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Coach Jayalal upbeat over selection of youngsters

May 8 (Island) Team coach Sajith Jayalal said that the Sri Lanka team selected for the forthcoming Macau Invitational Athletics Championship was a good investment for the future, as it comprises young athletes. "Except for one athlete, all the others are young athletes. This is a good opportunity for them, as they will be the future athletes of the country," said Jayalal. Except for 1,500 metres runner P.H. Chamal, all others in the 8-member team are young athletes who have many more..

Sri Lanka near term infrastructure needs of US$53bn: expert

May 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka is tipped to need about 53 billion dollars over the next few years to develop vital infrastructure to propel economic growth, an infrastructure specialist said. "We see tremendous opportunity for Sri Lanka. The key to Sri Lanka’s vision to have motorable transport, an integrated roads, railways and ports system," said Vishvjeet Kanwarpal, CEO, GIS – Global InfraSys Ltd & Asia Consulting Group Ltd, India. Between 2011 and 2020, Kanwarpal tips Sri Lanka will more..

Sirisena to reveal all

May 8 (CT) Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena, has promised to publicly reveal information regarding the injustices faced by the common people due to what he calls the 'health sector mafia' operating in the country. He revealed that when medicine is bought at times of emergency, without strict adherence to tender procedures, certain medicines available for Rs 100 per pill would be sold for prices as high as Rs 1,000-1,500. more..

Power price down retroactively

May 8 (DN) The power tariff reduction announced by President Rajapaksa at the UPFA May Day rally would come into effect from April 20, Public Utilities Commission Chairman Dr. Jayatissa De Costa said. The President announced that the electricity rates of consumers whose usage does not exceed 60 units per month would not be increased under any circumstances while the rates of those consumers who use electricity up to 90 units will be afforded a relief by making the ceiling 95, for the next more..

Unexplained hiccups in power plants

May 8 (CT) Four power generating plants were out of commission for a few hours on Monday around 8:40 p.m. CEB confirmed that on 6 May, the Kelanitissa Combined Cycle Power Station (KCCPS) (160MW), AES Kelanitissa Power Plant (AESKPP) (163MW) and the West Coast Kerawalapitiya Power Plant (WCKPP) (270MW) were all out of commission, ‘due to various reasons.’ Additionally, the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant (NCPP) experienced its umpteenth breakdown on the more..

Private bus operators want Gota

May 8 (DM) The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) urged the govt to appoint Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Private Transport Services Ministry Secretary because he would be able to remedy the grievances of private bus operators. LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeyratne said that the present Ministry Secretary Victor Samaraweera would be retiring soon and he should be replaced by more..

NARA opens hotline

May 8 (Island) The National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) yesterday launched its new fisheries information service centre under the patronage of Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. NARA Chairman Dr. Sayuru Samarasundara said, "As part of NARA’s goal to implement improvements to its facilities to the public we launch our new fisheries information service centre hotline number (0710101010) an this call center will receive and respond to more..

President’s relief package fails to take effect

May 8 (Island) The power regulatory body, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has no choice but to go ahead with the May 3 tariff proposals of the Power and Energy Ministry, despite President Rajapaksa’s May Day relief assurance. A PUCSL official said that either President Rajapaksa should intervene, spelling out his May Day promise that consumers using up to 60 units will not have to pay a single cent extra while others up to 180 units would get a number of concessions from more..

PTA to stay

May 8 (DM) The govt yesterday ruled out the possibility of repealing the Prevention of Terrorism (PTA) despite requests by opposition political parties. In response to a question by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, PM D.M. Jayaratne told Parliament that though the LTTE was militarily defeated, there were attempts to revamp the organisation in different parts of the world. The PM said the provisions of the PTA were required more..

SLMC won’t leave govt.- Hakeem

May 8 (DM) SLMC leader Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday scotched speculation that his party would quit the govt. However, he said that his party had some disagreements with the govt. He said he was confident that the issues could be sorted out through negotiation. Mr. Hakeem told Parliament yesterday that the party’s decision to call up a meeting, for the 8th, of its MPs, provincial council members and members of local bodies had given the rise to this speculation. more..

JVP demands DNA testing of Matale mass grave finds

May 8 (Island) The JVP yesterday demanded that DNA tests be conducted on the finds from the Matale mass grave, which belonged to the 1987 – ‘89 period. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that the relatives of those who disappeared, during the 1987 – ‘89 period, in the Matale District, would be present at the Matale Magistrate’s Court today. Herath said that relatives of disappeared persons wanted to appear as witnesses in the mass grave case. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake also more..

Hot air over move to impose power cuts at EPZs

May 8 (Island) The country is heading for a major power crisis with the CEB even planning to deprive Export Processing Zones (EPZ) of uninterrupted power due to insufficient generation. This is in accordance with unannounced power cuts imposed in several parts of the country with effect from May 6. However, the Power and Energy Ministry has strongly suggested to the CEB that all EPZs should be exempted from the ongoing more..

C’wealth summit- Conflicts within conflicts

May 8 (DM) After months of doubts and disputes, India reportedly intervened on behalf of Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting in London on April 26 to pave the way for the summit to be held in Colombo. According to independent analysts, this came after secret talks were held between the Rajapaksa regime and India to restore ties. Several issues – including the stranglehold that China was getting on Sri Lanka - had contributed to a virtual breakdown in Indo-Lanka ties. more..

In their gilded cages

May 8 (DM) I recall as though it happened the other day, little A.C.S. Hameed, the former ineffective Foreign Minister in J.R. Jayewardena’s Govt and later Minister in charge of various ministries in R. Premadasa’s Govt, putting on what I term his ‘wise look’, looking over his spectacles balanced on the tip of his nose, and saying with the utmost ‘gravity’ as though saying something profound, “The Opposition will have its ‘say’; but the Govt will have its ‘way’ ” and the then leader of the House, more..

Electronic season ticket for students

May 8 (Island) On a concept of Transport Minister Kumara Welgama, a new electronic monthly season ticket card, for school children, has been launched. This was because the existing CTB season card was easily damaged due to constant use. Transport Minister Kumara Welgama said that due to constant use and exposure to rain water, the CTB season tickets used by the students had become illegible and thin. more..

Road accidents still No.1 killer with 500 fatalities in 2013

May 8 (ST) The present trend of deadly road accidents will continue being the leading cause of death by bodily injury, if immediate precautions are not taken, experts in the field of transport warned. The warning came after a series of road accidents last week killed and injured many commuters and pedestrians. According to police, about 500 people were killed in 591 fatal accidents, during the first three months of this year. more..

Lankan labour force and employment plunge in 2012

May 8 (DM) The economically-active population aged 10 years and above- popularly known as a country’s labour force - declined in Sri Lanka by 1.1% to 8.465 million due to migration of economically active persons during 2012, the Central Bank annual report showed. According to an economist Dr. D.R. Wijewardena, sending more for foreign jobs could also create a labour shortage in the country at a time when the unemployment rate is at historical low of 4% which is considered more..

Sri Lanka to boost deep sea fishing, double exports to US$500mn

May 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka is planning to boost deep sea fishing and double tuna exports by 2015 with the help of new vessels from Japan and China, fisheries minister Rajitha Senarathne said. "We hope to increase exports from 250 million US dollars to about 500 million" he told reporters. He said Kiyoshi Kimura of Japan known as Tuna King has visited Sri Lanka and he expects to bring about 4 vessels for deep sea fishing. more..

The hard struggle for land

May 8 (SL) Opposition political parties and civilians in the Northern Province are looking at initiating legal action against the military’s acquisition of lands that were demarcated as a high security zone (HSZ) during the period of the war. TNA MP, M.A. Sumanthiran said the party was collecting information and statements to file a case against a proposed military cantonment in the Palaly area. An official notice has stated that about more..

Ranil queries future of PTA

May 8 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday in parliament, demanded to know from the Govt whether the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act would continue to be used to suppress opposition politicians. Making a special statement, on the arrest of National Unity Alliance General Secretary Azath Salley, the Opposition Leader said that the present conduct of the govt raises serious questions. more..

Radiologists in govt hospitals to strike

May 8 (LB) Radiologists in govt hospitals of Sri Lanka plan to launch a strike Wednesday, May 08 based on several demands. Chairman of the Government Radiologists' Association, Chanaka Darmawickrama said that the strike is based on five main demands including halting the enrollment of students to the diploma course on radiology, recruiting the graduated radiologists to the vacancies, and granting a risk allowance. more..

CEB imposes immediate power cuts

May 8 (Island) Most parts of the country will experience blackouts for hours due to unofficial power shedding, especially due to three thermal plants failing to contribute to the national grid during the peak hours due to the non-availability of fuel, though the CPC has sufficient stocks. The Island learns that the CEB will have to go for unofficial power as it has not paid the CPC for fuel it had earlier obtained. more..

Chinese tourist number to Sri Lanka surges 56.6% in Q1

May 8 (Xinhua) The number of Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka has increased significantly in the first quarter of 2013 by jumping 56.6% from the same period last year, though overall figures have failed to impress, latest data showed here on Wednesday. The first quarter numbers of Chinese tourists have risen from 5,334 last year to 8,353 this year, who is becoming the largest group of travelers to the island from East Asia. more..

Dons tell Higher Education Ministry to drop fee paying students

May 8 (Island) In the wake of Faculty Board refusing to admit nine fee paying students to the Peradeniya Medical Faculty, lecturers have asked the Higher Education Ministry to stop the controversial move and ensure that students are admitted only in keeping with the UGC criteria. President of the FUTA, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that the govt had already planned to admit fee paying students, not only to more..

In the North, the govt is setting a vicious cycle in motion again

May 8 (CT) The govt has given notice of its plans to acquire lands belonging to private citizens in the North for public purposes that involve national security. The pasting of notices on trees in Valikamam North under section 2 of the Land Acquisition Act coincides with preparations for the Northern Provincial Council elections in September this year. There is concern in the Northern polity that the purpose of this land acquisition is to change the demographic composition with more..

Sri Lankan media destroy the image of the country – Chief Editor, Asian Tribune

May 8 (GDI) K.T.Rajasingham, the Chief Editor of the Asian Tribune website yesterday said that he opposed separatism from the very beginning and upon leaving the country due to death threats from the LTTE, he used to write for the Independent newspaper of Bangladesh but the LTTE pressurized that newspaper not to entertain his writings. He said that then he went to Thailand and started writing for the newspaper “the Nation” and this was also stopped by the LTTE. more..

President declares war heroes month

May 8 (CG) President Rajapaksa today officially declared the commencement of the war heroes month, at a ceremony held at Temple Trees. The PM, politicians, defence secretary and commanders of the three forces attended the ceremony. The Ministry of Defence said that the month between 8th May and 8th June 2013 has been declared as the National War Heroes Commemoration month and a series of more..

Buddhist fundamentalism?

May 8 (Island) I read the essay by Dr. Liyanage Amrakeerthi in the Midweek Week Review of 1st May in ‘The Island’ titled " Islamic Culture and the Challenges of Buddhist Fundamentalism" with great interest in my keenness to know what ‘Buddhist Fundamentalism‘ was. But ended up reading the entire article none the wiser. The closest reference to Bodubala Sena in this light in Dr. Amarakeerthi’s article is the following: "Bodu Bala Sena (‘the army of Buddhist power’) – the newest and crudest more..

Glass particles in antibiotic

May 8 (Island) The Health Services Trade Union Alliance (HSTUA) requested the Health Ministry to investigate a case where foreign matter was found in a drug purchased from a private pharmacy at Embilipitiya. HSTUA chairman Saman Ratnapriya said that bottle of Azithromycin syrup, prescribed for an infant, purchased from a private pharmacy last Thursday, had contained glass particles. Ratnapriya said that the infant was given the syrup twice before the parents noticed the glass particles. more..

Still homeless, two decades later

May 8 (IPS) The camp should not have been difficult to find. We were told to drive straight on the road that leads north away from the town of Puttalam, and we would come upon the settlement of internally displaced people. What IPS found were not the typical temporary shelters of the war displaced – no tarpaulins stamped with the telltale insignia of donor agencies, no busy aid workers; only a cluster of small villages comprised of more..

Pakistani terrorist deported to Lanka

May 8 (CG) A terrorist wanted in Pakistan was today deported to Sri Lanka by a flight from Chennai after Andhra Pradesh police found him living in a remote village near Cuddapah for the past seven years without a valid visa. Based on an Interpol alert, 34-year-old Nissar Ahmed, who had fled Pakistan and entered India through Sri Lanka in 2006, was detained by Andhra Pradesh police on May 6 and brought to Chennai this morning after producing him in a Cuddapah court. more..

AI launches petition for Salley

May 8 (CG) Amnesty International (AI) has launched an online petition calling for the release of Muslim politician Azath Salley. The online petition urges President Mahinda Rajapaksa to free Salley or charge him and while in custody to ensure he is treated humanely and allowed access to his family, his lawyers and any medical care he may require. Salley was reportedly detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act but without any charges being specified against him, AI said. more..

PM reveals statements made by Salley

May 8 (AD) The CID has begun investigations on the NUA General Secretary Azath Salley concerning several occasions in which he threatened the peace of the country and unity among racial groups within the country through statements he made to electronic and print media, Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne stated. Responding to questions raised by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in Parliament concerning more..

Editorial : Is Jaffna our first military town?

May 8 (CT) The prospect of 'Gaza' of the Sri Lankan kind emerging in the Northern territories is beginning to appear increasingly inevitable. The government's decision to acquire well over 6,000 acres of privately owned land in the Jaffna peninsula has only made it look even more plausible an event in the aftermath of the 30-year-old war. The seriousness of situation was reflected in a report and a statement released by two of the leading civil society organizations in the country, earlier this week. more..

Lankan maid abducted and robbed

May 8 (CT) Police are looking for two unidentified persons for kidnapping a Sri Lankan housemaid and robbing her money (KD 200) and cell phone in Kuwait. The incident happened in Al-Rowdah. According to the victim’s narration, the men forced her into their car and demanded KD 500 to release her. The maid reportedly asked the kidnappers to allow her to go to her sponsor’s home to get the money and as soon as she reached the house, she saw the driver working for the same sponsor. more..

Magistrates Court accepts 13 petitions for Matale mass grave

May 8 (LT) 13 petitioners presented affidavits when the hearing regarding the Matale mass grave was heard in Matale magistrates court today . They asked through affidavits to carry out a test regarding the skeletal remains unearthed from Matale mass graves as they suspect the skeletal remains could be their relatives who disappeared during the 88–89 period. Magistrate Chathurika Silva said the 13 petitioners would be accepted more..

Dalai Lama criticises Lankan monks

May 8 (CG) The Dalai Lama has implored Buddhist monks in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to put an end to a series of recent attacks on Muslims in their countries, the Associated Press reported today. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader spoke Tuesday night about religious violence when asked questions following a speech he delivered to 15,000 people at the University of Maryland. He condemned all killing being carried out in the name of religion and then turned to his own religion. more..

TU Alliance to meet UNP leader today

May 8 (Island) The JVP pledged its fullest support to the May 21 country wide strike planned by Trade Union Alliance. At a meeting with a 10-member coordinating committee of the Trade Union Alliance yesterday, the had pledged unconditional support to the strike which has been planned in the event President Rajapaksa fails to lower the power tariffs which were increased late last month. The assurance was given by a three-member JVP delegation which also promised to mobilise more..

Sri Lanka becomes self-sufficient in gases

May 8 (MED) Minister Basil Rajapaksa inaugurated air separation unit (ASU) installed at Sapugakanda on May 7. The ASU – a state of the art air separation plant – is the Ceylon Oxygen Limited’s new flag ship and its second and largest. Built at cost of Rs.1.3 billion this energy-efficient unit is capable of producing 62 tons per day of gaseous oxygen, nitrogen and argon for the merchant gases market. more..

'Ravaya' in Govt's lap?

May 8 (LT) 'Ravaya' newspaper has been bought by a supporter of the govt say reports. A pro-western 'Printho' who crossed over from the UNP to the govt has carried out the transaction say these reports. The govt that carries out various 'operations' to tame the media that publish opposing views has commenced a programme to buy certain media institutions say these sources. 'Ravaya' as an alternative newspaper published news and articles criticizing the govt. more..