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51 repatriated fishermen reach Karaikal

Jan 17 (Hindu) Indian Coast Guard Ship Vishwast on Thursday evening sailed into Karaikal Port with 51 repatriated fishermen on board after a three-month long detention in Sri Lanka. Fatigued fishermen landed on their home turf, albeit without boats. Outside the port premises, anxious families waited with anticipation for this long-due reunion. The repatriation was marked by a swap, with 52 Sri Lankan fishermen being handed over to more..

Hope on the Horizon for Indo-Lankan Ties

Jan 17 (ENS) It is heartening that India and Sri Lanka have finally decided to immediately free all fishermen in their respective custodies and to release their vessels. The agreement was worked out after a meeting between agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and Sri Lankan minister of fisheries and aquatic resources Rajitha Senaratne. On Tuesday, both countries released 52 fishermen each. The release of the remaining fishermen in jails on both sides will set the stage for a more..

Editorial: Easing tensions in the Palk Bay

Jan 17 (Hindu) The agreement between India and Sri Lanka to empty their jails of each other’s fishermen is an encouraging sign that both sides have the will to resolve a long-standing irritant in bilateral ties. At Wednesday’s meeting between Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Sri Lankan Fisheries and Aquatic Minister Rajitha Senaratne, both sides agreed to release all fishermen in their custody except those who face charges other than crossing the IMBL. more..

1000 houses for Tamil refugees lying vacant

Jan 17 (Hindu) It was meant to be an exercise to finalise the nitty-gritty of a proposal, which envisaged the construction of 2,500 houses for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu. But, in the end, the exercise, done in the form of a study, resulted in the reduction of the number of new houses as 1,269 houses at the sites of camps set up for the refugees were lying vacant. Not just that. The State authorities also found that more..

JVP up and running

Jan 17 (Island) The JVP would launch its Western and Southern Provincial Council election campaign under the theme ‘Janatha Handa Dinawamu’ (Make voice of the people victorious), JVP MP Vijitha Herath said. He said that they already named former parliamentarian K. D. Lalkantha and former councillor Nalin Hewage as leaders for the Western and Southern Provinces respectively for the poll. The Gampaha District MP said that former MPs Jinadasa Kithulegoda and more..

Dutch-Sri Lankan business wins the Embassy Award

Jan 17 (Island) The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. LiliannePloumen, presented the prestigious Embassy Award to the Dutch-Sri Lankan company 'Van der Knaap-Growrite substrates' at a large network reception in Ede, the Netherlands. Each year in January, the Dutch ambassadors from around the world present an award to an outstanding Dutch company in a foreign country. This year the Netherlands embassy in more..

Britain allowed ex-SAS officers to train Sri Lankans as Tamil Tigers rebelled

Jan 17 (Guardian) Former SAS officers were allowed by the British govt to train security forces in Sri Lanka around the time of the 1980s Golden Temple massacre, recently released govt documents show. The disclosure comes days after documents emerged appearing to show that SAS officers were involved in training Indian troops in the months leading up to the raid on the Amritsar temple, the Sikh religion's holiest site, more..

Movie about Prabhakaran's son

Jan 17 (CT) Director Praveen Kanth is producing a film based on the life of Balachandran, the son of the slain LTTE Leader Prabhakaran. Shooting for the film, which is titled Pulipaarvai (puli is Tamil for tiger), has already begun. Several young boys auditioned for the role of Balachandran, however, the child actor who was selected is said to have a striking resemblance to the son of the rebel leader. Pulipaarvai is being produced under the banner of Vendhar Movies and more..

Gang robbing Middle East returnees nabbed

Jan 17 (CT) A gang of four who had been engaged in criminal activities by robbing money and valuables from Middle East returnees, by offering them transport to their home towns or to the Central Bus Stand in Pettah, have been arrested by the police. Operating from the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayake, and the Central Bus Stand in Pettah, the robbers offer the returnees soft drinks that are spiked with drugs which the victims consume, and fall asleep after a while. more..

Govt denies Rathika’s claims

Jan 17 (CG) The Govt has denied claims that Canadian opposition MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan was followed by men on motorbikes when she was in Sri Lanka recently. Chitranganee Wagiswara, Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to Canada, told CTV News that there is no truth to Sitsabaiesan’s claims. “I don’t know how she got the impression she was followed,” Wagiswara said. Wagiswara said Sri Lankan officials more..

They march for the future of our cinema…

Jan 17 (LT) Cinema artists including directors and technicians and a number of organizations of cinema artists engaged in a protest march today (16), for the first time in Sri Lanka, to demand the govt to implement immediately the decision taken by the govt to appoint a regulatory commission to regulate digitalization of cinema display, distribution and screening and to protest against the failure to pay attention to proposals presented to the budget 2014 by those engaged in the cinema trade. more..

Ravana Balaya calls for arrest of Bishops

Jan 17 (CT) General Secretary of the Ravana Balaya, Ven. Iththekande Saddatissa Thera, filed a complaint with the police against the Bishops of Jaffna and Mannar, yesterday, calling for an inquiry into the false information they had provided to Stephen J. Rapp, during his recent visit to Sri Lanka. Saddatissa Thera has stated that Jaffna Bishop, Thomas Saundranayagam, and Mannar Bishop, Rayappu Joseph, had made false statements to the United States Ambassador-at-Large for more..

Nominations from Jan. 30 to Feb. 6

Jan 17 (Island) Nominations for the Western and Southern Provincial Council elections would be accepted from Jan 30, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya announced. He said the nominations would be closed by 12.00 noon on Feb 6. "We will announce the date for the elections after the closing of nominations," Deshapriya said. The two councils were dissolved prematurely last Sunday. more..

Agriculture has become agribusiness

Jan 17 (DM) As an online controversy or Facebook sarcasm provides palatable food for thought in Malaysia over Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak saying people should eat more of the low-cost and popular water spinach kangkung, Sri Lanka also needs to put jokes apart and reflect deeply on its food and nutrition policy or the lack of a policy. We do have a Ministry of Health and Nutrition and an officially approved Nutrition Society of Sri Lanka (NSSL). more..

If united, no power could touch Lanka

Jan 17 (DM) In spite of pressure, both local and international, the government is firm in its resoluteness to fulfill the chauvinist agenda of a certain section. It has shown no desire to pull the brakes on the Sinhala agitations and give the minorities their rights. On the contrary, the Mahinda regime clashed with the U.S. embassy over photographs published some time ago. This prompted an angry response from the govt. Ministry Secretary Karunathilaka Amunugama sought more..

John Amaratunga A blessed person now

Jan 17 (DM) UNP MP John Amaratunga was at the centre of controversy during the past week, since he joined the Presidential entourage on a state visit to the Middle-East, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. However, he is now at pains to drive home the point that his intention was not to join the government. In an interview with Daily Mirror, he said it was purely a pilgrimage for him. Excerpts of the interview are as follows: more..

Sitsabaiesan ‘saddened’ by armed robbery at Toronto Hindu Temple

Jan 17 (LR) Rathika Sitsabaiesan NDP MP for Scarborough Rouge River today condemned an armed robbery at Sri Varasithi Vinayagar Temple in Scarborough. Police alleged that the two suspects entered the temple around 9 p.m. on Sunday in the Kennedy Rd. and McNicoll Ave. with their faces disguised. The woman then allegedly pointed a gun at a worshiper and attempted to tie him up with zip ties and duct tape, while more..

Crimes, murders decline, but most remain unsolved with fewer successful prosecutions

Jan 17 (ST) Work Supervisor, Gamini Saman was returning home from his workplace in the early hours of Jan 1, so that he could mark the dawn of the new year with his family at their home in Kotiyagala, Ingiriya. But, it was not to be, as he was beaten up with clubs and stones by a group who waylaid him close to his house. The person/s responsible for the murder were not apparent, with no visible clues for the police. more..

'Hirunika should cooperate with other organizers'

Jan 17 (DM) Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha said he will continue his political activities in Colombo Central despite the appointment of Hirunika Premachandra, the daughter of late ruling party politician Baratha Lakshman Premachandra as an SLFP’s co-organizer for the area. Mr. Mustpha said that he will continue his political activities as he is one of the three co-organizers in the area. more..

Muslim council raises concerns

Jan 17 (CG) The Sri Lanka Muslim Council raised concerns over threats faced by religious minorities in Sri Lanka following the latest attack on two churches in Hikkaduwa. In a letter to President Rajapaksa, SL Muslim Council said that Buddhist monks publicly claim to be the un-official police and continue to intimidate minorities. “We kindly urge your Excellency to order the law enforcement agencies to rein-in these mobs more..

'The future is not ours to say'

Jan 17 (SL) Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran has already had to face many challenges within the short period since he was appointed to his new post. Meeting the expectations of the Tamils who gave him a mandate at the last NPC elections is without a doubt his biggest challenge. Wigneswaran has a long and certainly rough road ahead of him but he says he will take that road to meet the expectations of the people. more..

Chinese ask CEB to do 30-day test run on Norochcholai Phase II

Jan 17 (Island) The China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) had asked the CEB to go for a ‘reliability test’ of the Second Phase of the first coal fired plant now nearing completion at Norochcholai, a highly placed official said. However, local engineers have said they won’t pander to the whims and fancies of the Chinese builder and all tests must be completed. About 90% of their work has been completed but they are unable more..

'Kirielle wanted me to be on UNP nomination board'

Jan 17 (Island) Sajith Premadasa, MP said that UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had accepted his explanation for not wanting to serve on the Nomination Board for the next Southern and Western PC Elections, but it was Lakshman Kiriella who had insisted that he be included. Premadasa said that he had met Wickremesinghe seven days back and set out the reasons for his decision to refrain more..

Port City perch priced at Rs 8M

Jan 17 (CT) The land lease value of the Colombo Port City Development project has estimated between Rs 8 to 8.5 million a perch, sources said. The Cabinet approved China Communication Construction Company's application to invest US$ 900 million for the Colombo Port City Development project, for which land filling would commence this March, an official said. According to Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman, Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama, more..

Kshenuka new Foreign Secretary

Jan 17 (CG) Kshenuka Seneviratne has been appointed as the new Foreign Secretary with effect from today, outgoing Foreign Ministry Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama told the Colombo Gazette. Amunugama who served as Foreign Secretary from the time Professor G.L Peiris was appointed External Affairs Minister has retired from service after reaching the age of 60. He is expected to be appointed to a new Ministry. more..

Questionable conclusions

Jan 17 (CT) In an editorial in the aftermath of the riots that broke out in the Welikada Prison in Nov 2012, which left 27 inmates dead and scores injured, we said, "Such a catastrophic security breakdown in the prison system is appalling and the callous and unprofessional way in which this so-called security operation was conducted, must stand the test of transparency and accountability." Exactly 13 months after the incident, said to be worst in the country's history since the1983 riot, more..

Caligula in Colombo

Jan 17 (CT) At first sight, it read like the sort of buffoonery newspapers delight in, to honour the April Fools Day: ‘MOD ponders rehabilitating NPC member Ananthi'. But this is January not April; and arresting the TNA provincial councillor who was second highest on the preference-votes list sounded just like the sort of something Gotabhaya Rajapaksa would love to ponder, if not do. “A senior Defence Ministry source told…that those who hadn’t been arrested/surrendered at the conclusion of more..

Blame it on ideological vacuum

Jan 17 (CT) Anoticeable aspect of the emerging political scenario in Sri Lanka is the entry of a number of film and TV stars as candidates in Parliamentary and Provincial Elections. Glamour associated with the tinsel world and the small screen has propelled stars like Upeksha Swarnamali, Anarkali Akarsha, Geetha Kumarasinghe and Nadeesha Hemamali into the political world, which, in the South Asian context, is the ultimate more..

Sri Lanka stocks down 0.5%

Jan 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka stocks close in the red Friday ending a six-day upbeat trend with tobacco and diversified stocks losing ground. All Share Price Index closed 35.93 points lower at 6,131.05, down 0.58%. The S&P SL20 closed 19.11 points lower at 3,407.94, down 0.56%. Turnover was 1.64 billion rupees, down from 1.86 billion rupees a day earlier, with stocks of 128 firms closing in the red against 62 gainers. Index heavy JKH topped the turnover list with three off market transactions more..

Ceremonial sitting welcomes new SC judge

Jan 17 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday held a ceremonial sitting to welcome the newly appointed Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Buveneka Aluvihare, PC, He earlier held the post of Additional Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Department. President of the Bar Association Upul Jayasuriya, P.C. addressed the assembly on behalf of the unofficial bar. Attorney General, Palitha Fernando, President’s Counsel addressed the assembly on behalf of the official bar. more..

'LTTE Political Wing was meant to infiltrate military-held areas; Sasitharans no saints'

Jan 17 (Island) The Defence Ministry said that NPC member Ananthi Sasitharan was under investigation, though she had publicly distanced herself from the LTTE fighting cadre. A senior Defence Ministry spokesman said that the ongoing inquiry was meant to establish her role during the conflict as well as the post-war era. Defence Ministry was responding to criticism of its decision to weigh the need to rehabilitate Ms. Sasitharan. more..

Rights Now challenges HRC’s excuses for postponing national torture inquiry

Jan 17 (CT) The Rights Now Collective for Democracy has challenged the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) to be transparent about real reasons as to why the previously announced National Inquiry on Torture has been postponed. Executive Director of Rights Now, Attorney-at-Law Sudarshana Gunawardana in a letter to the Chairman of the HRCSL, said that in light of the HRCSL Chair’s assertion that the term of Commissioners ending in February 2014 was more..

'Govt will provide all assistance for investors in East'

Jan 17 (GDI) Since the liberation of the Eastern Province from the tiger terrorists in 2007, the government has spent a huge sum for improving infrastructure facilities in the Eastern Province. Development work carried out under the Neganahira Navodaya programme has made the province conducive for international and local investments particularly in the tourism, animal husbandry, agriculture and livestock development sectors. This was stated by Minister Basil Rajapaksa more..

'Pakistan, Sri Lanka have political will to strengthen ties'

Jan 17 (AAP) Pakistan PM Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy excellent relations and there was strong political will on both sides to further develop and promote their bilateral relations. The PM while talking to Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva, of Sri Lanka said there were vast opportunities for increasing the bilateral trade. He said both sides should make efforts to enhance the more..

Wickramabahu wants ‘extremist Buddhist’ organisations banned

Jan 17 (Island) Leader of the NSSP Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne said that the Rajapaksa govt should ban the extremist Buddhist organistions which had taken the law into their own hands, to attack Muslim and Christian places of worship. He said that three such organizations the Bodu Bala Sena, Sihala Ravaya and Ravana Balaya were backed by the govt. Dr. Karunaratne said owing to the political connection of these organisations the police were powerless to act against them. more..

'National film Corporation Act soon in Parliament'

Jan 17 (GDI) The Media Minister has emphasised that there is no other Govt as the present administration which had taken vast progressive measures for the progress of the local cinema industry within the last 67 years. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella issuing a statement in respect of the initiatives taken by the present Govt for the progress of the local cinema industry said that the resurgence of the cinema industry commenced after 2005. But the crisis within the industry surfaced more..

'Several layers found in SL mass grave'

Jan 17 (PTI) A mass grave found in northeastern Sri Lanka, the scene of pitched battles between govt forces and Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, is said to contain several layers of bodies, forensic experts have said. A team of forensic experts led by Judicial Medical Officer Dhananjaya Waidyaratne has so far found skeletal remains of at least 36 individuals in the grave. “The bodies have been buried in several layers,” more..

Bohra spiritual head passes away

Jan 17 (CG) The Dawoodi Bohra community spiritual leader, Dr. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin passed away at Saifee Mahal in south Mumbai after suffering a heart attack. Sri Lanka has a 3000 strong Bohra community and Dr. Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin had visited the country a few years ago. His successor, Syedi Aali Qadr Mufaddal Bhaisaheb Saifuddin, visited Sri Lanka last year. DNA news India reported that Shaikh Abdeali Bhanpurwala, executive secretary of more..

India-Sri Lanka Artist’s Week from 18- 23 Jan

Jan 17 (GDI) India-Sri Lanka Foundation, in collaboration with Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo and SEHER, New Delhi will be holding an India Sri Lanka Artist’s Week from 18th to 23rd January, 2014 at the Hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo. The art camp will consist of renowned painters from India and Sri Lanka with varied inspirations, styles, techniques and schools of thought, working together in unison. An exhibition of the joint works done during the week would be unveiled by Y.K. Sinha, more..

'Act on plea made earlier during talks'

Jan 17 (PTI) Ahead of the proposed meet between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka here on Jan 20, the All India Traditional Fishermen’s Association has urged the Centre to focus on implementing the requests already made by TN fishermen during earlier bilateral parleys. “Lanka must adhere to Geneva Convention and ensure that there is no threat to the lives, limbs and boats of our fishermen. This is crucial and it was made clear in more..