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6,000 cops given special training

May 10 (CT) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament that some 6,000 police officers are being trained to handle clashes between different communities in the country. He said this in reply to a question raised by UNP MP Sajith Premadasa regarding clashes between different communal groups. Premadasa, however, said there must be enough motivation for the policemen to act during such clashes. He requested the govt to increase the salaries of policemen. more..

Little action against big menace on roads

May 10 (ST) Private bus drivers are one of the main traffic offenders in Colombo city and its suburbs, but police appear to be unable to rein them in. Private buses blocking the flow of traffic in main towns and busy roads are a common sight with little or no action being taken against the drivers. Despite instructions from the police that buses and heavy vehicles should travel on the left lane, in many occasions these buses travel on the right hand side obstructing smaller vehicles. more..

'AG's Dept decentralized on LLRC request'

May 10 (CT) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, yesterday said in Parliament that in a progressive step towards the implementation of the recommendations by the LLRC, the Attorney General's Department has taken action to restructure the supervision system in the Department effective from 20 April 2014, to accommodate a system of provincial supervision. He was responding to a question by UNP MP more..

All health sector strikes put on hold

May 10 (Island) All trade unions in the govt health sector such as the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA), Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU), All Ceylon Health Services Union (LCHSU), and Govt Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) would refrain from launching further trade union action until the Finance Ministry Secretary introduced the new govt health sector restructuring formula, the GMOA said. GMOA Committee member Dr. Nalin de Herath pointed out that more..

MEA plays down DM’s comments

May 10 (CG) Ministry of External Affairs today attempted to play down comments reportedly made by PM D.M Jayaratne on the South China Sea dispute between China and Vietnam. Vietnam Prime Minister’s office had yesterday quoted PM D.M Jayaratne as saying that Sri Lanka supports Vietnam’s stance on demanding China adhere to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and withdraw its drilling rig HD-981 out of Vietnam’s sovereignty and exclusive economic zone. more..

President Rajapaksa participates in an ordination ceremony of 75 Buddhist monks

May 10 (IL) President Rajapaksa participated in several religious observances and paid homage to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya in Anuradhapura this morning (8). Later, he called on the Chief Incumbent of the Atamasthanaya Venerable Pallegama Siriniwasa Thera and received his blessings after a brief discussion. President also inspected the ongoing construction work within Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi sacred site. more..

31 Sri Lankan fishermen arrested

May 10 (ENS) 31 Sri Lanka fishermen were caught and arrested by the Indian Coast Guard at Nagayalanka in Krishna district on May 7. They were fishing in the Indian waters. Four boats and 4 metric tonnes of fish were also seized from the Lankan fishermen. The fisheries department would auction the confiscated fish on Sunday. The fishermen regularly visit that part of Bay of Bengal for Danya fish, which is much demanded in Sri Lanka. The fishermen were brought to more..

Govt. to boost liquid milk output

May 10 (FT) Sri Lanka will increase its annual milk production to 550 million litres by 2016, on par with the Govt’s ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ vision, Deputy Minister of Livestock and Rural Community Development H.R. Mithrapala confirmed to Parliament. Mithrapala was responding to a question for oral answers from UNP MP Anoma Gamage. However, the estimated liquid milk requirement will be 785 million litres, reflecting a mismatch in demand and supply. more..

SLC warns Sri Lanka Cricket team joint-sponsor Tea Board

May 10 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has sent a letter of warning to the joint Sri Lanka team sponsor Sri Lanka Tea Board after finding that the state owned entity had infringed the rights of the national cricket team’s other sponsor Dialog who possess exclusive rights for the Sri Lanka team official merchandise in Sri Lanka. SLC had found out that SL Tea Board who only has the overseas rights to sell official team merchandise more..

Cabinet approves two projects in Colombo under Strategic Developments Act

May 10 (Island) Amidst Opposition accusations that the Strategic Development Act was nothing more than a cover to give generous indirect concessions to state of the art casinos, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved proposals to establish two mixed development projects in Colombo 1 and 3. Minister Keheliya Rambukwalle said that the Opposition was protesting in vain since the ventures were aimed at increasing the number of hotel rooms to accommodate ‘the increasing number of more..

Tangalle killing: PS chief allowed to seek specialised treatment

May 10 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge Rohini Walgama yesterday ordered the prison authorities to take third accused Saman Vidanapathirana to be examined by a medical specialist at the National Hospital Colombo. Vidanapathirana, through his lawyers, requested that he be allowed to seek specialist medical treatment for a gastric problem. Vidanapathirana, the Chairman of the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha is accused of the murder of British National Khuram Sheikh and more..

Harsha challenges Keheliya to show casino licences

May 10 (DM) UNP MP Dr. Harsha De Silva challenged Minister Keheliya Rambukwella to produce even a photo copy of at least one of the five existing casino licences in the country as claimed by him. Dr. De Silva pointed out that until rules and regulations pertaining to the Act which were passed in Parliament in 2010 were gazetted the casinos operating in the country were functioning without a licence. more..

14-year-old among family arrested for heroin dealing

May 10 (NS) A 14-year-old girl is among three suspects from the same family arrested by police in Galle for alleged heroin possession. According to police media unit, officers had initially arrested two suspects, a male and a female, near the Wellawatta bridge in Hikkaduwa on May 6 for heroin possession. The suspects, aged 26 and 14 years respectively, had 9.265 grams of heroin with them at the time of their arrest, police further said. They were produced before more..

CCD to prosecute Vajira Netticumara for aiding and abetting a gambling operation

May 10 (Island) Colombo Crime Division will file legal action against Vajira Nettikumara, the owner of the building where the 34 suspects were arrested on Thursday evening while they were gambling, for aiding and abetting a gambling operation in the Town Hall area, Colombo. SSP Ajith Rohana said that 34 suspects including a woman arrested on Thursday were released on police bail and they would be charged before the Colombo Fort Magistrate on May 12 for gambling. more..

No talk on North CM for President

May 10 (CG) TNA and the DPF have said there was no proposal to consider Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran as the common candidate at the next Presidential elections. Speaking at an event, TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran and DPF leader Mano Ganeshan said that their comments on the subject at a press briefing recently had been taken out of context to give the impression they had proposed more..

Attempt to kill man with snake fails

May 10 (CG) An attempt by two people to kill a man with a snake in Sevanagala failed, the police media unit said today. The police said that the resident of Watakeiyagama, Habaraluara in Sevanagala had gone to inspect his private land located 2km away from his house when the incident occurred. Two men had kidnapped the man and bound his hands and legs and then forced him into a plastic barrel. A snake was later dropped into the barrel to kill the man, the police media unit said today. more..

150,000 pistol ammunition recovered in Sri Lankan town

May 10 (PTI) A large haul of ammunition has been recovered from the former LTTE stronghold in Sri Lanka's north. The eastern command of the Navy with help from Army recovered over 150,000 pistol ammunition from Vellamullivaikkal in Mullaithivu district yesterday. Vellamullivaikkal is the town where LTTE's three-decade- old armed campaign ended with the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran on May 18, 2009. The recovery of ammunition from Vellamullivaikkal came as more..

WCY 2014 concludes with Colombo Declaration

May 10 (Xinhua) The World Conference on Youth (WCY) 2014 concluded on Saturday with adoption of the Colombo Declaration which put the eye on youths' development in the post- 2015 era. It said that youths' participation in development at all levels should be a strong pillar in all current and future development frameworks. The WCY also reaffirmed the importance of the World Program of Action on Youth and its role in more..

President Rajapaksa, the undisputed choice

May 11 (SO) The next Presidential election is due to be held only in November, 2016. With almost two-and-a-half-years to go for the Presidential election, the Opposition has already begun talking about it and many politicians waxing eloquent about a common candidate to contest. Although a common candidate in particular has not been identified several Opposition politicians and a civil society leader seem to be daydreaming of becoming the so-called common candidate. more..

It is down to this: The President vs Tobacco

May 11 (NS) If the week that just ended had a name, it is undoubtedly ‘Youth’ in view of the 15th World Conference on Youth held in Colombo. President Rajapaksa, speaking at the inauguration of Conference called upon delegates from all parts of the globe not to subvert loyalty to their respective countries to any other interests. President expressed these sentiments with respect to the susceptibility of young people to the wiles of extremist groups including terrorists. more..

'Political stability will lead to economic growth'

May 11 (SO) Minister Sarath Amunugama said if we continue to be rational and sensible and reform our economy, Sri Lanka will be recognised as one of the best success stories in growth particularly under the leadership of President Rajapaksa. We have a very good future and it is globally accepted that SL is one of the leading frontier economies. He said unless we have political stability, we cannot have economic growth. more..

Police tighten belt after mystery killing in Kurunegala

May 11 (NS) Sri Lanka will be celebrating five years sans terrorism in the country in a matter of days. The past five years have seen many changes in the country, changes that could not have been possible, if the dreaded war that plagued the island for over 30 years continued. Sri Lanka has made strides in several fields thanks to the peaceful and calm environment that it continues to enjoy. However, Sri Lanka continues to face challenges in several forms, namely the US resolution and several other more..

A dangerous incident

May 11 (Island) After the JVP launched its first insurrection in April 1971, attacking – sometimes overrunning and destroying – many police stations countrywide with homemade bombs and commandeered shotguns, a veteran policeman of the day wisely remarked that "the days when a cop, perhaps armed with a baton, went on a bicycle for an inquiry are gone. We will now have to go in strength in a vehicle and carry automatic weapons." These remarks that proved to be prophetic more..

'There is no LTTE'

May 11 (SL) TNA MP Suresh Premachandran stated that the TNA have serious doubts that a common candidate would be a smart move at this moment. Q: The JVP and the UNP have started having talks with regards to a common candidate at the next presidential election. There are reports that they have approached Venerable Maaduluwaawe Sobitha Thero. How does the TNA identify with the UNP and JVP? more..

Vesak: Turn the lights inward

May 11 (ST) Sri Lanka commemorates the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha with Vesak Poya falling next week. More money is now spent on heralding this thrice-blessed event than ever before. The major cities are illuminated with pandals, lanterns and multi-coloured electric bulbs. In northern Jaffna, the Security Forces are putting up the tallest pandal ever seen in the peninsula. Everything is festive enough for an outward display to honour the vast majority’s more..

When Wimal waves the wand again

May 11 (ST) My Dear Wimal, I am writing to you to congratulate you because I heard that you held your own May Day rally last week, instead of joining the Blues and Mahinda maama at their grand meeting in Colombo. Only you could get away with such a bold and daring decision, Wimal! I heard you say at your rally that your decision to have your own meeting was because you didn’t see eye to eye with Mahinda maama and the Blues about these casinos they are proposing. more..

'Sobitha Thero: A suitable candidate'

May 11 (SL) There has been speculation that the JVP and the UNP were in negotiations in order to form a coalition aimed at challenging the govt. JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti, expresses his views. Q: It is reported that the UNP and the JVP are set for talks in order to seek a common ground in order to face the next presidential elections. Is this true? A: No, that is not true. There are no talks planned nor have any talks more..

Thailand: Pushed to unrest once more

May 11 (SL) Former Thai Premier Thaksin Shinwatra’s first term as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2005 brought about a change in style of Thai traditional politics. He boosted the rural economy with development projects on health, education, energy, suppression of rural debt and drug abuse, all of which won him tremendous support in the North East region which is still the power base from which the Shinawatra brother and sister draw support. The period 2001-2005 is said to be more..

Speaker fights odds to make House accessible to public, control unruly MPs

May 11 (ST) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa has made several attempts over the past few months to make Parliament more accessible to the public, and also to make the business of the House more proactive, so that elected representatives could discharge their duties better. One like the attempted live telecast of proceedings failed, not for want of trying on his part, but due to external pressures on him. On the other hand, allowing members of the public to have easy access to the House to witness more..

'Common candidate is not the immediate issue'

May 11 (SL) UNP MP Eran Wickremaratne says that with the anticipation of PC elections for Uva, the forming an alliance for a common candidate is not the immediate issue. Q: It is reported that UNP and the JVP have begun talks on a possible coalition. Do you think that this is a good move? A: UNP has been actively reorganizing itself in preparation to face any election whether Presidential or Parliamentary. more..

The UNP and the Buddhist monkhood

May 11 (Island) At the time of writing, a Muslim owned business establishment has been set on fire in Aluthgama ostensibly because the brother of the owner had raped a boy inside the shop and the boy has been hospitalised. In this country, members of the public do take the law into their own hands in instances like murder and rape and in that sense this incident is no different to those that have taken place all over the country except for the fact that two different ethnic groups are more..

Doing it Chamal’s way

May 11 (NS) Imagine you are powerful and rich. With that if you are old what would be your worry? If you are normal your next worry would be how you would be remembered after you are gone. You might also think about how history records your presence in society. But for our Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa that would be his least worries. He has done enough to be remembered as the best speaker our legislature has seen in recent times. Speaker Rajapaksa restored discipline. more..

What they need to execute!

May 11 (SL) As many see the Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka as the common enemy there have been many dialogues throughout the years to abolish the prevailing presidential system in the country but without much success. Those who have come in to power promising to abolish the Executive Presidential System have rather manipulated it for their advantage – and therefore opposition parties have been seeking a common candidate for more..

UNP starts China-bashing

May 11 (SL) Wang Yingqi, Commercial Counsellor of Embassy of China in Colombo is no stranger to the political and economic circles of the country. He took part in a number of discussions in the recent past between Sri Lanka and China over strengthening trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. However, the Commercial Counsellor was spotted by many last week at Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya when he led a procession that was attended by a large more..

Mobitel- Hutch deal to clear a price hurdle

May 11 (ST) Regulatory clearance for the Mobitel- Hutch deal has still not been given due to disagreement by top authorities in the purchase price although the transaction has been finalised, official sources revealed. Mobitel, the fully-owned subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), had completed due diligence to buy Hutchison Telecommunication Lanka to further expand its coverage countrywide. However the Treasury has expressed its reservations on purchase price more..

EPF resorts to public disclosure

May 11 (ST) In an apparent public relations exercise, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) on Thursday took out newspapers advertisements to provide some aspects of the 2013 accounts before the presentation of audited financial statements in parliament. The preparation of the audited statement by the Auditor General (AG) will take some time as it is a complex procedure, a senior official of the EPF Department said. more..

Lions roar in Royal den

May 11 (ST) Trinity College’s opening bid to retain the Bradby Shield was tainted by a trail of uncharacteristic errors, but that is unlikely to rob them of the joie de vivre they will shoulder as they return to Kandy after punching past a relentless Royal College 28 (2 goals, 1 try, 2 penalties, 1 drop goal)-16 (1 goal, 3 penalties), during the first leg of the Bradby, played at the Royal Sports complex yesterday. This one was a lot tighter than the scoreline suggests and both teams more..

Govt assures security of Mosque

May 11 (SL) Govt has assured security for a mosque in Dambulla after the trustees had raised fears of an attempt to demolish the building. Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha said that the fears were raised based on some past incidents. Ongoing construction on an adjoining road had led to fresh fears that the mosque in the area will be demolished. He said that he had spoken to the relevant authorities including the IGP and DIG Anura Senanayake to ensure safety of mosque. more..

Credibility of Sri Lankan data questioned due to lack of transparency

May 11 (ST) Data on inflation, GDP and per capita income would be credible only if Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) operates independent of political interference, two top statisticians have said. S.S. Colombage and Dr. Anila Dias Bandaranaike, who both served as Director of the Central Bank’s Statistics Department before retiring at a higher level, shared this view during a recent, vibrant discussion on more..

Welegedara needs to be considered for England Tests

May 11 (Island) Sri Lanka will begin their tour of England tomorrow with a warm-up game in Chelmsford, just half hour drive from London. Their opponents will be Essex, the county that has produced several recent England captains like Graham Gooch, Nasser Hussain and incumbent Alastair Cook. The last time the Sri Lankans toured England in 2011, the team was in complete disarray. Players arrived in England in different batches due to their engagement in the IPL while more..