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Dialog to commission submarine cable by end 2014

June 1 (NS) Sri Lanka’s Dialog Axiata, which entered into an agreement with the Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) Consortium to land a high capacity submarine cable through a Cable Landing Station to be located in Colombo last year, will commission the submarine cable and cable landing station in the fourth Quarter of 2014, a top official has announced. Addressing shareholders at the release of the firm’s Annual Report 2013, more..

Positive action called for on Sri Lanka’s national question

June 1 (ST) India’s newly elected PM Narendra Modi has clearly indicated that the 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution should be “optimally” implemented, according to Senior Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana. He added that Mr. Modi “wants the Tamil community to be given a solution to the national question which would accord with their sense of dignity and their satisfaction to work within one Sri Lanka”. more..

Govt. confident Modi will not be influenced by TNA-Diaspora grouping

June 1 (Island) The new Indian govt wouldn’t be deceived by a fresh joint anti-Sri Lanka campaign launched by the five-party TNA and the UK-based Global Tamil Front (GTF) meant to undermine bilateral relations between the two countries, a senior govt official sai. The TNA, which included some former terrorist groups formed by the then Congress Party in the 80s was making a desperate bid to influence the newly elected more..

Did airline have right to ‘bounce’ passenger with valid visa off a flight?

June 1 (Island) SriLankan Airlines has concluded an inquiry into a complaint that a Paris-bound passenger with valid Schengen and British visas stamped on her passport had been denied boarding as she was not carrying a sponsor’s letter supporting her visa application. The incident had occurred at the departure lounge of the BIA on May 16 while the passenger was awaiting boarding after completing check-in, immigration and more..

OHCHR yet to appoint commission

June 1 (CG) The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is yet to appoint the commission of inquiry on Sri Lanka. External Affairs Ministry sources said that OHCHR is scouting for members for the commission and several names have been in the pipeline over the past few weeks. However the Govt is yet to be officially informed on the composition of the commission, Ministry sources added. more..

This is not a drama – Wimal Weerawansa

June 1 (SL) NFF leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa has issued an ultimatum to the Govt on several issues and warned in no uncertain terms that he will not hesitate to leave the Govt if the concerns of and proposals by the NFF are not taken seriously. Q: What was the outcome of the meeting you had with President Rajapaksa regarding the 12 point proposal the NFF forwarded to him? A: We presented our set of proposals to the more..

Ravana Balaya threatens to invade Buddha Sasana Ministry again

June 1 (NS) The Ravana Balaya organization has threatened a second invasion of the Buddha Sasana Ministry if no action is taken on their demands within one week. The Ravana Balaya last week stormed into the Ministry calling for the disbanding of the Police Unit established to look into complaints regarding religious matters. The organization demanded a written assurance of a meeting with representatives of the more..

GMOF calls for consistency in raids against drug companies

June 1 (Island) Stressing on the critical importance of sustaining consistency in taking action against errant pharmaceutical companies, the GMOF said that ad hoc raids on "selective" targets cannot arrest the dangerous trend, where poor patients are the ultimate victims. "We, as a medical professional body, do not see any consistency behind the ongoing interventions against some of these errant companies. more..

Modi resets the clock to 13A, (when) will it start ticking in Sri Lanka?

June 1 (Island) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has been in politics long enough to know that after 1983, the internal and the external in Sri Lanka have become inextricable. If anyone is interfering in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs, it is because the Sri Lankan govt has externalized its internal affairs. It will not be nice for India to say it, but any Sri Lankan politician with a head on his shoulders must know that India does not need Sri Lanka’s co-operation on anything but it is Sri Lanka who needs India’s more..

Fiasco at feeding points exposes lack of manpower by marathon orginisers

June 1 (Island) Manjula Kumarasinghe was determined to excel at this year’s national marathon after nearly a two year lay off. She was not at her best after recovering from dengue, last year. But this year, she was aiming at regaining the title. It was she who set the phase in the women’s marathon when the event started off at 5 am in front of the Trinco Fort. At the 15 km stage, she was heading the lead pack of runners. She had maintained a steady speed and was expecting an energy more..

Local intelligence breaks LTTE's Malaysia network

June 1 (CT) Three suspected LTTE cadres operating from Malaysia are now in the custody of the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID). Although the Malaysian Police said they were arrested by them, there is evidence to point out that Sri Lankan intelligence establishments played a hand in their arrests. Originally six officers, purportedly from the TID, had visited Malaysia with the objective of assisting the Malaysian authorities more..

Senegal will support Sri Lanka’s efforts to engage with African Union

June 1 (GDI) External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris had bilateral discussions with Mr. Mankeur Ndiaye, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal on Wednesday, on the sidelines of the 17th Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Algiers. Minister Ndiaye, appreciating Sri Lanka's recent focus on the strengthening of political and economic relations with countries in the African continent, proposed the establishment of a Joint Commission between Sri Lanka and Senegal. more..

Commercial Bank supports Northern SMEs

June 1 (Island) The Manipaiy branch of the Commercial Bank and the Bank’s Agriculture and Micro Finance Unit (AMFU) at Atchuvely in Jaffna recently conducted an awareness programme for grape cultivators in the Northern Province. The programme was conducted in collaboration with the Central Bank at the Commercial Bank Northern Training Centre in Manipaiy. Fifty farmers from the Manipaiy, Ilavalai, Vilan and Urumpirai areas where the main cultivation crop is grapes, more..

Oil exploration in limbo

June 1 (CT) With the country making significant hydrocarbon discoveries with potential to improve the economy and living conditions of all Sri Lankans, the govt seems hesitant in formulating a national policy and approving crucial amendments to the Petroleum Resources Act, which would ensure that international investors are sought via open tenders and give global oil majors the confidence they need to enter Sri Lanka, more..

Wimal warns of Modi threat to Lanka

June 1 (CG) Minister Wimal Weerawansa has warned that Indian PM Narendra Modi may pose a threat to Sri Lanka’s political stability. He said that Modi and his new Govt will push for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the constitution and will add pressure on the Sri Lankan Govt on the issue. “It is only the Sri Lankan people who can decide on the 13th Amendment and what’s best for Sri Lanka,” he said. "Eventually India and some other countries are looking for more..

The disappearing shoreline

June 1 (ST) The Norochcholai power plant is causing a fresh problem -sea erosion caused by the construction of its jetty. Fishermen and residents in the area claim the coastal area in Ilanthadiya in Puttalam, close to the plant have been subject to erosion as a result of the jetty used to unload coal. They said that though erosion occurs in the western coastal area between April to August every year, the situation has aggravated after the Norochcholai power plant was set up. more..

Navy arrests 29 Tamil Nadu fishermen

June 1 (Hindu) A day after the 45-day ban on trawling observed in Tamil Nadu ended, as many as 29 Indian fishermen were caught by the Sri Lanka Navy on Sunday, on charges of poaching. The fishermen were arrested off Thalaimannar, and the Navy seized six trawlers used by them. The arrest assumes significance, as it is the first instance of Indian fishermen allegedly engaging in bottom-trawling on the Sri Lankan side of the IMBL more..

Sri Lankan refugees to get houses

June 1 (CG) The construction work of as many as 191 houses for Sri Lankan refugees living in special camps in the Dharmapuri district in Tamil Nadu is in full swing, The Hindu newspaper reported. As many as 41 houses are located in the Vaniyar special camp in Pappireddipatti taluk and 150 houses in the Thumbalaalli camp in Palacode taluk. The construction works were inspected by an official from the Department of Rehabilitation in Chennai on Friday, the news report said.

JMO calls for Govt. Analyst’s report into hospital employee’s death

June 1 (ST) The Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of the Colombo National Hospital has called for the Govt Analyst’s report to determine the cause of the death of an administrative secretary of a private hospital in Narahenpita after a gas cylinder fell on her. JMO of the Colombo National Hospital -Dr. Uppala Artigala- called for the Govt Analyst’s report at the inquiry into the death of 39-year-old Thushari Gamage, a mother of two, who was attached to Lanka Hospitals and a resident of Imbulgoda. more..

Asylum seeker dies after suffering burns to 90% of his body

June 1 (SMH) A Tamil asylum seeker on a bridging visa has died with burns to 90% of his body after apparently dowsing himself in petrol and setting himself on fire in Geelong. 29-year-old Leo Seemanpillai feared being sent back to Sri Lanka. Mr Seemanpillai arrived in Darwin by boat in January 2013 and was first granted a bridging visa last May. He was taken to the Alfred Hospital on Saturday before dying of his injuries overnight. more..

‘Fishy’ talks go stale again

June 1 (NS) Minister Rajitha Senaratne says the Indo-SL fisheries talks between the fisheries organizations have not been effective in solving the issue between the fisher folk of the two countries as the parties are unable to come to an agreement despite having met twice round the table. “Our fishermen are clear on their stance and we will not allow Indian fisherman to fish in our waters” he said. Indian fishermen continue to request a period of three days a week to fish in SL’s waters more..

TNA gathers public support for probe

June 1 (CG) The TNA has begun holding public meetings to gather support for the international investigation over alleged human rights abuses said to have been committed during the war. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said that meetings are being held in all the districts in order to explain to the Tamils the importance of the investigation which was authorized by the UNHRC in March. He said that the investigation is expected to begin in around two weeks time and the TNA wants to more..

Below capacity Lakvijaya brings threat of forced blackouts!

June 1 (NS) CEB is not in a position to take over the 3rd unit of Lakvijaya from the Chinese contractor as it has no transmission line to connect this 300 MW unit of the coal fired plant to the national grid! What is worse is that the power transmission from Lakvijaya is at risk of complete collapse if the CEB does not take immediate steps to ensure that there are four functioning high tension lines fixed properly to the coal fired plant. more..

‘Delayed Transmission’ needs new equipment further delaying telecast

June 1 (ST) The telecast of Parliamentary proceedings will be delayed, as the private cable operator on whose channel the earlier telecasts were shown, wants to import new equipment to allow for a delayed transmission. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa announced in April that telecasts would re-commence in May, initially for one hour covering Question Time. However, it was decided to telecast the proceedings after a 20-minute delay, so that, if any of the proceedings were more..

Five prisoner deaths since transfer to Pallekele

June 1 (ST) Less than five months after all inmates of Bogambara Prison were transferred to Pallekele, five have reportedly died so far due to various ailments. Not having a resident doctor in the prison, travelling difficulties and the time taken for a doctor to reach Pallekele prison from Kandy in an emergency are identified as the main reasons. The most recent incident of a prisoner’s death at Pallekele was reported on Thursday. The prisoner was admitted to the prison hospital more..

Jayalalithaa seeks decisive action from PM to get fishermen's release

June 1 (PTI) Seeking a "decisive shift" in the Centre's stance vis-a-vis Sri Lanka on the arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Sunday urged PM Narendra Modi to secure the release of 33 fishermen, arrested by the island nation's navy, and ensure a lasting solution to the issue. In a letter to Modi for the first time on the fishermen issue, Jayalalithaa said 33 fishermen from Rameswaram fishing base in Tamil Nadu, more..

President to attend G-77 summit in Bolivia

June 1 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to visit the South American nation of Bolivia in the middle of this month to attend the Summit on the 50th Anniversary of the Group of 77. The summit is being hosted by Bolivia which holds the chairmanship of the Group which represents 133 countries – more than two thirds of the world’s nations. Food security, poverty reduction and creating sustainable ways to protect the earth are on the agenda of the summit to be held in Santa Cruz.

Seed Act for GM crops?

June 1 (NS) Environmentalist lawyer Jagath Gunawardena states that some reasons given regarding the new Seed Act is hard to be accepted despite govt’s assurance that it has been introduced in good faith. He added that if the Act is made into law in the present form, it can be harmful for the local farmers, farm cooperatives and farmers’ organizations that produce seeds locally. Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena stated that the main objective of the proposed Seed Act was to more..

The law here is a whole set of teeth, not a ‘tooth for a tooth’

June 1 (LT) “According to Roman law it is said a tooth for a tooth is the compensating measure of justice for every wrong done. However, what we have here is a law that removes the whole set of teeth,” says JVP National Organizer Bimal Ratnayaka. Speaking at a media conference today regarding failure to bring down the prices of milk food, attack on university students by police and death of those who are under police custody more..

J’pura Uni student monks banned from attending lectures

June 1 (NS) Student monks of the Uni of Sri J'pura continues to occupy the Sumangala Hall of the University. The group has been occupying the hall premises for a week to agitate against the ruling by the Pali and Buddhist Studies Department for all first year monks from attending lectures due to the protest they have been carrying out over the hostel accommodation issue of the monks. According to the Bikkhu Association President, University has now given the student monks an alternative. more..

Saudi to fine employers holding back domestic workers’ pay

June 1 (GB) Saudi Arabia has announced that it will impose a fine up to SAR5,000 on employers who do not pay their domestic workers on time. This is in line with a new by law that defines the rights and duties of domestic workers and their employers, issued by the ministry of labour on Thursday. New stipulations will come into effect within 60 days and will help protect the rights of domestic workers in the Kingdom, a labour ministry official said. The new by law also mandates employers to provide more..

Plan to attack consulates: Extradition process of Lankan begins

June 1 (PTI) The extradition process of a Sri Lankan national, arrested in Malaysia for alleged conspiracy to carry out terror strikes on the US and Israeli consulates in South India, has begun with India approaching Interpol for issuing an Red Corner notice against the accused. Mohammad Hossaini, who was arrested by Malaysian police in Kepong near Kuala Lumpur a fortnight ago, is wanted in India for allegedly hatching a more..

We have to win the big match somehow!

June 2 (SL) The caption of the article on page 15 of your esteemed journal of the 11th inst., viz. “Unruly players and over-zealous supporters”, is no doubt appropriate, but not complete without a mention of irresponsible teachers and biased umpires. Individuals belonging to these groups came together during the final minutes of the afternoon of the second day of a Big Match played at the International Cricket Stadium of Galle around two and a half months ago. more..

Manju’s moment of truth nears

June 2 (SL) When does the desire for a Commonwealth Games gold medal, no less, become one of secondary importance to an athlete? One clue: the answer isn’t because the athlete has one already in his locker from a previous Games. Rather, it’s because the gold had been won, but was for the athlete to have and hold for only a fortnight: a failed drug test meant the prize had to be handed back – which, as you know, was what happened to boxer Manju Wanniarachchi at the 2010 more..

'National heritage preservation should rise from people's hearts'

June 2 (SO) Preservation of all historical and archaeological heritages in Sri Lanka, restructuring of sacred places, development of infrastructure facilities and handing over such heritages to future generation are the key aspirations entrusted with the Ministry of National Heritage which was formed under a key concept of Mahinda Chinthanaya. Treasure hunters and the groups working with religious and ethnic interests more..

A massive relief package to people ahead of presidential poll

June 2 (CT) There was widespread speculation for the last several weeks that a snap presidential poll was round the corner leading to much guesswork in political circles as to when it would be held. Meanwhile, a powerful group within the govt began promoting the opinion that it would be more advantageous for the SLFP-led ruling UPFA to go in for a parliamentary general election rather than a presidential poll. However, another group within the govt who thought otherwise, more..

Did Ranil learn political mudslinging at MIT?

June 2 (CT) Political tongues do turn nasty at times of contesting elections. It is rampant during a General Election as a large number of contestants enter the fray. But, the scenario is different when a Presidential Election is called. Political party leaders who enter such a fray conduct themselves with discipline and decorum. Usually, political party leaders, in a vibrant democracy, do not indulge in mudslinging at personal level. That type of mudslinging at personal level is more..

Electric shock for education sector

June 2 (CT) A new crisis has emerged in the problem-ridden education sector, in the form of an electric shock. Many schools have received red notices, threatening to cut off their electricity supply, as they have failed to pay their monthly bills, or so teacher activists claim. They charge that many schools, especially in the Southern Province, have received red notice and they predictably hold Ministry of Education more..

Looking beyond the political polemic

June 2 (ST) A particularly cynical colleague of mine, incidentally a practising Buddhist who is enormously scornful of cultural traditions which he maintains has twisted the essence of Buddhism, has long been preoccupied as to why, (in his opinion), the late President R Premadasa was demonized as the killer of children while President Rajapaksa has escaped this tag in the ‘majority’ perception. Both were/are Heads of State whose terms became indelibly stamped with deaths and disappearances. more..

The new Opium and its addicts

June 2 (CT) Defence authorities have suspended paying disabled soldiers their salaries. These soldiers became disabled – and therefore unemployable – because they fought in the Eelam Wars. According to Rajapaksa logic, these are ‘War Heroes” and ‘Patriots’. And they have been deprived of their monthly salaries, on which many of them – and their families – would have been dependent. It is hard to believe that any army official would have taken such a potentially controversial more..