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'No water tariff hike on the cards'

Mar 31 (Island) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena ruled out an immediate increase in water tariffs. With electricity charges also expected to climb steeply following the recent increase in fuel prices, there was mounting speculation of a corresponding upward revision in water tariffs as well. "Notwithstanding the increase in fuel prices, there is no immediate decision to push up water rates", he assured. He said that after a span of four years, water tariffs were increased about more..

'Ban BBS'

Mar 31 (SL) Minister Vasudeva Nanayakara is to submit a Cabinet paper seeking a ban on extremist groups, including the Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balaya and Sinhala Ravaya. He said that the Cabinet paper is being drafted and will be submitted in two weeks time. He said that the Cabinet paper will seek to bring in new laws to crack down on such groups in the wake of the recent religious tensions in the country. more..

'Security forces behind anti-TNA protest'

Mar 31 (NS) The TNA accused the security forces of backing anti-democratic elements in the North. A meeting held at TNA MP S. Sridharan’s office in Kilinochchi yesterday was disrupted by protestors who pelted stones at the premises. TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah, who was at the meeting along with other TNA members including three MPs, said that the group of protestors had marched up to the meeting place and had pelted stones while the Police and the security forces looked on. more..

Lanka offers US counter terror assistance

Mar 31 (SL) Sri Lanka is keen to offer the United States counter terrorism expertise and assistance as part of efforts to broaden ties between both countries. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US, Jaliya Wickramasuriya, was quoted in the Congress Blog as saying that Sri Lanka believes the US has an opportunity to participate in rebuilding the war battered country. “We have investment requirements ranging from education, clean energy and tourism to maritime security and defence more..

Shirani B. attends BASL Convocation; Mohan Pieris not invited

Mar 31 (ST) Chief Justice 43 Shirani Bandaranayke made her first public appearance yesterday after she was controversially impeached by Parliament and forced out of office. The occasion was the 39th sessions of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) at Navarangahala where Upul Jayasuriya was inducted as the new president. As she walked into the auditorium, she was introduced as the 43rd Chief justice of Sri Lanka and more..

Now Introducing: Kottuville, Sri Lanka's First Food Truck

Mar 31 (DT) The clatter of knives on hot iron is a sure indication that dinnertime has arrived, and kottu is what’s on the menu. Kottu is a Sri Lankan invention of chopped roti, spices, and fried vegetables, with optional add-ons of egg and meat. Eaten by most locals several times a week, the iconic dish now has wheels, thanks to a group of up-and-comers in Colombo who just launched Sri Lanka's first food truck. Kottuville co-owner and director Rukmankan Sivaloganathan calls more..

Bangladesh says LLRC Report implementation will ensure reconciliation

Mar 31 (Island) Continued efforts towards political settlement and implementation of the LRRC report will ensure Sri Lanka achieves reconciliation in the post war era, Bangladesh said. Bangladeshi High Commisioner, Sufiur Rahman addressing a reception hosted by him to celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the Independence and National Day of Bangladesh in Colombo said that his country had consistently supported Sri Lanka’s fight against terrorism and was happy that the conflict more..

Mishandling by Govt. puts vital issues in disarray

Mar 31 (ST) The National New Year is only two weeks away. For most Sri Lankans, the countdown for the season has already begun. Small time business outlets and larger outfits are recording a gradual increase in customers though shopping fever is still to reach peak levels. Yet, for the UPFA Govt, it is no holiday. Troubleshooting on many fronts remains high priority.This is notwithstanding the outcome of the second more..

India Cannot be Trusted

Mar 31 (DM) True, we lost the vote at Geneva but its no disgrace to a nation that eliminated terrorism comprehensively for which we are being punished by a section of the international community, orchestrated by a few, who wanted the terrorists to co-exist, enabling them to arrive at a settlement that was never in sight. Eliminating terrorism is a feat more acclaimed and rewarding than the setbacks at UNHCR. LTTE enslaved the Tamils including the TNA, which never had the freedom more..

Editorial : Easter crucified

Mar 31 (CT) Yet another Easter has dawned in Sri Lanka and people here are excellent at boasting and celebrating their various festivals, be it Vesak, Christmas or any other. By now, the messages of Easter from politicians, scripted by their Catholic wives or relatives would have been printed all over in the Press for public consumption and what can be ironic if not tragic about these messages is that, not a single word contained in these messages has been practised or, will ever be practised. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 31 (ST) With much fanfare, a group from the United States arrived in the first SriLankan Airlines commercial flight to land at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA). TV cameras focused on them whilst the Kandyan dancers who gyrated to the drumbeats were watched by thousands of Sri Lankans during the live coverage. The guests, including a few journalists, were on a ten-day free tour of Sri Lanka with more..

Gory details of torture

Mar 31 (CT) The report of Judicial Medical Officer (JMO), Dr. Ajith Jayasena, on the mass grave in Matale reveals in gory detail the extensive torture the hapless victims had been subjected to before their mass burial. “The skeletons bore extensive marks of torture. We have discovered a major crime scene,” said Dr. Jayasena. “Nails have been inserted into the fingers in some skeletons. In some others, nails have been more..

A tax haven for casinos?

Mar 31 (CT) As the govt is luring international casino moguls into the country, fresh concerns have been raised over the govt’s plans to exempt casinos from two major indirect taxes: Value Added Tax (VAT) and Nation Building Tax (NBT). The latest developments come in the wake of the speculation that Australian gaming magnate, James Packer, the owner of Crown Casino, is planning to set up a casino in Colombo. more..

GMOA to swoop down on quacks

Mar 31 (LB) The Govt Medical Officers Association (GMOA) says a special program will be launched island wide to raid and take stern action against illegal medical practitioners. The President of the GMOA Dr Anuruddha Padeniya said the program will be launched from Monday onwards and the relevant police and the medical units will be formed on Sunday. A doctor each will be appointed to each district to crack down more..

SLMC to issue ultimatum

Mar 31 (CG) The SLMC high command, which met last night and early this morning, has said that the future of the SLMC in the govt is at risk as the govt has failed to take appropriate action with regards to the threats faced by Muslims in recent times. SLMC leader and Minister Rauf Hakeem was among those who attended the party high command meeting, but at least five senior members were notably absent, more..

Offshore blocks for global oil-gas investors

Mar 31 (ST) The Govt will shortly offer offshore blocks of the Cauvery and Mannar basins to global oil and gas investors, President Rajapaksa has told the Cabinet. This is with Sri Lanka showcasing its second batch of offshore blocks at CERA Week, the global energy industry’s premier event in Houston, Texas, early this month. The Govt’s foray was notwithstanding its bitter criticism over the United States moving more..

Coca-Cola coats death with sugar!

Mar 31 (NS) A 500ml bottle of Coke you consume contains Carbohydrates equivalent to 14 teaspoons of sugar! The label on a 500ml bottle of Coke states that there is 11g of Carbohydrates per 100ml serving of the drink. This means 100ml of Coke has the equivalent of 11g of sugar. Extrapolating further, the 500ml bottle then contains the equivalent of (11g x 5) 55g of sugar.A teaspoon is generally measured to hold 4 – 4.2 g of sugar. more..

TNA to push for UN probe

Mar 31 (CG) The TNA says it will push for a UN mechanism to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. “Accountability is mostly important for Tamils. During and soon after the war hundreds of Tamils went missing. After the war many had surrendered to the army, but their whereabouts is not known now. The army had even screened those who had been trained by the LTTE and separated them from the others who more..

No lustre in new gold centre

Mar 31 (ST) The Government’s proposed exclusive gold centre at the former St. John’s wholesale fish market in Pettah has failed, for the second time, to attract the famous Sea Street jewellers. Informed sources said these jewellers have shown no interest in moving to the unique and sophisticated building being re-constructed by the army, and didn’t submit bids for lease space either. The main reason? Many own their shops, more..

BBS says it aims to create a moral society

Mar 31 (ST) The Bodu Bala Sena Organisation (BBSO) will set up youth corps to educate youth about the dangers of smoking, alcohol and drug abuse. Among other things, BBSO will hold monthly conferences in all districts to make Buddhists aware of the challenges they face and to advise them how to overcome these problems. The organisation’s next general conference is scheduled to be held today in Kelaniya. more..

Screwed generation and BBS fundamentalism

Mar 31 (CT) Fundamentalism is like a carefully selected reflection of the sky on the Diyawanna lake wall. The lake only shows what it wants you to see. Freedom of expression they say, saving the nation they say. The image moves, fades, and reforms in perpetuity along with especially elevated water waves triggered by unscrupulous sources of power. And you will continue to see what the lake wants you to see – the clear blue sky. Adjacent to Diyawanna Oya, the quadrangle of smooth green lawn more..

A book of excellence: Dayan’s long war, cold peace

Mar 31 (CT) Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has not stopped at merely hitting the nail on the head; he’s gone a lot deeper. The man has taken a Black and Decker and drilled the skull of the reader and carefully pushed in 498 pages of faction and action (shameful and laudable) that relate to our “Long War” of almost three decades. It is a timely publication too. The International Tambourine Men gathered in Geneva flaunting their lily white innocence in attempts to barbecue us. more..

Negombo vandals fail to destroy Rukmani’s image

Mar 31 (NS) Rukmani Devi, like any other queen to have walked the Lankan soil, lies beneath ‘ruins’ at the Negombo Public Cemetery today. Since her tomb was attacked by an unidentified group whose members were arrested and later released on bail subsequent to trial in 2011, thus far, the monument had not been restored—let alone visited by her friends or die-hard fans, who constantly appear on television singing praise more..

Sri Lanka power regulator cuts penalties on late payers

Mar 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's power regulator had directed state-run Ceylon Electricity Board to cut penalties on late payers and also halted penal interest accruing after disconnection. The regulator has also stopped penal interest from being charged after a subscriber has been disconnected for not settling the bill. The CEB has also been directed to come up with a plan to pay interest on customer security deposits held by the power firm. The power utility has agreed submit information on more..

CID probes online hate messages

Mar 31 (NS) The Cyber Crime Division of the CID has begun investigations into complaints that certain persons were inciting racial and religious hatred online. Police media spokesman SP Buddhika Siriwardena said that this was part of a larger investigation into the use of technology by certain elements to incite hatred between communities. Siriwardena said police were aware of an increasingly alarming number of hate messages being spread online, more..

Forest cover falling below 10%

Mar 31 (CT) Environmentalists have warned the National Physical Development Plan, which set out a number of mega development projects, if implemented would see the country’s forest cover dwindling to a mere 10% of the country’s landmass. “When we gained independence in 1948, our forest cover was around 46%, but it had dwindled to 18.5% by 1981. Currently, it is around 14.5% and if we more..

Govt. protests revised UK travel advisory

Mar 31 (CT) The Ministry of External Affairs and the Sri Lankan High Commission in London have objected to the revised UK Travel Advisory on Sri Lanka. A communiqué issued by the ministry said, it instructed the High Commission to immediately make representations to the UK Foreign Office, regarding the revised UK Travel Advisory on Sri Lanka issued just a few days ago. Particular concerns being expressed include: References in the crime section to violence against more..

Seven new inventions for the disabled

Mar 31 (NS) Society may categorize them as disabled, yet he or she is still human. Losing a limb due to one’s karma or a fatal accident can cause mental pressure that will limit one’s opportunities to be human. For instance, finding a job. Even day-to-day chores and tasks cannot be done without the help of others. Soldiers, who have the war to blame for their disabilities, will experience long-term effects. However, those who have lost limbs due to the war at a very young age should not more..

Tariff hike irks energy intensive industries

Mar 31 (NS) The proposed increase in electricity tariffs is likely to affect certain energy-intensive sectors the most with industries such as hospitality, construction and ceramic manufacturing industries likely to be affected the most, analysts said last week. With limited scope for alternative energy sources in the field concerned, Managing Director at Lanka Walltiles Plc, a premier ceramic manufacturing company in the island, more..

Consumer durables firm in rural push

Mar 31 (LBO) Dinapala group, a consumer durables distributor says electrification of rural areas is increasing the demand and the firm is also strengthening a network in former war torn areas. "This year we are going to expand in to another 10 branches, likewise we are targeting to open 10 branches in the next year as well," Dinapala said. "We are targeting at North and East too. We transport products for dealers in the area every day." The group already had 300 dealers in more..

BBS cleared, but monks led the mob – Police

Mar 31 (CT) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) was not behind the attack on the Muslim-owned clothing store, Fashion Bug, in Pepiliyana, according to preliminary police inquires, Police Spokesperson, SP Buddhika Siriwardena said. He, however, added investigations have revealed that several individual monks have incited a mob to attack the store. SP Siriwardana told Ceylon Today, six suspects who were arrested over the attack will be produced before the Nugegoda Magistrate today. more..

'Govt not responsible'

Mar 31 (CG) The govt is not responsible for the violent acts reported in recent times targeting a particular religion, SLFP General Secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said today. Speaking at a media briefing the Minister said that it is now a common practice to point fingers at the govt when an incident takes place. However he stressed that the govt is keen to maintain peace and promote co-existence among all communities. more..

CIC sets up research lab in Bangladesh

Mar 31 (ST) CIC Holdings’ tissue culture lab is setting up a satellite facility in Bangladesh to support the processing of certain plant species, specifically targeting the expansion into Australia in particular. The company, detailing its research facilities, said it is currently extending its reach to the region. In the statement, the company said it leverages its ‘significant prowess’ in research to successfully anticipate wants and needs which are constantly evolving, and to offer products and more..

Three Iranians arrested

Mar 31 (CG) Three Iranians were arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) with fake visas to travel to Malta. According to the police the Iran nationals were arrested by officers of the CID at the airport last evening. They were preparing to leave for London with the Malta visas on the passports when Sri Lankan airlines officers raised suspicion on their visas. They were handed over to the CID and it was later found that the visas for Malta were fake. more..

Train fares to cost more from tomorrow

Mar 31 (AD) The Railway Department said that intercity train and special compartment fares will be increased by 10% to 40% with effect from tomorrow. However, office and genral compartment fares will not be increased. Accordingly the price of a Colombo –Kandy Second Class ticket will be increased by Rs 60 while the First Class ticket will be increased by Rs 140. The new price of a Second Class ticket will be more..

Road Show Continues in Kiev, Ukraine

Mar 31 (GDI) On Saturday and Sunday, main promotional events were conducted at the shopping and entertainment center “Dream Town”. Shopping and entertainment center “Dream Town” is the place that meets all the criteria of shopping and entertainment. It has everything and more; many brand shops, where you can find everything from mobile phones to jewelry and fur coats, cafes, restaurants, bistros, pizzerias, it also is suitable for outdoor activities such as more..

Change in issuing authority for duty free vehicle permits

Mar 31 (ST) With effect from tomorrow Secretaries of Ministries and Chief Secretaries of Provincial Councils will be entrusted with the task of issuing vehicle permits to senior Government officials who are entitled to import motor vehicles on concessionary terms Ministry of Finance and Planning Secretary P.B.Jayasundera said. The task was previously entrusted to the Trade and Investment Policy Department that comes under the Ministry of Finance and Planning. more..

'Govt has its own mechanism to resolve internal matters'

Mar 31 (SO) US Assistant Secretary of State Robert O. Blake and others don’t have any right to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries said Minister Champika Ranawaka. Referring to a comment by Asst. Secretary Blake in a recent interview with the BBC Sinhala Service that the UNHRC resolution reaffirms that Sri Lanka had to take meaningful action on reconciliation and accountability, the Minister said the Govt has more..

20% of BoC’s entire loan book to CPC

Mar 31 (ST) The loss-making Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) represents 20% of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC)’s loan book (portfolio). According to Fitch Ratings, the BOC’s loan book has a high exposure to the state and state-owned entities (SOE) and while a sizeable portion of the exposure is state guaranteed, the resulting concentration risk is significant. The rating agency’s comments came in a statement announcing that it had affirmed BOC’s Long-Term (LT) Foreign Currency more..

Nation waits court ruling with bated breath

Mar 31 (NS) A Supreme Court last Thursday decided that the petition on pictorial warning on packets of cigarettes, filed by tobacco companies against the Ministry of Health, should be taken up by the original Bench, headed by the Chief Justice and postponed to tomorrow, April 1. Tobacco companies had filed the petition against the Health Ministry’s directive that pictorial warnings be displayed on 80 percent of the front and the back of all cigarette packets. more..