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Gemfields going ahead with Sri Lanka sapphire exploration

Apr 16 (EN) Gemfields Plc, an international gem mining and jewelry firm, has said it is going ahead with exploration for sapphires in Sri Lanka despite new govt controls to prevent gemming by foreign firms. The firm, which produces about a fifth of the world’s rough emeralds and is listed on the London Stock Exchange, had earlier acquired 16 exploration licences. "Gemfields is in the process of establishing initial more..

SFHQ-KLN makes a New Year donation to widowed family

Apr 16 (MoD) The widow, Mrs Wijayakumar Chandrakumari with five children from Kilinochchi area on Sunday was the recipient of a New Year gift by way of a new house, constructed by the troops following patronage extended by a philanthropist. Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commander, Security Forces Headquarters - Kilinochchi (SFHQ-KLN) taking this initiative after hearing that the beneficiaries were living in a shanty-type slum, explored possibilities of more..

Uma Oya trans-basin multipurpose project

Apr 16 (DM) In an article published in Sunday Island of April 25, 2008, Dr. G.T. Dharmasena, former Director General of Irrigation and a consultant to UN Project Services in Sri Lanka (UNOPS) stated, “It has to be noted that it is not logical to assume that all available water at the dam sites can be diverted due to downstream water requirements and also to the rapid fluctuations of water levels in the river caused by flash floods. From detailed studies it was found that from the annual total of more..

Period from April 30 to May 06 declared as Wesak week

Apr 16 (GDI) The govt has declared May 3 and 4 as Wesak days and the period from April 30th to May 6th as Wesak Week. Minister Karu Jayasuriya said the state Wesak festival will be conducted centering the Mahiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya on May 03 and Wesak celebrations will be held under the theme Cultivate Compassion. A Wesak Commemoration stamp will be released on the 20th of this month. more..

Jaffna district MP not hurt in accident

Apr 16 (DN) The vehicle in which Jaffna District MP Appadurai Vinayagamurthi and his family members were travelling, met with an accident yesterday morning, when it collided with a van coming from the opposite direction at Mudukatuwa in Marawila. The car travelling with the MP and his wife was moving towards Colombo, while the other van was travelling from Wennappuwa towards Marawila, when the crash occurred. The MPs vehicle had skidded and hit a high tension post. more..

Million kilograms of vegetables discarded

Apr 16 (DN) A large stock of vegetable weighing over one million kilograms brought to Dambulla Dedicated Economic Centre on Sunday were discarded without sufficient buyers, the management said. During that day around five million kilograms of vegetables were brought by the farmers to the centre. Due to lack of buyers, like other days, a large quantity of vegetables - over one million kilograms were left behind. The farmers ask the govt to device a proper mechanism to distribute more..

UN for probe on sexual violence

Apr 16 (CG) The UN has called on the Govt to investigate allegations of conflict-related sexual violence, including incidents said to have taken place during the post war period. UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon, in a report to the UN Security Council, on conflict related sexual violence, said that in Sri Lanka, in the five years since the end of the armed conflict, Govt has committed to supporting the resettlement and more..

Beware of Bak Maha Akunu

Apr 16 (DN) Meteorology Department officials request the public to take adequate precautions to minimize damage caused by lightning activities popularly known as Bak Maha Akunu experienced in April, with the convective showers. It forecast showers or thundershowers occurring at several places over the island during the afternoon or evening. "There may be temporary localized strong winds during thundershowers. Showers will occur at several places along the coastal areas more..

DEW says 19A, 20A will represent a historic change

Apr 16 (DN) The 100 day programme would become historic in Sri Lanka's politics if President Maithripala Sirisena changes the electoral system by way of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution along with the introduction of the 19th Amendment which is to be debated on April 20 and 21, said UPFA MP D E W Gunasekara. He said that these two features of the constitution have been festering for 37 years. He added that their reconsideration formed part of the 100 day program. more..

Pilots Guild to call for SrilLankan Airlines' COO's removal

Apr 16 (CT) The Airline Pilot's Guild of Sri Lanka is preparing to call for the removal of SriLankan Airlines' Chief Operating Officer (COO) Capt. Druvi Perera following the damning report of the Board of Inquiry into the national carrier, Guild sources said. Aviation circles are buzzing with questions as to the continuation of Capt. Perera in that capacity in the wake of damning evidence found against him in the Weliamuna Report. more..

20% rise in New Year related accidents

Apr 16 (DN) There has been a 20% increase in the number of accidents during the Sinhala and Hindu New Year in comparison to last year, said the Director of the Accident Services of the Colombo National Hospital Dr Kapila Wickramasinghe. He said 450 patients received treatment at the Accident Ward of the Colombo National Hospital on April 13 and 14 for treatment, of whom 173 were warded at the hospital. He added that 354 people received treatment at the Accident Ward more..

Civvied cops intimidate Jaffna journalists

Apr 16 (CT) Three Jaffna journalists who were covering the protest against oil pollution on Tuesday have been intimidated near the Nallur Kanthaswamy Kovil, Jaffna by three men wearing jerseys marked with Sri Lanka Police emblem. Thinakkural journalist T. Vinojith, a Colombo based radio journo T. Piratheeban and a freelance journalist Mayurapriyan from Jaffna were stopped near the Nallur Temple when they were returning after covering the protest. According to the three journalists, the men more..

Naxals getting arms via Sri Lanka

Apr 16 (CG) India’s Central intelligence agencies have launched a major investigation into a specific tip-off that Naxals were now getting sophisticated weapons through the sea route from SL. Top intelligence sources said they had received information some time back that Naxals were routing arms and ammunition through the sea route through an arms cartel which was suspected to be earlier providing weapons to the LTTE as well. more..

Mahinda, MPs to have key talks

Apr 16 (CG) Former President Rajapaksa is expected to have key talks today in Tangalle with a group of opposition MPs who are supporting him to contest as Prime Minister at the Parliament elections. The stand to be taken on the 19th Amendment is to be discussed at the meeting. Sources said that the meeting will also focus on the political party under which Rajapaksa will contest as the Prime Ministerial candidate at the next Parliament elections. more..

Unlocking the potential of women through technology for Sri Lanka’s development

Apr 16 (WB) “ICT is a powerful transformative tool and it has revolutionized the way people think, behave, work and also advocate for change,” said Rolande Pryce, Operations Advisor World Bank Sri Lanka and the Maldives, at the inaugural session of Innovation for Impact. Fusion, the ICT arm of Sarvodaya, together with Microsoft engaged in a two day workshop to promote ICT and improve organizational operations. This would increase chances for employment and more..

Chinese naval ships to use Pakistan's port after Colombo snub

Apr 16 (PTI) Pakistan's Gwadar port which has been taken over by a Chinese firm could guarantee maintenance and supply for China's naval ships in the Indian Ocean after the new Sri Lankan govt declined permission for Chinese vessels to dock in the country. "The Gwadar port will also guarantee China's naval ships' maintenance and supply in the Indian Ocean. The move is widely seen as crucial for China, especially as it is more..

Seeking UN approval compromises independence

Apr 16 (CT) Our lead story on our Avurudu eve edition of Monday, 13 April, carried some seemingly good news for the incumbent minority UNP Govt which has to face the polls at the latest by next year. The article titled "No immediate war crimes probe," with a strap line called "Only report on modalities to UN in September," it, quoting Deputy Minister, Ajith P. Perera said, "There will be no immediate domestic probe on war crimes as the govt will only submit a report to the UNHRC in September more..

State's help vital in curbing human trafficking: Julie Bishop

Apr 16 (ENS) Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop reiterated Canberra’s opposition to settlement of those ‘smuggled’ through human trafficking route. Emerging after a meeting with Chief Minister O Paneerselvam, she told newspersons that the co-operation of the State govt was valuable in addressing the issue. “We discussed co-operation on the issue of people smuggling and I thanked the CM on the valuable cooperation in disrupting the illegal and criminal trade in people smuggling. more..

Asia Cup 2016 to be played in T20 format

Apr 16 (IANS) Asia Cup 2016 is set to undergo a radical change and will be a Twenty20 competition instead of the 50-over game, outgoing Asian Cricket Council (ACC) CEO Syed Ashraful Haq revealed. Ashraful said the 2016 edition would be held early next year as a prelude to the World Twenty20, which will be held in India from March 11 to April 3. The tournament would then revert to 50-over format in 2018 ahead of 2019 WC more..

'Full disclosure needed on Port City Project'

Apr 16 (CT) Friday Forum has today called upon the govt to immediately place in the public domain the details of all agreements, assessments and regulatory determinations related to the Colombo Port City development project. The govt’s review of project must also be conducted with complete transparency, inclusive of a mechanism for public submissions to this review process, the Friday Forum said. “Given the significant financial interests at stake with this project and more..

State institutions to pay over a billion for Rajapaksa led advertising on state media

Apr 16 (CT) The govt sources say over Rs. One billion outstanding payments that were to be paid to state owned media during the Rajapaksa regime, are yet to be settled by govt departments and institutions. According to the Media ministry sources payments to the following state-owned media have been defaulted: Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC): Rs. 206.1 million. SL Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC): Rs. 51.7 million. Associated Newspapers Ceylon Limited (ANCL): Rs. 124.9 million more..

Severe punishment for drunken drivers – 792 nabbed

Apr 16 (GDI) The Police said that severe punishment will be meted out to those nabbed for driving under the influence of liquor. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the law related to drunken drivers will be enforced to the letter. Police Media Spokesman revealed that 792 drunken drivers have so far been nabbed from the 11th of this month to yesterday afternoon. 792 drunken drivers were apprehended during the last four days. more..

Arson accused SL maid in appeal

Apr 16 (GDN) A housemaid accused of setting her Bahraini employer's home on fire before fleeing has appeared in court for the first time to plead not guilty. The Sri Lankan woman, aged 48, allegedly doused her room in petrol and set it alight before running away as the rest of the family was sleeping. Video footage shows her covering a surveillance camera in the house, in Jid Ali, with cloth moments before the fire broke out on January 7, the High Criminal Court heard. The blaze caused 70% damage to more..

Sri Lankan maid arrested for beating infant

Apr 16 (ATO) A Sri Lankan housemaid was arrested for beating her Kuwaiti sponsor’s infant due to which the child sustained bruises throughout his body, says Al-Seyassah. According to sources, when the father of the child went to his house, he discovered that his child was crying incessantly and had asked his wife to check. When she took off the child’s clothes, she found blue bruises throughout his body. When she questioned the housemaid, she discovered that the latter had hit the child. more..

MR’s camp awaits SLFP decision

Apr 16 (CG) Former President Mahinda Rajapakse and the members of parliament who are supporting him, will wait for the decision to be taken by the SLFP on who the SLFP Prime Ministerial candidate will be at the next Parliament elections in order to decide the next step. A group of opposition parliamentarians and local council members met Rajapakse at his Tangalle residence today and backed him to contest more..

Shares jump to 1-month closing high

Apr 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's main stock index gained over 1% to a one-month closing high on Thursday, as upbeat local investors turned to risky assets after the central bank in a surprise move on Wednesday cut key monetary policy rates by 50 basis points. Main index gained 1.38% to 7,077.27, its highest close since March 16. Central bank on Wednesday surprised markets by cutting key policy rates to record lows in a move aimed at boosting economic growth amid near zero inflation. more..

Sri Lanka education overhaul urgent to retain economic competitiveness: ILO

Apr 16 (EN) Sri Lanka's education system must be overhauled with more focus on cognitive skills like problem solving and communication if it is to retain economic competiveness, the International Labour Organisation has said. Lack of skills is depressing productivity and competitiveness in Sri Lanka, the ILO declared in a new study of the skills gap in four key sectors that have been identified by employers and policy-makers as potential growth sectors. These are Information and Communications more..

Australia will soon pay refugees to resettle in Cambodia

Apr 16 (AP) Refugees from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia who are being held on the Pacific atoll of Nauru after being rejected by Australia could soon be paid to resettle in impoverished Cambodia in an arrangement by the Australian govt that has been condemned by human rights activists as inhumane and potentially dangerous. Deal signed last year with Cambodia, which will cost Australia more than more..

SAARC countries set to sign motor vehicle, railway pacts

Apr 16 (AM) Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan have finalised the SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement and Railway pact and are set to sign it during the upcoming ministerial meeting to be held here in June. Agreement seeking to facilitate better connectivity in South Asia is likely to be signed during SAARC ministerial meeting scheduled for June 22-24, said Tara Pokhrel, spokesman at Nepalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. more..

Kalpitiya Beach Resort calls EGM, mulls alternative location

Apr 16 (EN) Kalpitiya Beach Resort has called an extraordinary general meeting on 8 May to explain what happened to 283.5 million rupees raised from the public to build a hotel, saying it was considering an alternative location. EMG of shareholders was ordered by the Securities and Exchange Commission given the "inordinate delay" in Kalpitiya Beach Resort building a hotel in Kalpitiya. The SEC said the company had raised 283.5 million rupees in an Initial Public Offer in November 2011 more..

Sri Lanka growth to slow to 6.9%: WB

Apr 16 (EN) Sri Lanka's growth is expected to decline to 6.9% in 2015 from last year owing to deceleration of construction activities with the new govt reassessing the investment-led growth model, World Bank said. But this will be partially set off by increased consumption thanks to increased public sector wages, according to the bank's twice-a-year South Asia Economic Focus report. "Any upward pressure on oil prices could more..

How Ranil-bashing can fall on its face

Apr 16 (CT) Dyan Jayatilleka (DJ) baffles me so often, making me wonder what really goes on in his head. I am not just employing a rhetorical pose to devalue the man. Let’s face it, there is not a week that passes where he doesn’t write against Ranil Wickremesinghe, our PM, on one ground or another. I get copies of loads of email written by him where a negative reference to Ranil is almost always on the cards. I am aware that Ranil Wickremesinghe has been demon to quite a lot of more..

TNPF to contest Parliament polls

Apr 16 (CG) Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF) is to contest the upcoming Parliament elections independently, the TNPF Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said. TNPF President Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam denied reports that the TNPF has been invited to join the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). He insisted that reports to that effect are part of attempts by the TNA to confuse the Tamils ahead of the elections. The TNPF has been very active on Tamil issues, particularly more..

No room for family rule in future: Maithri

Apr 16 (DM) In an interview with Times Magazine, President Maithripala Sirisena said once the Constitution was amended there would be noroom left for any single family to control the country in the future. “Sri Lanka fell into the hands of one family. With the amendments to the Constitution, we will not leave room for any single family to control the country ever again,” he told Time Magazine. more..

Kilinochchi, Mulaithivu to be declares Special Education Zones

Apr 16 (GDI) Kilinochchi and Mulaithivu are to be declared as Special Education Zones. PM Ranil Wickramasinghe has given this assurance at talks with Educational Authorities in Jaffna recently. The qualitative aspects of schools are to be enhanced with the provision of the human and physical resources. Those who are currently functioning as teachers in the area, affiliated to civil defence services, will be admitted to permanent teacher service upon conducting more..

Fresh tuna prices stable again after initial chaos of Sri Lanka ban

Apr 16 (UCN) The cost of importing fresh tuna into the UK since trade with main supplier Sri Lanka was cut off by the EU in January has stabilized after a frantic month or so, two companies told Undercurrent News. The price for fresh and chilled yellowfin imports on alternative supply routes, like the Maldives, are back down after a spike in February, and now rest just a little higher than 2014 prices. “Supplies are consistent and the quality is good,” said Laky Zervudachi, director of more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa prepares for political comeback in Sri Lanka

Apr 16 (Guardian) Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former president of Sri Lanka, is planning to stand in parliamentary polls to launch an attempt to return to power, aides have said. The veteran politician, who suffered a surprise defeat in snap presidential polls he called in January this year, has been taking a break from politics and has yet to formally declare any campaign. However, he has been meeting hundreds of supporters more..

Sri Lankan authorities seek to disband Adventist Congregation

Apr 16 (AR) President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sri Lanka asked for worldwide prayers for a congregation of nearly 80 members that local authorities are seeking to disband at the request of Buddhist monks. Congregation’s struggle in the village of Pitabeddara, located in the south of the predominantly Buddhist island state, comes after Buddhist monks forced the closure of another Adventist church and amid a growth in religious liberty concerns around the world. more..

Govt to provide land ownership to Estate Workers

Apr 16 (GDI) The Sri Lankan government, as pledged in the 100 days program, is taking steps to provide land ownership and proper housing to plantation workers instead of their current confinement in line rooms. The government under the 100 days program assured to implement measures to provide land rights and the ownership of a legal residence to the employees of tea estates, who are presently living in line rooms under poorest conditions in the country. more..

Arjuna Mahendran questioned at Bribery Commission

Apr 16 (AD) The Bribery Commission has recorded a statement from the Governor of the Central Bank, Arjuna Mahendran, in connection with the treasury bonds issue. He gave a statement at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption from 9am to 3.30pm today. Sri Lankan-born international banker was appointed to the helm of the central bank in January, after Maithripala Sirisena was elected as President. more..