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Why I have little sympathy for the Buddha tattoo tourist

Apr 24 (Guardian) The arrest and pending deportation of a 37-year-old British nurse, Naomi Coleman, from Sri Lanka for sporting a tattoo of a meditating Buddha on her right arm has once again raised the issue of tourists being woefully unaware of religious and cultural sensitivities in places they visit. Coleman was still being held a day after her arrest and deportation order. She told the media that she had visited the country twice more..

Strategic Development Project bill passed in Parliament

Apr 24 (AD) The controversial gazette tabled under the Strategic Development Project Act was passed in Parliament today with a majority of 71 votes. A total of 113 members voted in favour while only 42, including UPFA MP, voted against the bill. Incidentally MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero of the JHU, a coalition party of the ruling UPFA govt, has voted against the gazette notification, providing for a mixed development project in D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha. more..

MP assaulting goons identified

Apr 24 (SM) The Police have reportedly identified several thugs who attacked the United National Party (UNP) parliamentarians on April 17 at Mattala Airport and Hambantota Port premises. The dark complected thug in Black, who was seen in the photographs published in media pulling the hand of parliamentarian Ajith P Perera has been identified as a one "Kahawatte Sudda" from Beliatta area. He is said to be one of the closest supporters of MP Namal Rajapaksa. more..

Oslo to discuss Nediyawan warrant

Apr 24 (CG) Norwegian Govt is to discuss the INTERPOL warrant issued for the arrest of Perinpanayagam Sivaparan known by his nom de guerre Nediyawan, a former LTTE member who the Govt says is involved in attempts to revive the LTTE in Sri Lanka. State Secretary in Norway’s Foreign Ministry Morten Høglund had said Norway will discuss the issue with Sri Lankan officials. He said the Norwegian Foreign Ministry is more..

World Bank and UN push the potential of jackfruit as food staple

Apr 24 (SCMP) It's big and bumpy with a gooey interior and a powerful smell of decay, but it could help keep millions of people from hunger. Researchers say the jackfruit - a large ungainly fruit grown across southern and southeast Asia - could substitute for wheat, corn and other staple crops under threat from climate change. The World Bank and UN warned recently that rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall already had reduced yields of wheat and corn, and could lead to more..

‘TNA MPs hide behind parliamentary privilages’: President

Apr 24 (DN) Over 70 camps belonging to the Sri Lankan army have been dismantled in the North, what remains are the ones that are absolutely necessary, President Rajapaksa reiterated at a meeting with media heads this morning. Speaking further on the LTTE resurgence as well as demilitarization in the North, he pointed out that the existing camps will not be removed regardless of the LTTE resurgence. He pointed out that the LTTE, in its infancy, was doing just what more..

Video: BBS ends ‘Watareka drama’

Apr 24 (AD) General Secretary of BBS Ven. Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero today stated that they have decided to end the “Watareka drama,” referring to the hardline Buddhist group’s continues verbal attacks and intimidation of Ven. Watareka Vijitha Thero. BBS’s clash with Vijitha Thero had ignited when the group led by Gnanasara Thero had stormed a recent press conference organised by the Mahiyangana more..

Speaker is sorry UNP MPs were attacked

Apr 24 (SM) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told parliament today that he was very sorry that a group of UNP MPs were attacked in Hambantota recently. He stressed that any MP should have the opportunity to make such visits, and that no one should be allowed to prevent them from such opportunities. Mr. Rajapaksa said that even he had inquired into govt projects when he was in the opposition, and that all should accept the right to everyone in that regard. more..

Sri Lanka rupee edges down on light importer dollar demand

Apr 24 (Reuters) Rupee traded weaker on Thursday in thin trade due to light importer dollar demand, while dealers expected the currency to remain stable until imports pick up sharply with remittances slowing down. The spot rupee was traded at 130.63/66 per dollar at 0617 GMT, a tad weaker from Wednesday's close of 130.60/61. "We see importer dollar demand coming in with inflows drying," said a currency dealer, adding that the market was waiting to see if the central bank more..

SF accuses govt of failure in rehabilitating LTTE cadres

Apr 24 (Island) Former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka claimed that the govt’s rehabilitation programme for LTTE cadres was not carried out properly and as a result some of them were back on their Ealam mission. He said that overseas funds received for the rehabilitation programme were misused and abused by the top men of the Rajapaksa govt. About 280,000 civilians reported to welfare centres in Wanni during more..

Japan offers higher education scholarships to Sri Lankan students

Apr 24 (GDI) Govt of Japan will award scholarships to Sri Lankan Students under the Monbukagakusho (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology: MEXT) Scholarship scheme 2015, in the categories of Postgraduate Research, Undergraduate and College of Technology. The closing date for applications to the Ministry of Higher Education is on 23rd May 2014. Selection of candidates will be done through an examination conducted jointly by Japanese Embassy more..

Prof Peiris hails Govt-Varsity collaboration for economic development

Apr 24 (Island) The initiative by the Faculty of Management and Finance of the University of Colombo is an exemplary response by the tertiary education system to current needs and priorities in the country, minister G.L. Peiris, declared in his address at the inaugural ceremony of the Master of Business Administration (International business) degree, held at BMICH. Professor Peiris, a former Vice-Chancellor of the Uni of Colombo, was the chief guest at the event. more..

Sri Lanka ready to assist kidney probe

Apr 24 (CG) Police say they are ready to assist India to investigate an alleged kidney racket said to involve Sri Lanka but so far a formal request for assistance has not been made. SSP Ajith Rohana said that while there are reports that the Indian police are considering sending a team to Sri Lanka to investigate the alleged racket, the SL police have not been approached for assistance. “Sri Lankan police is ready to more..

Balochistan lawmakers on 4-day visit to SL

Apr 24 (DT) A parliamentary delegation of the Balochistan Assembly, headed by Speaker Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali, reached here in the Sri Lankan capital on Thursday on a four-day official visit to strengthen bilateral parliamentary relations. During his visit, Speaker Jamali along with his delegation is scheduled to call on Lankan President Rajapaksa. He will also meet Parliament Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and will also observe the proceedings of the Lankan parliament. more..

Chief minister’s activities: Sri Lankan envoy praises Shahbaz Sharif’s vision

Apr 24 (ET) Sri Lankan High Commissioner Air Chief Marshall (r) Jayalath Weerakkody called on Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday. Matters of mutual interest and bilateral relations were discussed during the meeting. The chief minister said Pakistan and Sri Lanka had strong friendly relations. He said Pakistan attached a lot of importance to its relationship with Sri Lanka. He said that there was a need to strengthen economic ties between the two countries, and more..

Video: SF seeks UN assistance for regime change

Apr 24 (DM) If the govt and its leadership continue to be corrupt and keep oppressing the people, the opposition will have to seek the assistance of the United Nations (UN) to change the leadership, DP Leader Sarath Fonseka said today. He said he had discussed this issue with UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya on Wednesday. “There is no relief for the people of this country and there is no way out of the misery more..

Sri Lanka says no to gay marriage

Apr 24 (CG) The Sri Lankan Govt has turned down a request to legalise gay marriages in Sri Lanka, a Govt Minister said today. Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that the request had been put forward by the British Govt. Speaking to newspaper Editors in Colombo today, the Minister said that the request had been put forward in the form of a condition to obtain British aid. However he said the Govt is not prepared to entertain that request. The gay and lesbian community in Sri Lanka have more..

State help for families of prisoners

Apr 24 (Island) The govt has launched an initiative to provide welfare facilities to the family members of 12,000 or more prisoners, Secretary to the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Sena Withanage said yesterday. He said that Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera had advised that one officer be attached to each of the 336 Divisional Secretariats around the country to inquire into all details surrounding a prisoner and his family. more..

Erratic monsoon keeps a parched Sri Lanka guessing

Apr 24 (TRF) Warm April weather is nothing new in Sri Lanka. Over generations, Sri Lankans have become accustomed to temperatures of up to 34C during this month, when the sun moves directly overhead. They also know from experience that the baking heat will soon be eased by the arrival of the monsoon in May. But this once-predictable cycle is changing. Weather experts, govt officials, farmers and ordinary more..

Wallapatta, Sandlewood, Kothala Himbutu for home gardens, commercial cultivations

Apr 24 (Island) The govt has revived its proposal to grow commercially important but protected plants such as Wallapatta, Sandlewood and Kothala Himbutu in home gardens, Wildlife Minister Wijayamuni Zoysa said. He said that the required plants would be delivered to people under the Divi Neguma project implemented by the Economic Development Ministry. "We prepared a cabinet paper for the purpose under the guidance of Minister Basil Rajapaksa," Zoysa said, more..

IndiGo's A-320 fleet to undergo major maintenance in Sri Lanka

Apr 24 (PTI) No-frill carrier IndiGo's Airbus A-320 fleet would now on undergo major maintenance checks in the hangars of SriLankan Airlines in the island nation. An agreement to this effect was signed between SriLankan and IndiGo's parent company, InterGlobe Aviation Limited, to enable the Indian carrier's fleet of 78 A-320s undergo 'C' checks by SriLankan's Engineering Division at the country's second international airport, MRIA in Hambantota, a SriLankan release said. more..

Video: Man throws his two little children into Nilvala River

Apr 24 (DM) Soldiers attached to the Matara 3rd Gemunu Watch today rescued two little children who were thrown 30 feet down the crocodile-infested Nilwala River from the Mahanama Bridge by their father. A 4-year-old girl and her two-year-old sister were thrown into the Nilwala River by their father around 11 am today. The army personnel on duty at a nearby security post rushed to the scene after hearing people shouting. more..

Rajapaksa creed and Medamulana Nikaya

Apr 24 (CT) Mihin Air is a metaphor for Rajapaksa economics. A budget airline was neither a national deed nor a popular demand. Mihin Air, the first state entity to be named after President Rajapaksa, never made a profit in its existence. It loses billions of rupees annually, and yet its continued existence is not in doubt. Mihin Air was the first of a kind, an economic project with a single raison d’être – pandering to Rajapaksa megalomania. Today development has become coeval more..

Sri Lanka shares closed up 0.1%

Apr 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's shares end 0.09% higher with telco and diversified stocks gaining amid strong foreign buying. All Share Price Index closed 5.36 points higher at 6,178.13 up 0.09%. The S&P SL20 closed 21.01 points higher at 3,394.56, up 0.62%. Turnover was 1.13 billion rupees, up from 670.86 million rupees a day earlier with 76 stocks close positive against 90 negative. George Steuart Finance closed 1.90 rupees lower at 155.10 rupees with an off market transaction of more..

Daily Mirror Video: UNP casino protest

WP Governor to present policy declaration on April 30

Apr 24 (Island) Governor of the Western Province Alavi Mowlana were to present the policy declaration for 2014, before the assembly of members of the Western Provincial Council (WPC) at the Committee Room (A) of the BMICH on Wednesday (30) Commencing from 9 a.m. said Secretary to The Governor Sunil Abeywardena yesterday. Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana initially swore in the newly elected members of the opposition of the Council on Tuesday (22) after which more..

The Hambantota fallout

Apr 24 (CT) When legislators are attacked by gun-toting (even toy gun-toting), stone-throwing petty thugs, even as an impotent police force, whose primary function is to protect the people and ensure the laws that are legislated are enforced, merely looks on, one does not have to look anywhere else for the protection and safety of oneself except in the mirror. The only person who can protect you is looking at you! What took place in Hambantota last week when five UNP MPs comprising more..

G.L tells diplomats there is evidence

Apr 24 (CG) Govt today told the diplomatic community that there is compelling evidence regarding the remittance of substantial sums of money from overseas for planned terrorist activity in SL. Minister G.L. Peiris said that as a result of extensive investigations in recent weeks, govt is aware of the sources of terrorist funding in several instances and the bank accounts into which the money had been paid. more..

BBS says no regard for MPs, Ministers

Apr 24 (Island) General Secretary, Bodu Bala Sena Organisation Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera calling on the prelate of Malwatte yesterday said that his organisation only listened and regarded the Most Venerable Mahanayaka Thera and not politicians like MPs and ministers. Ven. Gnanasara Thera said he would stop his activities in the organisation only if the Mahanayaka Thera advised him to do so. more..

Opposition protests casinos as controversial bill taken up in parliament

Apr 24 (Xinhua) the UNP staged a protest outside the proposed site for three casino investment as parliament prepared to pass controversial bill legalizing gambling on Thursday. The three projects are a 350 million U.S. dollar casino by Australian casino mogul James Packer, a 300 million U.S. dollar gaming facility by local tycoon Dhammika Perera called Queensbury and the largest venture of 650 million U.S. dollars by more..

Police left out important matters, insists witness

Apr 24 (Island) Former manageress of Nature holiday resort in Tangalle, Tharanga Peiris, yesterday said that she didn’t know why Tangalle police had failed to record her statement made in the immediate aftermath of the killing of British national, Khuram Shaikh and the gang rape of his Russian girlfriend, Victoria on the Christmas Eve in 2011. Ms Peiris rejected police reports on the Tangalle case. She was being cross-examined by more..

President ready for snap presidential polls

Apr 24 (Xinhua) President Rajapaksa on Thursday said he is ready to hold a snap presidential or general election next year if the opposition makes a formal request. Speaking to local newspaper editors, the president said that he has no plans to hold a snap presidential election next year as his term ends in 2016. However he said if the opposition makes a request for an early election then he is prepared to consider the request. more..

Administrative failure in the North

Apr 24 (SL) As Secretaries we have worked with Ministers with different attitudes, behaviour, outlooks etc., and had different opinions. But, I have not heard of any Secretary challenging his Minister in Courts on fundamental rights (FRs), like a brave Chief Secretary (CS) who has done so recently. I have no access to the case brief, so this writing has no relevance to the case. Nevertheless, media reports indicate more..

Buddha tattoo woman to be flown home from Sri Lanka

Apr 24 (BBC) A British tourist arrested in Sri Lanka because she had a Buddha tattoo on her arm said she had not been "shown compassion" as she faces deportation. Naomi Coleman is expected to be flown to London later, despite having plans to continue travelling to The Maldives. She was arrested as she arrived at the airport in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Monday after authorities spotted the tattoo. more..

Record collection from special Avurudu expressway toll

Apr 24 (DN) The Road Development Authority earned a record income of Rs. 68 million from Southern Expressway tolls from April 10 to 21 after the toll fee was reduced on the instructions of President Rajapaksa. Minister Nirmala Kothalawala said the toll fee reduction was introduced for all vehicles plying on the Southern Expressway from April 10 to April 25 in view of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year season. more..

Northern CM urges Tamil girls to take to nursing

Apr 24 (ST) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran called upon Tamil girls to get over the issue of taking up nursing because of the social stigma attached to the profession and praised the initiative of the Oxonian Heart Foundation together with the Northern Central Hospital to begin cardiac surgery in the North. Speaking as a one-time heart patient himself, Justice Wigneswaran referred to the cost and inconvenience involved for more..

 US Senate Support for SL