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First Lady inaugurates series of events to mark Vesak at UNESCO

May 29 (IL) First Lady Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa inaugurated a series of events organized by the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in France to commemorate Vesak at UNESCO in Paris under the theme of ‘Interfaith and Intercultural Awareness towards Peace’. Among the distinguished guests present were Ven. Prof. Kumburugamuwe Vajira Thero, more..

GCE O/L exam ID applications slow in coming

May 29 (DN) Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Registration of Persons G.A.R. Devapriya said that his department has received only 125,000 applications for identity cards for students sitting the G.C.E O/L exam from schools so far, as against 450,000 applications by end of May during previous years. Educational Ministry officials including the Zonal Education Directors were informed to forward the applications before May 31 but the number of applications received more..

Traffic OIC arrested on bribery charge

May 29 (Island) Wellawa Traffic Officer-in-Charge was arrested yesterday for taking Rs. 20,000 from a truck owner forcibly. The Sub Inspector concerned had allegedly taken the money from a tipper truck carrying earth on May 24 according to a complaint made by the owner of the truck on May 26. Wellawa police had taken the suspect into their custody to be produced before the Kurunegala magistrate. The truck had been carrying earth on the Ranawana road when it was checked by the traffic OIC. more..

US welcomes govt. ‘one-stop-shop’ initiative

May 29 (FT) In an attempt to streamline foreign investment, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison yesterday welcomed an initiative put forward by Investment Promotion Ministry to set up a ‘one-stop-shop’ to address bottlenecks in US inflows. Sison, during her address at the American Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (AMCHAM)’s luncheon meeting on ‘Doing Business with the US,’ applauded the move, more..

Four women questioned in Sharjah after Sri Lankan man falls to his death

May 29 (National) Four Sri Lankan women are being questioned by Sharjah’s Prosecution after a male compatriot fell to his death from a 22nd-floor apartment in the Al Nahda area. Salem Al Zaabi, the Emirate’s prosecutor, said the deceased lived with the women in the flat. Investigations revealed all of the women had absconded from their sponsors. The tower’s security guard and the real estate manager were also questioned as they were believed to have witnessed the incident on April 24 more..

Patali stresses importance of developing local industries

May 29 (DN) The uplift of local industries is a prerequisite in the march towards a new inventions economy, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. "We should promote traditional sciences such as indigenous medicine and utilise them for development work," he said at a meeting to mark the handing over of a stock of machinery worth Rs. 3,500,000 to Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayake to be used by the Ayurveda Corporation Board for use in the preparation more..

Central Bank relaxes forex regulations

May 29 (FT) The Central Bank further relaxed foreign exchange regulations, aiming to improve competitiveness in the global market. Improved macroeconomic environment, greater stability in the external sector as well as the development of a more effective and comprehensive regulatory and surveillance framework were cited by the Central Bank as reasons for several exchange control regulations to have been liberalised more..

People’s Bank in plantation sector debenture

May 29 (Island) ‘People’s Bank Investment Banking Unit which acted as the Manager to the Issue successfully concluded the Rs. 1 billion listed debenture issue of Kotagala Plantations PLC. Total bids received were significantly higher than the issue amount and the issue closed at the end of the issue opening day itself, reflecting high investor confidence in the company and also serves to enhance the success story of this leading plantation company. more..

ASG raises objections to Fonseka’s Writ Application

May 29 (Island) Additional Solicitor General Dilnakshi Wickremasinghe PC, yesterday raised a preliminary objection in the Court of Appeal to the Writ application filed by General Sarath Fonseka, against the Minister of Lands and the Urban Development Authority. The ASG said that the land given to General Fonseka at Narahenpita had been acquired under the Urban Development Special Act and not under the Land Acquisition Act by the Minister as claimed by Fonseka. more..

UN concern at Malaysia's expulsion of Tamil Tiger suspects

May 29 (BBC) The UN says it is concerned at Malaysia's deportation of three men accused of trying to revive the Tamil Tiger rebel group to Sri Lanka. The UN's refugee agency said two of the men were refugees and another was seeking asylum. It warned that they were now at risk of "serious harm". They are accused of raising funds and spreading propaganda for the group. At least 100,000 people are estimated to have been more..

Badminton: Sri Lanka to host Yonex Sunrise International tourney

May 29 (ST) Joining hands with the Sports Ministry, World Badminton Federation and the Asian Badminton Federation the Sri Lanka Badminton Association had finalised arrangements to conduct the Yonex Sunrise Sri Lanka International Badminton Championships to be held from June 4 to 8 at the Sugathadasa Indoor Sports Complex. In this championship over 260 competitors both men and women from 19 countries are scheduled to take part. Competitors both men and women from more..

Magistrate awaits analyst's report to begin trial

May 29 (CT) Matale Magistrate said she would explore the possibilities of commencing a trial based on murder charges, as soon as the American analyst's report, on the skeletal remains dug up from the Matale mass graves, is received. The report would determine the period during which the killings took place. Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala, representing the missing persons said, he made a request to Court to initiate the trial based on murder charges against those who were involved. more..

UN under spotlight for giving refugee status to LTTE cadres

May 29 (Island) An urgent review of UN procedures was necessary in the wake of the recent arrest and deportation of three LTTE cadres registered with the UNHCR in Malaysia, a senior security official said. Two of the LTTE cadres had received refugee status, while the third was in the process of securing the same. Official said that SL govt had never been consulted as regards the applications made by them, therefore an inquiry was necessary. more..

Sri Lanka allows foreigners to invest in unlisted bond issues

May 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will allow foreigners to invest in unlisted bond issues as of Wednesday, the central bank said, as inflows into local stocks and govt securities dry up. Currency dealers cautiously welcomed the move. The central bank said in a statement that the move, along with a package of measures to relax the $67 billion economy's foreign exchange regulations, is expected to "further enhance the external competitiveness of Sri Lanka in the global market". more..

Military tells other countries to follow Malaysia’s example

May 29 (Island) Terrorism could be wiped out from the face of the earth if all countries emulated Malaysia’s example and cooperated for that purpose, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. He thanked Malaysia for arresting the LTTE cadres operating on its soil. The military spokesman requested other countries to help Sri Lanka arrest LTTE cadres. He said so after Malaysia had handed over three LTTE cadres who were collecting funds to revive terrorism here to Sri Lanka. more..

Govt in development discussions with the ‘smallest people’: President

May 29 (Island) Objectively compare our nation’s steady progress today with the situation where we were five or six years ago, President Rajapaksa said yesterday at the presentation ceremony of the Finance and Planning Ministry’s Annual Report 2013. He said the government’s discussions on development issues went beyond corporate heads, to the ‘smallest people’ in the country, including three-wheeler drivers and lorry drivers. more..

The pills we take could kill us

May 29 (DM) While the proposed legislation for a National Medicinal Drugs Policy gets delayed, diluted and distorted by racketeer spin doctors, the yesterday revealed a shocking story about outdated drugs and fairness creams worth more than Rs. 500 million. According to the CAA its officers on Tuesday raided an Attidiya warehouse run by a private drug company. What they found was sickening and a shame to our society and a sign of the cancerous corruption growing in our country. more..

Pictorial warning; Parties insist on 80%

May 29 (DM) About 600 people die daily due to tobacco, smoking and alcohol, a report issued by the Health Ministry said. That is about 60 per cent of 1,000 deaths occurring daily in the country. According to the finding, 20% of patients in the country were suffering from diseases caused by tobacco and alcohol and drug addiction. Being a country with free a health service, it is unaffordable for Sri Lanka to treat such patients for a prolonged time for free of charge with the strong view more..

‘We deal with life and death situations’

May 29 (DM) The Govt Analyst Department is one of the most important departments with regard to dispensing justice in the country. In its 110 year history, the second female head of this vital state institution, Sakuntala Tennakoon, with experience for over thirty years, was appointed last week. Ms. Tennakoon obtained her B.Sc Special degree in Chemistry from University of Peradeniya, obtained her M.Sc more..

Liquor sales an all-time-high during Vesak

May 29 (ST) Hundreds of people stood in line outside a dansala at the Kanuwana Junction, Ja- Ela on Vesak Poya Day (14). While they awaited eagerly their turn to be a part of a generous act, another crowd stood at a mobile tavern for a different reason. Those who went incame out with a newspaper wrapped bottle tucked under their arms as children standing outside the dansala watched. Such incidents are quite more..

Coal plant powers 40% of national grid

May 29 (SL) The controversial Norochcholai Power Plant has been confirmed to be operating as expected and is currently producing 600 MW of power – or the equivalent of 40% of the national grid. Ministry of Power & Energy Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando said that “Phase 3 is expected to come on line by the end of July 2014 which will then mean that Norochcholai Plant would be producing up to 55% of National Grid.” more..

Best Western debuts in Sri Lanka on 1st July

May 29 (TDN) Best Western International has reached another landmark in its international expansion, with the launch of the company’s first ever hotel in Sri Lanka. The brand new Best Western Elyon Hotel Colombo opens its doors 1st July 2014, marking the US hotel group’s debut on this spectacular Indian Ocean island and boosting its Asian portfolio to 23 countries. Located on Marine Drive, this charming city hotel more..

ADB provides USD 200 million to Support the Skills Sector Development

May 29 (GDI) The Skills Sector Development Programme (SSDP) aims to establish an efficient skills education system to meet the local and foreign labor market demand by 2020. The programme will reconfigure of skills, abilities and competencies of the youth to meet the demand of the global economy and support the country’s transition to knowledge-based economy as stated in the Govt’s Policy Framework of more..

'Increase income taxes to avert financial crisis'

May 29 (Island) The very existence of the state and the day to day functioning of society depend on govt revenue which keeps things going. In recent years, Sri Lanka has experienced a steady decline in tax revenues which now threatens to derail the provision of govt services to the public. In this interview, The Island speaks to former taxman turned politician minister D.E.W. Gunasekera as to what can be done to remedy the situation. more..

'Committee on poaching will survive change of govt. in India'

May 29 (Island) Fisheries Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne on Tuesday assured that there would be no changes in the high-powered Indo-Lanka committee appointed to solve poaching issue as the defeat of Indian National Congress would have no impact on India’s foreign policy. Dr. Senaratne said that India’s foreign policy would not be changed after the formation of a new govt under PM Narendra Modi’s leadership. more..

Detection of massive haul of date expired drugs prompts probes on others

May 29 (CT) Following the raid of a pharmaceutical warehouse owned by a reputed drug importer on Tuesday (27), the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has decided to extend its raids to all the pharmacies owned by the importer. CAA Chairman, Rumy Marzook said as the drug importer has a large network of drug stores and warehouses, all of them would be inspected to ensure that none of the drugs are expired. more..

Police to use 'necessary' force

May 29 (CT) The police will hereafter use 'necessary force' instead of minimum force, when carrying out their duties. Explaining the recent assault on university students and the death of suspects while in custody, SSP Ajith Rohana, said minimum force was an outdated concept that has since been replaced the world over with necessary force. "Minimum force was in existence in the first part of the 20th century. more..

TNA seeks meeting with Jayalalithaa

May 29 (CG) TNA has sought a meeting with TN Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa who won the recent elections in the area. TNA leader R. Sampanthan said in a letter sent to Jayalalithaa that she should ensure PM Narendra Modi continues India’s role to ensure that an honourable peace based on justice and equality is brought about in Sri Lanka. “We are thankful to you for the continuing concern you have shown towards the more..

Abolishing the executive presidency!

May 29 (CT) Left parties of the govt have reportedly written toSLFP General Secretary, Maithripala Sirisena, requesting that he summon a meeting of the constituent parties of the govt to discuss constitutional reforms, including the abolition of the all powerful executive presidency. The letter, which has been copied to President Rajapaksa as well, has been sent to the SLFP General Secretary three days ago. Traditional political Left, which includes LSSP, CP and New Left Front, more..

Tangled Webs

May 29 (CT) Rajapaksas will not devolve power; not unless they are pushed to the wall, and left with no way out, not even a peephole. Only an external power can generate such an irresistible force. Will Modi-India be that power? Over the years, the Rajapaksas had mastered the art of ‘Hoodwinking Delhi with a Sincere Face’. They developed a Dodgy Dance, made up of promises, pronouncements, evasions and denials, which enabled them to make slipperiness look like flexibility. more..

Ada Cartoon

Sri Lanka rupee edges down on importer dollar demand; state bank defends

May 29 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee ended weaker on Thursday on thin importer dollar demand amid greenback sales by a state bank to prevent a further fall in the currency. Dealers still expect the local currency to face upward pressure until demand for imports and credit pick up. The rupee ended at 130.48/52 per dollar, weaker from Wednesday's close of 130.45/48. "Rupee is weaker on importer (dollar) demand. A state bank started selling dollars at 130.50 for select banks and more..

Kalubowila doctor, nurses down with dengue

may 29 (Island) A doctor, two nurses and a clerk attached to the Kalubowila hospital are being treated for dengue, its director Dr. Asela Gunawardane, said. He said they were warded in the hospital for three days and added that a number of other doctors, nurses and staff members had been treated for dengue during the last few months. "Already there are 160 dengue patients being treated at the hospital and two patients are being forced to occupy a single bed," he said. more..

Sri Lanka targets $2 bln in FDI again for 2014

May 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has set a $2 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) goal this year, its investment minister said, though it failed to meet that target for two years in a row. The $67 billion economy failed to achieve its ambitious FDI targets partly due to inconsistent investment policies amid allegations by investors over corruption, lack of good governance and the govt's failure to address human rights violations in line with UN more..

'SL's image distorted by Western media'

May 29 (DN) The mass media is used in several Western countries to distort the image of Sri Lanka, Director General of the Govt Information Dept Prof. Ariyaratne Athugala said. He said the mass media in the West is used as a novel means of colonialism. He made these observations at the concluding ceremony of the Basic Mass Media Course for officers and other rankers of the Army conducted by Govt Information Dept and Army Mass Media Director Board, on Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.5%

may 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed up 0.5 percent on Thursday with strong foreign participation amid eased foreign exchange controls. All Share Price Index closed 31.01 points higher at 6,303.77 up 0.49%. The S&P SL20 closed 36.04 points higher at 3,486.69, up 1.04%. Turnover was 810.92 million rupees, up from 451.16 million rupees a day earlier with 100 stocks closed positive against 78 negative. John Keells closed 1.00 rupee higher at 234.00 rupees with three off-market transactions more..

Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka to replace PB

May 29 (AD) Health Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka will be appointed with immediate effect as the Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Development replacing P.B. Jayasundara, Presidential Spokesman Mohan Samaranayake confirmed. Meanwhile it is also reported that Mrs Sudharma Karunaratne, who is the current Secretary to Ministry of Plantation, will be transferred to the post of Health Secretary, more..

Mayor says no to Mullivaikal motion

May 29 (CG) Jaffna Mayor Yogeshwari Patkunarajah today refused to allow a motion to be passed at the Jaffna Municipal Council calling for those killed in Mullivaikal during the final stages of the war to be remembered. The Mayor had said that if such a motion is to be presented it should include those killed since 1983 when the war began and not just those killed during the final battle. However the opposition objected to this saying the motion must only draw attention to those killed during more..

Now, CMC plans to crush cockroaches, flies etc

May 29 (Island) The Public Health Department of the Colombo MC said they would concentrate on controlling harmful insects in addition to tackling the dengue menace. The new Chief of the Public Health Department, Dr. R. Wijayamuni said that Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) would target not only mosquitoes but other pests as well. The IRS which involved spraying insecticides such as technical malathion and Icon would be used mainly to spray in houses in low income areas and more..

Sri Lanka to expand political and economic cooperation with Spain and Turkey

May 29 (MEA) Minister G.L. Peiris, held bilateral discussions with Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 17th Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Algiers. Minister Davutoglu paid tribute to the resilience Sri Lanka had shown in its recovery from the tsunami calamity, soon after which he had visited the country, and also in respect of the more..