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Fourteen toddlers languish in jail

Jan 16 (CT) Fourteen children are languishing in the Welikada Jail today due to no fault of theirs. They are there because their mothers are serving sentences for crimes committed, a high ranking official of the Prisons Department told Ceylon Today. According to statistics, more than 500 female inmates languish within the prison walls at Welikada, while 14 children, below the age of five years, are mothered by 13 women and are made to live in the female quarters of the Complex. more..

Farmers marooned in Polonnaruwa

Jan 16 (CT) About 350 chena farmers have been marooned due to flooding caused by ten sluice gates of the Polonnaruwa Parakrama Tank being opened along with the overflowing of the Maduru Oya and Kuda Oya. Heavy rains after six months of drought had filled the Parakrama Tank to its brim leading to the opening of the sluice gates, and the overflowing of the two Oyas. Residents of lowland areas in Thamankaduwa, Lankapura, Manampitiya, Gallella and the Mahaweli are also in danger. more..

Europe’s giant TUI keen to resume charter flights, upbeat on post-war tourism

Jan 16 (FT) TUI, one of the world’s leading travel companies this week declared that post-war Sri Lanka has great potential, encouraging the UK-headquartered giant to explore prospects of reintroducing a charter flight with 300 tourists per week. This optimism was shared by TUI CEO Peter Long who led a top level team to Sri Lanka on an exploratory visit. TUI used to operate a charter flight back in mid-2010 but suspended more..

Kandy - Mahiyangana main road open after earthslip

Jan 16 (DN) The Kandy - Mahiyangana main road has been cleared and opened for motorists after it was blocked due to fallen rocks between the third and the fourth bends on the ancient 18 wire-bend main road (A36). The road had been blocked by an earthslip which took place around 5.30 a.m. yesterday. The incessant rains was the cause of the earthslip. Road Development Authority officials with the assistance of Hasalaka Police helped clear the road. It took about five hours for more..

Precious Items Worth Rs 91L Seized at Mumbai Airport

Jan 16 (PTI) Customs sleuths have detected six cases of smuggling at the international airport here since Sunday night and confiscated gold and red sanders collectively valued at about Rs 91.35 lakh besides arresting one person. Family of four from Sri Lanka - Ahamed Alawudeen, his wife Balkees and their daughters Sumiya Aameela - were intercepted on suspicion today when they arrived from Colombo, said a Customs officer. The four were found wearing gold jewellery worth Rs 30.30 lakh more..

Sri Lankan minister hopes to build strong ties during Oman visit

Jan 16 (OT) To strengthen bilateral ties between Sri Lanka and Oman, Sri Lankan Deputy Minister Neomal Perera is in Muscat on an official visit from Jan 14 to 16. In an interview with Oman Tribune, he said that since the decades-long civil war in Sri Lanka had become a thing of the past, his govt wanted to build strong ties with neighbouring countries and the GCC nations, which have a sizeable number of Lankan expatriates. more..

Orient Express Line vessel makes maiden Sri Lanka call

Jan 16 (LBO) MV OEL Emirates, the latest vessel in Dubai-based Orient Express Lines had made its maiden call at Sri Lanka's Colombo port. The 24,000 dead weight tonne container ship can carry 1,613 twenty foot equivalent units, Sri Lanka Ports Authority said. The vessel which berthed at Colombo's Jaye container terminal had handled 350 containers at its maiden call, destined for Gulf Ports. Orient Express Lines (OEL), a feeder line has started calling at Colombo in 1992. more..

Prominent mobile telecommunication personality Dumindra to take a step back

Jan 16 (FT) Dumindra Ratnayaka, a doyen of the Sri Lankan telecommunication industry, has announced his retirement after more than 25 years of committed service. He currently serves as the Director/CEO of Etisalat Lanka Ltd. and will retire effective 31 March 2014. Etisalat Lanka achieved many successes under his leadership, including being the first telecommunications company in South Asia to launch the Dual Carrier (DC) HSPA+ broadband service. Additionally, Ratnayaka’s guidance more..

President to commission Rs. 2,000 million Veyangoda flyover today

Jan 16 (DN) The newly constructed Veyangoda flyover will be commissioned by President Rajapaksa today. Fulfilling a long felt need of the Veyangoda town, the flyover has been built at a cost of Rs. 2,000 million on the Nittambuwa- Katunayake main road, aiming to ease the rush hour severe traffic congestion. The flyover will end the long road traffic delay caused by the movement of trains throughout the day. more..

Foreign holdings of Govt. securities up 20% in 2013

Jan 16 (Reuters) Foreign holdings of Sri Lankan Govt securities rose 20%in 2013, but were still down from July’s record levels as some offshore investors withdrew their funds ahead of expected US monetary stimulus tapering. Foreign holdings totalled Rs. 477.4 billion as of 1 Jan, compared with Rs. 397.6 billion at end-2012. They jumped 47.3% in 2012 and hit a peak of Rs. 503.1 billion in July. Offshore investors sold a net Rs. 1.68 billion worth govt securities in December, more..

Lankan Navy attacks Indian fishermen

Jan 16 (DH) Over a hundred fishermen from Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam district were attacked by Sri Lanka’s Navy in open waters in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday morning. Ironically, this comes ahead of a meeting to discuss issues related to fishermen between Indian and Sri Lankan officials on January 20.Officials in India’s fisheries department here said more than a hundred Indian fishermen had gone to sea in about 50 boats. When they were fishing near the Kodiyakarai area, more..

'Conspiracy to remove me'

Jan 16 (CT) A source at the Health Ministry yesterday said a drug manufacturing company which was suspended from supplying drugs in 2013, was behind the attempt to bribe the Director of the Cosmetics, Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority (CDDRA), Dr. Hemantha Benaragama. However, when contacted, Dr. Benaragama alleged that some retired high rank officials of the ministry as well as some more..

UNP MPs demand inquiry against Mangala

Jan 16 (CT) A group of UNP members have called for a disciplinary inquiry regarding MP Mangala Samaraweera, member of the Leadership Council and Head of Communications, who it was alleged, has had a homosexual relationship with a person residing in Panadura, which had brought the Party into disrepute. They have requested both the UNP leadership and the Leadership Council to take action against Samaraweera, forthwith. The group comprises Ranjith Maddumabandara, more..

SL regulatory compliance under spotlight

Jan 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's securities regulator and the bourse is holding a seminar to help listed firm become familiar with rules, especially recently issued directives. "The symposium will focus on directives issued on Minimum Public Float, Related Party Transactions, and Disclosure Requirements for Directors’ Dealings in Shares," the SEC said in a statement. "This will be an ideal opportunity for listed entities to familiarize themselves on the implementation of the aforesaid Directives more..

Public to be given choice between blackouts and another power tariff hike

Jan 16 (Island) National Movement of Electricity Consumers (NMEC) predicted that country would experience blackouts due to ongoing technical problems,, especially at coal-fired power plant at Norochcholai. NMEC Advisor Bandula Chandrasekera said that with an increase in expensive oil generated thermal power purchases, CEB would be compelled to pass the heavy cost on to the customers or go for power cuts. more..

Police record statement from Minister Felix Perera

Jan 16 (Island) Ja-Ela Police on Monday recorded a statement from Social Services Minister Felix Perera, who is alleged to have abused and threatened a family living on a state land at Minuwangoda Road, Ekala, Ja-Ela and damaged their house. Police recorded the statement at Minister’s house for about one and a half hours. Meanwhile Minister Perera told the Island that the complaint against him was false and if she did not withdraw it he would sue her for defamation. more..

Sri Lanka ‘trains workers before they are deployed’

Jan 16 (AN) Sri Lanka is making all efforts to impart training conforming to international standards to job aspirants to familiarize themselves with the culture and work environment in the Kingdom, Sri Lankan Minister Dilan Perera asserted on Wednesday. Earlier, Dilan Perera was received in Jeddah by senior officials from the Saudi labor ministry, besides Sri Lankan diplomats on Tuesday. He called on Jeddah Governor Price Mishaal bin Majed on Wednesday prior to returning home. more..

India, Lanka agree to release all fishermen in two weeks

Jan 16 (TOI) Striking a deal to release each other's fishermen under a practical arrangement, India and Sri Lanka on Wednesday decided to "complete the process" of releasing all bona fide fishermen from both sides in the next two weeks. It was also decided to set up a joint committee comprising three members each from both sides to look into this contentious issue so that fishermen, who might have inadvertently more..

Do people have a choice?

Jan 16 (DM) With the dissolution of the Western and Southern PCs on Sunday night, the ruling UPFA and opposition parties will again give priority to the election campaign with the polls likely to be held in mid-March. Election campaigns for quite some time have been marred by the blatant abuse of public resources largely by the ruling party, with political dansals where a variety of food and other items are given free. Thus violent battles tend to crop up within parties for preferential votes. more..

CSR awards given to Tobacco Industry COVER its ‘ugly face’

Jan 16 (DM) A recent study conducted by Aruna Shantha de Silva of the National Poison Centre of Malaysia, University of Sains, Malaysia, appeared in Asia Pacific Journal of Medical Technology in Dec 2012. It had said the following; “The prevalence of smoking among males was 29.9% and 0.4% among females in Sri Lanka, in 2006. The prevalence of smoking any tobacco product among adults over 15 years was 32.4% and among females it was 2.1%”. A recent study by Katulanda revealed more..

A boost to diplomatic ties and ‘nude blushes’ to Basil’s cheeks

Jan 16 (DM) Recent years witnessed Sri Lanka attaching greater significance to its diplomatic relations with the countries in Africa and Latin America. Also focused were the countries in other regions little known to Sri Lanka hitherto. In a novel development of this exercise, Minister G.L. Peiris secured the endorsement of the Cabinet of Ministers for a memorandum seeking to establish diplomatic ties with four small South Pacific Ocean more..

No coercion, no logo, assures new halal body

Jan 16 (ST) The halal certification process that has been taken over by a private company will be voluntary and there will be no requirement to display any logo on products, a spokesman for the new company declared. But critics charge the creation of the new Halal Accreditation Council Limited, registered as a limited guarantee company under the companies act, is misleading – an accusation rejected by Muslim leaders. more..

President J.R. Jayawardene’s famous Buriyani lunch in Maradana

Jan 16 (LR) Shortly after former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s civic rights were removed following a judgment by the Supreme Court that she had violated the Land Reform Law, the UNP held five meetings to explain the matter to the people. One such meeting was held at the Kiribathgoda junction in the late seventies. Minister of Higher Education Ranil Wickremesinghe, present leader of the UNP, more..

Political agendas dampen search for missing persons

Jan 16 (SL) Reports of incidents of missing persons during and after the war are on the rise, while there is also a debate about the validity of many cases reported. Several incidents in the recent past that were reported as incidents of missing persons were later rediscovered to be false claims that supported political and personal agendas of some people, undermining the gravity of the real incidents. more..

IMF questions integrity of government’s economic data – UNP

Jan 16 (Island) The IMF has questioned the integrity of the economic data provided by the govt. UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne said that unreliable information provided by the Department of Census and Statistics and the Central Bank had resulted in the IMF raising questions, since it differed from the information in its possession. There are also questions of transparency in terms of the timing and more..

‘Always Breakdown’ cannot be restored until February - experts

Jan 16 (Island) With the latest breakdown at the country’s first coal-fired power plant at Norochcholai, popularly known as ‘Always Breakdown’ senior engineers yesterday confirmed that the 300MW plant could not be connected to the national grid till February. This will cause the CEB to incur an additional burden to the tune of billions of rupees on expensive thermal power generation to meet the shortfall. more..

War crimes: Gotabhaya urges US to share ‘eyewitness accounts’

Jan 16 (Island) The US wouldn’t share information gathered by Ambassador Stephen J. Rapp of State Department’s Office of Global Criminal Justice during his almost week-long visit to Sri Lanka with the govt, US Embassy Spokesperson Juliana A. Spaven sad. "Embassy officials meet on a regular basis with a broad range of individuals around the country and we won't characterize those discussions. more..

Welikada Prison riots report: Prisoners killed by prisoners

Jan 16 (CT) The three-member committee, appointed to probe the death of 27 inmates during the 9 Nov 2012 Welikada Prison riots, has concluded that the prisoners had died by shooting at each other. The Committee Report further justified the summoning of the STF and the Army to control the tense situation that had erupted in the prison. When contacted, Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera, said he had studied the report more..

US keen to work with Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (CG) The US says it is interested in working together with the SL Govt on addressing human rights issues. US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said this when asked to respond to comments made by the Sri Lankan Govt that the US must reconsider its stand on the human rights issue. “We’ve said we’re interested in working together on addressing these issues. Let me see if there’s an update from our folks,” more..

Brazil offers Sri Lanka military training

Jan 16 (CG) Brazil has offered to train the Sri Lankan military following talks held between the Minister of Defence in Brazil and Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary. The Defense Minister of Brazil, Celso Amorim and Secretary of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday signed an agreement in Brasilia on technical and industrial cooperation in defence as well as military training and exchange. more..

Keeping things in the family

Jan 16 (CT) Nepotism is a word in extensive usage these days as progenies of politically influential fathers emerge as firm favourites to receive nominations for the forthcoming Southern and Western Provincial Council elections. This phenomenon, though grist for the gossip mill is nothing new, for, from the time Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, was granted universal franchise in the early part of the 20th Century, there have been members of the same family contesting elections. more..

US citizenship and Rajapaksas

Jan 16 (CT) If the US embassy in Sri Lanka is going to make a radio announcement tomorrow morning, saying “Apply for Citizenships; first come, first serve; only ten citizenships are available.” Guess what would happen? Gotabaya will find out tonight, and Rajapaksas will start assassinating each other to make the line tomorrow morning at the US embassy. All the cabinet members will be dead before dawn! No revolution needed! All problems are solved. This is not a joke; it will happen; more..

Diversity and grandeur of Lanka's coral reefs

Jan 16 (CT) The Pigeon Island National Park is one of Sri Lanka's two marine national parks. The national park is situated 1 km off the coast of Nilaweli encompassing a total area of 471.429 hectares. The island's name is derived from the Rock Pigeon (Columba Livia) which has colonized it. The national park consists of the best remaining coral reefs in Sri Lanka. Pigeon Island was designated as a sanctuary in 1963. more..

Sri Lanka stocks up 0.8%

Jan 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka stocks end on a strong note Thursday recording a gradual increase in the intra day trading amid strong foreign buying, brokers said. All Share Price Index closed 50.59 points higher at 6,166.98, up 0.83%. The S&P SL20 closed 38.98 points higher at 3,427.05, up 1.15%. Turnover was 1.86 billion rupees, up from 1.37 billion rupees last Monday, with stocks of 62 firms closing in the red against 139 gainers. HNB closed 2.90 rupees higher at 157.00 rupees more..

Junket John appointed to UNP nomination board for PC polls

Jan 16 (CT) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunge who came in for strong criticism over his decision to accompany President Rajapaksa on his recent trip to the Middle East, has been appointed a member of the UNP Nomination Board for the Southern and Western Provincial Council elections. Amaratunge will be tasked along with other members of the Nomination Board with deciding on which candidates the UNP will field at the next crucial round of provincial polls. more..

Be 'careful', Karuna to Centre on Indo-Lankan fishermen talks

Jan 16 (PTI) Charging Sri Lanka with not living up to its word on key issues, DMK today said the Central and Tamil Nadu govts should be "careful" during next week's talks between the fishermen association of the two countries and ensure attacks on Indian fishermen do not continue. "Central and state govts should be cautious and careful during the talks. For, none can forget that Sri Lanka is a symbol of contradictions, as more..

Sri Lanka apparel industry can cut costs by saving energy

Jan 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's apparel industry can save energy and improve competitiveness if conservation methods are adopted, International Finance Corporation, a World Bank arm said. A recent investment-grade energy audit of seven apparel factories projected electricity savings potential of 10 to 50% if conservation methods are adopted. Additionally, if all identified energy conservation measures are implemented by the audited factories, carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by more..

Sri Lanka rupee firmer on dollar sales by exporters, banks

Jan 16 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee ended firmer on Thursday as dollar sales by exporters and banks outpaced importer demand for the greenback, with the market expecting the rupee to strengthen further in the near future. Some dealers said investor sentiment on the currency was positive because of expected inflows from a $1 billion sovereign bond issue either on Thursday or Friday. The spot rupee ended stronger at 130.60/67 per dollar from Monday's close of 130.68/73. more..

Rathika Sitsabaiesan says she was followed, interrogated in Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (MN) It took a day for Rathika Sitsabaiesan to realize she was being followed. The first person to notice the men on motorbikes was her hired driver. On the day she arrived in Sri Lanka, where the 32-year old MP was born, he told her that people were following them. “I was slow to catch on, because I didn’t expect it, I wasn’t used to it,” Sitsabaiesan said in her first interview since returning to Canada on Tuesday. more..

UNP says spotlight on Govt

Jan 16 (CG) The UNP says the allegations and accusations being raised by the international community are against the Govt and not the country. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said that it was the Govt which took the issue to the international level by failing to address it locally. He said that now the Govt claims the accusations by the international community is against the whole country when it is against the Govt. “The Govt gave a promise to the UN both in writing and verbally more..