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Higher Ed. Minister seeks SLMA nod for revised gazette for private degrees

Apr 1 (ST) The Higher Education Ministry has sought the observations of the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) before submitting to the Legal Draftsman’s Dept, revisions to the controversial gazette notification allowing private institutions to award Degrees without proper safeguards. The proposed gazette would make it compulsory for such private Degree-awarding institutions to seek compliance certification more..

GMOA accuses Health bigwig of involvement in nurses’ TU action

Apr 1 (Island) The GMOA alleged that Health Ministry Additional Secretary Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, who was also the Western Province Health Director, had been trying to secure the Health Secretary’s post with the help of the Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) President Ven. Muruttettuwe Ananda thera. Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva was also behind the recent nurses’ refusal to assist the doctors, the GMOA alleged. more..

Daring bank heist by robbers wearing full face helmets

Apr 1 (Island) Failure on the part of the police to implement a ban on full-face helmets imposed in 1991 through a gazette notification has led to a series of hold ups by criminals wearing them, with the latest being staged at a private bank at Liyanagemulla, Seeduwa on the Colombo-Katunayake main road in the early hours of yesterday. Four suspects armed with a knife and a pistol, wearing full-face helmets, had entered more..

Colombo eateries still cook with polluted well water

Apr 1 (CT) Hotels, restaurants and eateries, both big and small, in Colombo, continue to utilize polluted tube well water despite being forbidden to do so by the Colombo Municipal Council. Tube well water, primarily used in food preparation, causes the food to go bad quickly and also infects the food handlers and consumers with germs. "This started a while back with tube well water being used by hotels and restaurants. more..

Laxapana goes belly up

Apr 1 (CT) Electricity power generation at the Laxapana Hydro Power Plant has been stopped due to a gigantic leak in the tunnel system. The leak has been due to long-term professional negligence and it will cost a whopping Rs 110 million to fix, the CEB said. "For over seven to eight years, there has been a leak in the Laxapana Hydro Power Plant tunnel system stretching from Canyon Hydro Power Plant more..

MOD confirms GTF, TGTE, BTF ban

Apr 1 (CG) The Ministry of Defence (MOD) today confirmed that the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), the British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) are among 16 groups operating overseas banned by the Govt in a new Gazette notification which has now been issued. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said that under the ban legal action will be taken against anyone having links with those groups. more..

Second round of fishermen talks may be after Lok Sabha polls

Apr 1 (Hindu) Even as fishermen of Northern Sri Lanka are concerned over delay in holding the second round of talks with their Tamil Nadu counterparts, fisher-folk here see merit in the State govt’s stand that the next round of talks be held only after the release of all the fishermen and their boats by the Island govt. State govt’s position “is in line” with the widespread feelings among the fisher-folk here, said Chitravelu of Nambiyar Nagar more..

Sri Lanka's state banks hit by Rs20bn credit loss; gold loans slashed

Apr 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka's two largest state banks have taken a 20 billion rupee hit on credit losses in 2013 and had slashed their troubled gold-backed loan portfolios as the precious metal's price slumped, interim accounts show. State-run People's Bank set aside 11.7 billion rupees as general provisions in 2013 up from 3.2 billion rupees a year earlier. With specific provisions of 1.9 billion rupees, total provisions rose to 13.7 billion rupees, more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.5%

Apr 1 (LBO) Stocks close up crossing the 6,000 mark Tuesday with diversified and tobacco stocks gaining amid net foreign buying on the board. All Share Price Index closed 33.52 points higher at 6,001.83 up 0.56%. The S&P SL20 closed 19.98 points higher at 3,299.90, up 0.61%. Turnover was 341.54 million rupees, down from 464.39 million rupees a day earlier with 92 stocks close positive against 66 negative. Oil palm firm Shalimar closed 150 rupees higher at 1,400 rupees more..

Democracy should be affordable for all

Apr 1 (CT) Democracy is meant to be egalitarian, but, it has become increasingly costly. Staggered elections held during the past 10 years have cost a whooping Rs 7 billion. PC elections in the Northern, North Western and the Central Provinces had a Rs 1.5 billion price tag. The latest polls in the Southern and Western Provinces also blew away a cool one billion rupees. Those are the standard expenses incurred by the Department of Elections and other govt agencies. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Wigneswaran’s ‘two nations’ & the State’s two blunders

Apr 1 (CT) Chief Minister Wigneswaran has just made, or made explicit, a basic political claim which escalates the political conflict and places or retains Sri Lankan Tamil politics on a road to a dead end. Meanwhile, the state authorities have made two wrong moves in recent weeks, both of which stem from a single error, and will have negative repercussions for some years to come. The Sri Lankan authorities have cracked down on what it claims is a plot to revive LTTE activity. more..

Editorial: Message from Sri Lankan polls

Apr 1 (Hindu) Elections to the Western and Southern PCs, home to a third of the country’s voters, was expected to be a walkover for Mahinda Rajapakasa-led UPFA. After all, the govt had fought bravely against ‘foreign conspirators’ at the 25th session of the UNHRC in Geneva barely days ahead of the well-timed polling. In fact, much of the election campaign made it appear as if Sri Lanka was under siege and no one other than President Rajapaksa’s UPFA was capable of saving the nation. more..

'We have not attacked any religious place'

Apr 1 (DM) Q: How did you begin your political activities? A: We took part in politics actively in the year 2000 through the Sihala Urumaya and the National Sangha Council. Q: However, you have become active through the JHU? A: That is through the Sihala Urumaya. Before that we worked for the National Sangha Council in 2004. JHU was born from National Sangha Council. At the beginning, we did sufficient work. more..

Nurses cripple 50 hospitals

Apr 1 (Island) Govt Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) yesterday staged a six-hour protest in about 50 hospitals including several teaching and base hospitals around the country against an alleged delay on the part of the Health Secretary in approving midwifery training for nurses. Hospitals sources at Jaffna, Karapitiya, Ragama, Peradeniya and Kandy teaching hospitals and Negombo, Nawalapitiya and Homagama Base Hospitals said that emergency cases had been attended to more..

Order to remain over Rajiv’s killers

Apr 1 (CG) The Indian Supreme Court today stood by its decision to spare three Rajiv Gandhi assassins from execution and rejected the Centre’s petition challenging it. The review petition was not heard in open court but was decided in the chamber of judges. On February 18, the Supreme Court said the three men, Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, would not hang but will serve life terms because of an unusual delay in a decision on their mercy petitions. more..

Video: BBS flays Govt. on Wilpattu housing project

Apr 1 (DM) Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) lashed out at President Rajapaksa and govt officials for keeping mum about a large scale housing complex being constructed in the middle of the Wilpattu National Park. It said there was evidence to prove that some unscrupulous elements in the govt were backing this illegal project which was bound to destroy a national treasure and that the BBS would take the matter to courts shortly. more..

Sri Lankan rupee steady for 5th straight session amid importer dollar demand

Apr 1 (Reuters) Rupee ended steady on Tuesday for a fifth straight session despite importer dollar demand, as banks were reluctant to trade the local currency beyond 130.70 per dollar due to moral suasion by the central bank. However, dealers said the currency is likely to gain due to expected inflows from remittances in early April. Spot rupee ended steady for the fifth straight session at 130.70/75 per dollar. The rupee forwards were weaker at 130.73/76 per dollar, compared with more..

Registrars allowances increased at long last

Apr 1 (Island) Govt has redressed long standing grievances of around 1,500 Registrars in the country by increasing allowances paid to them for their duties such as registration of births, deaths and marriages. Registrar General (RG) E.M. Gunasekera, contacted for comment, said that on a request made by Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne the Treasury had approved the increase in allowances paid to registrars. Stationery allowance of Rs. 125 per month had been increased to more..

Dilshan fined for showing dissent

Apr 1 (AFP) Tillakaratne Dilshan has been fined 20% of his match fee for breaching the players' code of conduct during the game against New Zealand in Chittagong, the ICC said on Monday. Dilshan was found to have shown dissent at an umpire's decision during his team's 59-run win over New Zealand in the Group one match which lifted Sri Lanka into the semi-finals. "The incident happened in the fourth over, when Dilshan rubbed more..

Consumers forced to pay more for rice

Apr 1 (Island) Prices of all varieties of rice have gone up following a recent increase in the guaranteed prices paid to paddy farmers. The cheapest variety Rathu Kekulu which was Rs. 45 per kg is now priced at Rs. 60 at Lanka Sathosa outlets, while Rosa Kekulu which was selling at Rs. 48 per kg. is not freely available. Sudu Kekulu price has increased to Rs. 63 per kg from Rs. 48; Samba from Rs. 65 to Rs. 75; Nadu from Rs. 55 to Rs. 68; Keeri Samba from Rs. 112 to Rs. 132 and more..

Police looking for six open prison escapees

Apr 1 (Island) A countrywide alert had been raised to spread the net to apprehend six offenders who broke out of the Open Prison Camp at Watareka, Meegoda at dawn on Sunday, Prison sources said. The Commissioner General of Prisons had dispatched a Commissioner of Prisons to Watareka to submit an interim report on the escape. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the police were on the look out for had cut the perimeter wire fence to escape around 5.30 a.m. on Sunday. more..

Video: LPBOA up against Kodikara

Apr 1 (DM) Bus owners alleged today that the former WPC Transport Minister Upali Kodikara had violated election laws at the PC Elections and said that it would urge the Elections Commissioner to revoke Mr. Kodikara’s membership in the Provincial Council. “Mr. Kodikara had worn a dress displaying his election number when he went to cast the vote, which is a violation of election laws,” LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne charged. more..

Delay in talks worries SL fishermen

Apr 1 (Hindu) TN fishermen have been rejoicing ever since President Rajapaksa ordered the release of all Indian fishermen and trawlers in SL custody, but fishermen of northern Sri Lanka remain rather concerned over the delay in holding the second round of discussions between fishermen of both countries. “SL govt released the Indian fishermen after India abstained at Geneva. Both govts have reconciled, the TN fishermen are also happy, but our future alone remains a big question mark,” more..

Alleged robbery mastermind wins with 29,291 votes

Apr 1 (Island) UNP Gampaha District candidate Royce Fernando who allegedly masterminded the armed robbery of a currency exchange pawning establishment in Negombo on Feb 17, has been placed 6th, polling 29,291 preferential votes. He was taken into custody by the CID following information received from two suspects involved in the robbery taken into custody earlier. Fernando has allegedly planned the robbery in the run up to the PC election to finance his campaign. more..

Sri Lanka's lower inflation, narrowing budget deficit to boost growth: ADB

Apr 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka's current relatively low inflation and a narrowing budget deficit will boost investment and growth helped by recovering exports and domestic demand, Asian Development Bank said. Last year Sri Lanka GDP was estimated to have grown by 7.3% in the middle of recovering from a balance of payments crisis triggered by a credit bubble. ADB's senior country economist Tadateru Hayashi said more..

Singapore Foreign Minister to visit Sri Lanka

Apr 1 (CNA) Minister for Foreign Affairs and Law K Shanmugam will visit Sri Lanka from April 2-5. He will call on President Rajapaksa in Colombo, and meet with the Minister G L Peiris. On April 3, Mr Shanmugam will sign the revised Singapore-Sri Lanka Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement with Professor Peiris. Mr Shanmugam will also witness the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Singapore's Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) and more..

Two Japanese Naval vessels in Colombo

Apr 1 (SLN) Two Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) ships, "Inazuma - 105" and "Umigiri - 158", arrived at the Port of Colombo on a goodwill and logistic visit today. The ships are en route for counter piracy operation off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. They were welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on arrival. Commander, Escort Division Eight Captain Koji Tachikawa and ships’ Commanding Officers paid a courtesy call on Commander more..

Multinational military planning workshop in Colombo

Apr 1 (MoD) Multinational Planning Augmentation Team (MPAT) 'Tempest Express - 24' Staff Planning Workshop co-hosted by the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in liaison with the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and the US Pacific Command in liaison with the US Department of Defence was inaugurated today morning at the Galadari Hotel. CDS General Jagath Jayasuriya graced more..

Sri Lankan Navy attacks eight fishermen off Dhanushkodi coast

Apr 1 (PTI) Sri Lankan Navy, who on Saturday surprised Indian fishermen trawling near Katchatheevu by offering them soft drinks and sweets, attacked 8 fishermen in the Indian territory off Dhanushkodi coast early on Tuesday. 4 fishermen suffered severe injuries on the head, hand and shoulder while others sustained internal injuries. All of them were admitted to hospital, the sources said. Two boats and 10 fishing nets were damaged in the attack with bottles, stones and sticks. more..

UNHRC Resolution: 'Still not late to defuse it'

Apr 1 (Island) UNP called on President Rajapaksa to stop the rhetoric aimed at impressing Sri Lankan’s and view last weeks UNHRC resolution calling for an international probe into serious human rights violations by the security forces and the LTTE, during the period covered by the LLRC in all seriousness. Senior UNP’er Gamini Jayawickrema Perera MP, said that the President should engage the global community even at this late stage, with a view to resolving the most serious crisis more..

SL seeks divine help to avoid power cuts

Apr 1 (AFP) Sri Lanka's energy minister offered flowers and lit thousands of oil lamps as she prayed for rains to replenish drought-hit reservoirs which are used for hydro-power plants. Minister Pavithra Waniarachchi illuminated the sacred temple town of Anuradhapura with 4,000 coconut oil lamps seeking divine help to end the drought and offered alms to local monks on Monday. She also offered a pot of water more..

No strings attached

Apr 2 (NS) Seeya had died in 1986. Never seen or heard him except in those old black and white photographs. It’s been 29 years since his death. Recently we had a dane (alms giving) to bless him with pin; to wish him a better after-life. Perhaps it is a common practice among Sri Lankan Buddhists. All my uncles, aunties and family friends got together. I was a part of it too. I went. I saw .I heard. I learnt. I was humbled. Once the dane was offered and received by the Maha Sanga, more..

Morbidly fascinated

Apr 2 (NS) The fascination with death is said to extend far back into human history and throughout time, people have been obsessed with death and all things related to death and afterlife. So, perhaps it was a sign that out of the various attractions in Kandy, we would choose to go see a prison, famous for hangings. Yes, a sign that humans still have a morbid fascination with death. Attending funerals, I always find myself walking along the paths reading out tomb stones and catch myself thinking, more..

Shanty dwellers to own houses

Apr 2 (SO) Dematagoda line of shanties is a view that a traveller on the main line of the SL railway would never miss. Unhygienic conditions, unbelievable stench that emanates after the rains are part of life of those who among these temporary habitats. Survey done three years ago on these under served communities by UDA showed that total number of such settlements counted up to 1,499 consisting of 68,762 houses. more..

Governance crisis and 3rd US resolution

Apr 2 (CT) At the time of writing this column, the election results of the Western and Southern Provincial Council polls have just started flowing in. The final outcome of the elections is not a hard prediction. The govt will certainly continue to enjoy its winning streak amidst a weak and a debunk Opposition, and the outcome will reenergize the war winning trump card with a new phase. So the latter speaks for the unfortunate reality of our governance crisis in this country. more..

UNHRC resolution and possible choices

Apr 2 (CT) The resolution (A/HRC/25/23), on Sri Lanka was passed at the 25th session of UNHRC on 27 March, after taking note that Govt of Sri Lanka under the leadership of President Rajapaksa has failed to implement previous two resolutions at: 19th session (A/HRC/19/L.2) and 22nd session (A/HRC/22/L.1/Rev.1) which were passed with absolute majority. Sri Lanka’s failure to positively respond to UNHRC resolutions which called Sri Lanka to implement their own LLRC more..

Fine line between midwifery and nursing

Apr 2 (NS) Midwifery has its own origins in social welfare and public health. However it has not branched into a specialist field of nursing. The profession of Midwifery has been in existence since 1880s. Midwives are the specialists of childbirth, postpartum and women’s health care and it is a well respected profession in many communities. Midwives are doing a commendable service especially in rural areas. more..

Successful resolution and sabotage by Tamil stooges!

Apr 2 (CT) With so many discussions, obstacles, sabotages and hidden agendas, the resolution on Sri Lanka in the 25th session of the UNHRC has finally gone though. Two days before the vote, as I predicted in an interview to one of the media, the final result was for the resolution ‘Yes’ 23; against the resolution ‘No’ 12; neither ‘yes nor no’, abstentions – 12. In general, during the run-up to the voting, the observations made were that the resolution would go through. more..

Inconvenient truths and electoral lessons learnt

Apr 2 (CT) Having braced itself for a stinging defeat in Geneva on 28 March when a US-sponsored resolution knuckle-rapped the administration for its human rights record and called for an international investigation into alleged rights abuses, Saturday's poll to elect members to the Western and Southern Provinces was to be the respite, the pat on the govt's back, appeasement for Geneva-generated hurt. The electoral result was a foregone conclusion: The UPFA was poised to win more..