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President thinks Election Commission not necessary

May 2 (CT) Last week, in one of those regular breakfast meetings with newspaper editors, President Rajapaksa had quipped that the setting up of an Election Commission is not necessary, because in his opinion, the Election Commissioner does his job well. The President was responding to a question asked by one of the newspaper editors, who had queried whether the Election Commission would be appointed before the Provincial Council election in the North, which is scheduled for more..

The forgotten worker and the benumbed masses

May 2 (CT) It was not surprising to find yesterday, thousands of 'electrocuted' (and duped) Sri Lankans jubilantly assembling at various rallying points to celebrate International Labour Day. Not surprising, because Sri Lankans have been demonstrating unfailing loyalty to the war-winning regime, irrespective of the regular price escalations, the latest being the debilitating electric shock that came as a post-Avurudu bonanza. more..

Theagarajah wins Asian Banker Leadership Achievement Award

May 2 (Island) Rajendra Theagarajah, CEO of Hatton National Bank (HNB) has been named the winner of The Asian Banker Leadership Achievement Award 2013 for Sri Lanka. Under his leadership, HNB has also been recognized as The Best Managed Bank in Sri Lanka. Theagarajah received both awards at the Leadership Achievement Awards. Ceremony held in conjunction with The Asian Banker Summit 2013 at the Ritz Carlton in Jakarta, on April 23rd more..

Vivanta by Taj Bentota – Sri Lanka re-opens May 2013

May 2 (IT) Vivanta by Taj – Bentota, Sri Lanka has announced the completion of its $12.5 million extensive renovation (over £8 million). The resort now enjoys a new look in all its public areas, lobby, bar, all-day dining restaurant, banquet hall, lobby lounge and pool area as well as newly renovated rooms. Located on the island’s south west coast, the resort’s new design by Nic Proud is a blend of contemporary style with colonial charm. “With its unparalleled natural surroundings, more..

Pakistan eases tariff on three Lankan commodities

May 2 (FT) Boosting Lanka-Pakistan bilateral trade levels and cooperation and ahead of the next JEC meet, Pakistan has now eased tariffs on three Lankan commodities it directly imports from Sri Lanka. “On behalf of Minister Basil Rajapaksa, I thank the Govt of Pakistan for honouring Minister Basil’s requests and reducing tariff on three Lankan export items. This is a step in the right direction as opportunities under our FTA are not fully more..

Shrinking local exports of immediate concern : IMF rep

May 2 (ST) Sri Lanka’s tax collections have to be improved to strengthen the economy, according to the country’s IMF Resident Representative Dr. Koshy Mathai. Further, he also noted that more private investment was needed to speed up projects and, while the local banking sector was already well developed, this sector still had room to grow in terms of areas such as long term finance. However, it was also Dr. Mathai’s opinion that shrinking local exports, were among the country’s more more..

Editorial: A rebuke to Sri Lanka

May 2 (OC) One of the biggest insults a govt can deliver to another — the diplomatic equivalent of a slap in the face — is for the leader of one country to refuse to attend a high profile gathering hosted by another. Well, Canada has just slapped Sri Lanka. Late last week in London, Foreign Minister John Baird denounced a decision by his Commonwealth counterparts to approve Sri Lanka hosting the organization’s heads of govt meeting in November. The Commonwealth, he said, was more..

Sri Lanka costs more to holiday

May 2 (ST) Sri Lanka has become an increasingly expensive destination to sell as room rates are at least 30-40% higher than its competitors in the region. Tour operators have become increasingly worried that should the current trend of room rates as per the minimum rates in Colombo and those in the resorts continue,it could result in a loss for the sector. Compared to Malaysia and Indonesia, SL is currently 30-40% higher more..

Three lion cubs for Dehiwela Zoo

May 2 (DN) The National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwala will import three lion cubs to add to the current lion exhibits at the zoo, officials said. The lion cubs will be brought to the zoo this month. Two female cubs are to be imported from Germany while a male cub will be imported from South Korea. They are around two-years-old. The male lion cub is to arrive in Sri Lanka initially. It will arrive here on May 9. The officials said the lion cubs will be added to the display soon. more..

Woman Lance Corporal found dead

May 2 (DM) Police have launched an investigation into the suspicious death of a woman Lance Corporal who was found dead in the women’s hostel the Kotalawala Defence Academy, early this morning. The deceased, Sachitra Maragoda (21) of Bataduwa, Galle, had been following a training course in rowing conducted by the Kotalawala Defence Academy in the vicinity of the Bolgoda Lake for about eight months. It was reported that she had fallen unconscious around 5.15 am and more..

NTPC may sign key pacts with Sri Lanka by May end

May 2 (LM) Indian state-run power utility NTPC Ltd’s stalled plan to build a 500 megawatt (MW) plant in Sri Lanka may get going again with two key agreements likely to be signed by May end. The project is part of India’s effort to exert economic and strategic influence in the neighbourhood by developing infrastructure. Decks have now been cleared for inking the key accords—the power purchase agreement (PPA) and the more..

Solar powered fish dryer opens in Naththandiya

May 2 (DN) The solar powered fish dryer in the Mudukatuwa fisheries village in Naththandiya established by the Technology, Research and Atomic Energy Ministry under its Vidatha programme was opened by Minister Dayashritha Tissera on the invitation of Minister Champika Ranawaka. Naththandiya Vidatha centre commenced the project to encourage the public to produce new value added products using endemic resources. more..

Two persons held with 71 fake Indian passports

May 2 (PTI) Two persons who were planning to send several Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to Germany using fake Indian passports were on Tuesday arrested and 71 fake passports seized from them at Naripaiyur in Ramanathapuram district, police said. Cash to the tune of Rs. 11.5 lakh was also seized from the duo by the 'Q' Branch Police which nabbed them on a tip-off. The two had collected money from 71 refugees after promising them that they would be sent to Germany, police said. more..

Leftists paved way for capitalist to celebrate May Day - FSP

May 2 (Island) Breakaway JVP group, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), alleged that those masquerading as leftist had not performed their duties and thereby paved the way for capitalist political parties to celebrate the May Day. Addressing the FSP May Day rally, at the Ratnam Playground in Kotahena, the party’s organizing secretary Chameera Koswatta said that today, the international labour day celebration had more..

Airconditioners in some pharmacies not switched on

May 2 (Island) The Cosmetic Devices and Drug Regulatory Authority (CDDRA) last week raided a large number of private pharmacies in the Colombo district. They seized stocks of drugs which had not been stored below the required temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. It was absolutely essential to keep all drugs below 25 degrees Celsius as a rule to maintain the quality of the drugs. Some pharmacies had air-conditioners which were not switched on, the Health Ministry said. more..

David Cameron urged to to boycott Sri Lanka summit over 'human rights abuses'

May 2 (Independent) David Cameron is facing mounting calls to boycott an important Commonwealth meeting in Colombo amid continuing allegations that the Sri Lankan govt is failing to end human rights abuses. Mr Cameron is scheduled to attend the CHOGM in Sri Lanka in November. At the start of the three-day meeting, the presidency of the group is to he handed to Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Queen, or else another member of the royal family, more..

Wimal threatens to break from Govt.

May 2 (CT) Leader of the NFF and Minister Wimal Weerawansa, urged President Rajapaksa to amend the Constitution, to remove land and police powers from the Provincial Councils. Addressing the May Day rally of the NFF held at the P.D. Sirisena Stadium in Maligawatte, he vowed to break away from the govt, if the Northern Provincial Council election held in Sept 2013, without removing police and land powers from the PCs. more..

'There are no human rights in Sri Lanka'

May 2 (AI) “I was burnt all over my body with cigarettes,” said Kumar. “I was also kicked all over the body. They kept me in a dark cell with no windows, where I had to sleep on the floor.” Kumar was 16 when the LTTE – an armed opposition group fighting since 1983 for an independent Tamil state – forcibly recruited him in January 2008. He was eventually captured by the Sri Lankan army in April 2009, in the last weeks of Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war. A child soldier, he was given no more..

Senathiraja collapses while addressing rally

May 2 (CT) TNA MP, Mavai Senathirajah, had a blackout while he was addressing the May Day rally in Kilinochchi, yesterday. The MP had been addressing the rally while standing on the podium under the scorching heat for more than 45 minutes, when he had collapsed. He was immediately helped by his bodyguards who gave him first aid, after which he had recovered. The MP had revealed later that he had felt uneasy while standing in scorching heat to address the gathering. more..

'Rajapaksa govt. emptied workers’ pockets'

May 2 (Island) The hallmark of the Rajapaksa economy was that it had the ability to empty people’s pockets, in comparison to UNP govts which filled them, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. He told a UNP May Day meeting, organised by the Colombo and Kalutara branches of the JSS, at Srikotha, that the UPFA govt, despite pontificating to the Opposition and the global community, did not know the basics of more..

Banks jittery over dip in gold prices

May 2 (CT) The recent drop in the unit price of gold would inevitably have an adverse impact on this country's banking sector, economic analysts warned. Some banks may even face collapse, if this trend continues further. A similar situation was reported in the US, when the real estate prices declined there, they further pointed out. The value of a gold sovereign dropped from Rs 40,000 to Rs 30,000 last month. Economists fear that customers may be attracted towards purchasing fresh more..

Kumaratunga in London for GLF AGM

May 2 (FT) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, a member of the Global Leadership Foundation (GLF) is in London. Kumaratunga attended its AGM held on 25 April held at London’s Savill Court Hotel. The current Chairman of the GLF is Nobel Laureate, President F.W. de Klerk, whom together with President Nelson Mandela was responsible for the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. The GLF makes available, discreetly and in confidence, the experience of former leaders more..

President offers relief to some electricity consumers

May 2 (DN) The Power tariff will not be increased for the consumers whose electricity usage does not exceed 60 units a month, said President Rajapaksa. The President also stressed that a percentage of relief would be introduced to the consumer who uses less than 180 units per month. “Power tariff will not be increased for the consumers whose usage does not exceed 60 units a month, under any circumstance”, he said. more..

Mihin Lanka increases flight services to Madurai

May 2 (TOI) With handsome passenger flow, Mihin Lanka - the domestic airliner of Sri Lanka, will increase its services between Madurai and Colombo from thrice in a week to four days from June 1 onwards. In a communication from Translanka - the general sales agent of Mihin Lanka - the airline will start a new flight on Thursdays from June 1. The new service will depart from Colombo at 12.30 pm to reach Madurai by 1.30 pm and the flight will depart from Madurai by 2.30 pm to arrive in more..

72,319 multiple-voter registrations deleted

May 2 (DM) As many as 72,319 names of voters were omitted from the 2012 electoral register, the latest one, due to multiple registrations, reports say. The annual report of the Department of Elections says, in the Colombo electoral district alone, there were 11,359 such names deleted from the register, besides 9,023 names omitted from the Gamapha district, 5410 names from the Vanni, 4,067 from the Jaffna district, 4040 from the Kandy district and 3,951 from the Kalutara district. more..

May Day relief for masses

May 2 (CT) The 2013 May Day celebration by the ruling SLFP, was marked with the announcement by President Rajapaksa that there would be a revision to the originally announced electricity tariff hike. President told a large gathering of supporters at Campbell Park, there would be no tariff hike for users up to 60 units and that there will be a relief for bills going up to 180 units, but did not specify by how much. more..

Editorial: Political manoeuvring and the people's woes

May 2 (DM) President Rajapaksa at the UPFA May Day rally yesterday announced a reduction to low-end users on the recently-approved electricity tariffs. At the outset this act reflects a people-friendly ruler who is deeply concerned about the welfare of his people, especially the underprivileged and the poor. But is it really the case? With the proposed increase in electricity tariffs, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), which is the power sector regulator, was ridiculed by the media for more..

Combating corruption

May 2 (DM) That corruption is widespread in Sri Lanka is an accepted fact. That it has become so much a part of the fabric of our society as to be unquestioned and unassailable is also an accepted fact. Corruption in our country comes in many forms. It may be nepotism, bribery, and extortion. Nepotism takes the form of the appointment of relatives, friends or political associates to public offices regardless of their merits and the consequences on the public weal. more..

Panicking households pull plug on everyday gadgets to beat power price hike

May 2 (ST) The controversial electricity price hike is forcing many families to switch off staple gadgets such as fridges, shun their washing machines and share living spaces to adapt to the controversial electricity price hike. In contrast, other home owners contacted through the Colombo Housewives’ Association declared that they couldn’t cut down on monthly power bills ranging from Rs.8000-15,000 because the hot weather more..

Trade unions sell out estate workers

May 2 (SL) The Plantation Trade Union Federation (PTUF) has alleged that some thugs sent by the Leader of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) and the Minister of Livestock and Rural Community Development, Arumugam Thondaman, had attacked their protest held last week in Kotagala causing injury to the Leader of the Democratic People’s Front (DPF) and former parliamentarian Mano Ganesan. more..

Eleven Lankans test positive for A (H1N1) Influenza

May 2 (Island) Signaling a possible epidemic, the Health Ministry said that 11 Lankans had tested positive for Influenza A (H1N1) over a period of one month. That was out of the 566 samples taken from suspected cases. A spokesman said that the Ministry, in collaboration with the Epidemiology Unit (EU) and the MRI, had taken several measures to bring the situation under control following signs of an outbreak of the virus. more..

FUTA delivers leaflets, except at NFF, govt. May Day rallies

May 2 (Island) University teachers who are demanding an allocation of 6% of the GDP for the education sector held a protest march and leaflet distribution campaign yesterday. Secretary of the FUTA Dr. Rohan Fernando said that they had started their protest march from the Open University and reached the Colombo University via Narahenpita, Kirula Road, Havelock Town and Thummulla. more..

Japan builds Sri Lanka ties with Aso visit as China clout grows

May 2 (BN) Japan and Sri Lanka will hold their second high-level talks in less than two months as the East Asian nation seeks to safeguard ties and counter China’s growing influence on an island lying on key maritime routes. Finance Minister Taro Aso is due to discuss bilateral ties with the island’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa today, according to an Embassy of Japan statement. He will also visit SL’s main port in Colombo, more..

Police arrest student who drugged and sold classmate for sex

May 2 (DM) A fifteen-year-old student attending an international school and an Afghan National were ordered remanded until May 14 by Mount Lavinia Additional Magistrate Ruchira Weliwatte, allegedly for raping a 16-year-old school girl of the same school. The two suspects were arrested following a joint operation by the Dehiwala Police Criminal Investigation Unit and the Children’s and Women’s Bureau. more..

Australian Immigration Minister visits SL

May 2 (CG) The Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O’Connor will travel to Colombo this week as part of the Gillard Govt’s continuing commitment to deepening Australia’s relationship with Sri Lanka, the Australian High Commission in Colombo said. The Minister will meet with senior government ministers and agency officials to discuss ongoing cooperation in enhancing migration management. more..

Azath Salley arrested

May 2 (CG) Muslim Tamil National Alliance leader and former member of the CMC Azath Salley, was arrested this morning. Salley’s media office said that officers of the police CID and the Special Task Force carried out the arrest at his Kolonnawa residence. SP Budhika Siriwardena said that the politician was arrested over some complaints lodged with the CID. Salley had earlier gone into hiding following fears he will be more..

Commonwealth Secretariat to provide assistance to SL Human Rights Commission

May 2 (GDI) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma received the Chair of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Justice Priyantha R P Perera, and his delegation at Marlborough House yesterday. The group is in London to take part in a Commonwealth roundtable on reconciliation, being held at the Commonwealth Secretariat from 1 to 3 May. The roundtable is enabling several Commonwealth member more..

Tariff reduction due to our protests, say UNP and JVP

May 2 (DM) After President Rajapaksa’s announcement of electricity tariff reductions, the main Opposition UNP and JVP said their concerted efforts against the tariff hike had eventually borne fruit. UNP MP Harsha de Silva said the govt had eventually given in to what he called the ‘well-articulated, fact based, logical ‘arguments against the tariff increase. “This is yet another example of the effectiveness of the UNP as more..

Editorial : May Day then and yesterday

May 2 (CT) As thousands of workers flocked to Colombo yesterday to celebrate what was essentially politically hued shindigs that blocked traffic for miles on end, one couldn't help but reflect on how the resonance of the day has become diluted of its meaning. And reflect too on the first May Day celebration in this country, way back in 1927, under the leadership of A.E. Goonesinha, the pioneer of the Labour Movement in then Ceylon. The genesis of yesterday's contortions that more..

Schoolboy abducted, dumped on beach

May 2 (Island) Matara headquarters police have begun a probe into the abduction and dumping of a schoolboy on the Kottegoda beach on Tuesday evening. A gang had abducted the boy, attending an international school, while he was returning home from a tuition class and then dumped him on the beach. The boy had told the police that he lost consciousness while being taken in the abductors’ van and when he woke up he found himself on the Kottegoda beach. more..