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French oil giant to explore N-E seas

May 18 (ST) A French multinational oil and gas consortium is to jointly explore with SL for petroleum resources in the strategic seas east of Jaffna extending southwards through Trincomalee and Batticaloa. For this purpose, the Petroleum Resources Development Committee (PRDC) which functions under President, wants to enter into a Joint Study Agreement with Total E&P Activities Petrolieres of Paris. more..

Talks with govt not constructive – Wimal

May 18 (CT) Minister Wimal Weerawansa, said all discussions held with the govt at several levels have failed. He said he will not think twice before leaving the govt, if it fails to get back on the correct path. Minister also criticized the govt for spending huge amounts of foreign borrowings on infrastructure facilities, whilst failing to invest in income generating ventures. "We strongly believe there is no point in hanging on to a govt which is not willing to correct its weaknesses and move forward. more..

JVP leader to address meetings in London and Ireland

May 18 (Island) JVP leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, is scheduled to arrive in London on May 24 to address a string of meetings under the theme "Our Vision" in the UK. His first speech will be on Saturday (24) at St. John’s Community Centre in Wembley. This will be followed by a meeting at the Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool on Monday. He is due to travel to Ireland at the end of the month for some meetings there. Dissanayake will also hold a few pocket meetings in the UK more..

Despite rejection, Govt. works out strategy to face UN probe

May 18 (ST) The Govt is engaged in a number of informal diplomatic initiatives to counter accusations against Sri Lanka, particularly when the UNHRC’s international investigation into alleged war crimes gets under way. The move is notwithstanding the official position that no such investigation would be recognised nor would those conducting it be allowed to enter the country. The composition of investigators and more..

Father, daughter killed in accident

May 18 (DM) A 43 year-old man and his 7 year-old daughter were killed and two other family members injured when their motor bicycle collided with a parked lorry at the 6th post road in Hingurakgoda last night. Police said the victim’s wife and his son who were injured during the accident where admitted to the Hingurakgoda Hospital and later transferred to the Polonnaruwa Hospital. Police identified the victims, Sumathipala Edirisingha and his daughter Sugandini Manodya, more..

Revision of voters’ lists begins

May 18 (SO) The revision of voters lists for 2014 which commenced on Friday will conclude on June 15. Nearly 14,000 Grama Niladharis across the country have been trained for the purpose, Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohamed said yesterday. Revision work will be carried out under the supervision of Deputy Elections Commissioners at district level, he said. He said that the Grama Seva Niladharis will issue enumeration forms to every household in their Divisions. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

May 18 (ST) When a Sri Lankan dignitary like the President or the Prime Minister visits another country on an official tour, it is customary that he or she is accompanied by an official or more from the External Affairs Ministry (EAM). That is a tradition that had been practised for years, but is no longer done today. No briefing papers seem to be given either on issues concerning the country being visited. The EAM has a life of its own. more..

No challenge to CTC monopoly - Report

May 18 (NS) Given the present govt’s strategy with regard to alcohol and tobacco, it is highly unlikely that CTC’s monopoly status would be challenged, analysts at Softlogic Stockbrokers commented in a recent report. Ceylon Tobacco (CTC), the Sri Lankan unit of British American Tobacco Group (84.13% owned) is the monopoly market operator for manufacturing, marketing and exporting cigarettes in SL. more..

Tourists, locals arriving here with communicable diseases under scrutiny

May 18 (ST) Tourists arriving in Sri Lanka with communicable diseases such as the MERS respiratory virus now spreading in Saudi Arabia will be put on observation under a scheme to be put into effect this week by the Govt. The move came as health authorities in Saudi Arabia have reported three more fatalities from the MERS respiratory virus, taking the death toll in the world’s worst-hit country to 163. more..

Total workforce in Sri Lanka’s ICT sector witnessed 50% increase by 2013

May 18 (Island) The total workforce in the Information and Communication Technology sector (ICT) in Sri Lanka witnessed a 50% increase by 2013, The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) reported. This has been revealed in the latest national survey conducted by the ICTA. In terms of the findings, the workforce in this vital sector now stands at 75,107. In 2010, the number was 50,159. more..

Endemic lizard discovered at Knuckles

May 18 (CT) A lizard belonging to the genus Cophotis was discovered by a scientist on the Knuckles Range for the first time in Sri Lanka. The lizard was named Cophotis Dumbara after it was discovered by Scientist Pradeep Samarawickrema. He said the Cophotis Dumbara is categorized as 'critically endangered' and is endemic to Sri Lanka. "The endemic Sri Lankan lizard genus Cophotis has hitherto been considered to more..

'Modi another Rajapaksa'

May 18 (CT) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said, “Asia has produced another Rajapaksa and ‘doer’,” referring to the overwhelming election victory of BJP Leader, Narendra Modi. “There would be better ‘chemistry’ between President Rajapaksa and Modi, compared to the rapport he had with outgoing PM Manmohan Singh,” Minister Rajapaksa said adding, “Modi delivered on his promises to Gujarat in a similar way how more..

CID makes breakthrough in abduction and murder of policeman

May 18 (ST) A special team of the CID took into custody two ex-army personnel, an officer in the air force and a civilian on Friday in connection with the abduction of two police constables and the murder of one of them. CID investigations revealed the gang involved in the abduction and murder had been involved in a series of robberies. The two constables -attached to the traffic control division, of Kurunegala police- were reportedly more..

'External pressure can’t stop celebrating defeat of terrorism'

May 18 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that his government is not ready to stop celebrating the defeat of terrorism due to some external pressure and vowed to continue celebrating it. “We will not stop celebrating the defeat of terrorism, whoever participates or not, we will celebrate it continuously,” President Rajapaksa said addressing the victory day celebration in Matara this morning. more..

Jaffna security beefed up on V-Day

May 18 (CT) Security in Jaffan was beefed up by the army today as the country commemorated five years since the end of the war between the LTTE and the army. The Jaffna media said that some roads, including the roads leading upto the Uthayan newspaper office and the TNA political office in Jaffna were closed by the army. TNA MP E. Sarawanabawan, who is also the Managing Director of Uthayan, said that the army did not give more..

Sri Lanka celebrated fifth Victory Day

May 18 (MoD) Maintaining of peace is the best way to respect our valiant war heroes. The victory they achieved with a great sacrifice of lives must be preserved and remembered by all, said President Rajapaksa participating at the Fifth Victory Parade this morning in Matara. All Sri Lankans celebrated the unforgettable fifth anniversary of the victory over separatist terrorism today. The grand event was held in Matara more..

Police deny dispersing crowds in North

May 18 (NS) Police denied dispersing crowds in the North who were involved in religious activities. Responding to a tweet by BBC Correspondent Charles Haviland, SSP Ajith Rohana said that he was informed by DIG, Jaffna Rohan Dias that no such incidents had taken place. The tweet stated that Police had dispersed crowd who were taking part at a kovil festival in Kopai Jaffna. Meanwhile, the Police and security forces have stated that no one would be allowed to conduct more..

Advent of PM Modi: Food for thought for Sri Lankan Govt

May 18 (CT) Narendra Modi, India's new PM, has a reputation as a no- nonsense politician and a tough decision-maker. As much as he is touted for his pro business policies, Modi is identified with his allegiance to masculine Hindu nationalism of the BJP and its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right wing paramilitary Hindu nationalist group. His vision is shaped by India's national defence, the Indian world view and the Indian civilization – one of the more..

Sri Lanka to mark end of civil war

This race-war is more appalling than the Dutugamunu-Elara conflict

May 18 (Island) The war that ended five years ago was a race-war. I do not say this as a hard, cold fact; I have no patience with euphemisms. Let’s call a spade a spade. In my judgement 99% of Sinhalese longed for the defeat and obliteration of the LTTE and the death of Prabaharan; 90% were convinced that the Tamils had no problem and that an armed struggle was unjustified. That’s plain vanilla Fact-1. I also know that at the height of the LTTE’s popularity 2/3 or more of Tamils empathised with it. more..

Striking union wants all teachers and principals to join action

May 18 (ST) The Teachers and Principals Trade Union Joint Committee is calling other teachers’ and principals’ unions to join them in industrial action next month. Lanka Teacher Services Union General Secretary, Mahinda Jayasinghe, said other education representative bodies such as the Private Teachers Services Union and the Independent Ceylon Teachers’ Union have been asked for support in the forthcoming fight. Mr Jayasinghe, a recently appointed JVP WPC member, more..

All is not well at CPC

May 18 (CT) On 9 May UNP MP Rosy Senanayake questioned in Parliament as to why the Ministry of Petroleum Industries chose to export its furnace oil produced at the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery in 2013; was proper tender procedure followed with regard to the sale; and what price did the CPC garner from the sale. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, in reply, stated the CEB which usually purchases furnace oil for its thermal more..

India’s New Electoral Map

May 18 (Island) Narendra Modi has won a spectacular electoral victory giving him a majority government while falling short of the 300 mark he coveted. Even more spectacular is the defeat of the Indian National Congress, going below not just the 100-mark, but ending at 44 and not reaching the 55 seats required to entitle its parliamentary leader to be the Leader of the Opposition. In fact no party will qualify for that position in the Lok Sabha for the first time after 1984 when the Congress swept more..

'Ceylinco Insurance’s announcements on CIESOT contravenes Supreme Court Order'

May 18 (Island) The Chairman of The Golden Key Credit Card Company Limited (GKCCCL) said in a statement that Ceylinco Insurance PLC’s announcements on CIESOT, contravenes the Supreme Court Order of March 10, 2014, and is in contempt thereof. In the pending Golden Key Fundamental Rights cases, the Supreme Court, by its Orders of December 2, 2013 and March 10, 2014, transferred J.L.B. Kotelawala’s interest in CIESOT, to GKCCCL, he said. more..

India to seek info about Lankan terror suspect

May 18 (PTI) India will soon approach Malaysian authorities seeking details about the arrest of a Sri Lankan national in that country in connection with an alleged conspiracy to carry out terror strikes on the US and Israel consulates in southern part of this country. Malaysia, which had recently tipped a central security agency in India about possible attack on US and Israeli consulates in Chennai and Bangalore, arrested a more..

‘We need 80%’ Cancer Care Association

May 18 (NS) The judiciary accepting that the Health Minister has the power to issue the gazette notification as the Health Minister and permission granted to introduce Pictorial Health Warnings (PHW) on cigarette packets is a victory. However, the request was made to grant permission to cover 80% of the cigarette packet which had been already approved by the Cabinet and Parliament has been reduced to between 50-60%. Cancer Care Association (CAA) and Jeewaka Foundation more..

Video: Suspected cop killer killed by cops

May 18 (DM) The main suspect involved in the murder of a policeman recently in Kurunegala, was killed today allegedly during a confrontation with the police in Ududumbara while he was in police custody. Suspect had been arrested by the CID yesterday. Two policemen were abducted from a checkpoint in Kurunegala earlier this month and one policeman was subsequently found dead. Both policemen were on duty when they were abducted by an armed gang and taken to a jungle area more..

NZ govt attacked over trade deals with SL

May 18 (Scoop) Behind-the-scenes meeting shows Govt letting trade trump human rights. National Govt is allowing trade to trump human rights, by doing deals with a regime accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, the Green Party said. Green Party’s human rights spokesperson, Jan Logie, has released details of a meeting held in Auckland on May 8 between Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and more..

WP Chief Minister suspends decision

May 18 (SO) WPC Chief Minister Prasanna Ranathunga has suspended a decision by the PC to put all the non academic staff in the provincial schools, under school assistants category after considering the views expressed by a section of non academic school staff. He said the there are about 2000 non academic staff in the schools comes under the WPC at present and school labourers, sanitary workers, lab assistants and library assistants comes under this category. more..

President in China next week to attend international summit

May 18 (SO) President Rajapaksa will visit China next week to attend the 4th Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). The summit will be held in Shanghai from May 20 to 22. CICA is a multinational forum comprising 24 members and nine observer states including the US. A number of world leaders including Iranian and Russian presidents and UN Secretary General Banki Moon will attend the summit which is held under the theme more..

Dual citizenship: Foreign spouses, mixed marriage children face uncertain future

May 18 (ST) Govt has suspended the granting of citizenship to foreign spouses of Sri Lankans along with the dual nationality facility on which no finality has yet been reached. A senior Immigration official said this week that both issues were recently discussed at a meeting with President Rajapaksa. However, a decision had been deferred. Website of the Department of Immigration and Emigration still states that foreign spouses more..

Risk of NCDs among schoolchildren on the rise

May 18 (SO) Some schoolchildren face the risk of contracting non communicable diseases (NCDs) at an early age, a health spokesman told the Sunday Observer. All Island Public Health Inspectors' Union Treasurer D.Y.S.R. Mudalige said, "We now see a risk group for various NCDs emerging among our schoolchildren. Unless they change their diets and lifestyles, they will develop diseases such as diabetes, heart, hypertension and kidney problems early in life". more..

NFF condemns arrest of university students, police brutality

May 18 (AD) The NFF, a constituent party of the ruling UPFA, today condemned the arrest of several Allied Health students engaged in a peaceful protest opposite the UGC and the alleged police attacks on them. Minister Wimal Weerawansa, in a statement issued today stated that the right to engage in a peaceful protest has been violated. A group of Allied Health students as well as their parents launched the protest opposite the UGC on Friday morning, over decision to reduce the duration of more..

Vesak joy lights up country from north to south

May 18 (ST) While Vesak celebrations were held islandwide on a grand note, health and municipal authorities put in place stringent measures to ensure that dansalas held around the country met hygiene standards. Through awareness campaigns dansala organisers were instructed to register with the relevant municipal authorities, and subsequently on Vesak days, 4,850 registered dansalas islandwide were inspected by more..

'Incumbent Health Secretary a virtual hostage of one trade union'

May 18 (Island) Responding to speculative moves on the impending transfer of the incumbent Health Secretary, Dr. Nihal Jayathilake, the Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) expressed willingness to support, cooperate and work closely with the successor, but cautioned that a lay administrator would find it difficult to salvage the system from the abyss it has plunged into. Health is a subject which involves many diverse technical aspects.There exist more than 275 categories of more..

No-faith motion against Govt: Debate on Tuesday, Wednesday

May 18 (ST) A no confidence motion against the Govt over its inability to tackle the increasing proliferation of dangerous drugs into the country will be debated in Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday. The motion has been signed by 26 UNP MPs and comes at a time of rumblings within the ruling UPFA with both the JHU and the NFF being openly critical of some of the Govt policies. The motion makes specific reference to the involvement of the PM’s Coordinating more..

Sri Lanka hires Pakistan lawyer for UN rights probe

May 18 (PTI) Faced with an impending UN inquiry, the Sri Lankan govt has hired a prominent Pakistani lawyer to defend itself over its human rights record and alleged war crimes, a media report said here today. Aitzaz Ahsan, a 70-year-old Pakistani legal expert, was in Colombo last week for consultations on the matter, a Sunday Times report said. His visit came after President Rajapaksa made an appeal to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. more..

FUTA recalls AHS students from picket

May 18 (Island) "We want the students to return to their academic program as it is important to catch up on lost time", Chandragupta Thenuwara, President, FUTA said at a press conference organized by the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) at the Academic Centre of the Colombo University last week. FUTA explained that they are requesting the students currently in their 140-odd days of picketing to return for academic sessions. Following the arbitrary reduction of more..

Wimal loses game of 'hide-and-seek'!

May 18 (CT) Minister Wimal Weerawansa, who was speculated to be 'avoiding' President Rajapaksa for quite some time, finally met the President face-to-face, at the 70th anniversary celebration of K.D. Ebert and Sons at Waters Edge on Friday night. The chief guest at the event was Minister Weerawansa, who was welcomed with traditional Kandyan dances and so forth, and the President walked in much later to attend the event. President Rajapaksa, on seeing Minister Weerawansa who was welcomed more..

Norochcholai suffers another breakdown

May 18 (CT) The second phase of the 300 Megawatt Norochcholai Coal Power Plant suffered a breakdown caused by a leak in the boiler. This is the second occasion that the second phase of the beleaguered power plant broke down. The first was during testing time on 25 Jan. The latest breakdown took place after it was handed over by the contractor – the China Mechanical Engineering Corporation to the CEB on Thursday. CEB insiders say more..