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Funeral held amidst tightened security

May 29 (CT) The cremation of the remains of Bowatte Indrarathana Thera, who set himself on fire, as a mark of protest against the slaughter of cattle, was held at the playground of the South Panawenna Vidyalaya, Kahawatte, yesterday evening. Thousands of people participated at the funeral. A Court Order was issued stating the cremation should be held under the guidance of Indrarathana Thera's senior monk, Palmadulle Vajiragnana Thera. However, several Buddhist more..

Rs. 7 mn heist in Ekala

May 29 (Island) Four armed men held up a garment factory director at Ekala in Ja-Ela and robbed him, at gun point, of Rs. 7 million yesterday afternoon. The robbery took place just in front of the main entrance to the director’s firm. Police spokesman Buddhika Siriwardana said that the suspects had arrived in a white van, bearing the registration number 251-5687, around 12.55 p.m. near Polytex Garment factory at the Ekala junction. more..

Port fire: Rs.500 mn in goods destroyed

May 29 (Island) The value of imported goods destroyed in the Vesak night fire, at a large warehouse in the Colombo Harbour, would be more than Rs. 500 million. By noon yesterday 266 importers, whose goods were in the ill-fated warehouse, had come forward, but 92 had failed to furnish the supporting documents to back their claims. The other 174 had submitted the relevant documentary evidence to the SLPA. On the basis of those documents, the value of their cargo more..

Bus unions unite for pre-paid card system

May 29 (CT) Despite on-going disputes with the Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA), the All Island Private Bus Owners' Federation (AIPBOF) extended support to implement a pre-paid card system for private buses. The card system is a project initiated by the LPBOA, together with the Western Province Passenger Transport Board. The system will be implemented on one bus route in the Western Province as a pilot project and then gradually introduced to all the other routes. more..

'Voter apathy: Instil confidence in voters'

May 29 (Island) DP leader General Sarath Fonseka said that Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya had to instil confidence among the Sri Lankans in the country’s electoral process. The vast majority of Sri Lankans had lost faith in the electoral process due to major malpractices, the former army commander said, urging Deshapriya to take meaningful measures to encourage more people to exercise their franchise. more..

Editorial: Minister vows to fight ‘demons’ in drug trade

May 29 (DM) We congratulate Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena on his latest pledge that the National Medicinal Drugs Policy (NMDP), based on Professor Senaka Bibile’s essential medicines concept, will be implemented by the end of this year. In a hard-hitting speech on Monday to mark World No-Tobacco Day, the Minister said the high and the mighty or even demons or evil forces were trying to sabotage the NMDP and prevent him from introducing legislation in Parliament. more..

Increasing inequality,dehumanization of society and social justice

May 29 (DM) What we observe on our roads in and around Colombo today is disturbing. Sleek motor vehicles costing anything between ten and twenty million rupees have become commonplace; on the other hand, entire families ride on rickety motor bikes exposing even small children to dust, toxic fumes, scorching sun or heavy rain. People with money buy blocks of land in and around Colombo, clear even the last blade of grass, let alone the trees, and build three storyed houses more..

Where lies the conspiracy?

May 29 (SL) The long standing head of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) in Sri Lanka, Sagarica Delgoda, was summoned last week by the CID for questioning regarding the activities of her organization. FNF is a German political foundation which has its branch offices in many countries, including India and Sri Lanka. The police reportedly kept Ms Delgoda for more than 8 hours at their headquarters and interrogated her on more..

Sri Lanka to sell 30-year long bonds

May 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka is selling 30-year long bonds for the first time this week which fill a need for long term gilts, help better manage the state debt stock and extend a risk free yield curve. We think it is a good time," Central Bank Nivard Cabraal said. "There will be plenty of long term investors because they know that interest rates would trend down in the future." "Then from the govts point of view it will help them to more..

Bribery Com. Chairman rules out early ruling on CJ 43’s objections

May 29 (ST) A ruling on the objections raised by CJ 43 Shirani Bandaranayake against the chairman of the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption and another commissioner will be given only after the investigations are completed. Commission Chairman Jagath Balapatabendi said investigations by the Commission’s director into the allegations that Dr. Bandaranayake had not fully declared her more..

'Education, skills development only way to combat poverty'

May 29 (DN) A labour force equipped with the necessary skills and abilities are a prerequisite for a country’s economic development, Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. He was addressing the inaugural session of the skills and human resources development workshop of the SAARC region. The three day workshop is held in Colombo till Thursday under the theme, Public Private Partnerships for Skills Development more..

Sabaragamuwa undergrads threaten hunger strike

May 29 (Island) Undergraduates of the Sabaragamuwa University are threatening to go on a hunger strike opposite the Vice Chancellor’s office if the university administration fails to respond to their Sathyagraha campaign before June 3, the day on which examinations of the Agriculture Faculty would start. Spokesman of the Students’ Collective of the University, said that their Sathyagraha against the violation of exam rights of more..

Nearly 13,000 Lankans in Saudi accept grace period

May 29 (DN) Nearly 13,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers in Saudi Arabia illegally have decided to either come back home or regularise their stay during the grace period offered to them by Saudi govt, Minister Dilan Perera said. Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry offered foreigners staying illegally a three-month grace period to regularise their stay. This period ends on July 3. Saudi officials have said there will be no extension of the grace period more..

China, Sri Lanka agree loans, defence; seek to allay Indian worries

May 29 (Reuters) China has offered Sri Lanka about $2.2 billion in loans for infrastructure projects and a free trade pact, the island nation said on Wednesday, moves that could stoke fresh unease in India about Beijing's expanding influence in its neighbourhood. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, however, said the agreements with China including a separate one to enhance defence ties, should not be a cause for concern. more..

Sri Lanka to assist probe in Indian cricket scandal

May 29 (Xinhua) The Sri Lanka Cricket Board said on Wednesday it is ready to assist investigations into claims that Indian bookies may have been involved with a tournament held in Sri Lanka last year. Indian media reports said that some Indian bookies were involved with the franchises in the Sri Lanka Premier League held last year. Sri Lanka Cricket Board secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said that the cricket board is ready to help more..

Govt against all forms of trafficking

May 29 (CG) The Govt says it adopts a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of human trafficking and endeavours to address this phenomenon through prevention, protection, prosecution and punishment, and promotion of international cooperation, in line with the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Sri Lanka informed the UNHRC at its ongoing 23rd session that it has enacted more..

UNP proposes Westminster system

May 29 (CG) The main opposition UNP, today, made public its proposed constitution which includes a British style Westminster system for the Cabinet. The UNP constitution also proposes as a novel system the executive powers of the President to be exercised on apolitical basis and to be subject to checks and balances. Under the Westminster system the Cabinet of Ministers will be restricted to 25 including the Prime Minister. more..

From the headlines (with comment)

May 29 (CT) This time around, rather than compose copy dealing with the burning issues of the day, I thought it might be useful to make some appropriate comments on a few items of interest from the web editions of one day’s worth of English-language newspapers from May 17th. I hope that this will provide an appropriate snapshot of life in our Resplendent Isle. So here goes! From the Daily Mirror: Rolls Royces and BMWs to be imported for CHOGM - The External Affairs Ministry is more..

Editorial : Universities rotting at the top

May 29 (CT) There does not seem to be an end to Sri Lanka's saga of the university mess. From one crisis to another, each becoming more acute than the preceding one, higher education institutions of the country are heading for eventual disaster. The latest chapter to be added to this sorry state of affairs at the grooming ground of our academics, intellectuals, professionals and the intelligentsia, is the appointment of Dr. Kumara Hirimburegama as Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo. more..

Colombo University Teachers Union wants Senate to boycott the meeting today

May 29 (CT) “Stand with us in solidarity to show our dissent to this appointment. You can start by boycotting the senate meeting today as a symbolic gesture of your support.” the Executive Committee of the Colombo University Federation of Teachers Unions wrote to the members of the Colombo University Senate. We publish below the letter in full; Dear Senate Member; We write to you to draw your attention more..

Dambulla hospital in full operation from June 1

May 29 (Island) The Dambulla hospital, managed by the Central Provincial Council, will be fully commissioned from June 1, Central Province Health Minister attorney Sunil Kithsiri Amaratunge said. Some sections of the hospital had not been functioning for some time due to the non availability of qualified medical officers, surgeons and staff, Minister Amaratunge said. The hospital had cost the Central Govt and the Provincial Council at least Rs. 372 million. more..

Ranaviru Real Stars live in concert in USA

May 29 (SLE) Ranaviru Real Stars, the winners of Sri Lanka’s most popular Reality TV singing competition for members of the Armed Forces, will tour the United States in June 2013. During the tour, the Stars will perform in three live concerts in Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York respectively. All proceeds from the performances will be donated to build an Ayurvedic treatment facility at Mihindu Seth Madura in Attidiya. Mihindu Seth Madura is the healing home for more..

Chinese premier meets Sri Lanka president

May 29 (Xinhua) Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse on Wednesday, pledging to make progress in developing the two countries' strategic cooperative partnership. Li said during the meeting that China and Sri Lanka are friendly neighbors with deep political mutual trust. The two sides have developed a healthy and stable relationship since they established diplomatic ties, Li said, more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.3%

May 29 (LBO) Stock closed up 0.33% on Wednesday ending two days of losses helped by renewed interest banks and beverage shares, brokers said. The All Share Index closed 21.11 points higher at 6,455.81 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed up 17.68 points at 3,644.64 up 0.49%. Turnover was 906 million rupees up from 557 million day earlier. Foreigners brought 239 million rupees worth shares while selling 136 million rupees of shares, in a day that 118 stocks advanced more..

Environment Week from June 5th

May 29 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy has declared an “Environment Week” from June 5 to 12 to mark World Environment Day this year. A series of environmental conservation programmes will be carried out during this week throughout the country. Prersident Rajapaksa will launch Environment Week at Temple Tress attended by around 5,000 schoolchildren on June 5th. This year’s theme is ‘Think. Eat. Save. Reduce Your Food print’. more..

Book on journalist who predicted his assassination

May 29 (MM) ‘And Then They Came For Me’ A book on the life and work of slain Sri Lankan Editor and journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge was launched today. The biography, titled “And Then They Came For Me’ is the story a man who lived, breathed and finally died in the pursuit of the truth in a land where contemporary media history is written in the blood and tears of those who dare to tell it as it is. A few weeks before his assassination, more..

Retd Major General, serving Colonel convicted after 22 years

May 29 (PTI) A CBI court today convicted a retired Major General, a serving Colonel and a private firm, after a 22-year long trial of a case, pertaining to the award of supply of tinned meat to Indian Peace Keeping Force of the Army, then deployed in Sri Lanka. On completion of the trial, Additional Special Judge court for CBI cases K Paramaraj convicted Maj Gen A K Gupta and Lt Col S S Kadian and sentenced them to two years and one-year rigorous imprisonment respectively. more..

Sri Lanka proposed lease tax, foreigner curbs, may hurt property market: developer

May 29 (LBO) A proposed tax on leases and restrictions on sale to foreigners may hurt the market, a property development firm has said. "The proposed amendment to the law introducing a prohibition of sale of lands in Sri Lanka to foreign nationals and on imposing a tax on lease value will have a negative impact on our rental business," Equity One, a Colombo listed property firm said. "The proposed tax on lease values will discourage long term lease agreements with foreign more..

Four new projects implemented in Kilinochchi & Mulathivu districts

May 29 (MED) Four new projects which were constructed by expending an amount over Rs.5000 lacks that assists for the livelihood development, health facilities and drinking water required for the resettled people in kilinochchi and Mulathivu Districts were peoplized by Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Pandiyamkulam irrigation scheme of Mulathivu District constructed by expending an amount of Rs. 1985 lacks and Mallavi more..

Most accidents occur on six arterial roads

May 29 (Island) Motorists have been warned to take extra care when driving on six main roads in the country as they have accounted for the highest number of accidents. The Health Ministry revealed that the highest number of traffic accidents reported had occured on the Colombo – Kandy, Colombo – Hambantatoa via Matara, Colombo – Anuradhapura via Puttalam, Colombo – Anuradhapura via Kurunegala, Colombo – Anuradhapura via Dambulla and Colombo – Badulla via Ratnapura roads more..

Maldives, Lanka to strengthen police ties

May 29 (CG) Inspector General of Police N. K. Illangakoon paid a courtesy call on Maldives President Dr Mohamed Waheed today, the Maldives Govt said. The meeting was held this morning at the President’s Office. At the meeting, the President and Illangakoon discussed ways of further strengthening the relations between the two countries, especially in the area of Police service. Highlighting the political challenges faced by the Police, President commended the professionalism more..

'Sri Lanka’s economic development closely linked to reconciliation'

May 29 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed the opening ceremony of the Global Services Forum Beijing Summit this morning at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. “As Asian countries transform to become service-driven economies, it is important that we work towards creating greater synergies,” President Rajapaksa said in his speech. President explained how Sri Lanka’s economic development more..

Buddhist monks complete Tamil Language course

May 29 (CT) A group of Buddhist monks have successfully completed a Tamil Language course at the Kopay National College of Education in Jaffna. The Tamil language training programme in Jaffna was initiated by the Consultant, Language Training Division of the Department of Education, Ven. Uyangalle Gnarathana Thera. The monks, who had proactively participated in the programme, had also visited many villages in the Peninsula and interacted with the residents. more..

Two persons injured after police open fire on fleeing suspects

May 29 (AD) Two persons were injured after police opened fire on them on the Kebithigollewa-Vavuniya road as they attempted to flee the authorities in a stolen vehicle. Two others who were also traveling in the vehicle were arrested. The suspects had crashed into a motorbike with the stolen vehicle in Kebithigollewa and had fled the scene after which the Kebithigollewa police informed the 6thmile post police regarding the incident who attempted to stop the vehicle. After the vehicle failed to stop on more..

Rehabilitated cadres seek refugee status overseas

May 29 (CT) Ex-LTTE cadres who had been integrated into society consequent to being rehabilitated, are now approaching foreign missions in Colombo, seeking refugee status in those countries. Hundreds of applications had been submitted in the recent past requesting refugee status on humanitarian grounds. The ex-cadres had stated that though they had been integrated with society, they continue to live in isolation more..

SLPL denies Vindu Dara Singh’s claim

May 29 (PTI) Sri Lanka Premier League on Wednesday denied Vindu Dara Singh’s claims that two bookies had owned one of the franchises of the SLPL, which conducted its inaugural edition last year. “No such names figure in the list of SLPL franchise owners,” Ajith Jayasekera, the SLPL CEO, told reporters reacting to Vindu’s claims that two bookies named Sanjay and Pawan are the ‘benami’ owners of one of the franchises in the SLPL. After the seven—franchise tournament ran into more..

Pressure on banks to lend to Govt.

May 29 (ST) Sri Lanka’s commercial banks are under increasing pressure to lend to the Govt for its development activities, a move that has affected lending to the private sector, official sources said. At a recent meeting between senior Treasury officials and representatives of some banks, it was revealed that the banks have already lent around Rs. 60 billion to the govt in February 2013 alone, official sources revealed. Treasury Secretary Dr. P B Jayasundera, emphasizing the need to more..

'Not a single temple is erected in north or east after war'

May 29 (OU) There is not a single problem for Tamil community in this country, those pointing out crisis, can point out at least one”.” Not even a new temple was built after war in north. I make this statement with responsibility. If my statement is false, let TNA prove with evidence. It is no use speaking heroically and contrarily” challenged JHU, the govt associate party to TNA. Military is positioned in north, and instead of more..

'If camps are relocated to Palaly, why lands getting confiscated?'

May 29 (OU) Questions were raised by public, if reduce the existing 17 military camps in Jaffna to just three, why forces are impounding private properties in the Jaffna divisional secretariat units. Currently 17 military camps exist in Jaffna, but fourteen camps will be pulled out and would be relocated in the main Palaly cantonment, said military Commander lt. General Jagath Jayasooriya recently. However in each divisional secretariat unit located in the Jaffna district, notifications more..

Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington DC celebrates Vesak

May 29 (SLE) Vesak was celebrated in Washington DC on May 23 at the Embassy of Sri Lanka. Embassy staff under the patronage of Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya organized an almsgiving to the venerable members of the maha sangha. Chief Incumbent of the Washington Buddhist Vihara Ven. Maharagama Dhammasiri thero, Chief Incumbent of the Maryland Buddhist Vihara, Ven. Katugastota Uparatana thero, together with Buddhist monks from Pennsylvania Vihara and Mahamevnava more..