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Jaffna undergrads to launch protest

Apr 27 (NS) Jaffna University Students Union has threatened to launch a protest against alleged intimidation by the security forces. A statement by the union released on Friday said that the military had conducted a search operation inside the boys’ hostel of the University the previous day having forcibly entered the premises. The statement further said that the students of all faculties of the Jaffna University would refrain from academic activities if such instances continued. more..

PSC says health sector trade union campaign based on unfounded allegations

Apr 27 (Island) Public Service Commission (PSC) last week assured the public including all public officers that the Commission will take every possible action to maintain discipline in the public service. Any attempt to interfere with and influence decisions and functions of the Commissions will be dealt with according to the law, the PSC said. The PSC has observed that a Trade Union in the health sector has been carrying a campaign with baseless allegations against the PSC with a threat of launching more..

Move to transform EPF, ETF into pension funds

Apr 27 (ST) Amidst reports of ‘losses’ in investments made in the stock market by the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), Govt is planning to transform EPF and Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) into pension funds. Finance Ministry is drafting legislation to amend the EPF and ETF Acts for this purpose. Proposed pension fund would allow a retiring member to take part of the money as a ‘lump-sum’ payment and retain the balance more..

Passenger assaulted by cops to file FR

Apr 27 (SL) An innocent passenger who was allegedly assaulted by the police during a protest at the Fort railway station last week is to file a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition against the police over the incident. Duminda Hapuarachi claims he was assaulted by the police when he got caught between the police and the mob during last week’s protest. Hapuarachi told The Sunday Leader his wife and children are in shock after the incident and he had been advised to file an FR case. more..

Top rugby referee caught in drug-bust

Apr 27 (NS) Sri Lanka’s rugby referees were in shock and dismay yesterday after learning that one of their colleagues, Charith Kodagoda, said to be a promising match official, could face a possible jail sentence and subsequent sacking after been caught with nearly four kilos of marijuana also known by its street name ganja.Kodagoda is a former CR and FC and CH and FC fullback and was picked up by police in Mount Lavinia on a tip-off that he was transporting ganja in an auto rickshaw. more..

Disciplinary inquiry against 50 Govt. MPs

Apr 27 (CT) The govt will hold a disciplinary inquiry against 50 govt MPs who were absent from Parliament during the vote on three Gazette Notifications pertaining to the controversial Casino Bill. The govt's hierarchy fumed over the absence of the MPs and ministers, who defied orders to be present in Parliament at the time of voting. Divisions within the ruling UPFA ignited when Ministers Champika Ranawaka and more..

Tax upon tax, now toilet tax

Apr 27 (ST) With tax upon tax being imposed on the people, the Colombo Municipal Council is planning to charge a sewerage tax to raise funds to repay a loan it obtained from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to rehabilitate the city’s sewerage pipeline network. A discussion on this tax was held at Amaya Lake Resort in Dambulla yesterday with the participation of CMC members, senior staff and ADB officials. Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil who took part in the meeting told the Sunday Times more..

Mayor Eraj leaves H’tota to evade Police questioning

Apr 27 (NS) Hambantota Mayor Eraj Ravindra Fernando - who is at the centre of controversy over the Mattala Airport fiasco where five UNP MPs were attacked – said he had left Hambantota to evade police questioning. Claiming his innocence over the incident, the Mayor said he was not in Hambantota or Colombo these days. “I have even switched off my mobile phone,” he added. According to him, several others who were with him at the scene had been questioned by the Police. more..

Casino crisis: First major revolt within Rajapaksa regime

Apr 27 (ST) UPFA Govt this week cleared the last hurdle for what it calls three different ‘integrated resorts’ to be set up at a total cost of US$ 1.4 billion but its costlier political fall-out is sure to have its effects for months and years. This is because many, including some seniors in govt and opposition political parties, believe the controversial move, disregarding concerns of Buddhist clergy, encompasses the establishment of casinos. more..

More than a simple land dispute

Apr 27 (CT) Wilpattu is usually associated with natural lakes, birds and beasts. Following the murders of John Silva, an innocent driver in the famous Haralakshaya Mankollaya (the four-lakh Turf Club heist) and Adeline Vitharana by her paramour, this wildlife park also briefly acquired gruesome notoriety in the 1950s. Both these cases were celebrated murder trials in the annals of criminal law in Sri Lanka. Originally designated a sanctuary, but graduating to a National Park in 1938, more..

‘From This Point Forward’ reflects Lanka’s different ethnic backgrounds

Apr 27 (DM) ‘From This Point Forward,’ Luka Alagiyawanna’s bold photography project in Sri Lanka, concluded last week in Galle on a very positive note. Six big black and white portraits were pasted along an old, smudged wall next to a small café along Rampart Street inside the 17th Century Dutch Fort. Unlike in Colombo, where the first of four ‘From This Point Forward’ projects was held in March near the Bambalapitiya railway station, she had very few helpers this time for more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Apr 27 (ST) It’s literally a case of placing the cart before the horse, as one witty External Affairs Ministry (EAM) official revealed. News releases related to Minister G.L. Peiris’ engagements are usually written ahead of the event. A case in point was Dr. Peiris’ briefing for Colombo-based diplomats and Consuls General at the EAM at 11 a.m. on Thursday. At the eleventh hour, however, the invite to Consuls General was withdrawn. more..

JHU threatens to take to the streets

Apr 27 (CT) The JHU, a constituent party of the UPFA Govt, said it will continue its struggle against the govt's ostensible 'sans-casino' hotel project, which was recently passed in Parliament. JHU leader Omalpe Sobhitha thera said although the govt garnered the required majority of votes in the House for the three Gazette Notifications under the Strategic Development Act (SDA), the JHU would continue to maintain its vigilance to ascertain more..

U'grads given ultimatum to attend lectures

Apr 27 (ST) An ultimatum has been issued to Allied Health Science Students of Peradeniya University to attend lectures or run the risk of their faculty being closed down. According to Prof. Mahinda Wickramaratne, Dean of the Allied Health Sciences Faculty, UGC has instructed the university to treat the matter as a local problem and take action. No university has a separate faculty for Allied Health Sciences except Peradeniya Uni. more..

Environmentalists considering legal action

Apr 27 (CT) As the tug-of-war between the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and Minister Rishad Bathiudeen continues, environmental organizations are mooting legal action against the top officials of the Central Environment Authority (CEA), Forest Department and the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) for negligence and failure to act against illegal encroachment and deforestation of the Wilpattu National Park. more..

Sampanthan breaks silence over deaths of rebel suspects

Apr 27 (NS) Breaking TNA’s silence over deaths of three LTTE suspects in Nedunkarni, TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said Saturday that the Tamil population in the country was opposed to returning to violence. In an interview with ‘The Nation’, MP Sampanthan stated that he was unaware as to whether the LTTE was in fact regrouping in Sri Lanka, but added that the Govt should take action if there was anything illegal happening. more..

Sri Lanka and Germany collaborate to provide vocational training to people in North

Apr 27 (NS) Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development signed MoU with two non-state vocational training institutes, the Don Bosco Technical Training Center and ORHAN (Organization for the Rehabilitation of Handicapped) to facilitate skills training needs of people in the North and to prepare them for enrollment in vocational training courses conducted by the fully-fledged Sri Lanka – German Training Institute (SLGTI) in Kilinochchi. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism on damage control over Buddha-tattoo Naomi

Apr 27 (ST) Sri Lanka Tourism bought a business class ticket for deported Naomi Coleman, the British tourist with the Buddha tattoo, because it wished to see that “all tourists be happy [sic] when leaving the country after a holiday”. “Yes, we arranged an air ticket on business class for Ms. Coleman to ensure an easy passage back to UK as SL Tourism wish to see that all tourists be happy when leaving the country after a holiday,” more..

CEB continues surcharge; President promised to withdraw it

Apr 27 (ST) The temporary fuel adjustment surcharge the CEB introduced in February last year to offset thermal power generation costs has continued for one year despite assurances it would be withdrawn within months. As a result, the CEB doubled its profits last year. Whilst the surcharge earned it Rs. 25,430 million, its profits for last year stood at Rs 21,090 million. This is despite the CEB being able to revert to more..

73 families in Wilpattu sanctuary to be relocated

Apr 27 (SO) The 73 families who had encroached on the Wilpattu sanctuary causing widespread protests by environmental and Buddhist groups will be relocated outside national park with assistance of Mannar District Secretary’s office. Minister Rishard Bathiudeen said he had no objection to the families being relocated and hoped the issue will not be dragged on by interested parties even after they are relocated. more..

Friendly NGO to watch SL govt's intersts at UN war crimes probe

Apr 27 (Island) A "friendly" NGO is to watch the interests of the Sri Lankan govt at the UNHRC mandated international probe into allegations of war crimes against its security forces and the LTTE due to commence in June. Diplomatic sources said that despite the Rajapaksa regime having rejected the recent UNHRC resolution which authorized the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to launch more..

India’s 16th national elections and its ‘behaviour’ towards Sri Lanka

Apr 27 (Island) In last Saturday’s Island, Gunadasa Amarasekara, the venerable veteran of ‘patriotic nationalism’, alerted the readers to ‘India’s behaviour’ as a critical factor in asking the question: "Has a new approach been developed to divide the country following the Geneva session?" The article is all about the Geneva resolution and India’s non-voting on it, and has nothing at all about what seems to have happened after the resolution to raise alarm in Sri Lanka. more..

Is global capitalism headed for a bust?

Apr 27 (Island) This piece is not about my Marxist inclinations; it is about what market watchers and serious bourgeois economists are saying; that is to say it is about divergences within the world of bourgeois stock-market, financial and economic discourse. I will add one remark as a Marxist, as a preface, and move on. I think the pessimists are right, not only for their own reasons but also because the natural evolution of capitalism has brought it to a point of profound instability by more..

Viva Las Colombo: Welcome to Sin City

Apr 27 (CT) Last week, three gazette notifications under the Strategic Development Project Act, known colloquially to most as the 'Casino Act', were passed in Parliament. The new Act will allow the Queensbury Leisure (Chairman Dhammika Perera) with an investment of US$ 200 million to establish and operate an integrated 'super luxury tourist resort' comprising 500 rooms including shopping malls, luxury residencies and more..

Ninth National Safety Day in Hambantota

Apr 27 (SO) 9th National Safety Day and the 10th anniversary of the tsunami catastrophe will be commemorated in the Hambantota district on Dec 26 this year. Ministry of Disaster Management will organise the national commemoration program and other related events under the patronage of President Rajapaksa. An awareness walk in all 25 districts simultaneously, a two-day exhibition with art and essay competitions apart from the main national event will be held to mark the Safety Day. more..

Wrapping meat and fish in newspapers, a health hazard

Apr 27 (SO) The present practice of vendors wrapping meat and fish in newspapers poses a serious health hazard for consumers, said a spokesman for the premier Poisons Centre in the country. “Print ink carries several health risks as it contains chemicals and heavy metals.” “If these come into contact with the oil in fish and meat wrapped in newspapers, it can facilitate the poison from the print ink entering the body when ingested”, Head of the Toxicology Poisons Information more..

Sri Lanka’s trade unions demand the govt to deport foreign workers

Apr 27 (ST) Sri Lanka’s trade unions are demanding the govt to devise a roadmap with the aim of making the private sector more attractive for workers and gain high productivity, without allowing companies to employ more foreign workers to fill labour shortages. Responding to a statement made by President recently that there were over 10,000 working in the country on tourist visas, trade unions questioned as to why Controller General more..

Lankan’s Thai wife alleges abuse at airport

Apr 27 (ST) Barely 48 hours after the controversial arrest and deportation of the British woman tourist for sporting a tattooed Buddha on her body, a Thai woman and her SL husband have alleged that they were harassed by Immigration officials at the BIA on Friday. In a complaint to the Airport Police the couple alleged that two immigration officials at the passport control section had remarked that the Thai woman was a prostitute and the man was her handler (pimp). more..

Parties finalize plan for May Day

Apr 27 (NS) UPFA headed by SLFP will hold its main May Day rally at Campbell Park, Borella at 3pm on May 1. The rally will be led by President Rajapaksa and an organizing committee has also been appointed for the rally. UPFA May Day parade will begin at 12 noon near Nelum Pokuna. It will make its way to Campbell Park through Town Hall, Eye Hospital, Deans Road, Maradana junction, Punchi Borella and Borella. MEP and Desha Vimukthi Janatha Party will start their more..

For want of proper facilities and procedure Detection of smuggling at airport hampered

Apr 27 (NS) Detecting illegal contraband being smuggled out of the country through BIA is severely hampered due to obstacles put in place for Customs officials. Customs officials at the airport do not even have a proper location to check departing passengers. Previously, there was a proper process whereby customs officials were able to check departing passengers at a designated location, for illegal contraband. more..

Unprotected pond a death trap at Dehiwala Zoo

Apr 27 (ST) A pond some 30 metres in depth, inside the Dehiwala Zoological Gardens that borders Quarry Road, is a virtual death trap following the collapse of the protective wall several months ago, posing a serious danger to unsuspecting motorists. A makeshift protective barrier made up of corrugated sheeting has replaced the wall as a temporary measure, but residents and road users in the area say the barrier would not prevent a motorist from crashing through it and more..

Sajith restricts his development programs to H’tota

Apr 27 (NS) MP Sajith Premadasa has decided to limit his personal empowerment projects only to his voter base in the Hambantota district. Number of programs have been arranged in Hambantota on May 1 to commemorate the 21st death anniversary of late President R Premadasa. President Premadasa was assassinated on May 1, 1993 while he was overseeing the pre-arrangements of the UNP May Day rally in Colombo. MP Sajith Premadasa said that only the main more..

'Sri Lanka need fast-bowling allrounders for World Cup'

Apr 27 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya, the Sri Lanka chief selector, has outlined the team's need for fast-bowling allrounders for next year's World Cup in Australia and NZ, if they are to repeat the success they had in the T20 version in Bangladesh. "Conditions are different to what we had in Bangladesh and we need to find good fast bowling all-rounders," Jayasuriya said. "We have about 25 ODIs from now until the World Cup and more..

Live telecast of Parliament proceedings to start next month: Speaker

Apr 27 (ST) The first hour of Parliament proceedings will be telecast live from next month, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa announced. He said the telecast, over a private cable network, which was suspended after a month of test transmission, would re-commence, but he would ensure that MPs strictly adhere to Standing Orders of Parliament during debates in the House. “I will ensure Standing Orders are adhered to to the letter. Then everything will be alright,” more..

Police to strictly implement law against unsafe truck drivers

Apr 27 (AD) Sri Lanka Police today said that the law will be strictly implemented against drivers transporting goods in an unsafe manner, with effect from the 1st of May. This was revealed during a workshop held at the Traffic Police Headquarters for tipper truck drivers transporting various materials. The special programme, organized by the Colombo Police Traffic Unit, was attended by tipper truck drivers from across the island. Traffic Police law enforcement OIC Inspector Sampath Perera, more..

Tests on Matale remains in the US

Apr 27 (CG) Carbon tests on the skeletal remains found in the Matale mass grave are to be conducted in the US, SSP Ajith Rohana said. Laboratory in Florida had indicted an interest to carry out the tests based on a request put forward by SL authorities. “We had received a letter from the highly acclaimed laboratory in Florida that they are ready to conduct the carbon tests on the human bones found in Matale grave,” more..

Ulterior motive behind govt. action-TNA

Apr 27 (DM) TNA Leader R Sampanthan said that govt action to ban several organizations and individuals on the basis of aiding in attempts to regroup the LTTE, has also been perceived by independent observers as a reaction to the events that took place at the recent UNHRC sessions in Geneva. “It must be conceded that a govt has the right to take steps as deemed necessary for good reason," Sampanthan said adding that “these actions of the Govt have been seen as more..

UNP says focus is on Uva elections

Apr 27 (CG) UNP says its focus right now is on the Uva elections and not a Presidential or General election. UNP MP John Amarathunga said that opposition will not be fooled by claims by President Rajapaksa that he is ready to hold a snap election. Amarathunga said that the President has always maintained he will not hold a Presidential election ahead of 2016 when his term ends and so the opposition does not expect him to change that position without being pressured to do so. more..

UDA losses since 2006 total Rs. 1,230 million

Apr 27 (ST) Urban Development Authority (UDA) continues to incur losses since 2006 with accumulated losses amounting to over Rs 1,230 million by 2011, a report by the Auditor General presented to Parliament revealed. And even though the Authority had realised a profit before tax of Rs242 million in 2011, the profit was due to a receipt of Rs 532 million from the General Treasury, the Audit report said. The UDA Chairman, in response to this observation, more..

State banks blamed for decline in credit growth in 2013

Apr 27 (NS) Despite aggregate credit growth in the economy shrinking to 8.8% Year on Year (YoY) in 2013, further analysis of varying degrees of credit growth of peer groups in the banking sector has revealed that the drop in loans growth during the year is attributable largely to the sharp reduction in credit disbursed by the State-Owned Licensed Commercial Banks (LCBs). Growth of loans disbursed by State-owned LCBs fell to as low as 2.7% YoY while that more..