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Drug smuggling mounts; so do many questions

Mar 16 (ST) Questions are being asked whether sufficient action was taken to apprehend one of the main culprits involved in the second biggest drug detection in the country, after a Pakistani national last week evaded arrest over the smuggling of 36 kilograms of heroin with a street value of Rs. 350 million, According to police the suspect who had identified himself as Muhammad Ajaz of Karachchi had arrived in Sri Lanka more..

NDB – DFCC merger: preliminary talks begin

Mar 16 (Island) Both the new Chairman of the NDB and its CEO have stated in the recently released 2013 annual report of the bank that the directors of both the NDB and the DFCC Bank have commenced preliminary talks with a view to achieving such consolidation but given no timeframe for completing an arrangement. Mr. Sunil Wijesinha, who assumed the chairmanship of the NDB on Dec 1, 2013 noted that "the regulators have expressed the desire to see more..

Massive plunder of forest

Mar 16 (ST) More than 700 acres of state and private land in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts have been cleared illegally by a businessman and valuable trees including ebony felled, investigations by the Environment Ministry and the Forest Department have revealed. The probe came after complaints that a Kurunegala businessman who claimed to have a licence issued by the RDA to collect unlimited quantitieses of soil for road development projects in the Northern more..

How come MP Rathika meets banned LTTE leaders in Tamil Nadu?

Mar 16 (AT) More revelations of MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan's visit to Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, South India have now surfaced. She claimed that her private visit to Sri Lanka after some 27 years was to meet with relatives and see her former home in Jaffna and engage in some charitable work just before the March 2014 UNHRC sessions in Geneva. Her cousin, I believe was Mrs. Ananthi Sasitharan who was elected as a Councilor more..

Big turnout to view Bogambara prison

Mar 16 (Island) Hundreds of men, women and children entered the desolate Bogambara prison premises yesterday when the gates of the 138-year-old complex were opened for public viewing. The prisoners serving sentences in this British-era complex, later converted to a prison, were moved to Pallekelle, as the sprawling cluster of buildings have been earmarked for a proposed development-based project. Visitors queued up to see the interior of the prison complex including more..

DNA tests to identify cattle

Mar 16 (SO) Genotech, Sri Lanka’s pioneer and foremost genetic research laboratory, has developed a new technique of identifying cattle to establish the ownership of cattle gone missing or stolen, with DNA tests. “For the past 12 years we have been only using DNA tests to ascertain the maternity or paternity of a child in cases referred to us by the Courts. This is a human specific test. It cannot be used for any other species”, Head of Molecular Forensics Genotech, more..

Eran focuses on mind-boggling price differences in per km cost of expressways

Mar 16 (Island) The difference in the cost of constructing a kilometer of the Southern Expressway and the same distance on the Kerawalapitiya - Kadawatha Outer Circle Road, was a staggering  Rs.5,600 million, UNP charged. Eran Wickremeratne MP said that while there was bound to be differences in the building cost of identical stretches of roads due to the different terrains, number of bridges and more..

Ravi takes on CMC

Mar 16 (SL) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake is to take action against the decision taken by the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to demolish two bus stands built by him. He said that the CMS has taken a decision to demolish two bus stands built by him in Thotalanga and Modara. He says he utilized his portion of funds allocated to each Minister and MP through the Economic Development Ministry to build the two bus stands. He added that the bus stands were built with the approval of the more..

Is Rishad mimicking Rauff’s strategy?

Mar 16 (NS) It is well known fact that the leader of the SLMC and Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem has so far borne the major brunt of criticism by politicians from the govt as well as the Opposition for allegedly taking political advantage through incidents related to attacks on Muslim places of religious worship. However, The Nation on Friday observed a small twist in this claim as it found out that the same strategy is now being propagated for the forthcoming provincial elections by more..

Moves to hook Indian boat owners

Mar 16 (ST) The Govt is to seize Indian fishing vessels caught poaching in Sri Lankan waters and impose heavy penalties on vessel owners for their release. Fisheries Department Director General N.D. Hettiarachchi said this position would be made known at the India-Sri Lanka fisheries talks on March 25. He said the Government would take a hardline position on the poaching issue as a solution to the simmering crisis in the Palk Bay. more..

Rain from today, forecasts Met. Dept.

Mar 16 (ST) The Meteorological Department has predicted rain and thunder showers from today. Met. Department Director Lalith Chandrapala said the inter-monsoonal rains which take place in March and April should commence by the end of this month, adding it is difficult to make a categorical statement about it. “For the past ten days we did not receive any rain and there was a certain amount of dryness in most parts of the country. However this condition will change this week and more..

Genetics clinic at Cancer Institute

Mar 16 (SO) A cancer genetics clinic will be conducted by the Human Genetics Unit of the University of Colombo at the Maharagama National Cancer Institute. The clinic will be held every Friday afternoon. The purpose of the clinic is to identify individuals having hereditary cancer syndromes and provide thorough evaluation, genetic counselling and testing which will be beneficial for the patients and their families, according to Professor Vajira Dissanayake of the Human Genetics Unit, more..

One killed Jaffna big match encounter

Mar 16 (CT) A 24-year-old was beaten to death during the annual cricket encounter between Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai and St. Patrick's College, Jaffna yesterday. Deceased has been identified as Jeyaratnam Dinosan, a father of one. According to sources, the deceased was a supporter of the St. Patrick's College and he had been assaulted using clubs by a group of individuals at the Jaffna College. more..

Expat Tales: Barbies and beaches in Galle

Mar 16 (Stuff) Verity Mace and her partner were tired of Dubai, so decided to give Galle in Sri Lanka a go. Why did you move to Galle? We found a small piece of land in 2009 - in south SL (Midigama) and decided we that we could do with an adventure. We had been living in Dubai for five years and Garrath and I were a little sick of the city life. The idea of moving to Sri Lanka to start a small hotel/guest house seemed like a great way to live in paradise and try something completely different. more..

Even beggars fund Gammanpila's campaign

Mar 16 (CT) The election campaign of JHU WPC aspirant, Udaya Gammanpila, has been deemed successful as even beggars have funded his campaign. "This is a highly successful campaign, where people of all walks of life have come forward in their numbers and I have collected over Rs 4 million as of last Thursday," he said. Govt ministers too have made contributions and among them have been Ministers, G.L. Peiris, Tissa Karaliyadde and Deputy Minister, Faizer Musthapha more..

Minister defends private online lottery games

Mar 16 (ST) A private company allowed to operate an online lottery in Sri Lanka will pay Rs. 500 million annually to the Mahapola Education Fund in the next three years, Minister Johnston Fernando said. He said the company had already paid Rs. 100 million and would increase its contribution to one billion rupees in the fifth year of operation. Oceanic Games, which has been given management of the lottery to be operated more..

TN govt orders release of 25 SL fishermen

Mar 16 (Hindu) 25 Sri Lankan fishermen arrested for poaching off Nagapattinam and remanded in judicial custody were ordered to be released by the State govt on Saturday. The fishermen, along with their five boats, were intercepted by a Coast Guard ship about 48 nautical miles off Velankanni on Feb 9, and remanded by the Nagapattinam Judicial Magistrate’s court. They were lodged in the Puzhal Prison. Subsequently, their remand was extended up to March 25. more..

Sampanthan complains to President about theft of temple pillars

Mar 16 (Island) TNA Trincomalee district parliamentarian, R. Sampanthan has written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on what he calls a "grave injustice" done by the removal of the pillars of the Pillayar - Ganapathy Temple at Thiriyai. Seeking remedial action, he says this ancient temple is being restored after the people started returning to the village. The roof of the main Mandapam (Hall) was low and it was raised. In order to do this, new pillars were constructed. more..

US draft gets tougher, calls for probe by OHCHR and SL Govt.

Mar 16 (ST) The revised draft makes it explicit that there would be an international probe into alleged war crimes and clarifies the mandate of the Office of the Commissioner of Human Rights among other matters. This is what the new operative paragraph (provision 8) says: “Takes note of the High Commissioner’s recommendations and conclusions regarding ongoing human rights violations and the need for more..

From Jennings to Geneva: Sri Lanka’s tortuous decline

Mar 16 (Island) There have been quite a few news reports and nostalgic commentaries on Sir Ivor Jennings inspired by the visit to the Peradeniya campus by his granddaughter, Catherine Watson. Sir Ivor’s pioneering contribution to university education in Sri Lanka has not been sufficiently honoured and appreciated. For several decades, honouring Jennings was a one-man mission for the late H.A.I. (Ian) Goonetilleke, the venerable bibliographer of Sri Lankan scholarship. more..

Pandemonium now, Pandora’s Box later

Mar 16 (Island) This is in Q&A style where UNHRC stands for the UN Human Rights Council sessions in progress, and post-Geneva refers to the next few years when the effect of decisions will unfold. Qq, a Central Committee member of the Mongolian CP, is my luscious interlocutor, and Kd is yours faithfully. Qq: Can you tell our party what will happen to the resolution against Sri Lanka that the US has moved at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva? Kd: Please let me correct you on one point straightaway. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Mar 16 (ST) Govt has picked a gem of a candidate for the post of Ambassador in Sri Lanka’s new Afghan mission. The official curriculum vitae of Shah Nawaz Marikar Bawa reveals that he has some experience in the gem and jewellery sector — but none in the field of diplomacy or international relations. His three-page bio-data does, however, talk a great deal about his politically connected family members. more..

Police clueless almost two weeks after attack on Excise Comm. Gen’s house

Mar 16 (ST) Police investigating last week’s shooting at the home of the Excise Commissioner General H. Hapuarachchi said they had recorded the statements of 15 persons, but conceded that they were yet to make any breakthrough. “We have recorded the statements of 15 persons, but none of them were in the category of a positive suspect,” a senior policeman said, adding that, further investigations had been handed over to more..

Colombo provides home to distressed Saudi expat

Mar 16 (AN) The Sri Lankan govt has decided to help a distressed Sri Lankan worker by providing him a Rs500,000 house in his home country. 29-year-old Ruwan Chamara Herath lost his leg in an accident while driving his sponsor's vehicle in the Kingdom. “Minister Dilan Perera agreed to provide Herath with a house back home,” Kifaya Ifthikar, a Riyadh-based social worker who was tending to Herath’s case, said. more..

Southern Expressway from Galle to Matara vested in the people

Mar 16 (GDI) The Second Phase of the Southern Expressway from Pinnaduwa in Galle to Godagama in Matara was declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa followed by religious observances at the Pinnaduwa interchange. At the Pinnaduwa interchange the President purchased the first ticket, marking the first passenger to travel on the expressway. Thereafter the President travelled from Pinnaduwa to Godagama in Matara more..

Sri Lanka Coast Guard to be made a maritime police force

Mar 16 (ST) The Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) is headed for a more militarised outlook under a new law to be enacted by Parliament, which provides for the secondment of armed forces personnel to the service, as well as a freeze on trade union action and restrictions on fundamental rights, similar to those imposed on security forces personnel and police. An Air wing for the Coast Guard too is in the offing, as part of more..

Suspected Ponzi scheme in full swing in Colombo: CBSL awaits AG’s advice to act

Mar 16 (Island) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has sought the advice of the Attorney General on the possible prosecution of those involved in a suspected pyramid scheme now in full swing in Colombo and many other parts of the country, a senior official said. "It is true that hundreds of unsuspecting people continue to fall prey to this sham, but we don’t have the authority to order the closure of a registered business house", more..

Two young Italians complain of red tape hindering their investment drive in Sri Lanka

Mar 16 (Island) President, SOHO, Restaurant & Fish Work, Genova, and SOHO Restaurant & Location, Milano, Malindu Perera, and CEO, Gruppa SOHO, Damian Ranasinghe, were in Sri Lanka looking for investment avenues to set up a chain of restaurants in Colombo. (Both had their roots in Sri Lanka before they moved to Italy in their early years). Outlining their plans to set up their restaurant chain in Colombo, more..

NPC protests over huge Pooneryn limestone project

Mar 16 (ST) Permission given to a private cement company to carry out limestone quarrying in more than 4,000 acres of land in Kilinochchi has provoked strong protests by the NPC. The move by the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) is coming under heavy fire with the NPC saying it would lodge a formal protest with the Environment Ministry. “Our Chief Minister (C.V. Wigneshwaran) will be taking it up with more..

Borella OIC succumbs to injuries

Mar 16 (CG) The Officer In Charge (OIC) of the Borella Police, Prasad Siriwardhana, succumbed to the injuries he suffered during the violence which broke out involving residents of Hanwella today. The OIC sustained serious injuries when a tree chopped down by the protesters, fell on him while he was on duty in the area. He underwent at least two surgeries at the Avisawella hospital but succumbed to his injuries a few hours later. more..

TNA happy with new US draft text

Mar 16 (CG) The TNA says it is pleased with the revisions in the new draft text of the resolution on Sri Lanka which has been submitted to members of the UNHRC for further discussions. The text has given careful consideration to some recommendations of the Tamil party and calls for an international inquiry on Sri Lanka. TNA has been pushing for the resolution to call for an international inquiry and some TNA members had more..

Paper Tiger in the Elections office

Mar 16 (CT) As the country meanders towards another set of elections, the Commissioner of Elections has all but confirmed he is a paper tiger, reinforcing the argument about the need for a truly independent elections commission if Sri Lankans are to savour the genuine power of their vote, and enjoy the democratic rights the Constitution guarantees. How much of a paper tiger the Commissioner has become was evidenced in the recent past, when in the face of open and blatant violations more..

'I am a success because I am single'

Mar 16 (DM) There are many politicians who have a history of having been in the political scene for years. Jayantha de Silva, a candidate representing the UNP said in a discussion with the Daily Mirror that he had been serving the people for almost five decades, and even knew their heartbeat. Q: You are an experienced politician. Tell us about your political journey? A: Yes, I have been engaged in politics for almost five decades. When I was a youth I engaged in a lot of youth activities. “ more..

'No samples of skeletal remains sent to China'

Mar 16 (Island) With reference to the Sunday Island news report headlined "Sri Lankan family finds mass grave in garden", March 2, 2014, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to inquire into the human skeletal remains found in the General Hospital premises in Matale says the assertion that "remains from that grave have been sent to China for further tests", is factually incorrect. The correct position as far as this Commission is more..

World T20: Bangladesh beat Afghanistan

Mar 16 (CI) Everything came together for Bangladesh, on the day it really had to be just right. By beating Afghanistan by nine wickets in the World T20 opener, they took a big step towards entering the main draw of their home tournament, and avoided the discomfort of losing to an Associate nation twice in the space of 16 days. Mushfiqur Rahim's decision to bowl first was slightly strange given that he felt the day before that chasing was hard in T20s. more..

360 drug-related deaths per day

Mar 16 (CT) Director of the Non-Communicable Disease Unit of the Health Ministry, Dr. Mohamed Iqbal, said around 360 drug users die every day. He also said around 1,000 persons die daily due to various causes and 68% of such deaths are due to non-communicable diseases. "The majority of the deaths caused by non-communicable diseases are due to heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure and cancer. The use of drugs can cause cirrhosis and any of the above diseases," more..

Sangakkara to quit T20Is after World T20

Mar 16 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara has announced he will retire from Twenty20 internationals following the World T20 in Bangladesh. Sangakkara, 36, has played 50 T20Is for Sri Lanka, hitting 1311 runs at an average of 32.77 and a strike rate of 120. "Definitely, without a doubt, this is my last World T20. I won't be playing any T20 internationals after this," he said. "It's sad, but that's the truth. It's not the end of my T20 career, though. more..

Law Collage entry issue continues

Mar 16 (SL) Students who participated in the campaign against the curtailment of the Law Collage Entrance Admission are still awaiting a favourable responce from the authorities. Amal Seneviratne, President of the Campaign against the Curtailment of the Law Collage Entrance Admission said that after a discussion with govt officials the students were told to await a response to their concerns but are yet to receive any. The students who failed to receive admission to the Law College more..

Sri Lanka in bid to host ITB 2016

Mar 16 (NS) Sri Lanka has signed the bid papers to be the host country for the ITB Berlin in 2016, one of the biggest travel and aviation exhibitions in the world, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) said in a statement last week. Accordingly, the CEO of Messe Berlin, Dr. Christian Göke, the organizer of the event visited the Sri Lankan stall at the ITB and discussed at length on this bid, the statement said. “This would be the biggest international event ever, more..

'Sri Lanka yet to show signs of high-performing economy'

Mar 16 (ST) Sri Lanka, in spite of rhetoric, has not yet shown any signs of a high-performing economy in the post-war era, a top economist said this week. “It is therefore not surprising that Sri Lanka cannot sustain 8-10% rate of average growth unless it expands its capacity level, and not the capacity utilization level,” noted Sirimal Abeyratne, Professor of Economics at Colombo University. He was commenting, at the request of more..