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Daily Mirror takes strong stand against suppression of media

May 3 (CT) Taking one of the most strongest stands a media publication has taken in recent times, the Daily Mirror, circulated today carried a front page in ‘reverse’ with a message at the bottom stating “only true freedom of the press can change things around” in celebration of the world press freedom day. Daily Mirrors readers were in for rude shock this morning when the paper arrived with the front page in reverse with one reader more..

Sri Lankan among five held over ATM skimming in Thailand

May 3 (PG) Five foreigners believed to be part of a skimming network stretching across Thailand were arrested in possession of multiple credit cards under different names and 700,000 baht in cash yesterday.Three were caught in the process of skimming an ATM in Karon. The other two were apprehended as they were allegedly attempting to evade officers. The men were named by police as Viothan Thiyagarsa, 29, from the Netherlands; Gnanapooranan Ratnasabapathy, 51, more..

Docs want ward clerks to by-pass heartless nightingales

May 3 (Island) President of the GMOA Dr. Anurudda Padeniya yesterday called for the appointment of ward clerks so that doctors serving in labour rooms would be able to take required surgical equipment without an issue. Dr. Padeniya alleged that a striking trade union at the Kalutara General Hospital had allegedly hidden the keys of cupboards where surgical equipment was stored. Doctors of the Kalutara General Hospital had appealed to him to work towards resolving the issue as more..

Deadly leptospirosis not spread exclusively by rats

May 3 (ST) Will Sri Lanka have to drop the ‘rat’ in rat fever (leptospirosis) following trailblazing research by a doctor, which has gained global recognition? Leptospirosis is being spread by dogs, cattle, buffaloes and even pigs in SL, is the amazing finding of Consultant Community Physician, Dr. Suneth Agampodi, who reiterates that the ‘reservoir or host animals’ are not limited to rodents. more..

Press Freedom Day: Long wait for justice

May 3 (CT) Today is the World Press Freedom Day. As the countries around the world mark this day with celebrations, we in Sri Lanka ought to sit down and take stock of our credentials of press freedom. That would make us recollect the sombre memories of the ghastly attacks on our colleagues, media institutions, unresolved killings and abductions of our kind that dominated the headlines time and again in the recent past. We are still waiting for justice for our slain, abducted and assaulted colleagues. more..

CMC wants to retain Chief Medical Officer

May 3 (Island) Deputy Colombo City Mayor Titus Perera announced that they would appoint the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH), Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam as an Assistant Commissioner of Health of the Municipality. Responding to a question, he said that the Council was hoping to extend Dr. Kariyawasam’s service by giving him the appointment. After 25 years of dedicated service he had not been given an extension of service. The CMOH was scheduled to retire this month. more..

Sri Lanka inflation at 3.5% in April by citizen index

May 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's inflation in the 12-months to April was measured at 3.5%, lower than the 4.9% shown by the official index compiled by the state statistics office. CAL UPI Index, compiled by CAL Research, an equities research firm has shown slightly lower than official inflation since Dec 2013. But the index showed much higher inflation as much as 15 to 20% in first quarter of 2013 after the rupee depreciated more..

Moratuwa murder case: First accused gets five years' jail

May 3 (DN) The first accused in the Moratuwa murder case who pleaded guilty to culpable homicide, was sentenced to five years imprisonment by the Panadura Provincial High Court Judge S. K. Weerawardena yesterday. The judge acquitted the other four accused as the prosecution had not proved the case against them. Lalith Hettiyakanda was arrested for the murder of his wife's paramour Nalaka Kumara of Moratuwa on Sept 4, 1996 by cutting him into pieces. more..

Rs.10mn worth sandalwood oil nabbed at BIA

May 3 (DM) Sandalwood oil valued at more than Rs. 10 million destined to France was nabbed by the Customs officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) last night. The 25 kg oil consignment, in three aluminium cylinders had been declared as cinnamon oil, Customs Spokesman Leslie Gamini said. “The stock of oil was to be illegally exported through a courier company in Colombo,” he said. The export of sandalwood and products is prohibited under the provisions of more..

Tackling kidney disease in NCP

May 3 (ST) While a powerful Presidential Task Force is to be appointed to tackle the mysterious kidney disease that is felling farmers mainly in the North Central Province (NCP), all Secretaries of relevant ministries will meet on May 2 to discuss at length how to proceed with the tasks allocated to them under a wide-ranging Action Plan. The meeting comes in the wake of instructions by the Cabinet of Ministers in early April that more..

The arena of written questions dominated by a few gladiators

May 3 (ST) There are multiple mechanisms through which a MP can engage with the House, to take forward his or her responsibility as a representative of the people. But some of those opportunities are dominated by only a very few. Just 5 of the 225 MPs ask two-thirds of all the “written questions” in Parliament: is an online platform that allows activities of MPs to be evaluated. According to its data, in the 20 months from 1 May 2012 to 31 Dec 2013, 1214 written questions were asked more..

Captive elephants helpless against TB spread

May 3 (ST) Experts fear there could be an outbreak of tuberculosis among captive elephants if quick action is not taken. As elephants in Dehiwala Zoo show signs of TB the zoo authorities have stopped the popular elephant performances. Zoo director Anura de Silva said that five out of the zoo’s 10 elephants have tested positive in a preliminary TB anti-body test but further tests were needed to confirm a TB diagnosis. “The elephant dance is a public event that is enjoyed by children more..

Sharma, Chamal discuss legislation

May 3 (CG) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa have discussed the Commonwealth Secretariat’s offer of advice and assistance with legislative drafting. The discussion had taken place at Marlborough House, headquarters of The Commonwealth in London when Rajapaksa, who is currently in London, met Sharma yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka condemns terrorist attack in China

May 3 (Xinhua) President Rajapaksa has sent a message to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, condemning the terrorist attack targeting civilians at a railway station in Urumqi, capital of China's northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region last Wednesday. The president said the perpetrators of the cowardly attack had targeted innocent civilians, a large number of whom have been injured, adding that attacking unarmed civilians demonstrates the cruel and barbaric nature of terrorism. more..

More than 2/3 of dengue victims under 20

May 3 (Island) Public Health Department of the CMC revealed that 70% of those who were affected by dengue in the city were below the age of 20. Addressing a press conference to announce the special dengue control campaign which is scheduled to commence from Kirulapona and Pamankade wards today, Chief of the Municipal Public Health Dept, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that total number of suspected dengue cases this year were over 900, which was 10% less than last year. more..

New appointment against SC ruling: Ex-CJ

May 3 (DM) Commenting on the controversy over the new appointment to the Supreme Court, former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said according to an existing ruling the appointment of judges should be done according to an existing judgement, the appointment of judges should be done only on the recommendation of either the Chief Justice, or the Justice Minister or the Attorney General or all of them. more..

Priyantha Jayawardena: New SC Judge

May 3 (Island) President’s Counsel, Priyantha Jayawardena, the newly appointed Judge of the Supreme Court will take his oath before President Rajapaksa shortly. Mr. Jayawardena having completed his primary and secondary education joined the Sri Lanka Law College. After he passed out from the Law College he apprenticed with late Eardly Perera P.C. and Ranjit Abesuriya P.C. During this period he also worked as a Research Assistant to the Late Justice Mark Fernando more..

Casino bind

May 3 (FT) In a high-stakes claim, Investment Promotion Deputy Minister Faiszer Mustapha yesterday criticised Opposition protests against casinos, insisting that they had caused “concerns” among foreign investors that could negatively affect foreign inflows. However, taking on the thorny casino issue proved to be a risky business for the Deputy Minister, who was bombarded with questions regarding the Govt’s casino policy by journalists at the media briefing held at the BOI. more..

'US softening stance on Sri Lanka'

May 3 (DM) Repeated requests to the international community and to the US that Sri Lanka’s reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes be looked at positively appears to have borne fruit with the US softening its stance on Sri Lanka, Minister Keheliya Ramukwella said. Commenting on the non-confrontational comments made by Nisha Biswal the Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs more..

Fowzie says didn’t sign letter to president

May 3 (SM) Senior minister A.H.M. Fowzie says he did not sign a letter sent to the president by the Sri Lanka Muslim Council alleging that certain organizations were in a hate campaign against Muslims. However, the minister’s signature is included in the letter in question, according to a copy which was released to the media. Bodu Bala Sena, Sihala Ravaya and Ravana Balaya, all led by Buddhist clergy, have been accused thus by the Muslim Council. The letter alleged these more..

President kicks off National War Heroes Commemoration Month

May 3 (FT) War Heroes Commemoration Month was ceremonially declared by pinning the first Ranaviru (War Hero) Flag onto President Rajapaksa at a function held at Temple Trees yesterday. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was also participated at the ceremony. Period until June 2 has been declared as the National War Heroes Commemoration month. Series of events have been scheduled to be held coinciding with the War Hero Commemoration including Victory Parade. more..

UNP talks to Sobitha Thera on common agenda

May 3 (DM) In the wake of speculation about an early presidential election and opposition attempts to field a common candidate, UNP held talks with Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera on the formulation of a common agenda for such an election. UNP Leadership Council met Sobitha Thera who has already founded a political movement with the objective of working towards just and fair society. more..

Khalifa Medal, an honour for all Sri Lankans

May 4 (SO) The King of Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa presented the prestigious Khalifa Medal, the highest honour in the Kingdom of Bahrain, to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a ceremony at the Al-Sakhir Palace last Monday. The King of Bahrain said that the medal was presented in recognition of President Rajapaksa's efforts to take bilateral ties to a higher level of development. This is not a singular honour for President Rajapaksa but for Sri Lanka and its people. more..

Where lies the answer?

May 4 (SL) The only issue that has shaken the Mahinda Rajapaksa led UPFA govt was the opposition to the proposal to open up three new luxury class casinos in spanking new hotels in Colombo. The islandwide rally against this proposal that brought together religious leaders of all the main religions, rival political parties and even strange bed fellows like govt ministers together with their bête noire in the opposition, sent political tremors through the Rajapaksa establishment. more..

'Unscrupulous elements in TNA blocking path to political settlement'

May 4 (SO) TULF leader and former MP V. Anadasangaree said certain unscrupulous elements in the TNA were blocking the path to a political settlement to the issues of the Northern Tamils. “If we initiated a process during the CHOGM we could have found a way out or at least an opening to carry forward a process,” he said denying the branding by LTTE supporters that he is a traitor. “I am not against my community. more..

What needs to be said will be said

May 4 (NS) Yesterday was World Press Freedom Day. It is a time for reflection about the status of these freedoms or their absence in Sri Lanka. In this age of Information, Sri Lankan journalists do not have the privilege of Freedom of Information legislation that would give access to information on important issues and mega projects. The manifest reluctance to open the doors to scrutiny implies that there are things to hide. There are other more tangible obstacles. more..

Asking for parippu

May 4 (Island) Despite the cliché being worn threadbare, the validity of the saying that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing remains true for Sri Lanka. This explains the red faces at Sri Lanka Tourism and the somewhat clumsy though well intentioned attempt at damage control following the recent peremptory deportation of British Tourist Naomi Coleman because she had a Buddha tattoo on her upper arm. Coleman, professionally a mental health nurse, more..

'World Youth Conference will lead the way'

May 4 (SO) Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said youth from all over the world will attend the World Conference on Youth 2014 and can see for themselves the peace restored in the country and the freedom enjoyed by the people. He said these youth will give a strong message to the international community on the prevailing peaceful atmosphere in Sri Lanka. Youth always speak and act according to their conscience and more..

The workers forgotten on May Day

May 4 (ST) May Day has come and gone and the working class will need to wait until next year to be commemorated again. In the intervening 364 days, the working people will face the overt threat of Police riot squads and water cannon if they take to the streets making demands, and the covert moves by the Finance Ministry to convert their EPF into something else while the Fund’s directors play the Stock Market with the monies. In some countries, this day is celebrated with military parades. more..

James’ games with pack of politicos

May 4 (ST) My Dear James Packer, I thought I must write to you to congratulate you on what you did last week. I am not sure whether you are aware of this, but you have done something which no one has been able to do in this country for the last ten years — and that is no small achievement! I am referring to those casinos you planned to introduce to our country. When the laws required for them were presented in our Parliament, nearly sixty ruling party MPs abstained and a couple of govt MPs more..

'It is an extremely serious situation'

May 4 (SL) With the UNHRC passing the resolution against Sri Lanka calling for a credible investigation into alleged human rights abuses, there has been talk that economic sanctions would be imposed on Sri Lanka. So far, there are no signs of such sanctions and several foreign politicians have indicated that there was never any plan to impose such sanctions on Sri Lanka. With the Sri Lankan govt banning 16 organisations and more..

Ball in Dhanapala’s court

May 4 (NS) Media representatives and rights groups will come together tomorrow to sign a public petition to legalize the Right to Information Bill. With World Press Freedom Day commemorated yesterday, media representatives and rights groups are once again abuzz calling for assurance of freedom of speech and ensure security to media personnel. The media in Sri Lanka has faced its problems over the years and still continue to do so. The blocking of news website Colombo Telegraph more..

Peddling disinformation about bills and casinos

May 4 (NS) During last week, one could see many media reports highlighting the fact that the govt hierarchy was planning to take disciplinary action against its MPs who were not present in the Chamber when a vote was taken regarding ‘casino bills’ on April 24 and 25. First of all it has to be mentioned here that those media reports were wrong. No votes were taken on ‘casino bills’ or any other bill on those two days. Votes were taken on three Orders under the Subsection (4) of more..

Trade Unions protest against injustice to workers

May 4 (SL) Trade union activities are imperative to the fight for worker rights since unions speak out against injustices and protect the integrity and standards of the trade. However, in the current context in Sri Lanka many have a feeling that trade unions manipulate workers to achieve the aims and objectives of certain political parties rather than placing greater focus on the issues which are relevant to workers. more..

Why Gnanasara has to be dealt with

May 4 (Island) If there was anything that the May Day rallies showed, it was that the SLFP led UPFA even after nearly nine years in power is still an unassailable political force. Even if one factors away the natural advantage that any ruling party will have in drawing crowds for rallies, the UPFA’s showing was impressive to say the least.  It’s not just the numbers, but the enthusiasm that counts. The May Day show indicated that nearly nine years after being first elected to power, more..

Who hugged Anura Kumara Dissanayake?

May 4 (SL) Although the govt managed to get the Strategic Development Act passed in Parliament, the entire process created plenty of ripples within the ruling. JHU, a constituent party of the govt, openly voted against the legislation while a large number of ruling party members were not present in Parliament when the vote was taken. During the debate on the Strategic Development Act, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake launched a scathing attack on the govt, saying the ruling party, more..

'Adapting to English conditions will be our biggest challenge'

May 4 (NS) Sri Lanka faces its toughest challenge since losing 0-3 to Australia early last year when they undertake a tour to England for two Tests, five ODIs and a one-off T20 International. Since that white-wash Down Under they have been challenged only by two subcontinent teams Bangladesh and Pakistan in the past 15 months and won two Test series against Bangladesh and drawn a Test series with Pakistan in the UAE. more..

Lakshani qualifies for World Junior Athletics Championship

May 4 (ST) The completion of day two of the 57th Junior National Athletic Championship held at the Sugathadasa Stadium saw five more records tumble which brought the tally of records to 11 so far. The best record breaking performance came from Vidusha Lakshani of Newstead BV Negombo in the Under 20 triple jump event where she leaped to a record of 12.99 metres which erased the existing record of 12.09m set by Ishali Chandrasekera of Ferguson Girl’s School Ratnapura in 2006. more..

Dividends and increased rent boost Property Development profits

May 4 (Island) Property Development (PDL), the Bank of Ceylon subsidiary owning the bank’s headquarters building at Echelon Square, had substantially increased both revenue and profitability in the year ended Dec 31, 2013 on account of a rental increase of approximately 10% with effect from July 1, 2013 from its sole tenant, the Bank of Ceylon, as well as dividend income. PDL Chairman Raju Sivaraman, has told shareholders in the annual report that the company’s revenue for more..

Rodrigo says destination of missing cash is beginning to unravel

May 4 (ST) FFSL President Ranjith Rodrigo stated that matters are beginning to unravel in Football Federation of Sri Lanka’s (FFSL) investigation on the missing Rs. Six Million. The amount, Euro 40,400, received as donations from Italian Footballers’ Association six years ago, has gone off the radar without a trace. Rodrigo said “We are in the process of obtaining transaction statements from the banks involved, more..