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'I had no ambition to become President'

May 6 (CT) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, in a wide-ranging interview, talks about her rise and decline in Sri Lanka’s turbulent politics, 20 years after her ascendance to political power, which turned tables for the SLFP that was reeling under a spell of defeats. Q: Exactly 20 years ago, in 1993, you were riding the crest of a massive wave of popularity. You brought victory to the SLFP, which was lost in the political wilderness for more..

People should stop paying their electricity bills: Thera

May 6 (DM) The Sri Lankan population should get rid of its timid nature and should firmly refrain from paying their electricity bills, a prominent Bikkhu organisation said. The United Bikkhu Front General Secretary, Venerable Thinyawala Palitha Thera told a news conference that the Sri Lankan population should get rid of its timid nature and rise up against injustice that was meted out to them. “There is no other population in the world which is more timid than the Sri Lankan population,” he said. more..

SriLankan commissions ground services operations building at MRIA

May 6 (Island) The new Ground Services Operations Building of SriLankan Airlines at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) was declared open on Friday, May 3rd, 2013. The newly opened two-storey building, which is expected to become the centre-point of SriLankan’s operations at MRIA, will house the engineering, ground handling and flight operations branches of the airline, the national carrier said in a statement. SriLankan Airlines, Chairman, Nishantha Wickramasinghe said, more..

Through the former war zones of Sri Lanka

May 6 (Haveeru) Buses full of people make their way through the red dirt roads being constructed, probably for the first time since independence from Britain in 1948. Scores of people of all ages walk in lines through and out of the jungles, which were once occupied by rebel forces. These visitors are among a whole generation of Sri Lankans that had grown up unable to visit the north and parts of the eastern province of their more..

JBIC President and CEO in town

May 6 (FT) Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) CEO Hiroshi Watanabe will be in Sri Lanka today on an official two-day visit. Japan is a big development partner of Sri Lanka and a substantial financing has come via JBIC. Watanabe is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Rajapaksa in addition to meeting several others. JBIC performs its role and functions to advance Japan’s external economic policy. Its mission is to contribute to the sound development of more..

Editorial: From grandiloquence to obeisance

May 6 (Island) Sri Lanka celebrates its Independence every year on a grand scale; politicians wrap themselves in the flag and treat us to patriotic grandiloquence but, curiously, the country remains dependent on foreign powers for survival––as ever. It cannot even fix a damaged sewer or dispose of its garbage without foreign help! The IMF, whose controversial remedies are considered worse than the economic maladies the developing countries are afflicted with, more..

Farmers welcome tax on imported potatoes

May 6 (CT) The govt's decision to impose a Rs 10 tax on every kilogram of potatoes imported into the country, has found favour with many potato farmers, who say they can now sell their produce at a competitive price at the local market. The tax was introduced in a bid to protect the local farmers. Secretary, Essential Commodities Importers Union, G. Nathan said though it is an added constraint on the consumer, the more..

Murder suspect kills witness

May 6 (Island) Untiring efforts of a policeman have led to the arrest of the killer of a witness in a murder case. The body of N. Sathyaseelan (33) a father of four, was found floating in a reservoir in Meddekanda, Kabaragala a few months ago with his hands tied behind his back. Initial investigations drew a blank, but the OIC of the Crime Investigation Unit of the Balangoda police Shelton Uduwakage was undaunted. He questioned everyone who had met the victim on the fateful day. more..

'Law must be same for all'

May 6 (CG) Minister Rauf Hakeem says the law must be the same for all and cannot be different from person to person. He said this while speaking at an event in Vavuniya today where he condemned the arrest of Muslim politician Azath Salley. Hakeem said that according to the police Salley had been arrested on the basis that he had made some comments which could create communal tensions. However he said if that was so then there were other groups who had done the same and were more..

Concerns over northern land grab

May 6 (CG) Concerns have been raised over moves by the govt to acquire over 6381 acres of privately owned land in the Jaffna peninsula. The National Peace Council says it appears to be a hurried plan on the part of the govt to acquire large extent of land prior to the establishment of a legitimate and popularly elected civilian administration for the formerly war-stricken Northern Province. “There is concern in the Northern more..

Ready for more investments in SL-China

May 6 (DM) China said that it is ready for large and medium scale investments in Sri Lanka with Beijing’s sponsorship, the Sri Lanka Economic development ministry said. This was informed to Minister Basil Rajapaksa by Chinese Vice-Minister of Commerce Cheng Jiao, who visited Sri Lanka recently. Visiting Vice Minister Jiao also said China’s attention has been drawn to the need for reducing the trade gap between the two countries in order to further strengthen ties. more..

UNESCO help to bring back Artefacts taken from our country

May 6 (DN) Artefacts of archeological value taken away from Sri Lanka to foreign lands during the period of British administration, are to be re-collected with the assistance of UNESCO. National Heritage Minister Jagath Balasuriya said that steps would be taken to recollect the artefacts of archeological value and his Ministry would shortly hand over a proposal to that effect. Addressing a media conference to explain the auctioning of the Moonstone, the minister said that more..

GPS technology to nab errant private bus crew

May 6 (DN) The National Transport Commission (NTC) launched a pilot project to monitor driving capabilities of inter- provincial private buses (long distance) using the Global Positioning System (GPS). "The GPS is a satellite navigation system that provides information on the location," NTC chairman Roshan Gunawardene said. He said GPS tracking devices have already been fixed in 585 inter-provincial long distance private buses more..

E-services to small tea estate owners

May 6 (DN) Providing e-services to small tea estate owners who contribute immensely to bring foreign exchange to the country, is another among the other facilities that will be provided as promised by the govt, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said on Thursday. He said small tea estate owners will be provided training on using e-services. Minister Samarasinghe made this observation delivering the keynote address at a ceremony to introduce the mechanism to provide data to more..

Dr Sooriyarachchi wins three Remi Awards

May 6 (DN) Dr. Kapila Sooriyarachchi attached to the Health Education Bureau, won three Remi Awards for his tele commercials which he had created for the Ministry of Health, presented at the 46th World Fest Event held in Houston, USA recently. He was awarded the Remi Platinum Award for the television commercial which he had developed to prevent accidents?" titled, ?" Please Call Later?", the Best Remi Gold Award for the Documentary titled "Spreading the wings more..

CID holds Azath Salley on three-month detention order

May 6 (Island) MTNA Leader Azath Salley, who was arrested by the CID on Thursday, under the PTA, is being held at the CID headquarters, in Fort, on a three month detention order obtained from the Colombo Magistrate. Salley, who was continuing his fast, has refused to take even the medication for diabetes and high blood pressure. He was taken to Ward 55 of the National Hospital on Friday, but was returned to CID headquarters more..

Costly cancer drugs not available under free health care

May 6 (Island) More than 9,000 female cancer patients, who have undergone mastectomy (surgical removal of breast) and children who are suffering from leukemia cannot obtain expensive drugs such as herseptine injections and neupogen tablets, at the Maharagama Cancer Institute. Many patients who are under treatment for malignant forms of cancer have to seek assistance from donors or NGOs to obtain their drugs. Maharagama Cancer Institute Director Dr. Kanishka Karunaratne, more..

Two females, union president among six u’grads suspended for ragging

May 6 (Island) The Ruhuna University administration has suspended six senior undergraduates, including the president of the Students’ Council for allegedly ragging freshers on Friday. The Students’ Council is expected to stage a demonstration opposite the administration building of the University’s main complex at Wellamadama, Matara today. Vice Chancellor Prof. Gamini Senanayake said that further inquiries would be conducted according to the University Act if necessary. more..

Health Ministry urges hospital treatment for influenza patients

May 6 (Island) The Health Ministry urged pregnant mothers, children, old people and those who have chronic diseases, such as asthmam to obtain treatment from a govt hospital if they had symptoms of influenza. Three pregnant mothers had already died of the Influenza A H1N1 virus in Colombo and Moneragala. If the risk group had symptoms of severe headache, body pain, flu and cough for more than one day, they should go more..

Beware of this toxic detergent

May 6 (ST) Beware of a “suspect” detergent which if accidentally ingested can cause serious harm including death, warned a toxicologist yesterday. With a spate of such ingestions of this detergent or cleansing substance reported from the Southern Province, Dr. Waruna Gunathilake, Department Head of Toxicology and the National Hospital’s Poisons Information Centre said that the authorities are checking whether this locally-made product is a banned item. more..

CSE plans Dubai road show in June

May 6 (ST) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is planning its second road show for the year, this time to Dubai in June, CSE officials said. “We have sent letters of invitations to all the stockbroking companies last week. This road show is at the initial stages and we hope to invite many other companies as well,” Surekha Sellahewa, CEO CSE said. She said that minister Sarath Amunugama will lead the delegation which includes Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, SEC and CSE officials. more..

Lanka wants LIOC deal changed

May 6 (CG) Hardening its stance after India backed a UN resolution against Sri Lanka, Colombo has indicated that a decade-old MoU on a strategic oil tank farm in the island nation would have to be re-negotiated to include a Lankan partner in its operation. In 2003, Indian Oil Corp subsidiary, Lanka IOC (LIOC), bought one-third share in Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd which operates the China Bay tank farm. more..

TNA heads for talks to iron out differences

May 6 (PTI) TNA has sought intervention from civil society and clergy to stay together after internal discord emerged. TNA, a five-party coalition of Tamil parties, is yet to be recognised as a political party by the country's Election Commission. It is about the registration of TNA that constituent parties have been bickering at. A former TNA MP M K Shivajilingam said a parley would be held on May 12 under the leadership of the Bishop of Mannar Rev Rayappu Joseph in Mannar in the north. more..

Vada Tharakai-11 relaunched: Free transport from Kurukadduwan Jetty to Delft

May 6 (DN) The Navy ceremonially re-launched the Vada Tharakai - 11 passenger ship from Kurikadduwan Jetty to Delft Island on May 1. The ship was flagged off by Northern Naval Area Commander Rear Admiral Shirantha Udawatte and Jaffna District Secretary S. Aruneinayam. Addressing the gathering, the Jaffna District Secretary said the Vada Tharaki – 11 passenger cruiser was relaunched for the convenience of both local and foreign tourists visiting Delft Islands. more..

Ex- cricketer’s wife among those arrested over gold scam

May 6 (Island) The Peliyagoda Crime Division busted a gang of security forces deserters, who had cheated people to the tune of millions of rupees on the promise of selling them gold jewellery, which they claimed to have recovered from the LTTE during the closing stages of the war. Police arrested 11 persons, including three deserters from Army, Navy and the Air Force and a retired SP, who headed the gang. more..

Editorial: Is there a hope for tomorrow

May 6 (DM) The voice for the masses that we have been trying desperately to be, seems to have been of little avail. The repeated clarion calls to rectify the innumerable acts of mismanagement, corruption, nepotism and don’t care attitude of the powers that be, leave a sad blemish on the history of our nation and a sense of frustration in us. One wonders whether we allow the situation to play itself out. Is this a place of no return or is there a place which once reached opens to horizons of new more..

Many Sri Lankans have become ‘Positive Thinkers’

May 6 (DM) Many Sri Lankans have become positive thinkers in the Rajapaksa era. Before people start congratulating themselves on this development, however, there is need to give the matter a little thought. Let me give you an example. I recently met a young man near the Town Hall junction who used to be a pavement hawker. He sold trinkets, pen torch batteries and CDs on the pavement near Kollupitiya junction. He and fellow hawkers had been driven off by the police more..

Azath Salley’s Arrest

May 6 (SL) The health condition of Azath Salley who was arrested on Thursday at his Kolonnawa residence by the CID is reportedly bad. According to reports his health condition was deteriorating despite the Judicial Medical Officer’s (JMO) advice to the CID to produce Azath Salley before a magistrate. As a result Salley’s condition turned to worse and was admitted to ward 55, National Hospital Colombo on Friday more..

GMOA warns NHSL branch rebels

May 6 (Island) The GMOA warned the former office bearers of its National Hospital branch against spreading false rumours and sabotaging the activities organized by the parent body. GMOA General Secretary Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa yesterday warned that if the former office bearers of the NHSL branch resorted to sabotage, the GMOA would have no alternative but to take legal action against them. more..

'Loss-making public institutions to be transformed to make profit'

May 6 (LB) The govt, faced with the challenge to further improve the productivity of the public sector, is formulating mechanisms to transform the loss-making public institutions into profit making ventures, the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal has said. Speaking to the state-run radio, Cabraal said the govt should focus its attention on new mechanisms to overcome the economic challenges faced more..

Police officers without a backbone must leave: DIG Vass

May 6 (DM) It is only on rare occasions that we come across police officers being commended or felicitated, Western Province (North) DIG Vass Gunawardene said at a ceremony to felicitate Mirihana Chief Inspector Eric Perera. “This happens because police officers perform their duties away from the limelight aloof of the ordinary citizens,” he said. The felicitation ceremony was organised by the Mirigama friendship more..

Judge plays havoc at airport

May 6 (DM) A Sri Lankan Appeal Court Judge allegedly caused havoc in an Indian airport when he verbally abused his colleagues and even attacked one with a bottle of water, while returning home after a judges’ conference. The incident was reported to the President. Creating a huge scene at the Business Lounge of the Bangalore and shocking many foreign onlookers the senior judge, had allegedly berated several judges in language more..

Pilot dispute over recruitment continues

May 6 (ST) A two-month dispute between the management and the Airline Pilots’ Guild of Sri Lanka has affected cadet pilot recruitment to SriLankan Airlines, sources said. “The training of old batches of cadets should end in the next two months,” said a guild source who wished to remain anonymous. “There are no more trainees after that.” The training of the last batch was suspended and there was no new intake. more..

Sajith echoes JVP jilmaat charge on relief package

May 6 (Island) The relief package offered President Rajapaksa offered the electricity consumers on May Day was nothing but a ‘statistical’-jilmaat’, UNP MP Sajith Premadasa says in a media release. The MP is of the view that though the government has promised to exempt consumers using electricity below 60 units per month from the tariff increase, the rest of the consumers will be burdened with the price increase. more..

Children should honour nation's feats - President

May 6 (DN) Children should be taught to appreciate the greatness of the nation and the country's proud achievements, both past and present, President Rajapaksa said on Saturday. The President made these comments as Chief Guest at the annual prize giving of Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda. He said a nation's achievements and love for the country should be instilled in the hearts of the children from a small age coupled more..

Over 600 TUs give President May 20 deadline to lower power tariffs

May 6 (Island) President Rajapaksa has been given a May 20 deadline by which to reduce the electricity tariff. The deadline has been set by over 600 trade unions representing both, the private and state sector, who have threatened to launch a countrywide strike if the demand is not met. "We have decided to give President and the govt time till May 20 to lower the power tariffs. If the President and the govt do not respond by that deadline, more..

'Salley ends fast; CID investigates 18 allegations'

May 6 (AD) After the 18 complaints received against former CMC member Azath Salley are investigated, steps will be taken to release him, Director General of the MCNS, Lakshman Hulugalla stated. Azath Salley began consuming food since last afternoon he further stated after the former CMC member had refused to eat following his arrest. Hulugalla said that Salley was questioned regarding a statement he had made against Sri Lanka more..

Editorial : Politicization and mollycoddling

May 6 (CT) The President's May Day announcement offering relief to low-end electricity users has seen an interesting spin off, with many from within the party and the opposition claiming credit for the President's decision. While how the announcement will get translated into action is left to be seen, the issues that have been shoved under the carpet are why the CEB continues to make losses year after year, and why the govt condones the actions of the loss-making entity. more..

Daya Master for NPC Chief, Lake House vituperation of SJV Chelvanayakam

May 6 (CT) As expected the President threw manna at the ‘official’ May Day rally in the form of electricity tariff relief. The President disposed in public what he and his govt had earlier put in place without even having a proper cabinet discussion on the matter. It is not just that the electricity tariffs have been poorly handled politically, they are also a botched-up product professionally. The President’s May Day manna may mitigate the political damage somewhat but will do nothing to correct the more..

More Japanese investments in Sri Lanka

May 6 (GDI) Bansei Securities Of Japan, which has been actively investing in Sri Lankan Govt securities, underscoring its commitment to invest in the post war economic revival of Sri Lanka, recently ventured out to invest in acquiring a stake in of one of Sri Lanka’s fastest growing banks, Pan Asia Bank. Bansei is a trading member of the Tokyo Stock Exchange that has been introduced to SL investment opportunities by more..