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Avurudu in Mannar a truly national celebration with Army, Police backing

Apr 20 (ST) Avurudu is all about celebrating hallowed traditions and new beginnings. For those rebuilding their lives in the former conflict areas, there is a sense of peace and prosperity reaching them slowly, but steadily. Mannar town, the bustling modern township is dominated by Hindu temples, mosques and churches, the population is made up of mainly Muslims and Hindus. The Sri Lanka Army, together with the Mannar police, organised Avurudu celebrations just like in more..

UNP MPs dismiss claims made by MR

Apr 20 (DM) UNP MP Ajith Perera today denied claims made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the group of visiting UNP MPs had ridiculed the development taking place in Hambantota as they left Port. The five MPs Eran Wickramaratne, Ajith Manapperuma, Ajith P.Perera, R. Yogarajan, Nalin Bandara Jayamaha and UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya expressed their views about the attack in Hambantota. The MP said the President had expressed the view that more..

Political parties gear for May Day rallies

Apr 20 (Island) Mainstream political parties are busy making preparations to express their solidarity with the working class at this year’s May Day rally, which would be a prelude to the Uva PC elections, political sources said. President Rajapaksa, as the leader of the SLFP, the main constituent of the UPFA govt, will to preside at the May Day rally in Colombo. The processions of the constituent parties are scheduled to meet more..

Sri Lankan teens square series

Apr 20 (ST) Sri Lanka Under-17s squared the three-match One Day series with a comprehensive 52-run win against the visiting England Under-17s in the second match played at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday. Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat but was able to only muster 179 in a game which was curtailed to 43 overs per-side due to overnight rain. England in reply were troubled by the spin squad spearheaded by Thilan Nimesh and were bowled out for 127 runs more..

Western PC inaugural session on April 22

Apr 20 (NS) First session of the newly elected Western Provincial Council will be held on April 22, at 9.30am. All elected and appointed 104 council members are due to participate at the inaugural session. Western Provincial Council Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunge said that the agenda has no many items for the first session, but the appointment of the Chairman and Vice Chairman will take place. The election for the Western Province was held on March 29, 2014. more..

BBS CEO claims life under threat

Apr 20 (CT) CEO of the BBS has claimed that his life is under threat. In a letter addressed to President Rajapaksa, BBS CEO Dilantha Withanage, has asserted that the President as well as the incumbent govt, should take the responsibility should his life end abruptly at the hands of anti-govt conspirators. In his letter, dated 18 April, Dr. Withanage informed the President that he had received several direct as well as more..

Road terror: 94 killed in nine days

Apr 20 (ST) At least 94 people were killed and 150 seriously hurt in road traffic accidents during the past nine days and police attributed most of the tragedies to reckless and drunken driving. In addition, another 243 people suffered minor injuries and were discharged from hospitals after treatment. 1,631 motorists were also booked for drunken driving during this same period and the bulk of them were motorcyclists numbering 900 followed by three-wheeler operators numbering 563. more..

Civil Aviation bosses may fly away to Dubai

Apr 20 (ST) Civil Aviation Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri and his deputy, Senior Director Parakrama Dissanayake have both applied for the same job abroad — as advisor to their counterpart in the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority. Both officials were not contactable throughout the day yesterday. Several messages left for them remained unanswered. However, Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne claimed he knew nothing of their applications for the foreign post, more..

Huge tax on sale of duty-free permits

Apr 20 (ST) A 10% tax will have to be paid when vehicles bought on duty-free permits are transferred, the Govt has decided. The move would mean persons transferring a vehicle bought from a duty free permit holder would have to pay about Rs. 500,000 in addition to other taxes. According to a new circular, if the vehicle transfer is done within five years of its import using the duty free permit, the buyer will need to pay the tax more..

SLTB grosses highest ever income during festive season

Apr 20 (DM) SL Transport Board (SLTB) said it had earned an income of about Rs. 450 million within a week starting from April 7 when the special bus service was launched to facilitate commuter travel during the New Year season. SLTB Chief Operations Superintendent H.M. Chandrasiri said that it recorded an income of Rs. 82 million on April 12 which was the highest ever income earned within a day in the SLTB history. “During a normal day the SLTB earns only about Rs. 57 million. more..

Complaints against Devananda, Karuna and Pillaiyan

Apr 20 (CT) Presidential Commission to Investigate Disappearances, stated that it has received several complaints against a minister, a deputy minister and a former provincial chief minister representing the UPFA Govt. According to the Commission, allegations of abductions and enforced disappearances have been filed against Minister Douglas Devananda, Deputy Minister V Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman and former Eastern Province CM, S Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan. more..

Sri Lanka port profit, revenues down despite higher volumes

Apr 20 (LBO) Operating profits at Sri Lanka's Ports Authority fell 53.4% to 2.4 billion rupees in 2013 with revenues also down 2.3% to 37.2 billion rupees, despite an increase in container volumes at Colombo. Expenditure had increased 5.8% to 34.8 billion rupees. Containers handled in Colombo rose 2.8% to 4.306 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2012. Transshipment containers also rose 3.4% to 3.274 million. more..

Minister & Ministry not capable of comprehending crises in health sector

Apr 20 (LT) Govt or the Ministry of Health has no plan to find solutions for the crises that trouble the health sector in the country says the General Secretary of All Ceylon Health Services Union Gamini Kumarasinghe. Speaking regarding the statement made by the Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena that the crisis in the health sector is due to conflicts between trade unions in the sector, Mr. Kumarasinghe says it is not the trade unions that are responsible for more..

Festival free of foul food: Over 700 traders in soup

Apr 20 (ST) Four days of raids aimed at cracking down on traders selling contaminated, adulterated and outdated food items unsuitable for human consumption have resulted in legal action against 704 of them during the festive season. “The number of arrests has increased from 387 last year to 704 this year. This has been following raids targeting 158 towns throughout the country,” said Public Health Inspectors’(PHIs) Union Secretary Senerath Bandara. Among those arrested were more..

Uni. promotion schemes to be on par with global standards

Apr 20 (ST) In a move to bring academic promotion schemes on par with international standards, the UGC has issued a fresh promotion scheme for professorial positions. The circular states that all applicants for the position of Associate Professor, Professor or Senior Professor should possess a PhD/Doctoral Degree. FUTA also welcomed the circular, saying it would uplift the standards of the local academic community. more..

The Lesson Of Easter

Apr 21 (SL) The conflict in this world is one between fear and love. The crucifixion and the resurrection properly speaking are symbolic of man and God. In this way, the crucifixion re-enacts the separation from God while the resurrection restores oneness with Him. Therefore, the redemptive power of the crucifixion lies solely in the resurrection. The consequence of the separation is death while true enlightenment, or forgiveness, undoes this in every sense. more..

Super fighter heralds a change

Apr 21 (SL) THE ongoing talent search jointly undertaken by the ABA and popular television station, Sirasa, is an admirable contribution to the development of boxing in Sri Lanka. On surface, though, it appears as if the ABA has picked out one from its many junior development programs, gave it the exciting name of Super Fighter and puts it before television cameras. There can’t however be a more mistaken notion of thenew venture. What sets Super Fighter apart from other development more..

'Developing agriculture: Gateway to economic prosperity in the North'

Apr 21 (SO) With the establishment of permanent peace, civil administration and the political set up and the infrastructure in the Northern province, once a vital economic nerve centre in the country, is now finding its ways to resuscitate its past economic glory. Sectors such as fisheries, tourism, industries, agriculture are slowly improving in the Northern province in its effort to shape up its economy into its previous glory and to more..

Presidential poll to soon follow Uva PC election due this year

Apr 21 (CT) While the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and a number of Ministers were holidaying in cool climes last week, President Rajapaksa was on his customary annual visit to his home town Tangalle with a view to observing the traditional New Year rites with the usual fervour. Although the Avurudda fell on the week-end - 13 and 14 April - the President made it a point to arrive at his Carlton residence at Tangalle on 9 April itself, to ensure that his agenda for the Avurudda, more..

JVP reaps dividends from leadership change

Apr 21 (CT) It's now three weeks since the PC elections for the Western and Southern Provinces were held. However, public discussion about the results is still on. According to the governing party, it has recorded a historic victory. Nevertheless, the opposition says that the results have marked the beginning of the end of the UPFA. Both parties interpret the same election results. Hence, one party must be wrong. Let us therefore make an attempt to understand the election results. more..

'UNP supporters were also among protesters'

Apr 21 (CT) Mayor of Hambantota, Eraj Fernando (UPFA), denied allegations that he was behind last week's attack on five UNP MPs in Hambantota and said, in fact, it was he who protected them from assault. Following are excerpts of the interview. Q: Reports claim that it was the Mayor of Hambantota, who led a group that attacked the UNP MPs. What is your response to this allegation? A: I deny the charge. I was bathing in the sea on more..

BBS and the doctrine of Taqiyah

Apr 21 (CT) Unfortunately Bodu Bala Sena failed to learn Islamic teachings and it’s principles from the authentic sources of Islam. Bodu Bala Sena chooses to pick up distorted forms of Islamic teaching from sheikh Google and it’s cohorts of on lines teachers: BBS tried to make a fuss of Halal logo in Sri Lanka and yet, people came to know that BBS is dancing to the tunes of some political thugs in Sri Lanka. Today Singhalese people are cleverer than these idiot monks and political thugs and more..

Now they are on Muslims!

Apr 21 (CT) The recent mobilization by the Sinhala extremists against the Muslims of Sri Lanka renews the fears among Muslims. One of such mobilization is the poster campaign prior to the new year. Poster urges Sinhala-Buddhists to buy things ONLY from the Sinhala-Buddhist owned shops to celebrate Sinhala New Year. Poster is claimed by “We Sinhalese” previously an unknown Sinhala nationalist group. There are two key elements in Muslim identity and mobilization in Sri Lanka. more..

'LLRC a failure, LTTE not regrouping'

Apr 21 (CT) On the invitation of the South African Govt, a four-member TNA delegation led by R. Sampanthan visited the country recently. South African President, Jacob Zuma, has appointed African National Congress (ANC) Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, as a special envoy to deal with the Sri Lankan issue. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, who was part of the TNA delegation, along with his colleagues more..

Toy soldiers and a boorish political culture

Apr 21 (ST) The sheer buffoonery and boorishness reigning predominant in Southern Sri Lanka’s political culture was well demonstrated during the New Year by two incidents exposing a rotten and corrupted political reality despite post-war development and the beautification of roads and cities. Last week’s column dwelt on the first of these incidents when BBS monks stormed a press conference being held by its critic, the Mahiyangana monk, Ven. Watarekke Vijitha Thera and more..

Economic growth amidst serious apprehensions

Apr 21 (ST) The economic performance of 2013, as revealed by the Central Bank Annual Report, was for the most part a positive one. However, somewhat concealed were serious concerns in public finances and debt that threaten economic stability and growth. The economy revived from its dip in 2012 to register a growth of 7.3%, one percentage point higher than of the previous year. There was growth in all sectors of the economy, though the growth in agriculture was lower than in 2012. more..

'If not for the media, we would have returned in hearses'

Apr 21 (CT) Five MPs of the UNP, who were on a study tour of the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) and the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port (MMRP) came under attack last week. The MPs were Eran Wickremeratne, Nalin Bandara, Ajith Mannapperuma, Ajith P. Perera and R. Yogaraja. They were attacked with stones and rotten eggs. CT interviewed Perera concerning this attack. more..

Anti-Muslim rhetoric fuels disharmony

Apr 21 (NS) As the government was taking stock of the fallout of the resolution against Sri Lanka passed recently at the UNHRC, there was more ammunition coming the way of Sri Lanka’s detractors’ intent on tarnishing the country’s image. It came in the form of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) storming a press briefing called by another organization, the lesser known Jathika Bala Sena (JBS) headed by Watareka Vijitha thera who is a ruling UPFA member of the Mahiyanganaya Pradeshiya Sabha. more..

Editorial: Thugs and toys

Apr 21 (Island) The Constitution tells us that only the Executive President enjoys legal immunity in this country. But, in reality, all ruling party politicians are above the law. The police act against them only when they become too embarrassing to their political masters and threaten the interests of the government in power. The powers that be defend them to the hilt when they get into hot water by unleashing violence while doing ‘political work’ for the party. more..

Crocodile rocks households bordering canals, waterways

Apr 21 (ST) A five-foot marsh crocodile that entered a garden in Batticaloa on Monday night was captured by the residents, the latest in a series of crocodile incursions into human habitations. The crocodile was taken away the next morning by Ampara Wildlife Dept officials, who released it into the Kalmunai lagoon. The Dept has now initiated a survey to determine just how many crocodiles there are countrywide. more..

Discovery of gas in Sri Lanka: Opportunity to shift from polluting coal power

Apr 21 (Island) Discovery of gas in Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajaaksa has announced in Kandy during his recent visit there that "an exploration team has discovered a huge deposit of natural gas in the sea bed", as reported in the website of the Ministry of Economic Development. This is indeed good news to all those concerned about protecting our environment (This news was surprisingly not picked up by any news media). This will also relieve the country of the heavy more..

Tokyo Power opens new Biomass Plant in Mahiyanganaya

Apr 21 (ST) The Tokyo Cement Group recently opened its second Biomass power plant to supply the largely rural region of Mahiyanganaya with 5MW of energy. This Rs. 2.4 billion plant by Tokyo Power, the energy arm of the nation’s leading cement and concrete manufacturer, Tokyo Cement Group, is an initiative to build on its expertise in sustainable biomass power. “Tokyo Power launched the Mahiyanganaya plant after successfully pioneering the first plant of its kind in Sri Lanka more..

Sri Lankan biz to soon gain greater access to US govt financing

Apr 21 (FT) SL businesses will soon have greater access to Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) funding, with the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AMCHAM) selecting a leading local bank to carry out the due diligence process of proposed projects. The selection of the bank was after four months of intense search of an ideal partner to carry out the processes of due diligence and Know more..

LTTE ‘treasurer’ arrested

Apr 21 (Island) Following a special investigation conducted by police a businessman from Vavuniya was taken into custody yesterday for receiving money from LTTE groups operating overseas. The police have sealed a sports club owned by the suspect in the North. The police traced the numbers recorded on his mobile phone to residents in Canada, India and several other countries. They were either members of the Tamil disapora or LTTE activists. The suspect had worked very hard more..

Fresh call for closer Indo-Lanka ties

Apr 21 (Island) Exemplary Indo-Sri Lankan ties would redound to the political and economic benefit of both countries as well as the region as a whole. A peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka, enjoying close ties with India, would be a factor of strength for India. Equally, friendly relations with India are a crucial determinant of Sri Lanka’s future development prospects, given its proximity, large and growing market, technology and human resources, Vivekananda International more..

Sanath cries foul as Farbrace is tipped to jump camp

Apr 21 (ST) Sri Lanka’s National Coach Paul Farbrace was strongly tipped to be named into the England coaching team yesterday. If so Farbrace will become new England coach Peter Moores’ second-in-command. Moores’ appointment was confirmed by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). But any news relating to Farbrace’s appointment did not surface from the ECB camp. Moore was named by the ECB to replace more..

Oxonian Heart Foundation launches public awareness, fund raiser campaign

Apr 21 (FT) The Oxonian Heart Foundation (OHF) a charity organisation registered both in the UK and Sri Lanka launched a public awareness cum fund raiser campaign in Jaffna during the Sinhala and Hindu New Year period to begin cardiac care (heart surgery) in the North of Sri Lanka. A leading private hospital in the peninsula, Northern Central Hospital has offered an ICU and space for surgical operations. The OHF aims to provide free cardiac care for deserving people of the North more..

Central Bank see 'major role' for private equity financing

Apr 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs private equity to play a bigger role in financing business which will help them grow faster with less leverage and become world beating firms, the Central Bank said. The central bank said it its recently released annual report that "it is imperative to strengthen the role of private equity as a major source of financing for Sri Lankan enterprises." "The central bank is very keen that private equity funds come and operate in Sri Lanka," Governor Nivard Cabraal said. more..

Sonia ‘shedding crocodile tears’ for TN fishermen: Jayalalithaa

Apr 21 (PTI) Launching a blistering attack on Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the first time during the current electioneering, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday charged her with shedding crocodile tears for TN fishermen on poll eve. “Sonia Gandhi is shedding crocodile tears for fishermen during elections after doing everything against Tamil fishermen and in favour of the Sri Lankan govt,” Ms. Jayalalithaa said more..

JVP condemns attack on UNP MPs

Apr 21 (CT) The JVP yesterday condemned the attack on a group of UNP parliamentarians, who were on a fact finding tour in Hambantota. JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath claimed the attack was not carried out by the masses, but by Madamulana thugs. "Parliamentarians are people's representatives. Therefore, any attack against parliamentarians is an attack against the public. This incident is a clear example of the jungle law prevailing in the country," he said. more..