a group of unruly protesters near the Ven. Megetuwatte Gunananda Thera’s statue and someone more..

Video: 'Two changes to 13-A insufficient'

June 13 (DM) NFF leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa said the two changes to the 13th Amendment proposed by the govt was insufficient and insisted that all provisions which contribute to separatism must be abolished. “We promised the people at our May Day Rally that we will make sure to have land and police powers and all other provisions which support separatism be abolished before the Northern polls in September. more..