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Lifeguards save seven from drowning

Jan 16 (Island) Lifeguards deployed on Gopalapuram beach in Trincomalee rescued seven domestic travellers who were drowning on Tuesday. Duty lifeguards O.W.S. Priyantha, P.R.K. Ranasinghe, D.M.G.S. Thilakaratne and M.B. Madushanka on observing the holidaymakers being dragged away by strong currents responded swiftly and rescued all seven persons in three different rescue operations. The first rescue reported around 1.00pm. Farsath (45), Mrs. Bhanun (38), more..

Health workers strike in Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (Xinhua) Thousands of Sri Lankan health workers joined in a one-day strike here on Thursday to protest against a slew of issues including low salaries. At the center of the strike is a dispute between nurses and midwives with the latter staging a strike protesting authorities' decision to train nurses in midwifery. President of the Govt Midwifery Service Association (GMSA) Devika Kodithuwakku said nurses were trying to more..

Rs 2.79 million gold bottoms detected at BIA

Jan 16 (Island) The Customs at BIA on Tuesday morning and midnight arrested three Sri Lankans who tried to smuggle out five gold biscuits weighing 558 g worth Rs. 2.79 million to India. The first smuggler was from Wellampitiya and the other two from Kalmunai. The Kalmunai duo had tried to smuggle out three gold pieces weighing 157 grammes and 198 g (two gold biscuits) worth Rs. 785,000 and Rs. 990,000 respectively, hiding them in their rectums, on the same flight more..

Chinese envoy to Sri Lanka condemns Japanese PM's visit to Yasukuni Shrine

Jan 16 (Xinhua) Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Wu Jianghao on Thursday vehemently condemned the Japanese PM's visit to the controversial war shrine and insisted ignoring the event was condoning Japan's militant history. The Yasukuni Shrine is a "spirit tool" and symbol of Japanese militarism in its war of aggression and colonial rule during WWII, Wu said. "To date, the shrine still does its utmost to deny and whitewash the history of Japan's aggression. more..

Turtle hatchery owner ordered to handover albino turtles to zoo

Jan 16 (AD) The Balapitiya Magistrate’s Court today ordered the owner of the Kosgoda turtle hatchery to handover 4 albino turtles he owns to the Dehiwala zoo. The owner and an employee of the turtle hatchery were arrested yesterday for lodging a false complaint with police claiming that an albino turtle was missing. They were both released on bail after being produced before the Balapitiya Magistrate more..

Once proud south reduced to a heroin paradise -Premadasa

Jan 16 (Island) The south had been reduced to a heroin paradise today by the ruling party politicians who protect drug dealers, Hambantota District UNP MP Sajith Premadasa said. Addressing a public gathering in Tissamaharama, he said that people in the South used to introduce themselves proudly as api dakune as the region produced leading Buddhist monks, politicians, literary figures and other professionals, but politicians had ruined the reputation of the south. more..

Court orders arrest of Church attack suspects

Jan 16 (CG) The Galle Additional Magistrate today ordered the police to arrest the suspects involved in the Hikkaduwa church attack, police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told the Colombo Gazette. The Magistrate also instructed the police to obtain unedited video footage of the incident from the media to assist the investigations. The police said that 26 suspects had been identified as being involved in the incident and among them are 10 monks. more..

Sri Lankan team for restricting fishermen from crossing borders

Jan 16 (PTI) Accusing Tamil Nadu fishermen of straying into Sri Lankan waters depleting marine resources, a delegation from the island nation on Thursday sought restriction of fishermen of the two countries from crossing their respective borders. “Both the sides must stop straying into other countries. Indian fishermen should not be allowed to enter our waters, while the Sri Lankan fishermen must not stray into more..

Fowzie wants three organisers for Colombo Central

Jan 16 (Island) A crisis is brewing in the SLFP, the main constituent party of the UPFA govt, over the appointment of organisers for the Colombo Central Electorate. Senior Minister of Urban Affairs and UPFA MP for the Colombo District A.H.M. Fowzie told The Island that he had suggested to President Mahinda Rajapaksa that persons representing the three major communities (Muslim, Sinhala and Tamil) be brought into Colombo Central Electorate. He said that he had been the Chief SLFP more..

President assures Tamils security

Jan 16 (CG) President Rajapaksa today assured the Tamil community that he will ensure their security and safety as citizens of Sri Lanka. Speaking in Tamil at a Thai Pongal event in Kandy the President warned of attempts to destabilize the country by spreading racism. He said that spreading racism is the easiest thing for some people to do whole others look at slinging mud towards the Govt. The President meanwhile noted that following the end of the war what required is more..

Day 1: Ajmal finds form in slow battle

Jan 16 (CI) The Sharjah surface - largely devoid of pace, lateral movement and turn - provided the setting for a game of patience on the first day of the deciding Test of the series. Sri Lanka, needing only a draw to win their first away series since 1999-00 (excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe), batted with caution to wear the bowlers down on a pitch that was not conducive for shot making because of its slowness. more..

Sri Lanka: Return to violence

Jan 16 (IT) Less than two months after Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene signed what was hailed as a historic pact in international relations. The Indo-Sri Lankan accord is in grave danger of exploding in their faces. The current drama being played out in the Jaffna peninsula already has all the elements of a Shakespearian tragedy and the denouement could be even more disastrous. The violent clashes between the LTTE and other Tamil militant groups more..

Salley flays Hirunika for joining govt.

Jan 16 (Island) The United Sri Lanka with Power Sharing (USLPS) comprising the National Unity Alliance (NUA), NSSP, Democratic People’s Front (DPF) and TNA who held a media briefing were of the opinion that Hirunika Premachandra appointed as one of the co-organisers of the SLFP to the Colombo Central electorate did not seem to have an iota of self-respect. For her father Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra had killed allegedly by UPFA thugs. more..

Video: Govt hoping Welikada ‘massacre’ will be forgotten – Kiriella

Jan 16 (AD) Pointing out that the report on the Welikada Prison riot has not been released over a year after the incident, the UNP today accused the govt of delaying the report hoping that people would forget as time goes by. Several inmates were killed and many more injured after a riot broke out at the Welikada Prison on Nov 9, 2012. “What actually happened in Welikada on that day were murders,” UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said, more..

Sri Lanka Navy facilitates fishermen exchange with India

Jan 16 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy assisted in the exchange of Indian and Sri Lanka fishermen released in accordance with the discussions between the two governments. 51 Indian fishermen were handed over to the Indian Coast Guard Ship “Vishvath” at the IMBL off Kankasanthurei today. 52 Sri Lankan fishermen were taken over from the Indian authorities in exchange. Sri Lanka Navy Ship “Shakthi” assisted by Sri Lanka Coast Guard vessels, CG 43 and CG 46 more..

U.S. Govt support for Bar Association of Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (USE) Today the United States Embassy in Colombo, through its development arm, the U.S. Agency for International Development, announced its new program to support the Bar Association of Sri Lanka. With the signing of a MoU, USAID will sponsor a Bar Association program entitled “Civil Society Initiatives to Support the Rule of Law.” This three-year program will enable the U.S. to foster further linkages between the Sri Lanka Bar and U.S. state bar association. more..

Video: Govt’s rights violations paved the way for foreign interference - JVP

Jan 16 (AD) JVP charged that the govt’s continues violations of democracy and human rights, for the purpose of safeguarding its power, have creating the opportunity for Western nations to interfere in Sri Lanka. The govt violated democracy and human rights for its power, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said, adding, that security forces opened fire in Rathupaswala, Chilaw and Katunayake not for the country but for more..

Education and politics in Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (NS) The education of Sri Lanka was again a key topic discussed in the society during the last few weeks, specially due to a statement of the Minister of Education to scrap the grade 5 scholarship exam. It was big concern in the country as well as among the Sri Lankans overseas and the topic seems to be settled with the announcement of the cabinet decision of it – the scholarship exam will continue in future too. At present, the education system of Sri Lanka is among the best in the region more..

Organic fertilizer

Jan 17 (NS) The Department of Agriculture was established as an institution to oversee the production of food crops for the benefit of the then English government in 1912. Sadly, even after a hundred years, it still has not contributed qualitatively to improve Sri Lanka’s food production. After independence, the fertilizer subsidy was started to assist the local famers in 1951. Ammonium sulfate, rock phosphate and animal bone fertilizer was supplied through this subsidy. more..

CMC goes online for rates collection

Jan 17 (SO) The CMC, the biggest local govt body in the country which earns over Rs. three billion as its annual assessment rates for the council from around 150,000 city properties is usually a very busy place. The queues at the Town Hall building gets long when the deadlines for the payment of rate money gets closer compelling the people to wait in queues for hours to pay their rate money, trade taxes, lease and license fee for the council. more..

SL’s leadership and the attacks on churches

Jan 17 (CT) The Sri Lankan Constitution and other laws and policies and the UN declaration on human rights protect religious freedom. The Sri Lankan Constitution states, “Every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice”. The Constitution gives a citizen, “the right either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or in private, to manifest his religion or more..

The tourist in the chicken coop

Jan 17 (CT) Once upon a time, on a sunny morning in Sri Rogerpakistan, a man looked out of the window and saw a tourist inside his chicken coop. So the man went to the bedroom where his wife was still asleep and woke her. “There is a tourist in the chicken coop” he said, “and I think he is hatching an international conspiracy!” His wife opened one angry eye and looked at him. “Tourism has been completely defeated” she said. “There are no longer any tourists in Sri Rogerpakistan more..

'I have attained Arahatness'

Jan 17 (CT) Pitiduwe Siridhamma Thera who introduced himself as Siri Samantha Badra Thera, in an interview claims he attained the uppermost spiritual state of the life of a Buddhist, the Arahatness, a claim many treat with heavy scepticism. Excerpts: Q: People do not admit that you are an Arahat. A: If it is your view, you may stand by it. There is no offence. Q: Did you actually declare that status? A: You also say that I said so. more..

'Bowlers controlled runs well' - Rehman

Jan 17 (CI) Pakistan's left-arm spinner, Abdur Rehman said his side would be looking to dismiss Sri Lanka in the first session on the second day after the visitors ended the first day of the Sharjah Test at 220 for 5. Pakistan lost the toss on a pitch that did not offer much help for bowlers early on, but the spinners were able to strike as the day wore on. While Saeed Ajmal picked up two wickets in 29 overs, Rehman bowled 24 tight overs at an economy rate of 1.87. He also bowled 120 dot balls, more..

The great eyewash

Jan 17 (CT) Welikada Prison massacre inquiry report is no less than a whitewash. Here is one palpable case as to why internal investigations conducted by the incumbent govt are not worth their salt. The internal inquiry commissioned by Prison Reforms Minister, Chandrasiri Gajadeera, into the massacre at the Welikada Prison in 2012 has now ruled that the 27 prisoners, who were slaughtered in the prison riot, had in fact been killed by the prisoners themselves. more..

Karunaratne hopes to build on starts

Jan 17 (CI) When Dimuth Karunaratne fell to Abdur Rehman in the first over after lunch, he pondered his dismissal for a moment but there was nothing to challenge, because he had clearly hit the ball to slip. But he knew that once again, he had earned a start, seen through the nerves, and then fallen away when a substantial score called. Promise of his batting is clear every time he comes to the crease, but he is yet to produce more..

Stubborn facts, pliable statistics

Jan 17 (Island) The Opposition has flayed the govt for cooking up statistics to produce impressive indicators and paint a rosy picture of the socio-economic situation in the country. It has got hold of something to beat the ruling UPFA with. The kneejerk reaction of govt worthies and their economists has been to pooh-pooh the allegation and vilify their detractors, critics and doubters. The practice of cooking up statistics is not of recent origin. It is as old as politics. more..

Assault on other religions by Buddhist monks is an assault on Buddhism

Jan 17 (CT) On a widely read website it was reported thus: 'Saffron terror descended upon the coastal town of Hikkaduwa in Southern Province on Sunday, 12 Jan 2014!' 'Mobs led by Buddhist priests launched attacks on two Christian churches while Sunday worship was in progress, demanding that the places of Christian worship should be closed down as they were unauthorized. One was an Assembly of God church and the other the Calvary Free church. The police remained spectators, more..

Boys to men and bad odours behind the curtains

Jan 17 (ST) In my musical repertoire the American band Boyz II Men — an American R&B vocal group best known for emotional ballads — sits on a special shelf. Among all their hits, their very first — “It’s the end of the road” — holds me in awe whenever I listen to it. However, this Australian summer it came up with a special meaning, cricket wise. In Australia, for the Barmy Army and the English cricketers, it was the end of the road. more..

NDB promotes livelihood development in the cinnamon sector

Jan 17 (CT) NDB recently set the foundation to a 'grow cinnamon' campaign through promoting of microfinance facilities to home growers. This programme was inaugurated at a ceremony held in Matara recently, with the disbursement of 'Divi Aruna' microfinance facilities to over eighty selected growers in the area. The micro loan facilities funded under concessionary rates is expected to encourage the small scale growers to remain in the industry. Speaking at the ceremony, I.K. Ruwansiri of more..

‘CHOGM boosted SL’s global business opportunities’

Jan 17 (Island) ‘Sri Lanka’s international business prospects have brightened tremendously after the CHOGM held in this country late last year. The meeting helped to popularize Sri Lanka among Commonwealth countries as a highly promising business destination, president, Sri Lanka Chamber of Small & Medium Industries Mohideen Cader said. ‘Following the international exposure this country received at CHOGM, Sri Lanka is being regarded among Commonwealth govt and more..

CSE, SEC in joint bid to tap Singaporean and Southeast Asian investors

Jan 17 (FT) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), in association with Bloomberg Data services, will host their next Investor Forum in Singapore on 21 Jan at the Ritz Carlton, Millenia Singapore. The forum hopes to reach out to foreign institutional and high net worth investors based in the Southeast Asian region. Over 250 institutional investors, banks, more..

Clash over economic data assessment and lack of public criticism

Jan 17 (ST) Present and former central bankers clashed this week presenting divergent views on economic data and the development path. Central Bank (CB) Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, speaking on the recent CB roadmap for 2014 at a panel discussion held, said Sri Lanka is expected to maintain a growth rate of 8.2% in the next three years. The discussion was organised by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in association with the Daily FT. Nisthar Cassim, Editor, Daily FT more..

Central Bank, SEC under fire on CIFL

Jan 17 (CT) The Central Bank's (CB) plans to restructure the Non-Banking Financial Institutions (NBFI) sector came under fire yesterday with charges that the CB and the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) failed to protect depositors of the failed Central Investments & Finance Ltd (CIFL). UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva charged that the CB and the SEC allowed CIFL to continue to run a 'Ponzi Scheme' and accept public deposits, and allowed it float an Initial Public Offering (IPO). more..

Tea exports top $ 1.5 b target in 2013

Jan 17 (FT) Sri Lanka has succeeded in exceeding the target of $ 1.5 billion in tea exports in 2013. Tea exports in 2013 at 319 Mkg equalled the 2012 total. Rupee value of exports however jumped 11% from Rs. 180 billion in 2012 to a record Rs. 199 billion in 2013. “The approximate US Dollar value of exports of these earnings is a highest ever $ 1.558 billion. The previous record was the revised figure of $ 1.490 billion released by more..

Sri Lanka remains vulnerable to tightening of global financial conditions: World Bank

Jan 17 (FT) Despite high economic growth and low inflation, Sri Lanka remains vulnerable to tightening of international financial conditions due to its high external debt, the World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report, issued Tuesday, says. The external debt as a share of GDP is modest in most South Asian countries, but in Sri Lanka, it is close to 80% of GDP, according to the GEP report. Sri Lanka’s large current account deficit, high foreign debt, more..

While Dehiwala animals starve; excess fodder for Pinnawala jumbos

Jan 17 (Island) While most animals at the National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwela are literally starving, there is an excess of fodder at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage run by the same board of management. Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation Ministry Additional Secretary Ananda Wijesooriya who is the former Wildlife Department Director General made inquiries and found that coconut leaves, jak leaves and other foliage for 80 elephants there had been overestimated. more..

Asia Cup organisers unveil schedule, rule out venue switch

Jan 17 (AFP) Organisers of cricket's Asia Cup insisted the tournament would go ahead in troubled Bangladesh next month, even if one of the teams pulled out on safety grounds, as they unveiled the schedule Thursday. Defending champions Pakistan will take on Sri Lanka in the opening match of the 50 over tournament on February 25, the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) announced at a press conference in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. more..

Chief of Defence Staff visits Defence Headquarters Complex

Jan 17 (MoD) The new Defence Headquarters Complex conceptualized by Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is taking shape at Akuregoda, Battaramulla. Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya visited the construction site today (16) to inspect the work in progress firsthand. He inspected ongoing construction work accompanied by several senior military officials and exchanged views with a cross section of engineers, supervisors and workmen. more..

Indian night club dancers deported

Jan 17 (DM) The female five Indian dancers who had overstayed their visas and been arrested in a night club in Borella were black listed and deported, the Emigration and Immigration Department said. These dancers, who were aged 18 -25 years, had stayed on for more than four months after the expiry of their visas. They had been performing at a night club on D S Senanayake Mawatha, Borella and earning Rs. 65,000 per month, said an officer of the investigation and intelligence unit more..