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Over 1,200 vacancies in universities for foreigners -SB

May 9 (Island) There were 1,292 vacancies existing for the foreign applicants to follow courses in the local universities, a document tabled in Parliament, by Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. The document says that there is a 0.5% allocation for the foreign undergraduates in the local universities. As no foreign students or the children of Lankans living abroad have applied for any other course of study, except for more..

UGC to recover financial assistance granted to Uni. Dons

May 9 (DN) A batch of nearly 500 university dons who proceeded to foreign countries for further education including post graduate degrees have breached their bond agreements by not returning to serve the country after completing their assignments. As such the UGC will take steps to recover the financial assistance granted to them under these scholarships. The UGC has already advised the respective universities to take necessary actions for the recovery of these monies for more..

EU says discussions ongoing but declines to speculate outcome

May 9 (FT) The European Union yesterday noted that engagement on Sri Lanka’s “yellow card” is “substantive” and “continuing,” but declined to comment on its eventual outcome. Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka Bernard Savage said that the issue had garnered significant attention and continued to be a point of engagement between the two stakeholders. “There was a list of countries and not specifically Sri Lanka and even before that authorities in Brussels more..

NPC polls: Now, govt. mulls backing independent group

May 9 (Island) Speculation is rife in political circles that an independent group with state backing may enter the fray at the Northern Provincial Council election scheduled for September. Well informed sources said that the independent group comprising civil society personalities had explained to top level govt representatives that they intended to go it alone. Sources quoted the group as having told the govt that the vast majority of more..

Editorial: Bone of contention

May 9 (DM) The arrest of Azath Salley has made its way into newspaper headlines and has become a bone of contention in public and political debate. He was arrested by the CID on May 2 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), a law passed after the repealling of Emergency Laws. According to the authorities, the main charge behind Salley’s arrest under the PTA was certain remarks Salley had reportedly made to a magazine in Tamil Nadu which could have caused ethnic and more..

The new cabinet proposal: A ray of hope towards fostering universal harmony

May 9 (DM) Laws of the state are a double-edged sword, and we are often oblivious of its danger. We have profound faith in the legal instrument to ensure the protection of the citizens, while maintaining social order. Resultantly, the enactment of laws seems to be the common and legitimate first-stage response of the state in attempting to curb various social anomalies, inter alia militancy and extremism of any nature. Yet seldom do we realise that the very law implemented to bring forth social order more..

The rally for unity: Beyond Facebook activism

May 9 (SL) Five hundred people attended a Rally For Unity on Sunday on Nelum Pokuna Mawatha. Former ambassador Dayan Jayatillaka and TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran attended the event, and statements from MPs like Ranjan Ramanayake and Arjuna Ranatunga were streamed at the event. But the question is, is it enough? Unlike the recent candlelit vigil on Sambuddatva Jayanthi Mawatha, which more..

Nobody’s kids sans vehicles hitch rides with adult prisoners

May 9 (ST) The cash-strapped Prisons Dept has appealed for donations of passenger coaches to transport children, some as young as a few weeks old, between certified homes and the country’s various courthouses. The severe vehicle shortage has forced children to crowd in with adult convicts and remand prisoners in the Department’s blue buses. Sometimes, prison officials even escort them to and fro on more..

Azath Salley: The true story

May 9 (DM) Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe raised a pertinent question in Parliament. He queried the relevance of the PTA considering the comprehensive defeat of the LTTE in May 2009. Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, in response, pointed out that there are still attempts to revamp the LTTE and that this validates the PTA. What’s special about Azath Salley? He’s a politician. Some would say, he’s a party-jumper and more..

Customs destroys high society ‘party drug’

May 9 (Island) Customs yesterday destroyed a consignment of 68,400 tablets of 2 milligram Rivotril (generic name-Clonaz-epam), illegally imported from both India and Pakistan, valued at Rs. 3.5 million. The tablets were allegedly being used by both boys attending top rung Colombo schools and night club dancers as an intoxicant. "We have found that some of the schoolboys of elite Colombo schools consume this at both parties more..

Why is paddy not being purchased from farmers? –Speaker

May 9 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said that there was a problem faced by the farmers who were confronted with the difficulty of selling their paddy and asked the govt to look into the matter. He said this when the UNP’MPs Sajith Premadasa and Dayasiri Jayasekera raised points of order saying that the govt had stopped purchasing paddy from the farmers and demanded to know why. The MPs said that the govt had not more..

Muslims in Ampara protest arrest of Azath Salley

May 9 (Xinhua) Muslims in eastern Sri Lanka staged a protest on Thursday against the recent arrest of an outspoken Muslim politician. Shops in the eastern town of Ampara were shut and public transport came to a standstill in support of Muslim politician Azath Salley. Salley was arrested recently over allegations that he had made statements which could create communal disharmony. State media later reported that more..

Rail transport for Madhu pilgrims from 14 May

May 9 (CT) The Ceylon Govt Railways (CGR) is to recommence rail services to Madhu from 14 May, to facilitate the thousands of devotees who go on pilgrimage to the Maradha Madhu Matha Church. The stretch between Medawachchiya to Madhu on the Talaimannar line, which was closed due to terrorist activities of the LTTE, will be reopened after 30 long years. A sum of US$ 81 million was spent for the more..

UNP, JVP to launch joint strike against electricity tariff hike

May 9 (Island) The UNP and JVP yesterday struck a working relationship to join the proposed Joint Trade Union Alliance (JTUA) strike in the state, private and estate sectors on May 21, if President Rajapaksa did not ensure that the electricity price hike, imposed prior to May Day, was done away with. Informed sources said that JVP MP Wasantha Samarasinghe and JTUA leaders had met UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and more..

Air Arabia suspends flights to Mattala

May 9 (DM) Air Arabia, the only international carrier that flew to Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA), is believed to have either cancelled or temporarily suspended its flights to the newly built second international airport in Sri Lanka. The website of the Sharjah based airline no longer provides reservation facilities to or from MRIA and the airline’s destination map only contains Colombo as its sole SL destination. more..

CEB chief assures relief

May 9 (Island) CEB Chairman W.P. Ganegala, in a statement issued yesterday, reassured power consumers using up to 180 units that they would receive the relief promised by President Rajapaksa on May Day. In accordance with the presidential directive, Ganegala said, there wouldn’t be any change in the current unit charge of Rs. 3 for consumers using between 0-30 kWh per month. Similarly, those using 31-60 kwh, more..

Editorial : It is the same old, same old

May 9 (CT) Despite grand promises and the even grander city beautification projects, one short, heavy burst of rainfall and Colombo city grinds to a halt. This was the case on Monday night when torrential downpours submerged a number of roads in and around Colombo, most of them in the so-called affluent areas, causing massive traffic jams and forcing motorists to seek out alternate routes. A common sight on Monday night was of stalled cars and stranded motorists more..

Money power of provincial Councils

May 9 (CT) When the poverty of the Provinces is seen in contrast to the seeming affluence of the Centre, the salient feature that emerges is that poor Provincial Councils and a not so poor Centre coexist without disharmony. The Councils do not ruffle the Centre and the latter keeps the former in good humour. Since both are of the same feather sitting together is not irksome to either. Only the ninth will be different. One relishes champagne and the other partakes of toddy with more..

Rohitha slaps referee after losing the match

May 9 (LB) President Rajapaksa's youngest son Rohitha has allegedly assaulted a referee after a rugby match organized by the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU), informed sources have said. The matches of the seven a side tournament named as 'Carnival Rugby' were held at Havelock Park on May 4 and 5. A decisive match was played between Police 'A' and Navy 'A' teams on the final day and Police 'A' won the match more..

Docs’ warfare leads to suspension of some rebels

May 9 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) branch at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) complained that its parent body had unconstitutionally suspended three of its active members. When contacted for comment, GMOA Media Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa said that some members of the NHSL GMOA branch had been expelled for violating the GMOA Constitution by leading a mud-slinging campaign against the association’s duly elected office bearers. more..

Govt. manipulating PTA - Sumanthiran

May 9 (CT) The govt is manipulating the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to victimize its political opponents. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, said, claiming Mano Ganesan, Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne, Siritunga Jayasuriya and he have been threatened with death. He said the PTA is a draconian piece of law, and its provisions are worse than even the detested Sharia Law prevalent in the Arab world. He added, the present govt is making use of the Act to victimize who they perceive more..

Rehabilitated Tamil Tigers to enter politics

May 9 (Xinhua) Former Tamil Tigers that have completed rehabilitation programs conducted by the govt have expressed interest in entering politics, local media reported here on Thursday, quoting a top official. Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera said that several rehabilitated former LTTE cadres have expressed interest to enter politics. He noted that measures would be taken for them to contest in future provincial level elections more..

Statements by interested parties amount to contempt – Counsel

May 9 (Island) When the Baratha Lakshman Premachandra murder case was taken up on Monday, President’s Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya told the Court, "If the JMO Colombo could not say whether Duminda Silva was fit or not to attend Court, how could any party say he was feigning illness. My client’s right to a fair trial has been consistently eroded by statements made by interested parties in contempt of legal procedure." Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage permitted more..

Ameena Salley goes to HRC

May 9 (CG) Ameena Azath Salley, the daughter of former Colombo Deputy Mayor Azath Salley, has filed a petition at the Human Rights Commission (HRC) against the arrest of her father. In the petition filed today, Ameena says her father was wrongfully arrested and that she will also be filing a case in court. Meanwhile a public statement signed by several individuals, clergy, organisations and politicians, vehemently condemned the arrest and detention of Azath Salley, by a team of more..

UK MP welcomes Namal’s comment

May 9 (CG) UK MP Simon Danczuk has welcomed comments made by MP Namal Rajapaksa that “there has to be a trial” to make sure the people who murdered his constituent are brought to justice. He was referring to the murder of UK national Khuram Shaikh on 25 Dec 2011 in Tangalle, Namal Rajapaksa recently told the BBC that he did not know why the accused were out on bail and that “there had to be a trial”. He added that more..

'520 garment factories closed down during 7 years of Rajapaksa rule'

May 9 (LT) From the 834 garment factories that existed in 2005 only 314 remain at present and within 7 years of UPFA rule 520 garment factories have been closed down says the Member of the Central Committee of the JVP former MP Samanthe Vidyaratne. He said the reason for the factories to close down in such a large scale is the destruction of the economy of the country by Rajapaksa regime and states that the economy of the country has been cast aside and a large more..

Chemically ripening of fruits goes on despite ban

May 9 (Island) Use of Carbide gas to ripen fruits artificially continues at an alarming rate, despite the recent bans, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told Parliament. Fruit sellers use the chemicals to ripen fruits and too much of chemicals would harm the consumers, the Minister said adding that consumers should refuse to purchase such fruits. The Minister, responding to a query raised by Anuradhapura UNP MP P. Harrison, said that circulars had been issued banning more..

70% of the youth are running away from Sri Lanka - UNP

May 9 (DM) The UNP said today that 70% of the youth in Sri Lanka were anxious to leave Sri Lanka because they were frustrated with the UPFA govt. “Seven out of ten of youngsters want to leave the country seeking a better future in countries like Australia, Italy and Japan because the govt has failed to provide a ‘Suba Anagathayak’ as promised,” UNP MP Ruwan Wijewardene said. He said the govt should take the responsibility for more..

Sugar production on the increase

May 9 (GDI) Grinding of cane at the Sevanagala sugar factory has commenced. This is the second stage of the manufacturing process, since the establishment was taken over by the govt. Minister Lakshman Seneviratne said that a sugar output of 9,361 metric tons was obtained by grinding 120 thousand metric tons of cane, under the first stage of production of the factory as it was reacquired by the govt. The Minister said that the profit of the factory has exceeded Rs. 700 million. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.46-pct

May 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s stock closed up 0.46% for the third straight day, helped by the banking sector and foreign buying in to Distilleries, HNB, NDB and Aitken Spence, brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index closed 28.16 points higher at 6,238.71 up 0.46% and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 05.21 points higher at 3,526.51 up 0.15%. Turnover was 2.1 billion rupees up from 1.46 billion rupees a day earlier. Foreign investors were net buyers with an inflow of 194 million rupees. more..

Halal still on the local menu

May 9 (CG) Despite all the protests and objections raised by some groups, especially the Bodu Bala Sena against the sale and distribution of halal products in Sri Lanka, the govt is continuing with the recognition of halal products. With more tourists expected from the Middle East by 2016 the govt is making arrangements to ensure leading hotels can cater to the needs of Middle Eastern tourists which includes providing more..

UK visa applicant arrested

May 9 (CG) A Sri Lankan visa applicant was arrested today for using deception and a false identity to apply for a UK visa, the British High Commission in Colombo said. The applicant was referred by the UK Visas and Immigration team to the Fraud Investigations Bureau police in Colombo. The visa applicant was applying to join her husband who is resident in the UK. Checks revealed that the applicant had previously applied in a false identity for which she provided a fraudulently more..

Priyan Fernando appointed as new Chairman of Brandix

May 9 (F2F) Brandix Lanka Limited has announced the appointment of Priyan Fernando, currently a non-executive Director, as Chairman effective 3rd May 2013. Mr. Fernando, who is the Executive Vice President of Global Business Services at American Express, New York, succeeds Deshamanya Ken Balendra upon the latter’s retirement after 10 years as Chairman of Sri Lanka’s single largest apparel exporter. Ken Balendra’s involvement with Brandix precedes the incorporation of the company. more..

Poor students exempted from school fees

May 9 (Island) Minister Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament on that the children of poor parents would be exempted from school fees. All they had to do was to contact the school authorities or the Education Ministry, he added. A Circular pertaining to fees to be levied by govt schools too would be amended accordingly for the benefit of the poor. Minister said that it was illegal to collect funds from students who entered more..

Sri Lanka, identity cards free of charge for Northern Tamils

May 9 (AN) Identity documents free of charge to encourage people to use their vote. This is the initiative launched in Sri Lanka by the Paffrel, an NGO whose goal is to defend the right to vote and ensure democratic elections. In September elections will be held for the new Northern Provincial Council (NPC, local administration in the Northern Province). However, after the Civil War almost the entire population of the area - of Tamil-majority - are without identity cards, compulsory for people more..

More Lankan refugees registered

May 9 (CG) Over 300 birth certificates were issued this week for children born to Sri Lankan parents living in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai said today. The Deputy High Commission said that more than 5,000 Sri Lankan birth and citizenship certificates have been issued over the last four years for Sri Lankan children who were born in Tamil Nadu and living in the refugee camps in Tamil Nadu. This week 353 Sri Lankan Birth Certificates more..

SLC seek change in Caribbean Premier League schedule

May 9 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has asked the West Indies Cricket Board to reschedule the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL), in order to avoid a scheduling clash with the Sri Lanka Premier League. The CPL is scheduled between July 29 and Aug 26, while the SLPL is penciled in for an August 10 start. SLC cannot postpone their tournament because the Champions League T20, which will feature SLPL winners more..

Over 20,000 still not resettled

May 9 (CG) The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) says 26,721 IDP have been identified by the Ministry of Resettlement as still requiring resettlement. The vast majority of these IDPs are unable to return to their places of origin because their homestead and agricultural land continues to be used by the Security Forces. NRC, which formally announced it was moving out of Sri Lanka in June this year, says there are significant humanitarian needs in the North and paramount obstacles for more..

CHOGM will be like ‘wedding without the bride’ – Harin

May 9 (AD) UNP MP Harin Fernando today said that the CHOGM scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka this year, “is like a wedding without the bride.” Buckingham Palace announced this week that the Queen will not be attending the summit in November, for the first time since 1973, and will be represented by the Prince of Wales. The 87-year-old monarch’s decision to stay away is part of a gradual move to cut down her long-distance foreign trips, according to reports. more..

Fonseka against a “Master” CM

May 9 (CG) er Army Commander Sarath Fonseka says he strongly opposes a former LTTE cadres being appointed as the Chief Minister of the Northern Province. Former LTTE media coordinator Daya Master has indicated that he will contest the northern provincial council elections in September under the ruling UPFA ticket. There is also speculation that former LTTE chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) more..