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Demo against decision to stop begging, hawking in buses

Apr 29 (NF) A protest was staged today against the decision taken by the Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association to prevent begging and selling goods on board buses from the first of May. The protest staged opposite the Colombo Fort Railway Station was organized by the Sri Lanka Independent Mobile Sales Association. Members of the Association representing various provinces attended this demonstration. more..

Sri Lanka budget gap widens in January: data

Apr 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's budget gap widened in January 2010 from a year earlier, with revenues rising modestly but unable to keep up with current spending, which accelerated almost three times faster, official data shows. The government raised 48.3 billion rupees in revenues in January up 5.2 percent from 2009, but still below the 2008 level of 51.9 billion rupees. Meanwhile current spending grew 15.1 percent to 94.4 billion rupees, just short of double the revenues, more..

Human Rights, Right Now

Swarnamali attributes her April 8 victory to role in SF’s campaign

Apr 29 (Island) Newly elected UNP MP Upeksha Swarnamali attributed her comfortable victory at the April 8 general election to her role in General Sarath Fonseka’s presidential election campaign. She says people respected her for backing the former Army Commander, whereas other artistes supported President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his re-election bid. She said she had no option but to turn down the JVP’s request to contest on their ticket. more..

Vasu demands Rs 2,500 pay hike for workers

Apr 29 (Island) The Socialist Alliance is hopeful that the government would take immediate measures to pay Rs. 2,500 to the public sector employees as promised prior to the presidential elections. Addressing a press conference yesterday at the N. M. Perera Centre in Colombo, Ratnapura District Democratic Left Front Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakara said 30 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was lost due to corruption and waste. more..

Ranil draws more UNP flak

Apr 29 (LNP) A group of UNP members of the Central Provincial Council (CPC) held a secret meeting at a Kandy hotel today where UNP leader Ranil Wickramasingha drew flak over his appointment of the Leader of the opposition in the Central Provincial Council. At the meeting held today the CPC members discussed the decision taken by the UNP leader in appointing K.K. Piyadasa as the Leader of the opposition of the Central Provincial Council. more..

Mervyn says will resign if guilty

Apr 29 (DM) Deputy Media Minister Mervyn Silva, who assumed duties at his Ministry today, made a pledge to resign from his new post if there are allegations against him and if such allegations are proven to be true. The Deputy Minister, who is known for his frequent clashes with the media, also urged journalists and media institutions to contact him directly if they have any concerns noting that he even sleeps separately from his wife at home just to more..

Farming, Fisheries offer hope to former battleground

Apr 29 (IPS) Well before the northern Sri Lankan region of the Jaffna Peninsula was devastated by over two and a half decades of a bloody sectarian war, fisheries and agriculture had been the mainstays of its economy. More than 25 years since the war broke out – and a year after it ended – these same commodities are offering glimmers of hope toward the region’s economic recovery, thanks in part to hundreds of thousands of tourists, more..

National List: More talks between UNF, DPF

Apr 29 (DM) The Democratic Peoples Front (DPF) is to meet United National Front (UNF) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem and SLFP-M leader Mangala Samaraweera today to settle the national list issue. The possibility of DPF parliamentarian Praba Ganesan sitting in the opposition as an independent member in case these talks fail has not been ruled out. more..

New Govt inaugurates 7th Parliament

How plan to amalgamate ministries failed

Apr 29 (Island) In the run-up to the April 8 general election, the government planned to amalgamate ministries to restrict the number to 35. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha, discussed their move at a meeting with senior representatives of the university community on March 9. Premjayantha said that they would amalgamate some of the 80 ministries to reduce the number of ministries to 35. more..

'Sri Lanka demolishes Tiger chief's house'

Apr 29 (AFP) The ancestral home of Sri Lanka's slain Tamil Tiger rebel chief Velupillai Prabhakaran has been demolished as it was becoming a tourist attraction, a Tamil politician said Thursday. M. K. Sivajilingam, secretary of the Tamil National Liberation Alliance, accused security forces of destroying the house a year after Prabhakaran was killed when the rebels were finally defeated after decades of bloodshed. more..

Commissions with amendments

Apr 29 (DM) The Government has decided to activate the Independent Elections Commission along with the others by amending the ‘17th Amendment to the Constitution’ within the next few months, authoritative sources said yesterday. The introduction of constitutional amendments has been placed atop the Government’s agenda, to be carried out within a short span of time. According to sources, the Government is initially intending to appoint a three-member more..

'Keep ministers out of COPE, PAC'

Apr 29 (Island) UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapakshe says a radical change of parliamentary watchdog committees, Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is needed to guarantee a successful campaign against waste, corruption and irregularities. In a brief interview with The Island, Colombo District MP said the Opposition would take up the issue with Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa shortly. more..

'Govt. bid to cover true picture from IMF, People'

Apr 29 (NF) The UNP says that the government is proposing a vote on account in place of a budget to hide the real situation of the economy from the IMF and the people of the country. This view was expressed by UNP Parliamentarian Ajith P. Perera at a media briefing held in Colombo yesterday. Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva had said earlier that a vote on a account would be presented until the month of July, and more..

New Zealand aim to have Sri Lanka in a spin

Apr 29 (AFP) Brendon McCullum's prowess as a Twenty20 batsman is well known but older brother Nathan could also have an important role to play in the upcoming World Twenty20. The Black Caps open the competition against Sri Lanka here on Friday and, with warm-up matches suggesting pitches will take spin, off-break bowler Nathan is set for some key overs more..

President Rajapaksa meets King of Bhutan

Apr 29 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today met with His Majesty Jigm Kheser Namgyel Wangchuk, the King of Bhutan at the Sri Lanka House in SAARC Village on 29th April. The official meeting between the King and the SAARC state leaders are scheduled to take place at the Royal Palace. However President Rajapaksa presented a Buddha statue to the Bhutan’s King to mark the occasion. more..

Muslims and Tamils deal with the past

Apr 30 (IRIN) Sri Lankan Muslims displaced during the country’s decades-long civil war are slowly returning home, but the challenge of reconciling with their Tamil neighbours, and their past, remains. About 75,000 Muslims were evicted in October 1990 from the northern districts of Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu and some parts of Vavuniya by the now-defeated LTTE, who were fighting for an independent Tamil homeland. more..

Sri Lanka look to go one step further

Apr 30 (CI) Sri Lanka have experimented with their limited-overs combination over the past year, but the core of the squad remains the same as the one that Kumar Sangakkara nearly took to glory in his maiden captaincy assignment at the 2009 World Twenty20. Several promising allrounders have come along to back up the old guard, the most exciting of whom is Angelo Mathews, who has become a national regular in the shorter formats. more..

Sri Lanka '11 budget to introduce reforms

Apr 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will introduce fiscal reforms including tax changes in its 2011 budget, not in this year's as had previously been pledged, the Indian Ocean island nation's treasury secretary said on Thursday. Sri Lanka is aiming to tap a peace dividend after the end of a 25-year civil war a year ago to boost the $42 billion economy, and revamp its tax and business codes to remove barriers to investment. more..

Court to hear SF’s petition

Apr 30 (DM) The election petition filed by General Sarath Fonseka challenging the election of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the President of Sri Lanka was fixed to be heard before a five-member Supreme Court bench on July 5. The members of the bench include Chief Justice Asoka de Silva and Justices Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, K. Sripavan, P. A. Ratnayake and S. I. Imam and court directed the parties to file objection on or before the next hearing. more..

Sri Lanka shares hit new high, foreign buyers cash out

Apr 30 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares hit a new record high on Thursday led by retail buying on hopes of better earnings, but foreign buyers kept on selling to lock in profits. The All-Share Price Index hit an all-time high of 4176.83, surpassing its previous record high of 4,161.56 hit on Monday. It closed 20.54 or 0.5 percent weaker at 4155.00. "Retailers are pushing up the market on various stories the market will move up further," more..

Seminar on new U.S. visa application procedures

Apr 30 (USE) The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), in collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Colombo, is organizing a seminar on the new procedures for applying for a visa to the United States. The U.S. Embassy now requires the use of the newly-developed DS-160 non-immigrant visa (NIV) application which incorporates existing NIV forms into one interactive, online form. more..

Sri Lanka private banks mull small branches in former war zone

Apr 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Nations Trust Bank (NTB) is to use a 'feeder branch' network to expand in the former war north-east war zone to bring down operating costs, and wants donor agencies to subsidize credit risks, a senior official said. "It is possible that we may look at smaller branches in the North and East," Saliya Rajakaruna, chief executive of NTB told Lanka Business Report (LBR) in a recent interview. more..

Indian aid for Palali airport

Apr 30 (DM) The Indian government has agreed to assist the development of the Palali airport and the Kankasanthurei harbor. This agreement was reached when the Indian High Commissioner Ashok. K. Kanth met the new Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratna this afternoon to offer congratulations to the new premier and to strengthen the good will between Sri Lanka and India. At the meeting, the High Commissioner stated that the assistance of India will be forthcoming for the resettlement of displaced families and more..

Sri Lanka to use 'abandoned' property for deposit insurance fund

Apr 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka will take over 'abandoned property' of depositors in banks to start a mandatory deposit insurance scheme, the island's central bank, which is the banking regulator, has said. The central bank said it had 'temporary custody' of 371 million rupees of 'abandoned property' unclaimed by depositors in licensed commercial banks of the country. more..

Navy rescues a critically sick fisherman

Apr 30 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy rescued a crew member of multiday fishing trawler “Vishak Putha” who was suffering from a severe chest pain on 28th April at deep sea in a location 110km away from Southern coast. The trawler had left Nilawella fishing harbour on 25th April 2010 for deep sea fishing. In response to the request made by the owner of the “Vishak Putha” for Naval assistance, more..

‘Sri Lanka blocking Tamil development’

Apr 30 (EB) The Sri Lankan government’s overwhelming desire to be seen as the mainspring of economic development in the Tamil-speaking northern province is killing local, Tamil entrepreneurship, says Mu­thukrishna Sarva­na­n­than, director of the Point Pedro Institute of Development. Dr Sarvananthan that all new investments, whether it was an infrastructure project or a roadside tea shop in the Wanni, were being done by the Lankan government or the armed forces, denying opportunities to locals. more..

Sri Lanka FM radio station wins US award

Apr 30 (LBO) Shree FM, a radio station run by Sri Lanka's the E A P Edirisinghe group, has won a top US broadcasting award for a community service program which helped people in remote areas, the broadcaster said. Shree FM had received the 2010 International Broadcasting Excellence award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) of the US, for its Shree Sathkaraka Rohala, more..

World intellectual property day celebrated in Colombo

Apr 30 (USE) In observance of World Intellectual Property Day, April 26, 2010, the U.S. Embassy in cooperation with the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo organized a panel discussion on Intellectual Property Rights. Nearly 100 attorneys, faculty, and students attended. The panelists included some of Sri Lanka's leading experts in this field: Dr. D.M. Karunaratne, Director General, National Intellectual Property Office; more..

Re-'regaining Sri Lanka', LTTE and the JVP

Apr 30 (LP) Tamil nationalist politics appears to moving towards a further distant goal that is apparently building of a Tamil nation in a broader perspective in a global context. What is the reason for this drastic shift? Do the leaders of the Tamil nationalist movement think they were betrayed by Sri Lankan Tamil polity? The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea, Mao Tse-Tung said. more..

President Rajapaksa holds bilateral talks with SAARC leaders

Apr 30 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is currently attending the SAARC heads of state conference is conducting bilateral meetings with South Asian leaders on the sidelines of the 16th SAARC Summit in Thimpu, the capital city of Bhutan. Among the SAARC leaders President of Maldives Mohomed Naseed and Prime Minister of Nepal Madhav Kumar called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at more..

Sri Lankan refugee wants special camp in Poonamalle closed

Apr 30 (Hindu) A Sri Lankan refugee in a special camp at Poonamallee in Tiruvallur district has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the State government to close the camp and shift the refugees to other camps in Tamil Nadu. He also sought a direction to the authorities to complete investigation in all cases registered against the petitioner and other refugees in the camp within a reasonable time. more..

Jaffna MP accuses EPDP of illegal sand excavation in Vadamaraadchi

Apr 30 (TN) TNA Jaffna parliamentarian, E. Saravanbhavan publicly raised accusation against EPDP, a constituent party of the ruling UPFA, for having appropriated exclusive rights to excavate sand for building construction in Ma’nattkaadu in Vadamaraadchi East using illegal means making millions of rupees. Meanwhile, EPDP Minister Dougals Devananda, in response to Saravanabhavan’s accusation, said more..

'Jaffna undergrads held as prisoners'

Apr 30 (TN) The Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) Wednesday charged that more than 150 students of the Jaffna University are still being held in rehabilitation centers and are being prevented from attending classes in the University campus. IUSF made the statement on return to Colombo after a fact-finding visit to universities in Jaffna and Batticaloa, and more..

The political decomposition of the LSSP

Apr 30 (wsws) The April 8 parliamentary election has again underlined the putrefaction of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). In the 1940s and 1950s, the party commanded the allegiance of the most militant and class conscious sections of workers on the basis of the struggle for Trotskyism. Today, having betrayed those principles in 1964, it is a desiccated corpse that functions as loyal faction of the ruling UPFA. more..

Next steps for Sri Lanka on the path to peace

Apr 30 (Caritas) Caritas says Sri Lanka has yet to emerge from decades of conflict with a real peace. The Sri Lankan government seized the last remaining LTTE rebel territory in May 2009, ending a 30 year war. But Caritas Sri Lanka says much work needs to create the conditions where peace can flourish. Caritas says urgent action is needed on resettlement of displaced people, on reconstruction of war-damaged areas, landmine clearance, and more..

Even sky is not the limit for Govt.’s revenge: entry to land gifted to General prohibited

Apr 30 (LeN) It is reported that the Defense Ministry has prohibited entry to the land gifted to former Army Commander Gen. Fonseka as a token of appreciation for destroying terrorism in SL. Anoma Fonseka stated that when she went to inspect the land about 20 perches in extent situated at Narahenpita coming under the Town development authority on the 27th, a special police post has been installed and entry was forbidden, she pointed out. more..

Bangladesh and Pakistan leaders call on President Rajapaksa

Apr 30 (IL) Prime Minister of Bangladesh Mrs.Shikh Hasina called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Sri Lanka House on the sidelines of the 16th SAARC Summit in Thimpu, the capital city of Bhutan. During the meeting both leaders discussed wide range of bilateral issues specially expanding and increasing investments, trade and business links between two SAARC nations. more..

Panel to examine ethnic discord in Sri Lanka

Apr 30 (Hindu) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about his government's plans to reach a political settlement with the Tamil ethnic community, which will include the setting up of a panel of eminent persons to examine all issues of discord. In a 30-minute meeting here on Thursday, Mr. Rajapaksa also detailed the move to set up an Upper House in Parliament that would more..