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Pope will not come this year

Jan 22 (CG) Pope Francis will not visit Sri Lanka this year but is considering an invitation extended by the Government and may undertake the visit in 2015. Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that the Pope is considering a visit to Asia, including to Sri Lanka, but the visit is likely only next year. In August last year President Mahinda Rajapaksa had written to His Holiness Pope Francis, extending an invitation to visit Sri Lanka. Invitation came days after Pope Francis, more..

Douglas wants TNA in PSC

Jan 22 (CT) Minister Douglas Devananda, called upon the TNA to participate in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), to expedite the peace process and to find an early solution to the ethnic problem. He was speaking at the opening of a new cancer hospital at Tellipalai, Jaffna. The hospital was declared open by President Rajapaksa on Sunday. The ‘Colours of Courage’ foundation held a charity walk from the Southern tip of Sri Lanka, Devundara, to the Northern tip, Point Pedro, more..

Sri Lanka Statistics Office to sack official for data manipulation claim

Jan 22 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's state-run Statistics Office said on Wednesday it will sack one of its top officials for disobedience and leaking internal information after he said that economic growth data compiled by the office was inflated last year. Opposition legislators have criticised President Rajapaksa's govt, saying it has long overstated growth estimates and given unrealistic inflation figures aiming to get more..

Wijedasa Rajapakse denied permission to present private Act

Jan 22 (AD) A private Act which UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapakse attempted to present before the parliament was rejected following a vote taken today. The UNP MP requested permission to present a private Act which aimed to introduce an investigative process on behalf of a fair, independent and unbiased hearing with regards to removing Superior Court judges from their posts. When MP Rajapakse requested permission to present the Act to parliament, the govt MPs objected more..

Have headlights on at daytime: Police tell motorcyclists

Jan 22 (DM) Motorcyclists in the Western Province are requested to travel with their headlights switched on even during daytime from tomorrow, police said. They said according to studies carried motorcycle accidents had been reduced in other countries by adopting this method. It was being introduced here on an experimental basis. They said If successful, it would be legalised and introduced countrywide. Meanwhile the police said that from tomorrow the law on heavy vehicles having to use more..

Indira Gandhi asked Thatcher to stop helping Sri Lanka militarily

Jan 22 (PTI) Former PM Indira Gandhi had asked her British counterpart Margaret Thatcher to stop helping Sri Lanka with military advice to crush the separatist Tamil Eelam movement in the 1980s, according to newly declassified documents. In a document relating to Sri Lanka, released by the National Archives here under the 30-year declassification rule, a reference was apparently made to India's suspicion more..

The place where you want to be tooted

Jan 22 (CT) For the past 10 days I've been hooted at constantly while cycling and it hasn't bothered me one bit. Ride a bike in Sri Lanka and you'll soon learn to accept – even appreciate – a cacophony of vehicle horns. It's not a demand that you get out the way, but instead a friendly heads-up: I see you, I'm coming past, hold your line because I don't want to hit you. Most importantly, it's not a treatment saved for cyclists – as in many other Asian countries I've visited, everybody hoots at everything, more..

Govt snubs Jayalalithaa

Jan 22 (CG) The Govt today rejected a call from TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram not to arrest Indian fishermen in order to facilitate the smooth conduct of fishermen-level talks between the two countries. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that he had instructed the navy and the relevant authorities to arrest Indians poaching in SL waters. He also cautioned SL fishermen not to stray into Indian waters saying they will also face the same fate despite ongoing negotiations on the issue. more..

'Don't sell sex symbols for the election'

Jan 22 (LT) The two main political parties are neglecting experienced local politicians, who have been leading youth and women's groups and party trade unions, in giving nominations for the coming provincial council elections for Western and Southern provinces and filling their nomination lists with 'sex symbols states Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE). A communique issued by the media unit of CaFFE today (22nd) states: more..

'UAE informed us about Lankan’s execution'

Jan 22 (DM) Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB) Deputy General Manager Mangala Randeniya said the FEB was notified by UAE officials prior to the execution of 19-year-old Sri Lankan Ravinda Krishna Pillai, who was convicted of murder. Arabian media has confirmed that Mr. Pillai who works as an electrician was executed in the UAE yesterday after he was found guilty of the murder of an Emirati resident. “Although the Bureau was informed about the execution, the UAE officials did not tell us more..

Sri Lanka disappearance probe to hear more cases from North

Jan 22 (PTI) A three-member panel appointed to probe disappearances during Sri Lanka's three-decade-long civil war will hear more cases in Tamil-dominated northern areas. The panel had received some 13,000 complaints of disappearances when it began their Kilinochchi hearings. Commission's H W Gunadasa said that the panel would now sit in Mullaithivu, the former LTTE military headquarters. Some 440 people appeared before the Commission during the four days of sittings more..

'US wants division of Sri Lanka through rights resolution'

Jan 22 (PTI) Sri Lanka today accused the US of trying to divide the country, as wished by the rebel Tamil Tigers, through its resolutions against it at the UN rights body. The US embassy in Colombo has proposed to the govt fulfilling of conditions which will lead to their holding back of the upcoming resolution at the UNHRC, said Minister Wimal Weerawansa. "The US embassy has informed the govt that they are willing to more..

Traditional farmers and indigenous seeds

Jan 23 (NS) How many of us realize the fact that all the major and minor food crops and animals (livestock) upon which mankind survives today, have been discovered, selected and domesticated from the wild by farmers. “Early cultivators knew about the characteristics, food and medicinal value of over 1500 plant species” (Braid wood, 1967. Prehistoric man). How many of us realize that the rice we eat now, has been consciously selected and developed from wild species such as ‘Uru wi' more..

A policy on diaspora engagement

Jan 23 (NS) The three-decade conflict in Sri Lanka has over the years been “externalized” and “internationalized.” Hence, any attempt at resolution of the root causes of the conflict ought to be accorded an “international dimension” but this time with positive candor. Further, it cannot be disputed that as a result of the “internationalization” of conflict in Sri Lanka, international and regional politics has had a significant bearing on ethnic relations and power dynamics within the country; more..

Northern fishers heave a sigh of relief

Jan 23 (SO) The New Delhi talks between the Sri Lankan delegation led by Minister of Fisheries Rajitha Senaratne and the Indian delegation led by Sharad Pawar on resolving the decades-long fishermen's 'cross-border issue' was successful and it is believed that the issue that caused years of agitation among the fishing communities of the two countries and mounting pressure on the Indian Union govt would come to an end. more..

Stalking Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (FT) While a credible domestic inquiry into specific allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity as recommended by the LLRC and/or a structured dialogue mechanism with the TNA and the Northern Provincial Council for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment would enable Sri Lanka to defeat, delay or dilute a resolution in Geneva in March this year, the absence of transparent and credible progress on these two tracks, and the Rajapaksa administration’s more..

One-handed economists!

Jan 22 (FT) One can understand the frustration of the former US President when all the advice proffered by his economists was given with a cautionary alternate scenario. When grappling with urgent issues, rulers and administrators will much prefer to be given a clear course of action with predictable results as opposed to several options, the consequences of none being predictable. But “on the other hand”, it is obvious that it is not easy, perhaps even impossible, more..

Letter to President from Bradman Weerakoon

Jan 22 (GV) Dear President Rajapakse, I am addressing this letter to you as part of a project initiated by the Fullbright Commission of Sri Lanka to commemorate the 6oth Anniversary of the Fullbright programme in Sri Lanka. The Project called for Fullbright awardees over the years to write a letter to the Presidents of their countries indicating how their period of academic study abroad and the broader experiences gained through more..

Sacrifice of liberties is no price of peace

Jan 22 (CT) In 1787, after the delegates in Philadelphia signed the new United States Constitution, a woman approached Benjamin Franklin. “Well, Doctor,” she asked, “what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” Benjamin Franklin knew then, as most of the political leaders today tend to forget that keeping a republic going is the responsibility of the people as it is of anyone else’s. If we sacrifice liberties as the price of peace, more..

Collapse of Lanka-US relations

Jan 22 (SL) Ruthless pressure being imposed on Sri Lanka to kowtow to America and its Western cheer squad at Geneva was apparent during the recent visit of American Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice John Rapp. A cheap trick certainly unworthy of American diplomacy was used to strengthen unproven allegations of war crimes against the Sri Lanka government during a visit of Rapp to Lanka’s north with the American Ambassador in Colombo Michele J. Sison. more..

'Kaushal Silva a solid Test opening option'

Jan 22 (CI) Outgoing Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has expressed optimism about Sri Lanka's future, after several key players contributed heavily in the Test series against Pakistan. Ford reserved highest praise for Kaushal Silva, who assumed the opening position Tillakaratne Dilshan left vacant, and also lauded the progress of the fast bowlers, who had been instrumental to the Test victory in Dubai. more..

Editorial: Punishing mendicants

Jan 22 (Island) Eleven persons have been arrested, produced in court and fined for begging on Colombo roads, according to a media report. Some of the poor city dwellers have taken to panhandling as they are without any other way of eking out a living. There are also beggars, especially those with physical disabilities, who work for organised racketeers. A panhandler once revealed in a newspaper interview, on condition of anonymity, that he owned a two-storeyed house and a car more..

Dobbs saga, Galle Fort and Tourism

Jan 22 (Island) Geoffrey Dobbs has been in the news during the last few weeks since he had a spat with Southern Province Governor Kumari Balasuriya over an issue of hoisting flags during the CHOGM and his subsequent deportation and return to the country a few weeks later. There are many good Samaritans attempting to sing hosannas about him and even the Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has come to his defence in Parliament and through the media more..

Freedom Party blues

Jan 22 (FT) Every once in a while an almost accidental snapshot will tell an eloquent story. Hirunika Premachandra, freshly appointed the SLFP’s Organiser for Central Colombo was making her way to her first Bala Mandala meeting on foot last Sunday, escorted by an adoring crowd. She would address her first meeting at Kolonnawa, her very own Ground Zero, the place her father and SLFP stalwart Bharatha Lakshman more..

‘Aliya’ unique property, blend of modern comforts and rustic ambiance – Basil

Jan 22 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa opening the newest luxury hotel in the country ‘Aliya’ in the lush surroundings of Sigiriya on Saturday hailed it as a unique property and complemented the brains behind its success story, senior hotelier and developer Chandra Wickramasinghe for his ingenuity and originality while blending rustic ambiance with modern comforts without harming the environment. Rajapaksa said "Hotels of this nature were a growing need in a burgeoning tourism more..

Fresh efforts to revive cash-strapped Chamber Federation

Jan 22 (ST) The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), which moved its headquarters to Grandpass from Slave Isand as a cost –cutting measure, has prepared an action plan aimed at reviving the cash-strapped premier chamber body. FCCISL President Ajith Wattuhewa told the Business Times that a finance committee will be appointed in accordance with the provisions of the action plan to handle all financial matters of the chambers and more..

'New regulations will make Sri Lanka a sports tourism destination'

Jan 22 (DN) Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody presided when Parliament met yesterday. After the presentation of papers and oral questions, the House took up regulations under the Motor Traffic Act and Imports and Exports Act for debate. Minister Kumara Welgama: According to these regulations a motorcycle having an engine capacity of 450cc or less and not more than 1001cc, should be registered under the provisions more..

Lanka Hospitals introduces new heart surgeries to Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (Island) Further reinforcing its commitment to be the best, Lanka Hospitals today announced that it is now capable of performing heart lung transplant surgeries and minimally invasive (keyhole) cardiac surgeries, and is the only hospital in Sri Lanka that offers these surgeries to patients. In order to perform the heart lung transplant surgery for the first time in Sri Lanka, the centre was equipped with the required instruments as well as the latest, most state-of-the-art equipment. more..

Large crowds at EDEX career and job fair

Jan 22 (DN) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) saw a large number of registrations for their educational workshops at the EDEX Expo Education and Career fair, with over 800 persons registering to be contacted for investor education programmes, conducted by the education arm of the CSE. Over 2000 persons visited the stand to gather information about the investment opportunities available in the Lankan capital market. CSE officials elucidated the process of investing in the stock market more..

Korean University students on Sri Lanka tour

Jan 22 (IL) Myongji University in Korea in collaboration with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Korea, will be sending a student delegation to Sri Lanka from 20th – 27th Jan. The delegation consists of Professor Bell Park, a faculty member of the International Trade Department of the Business Administration College at Myognji University, and 15 university students whose more..

Sri Lanka can increase market share in global footwear industry

Jan 22 (DN) China's market share for footwear manufacturing has been on a declining trend and it is high time for Sri Lankan footwear manufacturers to make collective efforts to reap maximum benefits from emerging trends in the global market, Chairman of Footwear Advisory Committee Ranjith Hettiarachchi said. "Sri Lankan market for footwear products is getting saturated and if we are not seriously looking at new markets for exports, there will be no future for us. more..

Dialog to implement Ericsson device connection platform

Jan 22 (M2M) Sri Lanka connectivity provider Dialog will launch enterprise M2M self-service solution with Ericsson in Sri Lanka. As part of the partnership, Dialog will implement the Ericsson Device Connection Platform, delivered as a service by Ericsson. The Ericsson Device Connection Platform (DCP) is a cloud service enabling operators to offer connectivity management to enterprise customers. It enables operators to address new revenue streams from a vast variety of devices while more..

Feasibility study on SL-China FTA due soon; deal signing slated before end of 2014

Jan 22 (FT) The feasibility study on the highly-anticipated Sri Lanka-China Free Trade Agreement is underway and due to be completed within the first quarter with eventual signing of the deal slated for before end 2014. The progress towards what would be a landmark agreement was revealed on Tuesday by the Embassy of China Commercial Counsellor Wang Yingqi at a forum promoting ceramics from China. more..

North American youth wooed for Lankan development by Asia Foundation

Jan 22 (LR) Asia Foundation extended its deadline to Feb 14 for LankaCorps applications. LankaCorps is a unique program for young North American professionals of Sri Lankan heritage to professionally engage in social, cultural, and economic development activities in Sri Lanka. Each year, Asia Foundation selects an outstanding group of individuals to live and work for six months in Sri Lanka as LankaCorps Fellows, allowing them to “explore their roots while giving back.” more..

Sri Lanka triumph on beach volleyball

Jan 22 (PTI) The much anticipated beach volleyball matches got underway at Miramar beach, as part of Lusofonia Games Goa-2014. Set amidst the beautiful Miramar beach and aesthetic infrastructure of world class standards, the first half of the day saw two men's teams and two women's team battle it out. When the morning session concluded, the Sri Lankan men's and women's combine got the better of the Sao Tome and Principe's men's team and the women's team from Mozambique. more..

More raids on bottled water factories

Jan 22 (DN) Health Ministry will conduct raids on bottled water manufacturing factories, to ensure the quality and safety of bottled water available in the local market. There are about 100 bottled water manufacturers in the country and even though more applications had been received by the Health Ministry to establish bottled water companies, the Ministry has temporary suspended the issuing of new approvals. more..

Death of Ananda schoolboy due to school negligence: Case closed

Jan 22 (Island) Maradana police said that no further investigations would be necessary on the death of Ananda College student Senith Wijesinghe (9) who met with his untimely death due to the injuries he sustained when a ground roller he and his friends were playing with pinned him to a wall on Tuesday. The police said that it was the duty of the academic staff to educate children about equipment which could be a danger to life and the teachers should be more attentive and more..

UNHRC resolution against govt not against Sri Lanka: Kiriella

Jan 22 (DM) While claiming that govt was trying only to protect itself by creating a rumpus on upcoming UNHRC sessions, UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella challenged Ministers Mahinda Samarasinghe and G.L. Peiris to an open debate to make people aware about the real consequences of UNHRC session. “UNHRC resolutions are not against the country or our army. Resolutions are against govt. This is why govt was attempting to protect and strengthen it by deceiving the public. more..

SLC to oppose ICC’s vicious plans

Jan 22 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided to oppose the proposed controversial reforms to the ICC structure and will formalize their stance once the SLC Executive Committee takes a policy decision on the matter at their next meeting. A top SLC official said that they met Minister Aluthgamage on Monday at an urgent meeting to inform the minister about the alarming development that has taken the cricket world by storm. more..

HRC received 7,752 complaints in 2013

Jan 22 (CT) Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) said it has received 7,752 complaints from 1 Jan to 20 Dec 2013. Of this number, 4,521 complaints had been lodged at the head office of the SLHRC while 3,231 had been lodged with the 10 branches of the Commission spread throughout the island. Of these, only 3,047 complaints came under the mandate of the SLHRC and the rest had to be turned away. "In addition, 959 cases could not be proceeded with, more..