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Vehicle registrations pick up in April

May 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Motor vehicle registrations have picked up slightly in April 2013 though still remaining far below levels seen after taxes were hiked last year, an analysis by an equities research house shows. Automobile registrations picked up to 1,974 in April 2013, from 1,589 in March, the highest since taxes were raised in April 2012 in a mistaken belief that car imports rather than central bank credit was causing a balance of payments crisis. Car registrations were driven by a spike in more..

Tourism in Sri Lanka not impacted due to political tensions with India

May 20 (PTI) The recent political tensions between India and Sri Lanka has not impacted tourism in the island nation, officials from Sri Lankan govt said in Mumbai today. "There was no major impact on tourism. Infact it (political crisis) impacted Tamil Nadu and India more as the wholesale business in textiles, dry fruits and other commodities was affected," said Bhaswara Senaka Gunarathna, chairman of Sri Lankan more..

Two maids get 10 years, 1,000 lashes for sorcery

May 20 (E24|7) A Saudi court sentenced two Asian housemaids to 10 years in jail and ordered their lashed 1,000 times each after they were found guilty of indulging in sorcery at their employers’ houses in the Gulf Kingdom, a newspaper reported on Monday. Their Saudi employers reported the two maids to the Gulf country’s feared religious police, saying they had discovered that their families had been harmed because of sorcery practiced by the maids against them. more..

Aussie MPs put pressure on Lanka

May 20 (CG) A delegation of Labor MPs in Australia have approached Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr and urged him to take a tougher line on alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. The delegation of between 6-12 Labor MPs petitioned Senator Carr after last Tuesday’s caucus meeting. The group urged a tougher line on Sri Lanka, amid concerns Canberra’s diplomacy towards Colombo is being influenced by the need for Sri Lanka’s cooperation in cracking down on the asylum trade. more..

'Hold back land and police powers'

May 20 (DM) EPDP leader Minister Douglas Devananda, an advocate of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, said the delegation of land and police powers to the provincial councils should be held back for the time being when constituting to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). He said there appeared to be dissension in the south over the delegation of such powers to the Provincial Council and therefore, it should be more..

JMO in charge of Matale mass grave also to be transferred

May 20 (SM) Judicial Medical Officer Dr. Ajith Jayasena of Matale District Hospital who was in charge of the scientific examination of the skeletons found in Matale mass grave has been transferred to Kurunegala General Hospital with immediate effect. He is to commence his duties at Kurunegala Hospital starting from today. When contacted by the media, he stated that despite the sudden transfer he is still in charge of the skeletons recovered from the Matale mass grave. more..

46 Km electric fence to prevent elephant encroachment

May 20 (GDI) The Wildlife Resources Conservation Ministry commenced construction work on the 46 Km electric fence from Annasigala in Thanamalwila to Icepeella in Wellawaya. The electric fence will prevent elephant encroachment into villages in the Thanamalwila and Wellawaya areas. The human-elephant conflict is a serious problem that Sri Lanka has faced for many years. Increased rural habitation and resultant infringement of natural elephant territory as well as accelerated more..

Cleveland Bridge lands £35m order from Sri Lanka

May 20 (NE) A world famous bridge building company has won a £35m contract that will help transform lives on a tropical island and secure the firm's future for years. Cleveland Bridge in Darlington has signed a deal with the govt of Sri Lanka to make up to 210 bridges for jungle and rural areas across the country. The ambitious three year project will help isolated communities access better education, healthcare and jobs by replacing more..

Tomorrow’s strike action confirmed, Govt. has already accepted defeat – Lal Kanthe

May 20 (LT) All working masses are prepared for tomorrow’s strike action, in an attempt to sabotage the strike the govt is engaged in various conspiracies and is sending letters to various institutions to scare the people, such petty attempts indicate how frightened the govt is says the President of National Trade Union Center (NTUC) K.D. Lal Kanthe. He said, “The Secretary General of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena in an announcement had asked employees not to participate for more..

Deyata Kirula National Development 2014 begins

May 20 (MED) Govt will launch the next Deyata Kirula National Development programme on February, 2014 in the Puttalam, Kurunegala and Kegalle Districts. Minister Basil Rajapaksa said this at a meeting held at the ministry office recently to plan next year’s Deyata Kirula Development programme events. Political leaders, policy planners, ministry secretaries and other senior officials participated in the discussions where the Minister said the programme should truly more..

Indian development aid second largest in Sri Lanka

May 20 (PTI) India was the second largest development aid giver to Sri Lanka last year behind China, providing over $700 million to the island nation, according to latest official figures. This was contained in the Ministry of Finance and Planning’s External Resources Department’s 2012 ‘Global Partnership towards Development’ report issued recently. The Chinese commitment stood at $1.05 billion. “The total assistance extended more..

'Environment in North is not conducive to hold free and fair elections'

May 21 (DBS) Repressive Policy of the govt is on the increase. It is impossible to express dissenting views against the govt. The govt behaves in a manner as if the people have given a mandate to them to stay in power forever. It has been scheduled to hold an election in September for the Northern Provincial Council. The Environment there is not conducive to hold free and fair elections. Severe repression is being carried out in the North. There is no room for recognized political parties to more..

Six myths of the opposition obstructing path of political recovery and regime change

May 21 (DBS) Erroneous political thinking and analysis obscure and obstruct the path of the political recovery of the Opposition in Sri Lanka. They can be disaggregated into six myths. Myth 1 is that unity at all costs in the ranks of the main democratic opposition party is a necessary and sufficient condition of political success. The reality is that as in mathematics, any number into zero is zero. If the leader or candidate of the main opposition party is an electoral liability, more..

Now country savors freedom

May 21 (NS) May 19 is our victory day. It will be remembered by Sri Lankans, not for decades, but for many centuries to come. It was the day, in May 2009, our heroic forces defeated and annihilated Neo-Nazi LTTE and its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran with his foreign friends at Nandikadal lagoon. If that annihilation had not taken place, at least 15,000 people would have been killed during the last four years. It was on that victory more..

India a threat to regional peace and security

May 21 (NS) Dayan Jayatilleka’s political predictions invariably project passing fears, laced with political preferences/prejudices, into impending doomsday scenarios. It always calculates the end of the world for Sri Lanka if the 13the Amendment or any of his prescriptions are not implemented. His latest book, Long War, Cold Peace and his interview in the Financial Times (FT -- (5/10/2013) titled “We are on the road to lose peace” summarize his predictions based on his fears: the military victory more..

View from Ritigala

May 21 (NS) The JVP has an on-off love affair with the UNP. The on-days were during the failed presidential bid of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. That was a love-affair of convenience. Both the JVP and UNP knew that Mahinda Rajapaksa couldn’t be defeated. They wanted to save themselves from an embarrassing defeat. They found a convenient ally in Fonseka’s bloated ego and egged him on. He lost and immediately both the UNP and JVP dropped him like a hot potato. more..

Fishing a lucrative industry in Trinco

May 21 (SO) Fishing is a lucrative profession, but carries with it a grave risk. Fishermen who fish in the deep seas are out in the sea for sometimes three to six months at a time and leave their families to fend for themselves. Krisantha Menika, a fisherman we spoke to us at the harbour premises said that for several years he was engaged in fishing and earns enough money from this industry. But that it was a risky profession more..

Electricity Economics: pointless populism

May 21 (CT) On April 28, I discussed the design of the proposed electricity tariffs and made three points; the domestic tariff structure is moronic (no exaggeration), Fuel Adjustment is a fraud that has nothing to do with fuel and less with adjustment, it is a swindle to increase tariffs by a further 40%, and thirdly the Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC) consultative document is slip-shod, with incoherent accounting, replete with undefined terms and incomplete presentations. more..

Striking a blow for consumer rights

May 21 (Island) The Coordination Committee of the Trade Union Alliance (CCTUA) is determined to go ahead with its strike scheduled for today against power tariff hikes, though speculation is rife in political circles that the UNP’s Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) is blowing hot and cold about the protest. The FUTA has pledged solidarity with the striking unions but baulked at paralysing universities in support of them; it has said it would stage a partial strike—whatever that means. more..

New York Report with Cindi Bigelow

Pakistan’s democratic milestone: First electoral succession in 66 years

May 21 (CT) Pakistan passed a rare milestone in its bumpy 66 year history. For the first time power has been transferred from one elected government to another. The succession of power in Pakistan has almost always alternated between civilian and military administrations. National elections usually followed long periods of military dictatorships under Ayub Khan (1959-68) and Yahya Khan (1968-71), Zia-ul Hak (1977-1988), and Perverz Musharraff (1999-2008) – a total of 32 years. more..

Does Sri Lanka need militarization?

May 21 (SL) The conventional belief was that the military at best should be confined to barracks or be on battlefields but after the much celebrated victory over terrorism the forces have not been demobilized as is usual in other countries or found civilian jobs but appear to move into civilian projects under the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. In Colombo they moved to take over a part of the Town Hall job of urban development. Parts of Colombo 7 have been ‘beautified’ with the assistance more..

Let us celebrate, Let us mourn too

May 21 (CT) Four years ago the nation, which had held its collective breath in fear and uncertainty, breathed again. It was a deep breath that was taken and the exhalation was naturally long. There was dancing in the streets. This was called ‘triumphalism’, with the word laced with derisive commentary. Let us, at this moment when Sri Lanka celebrates the 4th anniversary of the vanquishing of Eelamism’s military more..

Hayleys records highest-ever pre-tax profit

May 21 (FT) Hayleys, one of Sri Lanka’s leading conglomerates, announced an exceptional financial performance in 12/13, despite challenging conditions in its key global markets and tight macroeconomic policies in the domestic arena. In a filing to the Colombo Stock Exchange, the blue chip conglomerate reported a turnover of Rs. 74.3 billion, a 13% growth from the previous financial year. The PBT grew to Rs. 5 billion from Rs. 2.6 billion in 11/12, which was restated in line with more..

Doctor quashes speculation on transfer

May 21 (CT) The forensic expert in charge of the skeletal remains in the mass grave in Matale, Dr. Ajith Jayasena, has quashed speculation of foul play with regard to his recent transfer to the Kurunegala Hospital. The Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of Matale, denied that his transfer had any links to the investigation of the Matale skeletons and said the transfer was routine. He added that he had made a request for a transfer in his annual transfer application. more..

'IPL fiasco very unfortunate'

May 21 (Island) With the finals of Sri Lanka Cricket conducted triangular cricket tournament ending at Pallekele without most of the players selected for the Champions Trophy, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage lamented the lack of preparation for the national cricket team in the upcoming Champions Trophy. Nine of the 15 players in the Sri Lankan squad for the Champions Trophy are involved in the IPL and more..

Sri Lanka: Lending a helping hand

May 21 (NZH) The international arrivals area in Sri Lanka's major airport has two kinds of shop: the usual duty-free perfume and alcohol stores, and shop after shop stuffed with second-hand home appliances. It's a fitting first impression of a country that hasn't yet begun to pander to Western expectations, palates and wallets. I went to Sri Lanka last August, along with 22 of my colleagues and friends, with Habitat for Humanity. We helped to build a village for 24 local families more..

Minister asks to care for aging parents

May 21 (DN) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena stressed the need to look after aging parents. He was addressing a meeting after handing over appointment letters to over 380 Family Heath Service Officials at the Maharagama National Youth Service Council Auditorium recently. The minister said “some persons who achieve success in their life tend to forget their aging parents. Husbands forget their wives and wives forget their husbands when they reach the zenith of success. more..

Uni. academic terminated

May 21 (CT) A lecturer of the Sri Jayewardenepura University had been terminated from service for political reasons while the university administration counter-claimed that the academic was terminated as he had not completed his postgraduate studies. The FUTA said, Anuruddha Pradeep's termination was a result of him not completing his postgraduate studies within the given eight-year time frame. more..

TID ASP remanded

May 21 (FT) A retired Assistant Superintendent of Police attached to the TID who is alleged to have defrauded Rs.3.5 million of several foreign job seekers by promising to provide employment opportunities in Canada was ordered to be remanded till June 3 by a Colombo Court. The suspected ASP Ananda Ranasinghe is also the sixth suspect in the case where he and ten others were arrested for attempting and conspiring to defraud 100 kilograms of gold belonging to the state. more..

Wijeweera’s eldest daughter remanded

May 21 (Island) JVP founder leader Rohana Wijeweera’s eldest daughter, Dasun Wijeweera (32), has been arrested and remanded till June 3 for allegedly assaulting her mother and younger brother. Mahabage police, who made the arrest and produced her before the Wattala Magistrate, said that the Judge had ordered that the suspect be examined by psychiatrist and a medical report submitted to court. According to late Wijeweera’s wife, Srimathi Chithrangani (58), her eldest more..

Russia requests Sri Lanka’s vote to win EXPO 2020 bid

May 21 (DN) The Russian Federation requested Sri Lanka's support to win the bid to host EXPO 2020. The Head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independence States-Russia, Konstantin Kosachev who met PM DM Jayaratne emphasised the importance of Sri Lanka's vote for Russia to host EXPO 2020. Russia is competing for the votes of 162 countries along with Thailand, Turkey, Brazil and UAE. more..

Govt revenue could increase to 20% of GDP from current 13%

May 21 (Island) Full implantation of recommendations of the Presidential Taxation Commission could see govt revenue at 13% of GDP in 2012, increase over the next few years to 20% of GDP, a senior economist and member of the commission said, as the IMF calls on Sri Lanka to go for a second round of tax reforms to halt declining revenue. IPS Executive Director Dr. Saman Kelegama said the commission’s recommendations were partially implemented by the govt. more..

Suspect dies in police cell

May 21 (Island) A 44-year-old suspect from Kotahena arrested with stolen vehicles parts in the early hours of yesterday allegedly committed suicide inside a cell at the Bambalapitiya police station, a few hours later. The suspect had been arrested on charges of stealing vehicle parts such as wipers and side mirrors near Bambalapitiya flats around 5.20 a.m. He had later hanged himself with a piece of cloth given to him to wipe the floor after he had spilt some tea on it. more..

'Strike stillborn'

May 21 (DN) While predicting that the strike action planned for today by a few Trade Unions affiliated to Opposition political parties will be a total flop, joint trade union alliance leaders said the real reason behind the attempt was to gain petty political mileage and not to protest against the electricity tariff hike. Trade union leaders charged that organisers of the proposed strike were pawns in the hands of some bankrupt opposition more..

Ranil's door-to-door campaign a total flop

May 21 (CT) It has now come to light that the door-to-door campaign at Anamaduwa, mooted by the UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, to enrol members to the Party had proved a complete failure. General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake, and MPs Joseph Michael Perera, Harsha de Silva and Chandrani Bandara had participated in the campaign led by Wickremesinghe, held on 17 and 18 May. Reportedly, the campaign at Anamaduwa on the 17th had attracted only 41 persons more..

NTPC set to ink pact for Sampur project

May 21 (Hindu) With differences over the operation and maintenance (O&M) charges and the gross heat rate issues in the power purchase agreement (PPA) sorted out, NTPC is all set to ink agreement for the execution of the proposed 2X250 MW Sampur power project in Trincomale, Sri Lanka, by early next month. A series of meetings between the officials Ministry of Power, Sri Lankan Govt, senior officials of NTPC and with assistance of the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, more..

Power hike debunked

May 21 (CT) The National Movement of Electricity Consumers (NMEC) yesterday said the govt has no reason to increase the electricity tariff as the country is experiencing heavy rains, and as a result, the water levels in the catchment areas have increased by 67%. The much debated electricity tariff hike was imposed on consumers from yesterday. President of the NMEC, Sunil Wimalasuriya, said the CEB has no reason more..

Two Japanese warships in Colombo

May 21 (DM) Two Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) ships, “Suzunami” and “Kirisame” arrived at the Port of Trincomalee today on a goodwill and supply visit, navy headquarters said. Commander 03rd Escort Division, Captain Junichi Shimo and ships' Commanding Officers, Commander Toshikuni Miyata and Commander Takayuki Kaseda paid a courtesy call on Commander Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Rohan Amarasinghe at Command more..

'Spirit of non-violence important'

May 21 (CT) Vesak Day is a celebration for Buddhists worldwide and an opportunity for all members of the international community to benefit from their rich traditions, Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, said. Issuing a Vesak Day message, he said: "This year's observance, falling at a time of widespread strife and misery, is an occasion to examine how Buddhist teachings can inform our response to prevailing challenges. "Confronting the troubling problems facing more..