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SGPC enters organic food business

June 29 (Island) A restaurant selling food items prepared with organically grown vegetables has been set up in the Sabaragamuwa Province in a bid to control the increasing number of non communicable diseases in the country. Spokesman for the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council, Sunil Leelananda Perera, said that it was the first among several other projects the Ayurveda Department was planning to launch in the province in collaboration with the provincial health ministry. more..

Time magazine stopped at Customs

June 29 (CT) Time magazine, carrying a cover story comparing the Myanmar Buddhist Monk Wirathu and his organization 'Buddhist 969' to the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), has been withheld by customs at the BIA. The Myanmar govt has taken steps to ban the July issue of Time, as the cover page of the magazine portrays the Monk with the headline describing him as 'The Face of Buddhist Terror.' more..

Rail gates: Govt must get onto the fast track

June 29 (DM) Evidence that the Rajapaksa regime’s lightning express development may be on the wrong track was given bloody substance with two tragedies on unprotected railway crossings this week. On Tuesday a vanload of pilgrims returning after a Poson pilgrimage was hit by the Colombo-Hikkaduwa express in a twilight thunderbolt that killed six females from two families including a girl who had got married last month. The disaster occurred at an unprotected railway crossing more..

A pause in the rush to destroy devolution

June 29 (DM) That the Rajapaksa regime is in a mighty hurry to dismember and roll back the clock on the limited devolution of power accorded in Sri Lanka under the 13th Amendment is borne out by the fact that the Cabinet of Ministers two weeks ago approved as an urgent bill, a Constitutional Amendment which would eliminate the ability of two or more provinces to amalgamate (merge to use the popular terminology) and work together for the public good. However, within a week more..

Road accidents kill 926 in five months

June 29 (Island) The National Council for Road Safety (NCRS) with the assistance of the Transport Ministry and the Police are expected to take immediate steps to develop and enact comprehensive regulations to prevent road accidents by 2021. Around 926 people have died in the first five months in spite of various police measures taken by to reduce road accidents. The number of road accidents have reduced more..

We want our voices heard

June 29 (CT) With the pending announcement of the Northern Provincial Council elections, many people in the Jaffna Peninsula are already preparing for a sweeping victory by the TNA. While the Commissioner of Elections is yet to set a date for the election, many residents of the region are convinced the govt will announce an election solely in light of the upcoming CHOGM. S. Paramanathan, Secretary for the People's more..

'Only ex-Tigers contesting on SLFP ticket branded as patriots'

June 29 (Island) Only the ex-Tigers who had joined the SLFP were considered rehabilitated and patriotic, while those who criticised the govt were unjustly branded as traitors, MP Ravi Karunanayake said. He said that the LTTE’s former Political Wing leader, Subramaniam Sivathai alias Thamalini had been released from a rehabilitation camp, hailed as a true patriot and given nomination to contest the NPC Election more..

Bus owners complain proposed fare revision not enough

June 29 (Island) Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne accused the National Transport Commission (NTC) and Private Transport Minister C.B. Ratnayaka of arbitrarily deciding on an unrealistic bus fare revision of just as 6.2%, based on 2007 calculations. Wijeratne said that the bus fare revision should be based on the current cost factors. If the NTC and Minister Ratnayaka did not comply more..

India-Sri Lanka bilateral trade to be doubled in 3 years

June 29 (PTI) Officials from Sri Lanka and India held talks here on trade, investment and economic cooperation aimed at doubling the bilateral trade volume. “Recognising that India is Sri Lanka’s leading trade partner and that bilateral trade between the two countries has now reached $5 billion, it was agreed that the potential which remains to expand bilateral trade further to the tune of $10 billion would be exploited in the next more..

Amnesty period extended for illegal workers in Saudi

June 29 (CT) As the three-month amnesty period for all illegal migrant workers to leave Saudi Arabia is due to expire early next month, Sri Lanka has been offered an extension of the time period to repatriate migrant workers, who are living under the bridges in Jeddah. The SLBFE said, negotiations with the Saudi Govt to request for an extension, has borne fruit and that all Sri Lankan illegal migrant workers in Saudi Arabia can be repatriated more..

Secretary Defence lays foundation stone for new 'Teaching Hospital' at KDU

June 29 (MoD) Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa laid foundation stone for the new Teaching Hospital complex which is to be built at General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) premises at Werahera today. Proposed 704-bed fully fledged teaching hospital comprising of operation theatres, laboratories, other ultra-modern facilities including eight intensive care units more..

Pharma industry is upset by Indian ban on anti-diabetes drug

June 29 (Island) The Indian pharmaceutical industry is unhappy with the decision of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to ‘suspend’ a popular diabetes treatment drug, pioglitazone, and its combinations. The move, reported by The Island on Friday, follows reports of the drug’s suspected links to increased risk of cancer and heart failure. Industry sources say that, while the drug is banned for sale in France, more..

US citizens cautioned

June 29 (CG) The US State Department has cautioned it’s citizens when visiting Sri Lanka of crimes targeting foreigners. The updated travel information for US citizens visiting Sri Lanka said that while most violent crime occur within the local community reports of violent crime and sexual assaults directed at foreigners have been increasing in recent months. In response to this rise in crime, the Sri Lankan govt now requires more..

Sri Lanka protests UK visa bond

June 29 (PTI) Sri Lanka has registered a protest over a proposed visa scheme of the UK that would require first time travellers from six high-risk Afro-Asian countries to pay a hefty financial bond of 3,000 pounds. External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama said the British High Commissioner John Rankin was informed of Sri Lanka’s concerns. The British Home office early this week announced a pilot project under more..

Amending the 13th amendment: Immorality of Mahinda Rajapaksa regime

June 29 (CT) President Rajapaksa and his closest associates have shown their determination to amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that was enacted in 1987 as a part of an agreement between India and Sri Lanka. Whatever its political implications and repercussions this attempt has proved blatant immoral nature of the present regime. However, there is a glimmer of hope as this immoral determination was questioned and challenged within the governmental front by 8 ministers. more..

Political machinations: In praise of Prof Pieris

June 29 (CT) After many months of thinking Prof G L Pieris was leading the President down the garden path, I was pleased recently to find that he had lived up to his intellectual reputation and given some reasonably sound advice. This was with regard to the effort to amend the 13th Amendment, as to which initially there were four areas of apparent concern. When the Cabinet was finally given some amendments to consider however, there was only one proposal for change. more..

What do we do with our horrible past?

June 29 (CT) Dear friends, Thank you for having me here. It is truly an honour. I must confess at the outset that I don’t have grandiose solutions to offer you; only small hints. I am a journalist. I have covered the conflict for the most part of my career. And now I cover the absence of war. I don’t have any book learning in conflict resolution or in reconciliation. What I speak about today is what picked up on the field, from interacting for more..

Tragic truth of media freedom

June 29 (CT) In a few weeks time, the Editors Guild will be organizing what has now come to be their annual 'Oscars' or 'Academy Awards' or by whatever name it has come to be known, where journalists of our tribe will be honoured with trophies and medals. We can only beg, our distinguished and intelligent readers, to pardon us for devoting or squandering today's editorial to write about ourselves. Celebrating the journalistic excellence of our peers is refreshing, and would indeed serve us as more..

Abolish the Pradesiya Sabhas not the Provincial Councils

June 29 (CT) Everybody talks of a “Grama Rajya” as a great and good thing. It is perhaps one proposal where everybody will agree is necessary. But they do not know how to proceed to establish one. The Grama Rajya concept requires the re-establishment of the old Village Committee which was based on the traditional village. Unfortunately the village is no longer the unit of administration at the level of the village. It was abolished in the 1980s by the UNP Govt and replaced with Pradeshiya Sabhas more..

Minister Sirisena promises to strengthen primary health care

June 29 (Island) The govt would take steps to strengthen and enhance the quality of the service rendered by public health inspectors (PHIs), the Health Minister said. Addressing the centenary celebrations of the public health service and the 78th Annual General Meeting of the Public Health Inspectors’ Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL), Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that when the health budget for 2013 was being discussed more..

CEB General Manager retires

June 29 (Island) Senior Engineer, Nihal Wickramasuriya, the General Manager of the CEB retired yesterday, having reached the age of 60 years. He took over in June 2011 after tumultuous events resulted in the removal of then Chairman, Vice Chairman and Working Director of CEB, all appointees of former Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka. The Island learns that in keeping with CEB tradition, some engineers organized a farewell dinner in honour of the more..

National Mosquito Control Week - July 1 to 7

June 29 (DN) The National Mosquito Control Week will be held countrywide from July 1 to 7. It has been made compulsory for all state Ministries in the Presidential Task Force on Dengue Control to take part in the National Mosquito Control week. State institutions are required to clean their buildings and surroundings to make sure that no mosquito breeding sites are located inside their buildings, or surroundings. “In the past, some state institutions did not take part in mosquito control more..

Mandatory for drivers to carry eco certificate

June 29 (DM) The Motor Traffic Department said it was mandatory for vehicle drivers to carry the eco certificate which was a must for vehicle registration. According to the new law a driver should submit the eco certificate when officials inspect the vehicle for emission. However vehicles that fall into the categories of land vehicles (Tractors, land masters…etc.), vehicles that imported before 1975 and hybrid vehicles more..

15-year ban cut down to two years

June 29 (CT) The management of the Sri Jayewardenepura University has decided to shorten the earlier 15-year ban imposed on student leaders, to two years. The decision was taken after considering a report filed by a disciplinary committee, which conducted a special inquiry. Students have been informed the inquiry for the 30 Management and Arts students, who were also banned from attending lectures, will be conducted next week. The university authorities more..

Lankan navy rescues 4 stranded TN fishermen

June 29 (ENS) The Sri Lankan navy personnel have rescued four Tamil Nadu fishermen, who were stranded in mid sea near Thalaimannar, on Friday. Arulanantham, President to Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF) told that engine of a boat had developed a snag and it could not sail further. It was drifted into Lankan waters by strong winds. All the four inmates Paralogarajan, Wilson, Jackson and Paralogaraj, were stranded and could not return to the TN shore. more..

Banned chemicals imported under different brand names

June 29 (Island) Agro-Chemical use in Sri Lanka had increased dramatically posing a huge threat to the rice consumers in the country, Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI) warned. HARTI Research Associate, M.M.M Aheeyar said that though the Agriculture Ministry had recently banned the import of several chemicals, still they were flooding the local market under different brand names. more..

Amara Hewamadduma passes away

June 29 (Island) Former Govt Agent, literary figure and historian Amara Hewamadduma, passed away at the age of 73 after a brief illness at a private hospital in Colombo yesterday morning. An alumnus of Rahula College, Matara and the University of Peradeniya, Mr. Hewamadduma was a prolific writer. He authored dozens of books on various subjects and contributed columns to newspapers besides taking part in TV and radio programme. He also served as the Chairman of the CTB more..

'No compromise in DMK stand on Lanka'

June 29 (PTI) Rejecting the charge that his party had compromised on its stand in the Sri Lankan Tamils issue by joining hands with Congress for the Rajya Sabha elections, DMK President M Karunanidhi today said the support was unconditional and was confined to the specific polls. "DMK initially sought support (for its candidate Kanimozhi) from Left parties, then DMDK and MMK and Puthiya Tamizhagam and then from Congress. Talks were held with these parties without more..

Close shave for passengers of Sri Lankan Airline flight

June 29 (PTI) Passengers onboard a Sri Lankan Airline plane had a miraculous escape today when two tyres of the aircraft burst after landing at the IGI airport here. The incident took place at around 6.55 PM when Sri Lankan Airline flight (UL 195), with over 70 passengers and crew onboard from Colombo, landed after second attempt. The pilots had aborted their first attempt of landing due to turbulence caused by the more..

Softlogic’s automobile arm to set up Rs.200mn facility in Pelawatta

June 29 (DM) Softlogic Holdings PLC’s auto subsidiary Future Automobiles (Pvt) Ltd, sole distributor for Ford Motor Company in Sri Lanka, is to set up a Rs.200 million sales and service facility in Pelawatta, an official stated. “The new plant is a 3S facility where the sale, services and after sales services all will be carried out from one location and will offer the customers the best industry standards,” Future Automobiles Chief Operating Officer (COO), Sujeeva Premaratne said. more..

Minister Amunugama will attend ECOSOC

June 29 (GDI) Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama will leave for Geneva tomorrow to attend the Annual Ministerial Review of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) scheduled to be held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva from July 1 to 4. The theme of the conference is ‘Science, Technology and Innovation and the Potential of Culture for Promoting Sustainable Development and Achieving the Millennium Development Goals’. Dr. Amunugama will represent the govt at more..

Enoc defends the quality of its diesel after Sri Lanka blacklisting

June 29 (CT) Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc), the govt-owned company producing and selling Dubai's oil, has defended the quality of its diesel after being blacklisted by Sri Lanka over an alleged faulty shipment. The state-owned Ceypetco returned a 40,000 tonne cargo of diesel after the product failed to meet the contractually agreed specifications, Sri Lanka's oil minister said. It is the second time that more..

Man dies after being assaulted by a monk

June 29 (CT) Akmeemana Police today arrested a 26 year old bhikku residing at a Labuduwa, Galle based temple in connection with the murder of a 44 year old man. The victim, who succumbed to the injuries sustained by an assault allegedly carried out by the bhikku on 27 June, is a resident of Yakkalamulla. Following a verbal argument with the bhikku in question, he had been hit over the head by the bhikku, using a cricket bat. Following admittance to the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital, more..

Matale mass grave case postponed

June 29 (HN) The case regarding the Matale Mass Grave was heard in the presence of the new Matale Magistrate Sampath Gamage today. The case was heard in the presence of former Matale Magistrate Chathurika De Silva earlier. Following the hearing of the case the Matale Magistrate Sampath Gamage adjourned court proceedings till the 19th of July. The former Magistrate, upon hearing the case on the 31st of May issued orders to the Criminal Investigation Department that, since more..

Sri Lanka main Tamil party to snub select committee on 13A

June 29 (PTI) The main Tamil party in Sri Lanka, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), today said it will not take part in the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) proceedings to review the 13th amendment, saying it has been convened to strip provincial council of powers. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran, said his party has decided to skip the PSC proceedings, which is expected to get underway on July 9. more..

BASL launches official newspaper The Bar Reporter

June 29 (CT) Expressing commitment to the Rule of Law, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) launched its own official newspaper “The Bar Reporter” yesterday. The newspaper is published monthly by the Secretary, BASL on behalf of the BASL. It is printed by Leader Holdings (Pvt) Ltd, with media coordination by Independent Media Network (Pvt) Ltd. Very senior President’s Counsel N.R.M. Daluwatte attended the function at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo as Chief Guest. more..

'President Rajapaksa’s visit cements SL- Africa relations'

June 29 (GDI) President Rajapaksa’s visit to Tanzania has laid a solid foundation to further enhance cooperation in all sectors between Sri Lanka and the African Continent, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete said. President Kikwete made these comments yesterday (27) when he held bilateral discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is currently on a state visit to Tanzania. "President Rajapaksa’s determination and commitment to strengthen economic more..

'We want regional peace based on balance of power'

June 29 (NNI) Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani says the armies of Sri Lanka and Pakistan have enjoyed the highest degree of mutual trust and cooperation. He was addressing the passing out parade at Sri Lankan Military Academy on Saturday. Army chief said he is certain that this trust and collaboration would further strengthen in the times ahead. He said Pakistan Army would continue to support more..

NPC polls befuddles opportunists

June 30 (SO) Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya said last week that the elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) will most probably be held either on Sept 21 or 28. He said the Govt has allocated the funds to conduct the NPC elections. The Commissioner said that the Registration of Electors Act No 44 of 1980 was amended to provide an opportunity to those displaced due to terrorism to exercise their franchise. The duration to apply for more..

If thuggery is to be arrested…

June 30 (NS) Theft in institutions of whatever kind, if it takes on the character of ‘business as usual’, has implications. It implies that there may be in-built (unidentified or ignored) chinks that facilitate pilfering. It implies that the person in charge is either a thief or is incompetent. If the boss robs, it amounts to a thieving license for all subordinates. The logic can be applied to other acts not sanctioned by the relevant rules and regulations of a given institution or system. more..