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Full-steam ahead in push for Sri Lanka’s shipping hub

May 18 (DM) The last time Sri Lanka built a breakwater to protect its fleet of ships, the teardrop-shaped island off the coast of India, was called Ceylon and was still under colonial rule. Today, this independent country of 21 million people is a regional rising star and the govt is capitalizing on the island’s strategic location to promote it as an economic hub in South Asia. The new breakwater at Colombo Port is part of a US $ 500 million more..

President slams 2002 ceasefire deal

May 18 (Xinhua) President Mahinda Rajapaksa criticized a Norwegian brokered ceasefire agreement signed with the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2002, which he said was a betrayal to the nation. Speaking at a victory day parade held to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the defeat of the rebels, Rajapaksa said that past leaders attempted to settle for a ceasefire with the Tamil Tigers as they had no confidence in defeating them. more..

'Many outside powers tried to rule Sri Lanka'

May 18 (DM) While claiming that Sri Lanka will not allow a single inch of the land to be taken away, President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that in the four years since humanitarian victory there were many strategies tried out by some outside forces to rule Sri Lanka. “There will be no room for separation, President Rajapksa said addressing the Humanitarian Victory Parade at Galle Face green this morning. “The armed racist terrorism that more..

Editorial : Sports revolution or ruination?

May 18 (CT) Are Sri Lankans seeing a revolution in sport and will it lead to what is known the world over as hooliganism? Not that Sri Lankan sport was free from such scourges. For years and decades, there had been assaults on players and match officials, crowd violence and field invasion, except a murder. But, with the latest upsurge in sports after the bloody end of the war and the Defence Services now able to focus more on sport than they had ever been before, more..

BBS and Wimal Weerawansa’s big mouth

May 18 (CT) One would expect Wimal Weerawansa (WW), the minister, to be different from chracters such as Mangala Samaraweera, SB Dissanayaka, Vasudeva or Amunugama when it comes to Sinhala Buddhist affairs. If he is not acting as a reasonable person then one would wonder whether his brain is in his head or his rearend. He has done so many good things such as supporting MahindaR in 2005 and thereafter, but he has also done so many foolish things. Going to Egypt in August more..

India cautions Lanka against Army acquiring private land in North

May 18 (Island) India today cautioned Sri Lanka against the Army acquiring private land in the Northern Province for the socalled High Security Zones. In a telephone conversation with his Sri Lankan counterpart Prof GL Peiris today, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid emphasised that this will not be in accordance with the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and such a move will not be helpful. more..

A reply to minister DEW’s question

May 18 (CT) Rajan Philips observed that the regime is fast becoming a victim of its own. This is more so in the management of economy. Minister DEW Gunesekera openly acknowledged that this was the case at present. “DEW has warned that “the SLFP-led alliance could become a victim of its own propaganda unless tough corrective measures were taken instead of boasting of unprecedented growth in the post-war era. The country is in peril due to economic mismanagement rather than international conspiracy.” more..

NCDs in underserved areas of City high

May 18 (Island) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (PHD CMC) said that the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in underserved areas of the city were very high. Chief of the Public Health Department, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that a survey was long due, as the last one had been carried out in 2005. He said that the present situation would be more serious than before with the drastic increase of NCDs witnessed in the country itself. more..

Confessions of an LTTE arms supplier

May 18 (CT) The Colombo High Court sentenced Gnanasunderam Jeyasunderam, a school friend of LTTE Leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, who later became one of his close friends, to one month in jail and one year of rehabilitation, thereafter, on charges of supplying arms and ammunition to the LTTE. When the suspect was produced before Courts on charges of conspiring to spread terrorism and supplying arms to the LTTE, under Section 3 of the PTA, more..

Priyanjan, Perera tons lead Sri Lanka A to victory

May 18 (CI) Two dashing middle-order tons for Sri Lanka A ended Rest of Sri Lanka's winning streak in the List A tournament in Pallekele, as the A team recorded a 139-run victory - their first in the tournament. Hundreds to Ashan Priyanjan and Angelo Perera propelled Sri Lanka A to 325 for 5 in their 50 overs, and Rest of Sri Lanka mustered only 186 all out in response, with none of their batsmen able to cross 50. Rest of Sri Lanka were missing their two best-performing bowlers more..

Hunt for dengue mosquito breeding spots: 267,321 premises inspected

May 18 (Island) The Public Health Inspectors’ Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL) yesterday said they had inspected a total of 267,321 premises from the beginning of the year to date for mosquito breeding places. PHIUSL Secretary Senarath Bandara said that 7,514 notices had been issued to those with mosquito breeding places in their premises. He said that legal action had been instituted against 1,456 persons during the period and Rs. 48,520,000 recovered in fines from those who had more..

Injured Welegedara doubtful for Champions Trophy

May 18 (CI) Chanaka Welegedara is in doubt for the Champions Trophy after sustaining a foot injury during Rest of Sri Lanka's List A match against Sri Lanka A on Friday. Welegedara bowled only 2.4 overs, before leaving the field with pain in his right foot and ankle. Sri Lanka leave for England on May 26, and are scheduled to play their first warm-up match on May 30 against Pakistan. "Welegedara came off immediately and more..

Sri Lanka trade deficit obsession misplaced: focus

May 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's obsession with trade deficits is misplaced because it ignores the broader exchanges including services that take place between citizens of one county and another, economists and officials have said. Saman Kelegama, head of the Institute of Policy Studies, a think tank, said the obsession was particularly strong in relation to free trade agreements. "Always when a free trade agreement is signed with a large country there is the thinking that the more..

Flood-affected return home

May 18 (CT) The people affected by the floods and landslides as a result of the torrential rains that swept across Sri Lanka over the last two weeks, are now leaving the camps for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and are returning to their homes, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said. DMC Deputy Director of Media, Sarath Lal Kumara, said the flood situation has been effectively dealt with, as the rains have somewhat lessened in the past couple of days. more..

Like it or not,Sampur coal plant necessary – Engineers

May 18 (Island) If the govt failed to speed up and add 500 MW from the proposed Sampur coal-fired power plant in Trincomalee by 2018, the country would have to pay Rs. 42 billion annually to generate power from other sources. CEB Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) President Nandika Pathirage said that the CEB would have to incur a loss of about six billion rupees due to teething problems. However, he stressed that it would become zero after three years. more..

Sri Lanka's top brewer to expand canning capacity

May 18 (LBO) Lion Brewery, the largest brewer in the island said it will expand canning lines to meet growing demand after upping brewing capacity last year. In 2012 profits fell 17% to 1.0 billion rupees because canned Carlsberg beer had to be imported from India and Vietnam because canning capacity was not enough. "This was at a considerable cost to the Company and contributed significantly to the reduction in profitability along with other cost increases in both manufacturing more..

Nearly 6,200 war widows sole breadwinners

May 18 (CT) Around 6,170 war widows have been registered as sole breadwinners of their families from among those seeking livelihood assistance in the Kilinochchi District. Govt Agent of Kilinochchi, Rupavathy Ketheeswaran, making a startling revelation, outlined the problems faced by the war widows and their families at a seminar titled 'Economic and Social Uplift: Rights of Women and Children' held in Kilinochchi on Thursday. She highlighted the plight of the war victims more..

Outer Colombo Circular Highway: UNP queries cost whopping Rs. 133 bn

May 18 (Island) The UNP queried how the govt had budgeted to spend a whopping Rs. 133 billion on an expressway, stretching merely 30.9 kilometres, which was known as the ‘Outer Colombo Circular Highway’ linking Kottawa to Kerawalapitiya, via Kaduwela and Kadawatha. The proposed expressway is three-pronged project. The first is from Kottawa to Kaduwela, a stretch of 11 kms, while the second is from Kaduwela to Kadawatha over 8.9 kms. more..

Pakistanis who fled detention appeal

May 18 (CG) Two Pakistani girls who fled from the Mirihana detention center have made an appeal for protection saying they face grave danger if deported to Pakistan. Sadia Khan and her 11 year old sister Amala Khan said they, together with their mother, are now in hiding in Sri Lanka fearing arrest and deportation. Both girls contacted the Colombo Gazette and spoke of their ordeal since arriving in Sri Lanka and after they fled the Mirihana detention center. While the Colombo Gazette is unable to more..

Lessons for the Sri Lanka Premier League

May 18 (CI) The spot-fixing scandal in the IPL has brought into focus the vulnerability of other domestic Twenty20 leagues, like the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL), to corruption. It has also emphasised the need for effective anti-corruption measures and education. Last year's inaugural SLPL was seemingly well-equipped to deal with the threat of corruption, but when allegations surfaced that a fix was in the works, the SLPL's response was muddled, and concrete results from the ensuing more..

Navy sailor missing after boat mishap during victory parade

May 18 (AD) Two navy personnel had fallen off a small Sri Lanka Navy vessel which was involved in an accident during the Victory day Parade at the Galle Face Green this morning. The boat had capsized during the parade causing both sailors to fall overboard. One of them has been rescued while the other sailor is reported missing at sea. Approximately 170 officers and 2700 sailors of the Sri Lanka Navy had taken part in the Humanitarian Victory Day Parade 2013, more..

Sri Lankan missions work 24/7 to help workers

May 18 (AN) The Sri Lankan missions in Riyadh and Jeddah are currently working 24 hours a day, including weekends, to sort out the paperwork of over 10,000 workers by July 3, the end of the three-month grace period provided for expatriate workers to rectify their work status. The workers have applied to either transfer to new sponsors or get emergency travel documents to go home. Labor Counselor of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh Anura Muthumala told Arab News yesterday that more..

PS Vice chairman arrested over alleged sexual abuse

May 18 (DM) The vice chairman of the Laggala- Wilgamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha was arrested by the Wilgamuwa police for allegedly entering the house of a widow and attempting to sexually abuse her. The wife of a deceased soldier had been living in Naminigama Wilgamuwa, and on the day of the incident the suspect vice chairman (UPFA) had stealthily entered her house under the influence of liquor and tried to abuse her. Her screams for help alerted the neighbourhood and the vice chairman sensing more..

TNA tells China to push for solution

May 18 (CG) The TNA has urged China to influence the govt to address Tamil grievances in a serious manner and put forward a political solution to their concerns. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said that the govt often banks on China to avoid pressure exerted from countries like India and the United States. “China must look at the actual situation in Sri Lanka and not do anything that may harm Tamil sentiments. They must use the influence they have on more..

Tamil Nadu bans pro-Eelam meet

May 18 (CG) A pro-Tamil Eelam public meeting, which was to be held in Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu today and participated by JKLF leader Yasin Malik among others, was banned by police after the organisers put up banners carrying pictures of slain LTTE chief V Prabhakaran, the Press Trust of India reported. Police withdrew the permission granted to Naam Tamizhar Katchi headed by film director Seeman to hold the meeting in support of separate Tamil Eelam as the organisers violated certain conditions, more..

In search of Buddha's sacred tooth and orphaned elephants in splendid Sri Lanka

May 18 (Mirror) Huge fruit bats skim the treetops above us as the distant drumming grows louder. And in the pitch black just a shadowy outline of a towering building can be seen. Barefoot and dripping wet from the stifling heat, we edge closer to the imposing Dalada Maligawa – the Temple of the Tooth Relic. High in the majestic hills of central Sri Lanka, we are about to set foot inside one of the world’s most important Buddhist shrines. With its exotic name and setting, more..

Sri Lanka Tamils defy ban on rebel memorial

May 18 (AFP) TNA on Saturday defied a military ban and staged a commemoration of their war dead as the govt celebrated the fourth anniversary of defeating Tamil Tiger rebels. The TNA said it staged the remembrance in the northern town of Vavuniya for those who died in the final battle which also killed Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his entire top leadership. "We had a meeting to commemorate all those who died in the conflict," more..

The Victory Parade

May 19 (Island) All the world loves a parade and much of Sri Lanka’s population, thanks to television that has now proliferated to most part of the country enjoyed yesterday’s Victory Day celebration. Yet there are those who are troubled by questions on whether a debt-ridden country like ours, despite our weakness for tamashas and living beyond our means, can afford events like these however magnificent the spectacle and useful the value of commemorating the single most important more..

People’s tolerance has its limits

May 19 (SL) Veteran trade unionist Alavi Moulana would have experienced a feeling of déjà vu on Wednesday as he walked along with thousands of supporters through the Fort and Pettah to denounce what they called attempts by ‘international saboteurs who were attempting to sabotage the progress of the country’ and to show the world that ‘the people were’ solidly behind President Rajapaksa. Moulana and his fellow demonstrators were attempting to counter another massive demonstration more..

'Averting the bloodbath: A combined national and international effort'

May 19 (SO) The Chair of the Consultative Committee for Humanitarian Assistance (CCHA) which coordinated international humanitarian aid at the final stages of the humanitarian operation, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe says, “We have largely achieved ‘freedom from fear’ due to the end of domestic terrorism; our next move must be towards securing ‘freedom from want’”. more..

Buddha's universal peace message to mankind

May 19 (SO) The Vesak Full Moon Poya falls on Friday as Buddhists all over the world mark the triple anniversary of Sakyamuni Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. The Buddhist calendar begins in the month of Vesak. Buddhists consider Vesak Poya a triple anniversary as the Buddha was born, attained Supreme Enlightenment at the age of 35 and after a successful ministry of 45 years, attained Parinibbana on a Vesak Full Moon Poya Day. For Sri Lankans, this is particularly significant. more..

Vesak: What the so called Buddhist Balavegaya is doing in Sri Lanka?

May 19 (CT) The people in Hong Kong will be celebrating what they call Buddha’s Birthday tomorrow (May 17). The term ‘Buddha’s Birthday’ is similar to what is referred to in Sri Lanka as Vesak. However, the overall emphasis here is on birth and it is a sober celebration of life. The Chinese are imbibed with the philosophy of Confucius who helped them to develop their moral principles. These principles are very deeply embedded in the Chinese mind. In Buddha‘s Birthday too, more..

'COPE: Dragnet set to catch sharks and sprats'

May 19 (SO) By exposing corruption and large-scale misuse of State funds in state corporations, he gave teeth to the COPE and made it a powerful instrument of imposing financial discipline and propriety. Perhaps Senior Minister D.E.W. Gunasekara’s political creed would have inspired him to do a clean job of work leaving no room for criticism or bias. The dragnet he lays catches both sharks and sprats. more..

Sports revolution or ruination?

May 19 (CT) Are Sri Lankans seeing a revolution in sport and will it lead to what is known the world over as hooliganism? Not that Sri Lankan sport was free from such scourges. For years and decades, there had been assaults on players and match officials, crowd violence and field invasion, except a murder. But, with the latest upsurge in sports after the bloody end of the war and the Defence Services now able to focus more on sport than they had ever been before, could this all lead to the foreseeable more..

TNA’s strategy for NPC elections & CHoGM

May 19 (Island) When looking at the UNP’s new list of electoral organisers, we see that General Sarath Fonseka has once again been left high and dry. Two of the three UNP MPs who had pledged their support to Fonseka and were even planning to field a separate list of candidates at the forthcoming Provincial Council elections, have made up with Ranil Wickremesinghe and gone back into the UNP fold. Palitha Thavarapperuma, the Kalutara district MP has been appointed organiser for more..

'Govt can be defeated with a broad public struggle'

May 19 (SL) JVP politburo member and head of the NTUC, K. D. Lalkantha says that the strike called on the 21st by the Coordinating Committee for a Joint Trade Union Alliance demanding the withdrawal of electricity tariff increase is a unique campaign where everyone could join. He observed that from putting up a black flag to staying away from activities like daily shopping and other chores, people can decide how they want to join the more..

Lankan selectors present proposal to elevate present structure

May 19 (ST) The Lankan selectors, led by former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya, have forwarded a proposal on developing the cricket structures and standards in local cricket for the perusal of the SLC administrators. In this proposal the national selectors have urged the authorities to review the prevalent tournaments and convert them into ones that ensure competitiveness. They have stated that the premier tournament should cover the biggest possible area so that all available talent is more..

Diaspora must walk the talk, help the north

May 19 (ST) The Govt celebrated the 4th anniversary of the military defeat of an armed separatist uprising yesterday with a polished display of the men and machines of the Security Forces. The Government does not want the people of this country to forget one of its most significant success stories. Cries of exhibiting triumphalism come from certain quarters, both at home and overseas with nary a word from the critics of similar events marked annually even 68 years after more..

Rajapaksa govt fast losing its allure

May 19 (SL) President Rajapaksa is now facing continuous headaches in the form of the possible re-entry into politics by former President Chandrika Kumaratunge and a joint opposition struggle against the govt. All these issues haunted Rajapaksa last week with indications of them continuing in the coming months. With the Rajapaksa govt’s greatest fears showing signs of becoming reality, the decision making more..

From failed revolutionary to state missionary

May 19 (ST) My Dear Wimal, I thought of writing to you when I heard that you were thinking of leaving the Cabinet because you did not agree with some of the policies that are being adopted by the Blues. I thought I must quickly inform you not take such hasty decisions. From what I heard you say in your May Day rally, Wimal, you wanted to leave the government because of their plans to hold elections to the North to create a provincial council there. I was told you even held a separate May Day more..