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Australian Tamils celebrate in Sydney

May 19 (ABC) More than a thousand people from Australia's Sri Lankan Tamil community have attended a ceremony in western Sydney to mark the fourth anniversary of the end of the Sri Lankan civil war. More than a thousand people from Australia's Sri Lankan Tamil community have attended a ceremony in western Sydney to mark the fourth anniversary of the end of the Sri Lankan civil war. One of the organisers, Seran Sribalan, more..

Right of Reply

May 19 (SL) The Sri Lanka Navy sent the following response to an article published in The Sunday Leader newspaper: 1. Your attention is drawn to the article under the caption, Land Grab at Panama, published in the Sunday Leader of 12th June. The article is factually incorrect and highly malicious in its intention. As such, it harms the good image of the Navy and misleads the General Public. 2. Sri Lanka Navy categorically denies the allegations raised therein and wishes to state that, more..

Hospital rejects allegations

May 19 (SL) The management of the Colombo South Teaching Hospital Kalubowila rejected allegations that construction work at the hospital is causing inconvenience to some patients. Patients at Ward No 5 claim that the construction work is along the corridor of the ward. According to some patients the ward with 40 beds now has more than double of the patients it can accommodate. Therefore the patients store their belongings at corridors. “Although the ward has only 40 beds, more..

Unions split on general strike

May 19 (ST) The call for a general strike on Tuesday over increased electricity tariffs has been met with mixed reactions from trade unions with some of them extending their support and others saying they will only support the protest campaign. However the Sri Lanka Central Transport Board (SLCTB) cancelled leave of all employees as trade unions prepared to stage the general strike on Tuesday. Depot managers have issued more..

Body of missing sailor found

May 19 (CG) The body of the sailor who went missing yesterday after a Navy boat had capsized during the victory day celebrations, was found in Bambalapitiya today. The boat which capsized had been salvaged by last night, officials said today. One Navy sailor was reported missing yesterday while three others were rescued when their boat capsized during the victory day parade at Galle Face. However the police and the navy refused to comment on the incident yesterday.

Disrupting Mihintala Aloka Pooja: Monk accuses minister

May 19 (SL) The Chief Incumbent of the Mihintala Rajamaha Viharaya, the Ven. Walawahangunawewe Dhammaratana Thero has accused Minister Duminda Dissanayake of disrupting the Mihintala Aloka Poojawa programme. Minister Dissanayake, according to the Thero, has visited Mihintala Sacred City on Wednesday and has instructed the vendors, who were to be re-located along the Devanampiyatissa Mawatha by the Archaeological Department, to go back to where they were more..

'Varsity student leaders remain under State threat'

May 19 (ST) Threats to university students continue, said the IUSF Convener, Sanjeewa Bandara. According to the student leader, more students and their parents have been threatened by ‘security personnel’ demanding they stop all union activities within the universities. Last Thursday, persons claiming to be from the CID, had visited the homes of Ruhuna University IUSF vice-president Vimukthi Madushanka and more..

CILT Sri Lanka to host Global Convention in Colombo

May 19 (Island) The global Convention and the AGM of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) will be hosted in Colombo from June 2 – 7. In collaboration with the CILT Convention, the Annual International conference hosted by CILT Sri Lanka will be held on 5th June, at the Kingsbury Hotel, on the theme "Future of Logistics & Transport from a Global Perspective". CILT is the leading global professional body associated with the logistics and transport industry. more..

Rural realities notwithstanding Negumas of all kinds

May 19 (Island) I have, over several years past and in a variety of English-language publications, referred to the chaos and hypocrisy that faces anyone attempting to earn anything approaching a living or seeking to supplement one’s daily bread in the mid-country of Sri Lanka. Recently a classmate from my days at Trinity from nearly sixty years ago, Cecil Dharmasena, wrote, in The Island newspaper, two very lucid descriptions of the chaos that passes for administration in what used to be more..

Fallen war heroes commemorated

May 19 (SLA) If ‘memories would never fade’ as they say, hundreds of families of fallen War Heroes lined up before the magnificent war memorial ‘Ranaviru Smarakaya’ at Battaramulla on Saturday afternoon, enabling those living to immortalize the memory of their beloved ones once again. Just a couple of hours after the day’s main ceremony at Galle Face Green was over, Speaker, Secretary Defence, Chief of Defence more..

Shortage of nurses at state hospitals

May 19 (SL) Govt hospitals in the country are facing a challenge to provide a satisfactory service to patients due to a severe shortage of nurses. According to Chairman Health Services Trade Union Alliance Saman Ratnapriya, although the hospitals need a cardre of 45,000 nurses to discharge a proper service, there are only 27,000 nurses serving in govt hospitals. He further said that because of the shortage, the existing cardre had to work overtime continuously. more..

Man convicted of bigamy with mom and daughter

May 19 (E24|7) A man in Sri Lanka has been found guilty of bigamy for being married to a woman and her daughter at the same time, the ‘Mirror’ reported on Friday. He was given a six- month suspended jail sentence with hard labour by the Avissawella magistrate. In the year 2009, a 44-year old woman was married to the suspect at the marriage registration office in Getaheththa. Later, he married her 20-year-old daughter at the marriage registration office in Deraniyagala. more..

Norway tells Lanka: Respect Vienna Convention

May 19 (ST) Norway has asked Sri Lanka to comply with “well established international rules on diplomatic immunity” after a Colombo Court ruled that the former Norwegian Ambassador and three officials did not have immunity in a huge transaction involving an NGO. Norway’s Ambassador Grete Lochen said that her govt had held the position that the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations should more..

Colombo’s sunshine too hot for tourists

May 19 (ST) Colombo city hoteliers are finding it difficult to fill their rooms this summer due to at least a 25% drop in tourist arrivals in the first two months for the season with less Indians visiting the country, hoteliers said. A drop in arrivals was recorded in April by about 15% and by at least 10% in the first half of May, City Hoteliers Association President K. Shanthikumar said. He said, in this respect, city hotels have forecasted a 10% drop in arrivals this summer attributed to the low arrivals from more..

President going to China again

May 19 (ST) President Rajapaksa is to visit China from May 22 to 26 — his sixth since he took office. The visit is yet to be announced officially. In April, Chinese Ambassador Wu Jianghao said President Rajapaksa was among the first six heads of State that Chinese President Xi Jinping had spoken to by telephone since he was elected. He said this emphasised the great importance China had attached to its relationship with Sri Lanka and had given new impetus to the further development more..

Russia to donate eight helicopters to SL

May 19 (DM) Russia announced that it has taken steps to provide eight large helicopters to Sri Lanka as a total donation; the Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Office said quoting visiting Head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independence States-Russia Konstantin Kosachev. This was revealed when the visiting Russian envoy held talks with Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne at his house in Gampola. more..

Norway shocked by court ruling

May 19 (CG) The Norwegian Foreign Ministry says it is unable to understand the court ruling last week that allowed an NGO to proceed with a case against the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo. Colombo Additional District Judge had last week ruled that the Foundation for Co-existence headed by Kumar Rupasinghe can proceed with the case to sue the former Norwegian Ambassador, Hilde Haraldstad and other Norwegian officials for Rs. 98.5 million for failing to honor a 2008 agreement. more..

Sri Lanka asked to curb refuse tea exports to Iraq

May 19 (LBO) A delegation of Iraqi officials have called for tighter controls on exports of Sri Lankan tea to stop refuse tea from entering their country and also complained about production processes at factories, the trade ministry said. Sabah Azeez Hasan, deputy director general at Iraqi ministry of science and technology had produced samples of refuse tea found in Baghdad markets branded as Pure Ceylon Tea during a meeting with commerce minister Rishad Bathiudeen. more..

Maldives opposes any punitive action against Sri Lanka

May 19 (HO) The Maldives does not want to change the venue of this year's Commonwealth summit from Colombo and opposes any punitive action against Sri Lanka, Maldives Foreign Minister Dr Abdul Samad Abdulla said. Dr. Samad who was in Sri Lanka on a brief visit said that the Maldives was totally against any move to change the venue of the next CHOGM scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka from 15-17 November. more..

It’s time referees stood up for the sake of their own safety

May 20 (SL) The decision, last Tuesday, of a majority of rugby referees to boycott games involving Science College, no doubt, deals a harmful blow on the game’s development. A majority of the country’s top referees, including ‘internationals’ Dilroy Fernando and Nizam Jamaldeen, are signatories to the boycott; it’s a logical conclusion that the rest would follow – and so, the season might well have seen the last of Science. Such an eventuality will be tragic. more..

Northern election, reconciliation and the need to extend the middle ground

May 20 (ST) The Northern Provincial Council election expected to be held in September is likely to be one of the most closely watched Sri Lankan elections in recent history, both locally and internationally. It will allow Tamils to elect representatives in the province where they form a majority, for the first time. The move to hold this election has been hailed by moderates from all communities as a positive step in the reconciliation process. The Govt’s resolve to hold the more..

Nimal Siripala de Silva: A politician dedicated to the cause of his party

May 20 (SO) The political odyssey of Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva spans over three decades and he has gained a reputation as a politician who has scarified his political career for the public well-being and his party. 30-year political journey of Minister De Silva is clear testimony to define him as a politician who always practises gentlemanly politics and fosters friendship and goodwill among govt and opposition MPs. more..

Blundering politicians continue their assault on higher education

May 20 (CT) It is said that in this poem Goldsmiith was referring to his own tutor in the village in which he grew up and where his father was the Anglican parish priest. Goldsmith apparently had a very high regard and respect for this village schoolmaster; but the schoolchildren, as kids everywhere, were quick to recognise their teacher’s varying moods and kept him in good humour and avoided inviting his wrath, It appears that our university administrators today are following what schoolchildren have been more..

Sri Lanka retreats into the dark ages

May 20 (DBS) As lights are dimmed over Sri Lanka following prohibitively crushing electricity hikes, the enveloping darkness is menacingly symbolic of the crisis which our society is facing. This is even as the politically privileged siphon off massive amounts of money for useless extravaganzas, including an airport in the deep South to which overseas airlines are reportedly suspending operations, not long after a grand ceremonial opening. Wastage on luxury cars and other expenses associated with more..

The agony of peace

May 20 (DBS) The photograph is iconic; Alavi Moulana, 83 years old and an SLFP veteran of 52 years, bending down and kissing the hand of President Rajapaksa. That picture is revelatory of the current Lankan reality at multiple levels. It shows what citizens have to do if they are to prosper under Rajapaksa Rule. It shows what SLFPers have to do if they want are to get ahead in a Rajapaksa-party. It shows what minorities more..

Launching of the North East PC

May 20 (CT) The election of R. Premadasa as President of Sri Lanka was needed to give life to the North East Provincial Council (NEPC), and to get it moving. No sooner was he elected President, Varadaraja Perumal, the Chief Minister in waiting called on R. Premadasa the newly elected President. What is happening in the NEPC? inquired the President. Sir, nothing is moving and to make the Council work, I don’t have officers. When the President gave kinetic energy to the more..

Village thug meets his Waterloo

May 20 (SO) Manjula, a handsome youth turned village thug was always at hand to help the less fortunate. If the villagers faced any problems, he was the first person to come to their assistance. He was hero-worshipped by everybody in the village because of the ‘services’ he rendered. Walivitaarachchige Manjula Krishantha was born and bred in Mahara, Nugegoda, a highly populated area. Manjula 37, was a handsome well-built youth who always stood against injustice. more..

'People will take to the streets until govt is sent home'

May 20 (SL) Coordinator of the UNP’s trade union, the JSS, MP Ravi Karunanayake says that the strike action called by hundreds of trade unions on the 21st demanding the withdrawal of the electricity tariff hike would be a success since it is done by the people for the people. He observed that everybody is fully motivated in taking the message to the people and they would take to the streets until the govt is defeated. more..

Bodyguard's boot lands on his feet: Ranil goes berserk

May 20 (SO) It was a great moment for the nation when President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the Victory Day celebrations at Galle Face Green yesterday. He recalled those horrible days during which the masses had been subjected to untold privations due to the LTTE's ruthless terrorism. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has always struggled to understand the pulse of the masses. Each time he tried, be it an election campaign or a protest against the Govt, more..

Kariyawasam, Madushika excel on final day

May 20 (Island) Ananda College sprinter Arosh Kariyawasam and Kathaluwa Central athlete Nirmali Madushika proved that their selections for the IAAF World Youth Athletics Championship were not coincidences as they produced impressive performances again to bag the best athlete titles in the Under-18 boys and girls categories respectively on the final day of the Junior National Athletics Championship at Diyagama yesterday. The duo had already qualified for the world event when more..

Listed debt market heads for record year

May 20 (FT) Boosted by a specific 2013 Budget move, the country’s listed debt market is set for a record year in 2013, judging by value of issues already completed and those in the pipeline. The year so far has seen four firms raising Rs. 10.5 billion, whilst issues worth a further near Rs. 15 billion are in the offing. The best year for the listed corporate debt market was in 2010 with Rs. 15 billion raised and if most of the planned ones more..

Vigilance and prudence in management of external finances vital

May 20 (ST) For better and for worse, the trends in external trade observed in the first two months have been strengthened in the third month of this year. The import statistics have been for the better, while the export statistics continued to be unfavourable. The first quarter’s trade outturn though hopeful, is fragile and vulnerable. Prudent fiscal and monetary management are vital to contain the trade deficit. In the first quarter of the year, the trade deficit has been reduced by 23.4% compared to that of more..

Govt. finance stats, GDP numbers problematic, new IMF report shows

May 20 (Island) The IMF says the govt’s methodology for deriving the country’s GDP was unsatisfactory. Authorities have forecasted a GDP growth rate of 7.5% this year. However, the IMF has more conservative 6.3% estimate. "The methodology for deriving GDP at constant prices is not satisfactory. Expenditure estimates are available only annually and rely mostly on commodity flow techniques. Whenever possible, estimates are validated and checked with other sources," more..

Mahasen runs into a storm

May 20 (CT) When the tropical storm that developed in the Bay of Bengal last week passed close to Sri Lanka, near its north-eastern coast, it left behind a trail of destruction. With eight dead, several reported missing, a number of people injured and some 3,000 rendered homeless with countless damage to properties, one might think the devastation would have been cause for immense concern for the authorities. It was not to be. more..

Editorial : Of those constitutional ephemera

May 20 (Island) Constitutional proposals are apparently ten a penny in this country. Presented from time to time they end up as mere political ephemera and we have been left with a seriously flawed constitution which has more amendments than the original text and easily lends itself to misinterpretation and thereby abuse. Its architect, the late President J.R. Jayewardene, wanted it that way and his predecessors have faithfully retained it, relishing as they do its draconian powers more..

Mahela cheers up Delhi cancer patient

May 20 (Island) For 17-year-old Lisha, it was a dream come true. The class XII student, who is undergoing treatment for Osteosarcoma (bone cancer), could not believe that two of her favourite cricketers Irfan Pathan and Mahela Jayawardene had come to meet her in Delhi. Lisha, who hails from a small village in Meerut, is undergoing chemo-therapy at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj in east Delhi. She was pleasantly surprised when the two Delhi players more..

Govt. grabs lion’s share of new bank loans

May 20 (Island) The engine of economic growth, the private sector, saw credit from the domestic banking system pick up in March, but the state borrowed more than two and half times as much from the domestic banking system, raising concerns about the crowding out effect, while govt borrowings from the monetary authority also grew for the first time this year, latest data released by the Central Bank showed. more..

'Time not opportune to criticise PCs'

May 20 (Island) Although the provincial council system had not yielded the intended results, it was not the time to criticize it in view of a PC election on the horizon, observed the most Venerable Mahanayake Thero of Malwatte, Tibbatuwa Sri Siddhartha Sumangala, when Minister Dinesh Gunawardena called on him yesterday. The prelate added that a campaign against the PC system would be a topic for Geneva. Minister paid a customary courtesy call on the prelate to mark more..

JCTU tells public: Beware of conspirators

May 20 (DN) The Joint Council of Trade Unions (JCTU) yesterday in a message stressed that elements who lost at the Geneva Human Rights drama have come out with another conspiracy on their agenda to be played on May 21. “The historical nexus: elephant/Tiger and NGOs have united to carry out the agenda being drafted by anti – Sri Lankan elements operating locally and internationally,” it pointed out. JCTU Convenor, Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana more..

Strong political will needed in endorsing the draft right to development criteria

May 20 (IL) Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, "strong political will is needed to finalize the process of considering, revising, and ultimately endorsing the draft Right to Development criteria and operational sub-criteria, towards the elaboration of a coherent set of standards on this intrinsic right". Addressing the 14th session of the U.N Open-ended more..