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Should we settle for political progenies and starlets?

Jan 19 (CT) With the dissolving of the Southern and Western Provincial Councils, we are set for yet another round of elections in the coming months. The date will be decided by the Commissioner of Elections, once the nominations are closed, which according to the gazette notification will be 6 Feb, but speculation is rife that the elections would be held sometime in late March, coinciding with the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, where yet another resolution against the govt is expected. more..

Always Breakdown Norochcholai: Who in the govt is doing anything about it?

Jan 19 (Island) For several days now The Island and other newspapers have been carrying news reports and editorials about the state of affairs at Lanka’s first coal-fired power plant at Norochcholai, which is also the first Chinese-built power plant in the country. Hapless consumers are bracing for blackouts or higher tariffs, or both. And the only people answering questions about Norochcholai are the CEB Engineers. No Minister, no all-powerful Secretary, and no charming Percy Mahendra, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 19 (ST) The next of kin of policemen from among the thousands who were killed or went missing in the two and half decades of fighting with Tiger guerrillas are in for some relief. Now, the Cabinet has decided to pay an annual allowance to them. Interesting enough, next of kin of police constables — the largest number in the department to lay down their lives or go missing — will receive an annual allowance of Rs. 975. more..

Over 1.2 billion derailed

Jan 19 (SL) Seven train engines imported from France worth over Rs. 1.2 billion have been pulled out of service owing to maintenance issues. In 1999 the then govt imported ten ‘M9’ type train engines at a cost of Rs.182 million each but today only three are in operation. “Each engine cost Rs.182 million. Today seven engines amounting to Rs.1,274 million are out of service and are parked at the Ratmalana train yard,” more..

Indians join Norochcholai coal war

Jan 19 (ST) A team from a Chennai-based Indian company that specialises in detecting condenser leaks has arrived in Sri Lanka to inspect the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai, said M.C. Wickramasekara, CEB Additional General Manager. Mr. Wickramasekara also revealed that the plant’s builders, China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), have verbally agreed to do a “complete evaluation” more..

'Ramanayake deserves his place'

Jan 19 (CT) Cricket selection committee chairman Sanath Jayasuriya says the best and balanced squad has been chosen for the upcoming Under-19 World Cup, and Royal College all rounder Hashen Ramanayake deserves his place in the side. The 15-member squad for the Youth World Cup to be played in the UAE from Feb 14 to March 1 was selected early this week. However, Jayasuriya and the fellow selectors were more..

Govt. to seek Parliamentary approval to import, register 1000cc motorbikes

Jan 19 (ST) Govt will seek Parliamentary sanction this week for the import and registration of motorcycles with engine capacity up to 1000 cc. The regulations which were gazetted last April, for the use of high-powered bikes for “sports purposes”, will be taken up for debate on Wednesday. Before the gazette came into effect, motorcycles greater than 350 cc were banned from import. The new ceiling on engine capacity more..

Deshapriya to meet party secretaries, senior election officials

Jan 19 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has invited all the secretaries of mainstream political parties for a crucial pre-nomination discussion on Friday (24) at 3 pm. This will be followed by the Commissioner meeting all Elections Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners before the acceptance of the nominations, on Sunday at 9 am, said Deputy Commissioner M.M. Mohammed. more..

Minister Abeywardena unaware of lease value of land given to Packer

Jan 19 (CT) The two acres in D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha handed over to the Australian Gaming Mogul has come under question as the Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena claims to be unaware of the lease value of the land given to James Packer and his local partner Ravi Wijeratne. The Ministry of Investment Promotion and the BoI have approved the US$ 360 million mixed development project by the Australian Gaming King Pin more..

Largest steamer shipwreck discovered off Batticaloa

Jan 19 (NS) The wreck of a steamer discovered off the coast of Batticaloa has been identified by the Galle Maritime Archeology Unit (MAU) to be the largest such shipwreck discovered in Sri Lankan waters. Official records indicate that the wreck is that of the steamer Sir John Jackson, which was wrecked on Brennus Shoal in the Navaladi lagoon off Batticaloa on Sep 26, 1908, according to Galle MAU’s Rukshan Priyandana. more..

Religious beliefs save Mattala peacocks, but threat persists

Jan 19 (ST) Hundreds if not thousands of peacocks pose a serious threat to airline traffic at the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) but authorities are unable to eliminate this bird population owing to local religious beliefs, a senior Aviation official said yesterday. Since peacocks were revered by both Buddhists and Hindus, the task of eradicating the menace had become even more difficult, more..

Census on human and property damages ‘not properly conducted’

Jan 19 (Island) Rights activists and political groups have expressed apprehension regarding the census conducted by the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs and the Department of Census and Statistics. The census is being conducted at Grama Niladhari Division level to assess the human and property damages and to publish a report under the National Action Plan prepared by the Task Force appointed by more..

A heart-rending story of an old doctor living in an abandoned storeroom

Jan 19 (Island) A group of medical practitioners attached to the Dehiattakandiya Hospital last week visited the first MBBS doctor appointed to the Mahaweil ‘C’ Zone decades ago. A courtesy call on a retired senior colleague wouldn’t have generally made news, but what’s extraordinary in this case is that Dr. Pathiranalage Vinitha Ranjani Gunawardena now lives in the dilapidated abandoned structure, which served as the storeroom of the Mahaweli office at Cadjuwatte. more..

Australian aid budget slashed, focus on Indo-Pacific region

Jan 19 (ST) Australia is to focus its aid budget on the Indo-Pacific region, announcing a cut of more than A$100 million but saying its money will be better spent closer to home, where it won’t be supporting a “hand-out culture”. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs states total aid to Sri Lanka in the last financial year was A$ 42.6 million and the next is set at A$ 39.7 million — a slight reduction — while heavier cuts are expected for African countries. more..

Final stages of the war: Colombo-produced documentary screened in London

Jan 19 (Island) Members of the Sri Lankan community and foreigners gathered at London’s Carlton Club last week to listen to former Conservative Party MP and an incumbent member of the European Parliament, Nirj Deva of Sri Lankan origin and watch a Colombo-produced documentary that depicted a different side of the final stages of the war against the LTTE than that propagated by the Callum Macrae-Channel-4 combination. more..

Projects initiated to uplift public sector standards: Navin

Jan 19 (ST) Minister Navin Dissanayake declared that the ministry had initiated the launch of projects to uplift the public sector’s standards. Mr Dissanayaka addressing the media at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development and Administration (SLIDA), said that the Ministry hoped to successfully complete the tasks within the given timeframe. He was referring to pubic sector reforms launched in at least two districts, which they hope to introduce in all districts. more..

Why no dance festivals in Lanka?

Jan 19 (Island) Heshma Wignaraja, artistic director of the Chitrasena-Vajira Dance Company (CVDC), has accomplished a stupendous task putting the institution founded by her grand-parents on a sound management and artistic footing. And Heshma’s husband Arjuna is the bedrock upon which much of the efforts to build a new dance centre for CVDC are based. However, with great respect, I cannot agree with her statement to a writer of an article in the Island of 4 January 2014 that more..

Govt set for fishing talks with Jayalalithaa

Jan 19 (ST) Direct talks between a Sri Lankan govt delegation and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa have been fixed for this month to work out a mechanism to end poaching by fishermen from South India, Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said the meeting scheduled for Jan 27 would be a follow up to the talks he held with Indian Minister Sharard Pawar and Indian officials this week more..

Garbage dumping continues in Yala buffer zone

Jan 19 (CT) Environmentalists have voiced concern over the continuous dumping of garbage in the buffer zone of the Yala National Park, allegedly by Tissamaharama Pradeshiya Sabha, which has been happening over a long period of time. However, although environmentalists continued to protest over the dangers caused to wild elephants, wild boar and other animals that are attracted to the garbage, the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) has failed to address the ongoing problem. more..

UPFA MP abuses police to release friend arrested for drunk driving

Jan 19 (ST) A ruling party MP yesterday created a scene at the Dehiwala Police station, demanding the release of a friend who had been arrested pre-dawn for drunk driving. He used abusive language when the police refused to release him. He turned up a second time and berated the policemen on duty. The friend was later released on police bail. Only this week the IGP N.K. Illangakoon issued instructions to traffic policemen not to bow down to pressure of senior police officers or politicians more..

'Arrest me if you can'

Jan 19 (CT) Mannar Bishop, Dr. Rayappu Joseph, said he would challenge the Ravana Balaya to arrest him if possible, as he is not wrong on the war crimes allegations. The Bishop, who had met US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen J. Rapp, for a discussion, had elaborated on the war crimes believed to have been committed during the last phase of the war in Sri Lanka. The Ravana Balaya, infuriated by more..

No anchor for a sinking catamaran

Jan 19 (Island) It will be no mean feat to reach a resolution of the fishing dispute in the waters between India and Lanka. First there is the wrangle between impoverished fishermen struggling to haul in a catch and provide an income for their families; second, fat-cat businessmen (mudalalis) on both sides own trawlers that roam the seas in search of return-on-investment. The depleted oceans can feign yield sufficient to satisfy the latter, though if it was a dispute between fishermen alone, more..

Sultana rips through Sri Lanka to set up win

Jan 19 (CW) Gouher Sultana returned figures of four for four as India Women dismissed Sri Lanka Women for 76 on their way to a seven-wicket win in the first ODI in Visakhapatnam. Sultana took her career-best figures, Rajeshwari Gaekwad took two for 11 and Jhulan Goswami two for 16 as Sri Lanka were bundled out in just 39.3 overs. Yasoda Mendis, who had been Sri Lanka's mainstay as they beat India 'A' in a warm-up game, top scored with 17 and was the only player to reach double figures. more..

Maldives President to visit Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (CG) A high level delegation will accompany the Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom during his state visit to Sri Lanka this week, the Maldives President’s office said. Yameen will be making a State Visit to Sri Lanka on the invitation of President Rajapaksa from the 21st to the 23rd of January. President Yameen will be joined by a high-level delegation that includes Qasim Ibrahim, Leader of the Jumhooree more..

Threat of a water cut if talks fail

Jan 19 (CG) Water Board trade unions have warned of a water cut in the Western Province if discussions scheduled to be held tomorrow to address some of their concerns fail to produce results. Water Resources Joint Trade Union Alliance co-convenor, Upali Ratnayake said that workers attached to the Water Board had been demanding an 8 percent increase in their salary allowance. He said that a discussion is scheduled to take place tomorrow between the trade unions and more..

Demo to bring down drug prices

Jan 19 (ST) With medicinal drug prices soaring, the People’s Movement for the Rights of Patients (PMRP) and other civic action groups will conduct a demonstration outside the Fort Railway Station on Jan 24, to urge the Govt to implement the National Medicinal Drugs Policy (NMDP). A PMRP spokesperson said that if the NMDP, based on Prof. Senaka Bibile’s essential medicines concept, was implemented by the Govt, quality drugs could be made available to the people at affordable more..

Centre asked to stop deportation of 46 refugees from Australia to Lanka

Jan 19 (Hindu) MDMK general secretary Vaiko on Saturday called upon the Centre to intervene “through diplomatic channels” and stop deportation of 46 Tamil refugees from Australia to Sri Lanka. “It is a matter of grave concern that the lives of the 46 refugees detained in Australia may be subjected to mortal danger if they are deported to Sri Lanka,” Mr. Vaiko said in a letter to PM Manmohan Singh, a copy of which was released to the media. more..

Driver who dropped accident victim by roadside arrested

Jan 19 (NS) A suspect who had allegedly knocked down an elderly person, then dumped the severely injured victim on the road while claiming to take him to hospital, was taken into police custody last evening. The victim, a 65-year-old resident of Ratmalana, had been walking along Templer’s Road in Mount Lavinia early last morning when he was struck by a vehicle and seriously injured. The driver had then put the victim in his car, claiming he would take him to the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital. more..

Govt. to seek refuge from Kunanayakam

Jan 19 (LT) The govt is considering appointing Tamara Kunanayakam, who was appointed as the Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the United Nations office in Geneva but was removed within a short period of nine months, to the same post again say internal sources of the govt. The govt removed her from the post of Permanent Representative to the United Nations office and wanted to appoint her as an ambassadress of another country. She opposed the move saying when more..

'I’m an adopted daughter of Rajapaksa family'

Jan 19 (DM) Kicking off her political campaign in a bold and determined note confronting her rivals, the newly-appointed SLFP Colombo Central Organiser Hirunika Premachandra today said no-one could separate her from President Mahinda Rajapaksa as she was his adopted daughter. Ms. Premachandra who was speaking at a SLFP Bala Mandala meeting at her residence in Kolonnawa today morning said she was more..

'Appoint anyone other than Mervyn'

Jan 19 (DM) Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha members have requested President Mahinda Rajapaksa not to re-appoint Minister Mervyn Silva as SLFP organiser for the Kelaniya electorate, and to appoint anyone other than him. “We have appealed to the President to appoint anyone from among the twenty million people in the country other than Minister Silva. We will not work together with the minister if he is re-appointed as Kelaniya SLFP organiser,” PS Chairman Prasanna Ranaweera said. more..

'Indian coastguards harassed us'

Jan 19 (DM) Several Sri Lankan fishermen released by the Indian govt today said the Indian coastguards subjected them to harassment when they were arrested last year, for poaching into the Indian territorial waters. The fishermen who had been imprisoned at Puzhal Central Prison, Chennai said although they were fairly treated in prison, the Indian coastguards had unduly harassed them after their arrest and while transporting them to the Sri Lankan Navy boats that were to take them home. more..

Talks with SL could prevent arrest of TN fishermen: PMO

Jan 19 (PTI) The talks between fishermen's representatives of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka on Jan 27 be an opportunity to prevent arrest of fishermen from this state and seizure of their boats by the island nation's naval personnel, Minister of State for PMO V Narayanasamy said today. "The talks on January 27 will help arrive at an understanding between fishermen of SL and Tamil Nadu upto where they can go for fishing," more..

A broker reveals his ordeal with Ports Authority tender dealings

Jan 19 (NS) Sri Lanka Ports Authority is in possession of most of the cargo that’s imported. People can import cargo with the help of Sri Lanka Ports Authority and shipping companies. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority calls for tenders for cargo which aren’t cleared by the consignee in keeping with their rules and regulations. Cargo is kept in the warehouse for 21 days before calling for tenders. Sources reveal that Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has offered cargo to more..

MR says only 12,000 troops in the North

Jan 19 (CG) President Rajapaksa says the number of soldiers based in the North has been reduced to 12,000 following the end of the war. He said that around 60,000 – 75,000 soldiers were based in the North during the conflict but now there are only around 12,000 soldiers. Speaking to the public after opening the new Thelipallai Trail cancer hospital in Jaffna today, the President said that the Government will ensure equal treatment for all communities in the country. more..

Day 4: SL move slowly towards strong lead

Jan 19 (CI) If any thought lingered that Sri Lanka's designs for the match in Sharjah were aggressive, their batting in the third innings provided unequivocal proof they want nothing more than 1-0 from the series. By stumps, Sri Lanka had crawled to 133 for 7 from 71 overs, the barely-breathing run rate of 1.87 was their lowest for any Test innings since 1994, in which they batted at least 50 overs. more..

Reasons for decline of SL tea industry

Jan 20 (SL) We are well aware that when the tea industry and the tea trade were under the management of the British Companies, Ceylon Tea became popular world over for its genuine quality and natural flavour. At that time, Ceylon tea fetched the highest prices continuously for decades. These achievements were due to the dedicated services rendered by those well-trained and experienced executives and the staffs, who tirelessly performed their loyal duties with much responsibility more..

2014 Davis Cup: Watershed for SL Tennis?

Jan 20 (SL) For more than a few countries in Group Two of the Davis Cup competition, the job of selecting their respective squads is a matter of merely picking up a phone. As these countries’ top players are professionals committed year-round solely to prize-money tournaments staged worldwide, the first step in their selection process is to find out if the professionals would be available for Davis Cup duty. Of course, the players’ response isn’t a simpleyes or no, but rather more..

'Intl. pressure will continue even after LLRC recommendations are implemented'

Jan 20 (SO) Minister Champika Ranawaka speaking on the forthcoming election, the tussle between the JHU and PM, D.M. Jayaratne,the TNA's double face and international conspiracies against Sri Lanka, said India should realise that the real threat to its sovereignty is not from Sri Lanka but from those who are clamouring for a separate Eelam. Adding that Islamic fundamentalists and Maoist terrorists are more..

Minority-Phobia, intolerance and the impossibility of peace

Jan 20 (CT) Why should there be a Buddhist temple in Kenya? Neither Sinhalese nor Buddhists have a historical-footprint in East Africa. Yet there is a Buddhist temple in Nairobi, a Theravada one, with a Sinhala monk in charge of it. The temple was built by Sinhala-Buddhist expatriate workers and President Rajapaksa visited it, on his recent visit to Kenya. Kenyans do not seem to feel threatened by this creation of an alien place of worship in their country by non-Kenyans; more..