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Germany confirms October delegation to Colombo

May 7 (FT) As Sri Lanka and the EU’s leading economy, the Federal Republic of Germany, mark 60 years of diplomatic relations, the Eurozone leader is looking to enhance its profile in Sri Lanka significantly. With the race for Sri Lanka’s key strategic resources (rare earth elements and mineral sands) warming up, Germany too is looking at exploring this crucial domestic sector which is poised for a boom. “I too believe that there is strong unrealised potential for trade and investment more..

Bharatha’s brother responds to statement by Duminda’s family

May 7 (DM) Responding to last week’s statement by Duminda Silva’s family, former presidential adviser Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s brother Asela Premachandra, who is domiciled in Canada, has sent the following email. These are some excerpts: “Latest news about the deceitful health condition of Duminda Silva is that he has been re-admitted to the Navaloka Hospital due to his so-called negative health condition, more..

Indian firm opens US$16mn beverage plant

May 7 (Island) Dabur Lanka, a wholly-owned subsidiary of India’s leading consumer goods maker Dabur India Ltd, announced the inauguration of its US$ 16 million state-of-the-art packaged fruit-based beverage manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka. The new facility, Dabur’s first in the island nation, was inaugurated last week. The inaugural ceremony was attended by Minister Basil Rajapaksa and other officials. Also present were Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha, more..

House prices fluctuate

May 7 (Island) House prices have dropped in the first quarter compared to the final quarter of last year. According to stats from average house prices dropped in 4 of the 6 most population dense districts. The greater Colombo area records the most expensive average price at nearly LKR 13 million, while Gampaha records the lowest average at LKR 9.7 million, data revealed. The highest increase in prices in the last quarter was recorded in Kurunegala with a 15% increase more..

'I didn't agree to the revision'

May 7 (CT) Minister Champika Ranawaka, who was the former Minister of Power and Energy, reveals the mechanisms behind the revised electricity tariff and how it was initiated by Finance Secretary, Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, who had sent a letter proposing the electricity tariff revision to the Secretary of the Power and Energy Ministry last January. Excerpts of the interview: Q: Power and Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi had more..

CIABOC Unit in NPC to be shut down

May 7 (CT) The Chief Minister of the North Central Province (NCP) has decided to shut down the provincial Investigative Unit of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), as it has failed to perform its duties to the satisfaction of the public. Replying to a query raised by UNP Councillor, D.M. Amaratunga the Chief Minister, S.M. Ranjith, said he had decided to close down the Unit with a view to saving public funds spent to maintain it. more..

Sivaramakrishnan elected to ICC panel

May 7 (CI) Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, the former India legspinner, has joined Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara as a players' representative on the ICC cricket committee, replacing the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) chief executive, Tim May. Sivaramakrishnan, currently a commentator on Indian television, is learnt to have beaten May in a fiercely contested election that saw intense lobbying by both sides. The ICC confirmed Sivaramakrishnan's appointment more..

No increase in Sri Lanka Haj quota

May 7 (AN) Sri Lanka signed the annual Haj agreement with the Kingdom on Sunday, allowing Colombo to send 2,800 pilgrims. Speaking to Arab News, Sri Lankan Minister A.H.M. Fowzie, who held talks with Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar, explained that this year Sri Lanka was given the same quota of pilgrims as last year because of the ongoing development works in the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. more..

Sri Lanka enjoying significant growth in its tourism sector

May 7 (KT) Following its victory against the Tamil Tiger rebels after years of insurgency, Sri Lanka has been enjoying significant growth in its tourism sector, said the island nation’s envoy to Kuwait. Speaking to the Kuwait Times during the recently held Sri Lanka Tourism Road Show, C A H M Wijeratne, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kuwait said soon after its 2009victory against the rebels, Sri Lanka has been drawing visitors from all over the world, including from Kuwait. more..

Moving Asian cities to public transport crucial, difficult - experts

May 7 (Reuters) It is a mere distance of 10 km, but every day Kareema Silva keeps aside three long hours for the commute to work and back. The executive, who lives in the suburb of Wattala, just outside the capital Colombo, spends most of that time idling in traffic or driving in the lowest gear. “There is always traffic on the road. Even at 10 at night, there is traffic,” she said. Alternative routes into the city offer little relief. “After a couple of weeks, they are no longer alternate. more..

Power tariff relief: President proposes, Minister disposes

May 7 (Island) President Rajapaksa has ordered that consumers using less than 60 units of electricity per month be exempted from the recent tariff hike and others using up to 180 units be given various benefits, but the Power and Energy Ministry has approved a tariff revision that will benefit only those who use less than 30 units, according to a senior official. A letter issued on May 3, 2013 by the Power and Energy Ministry signed by more..

Govt. deserves an Oscar for electricity tariff hike drama - Gayantha

May 7 (Island) The UPFA govt deserved an Oscar for enacting the drama of the century, by effecting a massive electricity hike prior to May Day and then announcing a superficial reduction for some of the consumers, on a day when workers should have been celebrating, the UNP said yesterday. The party’s Media Spokesperson Gayantha Karunathillake MP, told a news conference that a circus was being enacted to cover up the perilous state of the economy. more..

Lanka targets 90,000 tourists from Gulf region in 2013

May 7 (DN) The 20th anniversary edition of Asia’s biggest travel and tourism industry event opened yesterday on a positive note, with the Arabian Travel Market featuring over 2,500 exhibitors from 87 countries at the the Dubai Convention and Exhibition Centre. Sri Lanka fielded the largest ever contingent of 53 companies for the four-day ATM, with a view to increase Gulf arrivals. The Gulf market is a key to Lankan tourism, since they are high spenders and mostly come to SL during the peak season. more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 7.7% in March, Indian arrivals plunge

May 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 7.7% to 98,155 in March 2013 with strong growth from key Western markets and China, but arrivals from India plunged. In the first two months of the year arrivals were up 10.9% to 288,798. Arrivals from Western Europe, a key generating market for resort tourist rose 10.5 percent in March to 44.008 with UK rising 8.8% to 13,088, Germany up 16.3% to 9,145 and France up 7% to 6,973. more..

Govt. purchases only 3% of total paddy harvest

May 7 (CT) Of the 6.5 million metric tonnes of paddy harvested by farmers each year, the government purchases no more than three per cent of the total, despite claims of making large purchases each year, the All Ceylon Peasants Federation (ACPF), said yesterday. ACPF National Organizer, Namal Karunaratne, speaking to Ceylon Today said, "The government always comes up with a plan to help the farmers, but when it comes to implementing such plans, nothing much happens." more..

Medical U’grads to protest against admission of fee paying students to medical faculties

May 7 (Island) Medical undergraduates of all faculties countrywide would stage a protest, at their respective universities on Thursday, against admitting outside fee paying students to govt universities. Convener of the Medical Faculty Students’ Action Committee, Najith Indika said that the govt planned to admit 42 outside students to the medical faculties charging 12,000 US dollars from them annually as tution fees. He said, however the faculty board of the Peradeniya Medical more..

Govt. denies 19 A rumours

May 7 (Island) The govt denied that there was a forthcoming 19th Amendment to the Constitution, aimed at limiting the terms of the President and the Chief Justice to five years while regaining the land and police powers, which are now vested in the Provincial Councils, to the Central Govt. A key govt Minister also said that he has every reason to believe that the UPFA was yet intact with no indication that any of the coalition partners more..

Refugees were heading for NZ

May 7 (NZH) A classified report has confirmed that the boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers who arrived without warning on the West Australian coastline last month had been sailing for New Zealand. It diverted from its course after the captain decided weather and other safety issues were too risky to continue beyond Australia. The sudden appearance of the boat at Geraldton, north of Perth, alarmed authorities who had no idea of the boat's presence in Australian waters, more..

Gold scam suspects allowed bail

May 7 (Island)The wife of a former Lankan cricket Vice Captain, a retired Superintendent of Police and nine others, who were arrested on Sunday over a gold scam, were yesterday allowed bail in Rs. 10,000 cash bail each and two sureties of Rs. 200,000 each by Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage. They were also ordered to report to the Peliyagoda police Crimes Division on every Sunday. The suspects were also required to surrender their passports to the Court. more..

'Salley's call to arms his undoing'

May 7 (DN) Former Deputy Mayor of Colombo, Azath Salley was arrested for inciting citizens to take to arms. In an interview to Junior Vikatan magazine on April 24, Salley had said the Sri Lankan Muslim community had no option but to take to arms. This report could also be accessed on website The public that accessed the report over the website had also complained to the authorities over the statement. more..

Editorial: What is the Law or Who is the Law?

May 7 (DM) The Rajapaksa regime - finding itself or plunging itself into crisis after crisis, conflict after conflict and conflicts within conflicts - has sparked off the latest national and international row over the arrest and detention of the Tamil Muslim Alliance leader, Azath Sally. On Sunday Mr. Sally’s outspoken daughter Amina wrote an emotionally dramatic letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. She said her father was on a death fast since his arrest last Friday and was refusing to more..

Diplomats and Diplomacy

May 7 (DM) Looking back at the history of nations, it can be attributed that diplomacy at the very beginning originated in the system of conducting relations between the states of classical Greece. However, it revived, expanded and strengthened in medieval Europe and grew in importance in the relations between the city states of Renaissance, Italy. Further, it proved its sustainability in the emerging states of Post-Reformation Europe. The Congress of Vienna, held in 1815, more..

'UNP govt. will reduce tariff by 43.5%'

May 7 (DM) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayaka spoke to the Daily Mirror on the electricity concession given at the May Day rallies, the no-confidence motion against the Minister of Energy, and the release of MP Duminda Silva. Q. The UNP was agitating for an electricity tariff concession and after the May Day rally it would seem that you got what you asked for. Is the UNP satisfied with the concession? And how does the concession line-up with more..

Electrocuting Sri Lanka’s garments?

May 7 (SL) The increase in electricity tariffs further burdens the apparel industry workers who are already facing great hardships. The apparel factory owners are also serious about moving their factories to countries more lucrative to their business such as Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam. According to garment factory workers, who are mostly from outstation areas, following the electricity tariffs increase, boarding fees has more..

Sri Lanka replants damaged coral

May 7 (LBO) Commercial Bank said it is helping wildlife authorities replant coral in a marine park in the South West which been damaged over the last 15 years. Department of Wildlife plans to replant 1,000 square feet of coral in Wadduwa which is part of the Hikkaduwa Marine National Park using techniques developed in the Philippines. Replanting will help restore the beauty of the Hikkaduwa coral reef which is a major tourist more..

Telecasting of parliamentary sittings wins support

May 7 (Island) People in this country are disgusted and fed up with the prevailing political situation, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He was addressing a special workshop, titled ‘Parliament and the press: Building effective relationship’, at the Parliamentary complex for the journalists of all media organizations covering Parliament. He said: "People of other countries, when they are disgusted and fed up with the more..

Lankans sworn in as magistrates and judges in Fiji

May 7 (DM) Three magistrates and three judges-all of them Sri Lankans-were sworn in at Govt House in Suva, Fiji, the Fiji Times reported. The judges are Justice Sanjeeva De Silva, Justice Kamal Kumar and Justice Janaka Prasanna Bandara. The new magistrates are Puimini Weeratunga, Rajakaruna Girihagama and Nadimale Rupasinghe. Justice Bandara and Justice Kumar have been in the country for some time while more..

DMK asks Centre to take up fishermen issue with Sri Lanka

May 7 (PTI) A day after a Sri Lankan court extended the remand of 30 Indian fishermen till May 20, DMK chief M Karunanidhi today asked the Centre and Tamil Nadu govt to immediately bring the issue to the notice of the Island govt and resolve the matter. "While the 30 fishermen in Anuradhapuram prison were hopeful of being released on May 6, Mannar District Court has extended their remand till May 20," he said more..

Northern heat hits SL pilgrimage to India

May 7 (ENS) It is the hot weather in North India rather than the anti-Sinhalese sentiment in Tamil Nadu which has severely curtailed the flow of Lankan Buddhist pilgrims into India, says the Buddhist Overseas Pilgrimage Tour Operators’ Association Sri Lanka (BOPTOASL). “The troubles in TN have ceased, and yet, the flow of pilgrims continues to be poor. It is virtually nil now. But this is because of the extremely hot weather more..

JVP wants govt to repeal PTA

May 7 (LB) The JVP says the govt should take measures to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that the PTA is a draconian piece of law that needs to be repealed. Pointing out that the govt has used the PTA as a tool to suppress dissent before, MP Herath said the Act could be misused to detain people during the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections to silence political dissent. more..

Jaffna harbhor dredged

May 7 (LBO) State-run Dredging Corporation of India has Kankasanthurai Habhour in the northern Jaffna peninsular, in a two week operation, India's High Commission in Colombo said. A 'trailer suction hopper dredger' had arrived at KKS Harbhour on April 19 and had completed the task by May 03 in a 2.055 million US dollar grant aid project as part of an overall 25 million dollar financing to rehabilitate the port. more..

Charles may replace Queen at CHOGM

May 7 (CG) The Queen will miss the CHOGM for the first time since 1973. Sources say Prince Charles is set to be announced as the member of the royal family to attend the meeting on her behalf in Sri Lanka later this year. It is unclear why the Queen, who is the Head of the Commonwealth, has chosen not to attend, but many will see the decision as part of a move to transfer some responsibilities to her heir. more..

Editorial: A mockery of peoples' supremacy

May 7 (CT) On Sunday, this newspaper reported that the govt was mooting an amendment to the Constitution, which is expected to be incorporated as the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The provisions of the amendment are currently being drafted and the process is scheduled to be finalized in three weeks. To begin with, constitution-making should be a consultative, accommodative and transparent process. However, this cardinal principal has been observed in the breach during the more..

Trading on human rights

May 7 (CT) According to Time magazine, human rights are our legacy from the twentieth century. The legacy has left the world a better and richer place. The far greater danger is when nations make lucre out of that legacy. Nations have the largest potential to strengthen that legacy as well as to breed cynical skepticism about it. A test came with whether Sri Lanka is fit to host the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November. The Commonwealth failed. more..

Justice: Waiting for Godot

May 7 (CT) In the long list of assassinations, abductions and assaults of media personnel, Subramaniam Sugirtharajan (35), a freelance journalist of the Tamil newspaper Sudar Oli is only a footnote. He was gunned down, while waiting in front of his residence in Trincomalee for a bus to go to work on 24 Jan 2006. A father of two, he was an employee of the Ports Authority. But, three weeks before his death, he more..

Four to five die on roads every 48 hours

May 7 (Island) Four to five people die every 48 hours in Sri Lanka due to injuries sustained in road traffic accidents, Minister Maithripala Sirisena said. Vulnerable road users (motorised two or three-wheelers, Pedestrians and cyclists) accounted for nearly 50% of the deaths in Sri Lanka. The highest number of accidents victims were motor cyclists, he told a media conference. Minister Sirisena pointed out that reckless driving, driving under the influence of liquor, high speed driving and overtaking more..

Sri Lanka stocks extend gains

May 7 (LBO) Stocks closed up 1.4% Tuesday, on the back of a 1.8% gain a day earlier driven by interest in banking and diversified holdings companies. All Share Index closed 80.51 points higher at 6,201.68 up 1.32% and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 50.83 points higher at 3,511.95 up 1.47%. Colombo stocks are now at 17 month highs. Turnover was 1.38 billion rupees with 54.4 million shares changing hands and foreign buying accounting for 14.3% of the day’s market more..

SL mulls oil purchases from Azerbaijan

May 7 ((Xinhua) President Rajapaksa has discussed the possibility of importing crude oil from Azerbaijan, a statement from the President's office said. The idea was talked of when Rajapaksa met Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at his office on Monday evening. Explaining the difficulties that small developing nations are facing due to sanctions on Iran, the President said it would help reduce the more..

Six soldiers injured in explosion

May 7 (CG) A group of soldiers were injured when detonators hidden by the LTTE had exploded in Udayarkattukulam, Mullaitivu today. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said that the explosion took place when construction work was underway in the former rebel held area. He said that a soldier had dug the ground not knowing that detonators had been hidden there. “In a former LTTE base in Udayarkattukulam area where Army troops are deployed at present a minor explosion more..

'Govt. silent about plight of Sinhala People'

May 7 (CT) The Organization of Sinhala People of the North, has questioned the govt as to why it does not talk about the plight of the Sinhala people who lost their original villages and lands in the North. "The govt should divulge the truth, about why it is silent about the Sinhala people of the North," Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, Convenor of the Organization of the Sinhala People of the North said, emphasizing that being Sinhala, they have lost the right to live in the North or settle down in more..