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TNA to go to court this week

May 7 (CG) The TNA will file a case in the High Court this week against the acquisition of civilian land in the North, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said. He said that documents in this regard are being finalized with the civilians whose lands are being taken over by the govt. Concerns had been raised this week over moves by the govt to acquire over 6381 acres of privately owned land in the Jaffna peninsula. The National Peace Council more..

Dual citizenship in limbo

May 7 (CT) While Sri Lankans living overseas are awaiting the introduction of the new Dual Citizenship Act, to obtain dual citizenship and live in Sri Lanka if they so desire, an apparent cold war among bureaucrats is causing an inordinate delay in implementing the Act. It is learnt that the officials of the Legal Draftsman's Department and the Department of Immigration and Emigration are continuing to hold their differences on drafting the proposed Bill, and seem unable to more..

UNP ask govt. to reveal Salley’s comments against the state

May 7 (AD) If Azath Salley dies, the responsibility will fall directly on the Rajapaksa govt, UNP MP Tissa Attanayake stated while adding that whatever comments that Salley had made against the state should be revealed at once. He said that it has been rumoured that a injunction order will be given in order to prevent the media from reporting on Salley’s issue while he raised a question as to how Salley was arrested under the PTA if he is accused of financial fraud. more..

You can only power two light bulbs with 60 units - UNP

May 7 (AD) UNP MP Tissa Attanayake raised concerns over the increase of the electricity tariff and the measly relief that was offered by the govt soon afterwards branding it as yet another way that the govt was burdening the people of the country. Following the electricity tariff increase, President Rajapaksa stated in his May Day speech that the increase will not apply for bills below 60 units while those using 61 to 180 units more..

JSS to back strike on May 20

May 7 (LB) The Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS), a trade union affiliated to the UNP, has decided to fully support and participate in the nationwide strike called by the trade union alliance on May 21. The Coordinating Committee for the Joint Trade Union Alliance comprising over 600 trade unions has issued an ultimatum of May 20 for the govt to withdraw the increase in electricity tariffs or face the consequences. Head of the JSS and UNP MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said more..

I still have a bit of cricket left in me: Mahela

May 7 (DM) Sri Lanka cricket Captain Mahela Jayawardane said that he had a ‘bit of cricket’ left in him. “I feel that I have a bit of cricket left in me, but that said, it’s always good to look back and introspect,” Jayawardane told Wisden India, when he was asked if it was the right time to look back at his career. “I wouldn’t change things. I have made mistakes in my career, but I’ve tried to learn from these and grow as a cricketer and as a human being. There’s no doubt I got more..

Foreign observers welcome, says CM hopeful Devananda

May 7 (Island) Northern Provincial Council (NPC) CM hopeful and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda said that he had no objections to the presence of foreign poll observers at the NPC election scheduled for September. The demand for foreign polls observers at the NPC election was made by some Opposition parties including the TNA and the UNP. However, he said that the Election Commissioner would decide whether to more..

Top toxicologist warns of dangers from CFL bulbs

May 7 (Island) Amidst increasing use of CFL bulbs, with the recent electricity tariff hike, health authorities warned the public to take precautions as those bulbs contained mercury. Head of the Toxicology and National Poison Information Centre, of the National Hospital, Dr. Waruna Gunathilake said that currently CFL bulbs were available at prices ranging from Rs. 50 to Rs. 500. "We don’t know their quality, but if one breaks or explodes mercury will be released," he said. more..

Siyane Park housing project inaugurated

May 7 (MED) The construction work of the Siyane Nature Park housing project under the ‘Jana Sevana’ development programme of one million houses has been launched March 5. The project was inaugurated under the patronage of Ministers Basil Rajapaksa and Wimal Weerawansa. The project will cost of 180 million rupees. The housing project that consists of 40 houses will be completed within a year. Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that the target of Mahinda Chintana Future Vision more..

Jaffna players in SL squads for tri-series

May 7 (CI) Three young cricketers from Sri Lanka's war-affected regions have been named in the squads scheduled to participate in a one-day tri-series, which aims to prepare Sri Lanka's national side for the Champions Trophy. Fast bowler S Silojen and wicketkeeper Rishan Tudor, both 19, have been named in the Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Combined sides respectively, while top order batsman S Sanjeewan, 21, has been picked more..

Over 2,000 affected by strong weather

May 7 (Island) More than 2,000 persons in the Gampaha, Kandy, Badulla and Matale districts had been affected by heavy rains due to low pressure conditions developing in the seas off South India, during the past two days. In Wattala, 2,212 persons of 479 families, were affected by flash floods, while 331 persons are currently being housed in temporary shelters. Strong winds and heavy rains, accompanied by lightning have affected about five families in Akurana, Gangawata Koralaya, more..

Costs to CHOGM pruned to Rs 3.5B

May 7 (CT) The expected expenditure for the CHOGM will be approximately Rs 3.5 billion. According to sources, nearly Rs 6 billion had been allocated initially, to meet expenses in connection with organizing CHOGM; however, a decision had been taken subsequently to prune down costs. Heads of 54 Commonwealth countries are expected to participate in the summit, scheduled to be held in Colombo from 15-17 November. The Commonwealth Youth Summit will be held in more..

India, Sri Lanka to double bilateral trade to USD 10 billion by 2016

May 7 (ANI) Recognising the need to build a special economic partnership framework to achieve the shared goals of poverty alleviation, job creation and economic development for the people of the two countries, India and Sri Lanka on Tuesday agreed to encourage closer economic and trade linkages between all stakeholders with a view to doubling bilateral trade to USD 10 billion in the next three years. In this context, a Ministry of more..

Sri Lanka welcomes Charles to CHOGM after Queen backs out

May 7 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Tuesday welcomed the attendance of Britain's Prince Charles in place of Queen Elizabeth II at the Commonwealth summit later this year in Colombo. Buckingham Palace today said that the Queen would be represented by Prince of Wales Charles, next-in-line to the British throne in a bid to ease the burden on his elderly mother. "Buckingham Palace stated that this decision reflects the wish of Her Majesty at this time in her reign to limit her long distance travel", more..

No confident on Dilan fails

May 7 (CG) The no confidence motion against Foreign Employment Minister Dilan Perera was defeated in Parliament today. The motion moved by the opposition UNP had only 32 votes in favor and 136 against it. The motion was moved in light of the govt failing to secure the release of Sri Lankan maid Rizana Nafeek who was executed in Saudi Arabia. Speaking during the debate on the no confidence motion, the govt said that the Minister had the full backing of the govt. more..

'Intelligence sharing key to regional security'

May 7 (PTI) Enhanced cooperation between Intelligence agencies is essential for maintaining national and regional security, Sri Lanka's top defence official said today. Regional security could only be ensured from threats of terrorism, human trafficking, drug smuggling and the illegal financial transactions by sharing intelligence, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. Addressing the Joint Working Group on more..

India’s reality, dilemma and neighbors

May 8 (NS) Indian Legislative Assembly elections are looming and are scheduled for nine legislative assemblies. The terms of Karnataka, Delhi, Tripura, Rajasthan, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Madhya Pradesh are due to expire during this year while that of Chhattisgarh in early 2014, while Tamil Nadu is heating up perhaps with undefined insinuations for its separatist political aspirations with divided power mongering. Tamil Nadu once a haven for LTTE separatist ideology, training, more..

The canvas must win in the end

May 8 (NS) An interview with accomplished artist Sudath Abeysekera who part owns ‘Art Way Gallery Institute’ in Nugegoda and benefits from a Royal Overseas Travel Scholarship which enables him to work and study in Scotland. Sudath is an accomplished artist who believes Sri Lankans have plenty to pick from David in his clash against Goliath and look to the former for inspiration with the view of refreshing a beleaguered generation. Abeysekera runs an institute for art enthusiasts more..

Over two truck loads of garbage collected daily at Sri Pada

May 8 (SO) This is the season of Sri Pada pilgrimage. With an approximate daily count of 200,000 people visiting Sri Pada during the past holidays, the holy mountain would have looked more crowded than the capital city. For those who have visited Sri Pada - Do you remember how many long minutes of waiting on the steps towards the Udamaluwa at the mountain peak? Can you remember the hours you spent at one of more..

Anti-Muslim hate campaign intensifies in Sri Lanka

May 8 (DBS) The genie is out and it is difficult to put it back into the bottle, say concerned Sri Lankans as anti-Muslim hatred spreads far and wide, evoking fears of a major ethnic riot which the country last witnessed in July 1983. But the voice of the concerned citizens is a murmur against the raucous anti-Muslim hate speech. At dusk on April 12, a small group of concerned Sri Lankans gathered for a candlelight vigil outside a state-owned building which houses the head office of the BBS, more..

The electricity tariff hike: A great salutary step forward

May 8 (CT) The govt’s decision to raise the electricity price to realistic values, and its decision on May day to bring down the price for those consuming less than 60 units may not have been policy decisions that were arrive at in a rational manner. However, these happen to be exactly the right decisions in the context of Sri Lanka’s development trajectory. At a talk I gave at the presidential secretariat in July 2009, (and also to a number of learned societies in Sri Lanka) more..

TNA MP Sumanthiran will support the Habeas Corpus Writ filed by Salley’s wife

May 8 (DBS) A writ of habeas corpus regarding former Colombo deputy mayor and leader of the NUF Azath Salley was filed in the Court of Appeal on May 7th. The writ was filed on behalf of Mr. Salley’s wife Mrs. Rizona Salley by senior Attorney at law Ms. Gowrishankari Thavarajah. TNA MP and senior lawyer M. A. Sumanthiran will be supporting the habeas corpus write when taken up by the Appeal court. more..

May Day rhetoric reflects multiple divisions

May 8 (CT) May Day last year was memorable for an unusual convergence that saw the leader of the main Tamil political formation, the TNA, and the leader of the main Opposition UNP hoisting the national flag together in Jaffna, cheered by a massive crowd. Rajavarothayam Sampanthan’s gesture was generally seen in the South as a sign of readiness to move away from communal politics and join the national mainstream. But that symbolism of unity was short lived. more..

Is the Tamil Diaspora against unity in SL?

May 8 (GV) The Tamil Diaspora is a diverse ethnic group. Amongst it, the majority are strongly connected to their kith and kin in the island of Sri Lanka. Arguably, the Tamil Diaspora is also a very powerful body. It reflects the aspirations and the grievances of the Tamil people in the island of Sri Lanka who continue to live under severe suppression, in an open prison. Considering the Sri Lankan state’s oppression of the Tamil people on the ground, the interaction between more..

The Azath Salley saga

May 8 (CT) If Azath Salley is a terrorist in the making – a terrorist who has to be pre-empted by recourse to detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act – or a promoter of fanatical, fundamentalist ethno-religious hatred, he comes with the strangest of profiles. Far from being born into and raised in anything like a backward, fundamentalist with a religiously fanatical background, his father was a Communist (as D.E.W. Gunasekara more..

Trying to restrain the uncontrollable

May 8 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, like his predecessors, is in an unenviable position. Controlling a group of horizontally gifted yet intellectually challenged grown-ups with a violent disposition is no easy task. But, they are all honourable men and women! His predicament reminds us of Nelle Harper Lee’s description of a primary classroom in her Pulitzer winning, unputdownable novel, To kill a Mockingbird. At a recent workshop under the theme, more..

Western Science, Astrology and Arsenic – II

May 8 (Island) It is a necessary condition that one should study something, or believes somebody who has studied the subject and declared that the subject matter is humbug before one goes public to the effect that the subject matter is humbug. However, it is not sufficient and one should be able to demonstrate that the subject is humbug. Mere pronouncement that something is humbug without studying the subject under consideration by himself or depending on an "authority" who more..

Colombo port’s July opening in time for mega vessels

May 8 (ST) Sri Lanka’s plans for the Colombo port’s opening in July of another terminal would be in time with the arrival of the world’s large triple E ships set to sail on the high seas, a shipping expert said at a ports and shipping conference last Thursday. The second Sri Lanka Ports, Trade and Logistics Conference and Exhibition organized by Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Seatrade Communications UK played host to a more..

Govt. owes fertilizer companies Rs. 8bn, tea smallholders staring down the barrel

May 8 (Island) Tea smallholders from all the tea growing areas said they were experiencing a shortage of fertilizer because the government has not paid bills amounting to Rs. 8 billion for fertilizer subsidies and warn of an impending crisis if the Treasury failed to pay up. "Over 6,000 tea smallholders have reported fertilizer shortages," a tea factory owner said not wanting to be named. "There continues to be an acute shortage after the New Year in April." more..

Patrick Gallagher takes over as CEO for HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives

May 8 (FT) HSBC has appointed Patrick Gallagher as CEO for HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives, effective immediately. Gallagher succeeds Nick A. Nicolaou, who has retired after more than 35 years with the HSBC Group. Gallagher comes to Sri Lanka with over 23 years of experience. Gallagher joined the HSBC Group in 1989 and has worked in a variety of roles, mainly in the wholesale banking area. During his career with HSBC, he has worked in Bahrain, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Vietnam, Indonesia more..

Azath Salley in critical condition hospitalised again

May 8 (DBS) Former Colombo Deputy Mayor and founder leader of the National Unity Front Azath Salley has been admitted again on Monday May 6th to the Colombo National Hospital after losing consciousness in Police custody. Salley was carried out on a stretcher by Policemen at the Police CID headquarters in Fort and rushed to hospital and wheeled in to ward forty – five where he was administered Saline and Insulin by doctors. more..

'Corrupt officials will be punished, irrespective of status'

May 8 (DN) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Biribery or Corruption yesterday stressed that it has been dealing with those who are involved in bribery and corruption irrespective of their status in society. According to Commission Chairman Justice D.J. De S Balapatapendi,the commission has been going after sprats as well as big time sharks involved in corruption. “The notion among the public that the Commission is going after sprats letting the big time sharks involved in more..

Schoolboy stabbed to death

May 8 (Island) A 16-year-old Mahanama College student, was fatally stabbed on the head, during a heated argument with a class mate, while collecting donations for a Vesak ‘Dansela’ on Monday afternoon. The victim, Chalitha Dhanushka, of Godagama, Athurugiriya, died the same night in hospital. The tragedy happened in the same area while students of his age were going from door-to door collecting donations. The suspect has been arrested. The magisterial inquiry is expected more..

'Opposition playing politics with Salley issue'

May 8 (DN) It was tragic to witness the Opposition including its leader attempting to inflame conflict between communities for petty political gain without thinking of the future of the country, PM D.M. Jayaratne told Parliament. He also said the prevention of Terrorism Act would never be used as a political tool. He made this observation in response to a special statement made by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe more..

Sri Lanka wants to be the Singapore of South Asia

May 8 (II) Sri Lanka's long civil war stymied development in the island for years. But four years after the defeat of a separatist rebellion by the Tamil Tigers, the economy is booming and govt officials, looking to make up for lost time, are actively courting foreign investors to sustain the momentum. Colombo is offering a number of tax incentives to investors in the finance, transport, tourism and manufacturing industries in an effort to turn the country into a major trading hub for South more..

Entire village opposes construction of rest house

May 8 (CT) Residents of Pitabeddara, Matara, have objected to the construction of a rest house in front of the Dehigappa Sri Subadhrarama Vihara, in view of a Buddha statue, 28 feet high, that stands opposite the vihara. They claim the construction of a rest house opposite the vihara would therefore be an affront to Buddhism. A high-ranking police officer owns the property, and he has been issuing death threats to villagers who have opposed the construction of a rest house, more..

India supplies plant and machinery to fishnet factory in Jaffna

May 8 (HCI) In a ceremony on 6 May 2013, High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha, Minister Douglas Devananda, and Governor of Northern Province G.A. Chandrasiri, jointly unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the commissioning of plant and machinery donated by the Govt of India to the Fishnet Factory Northsea Limited at Gurunagar, Jaffna. Consul General of India Mr. V. Mahalingam, Secretary ofa more..

Youth discriminated; not given jobs in Govt. hospitals

May 8 (CT) Central Provincial Council (CPC) member of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), Kanapathy Kanagaraj, alleged, the authorities have committed a grave injustice to the jobless youth of the Nuwara Eliya District by not considering them for minor employment at govt hospitals in the province. He said, “Vacancies in the hospitals in the Nuwara Eliya District are being filled by persons from other districts. A short while after commencing duties, these appointees somehow more..

Case against Diyawadana Nilame dismissed

May 8 (Island) Central Province High Court Judge Manilal Waidyatilaka yesterday dismissed with costs the charges filed against the Diyawadana Nilame, Pradeep Nilanga Dela, by former Basnayaka Nilame, Sudantha Senanayake. The former Basnayaka Nilame had complained to Court that the incumbent Diyawadana Nilame, Pradeep Nilanga Dela, had failed to submit the annual budget and reports of the Sri Dalada Maligawa accounts. After dismissing the charges, Judge more..

We are racists - JHU Leader

May 8 (CT) “It is true we are racists. It is true we are religious fanatics. Yet, we are not the authors of racism and religious fanaticism in this country,” Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, Leader of the JHU said. “When racial and religious issues spring up, we too make emotional utterances. If we have committed any indiscretions, we humbly request the defence establishment to summon us and question us on that,” he added. more..