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Bangladeshis using Sri Lanka as transit hub to Europe

Apr 22 (DM) 41 Bangladeshis were arrested from Fort and Maradana areas by the Immigration and Emigration Department on allegations that they were part of a large scale human smuggling racket. They were reported to have arrived in Sri Lanka and had attempted to stamp their passports with forged Libyan Visas, Intelligence and Investigating Unit Chief Amith Perera said. He said the Department believed that the suspects were involved in a racket which provided safe passage to Europe. more..

Khuram murder: Police distorted statement, says Manageress

Apr 22 (DM) In a startling revelation one of the main witnesses in the murder of British aid worker Khuram Shaikh, the Hotel Manageress said that the Tangalle Police had distorted what she had said in her First Information Report to the Police on Dec 24, 2011. Manageress Tharanga Peries said today in court that the Police had both added and subtracted in their recording what she had said told the Police initally. more..

Right royal battle: The BBS vs. Bathiudeen

Apr 23 (GV) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), a recent and chilling phenomena of Sri Lanka’s post war political landscape is locked in a battle with Minister Rishard Bathiudeen, leader of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC), a constituent party of the ruling UPFA. Minister accuses the BBS of desecrating the Holy Koran, attacking Mosques and Muslims, while the BBS accuses the Minister of supporting or providing political patronage to displaced Muslims encroaching in the Wilpattu forest reserve. more..

Chronic kidney disease of unknown cause

Apr 23 (CT) It is reported that Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Cause (CKDu) is decimating the young male population of the North Central Province, parts of Uva Province and even reportedly in the Central Province, North Western Province and Eastern Province. A case study has found, together with anecdotal evidence, that the most vulnerable group are men over 40 years of age, who have been working as rice farmers for over a decade. A hypothesis has emerged that consistent more..

Local universities to be made world-class

Apr 23 (SO) Ministry of Higher Education wants to develop Sri Lanka's universities on par with international universities so that local graduates will find employement anywhere in the world. It wants local undergraduates to be globally competitive who are not just job seekers but job providers in the future. This needs new thinking, innovation and creativity. Ministry has already launched an ambitious program to achieve more..

Nice suit and empty pocket economics

Apr 23 (SL) Many were the glorious predications made about 2014 for Sri Lanka in newspapers and TV during the festive days. One that impressed me most was on economics by a dapper figure from the Central Bank. Reading out in fluent Sinhala – what appeared to be complicated economics (Sinhalanomics?) to ignoramuses like us – the speaker created the correct patriotic fervor for the Avuruddha. Dala Deshiya Nishpadanaya (GDP) was 7.5% was the highest in South Asia or even more..

JVP’s vision and policy framework: Is it dogmatic or scientific?

Apr 23 (CT) It is clear that dogmatism and scientific thinking cannot coexist. In this context, it might be necessary and important to investigate whether the JVP’s Policy Frame Work is truly scientific. If it is not scientific, then you know where it belongs. JVP accurately identify one thing. On page 27 of the policy document it says: “Economic prosperity and social justice are two essential components to usher in a righteous society.” Let us agree on this statement. more..

President and his apparatchiks: Loving children most, their toys even more?

Apr 23 (GV) The other day, killing time in the airport lounge, I picked up the Sunday Observer. Not something I do on a regular basis, never having been able to reciprocate the attention the state controlled media has paid to me over the years. On the front page was an article – this was the 13 April issue- titled “Lanka tops Child –Friendliness Index in South Asia” by Ranil Wijayapala. Mr Wijayapala’s article was devoted to remarks made by more..

Editorial: Modi’s rhetoric

Apr 23 (Island) BJP prime ministerial aspirant, Narendra Modi, has vowed to rid the Indian political system and Parliament of corrupt and criminal elements if he comes to power. He says he will ensure that they will be tried expeditiously and, if found guilty, thrown behind bars. Modi’s rhetoric smacks of an attempt to outshine Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, who has been campaigning on an anti-corruption platform and made considerable headway. more..

Protect Sinhala Buddhism from the educated

Apr 23 (Island) Sinhala Buddhism has been under threat at least for the last one hundred and fifty years from the educated. There are at least two terms that have to be clarified, if an educated person insists defined, before we proceed. I resort to giving explanations (or definitions) of terms as I am writing to educated persons but in Sinhala Buddhist Chinthanaya the terms have to be understood within the context, and not necessarily at the very beginning of an essay or a lecture. more..

Fresh Roadblocks ahead

Apr 23 (NS) Terrorism experts have called on Sri Lanka to formulate a mechanism to dismantle the international network of the LTTE that has been active during the past five years despite its defeat in Sri Lanka. The recent developments pertaining to the revival of the organization in SL has prompted local authorities to seek international assistance to prevent all attempts made by the group to reorganize. more..

Gathering war crimes evidence the UN way

Apr 23 (Island) Having failed to obtain the anticipated response to its public call for submissions, UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s three-member Panel of Experts (PoE) had no option but to extend the deadline to Dec 31, 2010. The PoE posted a notice in English on the UN website on Oct 27, 2010 calling for submissions on or before Dec 15, 2010. Sinhala and Tamil versions of the notice too, were subsequently posted. The PoE report released on March 31, 2011, acknowledged that more..

Resolving CKDu Problem: Too much talk, too little action

Apr 23 (Island) We have had many seminars, symposia and public discussions pertaining to Chronic Kidney Disease of Uncertain Origin (CKDu) during the past two years, but very little action has been initiated to alleviate the suffering of CKDu patients, their families and communities. This writer visited several CKDu endemic villages during the last two months, and it was clearly evident that the villagers in these areas were frustrated and even cynical about the ‘outsiders’ more..

Defence Secretary concludes successful visit to Malaysia

Apr 23 (FT) Ministry of Defence & Urban Development Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited Malaysia from 15 to 17 April at the invitation of Minister of Defence of Malaysia Dato Hussein, as a guest speaker at the Putrajaya Forum held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Defence Secretary spoke on the theme, ‘Influence of Non-State Actors: Impact on Global Security’. He also attended the 14th Defence Services Asia more..

Lanka duo in bid to become world’s youngest on apps stage

Apr 23 (FT) The recent release of two apps by a young Sri Lankan duo aged nine and 12 may put the country in the limelight for producing perhaps the world’s youngest brothers to publish Android apps. Mihil and Ruvin Suriyappreuma have released their first two apps based on Android OS for Android mobile devices. One app by each of them is available free of charge to download from ‘Google Play Store’. The previous record, based on the published information, is of two brothers of more..

Private sector activity seen as ‘strengthening’ from second quarter

Apr 23 (Island) A release of funds for private investments, ‘bolstered by sufficient market liquidity levels’ would prove an impetus in ‘strengthening’ private sector activity and in turn, ‘as expected’, expand credit growth from the second quarter onwards, Central Bank states. Elaborating on this release of funds the Review says: ‘ obtained by the public corporations declined further in February due to net repayments by the CPC and CEB during the month. more..

Minister vows to end temporary payroll issue of railway workers

Apr 23 (Island) Transport Minister Kumara Welgama who made a surprise visit yesterday to the site where railway workers were staging a fast-unto-death campaign against the authorities’ continued practice of keeping them on temporary payroll for over five years, said that he would sign a Cabinet Paper today and forward it to the Cabinet next week to get approval to make their jobs permanent. The fast-unto-death campaign more..

Sri Lanka inspiring entrepreneur: innovation comes from within

Apr 23 (LBO) An inspiring Sri Lankan entrepreneur who broke into a global supply chain in precision tech components for the automobile industry says innovation comes from within. "I am usually not a person that complains," Rohan Pallewatte, head of Lanka Harness Company (Pvt) Ltd, a precision manufacturing firm that makes impact sensors for automotive airbags. "I believe that innovation as the word connotes, is novelty coming from within. So it is the individual that matters." more..

Adam Investments goes for Rs. 400 m IPO

Apr 23 (FT) Adam Investments (AINV), a newly-formed investment company which looks at investment, revival and management of a growing number of subsidiary companies as its core business, confirmed that it has received approval to list its shares on the Diri Savi Board. Adam Investments received approval to list 449,993,700 shares on the Diri Savi Board of the Colombo Stock Exchange with an Initial Public Offer of 133,333,500 ordinary voting shares at more..

Sri Lanka EPF defends stock investments

Apr 23 (FT) In a statement the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) said yesterday that as a result of prudent investments and sound management, it has been able to declare impressive rates of return of 13.75% in 2009, 12.5% in 2010, 11.5% in 2011, 11.5% in 2012 and 11% in 2013 out of profits earned by the Fund. “Such rates of return were substantially above the interest rates applicable to normal deposits in the financial more..

Namal to lead Sri Lanka against South Korea

Apr 23 (DN) Sri Lanka rugby team led by dynamic Namal Rajapaksa, left for Seoul yesterday to take on South Korea in the first match of the Asian Five Nations rugby tournament in Seoul, South Korea on April 26. This is the second time that utility player Namal Rajapaksa who could play either as hooker or number eight will be leading the national rugby team having led the country in the Serendib Cup rugby tournament in October last year in which Sri Lanka scored a historic win over Poland. more..

SLIM launches MBA programme in Kandy

Apr 23 (Island) Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) announced the launch of the SLIM BUCKS MBA in Kandy last week, presenting Kandyans the opportunity to follow an internationally recognized MBA programme from their hometown. This prestigious launch event was graced by Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, Governor of Central Province as the chief guest while dignitaries from SLIM and Buckinghamshire New University namely, Kalana Rathnayaka –President – SLIM, more..

UNP turns the tables on Govt.’s plans for mega casinos with amendment

Apr 23 (FT) The UNP has decided to submit amendments to the three projects scheduled to be brought back to Parliament on 24 and 25 April to legalise casinos. These amendments, as proposed by the UNP Chairman of the Leadership Council Karu Jayasuriya and to be moved by the Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, were forwarded to the Secretary General of Parliament yesterday. Move follows the Govt’s attempt more..

Tamil woman recruits become Nursing Assistants

Apr 23 (FT) A group of Tamil woman soldiers has successfully completed the Nursing Assistant course, conducted by Kilinochchi Army Base Hospital. 10 ladies were awarded certificates of the course completion at ceremony, held at the hospital premises recently. The five-month long course for those 10 Tamil woman soldiers focused on training in first aid, medical fundamentals, surgery, clinical approaches, dispensary, dental care, laboratory management, etc. more..

Farmers to produce rice varieties for foreign market

Apr 23 (DN) The govt has initiated a program to introduce several paddy varieties to farmers that will be in demand in the foreign markets helping the country earn valuable foreign exchange, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. The minister said officials of the Mahaweli Authority and the Irrigation Department produced the BG 1165 paddy variety under the project Paddy Cultivation for Export to promote this among farmers to be cultivated for export. more..

UK tourist recounts 'hellish' time in Sri Lanka over Buddha tattoo

Apr 23 (AFP) A 37-year-old British nurse has recounted her "hellish" experience in Sri Lanka after she was arrested and sent to a deportation centre for sporting a Buddha tattoo deemed offensive by authorities. Naomi Coleman was arrested at the country's main international airport on Monday shortly after her arrival on a flight from neighbouring India and appeared before a magistrate who ordered her deportation, police said in a statement. more..

Prison guards to get new repeater shot guns

Apr 23 (Island) Prison guards would be equipped with 305 new repeater shot guns as 80 odd guns that were in use were too old, spokesman for the Prisons Department said. They expected to receive the new guns from the Defence Ministry in future. Recalling a recent incident where an inmate escaped from the custody of prison guards at Welikada, he said when the officers attempted to shoot the fleeing prisoner, gun failed to fire. There was another incident where a gun burst more..

Sajith slams cricket officials

Apr 23 (CT) If Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardane retired from cricket before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) should take the responsibility for it, UNP MP, Sajith Premadasa, said. Expressing his views regarding the decision made by SLC to conduct disciplinary inquiries into statements made by Sangakkara and Jayawardane, he asked that SLC halt unfair inquiries and instead name Sangakkara and Jayawardane national heroes. more..

Kidney racket: Lankan doctors make fortune

Apr 23 (TOI) Three culprits arrested by the CCS police in the international kidney trafficking case have reportedly sold 21 kidneys in Colombo in the past few months. The Hyderabad police have alerted the Indian High Commission in Colombo about the racket and a special team of CCS will leave for the island nation to further investigate the case. The CCS investigators have arrested N Venkatesham, 38, from Chityal more..

Trains on coastal line back on track

Apr 23 (DM) Tension prevailed at the Fort railway station this evening due to a picketing campaign by casual employees of Sri Lanka Railways, which delayed about fifteen trains on the coastal line, including the Ruhunu Kumari. The train service on the coastal line was resumed last evening after police intervened and dispersed the protesting workers. The casual workers of the SLR began a protest last Monday demanding that they be made permanent. more..

Northern Expressway negotiations begin with Chinese firm

Apr 23 (Island) Secretary to the Ministry of Highways, Ports and Shipping Ranjith Pemasiri said that negations were underway with a Chinese company to Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) the first phase of the Northern Expressway (NE) up to Dambulla. Expressway would commence from the Enderamulla exit point of the Colombo Outer circular road and proceed via Gampaha, Veyangoda, Mirigama, Kurunegala to Dambulla. There would be four lanes initially, which would be extended more..

Boat trade ends and Sri Lanka now legal source of migrants

Apr 23 (TA) Co-operation between Sri Lanka and Australia on fighting people-smuggling has reversed migration patterns, with thousands more Sri Lankans arriving as skilled workers while the flow of illegal boats from the South Asian nation, which peaked at tens of thousands, has now stopped. Number of Sri Lankans who became Australian citizens jumped 74% to 3456 last year, while there were 4987 Sri Lankans who more..

Kidney racketeers sent 21 victims to SL

Apr 23 (DC) The city police has found that the kidney racketeers, who had sent deceased victim Dinesh Maroo to Sri Lanka, had sent as many as 21 people from different parts of AP to Colombo for kidney surgeries in the last few months. Two of the three arrested accused, D.S. Pavan Srinivas, an MBA student, and N. Venkatesham, were working for the racket led by a Lankan doctor, who would give them huge commissions for every case. Srinivas, 25, who is a resident of Reddynagar more..

Colombo's Management Faculty closed again

Apr 23 (CT) The Management Faculty of the University of Colombo, which reopened for lectures on Monday, was closed once again due to fights between hostellers and non-hostellers. The faculty was initially shut down in February when a clash between two student factions resulted in four students being hospitalized with injuries, leading to the temporary suspension of lectures. According to 2nd year Management Faculty u'grads and Faculty Dean Professor H.D. Karunaratne, more..

'Tamil parties should not take their issues to India'

Apr 23 (CT) There is no point in Tamil political parties and groups complaining about their issues to India and the UN, Minister D.E.W. Gunasekera. Although there has been no semblance of national unity in the country since Independence in 1948, there has however been over 10 Tamil political parties and groups founded along with a whole host of Muslim parties and groups since, he added. Gunasekera reiterated that although more..

Don’t make Colombo a Chicago or a Bangkok: NSC

Apr 23 (DM) National Sangha Council (NSC) while protesting against the new casino bill which was to be presented in Parliament this week today urged the Govt not to make Colombo a Chicago or a Bangkok city. NSC Financial Secretary Wattegedara Vijitha Thera said if President Rajapaksa was a true Buddhist who loved Buddhism, he must take steps to stop these activities which were detrimental to the country. “If the president is a true Buddhist who loves Buddhism, he must take steps to more..

Unanimous call for returning Palaly Teachers’ Training College

Apr 23 (Island) After a heated exchange between elected members of the UPFA govt and the Opposition TNA and UNP, all agreed that if the educational standards in the North neglected over the past three decades were to be raised, the Palaly Teachers’ Training College should re-established. They agreed to take up the issue with the Minister Bandula Gunawardena during his visit to Jaffna today. At present, as the security forces are in the Teachers Training College in Palaly, more..

Mahela and SLC spat leads to heated email exchange

Apr 23 (DM) The Mahela-Sangakkara T20 International retirement issue which has been reverberating since last month, entered another phase as the media reported yesterday that the SLC Ex-co has decided to refer the matter to its independent disciplinary committee, to consider the possibility of action against the two star cricketers over the statements they made against SLC Secretary and CEO more..

We must not drown in a water crisis

Apr 23 (DM) Amid warnings that the world is running short of fresh drinking water and that the super-powers or others may go to war to grab control of fresh water resources just as they did to grab fuel supply sources, recommendations have been made for the Sri Lankan Govt to introduce tough regulations to conserve fresh water sources. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena had recommended to Cabinet that regulations be introduced to protect drinking water in rivers and canals polluted more..

Mundane to control super-mundane

Apr 23 (CT) A page one news item in Sunday's edition of this paper revealed plans by Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne who is also the minister in charge of Buddha Sasana to table a new Parliamentary Act to deal with men in robes who engage in anti-Buddhist activities. We don't wish to cast aspersions on the Premier's thinking process, but there appears to be a serious flaw in the envisaged plan. Instead of taking a macro-approach to the alarmingly perilous situation that is more..