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Illegal electrical posts ruin wildlife sanctuary

May 10 (SL) The Archaeological Department is accused of violating the National Environmental Act and the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance in order to obtain electricity to one of the archaeological sites in Polonnaruwa, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bringing much destruction to the Polonnaruwa Nature Sanctuary, the CEB is now illegally erecting electrical posts and installing high tension power lines through more..

Leprosy on the increase warns top health official

May 10 (ST) The number of people affected by leprosy is on the rise, with Colombo District having the highest number of cases. Colombo District reported 446 cases in 2011, while the Western Province had 45% of patients amounting to 1,012, the same year, pointed out Anti-Leprosy Campaign Director Dr. Nilanthi Fernando, urging anyone with patches on the skin to seek medical help immediately. more..

'Youth Parliament: Only 10% voted at last election'

May 10 (Island) Only 10% of members in the Youth Services Council had voted at its last election, indicating that the Youth Parliament, established at huge cost, had not served its purpose, UNP MP Harin Fernando said. He said that the legislature meant solely for the youth had proved ineffective, going by the low voter turnout at the last election. The future generation had obviously realised that it was futile wasting their time more..

India reiterates its interest in early resettlement

May 10 (Island) Outgoing Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha on Monday reiterated the importance placed by India to support initiatives for early resettlement of the displaced in the Northern region and providing opportunities to enhance their livelihoods. HC Kantha was addressing a gathering, following the commissioning of plant and machinery supplied by India at the Fishnet factory-Northsea Limited, Gurunagar. more..

TN fishermen enter Lankan waters: Jaffna forum

May 10 (ENS) The claim of Tamil Nadu fishermen that they do not go beyond Kachchativu to fish and that they are attacked by the Sri Lankan Navy in Indian waters is completely fictitious, say Jaffna fishermen. “It is a blatant lie (Pachcha Poi),” said an angry K Rajachandran, president of the Ambal Fishermen’s Cooperative Society, Karainagar, Jaffna district. “Indian fishermen come within 2 to 3 kilometres of the shore here. more..

Lankan ATMs targeted in theft ring

May 10 (CG) Sri Lanka is among 27 countries where cash machines were plundered in a massive international ATM fraud case, US federal prosecutors said. A worldwide gang of criminals stole a total of $45 million in a matter of hours by hacking their way into a database of prepaid debit cards and then draining cash machines around the globe. Seven people are under arrest in the U.S. in connection with the case, more..

Rajitha scoffs at Wimal's threat to ditch govt

May 10 (LB) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has scoffed at the recent warning given by his cabinet colleague Wimal Weerawansa, that if the UPFA govt were to go ahead with the holding of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) polls later this year, his party would be compelled to sever links with the govt. Minister Seneratne has said that Minister Weerawansa's threat to leave the govt was no big deal for them, as they still had a more..

Karuna demands that India boycott CHOGM

May 10 (PTI) DMK president M Karunanidhi today described as "important" Queen Elizabeth II skipping the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka in November and once again demanded that India boycott the meet. "Since the formation of a Commonwealth federation, this is the first time that the Queen has boycotted the conference which is an important information," he said in a statement here. more..

Is Bodu Bala Sena a racist organization?

May 8 (CT) A couple of months ago BBS became a household name in Sri Lanka. We may agree or may not agree with the views of BBS but we all agree that it created a heavy impact in the social fabric of Sri Lanka. Some people think that BBS is a patriot movement and some people think that it is a cheap racist organization. Therefore when somebody told me that the General Secretary of BBS (Bodu Bala Sena) was supposed to come to the New York Buddhist Vihara on May 5th to submit his more..

Retired woman politician dreams of reentering politics-Pavithra

May 10 (DM) A female politicians who had gone into retirement and now dreams of entering politics again did not have the backbone to go ahead with the Norochcholai power plant in 1999, said Power and Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi yesterday. Ms. Wanniarachchi speaking during an adjournment motion in Parliament yesterday said the construction of the Norochcholai power plant did not begin because of this politician who led the country at the time. She said the coal power plant which more..

LECO Rs. 10 million robbery suspects arrested

May 10 (Island) The Kohuwela police have arrested the two suspects involved in the April 22 daylight Rs. 10.5 million heist at the Lanka Electricity Company Office, situated at 204, High Level Road, Nugegoda. The suspects had been arrested in the Kottawa police area on Monday and were being grilled under a detention order after they were produced in Court on May 7, the police said. One of them had been identified as a prison escapee more..

Sri Lanka’s textile exports rise marginally

May 10 (F2F) Sri Lanka’s textile and apparel exports for January-March period have increased by 1.3% from US$ 1.036 billion in 2012 to US$ 1.050 billion this year, stated a report by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The exports of apparels have hiked by 5% to US$ 3.445 billion in March 2013 over last year’s figures. The report stated the export of garments from Sri Lanka to the US increased during the quarter, whereas the exports of garments to the European Union decreased. more..

HSBC Lanka trims custodian services

May 10 (DM) HSBC Sri Lanka is believed to have withdrawn from custodian banking services with the exception of high-end retail and corporate clients, as part the bank’s a global restructuring drive, Mirror Business learns. When contacted by Mirror Business, representatives from the bank stated that all aspects of its business are currently under review in line with HSBC’s global realignment away from retail business, however declined to comment further on specific changes. more..

'My father's murder was planned'

May 10 (CT) Hirunika Premachandra, the daughter of slain politician, Bharatha Lakshman, says if Duminda Silva can perform miracles, there is no God. "All I can say is, Duminda is not a good man, but a trickster. My father's murder was well-planned. I know Duminda's actual physical and mental status," she alleges in an interview. Following are excerpts: Q: Did you anticipate Duminda Silva to be released on bail? more..

Editorial: Dengue resurgence

May 8 (CT) The battle between Man and the Aedes Mosquito has proved to be a losing bout for Sri Lanka, still desperately trying to get the better of this dodgy bloodsucker. And if the news coming from the Epidemiology Unit is anything to go by, we are not likely to divest ourselves of this deadly menace in the foreseeable future. For, not only has Sri Lanka been declared a hyper endemic country for dengue, we are also likely to have a recurrence of a dengue epidemic in the coming weeks, months and more..

Sujeewa says no to Nelly, Sean

May 10 (CG) UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe questioned how it is that the govt is giving the green light for award winning singers Nelly and Sean Kingston to perform in Sri Lanka and yet had issues with Akon a few years ago. Reading off an entertainment news item from the Colombo Gazette, the MP told Parliament that both Nelly and Sean Kingston will be performing in Sri Lanka in July as part of a concert organised by the Carlton Sports club. He refrained from mentioning the name more..

Sri Lanka used for other’s benefit

May 10 (CG) Minister G.L. Peiris says Sri Lanka is being used as a stage by some countries to gain the support of the United States. Speaking at an event organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Colombo he said that Sri Lanka was aware that most countries who voted in support of a US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC recently did so with other intentions. He said that they voted for the resolution more..

Thilanga first Sri Lankan on PGA Executive Committee

May 10 (Island) UPFA MP Thilanga Sumathipala recently received the honour of being the first Sri Lankan to be elected as a Board Member to the Executive Committee of the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), an international non –profit, non –partisan organization with a worldwide network of over 1,000 MP legislators in approximately 130 elected parliaments. Headed by H.V. Ross Robertson – MP from New Zealand, the PGA Executive Committee decides on the more..

Washington Embassy entertains cultural enthusiasts

May 10 (GDI) In keeping with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington’s ongoing efforts in promoting Sri Lanka as an attractive destination for tourism, the Embassy played host to a record number of over 3600 US cultural enthusiasts during the 6th annual Passport DC –around the World Embassy Tour recently. A series of events to showcase Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage, unique hospitality and spectacular natural beauty were organized under this programme. more..

90% treated for dengue without testing

May 10 (CT) A staggering 90% of the patients admitted to the National Hospital with symptoms similar to dengue disease are treated without properly diagnosing them to ascertain whether they are actually suffering from dengue. A senior medical professional at the hospital said, "If some 50 patients are admitted to the hospital with complaints of dengue symptoms, some 45 of them would be treated for the disease without proper more..

'Big reduction in poaching by Indian fishers'

May 10 (Island) TN CM Jayalalithaa did not have any right to make claims about the Kachchatheevu Island, in the Palk Strait, as it fell on Sri Lanka’s side of the IMBL, Minister Douglas Devananda said. He noted that India had formally ceded it to Sri Lanka through the 1974 and 1976 agreements. "This is not a new issue. CM Jayalalithaa has raised this issue several times earlier but all her efforts were in vain as the Kachchatheevu Island legally belongs to Sri Lanka," Devananda stressed. more..

Two cyclones form off Sri Lanka

May 10 (CG) Two cyclones have formed off Sri Lanka and could bring strong winds and heavy rain over the next few days, the Indian media reported today. Meanwhile the department of meteorology in Sri Lanka said that a depression has formed in the South-east Bay of Bengal and is centered about 1000km to the East of Hambantota. As such eastern and south-eastern sea areas beyond 300km from Hambantota will experience strong winds, rough conditions and intermittent rain. more..

Court orders full probe on mass grave

May 10 (CG) The Matale Magistrate today ordered a full investigation on the Matale mass grave and instructed the CID to submit a comprehensive report to court by the end of this month. The Magistrate also ordered the CID to record statements from 13 petitioners in the Matale mass grave who had claimed that their relatives were believed to have been buried at the site. The lawyer appearing on behalf of the petitioners, more..

Sri Lanka launches National Fishing Safety Plan

May 10 (GDI) Sri Lanka launched a National Plan for the Safety of fishermen and fishing vessels at sea, under the patronage of Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. The National Plan was formulated by the Fisheries Department with the technical and financial assistance granted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) executed Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) which is funded by Spain. The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources more..

GMOA warns against granting RMPs Rs. 4,000 phone allowance

May 10 (Island) The GMOA warned the govt against granting the Rs 4,000 telephone allowance sought by the Registered Medical Practitioners. GMOA spokesman Dr. Navin de Soysa the association had decided to send a letter of protest to President Rajapaksa stating that the RMPs were not eligible for the privileges enjoyed by MBBS qualified doctors. He said if the govt went ahead and granted the RMPs’ demand, the GMOA would be forced to take strong trade union action. more..

Salley freed, admitted to Nawaloka

May 10 (CG) Former Deputy Mayor Azath Salley was freed from police detention today and transferred to the Nawaloka hospital for treatment. Salley’s family said that Salley was taken to the Nawaloka hospital from the Colombo National hospital where he was receiving treatment for poor health, under police detention. Ameena Salley, the daughter of Azath Salley, had this week filed a petition at the Human Rights Commission more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.18%

May 10 (LBO) Stock close up with a marginal gain of 0.18% on Friday. The market was helped by retail and institutional trading, brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Index closed 11.29 points higher at 6,250.00 up 0.18% and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 04.39 points higher at 3,530.90 up 0.12%. Turnover was 1.4 billion rupees down from 1.5 billion rupees a day earlier. Foreign buying rose from 194 million a day earlier to 284 million rupees on Friday due to a policy interest rate cut more..

Financial frauds in schools, admits Bandula

May 10 (Island) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena admitted in Parliament that financial frauds were taking place in govt schools, through certain organisations set up in them. Old boys, parents and interested persons should extend their support to the Ministry of Education to take action against those who were involved in such frauds, the minister said, adding that he was ready to take legal action against such persons. The minister was responding to a query raised by more..

UN says report on Lanka taken seriously

May 10 (CG) UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson says the report on Sri Lanka on the UN actions during the final stages of the war was taken seriously. “I was asked by the Secretary-General, to head a group to look, go through the recommendations of the report, and above all, look forward to the future so that we avoid coming in such situations as we did in SL, and as we have in several other tragic situations. more..

JHU warns against holding polls in Lanka's northern province

May 10 (PTI) An ally of SL govt has warned against holding elections in the Tamil-dominated northern province, saying polls without corrective action will legalise the distorted demography in the region. "It is not fair to hold the northern provincial council election before corrective action with regard to distorted demography", Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, The JHU spokesman said in Vavuniya. He said the holding of the election without corrective action would be equal to legalising the distorted more..

Govt had to release Salley amid public protests - Ranil

May 10 (AD) Facing stiff opposition from the masses, the government had to release Azath Salley, who was treated as a “terrorist” until yesterday, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe said today. The former CMC member and National Unity Alliance General Secretary, who was receiving treatment at the Colombo National Hospital under CID custody, was released today and transferred to a private hospital in Colombo. Speaking to reporters after visiting Salley in hospital, more..

President arrives in Uganda on Saturday

May 10 (NV) President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives in Uganda on Saturday to participate in the Commonwealth Local Govt conference. Vellupillai Kanathan consul general for Sri Lanka in Uganda said the head of state would spend four days in Uganda. “He will be a key note speaker at the conference. The next commonwealth will be hosted by Sri Lanka in two years and so he will the next chair for it,” Kanathan said. more..

Job cheat ‘professor’ arrested

May 10 (Island) Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) officials have caught a foreign employment racketeer who, posing as a professor, has swindled millions of rupees from job seekers, promising them lucrative jobs abroad. The suspect, a resident of Rukmalgama, was arrested from Pannipitiya by the SLBFE official. He had been on the run for some time. The suspect had collected money from people by promising them jobs in Japan and Afghanistan. more..

TN has no right to claim Kachchatheevu: Douglas Devananda

May 10 (Hindu) Tamil Nadu has no right to demand Kachchatheevu, for it is Sri Lanka’s as per an agreement, Minister Douglas Devananda has said. His statement comes in response to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s recent demand that the Centre retrieve a small island ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974. Last week, the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a resolution in this regard, in the wake of “continued violent attacks, torture and arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.” more..

Sri Lanka to call tenders for duty free emporium in Mattala

May 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka will tender a concession to operate a duty free shopping complex in the newly opened Mattala airport, aviation minister Priyankara Jayaratne said, in a move that could draw more passengers to the destination. "I have instructed officials to call for tenders to set up the duty free shops as soon as possible," minister Jayaratne said. "I agree that lack of duty free shops is a problem for some passengers." more..

Partisan Amnesty International targets SL

May 11 (CT) Reuters reported recently that Amnesty says Sri Lanka represses dissent to consolidate power.The report stated that Amnesty International said that the Sri Lankan govt is intensifying a crackdown on critics in order to tighten its grip on power, and urged the Commonwealth countries not to hold a summit there in November. But the Media Minister of the Sri Lankan govt Keheliya Rambukwella accused Amnesty International of being in the pay of supporters of the LTTE, more..

WB warns over rising gender gap

May 11 (NS) Sri Lanka has been ranked as the 20th having largest gender gap in Labour Force Participation (LFP) globally, a recent study by the World Bank has pointed out. The study released last week states that in 2010 only 41% of females between the age group of 15 and above have contributed to the labor force of the country, as opposed to the 82% male participation that was reported in the same year. The World Bank 2013 report however suggests that the govt more..

Customs seize biggest haul of contraceptives

May 11 (SO) Sri Lanka Customs Revenue Task Force who thwarted an attempt to smuggle in a large stock of contraceptives worth over Rs. 30 million last week ponders whether the Pakistani consignee is backed by an influential local party. The suspect named Muhammad Ashraf who was evading arrest for over a week was nabbed by a special Customs investigating team near the Fort Railway Station on Friday afternoon. more..

Media Freedom in Sri Lanka: A year of Silence and Muted Pain

May 11 (DBS) From last year’s World Press Freedom Day to this year’s, few things have changed in the country’s media status, if any. The New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in their Impunity Index has ranked Sri Lanka as the fourth worst place in the world for journalists, while Reporters Without Borders recorded a marginal increase in the conditions, as Sri Lanka moved from 163 to 162 place in the press Freedom Index 2013. Meanwhile, murders continue to more..

Uthayan and freedom of expression in SL

May 11 (GV) 3rd May was declared as World Press Freedom day by the UN General Assembly in 1991. Since then, it is celebrated every year, around the world. It is a time to cherish, re-assert and enhance fundamental principles of freedom of expression, recognize the courage and sacrifices made by numerous individuals and groups, asses threats – past, present and future – and plan accordingly. This year, World Press Freedom Day focuses on themes that are particularly relevant to Sri Lanka. more..