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Paralyzed by protests

May 16 (CT) Colombo, the nerve-centre of commercial activity in the country, was totally paralyzed yesterday for several hours as people swamped the streets from Borella to Fort and Lake House Roundabout to Fort, in a series of protests. More than 10,000 people, representing some 200 trade unions, marched from Borella to Fort under the banner of the People’s Movement Against the Increased Electricity Bill more..

Stormy weather kills 8, displaces over 11,800

May 16 (Island) Eight fatalities have been reported so far due to the stormy weather which affected a number of areas during the last few days. Heavy rains continued to lash several parts of the country under the influence of the tropical cyclone in the Bay of Bengal. The Meteorology Department said that the tropical cyclone was expected to move further away from the country. However, under its influence, coastal districts of the country would receive heavy showers during the next 24 hours. more..

UNP-affiliated trade unions refuse to strike

May 16 (CT) Despite requests from the UNP and trade union leaders, the UNP-affiliated trade unions have refused to take part in the islandwide strike against the recent electricity tariff hike. Recently, the UNP, JVP and civil organizations said they are launching an islandwide one-day strike on 21 May, to express their opposition to the electricity tariff hike. Followed by a news item published in Mawbima saying the UNP-affiliated trade unions will not take part in the strike, more..

Gotabhaya won’t compromise on national security

May 16 (Island) Military presence in the Jaffna peninsula as well as the Vanni was meant to guarantee the security of people living in the northern region, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. He said that security forces’ presence was nothing but a necessity, though various interested parties and a section of the media were playing politics with purely a security issue. The country had paid a very heavy price due to the failure of previous govts to more..

Ranil, SF on one stage, lambaste Govt

May 16 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Democratic Party (DP) leader, former army commander General Sarath Fonseka lambasted the govt for heaping burdens on those struggling to make ends meet. Addressing a gathering of opposition activists opposite the Fort Railway station on Wednesday late afternoon, Wickremesinge said that people couldn’t bear the latest electricity tariff increase. The Opposition leader said that the electricity issue could be a rallying point for more..

Grace period announced for Sri Lankans illegally in Saudi to return

May 16 (GDI) A grace period has been announced for Sri Lankans engaged in employment in Saudi Arabia illegally, to return to the country. According to the Deputy General Manager of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment the grace period will expire on July 3. According tp the Deputy manager of the SLBFE Mangala Randeniya, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment in collaboration with the Saudi Embassy has been able to obtain a grace period for Sri Lankan nationals, more..

UK warns Sri Lanka on abuses before Commonwealth summit

May 16 (Reuters) Britain said on Wednesday there would be "consequences" for Sri Lanka if its leaders did not address international concerns over human rights abuses, ahead of a Commonwealth summit scheduled to be held in Colombo in November. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told parliament "despicable human rights violations" had taken place in Sri Lanka, but that Britain still planned to attend the more..

‘Safe food’ is the entire nation’s baby

May 16 (DM) Milk is a substance that first exposes us to fragrance, texture and flavour. It is our first source of nourishment. Special status is accorded to milk, especially mother’s milk, in all cultures and all literatures, perhaps as a consequence of these facts. The nostalgia associated with milk and the fact of it being an initial nourishment is excellent hooks for any milk-based products to hang promotional material. This is why we frequently see milk and milk-based products being advertised with little more..

SL Politics and Her Story

May 16 (DM) Sri Lanka ratified the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on 5th of October 1981. CEDAW articles 7 (b) states that “State parties shall take over all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the public and political life of the country by ensuring the right to participate in the formulation and implementation of govt policy”. Sri Lankan women have been enjoying the right to exercise universal franchise more..

People struggle continue

May 16 (SL) Private and Public sector employees are disgruntled with not receiving their long due Cost of Living payment when they are facing the sky-rocketing cost of living. Due to the govt’s failure to gazette the Cost of Living Index new value, many employers calculate the cost of living allowance based on the old unit value of Rs. 180. As a result, many employees are facing severe hardships because they receive very slow more..

Varsity cuisine guarantees no constipation

May 16 (ST) University canteens feed thousands of mouths daily, but to sell a packet of rice for Rs. 25, many canteens have opted to use rotten vegetables, inedible low quality rice and almost rotten fish that make the country’s future intellectuals fall sick on a regular basis. The recent report was from the Ruhuna University, where more than 20 students of Vellamadama section were admitted to Matara General Hospital for more..

Australia passes controversial immigration law amendment

May 16 (PTI) Australian senate today adopted a controversial amendment to the 'Migration Act', allowing people who arrive by boat to be processed at offshore facilities on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island. The moves is aimed at discouraging asylum-seekers showing up on Australia's shore illegally through sea route. Mainland Australia will now be out of the migration zone and all asylum-seekers who arrive more..

Expert says tests raise serious doubts about energy drinks

May 16 (Island) Health Authorities warned against using energy drinks, especially by children less than 12. Adults were also warned to be aware of the contents of energy drinks and their long-term health effects. Head of the Toxicology and National Poison Information Centre (TNPIC) of the National Hospital Dr. Waruna Gunathilake said that they conducted a study after receiving several inquiries about the health benefits of energy more..

Peacetime SL Army recruits civilian farmers to run Kandakadu Agriculture Farm

May 16 (LB) Sri Lanka Army has said it has recruited professional farmers to the military for the first time in its history and they are now employed in Kandakadu Agriculture Farm in Welikanda. This group of civilian employees of the Army comprising 139 males and 61 females had begun their work at the farm on May 12. The farmers are to enjoy all the benefits of uniform personnel and the males will be eligible for pension after more..

Pakistan army gifts six horses to Sri Lanka Military Academy

May 16 (SLA) Six horses gifted to the Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA) at Diyatalawa by the Pakistan Army, in response to a request, made by the Commander of the Army to his Pakistan’s counterpart, were formally received on Monday at Lake View Equestrian Centre, Averihena, Hokandara where they undergo quarantine procedures. Brigadier Indunil Ranasinghe, Commandant, Sri Lanka Military Academy more..

Four Norwegians liable, Colombo court rules

May 16 (Island) A major diplomatic dispute is in the offing with the District Court of Colombo ruling that four Norwegian foreign ministry officials, including its former Ambassador in Colombo, Hilde Haraldstad, are accountable for multiple banking transactions undertaken by local NGO, the Foundation for Co-Existence, in support of ‘peace projects’ underwritten by the govts of Norway and the UK during eelam war IV. more..

Govt. willing to probe Channel 4 allegations

May 16 (CT) The Ministry of External Affairs said yesterday the Sri Lankan Govt is willing to probe war crime allegations made by Channel 4 in the Sri Lanka's Killing Fields video, provided the UK-based television broadcaster hands over the original video documentary to check whether the footage is genuine or ‘doctored.’ The ministry confirmed the government has revealed to the European Parliament that Sri Lanka is in the process more..

Sri Lanka delegation in Belarus seeking new markets and investments

May 16 (BelTA) Sri Lanka is interested in buying special vehicles of Belarusian make. The information was released by Sri Lankan Deputy Foreign Minister Neomal Perera at the meeting of Belarusian business circles with representatives of the Sri Lankan delegation. He remarked: “Sri Lanka is an industrial and agricultural country and this is why we are interested in buying Belarusian agricultural machines, trucks, more..

Rolls Royces and BMWs to be imported for CHOGM

May 16 (DM) The External Affairs Ministry is making arrangements to import 12 Rolls-Royce cars and 100 BMW cars for the use of the heads of state who are scheduled to visit Sri Lanka to participate in the CHOGM in November. However it is not known whether these vehicles are to be re-exported after use. No one knows who is importing these cars, although the External Affairs Ministry is involved in the matter. more..

Editorial : Killers stalk the highway

May 16 (CT) It is not the first time and may not be the last where a reckless person drives his vehicle to be crushed by a passing train at a railway crossing. The tragedy that took place in Padukka on Tuesday morning was just one of many. The driver not only drove himself to death, but also took the life of a five-year-old child with him, and nothing could have been worse for a parent than to hear the tragic news. The number of deaths that have been recorded at railway crossings, more..

The Cage by Gordon Weiss

May 16 (CT) While I was reading the new publication from the International Diaspora Group on counting the dead in Sri Lanka, I cast my mind back to what Gordon Weiss had to say on the subject in his book, The Cage. Jason Burke, writing in the Literary Review, describes this book as a: “comprehensive, fair and well-written work”. I beg to differ about the well-written bit. It is a good read, but not a good write. As seems to be the custom with contemporary authors in any genre, more..

Choice of new technology subjects for A/L from this year

May 16 (Island) All science faculties of the countrywide universities would be renamed as Science and Technology Faculties from 2016, to accommodate those students who will follow the newly introduced GCE (A/L) Technology subject combination. Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the new technology subjects would be taught in schools from this year and new A/L classes on those subjects would begin on July 15. more..

Sri Lanka and Maldives small biz to get better trade finance: IFC

May 16 (LBO) Small businesses in Sri Lanka and the Maldives will soon have access sophisticated financial products to engage in international trade, International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group said. IFC had just completed training program for bankers from the two countries under its Global Trade Finance Advisory Program, which was funded by Japan. "It is important for bankers to continuously increase their knowledge in trade finance to stay more..

US envoy meets TNA on polls

May 16 (CG) The US Ambassador to Colombo Michele J. Sison has had discussions with the TNA regarding the scheduled elections in the north. According to the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper, the Ambassador had also discussed the land acquisition issue in Jaffna and the current political situation in Sri Lanka. TNA leader R. Sampanthan and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran had attended the discussion with the US envoy held in Colombo, the newspaper said. more..

Former army chief questioned on 2006 attack

May 16 (Xinhua) Former Sri Lankan army commander Sarath Fonseka was questioned on Thursday by the police regarding a 2006 assassination attempt on his life. Officers of the CID questioned Fonseka regarding the suicide attack at the army headquarters. A female suicide bomber who had managed to slip into the army headquarters premises jumped onto his motorcade when it was leaving the premises. more..

Solheim meets Tamil parties

May 16 (CG) Former Norwegian peace envoy to Sri Lanka Erik Solheim has met some Tamil parties and discussed the Sri Lankan situation. Solheim tweeted today saying that the Tamil parties had told him there was a need for international observers to monitor the northern provincial council elections scheduled for November. A former Minister of Environment and International Development in Norway, Solheim is now the Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC). more..

Vote has become a commodity - Wijedasa

May 16 (AD) The people’s vote has become a commodity now due to parliamentarians receiving privileges for switching parties, UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapaksa said today. He stated that therefore constitutional provisions should be prepared so that their parliamentary membership will be revoked if they change parties. Rajapaksa stated that constitutional framework to re-establish democracy has been prepared and that they intend to obtain the public’s opinion on it in the future. more..

FUTA calls for probe on threat

May 16 (CG) The FUTA has called for an investigation into the alleged threats on the life of Janaka Nilanga Madushan, the President of the Peradeniya Student Union (PSU). FUTA says it unreservedly condemns all such acts of intimidation and aggression against members of the academic community including students. “Such incidents are unfortunately becoming far too common within the Sri Lankan university system and it is of more..

Bicycles turn out to be luxury vehicle parts

May 16 (Island) The Customs Revenue Task Force (RTF) yesterday arrested a Pettah businessman and his wharf clerk, for importing parts of four luxury vehicles from Japan, in a container that was declared as machinery. Customs estimated the value of parts of the four vehicles at Rs. 15 million. They included parts for a Toyota Hybrid car, two Toyota vans and a Jeep. The suspects had told the customs that their 40-foot container had 113 bicycles and two backhoe machines, but more..

Two Indians nabbed with satellite receivers, onion seeds, let off lightly

May 16 (Island) Bandaranaike International Airport Customs on Tuesday night nabbed two Indian nationals from Chennai attempting to smuggle in 103 satellite receivers and 64 kilos of onion seeds. The two Indian nationals, who arrived on SriLankan Airlines flight UL 141, had the contraband hidden in four bags. The satellite receivers were worth Rs. 500,000 and the seed onion consignment was worth Rs. 300,000, Sri Lanka Customs Director Leslie Gamini told The Island yesterday. more..

Minister Rajapaksa opens Kandy SLITHM Provincial Campus

May 16 (MEA) Minister Basil Rajapaksa opened may 15 the SLITHM Provincial campus which has been built at Kundasale in Kandy. The institute, equipped with all the modern facilities, is meant to train personnel required for the programme to attract 2.5 million tourists to SL by 2016. The Ministry of Economic Development and Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) with the assistance more..

UN envoy wants to visit

May 16 (CG) The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns has said he wants to visit Sri Lanka. In a report submitted to the UNHRC ahead of its 23rd session scheduled for next week, Heynes said he encourages the Govt of Sri Lanka to accept his pending requests for a visit. The UN envoy had made repeated requests to visit Sri Lanka but has not received a response from the govt. In April 2011, the Special Rapporteur concluded that more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up

May 16 (LBO) Stocks closed up 1.06% on Thursday, with banks and diversified companies attracting investor interest amid foreign buying. All Share Index closed 65.88 points higher at 6,287.0 up 1.06% and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 33.03 points higher at 3,531.37 up 0.94%. Turnover was 1.8 billion rupees up from 1.6 billion rupees a day earlier. Foreigners brought 1.2 billion rupees worth shares while selling 1.1 billion rupees of shares as 146 stocks advanced and 65 lost retreated. more..

UNP says no abolishing of Executive Presidency

May 16 (DM) The UNP said today that they would present a draft Constitution which includes an Executive President, although the UNP previously were vehemently campaigning for the abolition of the Executive Presidency. Responding to a question raised by the media at a news conference held to introduce a draft Constitution UNP MP Wijeydasa Rajapkshe said that in the proposed draft Constitution of the UNP, more..

Sri Lankan asylum seeker has visa cancelled after sexual assault charge

May 16 (DT) A Sri Lankan asylum seeker accused of sexually assaulting a Sydney university student has had his visa cancelled, The Daily Telegraph can reveal today. The temporary visa was cancelled on May 3, the day after the Supreme Court granted Daxchan Selvarajah, 21, bail. "The acting minister cancelled his visa on May 3," his lawyer Ken Robinson, of the Sydney South West Legal Centre, said. An in-camera hearing was held on Tuesday by the Migration Review Tribunal. more..

JVP claims Govt. manipulating Northerners

May 16 (CT) The govt has manipulated the ‘collective mindset’ of the Northern masses to facilitate the establishment of a pro-govt ruling body in the North, the JVP charged. “The govt has no intention of devolving powers. The entire system of Provincial Councils should be abolished. At the same time, a democratic solution to address the numerous problems of the Northern people should be realized. These elections are not a solution to the problem of ethnic divisions within the country, more..

UNP facing dire financial crisis

May 16 (LB) The UNP is reportedly facing a dire financial crisis and the party headquarters cannot be maintained any longer, informed sources have said. According top these sources, party leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has confirmed that the party is facing a severe financial crisis. Wickremasinghe has disclosed that there is an overdraft of Rs 2.6 million, and a bank loan of Rs 1.6 million taken through the Sirikotha Fund. more..

Peradeniya University to lose Rs 70 million

May 16 (CT) The Peradeniya University will lose over Rs 70 million due to its recent decision to reject the intake of foreign medical students to its Medical Faculty. Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, Dr. Sunil Navaratne, said the foreign medical students had been selected over and above their qualification. "They have been posted to Medical Faculties of Peradeniya, Colombo, Ruhuna, Kelaniya, Sri Jayewardenepura and Batticaloa Universities, with the approval of the more..

BASL appoints Committee to ensure justice

May 16 (CT) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has appointed a ‘Standing Committee on the Rule of Law’ to provide remedies for those who have suffered injustice due to violation of the supremacy of the law. People can complain to the Committee, if they have not received justice from concerned authorities.In such an instance, Senior Lawyer, Lal Wijenaike, President of the ‘Standing Committee on the Rule of Law’ and its convener, Lawyer Priyantha Gamage shall be taking action. more..

BBS lays Vesak terms

May 16 (SM) The Bodu Bala Sena Organization emphasizes the need to protect the Buddhist cultural values which are entwined with the Sri Lankan national identity, during the time of the Vesak festival as it is the primus of Buddhist events all around the globe. BBS says that the only religion which shows a strong way of diluting all the Socioeconomic political and environmental problems the world has currently suffering from. more..