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Britain steps up deportation of Sri Lankans

May 3 (Island) Although the latest figures on deportations from the UK were not available, British authorities had gradually stepped up forcible extraditions since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. According to British High Commission, 504 persons were deported in 2009, 608 in 2010, 865 in 2011 and 717 up to 2012. Asked for the number of deportations so far this year, she said that full figures would be released when the UK finalized the 2013 report, which dealt with such more..

'Sally was arrested as he was trying to harm national unity'

May 3 (LB) Former Deputy Mayor of the CMC Azath Sally was arrested last morning from a hideout in Kolonnawa, for allegedly attempting to stoke the fires of ‘ethnic and religious strife and harm national unity.’ MCNS Director General Lakshman Hulugalle said Azath Sally was arrested by the CID following several complaints received by the CID regarding conduct which could damage ethnic harmony, and harm national unity. more..

'All involved in CEB hike are trading charges'

May 3 (CT) The harassment of innocent workers by the CWC on estates in the upcountry are on the increase, and to protect these estate workers, the leader of the CWC, Arumugam Thondaman, should be chased out from the highlands, the Leader of the DPF, Mano Ganesan said. He was addressing a May Day rally held at the A.E. Gunasinghe Park, Pettah, Colombo 11, on May Day. The NSSP, TNA, DPF, Jathika Samagi Peramuna, several trade unions and civil society organizations were more..

'RDA to outsource road maintenance'

May 3 (CT) Unions of the Road Development Authority (RDA) charge the RDA is planning on handing over road maintenance to private organizations. Secretary of the RDA Workers’ Union, B.M.D.K. Bandara, charged that certain officials in the RDA are working out ways and means of handing over maintenance work of newly built roads to private businessmen. He added that officials with vested interests are mooting this new venture, whereby private entities would undertake more..

TN assembly adopts resolution to urge Centre to retrieve Kachchativu island

May 3 (TOI) In a bid to put an end to frequent attacks on Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan navy, the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Centre to retrieve Kachchativu island ceded to Sri Lanka under a 1974 agreement signed between India and Sri Lanka. TN fishermen say they cross the IMBL to fish in the waters of the Kachchativu island as part of a traditional norm and hence get attacked by more..

Lack of funding shuts NRC

May 3 (CG) The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is to leave Sri Lanka by June this year owing to funding constraints, the humanitarian agency said. The Secretary General of NRC, Ms Toril Brekke will be visiting Sri Lanka next week to host a farewell function. The NRC has been engaged in humanitarian activities in Sri Lanka since 2004 providing assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Southern, North-Western, Northern and Eastern Provinces in Sri Lanka. more..

Import tax on potatoes increased

May 3 (DM) The Import tax on potatoes has been increased by Rs.10 per kilo with effect from today, Finance Ministry said. Issuing a statement the ministry said that the Government has decided to revise special commodity levy on imported potatoes in order to ensure a better and reasonable price for local farmers who are engaged in potato cultivation. Accordingly, special commodity levy charged per kilo of imported potatoes has been increased from Rs.15 to Rs.25. more..

Australia urges Sri Lanka to speed up reconciliation ahead of Commonwealth meet

May 3 (Xinhua) The Australian govt has called on its Sri Lankan counterpart to push ahead with reconciliation measures and promote human rights ahead of a powerful Commonwealth meeting to be held here later this year, a top official said. Sri Lanka will host the CHOGM in November, which is the highest decision making body of the grouping of countries but this has been shadowed by the island's sketchy human rights record. more..

Salley admitted to hospital

May 3 (CG) Former Deputy Mayor Azath Salley was admitted to hospital this evening. Salley had been on a hunger strike while being detained by the CID after he was arrested last morning. Meanwhile UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya condemned in the strongest possible terms the arrest of Azath Salley. Jayasuriya said that his arrest – for allegedly inciting communal hatred under the prevention of terrorism act, is further proof that the Government continues to retain repressive war time laws to more..

LPBOA files petition with HRC

May 3 (LB) The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) has filed a petition with the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission against a gazette notification set out by the govt that all private buses should be painted by 2014. The chairman of the LPBOA Gemunu Wijeratne has said that the Minister of Transport Services Kumara Welgama has issued the above-named gazette notification while flouting the regulations stipulated in the Motor Traffic Act and hence it has to be shelved more..

Strange and shocking story of murder and suicide

May 3 (E24|7) A shocking story of a mentally disturbed medical student who poisoned his lover to death out of suspicion before killing himself with the same poison, has come to light. The deceased are Maheshika Kularatna, 24-year-old student of Moratuwa University, and Amala Chaturanga, 25, a student of the Ragama Medical Faculty. Maheshika and Chaturanga had come to know each other through Facebook more..

Sri Lanka's child-friendly schools project nears completion

May 3 (OW) The child-friendly schools programme under the government’s combined national campaign to develop 5,000 elementary schools and 1,000 secondary schools is now nearing completion and will be ready for use by May 5, states the Ministry of Economic Development. For developing 5,000 elementary schools into child friendly schools 3322 schools representing the 25 districts were selected. The funds allocated for this is Rs. 1,661 million. more..

TELO gives ultimatum to ITAK

May 3 (CT) The TELO, at its Central Committee meeting held in Trincomalee, decided to give two weeks time to the ITAK, to come to an agreement to register the TNA as a political party. The Alliance has three other constituent Tamil parties – the EPRLF, the TULF and the PLOTE. If the ITAK fails to come to an agreement by the due date, TELO warned, the alliance comprising other four constituent parities will be registered as a political party under the TNA banner. more..

UK undecided on CHOGM

May 3 (CG) Britain has not decided if it would attend the CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka in November and at what level it will attend. A spokesperson for the British Foreign Office said that a decision had yet to be made on whether the UK would attend the summit, and if it did, who would attend. “The decision to hold the meeting in Sri Lanka was taken by the Commonwealth as a whole in 2009 and reaffirmed in 2011. more..

It’s all about a good body and a happy frame of mind

May 4 (NS) Dilanji Dodangoda is an up-and-coming model who has achieved recognition in the glamour field in superfast time. Dilanji isn’t the product of a modeling school, but she earned her place under the spotlight by finishing among the top five models at the Super Model of the Year competition in 2012. She has walked the ramp in most of the top fashion shows in the country and says that figure is one of the key criterions needed to be a top model. She has been blessed with a lean figure more..

Beyond collective egos: Our relational grounds of belonging and faith

May 4 (GV) While racial hatred burns, with fires so ably lit by the ignorant on both sides of Palk Straits, there is another source of energy – hidden from view but none the less real – that burns deep inside. For the Sinhala Buddhist today, regaining identity and faith is necessarily bound up with reclaiming a lost inheritance. This inheritance is our cultural relationship with India or Maha Bharata which shaped and moulded our broad sense of Sinhalese-ness and Buddhist-ness for 16 centuries more..

‘Consequence of indiscipline is a good fear to have’

May 4 (NS) Retired Senior DIG Nimal Lewke is one who lived tell the tale after being involved in an almost three decade-old war which concluded in 2009. Lewke, who played a key role in the East when the war against the LTTE raged, is a household name in many spheres. He said that he rated the situation in the East not as a war, but as a form of human conflict and added that he believes guns and ammunition were not the only more..

TNA vs LTTE: The Northern Provincial Council stakes

May 4 (DBS) President Rajapaksa has been publicly reiterating and recommitting himself to finally holding the long delayed and often postponed Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections in September this year, almost four and half years after the war ended in May 2009. Thereafter despite presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections, in 2010 and 2011, various excuses were contrived and trotted out to postpone the holding of the NPC elections, an election the regime is almost more..

Land grabs in North and East contradict LLRC recommendations

May 4 (CT) The LLRC observed in its final report that the “displacement of persons as well as loss of land and homes were major conflict related outcomes, and affected all communities throughout the period.” The LLRC concluded that “measures and policies ensuring legitimate land rights, especially among the returning IDPs, would contribute significantly to restoring normalcy and promoting reconciliation”. However, first-hand information gathered through more..

Parai: Keeping alive the Tamil leather drum tradition

May 4 (DBS) Parai is an ancient percussion instrument that was played at temple festivals and funerals. In the bygone era, it was used as a tool for making public announcements during special occasions. The artistes from Kanakaraayankulam in Vavuniya North and Mulliyawalai in Mullaithivu District have preserved this particular art form for over seven generations with great care. In the Vanni District, more..

How India saved Mahinda at CMAG

May 4 (CT) Just a few days before the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) was scheduled to meet for business, President Rajapaksa made a special announcement regarding the much touted election for the Northern Provincial Council. He categorically stated that the election will be held in September and his astrologers are working on the auspicious dates for it. Interestingly, a few days before the CMAG meeting was to take place, Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya more..

NPC polls: To hold or not to hold…

May 4 (Island) No election has so far been a problem for the UPFA since 2005 thanks to a debilitated Opposition in total disarray. It has managed to keep its vote bank intact and score impressive electoral victories consecutively. But, the same cannot be said about the northern PC polls to be held in September. That election which the govt is under pressure to hold will be a contest between the UPFA and the TNA––two parties representing different brands of ethno nationalism. more..

විදුලි බිල වැඩිවෙන්නේ ඇයි?

Progress in implementing the LLRC recommendations

May 4 (CT) I attended a seminar held at SEDEC by Caritas on the 30th. I went for it because it showed that the govt is keen to engage with civil society on the issues spotlighted in the LLRC report. The Keynote speaker was to be Mr. Anura Dissanayake, the Additional Secretary to the President who is the official in charge of implementing the LLRC recommendations. He however did not attend and instead Dr Chandradasa of the Presidential Secretariat addressed the gathering. more..

Broadlands Plant to add 35 MWs to National Grid

May 4 (DN) Construction work of the Broadlands Hydro Power Plant will commence soon and add another 35 Mega Watts to the National Electricity Grid, Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said during an inspection tour of the proposed power plant site. The power plant which would be the last hydro-power plant related to the Kelani River is expected to be completed as a project under the Mahinda Chinthana Future Vision. Minister Wanniarachchi held several rounds of discussions with more..

'Accurate information may be perceived as a crime'

May 4 (CT) When the Sri Lankan Govt wanted to give away free laptops to journalists, many seemed happy. But Lasantha Ruhunage differed. As the president of the largest media trade union in the island – Sri Lanka Working Journalists' Association – he had overwhelming reasons to do so. "What we need is not free laptops, but freedom to write and justice," he wrote to the Media Ministry. "Tell us who killed our colleagues. more..

May day, May day: The torches of darkness

May 4 (Island) Torches and candlelight were the build up to the May Day celebrations earlier this week. The power shock that was coming to the people was used by all parties of the Opposition as the agitation and sloganeering theme for May Day, with some of them giving the impression that this was the beginning of the lights going out for the govt. "Pandam Pelapaali" or torchlight protests were the highlights of political activity in the week prior to May Day, with support from the flicker of more..

The working people of Sri Lanka, Unite!

May 4 (Island) Last Wednesday was May Day – the International Workers’ Day which has been officially recognised and observed since 1890. It began as a commemoration of the death of four workers by Police shooting in Haymarket, Chicago during a General Strike. The Second International which met in Paris in 1889 to coincide with the centennial of the French Revolution called for demonstrations on 1st May 1890 and thereafter every year as an act of solidarity by the workers throughout more..

Govt drafting constitutional amendment to reduce office terms of President and CJ

May 4 (DBS) The UPFA Govt is planning to reduce the terms of office of the Executive President and Chief Justice as well as restricting the powers of Provincial Councils. It is learnt that the Govt is currently engaged in drafting the required amendments to the present Constitution. Although the Govt is keen to make all Constitutional changes through a single Amendment with multiple clauses there may be two separate amendments more..

Govt. sells medical degree for Rs.7.5 million; Peradeniya rejects students sent by UGC

May 4 (LT) Nine Sri Lankan students sent by UGC to the Faculty of Medicine of Peraduniya University have been rejected. The UGC had asked the University in writing to charge the students Rs.7.5 million at the rate of Rs.1.5 million (US$12,000) from each student annually. With the arrival of the nine students at Peradeniya University students who have entered the University after passing the A/L exam have got disturbed and carried out a 'Sathyagraha' at University premises more..

'Resettled Muslims are provided all facilities'

May 4 (DN) Muslim people who were unceremoniously chased away from the North are at present, settled down in their former places of residence. Northern Province Governor Major General G. A. Chandrasiri resorted to necessary steps to provide them with all facilities, said Minister Douglas Devananda. He was participating as chief guest at a meeting at Jaffna Usmaniya Muslim College on April 28 organized by the Jaffna Kilinochchi Muslim Organization. more..

Free air travel for 100 foreign students

May 4 (CT) The FUTA vehemently condemned the decision taken by the Ministry of Higher Education to provide free air travel and visa facilities to foreign students, who apply for scholarships to study in universities in Sri Lanka. Federation said the funds spent on providing 100 scholarships to foreign students, as well as free passage to Sri Lanka, should be used to develop the human and physical infrastructure of more..

'SL beacon of investment in South Asia'

May 4 (Island) Organised by Seatrade and hosted by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the 2nd edition of Sri Lanka Ports, Trade & Logistics Conference, Exhibition & Awards has been inaugurated with an opening ceremony, including the Opening Address of MP Namal Rajapaksa, followed by a Ministerial & Govt Keynote Panel Session held by senor officials and top executives from the maritime industry, including Susil Premjayanth – the Minister of Environment & Renewable Energy, more..

ASPI clears 6,000 point barrier

May 4 (Island) The All Share Price Index of the Colombo bourse yesterday breached the 6,000 point resistance barrier with both indices gaining tidily – the ASPI up 40.81 points (0.68%) and S&P SL20 up 24.61 points (0.73%) on a turnover of Rs.881.5 million, up from the previous day’s Rs.637.8 million. The ASPI closed 6,013.18 points while S&P closed at 3,405.99. Gainers outpaced losers 162 to 56 while 94 counters closed flat. Brokers said that both blue chips and punting stock were on a run more..

Met Dept. flooded with more than 1000 calls

May 4 (DM) Despite allegations by some people the meteorology department receives more than a 1,000 calls during heavy rains asking for weather forecasts, the Meteorology Department said adding that this showed how popular the Department was. “We receive more than 200 calls a day and more than 1,000 calls during heavy rains requesting for weather forecasts,” Met Department Deputy Director S.R. Jayasekara said. more..

An alms giving for dead souls says CaFFE

May 4 (CT) "During the past 25 years the plight of the media in Sri Lanka is to live with fear and harassment. During the last ten years, the journalists who were with us celebrating press freedom have left the country, forced to leave or live in exile in fear of lives, said the Executive Director of CaFFE, Keerthi Tennakoon, adding that celebrating the World Press Freedom Day in a troubled democracy is nothing more than an alms giving for dead souls. Speaking at an event to mark more..

Acid attack victim regains some sight

May 4 (Island) Champika Ranasinghe, the wife of Kumara de Alwis, the former Ayurveda Commissioner of North Central Province, said that the vision of her husband’s left eye was slightly restored after he was operated on by Dr. Charith Fonseka. Dr. de Alwis was the victim of an acid attack in February. The two attackers visited his official residence on February 22 pretending to have brought a serious patient to the hospital and claimed that they were from his village. more..

'Kandy residents didn’t ask for night races'

May 4 (DM) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella today urged the govt not to hold night races in Kandy as it was pointless and would damage the historical value of the city. “People are not asking for night races. If the govt respects the feelings of the people it should avoid wasteful expenditure and provide relief to the people,” he said. Mr. Kiriella said that giving jobs to the unemployed youth was much better than organising a race. more..

Customs officers seize goods brought on false import declaration

May 4 (DN) Customs officials seized a stock of air conditioners and large refrigerators brought to the country on a false import declaration, which if had gone undetected would have cost the govt Rs 10 million in tax revenue. The consignment of 75 air conditioners and 15 refrigerators were fraudulently declared as electric fans and other small domestic electrical items to avoid paying taxes. A duty free shop owner and several others are under surveillance regarding the illegal import, more..

SriLankan squandering fuel amidst electricity shocks - UNP

May 4 (Island) Amidst electricity shocks by way of regular tariff hikes, a SriLankan flight from Colombo to Riyadh had recently flown all the way to the Mattala Airport and got stuck there for around five hours before returning to Colombo, resulting in a huge quantity of fuel being wasted, the UNP said. The reason given for the UL 273 aircraft to be delayed at Mattala on April 7 was that a bird had got stuck in the engine, UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne told a news conference yesterday. more..